Monday, October 12, 2015

Motivation Monday and the Weekly Rundown

45 minute spin class and chest and back exercises.

Short walk on the treadmill followed by 20 minutes Yin yoga.

My three part run!

8.25 solo miles
3 miles with Peyton 

1 mile cool down walk with Augie.  20 minutes Yin yoga to round out the day!


Off!  We had friends over for the Cubs game instead!

A solo half marathon!

13.1 miles


18 miles

This was my longest run since May!

Total Miles: 42.35 miles
Strength Training: 1x
Spin: 1x
Yoga: 2x

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday Runday

First off, congrats to all the Chicago Marathon runners!  I watched the first 15 minutes of the race on tv and I got goosebumps just thinking about being there!

I had my own rage run/ pity party of one this weekend.  I attempted to fill my Chicago Marathon void with lots of running.

I think it helped.

Saturday's run was meant to be a medium distance shake-out run.  I was aiming for about 10 miles.  I got to my 5 mile turn around, and decided to keep going.  The shake-out pace turned into a tempo pace. 

13.1 miles

 When in doubt, run it out. 

And run hard.

This shirt didn't hurt either.

This run was without fuel and only on 2 cups of coffee.  This seemed like the appropriate sized smoothie when I got home.

Welcome back Sunday Runday!

I had a mile goal for today's run, but after running a quick solo half marathon yesterday, I wasn't sure what to expect.  I left the house with a positive attitude.  I somehow managed to convince myself that 18 miles isn't that far.  Whatever you say brain.

The first 6 miles were relatively easy.  I took my first Shotbloks at mile 5 and stopped for water at mile 4 and mile 6.

The second set of 6 were tough.  My hamstrings were starting to feel the mileage.  I took my Shotblocks at mile 10 and tried to settle into my pace.

The last 6 miles went by the fastest.  I made my last water stop at my 12 and took my last Shotbloks at mile 15.

18 miles

How were your runs this weekend?

Who ran Chicago? Tell me all about it!


Friday, October 9, 2015

Chicago Marathon Tips

With the Chicago Marathon in less than a week, I am feeling more and more jealous of all the runners that made it into the lottery this year.  The Chicago Marathon was founded in 1977 and has had over a half a million runners cross its finish line!  The Chicago Marathon is one of the six World Marathon Majors.  It is a sought after race due to its flat, fast course.


After finishing Chicago three times, I consider myself somewhat of a veteran to the course and it's quirks.  Here are my favorite tips for running (and enjoying) the Chicago Marathon!

Get there early.  Getting to Grant Park can take some time.  It also takes longer to get inside the starting corrals since the heightened security following the Boston Marathon bombing.  Once you're there, make your bathroom stop and warm up a little.  The corrals get crowded quickly, so make sure you find your spot before you have to fight the masses.

Slow down! In my opinion, this is the most important piece of advice for this race.  The race starts in Grant Park and runs through the Loop with insane amounts of spectators.  The rush of adrenalin and the noise of the crowds can make you want to go faster than you had planned to.  Remember: You still have 20+ miles to go!

Stop weaving in and out! This race is huge with 40,000+ runners.  Yes, you will have people around you. The whole time.  The first half of the race is jam-packed with runners.  In my opinion, the second half of the Chicago Marathon is the best time to start passing people and going around slow runners.  Just be sure to give them a heads up you're coming.  I can't even count how many times I've bumped into or been bumped by others.

Look up and look around you!  The city of Chicago is gorgeous with lots of unique architecture and sights to see (in my non-biased opinion :))

Follow this blue line.  The city marks the shortest path to take on marathon day.  How cool is that?

Be prepared for what I like to call the concrete jungle.  Following Chinatown at mile 21, runners head through a less busy section of the city near highways.  This section of the race can be mentally draining.  For me, this is the section that I have to fight the urge to walk and to keep up my pace.  Hang in there! Mile 25 puts you back on the path towards the Loop and almost at the finish line!

Ride the crowd and the loud cheers on Michigan Ave. towards the finish line.  Hang tough for Chicago's only hill at Mile 26 (it's small, but feel massive when you've already finished 26 miles).  Congrats! You have completed one the largest marathons and one of the World Marathon Majors!

I hope all the new Chicago Marathon runners fall in love with this race as much as I did. (but not too much love because I would like to get into the lottery next year, thank you very much)

For more good information regarding this race,  this article is a great guide to what runners can expect at each mile of the marathon.

Have you run a World Marathon Major race before? Which one?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Three Part Run

First, some randomness for Thursday....

Most importantly, CUBS WIN! We won our wild card game against the Pirates and are off to face the Cardinals in the playoffs!

Fall is upon us!  And it's really freaking pretty.

Jenga was the game of choice today for my occupational therapy kiddos.

 Augie likes to watch while I use the treadmill.

 I'm onto the next race following the Fox Valley Half Marathon.  I will be running the Naperville Half Marathon on November 8!

Speaking of the Fox Valley Half Marathon, I have yet to remove my timing chip from my shoe.

 And now to yesterday's three part run.

We've had good running weather around here lately.  I was able to leave work a little early and I got ready to run as soon as I got home.  I flew through 8 miles.  Isn't it funny how one day running can be miserable and the next it's effortless? 

8.25 miles

Part one of my run was easy breezy.

I got home, picked up Peyton, and I was off again for part 2.  If I thought I was flying before, Peyton changed that perception.  

3 miles

Seriously? 3 sub-7 minute miles AFTER running 8 miles?

That little 20 pound dog is insanely fast.  If anyone is looking to do some speedwork  Peyton would love to join in.

Part three was my cool down (finally) thanks to Augie who, instead of running with Peyton's focus, chews on her leash instead.

And they are done for the night.

Tell me something from your Thursday!

Do you run with your dog?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday Motivation

Can you believe it's Monday again?

I took most of last week off of running.  I was feeling burnt out and was very unhappy anytime I attempted to start a run.  My exercise was walking the dogs and 14 miles total running for the week.  The is my lowest weekly mileage since May following the Chicagoland Spring Marathon and I am absolutely ok with that!

My body needed a break so I took one.

This week I will be back at it starting with my favorite spin class and back and chest routine!

Happy Monday!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday Motivation and the Weekly Rundown

Off!! I was more than happy to take these days off following the Fox Valley Half Marathon.  My legs definitely needed the break.

I finally felt ready to attempt some easy miles.  This run was without music and no Garmin checking.

6 miles

A moderate run to wrap up my work week!  This run was tough as my legs felt heavy.

5 miles

Saturday was perfect weather wise and I was ready to put some mileage on my tired legs.  It took 3 miles to get into a rhythm and to feel good.  Post run I spent A LOT of time foam rolling and stretching to help alleviate some of the "heavy leg" feeling.

10 miles

Rehydrating is the key to recovery.  Or so my body thinks.

Off.  I woke up with the intention to run long, but once I got dressed and started my Garmin, I decided to skip the workout and take another rest day.

We watched the Bears lose while the dogs kept my feet warm.

Augie wore her Bears shirt and was very disappointed by their performance.

She was also scared by the pumpkins in the background and spent a good 5 minutes barking at them.  She let them know who's boss.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday Rambles

Yesterday was the first day of fall! Now it's time for all fall things.  Pumpkin spice, boots, sweaters, apple picking, and, of course, fall marathon training!

This has been happening a lot lately.  The pups and I will take advantage of the nice weather as much as we can.

Chick-fil-a gave away free entrees yesterday to teachers and school staff.  Thank you Chick-fil-a!

My Jake from State Farm khakis are not cutting it this year.  Sitting on the floor, sitting on therapy balls, or sliding around on scooters (are you jealous of my job yet?) is not conducive to keeping clean pants.  It's going to be jeans for me.

I'm enjoying these past three days off of running, but I'm starting to feel the itch to get back into it! I'm already looking forward to my long run this weekend!

What do you typically wear to work?

What do you eat at Chick-fil-a?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fox Valley Half Marathon Race Recap

The Fox Valley Marathon series was held Sunday September 20 in St. Charles, IL.  There are three race distances to choose from: half marathon, 20 miler, and the full 26.2.  Each race started at 7 am.

All three distances follow the same path for just over 7 miles before the 20 mile and marathon runners continue to head South.  The course runs through some the the neighborhoods in Geneva, IL with the rest of the race following the Fox River.

Packet pick-up was held in St. Charles.  I went after work on Friday and got in and out within 5 minutes.  They had a few tables set up for runners to browse and shop.  I skipped them in favor of beating traffic home on a Friday afternoon.

It was a beautiful course with lots of shade.  The running paths could be crowded at times (especially in the beginning) but as the racers split ways and people began to thin out, there was plenty of space to run comfortably without bumping elbows with others.

The race was very well organized with awesome volunteers!  There were excited volunteers encouraging racers every step of the way.  The volunteer at mile 12 was dancing.  That made my day.  There were loads of signs with arrows leading the way and I never felt confused.  There were also volunteers at every turn directing you by saying "turn left" or "be careful, it's slippery!"  I think the race was so well executed because of all the amazing people they had working it.

I started my day with oatmeal topped with almonds and blueberries and a couple cups of coffee.

We arrived 30 minutes before race time and had some difficulty finding parking in downtown St. Charles.  Chris dropped me off at the start and parked the car with my mom.  I headed for my last bathroom break.  The line was long, but there were many port-a-potties so it went quickly.

I had a major slip-up before the race even began.  I left my timing chip on my kitchen counter.  I had realized it was missing less than 15 minutes to race time while in line for the port-a-potties.  Not the best time to not have an important piece of race equipment.  I immediately went over to the help desk and explained to the worker my problem.. He was quick to respond and gave me another bib while writing down my information to change it in the system.  It was a huge sigh of relief and I probably thanked him at least three times.

My new bib. Whomp whomp.
This was a race where I can say I felt good the entire time I was running.  I allowed myself the first 5 miles to warm up.  I focused on not getting caught up in the excitement of the start and going out too fast.  My first miles were relatively consistent with my goal pace to be around 8:00/mile.  By mile 6 I knew I was ready to crank up the speed.  The next 4 miles flew by and I was hitting my paces consistently.  

I saw Chris, my mom, and friends at Mile 10!  Miles 11 and 12 I started to feel the distance but I was able to run sub-7:45/mile.  I pushed the pace the last 1.1 miles finishing the race feeling really strong!

 My mile splits: 8:14, 8:10, 7:55, 7:58, 8:00, 7:54, 7:46, 7:46, 7:39, 7:37, 7:42, 7:42, 7:27, 6:23 (last .1)

13.1 miles

3/67 25-29 Female
22/951 Female
102/1,541 Overall

Crossing the finish line I was immediately stopped by a man who had passed me in the last mile and had finished just before me.  He thanked me for setting the pace and stated he had been chasing me since I had passed him earlier in the race.  What a confidence booster!

This race blew my last half marathon PR of 1:58:XX out of the water.  I have only recently within the past year started to tolerate and improve on my speed, so I am excited to see how much faster I can get.

There was loads of food and drinks to pick up while walking through the finishing chute.

One of my very good friends, Alex, ran this race as his very first half marathon and killed it!  He broke 2 hours (which is extraordinary for a first timer) and is looking forward to his next race!

 Overall I thought this race was very well organized, had a great course, and had awesome amenities for runners at the end of the race including food, drinks, massages, and physical therapists doing stretching.

The Fox Valley Half Marathon will definitely be a race on my yearly list!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Motivation Monday and the Weekly Rundown

After the gym class studios being closed for maintenance and Labor Day, I was back at spin.  This one was a tough 45 minute class and I was spin sore for a couple of days.  I also did my favorite back workout prior to spin class.  I am noticing a huge difference in my posture and overall fatigue not only while running but also when I'm sitting at work during the day.


I aimed for about an hour of easy running today.  I wanted to keep my legs loose and relaxed, but to still be able to take a longer effort.  I added in a few strides throughout this run as well.

8 miles

This was a progression run starting at 9:17/mile and progressively getting faster with 9:00, 8:45, and 8:29/mile.

4 miles

No running, but we did lots of fun things like walk around the farmer's market and sprints with the dogs.  The best way to get rid of some of that puppy energy is by running around and having them chase after you.  Of course, though, it's a sprint for you and me and a jog for them.

The Fox Valley Half Marathon!!! I've already mentally signed up for this race again next year.  After forgetting my timing chip, I was able to get a replacement and I had a great race! It was definitely what I needed after being very disappointed in May.  The race recap will be up (hopefully) tomorrow!  I did pretty good running the tangents and fighting the urge to dive and weave around other runners.  I only had .1 mile extra.


More on that coming this week...

Tell me something from your weekend!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

You Guys. I Ran a Half Marathon This Morning.

This race is officially on my favorites list.

Unofficial time was 1:43:06.

This was a massive 15 minute PR from my last race of 1:58:XX

And when I say unofficial it really is because I forgot my time chip this morning.  After a brief panic I was able to get a new bib, but my time will not appear for 48-72 hours.

Whomp Whomp.

Did you race today?

How was your run?

Are you watching football? What team do you cheer for?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Race Day Ready!

T-minus 12 hours until race time!

My clothes are together.

Nails are painted.

My music playlist is made.

We relaxed by going to the farmer's market.

And by cuddling with the pups.

Bring it on 13.1.