Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Pup is Back

I did some speed work last night, a route I've had in my head for a week or so. I did roughly 6x 400m sprints with a jogging 6x 200m in-between for a total of 2.1 miles. I felt fine during the run, but those sprints felt like they would go on forever! The average overall pace at the end was 8:16. I was debating whether or not to do one more loop and round it out at 2.5-3.0 miles, but decided against it since my next race is only a 5k.

While I was running these sprints, I thought quite a bit about the Polar Dash. I've decided that if I do the run, I'm not going to push it super hard and run with Kate. I'm trying to build up a strong base to have a solid half marathon in May. I'm worried if I train too hard in too short of a time frame, I set myself up for injury and disappointment. I've only been running 3 days a week since the marathon, and I've been thinking about adding a 4th day. I know Kate has been training harder since she has been planning to run this race for the past few months. She's doing the intermediate Hal Higdon schedule and I'm not up to that caliber, yet. I know if I run with her, I can't help myself but get competitive. I'll want to push hard during the race and since I won't have the base of training, I feel I am setting myself up for disappointment. I still have some time to think about it and Jeanne (my Chicago marathon pace leader) said she might be interested. I still have some time to decide.

My pup went with me for the run last and helped drag me along to the end of each sprint. She hasn't been out for a run with me since she was spayed 3 weeks ago. She saw me getting out my running stuff, and she was following me around the house until we left. (See video below of her excitement) I should have taken a picture of my outfit because I looked like a real runnerd. Reflective vest, pepper spray, iPod, headband, Under Armor gloves, head light, my Garmin... My husband couldn't help but giggle, and I knew I looked ridiculous. However, cars could see me and I was safe. Even the pup had on a blinking light!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Polar Dashing Through the Snow

Online registration for the Chicago Polar Dash Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K has finally opened up. The event takes place on Saturday, January 14. I was thinking about doing the 10K but it is $45. Seems like a lot considering the half marathon is $55. I was talking to my friend Kate about my dilemma, and she suggested I just do the half. This would probably be the farthest distance we attempt to run together. She runs with Team in Training (TNT) and had planned on doing the Polar Dash all along with her cousin. Her cousin isn't able to go anymore but a few other TNT folks are doing it as well. I posted something on the Yankee Runner Facebook page but not that many folks are checking it. Plus, with the Illinois Marathon training to start soon, I'm not sure how many folks would be up for a half marathon. Either way, I'm considering it. I'm going to take a day or so to really think it through. (I get paid tomorrow so I can't make the decision until then anyways.) I had planned on increasing my training anyways, this just gives me a solid goal to work towards (other than the Shamrock Shuffle). My husband works in construction and things slow down considerably in the winter and they have started to already. Therefore, the budget gets a lot tighter in the winter. Thankfully we don't have any winter weddings, but we do have a lot of people on our Christmas list yet to buy for. Also, I was hoping to sign up for the Southwest Half Marathon before December 31 to get the discounted price. Decisions decisions....

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Workout

As what is becoming my new Monday routine, I worked out the guns today. As I've mentioned before, my office building has a nice little workout facility. I snuck a few pictures between sets. Please don't mind my pasty white legs that practically blend in with the weight bench. (Summer or winter, my legs are always this pale. When I was in the medical tent at the Chicago Marathon, they asked if I was always this pale.) One of my co-workers was doing some heavy lifting and I couldn't help but laugh as I was breathing heavy with my mini 5-pounders. I looked up a couple different "runner" arm workouts and gave them a whirl. I did 3x 10 of each of the following: military pulls, front curls, back curls, and fly lifts (these names sound made up). I also used the "boob shrinker" machine. (This is a technical term from the high school days.) I think it is actually called a butterfly machine. I'm not sore yet, but it felt like a good workout. I know I will be soon! I'm just getting back into this weights thing, but I'm hoping it will help me push hard through that last mile of a 5k or the last straight away at a half marathon.

Hopefully I'll be able to take the pup with me for a jog tomorrow night. I know she has been dying to go. We are finishing up day 5 without any hot water. The husband is doing research and hopefully we'll have a solution tomorrow. Fingers crossed!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rainy Daze

My friend Kate and I had planned on going for a run today and our schedules happened to coordinate well with the Frankfort Running Club. I've run with the group only once time before, but I was happy to get out there and meet some new people. Amanda "Too Tall Fritz" was at the run today, and she took a nice picture of the group. Unfortunately, she's not in it.

From left to right: Susan, Dave, Diane, Angela, Don, Brian, Kate, Suzanne, me, and Nicole

We ran 6 miles with the group and went out for another mile afterwards for a total of 7.15 miles in 1:05 at an average of 9:05 splits. Because of the wedding on Friday, we slept in on Saturday but my eating schedule was a bit off. I ate a few pieces of toast early in the morning and ate some frozen pizza for lunch around 11. I then was starving for dinner at 5pm (pasta and fake chicken). When 8pm rolled around, I was hungry again and knew I was getting up early to run. We had some leftover stuffing in the fridge so I finished that off before heading to bed. I felt great during the run today but my inner thigh sometimes bothers me. I think tomorrow I'm going to try to stretch it out with the foam roller. It was a really great group to run with. I'm hoping to meet up with these folks more throughout the winter as us crazy runners will run in the snow or sleet.

And I discovered a new item I would like for Christmas. It is only the millionth item on my list...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Haze

From left to right: Kate, Amanda, Kate, me
Thanksgiving morning started out with a great run, the 4 mile Palos Park Turkey Trot. I haven't run this race in years (about 9 or 10) and we decided it was the beginning of a new tradition. I met up with my friends Kate and Kate and my marathon running buddy Amanda. We had a really great time and I didn't do too shabby at the race. I haven't been feeling well the past few days so my goal was to finish with sub 9:00 splits and I ended up finishing in 33:01 with 8:16 splits. Pretty happy considering the hills! I didn't get the chance to meet up with some of my blogger friends, despite crossing the finish line a second apart (literally). I placed 10 for my age group, which isn't that bad considering the top 3 placers all had splits in the low-mid 7's. During the awards ceremony they were raffling off some items and my friend Kate ended up winning a free pair of shoes! Amanda is due next for a prize, so I hope its a good one! After the race, we met up with some of my other marathon training group folks for a good old fashioned tailgate. We ate some food and drank some beverages while talking about marathons and other upcoming races. It was a great time had by all!
Jeanne and I
The group is talking a lot about doing and planning for the Illionis Marathon in April. I don't plan on running it but the Southwest Bank Half Marathon is the following weekend (and I do plan on running that). I was thinking of going out and doing a lot of my miles with the group, running part of the way with them before turning around and heading back. It would be great to continue to run with the group and have accountability for running in the cold and blistery winter months. I'm hoping to PR my half marathon time and run it with splits in the 8's, maybe even the 7's??? There is plenty of time for speed work and increased distance to work towards this goal.

After I got home from the race, it was time to check out my goodie bag. I was really excited about the gender specific sizing on these running jackets I've heard so much about. I didn't try them on beforehand because I didn't think I needed to. I was really excited about the $15 off shoes coupon included as I am always in need for another pair of shoes!!!

Unfortunately when I tried on the jacket, it was huge (and def not a women's small). My husband saw it and thought "that might fit me?"
Husband modeling RFK Turkey Trot jacket
And it did.

Our Thanksgiving was with my husband's family and pretty low-key which was perfect. I made a dip and it was gone in about 5 minutes. (They usually don't serve appetizers so it was a big hit.) I was happy things ended early so we could rest up before going Black Friday shopping. Unfortunately the Black Friday shopping experience was sub par compared to previous years. None of the stores had their act together, except for Target. The deals weren't really all that great anywhere, some stores opened at midnight while others didn't open until 4am. The mall was crawling with high school kids just loitering, not even buying anything. The lines were ridiculous and there were not enough cashiers. All-in-all, not sure if I will be back next year. I got home around 4 and slept the majority of the day. We then had a wedding that same night so I didn't have any time to blog. Our hot water heater has been out so we've been messing with it without much luck fixing it. I have a new strategy that will hopefully work so we'll see!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Turkey Day to all of my (4) followers! I'm excited for tomorrow's post with a rundown of the local Turkey Trot. And good luck to those of you that ran or are running a Turkey Trot!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Great News

I promised myself when I first started this blog that I would try to keep the entries to only one per day. HOWEVER, I found 2 of my racing medals tonight that I thought were gone forever! I'm so beyond excited that I just had to talk about it!!! Pictures below are the 2... Hustle Up The Hancock 2007 and my only half marathon the Chicago Distance Classic 2008.

The big turkey trot is tomorrow! Looking forward to hanging out with all my runner friends, new and old! A full report on that tomorrow!
Left: Hustle up the Hancock 2007, Right: Chicago Distance Classic 2008

Treadmills Win Only on Rainy Days

Yesterday I was strapped for time as we were heading to dinner at Houlihan's for my mom's birthday right after work. Thankfully my office has a full workout facility with lockers and showers. I wanted to do some speed training and gave this a try on the treadmill for the first time. I figured running fast stretches of pedestrian-less sidewalks would be difficult/impossible in the loop. Plus it was raining and I didn't have the right gear. It ended up being both challenging and simple at the same time. I had set the "speed interval" function on the treadmill, but I wasn't sure when the intervals would kick in or how often. So I changed it to manual and managed it on my own. I much prefer being outside because it is hard to figure out a sprint in a minutes-per-mile number. I did 8x400 intervals with every other being a sprint and every other being a jog. It did the trick but I hope I don't have to do it on the treadmill that often.

Before the Chicago marathon, I went a little crazy at the expo. I bought a fleece and a shirt, in addition to the normal race shirt we got in our packets. I thought about selling the expo stuff on eBay or giving them to Goodwill. I feel like a poser wearing them because I didn't finish the Chicago marathon (I'll explain the full story on another date). However, my husband and running friends convinced me to keep them. Have you ever signed up for a race and didn't finish it? Do you still wear the gear?

Mizuno 2011 Chicago Marathon shirt

The weather for Thursday is expected to be in the 50s. Not sure but I think my new hooded pullover will be too warm for the Turkey Trot! Now it's time to think of alternative outfits. I did just pick up a new melon colored long sleeve with my Kohl's cash last week. I'll prob have a few different layers and decide once I'm there.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More New Running Clothes

Yesterday I finally received my Old Navy package in the mail. Last week on pay day I ordered a Christmas gift for my husband and snuck in a few gifts for me too. I've had a lot of trouble finding running jackets that cover your neck and don't cut off your circulation. Thankfully Old Navy's new active line has a cute option that I absolutely had to buy. They also have my favorite running socks that are grey and thin. They are high enough to just cover my shoe line, and I absolutely love them. A few pairs have recently gone missing so I'm very happy to have a few more back in the sock drawer! Thankfully all these items came in time for the Turkey Trot!
Old Navy Active Hooded Jacket and Socks

Over the weekend I also picked up a pair of arm warmers that I've been wanting ever since September. I saw a lot of folks with these on marathon day(s) and I really wished I had a pair. When I went to RFK a few weeks back, they were having a Saucony sale and I tried on a pair that I liked. They didn't have my size in stock but they ordered it for me. I'm excited to test them out this winter on some of those really cold winter days.
Saucony Arm Warmers

I lifted weights yesterday for the first time in a long time. I'm waiting for the pains to kick in later on today, because I know it will. I have to come up with a better routine for lifting weights. I usually do things kind of haphazardly and I want to come up with an actual training program. I think in the giant stack of Runner's World magazines from the past year (that I can't get myself to throw away) will probably have some good arms and weights routines. Another thing I forgot is how the gym (specifically the weights area) is always swarming with tools. Extra loud grunts while using the rope pully, a line for the ab machine, weird stares as one of 3 girls in the entire section... I have to find a different time to go to the gym where the tool factor is diminished. It makes me feel like I'm back at Xsport in Old Town--no thanks!

Thanks to Pinterest, I've found some really great ideas for running bibs and medals. I've been going through old boxes to gather all my medals and bibs in one place. Unfortunately I can't seem to find my Hustle Up The Hancock or Chicago Distance Classic medals. I still have a few more places left to look but I don't know what I'm going to do if I don't find them. :( Hopefully they turn up soon! Where else would I go to get another copy of them, if that's even possible??
Hustle Up The Hancock Fininsher Photo 2007

Monday, November 21, 2011

What Hills?

Saturday morning I got up and went for a 6 mile run with some folks from my marathon running group, and my friend Kate joined us as well. We did the course of the Palos Turkey Trot and added in 2 extra miles for a total of 6 miles. The weather was perfect and the hills were killer. Since I haven't run the course before, I was happy to get in a practice run to help make sure I don't start out too fast, etc. I wore my trail shoes as I thought part of the course was on a trail. That wasn't the, and I'm probably going to wear my normal trainers for the race on Thursday. Amanda wore her trail shoes too and I made sure to get a pic of us both wearing them!

Hot Choc windbreaker, Target running tights, GR Marathon long sleeve, Shamrock Shuffle short sleeve, Saucony trail shoes, Under Armor running gloves, headband

I ate my normal protein dinner the night before of fish with some sweet potato fries (I normally eat the fish with brown rice, but those sweet potato fries were just staring at me). For breakfast I had a bagel with butter. I just realized that I should have probably had some peanut butter on the bagel instead of butter, but I felt good during the run regardless. We didn't run the course fast, but I think that was a good idea based on how hilly things were. I enjoyed the company of my running folks, and we were talking a lot about next year and upcoming races. A lot of them are planning to run the Illinois Marathon on April 28. It sounds like a great idea because I could be done with all of the race before my cousin's showers and bachelorette party (she's getting married in June 2012). However the reasonable side of me knows that I shouldn't run another marathon so close to my other one(s). The Illinois Marthon in 2013 sounds like a much better idea, but we'll see how things go next year first. After talking with my pace leader about the Schaumburg Half Marathon, we decided we're not going to do it. I haven't trained more than 6 miles in the last 4 weeks, so I don't want to run it too fast. But I also don't want to run it slow, because then what's the point. I do, however plan on increasing my normal distance to more than 6 miles. I'm going to try to keep the average weekend run between 8-10 miles, just in case another opportunity like this comes up.

My next 5k is on December 18 (Frigid 5K in Lemont). I'm going to try to do some speed work this week as well as some weights and cross training. I want to PR this course and I know it is possible. I just need to put my mind to it and make the time. Thankfully things at work are a tad slower so I should be able to get it done.

My favorite running buddy hasn't been able to join me out on the trails since she was spayed on 11/7/11. She is finally back to her old self and I hope to have her join me this weekend!
My goldendoodle, Pepper

Friday, November 18, 2011

More Than a Turkey Trot

Our marathon pace leader sent me a note on FB asking me or Amanda if we wanted to run the Schaumburg half marathon on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The smart, sensible side of me says that I am not ready for a half marathon. I haven't run more 6 miles in about 3 weeks. I have been focused more on speed training than distance lately and the attached 5k sounds like a much better option. Also, I have many other things to spend $55 on, other than another race. However, the crazy side of me thinks that if I run 8 miles this weekend instead of 6, and see how I feel, maybe it's possible? I wouldn't mind another medal or another challenge. I'm going to talk it over with our pacer this weekend. We'll see how things go...

Yesterday work was too busy for me to fit in my PT exercises so I just did them when I got home. Last night we took a family photo with the dog, and I'm really happy with how they turned out. I'll try to post a pic after they've been sent out in the mail. I want it to be a surprise!

When I step out into the cold air these past few days, my first thought is "wow, what great running weather." I don't think that's normal, but its okay because I'm not alone. I choose to run in the cold versus the heat any day. My fastest Shamrock Shuffle time was when it was feverishly snowing. Excited to get running in the sunlight this weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Who Fartleked?

For the 2nd year, I'm teaching CCD (religious education) at my church. This year it is every Wednesday from 6:45-8:00. Not too bad for one day a week. Mel posted in the RFK website yesterday that a group of people was going to run the Turkey Trot route at 6:30. They never meet at 6:30! I was so bummed I couldn't make it, so I decided to run 4 miles on my own, after CCD. I thought I would give this fartlek thing a try. I like to think of it as "spastic running." From the descriptions that I've read, a fartlek is a run with burst of different speeds throughout. There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason, so I went out and did it. It felt great and I loved the bursts of speed to break things up. My stomach felt much better as I ate dinner around 5:30 on the train home.

My trail shoes felt bulky and heavy when running on the sidewalk. They felt much more "at home" when running in the grass. I can't explain it better, but I'm definitely looking forward to using them at the Turkey Trot and this winter in the snow. This weekend Amanda and I are running the Turkey Trot route (plus a few extra miles) with our pace leader, Jeanne. Looking forward to getting out there and tackling those hills! If I have time today, I'd like to do my PT exercises at lunch and maybe cross train, but we'll see how that works out.
Hot Chocolate jacket, RFK Pink Ribbon short sleeved tee, Nike v-neck long sleeved, Target running tights (from the boys section), Under Armor gloves, Saucony trail shoes (RFK!), headband

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

First Post

So I've gone back and forth on starting a running blog since there are so many others out there. I've tried to keep a running journal and that died after about the first month. I got tired of writing everything down. Since typing is much easier, I've decided to start this blog. I'm starting this more for myself to keep track of how I'm doing and feeling before/after/during a run. I'm not sure where things will take me, but I won't know until I start...

On Monday, I was super excited to try out my trail shoes. I worked late and grabbed a snack (chips and guac) to hold me over at Qdoba until I could get home. When I got home, I was feeling lazy and just had a quick bowl of cereal for dinner. I only waited a short time to let my stomach settle while I got changed into my gear. The plan was to run a quick 3 miles, NBD. After taking a pre-run photo, I headed out in my new trail shoes! At about mile 1.25, my dinner choice seemed to be a huge mistake and I had to stop. I started thinking about how I ate too many chips and what was I thinking mixing milk with guacamole in my stomach. Either way, trying to run 3 miles was out of the question. I sadly walked back home and tried to keep my nausea at bay. My first run in my trail shoes was not a success. The biggest takeaway from this is that I have to take better care of what I eat before I run. Seems obvious but when I'm working late and exhausted, sometimes a weird craving takes precedence over reason and logic. On the plus side, the only races I'm training for right now are a 4 mile on 11/24 and a 5 mile on 1/7 so a shorter distance on a day is not the end of the world. Live and learn... and eat better!

Adidas long sleeve, Magellan 10k short sleeve underneath, capri running tights from JC Penny, Saucony trail shoes courtesy of RFK, Under Armor gloves, head band