Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Mama Goes Masters" Virtual Race Report

Tonight I ran in MCM Mama's "Mama Goes Masters" Virtual Race. There were 3 race distance options all based on MCM Mama's 40th birthday - 4 miles, 8.25 miles (honor of the big day!), and for the really ambitious 40K. Being in the middle of 1/2 marathon training I signed up for the 8.25 miles distance.

The race didn't start until about 5:30 pm and I was glad for evening start because there aren't enough of them. For a late August evening the weather was a pleasant surprise - mid 70's with a nice breeze coming off the lake. The course was a simple out and back and started around .25 miles from my front door. There were plenty of others out running and biking and many didn't realize they were part of my race. I made sure to pass several runners and a couple who would have been in my age group had they known about the race ;)

I started off too fast like I tend to do because I am still incapable of properly pacing myself after 7 years of consistently running/racing. Prior to this race I had 2 days off (1 being an unscheduled rest day!) so the legs were ready to go. After the first mile I decided just to go with it and see how long the good feeling would last. At the turnaround along North Beach I realized I would be finishing into the wind... ruh roh. At least it wasn't too bad once the path turned from being right next to Lake Michigan. I lost some gas around mile 5 and backed off a lot until after mile 6. At this point I found some renewed energy after playing leap frog with another runner. I finally surged and passed her on the one small hill along the course. I ended up finishing strong in the neighborhood park.

Finish time:

an 8:54 average mile pace

Even though it was much cooler today I still enjoyed a post-race popsicle - YUM!

Happy Birthday MCM Mama! Thanks for putting together a fun virtual race in honor of your new age group!

And just because... here's a little more Maggie cuteness to fill your day
It's what we call her super kitty sleep.

Monday, August 23, 2010

two years ago

Two years ago we were sweating our booties off in the August heat taking pictures all over Chicago and throwing a fantastic party. Two years ago today I married my best friend - the guy who knows me like no else, can make me laugh even when I'm not feeling it, and who keeps showing up on early race mornings to hang around by himself to support me.

Thank you Jacob for an entertaining 2 years of marriage and I look forward to everything that is yet to come! (I'm also very excited to celebrate year 2 here :))

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

running and cheese fries don't mix

I really need to pay better attention to my training schedule. That, or just stop eating cheese fries at lunch. The yummy fries combined with little sleep thanks to a 20 hour travel day (to LA and back) yesterday made for one crappy feeling run. The plan had called for 4 miles at 1/2 marathon race pace and 1 mile at 10K race pace with a warm up and cool down. I managed the warm-up, 2 miles at 1/2 marathon race pace and 1 mile at 10K race pace with an extensive cool down and then I gave up and walked the last 800 home. The times were where I needed them to be but I so wasn't feeling it mentally or physically. I started to really get down on myself somewhere around mile 3 because my legs felt heavy, I was uncomfortably full, and feeling slow - like this should be a lot easier. In order to finish I had to remind myself that days like this will happen BUT it doesn't mean this one day will ruin my entire training.

After the fact this run reminded me why I have kept running after starting 8 years ago. There are good days, bad days, and incredibly amazing days but very rarely are 2 runs ever the same. This thing called running may get easier some respect but it continually challenges (and punishes!) me. What can I say? I love a good challenge.

So for now, I can't stop long travel days from happening but I should probably take it easy on the cheese fries... at least before the run ;)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

wednesday what?

I may be old school in this but I record all my miles on paper. I found a handy dandy runners calendar on super discount at B&N after Christmas that I keep at my bedside to record my daily miles before end of the day. If I stored the calendar anywhere else I would forget to record my data because I'm kind of absentminded. Plus, it's portable and easy to take with me when I travel. Basic but exactly what I need. Previously I had recorded my miles on an Excel spreadsheet but I have 2 computers (work and personal) and it's not feasible to take 2 computers on every trip. (I don't like to keep personal stuff, even running related, on the work computer). I have thought about other ways to record the daily/weekly mileage, like Daily Mile, but keep coming back to my tried and true pen and paper.

What do you use to record your mileage? Daily Mile, a calendar, uploading your garmin data, a spreadsheet, something else? Why do you use what you do?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

weekend in review

I may have one of the top 10 best meals Friday night. Here in Chi-town I have access to some incredible restaurants; I'm spoiled I know. I also take full advantage of eating out on a regular basis. Mostly because of we both travel and partly because I love to eat out on the weekends. While we make it our goal to try a new restaurant each month we tend to hit the same 10 restaurants over and over. We love them, people know us and give us price breaks every so often, and it becomes difficult to branch out. Friday night we branched out after realizing a good ole standby wasn't our best option because of a Cubs game. We tried Brown Trout in North Center (northwest side of the city). A-MAZ-ING... I opted for the vegetarian meal (yes I meat but I've been trying to incorporate more veggie centric meals since we eat out so much) and this dish could turn any steak and potatoes kind of eater on to more veggie centric meals. The restaurant uses organic food and focuses on local food as well as growing their own herbs and veggies on their rooftop garden. AWESOME! This is a reason why I love Chicago. Fabulous, tasty restaurants outside of the downtown hustle and bustle but could totally work in the thick of it all. Then we able to enjoy an after dinner drink at a local brewery all in walking distance.

Friday ended up being a late night so Saturday's morning long run started off much later than anticipated. Lucky for me it stayed relatively cool for an early August day so the weather wasn't a factor in my mostly craptastic run. While I had moments where it all clicked and the overall pace was where I wanted it was a mental struggle. That's what I get for staying out late and having a drink or two! But let's not dwell on that... it got done and that's what matters. The big, exciting deal that had me acting like a 4 year old on Christmas morning was this...

A big girl camera! I have to give my dad his camera back so it was time to suck it up and spend the money. I saw the FedEx truck down the street when I came home from my run and I was standing at the front window waiting for him to walk up the street and hit the buzzer.

I spent the rest of the weekend taking the most random pictures, mostly of my cat Maggie...
she's so cute (but I'm partial)

And I took a lot of food pictures...
mmm... el mariachi the best mexican restaurant anywhere hands down

Now I need to find fun stuff around the city to practice my picture taking skills (or lack there of).

I finished up the weekend with running errands, a humid 4 mile recovery run, and enjoying a dinner (and dessert!) made by husband. Ah, weekends, why do you have to be so short?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chicago RnR 1/2 Marathon Report

What a weekend! Filled with laughs, friends, yummy eats, and a 13.1 mile run. That's what I consider an A+ weekend.

Mr and Mrs. H arrived in Chicago on Friday but we didn't hit up the expo until Saturday afternoon. Bad move on our part because it was ridiculously busy. The hubby, while a fabulous athletic supporter, really can't stand anymore race expo's so we moved through and picked up some new gear as quickly as the crowds allowed. Of course we also stopped for a picture or two :)
Sunday morning the alarm went off at 4:45 - oh so early for me! And we were out the door and on our way to find parking by 5:20 am. We arrived with plenty of time and I found my friends quickly. After a not so quick port-a-potty stop BK and I made the long walk back to the last corral number 29! Mr. H lined up right behind the fasties in corral #2.
Our friend C found us shortly after the start horn had sounded. While standing around BK was feeling the anxiety as she waited for the start of her first 1/2 marathon.
After 45 minutes we finally crossed the start line! Longest wait I've ever experienced to cross the start line. After passing mile 1 I realized the winner would be finishing soon... only 12 miles left for us :)
The first few miles seemed to go quickly. BK thought it would be easiest for her to do a run/walk combo to get her to the finish. The morning, though humid, was overcast so that definitely helped. The 3 of us joked around, caught up on each other's lives, and took in the city. Before mile 5 Jacob spotted us! Seriously my husband is the super spotter when it comes to races. I can never find anybody but he is able to spot me and whoever else we know running in no time. A good skill to have when married to a runner :)
Around this point BK started to feel the general race pains. It was my job to keep her motivated and her mind off her pain as much as possible. I don't think I did very well keeping her mind off the pain but I kept her moving. As the miles ticked by, the sun came out and it definitely warmed up a lot. Around mile 8 the race spray showers/misters were set up. I opted to not go under any as I only feel hotter after the water evaporates. Soon after we were headed back north for our final miles. Unfortunately, this is were the path narrowed and became hot, hot, hot!
Around mile 10 there were cold sponges and I helped myself to one of those to cool down my burning hair :) About this point C realized she needed to keep running, no longer do the run/walk, because it was easier on her body. BK definitely hit a wall here as well. I kept asking her questions to make sure what she was feeling was normal 'running your first 1/2' pain or if she was really hurt. We incorporated a few more walk breaks too. I know my girl was hurting but she took it like a champ. I kept reassuring her that it would feel so much better when she crossed that line.

For being undertrained BK did fantastic! So happy for her and proud of her! We finished together in 2:47:54. BK was hoping for 3 hours so even better than she thought :)

The race/course itself was okay. There were 25,000 runners and seemed overcrowded nearly the entire race. I liked running downtown (especially by the Transformers 3 set) but it was almost a "been there, done that" feeling since the first couple miles were parts of the Chicago Marathon course as well as many other Chicago races. As we turned south on Lakeshore Drive and back around up the running path it became difficult to maneuver and crowded. The race directors also managed to find every "hill" in Chicago. While I didn't mind too much I know it was breaking nearly everyone around me. There were plenty of fluid stations and the misting stations and sponges were fantastic for a hot race. Oh and the popsicles at the finish! There definitely was not very much crowd support in comparison to other races and other than the popsicles no real food at the end :( So some good and some bad - like any race!

Overall, I had a lot of fun running with BK and C! C was freaking hilarious the entire run. I love having friends to race with. I enjoyed running further back than I normally do, taking 50 some odd pictures, and taking in the city in the early morning before it truly wakes up. Everyone seemed a lot more relaxed where we were running and were nice to and supportive of strangers. Plus, I loved being there with my friend as she ran and crossed the line of her first 1/2! Awesome, incredible experience!

Now it's on to convince everyone to run together again ;)