Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Calorie Free Cupcake

Do fat and calories still count if I eat this slowly?


I didn't think so.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Learning Selflessness for Team World Vision

This morning I woke up with a headache, one that I have had for several days now. I haven't been sleeping well and have a lot of things on my mind. The commitments I have made, my priorities to my family, developing my career, and marathon training have been sucking all of the energy out of me. I haven't had the chance to relax and reflect on the necessary things in my life that need my attention, and I constantly feel anxious. Life has me planning for the next moment before I allow myself to enjoy the current one. The balance that I have been barking about for months now keeps teetering back and forth and life is never quite level in my household.

Today could have been like any other stress filled day for me. Waking with a headache. Going for a run where I am still feeling some fairly severe pain from my fall on Saturday. Running into a trash can while on my run that left an ugly strawberry on my arm (if you haven't guessed by now I am rather clumsy). Realizing that a lifting session isn't a good idea again today with the combo of the head and knee pains. The grocery store not having the produce that I wanted. Water being shut off in my building without my notice, AGAIN.

I realized that the water was turned off when I was making breakfast this morning as I was attempting to wash my berries. Lifted the handle of the spout, and nothing came out. Immediately I became frustrated because I knew that this would complicate my morning. Grabbing my keys and leashing up my pups I walked to the 7-11 and bought the largest bottle of water they had, $2.90 for water...did I mention that I am against bottled water? Like the concept, hate where all the bottles end up and the complications it makes for our environment.

When I got home, I washed my berries with my $2.90 bottle of water and sat down to enjoy my breakfast. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, and my heart became heavy. I felt convicted of the things I take for granted, the things that I never have to think about in my life because they are just there. My heart felt even more somber when I acknowledged how much I am slacking on my commitment to Team World Vision because this is their purpose, providing water and resources.

Team World Vision is a charity that was developed in 2005 with the purpose of providing clean water to those in Africa and Haiti. Their vision is to provide basic resources to those in need and help fight poverty. In February I decided that this was something I wanted to be a part of and decided to run the Chicago Marathon in the fall for TWV and raise as much money as I could for this amazing cause. I don't know what happened to my heart between then and now, but this commitment had somehow been pushed to the back burner and thought of as something that I will take care of tomorrow. But as we all know, tomorrow never comes.

Clean drinking water is something that I value, but take for granted because it is always there for me. I don't have to think about where it comes from, if it is safe to drink, or how much I use. It's abundance in my life has never had to be questioned. The sad thing is that this is a luxury and while I may claim to be a simple lady, I am very fortunate to have this in my life. Not worrying about washing clothes, showering, brushing my teeth, and staying hydrated are all things that I mindlessly do in my life. I am a very fortunate and lucky woman.

Water is an essential nutrient, and important for all people. If this is something that speaks to your heart, please clink on the below link and help me raise money for Team World Vision to provide essential resources to those who are not as lucky as we are.

Team World Vision, we all can make a difference.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gotein Giveaway!!!

In life I'm always a day late and a dollar short, so it only seems natural that I'm one month behind the rest of the blogging world with a Gotein giveaway.

So if you haven't yet heard, Gotein is a powdered protein supplement that has only 100 calories and 24 of the needed essential vitamins and minerals. Gotein comes in three different flavors; chocolate, vanilla, strawberry.

Heres how it works:
  • Drink 1/3 of a standard 16.9 oz water bottle. Add the powder. The less water in the bottle the thicker the drink will be.
  • Swirl so the power doesn't get stuck in the cap, then shake until completely mixed in.
  • Drink and enjoy.
What I like about Gotein:
  • Convenient
  • The chocolate tastes like iced hot chocolate
  • Portable
  • Easy to use
  • Curbed my post-run appetite just enough to let me get in a nice stretching session
What I didn't like about Gotein:
  • That they advertise to use a plastic water bottle? Why not a reusable one? Plastic water bottles aren't very environmentally friendly.
  • If you don't mix it enough, there are chunks. Made that mistake the first time. Protein chunks do not taste yummy.
  • I'm anti supplements. While it was great to be given this opportunity, I don't believe that supplements or processed items offer higher quality vitamins and minerals then natural foods.
So if you haven't yet had your chance to give Gotein a go, NOWS THE TIME!!! To win your own samples of Gotein is easy, just leave one comment below for each:
  • Must be a Chicago Runner Girl follower (mandatory)
  • EXTRA ENTRY: Head on over to Facebook and like Gotein
  • EXTRA ENTRY: Tell me your plans for the 4th of July
Its that simple. Giveaway ends one week from today, July 5th at midnight.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Marathon Training Week 3 Recap

Poor planning skills for long run recovery were the theme for this past week. 65 goal miles with 64 actual, 7 of which were on an elliptical.

Monday: 8 miles slow on the treadmill in 1:03:50. Did an 18 miler the day prior, should have taken a rest day here but didn't. My legs weren't quite ready to go for a 2+ hour run without a rest day to follow, should have waited a few more weeks in my cycle to attempt this. Hit the weight room at the gym and got in a full body lifting session.

Tuesday: 9.11 miles in 1:10:01. Still lingering aches from the 18 miler. I actually thought on this day that I may be developing a foot problem.

Wednesday: 9.64 miles in 1:14:38. Originally planned for a tempo on this day, but my legs STILL were achy. The foot pains from Tuesday ceased, but now my knees were aching. Full body resistance session.

Thursday: Trying out a new speed work system with two-a-days. Am speed session, pm recovery run. Morning run was a 5 mile tempo @ 6:55 pace, which was slightly slower then planned but decent. In the late afternoon went for a 3.1 extra easy shake out run with the hubby in a pair of shoes that made my achy knees worse and I now want to light on fire.

Friday: Knees were terrible at this point in the week. Those damn shoes really did a number on me. Decided that it would be best to turn to the elliptical on this day so that my long run of the week would still be possible. I hate the elliptical. My feet go numb, is that normal??? Upper body resistance session.

Saturday: Woke early to get in 20 miles but feel short on time and knew that I had to cut it short, so I clocked 18.9 miles in 2:21:43. IT FELT AMAZING. Took 2 Clif Gu's that felt like they helped tremendously. Really wish I could have finished out the last mile, but bad planning said otherwise. When I woke my knees felt great, until my catastrophic fall later in the afternoon.

This week I felt twinges in every muscle in my entire body, which I know was because I didn't take a day off after last Sunday's 18. Now with my knee bruised, swollen, and stiff from my fall I know that next week will require some major adjustments. I am going to back my mileage down for the week to about 50ish miles and make attempts to get in some yoga. Taking care of my wounded knee is top priority this week.

Do you take Gu on your long runs?
If so, how many and how often?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

One Self Inflicted Stressful Saturday

Ever have one of those days when you try to squeeze everything in and nothing seems to be turning out quite the way you planned? Today was that day for me.

6 am: Wake up. Feed the dogs, and take them for a walk. Eat some Clif Shot Bloks, apply sunblock and Vaseline. Put on my favorite Lululemon running shorts and my favorite Addias socks. Pull my Clif Gu out of the freezer and shove it into my tiny pockets like a fat man in a little coat.

6:30 am: Head out for my planned 20 miler.

9:10ish am: Return from what should have been a 20 miler but was only 19 because of timing.

9:15-9:30 am: Take an ice bath and suck down some Gotein (check back on Monday about this).

9:30 am: Eat as much fruit as possible in 15 minutes for breakfast.

9:45 am: Shower. Wash the filth off of my greasy grimy hair trying to look presentable for a bunch of people who are not familiar with my normal lack of concern about my appearance.

10:50 am: Rush out of the house like a man woman with full hands. Iced coffee, check. Baby shower gift, check. Ice cream for baby shower, check. Loaded purse, check. Cupcake stand, check.

11:05 am: Arrive 5 minutes late to baby shower and feel like an idiot for being the last one to arrive.

12:50 pm: Exit baby shower early to get home and go to work by 2:30.


12:55 pm: When I should have made a U-turn in my car, instead I decide to be a commendable citizen driver by getting in the left turn lane and going around the block back to my house.

1 pm: The sudden realization of how in the city "going around the block" is a bad idea on a Saturday afternoon hits me. Really it shouldn't take 15 minutes to drive just under 1 mile, but urban life says otherwise.

1:05 pm: Get overly frustrated when trying to get into my alley. NEWS FLASH PEOPLE: Alleyways are not parking lots.

1:07 pm: Get into an argument with a landscaper blocking the 2nd entrance of my alley.

1:10 pm: Finally pull into my garage.

1:12 pm: Rush like a mad woman up marble stairs in slippery flip flops. Fall. Hit my knee on the marble. Hard. Hit my head on the door. Hit my wrist. All for the protection of my iPhone.

1:13 pm: Arrive in my apartment. Tears streaming down my face. Blood trickling down my leg.

1:15 pm: Take the dogs outside for a gimpy walk. They think I'm crazy because I'm rushing around the house. Crying. Bleeding.

1:45 pm: Make it to the train.

1:50 pm: Eat a nutritious lunch outside of my backpack. Start to notice a tingly feeling in my arm. Discoverd that my arm is scraped.

5:05 pm: Go to Potbellies for a sandwich.

5:15 pm: Open the sandwich at work and realize that those jerks forgot to put all the toppings on it. Sad. Fight back tears.

6:30 pm: Declare this day a loss. Mentally move on to Sunday. Enjoy Shelia's Dream Bar.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Columbia Product Review and Gu

I was recently contacted by Columbia to be a part of their Spring Field Test where they sent me their Cool Rules top. This product came at a great time because as I recently noted here, in the heat I generally avoid tops of any kind and stick to sports bras only which has recently brought on a few awkward experiences. For me the usual Chicago summer humidity makes me sweat like a nasty pig and I feel like I cannot breath in tops, but I thought that I would give this tee a go anyways.


Ignore the smug look on my face and the crazy hair, it was early.

A few bits of info about this top, taken from Columbias website:

Our new Omni-Freeze® features special flat yarn construction, which increases the surface area against your skin to pull heat away as soon as it’s generated. The result? Fabric that feels cool to the touch. Toss in UV-busting sun protection and advanced evaporation technology and you’ve got a running top that seriously does it all. Jacquard engineered mesh patterning is strategically placed on the back and at the underarm area for maximum ventilation in the places that you need it most.

  • Fabric: 95% polyester/5% elastane Freezer Deluxe
  • Omni-Freeze advanced cooling
  • Omni-Shade® UPF 30 sun protection
  • Omni-Wick® advanced evaporation
  • Form fit
  • 4-way comfort stretch
  • Vented
  • Imported

Yesterdays temps were mid 70's with a mix of patchy clouds, some rain, and the sun when I headed out for my run in this top. I wasn't sure how long I was going to be able to keep the thing on at first due to my intolerance for being hot, but I made it about 6.5 miles feeling quite comfy. After that the sun decided to come out and my body was just too warm to keep it on.


Yes this is my garage and that is the trunk of my car in the photo. And yes my father is a professional photographer and I do not know how to take photos, clearly I didn't inherit this gene.

Things I like about this top:
  • It kept me relatively comfortable and cool.
  • When I started to sweat, the top didn't weigh me down. The top wasn't absorbing my sweat which was nice.
  • The color matches my eyes, completely irrelevant but a nice perk.
  • Loose fitting, and I didn't feel restricted.
  • Lots of venting.
  • While I only made it 6.5 out of 9.6 miles in this top, for me that says a lot considering I usually cannot keep a top on for more then 1 mile.
  • The fabric doesn't absorb running stink like other tops.
  • It dried fast post run. After my run I headed to the gym and by the time I got there my the top was dry.
Things I didn't like:
  • The sizing runs a bit large. I asked for a small, and it was quite bulky on me for a running top.
  • The tag on the inside is HUGE. While I know that I could cut it off, I didn't think about that ahead of time and it was annoying me during my run.
  • This shirt is $45. Maybe it's just me and I'm cheap, but I feel like this is expensive for a short sleeved tee.
  • I don't think that for ME this is a good top for the summer. This is more of a spring/fall top when the humidity in Chicago isn't trying to kill me. But I will be rockin this top to the gym as often as possible.
If you are a person who likes to wear a wicking tee during the summer time and don't mind spending $45 on one top, I would definitely recommend heading to Columbia and picking up the Cool Rules top.

On another note, thank you to for all of the recommendations on sunblock and gu products recently. I really appreciate all of the info I have received, and I think that it is amazing that blogging athletes are willing to share their knowledge. You all are awesome and I'm sending you all thank you hugs.

This morning I headed out to my local Fleet Feet to pick up some gu like products. I love Fleet Feet because the staff is always so helpful, kind, knowledgeable, and patient. The lovely sales women that helped me out provided some great tips for guing this marathon season. Without my asking she went online to check out who was sponsoring the gu stations at the marathon so that I would be able to plan accordingly. One of the things that brings me the most joy in life is wonderful customer service, and this lady was awesome.

FYI: If you are running the Chicago marathon this fall, the gu stations will be sponsored by Clif Shot Gel.

TIP: The sales women told me that if I have a difficult time getting the gu down, to stick it in the freezer the night before use. Apparently it resembles a push pop when frozen and loses some of the sticky quality that so many people don't like.

***The Cool Rules top was provided to me free of charge for testing purposes. The opinions reflected here all all my own.***

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sibling Rivalry

Dear Miles and Chase,
Please do not CONSTANTLY fight over the same toy,
it is really annoying.
You have hundreds of carcasses, balls, ropes, and other toys
so why do you always both want the same stupid bone?
Why? It's not even really a toy???

I am not a referee.
My yoga mat is not a cushion for your hairy bodies.
You are brothers and grown dogmen, work it out yourself.

Love you both with all my heart,
but please stop annoying me,
Your Momma

P.S. Would it kill you to run a vacuum every now and then?
Your hair is out of control you wooly mammoths.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What Do You Run For?

Team world vision.
We all have the power to make a difference.
Run for a cause.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week 2 Recap, Reflections, and Goals

This has been a crazy week for me.

Monday. Bright and early start where I accomplished more before 1 pm then I usually do in a week. 3 hours being Betty Crocker in my kitchen baking goodies for my Bible Study that I wasn't going to be able to attend. 1 hour lifting session at the gym with upper and lower body lifts. 9.2 easy miles on the lakefront path where I saw a coworker which was awkward because I was super sweaty and extra shiny from all the sunblock I caked on, oh and I wasn't wearing a shirt. That was nice. A few walks with the dogs, a half ass shower, and lunch being eaten on the go all totaling up to one busy morning followed by 8 hours of working for the man.

Tuesday. 9.41 easy miles where I AGAIN saw a coworker in all of my sweaty topless glory. This wouldn't have been so bad if she didn't mention this to my boss with comments following about her jigglage and mine.

Wednesday. 8.9 total miles with 5x1600's with the craziest splits ever. This workout was a toughie and I hated every minute of it because my muscles just weren't having it. BUT I appreciated it, and I am glad that it was tough. Reminders that goals wouldn't be as special if they were easily attainable is something we all need to experience every now and then to make progress.

Thursday. 9.08 easy recovery miles. Spent the morning with an old friend and we reminisced a bit about old Cross Country and Track memories from High School and what our futures may be leading us to.

Friday. Planned on doing my long run here. Woke up at 6 am, had a light breakfast, headed out to the gym for a full body lifting session, then hit the lakefront path at about 8:15 when temps and humidity were already a bit unfriendly. After mile 1 I decided that it wasn't worth risking death on this day and modified my workout to an easy 9.03 miles.

Saturday. Had plans to meet my family at the zoo at 9:30 am with intentions to get up slightly before 5 am and squeeze in my 18 miler...HA! I even thought if I slept with the blinds and curtains open that it would be easier for me to rise with the sun, but I instead after resetting the alarm several times decided to postpone yet another day so that I could make the most of the few hours I had with my family before I had to go to work.

Sunday. 17.63 miles. Longest run for me so far this year. I planned on heading out extra slow, which turned out to be my best idea all week, and pace according to feel. At mile 9 I stopped for the first time for water and my first EVER gu experience. Honestly never had this stuff before because the idea of it grosses me out, I mean it is basically chemicals that are produced in a factory that have no close relation to any type of food. Thought that my body would hate it, but instead my body LOVED IT! The last 8.63 miles felt great, and I felt completely energized and stronger then the first half of the run.

Moving ahead to the coming weeks there are a few short-term goals that I want and NEED to focus on:

Attire. After two embarrassing encounters where I was topless (had a sports bra on, my breasts are small but not small enough to be completely topless) while running into coworkers maybe I should begin to consider bringing a top along with me on my runs. While these two run-ins weren't as bad as the time I saw my director while I was walking on the lakefront path with a girlfriend in a bathing suit where he felt the need to stop and chat making some really weird comments that I would just like to forget but never will be able to, still slightly uncomfortable for me. Why do I feel okay with strangers seeing me almost naked and not okay with coworkers in this position?

Fueling. I really need to explore my options here with a plan for my long runs. I've never had a fueling plan for marathons and I know this has contributed to my "hitting the wall" after about 15. Now that I know my body won't completely reject gu I'm excited to continue to experiment with this.

Stretching. For some reason in the past few weeks I have omitted the stretching portion of my routine. I think it is time to bring it back.

Post Run Recovery. ICE ICE ICE!!! Just because my joints aren't in pain doesn't mean they don't need a little extra love.

Sunblock. I am a freak about this and always put it on. I use Coppertone Sport SPF 30 Ultra Sweatproof block for my body and Neutrogena SPF 70 Sport Face for my face. These are great, but the Coppertone is greasy and I would like to not look so shiny.

Commitments. There have been a few important commitments that I have neglected recently and need to refocus.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mile Repeats and About My Word Vomit

I received so many wonderful comments in regards to my last posting, and I just wanted to give a little thank you to all of your kind thoughts. For me running is a really raw exposing experience, where yes I do put pressures on myself to turn up the heat one degree with each workout. But I am a very appreciative person, and I praise my LORD everyday for my abilities. Being able to move my body the way I do is truly a gift that I am not capable of powering on my own, and I bow down to my savior each and everyday for this blessing. While it may have come off that I do not enjoy hitting the pavement and testing my limits, running really does bring peace and joy to my life. I am an honest woman, and life is not always easy and I do not want to live in a world where I pretend that it is. This blog is a space for my word vomit to exit through my fingers and be turned into some type of sense, which may not always seem apparent.

Where others may seek comfort in the silence of their fears, the opposite is true for me. I do have fears in life and instead of holding these thoughts in and letting them permeate like toxins running through my blood, they need to exit and be laid to rest so that I can move forward with my life. I have been holding in my marathon fears in for way too long, pretending as if they do not exist in my mind, and the only way I know how to move forward is to be honest with acknowledgement where these thoughts can then be laid to rest. My journey is no more special or important then any other, everyone has struggles that weight them down. Being candid and upfront admitting that anxiety and fears are a normal part of growth, where running is no exception, is my purpose. If my honesty can make one person feel like they are not alone is their struggles, then I have done my job. Every runner, no matter how many miles clocked or pace taken, has what my friend Amanda would call "race residue". Unless we deal with this residue, it will not be washed away and we can prevent ourselves from the great experiences that the future may hold.

So if my last posing made people think that I am a nut case and unappreciative of my abilities, I am sorry but this is how I deal with conflict in my life. My blog is a space for me to be truthful and upfront.

Moving on with life, yesterday I headed out for 5x1600's in the early afternoon. My goal pace for the day was 6:20-25 with 800 jogging recoveries, but I knew when I headed out the door that this wasn't going to happen.

For some reason when I start a new training cycle I always have a difficult time finding my speed, and yesterday was no exception. After the second repeat I was tempted to put a kibosh on the whole workout, but instead decided to just take the recoveries a bit slower and adjust my pace. Overall I was quite a bit off of my goal pace for these repeats, but I am confident in saying that this was a successful workout. Honestly it was difficult, more so then usual, but when I could have thrown in the towel I instead decided to continue on. To me that is more important then the numbers here.

Gearing up for my 18 miler this Friday is making me anxious. This will be my furthest distance run this year and I'm ready for it. Until then lots of carbs and rest is how I will be passing the time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Facing the Fear

During my last training cycle, I was very open and upfront about my training. At the beginning of the week I would post my planned workouts, and then share a bit about how the workouts were going. My blog during those months was what I intended it to be, a training journal.

Here I am in week 2 for the Chicago marathon and I have intentionally been keeping my workouts and goals rather quiet. Its not that I don't want to share, or that I am afraid that someone is going to pilot my training schedule and there will be a chicagorunnergirl doppelganger out there...its because I'm being a fearful dweeb. Yes that is right, I am a dweeb.

Goals are what drive me to move forward in life and try new things. I enjoy conquering my fears (well most of them) and overcoming a challenge coming out on the end a stronger me. But fear is also at times what holds me back, making me a terrified little girl that just wants to hide behind my Momma. I have always known that I am a chicken, and moments like last falls Chicago marathon are burned into my memory reminding me of this on a constant basis. While I have gained quite a bit of self confidence this year in running, I do still have "the fear" when it relates to the marathon. Six marathons are behind me, with only 1 that actually enjoyed myself in. That race I ran as a bandit back in 2004, I know total faux pas, clocking a 3:28 and felt like I could have kept going. It was an amazing experience and I'll save the story for another day. But the other 5 were a losing battle against myself.

So here I am, week 2 day 2 and I still can't decide on my training schedule. I develop each one of my training programs after researching the best workouts for my goal distance, studying pace charts, reading countless articles and studies, and comparing past schedules. It is a labor of love. This year has been a good one for me where I think that I have finally figured out the workouts that my body needs to be able to achieve my goals. Three races into the year with 40 second 8k PR and a 4 minute 8 second 10 mile PR are fairly decent stats and something to be proud of. But even when I think I have figured out a successful system for my body I am still in fear that this may not transfer over for my fall marathon. Truthfully my problem is that I think too analytically about everything.

The only way to get past my dopey fears is to acknowledge them and DEAL with them.

I fear that:
  • My sub 3:10 goal is too great of an achievement for me right now.
  • I am fragile and will break at the least unexpected moment and my dreams will be crushed.
  • People will judge my training and say "too many miles".
  • All sanity will be lost in my mind and I will once again become a maniac that prevents myself from great things.
  • After months of putting the weight lost during marathon training of last year back on, it will yet again fall off and people will say hurtful comments regarding my smaller then usual frame.
  • I will become pregnant and want to run the marathon anyways. Really this wouldn't be a terrible thing, it just wouldn't be what I planned and would call for a rearrangement of my schedule.
  • My training experiences aren't going to provide enough knowledge for further progression.
  • I am getting older. My mother pointed this out to me the other day when a runner told her I am in my "peak years". While I don't believe this because of all of the runners who break past this stereotype, what if I do fall into this category?
  • My commitment to my training will get in the way will all of my other priorities.
  • The marathon isn't my race.
I am a full disclosure kind of gal, so putting my fears into ink as public information may not be of interest to the readers that make a stop here, but for me this is important. I learned last year that pretending like my running fears do not exist and that I am frolicking through a daisy laden field everyday only prevents me from growth. I may fail, I may fall flat on my face and never want to run another marathon again. But knowing that I am human and tried to overcome all of my fears for this race is better then not trying at all and always wondering "what if...", and I don't want to be that person.

So I'm going to give this training a go and it may or may not work, but at least I'm looking all these fears in the face and preventing them from holding me back any further.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Week 1 Recap

Week 1 was kind of a flop for me. Monday's weather started off with balmy conditions nearing 100 degrees with high humidity that I wasn't prepared for. These lovely temps decided to linger for several days and got the best of me. My usually comfortable sub 8 pace for easy runs became a joke to my body and my attention went from pacing and distance to just surviving, which I barely managed most days.

To make matters a bit more complicated for myself, I took 10 days off of weight lifting. No big deal right? Sure, unless you decide to get a little overzealous with the comeback. Tuesday I thought that I would try to be a bad ass and do 3 sets of 15 lunges per leg with 15 pound weights followed by 3 sets of 15 squats with 35 pounds on each side of the bar. My legs are usually freakishly strong for my pint size, but after 10 days of NADA in the resistance realm...this nearly killed me. Every now and then I get a teeniest bit of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness, you know the feeling that happens 24-48 hours after a killer workout), but this was a bit much for me. When I woke up on Wednesday with a tempo run on the schedule and my legs were as stiff as a overly starched shirt, I knew that a modification was in order and there was no way my legs would be able to pump out 6 sub 7 miles.

I've been paying for my eager attitude to get back into the gym all week. Every one of my runs has been cut short this week, and my 60 mile goal missed. A year ago this would have freaked me out and I would have found myself trying to squeeze in a few extra miles somewhere, but not this time around. Missed miles are simply what they are, missed...meaning they have come and gone and there is no need to be a crazy woman and force them into an already booked schedule. This is the only the end of week 1 and I still have 17 weeks ahead of me filled with plenty of miles. I am not worried about my sub 3:10 being compromised because of a few missed miles, I know that come October that finish line will be anxiously awaiting my finish.

Just have to keep reminding myself that balance is important and my abilities aren't what hold me back, it is my head that always gets in the way. As noted here my head may have taken years to get to the right place, but I now know that I possess all the skills and tools to get where I am headed.

These photos have absolutely nothing to do with this posting, but isn't that the sweetest face ever? Melts my heart.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Quality Miles, or Quantity?

For the past few days here in Chicago, it has been me vs. the sun and heat. I have been losing.

I am not quite sure where this crazy weather has come from, but it went from early spring weather conditions to those that we would typically see in July or August in the matter of days. The last week of May it was in the high 30's here, and I was still sporting my winter gear. Now I don't even want to leave the house because the moment I walk outdoors I feel like I'm in a sauna of death. It is not pleasant. My poor pups don't even want to go for walks, they find the teeniest piece of shade outdoors and look at me with their sad puppy eyes probably thinking that I am abusing them by making them go to the bathroom outside in this heat.

Amidst week 1 of training for the Chicago marathon, and it has been rough so far. My first two workouts were easy runs at 10 and 9 miles, but both runs I cut short for fear of my life and safety. When I got in yesterday from what was supposed to be a 9 miler and was only 7, the temp was 101 on my car thermometer. Yikes. Honestly I don't really mind the heat, but I am used to it coming in late summer not late spring. My body is not conditioned for these temps, and it has been making it damn near impossible to get any quality miles in this week. Today my legs feel sluggish, heavy, and drained from the heat.

When my last training cycle came to a close on May 28th at the Soldier Field 10 Mile, I was on cloud 9. I felt like all of my hard works from the 18 weeks prior put me in a great place mentally and physically which left me feeling excited to start my next cycle. After quite a few days off of any type of activity I assumed that my body would be ready to step into marathon training smoothly. Unfortunately I did not consider the weather, and I am finding myself this week fighting a challenge that I wasn't yet prepared for. Two runs into this cycle and I am finding myself drained. BUT, I have been kind of a dope and went out for my runs in the late afternoon heat which isn't the best time to be hitting the pavement. Just when I am starting to get a tad bit cocky about my abilities, the Lord puts his hand on my shoulder and says "slow down woman, don't lose focus of what is most important in life".

Family, faith, friends; all of these are my priorities as well as my own personal achievements. I am slowed today by the reminder that quality miles are more important then the quantity and that time is well spent focusing on all of the facets of life. My life is a constant struggle of balance where my God continues to stop and humble me because of this. So while I am going to focus on the road ahead and achieving my giant marathon goal, I am also going to keep focused on my balance in life and the quality of miles I am putting in.

I am sure that I can get to that starting line on October 9th with a bazillion miles in my legs, but I know that is not going to be what gets me to that sub 3:10 finish. Its the quality of miles which these legs put in that will get me there and the focus on my family, faith, and friends that will make it all the more worth it.

*Photo credits to Brightroom Photography

Monday, June 6, 2011

Back into Marathoning

Today is Day 1 of Week 1 of my Chicago marathon training. I've spent the past week relaxing around the house, studying, spending time with friends and family, eating too much junk, and the weekend at my parents lake house. It has been wonderful, but doing nothing has been exhausting for me. Basically it is more difficult for me to relax then it is to be scheduled. I am a neurotic control freak.

So after a wonderful weekend in the middle of the Wisconsin woods watching dogs swim,

Eating foods covered in sauces, cheese, and lots of butter,

And chillin on a boat,

these legs are ready to work it out, or sweat it out in todays case.

I came home this afternoon with some lovely weather waiting for me. Workout 1 of marathon season, an easy 10 miler, and these comfortable conditions are awaiting to be graced with my presence.

I probably shouldn't have stayed up past my bedtime eating too many s'mores or rolled over when the alarm went off this morning so that I could have gotten my run in while the weather was still playing nice. But I didn't. So I may have to do a modified workout this afternoon, which probably isn't the right foot to start off on. There are still 125 days until race morning, so I don't think a modified workout on day 1 will be too bad. I guess the good news is I'll probably sweat off all of the fried items and cheese I have been shoving into my mouth for the past 48 hours.

Being locked up in the middle of nowhere and not having a 3G connection in the middle of a lake has really put me behind in my blog reading. I guess that means tonight after I recover from losing 30 pounds of sweat from my run my tushie will be parked on my couch with my eyes glued on my laptop.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Little Bit of Everything

Not much going on in the running front of my life this week. I mean I have been running a tad, but not with much of a focus or goal here. This week is my downtime before starting my Chicago marathon training on Monday...which I have not yet established any plans for. Lately my attitude towards things has been more of a one day at a time kinda thing, and that is four days away from I'll touch base with that later I suppose.

So if I ever were to veer off on random tangents about my life, I suppose that this would be the perfect time for that.

I have an obsession with my iPhone. I got the wonderful piece of technology back in February only because my hubby wanted one, and apparently we are twinsies and need to do the same things. In the past 4 months I have not put the dang thing down, I just cannot "unplug" myself. It has taken control of my life, and sadly I am okay with that. I take it with me to the bathroom, to bed, to the gym, and everywhere in between. I do not let others use it, and I cannot live without it. Don't even get me started on the Scrabble app. I think I have a problem.

I think that my hubby is intentionally driving me crazy tonight. He is crunching loud on potato chips and watching my most loathed show on television, Glee, as I am typing and trying to read. Why do I hate singing shows so much, and why am I annoyed that he is also trying to spark up conversation with me? Clearly there is something wrong with me, and we need larger living quarters.

In school, they always told us to end on a positive note. So on the good side of life today I finally stopped being the procrastinating dope that I usually am and decided to take a leap of faith in my brain and all of the contents which it is currently holding. Today is the day that I FINALLY took my American College of Sports Medicine Personal Training Certification test. This is something that I wanted to do back in April, but let other things get in the way and just kept pushing it back. But now I have it, and it feels so good to have this certification under my belt and can get cracking on my new career venture.

I have a pretty sweet apron collection, and I rock each and everyone of them.

I'm a pretty bad ass baker.
Don't hate, I went to culinary school and used to do it professionally.

Why I felt the need to share mindless things about myself today, I do not know. Running brings me sanity and since I have not been doing much of that lately, I suppose that maybe I've lost it. Or it could just be the champagne that I've been drinking this evening.