10 Day Challenge Update (and a Few Other Things to Note)

10 DC Update

Well, 10DCB and I are halfway through the challenge. I have mostly been doing all my lunges and sit-ups post run. Doing sit-ups after a run is no big deal… but I was a bit surprised at how difficult lunges are after a run. WOWZA! I have been tempted to do the lunges before the run but since I used to split runs where I would run to the gym, lift weights, and then run home… I am fully aware that the run after the strength training is painful and horrendous. So I am sticking to my doing lunges after the run thing.

10DCB hasn’t been quite as diligent. But 10DCB is honest. So I have to give credit where it is due. We are not doing this challenge while being in the same state so are relying on each others word. I have been given a few excuses for why the lunges and sit-ups are not being done every day but have quickly called 10DCB out on those. Because really, its only 10 days… This whole thing should take approximately 15 minutes per day. But again, I really commend the honesty so after I say my piece about the excuse I drop it. And yes… I did bring it up here but I am done now… Moving on…

I have noticed that the lunges and sit-ups are getting easier. My legs are not nearly as sore. Sit-ups… Well… I probably should have started at a number higher than 50 but oh well. All in all – feeling pretty good.

Has it changed my running for the better? Yet to be seen. With the exception of my painful and very slow run last Friday, I have been maintaining a decent pace. Part of me wonders if Friday was just one of those really crappy running days that we all have from time to time. You know… That day where our body just decides it does not want to run but we are out there anyway. Yea… That might have been Friday for me. My hope is to continue with lunges and sit-ups at least 5 days a week once this over. Will not be increasing the number but once the lunges become really easy I might throw in some free weights.

I was actually surprised by the pace of my run last night. I wasn’t feeling the greatest during and decided to not check my pace at all while running. In fact, I am not sure I checked my watch at all while I was running. I think the only times I looked at my watch was when I was starting and stopping it (at water fountains or when waiting at the cross walk). Pleasantly surprised when I got home and saw that my pace was much faster than I thought.

It appears that Spring has come to Chicago. We are supposed to cool off over the weekend but at least this time the cool off will not be with temps in the 30s. I am starting to think it will be safe to pack away the winter coat. Errr… this means I need to clean and do some pitching in my closet… Potentially a good project for Thursday when the weather looks to be really icky so I won’t be running.

Yesterday’s run was my 5th day of running in a row… I think the last time I did that was 2011. I am planning to take Thursday off since the weather is still going to be nice today and tomorrow. And yes, I am still hoping to get my long run in tomorrow… We will see how I feel once I get out there.

Decided that Wednesday will be my “Throwback” day – Not entirely sure what I will write about yet but look for it tomorrow.


The Rave Run Race Re-Cap

As I alluded to in my post on Friday – I had originally signed up for this race because it was in Lincoln Park with the start line being a few blocks from my place. But it was then moved to Grant Park. Location change kinda sucked but it was not the end of the world. (Side Note – I just absolutely love the LP Races and try to do as many as possible)

Packet Pick-Up was fairly uneventful. The location is kind of a pain to get to but since it is also near a Whole Foods and I was able to do my grocery shopping for the week I didn’t mind too much. It was also really nice out on Friday so wasn’t too bothered by the hike (I say too bothered because I was in a shirt that was way too warm and was sweating like crazy).

“The Swag”

1 Rave Run 4-27-13

The T-Shirt was not a tech shirt but I like it and will probably wear it to kick around. Its also really soft. The Blue circle looking thing is a bracelet that lights up. Kinda cool – I did wear it to the race and it might come in handy if/when running in the dark. I did not use the glow sticks.

I hopped on the 151 bus to head to Grant park and ended up sitting across from a fellow Rave Run Racer. We chatted on the ride there and ended up racing together. Well… She was maybe 10 feet ahead of me the entire race until my sprint to the finish line. She just moved to Chicago in January and signed up for the race on a whim… It was nice to have someone to chat with the entire evening and I felt like she pushed me to maintain pace during the race even though she was ahead of me. Plus it is always good to meet new people. Hopefully we will get to hang out soon and maybe go for a run together.

The race did NOT have gear check. Which is ok in the summer when you don’t need to worry about being cold after the race but on Saturday night, it REALLY cooled off near the lake (and the race was right on the lake). So I was just a tad warm during the run and rather chilly on the way home. I was lucky to have read the PDF in the email they sent out on Thursday, otherwise I would have planned for gear check. It was also very clear that a LOT of people expected gear check. I do not normally race emails but for some reason I did this time around… Good thing too. If you are not going to have gear check then you really need to make that a bigger announcement.

This is Kind of the Extent of the Lights “display”

2 Rave Run 4-27-13

When I signed up for the race it looked like there would be a LOT more lights… Also looked like we would be running under hundreds of Christmas Lights (and anyone that knows me, knows how much I love Christmas Lights). So I was very disappointed that there really were not many lights. There were a ton of lights near the finish line where the decked out one of the underpasses but other than that it was just a slightly dark run by the lake.

They did a wave start which I found very odd considering it was not a timed event and I have done several other races with a much larger crowds that didn’t use a wave start. All in all it was probably a good thing. I knew going into this race that most people would walk the course. So I was glad that I only had to do some minor weaving… predominately due to people would stop right in the middle and take pictures… Thats all well and good but move to the side before you stop and take the picture there.

They only had water and bananas post-race. The water also looked like it was left over from another event that took place over the summer. I HATE bananas so I was disappointed that they didn’t have pretzels or something like that.

My “Race Results”

4 Rave Run 4-27-13

I was pleased with my pace considering I decided to walk home from MI and Wacker earlier in the day… which is approximately 5 miles. Not the brightest idea but it was just too nice out. This is about 3 minutes off my 5K times from last year so I am very happy about that. Still have a ways to go before I back to where I was but I am making good progress.

The Race was fun and well organized (except for the gear check thing) and I am glad that I participated. But overall, I don’t think I would do the race again.

Did anyone else do the Rave Run?

Training April 22nd – 28th

April 22 - 28

It was a VERY productive week for me.

Monday – 2.51 Miles with Fleet Feet

Decided to join the Fleet Feet Runners for Boston group run on Monday. My pace was kinda slow but there were a LOT of runners out there and I decided to just enjoy the amazing weather and unity.

Tuesday – Rest

It was raining pretty much all day and I decided to meet a friend for coffee after work. It had been way too long since we got together to chat and both of us had a lot to catch up on.

Wednesday – Strength Training

The weather would have been decent for a run but it was still on the chilly side. I also knew that I wanted to shoot for my long run for the week on Thursday, so decided to strength train instead. Just did some basic stuff at home.

Thursday – Long Run 5.53 Miles

Set out on Thursday hoping to get in the my long run for the week knowing it was the best day weather wise. Was happy to find I was feeling awesome at the half-way point and knew the long run was going to happen.

Friday – 2.05 Miles

When I set out on Friday to run, I was feeling off. I also was hurting a bit from the run on Thursday. But, I didn’t set any miles/time goals for the run so was just happy to be out in the sun shine.

Saturday – The Rave Run 5K Race – 3.10 Miles

I will post a race re-cap later today or tomorrow. I was very happy with my finishing time of 32:35 since it is about 3 minutes faster than my 5K times from last year. I am also keeping in mind that I run better at night and this was a night race. Race to Wrigley might be a better test to see if I am getting back into my running form from years past.

Sunday – 2.46 Miles

I really just felt like going for a run. I had been laying around on my couch all day and the sun finally came out. Decided a little 2 mile jog was a good idea. Instantly regretted my chosen path by the zoo as there were WAY too many kids and adults who never move over and seem to just and stand in place when they see me running towards them… I was a bit annoyed. Also did a LOT of weaving which is probably why I did 2.46 miles. Was VERY surprised when I got home and saw that my pace was 9:45. Ummm… Where did that come from? I had fully expected to be much slower considering the number of times I had to stop dead in my tracks to go around people. Go figure…

Also completed the first 4 days of my little 10 Day Challenge.

All in all it was an awesome running week for me. I also hit the goals that I set out last week.

This week my long run is 5.50 miles again (might bump it up to 5.75 if I feel good) and I am going to finish the 10 Day Challenge.  Not really sure when I will get the long run done since the weather will be turning from nice to icky on Thursday… So looks like I will shoot for Wednesday.

Hope that Everyone has a Great Week!

Ten Day Challenge, Long Run and Race Weekend

Lots to talk about today

Ten Day Challenge

I am happy to report that I have a ten day challenge buddy. I will leave this person anonymous out of respect for their privacy but will dub them my 10DCB (10 Day Challenge Buddy). We decided to start yesterday. Me and my OCD habit of tracking my workouts instantly created an Excel Spreadsheet for this.

10 DC

Have not updated it yet for today but that’s the plan. We will check-in daily and we even have a google shared doc for this too. Oh Yea – It’s On!

Weekly Long Run

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Chicago. The sun decided to finally show its face in the afternoon. I wasn’t sure if I would do my long run when I set out yesterday. I decided to see how I was feeling at the 2.50ish mile mark and decide then if I was going to turn to go home or continue on. I decided to stick to my favorite park paths. I absolutely love running through Lincoln Park – Past Diversey Harbor, tree lined gravel paths, past the zoo, past the soccer and football fields, etc. Its just an amazing area to run in. I also know where water tends to pool in these areas (and since we have had a LOT of rain in the past 2-3 weeks this was helpful) and therefore know what to expect. I also know where every SINGLE water fountain in this area is and since I hate running with water… this is a good thing. While running I started thinking to myself “I feel good” and then the song popped into my head. But the person that was singing the song was my best friend… because one day she sang this… it has been stuck in my head ever since… But it was nice to have a little chuckle along the run and I also sort of envisioned her pushing me along too… All in All it was a great run and I am happy that the rest of my running this week will be stress free because the long run is done. After the 5.53 mile run I iced then I did my lunges and sit-ups for the day… Lunges AFTER a 5.53 mile run… PAINFUL and MUCH more difficult than normal… Haha – which was another reason to do the long run yesterday instead of waiting until today or Sunday.

Race Weekend

Tomorrow night (yes – that’s right… it is a night race… I love non-morning races) I will be Participating in the Rave Run. When I found out about this race it was going to be in Lincoln Park and the start line was to be about two blocks from home. And you get to run under tons of Christmas Lights… What’s not to love? However, they have since moved the location to Grant park… so I am annoyed. Half of the reason I signed up for this race was because it was local (IE – In my neighborhood and two blocks away) and now it is not. Grrrr… Oh well – I am still going to go and I am still excited about the Christmas Lights aspect so I am sure it will still be fun. I cannot remember if race has a time chip or not… I am pretty sure that it does not. I am not going to officially run for time but I am going to use the race to set my base. Get an idea of my 5K race time. I have been very consistent for 7 (almost 8) weeks now. So I feel good and hopefully I will take at least 2 minutes off of my 5K time from last year. We shall see.

Packet Pick-Up is today after work and luckily it is located near a Whole Foods so I can get my grocery shopping for the week done tonight as well. This will leave me with a full day tomorrow to do whatever I want… There is a pair of shoes that I have been thinking about since I saw them a few weeks ago… I might go buy them tomorrow.

Hope that everyone has a good weekend – Will post a Race Re-Cap on Sunday or Monday

I Have an Idea…

Well, Actually, I have several. Not ready to share one of them yet as it involves other people… But my other two I will share

Idea One:

Start a “throwback” day – This will be a day where I post about something from my previous three years of running… three years in which I did not blog. My First Race, My First half, My First PR, My First ever run, a Race from 2010, 2011 or 2012, Etc… You get the idea.  Not really sure which day yet… But it will be soon

Idea Two:

Do my own version of a ten day challenge. I am thinking Lunges and Sit-Ups (on my yoga ball) are good to start with. Currently my normal amount of Sit-Ups on the Yoga ball is at least 50… I MAY feel a twinge the next day but that’s it. I also know that I can easily do 100 and feel it the next day but I am not TOO sore. So I am not really sure what number to start with… I am thinking 50 and then just add 10 each day. As for Lunges… last night I did two sets of 15 and I am feeling it today but its not bad at all. So I think 15 is a good place to start and then add 5 a day on each leg. I would add 10 a day but I still want to be able to walk… and more importantly, be able to run. I have a race on Saturday and then my next race isn’t until May 11th. So this is a good time to try… Who knows… maybe I will even extend it…


Speed Work

I do not like speed work. In fact, I hate it. When I started to run I didn’t have any time goals. In fact, of all the races I have done (30 so far), I have only had a time goal for ONE of them. I am happy to report that I also met my goal. But I didn’t specifically train for speed to obtain that goal either. The Goal race was a 5K and I had spent the year training for a Half Marathon. I found that as my distance went up, my speed for the lower distances also went up.

2010 Was my first year of racing so just about every race was a PR. 2011 was my second year… Yea… Not as many PRs (but I did manage one PR in a 10K). 2012 I had no PRs. In fact, my race times were horrible.

Am I shooting for a PR this year… Not exactly. Don’t get me wrong, It would be awesome to get one but that is not my goal at the moment. But, despite my lack of a PR Time, I am starting to realize that Speed Work might be beneficial for the goals I do have.

I looked at the races I have done over the past three years and there are only two that have made that list every year. So, for those races, I would like to beat my Worse time…. Essentially end up between my PR (odd that my two PRs are also for the only races that have been repeated each year) and my really bad 2012 time.

To be fair – When I ran the United Run for the Zoo 10K Last year it was less than a month after my car accident and I had only been running for a week when I toed the line on race morning. I was just happy to be able to run at that point. I should have bumped down to the 5K but it is my Favorite 10K and I just stubbornly refused. Then the Pumpkins in the Park 5K was right after I had moved and bought my condo… So both races were right after long periods off from running because other things in life had to take priority (IE – Healing and moving/unpacking).

Where am I going with this? Oh right Speed Work… See… I hate Speed Work so much that I won’t even talk about it…

Last week I looked back at my old running logs. Though I really truly have never done speed work, I did do something that I stopped doing and think I would benefit from if I added back. I used to steadily increase my pace at the end of a run… Depending on where the run was and the distance would determine how long I started this increase but it was always there. When I first started to run my theory for doing this was: “doesn’t everyone run as fast as they can toward the finish line? And since this Answer is yes, shouldn’t I sprint at the end of single run to mimic a race?”

So for me speed work is going to be sprinting at the end of my runs. This is probably going to mean sprinting for that last block. However, if I find myself forced indoors for a run I should turn it into a “speed work” day and do what I used to do on the treadmill and increase that pace steadily until I am done.

If anything it means I can be done with the treadmill that much faster…

Run for Boston Group Run with Fleet Feet

It was an absolutely gorgeous day and evening. However, the irony was not lost on me… This was the same weather that Boston had on that dreadful day.

After grabbing a snack and watching the news when I got home for work I suited up to head to Fleet Feet for the group run. I have done a few group runs with them in the past so I had a vague idea of what to expect. I got to Fleet Feet a little early and knew right away that there would be a lot more people for the run than a normal Monday night. I saw nearly everyone in gear to support Boston… Be it old Boston Marathon Shirts or Boston Colors or Runners for Boston T-shirts (like myself). I started to fight off tears. I walked to the back of the store where everyone conjugates before the group runs and was overwhelmed by the number of people there… and fought off more tears. I began thinking that this run might be more emotionally taxing than I had anticipated.

I was ready to go so I headed out with a group to the Ben Franklin Statue in Lincoln Park and snapped a couple of pics

1 Run for Boston Group Run 4-22-13

2 Run for Boston Group Run 4-22-13

We all gathered around to listen before the run would start. We paid tribute with a moment of a silence. I knew the group was growing but from where I stood it was difficult to see how large we had grown. The following pic I took from the Fleet Feet Facebook page

3 Run for Boston Group Run 4-22-13

That’s a LOT of runners! I found that I was no longer fighting back tears. I was amongst family… the running family.

We started running. Despite this run being part of training for the week, I really didn’t care about my pace or the number of miles I ran. I was here for Boston. Since I rarely run with my phone and had it on me, I decided to stop twice to take a few pics…

4 Run for Boston Group Run 4-22-13

Running along the path in Lincoln Park

5 Run for Boston Group Run 4-22-13

A little further north, I saw another running store hosting their run for Boston and took a picture.

6 Run for Boston Group Run 4-22-13

After that, I just ran. Happy to be amongst my fellow runners on a truly amazing night in Chicago. I finished the run at 2.51 miles. I decided to walk home since it was such a lovely night.

I learned two lessons last night – One, Runners are amazing people who will come together for a cause. Well… Actually… I already knew this but it never hurts to repeat. Two, tying your jacket around your waste so that your phone and keys hang heavy and hit your leg the entire time you are running will slow you down… Ooops… Should have taken advantage of the “bag check” they were offering.

All in all it was a great evening and I am glad that I went.

Training April 15th – 21st

So – I know I said I was going to start this last week. But that was before Boston happened. Starting this week instead – My Training Recap


Monday – Rest

The main reason I took Monday off was because of Boston – I was kind of a mess when I left work. Though I know a run would have helped. I also just wanted to watch the news. So I just figured it could be a wash

Tuesday – 2.62 Miles for Boston

I had to get out there. 2.62 heart wrenching miles. The pace was much faster than I had anticipated especially since it was cold and windy.

Wednesday – Rest (in all reality… Weather)

The weather was awful. It was just pouring rain. I knew I could go to the gym and use the treadmill or track but I just figured “screw it”

Thursday – 2.17 Miles

Did a little something different. I was STARVING for some reason when I left work so I had a little snack when I got home. I was debating skipping the day but knew that I needed to get a run in. My stomach wasn’t too happy with my snack choice of candy (yea… that whole sugar detox did not last) and it was VERY windy but all in all it was a decent run

Friday – Rest

My initial plan was watch the news for a bit when I got home as I was interested in the developments of the manhunt for the second suspect and I knew there would be a press conference. So I figured I would just watch all that and then head to the gym. Well… as Nightly News was about to end and I was about to get off the couch to change into my gym gear they reported shots being fired in Watertown, MA… Yea… I didn’t go anywhere.

Saturday – Long Run 5.02 Miles

It was definitely chilly but I was ready for my long run. I set out and ended up running into a friend of mine along the path. I ran with her for about 3/4 of a mile but she runs much slower than I do. I don’t really care about pace normally but I also didn’t want my long run to be at a 2 minute slower pace. I also wanted my pace to stay under 11:00. I was feeling good enough for 5.50 miles but my little detour at the beginning left me disoriented as I was setting out on my normal route already a quarter of the way through my intended distance. I turned around too soon so I was only at 5 miles… ooops.

Sunday – 2.70 Miles

It was a beautiful day. As I got closer to the lake it got a LOT colder though so I stayed on the inner portion for the sake of warmth. I was feeling good though.

Week Total = 12.51 Miles and 4 Runs

Shortly after my birthday I decided I needed to buckle down on the running and vowed to run at least 4 days a week. Mileage not being too important to start. I knew once I started sticking to my weekly number of days running that the mileage would start to come back. I am happy to report that I have now maintained my 4 days of running for 7 weeks. Slight dip in weekly mileage the past two weeks because the weather has just been awful. I think I am going to keep my base mileage at 2.50 miles for at least two more weeks then switch a base mileage of 3 miles. Also keeping a weekly long run… Well… Longer… My longest race is a 10K so I think my longest run in general will be maybe 7 miles.

Goals for this week

– Run 5 days (going to hopefully throw in a speed work run)

– Long run of at least 5.50 Miles

– Strength Train at least two days (yea… totally didn’t happen last week but I did vacuum and clean my bathroom)

Race coming up on Saturday! Hope Everyone has a good week!





I have always been realistic about my running. I know my body and its limitations (ironically something that running taught me). I will never qualify for Boston. I will never be a fast runner. Would I love to run Boston? Absolutely! But I know it just won’t happen.

I have been on the verge of tears since Monday Afternoon – I have even cried a few times. My emotional connection to this tragedy is the same as it was for 9-11. Those that know me well know how 9-11 hit me hard. The only difference with this tragedy… I did not spend half the day secretly freaked out my father was dead or in danger only to have a break down in history class when I could no longer hold in that secret. But I did break down on Monday evening none-the-less. And I broke down last night too.

The first break down was a result of the horrific event itself… seeing my fellow runners go from elation to terror in the blink of an eye. Heartfelt sympathy for the spectators supporting their loved ones. I have been that runner feeling elation at the end of a race. I have had people I care about cheering me on and supporting me. I cannot help but think about how I would feel had I been the one running when this happened and the stark reality that this could happen at any race is too real now.

Last night I went out for a run – At my half-way point I turned around to head back home and a tear ran down my check. I wasn’t running for me anymore – I was running for Boston.

The running community has come together to support Boston. We are all affected by this. My fellow runners are amazing people – They offer encouragement when you are struggling and are equally happy at the accomplishments of other runners. I recall two moments – One when a runner picked me up while I struggled at a race… This person didn’t stay with me the whole race but their words did – The other when a runner told me that I was the person they tried to keep up with during the race… Me… The slow runner

My heart was in Boston at the start of the day on Monday – I was eager to watch the live feed of the elites and silently cheer them on. I was happy to see my fellow runners accomplishing their dream. Boston is, after all, the Super Bowl/World Series/Stanley Cup/Etc. of running.

Then my heart broke…

I ran 2.62 miles last night in honor of Boston. I cannot run 26.2 in one shot… Hell I cannot even do that in one week right now but I will log those miles – 26.2 miles for Boston where my broken heart remains.