Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Time to dust off those racing shoes and reconsider plan A

Picked up my race packet today for Saturday's race

Santa is that you?

Thinking that the beard may be a NO for the day.

Had the darn thing on for 2 minutes while sitting still and ended up with a mouth full of fuzz, can't imagine what it would be like for 20 minutes while my lungs are gasping for air. And that hat...maybe it was meant for an elf? I have an incredibly small head and it still doesn't fit, not to mention that my ears are ginormous so wearing an itty bitty hat is never a style I like sport. However I'm still feeling the festiveness of this race. Itl'll be my first costumed race and I'll be sporting some fabulous socks and possibly a jingle bell or two.

Originally when this whole 5k mess started back in late October I was hoping to race the hubby, leaving him in a trail of dust, and break 19 minutes. Since then the hubby has decided to not race and my body has felt otherwise causing major training adjustments to be made. Apparently my body is not the machine that I like to think it is, and sometimes requires rest and recovery...especially post marathon. Really I was crazy to think that coming off of a marathon that knocked me off of my arse and shook up my body quite a bit that I would be able to put in the necessary work needed for a sub 19 5k.

So I've made adjustments, lots of them, causing me to plan workouts on a day-to-day basis. At first I thought that training this way would be overwhelmingly frustrating, but it's actually been quite the opposite. I push when my body wants to be pushed, and I rest when my body is screaming for rest. Shouldn't this be how we all train ourselves all the time??? Maybe you already do, but I don't always follow these rules. Sometimes I force those crazy workouts even though I know my legs only have crap in them, and of course I end up with crap that lingers on for days after because my ego was too stubborn to listen to what my body needed.

Trying to get a feel for what my body is capable of at this present time, I headed out for some planned race paced 400's just to test the waters today. Good news, I was able to hold my goal race pace for 4x400's. Bad news, it was challenging in a way it shouldn't have been at this poin and it took forever to recover. By the 4th 400 my legs weren't too happy with me.


Splits
3:02, 3:01, 3:01, 3:05



Who takes 400 ridiculously slow meters to recover from 800's???
Clearly someone who's race plan may be a bit too aggressive for their current state.
Great, now what?

I think my race plan needs a little adjustment. Who knows, maybe Saturday will roll around and my thunder thighs will magically be able to pound out my planned 6:05 pace and I'll be able to sneak in the finishing shoot just under 19. But I'm thinking that chances are unlikely for this and it may be best to shoot for a bit more conservative and realistic pace for the day so that I don't die after mile 1. Throw into the mix the fact that I rarely run 5k's, and in my opinion they are much harder then marathons, I'm not expecting a miracle here.

Maybe a goal to finish in one piece would be more appropriate at this timing. Who knows. I'm going to give it my best shot and just hope to not go into cardiac arrest.

On an unrelated note...I recently joined twitter. Feel free to hit me up @chirunnergrl.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Old Endings and New Beginnings

As 2011 is winding down and my focus is now shifting over to 2012 and the possibilities that may lay ahead, I'm feeling a strange sense of calm amongst all of the chaos stewing around me. This year brought an unfamiliar bravery into my heart which I never knew existed, an untamed spirit that has been waiting for years to be unleashed.

At 27 I feel more like a foolish child then ever. Dreams constantly dance around my head of the unthinkable, leaving me feeling limitless and antsy for one day to end and another to begin. If there is one truly great life lesson that 2011 has brought, it would be that the only boundaries in life which exist are those which one imparts on themselves. Living in blissful ignorance of the difference from that which I am currently capable of and that which I am pursuing makes some think that I am off in candy land living a reality which is unthinkable and unattainable, and to those I say PISH-POSH. What ever happened to that encouraged childlike innocence telling us to dream of becoming president or a successful doctor who travels the world finding the cure to cancers? TO DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE! Does the art of believing in something powerful and magical wash away once one hits adulthood where we all succumb to what we feel is our only fate and settle for a life that is predicably ordinary? Does one only stay within their realms of comfort never daring to color outside the lines?


source


Of course you do, if you want a life filled with conventional dullness and feel content never challenging yourself to outdo your societial predetermined potential. While some may call my dreams a hopeful wasteland, I call them opportunities and blessings. Daring for a moment to swim upstream with hopes of achieving something uniquely different from what society has predestined me to achieve is what gets me out of bed everyday. These days I'm holding on for the glimmer of hope for the impossible. I see no sense in settling for the stability of a dead end business career in exchange for a paycheck that comes on someone elses terms and strips me of my individualism. Instead I chose to brave my soul to any who will listen and find value in that which I am passionately barking about on a daily basis, health and it's unseen freedoms.

Now what? What happens in 2012, and where is this all going? I wish I had the answer to that, but as of right now I don't. Here we are 33 days out from the new year where I should feel stress and pressure to keep pressing forward with a concret plan for the direction my life is going, but that's not how I opperate. Instead I fuel my dreams knowing that there is no intention to connect the dots going forward, rather the point is to look back and connect the dots from there.


Source

There are plenty of personal goals I have, some PR's I'm ready to chase down, and an entire professional career that I am more then ready to devote my everything to in 2012. But there is no plan, and I'm thinking that next year I'm going to do things differently and not hold myself to a series of schedules and must-do's. I'm thinking that 2012 will be the year that marks new beginnings for me and my pursuits will be only those which speak to my heart purely.

2012 this is my manifesto to you..
to inspire others to live out their dreams.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pausing for a moment of Thanks

Theres a certain joy and peace the holiday season can stir up in ones soul making every moment feel magical and each of lives blessings that much greater. I haven't often felt this holiday magic in my adult life and have always found holidays and large family gatherings which I couldn't attend to be heartbreaking events. In the four years that my husband and I have been married, we have only had the opportunity to celebrate one thanksgiving in 2007. Unfortunately for me, I chose a career path post college that would have me tied up on evenings, weekends, and of course holidays.

Taking a recent leap of faith to leave my steady corporate career for the unknown has provided new challenges and opportunities for me, and has allowed me the freedom to celebrate in joyful banter my first thanksgiving since 2007. So naturally I'm feeling a little extra thankful today to be a part of family celebrations once again, but beyond that I have so much more to give thanks for on this day.

This year I am thankful for...

my husband.
This has been a year filled with changes for me, one that I wouldn't have been able to make it through without the support of my faithful husband. With every decision I have made, my man has been by my side 100% encouraging growth and change believing in the opportunities that may lay ahead. His patience and love has encouraged me to step outside of my area of comfort in life to make audacious decisions. Living recklessly can make my confidence waiver, but D is always there cheering me on and believing in me. It's difficult to find someone who you love and will stand besides you whole-heartily in even your darkest and most clueless moments, and I am a very blessed woman to have found a man that is my #1 fan and I his.




Thank you D for allowing me to take chances that scare the pants off of you, but always encouraging it. Your incredible faith that it will all work out makes me love you and feel like the luckiest lady on this earth.

my family.
People always say that you can chose your friends but you can't chose your family. I think if I was given the choice that I still would chose my fam. My family is quite possibly the most diverse group of people on the face of the earth, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

My parents on August 18th, 2007 at my wedding

Younger, but much taller, siblings

Adorable niece and nephews

The not-so-typical grandparents

Extremely loving and supportive in-laws

Brothers...and lots of them
Friendships and love

Lots of men...and just as many dogs

Family that is spread out across the country, but always comes together for the holidays
God and his grace.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

His grace is sufficient for me, his grace is sufficient when I am weak. 

my health and the freedom of movement.
The greatest lesson I have learned this year would be that life is best lived through expressions of movement and sweat.


My soul aches to feel the freedom that lies beyond my skin and yearns to see every end of the earth. There is no permanency here on earth and our bodies are temporary housing for the death that none can defeat. Being able to use my one body to experience the beauty of the world is a gift which I feel more thanks for as each day passes.

age and the wisdom it brings.
When I was young I always wanted to be old, and now that I'm older I wish that I could go back to my younger self and tell that crazy girl to "enjoy life as it is and take in the present time". Gray hairs and wrinkles are slowly beginning to take form and gravity is starting to pull things towards the earth, but I enjoy this process. 

27th birthday in NYC
As my 30's are creeping closer each day and the thought of little ones prancing around my house is beginning to prance into my heart, I feel confident and comfortable with myself and appreciate the naivety that my early 20's brought.

Miles and Chase.
Time is best spend in warm fuzzy cuddles in a snuggie with my two besties. These pups have become my children, and their best interest and welfare is always on my mind. I honestly feel that if a person has never felt the love of a pet that they haven't lived.

Happy 4th birthday Chase

My Miles

Chase always hams it up for the camera

Miles is a beach maniac

Brotherly love

Unconditional, unending, unwavering, uncomplicated love. 

a rather foggy road ahead.
Quitting my job several months ago in order to pursue things that have purpose and special meaning in my heart hasn't been easy. But I am thankful that when I was given the opportunity for change, I took it. Most days I have no idea what the heck I'm doing and spend a lot of time flying by the seat of my pants, but a very wise person once told me 'if you do what you love, the money will eventually follow'. My heart is hopefully and patient because I know that ahead there are great things to come with time.

racing.
Grateful for every last one of them. The marathon that was blown to hell. The 10 miler were I finally felt like a racer. The trail half where I had a major PR and the time of my life. The 8k where I where I started in the elite corral and my family surprised me by coming out to support me. That stupid half in the spring where I went into a hypothermic shock after crossing the finish. And the sweet taste of finally beating my 5k PR in July.

There is that pesky heel strike at it again
Every single race, even the ones where I feel short of my goal and things didn't go as planned, I feel extremely blessed to have experienced. Running has brought a grave amount of perspective into my life that I don't think I could have gained through any other experience. I don't have to run, I chose to because the effect it has on everything else in my life. It is an unreal feeling to be able to feel like you could run for days and never lose the will to stop, and is a metaphor for how I live my life.

this blog.
Thank you to all of you that continue to stop here reading my random rantings and filling my heart with encouragement. Being able to connect with others across the world has been such a valuable experience, one that has begun to shape who I am. Your words of wisdom and support have overfilled my heart.

laughs and giggles, cuddles and kisses, I love yous and embraces, tears and maturation, the tangibles and intangibles...
every moment of my life that has led me down this road to the point I'm at today. I'm not perfect, but I'm determined to live my best life (thank you Oprah). I don't want to waste a moments time feeling angry or holding grudges because life on earth is short, and you never know when you will breathe your last breath.

Happy thanksgiving to all. Wishing that your holiday is filled with love and memories.

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Recent Training Shenanigans

Weeks ago, after a marathon that had gone a rye, I braved my soul on here and declared my decree to run a sub 19 minute 5k on December 3rd. Whoops, did I speak a bit prematurely? Probably...

I haven't really been going into much detail about my training because...well...it's been rather patchy. With a hip that is as feisty as ever, legs that feel like dead weight most days, countless muscular imbalances I'm dealing with these days, the loss of motivation to be held down to a concrete training plan, and an old shoulder issue that has decided to resurface...I'd say running a sub 19 minute 5k 12 days from now would be nothing short of a miracle.

Post marathon I've been dealing with a lot of goofy issues within my body that have prevented me from making forward progress, I've more so been in a "fighting to maintain" kind of state. I'm okay with this, but I think that it's just time to get a grip on reality about this upcoming 5k.

I've been working on a lot of my underlying issues, however these efforts have not allowed for me to focus on the necessary effort needed for a sub 19 minute 5k. Still doing the 5k, just not expecting too much out of it at this point.

In terms of speed workouts:
  • 10x400's @ current 5k pace (6:15 mile). 1:33, 1:35, 1:27, 1:33, 1:30, 1:34, 1:35, 1:32, 1:35, 1:32. Finished these overall under goal pace.
  • 12x400's @ current 5k pace (6:15 mile). 1:31, 1:27, 1:30, 1:29, 1:34, 1:34, 1:30, 1:28, 1:30, 1:34, 1:30, 1:33. Finished these overall under goal pace.
  • 5x800's @ goal 5k pace (6:05 mile). 3:04, 3:03, 3:01, 2:59, 3:01. For the most part was on pace here and felt rather comfortable.
  • 4x1000's @ goal 5k pace (6:05 mile). 3:47, 3:48, 3:50, 3:49. Planned on doing 5 here, but I took the first two excessively aggressive for me and had a difficult time recovering, so I decided to bag the 5th. This workout nearly did me in.
I'm not giving up on the possibility of a sub 19 minute 5k,  I'm just being realistic here. Unfortunately I haven't quite put in the work required, so it would be silly of me to blabber on about how I think that I'm going to cruise through that course. 

On my running form:

If your eye has ever gazed at any of my race photos closely, you may have noticed that I am an avid heel-striker. Have been all of my life. This year I have spent a lot of time reading and studying up on proper running form and how to gain speed, turns out that heel strikers have a tricky time getting faster without compromising quality. Okay really I always understood the logic of this, but it didn't click in my mind until last spring because I thought that I was the exception to the rule.

Raptor arm+heel strike+squishy abs does not equal speed

For me to continue making the progress I want with my running, several months ago I decided that it's imperative now for me to work on my running mechanics. It's hard to run efficiently when your body flails around like mine does. So with baby steps I'm forging on ahead.

  • Stop compensating proper running form for speed. Teach the body how to run naturally, then the speed will soon follow.
  • Transitioning from heel striker to midfoot striker. This has been more difficult then I thought it would be, and requires a lot more awareness of my foot then I have been used to for the past 15 years I've been running. But just like any new skill in life, it will take some time.
  • Trying for quicker turnover. The point of operation abort heel-strike is to turnover quicker with the foot landing underneath the body and not out in front, which takes longer to swing back around and requires more effort in the long run.
  • Remember these beauties that I dropped a pretty penny on several months ago?
I've spent quite a bit of time in these neon kicks in the last 6 weeks

Ideally the goal is that eventually I will not have to consciously be thinking about where my foot is landing during every foot strike and it will become natural for me to land midfoot. But for now, I constantly have to think about it which is mentally exhausting at times. 

Strength training progress:

Post marathon it became rather apparent to me that my body has become a slight mess. While I have always incorporated strength training into my routine, I wasn't exerting enough effort and focus on the benefits of functional strength. I've been making progress in this area of fitness lately by keeping my strength workouts rather varied with a lot of jumping, dynamic movements, and low weight high rep workouts.

Running for 15 years has done a number on my body:
  • My hips are outrageously tight on an almost constant basis
  • The glutes are rather weak from years of neglect
  • A pesky right shoulder joint from poor posture has been raising hell lately
Every session is a new challenge for my body, and there are some days that my muscles and joints simply tell me "no". But I've been a compliant slave to this body, knowing that lately it is rather sensitive and has limits.

My journey with yoga :

Remember several weeks ago when I pledged to make it to one yoga class a week? Well...about that...um...I haven't been that consistent with this.
  • Went to a few classes where I was extremely frustrated because my body has resistance in nearly every exercise
  • At first I thought the problem was the instructors because I attended several unconventional classes, but really it's me and my funky-dunky body
  • Had an AH HA moment last week where I realized "duh, I'm tight because I haven't been stretching appropriately post marathon"
I actually didn't attend a class for several weeks after an instructor scolded me for cheating on several poses and told me that at my level I shouldn't be attending classes if I wasn't going to challenge myself. Naturally I became defensive and finished that particular practice forcing the remaining poses which left me feeling like I was ran over by a semi and left for dead in a ditch. But after further consideration I realized that she was right, why coast through the practice? Yoga is just like everything else in life, you will only get as much out as you are willing to put in.

The funky Chicago fall:

Tuesday 
Tuesday it was 65 degrees out, perfectly gorgeous fall day.

Thursday
Thursday it was windy and 35. Wasn't dressed appropriately and nearly froze.

Why Chicago? Why can't you offer some sort of weather consistency?

To sum it all up, running has been very reflective of my life lately. Every day brings a new challenge that tests my character that at times leaves me feeling like I can barely keep my head above water. But I'm not giving up, instead I have pledged to myself to keep treading water making the most of what each day holds. There is no permanency in any situation, and life is what you make of it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

do life. With Ben Davis

Ever heard of Ben Davis? I hadn't until earlier in the week while I was reading the December issue of Runner's World. His story is more captivating then I am able to put into words, but if you subscribe to RW turn to page 63 or just click here.

warning...this video may bring you to joyful tears

Sometimes life brings you to this crossroad that can scare the pants off of you. Most of us, when faced with difficult life changing decisions, pass the intangible and seemly impossible opportunities and instead choose to stay in our safe place surrounded by all of the things that fuel our comfort. Then there are others, like Ben Davis, that pull the trigger daring to live out their dreams boldly and bravely casting away fear and doubt for the unknown.

If you are like me, curiosity creeps into your mind about other runners often. Do they run for the same reasons I do? Have they experience those rare moments of elation and freeness while pounding it out on the pavement like myself? Have they allowed themselves to be so vulnerable that running could have the power to change their life

We all have these crazy reasons why we tightly tie up our laces venturing out in snowstorms and humidity day after day. Some of us run to lose ourselves, to feel freedom from the complicated chains of the world for a few peaceful moments in time. Then there are the exceptionally rare Ben Davis's of the world that start running for more important personal and complicated reasons, and somehow end up finding themselves along the road less traveled and have the power to change the world.

Ben's story touched my heart because he conquered what many say is the impossible, and he didn't turn back. 

He let running change his life.

"You don't love running when you first start because it hurts. Your legs hurt, your lungs hurt. But once you make the decision and start to move forward, you become a different person."
Ben Davis, RW December 2011

In a world filled with so many uncertains, there a few things that I know for sure. Running and it's power is one of the few things that I believe in with all of my heart. The insatiable hunger which it can stir up for life in ones soul; exposure and vulnerabilty to unfathomable experiences; opportunities to motivate others to keep pressing on when the road ahead becomes patchy and uncertain; movement and it's possibilities. This is what running is to me, the opportunity to challenge life and let the world know that I won't live with the fear for what tomorrow holds.



So thank you Ben Davis for reminding me why I choose to run, because sometimes I can make life more complicated then it really is and forget why I started down this road in the first place.

If you are more curious about Ben's story, check out his website bendoeslife.tumblr.com

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How To Avoid That Pesky Holiday Weight Gain

Only 7 days until Americas most gluttonous day of the year, Thanksgiving! If you are anything like me, you are already dreaming about all of the tasty treats that you will be indulging in next week at this exact time. 

Pumpkin pie, sweet potato casserole, gravy, stuffing...mmm, my mouth is already watering.

Since I haven't celebrated a turkey day since 2007 because I have always had to work, I am jumping up and down inside with the thoughts of a full day of my life devoted to the three F's in my life...

Thanksgiving circa 2007

Family, Food, Faith.

The family and the faith part I can handle, it's the food part that can get a bit troubling around at times. When amongst great company and great food on holidays, it can be difficult to have the willpower to not over stuff my mouth with junk food. I know I'm not the only one with this problem, this is America and 33% of adults and approximately 17% of children are obese (source). Yikes, those numbers scare me every time I think about them.

While I'm not a dietitian, I try my best to make the healthiest choices I can for this one body that I am given. That being said, here are a few things that I am making note of to get me through the holiday season without busting the seams on my pants.

Fill up plate with veggies first.
Is it just me, or do the plates seem to get larger and larger every holiday? My rule of thumb is to devote at least 50% of the plate to veggies and put them on my plate first, that's just my system. This way by the time I get to the gravy, rolls, and sweet potato casserole there is limited space and I'm not overdoing it on my starches, proteins, and fats.

source


Don't go crazy with the appetizers.
Ever heard of a "hanky panky"? No? Is my family the only one that gives appetizers obscene names?

Hanky Panky (source)
I'm not usually a big meat eater, but if you cover the meat with 10 lbs. of Velveeta cheese, add some spices, throw in some mushrooms, then put it on some fancy toast...I'm all over it.

I generally tend to avoid the crudites or healthier choices and instead fill up on the fattiest and greasiest appetizers available. Don't be like me, don't sit right in front of the table with all of the appetizers. Instead get up, socialize, and remove the temptation to gorge yourself on the apps.

Start the day with a healthy breakfast.
Back in my earlier years I used to save all of my Thanksgiving day calories for later in the day, meaning I just wouldn't eat. BIG MISTAKE! Ignoring hunger earlier in the day turns the human stomach into a ravaging beast that when unleashed does major damage. These days knowing that I'll be consuming some high fat and calorie foods later in the day I like to fill up on fruits, grains, and proteins that will leave me feeling full until dinner. Best to start the day making healthier choices, I find that the selections I make early in the day tend to effect the common sense of my choices later in the day.

Try to fit in some type of physical activity.
This can be tricky, but it is manageable. Take a brisk walk with some family members while the turkey is  roasting, start of the day with a 15 minute yoga session, play football or take the dog for a walk. Some activity is better none.

Go easy on the cocktails.
If my family reads this, they may be appalled that I am even suggesting this. Booze tends to have a lot of empty calories and often times makes us dehydrated. Nurse your drinks and allow yourself a "max" while sipping on water every now and then.

Pumpkin martini anyone? (source)

Just like the cocktails, go easy on the sauces.
I love a good sauce more then I can even put into words, but this is where the fat content of the day is hidden. A little sauce is good, a plate swimming in sauces may not make the tummy feel too good later.

Know that it is OK to indulge.
There is no crime in having an extra piece of turkey or a little added whipped cream on the apple pie, Thanksgiving only comes around once a year. As long as you are making mindful choices and remember that Monday will bring a fresh start to make new choices, it's all good. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hitting The Reset Button

It's been 5 weeks since the Chicago Marathon.
5 weeks that have been filled with gluttonous, sloth-like behavior on my part.
In those weeks, my mind has lost all sense of ENERGY IN=ENERGY OUT.

I have indulged in more then my share of sweet delights.
Lost quite a bit of muscle, and sadly some of my endurance.
I've also managed to pack on some poundage.

Whoops, think it may be time to hit the reset button.

Since today is Monday, I thought that there wouldn't be a better time to head to my gym to sweat it out doing this circuit workout.



Yup, that made me sweat off the chocolate croissants...
apple pie...
gourmet turkey burger...
almond joys and kit kats...
frozen pizza...
and the zero amount of produce I consumed this weekend.

Last week in a failed attempt to prove to myself that I haven't lost an ounce of fitness since the marathon, I decided to run 50 miles in 5 days.
2 of those days hosted 12 mile runs,
both of which sucked out all of my energy,
and left me a wee bit sore.

As much as I have been telling myself that I'm still in marathon shape,
it's time to let out the truth...
if I tried to run a marathon today,
I would probably come close to dropping dead,
and my husband would be pushing me around in a wheelchair afterwards.
That would not be cute.

So yes, it happened...
and it happens to all of us post peak race.
But I'm not too worried,
and I know that it'll eventually come back.
For now my fitness will just be hibernating,
hanging out underneath all of those layers of sugary blob that I've been packing on.

Since today is Monday,
I'm going to start fresh.
Maybe have a few less pieces of candy this week,
eat a bit more produce,
and try to not let the seams on my pants bust while bending over.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Winter Running Wish List

With winter just around the corner, it's time to prepare and stock up on gear in order to hit the streets running prepared. If you are anything like me, you avoid the treadmill at all costs and instead prefer to brave the brisk winter elements (you can read my ode to the treadmill here) and pile on the layers. Here in the 'windy city' things can get a bit nasty, especially along the lakefront, from December until about March. While most runners hybernate durning these months, I tend to be that one crazy runner that hits up the lakefront path regardless of the conditions.

This season I'm sticking to my hardcore running commitment and plan to continue to be the lone runner on the lakefront during those cold days. But this year I'm hoping that Santa will add some new gear to my running closet that leaves me feeling snuggled up and cozy on those harsh winter days.

So Santa...here's my letter to you:

Dear Santa,

I've tried to be on my best behavior this year in hopes that you will keep me off the 'naughty' list. While I know that I've had my moments of ugliness, I hope that you still find me to be worthy of the 'nice' list. Because I know that you are a busy man and may be at a loss as to what to leave under the tree for me this year, I have compiled a short listing complete with links as to what I have my eye on this season.

Send the Mrs. Claus, the elves, and reindeer my love. We will have plenty of milk, cookies, and carrots for you all upon your arrival.

XOXO,
Britt

This top is made of magical fibers that create heat when wet and will be perfect for those snowy days.





My big ears get awfully cold, and considering that my dog just chewed a large hole in my favorite running hat...I could use a new one. This one is rather fancy and has a cute little hole for the ponytail.




This hat would do as well.



A girl can get crabby on a perfectly decent run when her fingers get cold, these gloves would be just the cure for that.





My meaty legs get cold and these thermal tights will keep that in check.



I think I want these just with the hopes that I would look as great as the model.





Aren't the sleeves cute?



Looking forward to your arrival Santa.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Climbing Out Of My Rut

Lately I've been in a negative-nancy-glass-half-empty-why-me kind of rut. If you caught my last posting at all, you probably guessed that life has had me in a fickle funk as of late. Yesterday I decided it's time to move on with the past and forge towards the future, head held high.

Sometimes I get into these weird unexplainable ruts that become difficult to climb out of if I stagger in the funk too long and let the stink soak into my soft skin. Usually the best way for me to move ahead is to make a list, create some goals, make a few changes, and get excited about something new. And that is just what I'm doing these days.

I created a Chicago Runner Girl Facebook page. 
Not sure yet what I'm going to be putting on this page, but feel free to head over and like me.

I finally own my url, Chicagorunnergirl.com.
If you've stopped here in the past 24 hours you may have caught my blog amidst the transition. Also, if you'd like to continue reading on about my crazy life journey, you may need to change your feed address now that I've dropped the "blogspot".

Went for a long run.
Yesterday I went for a 12 mile run. I don't know what has happened between the marathon and now, but somehow my feet have lost their edge. Not spending 15 hours a week trapped in a stinky running shoe has softened the bottoms of my feet. Somehow a massive blister the size of Texas took over the bottom of my left foot, and it is not cute or comfortable.

Refine my goals for the remainder of the year.
Part of the reason why I have been so blah lately is because I have already shot for the majority of my big goals for the year. Not having something big to aim for and look forward to has left me with mopey feelings. I haven't really had a plan for how I'm going to tackle the remaining months of the year and have just been getting up moseying through my day. While I still don't have a plan, I'm working on making a plan and trying to actually be productive with my time.

I bought a new toothbrush.
This may sound a little weird, but I am insanely neurotic about my oral hygiene. Treating myself to a new toothbrush always adds a little pep in my step.

Bake something delicious.
Not sure what yet...but it will be mouth watering and make my knees weak it'll be so good. If you didn't know, I used to be a professional baker and I've got quite a few tricks up my sleeves.



Try some new activities.
Recently Cara over at EAT. PRAY. RUN. blogged about this really cool app called the Nike Training Club. I haven't yet given it a go, but some of the workouts look amazing and I cannot wait to get my sweat on with the NTC.



Buy some new equipment.
I live in a teeny, tiny, closet sized apartment with my husband and two dogs. We don't really have a lot of room for athletic equipment, but I've been feeling motivated to buy some small things lately. Maybe some free weights and a medicine ball. I once had a stability ball, but my dogs thought that it was a toy and popped it.

Any suggestions as to which brand I should go with for free weights or a medicine ball?



This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this posting, but it makes me smile so I thought that it would be a nice addition.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

D's Race And Finding Humility

This weekend D ran a 15k, and he did awesome. I was truly amazed by the power and positivity that came fluidly from his spirit on race morning as he completed the entire race with a smile. It has been inspiring to watch him feel alive once again through running and begin to dream big for the future.

Yea, he's got his running mojo back
What a stud
While he was racing and I was standing on the sidelines anticipating his passing, I couldn't help but notice the local runners zooming by that I've beat in other races this year. When I should have been on cloud nine watching D fly like the wind through the Chicago streets,  I couldn't help but turn the beauty he was creating into an ugly experience that became all about me. I was excited to support my man, but I couldn't help but feel broken up about how I was aching to be racing. Strange new feelings of how I needed to prove that I'm a decent runner were saturating every thought in my mind, thoughts that somehow started to become tangled into my self worth and left me feeling like an emotional mess.

Truth be told, there is a deeper rooted issue that I have been wrestling with in the past few weeks that has finally caught up with me. My running spirit seems to still be healing from last months marathon misstep and there has been salt burning my wounds with the unpredictability of my career path as of late. I have tried to keep positive and press on telling myself that there will be other races and I will once again give the marathon a go, but my heart is still quite broken from the mess of a race I had. I haven't yet let it go and it has been eating me up inside and quietly greeting me at the least unexpected moments. Telling myself that there will be other marathons, that 3:26 is still a decent clip, and that one race doesn't define the limits of my abilities has only gotten me so far. Beyond the skin of a runner also lies a gal who has recently reached for so many new things and pressed past the area of comfort in life only for situations to turn out less then ideal, that it has shaken the rocky foundation of my core.

It can be difficult sometimes for me to separate the runner from the person in me. Being a runner is just a hat that I wear for a short period of time each day, it doesn't define who I am...but why at times do I let it?

I am...

a child of God.
a wife.
a daughter, sister, and friend to many people.
someone who has the power to inspire others.
a dreamer, a believer, and full of hope.
an intelligent individual that has the ability to create distinct notability.
a positive thinker.
unique in my thoughts and do not let myself be bound to the chains of what is normal.
fortunate to have the gifts that I do.
filled with courage.
valuable well beyond being an average runner.
a woman with many gifts.


It can be difficult at times when the road is rocky to remember who you are

The part of me that has been continually questioning why I have the ability to run a 1:27 half marathon on a trail course that had some extreme and drastic inclines but could only finish a full marathon a few weeks later in 3:26 with a half broken body has been taking over my mind. While I should be focusing on my career, family, faith, and blessings, I am instead cramming my mind with running "whys".  This is not who I am, so why am I letting it control me? Because I'm a foolish human caught up in the value of the world.

One of the most challenging things for me in life is being humble, and standing on the sideline supporting the most important man in my life taught me a bit of humility yesterday.

Things are not always about me.
Life doesn't happen on my timing.
Good things come to those who wait...and those who believe.

I believe.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Spectating Advice

Since I am usually the one in my household that hits up the racing scene, I don't really know how to be a spectator. D is venturing back into racing this weekend and running the Hot Chocolate 15k. The best of both worlds, running followed by chocolate...what a happy marriage of two of the greatest things on this earth.


I thought that I would make a check list of spectator must-have's for this weekend so that I don't disappoint and bring my A game:

  1. Great signage, can a sign for the hubby have glitter on it?
  2. Make sure to have noise makers
  3. Bring a camera
  4. Possibly a megaphone? I don't actually own one of these...but maybe I could get my hands on one
  5. Bring my maniac screaming voice so that the hubs can hear me
  6. Wear something distinctly loud so that I can be seen amongst the crowd
  7. Know the course and let my runner know where I'll be standing
  8. Every man for himself, if you can't keep up with me on the sidelines cheering then I will have to leave you behind
  9. Lots and lots of coffee and snacks
  10. Carb load and work just as hard as the runners from the sideline
The last race I actually spectated was YEARS and YEARS ago, like maybe 2004, so I'm nervous that I'm a little rusty in the sideline support category. And I'm not exactly certain what my sign should say...

Any great ideas for signage? 
Sideline support tips?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Still Healing

Sometimes it takes a wee bit longer to get oneself back together then expected post marathon.

I thought that I was on the right track, then this weekend happened and left me feeling like my body took 10 steps backwards. 

Saturday I took a yoga class where the focus of the practice was on loosening the hips, which I am in dire need of these days. It left me feeling crippled and worse then I was feeling before. Why won't this dang hip shake off it's issues?

Sunday I went for a 13 mile run, which was my longest post marathon run. The first few miles were against 20 mile winds where I was running 9 minute pace that felt like 6 minute effort. Once I had the wind at my back it felt great to get a little extra push and workout the tightness in the legs and hip. Last 6 miles were 6:40-7:20 pace and felt so dang good.

Monday I tried to head out for an easy 8. Made it .75 of a mile and my knee begun to turn on me. For some reason it was having a difficult time supporting my body weight, maybe all of the junk I splurged on over the weekend? I ended up doing a walk/run for 3 miles that was making me crabby.

Enter Todays Workout
5x800's @ 5k pace
3:05-3:07

Splits
3:04, 3:03, 3:01, 2:59, 3:01

The knee felt normal today, so who knows what the heck was going on yesterday. I think that the wear and tear which my bod has experienced in 2011 is just lingering around a bit to remind me that I don't have to go full throttle 365 days a year. Today these 800's felt great, and my body was complying. But tomorrow will probably be a different story.

There is some kind of magical beauty in not being tied down to a training plan. Workouts are a day to day thing around this neck of the woods lately, and I'm liking the freedom. There is no guilt for missing a workout and sitting on the couch eating a bag of Trader Joe's Salt and Vinegar potato chips these days. Maybe when the buttons pop off my jeans I'll be feeling otherwise...