5K in Every State – Minnesota!

Yep, another 5K in another state. That’s number eleven and the second this year…so far. Eleven! I’m well into the double digits. Ha! Before I give the deets on my Minnesota run though, and for the benefit of the folks just tuning in, I want to revisit why this lofty goal is even on my bucket list (lest anyone think I’m plain crazy).

11 states done, 39 to go!

In 2013 I was diagnosed with stage IIB invasive breast cancer, and understandably, I got way in my head about it. Even with the prognosis of a 93% 5-year and 83% 10-year survival rate, hearing the words “you have cancer” had me questioning everything. For the first time I seriously contemplated my own mortality, I mean seriously realized it could happen and definitely would happen some day. The good news is that it lit a fire in me to get busy living!

My treatment plan included lumpectomy, radiation, meds, healthy eating, and regular exercise. Physical fitness has never been my jam. Starting programs is my forte; sticking with them is not. But, I joined the YMCA LIVESTRONG program where a group of us survivors were instructed in workouts twice a week for three months. It’s a great program, and I thought after doing something for three months it would stick. No M’am. Within a few weeks of completing the course I was skipping the gym more than I was going.

Meanwhile, as I was avoiding the gym, I was working on my bucket list which included a vague reference to travel–something I used to do more often–and I was also racking my brain for an exercise routine that wouldn’t bore me to tears (no stationary exercise equipment please) and didn’t require me to go to a place (because when I get home from work, I’m in). Then it hit me: a 5K in every state would get me traveling again AND would force me to stay active because I’d have to train for each of the 50 races. And all I had to do was run out the door–no going to the gym. Genius! Except I wasn’t a runner. Aye-aye-aye.

Now you’re up to speed, and my most recent run in Minnesota was the 8th Annual Tanner’s Team Walk/Run which raises funds for the Tanner’s Team Foundation. TTF helps families with children fighting life-threatening illness or serious injury in 45 central Minnesota counties. Any time a charity involves children, it tugs at my heart, and seeing some of the kiddos at the race that have been helped by this group gave me all the feels. I was honored to run this one. Well, I sort of ran it. I was just a few weeks into the Couch to 5K program 11.0, so I did run/walk intervals (sounds familiar–same as the last race!) that got me 44:37. Safe to say this was not a personal best, but hey, I showed up and I finished.

The Tanner’s Team Foundation bear?
Finished! And not last!

The day prior, I flew into Minneapolis, rented a car, and marched myself straight to the Mary Tyler Moore statue. It’s Mary who reminds me that I’m “gonna make it after all,” so it wouldn’t have felt right visiting the city without paying homage to the Mary. If I had a hat with me…

I didn’t have long to poke around the city, but the tiny slice I saw was beautiful. At population 420,000, the city has two light rails, a commuter rail, and the Minneapolis Skyway System, which is seven miles of enclosed pedestrian bridges linking eighty city blocks. It’s ranked the 9th most walkable city in the nation. Not bad when you consider the average yearly high temp is 55.2 (that’s for the whole year–it gets into the 80s in July). There’s an artsy vibe downtown, and I stumbled upon some darn good food, too. Do you get the feeling I was absolutely enamored with this city? Me too.

The Mary. A true pioneer.
The Mercury Dining Room and Rail – awesome eats at the former Soo Line train station.

My final destination, however, was a family get-together about an hour and a half from Minneapolis, so off I went to see the brother and the sisters. And in-laws, and nephews, and nieces, oh my! One of my nephews I last saw at Dad’s funeral in 1999, and the last time the sibs were all together was at Mom’s funeral, so this light-hearted gathering with the perfect weather, the games, and more food than we could possibly eat was incredibly relaxing, needed, and good for the soul. My family really needs to do more socializing outside of funerals. These last two trips (I did New Hampshire in May) have made my heart smile.

The setting for our reunion could not have been more beautiful.
We each tie dyed a shirt as a family reunion keepsake, cuz we’re groovy like that!

My next race is to be determined, but I’ll keep you posted. I hope y’all have some fun stuff planned this year. It’s wonderful to get out and explore, and to quote the MTM show lyrics, it’s time you started living!

Cheers!
Kelly

5K in Every State: NC

bucket life list. We all have one, right? The list of things you want to do in your lifetime. Whether it’s a mental list or you’ve actually written it down, it’s there. I decided about a year ago to finally get mine on paper. Intangibles tend to weigh me down. Mental lists loom over me. If I write it down it’s real, has a place, I won’t forget it, and I know I’ll get to it. And so, my life list was born.

One of the things on my list is to run a 5K in every state. I’m sure 90% of them will be more run/walk than run, but that’s a minor detail. What’s important is that this little challenge, goal, ditty, will get me back to traveling—something I love but have fallen away from over the past several years. Of course it’ll help me stay healthy too if it keeps me running.

I ran my first 5K (actually ran all of it) in February 2014 right here in Raleigh NC. It was grueling because all of my training had been on flat ground and the Run for the Roses was about as hilly as could be. My friend, Kim, ran with me and coached me through the entire 3 miles by telling me how great I was doing (in true friend fashion she kept a straight face) and cheered me on to the finish line. My second 5K was not as glorious. I ran/walked the Esprit de She, but I finished, celebrated with good friends, and that was all I needed.

Post-race (Esprit de She) - banana and Prosecco are not a good pairing!
Post-race (Esprit de She) – banana and Prosecco are not a good pairing!

This weekend will be my first out-of-state 5K, my first trail run, and my first time running solo. I feel like I should enable the find my phone app so my family can locate me when the runners have all cleared the finish line and I’m still somewhere in the forest. You agree, I know.

Fall color in Wisconsin 1988. Hoping to see some of this on my run this weekend.
Fall color in Wisconsin 1988. Hoping to see some of this on my run this weekend.

I’m pretty excited though. I’ve been to over half of our 50 states, but now I’ll be going back to those and hitting the ones I’ve never seen. That’s some serious sky miles! There is no timetable, although I’d like to knock out at least two per year. We’ll see. I’ll take some pics along the way this weekend and let you know who finds me first: my nephew or search & rescue.

Cheers!
Kelly