Thursday, August 30, 2012

Suburban Running

This is breathtaking...

but it's easy to take something that you really appreciate and love for granted when you think you've got unlimited time together.

I don't know if I really truly appreciated Chicago lakefront running until I knew that one day we were going to part ways and move on separately with our lives. It just became a part of my routine and my only safe place to get in my miles without dodging taxis that think stop signs are optional and drivers that swear they've master texting while driving. I didn't think twice about my route and instead laced up and would do a mini variation of the workout I did the day before. I became a terrible creature of habit that found blissful contentment with the same old route with the same old view that never seemed to get old to me. 

In the 12 days that I've been out of the city, I've had 9 very different runs that haven't mirrored one another yet. I've stumbled on some equally as gorgeous trails out here, some of which have majorly kicked my booty. My legs aren't used to inclines or surfaces other than asphalt as they've been running the same route over and over for almost the past decade.

These inclines don't look like much, but to someone who never ever runs on anything other that flat surfaces these short seemingly steep grades amidst a speed workout really get the heart pumping.

The first few days I was out here I did some trail running in a forest preserve near my home that I used to run cross country meets in as a middle and high schooler 10+ years ago.

The area has changed quite a bit since I last lived here where the miles of trails have increased and the area seems to cater a bit more to those who are looking to sweat it out with nature. Funny that I hadn't thought much about the long stretches of desolate pathways which swerve in and out of tree canopies making a person feeling like they are a million miles from no where before I arrived here, yet here they've been all along.

Indian Summer seems to be slowly creeping it's way in

It's weird when you go from being on a tiny over crowded path where you often have to fight for space and no one acknowledges your presence to open uninhibited spaces that seem to be never ending. People wave, (what's up with that by the I supposed to wave to EVERYONE that passes by asking them how they're doing greeting them with good morning/afternoon/evening?) and while it bothers me, I'm starting to get a small sense of what it's like to live like a civilized human once again...and quite embarrassed that I've somehow forgotten this. 

With my goal half now just 10 days away, I'm feeling as ready as I'll ever be. I've gotten some fairly decent workouts in within the past few weeks, but it is starting to seem like that aggressively insane sub 1:25 goal may be slightly out of my reach at this current time. It's been rough trying to get back on track after I basically threw myself violently off of a building earlier this year that I've been attempting to slowly piece back together. Realistically I would put myself somewhere in the low 1:26's right now, which I will gladly take with a smile.

In the past week I've had:

1 threshold workout of 2x15 minutes @ HMGP (6:30) with splits of 6:22 & 6:23

A 4 mile tempo run that was sub par with crazy splits of 6:38, 6:27, 6:20, 6:25

And what should have been 3x2 mile repeats @ -5 to-10 under HMGP but the sun cooked my brain and I instead ended up with 2x2 mile repeats and one lonely 1 miler with splits of  12:55, 12:40, and that solitary 6:30 mile

Tomorrow will be either a 4-6 mile tempo or an 8-10 mile steady run and Sunday will host the hubby's 1st 20 miler of his marathon training, than it's a week full of taper where 2012's racing will most likely come to a close at the Chicago Half Marathon on 9/9. No fall racing plans other than the marathon fun run with the hubby on 10/7, which most likely won't change. At this time I do have my eyes on a local 5k Turkey Trot, but post marathon recovery will determine that.

Basically this week will be my last big week of focused training for 2012! 


  1. I get totally offended when people don't greet me back on the trails. So, yes, it is required -must be a much more suburban thing. One of the trails I frequent is so friendly that I can't stop smiling the whole way because everyone says 'Hi!' or 'Good Morning!'.

  2. It took me a little while to make the transition to being a suburban runner. Every once in awhile I'll do my run in the city... I'll try to make eye contact and wave to other runners on the streets. I usually get a dirty look, someone looking behind them, or someone crossing the street to avoid any type of contact. Haha. Then I'll remember that I used to do the exact same thing when I lived in the city!

    I can't wait to hear about your goal half. I just have a feeling you're going to totally rock it!

  3. With regard to the wave, here are my thoughts - how hard is it to quickly acknowledge another like-minded athlete (i.e. runners in this case) with a quick wave or peace sign? Takes a second to do and it makes the other person (and probably you too) feel good, right? One thing I have noticed is that people tend to be especially friendly in the morning and less so in the evening - don't know why that is. Personally, it all depends on what kind of run I'm doing. If it's an easy run, then I'm a wave factory. If it's a tempo run, I don't acknowledge anyone. Jekyll and Hyde I suppose.

  4. I usually struggle to get eye contact with other runners, but I always say hi. Waving (bizarrely) seems like more effort though! And I normally only wave to people I know. Maybe respond to the wave with a smile and a "hi"?

    You run in some beautiful places. I'm sure part of the reason I've lost my running mojo is that my new area is not very nice to run around. Have even considered driving for 20mins to my old neighbourhood!

  5. I typically raise my hand in a kind-of wave to acknowledge them. It's usually all I can manage :-)

    FYI - I'm hosting brunch at my apartment after the Chicago Half Marathon if you're interested.

  6. Ha ha! The waving bothers you?! LOL. I suppose it will take awhile to get used to these weirdo suburbanites. I say hi, nod or wave to everyone I pass!

    I hope you have a fabulous final raced race of 2012 :) I'm looking forward to seeing you!

  7. You are too funny!! I'm usually not the one to wave first but if someone waves at me, I will wave back! Looks like you have some really beautiful places to run in you new neighbourhood!

  8. lol on the waving bothering you! Yea, I run in the suburbs a lot too, and maybe the fact that I don't see as many runners out there makes we more friendly to the one's I do see. I will say that I am in general a very friendly runner - waving and saying hi to others out there. If I don't want to outright wave to another runner, I just give a slight head nod. Just a simple acknowledgement. But to each their own out there haha

    And nice that you have trails right by your house, I have to drive maybe 10-15 min to get to nice trails.

  9. I am a firm believer in the wave/nod/smile to my fellow runners. We are all out there for the love of the run, why not share the love!

  10. I like the wave - it's also out of habit when I'm crossing streets (hello cars in the city!).

    Also - where is photo number 2 from? It is GORGEOUS!! First glance, I thought maybe it was your new home, but I am now guessing it's a bit too close to the city. But a girl can dream (suburbs + city skyline)!

  11. See people in the suburbs are nice! When I first started running out here (i.e. suburbs) I quickly started reciprocating the kindness of other runners. Now I always smile or wave and it makes me so happy :) And you are so lucky that you have great running paths outside of your home!

  12. I run in a group and we always greet other runners. Sometimes even twice in one run. You're finishing up training, and I am just getting started!

  13. I never see another runner out so I would be waving if I ever did see one! Glad you have found some great new places to run, looks beautiful.

  14. If i run on a tm can i wave to the guy or girl next to me?

  15. I'm an obnoxiously happy runner so I smile and/or wave at everyone who goes by, even when in pain I will force something. I bet you are loving that your suburban setting is now catered more towards a great place to run! I just moved too, and at first was so bummed that I was no longer on my usual-path, but I think I've fallen more in love with running since moving because it takes me all around town and has allowed me to explore/meet new people.
    My hometown's Turkey Trot is my favorite race of the year, mostly because I get a kick out of my mom & dad running :)
    I hope you have a great week ahead Britt!!
    I am emailing you right now!