Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Be Back Soon

You may have noticed but I have seriously slacked in the blogging, reading blogs, and commenting departments. I'm taking a short break from the computer and will be back in January. I hope everyone has a wonderful (and safe) New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


When you only see 5 other runners on a normally steady to busy running trail are you considered hardcore or crazy? I think it might be a mixture especially when the path is a bit slick from the snow shower and the temperatures are in the 20's.

I can't say it's too hardcore considering I've logged a total of 7 miles over 2 weeks. Sad...yes... Thanks to last minute shopping, shopping taking longer than expected due to crowds and traffic, traveling for early holiday celebrations, and a general lack of desire to run in 10 degrees I haven't logged much road or 'mill time. But that's all going to change soon. Over the weekend I signed up for the New Orleans rock n' roll half-marathon Feb 28th so I need to find the time or I'm going to be hurting in 9 weeks! It's going to be more of a fun run but I still need to be ready.

So now I have a motivating goal to work towards in early 2010 but I still need to figure out what else to put on the race calendar. I know I want to run a marathon and raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society to honor my dad. Other than that I don't know what I want to run or how close/far to travel. Do I want to make the first half of 2010 the time to run my favorite distance - 1/2 marathon? Or do I want to run a spring and fall marathon again? Decisions, decisions! If you have a suggestion leave it for me in the comments!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

beyond cold and good luck

It's flipping cold here! Like 5 degrees cold and I have no idea about the wind chill. Sometimes things like that are best left unknown. I know it's cold I don't need specifics. I canceled my last trip today to snowy and even colder Madison, WI so I am now officially done traveling until 2010! Seems so far away ;) It's amazing how much calmer I feel knowing I don't have to travel for work over the next few weeks. January will be nuts but no need to dwell on that now! Time to enjoy the mini-break!

Today I am spending the day catching up on work, cleaning, and making chex mix in preparation for my sister and brother-in-law visit. They will be in town for a very cold wedding tomorrow. brrr... It has me chilled to the bone just thinking about taking pictures around Chicago in this weather!

And since I probably won't post in the next few days I want to give a huge shout-out to my old roomie. She is running her first marathon this weekend in Dallas! H went from non-runner to runner in a year using the Galloway method and advice from her tri-sister. So far this year she has done an 8K and half-mary. Now it's time for the Dallas White Rock full where she will be surrounded by her family and friends. I know she is freaking out (as we all do and probably did before our first marathon) but I hope she has the most amazing experience despite the nerves! Good luck H! I wish I could be there but I'll be cheering you on virtually. And on a side note if any of you are getting married definitely check out her website. She has handmade maps and invitation making talent. I only wish she had discovered her talent before I had gotten married :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Delayed... but now I have time to post!

Most of my big weekend plans went bust with the exception of wrapping presents, decorating, and visiting my friends and their new baby (so cute!). I had hoped to find time for some running... so I'm going to make a confession. I just did not want to go. My motivation and running desire is severely lacking these days. I'm in a funk and I need to find something to break me out. Any suggestions? Maybe with the upcoming travel break I'll find my running mojo again. Or maybe I'll stuff my face with delicious holiday treats ;)

Monday I took off of work (and everything else I needed to do) to drive to the outlet mall where I met my friend Jami for the J & J annual Christmas shopping trip! 4 years running now we drive an hour out of our way to find some deals and see each other. Last year we smartened up and took a day off during the week instead of fighting the weekend crowds. So much better! Usually we end up shopping more for ourselves than anyone else and again this year was no different :) We both left we some new goodies but way behind on our Christmas lists.

Currently I should be 30,000 feet in the air onward to St. Louis but thanks to the snow and wind I'm delayed nearly 5 hours. The good news, I found out before I had to leave for the airport so I am waiting at home instead of chaotic O'Hare. And bonus - I had time to run! The lakefront path is clear of the fluffy white stuff so it was safe. I'm glad they do such a good job of keeping the path clear or I probably would never go. Maybe that's not true, I do have YakTrax. So I would probably just use the the path being covered as another excuse to not run. I'm doing fine finding reasons not to run no need to add another!

The run started off chilly and I was annoyed with my new Nike tights. They were sliding down giving me the MC Hammer drop crotch pant look. Oh so very attractive and conducive to running! Also, they were not doing a very good job of keeping my knees/thighs very warm. My legs warmed up as I moved along. I really don't know why I keep buying Nike tights; I've had nothing but problems. I always think "this pair might be different!" Now I know... No more Nike tights. I still love Nike even if they can't make a decent pair of running tights. The winter fleece lined running jacket I picked up at the outlet yesterday was amazing so it totally made up for my tight frustration.

Alright on to finish packing and make my way to hang out with thousands of pissed off/frustrated travelers! This is my last trip to O'Hare for the month so I'm feeling good.

Friday, December 4, 2009

nothing much

After a long week in Texas I'm back home trying to find the motivation to write follow up letters, fix trip reports, and the other 9807865234 miscellaneous items I need to do while in the office for a day. I'm hoping to find the motivation in my nonsensical blogging :)

So it may have snowed here in Chicago this week but not before it snowed in Texas. Yes, that's right Texas was colder and had snow before the northern states! Of course after I left the warmer temps are expected to return. Not that the weather really matters since the majority of my work day is spent in research/doctor offices, in front of my laptop, surrounded by binders. Sounds fascinating I know!

This weekend I hope to go for a longish run, or maybe 2 short runs but at least something. I don't mind the cold weather running too much as long as there is not too much precipitation and I can keep my hands warm. The path is empty and I can get lost in my run. Few things can beat that. Hopefully I will make the time in between finishing up the Christmas shopping, finding a tree, decorating, visiting my friend and her new baby girl (!), and cleaning my messy condo. My office looks like the presents and papers had one wild party while I was gone! We will see how much I actually accomplish before I leave again Tuesday :)

Good luck to all the Vegas and CIM runners this weekend! And anyone else racing! Looking forward to all the race reports next week!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Home Again

Vacation is over for now and I'm extremely happy to be back home for the night. After a long holiday weekend spent at the in-laws it's nice to be sitting on my own couch with the promise of sleeping in my own bed. It's especially nice be watching the shows I want, not hunting or drag racing, and have access to the internet. The internet access at the in-laws was spotty at best so I am behind on everything and with everyone! The holiday included too much food and not enough activity. Though I was able to squeeze in a nice 7 mile run Friday. It was much needed for both my waistline and sanity!

I'm off for a 4 day tour of Texas on Monday for work. The following week is just as busy but at least there is an end in sight until my next much longer but just as busy vacation. I'm hoping now to normalize my eating and get some good workouts/running during December. Can anyone else believe it's almost December? Crazy! I need to start working on my 2010 race calendar!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

No Excuses

Call tonight to the hubs on the way home from the airport... approximately 5:30pm

Me: I'm thinking of going for a short, quick run before dinner, is that okay?
Hubs: It's dark outside
Me: I can see that but the path is well lit
Hubs: It's cold and crappy
Me: I've run in worse
Hubs: yeah, I guess
Me: at least it's not raining!
Hubs: (big sigh implying I will never understand you and your running thing) okay

Poor guy all he wanted to do was get some dinner and I shot down all his reasons why I shouldn't go for a run. Unfortunately for him all I wanted to do was run after my long day of sitting. I sat so much today from the research office, to the airport, to the airplane, and in the car in traffic that my butt start to ache! I had to get moving. Plus instead of waking up early (like all you other good bloggers!) I re-set the alarm for an extra 50 minutes of sleep this morning and was feeling ultra guilty. Normally I don't run after working and traveling all day long; I'm too spent. Today, I lucked out in catching an earlier flight home and finding some energy.

I walked in the back door before 6, quickly changed, and headed out the front door sans garmin by 6. Before I even made it to the path I ran into some neighborhood hoodlums who were looking for trouble. They started to harass me but for whatever reason they took off and I made it by without much incident. A bit of a scary way to start. Once on the path there were a number of bikers and runners and I quickly found my groove. Not quite 4 miles later I was back home with a newfound energy! Ahhh - much better!

Monday, November 16, 2009

a little more than nothing...

I really wish I had more to talk about but as of late I've done a whole lot of nothing besides the occasional run, thinking about how I should go for a run, and working. Very exciting stuff I know!

Over the weekend I bailed on my planned long run for no good reason - again... At least I managed 4 miles on Saturday afternoon with the hubbie. I will continue to live by something is better than nothing mantra! Sunday was a wonderful, lazy, lay around the house watching CSI and Criminal Minds kind of day. How I love my min-marathon crime shows :)

Before my flight I headed out for 7 chilly miles. After the unseasonably warm temps I wasn't really prepared for this morning. On the out and back course I was comfortable in my running capri's and thin long-sleeve awesomely pink top on the way out. On the way back north I had some wicked headwind and I was wishing for my gloves. So were my white knuckles. I know it's still warmer than the November normal but I miss the 60's!

I'm traveling the south this week through Wednesday. Once I return home I don't have to hit the road again until the 30th! I know it's only a week and a half of no work travel but that's huge in my world. And once I return to work after Thanksgiving I only have 3 more trips (5 different towns) over 2 weeks then I'm done until after the New Year! Yea!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Being Good

In Denver on Tuesday I decided to make the effort/take advantage of the 1 hour time change to workout. Since I ran Monday I really only wanted to use the bike or elliptical machine and if time weights. Of course I stayed up way to late pretending to work Monday night and when 6:45 am rolled around I was too comfortable and exhausted to move. Finally, I pulled myself out of the bed shortly after 7 am and headed down for a short elliptical session. Of course no one was using the dreadmills, only the elliptical machines and stationary bike! So I hit up some hand weights in my very annoyed state. Luck would have it some guy decided to be kind and jump off the elliptical after his 25 minutes so I could use the machine. Must be because I'm so cute in the morning ;) Unfortunately the guy who gave me the machine wasn't the one with really horribly b.o that made me dry heave. Now I know it wasn't my cuteness that had him cutting his workout short!

As usual, I stayed at a not so classy Embassy Suites. Seriously, it has seen better days but it's so close to the site and I'm all for convenience/a short commute. After my 35 minute workout I headed to the free breakfast but was so not feeling the egg white omelet with spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms - my go to Embassy Suite breakfast. So I hit up the oatmeal. I lifted the metal lid to set it against the back of the pot to dig in and wadyaknow it crashes to the ground! Bang! The whole breakfast area stopped and stared. And I? I just turned and waved! Of course I would be the awkward girl making things crash to the ground. The waitstaff was annoyed but at least nothing was broken. I ate my oats (with some delicious cherry preserves) and headed on my way.

Anyway, this morning I had 3 people comment about how good I was for waking up and getting a workout done. I found it humorous because here I was feeling bad I slept in and only did a 30 minute workout! Thank goodness for others to change my perspective. It may not have been much but it was more than nothing!
Happy to report Monday I found time for another pre-flight run. It was another great day in Chicago (in the 60's)! I had plans to run 10 then left late due to work and bumped it down to 9. Well... then my sister called mid-run, I realized what time it really was and decided only 8 miles was doable. A nice 8 for a 9:43 average min/mile.

I don't know what it is about not being in "training mode" but I get stupid about running. I wear socks I normally wouldn't, I don't use body glide, I'm not as focused/religious about my pre-run rituals. It is good in a sense that I try new things I normally wouldn't and can find out what works. It's bad in other ways though. After my 8 miles then flight to Denver I was hurting! Lack of body glide on a warmish day, bad socks, poor cool down, no stretching, then a 3 hour flight = bad news! The good news I did hydrate as Denver makes me thirsty! I'm sure I'll repeat in a day or two :) It takes awhile for me to learn my lesson.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Mother nature must have felt a little guilty for the recent below normal temperatures. There is no other explanation for the gorgeous, spring-like, weekend we were given in November! I really meant to go for a long run today but I wasn't feeling in the running spirit at all today. Thankfully I took advantage yesterday to get out for what started as a 3-miler turned very pleasant 5-miles. I also took some time to try out my new phone! Friday afternoon I convinced the hubby to go to Verizon to upgrade to the new Droid phone. It's no iPhone but it is pretty dang close. Plus, I can stay on the Verizon network and not switch to the dreaded AT&T. So far it's love! I know it's going to take awhile to discover all the phone can do. And the one great thing is I can now read blogs easier on the road!

The phone has a very nice 5 mp camera; an upgrade from my previous 1.2 mp camera phone. I also downloaded an app to take pictures in different forms. On the run Saturday I tested the polaroid function.

mid-run. Can you believe a tank top in Chicago in November?!? It was awesome!
Belmont Harbor

The weekend was full of good friends, a random play at the Steppenwolf theatre, delicious meals, copious amount of wine, relaxing, cleaning, and Men Who Stare at Goats. Quick review of the movie - skip it in the theater. With the exception of a couple other moments, all the funny lines were given away in the previews. Overall a darn good weekend I only wish was a little longer!

Monday, November 2, 2009

how business travel and running are a lot alike...

Today while walking through O'Hare for the 60-something time this year I was thinking about my lack of running and my time spent in airports across the country. As any runner does you compare everything in your life to running. My life consists of work travel. Therefore, for lack of other exciting things happening in my life I bring you:

How Business Travel is A Lot Like Running (a race):
  • You should probably pack the night before. Packing the day of/morning of will cause you to forget something you need (toothpaste, glasses, socks, bib, or the all important chip)
  • Arrive early - just in case
  • Be prepared! Anything can (and will) happen.
  • Inevitably no matter how many times you use the bathroom before the flight or the race as soon as you board the plane/start the race you will need to go again.
  • There are a "newbies" or peeps who don't know the rules of the road. There is really no difference between the walkers who line up near the front and the inexperienced traveler in priority lines or blocking said lines.
  • Fueling/hydrating are very important and you need to have a plan.
  • You're hungry and tired when it's all done (although this one may just apply to me)
  • If you try something new fueling wise race/travel day it will probably upset your stomach.
  • You are surrounded by a ton of people you don't know in this "thing" together. Often you'll find someone to talk to. Travel/run enough and you start to recognize and get to know these once random strangers.
  • The shoes you wear can make or break the day!
  • Some days are just not your day and it's completely out of your control.
  • Wear layers (I know this really only applies to races/runs on cold days).
  • There will probably be a line for the bathrooms.
  • Some days you just want to get it over as fast as you can.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pre-Flight Run

During marathon training I had no other choice but to fit mid-range runs in before flights. Eventually it became a weekly occurrence I looked forward to on the schedule. At times it was stressful trying to squeeze in the mileage with all I needed to do before leaving for the night or the week; mostly it became my "me time." A way to handle annoying delays and airports in general. I missed it my first week back to work post-marathon. Getting ready to leave for that first trip something felt 'off'. Luckily I made time for my pre-flight run this week. I didn't go as long as I did a month ago but those 5 miles made a difference and changed my outlook for the rest of the travel day. So marathon training may no longer be happening but I'm glad I found a piece to incorporate in my traveling weeks while I figure out 'what's next'.

Have any of you found a piece of your training, may it be marathon or 5K that you love to incorporate even when not training?

This week may have been all gloom and doom outside but I managed back to back running days; my first since marathon training! And I even woke early (!) for a quick and dirty elliptical session in the creepy-not-in-the-fun-Halloween-kind-of-way hotel. Now to keep it going through the weekend...

Speaking of the weekend - Happy Halloween weekend! May you have your fill of scary movies, mini chocolate goodies, and candy corn! Me? I've go a scary movie date and a bag of candy corn pumpkins sitting on the kitchen counter :)

And a big GOOD LUCK and kick some butt to all the runners this weekend! Those taking on NY, Mark in the Bass Pro, and everyone else I can't think of right now. I can't wait to read all your reports!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Clambake success! Running at home, not so much... 1 out 2 is not too bad

We arrived home late Thursday night so we could run errands and help around the house Friday. After a Friday lunch that include some tasty margaritas (don't judge it was our vacation day) then ran errands. I don't think I sat down until dinner!

Saturday I woke up to my dad yelling at me to get up and get ready for breakfast on the Square; I felt like I was back in high school ;) Afterwards, the massive cleaning and setting up took place. Thanks to help from the entire family this year it came together quickly and there was time to relax before the party-goers arrived.

The boys made sure every single beer made its way into this cooler

all the clams ready to make their way to the steamer

the outside tables under the tent

Snacks Table! homemade caramel corn = YUM

I spent most of my time outside in the cold. It wasn't too bad with the fire and outside heater going. Plus, the tent helped block a lot of the wind. By the end of the night the last of the group (mostly family) had circled the fire pit to hang out, talk, and of course drink. Because that's what my family does best - eat and drink!

sister love
me and dad
The Sunday began the hungover clean-up which finished up with more food.

Now it's time to get back on a "normal" schedule of eating, running, and catching up on blogs ;) Well as normal as it can be since I will be traveling every week for the remainder of the year with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas/NY.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

short work week!

Wednesday night I had made the decision to come home to register for the Hot Chocolate 15K happening next weekend. I delayed in signing up because I wasn't sure I wanted to race so soon after the marathon. Plus I tend to drag my feet when signing up for races. Anyways, I arrived home earlier than anticipated thanks to catching the delayed flight before mine. Good thing because my original flight was canceled! I guess that's where my luck ran out because I came home to an e-mail stating the race was SOLD OUT! boo... good for them, bad for me. Instead I'll go cheer on my friend and enjoy the down time. Now I need to think of a creative sign...

In other news it's another short week for me! Yeah for copious amounts of vacation days remaining at the end of the year! The shortened week is for dad's clambake this weekend. We came home early to help out around the house and run errands. It should be a fun but chilly weekend! I'm looking forward to eating my weight in clams, clam chowder, and caramel popcorn! I figured since it's a clambake/fall/halloween party caramel popcorn is totally appropriate :)

Finally in running news I'm still taking it easy. My cross-training session kicked my butt on Tuesday night; seriously I'm still sore. It hurt to walk the next day, but a good hurt. Today, I made myself get out there for a 7 mile easy run in the light rain before hitting the road. It started off ugly due in part to my poor mood. By mile 2 I found my stride and was feeling happy once again. I love how running even in nasty weather can do that for you!

Monday, October 19, 2009

minor happenings

Now that I don't have a marathon to train for I don't have much to blog about ;) My first run back was last Friday. It should have been sooner per an arbitrary recovery schedule but seriously I couldn't even walk to the bathroom how was I to run?!? The hubby joined me on my 4 mile jaunt. He kicked my butt and that's the farthest he has gone in almost a year! My quads were on fire but it felt great to be outside shuffling err running again. I kicked it up to 5 miles Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon before my flight. Both were very pleasant thanks to the slight warm-up outside. If only it could stay in the 50's and 60's the rest of winter ;)

Over the weekend I had big plans to get a lot of projects done around the house. Instead I slept in late (hello noon o'clock!) and wasted a lot of time either running errands or laying around the house. It was wonderful because I can't tell you the last time I was able to sleep like that on a weekend! Although honestly I didn't know what to do with myself not having a long run. I missed it!

I'm in Texas this week for work and that means 3 things. 1) little running because cross-training is just easier when on the road and there is no schedule to follow 2) I'm going to need a good run when I get home b/c I already know Tuesday's visit is going to be long and frustrating, no getting around it and 3) Outlet shopping! Nike here I come!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Post-Marathon Recovery

Recovery after the marathon... In my case it's a time to eat all the junk you desire, sleep as much as you can, swear at stairs or any sudden movements, and generally walk around like a weeble wobble. Oh then you also constantly think "what now?"

Well I can tell you immediately following the marathon I consumed most of this...
Yes, that is a 60 ounce margarita in all it's glory. It's a Sunday fav (only $18!?!) and even more-so after running a marathon! Picture was taken by a very crappy cell phone because I forgot my camera :( After that, table-side guacamole, and a big fat chimichanga (all split with the hubs) I was feeling much better!

I also had a lot of time to analyze the race pictures. There is seriously 1 decent picture. And I learned I run with my head cocked to the side. It also appears I twist my torso abnormally far. Odd...

mile 22 and still smiling...

I have no recollection of where this is on the course. On the back half for sure because I'm no longer wearing gloves.

probably one of the "better" finish pictures... I'm in awe of how many are finishing at the same time. I knew it was crowded but wow!

Thursday was my first day back to work and working out. I was really wishing I had called the entire week off just because starting your week on a Thursday kind of stinks. It was a long day at work and I was going to skip the light cross-training I had scheduled but I was good and went. It wasn't much and it made me realize how much I wish I was running instead. Not a huge fan of the gym. Time on the machines seems to go so slowly.

And now that I can walk nearly normal again it's time to figure out what's next! I always go through a post-marathon depression; it's tough to not have the big day to look forward to any longer. Plus, I don't do well without a running schedule or a goal race. Unfortunately I'm very limited now that race season in the midwest is winding down. There is a Hot Chocolate 15K that start's less than a mile from my house in 3 weeks. I ran it last year and although the hot chocolate was gross and it was freaking cold (always the chance of snow in November!) the rest of the chocolate and the swag bag were awesome. Plus I actually have a friend running this year! Races are always better when you know someone! I'm also looking into 1/2 marathons in slightly warmer climates as the cold descends. So we shall see...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chicago Marathon : The Long Story of Redemption

Be prepared this is one long report...

Race morning came early as they all do. I slept better than before other races but still woke up a few times throughout the night and decided to finally get up before the alarm. I went through the morning ritual, Jacob ordered a cab, and we were off to stand around in temps in the 30's but real feel of mid 20's.

I had found a cheap sweatsuit as throwaway gear. When Jacob first saw me in the kitchen he commented I looked like Clarice Starling running around the FBI course. He's a funny one that husband of mine but also right in this case.
Here's the corrals before the chaos of 45,000 runners
Before 7 am I decided to make my way into the corrals since they were closing at 7:15. I knew it would be a mad dash and difficult to find a way through the barricades. Smart thinking on my part for once. The corrals became so full the entry way wasn't move so as of 7:15 tons of runners started jumping the temporary fences. We were packed sardines at the start line. Several of us had to yell at the runners trying to jump the fence because there was absolutely no more room. Ridiculous! The only positive with being so close to perfect strangers is the temperature warmed about 20 degrees.

At the start before all the fence jumpers Jacob and I were talking as couples were all around us. Right behind me a girl who I am guessing was running her first started crying/getting choked up and her boyfriend/husband/significant other started comforting her by saying "you've got this, you can do this, there is nothing to worry about, I'm here for you" It got me all choked up because I felt the same nerves. I wonder how she did as I lost her immediately after the exchange.

Finally, the gun went off and... we stood there. It took 10 minutes for me to get to the start line and finally we were off. I lost the 4 hour pace group immediately but instead of freaking out I told myself I was running my own race, no pressure. The first mile took us under wacker drive for about a 1/4 - 1/2 mile. My garmin lost the signal and got all wacky. When I came out the buildings were interfering with it finding the correct pace (a 6:14 pace, dang I'm fast and didn't know it! What, now a second later I'm running a 12:40?) That kind of threw me so I made the executive decision to go by feel and not by time. I made sure I had people with 4:00 bibs around me so I wasn't falling too far off pace. I nearly forgot to take fluids those early miles because I was so dang excited! Not too much else happened the first 10 miles. They went by quickly, I was feeling amazing, taking in the race and the sights, smiling nearly the whole way. The worst part was just before mile 8 the intense smell of B.O that had me dry heaving, literally. I had to move to the opposite side of the street! Luckily I recovered quickly to enjoy the Boystown Cheerleaders - they rock! The best part of those early miles was seeing the streets I have traveled around in a car over the last 11 years full of runners and I was one of them!

Around mile 11 I started to keep an eye out for the hubs and my friend B. I had plans to meet them around 12 so I could switch out water bottles and shed the long sleeve shirt if needed. What I realized around this time is that we failed in the communication department. With so many people on both sides watching and in the middle of the pack running I had no idea what side they would be standing and exactly what intersection -gah! At 12.5 I had resigned to the fact I had missed them and was trying to figure what to do (take gatorade which upsets the stomach or stick with water the rest of the race) when I felt a tug on my back. Jacob saw me and ran me down while carrying my backpack to pass off the water bottles! What a guy!!! I was all "Where the f*&$ where you" b/c I was mad I had missed them and I know it came out super bitchy when I so didn't mean it to. I feel really bad with how it came out of my mouth but extremely grateful he found me. So for anyone deciding to run this race in the future, clearly map out where your spectators will be and on what side of the street. Or as my friend Jami says "Dress like a banana, you can see a banana"

Crossing the halfway point I was still feeling good but when I glanced at garmy (which had now straightened itself out pace wise but was logging my distance as an extra mile) and saw 1:59 something for the first half I knew I would not be able to do that the second half to make it under 4. Though I was still hopeful and pushing strong knowing that it would be very close. I knew I had my friend Jami to look for around mile 16 and I had finally caught up to the 4 hr pace group (they started and had been ahead of me the whole race). Around 14 I had an "uh oh" moment. My stomach got wonky and I started to feel the GI issues I had in Cleveland. I kept pushing to see if it would pass and thankfully it did! Big sigh of relief on that one. Then around 15 one of my earbuds went dead and I thought "well that's annoying" by 16 the headphones had died. And "well that's annoying" became "ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?! How am I going to get through the next 10.2 miles with no music!?!?" Luckily if your music is gone Chicago is the race for it to happen. There are so many other sights and sounds to keep you moving. After all that, I missed my friend :( she even told me what intersection she would be standing and I missed her...

By 18 my quads were burning, I was super annoyed I was missing some of the best music I had planned on the playlist, and I started to feel nauseous again. I really thought I was going to lose my stomach contents. Gross I know. So I tried to send my focus elsewhere which is tough with no music! Over and over I focused on the following: stick with the pacer as best you can, one foot in front of the other, one mile at a time, keep up the great work! When I wanted to walk I made myself make it to a point up ahead and I just kept going. I thought of how I would explain myself in my race report. I also told myself I would not be running another marathon unless I had a friend or a friendly blogger to run with me. It's hard being surrounded by strangers every race! Finally, the nausea passed and before I knew it I was turning the corner pushing myself into Chinatown (mile 20ish).

Hands down, the loudest most encouraging spot on the course was between mile 20 and 21 heading into Chinatown. This was my first time reaching this point of the race and I was soaking it up despite any pain I was feeling. You could see people all around hitting their wall and the spectators were just incredible and kept us all moving. Then someone said you have a 10K left and something clicked. "Hell I've just run 20 miles I can freaking do a 10K! I ran 13.1 a day after 20 I've got this!" I kept up the one mile at a time mantra as I walked through the mile 21 water station, my first water station stop. I started back up just to see how I felt and kept on keeping on. Some awesome spectators around 22 made me laugh and kept me moving along to 23. I looked at garmy and tried my best at running math to subtract 4 hours from the 3:31 showing. I debated long and hard if I could still make my 4 hour goal. I figured there was a chance, a very extreme chance, I could make the last 3.2 miles in 29 minutes. I just kept trucking along and pushed as much as my body would allow. Then I saw freaking Fred Flinstone at 24. No, way in hell I was letting a guy dressed like Mr. Flinstone beat me. Luckily he was slowing because my speed wasn't really increasing.

With 1 mile left to go coming up Michigan Avenue I passed Freddy, looked at garmy, and realized there was no way I would be able to make it to the finish in 7+ minutes. Way to go running math... I knew I would PR and just kept pushing for the best time possible. I started to choke up, realized it wasn't helping my breathing, and pulled myself together. As I turned off of Michigan to the last 1/2 mile I waved at the big screen then saw Jacob and B (finally!) on my left. Apparently they were waiting at mile 20, missed me, and were having a repeat of 2007 where they lost me the first time. So they were kind of freaking out that I was hurt again. They told me later they had just jumped in to the mass of finish area spectators when I saw them. I gave them a big wave and took off to the finish line.

I threw my arms in the air and crossed the line with a fist pump and a gigantic smile. I may have teared up too because I'm kind of an emotional freak. This race was just as sweet, if not more-so, than my first finish. I'm so happy I finished what I started out to do in 2007. I finished strong and with a smile.

I made it through the long chute, grabbed my blanket, medal, called my dad, grabbed water and pretzels, took some finisher pictures, then waited for my two supporters to find me.

my husband is thinking "I've been standing in the cold for over 4 hours, can we go home now"

my ever supportive friend B who walked over the dang city while 8 months pregnant to cheer for me!!!

Some of the other miscellaneous observations over the 4+ hours
  • best shirt saying: I can only run so fast with this ass (BTW I am stealing this for my next shirt)
  • worst shirt saying: If you don't come in first you lose. Worn by a big dude with a faux mohawk. I passed him at mile 7.5.
  • funny sign: Runners have balls, other athletes only play with them
  • saw 2 women running on their birthdays. And 1 had a friend running with her the whole race (so nice!) I was able to say happy b-day to one of the women.
  • I saw a blind runner and his guide(s) being closely followed by a tv crew on a bike rickshaw
  • A seeing impaired runner keeping up just over a 4 hour marathon
  • A runner using arm crutches. Holy inspiration! and I can only imagine the wrist/forearm chafing.
  • With 45,000 runners this course was packed from start to finish. It thinned in sections but the water stops were slow going (even when running down the middle!) and I was still getting jostled all the way to the finish line. It's tough to run 26.2 miles like that.
  • Despite the running crowds, pain, and lack of ipod music I had a lot of fun for the majority of the race. Racing is so much better when you can make it fun!
  • I finally beat Hi Guy! For this marathon Hi Guy ran in pink crocs cut into a sandal. For all other races he wears cheapo flip flops, sometimes bare feet, a beanie with a propeller, and always passes me at the end. If you've run a race in Chicago, run the lakefront, or walked around, you most likely have seen Hi Guy or his smiley face chalk drawings.
  • All the volunteers once again rocked!
  • There is no other race or city like Chicago! It is truly an unbelievable experience from start to finish.
And finally the numbers...
START TIME07:39:58
Place (total)11727
Place (Gender)3125
Place (Div)638
Total (Net)04:02:13
Total (Gun)04:12:18

Thank you all for your support and congrats!!! It's amazing to have so many people I've never met follow my journey, root for me, and hold me accountable even if you didn't realize it. It's amazing having such a supportive community and it kept me moving. Thank you so very much!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chicago Marathon Short Story

I set a new PR at 4:02:13!!!! a 4 minute PR from Dallas and 20 minute bettering of Cleveland this last May! Revenge and redemption o' so sweet!!!

Just missed breaking 4 hours but I'm happy with how it all went down today, despite my earphone busting out at 17 miles. Long race report to come later when I have time and am not so hungry.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thoughts before M-Day

The Chicago marathon holds a little more significance to me. Some of you may or may not know but Chicago was my first attempt at the marathon 2 years ago. I posted a DNF due to reasons beyond my control. If you don't want to click the link the short story is it was a humid 90 degree day andI didn't know what to expect (I thought that's how you were supposed to feel!). I passed out due to severe dehydration around mile 19 but don't remember. I woke in an ER as a Jane Doe and no one could find me for nearly 4 hours. I was admitted overnight and finally discharged after I made a huge stink with severe dehydration and rhabdomylosis. My memory slowly returned thankfully. And now I have some things to finish. I was able to complete my first marathon in Dallas less than 2 months after Chicago and while that was sweet I have been waiting for the day I could run Chicago again. Last year was the year of the wedding so it was a no go. My time has finally come to settle the score :)

What I went through that day rises back up and shakes me every so often. For the most part I am able to laugh about what a great story it makes but at the time it was extremely serious. The whole not knowing what your name is and if anyone is looking for you can be quite scary. What I went through emotionally and physically 2 years ago is on my mind, gnawing away at me every race I start. I take inventory in the middle of races to compare how I'm feeling to that race.

I know I can finish; I have proven that 2 other times now. This time around it's for a little revenge and a lot of redemption. I'm freaking out but cannot wait! I'm a hot mess of emotions and have been throughout this training. I also recognize I've also had some seriously kick ass training happening over the last 12 weeks and can't wait to see how it unfolds M-Day. I honestly can say I have never been more excited to see the last 7-8 miles of a course and finish line in my racing history.

I'm know it's 2 years later, a lot changes over 2 years. But some experiences are meant to be remembered (even if I don't remember the entire experience) and taken with you. That experience helped shape me into the runner and person I am now. Besides some lingering chest pains when I cough/sneeze where they did the compressions too hard, I'm glad the whole mess turned out for the best and I have the opportunity to try this out again! So here's to marathon #4 (and hopefully finish #3!) It's going to be a much colder and hopefully sweeter experience!

I'm headed to the expo today... by myself... The hubs is saying no to another expo for a race he isn't running. Not sure if I'll post again before Sunday. Maybe if something really cool happens today. If you care to track me my bib number this time around is 18194. Otherwise I'll have facebook and a short blog update post-marathon! See you all on the other side :) And good luck to everyone racing Chicago and all the other races happening this weekend!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

taper crazy's continue

Here I was rushing around this morning to get everything done before my flight and now I find myself delayed at least an hour. I love text updates from United when they come before I even leave for the airport! Not such a fan of the actual delays but it worked in my favor today. Now I have time to write a blog post before leaving :)

First we'll start with the hair. I can't say I'm in love but it's much easier and lighter on the run. Now I don't have 2 lbs of hair smacking around on my head and falling out of the hair ties. Added bonus, I now use half the shampoo and no more neck pain/headaches!

So before in all its hot mess glory. Please ignore my messy bedroom in the background ;)

And after nearly 6 inches shorter and a 1 lb lighter!

I'm feeling the taper this week. Very, very antsy. I waiver from excitement to nervousness, to being scared, to anxiety, back to pure excitement. Monday was a rest day and I didn't know what to do with myself all day. Luckily we were meeting the hubs friends in the burbs for dinner so that killed a few hours. Tuesday was a recovery sixer. Not sure what I was recovering from but that's what we'll call it. I kept having to pull myself back as the cool weather and well rested legs were making it feel too easy to go, go, go. Today (Weds) I had my "Dress Rehearsal" per Pfitz. 7 miles with 2 at race pace. Nervous? Yes! I'm still doubting myself and my "A+" goal race pace. However by mile 6 I was feeling my runners high and had some super positive thoughts happening. And proof I was one happy runner who's ready for anything Sunday....
I returned home from the run to find these waiting for me at my door...
The in-laws sent good luck flowers! How sweet! I love gifts and don't get them nearly enough ;) It's nice to be remembered just because I'm the crazy girl in the family who is running another marathon. No one may understand but at least they are supportive!

Alright off to Birmingham for one last trip this week (if it ever takes off!) I have another rest day tomorrow and it feels weird not packing running shoes/clothes. Now I have that much more room in the bag to go shopping at the mall across the street ;) Let's hope there is not a repeat of the last time I was trying to get home from Birmingham (stuck in the airport for 7 hours) and I make it back Thursday night, get enough sleep, then hit the expo Friday!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

7 days

By this time in 7 days I hope to be celebrating a stellar marathon finish with a margarita as big as my head and delicious El Mariachi food. :)

Sunday brought the last "long" run before race day. 12 miles used to hurt but now I find it very enjoyable. The plan was to wake early and head out the time I will be starting Chicago. You may know I'm all for plans but usually ignore them. Sleep, wonderful sleep, was calling my name as it tends to do. By the time I forced myself out of bed and out the door it was after 9 a.m. oh well. It was still nice and cool and the late start worked to my advantage as I missed two races happening along the path. Yea! My procrastination payed off :) Not much else to report on this mornings happenings. I'm a ball of emotions heading into the last few days before M-Day but I'm finding ways to distract myself which is good.

Now I'm off for a haircut. It's a big day for me since I haven't had one since about March. It's tough to find the time when your never home! I'm trying a new place so hopefully they can make this thick, unruly hair into something manageable. Most people tend to do hack jobs (seriously it's been bad more than good) so I hope that's not the case today! Plus I always lose about 1-2 lbs after they cut and thin this hot mess on my head :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Take me out to the Brrr game

Today I called in a personal day and went to a Cubs game in the middle of the day. My friend had an extra ticket since this was a re-scheduled game. There's nothing like sitting in a nearly empty Wrigley Field, watching the cubbies lose (what they do best!), enjoying a beer, and my friend's company at 1pm on a Wednesday! A very nice way to spend an afternoon even if it was a little chilly.

Before the game I had my last speed work session before M-Day (only 11 days away!) 8 miles with 3 x 1600 m at 5K pace. Ruh roh... I'm always nervous before any sort of speed work but the anxiety increases tenfold when I see the mile repeats. I'm happy to report my nerves were for naught; I nailed the intervals!

mile 1: 7:54
mile 2: 8:03 (I got stuck weaving around geese covering the path. No they didn't move... these are city geese)
mile 3: 7:53

Wahoo! Now I need to find more fun ways to pass the next 10 days ;)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Weekend Wrap

Today I felt accomplished and it had nothing to do with running ;) After an early morning and long Saturday I took Sunday to sleep in then go and enjoy brunch with my hubs. Afterwards we came home and I started working on party invitations! My dad is throwing a clambake in October so my sister and I have taken it upon ourselves to be the designate party planners. The theme this year is pink and green to support our cancer free parents. Here's a sneak peek at the invitation... I have to say I'm happy with the outcome! I love when it all comes together the way you expect it to.

Hubs and I made ourselves a nice dinner even though I completely forgot the salad :( and finally I cleaned our bedroom. You can finally see the floor! Clothes are on the hangers! Shoes are lined up IN the closet! Next up... the office... It's bad, really, really bad. Like a paper bomb exploded bad.

So Saturday. I found myself waking at 5 am - so early! My friend's baby shower was at 11 am in the suburbs an hour away and I had 16 miles to fit in beforehand. I woke and started running al in the dark. I honestly cannot tell you the last time that has happened. Maybe December 2006 for the Vegas 1/2. Yeah, it's been awhile, I like my sleep!

I thought my legs would be uncooperative but it proved my stomach would be cranky from the early wake-up call. It honestly was one of my most unpleasant runs. I had to stop nearly 5 different times at 3 different bathrooms. I felt rushed and very uncomfortable, to say the least! I tried to focus on other things but I never really found my mojo. Even with all that nastiness happening I still managed negative splits. So a positive to focus on. Afterwards my system was out of whack all the way through mid day Sunday. ugh. I hope that's done and a non-issue in the upcoming weeks!

The one cool sighting from the long run was a blind runner and her guide training for the marathon. They weren't tethered or anything; the guide would yell out obstacles/what to expect so I'm assuming the blind runner could see shapes but not much more. Seeing these two made me realize what I was going through on this particular run was small beans and I could make it to the end.

I had to rush to shower and get ready. I was a little late arriving at my friends house but it was worth it. The shower was great! B and her sisters did a wonderful job putting it all together. I was able to see friends I haven't seen in forever thanks to our crazy schedules. Between my friend with 3 kids and expecting her 4th in Feb and my other who works as a tv producer for a well known show, B who's expecting in Nov and busy w/ her job, and my crazy travel schedule, it's hard to find the time. So it was great catching up on the car ride out and back! Of course no pictures with my camera of the shower except for this...
mmm... cupcakes...
hopefully I'll have more when my friends post the ones they took.

A long weekend that ended too soon and I'm glad to have all the distractions. I haven't thought much about the marathon and am not having a serious case of the taper crazies - yet.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Taper Time for this Stinky Runner!

I had a nearly uneventful trip back to Chicago Sunday until of course I was 30 miles outside of the city. Heavy rains, windshield wipers past their prime, a windshield smeared in bug guts, heavy traffic, and road construction had me swearing and gripping the steering wheel :) But I made it in one piece!

Sunday I should have followed up my last 20 miles with a 4 mile recovery run for 52 miles on the week. Instead I opted to sleep in for the first time all week, spend time with the family, and have a long return trip home so I missed those 4. I feel a little guilty because I didn't do exactly what the schedule said to do but oh well! I still ended up with just over 48 miles for the week.

This week started off well enough in the running department. Monday was 8 miles with 5x600 at 5K pace. Seeing that on the schedule had be a bit anxious especially after my lackluster repeats last week. But I'm happy to report I nailed this workout! The 2nd interval was my slowest (but still beat my 5K pace) and my last interval the fastest. For the last interval I felt like I was running through quicksand then I looked at garmy and couldn't believe when it said 7:36 average pace over the last 600 meters! Tuesday I had a recovery 6 on the schedule but opted for humid and buggy 5 to be able to get lunch and finish packing before my trip to Atlanta. I was drenched in sweat and covered in little gnats before even hitting the first water fountain. Good times! Anyways, taper time is treating me well so far... it's nice not having to squeeze 11-13 miles in midweek before flights!

So last night after my run and before my shower I realized that although my husband missed me while I was gone he most likely did not miss the smell :) I'm a stinky girl and my clothes are even worse after running so I leave the clothes draped over the tub to air dry before throwing them in the hamper. This prevents the cloth hamper from becoming even smellier and growing mold. All this saves the hamper but not the bathroom or the nose. I figure it's a small price to pay to have a hot, happy, and in-shape wifey!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Last 20

Saturday morning was my last 20 miles before marathon day! I was nervous fitting this run in to my week. My family thinks I'm a bit crazy for my running even though my dad ran a couple marathons back in the day :) I woke early for me (6 am!) and headed out to the Towpath in Peninsula, Ohio about 25 minutes away. It's the only path I know of that I can do an out and back for such high mileage. No pictures because my camera phone sucks (1.1 megapixels what?!?) Despite some bathroom issues due to my nerves of running in a slightly unfamiliar area, running my last 20, and a questionable dinner, the run was excellent. Does anyone else get nervous running in a new area even though it's not a race? I always do - it's so weird! I went slow thanks to a slight tweak in my left quad and enjoyed the time alone. The Akron Marathon is next weekend so I think the path was a little less crowded than normal so not as many waves/saying hi as the last time I was home.

The morning started off COLD! An awesome change though definitely regretting the tank and shorts I had packed. I just wished I had some gloves to start the run. Yeah, not the best planning. Overall it felt fantastic to be running. I was a little tired right before the 10 mile turnaround. I think it was due to just expecting the turnaround and not knowing exactly where it was on this path. I almost broke my ankle around mile 13 thanks to all the buckeyes and uneven path but caught myself (yeah for good reaction time!). Then some more tiredness around 15 and 17 when I wanted to be done. I hit some highs, some lows, but overall I was HAPPY! Yes, I looked forward to my mini breaks of fueling every 4 miles but once I hit 20 I really could have kept going, I didn't want to collapse, it was that good of a run. I know it wasn't race day pace but it's not supposed to be. I really hope the good tides from this carry me into race day 3 weeks from now! I guess the change in running scenery really helped!

After the 20 I returned home and attempted to track down my dad even though I told him what time to be home to go to lunch. Ugh such a guy never listening! Anyways, after showering and finding him we headed out for some much needed lunch. I was STARVING! After lunch my dad, sister, and I headed out to look at some open houses. I have an urge to move back to Ohio, raise a family, and wanted to see what was available in my price range. After all that dad needed to take a nap since the chemo wears him down especially mid afternoon. Then loo and I took the big dog Jake (yes the my dad's dog is named after my husband) on a walk to calm him down then ran errands (Target, pedicures). After all that I'm one tired girl and not looking forward to the drive back to Chicago Sunday. Maybe I'll stay another night to to put the drive off :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This and That

Weeding your dad's yard totally counts as cross-training - right? Well that's what I told myself yesterday ;) I had plans for an actual workout but they went out the window as it tends to happen especially when I'm at home. Instead I thought I would be the nice daughter and clean up the front yard the best I could since dad can't play in the dirt during chemo thanks to the whole compromised immune system. The yard is not done yet (I had to go watch my teenage step sister cheer as I didn't believe she could smile for an entire football game!) but I plan to finish before the end of my time here.

While watching miss s do her cheer thing I realized I am so glad my days of jr. high and high school have passed. I also told my dad I don't know how he sat through all my sporting events. I played 3 sports for most of my grade school/teenage life and more poor parents had to sit through hours of girl sports! Fred finally confessed my softball games were the worst; even worse than my 5th grade cheering days for pee-wee football :) Did any of you play a sport or were part of club in your younger days you can't believe you did?

So today I had to travel 2 hours to/from Toledo, Ohio for work. A lot of toll road driving for a short visit = long day. On the way home I decided to go a little out of my way to hit of the Towpath for my GA 11 miles. I like a nice out and back when I get into mid to high mileage and I can't seem to get that around Medina. Technical difficulties of all kinds ensued. First, I forgot my visor and headband so my hair (which hasn't been cut since March) was crazy style all in my face. Second, my garmin was dead even though I had just charged the dang thing. I decided to go off my best time estimate by my cell phone on the mileage. Luckily there were some sporadic mile markers along the path to help me guess a little better. So I have no idea what my pace was or if I hit 11 or went short/long. It was a nice, albeit a little rushed, run. I really need to take a camera my next time there (this weekend for my last 20!) so you can enjoy in the little piece of running sanctuary. Finally the run turned into a bit of a tempo run towards the middle miles. All I will say is thank goodness for real bathrooms along trails!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First Day in Ohio

In Ohio visiting my dad who went through his 4th chemo treatment on Monday. Hopefully only 2 more after this month. We will know for sure in 2 weeks when he has his next scan to see how much of the cancer has been killed. My step-mom had a scan Monday to confirm no cancer cells had returned (she was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a double mastectomy, and went through chemo, all 6 months before my dad was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma). News came back today - all clear so that is a big relief!

I arrived late Monday so luckily I ran in Chicago before I left. 7 miles with 6 x 100 strides. My legs felt heavy and it was warm. I think warmer than any run in August! Which is crazy! I'm glad I put the miles in before the 5 1/2 hour drive. Tuesday was me trying to get used to working from Ohio and not having my full home office. I had breakfast and lunch with dad since he stays home the day after the treatment so that was nice to have some father/daughter one on one time. It's a rarity in this house now! Today I had 10 miles with 4 x 1200 meter repeats on the schedule that I put off until the end of the day. I decided to run around the neighborhood then head up to the Jr. High track/high school soccer stadium to do the repeats. Yeah, I made it through 3 repeats, not so good. These kicked my ass today! I did run the full 10 miles though :). After the 1st repeat I was hurting since I went out too fast. The 2nd I thought I couldn't go on anymore. During the 3rd the boys soccer team started showing up to do some pre-game warm-ups and I starting feeling a little self-conscious so I took off to finish up my remaining miles around town.
I came home and cooked a healthy dinner for the family. All in all a good first full day in Ohio even though I didn't quite hit my speed session this week. It's nice being around the family even though I do miss the hubby who's holding down the fort back in Chi-town.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Challenging Week

29 days remaining until the Chicago Marathon - ahhhh!! I'm freaking out just a bit ;)

This past work week may have been only 4 days but it felt much longer. Trips to St. Louis area and Denver made it interesting to find ways to fit in all my scheduled running miles. Then the delays didn't help either! Tuesday I found myself running 11 miles the day after the half. I took it super easy and cut it down to 10 since I had lunch to eat, a shower to take, a suitcase still to pack, and only an hour remaining once I returned home to accomplish it all. (Yeah, I wait until the very last minute to do everything, especially packing for work.) Towards the end of the run I was really feeling all the miles I had put in up to that point and there was some serious bargaining happening to finish up strong.

The remainder of the week I spent pushing off my 8 miles with 5 x 600m at 5K race pace. I absolutely did not want to do this run. Does that ever happen to you? Wednesday I figured it was in my best interest to do weights and light cardio. Thursday I was in Denver and really didn't want to try that run at altitude so I did 4 recovery miles with strides. Finally Friday I made myself do the dang speed work. It was a challenge to find the time since I am really behind on work (thanks to my awesome ability to procrastinate everything and early morning teleconferences) and I felt fried. This week I felt more tired than usual, stressed, and not finding this whole training thing enjoyable. I know it's because of work and the fact that I always get like this around this point of training. I just keep reminding myself this too will pass! Anyways, Friday's run kicked my ass! I nailed the intervals (all in the 7:40's and last 600 was a 7:34!) but instead of 8 miles I cut it down to 7. I had miles to give after the 13 on Monday.

Friday night I went to bed early in hopes of waking early for 17 miles. I rolled over at 7 am Saturday morning and went back to sleep. I finally pulled myself out of my comfy bed and made it out the door just before 8:30 am, at which point it was warm. lied to me... The first couple of miles were fine then I ran into a 5K so I had to run about a mile on slanted grass and dodge people/walkers/kids/strollers. This made the early portion of the run much tougher than it should have been. I really struggled from that point (4 miles) forward. I had to walk at 15 to re-group mentally and physically. For the last mile and a half I pushed on with positive thoughts. I cheered for myself internally! I took one from the book of Water Boy - you can doooo it! Needless to say, today I really could have used a training group or at least a training partner.

I know there are always tough runs during training may it be physically, mentally, or both. It's just a matter of how long it lasts and finding a way to break out of the funk. I hope I can turn this crappy feeling around next week home in Ohio. Maybe the change of running scenery is just what I need to get my good mojo back! Even with the overall funk my numbers were still decent, I nailed my speed work, and I ended up with 51 miles for the week! That helps me feel a little better :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Running filled Weekend

Happy Labor Day! Hopefully everyone had a enjoyable and relaxing holiday weekend! I packed the weekend full of running! I have to say it all seemed like a good idea at the time 5 weeks ago...

First up Saturday the first 20 mile training run of this cycle. I was tired, more so than usual, and took the run slow, as it should be done. It was tough, mentally and physically, but luckily the 2nd 10 miles seemed a little better than the first 10. Plus, Jacob met me on the path for the last 2 so that was a nice boost at the end. Saturday's 20 brought my weekly total to 55 miles last week! That is the highest weekly mileage I have ever done!!! Such an awesome feeling to get through that mileage and keep up my regular life :)

Sunday was a rest day at our friends house. We had ourselves a nice little Labor Day cookout. I wasn't that sore from Saturday (yay!) which was a relief because I had myself the Oak Brook half marathon bright and early Monday morning! Although because of the cookout and eating at a random time I didn't have the best pre-race fueling and was starving by the time we returned home. It could have been a lot worse.

I decided to run this half as Pftiz calls for a race later in the week. However, we have tickets to the BMW golf championship next weekend and I couldn't make the Chicago half fit in the schedule along with the tournament. I had my concerns running a half 2 days after a 20 mile training run but just decided to alter my race plan. Instead of racing all out I thought I would take it marathon race pace or slower for the first 5 miles, pick it up slightly the 2nd 4 miles, and race the last 4 miles. It didn't quite happen that way but whatever. I really suck at pacing myself...

The course was a mixture of streets but mostly bike path and crushed gravel paths. The first 3 miles were a cluster (as they usually are). It seemed a bit worse since there was a huge bottleneck as we merged from highway running to onto a bike path through the preserves. The path could fit 3 across and only in some parts. So I was either stuck behind someone or I had a lot of quick passing when the bushes and trees thinned then trying to find race pace again. It was a tough start. Thankfully it started to thin by mile 4. Between 3-4 there was a wooden bridge over a creek that was swaying back and forth as all the runners crossed; it seriously felt like it was going down! My legs felt funny after that bridge and a second around mile 5.5. Then there were the hills that I was so not prepared to run. Ouch! Who knew Oak Brook, IL had mad hills... not me! Luckily I wasn't expecting much from this race other than to get used to "racing" while tired.

Here are my mile splits according to garmy:
mile 1: 9:26
mile 2: 9:06
mile 3: 9:17
mile 4: 9:03
mile 5: 8:56
mile 6: 8:37 - Ridiculous hill at the beginning of 6 that I surged. We were told at 6.5 "It's all downhill from here"
mile 7: 8:57 - crazy hills! Downhill my ass (hurts!)
mile 8: 9:14 - even worse hills and steep declines (quad shredders)
mile 9: 8:53
mile 10: 8:49
mile 11: 8:44
mile 12: 8:38
mile 13: 8:27
last .1 - 7:24
action shot! Jacob caught me right before the finish. and yeah, I just chicked 3 guys!

No PR today but that's okay. I am really happy with my 1:56 (and change) run with minimal soreness. I passed a lot of people the last 5 miles of the race and that felt great! Also, the last half I ran was 2 1/2 years ago, on a flat, fast course with temps in the 50's. Tough to beat younger, flat (with a nice tailwind), and no humidity! In the past I never would have been able to follow up such 50+ mileage week with a sub-2 hour half marathon. I'm really proud and happy with how it all turned out today.

The race wouldn't be complete without the post race brew in hand :) It's five o'clock somewhere, right?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Most Important Meal of the Day

Breakfast - the most important meal of your day. Today I woke up late and quickly got caught up in work e-mails. No one has been grocery shopping in awhile so there weren't a lot of choices this morning so I skipped. FAIL! Of course I made this awesome decision the day I had 12 miles to run with 7 miles at a 15K to half marathon pace. Yeah, not too smart. By the time I left for the run I had only fueled with some Jimmy Johns for lunch. Again, big fail... so not enough! By mile 4 I was wiped out and running on empty with 8 miles left to go. My legs felt like cement block by mile 8 at which point I decided maybe it wouldn't be wise to do the 7 tempo miles. But I'm stubborn and finished it out best as I could.

I've been taking this training for granted because it is an intimidating schedule that I have been nailing. I've felt strong and had thoughts of PR's dancing in my head. Today I made rookie mistakes that will not get me those PRs :) With approximately 5 weeks to marathon day I need to step it up and be smarter!

Here's the tempo run portion digits...
9:08 (slowed to take shot bloks) - Fail
8:49 - Fail
9:00 - Fail - gave up at the beginning then decided to finish out strong

After my not so fabulous run I went for dinner at Soldier Field. Yeah I seriously had a stellar diet today! For Jacob's anniversary gift I found Bears vs. Brownies pre-season tickets (1st anniversary is paper after all!) I've never been to game there and after 12 years living in the city and he hasn't been since the stadium was re-done.

It was a fun night and I can't wait to go again. Hopefully it won't take another 12 years ;)