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.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thursday Rambles

Puppy energy has been very high lately.  Peyton and Augie have needed lots of play time in the house, walks, and dog park visits.  I hope the energy decreases before it's cold and snowing.

This weekend is looking awesome weather wise! I can't wait til Sunday!

I'm  99% committed to my next race this fall.  Fall running is my favorite so I'm excited to have something to train for.  Details are to come post Fox Valley Half Marathon.  Let's not forget that race! ;)

This Buzzfeed post is my favorite: 18 Adorable Dogs Who Are So Ready For Fall

Who is ready for the weekend?

Tell me something random about your Thursday!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

How Spinning Can Help Your Running, aka I Love Spin!

I used to despise biking.  On my runner's legs, it was hard.  When I graduated grad school and had a real person job, I bought a bike that actually fit me and biking became a little better, but it was definitely not my favorite.

Enter one of my BFFs, Katie.  She gave me a free pass to join her at Lifetime and talked me into my first spin class.

It was love at first spin. (sight?)

The rest is history.  My spin class on Monday nights is something I look forward to every week.  For me, it is the perfect way to spend one of my days off from running.

Not only is spin class fun (the music is the best part), but it also can help your running!

Spinning can make you stronger without the impact! It is easier on the muscles and joints.  You can make it a strength workout by adding on the resistance.  Spinning also helps reduce your risk of injury as it works different muscles than running does.  Working out these muscles can help decreased muscle imbalances and make you a better overall runner.

Spinning is a great interval workout that activates both slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers.  A typical spin class changes workouts by song.  One song could work on low resistance and high speed, another could be rolling hills, and the next could be sprints.  The constant changes in focus, speed and resistance makes me push and give it my all for that one song knowing a (very short) rest is coming up.

Spinning has been shown to improve 10K race times by 9% and 5K race times by 3%.   Those numbers are huge! They could mean the difference between a PR or a near miss.

Recent studies have shown a correlation between foot cadence when running and pedal strike cadence while spinning.  Higher pedal stroke may lead to a higher foot cadence.  With your feet turning over faster, there is less time spent in contact with the ground and lower chance for injury.

Spin class also comes in handy when the weather is miserable.  When it's rainy or cold and snowy, I don't feel guilty substituting a run for a tough spin class.  Spin class (or riding my spin bike at home) always makes me feel like I'd had a good workout.

Do you cross train? What do you like to do?

What is the longest you've been sore from spin class? 2 days! Ouch!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Weekly Rundown and Monday Motivation

This week went by crazy fast and I'm hoping this week is the same. I can't wait for Fox Valley Half Marathon on Sunday!

Rest.  Labor day parties > run

Back strength training.  I was sore for about two days after this workout.


It took  me until Thursday to really find time to run this week.  That makes me sad, but then I think about the 90 degree heat turning into pouring rain and it's not that sad.

6 miles


I had a great run Saturday in perfect weather.
10 miles 

Saturday ended up being full of cleaning, shopping, cooking and wine drinking.

That is a good thing to remember for Sunday.

Sunday Runday!  I wanted to get in one more long run before next weekend.  Time was tight as I was finishing up the cooking and cleaning for our Bears season opener party, but I can just about always make time for running.

Running as a female is always an interesting experience between the honks and the catcalls.  Today I ran into a competitive male runner that just did not want to be out run by a girl.  He passed me at my fifth mile, which was all good by me.  I needed to save my legs for 7 more miles.  Just over a mile down the path, he was running slow uphill and I was closing in.  We both had the same turnaround point and he noticed me closing in.  He took off up the hill while I continued to maintain my pace.  Another mile down the trail I had caught up to the point of me passing him and as soon as I did, he picked up his pace.  I was tired of the cat and mouse chase so I picked up it for a while to get some distance between us.  10 minutes past by and here he was again.  This time I let him go.  He passed me again.... and he tripped and fell.


It took a lot of energy to hold it together and not burst out laughing.

I'd say he got what he deserved for his poor running etiquette.

12 miles

Less than 6 days until the Fox Valley Marathon and I can't wait to run fast (for me)!

What are you looking forward to this week?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Things From My Saturday

The season opener of the Chicago Bears is tomorrow and we are having friends and family over to watch it.  My day has been filled with cleaning, grocery shopping, heading to the farmer's market, and cooking.

First things first, today started with a 10 mile run.

10 miles

It was a perfect 50 degree day which made this pace feel awesome.  My pace felt easy and relaxed until about the 9th mile when my legs started to fatigue. And then the tenth felt good again.  Very strange.  I hoping next week is cool like today!

After a quick shower I headed to the farmer's market to pick up honey and some fruits and veggies.

While walking around I got my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the year!

When I got home I started cleaning the house.  

How much wine is an appropriate amount for cleaning?

Time is winding down for watermelons.  And it's very sad.

While out in San Fransisco we joined a wine club in Sonoma.  Our first shipment arrived yesterday!

Puppy cuddles are the best way to end the day.

Do you like wine? Red or white?

What's your favorite coffee at Starbucks?