Friday, March 30, 2012

Making it count. Everyday.

Yesterday was the only day this week where I planned a heavy workload. I've been practicing an active recovery in hopes that my body won't go into shock come May when I have double digit races on back-to-back weekends. With my 8k out of the way, it's time for me to shift my focus over to nailing down my half goal pace of 6:30. After giving the legs a few days to loosen up and recover, I set out for a fairly aggressive raced paced workout.

2x15 minutes @ goal HMP
5 minute recovery between sets

While I was able to hit my paces, this workout was a lot more challenging then I thought it would be. I still feel confident that come May 20th that I will be able to hold a 6:30 pace for my half, but this workout provided quite the humbling experience for where I am as of today. Really had to push and work for this, and it wasn't easy. Coasting through the rest of my training saying,

"I just ran an 8k PR that hosted a mini 5k PR at the split"

with expectations that I will show up to that line in 7 weeks without having to put in some kick butt work to just magically cross the line with a 3 minute PR is naive and silly. Instead I have to earn it. It is going to hurt and most likely the next several weeks will host quite a few workouts that are going scare the pants off of me, but that is what it takes to achieve the unthinkable. 

PR's and wins have to be earned, and I want both on May 20th.
That's right folks, I'm going for the win.
And that means I have to get out there and train hard and smart.
Making it count. Everyday.

Call me crazy, but I like to load my hard days as much as possible so that on my rest days I can take it easy giving my body ample time to repair and recover. Thought that I was odd for doing this until I read on the ever-so-speedy Sara Hall's twitter feed that she does this too, and she's a 15:20 I think she is on to something.

After I put in a muscle-aching speed workout, most of the time I follow that up with a strength circuit at the gym using minimal equipment. 

Stability Ball
1 set of 15 lb. weights
1 set of 12.5 lb. weights
1 set of 10 lb. weights
Stair Stepper
And usually my lunch that I snack on between sets

In 45 minutes I burned 523 calories, 31% of those being calories from fat with this circuit

Sure I was tired as all heck, but I did it anyways.
There will never be a worthy achievement in life that comes easy.
Just gotta ride that edge and make the impossible seem a bit more possible.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Awkward and Fugly Race Photos & a 13.1 Winner

It's been 3 days since the Shamrock Shuffle 8k and life is slowly returning back into my legs. Monday morning I could barely bend over to reach my toes and think that I got a small lick of what it will feel like to live inside my body when I'm 90.

Received an email yesterday that my "race photos" from Sunday were ready for my viewing. I don't photograph well while running, but I thought that I would take at peek at the overpriced photos that I wasn't going buy anyhow.

After this fugly race photo from 2010:

Chicago Marathon 2010
I pretty much gave up any expectation of great action shots years ago. Running and beauty apparently just do not go together for me.

Like I mentioned the other day, Sunday's race is kind of all a blur in my mind. There are few things that I remember after my legs pumped out that 5:42  2nd mile, but after seeing this pic I remembered something else... that I ran up the 400 foot incline in the last half mile with my eyes closed. Why? Who the heck knows, but chances are likely that at the time my mind was going to great lengths to make that finish line appear as quick as possible.

When I look at that photo above the only thing that pops into mind is "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can."

I'm also super cool where no matter how much pain I am in upon crossing the finish line, the first thought that crosses my mind will always be "must...stop...garmin...".

Race day support crew

I also like to play ballerina as my pre-race ritual apparently.

And make cool faces at the Millennium Park Bean.

Without further ado, the randomly selected winner of the Chicago 13.1 Marathon giveaway is...

Congrats Michel! Looks like we will be taking to the Chicago 13.1 Marathon course on June 9th together! Email me at and I'll get you in contact with the race organizers for your free entry.

Alright time to air your dirty laundry folks...
We've all got them, those fugly race photos that seem to capture the true glory of race day. Who wants to trump my Chicago Marathon 2010 fuglyness? Think you've got a real winner email me at to be part of a fugly race photo posting.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

CHM Training Week 8 Recap

Half way through my Chicagoland Half Marathon training cycle now. At the beginning of last week I was feeling pretty cruddy. There was a 5 day period of time which hosted a rather heavy load of workouts that left me feeling tired with a rather tight achilles that had me fairly nervous for most of the week. I knew what I was getting into when I set up my work load like this and had a feeling it was going to kick my butt, but there were several moments early last week when I was quietly fearing that I was experiencing the beginning stages of an injury. 

It was a false alarm and instead the result of:

4 sets of 1x1600 @ 6:18-6:22 pace/2x400's @ 1:33-1:36 pace
12 miles total

1st set:
6:17, 1:34, 1:32
2nd set:
6:16, 1:32, 1:33
3rd set:
6:10, 1:32, 1:33
4th set:
6:15, 1:32, 1:33

This workout left me feeling strong and ready to go for the Shuffle, it was the perfect challenge and confidence booster.

Sunday the 18th
12 mile progressive run

Worked down from 8:05 pace to current HMP (6:40) for the last 1.5 miles

12 miles total

30 minute warm-up
10 minute tempo @ current HMP (6:40)
4x400's @ goal 8k pace (1:33-1:36)
Splits: 1:33, 1:34, 1:31, 1:32
10 minute tempo @ goal HMP (6:30)

The achilles is perfectly fine now. 

Made 70 miles for the week with two days being doubles. 

Fleet Feet Shamrock Shuffle training run on Monday night with D and Xaarlin

Fit in two strength sessions, and decided to take a pass on my newly found love for hot yoga last week. Something took a hold of me for most of the week where I was congested and had a fairly sore throat, but luckily that all cleared up before the Shuffle.

Sunday hosted the Shamrock Shuffle 8k. Legs felt heavy and tight from the moment I woke up, but I still was eager to get out and race the hell out of that 8k. As I stood at that starting line surrounded by real elite athletes, I felt prepared and ready to compete. I felt oddly comfortable standing along side the large number of amazing amateur athletes and appreciated that they are no different then me. Sure a lot of them finished ahead of me and passed me as my race unfolded, but most of them are average people just like me who prioritize their training and constantly venture out to conquer their running dreams.

Starting line of the world's largest 8k.
Only me and nearly 35,000 of my closest friends

I raced like a putz on Sunday leaving me with some really crazy splits, but at least I went out there and raced. When the going got tough I still forged on even when I was ready to call it quits. Wish I could remember the race better, but every thing seems like a blur in my mind now. I do recall a man running with one of his arms in a sling passing me right before the 4 mile marker and a woman crouched over in the last half mile puking up her breakfast, my mind picked some great moments to hold onto.

Goals for week 9

70+ miles
3 strength sessions
2 hot yoga classes
1 speed session
Active recovery 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Every Day I'm Shufflin': Shamrock Shuffle 8k

Good sign that you pushed yourself just the right amount on race day...
your hammies start barking within an hour of crossing the finish line.

Yowzers! It's the ugliest yet most beautiful feeling in the world.

After the horrifically epic fail last falls Chicago marathon hosted for me, my heart in the past several months has been craving a bit of redemption and speed in regards to racing. Marathons aren't really a grand-ole-time for me, as a matter of fact I have actually recently decided that I HATE them. But that's a story for another day. Attempting to redeem my broken ego, I've spent the past 4 months training intuitively where I follow little to no training plan. December and January hosted only easy miles where my only focus was to build a solid and stable base fitness to work off of for most of 2012. Those slow and steady miles nourished and rejuvenated my soul, and I am grateful for every one of them and the time I spent running carefree.

By late January and early February, my legs felt ready to rock and roll and my head felt back in the game. Speed sessions slowly begun to creep back into my training and my running mojo seemed to return with a vengeance. More recently, the past 8 weeks have hosted a wide variety of workouts that lack any logical explanation other then those were the workouts I felt like I needed at those particular moments of time. Training by my gut and not by what my preplanned schedule is telling me to do has been a completely new experience for me, one that I have become very very fond of. Training this way has caused me to push myself harder then I ever have before at the right moments in time.

Lacing up my new racing flats pre race

I registered for the Shamrock Shuffle 8k back in early January knowing that this would not be a key race for me. The plan has been all along to use this as a test of my fitness level midway through my half marathon training to get an idea of how I was progressing. There was no taper and instead the last 10 days became a heavy build up of miles, speed sessions, progression runs, and recovery from the flu and a pesky run in with the excess amount of pollens lingering in the air. Expectations that I would go into this 8k feeling rested and ready to fly through the race course with ease didn't exist and were instead filled with the knowledge that if I wanted a PR I was really going to have to fight for it.

Behind every great female athlete is a supportive and loving husband

And fight I did.

Going into today I knew that I could bust out a 31:30, but deep down inside I really wanted a sub 31 finish. This was an aggressive goal for me but I felt like if I could squeeze out every single last drop of strength from my body that a 30:xx finish was in the bag. What I didn't realize was that running this fast hurts like no other.

Awkward waving photo to my support crew

Your feet feel like they are on fire.
Your lungs are gasping for breath.
And your mind tells you that you can't.

I wanted to get out there and push myself harder then I ever have at this distance before, to throw in a few miles under my 6:20 goal pace and "ride my edge" all the way through the finish line.

My Garmin stats rarely ever match up with the race distance,
which is normal. 8k's are 4.97 miles,
my signal somehow picked up an extra .14 miles.

I don't know who that girl was out there racing today, but man I like her and I hope that she sticks around. Crossed the 5k and my Garmin read 19:19, my 5k PR from last July puts me at 19:26. Mind begun to go astray here a bit and the pain from a 5:42 mile 2 begun to catch up with me, haven't ever seen a 5 at the beginning of my race splits before so I think I started to psyche myself out. The mental game begun here where bargaining with myself was the only thing that seemed to get me to the finish line. Mile 4 was pure hell as I was suddenly being passed by more men then I would care to admit to. Damn you men with your high testosterone levels and what often appears to be effortless speed. Instead of them getting chicked, I was getting duded. And it sucked.

"You're considered an elite, start acting like one"

This somehow became my unintentional mantra and was the advice of my ever-so-wise husband. Maybe this seems harsh to some, but this man knows me better then I know myself sometimes and often provides good kick in the pants at the right vulnerable moment. Seeing him just before the mile 4 marker somehow provided a mild second-wind and I managed to get myself somewhat back on track as Kelly Clarkson reminded me that "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" through my headphones.

Right before the 4 mile marker

In the heat of the moment time seemed to stand still, but now it all just feels like it passed in an instant and all thats left is blurry memories.  Part of me wants to go back for a redo of mile 4 to shave off those extra 17 seconds to get me just under 31 minutes, but what's done is done. I ran my a$$ off, earned an 82 second PR, and feel pretty stellar that my legs randomly pumped out a 5:42 mile. Like I said before, it's just a number and doesn't define me as an athlete. Still a pretty tasty PR and a sign that I'm on track for some pretty booty-kickin spring races.

Statistics from the worlds largest 8k

Clock Time: 31:16
Average Pace: 6:17
since I raced in the elite corral, chip time isn't applicable
think it took me 5 seconds to cross the start 
Overall Place: 452 out of 34,301
Sex Place: 55 out of 19,642

Not too shabby for a race that wasn't my goal race. Feeling 100% confident now that a sub 19 minute 5k is in these legs if I can mange to pump out these splits for an 8k and I can't wait to give one a go.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Mental Game

"There are people who have no bodies, only heads. And many athletes have no heads, only bodies. A champion is a man who has trained his body and his mind, who has learned to conquer pain for his own purposes. A great athlete is at peace with himself and at peace with the world; he has fulfilled himself. He envies nobody."
 Coach Sam Dee The Olympian
In my 16 years as a runner I think that it would be safe to say that I've had my fair share of peaks and valleys with the sport. There were times when I felt unstoppable, courageous enough to push through even the most challenging of races to valiantly dance across the finish. Yet for every moment of glory and flawless execution there have been countless moments of self defeat where the unwelcome acknowledgement that I simply wasn't capable of achieving the goals that my heart had set out to hunt down seemed to overtake me soiling my mind with toxic thoughts.

As runners, as athletes, we spend so much time perfecting the physical aspect of our sport. We put our faith in our muscles, toning and building strength for months before competition to insure that come the big day our body will know what to do. Learning the right movements, picking the right shoe, foam rolling out all the aches and pains, and diligently pressing forward. But even with all of the blood, sweat, and tears that are shed during training, the most important muscles that can make or break competition often becomes an after thought. That crucially vital muscle is the mind.

Years ago I was a mess with my running. I was a champ at putting in hours upon hours of great mileage, threshold workouts, speed sessions, long runs, tempos, strength sessions, you name it I did it. I thought the physical would be enough to over power over the lack of mental edge I had. It wasn't, and sadly many races in my past have brought the tough reality that mental preparations can make or break you. 

In the past year I have been focusing a lot of my efforts on turning the minds eye into the hearts center. Learning to find peace with the work that I've put forth and putting faith in myself has been one of the most challenging lessons for me. It has taken practice, focus, and just as much careful preparation as the physical. While it sounds silly that I have to consciously pause to remind myself that I am strong and powerful, I know that I am not alone in my self-destructive behaviors. Human instinct is to take the easy way out, to fill the mind with excuses and let that little voice in all of our heads begin to take over and push away all of that positivity that our hearts lust after.

In my final few days before Sunday's race when butterflies seem to be frolicking in my stomach, it's time to channel that energy and turn it into one kick a$$ race that will quench my thirst for life making want to continue to press harder and farther. Here are few ways that I've been mentally preparing for my race:

These short phrases have had great power in my life. When the going gets tough during a race and my mind begins to focus on how my legs are burning and my lungs seem to be gasping for air, the distraction of a few silly words that may have little to no significance to others somehow generate this amazing power for my mind. They provide focus and somehow allow my mind to travel to a place where I suddenly feel like Jessie Owens and that I can fly like the wind.

Taking a step back for a few days before any race to replay all of the hard workouts that have been put in to get me to that point is always a humbling experience for me. It's in the gritty sweat of the late morning hours when my breath is heavy and heart is dauntless that the athlete in me is made. While I may not make money from my sport and I may not win the race, I am a strong and courageous athlete that can push beyond the impossible.


Letting the numbers go
Racing tends to be mainly about numbers, we all long for those tasty PR's and quicker splits. But really, they are just numbers that hold little significance in life. Races are merely tests of our fitness level on one day for one moment in time, they don't define the character of the athlete. The time that I cross the line is really irrelevant, all that matters is that I run from the heart and give the race all that I've got.

Surrounding myself with reinforcement of my character is key for me. I like to put post it's with key phrases or mantras around my house so that I can constantly remember that this is my quest that I have set out to conquer.

Running is my hobby. It's something I do for myself to keep my mind and body sound. Smiles from ear to ear should be on my face every step of the way because this is my time to feel free and unchained from the adversity of life. Picturing myself on that race course in the few days beforehand enjoying life and content with myself keeps me at ease. I like to close my eyes imaging myself trotting down the course gallantry, feeling light on my feet and in control of my running destiny. Telling myself how I want to feel come race day makes me feel relaxed and ready to tackle whatever may come my way.

Shamrock Shuffle 8k 2011
"The purpose of a race isn't to see who wins, it's to test the limits of the human heart."
Steve Prefontaine 
While there are few things that we all can control in life, the one thing we can control is our attitude and outlook on situations. I choose to feel prepared and pressure free about my races because they really aren't that serious. I'm not going to find the cure to HIV or end world hunger with one race, but I am going to allow myself the chance to live outside the safety net of my comfort zone in life for a few brief moments of time...and I'm going to enjoy every step of the way.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chicago 13.1 Marathon Race Entry Giveaway

Ever feel like running and racing burns a huge hole in your pocket where you can't enjoy all of the great local races your city has to offer?
Well Chicago locals, this is your lucky day...

The Allstate 13.1 series has generously offered one free race entry for the June 9th Chicago course to a lucky Chicago Runner Girl reader.

A little info about this race:
The party meets the pavement when 5,000 runners will hit the streets at the Chicago 13.1 Marathon® starting and ending at the South Shore Cultural Center along the shore of Lake Michigan. After the race, join the Michelob Ultra 13.1 Marathon® post-race party, where all participants will be able to quench their thirst and accomplishment with an ice cold Michelob Ultra. Enjoy a beautiful half marathon course along the lakefront with over 20 party station along the way. A bash with live entertainment, food and refreshments among friends and family will await you at the end.

Course Map
 And the best part is that I'll be there too, and if you're really lucky I may even offer you my beer!

To enter for your chance to win a complimentary entry to the June 9th 13.1 Marathon Chicago all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me the funniest thing you've seen while out for a run.
As simple as that.

This giveaway is open to any and all interested entrants, the only stipulation if you are not a blogger would be to leave some type of contact information within your comment. Best of luck to you all and I can't wait to get out there running with you on June 9th!

Giveaway will run until Wednesday March 28th at noon.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Time to ownChi

3 hard workouts in 5 days have wiped me out.

Friday was a Shamrock Shuffle 8k prep day.
Sunday hosted a fairly aggressive progressive run.
And then there was yesterday's workout.

12 miles total

30 minute warm-up
10 minute tempo @ current HMP (6:40)
4x400's @ goal 8k pace (1:33-1:36)
1:33, 1:34, 1:31, 1:32
10 minute tempo @ goal HMP (6:30)
Didn't quite hit this pace

The unusually warm spring temps here in Chicago have really thrown me for a loop. I'm a late morning runner which usually isn't a problem for me. But lately when I've been heading out for my runs the temps have been lingering somewhere around the mid-to-high 70's on the lakefront path that has not a drop of shade. This should have been an easy workout for me hosting just the right amount of hard miles to keep the legs fresh for Sunday and boost my confidence.

Instead fighting through the heat and the lagging lactate in my legs from the last 5 days of work made this quite a challenge. Just realized now that last Friday ended a 10 day running streak for me that hosted 106 miles. So yes, some lingering tightness is to be expected.

Instead of boo-hooing over how crappy my legs feel today or the fact that my achilles is tighter then it has ever been before, I'm feeling refreshed and faithful. 

Running will never give you back more then you put in.

As for me, I've put in the physical work. Lots of it. In the last few days pre-race it's time to focus on the mental work. Time to put those beautiful mantras I've been working on into play and to #MakeItCount every step of the way.

I'm ready to #ownCHI

Monday, March 19, 2012

CHM Training Week 7 Recap

Come back is always bittersweet...

Two weeks ago the flu knocked me down pretty hard. I basically laid motionless on my couch for 3 days. I couldn't eat, it hurt to blink, my stomach was in knots, and I had little to no energy. It was awful, and I'm glad that time now is nothing but a painful memory. Wasn't really sure how being out of the game for pretty much the entire week 6 of my cycle would effect things for this week, so I held loosely knit plans and had little expectation.

Luckily I was able to pick up right where I left off in week 5 and didn't really have to make any major adjustments to my goals for the week. Just have to put week 6 behind me and keep moving ahead celebrating all of the baby steps of progress.

In week 7 I:
  • Covered 68 miles
  • Got in 2 strength circuits
  • Attended 2 hot yoga sessions, one of which was a yoga sculpt with weights
  • Had a strong 12 mile progressive run on Sunday
  • Flew through my Shamrock Shuffle key workout on Friday
Legs are feeling fairly spunky these days. Maybe it's the unusually warm early spring weather we are having or maybe it's the unstoppable urge to achieve the unthinkable that has been brewing deep down inside me for my 28 years of life, either way I'm ready to take the 2012 racing season on.

Got in a little beach time on a sunny 75 degree day
A little alfresco dining on St. Paddy's day with the family along the festive green Chicago River
Spring always brings about growth and possibility for me.

This will be the year of "riding my edge" and pressing harder then I ever have before. You never know what's out there if you don't try, so I'm bravely forging ahead.

Week 8 Goals

70 miles
2 strength sessions
1 race tuning speed workout
1 yoga class
Buttloads of foam rollings
Plenty of sleep and proper nutritional choices
The start of my 2012 racing season with the Shamrock Shuffle 8k

Friday, March 16, 2012

A take-two workout

Yesterday I made a bonehead move and headed out around noon for my first speed session in two weeks. It was just a few degrees shy of 80, humid, and there was not a cloud in the sky. Goal for the day was 24x400's @8k goal pace, I got one in before pulling the plug on the workout.

I'm all for a good challenge, but suicide workouts in temperatures that I am not yet accustomed to as my first go at quick running after the flu was just plain stupid. Don't know why I made such a novice decision yesterday to attempt this workout at this timing, but it became very clear very quickly that pushing my self that hard in those conditions would provide little to no benefit and would just wipe me out. For me putting in a quality workout is better then forcing one that may kill me.

Take-two of my speed workout happened this morning, but with a few modifications.

Goal workout
4 sets of 1x1600 @ 6:18-6:22 pace/2x400's @ 1:33-1:36 pace

1st set:
6:17, 1:34, 1:32
2nd set:
6:16, 1:32, 1:33
3rd set:
6:10, 1:32, 1:33
4th set:
6:15, 1:32, 1:33

My paces were a bit quicker then I anticipated, but my legs felt light and had a bit of extra zest today. The temps were over 20 degrees cooler today with no humidity, which I think added that extra zing to my legs. This was by no means an easy workout, but I kept repeating my new go-to mantra to get me through and continued to visualize myself cruising along next weeks course.

Running fast isn't pleasant, it makes your lungs burn, every muscle in your body aches, and your breakfast wants to reappear. But staying in that cozy comfort zone will never get you any closer to that edge where the impossible seems to become a bit more possible. 

Worthy accomplishments will never come easy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Preparing to ride my edge

Yesterday afternoon I received a pleasant email confirmation for next weeks Shamrock Shuffle 8k.

How out of 40,000 runners I managed to score bib #67 boggles my mind. Maybe this seems like no big deal to others, but to me this is kind of an exciting thing. I've never had a bib number so low for such a large race and always thought that the lowest numbers were reserved for the special super-fast and more serious runners. Maybe it isn't such a big thing, but this just adds to my race excitement.

Random race thoughts:

Feeling fairly prepared.
Even though last week was pretty much a wash for me as I was taken out by the flu, I'm still feeling fairly confident with all the work that I have put in so far this year. Thus far I've run 605 miles for 2012, where the majority of them have been of a fairly great quality. Feeling that my fitness level has grown in the past few months where I'm feeling pretty physically and mentally strong. With each focused workout accomplished I feel like I am building up solid walls on top of the sturdy foundation I spent the winter months building.

Ready to race like a champ.
This is a newer feeling for me. I haven't always had that deep down desire of getting out on a race course with the intentions to race like a fighter, but in the past several months I have had this insistent urge to push myself physically harder then I ever have before. Most races I've ran in the past my goal has been just to race myself, but now I'm suddenly feeling the urge to chick as many men as possible as I run through the Chicago streets next Sunday and ride my edge. Running with a silly grin on my face most days where I just feel so blessed to be enjoying this time of athletic greatness in my life.

Loving the vulnerability.
My mind is strange and I love that I have put out this great expectation for this race which is making me feel quite exposed and out of my comfort zone. Not really certain where my fitness level puts me right now, and I am kind of enjoying this as it makes me want to continue to push myself to see what kind of results I can pump out come May. Feeling like a sweet new PR is just lurking around the bend for me waiting for me to hunt it down.

Dying to wear my new flats.
These kicks are pretty snazzy and I'm ready to rock their world.

Tomorrow is a planned key workout to see where I'm at pace wise for the shuffle, hoping to put in a fair amount of race paced 400's. My goal right now for race day is to hold a steady 6:20 pace, which would put me right around a 31:30 finish...just quick enough for me to ride my edge.

Who else running the Shamrock Shuffle 8k next Sunday and if you are what are your race day goals?
Anyone toeing the line dressed in festive garb?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Trying to find the words...

thinking that my home could use a little wall art like this...

it's tuesday, which means monday is gone and friday is lightyears away. there is still time for me to change the outcome of the week, because after all this is MY life.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

CHM Training Week 6, the week that wasn't

Had high hopes and great expectations for week 6, but the world had other plans for me.

there were the pre-flu symptoms which started Saturday the 3rd that seemed to suck every ounce of energy from my body and left my muscles feeling achy and sore.

there were the three days where the flu was actively living inside my body making me feel like my insides had been taken over by aliens.

I'm in the post-flu days where life is slowly beginning to come back into my body and trying to resume life as normal. 

Still somehow managed to squeeze in 50 extremely slow and easy miles this week with 1and a half strength sessions, so I'll call it a semi-successful week for me. It's nearly impossible to gain fitness when ill, but I don't think that I've lost any and after feeling like hell for so many days this week I'll gladly accept any and all workouts that happened in the past few matter how terrible they may have been.

Sadly in my illness I did miss quite a few incredibly beautiful and mild days

Ahhh, spring is just around the bend

Hoping to pick up next week right where I left off, but those are loose plans at this time. 

Flexible goals for Week 7

Mileage in the high 60's
3 strength sessions
1-2 yoga classes
1 key workout to prep for the Shamrock Shuffle 8k, which is now just 2 weeks away
7 runs total

Ambitious, yes...but I wouldn't have it any other way

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Always onward and upward

Feeling like this a tad lately...

Monday in the early morning hours I woke up with some extreme stomach pains that brought on a rather violent bout of the flu several hours later. Maybe I jinxed myself several weeks ago when I very proudly declared:

"I haven't had the flu since 2003, I think that I have an iron-clad immune system."

Well played universe...well played.

My bum has been glued to the couch for most of the week, even on those beautiful 60+ degree days that hit the Chicagoland area earlier in the week. If you want to really torture a runner, infect them with the flu in the late days of winter when the weather decides to play nice leaving them housebound and motionless for several days.

When life becomes frazzled and we are beginning to feel like we are stretched to the max, losing focus and lacking direction, our situations can have a funny way of slowing us down. Sadly my slow down came in the form of a nasty germ infestation that inhabited my body wreaking havoc for a few days before moving on to it's next equally as unsuspecting victim. While my stomach is still in knots, I have little to no energy, and my head is throbbing, I actually appreciate the little time out that it gave me this week.

Taking in the quite stillness of my home was just what my soul needed and became a time to work out some thoughts regarding my life's direction and deeply rooted desires which I've been putting on hold while chasing down what I thought was my destiny. Funny how what you wanted 6 months ago may not be what you want when that time rolls on through.

I can feel changes creeping around the bend once again where new inspirations have taken my heart hostage with calming feelings of the future adventures that may lay ahead.

Onward and upward as once again the seasons change...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

CHM Training Week 5 Recap

About 66 miles for week 5 with 2 strength sessions and 1 booty kickin yoga class.

Monday: 10 miles easy

Tuesday: 11.02 miles in 1:23. Strength circuit.

5 mile tempo run
Splits: 6:50, 6:35, 6:29, 6:34, 6:31

This tempo was a bit all over the place because I was running by feel and not letting the garmin dictate my pace. I love a good tempo run but I feel like most of the running population has no idea how to run this workout, including myself. Seems like a lot of us turn to graphs, stats, and charts to determine what pace to take our tempos. I've done this in the past, but have recently decided that for me I can't necessarily put my workouts into charts to get the most benefit from them. Honestly I'm a bit thrown for loop lately because I feel like I've gained speed in the past several months which makes it difficult for my workouts to fit correctly into standard stats, so everything for me is based on feel as of right now.

Wednesday: 9 mile recovery run

This was such a beautiful day that I was almost tempted to turn this run into another accidental 20 miler, but I didn't. Instead I just rocked out to some good tunes along the lakefront while soaking up the warm rays of the sun, I'll save that second accidental 20 miler for another day.

Thursday: 12.01 miles in 1:31. Strength circuit.

Celebrated the hubby's 28th birthday.

Speed workout
3 Sets of 1x1600/2x400's
Splits: 6:21, 1:31, 1:31, 6:21, 1:34, 1:31, 6:18, 1:33, 1:31

Friday: 8.5 mile recovery run. Hot yoga fusion at Core Power Yoga, 75 minutes.

I consider myself a fairly fit female athlete that can take on a lot of physical challenges, but never in my life had I ever been challenged in the way this hot yoga fusion class did. My mat looked like a slip and slide by the end of class and my body sweat out about 4 lbs. of toxins. By the back end of the class I couldn't even hold a downward dog because I was basically swimming in my own filth and couldn't grip my mat. I went to the class over dressed and under prepared with no towel. I was a gross mess by the end, but can't wait to get back for another class.

I always find value being put out of my element in fitness, and this class taught me that no matter how fast or far I can run there are still a lot of other physical challenges that can kick my butt.

Saturday: Unexpected day off. Legs were really tight and achy from Friday's yoga session.

Sunday: 15.14 miles in 1:59, 7:50 pace.

Started off my 28th birthday with a long run at the early morning hours of the day. Legs were still feeling kind of heavy and sluggish for most of this run, but it felt so nice to start my day off in the wee hours of the morning with the stillness of the lakefront path as my backdrop.

I collect aprons, so the hubby gave me a funky new one to add to my collection. Love feeling girly and cute while dicing up some serious mirepoix or deboning chickens in my kitchen.

He also bought me some racing flats, the Adidas Adios. I haven't ran in racing flats in about 10 years and  feel like my legs are finally ready to again for my upcoming spring races.

They're a bit bright, but feel perfect on my gigantic feet.

Came down with a violent bout of the flu yesterday morning, so not sure where week 6 will have me. Just hoping to get in a few miles once I'm able to stand without the room spinning and ingest food without it prematurely coming back up.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Adieu 27...

Today I turn 28. Adios 27, a year that brought out a quirky wisdom in my soul enabling me to grow soft wings of valor and tenacity that I never knew stirred inside.

27 was the year I left my job in corporate America to follow a dream, MY DREAM, which turned out to be more complicated then I thought where each day presents itself with new and unforeseen obstacles and challenges. This was the year where I found a strange new bravery that encouraged me to take countless leaps of faith, most of which never came close to panning out as expected, and has made me feel like I can conquer the world if I so choose. This was the year where I finally felt at complete peace with the old soul that has always existed deep down inside, and feel like the old lady I am is turning out to be an okay gal.

27 became the year of inspiration and possibility.

27th birthday in NYC
27 taught me to smile while running.
Quite an incredible lesson to learn that changed my outlook on practically everything in life.

Now I'm 10 years into adulthood, and still have those moments where I feel like a helpless and confused child. A decade ago I would have looked forward and said that this would be the point of my life where I would have everything worked out, where my knowledge of the world would be complete and life would be powered by simplicity. Man was I wrong.

10 years in adulthood and this is what I know.

Money doesn't grow on trees. Sadly you have to work really hard to earn it.

Tears never work out the hard parts of life.
Not everyone fills their hearts with the best of intentions.
Only you can take care of you.

Judgement by others is insignificant, that of my Lord and my Savior is the only one that matters.
Life will host as many forgettable moments as their are unforgettable.

There will always be people who throw rocks at things that shine.
Status means nothing if that is all you have in life.

You only get one body, treasure it.
People are precious. Appreciate and love them no matter how hard that may be.

Movement is a blessing.
"I'm sorry" and "I love you" hold more value then one thinks.

Life is filled with choices and you have control over your response to everything.

Small minds discuss people. Great minds spend time discussing bold ideas and follow through with them.

10 year, 5 year, 1 year plans are a waste of time...things never go as planned and feeling like you have to stick to "the plan" can leave you missing out on a lot of great moments of opportunity in life.

Life doesn't just happen, you have to make it happen by taking the things you've been given and making the most of every situation. There is no one to blame for your problems but you, and that was an ugly lesson to learn.

I bid thee adieu 27 and graciously grasp onto 28 savoring the adventures that may lay ahead.
Cheers to another 10 years of humbling life lessons and countless mistakes.