musings on running, life, and everything in between

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Back to life, back to reality

One of the downsides of impending winter is the decreased light and the inability to effectively tell time by the amount of light in your bedroom. We all woke up at 7:30, which meant the oldest nugget missed his bus, which means Mr. Sometimes Runner had to drive him to school, which means he’ll be later picking him up from after-care, which makes the evening more hectic (since I’m teaching tonight). Of course the ankle-biters woke up between 5 and 6:30 AM every other day of vacation. Sigh. So it’s a bit of a stumbling return to the daily grind. Holiday hangover is real, friends (and that’s without drinking!).

It’s been a bit of time since the last post. As much as I thought about it, it just seemed more work to post amongst the flurry of activity with children home, in-laws visiting, cooking, and still trying to get my runs in. I hope everyone was able to survive!

The last remnants of snow melted earlier in the week. The final leaves of fall have also been taken down as well. The ginkgo trees in particular held on the longest and then let go all at once (the mass of yellow leaves in the picture below). Grossly, the berries are still smashed into the sidewalks stinking up everything. I would really like to know the evolutionary reasons for why those berries have to smell so foul.

It got warm right away, and I actually ran Thanksgiving Day in a t-shirt and shorts (I was a tiny bit cold as it was also sprinkling a bit). Still, I got to enjoy the last shreds of shorts weather we’ll probably see for a bit. I actually did this run as a tempo run (well, as tempo as I’ve been getting lately, ha). I was feeling the tiniest bit of speed and the cold made me want to finish faster, so it was nice to feel like I was getting some of my speed back.

Jen and I also ran the day after Thanksgiving to a steady drizzle. Like good little consumers, we incorporated a stop at our local women’s running store where Jen bought a Handful bra (which I then got suckered into running with in my pocket for 4 miles). Like the losers we are, we also managed to wear our matching Mother Runner hats. As you can see, it was cold enough that the misty rain on the hats froze over a bit. It was good to get out, and running in the rain (particularly cold rain) always makes me feel a bit hardcore. One thing I did look at in the store was breathable rain gear, but I realize I’m too cheap to invest in the good stuff. I own rain gear, but it’s either waterproof (and essentially akin to running in a plastic bag) or it’s water-resistant and lets in some moisture. One day, when I am a rich and famous blogger (hahahahahaha), someone will gift me better gear. In the meanwhile, you’ll see me with a clingy rain jacket sweating buckets or looking slightly angry at the chilled wetness.

It must have been the holiday of Jen because then we also decided to check out one of the local barre studios. We had bought a Groupon for 3 classes a couple of months ago, and of course we waited until the last day to redeem it. Typical. It was fun to see two other ladies from our running group, Jeanette and Jennifer (Jennifer also ran Ragnar the last two years with me) in the class. I guess you had to have a name start with J to be in the class ūüôā The instructor, Carmen, is also a BFF member!

This was the first barre class ever for Jen and me. It was hard!! Carmen had us do a bunch of glute stuff, which also totally ass-kicked our weak runner’s hips. We were grimacing for a good deal of the class. ¬†I’m not as sore as I thought I would be today, but I can definitely feel the effects. We’ve been talking about incorporating more core and strength training into our training plan… I didn’t love it, as I tend to like more cardio-based workouts. However, for 50 minutes of pumping music and having someone else lead, it’s not bad. We bought a 3-pack, so we’ll go two more times. After that, we’ll see. It’s not cheap!

Last, but not least, we actually went to a restaurant for Thanksgiving, which made Thanksgiving Day relaxing. However, because I love Thanksgiving food so much, we also cooked a turkey breast and some sides on Friday. Mr. Sometimes Runner’s favorite part about that is the wishbone. Here, he wrestles the 6-year-old for domination (he lost).

Training is coming along. I actually had two runs last week that were paced under 9 minute miles. I’ve been feeling super slow and heavy lately (nothing to do all the eating, I’m sure) so I was happy to get some speed back that didn’t make me feel like I was dying. Just being under 9 is hardly “speed,” but lately I’ve been doing some runs at 9:45 so it’s speedy enough. Overall, though, I’m still not feeling like I’m really in training mode yet. Technically, I’m on a training plan but it’s just base mileage right now and I’m not following it all that closely. I have to be careful I’m not being too loosey-goosey about it, though, as I realized I didn’t even run 30 miles last week. My 10 mile long run Saturday felt hard–in the sense that I never hit my groove. I never got¬†into the non-thinking auto-pilot you get with long runs. I was thinking about my mileage the whole time. Jen had the same struggle so we just complained about it for most of the run. Misery loves company.

Anyhow, friends, here’s to getting back on schedule and working through this training rut. The grey wet weather isn’t helping, but at least it’s not bitterly cold yet.

I also know that running is a way for me to deal with all the craziness in the world–both within my family and within my larger community. The chaos of what’s going on in Chicago between the video of Laquan MacDonald’s shooting and today’s closing of the University of Chicago campus because of a potential shooting makes me realize there are definitely larger issues impacting us. So I will use my run today to pray and meditate on hoping for peace.¬†Hope everyone¬†has a chance to do the same.


7 Things I learned from the Chicago Marathon

In no particular order

  1. It’s awesome running with a purpose and running for a charity. I ran for Team in Training through the “Your Way” option. I was already registered for the marathon so all proceeds went directly to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. IMG_2087As I’ve talked about, my running group Best Foot Forward, lost one of its members this summer to complications from leukemia and another member’s 5 year old daughter has been fighting it since her diagnosis earlier this year. In just 3 weeks, folks stepped up and $800 was raised!
  2. I’ve read alot about runners running by feel and not relying so much on their watch (what some people call “running naked”). I was too afraid to actually do this before. However, using the pacers at the Last Chance Marathon and then approaching the Chicago Marathon as fun, I didn’t use my watch (well, that and the watched went bonkers so it wasn’t even an option in Chicago). Also, when I got lost recently in the Wisconsin woods and ran probably 13 miles instead of the 6.5 my watch said and didn’t realize it right away…I’m thinking I rely too much on technology. Interestingly enough, I also just read an interview with Deena Kastor, who just set a new women’s Master’s record for the marathon at Chicago. She did it with just a regular watch, and she calculated the splits. She wasn’t wearing a GPS watch that was ticking off each mile. And that seemed to work for her. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be wearing my watch for just logging miles and such, but it’s good to rethink what I’m trading off or gaining by wearing it or not wearing it.
  3. Wait for it… Running can be FUN. I know. GASP! It’s not just a “race” against the clock. Or beating someone else (well, it can still be that…ha). I technically approached Chicago with that mindset, but I was still not 100% sold on it the first 6 miles. Then I realized that I was going to hate it if I didn’t pull back and just take it easy. And then seeing Jen at mile 20 or whenever it was, and finishing the race together was awesome. AND, there is photographic proof that you can run and have fun. Us at the finish line.¬†Snip20151014_1Don’t worry. I’ll be buying the picture. And maybe putting it on a t-shirt for Jen to wear everywhere. Or a coffee mug. Or a tote bag. Or all of the above.
  4. The marathon is always such a mental thing. There is definitely the physical part of it. Most people (because there are always a few anomalies) can’t just go out and run a marathon without training at least partly for it. However, all the training in the world isn’t enough if you’re not mentally ready to do it. There’s alot of psychological chatter you have to do to keep yourself moving, to tell yourself that the pain is worth it, that all your hard work WILL pay off. Like I wrote about yesterday, I used the memory of Lauren to keep myself moving. That was more meaningful than just running for my own personal achievement.
  5. You have to run your own race. I had a friend who was trying to qualify, and it was getting in my head that I should try also. And like I said, I thought I was going to the first few miles in. But then I realized that I was tired and that this would be my third marathon this year, the second within a month. I wasn’t feeling great, and it would be dumb to push myself. A year ago, I wouldn’t have made that choice. I would have kept pushing myself and had a horrible time. Maybe hurt myself. The beauty of running (for me) is that it is a individually-located sport. Meaning, every goal, race, whatever, is about what you want/need. At my level, I am not winning races, so why am I out there? What do I want from this? I even read a piece a while back about having 3 goals for a race: 1) your ultimate, ecstatic, pie-in-the-sky goal, 2) your happy with it goal, and 3) your low-hanging fruit, assured goal. By having these 3 goals in mind, you’ll always accomplish it. My first marathon, my goal was to just finish, which was probably 2 and 3. This time, it was BQ, finish under 4, and just finish. It was good to be able to slide from one goal to another without feeling like a failure.
  6. The other day, someone was telling me¬†about a book called You Win or You Lose Learn (I guess the cover actually has the word crossed out like that). I don’t know this book, but I guess it’s big in business. I like that idea for the marathon (or any race) as well. Each race is a learning process. Whether it’s about pacing strategy, fueling, hydration, sleep. I feel like that’s the allure of running multiple marathons. It’s such a huge endeavor with so many moving parts that you learn something new each time. And, for me, I want to get right back out there and try something different to see how it plays out. I think for several of us this time around, the learning process was alot about learning to listen to your body and understanding when you can push beyond discomfort (because running a marathon is not about comfort, ha) and when you’re pushing towards injury.
  7. Finally, I am totally blessed with some crazy-ass, amazing women in my life. From the folks who donated to TNT to the golden sparkle cheer sign emblazoned with “WWJD: What would Jung do?” on my lawn to the 22 pound bag of ice personally delivered to my front stoop. I do not feel worthy of the love and support of all these women. I got so many text message from BFF members¬†the night before and morning of both the Last Chance Marathon and the Boston Marathon–some from women I haven’t seen or talked to in months. I had a friend order a BQ/Boston Qualifier necklace charm the minute I qualified and sneak-drop it off my house later that week. Even seeing random women from the group along the course–like Andrea who totally scared me by jumping in for a second and screaming my name–was amazing. When I first joined the group 2.5 years ago, I wasn’t sure about it. I am not a joiner and definitely not great in spaces where I don’t know alot of people. But I stuck it out, and it’s been one of the absolute best decisions of my life. But like all humans, sometimes I forget to be grateful and to remember to say thanks. So to all my crazy ladies, I love you.


Chicago Marathon Race Recap

Because Chicago is such a monstrous race, I think I’ll leave out the crazy detailed reporting and just talk about my own experience. I feel like you’ll either want to run it or not. It’s a race of 45,000 people.

This was my 5th Chicago Marathon (and my friend Patty’s 14th). Yet, I have never attended the Expo with a friend. EVER. And I’m not sure Patty has either. So we did all the cheesy things that we would never do otherwise, like take a picture under the welcome sign. It really changed my experience at the Expo being with someone else. It was super-fun and I would definitely recommend going next time with a friend and not being all business about it. ¬†We have been joking and calling Patty “Radar.” She, along with many others in my group, have been stalking the weather like crazy. She’s also the friend I was roommates with at the Champaign Marathon. After lights out the night before the race, I had to yell at her to turn her phone off because I could see the glow of her screen as she continued to track the weather.
We got to the Expo right after 9 am the first day when they opened. It was super-easy and lightly busy. Perfect time to go, as it started to get more densely populated when we were ready to leave later. ¬†¬†I saw a booth with a spinning wheel for prizes. I don’t usually do them because it’s usually not great prizes. However, since there was no line and I’m a sucker for free stuff (former classroom teacher and grad student in me) we took a spin. Patty won a free hotel stay at a boutique hotel downtown!! I was super jealous because I’ve stayed at that hotel and it’s nice.
I cross my fingers. And got a McDonald’s gift card. Better than the pen my friend Jen got the next day. Ha. ¬†¬†Giddy with our luck at the booth, we did a very systematic sweep of all the booths at the expo, hoping to recreate our good luck. Alas, no. However, we did get to see Sara, one of the cofounders of Another Mother Runner.

Patty actually got me this shirt, and I can’t wait to wear it. My kids can’t read it so it’s ok. ūüôāWe were also super-cheesy and took pictures with the Mariano’s cup (?) guy. ¬†¬†All in all, it was a great expo and totally fun! I realize now how much I’ve been missing out all these years going solo

The night before, I started putting my outfit together. I was running/fundraising for Team in Training, but I was concerned the t-shirt would be too hot for me. I decided to go with my regular tank and make a little purple TNT ribbon to go along with my “in honor” ribbons with folks’ names. ¬†And to remind myself that I was supposed to be running this race for fun, I decided to make myself a spectacle and wear my sparkly skirt as well. I also made a Girls on the Run foam tiara that I ran with. I’m not sure why it didn’t make its way into the picture. Because my GI did so much better last marathon not taking the Gatorade, I decided to run with my water belt. My friend Swati was going to be at around the halfway point and I dropped a refueling bottle with her. This, I think, had a huge impact on me staying hydrated. A number of my friends were dehydrated and cramping up this marathon even though they felt like they were drinking enough. I drank four 10 oz bottles of fluid plus water from probably at least 5-6 aid stations. If I had relied on just the fluids from the aid stations, I think it wouldn’t have been enough.
The morning of the race, Patty’s amazing husband, Bob, drove us (me, Jen, Emily, and Patty) to the start. It was an absolutely gorgeous morning. I was proud of Chicago for putting out her best weather behavior (minus the warmth obviously). ¬†¬†We got there about an hour beforehand, which of course is spent hopping in and out of portapotty lines. I was super-excited to see Michele from the blog NYCRunningMama washing her hands. She was there representing the 26 Saucony Strong program as a coach for a first-time marathoner. She was super-energetic and friendly, and TINY. You can see in the picture that I look like a hulking beast next to her. It was funny seeing her because I saw her and she looked familiar but I couldn’t place her right away. Then it clicked, and like a fool, I shouted, “Hey, aren’t you NYCRunningMama?” I was behind on my blog-reading so I had forgotten she was running AND she just ran an awesome PR (like 3:12 or something) the previous week at the Wineglass Marathon in NY. Amazing.
Emily, Jen, and I were in the same corral, C. Patty was in corral E (still first-wave) so we parted ways. We actually ended up running into 3 of our other friends before the race too, which was nice. I think there were so many professional photographers taking pictures that I forgot to actually take any. So I have no pre-race photos of our little group ūüė¶We ended up wedging ourselves somewhere around the 3:40 pacers and got out the gate about 7 minutes past 7:30.

Emily scooted forward chasing the 3:35 pace group (she was gunning to BQ). Jen and I settled in at the 3:40’ish pace. My Garmin kept crapping out, though, and would eventually just stop around mile 13, which was annoying. I let Jen be the almighty timekeeper. As typical, we started out faster than the pace we should have. Most of our first 5 miles were 8’s. By mile 7, I had decided that I wasn’t going to be able to (nor wanted to) hold that pace. I was tired and realized that I would really be hurting later if I kept it up. So I let Jen drift ahead a bit and then lost sight of her.

Marathons, in many ways, are singular endeavors of individual battle. It’s so mental. Beyond the physical preparation, it’s your ability to will yourself forward and talk yourself through not giving up. By mile 10, my left ankle was starting to bother me. Seeing Swati and her refueling station right past the halfway point helped alot. She had put my bottle on ice and having that cold drink really helped. Plus seeing a smiling face. She is awesome. She had bought a bunch of bananas and was passing them out. Just for fun. Because that’s how she is.

At mile 16, the thought that I had 10 miles left was alot. Even the record number of spectators was irritating me. They were going to witness my humiliation. My ankle was starting to really bother me, and I was nervous about whether I was doing any real damage to it. I debated DNF’ing (did not finish). I’ve NEVER done that. Even my first marathon where I was doing an Elaine-like dance move and throwing my leg weirdly because I was in so much pain and took 5.5 hours to complete…I finished. But this is when I started thinking about Lauren and the names I was literally carrying on my back. And I thought about how Lauren wouldn’t be able to run anymore. And it helped keep me going. Don’t get me wrong, I think if I really thought my ankle was messed up, I would stop. I’ve learned enough now that I need to listen to my body. But I also knew I could keep going.

Sadly, I was so delusional that I totally missed my girls volunteering at the aid station around mile 18. I was bummed.

Right after mile 20, I think, I saw Jen. She told me her leg was really bothering her and she had actually stopped to wait for me because she wasn’t sure she’d be able to go on. That was all I needed to help me keep going. We ran a pace we were ok with, took a couple walk breaks, and helped push each other to finish. And because the theme of this marathon was cheese, I made her hold my hand when we crossed the finish line. It hasn’t come up in the race photos, but I will definitely be buying that!

Here’s me in my full ridiculous outfit after the race. I was actually so warm post-race that I didn’t even take a foil blanket.
The dynamic duo with our matching crowns! I can’t believe we kept them on the whole time. ¬†¬†We ran into my friend Anna afterwards too. Emily didn’t make it into this picture, but she BQ’ed! Can’t believe she was able to hold that pace in that heat. Just under 3:37
Gotta love the Chicago skyline. See that completely cloudless sky (I did shudder in horror for the back of the packers scorching under that sun).

We did alot of recovering, drinking, and catching our breaths afterwards, then set home on the el. My friend Regina is awesome (seriously, I am undeserving of these amazing friends) and brought over a 20 pound bag of ice and a Portillo’s chocolate cake shake. When I was training solo last year for my trifecta of marathons, that was my go-to training recovery regimen. Usually I got a smaller bag of ice. I have to say that the 20 pound bag was INTENSE. Note: I did eventually open the bag. But I was afraid…

My ankles are swollen and stiff. I think they were just overloaded with all that pounding on the concrete. But we’ll see how they feel the rest of the week.

Overall time, 3:47 and some change. My lofty goal was to qualify again, but my happy/ok goal was to get under 4. It was a tough race, and I definitely felt tired. I realized that it was my 6th marathon since last September. I need a break and a rest so I can be recharged for Boston. It was one of my most fun Chicago marathons as well. I saw a bunch of friends along the course. I got to actually finish with a friend, and I’m really looking forward to the official race photos (I’ve seen some and there are some horrible ones, but some good group ones too).

Chicago is always a great marathon with an awesome course (in terms of route. There were still a few potholes along the route), amazing spectators in great neighborhoods, and a well-supported course. The one thing that bothered me this year was what they offered at the aid stations. I like regular Gatorade ok if I can dilute it heavily, but Gatorade Endurance is too much for my stomach and tastes. The blocks they were offering were also by Gatorade, which was totally new to me. I actually didn’t bother even taking any (and I love free stuff!). I wish they would pick stuff that people actually regularly trained with.

I hope everyone who raced had a good experience. Chime in with your own thoughts and experiences!

P.S. My most hated cheer sign was “I don’t know, but I’m feeling 26.2” ¬†What does that even mean?! I spent alot of negative energy thinking about that sign. HA

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It takes a village to qualify for Boston–my love letter for BFF

I am breathing the rarified air of Boston Qualifiers, and I am dumbfounded. This was hands-down the best marathon experience of my life. I ran solid, never took walk breaks (except once through an aid station), and had a big kick at the end. I’m not even as sore as I usually am the day after.

And it’s because of this group. [Note: I’ll do a real race recap later]


Despite all my threats and grumbles about people showing up to watch me potentially fail, they showed up anyway, and I DIDN’T fail because…surprise…support helps you. I know. Shocker. Trust me, I’m still trying to puzzle that one out.

I knew these two crazies, Jen (as in my partner in crime this spring) and Patty, both already qualified this year, were going to be there early.


Early, as in early and dark. When the sun was just starting to think about rolling out of bed.


I knew they were coming and saw them at the end of my first lap. But then imagine my surprise when I saw these guys further down.


Stephanie Harri left after the race to get ready to play TWO weddings (she’s a violinist…AND a chiropractor). Crazy!


Swati Saxena, REALTOR EXTRAORDINAIRE, is the lovely lady in green who owns her own personal megaphone. 

She also baked me several vegan treats. AND drive me home in my own car to save my legs.


Julianne, on the left, is from Massachusetts and was secretly working to coordinate the ambush of love.

And just in case you think we’re a classy bunch of ladies, here’s a sign to disprove it.


My dear Jenny, standing tall in the middle with her ever-present blonde ponytail, ran with Jen for my last loop. I don’t think I would have kept up my pace without them that loop. She actually ran her first 13 miles since this winter. Jenny also realized that I had lost a hair band halfway through the race (which is why I went from two French braids to a single pony tail half French-braided) and tried calling some of the girls on their way to see if they had an extra!

And, finally, on the second-to-last loop, or maybe it was the last loop (it was hard keeping track), I saw my family. And seeing my husband and kids cheering me on (well, Wyeth was kind of crying and trying to grab me, but I’m sure he was cheering on the inside…) helped push me through. I abandon them in the early mornings to go run these distances, smoothed over with sugary promises of donuts. But sometimes they still cry when I leave the house. So I ran to make it worthwhile.



And then there were people who were supporting me from afar, sending texts and messages, and even ladies that weren’t there race day but helped make the signs (Aimee, Erin F), and I still used some of Coach Lizs speed workouts. I have never felt so awash in love and support. Like EVER. These people have endured my countless rants, obsessions, early mornings, late nights, annoying FB posts, and anxieties about running and about this race. Seriously, I am humbled beyond words, and feel that I am not worthy of this. Really. I mean, I think I’m funny and mildly amusing, but I will admit that I really am not such a sparkling personality to warrant such an outpouring of affection (I’m awkward and can seem standoffish, I’ll admit it. I’m also prone to handshakes and sideways hugs vs full-frontal hugs.). It goes to show you how much we all need one another, and how much more can be accomplished with the love and support of others. IF you just let them in at least a teeny, tiny bit. So to all the amazing women of BFF and my awesome family, this time was for you.

P.S. One funny note. Someone asked the group how many people they knew in the race. They said one. HA.

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Pool running and proof that Jen still runs with me

I’ve had ALOT of friends deal with injuries the last year or so. I honestly think that my semi-regular massage¬†work and my fixation with foam rolling can take¬†a good deal of credit for me being relatively injury-free. That is not to say, though, that I’m not constantly aware of every extra bit of tightness or creakiness. I really like all the “prehab vs. rehab” stuff I’ve been seeing lately. That’s why I found this post about pool running so fascinating. It actually starts with a story about two ultra runners that do a fair bit of pool running as part of their cross-training. Pool running is usually relegated to the domain of those who CAN’T run and are already injured. These folks use it regularly as part of their running/training regimen. I was fascinated. I like the article alot because it provides a variety of ways you can tackle pool running from my version–running back and forth in chest-high water while pushing/pulling my kids (i.e., sneaking in a workout without them knowing) to the more familiar weighted vest/best deeper water to ankle-deep water running. Either way, if you’re in the pool a good amount this summer, there’s some things to try out!

This morning was a 10 mile run with 5×1000’s at 5k pace with recovery in between. Yup, Fun times. In 80-degree weather with alot of humidity. Thankfully Jen had 5×1200’s on her plan with a 2 mile warm up and 1 mile cooldown, so we did most of my 10 miles together. For those uninitiated into the joys of track workouts, most standard tracks are 400 meters and 4 laps are a mile. Usually with intervals, a good recovery is half the distance or half the time of the interval (depending on your goals, etc.). Today’s recovery time for me was supposed to be 50-90% of my interval time. Here’s the splits. My goal 5k time (according to this convertor for my marathon goal time) is 22:22, which translates into a 7:12 time. Based on my over-involved calculations, I think that means I needed to hit a 4:30 for 1000m.

Lap 1   4:29

Lap 2   4:37

Lap 3   4:41

Lap 4   4:41

Lap 5   4:41

Sadly, you can see that I only hit it for the first lap. To my credit, I had a different time in mind based on a different calculator I was looking at before I left the house (ahem, at 5:45 this morning, sigh). But I realized prepping for this post, that I was looking at the wrong thing. I think I could have pushed it a little harder for at least a few more laps if not all of them. I really dislike intervals, but nothing works up a sweat like some nasty fast runs on the track. I’m not a naturally fast (nor inclined towards fast) runner, and I often find them somewhat demoralizing. In some ways, that’s why I like speed/interval workouts based on feel rather than specific times. On Bill’s marathon plan two years ago, his speed workouts were based on just going as hard as you (un)comfortably can. I might go with a combination of time and feel this time around.

Anyhow, here’s a lovely shot of the sun rising behind Jen on the track.

On a side note, we talked about how her form is pretty good. She has a good natural lean forward (something she didn’t know was actually good) and good stride. One thing I’ve noticed is that she tends to shrug her shoulders up a bit, which gives her a cute “little engine that could” look, haha. It doesn’t seem to impact her too much, though. You lose a little bit of energy, but there are worse things (like my swinging arms across my body, ha).¬†

Anyhow, I forced her to take a selfie with me, so we took turns looking goofy.

It’s going to be a hot one today, so stay cool!

What kind of speed training do you do? How do you mentally work through hitting splits (or not)?

P.S. My husband has been mentioning that he sees a fair amount of “grammer” (sic) mistakes in my writing in these posts. I will need to proof them better! I follow some blogs of former teachers-turned bloggers and when I see typos/grammar stuff/etc it drives me nuts. Feel free to point them out!

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Ugh, that was my first real bout with insomnia. I don’t know why, maybe the soda I drank last night (am I really getting that old?!). I thrashed around for almost 2 hours. Came downstairs at one point to try watching TV, but the glare of the TV bothered me. I actually have read that for good sleep hygiene (yes, that is a thing), if you’re having trouble falling asleep you should get up and do something else for a little bit. It helps ensure you don’t connect your bed as a place of bad sleep or no sleep. I debated doing work, pretty sure that would make me fall asleep if the TV didn’t do the trick. I gave up on the TV and eventually passed out back in bed. Of course my 3 y.o. climbed into bed early this morning and squirmed up a storm so who knows how much sleep I really got.

The other night Jen, Michelle, and I went running out in the dark for Ragnar training. It was pretty nice, although we were laughing because Michelle had on all of her new running gear to try out and was fumbling a bit. Better now than during the race! I finally saw my first firefly, which means summer really has arrived.

When I got home, I tried to stretch outside since it was so humid and I was hot (living in an old house means you don’t have central air, and we have’t put in the window units yet). However, all this humidity and warm weather have not only brought the fireflies but the mosquitoes and other bugs. I felt myself starting to get bitten so I went inside. As I was stretching inside, though, I felt like something was biting in me inside my shorts. I figured it was just lingering aftermath of bites¬†from outside, but then I swore it felt it was moving around. So I dropped trou. And out landed this lovely specimen.¬†Ugh. Not exactly the stuff of nightmares nor your friendly neighborhood Spiderman, but not something you want to find in your pants. Actually I can think of very few things I want to find in my pants, unless his name is Ryan Gosling. Ha.

I also realized that it was probably time to get rid of these socks.

They are not even that old! Like maybe a few years. I don’t care what they say, I don’t replace things every year or whatever it is they suggest. i have sports bras older than my children–and my marriage. I figure that if it still seems to work, I don’t need to follow random rules made up by people trying to sell me more stuff. For example, I read you’re supposed to replace sports bras like every year or so. EVERY YEAR! I barely need any support so it’s not like they will stop doing their job after a year. I could see if I were more “gifted” in that department, the importance of making sure all my parts were well supported, but alas, my gifts lie¬†elsewhere. I will admit, though, that I recently threw out a few sport bras as they were starting to chafe.

The other piece of running gear I’ve actually been weeding through is my shorts. After many years of seeing race photos where my shorts are billowing in the wind and ramping up the general¬†hideousness of said photos (let’s admit, those photos are almost always bad), I decided that i need to take my image a little more seriously. I run–partly–to not get huge as a result of my eating. It doesn’t make sense to wear clothing that negates all that. So I’ve started pulling my longer, overly generous shorts, and replacing them with ones that actually fit me properly.

It reminds me, though, of the olden days. Where functionality trumped all sense of fashion. Remember the olden days of running? When shoes came in only one color? And you would never choose a shoe based on color? Nowadays, shoes come in multiple colors, you can even get them customized with your name (Jenny got her last name on her Adidas Adi Zeros). But just as I wouldn’t have chosen shoes FOR their color before, now I don’t choose shoes because I don’t like their color. Which means, I’m getting stuck with alot of fluorescent and alot of pink (cuz I’m a girl that’s what pink is for, bleh) shoes. Or in the case of this bad boy, both.¬†I finally got around to another running store, Run Chicago, this time. Sadly, I can’t even find a web page for them–they really need some PR help. They’ve been around for almost 10 years I think, my friends have had good experiences with them, and they carry Brooks and Saucony. The guy was super-knowledgeable, and i had to laugh because he pulled out a bunch of shoes I’ve worn in the past–like the Newton Gravity and Saucony Mirage. I ended up walking out with the Saucony Guide. They are an 8 mm drop, so it’s not as crazy as the 12 mm of the Mizunos, they felt pretty similar to the Kinvaras in terms of general fit, but they offered a little bit of stability. I wanted shoes with a little more stability and/or cushioning than the shoes I’ve been running in. I’ve only done a couple runs in them, but I like them so far. One review of them describes them as such: “Not all neutral runners like softly cushioned shoes, and Guide 8 fills in the gap for that requirement by combining overall firmness with a touch of cushioning.”¬†I also just found another running shoe site that compiles a bunch of different reviews, which includes some of my favorite ones like Runner’s World and Running Shoes Guru,¬†

Anyhow, I’ll keep you posted on how the Guide runs. Still debating whether I want to take it out for Ragnar as it looks like at least one of my runs might be rainy. I’m also trying to convince Jen to take TMI Thursday part ii. Let’s see if her slacker butt will do it.

Any favorite running shoe review sites? Favorite/worst things about summer running?

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Another day, another mile

It is officially late spring/summer around here, which means it’s raining or extremely humid. Bleh. Either way, it saps the energy right out of you! Today’s early morning run was originally started as a 6 miler, which got cut to 5.5 and then walking the last half. I did a 4.5 mile run last night (in training for Ragnar), that I was hoping to hit 5. It was so dark last night and my Garmin doesn’t have a nightlight that I couldn’t see the mileage until I got home. I was at 4.46 and almost cried, forced myself to the end of the block (because God forbid I run a “weird” number) to get to 4.5 and called it a day. Jen K and I discussed how it better not be humid for Ragnar cuz our “speedy” times aren’t going to be so speedy.

Speaking of Ragnar and people who are going to be awesome, I got to run with this lady and her entourage last week. Kelly¬†is not even 3 months post-partum and she is AMAZING. I went out to meet her thinking, “Oh, this will be a nice easy run with the post-partum lady and her baby AND her dog.” NOPE. We were pushing sub 9’s almost the whole way. I wanted to ask her to slow down, but I was embarrassed, cuz you know, I just ran a marathon, and she’s pushing a stroller, and holding on to a dog, and I’m running carefree. Boohoo.¬†Her daughter is cute as a button, though, and totally just slept the whole time. I need to meet up with Kelly another day when she’s awake so I can get my baby fix. Get this, though, sometimes she runs with the DOUBLE stroller and the dog. And here I am complaining about running by myself in the humidity.

BTW, that ended up being a ridiculous 9 mile run because my GPS crapped out on me and I wasn’t sure what time I started running. I was super-tired by the end. I swear, running without a plan makes me crazy. I ended up running a 40+ mileage week last week because I had no plan. As much of a creature of chaos I am, that is exactly why I need a plan. Left to my own devices, I will run entirely too much or not at all. I still need to sit down and decide what I’m using to train for the fall. I think I’m going to do a mashup of my two coached plans and one of Pfitzinger’s Advanced Marathoning plans. I’ll keep you posted, or feel free to chime in with plans you like!

Here’s the splits from Saturday’s long run. You gotta say, we’re consistent if nothing else! And I was happy to see that we picked it up for the last couple miles.


Finally, we’ve been trying to get out and enjoy the weather more since it’s getting warmer. We went to the zoo where Iseul got to try some new forms of transportation.¬†We also finally have an almost fully-functioning (we still need grass over the dirt) backyard so we’ve been eating outside alot. We had an awesome paver patio put in and had our rotted, collapsing back stairs rebuilt. We also called 1800-GOT-JUNK to haul away several large piles of lumber, junk, and landscaping stuff this past weekend. It was awesome.

10359232_10153108201497949_394853080393721021_nAnyhow, it’s already almost halfway through the week! Hooray! Hope you had a great weekend. Happy running!