Sunday, December 14, 2014

Schaumburg Turkey Trot - Recap

Wow, I changed my mind - this is the latest recap ever! I think mostly because with my knee being injured I am trying not to think of running, so I forgot about this.

(Yes, my knee is still hurt. It's a lot better than it was, but I suspect I'll be off til January. Which really sucks. I want to vent and scream but they won't make a difference, so I'm just going to pretend I don't care and hope to start 2015 healthy and whole.)

Last year I did the Grant Park Turkey Trot 5k; this year the Schaumburg one decided to offer medals for the 5k so I opted for this one. It was close and in an area I've run many times before so I figured I'd know the course. This was my goal 5K - I wanted a massive PR. I'd been trading hard for a 26:xx and knew I had it in me. This was a point to point 5K which sounded great.

Well - then I fell and got hurt and wasn't sure I could run, much less PR. I went to the race and decided I'd try to run - I hadn't run in a week - and would see from there. Packet pickup was easy, ACE is super organized even though they tell you to pickup the day before because otherwise it's too busy (it never is and I have never had trouble with day-of pickup for ACE). The 5k started off promptly and away we went. I was determined to go conservatively because I wasn't sure what I could do with my knee hurting. The first mile was 10:02 with a 10 second walk break to reassess my knee. Hey, feeling pretty good!

The second mile though was ICY and I saw more than 1 person wipe out. Also, they took us over the high way, so there were this big ol hill-like thing! Say what?! On the way up I watched one guy in front of me wipe out badly. I stepped carefully - I did not want another fall. Mile 2 came in at 9:35 with no walk breaks. Hey, digging it!

The third mile was more of what came in mile 2 - more ice and it ended on another hill. Mean! But came in at 9:25. Hey, was I negative splitting this race? While injured? Yes, yes I was. I realized I wasn't going to have a massive PR but I had a chance to PR despite being injured - here is where I would have given it a finisher's kick, except the last .1 came in over icy snowy grass and I was lucky I didn't fall. Haha! But I finished in 29:55, which was good for a 1 second PR.

And the finisher medal was cute. Happy for an unexpected PR, but okay leg, let's stop hurting okay?

Training 11.24.14

Monday 11/24 - Rest
Knee isn't weight bearing. Yikes.

Tuesday 11/25 - Rest
Knee feels better, but I'm not ready to try to run on it yet.

Wednesday 11/26 - Run || 0.5 miles || 5:20, 10:40p
Made it 1/2 a mile before my knee started complaining. New goal: Rest until Saturday and hope I'm good to go for the 5K.

Thursday 11/27 -  Rest
Please feel better knee.

Friday 11/28 - Rest
Getting nervous.

Saturday 11/29 - Run || 3.1 miles || 29:55, 9:39p || 40*
Schaumburg Turkey Trot 5K. I made it, I PR'ed by 1 second (far cry from the sub-27 I'd been hoping for, but I finished without hurting myself, and negative split the race). My knee has me worried though; I'm going to be resting a lot of December, I think.

Sunday 11/30 - Rest
Rest day

Total:  3.1 miles run. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Training 11.17.14

Monday 11/17 - Rest
Sick. Still. 

Tuesday 11/18 - Rest

Wednesday 11/19 - Rest
Still. Sick.

Thursday 11/20 -  Rest
Can't believe I'm still sick.

Friday 11/21 - Run || 3 miles || 32:09, 10:43p
First run since my birthday last week. I cannot believe how sick I was. Today was the first day getting off the couch didn't take more energy than I had - still some congestion left over but I ran! I kept it slow, but I ran! Maybe I won't die at tomorrow's trail race...

Saturday 11/22 - Run || 9.3 miles || 2:16:13, 14:30p || cold and drizzly
Dirty Turkey Trail 15K

Sunday 11/23 - Rest
Rest day

Total: 12.3 miles run. 

Dirty Turkey Trail 15K - Recap

This is the latest I've ever done a recap, but the truth is my feelings here are a little mixed because I got hurt during the race and it's coloured my feelings. Not the races fault but I've had a hard time going back to look at it.

Anyway, this was the 11th of the 12 Muddy Monk trail races this year. It was 15K out in Mokena IL, so my husband and the kids stayed home and I drove out the two hours out there. Packet pickup was crazy easy as always, although I had a scary moment where I thought I locked my keys in the car. It turned out I had left them at the waiver table, where they were kept safe for me until I returned for them a few minutes later. Whew!

I wasn't sure how I'd do; I'd been down with the flu for two weeks, and while I was better - for a little while there even standing long enough to cook dinner or walk down the hall to the bathroom was tiring - I wasn't okay yet. If this wasn't part of a series (which would result in a series completion jacket if you finished all 12, although I didn't know that until shortly before the race) I would have skipped, despite being registered.

The race went off right around 10; it was predicted to be cold and drizzly but the temps felt okay and it wasn't raining...yet. The course was mostly single trail with a little bit of multi track at the start of the loop; we'd run the loop twice. The first and only water station came in at .7 miles; after that the course narrowed to mostly single track. At .91 miles, I wiped out - badly. The mud and leaves were so slick that my right leg just went out in front of me and there wasn't anything I could do to catch myself. I went down hard, taking the brunt of the impact on my right hip and right arm. My right side was coated in mud and I could feel that I'd whapped the side of my calf on some roots; I stood up, reassuring the people around me that they didn't need to stop for me. I tested myself out to see if I could continue and while I knew I'd have some gnarly bruises, I felt okay enough to continue.

In retrospect, that was a bad call. Between the wipe out my gait was off and with the illness I was not up to par. I continued on, but I was off. 1.86 miles in we found the creek crossing described in the course description - but unlike the creek crossings in previous races, this was one was at least ankle deep and 8-10 feet across with slick, steep muddy banks to climb on either side. And because the course was an out and back, we actually got to cross that creek 4 times. Hah!

Trying to use the stepping stones to cross. I would eventually say forget it. Wet feet...meh! Photo credit Muddy Monk.

Going back the other way the guy behind me wiped out as he tried to climb out. I offered to help despite him being a good imitation of a mud monster, but he was okay, and on we trekked.

Mud Monster! Poor guy. I later found out that he'd never run this far but his son talked him into it. This was not a kind intro to the 15K distance! Photo credit Muddy Monk.

I was feeling lousy when we hit the end of the first loop, but surprisingly, I didn't have to talk myself into going out for the second one - off I went. Company was sparse but present for the first half; after the third creek crossing people were few and far between even with as slow as I was going. My miles ranged from 12 to 16 depending, because there were patches you just couldn't run.

This was also the hilliest long run I've ever done. It felt like we were always going either up or down and while they weren't steep, I struggled. I don't know if it was the illness or the fall or just a lack of hill training, but I struggled. It's a good thing it was absolutely gorgeous out there!

In the end though, I did finish.

Photo credit Muddy Monk.

I then drove the 2 hours home. When I got out of the car, my knee gave out.

I was right, the bruises on my calf were awful, but surface only. For two days after the race my knee refused to do any weight-bearing activity. The wednesday after the race I tried to run again, but made it half a mile before my knee started complaining. Today is 1 week post Dirty Turkey; I ran a 5K turkey trot I'll recap in a bit, and my knee hurts again. The knee visually looks okay, it's not swollen or red or tender to the touch, so I have no idea what is going on. I am going to skip running for another week and see how it is; if it's still having issues, I'm off to the doctor. Sigh. I may end up walking the last race in the Muddy Monk series.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Training 11.10.14

Monday 11/10 - Run || 2.07 miles || 21:00, 10:08p || 58*
Birthday run! I usually rest on Mondays but my mom gave me a new pair of Hokas for my birthday...and after all the rest days last week, I was raring to go.

Tuesday 11/11 - Rest

Wednesday 11/12 - Rest
Still sick, hello chest cold.

Thursday 11/13 -  Rest
STILL sick. Beginning to be convinced I will feel like death forever.

Friday 11/14 - Rest
I am feeling a tiny bit better. I want to go run, but after a lot of mulling it over decided that I was going to take one more rest day. This is the longest I've gone without running since being pregnant, and it SUCKS.

Saturday 11/15 -  Rest

Sunday 11/16 - Rest

Total: 2.07 miles run. This is absurd, but I was that sick. It took so much out of me that walking down the hallway or standing up to make meals for the kids was taxing. Ugh.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Illness: Run or Not?

So after being sick last week, I got a few runs in - and promptly caught my daughter's horrific cold...again.

That either means I wasn't as better as I thought, or my immune system is in a bad spot. I normally don't get sick much, but it's possible that piling an ultra on top of a marathon was more physically demanding than I thought, according to my husband. Personally, I think I was overdue to get sick and I am just glad it happened after the big races. To show you have sick I've been, I ran 5 miles last week - total - and this week so far I've gotten a whopping 2 in....but haven't been tempted to run more. Between the baby being sick too and us not sleeping and the body aches that have come with this virus, I am just beat down.

I have to admit though, I'm nervous about starting back. I had planned to ramp back up to 25 miles this week...when I finally jump back in, am I going to have lost all my fitness by being sick? Have you ever had to take more time off than you wanted from running? How long and how was it when you started back up again?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Spartan Giveaway WINNER!

And the winner of the Spartan Giveaway is...

#11, which was Jon Stephenson for following my blog on facebook. Congratulations, Jon ! Please email me by 11/18 at to claim your prize.

Training 11.3.14

Monday 11/3 - Rest
Monday rest

Tuesday 11/4 - Rest

Wednesday 11/5 - Rest
Still sick, hello chest cold.

Thursday 11/6 -  Rest
STILL sick. Beginning to be convinced I will feel like death forever.

Friday 11/7 - Rest
I am feeling a tiny bit better. I want to go run, but after a lot of mulling it over decided that I was going to take one more rest day. This is the longest I've gone without running since being pregnant, and it SUCKS.

Saturday 11/8 -  Run || 2 miles || 21:13, 10:36p || treadmill
Not totally sure I actually should have been running, so I did two easy miles to see how it felt. It felt...okay, but my chest is still tight and hurts from coughing. 

Sunday 11/9 - Run || 3 miles || 31:28, 10:29p || treadmill
I still have a lingering cough but for the first time in over a week my chest doesn't feel tight. Still didn't push it - I wanted a long run, but kept it to 3 miles. I really wanted more, but decided a run where I felt good at the end was a better idea than pushing for a long run if my body wasn't up to it. There is always the next week.

Total: 5 miles run. 5! Haahahahah. I haven't been this sick in a long, long time. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Training 10.27.14

Monday 10/27 - Rest
Monday rest

Tuesday 10/28 - Run || 3 miles || 30:38, 10:12p || Treadmill speedwork
No speedwork this week, just ran easy. 

Wednesday 10/29 - Run || 2 miles || 20:59, 10:30p || Treadmill
Running 2 miles feels like such a waste, but Mr. Higdon says run 2 miles today, so 2 miles it was.

Thursday 10/30 -  Rest
Not running on Thursday felt weird, but taper week...ultra Saturday..oy.

Friday 10/31 - Run || 2.1 miles || 22:14, 10:42p || 29*
Shakeout run. Oh my god, it's cold! 

Saturday 11/1 -  Run || 31.65 miles || 6:43:31, 12:45p || 39* with mega winds.
Lakefront 50k!

Sunday 11/2 - Rest
Meant to XT, but the day ended up busy and my feet are really sore, so oh well!

Total: 38.75 miles run! I'm an ultramarathoner!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Chicago Lakefront 50/50 50k

Well - it's official. I ran an ultra. I finished, I got in before the cut off, and I survived.

 TL;dr, I finished in 6:43 and change. Not the time I'd been hoping for, but I finished.

So backing up, I managed to miss online registration. I waffled so much over whether or not I was really confident enough for this that I didn't verify the registration date; I'd been told 10/31, but the date for online reg was 10/30. Oops! So I blew $10, but race day registration was easy. My husband and kids dropped me off and then went home (hour drive both ways, but hanging out in the car because the weather sucked wasn't really ideal either.) There was, of course, a cold snap, and despite having not run in anything under 50 lately, race day was 30ish with strong winds. (Like, really, really strong winds.) I busted out winter gear, tights and layers and neck gaiter and gloves, oh my.

I'm under there somewhere, I swear. The orange coat got stuffed in my drop bag, but the rest stayed.

The course was 3 laps of 10.47ish. Waiting at the start line, a random woman shouted "Who's running a 12 pace? Let's find this woman a pace partner!" Well, the woman needing a pace partner turned out to be a very nice woman named Beth, who was from Alpine Runners. Her running partner had apparently gotten injured just before the race - what a bummer! Going into the race, I had planned to be about 11:30ish, but 12 sounded just fine for me and I told her I could at least do the first lap with her. If I felt good I'd want to speed up. (Spoiler: That didn't happen!)

We started the first lap and right away the winds felt horrible. They weren't coming head on but from the side; strong enough to take my breath away and push you to the side. I wasn't too cold because I had enough layers on but even with the gaiter I was struggling with the wind. My chest felt really tight and I was hoping as I got used to running in the wind it would loosen up. Despite that we came in at an 11 average for the first lap, but I knew something was either wrong with me or the conditions were much harder than I bargained for. My chest felt super super tight, and I couldn't get a deep breath - it hadn't loosened up at all. I wasn't struggling with the pace but I was feeling short of breath - I've never felt like that on a run before. I told Beth I needed a bathroom stop - she said she'd go ahead and I could catch up but I had a feeling that wasn't going to happen. In the portopotty back at the race village I had a heart to heart with myself; not being able to get a deep breath was a bad sign with 21 miles to go. I had 3 options - DNF right there, push through the run and have a DNF looming over my head, or swallow my pride, suck it up, and walk/run so that I wasn't pushing my lungs. I was irritated, but I had not hauled my butt out of bed early on a Saturday morning and paid $65 to walk away with a DNF unless I was in danger.

So, I spent the next lap running for 2 minutes and walking for 1. It felt weird to walk/run, I hadn't done that in a long time. But walking didn't make my chest feel as tight as running did. I had some fits of feeling sorry for myself ... all that training and I had to walk a third of the way?! All that training and build up and air of mystery and I had a day of lousy weather? I was a real joy for a while here! But I kept slogging on. At the turnaround point of the second lap (25k!) I texted my husband to let him know I was halfway through to give him an idea of when he'd need to leave to come get me. He gave me a pep up that I was doing great - I told him I'd text him again at the end of this lap to give him a better idea when to leave, since I was struggling unfortunately. The waves were high, the winds were really tough, and the spray left me damp at times. Breathing was still tough. But I finished the second lap. (I may have had a few "I hate you!" moments for the runners who got to hit the finish line...hahahah.)

By midway into the third and final lap, I felt better - the winds had cut down and I felt like I could breathe again. But after walk/running for two hours I couldn't get in a good groove to run; with 22 miles behind me I was footsore and achey. I figured as long as I could make the cut off time no long mattered, so I kept up my walk/run pattern and did my best to enjoy the crashing waves and surf spray. The wind had slowed down enough to be more tolerable and the sun had come out so it wasn't as awful as it was earlier. As the miles ticked on I started getting into a really positive place, exactly the opposite of the marathon where I got progressively more negative in my own head. It helped that the sun was coming out and the waves were starting to look more picturesque than frightening.

Hey, that looks like a beach instead of a mythical monster out to swallow me whole.

I was definitely tired though. At mile 25 I remember thinking, "If this were a marathon, I'd practically be done! Why couldn't I find a marathon to do instead!" Haha. This thought proved pervasive and when I hit 26.2 I actually walked for a third of a mile. "I ran a marathon, I can be done!" After that third of a mile I was like, "No wait, that's dumb. This is still a race. Onwards!"

Not the marathon time I'd been hoping for, but better than Chicago!

I hit the last aid station, around mile 27, and then it was just a matter of getting it in. I was slowing down - my chest felt tight again and I was beginning to suspect that the reason I was having breathing issues was that I was coming down with something. I felt off in a way that had nothing to do with the race. I slowed down a lot the last 5 miles, logging my slowest miles of the day - but I logged them. And then it was over - I was an ultrarunner. 2 1/2 years ago if you told me I'd run a a half marathon I'd tell you you were crazy. Now? I ran a frigging marathon - and a 50k. I ran a 50k.

And then they fed us a bowl of red beans and rice.

So, a lot of this recap was mental, but the race was also interesting so I thought I'd throw a couple things about it here -

  • Combo 50k/50m - so while the 50k was relatively small, it being 3 loops of 10.4 for 50ks and 4 loops of 12.5 for 50ms you never really felt alone on the course because there was usually someone going one direction or the other wearing a race bib.
  • Aid stations were not what I expected - the website said every 2.5 miles, which is a little further than the Chicago marathon but not much, but in practice, there was one at the start, one 4 miles into the loop, and one at the turnaround point. So there were the correct number of aid stations but the placement for 50kers was  a little awkward, because you hit one at miles 4, 5.2, and then 6.4...and then not another until 10.4. I assume this was a bit better for the 50milers though. 
  • Race day weather was lousy, but if the race had been the day before there was talk that it would have had to be cancelled - it was so bad that a section of the trail was literally ripped up, with chunks of asphalt and rocks strewn about. Definitely made me grateful for how much less intense it was Saturday versus Friday! 
  • The price was definitely right. If I had my crap together this race would have been about $50, or 1/3 what Chicago Marathon cost. 
  • The only thing offered after the race was the rice and beans that I could see. I had brought my own protein bar and protein shake for recovery but I was a bit confused. I know it's a very different atmosphere for ultras but I have to wonder if I just missed something, because for so many miles I was hungry! The rice and beans were good, though. 

Edit two days later: Yeah, I pretty much have the worst chest cold ever. No wonder I was struggling to breathe. My daughter has the same thing. That makes me feel both better and worse about the race - it explains the unpredictable struggle, but how would I have done if I were healthy? I dunno - but either way - I finished!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Spartan Giveaway

Whoops, one more thing! This week has been so crazy I almost forgot.

As most of you know I was supposed to run the Miller Spartan Sprint tomorrow. That goal unfortunately had to get axed in favour of the ultra, but I haven't forgotten it - I will step out of my comfort zone and end up there, maybe not that event in particular but I will do a Spartan event. It's a different kind of challenge than racing and someday - I will conquer that. I may end up doing the Miller sprint next year - it's particularly appealing to me because it's in a baseball stadium, so my husband is happy to be there and spectate, and it's indoors, so no mud. (I trail race. I don't mind running through mud. But mud up to my shoulders? I am not yet sold on this idea.)

That said, although I won't be there, the nice folks over at Spartan decided that in honour of that cool event they would give one of my readers a free entry into any of their Spartan events. The neat thing is their events are all over the country, so if you're interested, you don't have to be local. There might even be another indoor Spartan somewhere if like me, you're not quite sold on the mud! Click here to read more about them.

So, since tomorrow is the Spartan, I'll get this kicked off. To enter for chance to be a Spartan, simply comment on this entry and let me know if it's something that ever interested you, or if you've ever done one before. For a bonus entry, follow my blog on Facebook *points to the right side of her blog* and comment letting me know you did so.

Good 'ol will help me pick a winner on 11/8. GOOD LUCK!

(And if you don't want to leave it chance, go ahead and use SPARTANBLOGGER for 10% off!)

Disclaimer: Spartan gave me the race entry to give away in exchange for blogging to get some publicity for the Spartan Sprint. I am not affiliated with them and my opinions on their events and on mud are strictly my own and I personally am not being compensated in any way shape or form. Yadda yadda. /legalese

Weather Woes

In true Chicago fashion, we went from a beautiful fall to a frigid winter - literally overnight. It might be only halloween but there was snow on my porch this morning - and, apropos for stepping out of comfort zone. the 50k tomorrow will be 20 degrees colder than anything I've run in since last year.

I seem to have running amnesia; I can't remember what I wore when it's supposed to be 30-35 for the whole run! Luckily there's a shakeout run today where I can practice an outfit, but sheesh. I vortexercised my way through last winter - how quickly it's forgotten!

I have to say, I would have liked a few more fall runs before I bust out the winter gear, but welcome to Chicago. I think tomorrow's word of the day will be "layers" - which is funny because for both 5ks last week, I wore a t-shirt!

This post doesn't seem to have a point. Can you tell I'm nervous for tomorrow? Not as much as for the marathon, but tomorrow's gonna hurt. Will it hurt as bad as the marathon did? Guess I'm gonna find out!

Next time I blog, I'll be an ultrarunner. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Training 10.20.14

Monday 10/20 - Rest
Monday rest

Tuesday 10/21 - Run || 4 miles || 39:55, 9:58p || Treadmill speedwork

Wednesday 10/22 - Run || 3 miles || 30:50, 10:16p || Treadmill
3 easy miles. Tried to watch Reign...not sure what I think of it.

Thursday 10/23 -  Run || 4.09 miles || 39:47, 9:43p || 59*
Meant to do some easy miles, but sometimes anxiety makes it feel so good to work stuff out your system by just riding the edge of almost too fast for a normal run.

Friday 10/24 - Rest

Saturday 10/25-  Run || 3.1 miles || 35:14, 11:22p || 59*
Thriller Trail 5K

Run || 1.25 miles || 16:31, 13:12p || 59*
Thriller Mini-Monk "3/4m" 

Sunday 10/26 - Run || 2.86 miles || 25:01, 8:44p || 48* and sunny
Hyatt's Pumpkin Trot "5k" (short course) - 3rd female and 1st in AG!

Total: 18.31 miles run this week, no xt. I didn't do a long run because I did such a tough trail race (and hey that's like XT right?!) and then raced really hard on Sunday. I wanted to go out for more miles on Sunday but decided with the 50k a week away there was little benefit to it after racing the 5k.

Hyatt's Angels 5K Recap

Oh. My. Gosh.

So, I haven't mentioned it here before but my goal 5K is the Schaumburg Turkey Trot in November. The problem is - while I have done a few weeks of speedwork - I mostly haven't had any excuse to run fast since my half marathon back in August. I've run a marathon and I've run trail races, but nothing fast.

So I wasn't actually even sure if I was in shape to PR! But when I looked at last year's AG placings, I realized that with the paces I've been holding in my speedwork, I actually might be able to swing an AG placement too...if I can translate speedwork into race pace. So, I found a local race on a Sunday and thought, what the heck. I signed up for the Hyatt's Angels 5K in Independance Grove. While the course wasn't analagous, since Independence Grove is rolling hills and Schaumburg is pretty flat, it would at least give me an idea if my legs remember how to go fast and if I remembered how to run on just the edge of uncomfortable without pushing myself into vomiting.

Typically I have a hard time with 5Ks. I end up going out too fast and burn out and end up needing a walk break or two in the last mile. It's such a hard distance because it's too short to have leeway - in longer races, you can bounce mile paces up and down a bit and still pull off what you need to. For 5ks, by the time you realize you've made a mistake there's so little race left that it's hard to correct. I have both gone out too slow and been too comfortable, and gone out too fast, burned myself out, and ended up walking during the last mile. I have also pushed myself into dry heaving. (I don't recommend that.)

But, I found this and signed up. And then..I wasn't sure what to do! There wasn't a whole lot of info about the race, and no real website about it. After emailing them I figured out I'd pick up my packet on race day.

And pickup turned out to be very easy. I had my packet, a nice new (very orange) tech shirt, and I was nervous but ready. It's kind of weird to have the goal to run at an uncomfortable pace; it's like, yes let's ride the edge of almost wanting to puke for half an hour. Fun!

The weather was perfect - sunny and 49. Pretty close to ideal. The race was small - no chip timing, maybe 100? 150 people? Since it was chip timed I lined up pretty close to the front, not because I thought I was blazing fast but because there were a lot of kids too and I didn't want to weave just to get to the start line. This turned out to be a good choice.

For the first mile I focused on holding myself back without getting too far from my goal - I wanted to open between 9 and 9:30; fast enough to keep my eye on the 27:xx prize but slow enough to, I hoped, not burn out. Mile 1 came in at 9:01 - the low end of perfect, but hey, I was in range. I was chasing a pack of fast guys and 2 fast women, while keeping pace with a very nice lady I learned was named Cathy. The pace felt hard but not impossible and looking back I wonder if maybe I went out a little slower than I needed, but I felt good.

Mile 2 was sunny but I was plugging along; we passed the aid station about 1.25 miles in and shortly after hit the halfway mark. (The course was a big loop.) My breathing felt loud but not fast or laboured, so I'm not sure what was up with that but while it was a hard pace it didn't feel like I was about to burn out any moment. I even managed to pass one of the two women ahead of me! Mile 2 beeped in at 8:33.

For the last mile I struck up a conversation with Cathy, the woman I'd been running next to. I probably shouldn't have because it slowed pace, but it was fun! She told me I looked like I was 20 and was shocked to hear I had not only a 1 year old but a 5 year old too. Haha. I liked that! We talked about the mission of Hyatt's Angels and how blessed we felt to have our children.

Around 2.75 the woman I'd passed the mile earlier passed us but I wasn't worried; I was holding steady and she was clearly burning it up - I thought we had a third of a mile to go and she clearly couldn't sustain what she was doing for more than a minute. (Is that mean to say? I don't think so - it looked like a good strong finisher kick, the kind of energy you only sustain for the finisher chute...I just didn't think we were anywhere close to it.) my surprise...we passed a volunteer who said we (Cathy and I) were third and fourth female, and the finish line was just around the corner! Dang, short course. I put on the speed but the chick in front of me had just finished. Oh well! The finisher clock said my official time was 25:01 for 2.86.

I finished 3rd female overall and 1st in the 30-39 AG. Here I was trying to see if I had a possible AG win in me in November - and I managed to snag my first AG win here!!! I know there are a lot of people faster than me, and I know to some of the people reading this that isn't even their slow pace. I know I got lucky for a small field. But you know what? I won a gold medal for my AG and held a sub 9 for a whole race. I realized since I didn't grab water at the aid station this is also the first race where I never needed a walk break because I burned myself out.

I am not even bummed about the short course, because I wasn't expecting to PR here - I was just trying to see if I still remembered how to run Heather-fast.

To say I am ecstatic is an understatement. I GOT A MEDAL!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Thriller 5K Trail Run Recap

This weekend was a double whammy; one weekend, two 5ks! On Saturday I ran the Muddy Monk Thriller 5K trail race, and then did the mini-monk trail run with my 5 year old.

The race was out in Shorewood IL and like every monk race, packet pickup - for both me and my mini-trail runner - was a breeze. The race started promptly at 10 and we were off; the course was beautiful in fall colours (and familiar - we'd run it at the MERICA 5M race back in July - this was pretty much a shortened version of the same course).

We're off! Pic courtesy of Muddy Monk FB.

Why do I always forget how much harder trail running is than road running? The scenery is totally worth it, but it's much more work! In the first mile we had some steep downhills and steep uphills.

Getting ready to jump across a creek! Pic courtesy of Muddy Monk FB.

In the second mile we crossed creeks and edged our way along a steep river bank (twice, since this mile involved the turnaround point and aid station too). And then the third mile we did the first mile in reverse! Except that, just like the last time we ran this course, I stepped in the creek on my way back to the finish line. Sigh.

Happy to be done! Pic courtesy of Muddy Monk FB.

In the end I finished in 35:14. The course was so hard, that was me running the whole time! (well, when I wasn't trying to pick my way down a steep downhill! I joked with a woman as I went uphill who was still heading to the toward the turnaround point so going downhill that before trail running I thought uphills were the worst - trail running taught me that steep downhills are scarier!) With better weather I kept a significantly better pace on the same trail considering back in July the middle mile was wholly paved, so that race despite being farther was actually a bit easier.

Then it was time for the Mini Monk mini-mile! It was supposed to be 3/4 of a mile, so that was my daughter practiced. She ran in her Supergirl and I put on my Supermom bondi band to match. She wanted to run it herself but although she looks big for her age she's only 5, so I wasn't comfortable even though there would be adults at every turn on their course.

Such an artsy out of focus shot! Pic courtesy of Muddy Monk FB.

After how her 5k went back in May I was unsure how this would go, but she wanted it and so we did it. The other kids mostly took off but I told Lily that they could worry about their race and she only had to worry about her race. We had fun! Although, I was surprised to see we had to do one of the steep creek crossings; she panicked a little so mama to the rescue - I carried her across the creek! :)

Crossing that creek! Pic courtesy of Muddy Monk FB.

For the first mile she was totally awesome. When the mile was up and we realized there was still a quarter mile to go, she started whinging a little, but we regrouped with a hug and I reassured her she was almost there. She ran the whole time. She finished in about 16 minutes, which included the first mile at 13:04 and her fastest mile EVER! I am so proud of her. It ended up being 1.25 which is a lot more than she was ready for, and she did AWESOME.

My super girl! Pic courtesy of Muddy Monk FB.

Another awesome trail race done! My next race would be the next morning, the Hyatt's Angels 5K. That one is a road race and I chose to do it to figure out if a) I was in PR shape and b) I had a shot at an AG award at my target fall 5K. I'll recap that one for you tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sobbing on the finish line

Does anyone else give ugly sobs as they cross the finish line? There's my husband, smiling for the camera like a good little model, and me in the middle of a mouth-open dark ugly sob of pure emotion because zomg-i'm-a-marathoner. Hah!

Back at my Lincoln Half in April I cried so hard as I crossed the finish line, because I'd had such an unexpectedly large PR, that a volunteer was actually concerned if I hurt myself. (In contrast, when I finished the Full Moon half in August and finished about where I expected, despite running really hard and in many ways running a smarter, harder, and more skilled race than in Lincoln, it felt pretty meh because it was exactly where I expected to finish.)

Please folks, tell me it ain't just me! Share your ugly-finish stories with me?

In other news, I haven't signed up for the ultra yet but I think I will shortly. My husband is pushing for me to do the marathon in Madison the following week instead so I am giving it serious thought. That's hilly though and I'm really not trained for hills. But I love my husband, so I'm thinking about it anyway!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Training 10.13.14 - Chicago Training W20

Monday 10/13 - XT || 2.44m || 30:00, 12:17p || Course 1, Level 3
Very slow, very gentle elliptical workout to work out some soreness.

Tuesday 10/14 - Run || 2 miles || 20:42, 10:17p || 50*
Keep the legs loose! Felt great. 2/490.08

Wednesday 10/15 - Rest

Thursday 10/16 -  Run || 4 miles || 42:34, 10:38p || 40*
Definitely could tell the marathon took a lot out of me, but 4 miles didn't feel too bad at all.. 6/494.08

Friday 10/17 - Rest

Saturday 10/18-  Rest
Wanted a long run, but got sick.

Sunday 10/19 - Rest
Still sick. :(

Total: 6 miles run and 1 XT session. Yikes. I planned one extra rest day, and wanted to run both weekend days...ummm, hello illness. I had a single digit training week this week. That won't kill me in a couple weeks when I want to run a 50k, will it?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Post marathon thoughts

So I'm 4 days out from Chicago. Honestly, I feel pretty good. I did a gentle elliptical workout on Monday to help flush out some lactic acid, and a short 2 mile run on Tuesday to keep my muscles loose - yesterday I rested.

Today, I feel good. My left hip still feels a little tight, and on Tuesday I managed to wack the bottom of my left heel pretty good, but otherwise, I'm feeling much better than I expected. I've been really hungry all week, but my running group described things like feeling like you got hit by a truck or having the flu or stomach queasies - I don't even feel any more tired than usual. So, I take all that as a good sign. I plan to go for a short run, maybe 3 miles today, less if I feel too tight and more if I feel good. I really do want to do the ultra in a couple weeks, but I am playing it by ear and doing my best to really, really listen to my body. Before the marathon I had planned to repeat my taper period and run 5/4/5 with a 12 on the weekend, but it turned out that what felt good was running 2 on Tuesday and resting yesterday, so I went with it. (This is a big deal. I like checking things off a list!)

I have thought a lot about how I feel about how it went, and the time we ended up with. For the most part we came in pretty close to where I had thought we'd be, and I made my peace with a slow marathon a couple weeks ago. I wasn't thrilled, but I knew I'd be running at nowhere close to my race pace and that I was going to be there to enjoy the city with my husband rather than race it. And in the end, that's exactly what we did. I wouldn't trade this experience or go back and re-do if that were somehow magically an option; I think he needed me with him to get through this, and I had hours alone (well, alone in a crowd?) with him. It was exactly what we had hoped, minus the race photographers not actually getting a picture of me in the finisher's chute. (Oh well.)

And in so many ways, this was an incredible confidence booster for me. Being unprepared for the level of ow actually ended up making me feel better when I thought about it - because it meant that the ultra is feasible, and because I made it through despite not expecting it. You expect childbirth to hurt but you get through it - I didn't expect this to hurt so badly, but I got through it. I know I can get through the ultra, assuming recovery goes well.

So, I'm in a good place, post-marathon. How about you?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Training 10.6.14 - Chicago Training W19

Monday 10/6 - Run || 4 miles miles || 43:28, 10:52p || 55* and windy
Stroller be honest I think the pace is wrong, I'm fairly sure I hit 4 miles a couple minutes earlier, but the BIA had a hard time in the park today looking at the gps showed me as running through the lakes :o But whatever, a run is a run! It was tough pushing the stroller into the wind! Wow! 4/455.87

Tuesday 10/7 - Run || 4 miles || 42:29, 10:37p || Treadmill // Speedwork
Second week of speedwork! I did 1/2m slow warmup, then 6x400s at 9:04p. The last interval was really hard but I think it was supposed to be! 8/459.87

Wednesday 10/8 - Run || 4miles || 42:00, 10:30p || 60* and breezy
Last real run before the marathon...all that stands between me and Chicago is a short shakeout run on Saturday! WHOO! 12/463.87

Thursday 10/9 -  Rest

Friday 10/10 - Rest

Saturday 10/11-  Run || 2.01 miles || 22:03, 10:58p || 45*, 40% humidity - cold!
This run actually sucked. But, it's done, and taper is done, and tomorrow, I'm gonna be a marathoner! 14/465.88

Sunday 10/12 - Run || 26.2 miles ||  5:57:17, 13:38p || 40-50*, 40%
Chicago Marathon! 40.2/488.08

Total: 40.2 miles run. I'm a marathoner!!!!

Chicago Marathon - Recap!

AKA - I'm a marathoner!

Oh, gosh. So many thoughts. So many things I want to say. This is going to be insanely long. For the tl;dr crowd, my husband and I finished at 5:57:17.


I guess I'll start with the expo. We went to packet pickup at McCormick place on Saturday and the expo was just...enormous. Biggest I've ever seen, thousands of people. So of course, within moments we run into some people we went to high school with that we haven't seen in 10 years except on FB.


But oddity and size aside, packet pickup was easy - we gave our id and packet pickup ticket, they scanned us in and sent us to our station...which because we'd checked in 30 seconds earlier had our packet already out and waiting. It was spooky, we walked up to the station and they asked "Are you Heather?"! Talk about down to a science.

We wandered for a bit, got our shirts (boring - tiny logo on a grey shirt...) grabbed some samples, nabbed our CorePower power-up bracelets so they'd take our picture for free on the course, took pics with our bibs, registered for the 2015 polar dash, and bought overpriced souvenirs (we each got long sleeve Chicago Marathon pullovers - neon yellow for me, marbled blue for him). And that was that!

Actually at this point I had a headache and wanted to go home, haha.

That night, I actually slept okay - albeit not much, since we weren't staying in the city. 4am wake up call to be out the door by 4:30 for a 4:58 train - yuck! Needless to say, I slept on the train on my husband's shoulder, but fortunately we'd laid out our gear the night before. There was no thinking required to get up and out. Which was good, because my brain wouldn't have even bothered.

When we got there we had a little bit of trouble finding our gear check (Chicago is so huge that there were 3 different gear checks and each check was subdivided by bib # - this actually made gear check a 10 second affair one you found it). But it wasn't long before we were in the portopotty lines and then - our corral! We were in J.

Port-o-potty line selfie!

And let me just say - the weather was perfect...for running, at least. 40* is too cold to stand around in though! We'd gotten throw-away clothes from the thrift store (an extra pullover for me, since I was running in shorts and a tank, and pullaway snap-pants for him plus an extra pullover for him) but man, my teeth were chattering, and since corrals were closing at 7:45 but they didn't expect to release us until was a long time to be pretty cold! I shed my throwaway right near the start line, but man, it was still several minutes of shivering!

In our corral, ready to go!

But by 8:15 we were off and running...his goal pace had been to stick to 12 minute miles, but it became pretty clear that he wasn't quite there. We hovered around 12:30s for the first 5k, when we stopped for a bathroom break. I learned something - don't stop at the early portopotties! It took almost 10 minutes. The later stops had no lines at all. Oops!

Yes husband, we're running, but first, let's take a selfie.

Around the 15k point I started having a hard time staying by my husband; a combination of him slowing down a bit and me having a great time reading all the spectator signs...I got lost in them, it was so exciting! I loved reading them, and we read some really great runs. The best though, was seeing a Breaking Bad one with Jesse going "Run, Bitches" and me telling my husband that that was nice and all, but I'd rather see a Doctor Who one quoting 11 going "Basically, run" of course, within a mile or two, we saw just that!

I'm the Doctor. Basically, run.

We hit the half point at a little under 3 hours. I think my husband was disappointed by the times, but I had kind of expected it. (Running more than 1-2 times a week and a long run more than every 2-3 weeks makes running a marathon easier! Not that it's easy, but yes, you will struggle more if you undertrain!) I had let go of time entirely; the times I couldn't pace with him I let myself drift ahead of him and then would pause and walk until he caught up. I was just enjoy the sites.

At around 13.5 we passed the CorePower office, who had a party going on and a photographer taking pics of people who were wearing their bracelet. We gave 'em a fist pump!

Photo courtesy of CorePower FB! Pump it UP! 13.5 miles in and feeling strong!

Somewhere around mile 14 I started getting choked up and sniffling. "In just 12 more miles, I'm gonna be a marathoner! 12 miles is easy...that's an easy training run, a cutback week!" My husband laughed at me, but I was feeling good.

At 15 I couldn't wait to hit 16 - we'd be then going under double digits, and we had a family member at that aid station. I so wanted a familiar face! Somehow though we missed her, and I have to admit, I was really upset. I had this weird mental blip where the disappointment from missing her just had me near tears! I spent the next 2 miles in a funk and at mile 18 I was just like, I'm ready to be done now, I don't wanna do this anymore! My husband tried to snap me out of, but I was in a pity me mood...if I'd been able to go at my training run pace I'd be almost done! Wah wah wah. Thinking back, I have no idea what happened.

Feel sore but I am 20 miles in - let's take a selfie, because I am about to run further than I ever have!

After mile 20...well, I gotta be sucked. I was not prepared for how much it would start hurting. I started to dread aid stations because it hurt so much to start running again. It's easier to run slower, but it's a lot more time on your feet, and eventually, that does catch up. I found myself moaning a little bit when I breathed out - I had automatically gone back to my childbirth methods for coping with pain! Miles 20-24 are a complete blur. I know they sucked, I know we had sort of a mutual meltdown where we walked for 10 minutes, I know walking through the aid stations hurt as much as running did but you didn't have a choice because there were so many people you couldn't run, and that starting running again after walking for a minute really hurt.

At mile 24, I told myself I was strong enough to get through it because my 5 year old had taught me how strong I really was, both from her birth and from her life. So that entire mile, I kept myself moving, running, because it was for Lily. I had to stop occasionally because I got really far ahead of my husband - I was still able to put out a 10:30 pace and he..well, by that point we were lucky to average 13:30, but in this mile, I found a deep well of strength. I looked like hell, which you can see at the mile 25 marker, but I had it.

This expression is because I couldn't figure out if my camera had taken a pic or not. Haha. 25 miles in!

Mile 25 was for my son, my miracle. But to be honest as much as I hurt, I somehow didn't notice. I knew on one level my legs hurt, but especially when we got to the 25.2 and then the 1/2 mile point, I grabbed my husband's hand and I was literally dragging him in. I felt like I was sprinting, and he was trying to keep up, but I could not have stopped if I wanted to - it felt like my legs had a mind of their own, and they were ready to cross that finish line.

When we crossed that finish line, I burst into tears. I was a marathoner.


Some final thoughts:

+The crowd support was amazing. There was someone at mile 23 telling us, "Yes, this part sucks. It hurts and it sucks. But you trained for this, and you are NOT quitting now!"

+The signs were awesome. I don't remember miles 8-13 because I was so busy reading signs!

-This would have been so much easier if I had been able to go a little bit faster. I never hit a wall or ran out of energy - what caught up with me was so much time on my feet. On that note..

-I was entirely unprepared for how much it was going to hurt. I should have done more training runs with my husband to spend more time on my feet if we were going to run together, and if we do another marathon together, I will.

+/-On the course I swore I'd never do anything like this again, but as long as recovery goes well, I will go forward with the ultra on 11/1. That might be crazy because oh my gosh, this one hurt, but it really wasn't intense until I got to the 5 hour point...I think in the future, this should be easier. Not easy, but easier if I can be on my feet a little less. My worst training runs were about an 11 in the worst of the heat and humidity, and I didn't come anywhere close to running out of energy - in many ways this marathon sucked because it hurt, but it gave me a lot of confidence, too, because not only did I do it, but I know I could have stepped it up quite a bit on my own, too.

+I worried for weeks over the "hill" at the end - but by the time we got there I was so intent on the finish line...I didn't even register it at all. Whoo!

+ I'm a marathoner!! HELL YES.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

This is it!

2 mile shakeout run: Done. Which means...

Taper: Done.

Packet: Picked up.

Running kit: Laid out for the morning.

That's it, folks. Next time I post - I'll be a marathoner! Wish me luck! If you feel like tracking me, that'll be me in the running shoes and bib #47557. Catch y'all on the flip side!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Training 9.29.14 - Chicago W18

Monday 9/29 - XT || 2.83 miles || 30:00, 10:36p || Course 1, Level 3
Easy recovery workout, although honestly, I am not sure I needed it! 

Tuesday 9/30 - Run || 4 miles || 42:29, 10:37p || Treadmill // Speedwork
My first time doing speedwork. I had been feeling meh about the upcoming marathon now that it's really setting in I can't race it, so decided to focus on getting faster. I did 1/2m slow warmup, then 6x400s at 9:13p. I can go faster and will probably try future ones faster but I find the treadmill more challenging - and this workout was challenging but felt good to complete. 4/436.5

Wednesday 10/1 - Run || 3.37 miles || 36:47, 10:52p || 60*
MRTT RNWL...temp said 60 but felt much cooler than that. First run with the new Bia! 7.37/439.87

Thursday 10/2 -  Run || 4 miles || 42:30, 10:30p || 70* and 85% humidity
Yowza. I guess I got used to it being cool and no humidity, because this felt hard! Yikes! 11.37/443.87

Friday 10/3 - Rest

Saturday 10/4-  Rest
Unplanned "rest" - my daughter caught the stomach flu and I was up all night Friday night and much of Saturday night taking care of her. Bumped long run to Sunday...I hope.

Sunday 10/5 - Run || 8 miles || 1:23:04, 10:22p || 45*, 40% humidity - sunny
With Chicago Lakefront 50k being the goal now I wasn't sure whether or not to follow my taper this week or bump up the long run, but I opted to follow the training plan since technically I am not signed up for CL50k yet. I was pretty tired from my daughter being sick anyway so keeping it to 8 was probably smart. Last long run before my first marathon is on the books! 19.87/451.87

Total: 19.87 miles run, 2.83m XT. T-minus 7 days to Chicago!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

If you're going to dream, dream big.

It may have come through a bit on the blog, but I've been moping a little bit about the upcoming marathon.

Since the day we signed up, my husband and I planned to run it together - side by side. When we signed up, our paces were pretty close. It didn't occur to either of us we'd fall out of sync, but I seem to have found my groove while running and for a variety of reasons, he's fallen out of his. Truth to tell, he's not really loving the whole running thing right now.

I kind of knew this while I was training but when we did our first training run together, it became really apparent that the race I'd been training for wasn't the one we were going to be running. And don't get me wrong - I want to run this race with him. We don't usually get to do things together between his work schedule and the kids and their schedules. I have every intention of crossing that finish line holding hands.

But it kind of stung that all the hours I've put in were going to culminate in a long training run, that I couldn't really race Chicago. It was still going to be an accomplishment, but not quite...the finale I'd been working towards, if that makes sense.

I started contemplating a second marathon and after a lot of research Naperville was the only one that fit the bill; it was a week later than I would have preferred but that was doable. It was close enough and flat enough. I got energized again. I'd run Chicago with my husband, and Naperville for me. But I didn't want to sign up until after Chicago because well...what if I hated it? Or got hurt? Or something?

But...Naperville filled up. Oops.

I started thinking about a spring marathon, but I was back to moping a bit. I want the months of training to culminate in me giving something my best shot, and Chicago wasn't going to be that. (Not in a time sense, because I don't have a marathon time goal - but you still want to know you really tried, you know?)

And then...I found the Chicago Lake Front 50k. It's not a marathon, but it's close. It's flat. It's the right week. It's 31 miles the week before my 31st birthday. I'll have a 26 mile training run 3 weeks prior. According to the Trail/UR group I'm in, the stars had aligned and it was a sign. It's small, it doesn't fill up, and I can wait to commit until the week before if I want.

Guys? I'm gonna run an ultra.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Training 9.22.14 - Chicago Marathon W17

Monday 9/22 - XT || 2.83 miles || 30:00, 10:36p || Course 1, Level 3
Easy recovery workout, although honestly, I am not sure I needed it! 

Tuesday 9/23 - Run || 5.02 miles || 51:24, 10:14p || 48* and 90% humidity
I planned this as an easy recovery run so just ran what felt easy; apparently I felt good though because I was surprised by my pace at the end! 5.02/411.32

Wednesday 9/24 - Run || 4.18 miles || 42:02, 10:03p || 70* and 50% humidity
MRTT RNWL...temp said 70 but felt cooler than that. SO nice to run with company - this pace felt so easy while chatting the whole time! 9/415.5

Thursday 9/25 -  Run || 5 miles || 55:40, 11:06p || treadmill
Wasn't feeling great today, fighting a cold, so took it slow for most of the run. 14/420.5

Friday 9/26 - Rest

Saturday 9/27-  Run || 12 miles || 2:03:03, 10:15p || 65*, 50% humidity - evening run
LSD runs should be slower than this, but it was cool, it wasn't humid, and I went where my legs took me. 26/432.5

Sunday 9/28- Rest
This was a rest day, if you can call being out of the house for 12 hours to travel to and from a baseball game a rest day! There was literally no time to work in 30 minutes of cross training today, bu since it's taper time I felt like I didn't need it for recovery, so I feel fine doing it Monday. 

Total: 26.2 miles run. Haha, that .2 was unplanned, but how appropriate! Two weeks til Chicago!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

20 miles. DONE!

So, I did it.

20 miles. On the books. All done.

It was a beautiful run; cool, cloudy and breezy mostly. I did the first 16 miles with my husband because we're going to run Chicago together, so you know, train how you intend to race, right? Well, because I was with him I got brave and we took a new trail. It was filled with animals, it was so cool!

In mile 3, we saw a toad, just sitting in the grass, not bothered in the slightest by me getting close to get a pic. (Apparently on the way back it moved onto the trail and I nearly stepped on it, according to my husband! I would have felt awful!)

That ain't no leaf!

In mile 5, a deer! Just standing there, being all deer-like and munching vegetation. I didn't try to get close obviously, since it was huge, but I took pics as we ran by.

Deer butt!

That concluded the unique animal portion of our run, but it was definitely fall; my favourite lake that I post pics of occasionally is framed by bushes turning a beautiful crimson colour now.

So, most of the run was done at - obviously - my husband's pace. It's funny, because this used to be my pace, and he used to do his best to scale it down to run with me. (He whinged a lot, but I have to give him props - when we ran together he stayed with me.) He has been able to train so little this year that our places have switched and now I'm trying to stay back with him; he needs more credit, because it's harder to slow yourself down than I thought. We're doing the runs at about 13 minute miles, with his goal to do the marathon at around a 12 or 12 and a half minute mile.

It's interesting to think about, because his race pace is now slower than my training pace. Training runs with him ... by the next day, I am fully recovered. You'd think with 20 miles I'd feel it the next day, because after my 18, which was my slowest (and hated! because HOT! HUMID! yuck!) was 11:30ish, I felt it. I still felt fine, but I could tell I'd run. Right now as I write this, the day after the 20 miler, I feel...fine.

On the one hand, it makes me wonder if these runs are really preparing me to run a marathon if I'm not doing it with my husband...and on the other, it makes me wonder if Chicago is just going to feel like a long training run instead of a race. He's been encouraging me since the training cycle started to sign up for a second marathon close to Chicago, but I thought he was undestimating the wear and tear it would have on my body. With how I feel right now, and given that I won't be leaving it all on the course for the marathon...I'm beginning to wonder if I should listen.

I'm not ready yet...because I want to be excited about Chicago. But I am definitely thinking...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Training 9.15.14 - Chicago Marathon W16

Monday 9/15 - Rest
Monday rest day.

Tuesday 9/16 - Run || 5 miles || 51:17, 10:15p || New treadmill!!
I had planned a stroller run but the baby slept too long to get out on time, so I decided to try out the treadmill we got off a local fb yardsale swap for $100. It's a real treadmill, no more manual! Whew, this will be better when it's cold in my garage because for now, wow, hot with no breeze when it's 60* in there. Need to get a fan. But done! 5/372.05

Wednesday 9/17 - Run || 5 miles || 50:40, 10:08p || 65* and 80% humidity
This was supposed to be an easy pace but it ended up being my fastest run since my half at the beginning of August - it just felt so good to GO after how hard running has been the past two weeks. 10/377.05

Thursday 9/18 -  Run || 5 miles || 51:24, 10:16p || 60* 70% humidity
2 miles on the treadmill, then said forget it and did the last 3 outside. 15/382.05

Friday 9/19 - Rest

Saturday 9/20-  Run || 4.25 miles || 42:51, 10:04p || 65* and sunny!
Four Stars 4M trail race! 19.25/386.3

Sunday 9/21- Run || 20 miles || 4:11:11, 12:33p || 55* and breezy, mostly cloudy
20 miler on the BOOKS! First 16 with my husband, we averaged a 13 or so's funny to think that used to be the 5k pace, because it was so slow for that when he decided he had to stop at 16 I did the next 4 miles at a 9:50p because I had so much gas in the tank! TAPER! (And eat all the foods.) 39.25/406.3

Total: 39.25 miles run, no cross training this week because reasons. Actually, because trail race! I'll XT on Monday, although honestly, I feel great after my 20 - almost like I didn't run. Now to taper - 3 weeks to Chicago! WHOO!

Four Stars Trail Race - Recap

So I did my 20 miles yesterday and I want to recap it, but I need to do this first! So, on Saturday, I ran the Muddy Monk Four Stars 4M Trail Race. I was looking forward to it because the weather was supposed to be cool and cloudy, and I was going to keep it easy because I was planning on 20 the next day with my husband. Plus, I've never run a 4 mile race before. Spoiler: It was not cool and cloudy, but that's okay!

I drove to this race by myself because it was all but my backyard. Unfortunately, I nearly missed it - because my directions stopped a half a mile short of the actual turn, so I assumed I'd missed it and turned back. Oops! But I made it, picked up my shirt and bib (it's a nice tech shirt - white and light blue, and a shirt I'll actually use, so score!), used the portopotty and hopped into the crowd to wait for the race to start...with about 30 seconds to spare. I'm not kidding, I cut this one close, but I made it!

My plan was to keep it really easy and/or run walk if it race day enthusiasm got the best of me. We were in the Old School Forest Preserve and they warned us we'd be running up and down the Sled Hill, but somehow, the impact of that was lost on me until we got there.

Hill perspective!

I actually had fun doing that hill the first time. I joked with someone next to me that running up that hill was like running in slow motion, but she stopped to walk and I think she thought I meant her walking. Oops. I'm not a rude person, I would never criticize someone for walking, I promise!  I ended up walking part of the downhill because it was so steep anyway, but the rest of that mile went nice and smooth. 10:50 first mile.

The second mile was pretty easy, came in at 9:50 and not much to say although, I saw the overall winner coming through when I wasn't quite halfway through the second mile. Wow, she was fast! It was warmed and sunnier than I expected - I had on a thicker tighter tank than I would have planned if I'd realized it would be warm, but I was doing fine. The course was nice, mostly flat and the woods were pretty...although someone was joking about bears at one point. I didn't know while until I ran past a pile of excrement larger than my head. Oh my!

I had my handheld so skipped the water stop at the turnaround point, which means they didn't catch my pic here, so you'll have to take my word on it, haha! The sun was irritating but there was intermittant shade and I wasn't run walking, but I wasn't doing a good job keeping it easy, either. I wasn't pushing, but the third mile came in at 9:40.

The fourth mile I was just like, okay, last mile, and I kicked it. It came in at 9:15, but I forgot two, they had told us the course was long (he said .02, but I came up with much longer than that so I wonder if I misheard or the RD misspoke, not that it really matters). And two, we had to go up that hill again! I walked it this time, because mile 4 beeped in for me at the foot of that hill and I was just like, forget it! Haha.

Finish line! Photo courtesy of Muddy Monk FB.

But I booked it to the end after that, for a final finish of 42:51.
Usually I'd add a pic of the finisher glass group, but I forgot. So here's one of me getting my glass instead?
 Photo courtesy of Muddy Monk FB.

Next up, unless I sneak in a local 5K, is the Chicago Marathon...but more on that tomorrow when I write about my 20 miler, the keystone run of my marathon training!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Training 9.8.14 - Chicago Marathon W15

Monday 9/8 - Rest
Monday rest day.

Tuesday 9/9 - Rest
Unplanned rest day, up all night with the baby and felt sick myself in the morning. 

Wednesday 9/10 - Run || 5 miles || 50:40, 10:08p || 65* and 80% humidity
This was supposed to be an easy pace but it ended up being my fastest run since my half at the beginning of August - it just felt so good to GO after how hard running has been the past two weeks. 5/342.05

Thursday 9/11 -  Run || 8 miles || 1:19:28, 9:55p || 50* 40% humidity
Fall is here, my first chilly run! SO nice. 13/350.05

Friday 9/12 - 5 miles || 52:33, 10:31p || 49* and rainy/windy
First stroller run in a while! Man, I forgot - it's harder than running by myself! 18/355.05

Saturday 9/13-  Run || 12 miles || 2:13:59, 11:09p || 52* and 40% humidity
9.5m with my best friend on her bike next to me, 2.5 on my new treadmill! Found it second hand but barely used on my local garage sale site, for a fraction of buying it new. SCORE!  30/367.05

Sunday 9/14- XT || 2.87 miles || 30:00, 10:27p || Course 1 Level 3
Hey look, I cross trained this week!  

Total: 30 miles run. Next week is 3 easy runs and my 20 - and then I taper! Oh. My. Gosh. I can't even explain the emotions. Almost there! Although, it will be interesting to do the marathon slower than my training pace has been since it will be at my husband's pace. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Training 9.1.14 - Chicago Marathon W14

Monday 9/1 - Rest
Monday rest day.

Tuesday 9/2 - Run || 5 miles || 50:40, 10:08p || 65* and 80% humidity
This was supposed to be an easy pace but it ended up being my fastest run since my half at the beginning of August - it just felt so good to GO after how hard running has been the past two weeks. 5/308.05

Wednesday 9/3 - Run || 5 miles || 49:10, 9:50p || 79* 60% humidity
Group run with Moms Run This Town! Felt great. 10/313.05

Thursday 9/4 - Run || 5 miles || 53:00, 10:36p || 70*, and 80 humidity
I don't like humidity..last night's run was nicer!. 18/318.05

Friday 9/5 - Rest
Friday rest day. 

Saturday 9/6 -  Rest
Rest, switching long run to Sunday to run with my husband.

Sunday 9/7- Run || 19 miles || 3:59:55, 12:37p || 75* and 40% humidity
Trial long run with my husband...we are running Chicago together, so this was our first time getting a long training run in together to see how it goes. We ran the first 14 miles together - he'd already run 5, and then I ran 5 solo after (staggered due to childcare). His pace is a lot slower than I realized, I don't even feel like I ran 19 miles; it was a 13:30 pace for the first 14 miles and then I ran the last 5 @ 9 1/2..which is too fast, but I was kind of eager to just run and be done lol. 34/337.05

Total: 34 miles run. Only my 20 miler left - next week is a cut back week to 12, then 20, then back to 12...Chicago is coming! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Training 8.25.14 - Chicago Marathon W13

Monday 8/25 - XT || 2.72 miles || 30min || Course 1 Level 3
Normally a rest day but did long run on Sunday so XT today.

Tuesday 8/26 - Run || 5 miles || 56:05, 11:13p || 72* and 95 humidity
Felt like I could touch the air. So. Hard. 5/313.8

Wednesday 8/27 - Run || 8 miles || 1:26:49, 10:51p || 70* 60% humidity
This was proof that the humidity is really what's killing me - this run felt effortless. If my tummy didn't cramp up due to emotional eating all day, this could have been the full 8 miles and it would have flown!  As it is I did 4, had a bathroom emergency, did a slow mile with my 5 year old, put the kids to bed, and then did my fastest 3 miles in weeks because I just felt so great. 13/318.8

Thursday 8/28 - Run || 5 miles || 53:00, 10:36p || 70*, and 80 humidity
I don't like humidity..last night's run was nicer!. 18/290.8.

Friday 8/29 - Rest
Friday rest day. 

Saturday 8/30 -  Run || 2.05 miles || 24:39, 12:01p || 76 and 99% humidity
This was supposed to be my long run, but 2 miles in my body could not tolerate it; the humidity hit me to the point where even breathing was a challenge. For only the second time this training cycle I cut a run short. I mean, that pace was the very best I could do for 2 miles - it was that bad out. 20/292.85

Sunday 8/31- Run || 10.2 miles || 1:53:00, 11:04p || 80* and 70% humidity
This was supposed to be 13 miles, but at 10.2 I couldn't keep my hr low enough - netter than yesterday's run, but I decided it was a cutback week anyway; in the long term killing myself over the last 3 miles wasn't going to get me any further in the marathon. This heat wave sucks, but hey - I ran 10.2 miles in 80* - and kept the same pace I used to keep when running 5Ks. I could feel defeated that I felt I needed to cut it - but instead, I choose to feel optimistic that I have come so far! 30/303.05

Total: 30.25 miles run. I didn't cross train this weekend because I ran on both weekend days, and I think the slow jog in the heat I did Saturday counts! Tomorrow starts week 14! 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Nearly Sane HM - Recap

Wow, this is the latest I've ever done a recap - an entire week late! I think because the overall run was so hard that I kind of shoved the half aside. But, it deserves a post.

So last Sunday, 8/24/14, as part of my 18 miler I ran the Nearly Sane Trail HM hosted by Muddy Monk. It took place on the Des Plaines River Trail.

Because it was part of my 18 miler, I decided initially I'd go there, pick up my packet, run 5, and then run the half. In reality, I got lost going there (my GPS said destination was on the right - and it wasn't, plus the MM flags that usually mark the turns were different this time and my eyes skipped right past them!). The pickup lines were longer than I expected and the portopotty lines were even longer, so I got 3 in ahead of time.

The 3 miles went fine, although I regretted not getting the full 5 in - I knew I'd have a hard time doing two more after, but at least I was smart enough to know I would never have done the full five after! I was okay the first half of the race, although it was hot and humid. (Even with the shade on the DPRT I was struggling though.)

I even smiled on course! Photo courtesy of Muddy Monk.

But after the turn around point, which was about 10 miles on the day for me, I was in a negative place. I walked for 30 seconds at the beginning of every mile because I hated running. It's weird to type that, but the last 6 miles of this race were tough for me. I had a serious discussion with myself about not wanting to do a marathon and wondering what to do with my bib.

I think this was actually the beginning of the race, but whatever. Picture. Photo courtesy of Muddy Monk.

The last mile I walked 3 times. I can't even remember the last time I had a mile I needed to walk that much, and I'm pretty sure it was all mental - I was struggling with the heat, but the real battle was in my head. I never wanted to run again! When I saw the finish line, I was ready to be done, and I booked it in.

DONE! Photo courtesy of Muddy Monk.

After a quick pit stop to fill up my water, I tried to do my last 2 miles. I got one in and then my garmin died. Despite having a five hour battery life, supposedly. DEAD. Dead dead deadsky. And, even better, it did not save my run data like it usually does when the battery goes. Some colourful swearing ensued. To calm myself down, I drove home, which was about ten minutes, and then did my 1 mile loop around my house.

So, this run kind of sucked. Not the fault of MM; the race was well organized, the water stops were excellent, and the portopotty halfway through was appreciated. I had enough water. But man, I was ready to quit running forever. In retrospect, it was the humidity. I don't like it, and I am ready for summer running to be over. But, I did get 18 miles in! That's a lot. And I got a medal for it. Which is cool.

Is it fall yet?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Training 8.18.14 - Chicago Marathon W12

Monday 8/18 - Rest
Monday rest day.

Tuesday 8/19 - Run || 5 miles || 51:54, 10:23p || 69* and 95 humidity
Tough run - when I woke up it was thunder/lightening so I wasn't even sure I'd be able to go, but the rain stopped - and left behind horrendous humidity with no cooldown. Slogging the whole way! 5/277.8

Wednesday 8/20 - Run || 8 miles || 1:25:15, 10:39p || 70* 95% humidity
This was supposed to be a pace run, but it was hot and so humid the felt like it had texture. Did my best to get through - pace was not a concern! 13/285.8

Thursday 8/21 - Run || 5 miles || 53:07, 10:37p || 75*, and 90 humidity
So tired. This run felt hard, so I don't know if it's the high humidity killing me, the lack of sleep, or hitting higher mileage than I'm used to, or all of the above. Husband had to go to work early so to fit the run in I had to get up and be out the door by 5:15a... 18/290.8.

Friday 8/22 - Rest
Friday rest day. Unless you count pacing for 45 minutes. Which I probably should. 

Saturday 8/23 -  Rest
I wasn't sure if I should cross train today since I was running Saturday or not...I opted not to in order to have fresh legs for my 18.

Sunday 8/24- Run || 18 miles || ???, ???p || 76 and 90% humidity
I ran 3 miles, then ran the Nearly Sane Half, then finished up a couple more miles to round it out to 18. I have no idea what my pace was, because my garmin died at mile 17 and I hadn't been watching the time, just the distance! Ack! My time for the half was 2:24:20, so I'm guessing I kept this around 11? It was a MISERABLE run. SO hot, SO humid, that I run/walked the second 9 milers...the last 5k of the half I had a serious internal discussion about whether or not I even wanted to do a marathon, and what I would do with my bib...writing this the next day, I think that was mostly me struggling with the heat, because my runs have sucked all week (seriously - none of them felt easy with the temps this week). But I do wonder if I'm getting towards burn out. 36/308.8

Total: 36 miles run, no XT (I'll do it Monday, just because of the way the weekend race worked out) and one medal earned. I only have 3 more runs that are really long...a 13, 19, and 20...the rest are 12 or