Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holiday wrap-up and sickness

And we're back! After what felt like a 2 week tour of central IL to Northeast Ohio and countless hours in the car with a crying cat I'm finally back home in Chicago for a few days. You know how I get to spend my taper and time off from work? SICK... It all started with a tickle in the throat the night after Christmas and has moved into a full blown horrendously painful cold. So yet another rest day for me when I really need to be getting the legs moving. Right now the focus is to feel better fast by loading up on my vitamins and cold medicine and try to get more than 1 hour of sleep at a time. A few missed workouts during taper shouldn't be the end of me come Goofy in 2 weeks.

The trip home to Ohio was a whirlwind and I definitely didn't get a lot of miles on my legs. Instead I decided to try and enjoy my limited time at home rather than stress about when I could fit in a run around our busy schedule. I did get in a few walks with this guy. He's not too good at walking so it was more of strength workout trying to hold him back.
Mostly my time was spent catching up with my family and a few friends, cooking up some delicious dinners, and having a few cocktails. Exactly what the holidays should be about!
I hope Santa was good to you all this year. I know he was to me! I was spoiled yet again.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

am I ready? I'm not so sure...

I ended up not running the mileage I needed for my last week before taper. All weekend I went back and forth on if I would really confess about my mileage. I'm feeling overly guilty and a lot worried at this point. Oh and slightly embarrassed. There is nothing left for me to do and honestly I took training too lax thanks to a multitude of excuses. On my vacation I relaxed too much, I didn't take training seriously when I should have, my work travel schedule, the holidays, my ankle is hurts worse thank when I broke a bone in my foot, I had 1 or 2 too many drinks... I can go on but I won't. I didn't put the miles in and I extremely worried I'm going to pay race weekend. But I have about 3 weeks to worry about that. Hopefully, I'll find some fabulous runners to pull me through race day or dig down deep and find something in this 30 years old body to get me through to the finish line and not feel like death. We shall see ;)

Enough of my depressing race ready talk. This weekend happened to be Christmas #1 at the in-laws in central Illinois. Luckily I did pretty good on all the nieces and nephews gifts - yea me! And it was fun seeing the extended family Saturday night. Sunday was fun with the immediate family Christmas. Again I think I scored even though I felt rushed to find the perfect gift.

Before we left for Christmas #1 on Friday I ran 19 miles in 14 degree F weather. It should have been 20 miles but at 18.5 I was done mentally and headed home. Because of the ice around here much of my path is closed so I ended up running a 3.6 mile loop. I had to pass the path to my home about 4 times before I just turned to go home. Besides the layers of clothes annoying me and weighing me down I thought I had lost my chin due to frostbite so I was ready to go home and get some lunch before hitting the road. It was a weird run and I never found my cadence partly because of the loop and partly because I felt rushed. Gah! I returned home not happy with myself and seriously doubting how I'll finish come January... I really hope I'm only being too hard on myself right now. Now it's time for taper just in time for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

goofy training and donations!

Goofy training is trucking right along ridiculously cold temps and all. This week is my last big week before the taper. I am trying to find a creative way to fit 30+ miles in before leaving for Christmas #1 this weekend at the in-laws. And fit in another 20+ miles while traveling and going into the office (ugh says the home based employee) to file (double ugh). It's getting interesting and mostly involves a mixture of treadmill and outside running. I may be breaking up another 20 miler on Friday between the outside and treadmill before getting in the car but it will work out. At the end of the day I truly hope miles are miles no matter how they get done! Unfortunately the treadmill just doesn't feel the same as outside running physically and mentally. So while I may not have any time goals with Goofy I do want to complete the 39.3 mile weekend and not be completely destroyed. I have Disney World to enjoy post race!

Also for the Goofy challenge I have made the sort of last minute decision to raise money for The American Cancer Society. If you have followed me for awhile you may recall my step mother was diagnosed with breast cancer about 2 1/2 years ago now. After a double mastectomy and several months of chemo the cancer is gone. As soon as my step mom was done with chemo my dad was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. A disease that will return but right now he has been in remission for about 6 months! In addition to the immediate family there have been countless friends and extended family who have had cancer in their life or lost loved ones to cancer. I hope someday we will see a cure! But for this reason I chose not to raise money for 1 specific cancer as there are too many and all need our help. This is where I ask for your help to meet my goal! Please consider donating to raise awareness and funds! I haven't decided how it will all work out but I hope to have a giveaway for those that help out. Of course something running related ;) And if you re-post/facebook/tweet let me know and I'll throw an extra entry in the giveaway your way.

If you can donate to my effort go ahead and click here

I appreciate any help in meeting (and beating!) my goal!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

more of the same

I still haven't found any motivation to hit up the roads so far this winter. Nearly every run last week happened on the treadmill. 36 miles on a treadmill... I never thought I would say that! The only miles I managed outside were the first 11 of 19 miles on Sunday. I had every intention of running the full distance in the 15 degree windchill but I didn't take into account how much ice there would be after Saturday's snow. There was too many patches and as the sun started to go down I got nervous and started seeing myself breaking bones seeing as I'm a huge klutz so I turned around. I came home, changed, and headed to the gym to finish up. I typically don't like to break up super long runs but it was necessary on Sunday. Safety first!

This week has started out much the same because it hurts to be outside too long right now. Needless to say the treadmill next to the emergency exit at the World Gym and I are becoming intimately close. The temps should be making their way back into the 30's so I hope to get back outside sometime this week. I need to get back outside for my sanity and the fact that I'm running out of TV shows to watch on my phone! Commercial free helps when in the middle of a 10+ mile treadmill run. I caught up on the cheesetastic but equally addicting Vampire Diaries and I'm nearly done with the 2nd season of Fringe and there are few shows left on my phone I haven't watched after I get caught up on season 3 :)

Is your winter running off to a good start? Are you BFF's with your treadmill or braving the cold?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

cold and snow = treadmill

Today was one of those days I started to question my sanity. Why did I think it wouldn't be too big of a deal to run high mileage needed for the Goofy training during winter in Chicago? The real feel temperature was in the teens, there were snow flurries, and I couldn't get warm even sitting next to my office space heater wrapped in a blanket. I could not fathom running outside for 10 miles. The treadmill didn't sound much better but at least I could wear shorts and a t-shirt. Treadmill it was. Though because I got to my gym much later than planned thanks to taking my sweet time walking around the house I cut the run down to 8 miles. I could have banged out those last 2 but I still needed to buy groceries for dinner and cook. The run itself was uneventful. My legs actually felt fresh even though I have been a bit sore the past couple of days. I zoned out to some cheesy TV shows on my phone and tried not to breathe in too deeply because I'm pretty sure the guy 2 treadmills over was letting them rip.

I'm slightly concerned about the next couple weeks of running. My will to run in cold weather has left the building. In the past I have gotten out there and gotten it done. It's taking a lot to work myself up to even getting dressed for cold weather running. I may need to start finding ways to love... err... tolerate the mill at least for a few weeks.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

holiday running

And like that Thanksgiving Day has come and gone. I'm very happy to be back in my own bed for the night at least. It was a long weekend on the in-laws pull out couch.

There was no Turkey Trot for me. None were happening in or around the small central Illinois town. Instead, I woke up early enough to go for a run before we had to go elsewhere to celebrate the day by stuffing ourselves. Going for a run is kind of difficult when staying with the in-laws. No one likes me to walk out the front door and run because of all the country roads. I don't mind too much but they all freak out. At least they care ;) There is a 6 mile path relatively close but I still need someone to drive me there since I can't take the car just in case. I'm not use to waiting on others when I want/need to run! I pretty much gave my husband no choice in taking me once I walked upstairs in my running gear ;) It ended up being one of those runs that got done. I was having issues the entire 6 miles and really couldn't find a good groove but I'm still glad I was able to get out there and do something before gorgefest 2010.

Friday was an off day then another 6 Saturday afternoon. This time I did the reverse of the route from Thursday. It worked out much better for me! The wind was in my face the entire time, there were 2 hills, but over 4 miles of the trail were downhill. Yea for the downhill!

Sunday I ended up having to run after we got back in Chicago. We wanted to get on the road before hitting a lot of traffic and because I hadn't slept well I didn't wake up early enough to go for my 12 mile run before packing the car and leaving. Not the best idea to try to run after being in the car for about 3 hours AND getting stuck in Bears game day traffic. It was nearly 4pm before I grudgingly changed into my running gear. Starting a long run in the dark is no fun. Even though I wasn't feeling the run at the start and there was an intense headwind miles 3-6 I was feeling dang good. I finished in some serious negative split land with the help from some tailwind and nervousness from being in the dark sections of the trail (I thought a cute little bunny was a gun wielding crazy man!) It may be time to invest in a running lamp of some sort...

How was your weekend running?

Monday, November 22, 2010

catch up

Ummm... when exactly did Thanksgiving sneak up out of nowhere?!? Although retailers would love to have you believe it's already Christmas time. One holiday at a time people! Where did this year go?

After returning from vacation it's taken me longer than I would like to get back to the swing of things. Of course as soon as I do it's time to go on vacation again (for a few days). Not that I'm complaining; though it's not really a real vacation at the in-laws. At least it's a 4 day break from work.

This past weekend I had one of my biggest running weekends in the past several months. 10 on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. May I say I forgot how much 20 hurts! I truly blocked out the pain of 20 and took being able to run the distance in the past for granted. Plus, I didn't realize much more it would hurt after running 10 miles the day before. Luckily, I had a fabulous running weather day Sunday to relish instead; it was in the mid 50's and overcast... perfection! What wasn't perfection was how much my body started to ache at 12 miles and how much my left hip and knee hurt to try while trying to sleep.

In order to make the increased miles slightly less painful and slightly more bearable I realize how important it is for me to not only focus on the distances but also incorporate so much more stretching, core work, and epsom salt baths. These back to back mid/long to long runs are for lack of a better term kicking my a**.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Maui in pictures

Maui was incredible! I can't even properly explain how amazing the trip was. Everyone needs to visit at least once no matter the cost or time spent getting to/from there.

We did a lot over our 10 days in Maui. It wasn't all laying around drinking fruity drinks; though I could have spent a couple more days doing just that ;) Between 2 camera's we took close to 500 pictures. A bit much I know. So I'll recap our 10 days with a taste of those pics... settle in this may take awhile.

The 10K started 2 hotels down from mine in front of the Four Seasons. It was a smallish race with a simple course on paved roads and through neighborhoods. The swag was okay; a cotton shirt and reusable bag. They seemed to put all their effort into the post-race party. The buffet was ridiculous!

Swag and number

mile 1ish
mile 3 - sandwiched between the ocean and a golf course. rough I know!

nasty sweaty but happy I did some sort of activity over vacation!
view from the post race party at the four seasons

wake-up call before 3 am to catch the beautiful sunrise at the top of a volcano

then we biked down the volcano at speeds of 15 - 20 mph which freaked me out! luckily there were a few breaks to enjoy the scenery
rafting on the ocean - it hurt to hang on for dear life but was ridiculously fun. The snorkeling was just okay but we finished it off with seeing turtles and spinner dolphins. AWESOME!

our mode of transportation for the next 5.5 hours
during one of our stops by some of lava tubes
enjoying a day trip to lahaina
in the middle of the largest banyan tree
shaved ice. there are no words for this amazing treat

doors off helicopter ride

the road to hana. beautiful but a very long day

laying around enjoying fruity drinks and the pools/beaches
enjoying the incredible sunsets. I love how everyone stopped what they were doing to take it in every night.

Below are most of the pictures if you are really into seeing too many pictures of sunsets/sunrise, the road to hana, the helicopter tour, and us being fools/taking self portraits.

Click here to view these pictures larger

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Add Hawaii to the list...

of states I've raced in! Saturday morning I ran the Day of Hope 10K. I went for a 3 mile run along the path behind the hotels Wednesday morning and when I came back from the run I realized it might be kind of fun to see if there were any small races happening in Maui while I was here. Nothing like last minute. The Day of Hope started 2 hotels up from where we are staying - perfect! Even better proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. I signed up online before the deadline.

I decided to not really "race" the 10K. 1) It's hot. I don't race well in heat and haven't run in the heat in awhile. 2) there are some significant hills 3) I'm on vacation and want to have fun. So I took my camera with me along the course and enjoyed the 6.2 miles! Pictures will be posted when I can get my hands on my USB cord. I may have pushed too much the first mile then backed off significantly to work my way towards some serious positive splits ;) Since it was a small race I found myself running by myself a lot but I passed a few runners over the last 2 miles and found my race rabbit to finish strong in front of the Four Seasons Hotel around 56:40. I pretty much ran my marathon race pace but it's all good. Afterwards, I enjoyed the amazing breakfast buffet (amazing fresh fruit, bagels, water, juice, snack mixes, muffins - oh my!) they had for the runners and walkers overlooking the ocean. Not too shabby of a way to spend a morning in Maui!

Monday, November 1, 2010

my "what's next?"

It's official! I waited until it was nearly 90% full. I started the training program a couple of weeks ago to see if I could do this. Tonight (early Monday morning) I stayed up late to financially pull the trigger.

Your registration is complete!
Event Name: 2011 Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge
Date & Time: January 08, 2011 05:40 AM
Location: Walt Disney World® Resort

Gah! What have I gotten myself into?!?

Anyone else planning on running Disney 2011???

Friday, October 29, 2010

foto friday

First, please ignore the no make-up/dark circles/crazy hair pre-run look.

This is the obnoxious yellow shirt half marathoners received at the Akron marathon/half marathon in September. I'm not really sure you get the full effect from this picture but I think it is safe to say I stood out on my 8 mile run tonight. Safety first :)

Of course the full marathoners received normal red and blue Brooks running jackets and a finishers t-shirt which was a non-ridiculously bright color. The relay runners received grey shirts. This is happened several times where all the other distances get normal color shirts. Not sure why the races I sign up for always have the crazy color of the event?!?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

wednesday what?

What a windy run! It's sunny and in the upper 50's so but the 37 mph wind gusts were a bit of a challenge. I wanted to get something done before my nearly all day flight (layover in Dallas) to Shreveport today so I went for a short 4. It took me until halfway through the 2nd mile to get everything working the way it should. I decided to pick up the pack on 2 and 3 for a mini tempo run. The faster miles felt pretty darn good! Now it is time to throw some clothes in a bag and head to the airport again.

My countdown to vacation is on like donkey kong. Only 5 days - wahoo! In my view vacation is a time to get away from it all by reading the books I don't have time to read on a lounge chair by the pool/ocean while sipping on a fruity drink. I really don't want to do anything. I've never considered exercise much in my vacation plans. I do explore and sign up for fun activities but rarely decide to go for a run. It's not like I'm not up early. For some reason on vacation I become an early bird but I like the spend the extra time in the morning having a leisurely breakfast and walking the beach. This vacation I really should be getting some form of running done. I know I'm not going to follow my schedule as it dictates and the 12 miler may not happen but I'm hoping it won't hurt me too much when I'm back home in full training mode.

Do you follow your running schedule when on vacation? Or do you skip it off all together? How do you motivate yourself to get the miles in when all you want to do is relax?

Monday, October 25, 2010

1 week of craziness

Why is the week before vacation the worst work week? I have 2 work trips (not for my study by the way) a day trip to Vegas booked only 4 days ago and an overnight to Shreveport, Louisiana. The travel time is the worst time suck of this week but I also need to fit in all the other work "stuff" that would normally be put off when traveling because I won't be in the office for 2 weeks. I know it will be all worth it in a week but getting there can be a bit difficult.
This week will also be a bit trying in fitting in the workouts once again with the travel Tuesday - Thursday. Luckily I was home today so I was able to take a much needed break for a mid distance run. Since I left a bit late and I was on the edge of hunger I cut the original 8 miles plan to 7 miles mid run. On the back portion of the out and back run I started thinking about some issues and my leg turnover quickened. When I finally looked at my watch I was maintaining a sub-9 minute pace comfortably. Whoa! Guess I was a little burned up about all those issues ;) I dialed it back but still finished with a very nice negative split. Then I came home and couldn't heat up leftovers fast enough!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

weekend running

Friday's 8 miler felt effortless. Even though I had run the 2 previous days they were easier runs so my legs still felt fresh. Friday the temps were cool and there was no wind. All the makings for a fab run! I tried to hold a bit back because I knew I had a longer run the next morning and I was running these two a bit closer together than I should but my legs wouldn't listen. It felt fantastic and I finished with a ridiculous smile on my face.

Saturday morning I woke up late thanks to staying up to late watching scary movies. Goodness, I love cheesy horror films. The last 2 weeks of October are prime time horror cheese! Anyways, Maggie
this is how she sleeps on car rides to Ohio and back
the cutest and most annoying cat in the world thought it was time for us to wake up. Normally, she wants nothing to do with us unless she's bored.

It took me awhile but I finally made it out the door for my long run. Yeah, it was closer to noon than not at this point. It was rainy but warm and I didn't want to run but knew I had to (the schedule said so!). I wore my Nike running rain coat... big mistake... HUGE. It cleared up and became very warm less than halfway though and I started sweating through the coat. I was miserable. My legs were heavy, I was overheating, and I couldn't find my happy running place mentally. My head was all over the place. I didn't want to be on a long run which is the absolute worst. I can handle heavy, tired legs but when my head's not in the running game I'm ruined. The entire run I spent making deals with myself. "Just get to point... at the halfway point you'll... at this point you can walk..., etc. I spent a lot more time walking than I would have liked but at the end of the day I got 15 miles done. I may have been happy about mile 4-6 then it was over for me. I couldn't find the "sweet spot" and it was rough. The run didn't go as I had hoped but it was done and it was a heck of a lot more than a lot of other people did on Saturday. At least that's what I tried to tell myself.

It may not have been my day but it got done. We have good days, we have bad days, and we have those days that fall in between. I'm glad I didn't give up on myself no matter how I was feeling. And that says a lot.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

calling all bloggers

I'm updating the blog page in these parts. Still working on the my running story page but have added my race reports and will continue to update my restaurant review page. If you want to be listed on my blog roll please let me know! I'm always looking for new blogs to follow and I haven't updated the roll in awhile. I follow a lot in google ready and I'll update with that info but if you are a silent party I may not know about, leave a comment. Or if you know of or have a fantastic blog to follow please let me know!

In other news for the first time ever I lifted with my hand weights after a 5 mile run this week. Usually I totally bail on weights but not this week and it felt great! Yes, it was only about 15-20 minutes but it was more than I normally would have done. The squats and lunges were a bit difficult after a run but I'm glad I put the effort in to getting it done. I hope to actually make this a weekly occurrence. Maybe by putting it out there I will be keeping myself accountable.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday what?

Two weeks from now I will be sitting on a beach in Maui with a drink in hand. Yeah, I.can't.wait! It hasn't really sunk in that I will be in paradise in less than 2 weeks and on my first *real vacation since our honeymoon over 2 years ago (picture to the left our last trip). Maui has definitely been on the list of want to go especially before kids and now we are finally going! Our travel wants is long and includes some "never going to happen unless I somehow win the lottery" type destinations and a lot of them include a beach. One day maybe the Maldives, Seychelles, Tahiti, Italy, so on and so forth, trip may happen until then I'm enjoying where I can go.

If you could go anywhere on vacation where would you go and who would be your travel companion(s)?

*I consider real vacations one that last more than a long weekend. We tend to take a lot of 4 day trips.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"joys" of flying

I've had some pretty bad flight experiences; everything from babies screaming the entire flight, kids throwing up in their puke bag right next to me, very large men who should have bought 2 seats spilling into mine and taking up my very limited personal space (for 4 hours). I could go on but I try not to focus on it too much because it will happen again! Tonight's flight to Wichita was up there on the "bad list". An older woman was traveling with her itty, bitty, cute little teacup size dog and sitting right behind me. Yeah, you know where this is going... Nearly the entire 2 hour flight the dog barked loudly and she did nothing to quiet it down. Oh my splitting head! I understand about loving your pets and wanting to take them with you everywhere you go but sometimes there needs to be a line. Train your dog not to bark or to be comfortable in their carrier before subjecting everyone on the flight to the incessant yapping.

okay rant over :)

On a separate note congratulations to all you Boston marathon qualifiers who actually got in and registered in the 8 hour window! A huge congrats to my friend Mr. H, who ran with me in Cleveland this year. He ran Columbus on Sunday in 3:15 and thought he hadn't qualified because he is 34. However by April he will be a year older and provided 5 extra minutes which count for registration now. Yea! Congrats to my friend for qualifying for the first time (and the huge PR on Sunday!) AND congrats to all of you who qualified!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

the forgotten exercise equipment

When I travel for work I don't necessarily have the largest per diem for hotels. Typically I stay in Hampton Inn's since the majority of them have been updated over the last couple of years. That's usually as nice of a hotel I'm allowed. Though I really do wish it was all Westin's and Hilton's for me ;) These last 2 weeks I've stayed at Homewood Suites because they were close to where I had to go and in the per diem. The one detail I forgot about Homewood Suites... nearly all of them have free weights in addition to the typical cardio equipment! Weights tend to be the first thing to go when I'm in the middle of training. Between the busy work travel schedule, the running schedule, life, and my general laziness I definitely don't lift as much as I would like or should. Now that I have some time seeing I'm not training for anything in particular this moment it's nice to get back into "it". My booty is a bit sore from the lunges and step-ups but a good kind of sore. It's only been 2 weeks and already feeling better!

Is there any one exercise or thing you drop once you really get into training only to pick it up in the "off-season"? Or are you a well rounded exerciser mid-training / how do you make it all work?

Monday, October 11, 2010

bloggers running

Monday after work I had to the opportunity to meet up with the lovely Amanda from Run To the Finish. She was in Chicago for work and I was actually home! The plan was to meet at her hotel for a run before her client dinner... of course I happened to get a "little" turned around when driving from the office to the hotel so I was ridiculously late. I'm usually early to everything and so my lateness was a little stressful for me. Not the way I hoped to start my first blogger meet-up! Sorry Amanda! Luckily I made it and we headed to the lakefront for a wonderful run. The day had been warm and sunny but as we made our way north the fog rolled in and cooled the city. It was so nice to have someone to talk to along my favorite route. Not sure of the distance because in my hurried state I left my garmin in the car... I'm guessing 5ish miles. Exactly what I needed after a day in the office filing :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

pep in my step (and some chicago tips)

Today I had a little extra pep in my running step. I was slightly pressed for time before my afternoon flight and I had left the house a little later than I had originally planned. The weather was sunny and a bit cool. Everything was in place for a faster run though I don't think my good run was due to any of that. Instead I was thinking of everyone running the Chicago marathon this Sunday! I felt like I was the one tapering and getting ready for the race. I'm so jealous of you all ;) I know I'm going to have a blast at the wedding in NC... but... there is this energy in the city right now (and around blog land) that is making me so excited for all of you who are running! It makes me really wish I was in state this weekend. Instead I'll be cheering you on virtually!

For all you who are running have fun and enjoy the city! I haven't run NY or Boston or another big race but my experience at Chicago was like no other. It is the only marathon I haven't needed my ipod because I was so entertained the entire time. Here are some of my tips:
  • If you have people there to see you be sure to plan where they will be AND what side of the street. Trust me on this there are too many people to keep scanning back and forth. Or have them hold an obnoxiously large sign or balloons on a stick to easily see them ;)
  • Line up sooner than later. Otherwise you are going to have to jump barricades into an already overstuffed start line.
  • Don't freak out when your garmin goes haywire the first mile because it will and it will continue throughout downtown. You start off by runningunder Wacker/through a tunnel and are in a big city.
  • Take in the deafening roar of some of the 500,000 spectators when you start but don't get overly excited and lose your race by playing dodge 'em.
  • Be sure to look all around and up. People, camera's, buildings, different neighborhoods, crazy dressed up runners, inspirational runners, stuff to see will be all around you!
  • As you turn into Boystown (mile 7-9) enjoy the boy cheerleaders. They pretty much rock.
  • If you are a middle to back of the packer expect a full race...the.entire.race. At mile 21 heading into Chinatown I felt like I was still tripping over people.
  • Mile 24-25 is the quietest (and most spread out) section of the race. Though the people who are out there do their best to make up for it.
  • Wear your name on your shirt.
  • You end up on an uphill. All Chicago races do. It sucks but let the massive crowd and seeing yourself on the big screen carry you through until you turn to your left and can see that finish line.
  • If meeting people afterwards meet them in the designated area and stand by your letter. Everyone tries to be tricky and stand by the XYZ thinking no one else has thought of this.

If you need a suggestion on where to go pre or post race let me know! I love to give people some ideas about this lovely city!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Just call me Mrs. Clean

Is anyone else having problems writing October 1st today or is it just me? Where did September go?

So the in-laws are coming to visit this weekend. Even though they live less than 3 hours south of the city they have been to Chicago exactly 2 other times the 8 years I've been with Jacob. They aren't big fans of the city ;) Other than trying to figure out how to entertain them this weekend I have to do the mad house scrub. Every time people come to visit I run around cleaning like crazy but I know the MIL will have an even more critical eye. She already thinks I don't cook for her baby boy (I do cook but she only hears about all the restaurants we go to). I cannot have her thinking I can't keep a clean house either! Our place isn't so much dirty as it is messy and cluttered. For example, we don't have a laundry room, only a laundry closet so our clean clothes are overflowing in a basket in the hallway. Problem is I'm a bit lazy when it comes to cleaning and am sidetracked easily. Like I just found a Criminal Minds marathon on A&E kind of sidetracked. This is going to take me all day... Luckily, I work from home and have a 1/2 day today. I would rather be doing my long run but scrubbing the bathroom is a workout right?

Hope you all have a cleaning free, fun weekend!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

next race?

It's only 3 days since my last half marathon and I'm already trying to find the next race. I tend to have an idea of what races I want to do then sign up based on how I'm feeling last minute. There are very few races I plan far enough in advance to save money. I know it's not the most cost efficient option but I have saved myself a few times when I ended up having to be somewhere else on race weekend.

Prior to the Akron 1/2 I was on Facebook (when am I not) and saw an ad for a Monster Dash in Chicago. Normally I don't pay too much attention to FB ads but this one caught my eye. I had never heard about this race. I clicked over and liked what I saw. Half marathon in downtown Chicago = easy travel. People dress up, there is sweet swag like fleece running jackets, hats, and a belt buckle medal! Heck for the kids run they get a fun light up monster t-shirt.

I wasn't sure how I would feel about running another 1/2 about 4 weeks later and the day before I leave on a 2 week vacation so I didn't sign up right away. After how good I felt last weekend I think I want to keep it going and see what I've got on a flat course. The course is a simple out and back on the lakeshore path starting downtown and heading south. I'm pretty sure there may be 1 hill and after Akron it's a joke of a hill. Running a race on Halloween has to be fun - right?!?!

So how do you choose your races? Do you sign up last minute or are you a super planner?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Akron 1/2 Marathon Race Report

The husband and I arrived at my sister and brother-in-laws house over 7 hours after leaving Chicago. The drive should really take no more than 6 hours but a section of the Indiana toll road was closed for awhile. Parked on a tollway with no information for about an hour = no fun at all. We made it, unpacked the car and then my sister and I headed to the expo so I could make a quick pick-up. Only it wasn't so quick because we arrived when everyone else did! Right when the pasta party was starting and everyone was getting off of work/arriving in town. It was a bit crowded to say the least. After making our way through (and 1 super cute shirt purchase) we all were on our way for dinner with my dad and stepmom.

Race morning started early! I couldn't sleep of course and when the alarm went off at 5:40 am it felt much earlier because of the short 1 hour time change for me. My sister the rock star of the weekend woke up a bit later and drove me to the race start. She dropped me off as close as she could get and I walked in the darkness with all the other runners arriving to find the bag drop vans. It took me a bit because they only had 2 vans and the huge sign wasn't exactly by where the vans were parked. I did see they had a support tent for everyone to use that had water, powerade, and a place to stay warm. Very nice touch that not every race has.

The morning temps were in the upper 50's but I was totally comfortable standing at the start line in my tank top and shorts. About 20 minutes later we were off!

Mile 1 (9:37): Ended up being my slowest mile. I didn't want to take off like a bat outta hell like I normally do bobbing and weaving. I hung back with the 3:50 pacer, tried to calm my nerves and find my happy race pace. I knew I was slower than I wanted then there was a bottleneck going over a bridge that slowed me even more. I'm happy I didn't waste too much energy this first mile but wish it could have been slightly faster.

Miles 2-5 (8:51,8:42, 8:39, 8:37): Even with a couple significant uphills these miles flew by! Everything was feeling good and I was enjoying the morning.

Mile 6 - 7 (8:40, 8:59): I took my first GU chomps because I forgot earlier. When I runs sans waterbelt I sometimes get thrown off and forget about my fuel. Bad! They were all stuck together and a little stale. I was disappointed since I have never had this problem before so I threw most of the bag to the side. Mile 7 was the part of the course I started to recognize since I run part of it with my sister when I'm visiting. I only forgot about the steady incline from 7 - 7.5... oh mama I was happy when that ended. Just after 7.5 I came running up to this courtesy of my awesome sister...

The first sign is a classic :)
My favorite picture! Ready to high five Lindsey Loo!
Helping myself to the oranges and water. My sister had a baggie ready for me to go but forgot to hand off. It's all good and wasn't needed after all.

Mile 8 - 9 (8:52, 8:34): Still feeling really good! This is usually when I start to lose it mentally in a half but not this time. The weather was fantastic and my family gave me a huge boost. I was pushing myself but still had a lot left in the tank. I decided at mile 10 through the end I would start pushing it more even though I knew a huge hill was coming. I just didn't realize how bad it would be.

Mile 10 - 12(8:53, 8:26, 8:53): As soon as I tried to push at mile 10 my legs started to feel heavy as we wrapped through Akron University. The relay teams were fresh off an exchange and I felt surrounded by all the speedsters all of the sudden. Kind of deflating. As we turned down a huge hill I focused on form/leg turnover and I started to feel a bit better. Somehow, someway 10 ended up being my fastest mile of the entire race!

At 11.3 we split from the relay and marathoner runners and turned left to go up the biggest, longest (that's what she said) hill of my life. Seeing signs to caution people in regards to a steep 5% grade incline doesn't make a runner at mile 11 very happy. The freaking uphill lasted nearly 3/4 of the mile. I dropped some profanities.. loudly. On this hill I was reminded why I love runners. A girl younger than me all of the sudden stopped. It seemed she had given up on herself. An older male runner came up from behind taking the hill steady but strong and started motivating this girl to get going again. He basically told her to "come on" and "at least stay right in front of him" because "I am much older and you can't be having an old man pass you". Made me laugh and it got the girl up and running. She passed me and I didn't see her again. Guess it is exactly what she needed!

After the hill I was just done. I walked through the mile 12 water stop (I walk through all my water stops) and convinced myself to just finish. After making an internal deal to not look at the garmin I was off. Of course right after the stop there was yet another hill! I don't know how I didn't walk but I didn't! I stuck with it and kept it steady to the top. Once I reached the top I felt as if I was running in even slower motion but I kept moving.

Mile 13- 13.1 (8:53, 8:00) When I thought I had no more to give we turned down a short hill and into the Akron Aeros stadium. I saw how close the finish line was and I sprinted, passing a couple people. Felt so good! I shook the race directors hand (he shakes the hand of nearly every finisher!), passed by the stage where they were awarding the half marathon master division winners, grabbed a water and bag of food.

Finish time officially is 1:55:10! Not a PR but it is the fastest 1/2 I've done since entering my 30's! Considering my training wasn't exactly where I wanted it to be and I had minimal hill training I had a fantastic for me race. Also, for the first time ever no stomach issues! This time around I opted out of using my water belt of water and electrolyte drink and relyed on the course water only. I didn't drink any gatorade/powerade/nuun. Instead I took in oranges and chomps for my fuel. I think this is what made the difference for me Saturday as well.
This was definitely one of the most challenging, hilly courses I've run. I typically stick to flat courses ;) The course was well supported and volunteers were great! For a relatively new marathon (this was its 8th year) the organization was awesome. Even better than some bigger, older races I've done. I loved all the personal touches; though I did feel like marathoners and relay runners are given a bit more priority and swag. My only complaint was gear check pick-up. It took nearly 40 minutes to get my bag and I was one of the first ones there... Not enough volunteers and definitely the least organized item of the entire race. Still not enough to change my opinion that this is one fantastic race!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

upcoming half

Saturday I'll be running the Akron half marathon! I can't tell you if I have ever done a half or a full on a Saturday; it will be a new experience to have Saturday to celebrate and recover. While I had goals of PRing dancing in my head when I signed up for this race I've really had to re-evaluate them. My work travel schedule included a lot of day trips. Too many 15-18 hours spent traveling and not much else. It threw a wrench into my training schedule. I did the best I could but add that to my poor quality eating I'm definitely not in the shape I had originally planned going into Saturday.

I am excited to run the course and experience another race. I have considered the Akron full marathon so I'm considering this half a little taste to see if I like it. I didn't have the desire to run the full this year though I'm kind of kicking myself now (of course!). My sister lives at mile 8 of the course and the rest of the family is close. The husband is excited he doesn't have to wake up nearly as early to take me to another race start :) He can walk to the end of the driveway. Also, my sister setting up a table with water, oranges, pretzels, and candy for the runners. Very awesome. To top it off the weather should be nice and cool (50's at the start). Setting itself up to be a nice race day no matter if I'm prepared or not!

So my goals:
  • have fun!
  • finish in under 2 hours. I've done this for every half I've raced but this will be interesting on the rolling hill course. I would love a 1:55 and am going to go for it. We will see what happens race morning.
See you on the other side!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

restaurant review - Italian Style

This weeks restaurant isn't new to me but rather a tried and true favorite. We ate there about 2 weeks ago on a whim and I thought it would be a good suggestion for those of you running Chicago 10-10-10. Be sure to make your reservations now! It's an extremely popular place that fills every weekend and while they've recently expanded still is not that big. Marathon eve it will be even busier I'm sure.

Sapori Trattoria can be found on the north side of Lincoln Park (north of the city/about 3 miles from downtown). I love this Italian restaurant for many reasons. The first reason being their Crostini di Avocado. Hands down one of my favorite appetizers in the city. I crave these delicious little crostini's. The flavors of the Italian guacamole topped with a basil leaf is a little party in your mouth. yum!
On this particular visit the weather had cooled significantly and I was feeling like some fall foods. Typically I go with the lobster ravioli or the amazingly simple but delicious rigatoni caprese. Seriously, I haven't had a bad entree here. I figured what better way to welcome the cool weather than with the Cappellacci di Zucca - pumpkin pasta, with sage, and pine nuts in a burnt butter sauce. This dish screams autumn! The burnt butter is light but effective; the dish would not be the same without it. I love how the leaves of sage add a little crunch too.
Another reason I love this place. They send coupons on your birthday and 1/2 birthday. Got to love saving some money! Sapori is on the pricier end for Italian food ($25-30/person without drinking). It is easier to eat a little cheaper during the week, especially on their prix fix Monday's and Tapas Tuesdays. No matter what day I haven't had a bad meal. A cute little restaurant worth the drive, cab, or el train ride.

Friday, September 17, 2010

4 days later

I finally went for a run! After 3 extremely full and brain draining days of work training sprinkled with 2 days of traveling I finally got the legs moving. It wasn't pretty but it got done and served its purpose. I really wish I could have made it a priority to get some kind of running done this week but sometimes other life commitments (like work and sleep) take precedence. I hardly slept this week thanks to the training, working after training, and the craptastic sleep number bed. Side note - do not let anyone fooling you into buying one of those beds; it was one of the worst mattresses I have ever tried to sleep on. Anyways, I'm glad to back home, not working, and fitting in whatever mileage I can salvage out of the weekend.

So recently I ordered some new running gear from Running Warehouse. I order apparel from them a lot and love the 2 day free shipping option. When I arrived home today I realized the recent purchase hadn't arrived and it had been nearly a week. Per an e-mail from the company the package had been delivered to my condo building but signed by for someone I didn't know. I called RW to see what they could do which I hoped was something because I didn't want to lose that money on a misplaced/stolen package. Within 2 hours the issue had been closed and they are re-sending my items at no charge. Their customer service was fantastic! I really don't know too many companies that would have resolved a problem like this so quickly and courteously. Based on the fact that I have never had a problem with them before and they handle the first one perfectly I highly recommend using this company if you don't already. They've kept my business :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


This week I'm in work training in PA. It's kind of a big deal. If anyone knows about pharmaceuticals, my company was issued a warning letter by the FDA (kind of a huge deal) so we all have to have training. Like huge week long crazy boring, ridiculous training. What does this mean with 10 days out from my next 1/2 marathon. Not much running... I have 10 -12 hour days then we go out drinking. Which I wish I could say no but I never do. I cannot wake at 4 am to run. It's not in my DNA. I ran on Monday before my flight and I hope to run a short run on the treadmill this week then smash everything into the weekend. Should be fun. I'm not tooo worried. The race is in no time and if I'm not ready now the next few days aren't going to make a difference! Let's hope I survive the next few days of presentations and horrible "breakout" groups. My. worst. nightmare!
I hope all your weeks are much better than mine. And if they aren't - glass of wine (0r 2) for us all to get through it ;)

Friday, September 10, 2010

foto friday

Did you know candy corn is in season right now? The crop is ripe for the picking ;) I know because I've tried nearly an entire large bag this week. I love this time of year!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

labor day weekend in review

I love 3 day weekends and really who doesn't?!? The city tends to clear out over holidays so it was nice to have a relatively quiet weekend. Parking was plentiful which rarely happens! The weather was pretty darn fab the entire weekend too.

doesn't it look beautiful outside?

Here's what I managed over the weekend:
  • running of course! A lot of long weekends I get lazy and don't hit the road. Not this one. A long run of only 11 miles (cut-back week), 4 tough should have been easy recovery miles, and 3 windy miles with the husband. All done at the end of the day with nearly no one on the path. Pretty rare around here.
  • sleeping in - love it!
  • a little bit of cleaning. our kitchen and my office were a hot mess! I wanted to get more done but I got lazy and started watching The Stand on the SyFy channel instead.
  • driving range with the hubs. I decided to get out of the house but didn't take my clubs this visit. I got to try out my picture taking skills along the running path instead.
  • night out downtown with friends, for a going away party for one of them who is moving to NJ . seeing 30+ year olds pretend they are much, much younger = priceless.
  • reading on the front patio. I picked up a photography book to teach myself and a book on Maui for our upcoming trip. I actually feel a lot more confident on my manual setting already! And seriously cannot wait for our November vacation.
  • restaurants - delicious new ones and old favorites
  • taco and margarita sunday. We ended the night with a movie on the couch
  • a trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo. I love playing tourist in my own town and I haven't been back in several years. A fun (and free!) day in beautiful weather even if it was packed. I got some great pictures and exercise ;)
  • hit up whole foods. love that store though it hurts the wallet a bit.
  • my husband making ribs and all the fixing's for dinner. I enjoyed a night off from the prep. though that does mean I had the clean-up. it's only fair.
  • caught up on the dvr and took in some really bad (but oh so addicting) reality tv shows on Bravo.
How was your 3-day weekend? Did you get everything done you wanted or take it easy?

Monday, September 6, 2010

restaurant review monday

I hope everyone state side is enjoying a nice holiday weekend. I'm taking full advantage of sleeping in, being a bit lazy, and taking in the beautiful weather here in Chicago.

I love food (and eating out to enjoy all kinds of food) but I wouldn't call myself a foodie. I know it's the reason I can't drop those last 5 lbs and I'm okay with that! My husband and I eat out a lot. And when I say a lot I mean nearly every meal. The reason? We both travel for work and our schedules are never the same. I dislike being wasteful and there have been too many weeks where I throw away food gone bad because we weren't in town to enjoy meals at home. I could be better about prepping meals on weekends and freezing them to prepare when we are around but in all honesty we love to eat out and it is much simpler to do so right now. There are too many amazing places to enjoy throughout the city! I've decided to start better documenting the restaurants we frequent as well as the new ones we try. We do have a goal of trying at least 1 new place a month since we tend to frequent the same 10-15 places. What can I say, the food is good and they know us! I hope those of you from here might find a new place to try or those traveling to Chicago might find a place you may not have heard of before or found being downtown.

This weekend I was messing around on Open Table to get ideas of places since we had no good idea when I came across Ceres' Table. The restaurant caught my eye because it said it was in Uptown (my neighborhood!) and I couldn't recall seeing this or hearing of it before. I checked out their website and liked that they are a contemporary american restaurant with a Sicilian influence. The chef makes food he likes to eat! He also uses local, sustainable products whenever possible; another plus. We arrived just before 8 and were greeted by the owner's wife (who also is the pastry chef). I love family owned restaurants.

The restaurant is small but you aren't stacked on top of each other likes it sometimes happens in Chicago restaurants. There is a nice bar, plenty of booths, and several tables. It was cool outside on Friday night or otherwise I would have asked to sit on their street side patio.

The menu changes with the seasons and I was excited with our options this time around. The drink menu was extensive. We opted for a bottle of wine and I was impressed with the list and the affordability of most choices. I hadn't even ordered yet and I was already loving the relaxed, cool atmosphere! My husband opted for the liver because you can't get that everywhere and I refuse to eat/make it. I went with the steak served with onion rings, fingerling potato salad and a drizzle of red wine bbq sauce. For an appetizer we had gnocchi in a pesto sauce with green beans and walnuts and we finished the meal off with a blueberry "pie".

my dish
yumilicious dessert

Our meals were wonderful. The steak was cooked a perfect medium rare. Even in some of the best steak restaurants here it is difficult to find a place that can cook a perfect medium rare. Everything was well matched, tasted incredible and fresh! Jacob was pleased with his liver as evidence by him not talking to me and empty plate :) The blueberry pie with vanilla gelato was nothing short of bliss. Melt in your mouth goodness.

This restaurant is a perfect example of why it is great to get out of the city center and venture out to the city neighborhoods. It feels and tastes as good as any downtown restaurant without the hassle (or downtown parking prices!) We will definitely be back and most likely adding this place to our restaurant rotation. I also plan on taking visitors here every chance I get ;)

Jacob found a creative way to use his coffee saucer.