Long Weekend – Much Needed

I am very much looking forward to this three day weekend. Its been a pretty busy August and I am looking forward to a low-key weekend….errrr… I mean having time to clean my place…

With the weekend, it also appears we are going to have some cooler weather. Thank goodness! I do not enjoy 90 something degrees and high humidity. I am very much looking forward to the fall and the cooler temps.

Not only am I looking forward to the fall weather but I am also looking forward to my fall races. This is my last weekend before my fall racing schedule begins. And of course with the start of fall also brings Baseball Playoff season and the start of football. Hockey will also be starting back up soon too.

Last night, Pretty Muddy hosted a little girls night out downtown Chicago. The very lovely and incredibly kind, Karen, from Trading in my Heels was there. So after my run I headed over there. I promise I showered first. She was there with friends and they will all be participating in Pretty Muddy on September 7th. I will not be participating (generally if it requires a car, I won’t do it) but it was a fun evening with lots of chit chat and laughter… there may have been alcohol involved too. I had such a blast and I am glad that I went.

No big plans for my weekend. Need to get in a couple more runs. I want to run today but if the weatherman from the news this morning is correct then it will be storming this afternoon/evening. I could take the run to the gym and the treadmill/track… but I just don’t want to… I really don’t like the track/treadmill as much. I guess we will see.

Hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Nike Get Fly Track-Meet

Yesterday it all came to an end. Team Blogger along with lots of other teams headed over to the Lake Shore Park Track to see how much we had improved on our mile time.

The week leading up to this event, I was constantly checking the weather. Chicago was in a heat wave… Not only heat but also humidity. Luck was on my side, the extreme heat broke during the day yesterday and with the aid of clouds and that whole “cooler lakefront” thing, the conditions where much better for running.

We met up and got checked in for the event. They provided cow bells, team race bibs and a baton. Of course there was a team picture before the first heat started – And yes, we coordinated on purpose

1 Trackmeet 8-28-13

We were to each run a mile (4 laps) then hand off the baton to our next teammate until all 4 of us were done. We had decided earlier in the week that Maggie would start us off, followed by Erin, Myself and Erica.

I had never done a track-meet before and had certainly never run a race where I had to hand off a baton to a teammate. I was surprised that I had an extreme case of race jitters. Despite all the races I have run, I still get jitters before every single one… but more so for this event.

Our time to beat was 32:19 – My personal time to beat was 10:30 – And boy did I want to beat it… I desperately wanted a 9:30 mile

Maggie lined up with the other runners for the first heat

4 Trackmeet 8-28-13

I am not going to lie – I was very glad that I was not first or last. I was also glad that I was not second… I wanted to see the hand-off before I had to do it myself.

Maggie completed her 4 laps in 6:50 and handed off the baton to Erin (Sorry for the blurry pic)

10 Trackmeet 8-28-13

Soon it was going to be my turn. Erin and I had already figured out that I would need to run each lap in 2:37ish to hit my goal of 9:30. After Erin’s third lap, I got into position. I was ready to go. She handed off the baton to me and I was off. Her mile time was 7:27

About a quarter of the way through my first lap, I looked down at my watch which told me I was running a 6:47 pace… Whoops… We need to slow that down. I forgot to check the clock when I got the baton, so I checked the clock on the opposite side of the field when I got there and it read 14:55. There were two first heats running at the same time but the start/finish were on opposite sides of the field.

I was feeling good but every time I looked at my watch I saw some weird pace… 4:37 (HA – Yea right), 14:59, 12:27, 8:51, 7:48, etc. It was all over the place. So I decided to stop looking. I was going to use the time clocks instead but that would have required me to LOOK at the time clocks… I didn’t pay any attention after that first lap. Instead I was running by feel. I was running hard but I felt like I could maintain my pace. As I rounded the last curve on my last lap, I took off at a sprint and handed the baton off to Erica.

I checked my watch which told me I had run at a 9:21 Pace with an overall time of 10:38 for .88 miles… Huh? Tell me how THAT math works. However, we quickly confirmed that my mile was indeed 9:21. I just took 1:09 off my mile time.

We cheered on Erica and before we knew it, she was crossing the finish line after her 4th lap. Her mile time was 6:11.

Needless to say, I had some very speedy teammates. Team Blogger finished with a total time of 29:48

Erica Crossing the Finish Line

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We took a “selfie” group pic and then hung out for the rest of the event

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Team Results

Trackmeet Results

Sadly, we did not win… The team that won for most improved took nearly 7 minutes off their time… We were a tad skeptical but oh well. We could still be proud of taking over 2 minutes off of our overall time.

The event was a lot of fun and I am so glad I participated in it. I had wonderful teammates and it was a lot of fun!

I never thought that little girl who dreaded the yearly physical fitness test would, not only do another timed mile, but also take 1:09 off my time. The whole point of the exercise (aside from being a PR Stint) was to get faster. My run times over the past several weeks have showed that I am faster. A huge part of me still thinks it is all a fluke so only time will tell. But I intend to take what I have learned from this wonderful experience and apply it on a more regular basis to my training. I still fully intend to run 90% of my races for fun and not time but I still want to improve my running in general.

A heartfelt thank you to my wonderful teammates, Maggie, Erin and Erica for helping to make this a truly amazing experience!

Throwback Wednesday – The 2012 Plan

Yes – I had a plan to start the year. It was modest in comparison to the plan for 2011. I focused more on training for 10Ks than anything of higher distance. My theory was that if I was training for a 10K, I would easily be able to do an 8K or a 5K.

Again, I also wanted to try to make strength training a regular part of my life again. I knew that if I started slow, I should be able to easily incorporate both.

And boy did I start slow – I kept the weekly mileage under 10 miles for over a month. I would slowly increase the weekly mileage but still not hit 15 miles for the week until April. The theory was that I would focus more on strength training during the winter months. Once the weather got nicer I would be able to take more and more runs outside. I am ok with running in the cold weather but it’s not likely to be a daily occurrence.

I would start to do races in March. I decided that I wanted to do more of the “local” races. And by local I mean the races that are a mere few blocks from my front door. I sought those out and started signing up. Not only was I signing up for those races but Eric was also signing up for races. The first one being Shamrock Shuffle. I was, of course, in. From there on out there was a mass amount of consultation before signing up for races. We weren’t required to race together but it was certainly an added bonus. We then coerced… errr… invited Chris to join us. The three usual suspects were born and we were to spend a lot of time racing together… and if we were not racing we were going to baseball games.

There was a plan for the whole year. I was going to mostly max out at 10K distance but I was going to do it with friends. I decided that I wanted to run the Hot Chocolate 15K in November as a sort of peak for the year so all of my training was going to lead up to that race.

The whole point for the year was to run consistently. I didn’t feel the need to put in weeks of high mileage. After all, I wasn’t training for a half marathon. Ultimately, what I wanted to accomplish was consistency.

Looking back – I signed up for races that I knew I could fudge if something went wrong. I had already proven that I could fudge a half marathon and complete the race without training. By comparison a 10K would be a walk in the park (pun slightly intended) to fudge if I needed to. I also learned the previous year that sometimes life did get in the way of training and you needed to scale everything back. At the time, I figured that it would be easier to jump back into training if there was no distance on the plan.

What I failed to realize is that I was perhaps setting myself up for failure. Sure, it is easier to make up ground when you aren’t training for distance. But you still need to put in the work… that was the caveat that seemed to evade me.

I started the New Year eager and ready to work… How quickly life can change…

Why – Part 2

Last week I thought it would be a good idea to share with you all why/how I choose the title of my blog. If you missed that post you can read it here.  So here is the much awaited second part… errrr… assuming you were all waiting on the edge of your seat.

When Eric started his running venture, he discovered the running bloggers and sent me the link. It was probably over a year before we talked about it again. He decided to start his own running blog. He then started to meet people through it. I was intrigued.

As someone who is always up for meeting new people and also as someone who wanted more “running friends” I figured… Why not?

Essentially, I started this blog on a whim. It is rather fitting that I started this blog in the same way that I started running. Not only have I stuck with running (errrr… for the most part) but I have stuck with the blogging.

Several attempts have been made over the years to start and keep a blog. All have failed. In fact, I recently logged back into my very first blog… Oh Boy… Was I young and naive… I then went to my second blog. I did talk about my running but it was a very short lived experiment.

Naturally, I was concerned that this blog wouldn’t last either. Then Eric mentioned that I am more likely to keep up with it if I have followers and if I am part of the Chicago Running Bloggers. I figured that would be true (He was also right)

My nerves about starting and maintaining a blog set aside, I created my blog and started talking about my training. But I had another fear…

In most of the blogs from the group that I read, I saw a lot of people were training for marathons or half marathons. I was suddenly afraid that my training for 5Ks or 10Ks wouldn’t be enough. I have never been a fast runner and I knew I would never run a marathon (that whole severe dehydration thing… which is mostly genetics for me) I was worried that I might appear as an imposter. After all, I mostly train for 5Ks and 10Ks.

I dealt with my feelings of being an imposter in my first official year of running… Hell… I went through almost that entire first year not wanting to call myself a runner and feeling like I didn’t belong every time I toed the line. This was all in my head of course. Runners are a very accepting group.

I was also coming off of two bad years of running. Not only had I missed almost every single goal I had been setting for myself but for the most part… I took 2012 off. I knew that I had several weeks of forcing myself to run and hating every single step before I would fall in love with running again. Every run for several weeks was going to be forced. I had about 5 weeks behind me and knew I had a few more ahead of me until it would no longer be forced. I needed a boost.

I also needed a way to keep myself honest. Sure, I set my own goal of running 4 days a week but I knew that if life got in the way again, that I might start to skip runs again. It was my hope that by blogging about my running that I would also be held accountable.

For the most part, I went into this with no expectations. I wasn’t sure what I would get out of it, if anything.

Needless to say – I have gotten so much out of this. Not only have my readers supported me through my training for lower distance races but they have picked me up when I have failed to meet a goal and they have given me the strength to push through some of those difficult running weeks. I have met so many incredible people and am looking forward to meeting more.

Something that was started on a whim has turned into something that I love… haha – Sound familiar?

 

 

 

 

Training: August 19th – 25th

Aug 19 - 25

Monday – 2.09 Miles

Monday I wanted to test the FkyKnit shoes (with socks) again and see how they handled a run longer than a mile. They did not disappoint. I definitely like the shoes… as long as I wear socks. Needed to keep the run short before heading to a baseball game with the boys. Surprise Surprise – The cubs actually won. The run felt good and I did my “hilly” course. All in all it was a good start to the week.

Tuesday – 1.53 Miles

I had intended to get do 2 miles but my Achilles Tendonitis really flared last week and I just could not run through the pain any longer on Tuesday. Once I got home I did my “Get Fly” workout. I then proceeded to ice and roll out big time to help with my ankle area. It felt quite a bit better after that.

Wednesday – Rest

The original intent was to run and get a 5th running day in on Wednesday. But it was just too warm and the Achilles Tendonitis was still bothering me a bit. Knowing that I wanted to do my longer run on Thursday, I thought it would be best to just rest. Did a little bit of lower strength training and called it a day.

Thursday – 4.00 Miles

My intended longer run for the week. I was tempted to play around with my route a bit but after the rain throughout most of the afternoon I thought it would best to stick the route I was already on to avoid some potentially huge puddles. Felt pretty good during the run. I was lucky because the sun hadn’t come out yet. It was pretty humid but not having the sun made a HUGE difference. I was utterly socked when I got home and discovered that I had run at a 10:00 pace. I am still wondering what is going on with my pace…

Friday – 2.62 Miles

I wanted to get in at least 2.50 miles. I headed out and thought I would do the run at a slow comfortable pace. I was running by feel and never checked my pace while on the run… which is pretty much my norm. So I was, again, shocked when I got home and saw the sub 10 pace. There were a few spots during the run where I felt tired and wanted to stop but didn’t. I am still trying to get my mileage back from before getting sick in June and I know I need to force myself to keep running through some of the more difficult parts of a run. I really need to make 2.50 miles my base for a few weeks then up that to 3 miles to prep for my 10 miler in November. Baby steps though.

Saturday – Rest

Full rest day. I originally considered doing some strength training but if I did then I wouldn’t have had any days of complete rest for the week… so decided against it. Instead, I went to Target, Whole Foods and did laundry. So at least I was mildly productive.

Sunday – Volleyball 3ish Hours

I had signed up for a Volleyball tournament through my usual VBall group about a month ago. Just my luck that it is bright and sunny and HOT all day. I don’t actually know how long I played for but I was there from about 10:30 am to 3:00 pm… It was a fun event but the heat definitely got to me quite a bit. By the last game I was just completely done and had zero energy. Luckily I only got burnt in a handful of areas where I apparently missed a few small spots with the sunblock. Oops.

I am pleased with the running for the week. The full intent is to keep a small, steady climb up in the weekly mileage. Hopefully I can keep my base at 2.50 miles this week with the exception of my track meet on Wednesday. However, with the weather today and tomorrow, it looks like I might be at the gym… so I might be cutting the mileage short if I am stuck on the treadmill or track. I really want to avoid the heat today. I got WAY too dehydrated yesterday despite all the water I was drinking. My body has definitely felt the repercussions of that so I am thinking I will take today off from running but I may end up going to the gym. Intend to do a 5 mile “long run” for the week. Track meet on Wednesday and I am really hoping for a huge improvement on my mile time. I typically run slower on a track… have NOT been able to figure out why… so I think I will just need to check my pace more often while running.

Hope everyone has a great week!

How Did I Manage That?

It is still happening… I am still running faster than normal. Excluding the sand run (where you are going to have a slower pace) that I did last weekend, my slowest run since the last 10K race has been at a 10:05 pace… every other run has been faster than that. This includes my “longer” runs for the week.

I was even more shocked when I got home from my long run of the week last night. I set out for 4 miles. The intent was to run the 4 miles comfortably. I am still working my way back in mileage so I didn’t want to push it. I felt decent during the run. The only times I looked at my watch was when I stopped at water fountains to see where I was at in terms of miles. I was running by feel. So I was utterly shocked when I got home and saw a 10:00 pace for the run.

I text Eric and Courtney about my shock. Eric’s theory is that maybe the speedwork is having an affect. I don’t entirely discount that the speedwork is helping. But would it really take a solid 30 seconds off my pace in just two weeks?

My only other theories are that hell froze over and I missed the memo or my watch is broken. Neither of which is likely a valid explanation…

So that makes me go back to my first question – Would the tiny amount of speedwork I have done really take a solid 30 seconds off my pace in two weeks?

I suppose time will tell…

In other news…

I opted to forgo the 5th run this week. I decided that since I have a volleyball tournament all day Sunday that the 5th day wouldn’t be all that necessary. I have no idea how long I will be playing volleyball on Sunday but its likely to be at least a few hours. Still should try to get in another day of strength training tomorrow. I also REALLY need to do laundry tomorrow… getting close to the “do laundry or buy more running gear”scenario. I should also do some cleaning…. but I don’t realistically see that happening. Sometimes I suck at that whole being an adult thing. Will head to the grocery store tomorrow and I should probably make my lunch for the week tomorrow too since I really have no idea how long I will be at the beach on Sunday.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Friday and Weekend!

What are your plans for the weekend?

Why – Part 1

I often wonder why people choose a certain title for their blog. Then I wonder why that same person started to blog in the first place. So I thought I would share my reasons starting with the title

I have always been a fan of inspirational quotes. There are certainly hundreds of thousands out there. There is an inspirational quote for just about everything too.

It is not secret that I struggled the last two years with running. A lot of it was mental and there were also plenty of times where life just got in the way. Those times where I had to choose to be an adult and take care of XYZ or run. Trust me when I say that there are plenty of times I really wish I didn’t have to be an adult and do XYZ… Every time I need to do laundry for example. But there are some things that you just have to do for yourself… especially if you live alone.

I really REALLY wanted to get back into the swing of things this year. But there was still a struggle. I had gotten so out of the habit of running that every time it did run it was hard… like really really hard.

I know that if you stop working out you lose some of the fitness level you previously had. I also remember those first 6 weeks of running for me… where I really truly did hate it but through stubbornness I kept with it. I knew that in order to get back into the swing of things, I would need to just be stubborn.

I remembered seeing the following image on FB when a friend posted it

It Never Gets Easier

It really hit a chord with me. Not only was it incredibly true but it was a good reminder that working out and running is NOT supposed to be easy. It is something you have to work at. Sure, there will be those good days where you feel like you can go on forever but there are also those bad days where it is a huge struggle to lace up and get out the door and you then struggle for every mile. But that choice to lace up and get out the door is what helps you get better.

When I decided to start this blog, I knew I needed a title. I wanted something that not only meant a lot to me but was also something that could serve as inspiration to others.

Of course it never occurred to me that I would need to give out my blog title to people and thus having a LONG blog title may not be the smartest idea…

And so when I started setting everything up – I choose that image and that phrase. Hoping that it would not only be a daily reminder to me that I need to work hard to accomplish my goals but also that someone else might see it and get the little extra push they need to lace up and head out the door.

There are good days and there are bad days – That will always be the case. But it is important to remember that each good and bad run helps you.

It Never Gets Easier – You Just Get Better