Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fire on the Track, just like Pre

Yesterday morning I had scheduled a track workout. After waking up at 10 a.m. and having a panic attack because I had no coffee beans in the house then having to rifle through the dirty laundry to find running clothes that didn't stink too much because my laundry is out of control, I decided that it would be best to postpone until today. Sleep doesn't generally trump important objectives for my day, but yesterday it did. Laziness is my best friend yet my worst enemy, so hey it happens. I successfully made sure to set my alarm for 8 a.m. and NOT turn it off, roll over, and over sleep by 2 hours for the second day in a row today and celebrated with a delicious breakfast. There aren't too many great public tracks in Chicago that are easily accessible for me so I chose to venture to the closest one for time purposes, and I don't think that I will be making it back to that track anytime soon. It was in a shady neighborhood and I had never been there before so I assumed that the track was a standard 400 meter track yet it was not.

Honestly I don't really understand the use for a track that would be (using guestimation) 337 meters and advertise itself as a 400 meter track. I didn't realize that the track was short until I got there, and spent the first 10 of my 25 repeats trying to figure out the best way to handle this tricky situation. There was too much ridiculous math going on in my head, I begun to get frustrated, and a few of my quarters somehow turned into .35 of a mile.

The workout was weird for awhile until I figured out the best way to execute the mess I created. No it wasn't my best workout ever, and it would have helped if I planned ahead, but I walked away with what I needed to gain today...CONFIDENCE that I am going to crush my 8k. My desire for the crazy amount of quarters was to simulate what I will be feeling during my upcoming race, I mean I wouldn't go out and do 25x400's at 95 to 98 seconds a pop with 30 second recoveries for fun...or maybe I would. I felt strong until 21, then I couldn't remember what number I was on and my breakfast wanted to make a reappearance. After that I kept having to remind myself to "run soft" and "power through" because those last few were the most important quarters of the entire workout. All my nerves about what a 98 second quarter feels like have been calmed, and I feel prepared for next weekends race. When I got home I was welcomed by my furry little men that were very excited to see me and proceeded to lay on my feet as a "congrats for making it back to the track mom".
The life of a dog, it's tough.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Back to the Track

Tomorrow I have 4oo's on the track scheduled, and I'm nervous. Its not the speed that scares me necessarily, or how many repeats that I plan to do, I am nervous because I have been avoiding the the track since 2002...and no that is not a typo. Often times my mind is weird and I have nostalgic feelings for things that may seem silly to others, and running on a track falls into this category. My very last track experience was my senior year in high school at the sectional meet where I was the anchor leg for the 4x400 relay. I wasn't very fast in high school and 400's were always difficult for me because my legs just couldn't move like the other girls, so running the anchor leg at a very competitive meet was daunting for me. I wasn't stressed because I knew that our relay was most definitely not making it to state, but I knew that this was going to be my very last high school running experience ever and I wanted to my story to have a great ending.

Well that race was one of the funniest races that I had ever ran, and I don't think that I'll forget it anytime soon. Our team managed to be way back in last place by the time I got the baton, which was probably because the relay was being run by a bunch of distance runners. The lead runner was finishing the race moments after I started, and I found myself on the track practically alone. It was dark, the stadium lights were glowing, and the cheers had come to a sudden hush. Inside at that moment I was laughing to myself that in my last high school race and I was going to come in last and get the pity clap, but I savored every moment of that last lap.

So my relay didn't make it to state, and I was D.E.A.D. last but I ran my fastest 400 ever and cherish that last lap more then any other running moment. It was just me against the track and I could have chosen to throw in the towel and but instead I chose to take that baton and run my heart out and leave it all on the track.

In the nine years since that night I have never ventured back to the track to run. I have always done my repeats by other unique methods, and I have just felt like my memory is too sacred to tarnish my good feelings. A few weeks ago I decided that it was time to make it back, and wanted tomorrows workout of 25x400's, at my projected 8k pace for the Shamrock Shuffle on April 10th, to be my first workout back on the track.

Nervousness is filling my heart not because I fear that this workout will get the best of me, but because I want my memories to be preserved and intact. Realistically after tomorrow will I forget about my experience 9 years ago? No. But my mind is crazy. This year my goal was to challenge myself and spice up my training, so that is my plan. Tomorrow I'm going to attack this workout and create a new chapter of memories for my adult life.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Delish Baked Eggs and Ice Cream

My Sunday was off to a good start when for breakfast I fueled up on melon and baked eggs with spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and garlic. Then somehow managed to end with a sundae that was as big as a small child which I selfishly ate most of. It was so tasty that I even slurped up the melted ice cream with a straw until I got a few odd looks from the family.
Super Easy Baked Eggs

2 eggs

1 tomato diced finely

1/2 cup of spinach

1/2 cup of mushrooms

1 teaspoon of garlic

1 tablespoon of cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Your favorite fresh herbs

A handful of your favorite cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a super hot saute pan that is sprayed with cooking spray throw in the mushrooms. Let the mushrooms cook WITHOUT moving for several minutes. Mushrooms have a lot of moisture and the only way to keep them from getting super watery is to sear them in a very hot pan without any seasonings to seal in the juices.

3. After a few minutes add the garlic, salt, and pepper and lightly saute. Add the spinach and tomatoes and give a few turns in the pan and remove from the heat.

4. Spray an individual sized baking dish with cooking spray. Put the sauteed mixture into the baking dish.

5. Prep the custard by scrambling the eggs, season and add the cream. Pour over the vegetables in the dish and sprinkle with your favorite cheese (mine is parmesan, I just cannot get enough of the amazing stuff).

6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the eggs solidify and the cheese begins to brown.

7. Eat and enjoy every bite!

So now that I have a belly full of pasta and ice cream, it is a good time to think about my workouts for the coming week.

Monday: 8 miler easy

Tuesday: 25x400's at 8k pace with 30 seconds recovery.

Wednesday: 8 miler recovery

Thursday: 16 miler progressive

Friday: 8 miler recovery

Saturday: 8 miler

I have an 8k two weeks from today and while I do not plan to taper for the race, I have planned to rearrange my harder workouts for earlier in the week for the next two weeks so that my legs will feel slightly fresh. This 8k isn't the most important race ever for me, but I love the course and this will be my 5th year running it and I really want to kick some booty so Tuesdays workout is SUPER important...but more on that tomorrow.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why I Run

Why do I run?

In the 14 years that I have been running I feel like I have been asked this question about a billion times by practically every single person that I have ever come in contact with.

When I first started running, it was because I desperately wanted to be a part of something amazing. I wanted to belong to a team that challenged me on a daily basis in different aspects of my life teaching me to be a better student, athlete, friend, and to learn responsibility. I was not fast, and I most definitely was not the star athlete that I dreamed that I could be. But I had dedication and pride in my achievements earning some truly great honors in my high school running days. Here is where running became an important part of my life that taught me that all worthy accomplishments in life have to be earned by our hard works. Back then I ran because it was fun. The people I trudged through the mud with and spent warm summer mornings along side as sweat dripped into our eyes became my second family. I enjoyed every minute of my early running journey, and cherish every last memory.

Going off to college, running became something very different for me. I attended culinary school where the majority of my time was spent in a steaming hot kitchen for prolonged periods of time. Foods constantly surrounded me, and snacking and tasting became my best friends. Cooking has always been an enjoyable past time for me, but my relationship with food was tainted and awkward and made my culinary experience very difficult. My love for food and running begun to transform me into a person that I did not enjoy being.

My workouts became stale and routine and I was spending crazy amounts of time in the gym at odd hours with little results. I begun to live in fear of gaining weight from constantly being surrounded by food and was always stressed about the relation of my caloric intake to caloric burn. In those days my mind was messed up and running became less about having fun and more about weight control. For several years I struggled with this, and it always seemed like a losing battle. Instead of figuring out how to nourish my body correctly, I was waisting time disappearing during meal times and fearing the food I was putting into my body. My race times never progressed, I still managed to gain weight, I was hungry all the time and often difficult and short tempered. And the craziest part was that I was never overweight.

Running became an obsession and left me feeling like I was never in control of my life.

Several years later after marrying my high school sweetheart, several terribly incapacitating injuries, a pre-quarter life crisis, and a new found sense of self worth that was fueled by the desire to make the healthiest choices for myself and LIVE my life, running and I had become the best of friends again.

Now I run because of my desire for self achievement and a yearning to challenge myself on a daily basis. The moment that I stopped worrying about what I looked like in a pair of running shorts and more about the person inside those shorts was the moment I freed myself. These days it is more important to me to focus on how to be the healthiest runner I can be so that I will be kicking major booty well into my elderly years. The craziest part is as soon as I stopped worrying about the way I looked and begun to focus on feeling better about myself was when my times and fitness begun to improve. I begun to become the runner I always wanted to be physically and mentally, and have never felt more confidant and comfortable with who I am.

So there it is, the reason I run. It has been a rough and bumpy road for me, and running and I weren't always a compatible pair. The reasons for running has changed for me throughout the years, but I am now healthier then ever and have an extremely positive relationship with my body and my running. I am no where near perfect, but I am a work in progress that has more desire to learn and grow then ever which continues to fuel my dreams and goals. I am not embarrassed nor do I have regrets about the path that I have traveled along because everything has led me to this moment in time, and I am enjoying the ride more then ever.

As long as I have the desire to run and my body will allow for it, I will do so. We only have one life. Opening my eyes to the realization that there are no limitations and that we are all awesome in our own unique way was the best moment of my life ever.

I may have big ears and feet, be completely stubborn and never admit I'm wrong, be a freak about germs, and have an insane addiction to cherry chapstick but hey...thats me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bringing Back The Nap

This afternoon was the first time since like 1995 that I took a nap. Well maybe I had a few naps here and there in college, but not many. I am incapable of sleeping when the sun is up, which was a pain when I used to have to work overnight shifts for my job. But today, I got a solid 40 minutes of afternoon delight and it was lovely. Of course I had to share my snuggie with the little furry guys, they are snuggie hogs.

I knew that I was tired when I was in the mist of my strength training session at the gym and felt a little light headed and cloudy-minded. At that point I decided that it was a good time to cut my workout short and go home and have a snack and relax before my mile repeats this afternoon.

A power nap is now my new favorite afternoon activity, and I hope that I will get another one in soon. When I woke up I headed out for my mile repeats in the rain and wind. I would be lying if I didn't say that I considered remodeling my workout for the day due to the weather, but in the end decided that it would be best to truck on as planned because speed work in undesirable weather will only make me a stronger runner.

Chicago is called the windy city because of the windy mouthed politicians, but today I think that it was called the windy city because of the nasty gusts coming off of the lake. They were fierce, and made my workout quite a challenge. My goal today was 5x1600's at 6:20 pace. I only did 4 repeats clocking in at 6:23, 6:21, 6:21, and 6:14. By the fourth repeat my legs were shot from trying to overcome the wind, and the fifth would have just been a lost cause and not worth the effort so I took a pass.

Honesty I felt as if I was running at a 6:05 effort or possibly even faster, but the added resistance from the gusts was quite challenging for me today. So I'm okay with 4 quality repeats.

On another note, my quads are TIGHT and SORE. I think that I need to stop slacking on the stretching portion of my routine.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Whoo-Hoo it's Spring!

It is officially spring! So no more days of this,

Or this,

or at least that is what I'm hoping. I mean I do live in Chicago which has the most unpredictable weather EVER, and snow is being fore casted for later in the week, but the warm sunny days and beach weather in my near future is so close that I can taste it.

Last week was a recovery week for me with lower mileage, and came at the perfect time. I took the week to catch up on some needed sleep and stretch out my aching muscles. But now this week it is time to refocus on building up leg strength and speed, and stay focused on the goals ahead.

Monday: 8 miles easy
Tuesday: 2 mile warm-up, 5x1 mile repeats at 6:20 pace with 800 jogging recoveries, 1 mile cool-down
Wednesday: 7 miles easy recovery
Thursday: 7 miles incline
Friday: 15 miles progressive
Saturday: 7 miles easy recovery
Sunday: OFF

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Progressive runs are my BFF

I can make a lot of excuses why the things I plan to get done don't, but one thing I can't control are my dogs. They are excessively needy and want to constantly be touched, be getting a belly rub, or just want me to stare at them. I do not have children but if dogs are any indication about what raising a child is like, I feel like I now have an understanding why my parents seemed to always be crazed maniacs while I was growing up.

Trying to find the necessary peace and quiet that I need to successfully study for my personal training certification is like looking for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. When I sit on the couch, they cuddle up as close as possible to me and nudge my study materials out of the way because they need to be comfortable. When I sit at the table, Miles wants to sit at the table with me and be part of the action and Chase whines until I let him on my lap.

A dios Mio. I am very easily distracted, and the cuteness of my dogs is too difficult for me to ignore. Indulging in their little moments of adorableness is my weakness.

Before my failed attempts at studying last night I decided to do my 8 mile progressive run for the week. I didn't have high hopes because I have been feeling exhausted this week and had to literally roll myself off my bed in the morning, which was at about 10 a.m. and I never sleep till 10...EVER.

Often times when my body is in it's most tired state, I run my best. Not really sure how that works out, but my life always defies the norm. My first mile started at a leisurely 7:41, by mile 5 I was at 7:01. Miles 6 through 8 clocked in sub 7, and felt great.

Progressively picking it up on my long runs brings fire to my legs and makes the endorphins fly through my body. It was a great way to start my weekend that was followed by a delicious dinner and the movie Despicable Me. I love how childrens movies melt my heart and bring tears to my eyes.

I made my hubby gluten free pasta in a white wine cream sauce with chicken and bacon. It was a party in my mouth, and will probably be my midnight snack this evening.

Tonight I need to make up for yesterdays lost studying time. With the hubs home, the dogs, my still new iPhone, and the million other things that I let distract me I hope that I make some progress. Heres to wishful thinking!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pizza and Humbled Feelings

This has been an incredibly strange week for me. I have been feeling extremely guilty and overly sensitive.

The time change, the eight days straight of work I had after returning from out of town, and all the crazy things that are going on in the world right now have put me over the edge. Add all three together totaling one really weird week for me filled with awkward tears and humbled feelings. At night I haven't been able to sleep because I cannot stop thinking about the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and all the nuclear reactors blowing up. My heart just feels broken for all of Japan and those who had to watch as their loved ones were carried out to sea or crushed in the rubble of crumbled buildings, and now have to worry about their potential exposure to dangerous toxicity.

Guilt is overwhelming me for all of the things that I have in my life, and how I am a truly blessed and fortunate woman. Right now I just feel very convicted for resenting all greatness I have in my life, and not feeling appreciative enough. Sometimes I am the worst wife ever, I am extremely selfish and expect the world to revolve around me, I can be uptight and unappreciative, and I do not give enough love to my precious loved ones.

We are given a short time on earth that is really just a blink in the span of eternity. So it is time to stop being a difficult wife, relax and be easy going and acknowledge that the world does not stop for my desires, and love and appreciate the people and greatness I have in my life.

So last night I decided that step 1 of being a better wife would be to actually put my prized culinary skills to use more often. Doug is the KING of processed foods. His skills in the kitchen are somewhat limited, and I am not often home in the evenings to prepare a fresh meal for him, so oreos and spaghettio's are his frequent go to dinner. He does not particularly care for fruits and veggies, and I am convinced that is just because he isn't quite sure how to prepare them in a way that he likes. This is partially my fault because he has asked me numerous times throughout the years to give him mini cooking lessons which always turn out bad because I get into control freak mode and tell him hes holding the knife wrong or get frustrated because it takes him longer to do things that me, and in the end take over and just do it all myself. This is why I feel like the worst wife ever lately.

Baby steps are needed to transform any produce hater into a veggie loving crazed manic, so last night I opted to make him homemade pizza. His half pepperoni, my half spinach and mushroom.

My pizza dough is the easiest ever to make and it yields 1 normal sized pizza.

Simple Pizza Dough

1/4 oz. Active dry yeast
1/2 cup Warm water
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 cup All-Purpose flour

1. Activate the yeast by placing it into the warm water with the honey. Stir until combined and let sit for a few minutes.
2. Put the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the activated yeast and the olive oil. Mix until somewhat combined.
3. Knead the dough until it becomes homogeneous.
4. In the same bowl that the mixture came from, lightly grease the inside with either a cooking spray or a small amount of olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a piece of plastic wrap.
5. The dough needs to rest and be proofed. After about 2 hours it should double in size. Lightly punch the dough down.
6. Let the dough rest another 20 minutes before rolling out.

After rolling out the dough, I brush it with a small amount of olive oil and place it in a 425 degree oven for about 5 minutes before putting on the toppings to ensure the crust bakes all the way through. Bakes best at 425 degrees.

Today I am filled with humbled feelings of how precious my time on earth is and feel like I am going to love a little more, say a few more thank you prayers, and show a few extra smiles.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Countdown to Spring

Todays workout was an easy 6 miler. Followed by lots and lots of these:

Strength and resistance training for my legs used to be a dreadful experience. But over the past few years I have come to love squats, dead lifts, lunges, and some crazy dynamic stretching routines for the legs. Running is a great workout, but unfortunately it does not work all of the muscles in our legs evenly and can create imbalances which can cause injury. I have had quite a laundry list of injuries in the past, none of which were ever a very enjoyable experience. And these days I'm all about the "prehab".

Learning to listen to the signals my body is sending out about normal discomforts and eeekkk what are you doing to me pain has definitely taken some time. Most runners have weak hips, which can lead to severe knee and foot pains, and I used to be vying for the #1 spot in this category. I love running and if I want to be 85 years old crossing the finish lines of marathons, paying attention to my gait and my bodies imbalances has to be a priority.

Lunges are my savior...that is after Jesus.

And yes I did intentionally crop my head out of that photo. I haven't washed (or brushed) my hair since Saturday and have been putting it into french braids and weird twisties that has left it defying gravity. It is gross and I wouldn't want to subject anyone to my Medusa-like do.

Spring is almost here, and I think my pups are ready for it. They have been couch potatoes for the past several months, and I think that all of their muscles have become mush, so I forced them on a long walk on this sunny 60 degree day. As much as I have loved our snuggie snuggle times this winter, its time to get them in shape for the doggie beach season. Doggie boot camp started today.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Ides of March

The Ides of March came one day early for me when I feel walking up the stairs of the EL today completely wiping out and causing a back up in pedestrian traffic. Truthfully this is not a rare occurrence for me, I manage to have major wipe outs often even though I am 27 years old. If I have not figured out how to put one foot in front of the other by now, Lord help me when I'm in my elderly years.

My niece Allison, that lives in Dallas, turns 5 tomorrow. She is a spunky little tot, and I enjoy her company. I think that she will definitely grow up to be a comedian.

Doug is awesome with kids, he will be an amazing father one day...don't get excited D that doesn't mean today (D has caught a bit of baby fever).

This week is a recovery week for me, which couldn't have come at a better time. Daylight savings time has me messed up, and I need a few days to adjust my sleeping patterns to be able to tackle the 60+ mile weeks ahead successfully. I crawled out of bed a bit after 9 this morning only because I had to get to the post office after hitting snooze about 12 times.

Sadly again this morning I didn't make it to my resistance training date that I made for myself. Generally I am great keeping my a.m. dates at the gym to pump some iron, but for the past several months I have skipped quite a few. Honestly I think its because I have been living in giant sweaters and yoga pants all winter and have no concept of what my body really looks like under all those layers of bulk.

This week I WILL fit in 3 resistance training sessions, and 2 yoga sessions. I have made a promise to myself, and I can't not let myself down.

This weeks plan:

Monday: 7.65 steady state run in 56 mins
Tuesday: 7 miler on treadmill at 2% incline
Wednesday: 6 miler easy
Thursday: 6 miles with 5/4/3/2/1 at tempo pace (was supposed to do this workout almost two weeks ago and didn't...whoops)
Friday: 6 miles easy
Saturday: 8 mile progressive run

And I have to try to find a CPR class to take. Happy Monday.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Feed Me

Today I had a progressive 15 miler on the books. I cut the run about half a mile short because I was hungry. Really I should have just finished the last few minutes, but my tummy felt like it just could no longer continue on in an empty state. Usually I fuel up on clif shot bloks before a long run, but my supplies are out and I have been way too lazy to head to the store to get some more. So today I headed out on for my run with just a few gumdrops in my belly, and it really was not enough to sustain me.

After fueling up on peanut butter waffles and fruit I felt much better. They were delish despite the batter being extra thick. I really didn't care what the consistency of the batter was, I was so hungry I would have eaten food off of the floor with dog hair on it after I stepped on it with my dirty running shoes.

Lately I have been forgoing my trips to yoga. This has left my muscles feeling tight, most especially my quads. My past few runs I have felt like a hippo trying to run in high heels.

If I only had a personal assistant to stretch me after each and every workout, I would be a happy girl. Alas, I do not.

Next week will be an easy recovery week for me with 40 miles on the schedule. The major goal will be to fit at least 2 yoga classes in, and maybe find sometime for a massage. My shoulders are so tight that it is uncomfortable to sleep, and I'm tired so a good nights sleep without discomfort would be nice.

4 weeks until an 8k and I'm super excited. I haven't raced in nearly 6 months, and I am aching for a challenge.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ooops I forgot

Yesterday afternoon I originally planned on doing a 6 mile tempo run. I ended up having to do my tempo today because when I went out for my workout yesterday I forgot to actually do the tempo. Yes, this may sound weird but my mind completely blanked out and it was almost like I was asleep while running. It's not like my mind was consumed by other thoughts, it was just blank from being so tired for so many days in a row that I didn't realize until I had already ran 4 leisurely miles that I initially set out with a goal for the day.

Honestly I think it is because I spend too much time in the company of my pups who spend at least 20 hours of the day sleeping. They live a quite simple life and truthfully I am quite jealous that they never worry about treats going to their problem areas making their jeans tight, what they look like or the last time they washed their hair, or even stress about whats on their agenda for the week. If I did believe in reincarnation, I would want to come back as a high class dog.

With yesterdays mind-fart I had no choice but to tempo my way home from work today. Running after work is difficult for me, I feel tired and like I just want to go home and wrap myself in my snuggie and cuddle up with my pups. But I wanted to get this workout in. With an 8k coming up in 4 weeks, I want to be prepared and feel light and quick on my feet.

The tempo turned out well. Goal pace today was slightly under 7 minute miles, and I set out on the run allowing myself to not be too stressed by the pace due to the extreme tiredness I have been experiencing lately. I hit every mile under my goal, even when I had to take a quick time out somewhere along mile 4-5 when the carrots I snacked on shortly before my run decided that they no longer wanted anything to do with me. Mile splits were 6:57, 6:58, 6:48, 6:55, 6:50, and 6:43.

Maybe all the candy I bought in NYC and have been snacking on nonstop for the past few days provided enough glycogen stores to power me through.

Tomorrow will be a recovery day, and Saturday will be a progressive 15 miler.
On a random side note, I read online this morning about a suburban Illinois runner that is hoping to run a sub 2:36 marathon in LA this month by fueling on only McDonald's for 30 days before the race. He calls himself the McRunner. I wish him the best of luck. What Mickey D's does to my tummy is no good, but all of our bodies react differently to stimuli and maybe he found the secret ingredient to make him a super fast marathoner.
This gives me hope that Sour Patch Kids and Gummi Bears will make me a super fast runner.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Safety First

This morning while I was reading Runner's World Daily News as I usually do, I felt unsettled by the latest running news headline. Their homepage today reads "R.I.P. Sally Meyerhoff", an Arizona marathoner and triathlete that was killed when biking through and intersection and struck by a truck.

It is always a sad day for me when I hear news about a biker or runner who was killed from a careless mistake. Runners with headphones and blaring music, bikers without helmets, driver who aren't fully aware of their surroundings, all hazards that can change life in an instant.

Before I head out for a tempo run this afternoon in the rain, I think that it is good to take a moment and remind myself that while coming to a complete stop at crossings may seem inconvenient and act as a disruption to my workout, I am not in control of anyone but myself. It cannot be assumed that others see me, and I should always react as if they are not aware of my presence.

Life is precious, don't take your safety for granted.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Weekend in NYC

A change of scenery is sometimes necessary in order for me to keep my sanity. Heading out to New York for a long weekend was just what my mind, body, and soul needed. I love the urban lifestyle that Chicago has, but sometimes I feel like a caged animal that is aching to get out and experience something different.

Our first full day there is was sunny and almost 60 degrees, the perfect day to roam around the city. We took a stroll through Central Park, which was huge. I think its amazing that in middle of the largest city in the country there is this amazing space with plenty of grass and trees, with peace and serenity all around. Central Park even has streets dedicated to runners and bikers.

We basically spent the entire day on Saturday walking through the streets of NYC, and it was great. In addition to our stroll through Central Park we went to Rockefeller Center, Dylan's Candy Bar, Dean and Deluca, and hit up not one but TWO pizza shops. We also trekked through Times Square on several different occasions, and it was madness.

Sometimes I can be a stubborn and difficult person to deal with. After what seemed like the busiest week ever, a relaxing vacation was just what I needed. By Saturday afternoon the rapid pace of the week finally caught up with me and I felt mentally and physically exhausted. I was not the most cooperative person to be on vacation with, my PMS and exhaustion had put me very on edge and not really wanting to do anything fun.

Overall the trip was great, and getting to spend 4 days with my best friend was an amazing blessing. Doug is a good sport when I get crabby, after all these years he had learned to just ignore my insanity and continue on until I get back to my senses.

Even though I was a crabby-patty and really just wanted to lay in bed and sleep all day, I tried to take in the city as best as I could. We did some really fun things, and I really enjoyed being with the hubster. Empire State Building did let us down however. As luck would have it the morning we decided to venture there it was rainy and windy, and there was no visibility.

By Monday morning when we were getting ready to head out, I begun to get sad. I like NYC and feel like I needed a few more days there.

For my next getaway I think it may be best to take a few days away from work before and after the trip. Getting back to reality is difficult for me today. I could not get out of bed this morning. I have no desire to do the things that I need to. There is no motivation for my run this afternoon. My house is a mess. I totally slacked on my resistance training today.
Todays workout is an easy 7. I will eventually get to it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Until Tomorrow

On the eve of my 27th birthday, I am feeling spent. It has been a long and exhausting week, and I am more then ready for a vacation. Our NYC trip has caused me to rearrange my workouts this week to ensure that I get my most important runs in while I'm still here in Chicago. So yesterday I ventured out on my 15 miler that was supposed to be a progressive run for me. It wasn't. I spent the first 4 miles working out the tightness in my legs, then when I turned into the wind with 5 miles to go, I felt like I was moving in slow-motion. Around mile 12 my plantar fasciitis made a short appearance, and my goal changed from powering through each mile at a higher intensity then the last to just maintaining and getting home in one piece.

It can be heartbreaking when the workout you are most looking forward to for the week doesn't go as planned. But I thank my body for making it through, and I know that it is impossible to feel at 100% every workout. Today I originally planned to do a tempo run. Stupid, yes but I did not want to have to worry about it in NYC nor did I really want to start my birthday before 5 a.m. with speed work. After listening to my body at the gym, I knew there was no way I would have a successful tempo today. Instead I cross trained today on the elliptical and will be heading out bright and early to start off my 27th birthday with the need for speed.

I could have tried to muster through a tempo today, but it would have been useless. Mentally I was saying "go, go, go" but physically my body was saying "pump the brakes lady". In the past 5 days I have done two 15 milers and ran a total of 50 miles, and do not have a day off until Sunday. Logically a day of cross training was needed to stay healthy for my upcoming spring races, which is EXTREMELY important to me. I want to be content and happy with my runs, that will not happen if I burn myself out by getting over zealous early in the game. I still have 5 weeks until my 8k, 10 weeks until my half, and 12 weeks until my 10 miler. Plenty of time to be fiercely aggressive in my workouts.

This morning I had a minor fashion meltdown while packing for my trip. Every time I go away I can never decide what I want to wear days in advance, it's too much of a commitment that I am overwhelmed with making right now. So I'm taking my entire closet and all of my accessories. No compromises.

A birthday wouldn't be complete without sweets, and I look forward to indulging in my share tomorrow...and maybe for a few days after.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

T-Minus 2 Days

Yesterday was the hubsters birthday. Doug has had a very closely knit group of friends since he was a tot, so they all came over to our house for some cake and ice cream. 27 is defiantly not too old for an ice cream sundae bar. Doug has also been working very hard on launching his very own blog which will showcase his amazing artistic skills in cartoon form, you can check it out here.

While yesterday was cake and ice cream for him, for me things in the world weren't so care free. I worked mornings earlier in the week so that I would have the opportunity to spend the evening of Doug's birthday with him, and I am not a morning person. Getting the cake made, the snacks prepped, getting the house cleaned up, attending a wake and a funeral for Doug's uncle who lost his battle with cancer last week, worrying about getting things together for our get away this weekend, and trying to squeeze in my workouts has been a bit much for me. But last night I knew that as tired as I have been the past few days, it was important that Doug had a special day. So I did what any wife would do when they are spent, I just kept guzzling down the coffee.

Need less to say I crashed last night at about 11:30. Monday was an easy 7 and Tuesday was an easy 6 for me, both of which did not feel so great. My body needs at least 8 hours of solid sleep a night in order to feel rested on my runs, which I unfortunately have yet to hit this week. We are heading out of town on Friday (my birthday), and I have had to rearrange my workouts so that I have the chance to get in all quality miles before I head out to NYC.

This weeks planned workouts:

Monday: 7 miles easy. DONE, 7.07 miles in 52:50.
Tuesday: 6 miles easy. DONE, 6.39 miles in 46:46.
Wednesday: 15 miles progressive.
Thursday: 8 miles total, 1 mile warm up, 6 miles tempo at 6:59, 1 mile cool-down.
Friday: 6 miles recovery.
Saturday: 6 miles with 5/4/3/2/1.
Sunday: A day of rest enjoying NYC and eating my weight in pizza.

Normally I wouldn't do a long run followed by a speed workout, but this week I have left myself with no other option. 2 days until the trip of a lifetime! NYC I hope you're ready for me!