Sunday, December 30, 2007

Some Exciting News

Not much has been happening on the running front. It's been about a week now. Thank you head cold, too many hours to count in a car, and trying to plan a "small" New Years party. I am feeling a bit guilty about the lack of runniness happening. Yes, I know that's not a word but I like to make up words when the one's I have don't quite work :) Anyways, today it's going to happen. I am starting the New Year off right before the actual new year :)

Even though the running hasn't been working to my favor my personal life in 2007 is ending in a bang...
after nearly 5 1/2 years of dating, 1 1/2 years of living together
Jacob proposed late Saturday night!!!


and funny enough one of the things I said (after I said yes of course) was "I won't be able to run the Chicago Marathon unless we take the honeymoon after the race". And folks that's what makes me a runner.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Oh Christmas time and driving all over the midwest to visit family...It doesn't allow one much time to herself. I was making progress last week with the running (ran 4 days!!!) and well not so much this weekend and week so far. I probably would have gotten a run today except for this horrendous head cold Jacob gave me. The pain in my sinus cavity is unreal. I can't tell you the last time I got sick with the cold or flu - 2 years ago maybe. It just doesn't happen to me I get lucky. Not so much this time around. Here's hoping I can resume a normal schedule when I return home on Thursday. And here's hoping my waistline (and thighs) don't pay too much for taking that much time off!

Maggie isn't quite feeling being an elf :) I'm such a mean one dressing her up even if it only lasted long enough to get the picture. Merry Christmas! I hope santa brings you everything you want and this finds you all healthy and happy with your respective families.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Welcome Back

Well I'm back at it. Running that is. I took a well deserved week off from, well that's face it, nearly all physical activity. A sloth in front of the computer or TV for a whole week. I did attempt weights and the elliptical machine 2 days but it was a extremely half-hearted attempt. Oh and I ate like crap too. And it felt great until yesterday. Yesterday I realized I needed to get back at it (especially if I wanted to continue to fit into my only pair of jeans). I'm a cold weather wuss so the blistery 20 degrees had me headed to the gym today. BUT I took these last two weeks of December off from work so I can leave whenever I want and not worry about missing a call or important e-mail. Anyways, easy run of 4 miles to get back into the swing of things. It felt good to be back at it. Although I do need to suck it up and run outside soon...

I have been thinking a lot about races in 2008 especially now that I met my goal of finishing a marathon before 2007 ended. I am toying with the idea of the New Orleans half marathon in February. My closest friend and her husband will be running as well so that will be nice to actually have someone to run with as I am nearly always by myself! I would like to PR this time so I'll need to focus more on speed and tempo runs. I've already figured out a new training schedule so all I need to do now is find airfare, hotel, and sign up! Usually I only do a handful of 5K's over a year and sign up very last minute but not the Race to Wrigley 5K in April. It's small and you get to run in the stadium (not on the field) and finish under the big marquee. I love it and have done it each year (this year is the 3rd) but the race fills up fast. I am kicking around either the Lakefront 10 miler or Soldier 10 mile both in May. I have wanted to do both for years but have never been in very good running shape in the spring to run. Plus this year I am a bridesmaid in 2 weddings that month (a freaking week apart!!!) so training is going to be tough during April (showers, bachelorette parties, etc). The race dates aren't finalized and could fall on one of the wedding weekends. The Soldier 10 would be awesome because you finish on the field and post-party there too! This race fills up in days though. As far as another marathon I would love to go somewhere else but I think Chicago and I have some issues to settle. I see payback coming in October (sub 4 anyone!?!) And that's the plan. I'm sure I'll try to squeeze in some more races as soon as the Chicago race calendar is finalized :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dallas Marathon Report Part 2

Jacob was asking why it's taking me so long to write this report. I told him I have a lot to say as it was an interesting 4 hours. He says I'm just long winded. He's probably right.

The second half of the race was different. I started focusing on different things as the euphoric high I was feeling began to wear thin. You know a guy holding a sign with Larry the Cable guy saying "Git r done" and having the path go by a store called CondomSense can only take you so far. I tried to enjoy it but then of course the pain started to set in. Significant pain didn't start affecting me until mile 18. But at the same time between mile 18 and 19 I realized I was going to finish this one. And not for the reasons you might think. It is so weird but I had just come off a turn and was running by a storage facility on my left and woods/lake on my right. Total deja vu happened at this point. I have been here before --- but I hadn't because I had never been to Dallas before. I realized this place was in one of my crazy running dreams a few months earlier. Weird I know. Then a sense of calm and resolve washed over me and I knew that was it. That no matter what the rest of the race brought I was going to finish. But I also knew I had to keep going.

Mile 19 was a big ass party. I was laughing because it was this motivating mile that Clif bar and Hooters was supporting but the Hooters girls were so cold they were in orange jumpsuits instead of their typical uniform. But all very nice nonetheless. There were funny signs like "If you wanted to get a pedicure and couldn't because you are missing toenails - you are a marathoner" and "If you have ever gotten excited for a Powerbar - you know you are a marathoner". Yep and Yep. Then they had a crappy sign. "THIS IS THE WALL" with no push through it or there is no wall. And right after that was the biggest hill on the course. Thanks for the motivation. But I got to laughing again when supporters were trying to pass out beer and donuts and trying to cheer us all up the hill. Simultaneously I was really motivated when I surged the hill and everyone started walking. I felt like such a rock star. I was just looking around at everyone thinking why you peeps walking didn't you train for hills??? No you didn't but I did!!! At that point I was apologizing for every bad thing I had ever said about hill training.

Things then became a bit quiet from this point until the end. The runners had thinned tremendously. Often I was running by myself. Plus, there didn't seem to be as much crowd support. Around the lake was cold in parts and if the wind came off the lake just right it was downright nasty. I had already ran through a mile of rain pelting the side of my face and the wind trying to blow me over. That's the mile I just reminded myself over and over that it was nothing compared to that one nasty training run on lake Michigan ( Even after I had come off the lake it started to cool down even more. I only noticed when the wind picked up and would fight through saying to myself "you live in the freakin windy city this is nothing". It actually worked this time.

Mile 20-22 I felt myself slow down. There was no mile marker for 21 so I was really thrown off on my time. I had no idea how I was doing anymore and honestly I didn't care during those miles. At mile 22 it hit me - Shit this is the longest I have ever run and there's only 4 miles left (okay 4.2). So I envisioned where I was on my lakefront path and how I normally feel at that point and what I normally do to get home. Just get home was all I was thinking. I was really hurting. My left knee had decided to join the pain gang the left hip had started. The arches of my feet were aching horrendously. I am already flat-footed and it felt like I flattened them with a blacktop roller. Then somewhere around this point my right knee felt left out and wanted to join. I also took my last GU and as I stopped to grab water ( I walk through the water stations as I am not coordinated enough to drink on the move) my left knee/leg gave out felt like it just collapsed...F*** @#$%^&*& That's not good - Is all I could think as I didn't feel any pain. Keep moving, keep moving, drink water, suck the GU and RUN. Get your ass in gear girl. It actually felt better to run. Finally I came to mile 23. My watch read something like 3:34. I figured I could do a 5K in ~30 minutes or so at this point. The faster I get through this the sooner I'll stop hurting. Oh and for even more motivation I looked up to spot thong girl just ahead (I had been running "with" her now for nearly the entire race) . I picked up my pace and went. No way thong girl - it may be mile 23 but I am going to kick your little thong butt. I passed her and didn't look back. Really it was because I was scared to see what the front of her awesome running suit looked like.
Mile 24-25 dragged on because there were not many supporters and the marathoners merged with the half-marathoners around this time. In my pain I then had to swerve between walking half-marathoners. Not so fun. Then I saw a guy whose shirt read "CHICAGO WAS HOTTER". I wanted to catch him to talk but decided I needed to pass him instead. A major plus, it was all downhill or flat from here on to the finish. I hit mile 25 and had to go around a curve on my approach to the West End of Dallas and I started to get choked up realizing I was going to finish, it was going to happen for real not just in my mind. Tears nearly streaming down my face I had some difficulty breathing so my emotions would need to wait until I actually finished. With around .3 left my ipod shuffle shuffled onto Somewhere Over the Rainbow sung by Israel Kamakawiw Ole' (not Judy Garland or Katherine McPhee but the good version). I thought it was very fitting for how I was feeling. Then it died, just ran out of juice. But I didn't! I put the headphones in my pocket so I could take in the finish line (and take a good picture). Literally steps before I crossed the finish line I heard my name and saw Jacob and his uncle waving. I waved back and threw up my arms as I crossed the finish line. Again I can't wait to see that picture :)
You know what was evil though. The finish area was on a hill so I had to walk uphill to get my blanket, medal, take a picture, get some water, etc. That hurt. Really, really hurt. Then I had to go down 4 steps to go to my meeting place with Jacob (yeah didn't plan that too great either) and I looked down and just stopped. I couldn't do. Then this little old Texan man came up and said "honey, you okay? Here let me help you". So sweet because I'm not sure I would have made it myself right then!
Here are some pictures Jacob took of me finishing and after the race.
me in the pink and white - almost there! The back of me finishing!! so freaking cold but so freakin happy too
my race bling
And the shirt I have been waiting to wear since October

Overall I had a great 2nd 1st marathon experience. During the race I kept thinking "Now this is how you want a race to go" and I actually finished saying I would run another marathon. Although I do vaguely remember around mile 19/20/21 thinking maybe I might be better at only running 1/2 marathons. But eh that was just the pain talking. Next goal under 4 hour marathon! I'm still sore and wobbling around like a penguin but the pain will pass. I look forward to the day when it won't hurt to sit on the toilet or go down steps. There were some things that annoyed me about the pre and post race. Like the fact I couldn't find any food when I finished only beer and I was so not in a beer drinking mood. It all could be corrected if they chose to put up signs. But it was nice to run a smaller race and visit a new city.

If I hadn't started blogging I can't say for sure if I would have been as motivated to attempt another marathon after Chicago. You all kept me motivated throughout training and kept me moving one foot in front of the other during the tough miles of Dallas. Thank you everyone!!!

Before I leave you here are some more fun stats from the run.

start to mile 5: 9:28 min/mile pace

Mile 5 - 13.1: 9:09 min/mile pace

Mile 13.1 - Mile 19: 9:25 min/mile pace

Mile 19 - finish: 9:42 min/mile pace (need to work on this)

Dallas Weekend Race Wrap-Up part 1

I wish I was a master storyteller but unfortunately I did not receive that gene from my father. My sister inherited that one instead. So I'll do my best here to replay my 2nd 1st marathon weekend. I think the use of pictures will move the story along. But be prepared this is a long report so get comfortable.

Jacob and I arrived in Dallas on Friday and took a very expensive cab ride to the hotel downtown. Cabs are ridiculously expensive there! I thought Chicago and Vegas were bad but Dallas takes the cake. On the ride to the hotel I realized I had no idea where the packet pick up was located. Yea me for being prepared. Luckily it was on my e-mail confirmation that I had printed off as an afterthought:) Once we checked-in we headed back out to hit up the expo and then grab some dinner. I was bummed the expo didn't have any race t-shirts that I liked or magnets but otherwise very similar to every other expo I have been to just smaller.

Saturday we slept in and it was so nice. The hotel concierge recommended a great place for brunch. He sent us to Breadwinners and told us how to get there for free! The McKinney Trolley. This was the oldest train car I have ever been on but it was a lot of fun. And you can't beat the price!
McKinney Trolley
Apparently this was the only brunch place in Dallas as it was packed. But it was all large groups and luckily there was a table for 2 available right away. If you ever go to Dallas you must stop by this place. Later Jacob's aunt and uncle picked us up and we drove around Dallas. It was 80 and gorgeous and I just tried to stay hydrated which meant I had to pee every 20 minutes. We had some fun by the convention center with the bulls :) Jacob attempted his best Ace Ventura impression.
Big threat of rain was on Sunday's forecast. Earlier in the week it was supposed to be sunny and warm so Saturday I received an e-mail about staying cool in the warm weather from the race director. No chance of that by the time the e-mail was sent. By Saturday they were calling for cooler temps and scattered thunderstorms. Sunday I woke up and after putting my contacts in I hustled to the window to see the rain situation. None that I could tell at 6 am. Checked and the rain was supposed to be in city center around 7am. Oh just perfect :) We got to American Airlines center right around 7 so before the rain came I took a picture. It was a little chilly, in the 50's, so perfect for running!

I was kind of annoyed with the pre-race set-up. They had the American Airlines center available to stay warm and dry but it was a complete cluster f***. There was a huge line to get in because you had to go through metal detectors and have your bags searched. Then they only had one set of bathrooms open. Luckily those moved quickly. It was impossible to move around in there so it took nearly 25 to get in, use the facilities, and get out. As soon as I walked outside the rain started. But it was a steady rain not hard rain. So I pulled out the handy dandy New Orleans Bourbon Street poncho left over from friends wedding 3 1/2 years ago when Tropical Storm Matthew hit and walked to the starting line with 15 minutes to spare.

Before I got into line Jacob gave me a very serious look and reminded me to walk if I ever felt bad that there was no shame in walking. He told me to remember if I ever felt like I did in Chicago that I needed to stop immediately. I was like yeah yeah whatever I'm good :) I settled in between the 4:15 and 4:30 pacers not really knowing what to expect this time around. The weather was better for running this time around but then I started questioning my choice of only running in shorts, t-shirt, and gloves. Did I need a long sleeve? Would I be okay? Instead of obsessing I realized I would see Jacob at the halfway point and if I was miserable I would stop and pull my shirt out of my bag then. I realized standing there that there weren't many females running this race and not many people my age. Very interesting. I didn't talk to anyone rather just tried to get in the zone of doing this thing. My stomach was in knots and I was hoping it was only nerves and nothing GI related. It was difficult to hear what was happening up front so I just waited for everyone to start moving. Only took 2 1/2 minutes to get to the start line as compared to 15 in Chicago. I threw off my poncho and I was off. To top it off it had stopped raining! I went out at what felt like a slow pace trying to remember everyone's advice about if you feel slow in the beginning you are probably right where you should be. People started weaving in and out and I lost the pacers immediately. I started to get nervous. Then in my head a little voice said over and over "just run your own race you are in it for the long haul". I started to relax immediately and try to enjoy my surroundings. My first 5k took slightly longer than I wanted but I figured I could make it up in the middle and tried not to worry too much. I felt great I was happy and having fun. The 5k - mile 8 flew by. My left hip was aching but nothing I hadn't felt on every other training run so I wasn't worried yet. I smiled big for the cameras at mile 6 (can't wait to see those pics!). Best of all the rain was off an on but never for more than a few minutes at a time through the first 8. For the most part it wasn't raining or maybe I was just running so fast I missed the drops ;). The rain that did fall made the roadway slick and I nearly lost my footing at mile 7. After that I focused on my stride and looked ahead to seeing Jacob at White Rock Lake between mile 12-13. A huge chunk of the race occurred around this lake (must be why they call the race White Rock Marathon). Anyways, at around mile 8 you head downhill and curve around to reach the top corner of the lake at 9 miles. This is where I found orange slices. Oh mama - that was the best orange slice EVER! I felt like a soccer playing 4 year old who got an orange slice at halftime. Then the course took us around the lake for the next 10 miles.

The group had definitely thinned out by the time I arrived at White Rock Lake and I was always seeing new faces because of the corporate relay challenge so it was difficult to find a rabbit. I always like to focus my attention on one or two others and try to hang with them during the race. But then I found the girl I wanted to beat. Girlfriend was wearing a matching lycra running suit in silver and it was blatantly clear she was wearing a run a marathon...I was like no way is a silver suit thong wearing bouncy girl beating me. But more to come on that.

When I reached mile 11 and started looking around for Jacob. I wasn't seeing him so I started to get a bit bummed out then right after a water stop that I passed there he was hanging by himself. I gave him a thumbs up and big smile. I seriously felt so great here better than any training or race before. He came out and asked how I was feeling (because this is where I took a turn for worse at Chicago) and told me I was on track for a 4:02 marathon. I was surprised. I knew I was running good but that was better than I expected! Here I am smiling big for the camera. I'm such a cheeseball.

I reached the halfway point a few minutes later and still was smiling and feeling really good. I got through 13.1 in around 2:01 and knew I could keep it up!!! Since it took me two attempts at my first marathon it is only fitting that I leave you at this point. I'll post part 2 later but right now I seriously have some work to catch up on!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Here's my mastercard commercial...

2 sticks of Body Glide: $15.00
New running shorts, shirts, sport bras, socks in order to find the perfect fit: $200
3 new pairs of running shoes: $350
Race entry fee for your 2nd 1st marathon: $90
Airfare and hotel for Dallas: $300


Guys I rocked this race!!! Just so happy and I haven't come down from my cloud yet. I can't wait to give the full race report but that is going to have to wait until I get back to Chicago. But to hold you over here is my final numbers breakdown.

Final chip time: 4 hours 6 min 53 sec (a 9:25 pace!)
Overall I finish 1674 / 4019
Gender 376/1443
Age 83 /254

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Oh man oh man the race is almost here. My race bag is packed, clothes are laid out, and bib #1972 is ready to be placed on the shirt. One last post before I lay my head down on the "heavenly bed." Race day weather looks nasty - colder as the race goes on with some Texas style thunderstorms on the side. Wet and cold could it be any different that 2 months ago?!? I plan on taking both pre and post race pictures so be prepared Monday :) Already have some good ones of us goofing off in Dallas. And just found out tonight Jacob's uncle has a hot tub - wahoo! Hot tubing with a big strong drink. That's what I'll be thinking about climbing the hill at mile 19 :)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane for Marathon part 1 take 2

In just over 26 hours from now I will be on a plane down to Dallas. Well of course nothing is for sure on a Friday flying out of O'Hare so I guess the first sentence should read I am scheduled to be on a plane in 26 hours. Dallas White Rock Marathon here I come. My bags are not quite packed but in mind I am ready to go. Not sure how I feel about the marathon this time around. I'm hoping I put the mileage in that I need to finish. I ran my last 3 miles tonight and of course my first thought when I ended - "Was what I did the last 7 weeks enough to get me through Sunday?" I'm trying to think positive for this one and not let what happened in Chicago affect this race. They are two different races but the insecurities keep trying to creep on in my brain. There is so much racing through my head right now. First I need to focus on packing then once I get there and pick up my race packet I'll start freaking out. Once again, thank you for all your support! I hope I have a better ending race report this time around and I hope to see you on the other side. The other side being Monday when I return home.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wednesday randomness

I was ultra-productive yesterday and hung the lights on our balcony, decorated the tree, and even wrapped the presents I have purchased so far. I took a picture of my beautiful work on the tree for all of you to enjoy :)

While at Target yesterday I picked up the January Runners World. No, I don't have a subscription yet. Hopefully soon though as it's on my Christmas list ;) Then what do you know in the mail today?!? 3 guesses the first 2 don't count...The January RW. Anyone need a copy I'll send it to you tomorrow when I go to the post office for work. And it won't cost a thing - I'll add it to tab I'm going to expense :) Anyways, it seems that since I partook in the 2007 Chicago LaSalle Bank Marathon I get 3 free months of the magazine. Who knew I would get a gift for a DNF?!? And why couldn't this have kicked in 2 months ago so I could have saved myself the money on the last 2?!? Maybe they finally felt bad about not providing enough water, Gatorade, and cooling stations so they used the money they saved on these items for magazine subscriptions for 45,000 runners as a please accept our apology on such poor planning in October 2007 :)

On to today's run. I had a choice to make about my running. The schedule called for a 6 mile tempo run but a big storm moved through the city yesterday and today. I could take my chances and run outside in the fresh snow (and ice). But that would most likely mean me breaking my ass before Sunday as I am the worlds clumsiest person OR I could go to the gym and hit the treadmill again. But going to the gym was no easy feat either as my poor Libby (yes I named my car Libby the Liberty) was under a good 6-12 inches of snow. I opted for the workout before the run and dug out both my car and Jacob's car (I'm such a nice girlfriend).

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Today on my drive to Target.

It hit me today while driving to Target. " S**t, I'm going to be running 26.2 miles on Sunday. For real. No 20 miles then pass out and go to the hospital (we'll I hope not at least). I leave for this so called race in 3 days. Damn that's not many days". I came as close as I have ever come to a panic attack. Then I got over it and bought some lights for our balcony. No seriously I am quietly freaking out when no one is around. Which is happening a lot because I am home by myself all week. Just me and the cat. I try to talk to her about it but she's really only a sprinter and doesn't understand the long distance race :)

Yesteray I ran a little over 3 miles outside. It was one of those runs where 3 miles was harder than any 10 mile run I have ever done. I was glad it didn't take long. And that's really all I have to say about that run. Today is supposed to be a cross-training day. I think I'll do free weights in my home instead of driving to the gym. I have no motivation for the gym today. Instead I am going to hang lights outside and finish decorating the tree. Even though I feel strongly that hanging lights outside should be Jacob's job. He's not here and I want the lights to get up before December 24th so I'll attempt it myself. Should be interesting :)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Not Again

I told myself not to. The race is still days away. I held out until now.

I had to look
now I'm worried
more like freaking out

high of 78. Low of 64.'s like 50 there right now. Why can't it just stay in the 50's for 6 more days. I know a lot can change in 6 days. But then it couldn't and I have another hot one on my hands. I think I might be weather cursed when it comes to trying to run a marathon.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The weather outside is frightful

and a warm shower is so delightful. I know that's not how it goes but seriously I am very happy I woke up semi-early to run for 2 hours and make it my toasty home before a snowflake hit the ground. It was a cold run but at least there was no precipitation. Now 1 hour post run and there are many snowflakes on the ground. And that's how I'll end the long training runs...on a good note. yeah long training runs are done for now!

alright off to enjoy lunch and clean the house. for those of you in the northern part try and enjoy the winter wonderland. well until it becomes nasty freezing rain and high winds. yuck. december is starting off with a bang this year.