Friday, September 30, 2011

Blogger Meet Up

Sorry to keep those folks who are interested in a blogger meet up next weekend waiting on the edge of their seats, I just realized that not everyone in the world is like me and waits last minute to plan things for the weekend of a big race. Most of you folks probably have your life together and actually plan accordingly...I'm not one of those peeps, I usually wait for other people to work out the details.

So heres what I have mentally planned out thus far:

Friday 7pm evening meet up 


Saturday 3pm afternoon meet up

I have two places in mind, but would be open to any other suggestions.

Mmmm, PSL

Starbucks in Old Town (210 W. North Ave.) which is on the marathon course, right about mile 10.5.


Check out their site

Forever Yogurt, I know that bloggies love their fro-yo, @ 931 W. Belmont. Largest fro-yo place that I know of in Chitown.

I would like to make a concrete plan by Monday evening so that people can plan accordingly for their weekend, so...

Please vote for your preference below and include any other suggestions you may have.

Looking forward to meeting you all and finally seeing your beautiful faces!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Because Nothing In Life Is Ever Easy...

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us

I am a strong woman.

I have ran 2,000+ miles this year preparing for this marathon.

My desire to press pass challenging times will not defeat me.

When the flesh is weak, the spirit is willing.

There is not a worthy accomplishment in this life that will be an easy feat.

Positivity will always be the power that sees me through.

The purpose of a race isn't to win, it is to test the limits of the human heart.

26.2 miles of running is the perfect time to praise the Lord for the gifts he has blessed me with.

Human growth only occurs when we are brave enough to take a chance to step outside of our comfort zone.

Physically the body is capable of much more then we could ever imagine.

Belief in something greater then I is what inspires me to press on when the road turns rocky.

Via Pinterest

There will not be one moment in time where I feel completely satisfied with who I am because there is always the to goal to learn something new, try something different, and be braver tomorrow then I am today.

I will not settle for a sub-par race effort.

Even if by some miracle I could cross the line faster then ever dreamed, I will NOT be content in my effort because there will always be the opportunity to challenge oneself further.

Via Pinterest

I look forward to getting lost in all of the moments that this 26.2 brings me, moments that I otherwise would not be lucky enough to experience. 

108 days of focused workouts for October 9th have been endured, time to remember them all and praise the good Lord for my health.

Some people can only dream of what it would be like to run 1 mile, I'm running right after another at a kick butt pace to prove that anything is possible.

I was not a born athlete, it was my heart and determination that got me here.

Blisters, chafing, sweat, tears, sunburn, discomfort, progression, suspense, solitude, drudgery, realizations, growth, pride, bliss, modesty, purity.

When training for a big race what emotions do you feel that leave you with feelings of inspiration?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fighting Demotivation

I'm in a demotivated rut. And it sucks.

A few weeks ago I started a new job as a personal trainer at a local gym. When I was offered the position in early August I instantly accepted even though I knew that it probably wouldn't be a good fit for me. Being so desperate to leave my last career I convinced myself that any job would do because it simply could not get any worse for me. There were a lot of second guessing thoughts that rolled through my mind, but I would quickly hush them and persuade myself that I was making the right decision and I needed to give this a try.

Once the new posting started I begun to have weird feelings about the company. Their policies and expectations for personal trainers were not something that I was comfortable with. The solicitation of personal training sessions via cold calls, stalking members at the gym during their workouts, pushing people to purchase expensive supplements that I do not believe in or feel qualified to be selling, and telling people they need my services because they are incapable of taking care of themselves and have no clue what is best for them seemed a bit too pushy for me. I spent several nights in tears upon returning home blabbering on and on to my husband about my reservations to pursue a future with this company and how it just didn't seem like the proper fit. By the time last Friday rolled around I decided that it would be best to resign before I became deeply vested with this job. For me it became apparent rather quickly that subjecting myself to working with a company that promotes practices that go against my ethics would not provide any benefits, so now I am unemployed.

Now I'm feeling a bit defeated. I tried something, it didn't workout and that's fine. But what now?
Where do I go from here?

Do I go back to the ever-so-tricky hospitality industry that made me a rigid and hostile woman?

Do I finally pursue my entrepreneurial dreams to be a running coach and offer personal training sessions away from a gym setting?

 Or do I jump on those writing goals that I have secretly always held in the back of my mind?

Overwhelmed and demotivated. Those are my current feelings.

The frustrating part of this for me is the marathon is now 12 days away, and my head is a hot mess. I feel confident that I have a 3:05 effort in my legs but I'm nervous that in the coming days I will begin to lose focus on the race. 


Please share your most uplifting and motivating story with me!
I need help staying positive!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blogger Meet Up

Now that the Chicago marathon is 13 days away it's time to start planning. Time to roll out the body glide, buy some new socks, decided on which gu flavor you will be enjoying, and plan some blogger meet ups!

If anyone coming into town for the marathon or any local Chicagoans would like to get together for a blogger meet up the weekend of the marathon, October 7-9th, please feel free to contact me at I would love to organize a group meet up for those who are interested.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Week 16 Recap

Goal miles 44
Actual miles 49

This has been a really difficult week for me in both my training as well as my personal life. Stress and anxiety have been flooding my every thought causing me to feel worn down and an emotional mess. Throw in the awkwardness that a taper always brings me and the past 6 days have totaled up to be tricky and icky.

Monday 6.02 miles
First single digit run in MONTHS. It should have felt easy and great, but it wasn't. My legs felt slow and heavy and my mind was astray.    

Tuesday 6.03 miles
Again legs felt blah and it was difficult to hold an 8 pace.  Maintaining focus while running has become extremely difficult.

Planned workout: 10 miles with 6x1 mile repeats @ 6:20-25 pace.
Actual workout: 10.17 miles with 2x 1 miles repeats @ 6:29, 6:33.
Legs weren't loosening up and after 2 repeats rather off pace I decided to just end the speed session. Thought back to the quality vs. quantity miles that I have been working hard at putting in and knew that 4 more repeats would be a bad idea on this morning and it would be in my best interest to just let those miles go. So I did, and I don't feel worried about missing this workout. Sometimes these things happen and yes it sucks that this workout was a FAIL so close to the marathon, but there are no benefits in forcing a crappy workout.

Thursday 5 miles
After several frustrating runs I decided that it would be best to leave the Garmin at home. When the legs are already struggling the last thing I need is to add stress about pace.

AM: 5 miles again without Garmin
PM: 4.5 miles with the hubby without Garmin. Probably should have skipped this but I needed to end the day on a high note and run off some stress. Love the feeling of a bad week closing with my hubby by my side sweatin it out and listening to me ramble on and on and on about what is on my mind.

Saturday 12.01 miles
Last double digit run until the marathon. WHAT???? How can this be? Gosh time has flew by fast! Legs finally felt back to normal, mind is still a bit clouded with fuzzy thoughts.

14 days until the Chicago marathon, time to gather myself and begin an attempt to mentally focus. After a tricky week that has had more tears, frustrations, and anxiety then I would care to admit I need to pull myself together. Lots of weird stuff going on right now, but I'm not going to let it overtake me and lose it like last fall before the marathon. That was ugly, and a recreation of that would be heartbreaking.

Every time you fall down and get back in the race, one more small piece of you starts to fall into place.

Thank you for the reminder Rascal Flatts

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Summer Days Are Gone To Soon

Summer days are gone to soon...

You shoot the moon and miss completely,
And now you're left to face the gloom

The empty room that once smelled sweetly
Of all the flowers you've plucked if only
You knew the reason 

Why you had to each be lonely 
Or was it just the season?

Now the fall is here again
You can't begin to give in
It's all over

When the snow comes rolling through
You're rolling too with some new lover

Will you think of times you told me
That you knew the reason
Why we had to each be lonely
It was just the season.

Goodbye summer.
I will miss you even if you are leaving me for another lover.
Don't forget me, my loneliness will be awaiting your return next year.
Put in a good word with Old Man Winter,
tell him to play nice this year.

On a real note...

So now I am in MAJOR countdown mode for the Chicago marathon. We are in the teens here folks, 18 days! How did this all pass so fast? How is it late September where I am finishing week 16 of this training cycle and gearing up for my most exciting race yet this year? Whooeee, I feel like I have made so much PROGRESS this year to get where I am at this very moment for this next race.

 And it feels so good.

With taper lingering around me and October 9th just 18 sleeps away, it's time to start getting a game plan together. My biggest challenge right now is marathon attire. If anyone has ever visited Chicago in the fall, then you may know that the weather here is kind of like a freak show. One day it could be 75 and sunny and the next it could be 35 with snow flurries. This makes it really difficult to plan ahead with a race day outfit. Will I need head-to-toe spandex, or will I be sporting major SWASS in just a sports bra and shorts?

This is what I have worked out so far:

This lovely top from Lululemon. Love it. Super comfy and cute.
While I think the necklace may be cute too,
I will be leaving that at home on race morning.

These shorts from Lululemon as well. Really the only selling point for these shorts would be the pockets.
I need a place to put gu, gum, headphones, and possibly chapstick.
There are 3 pockets in these bottoms,
and they are the best shorts I have ever owned.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Week 15 Recap

Goal Miles 85
Actual Miles 83 ish???

Monday 11.17 recovery miles
This was my first day of getting up at 4 am to squeeze my workout in. It was tough and the legs for sure felt slow. It takes a lot longer for the legs to loosen up and shake out in the wee hours of the morning.

Tuesday 13.01 easy miles

Wednesday 12.06 miles
3 miles warm up, 6@ tempo, 3 miles cool down. Splits were 7:00, 6:52, 6:47, 6:44, 6:45, 6:38. Total tempo time was 40:46. This was a tricky workout for me, there is not a drop of speed in my legs before the sun rises but I still had the goal of getting in this tempo. I've been learning that early in the morning it takes about 5-6 miles for the legs to shake out.

Thursday 12.94 recovery miles
This day did quite a number on me. Got in my 13 before work, then once I got to work there was a 1 hour treadmill class that I had to take just a few hours later. Had I'd know that this was coming I probably wouldn't have made an effort to get the 13 in. This was my first treadmill class ever, and let me just say that it was AWESOME! Even though I was tired it was a blast, there was a live DJ with lots of different movements, speeds, and elevations going on. Free weights also accompanied this and man I got my sweat on!

Just a few short hours later I endured a 1 hour kickboxing class that kicked my tushie. By the time I got home I was spent for the day.

Friday OFF
Didn't intend to take the day off here, but Thursday was difficult to recover from. Best news of the day  was when this greeted me in my mailbox:

So close to 2468...darn that would have been super cool

Saturday 21.44
This was the last longish run of this cycle and I now will begin to taper.

Sunday 12 recovery miles

So I ended the week at 83 miles when the goal was to hit 85, but there are quite a few unaccounted miles this week...I'm thinking 8-10. There was the treadmill class and quite a few other crazy activities that have left me feeling sore from my nose to my toes and running around like a maniac. Good news is that I now begin to taper, and will have quite a few single digit runs this week. It'll be nice to catch up on some much needed sleep, get my life back into some type of order, and begin to focus on making progress with my career a bit.

This is really crazy...but there are now 20 days until the big day. Whoa, yikes, eek. I'm ready to crush that goal and show it who is boss. 

Anyone ever taken a treadmill class? 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

It's Been One Of Those Weeks

This week I've been fairly absent from the blogging world. The majority of my time has been occupied by many crazy things and new experiences:

Waking up at 4 am to get in my workouts.
At first I didn't think it was a bad idea, that was until I actually had to live the experience. So there is a reason why I have never woke at 4 am to hit the gym for a weight lifting session and then go out for a 13 mile run...DANG, IT IS HARD!!!! I feel like I'm 85 when I go to bed at 8 pm and when my legs feel stiff as all heck at 5 am.

Oh and I was also reminded why it is best to run while the sun is up...that reason being simple,
You cannot see your footing clearly, and you will most likely fall flat on your face.
I have scrapes on my elbows, stomach, hips and belly button, and they are super hot.

No relevant photos for this post,
just was thinking about purchasing one of these pics. 

Packing my lunch.
So this may sound weird, but I am 27 years old and have been holding down a full time job since I was 20 where I have never had to pack a lunch. The jobs I've had have always provided employee meals and I never really had to plan for more then snacks. I don't like committing to what I will have for lunch 16+ hours before the meal actually happens, it requires too much planning and has been leaving me disappointed when it comes time to enjoy my preselected meal.

Wearing workout clothes to work.
I always knew my dream job would be one that required me to dress as comfortable as possible in cozy fabrics.

Rarely do I actually look focused while racing.

Getting my a$$ kicked.
I consider myself a fairly fit woman. Weekly I devote about 15 hours to my fitness and training and can handle a wide variety of activities. However, I have been proved wrong this week. No matter how fit we may think that we are, there will always be areas for us to improve in. Right now I am sore from my nose to my toes for reasons such as:
  • A kickboxing class
  • A booty spankin treadmill class
  • Kettle bells, most specifically dead lifting kettle bells that are half my body weight
  • Thursday brought somewhere around 5 nonstop hours of grueling physical activity
  • More Turkish get-ups in 1 day then I have done cumulatively in my life
All of these activities have been part of training for my new job, kind of a survival of the fittest challenge that I have two more days of.

Finding out my VO2 Max.
Always knew that this was the best measure of fitness, yet I'd never found it important enough to test. Basically I was made a fool when I told a very well established and knowledgeable fitness professional that I don't my VO2 Max and I base all my workouts on how I feel. While I still do think it is important to recognize the signals the body is sending us, I've begun to realize that in order to maximize ones fitness there needs to be measurable evidence to track progress. Heart rate training is not something I am very knowledgeable about at this point in time, but it is something that I should take the time to learn about.

My VO2 Max is 53, and at my age that puts me in the elite category.
Now I have to figure out what to do with this information.

Wonder if this was right about where I thought I may lose my breakfast.

I haven't read any blogs this week. Honestly there hasn't been time. So my google reader is telling me that as of now I have 300+ new items, and I just DELETED them all. I'm sorry if you have posted something amazing and I have missed it, but there is no way for me to catch up at this point so I just need to let the past go and trudge on ahead.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Guest Posting; Technology & Training

Today I am excited to have my first guest posting by Paul from Steady Pursuit. Paul is an incredible athlete that I have a high level of respect for, if you haven't had the chance to check out his blog you should head there now. He is a very insightful man that has an amazing way of putting his thoughts into well written posts. You should check out his blog Steady Pursuit ASAP!

Here's what Paul has to say about technology and training:

GPS watches were first released circa 2003 and quickly caught on in popularity, changing the way we plan, train, and race.  I was late to adopt the technology and replaced my 30 lap memory Timex with a Garmin 410 forerunner this past January and quickly fell in love.  A few sensors later and I was using it for biking and running.  At first I just used the watch to know how far I had gone and to log data for after the fact review.  It wasn’t long before I was a power user modifying screens, setting up custom interval workouts, setting pace alerts, and taking real time data from the watch to shape my performance.

Problems started to surface the further I got into my training plan and the more I replacing thinking with a glance at my watch.  The combination of a pace centric training plan and having pace readily available on a watch led me to do truly stupid things and relearn some basic running lessons.  I could not be bothered by things like strong winds, or blistering heat and humidity to slow my pace.  I took uphills too fast and slowed more than necessary on flats and downhills.  When I missed target paces I was disappointed even though my effort was greater than similar successful workouts in optimal conditions.  I was not in control of my runs, my watch was my master and Run Less Run Faster was issuing the orders.

Pace is the sexiest metric there is for training and racing.  It tells us how fast our race time will be.  It can also be the most deceptive as any pace centric training plans will admit.  Something every adverse condition run had in common was an elevated heart rate and calorie burn on the order of 10% – 20%.  An equivalent performance in normal conditions would have featured a pace proportionately faster.  After I had over exerted myself in the first half of a run the second half was all punishment and I was unable to recover and finish strong or at all. 

While technologically possible, don’t expect any companies to offer equivalent performance pace readings calculated from wind, temperature, and elevation changes soon.  Doing so would require adding temperature, humidity, and wind sensors causing runners to look like hospital patients.   In adverse conditions having a historical knowledge of where heart rate should be for any portion of a run is the only honest metrics available.  If the forecast is disagreeable it is best to adjust expectations and plan for a slower run before taking the first stride.

Better than any product is experience.  By putting in miles under a variety of conditions we become increasingly familiar with ourselves and are able to accurately gage pace and heart rate as well as the effort left in our heart and legs.  When I glance at my watch these days I confirm what I already know from the sensations my body feels during running.  This leave me thinking, are GPS watches and even training plans like scaffolding that help build our knowledge and understanding of ourselves that can marginalized over time?

Don’t get me wrong, training with GPS is great.  Long gone are the days of planning runs around convenient mile marks, guessing distance using perceived pace and total time, and having to go to the track for intervals.  Training plans and theory are great too.  I have learned a lot about overload, recovery, periodization and the like.  Problem is training plans are generic and everyone is unique.  Plans are designed for the majority of runners but some runners will need to push the limits and deviate to realize their full potential.  The combination of training plans and training with GPS led to me losing a lot of the enjoyment I get from running.  Recently I left behind Run Less Run Faster and started doing my own training that can’t be found in any plan and greatly reduced the role my watch plays in my training and racing.  If running ever begins to feel like a chore for you I suggest you think about doing the same.   

Thanks Paul!                         

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Week 14 Recap

Goal Miles 81
Goal Miles 82

Monday 13.1 hard miles
Oak Brook Half Marathon. Finished in 1:27:53 by the official results listing and was the 4th female finisher. Hit a nearly 5 minute PR here, which is great for me considering that this by no means was a flat course. This race has left me with excited feelings that I have been making great progress this year and that I am going to hit and possibly exceed my goal at the Chicago marathon. 

Tuesday 12.02 easy recovery miles
After a hard effort the day before I took this run extra easy. Decided to hit the weights heavy this day thinking it would aid in DOMS recovery. I was wrong.

Wednesday 13.11 easy
Legs were still feeling a bit stiff and heavy here. 

AM 8.28 mile fartlek. Some people have asked what a 1/2/3/4/5/4/3/2/1 is. It's just a fartlek and the numbers represent the intervals, 1 min hard/1 min easy, 2 min hard/2 min easy, etc.
PM 3.01 easy miles with the hubby

I thought it would be cute to be twiners

Friday 11.16 easy recovery miles
Felt like crap and legs felt stiff.

Saturday OFF
Planned on getting in my long run in the early am hours but instead I wasted the day eating junk food, drinking pear cider, and avoiding any type of structure for the day. I start my new job on Monday and I just wanted one day to not have any commitments, for there to be no need for a shower, and to enjoy a Saturday. I'm not used to the luxury of having work-free weekends, but I think it is something that I can get used to.

Sunday 21.44 miles
First 7 miles were rough. Legs took quite sometime to warm up and I just didn't have motivation for this run. Originally I headed out for the day thinking that I would most likely cut the run short. At 7 I decided that I needed this distance more then I needed to go home as laze the day away. I think that the first few miles were tough because I had a bad attitude this morning. After I changed my perspective of the workout, it suddenly felt easier and my legs begun to loosen up. For the majority of the run my feet felt really hot, which was weird and not something that I experience often, it was annoying.


Around 9-10 I passed Soldier Field. It was about 8 am and there were already hard core Bears fans out tailgating and the smell of charcoal and brats was wafting in the air. I don't follow football and didn't really realize that tailgating was an all day event.

Peaks this week
  • 82 miles
  • Untapered half marathon PR
  • Feeling confident with my progress
  • The "unemployment vacation" I have been on all week has been a major blessing for my sanity 
Valleys this week
  • Legs took FOREVER to recover from the half
  • 82 miles is a lot of miles, I'm tired and eating us out house and home
  • Pushing back my long run a day is going to make the next 6 training days interesting
The Chicago marathon is now 27 days away. Yikes, that seems crazy. Next week is my last high mileage week before I begin a well deserved taper. I'm praying my brains out that I make it through this next week alive with 85 miles on the books and training for my new job starting Monday which requires a long commute that I am not used to.

Cheers to a new adventure ahead! Always remember, IT IS NEVER TO LATE TO MAKE A CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Fartlek & My Hate For The B Tag System

Still recovering from Monday's race. For the most part the legs are feeling pretty good, just a wee bit tired. On Tuesday I almost convinced myself that I deserved a day off, but after a few hours of sitting on the couch I realized that Monday was not my goal race and there is still work to be done. So I have been actively recovering with a few slow runs and a modified speed workout today.

Often times I am very ambitious. When I originally planned my workouts for this week I was sure that my legs would be well recovered by today and I would be able to fit in the 6x1600's that I chose to opt out of last week. Well my ambition far out weighted my realism, and I instead opted for a much easier speed session that wouldn't take too much too soon out of my legs.

Today's modified workout was a fartlek
1/2/3/4/5/4/3/2/1 @ goal MP
Goal marathon pace is 7:05-7:15

Average Paces: (1) 7:06, (2) 7:05, (3) 6:59, (4) 7:05, (5) 7:04, (4) 7:12, (3) 7:06, (2) 7:05, (1) 6:51

It felt good to shake the legs out because they definitely needed it, but my splits are all over the place. For the first half of the workout I had the wind at my back and was feeling pretty at ease, but as soon as I begun to step down the fartlek ladder I was running straight into a strong wind off the lake. It wouldn't have been so bad if the sand from the beach wasn't blowing into my eyes and in my mouth and if I would have noticed the wind at my back for the first half of the workout to plan a reroute, but I didn't because I was too busy dreaming about what I would be having for lunch.

Tonight I have an easy shake-out run planned with the hubby and will probably be 4-5 miles.

Doug the Stud

The Oak Brook Half had Brightroom Photography on site to capture race day photos. I went onto their site today to look at my pics, all of which I am making extremely ugly faces and DO NOT look cute. But I saw this picture and find myself puzzled.

Please ignore my fugly face and the burning desire I have to immediately stop my Garmin.

Let me explain:
  • The clock VERY CLEARLY here says 1:27:45 and I am past the finishing line sensor
  • It took me maybe 2 seconds to cross the starting line because I did not start at the front
  • The results have me listed with a finishing time of 1:27:53 and my Garmin stats had me at 1:27:43, where I do understand that I could have made a timing error
  • This event was timed with the B Tag system
Maybe I'm just being super crazy, but I don't understand where the official time is picking up the 8-10 extra seconds. If I started BEHIND the line, why would my chip time be slower then or tied with the clock time? I understand that this really is not that big of a deal, but if I earned those extra seconds I would like for it to be noted correctly. I have had issues with the B Tag timing system before, most recently when I ran a 5k in July and my chip did not even activate. 

Point being that technology frustrates the hell out of me and sometimes I think it is inaccurate, and I hate these B Tags. Seems like in almost every race I've ran this year with these chips there has been some type of results listing error. I think that I'm going to just let it go because it becomes too much of a hassle to deal with result listing inaccuracies and people are probably starting to think I am crazy for challenging them.

Has anyone else ever had result listing discrepancies, or do I just have bad karma?
If so did you contact the race directors or did you just let it go?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oak Brook 1/2 Race Recap

As promised, after some reflection time here is the race recap:

Going into Monday's race I felt pretty at ease. In the week leading up to the race I had 78 miles in my legs where a few of those days I was feeling less then prepared and rested for a race. Humid temps that decided to linger around the Midwest for three painfully excruciating days left me feeling tired, slow, drained, and with an excessively tight left calf muscle. Saturday nearly killed me and didn't exactly leave me feeling exceptionally prepared and rested.

But regardless of how I was feeling physically, I was mentally prepared to take on the course and give it all that I had on race morning. Before race morning I took some time to study the course because I couldn't quite remember it from the year prior when I went into it blindly and was awkwardly surprised by the inclines. The Oak Brook Half is a "trail race" that winds through suburban forest preserves and has quite a few turns and inclines.

Course Map


I realize that for most runners that these little bitty inclines may not be much, but for me they are kind of intense. I don't do hill training, I live in Chicago...WE DON'T HAVE HILLS!!! My city is as flat as a pancake, and I tend to like it that way. So I went into the race with no hill training whatsoever, but I do incorporate a crap ton of squats and lunges with heavy loads to strengthen my legs in my resistance routine (which is why the legs are so monstrous in comparison to the rest of my body).

  • Run sub 1:30 and not have a recreation of my last half
  • Get in as many 6:50 miles as possible
  • Place in the top 3 women
  • BELIEVE in myself and not give in to that negative nelly that usually eats at me until I wave the white flag and surrender to the pain
  • Not be heart broken if I don't smash my PR because I am in the bulk of my marathon training right now
I did about a 3 mile warm up with some strides away from the starting line and the crowd of runners and spectators. This was probably the best decision I made all morning because it gave me time with my thoughts to assess my body and get a grasp on what I was about to take on in a peaceful setting. Here is where I was able to notice that I felt rested and strong and knew that the coolness of the morning was going to work in my benefit. By the time I swung back around the starting line, there were a lot of runners doing some seriously strange warm ups. Honestly couldn't help but stare at them wondering what the heck they were doing and if the unnatural movements actually helped. Runners are weird and I love them, always good entertainment.

When it comes to lining up at the starting line, I always feel a bit uncertain. I know that I usually finish with the top women, but I also HATE to start out fast and be fooled by the eager pace of others. So I started behind quite a few of the women knowing that I had 13 miles to pass them feeling strong as they were dying out. 

Mile 1 6:42
Mile 2 6:35
Mile 3 6:36

Felt AMAZING for the first 5k and I think I crossed around 20:50. Hit the first true incline right before the 5k and told myself to power up it and flew over it with ease. I was having a great time and realized that a 6:50 pace would be too conservative for me today and my mind-set instantly switched to "push past your expectations for yourself". I passed maybe 4 women by the 5k that went out strong and begun to fade away and was thankful that I went out at my own pace and was running my own race.

Mile 4 6:46 
Mile 5 6:38
Mile 6 6:32

The course continued to have rolling hills where mile 6 was easy and down hill. Doug rushed over to mile 6 where I didn't really expect to see him, it made my heart flutter a bit. As soon as I saw his face I got butterflies in my stomach that made me feel really special and fortunate to have a man in my life that is willing to get up early in the morning on his extra day off of work to support me in my sport. His desire to see me succeed and push me to always do better with my running makes me fall in love with him all over again.

Blowing my man a kiss

Mile 7 6:34
Mile 8 6:57

These miles were through a very winding path in a forest preserve. Mile 8 was rough because it had 2 sharp inclines rather close together. All of the other inclines were rather spaced out which was nice because it gave my legs and lungs a chance to recover, but these two in mile 8 nearly did me in.

Mile 9 6:48
Mile 10 6:49

Tried to take some gu here to get some energy back into my legs but my breathing still hadn't recovered from mile 8 and it was impossible to choke it down with heavy breathing. I had to back off the pace to get my breathing under wraps here and started to regret that I am lazy and choose to avoid hills at all cost. The stomach begun to feel a bit uneasy and was messing with my head. But then I reminded myself of something I read on a blog a few days prior that most likely you won't vomit on yourself or crap your pants during a race, but if you do...thats hardcore. So I told my stomach to shut-up and finish this thing strong.

Mile 11 6:50

Thank you random stranger 

The paths that this course was on were tiny and tight at the aid stations, maybe enough for people to run two-by-two. There was a water station somewhere between 10 to 11 and the man that was a few strides ahead of me grabbed some gatorade and came to a DEAD stop in the middle of the darn path. I didn't have enough time to stop or room to go around with taking out a few hydration volunteers, so I smacked right into his back. So thanks dude who has no common sense of how to hydrate during a race in crowded areas, seriously think you cost me quite a few seconds here and made me P.O.ed for the next mile. But I beat you, so it's all good.

Mile 12 6:44
Mile 13 6:38

Just after 11, I begun to catch sight of the gal ahead of me. With my rough estimation skills I thought that I could possibly catch her if I could squeak out sub 6:30 miles from here on out, but my legs felt otherwise. Here I was passed by a few men that literally BLEW by me, couldn't help to think what jerks they were for picking people off left and right in the last few miles. They prompted the thought that there was not going to be a finishing kick in these legs today, but I would try as best I could.

last .1 I think was 38 seconds???

As I rounded the last turn I could see D and had a wee little second wind with a strong finishing kick. Crossed the line a felt exhausted and AMAZED that I clocked in under 1:30. When D saw me he ran over to me put his arms around me and swept me off my feet, making that the best embrace I ever had in my entire life. I honestly wanted to cry here because I surpassed my expectations for the day and felt EMPOWERED and LIMITLESS doing so.

The results have my finishing time listed as 1:27:53, my garmin states 1:27:43. So I realize that this really isn't a big deal, but I don't understand where the extra 10 seconds came from especially based on what the clock said as I crossed and the fact that I started at least 2-3 seconds behind the starting line.

Not going to lose sleep over this because I still had a 4 minute 42 second PR!


  • Official finishing time of 1:27:53 puts me well under my 1:30 goal 
  • Only had 1 mile that was above 6:50
  • I was the 4th female finisher, which tied my placing from last year. This is exactly why I DO NOT like to make goals based on placing because it can leave you frustrated that you ran a great race but didn't place where you wanted to. I cannot control how others feel and race on race morning, so this may be the last time that make a place based goal.
  • Nelly was well hushed on this course. There were still a few moments where the thought passed my mind that if I walked for a few steps I would be able to catch my breath, but then I quickly put that thought to rest because I knew that would be the beginning of the end. My head was together and I had a great time running this course, I think it also helped that I wore my iPod and rocked out to some great tunes.
  • No tears, no broken heart...only happy feelings of progress and that I am well on track to PUMP IT OUT in October.
Hands down this was a great race, and I am glad that my legs were strong enough to push out this effort. I'm not going to lie, I feel pretty confident that I am going to finish the marathon sub 3:10...not bragging here, just feeling prepared and well trained (hopefully that doesn't jinx it).

Monday, September 5, 2011

Oak Brook Half Marathon

Just wanted to post a quick update from todays race
Goal today was to break 1:30 and to see if I could place in the top 3 women

Garmin time 1:27:42
Official results have me listed at 1:27:53...

don't think it took me 10 seconds to go five strides.

Full race recap to follow

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Week 13 Recap

Goal Miles 80
Actual Miles 78

I skipped a few miles this week on Thursday. It was TOO DANG HOT and I just wasn't feeling it. Took everything fairly easy this week because I just felt like it. With a half marathon coming up on Monday I didn't want to go crazy with the miles AND intensity.

Monday 12.95 easy
Tuesday 13.03 easy
Wednesday 16.09 with 12 miles of 1 mile hard/1 mile easy
Thursday 10.21 easy, yikes was it humid. Acquired a new friend this day that has left a giant open sore on my heel that has shed quite a bit of blood in the past few days.
Friday 13.01 easy, celebrated my last day of work for corporate America
Saturday 12.33 easy

You would think that after training for somewhere around 6 weeks in crazy humid temps that I would feel normal when the waves of humidity come and go, but I don't. There was a break in the damp heavy air for a couple of weeks here and then all of the sudden it came back, with a vengeance. Thursday through Saturday I thought that the weather was out to kill me. Saturday I begun to get so dehydrated towards the end of my run that I was feeling rather shaky and lost nearly 6 lbs of water weight, which I think is a little excessive for someone of my size on a run just shy of 13 miles.

Overall I feel prepped and ready to kick some boo-tay on Monday at my half. I would like a PR and to place in the top 3 women at this small trail race, but it is a trail race and I am a city runner, so we shall see how it goes...

Help me out here, do you lose a lot of water weight on hot long runs? Or am I a freak of nature?

Friday, September 2, 2011

How I Sold Myself Out For a 401k

Underneath my sassy bad ass exterior is a sensitive soul that has a tender spot for true and heartfelt feelings. It isn't often that I let others so close to my heart that they get to see this side of me, especially if those people are my professional associates. When I woke up this morning I didn't think that today would be the day that they got to me...but it was.

Putting things in rewind mode a bit...

today was my last day at the first job I secured after college. For 5 the past years of my post collegiate career I have been slaving away as a hospitality professional working for the most reputable hotel brand in the world. I took the job for the promise of financial security and the hope that the road ahead would be paved with golden opportunities. This was the place where I learned some of the greatest and most important skills for successes in all life's endeavors, but was also the place where I learned that my dreams of being a world traveler and food enthusiast were not going to pay the bills. So I settled and essentially sold myself out for a guaranteed 40 hour a week job with a 401k and benefits.

In the past 5 years there have been many extreme highs and lows for me in both my professional and personal life. I have done a lot of learning and gained quite a bit of perspective where I have realized that corporate America is not the place for me. Never has been and never will be, like a fat man in a little coast, it just doesn't work. Along the road there were more moments then I would care to admit where I felt trapped and uninspired sitting in fluorescent lit rooms that seemed to hush all creativity. But I chugged along with it for longer then I should have for various reasons, some well warranted but most not. Hype about down economic times and being satisfied with any job, giving up on something too soon, too much stress and confusion about making a decision for change, thinking that this was as good as it could get for me, all excuses that I fed myself until one day I finally realized that life is too short to continue pursuing a career that makes you miserable. TOO DANG SHORT!

What put me at the edge of knowing that I needed to make a change was a quote that came through some runners world spam into my email inbox at a very delicate timing in my life reading:

you will never grow as a person until you step outside of your comfort zone

mmmm, how profound.

While the email may have come from RW, I think it was commissioned by God and in the very moment I read this I told myself to get a grip, stop making excuses, and get my life in order. So I put my big girl pants on and decided that I needed to leave me job ASAP. Okay, honestly it took me nearly a year to get all of my ducks in a row to feel prepared enough for a change. BUT I am finally making the necessary adjustments my life needs.

Today I closed one chapter of my life in hopes that the next will be full of adventure and more time with the ones I love. Sure as heck I'm a little terrified of where the road may lead, but I'm sure as hell ready to LEARN and experience things that make me feel out of my comfort zone.

Let the fear of failure be my fuel.

When I woke up today I felt eager and raring to go for the day. Got in a solid slow run in the humidity, had a nutritious breakfast and lunch, hung with my pups at the dog park, the usual pre work routine. Got on the EL and put my headphones on a rocked out to my favorite new old song Twilight Serenade by Jason Myles Goss about 20x.

Then I was suddenly hit by a sentimental moment at the least unexpected time. Maybe it was the music or the way the light was hitting the John Hancock at that steamy hour of the afternoon, or quite possibly even the few coworkers of my that were rallying on the street corner anxiously awaiting my passing to say a proper adieu...whatever it was it all hit me at one moment that this was going to be the last time I lived out my 5 year long routine. Being showered all evening with 5-star-rock-star treatment by the people that I have worked both hostilely and friendly with for years has been a nice ending to my story. Funny how you never really know how people feel about you until you either die or leave your job, strangely for me these people actually really liked me...more then I ever thought possible.

Moral to the longest story ever here is simple...

it is NEVER too late to make a change in your life.

Floating through time letting life pass you by without LIVING, EXPERIENCING, and having time to LOVE all the amazing things and people in your life is a waste. We never know which day will be our last so don't put off to tomorrow what you can change today.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Welcome Back Humidity...I Have NOT Missed You!

Why hello September 1st and the beloved Indian Summer. Could have fooled me today when I headed out for an easy 13 miles today at 8:30 am and it was already 85 degrees with high humidity. Funny how you can train all summer in the humid temps then get spoiled when the humidity breaks for a bit. Today's run nearly killed me it was so dang humid. I cut it short and got in 10 and had to jump in the lake to prevent my skin from melting off of my body.

Good news is when the Indian Summer breaks out...
so do Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes...
no matter how hot or cold it is out...
I'm thinking that my afternoon needs one of these.

Ever seen the movie Run Fat Boy Run?

If you haven't, I highly recommend it. It is quirky and funny with a sentimental twist.

When I woke up this morning I felt like I was living a scene out of this movie. The main character, Dennis, gets this awful blister on the bottom of his foot after taking up running in old sneakers. He forces his buddy to pop it and nasty puss dramatically sprays out of it onto his friends face...sounds gross, which it is, but I promise it is funny.

I was greeted by this loveliness on my heel this morning 

This is what happens when I act like I don't have time to put my socks on correctly.
Dang it, I thought that I was doing so good.
Even after my hubby suggested to pop it, I didn't.
Instead I decided to put my shoes on and head to the gym.
Somewhere between squats and lunges the blister ripped open,
and now I have a gorgeous open raw scab,
I'll spare your eyes with the visual.

but I'm guessing that day won't be any time soon.