Training: December 23rd – 29th

Dec 23-29

Monday – 1.87 Miles

After a morning of last minute grocery shopping with mom, I spent some time relaxing and my TX visiting guilty pleasure TV watching… Re-runs of One Tree Hill and Beverly Hills 90210 on Soap Net. I went to run some errands with dad and drive (for the first time since the car accident over a year and a half ago). Got home and made the decision to hold off on the run because I was starving but it was too early for dinner. Besides, the run last week ok after a very full tummy. So after tex mex dinner, I headed out. Towards the end of the first loop I was nearing an outcove where a gaggle (I think that’s the correct term for a large group of ducks) of ducks all sat. My approach caused them to become scared and scatter which in turn scared the living daylights out of me. I was feeling good after the first loop so went for a second… and luckily the ducks had moved so there were no more scares.

Tuesday – 1.07 Miles

Headed out for a run before dinner. I had an inkling that I might want to do a second loop but my Wendy’s fast food lunch wasn’t going to allow that… Pizza lunch fine – Wendy’s lunch not fine – Got it. So after just one loop I called it a day and then saw my pace and was rather surprised… though it explained why I felt much more winded than I should have been… even with the hills

Wednesday – Rest

Merry Christmas! Woke up far earlier than I wanted to and once I heard my dad in the kitchen I got up to bring the rest of the presents downstairs… IE all the ones my parents bought for each other but had me wrap. We had fun opening presents and the cat had a blast playing with all the paper and bows. Afterwards, mom started with her cooking magic and I chilled while I watched my father repeatedly ask if he could help and my mom repeatedly request he stay out of the damn kitchen. This has become a normal routine and it tends to make me chuckle because dad tells me that if he didn’t offer he would be in the dog house but mom insists she is ready to chase him out of the kitchen with a knife. Ahhh Holiday memories 🙂 My parents friends came over and we all had fun chatting and I had my regular Drink of Sambuca with my dad’s golf buddy… luckily without the killing two bottles of the stuff this year… But that is a funny story for another day.

Thursday – 1.13 Miles

Went to see, Saving Mr. Banks with my parents after a lazy morning of more guilty pleasure TV Watching. So went for a run shortly after getting home. It was an uneventful run except for the fact that the grass was being cut in the subdivision common areas so I had to cut over to the residential side and off the lake-loop path. Oh well. And yes, the grass still needs to be mowed in December in TX.

Friday – 1.09 Miles

My Favorite – Shopping in Southlake Town Square with mommy. That is how we spent our day while dad golfed. I got home and had visions of doing more than loop before I got out there but knew I was a tad dehydrated… so figured I would go by feel. I wasn’t feeling the second loop so called it quites after one. Plus, we were going to Babe’s for dinner… and the sooner I showered and was ready to go the sooner we would be there. Babe’s is a great hole in the wall spot. They have two items on the menu, Fried Chicken or Chicken Fried Steak (hey – it’s TX people) and it all comes with salad, biscuits, mashed potatoes and creamed corn. YUM! Totally worth the one loop 😛 But despite only doing one loop it was at least a rather fast loop… which wasn’t the intent but I was happy to be doing quicker miles with the hills.

Saturday – 1.03 Miles

Last TX run and I had high hopes for the run… I had visions of two… even three loops. But my body quickly told me that it wasn’t having that. It was a nice sunny 60 something degree day… so perhaps my body just got really confused by the weather… Regardless, I was done after one loop.

Sunday – 1.00 Mile and Leg Day

After an early flight (and short cat nap on the plane), I got home and had a late lunch/early dinner and proceeded to unpack. A lot of people hate packing… I hate UNPACKING. So I was rather proud of myself for getting it all done the day I arrived home. Then decided to vacuum because I feared that if I stayed on my couch I would fall asleep. In doing so, I opened my closet door to vacuum the edges there and hit one of my shoes on the floor. When I went to move it back in place I saw water drip from it. WTF?!?!?!?! Immediately pull everything off the floor of my bedroom closet to find a lovely pool of water (note extreme sarcasm). Apparently a pipe had burst while I was gone… and long story short, due to a F**k up by the maintenance guys in my building, I was not only NOT informed when it happened but it also meant I had water sitting there for several days. Needless to say there is some damage. I might get into more details later but will leave it at that for now. After making sure I got all the water off my floor I decided to head to the gym. If ever there was a need to go to the gym… I did my mile and then did a light leg day.


Sunday was one of those days where I didn’t want to go to the gym but did want to go to the gym. I certainly needed to work off some frustration and really… I had made it a solid 3 weeks into the Holiday challenge and only needed one more day to make it a solid 4 weeks. So I went and I am glad that I did.

Coming up this week – New Years Day 5K with Chris. It will be cold and snowy. This race is intended to be more fun and given Chris’s chosen race attire it will likely be clashing as well.

This will also be my last week of the Holiday Challenge at which point I will have a solid 5 weeks of 6 days of running. Pretty impressive for me considering I typically rarely run in December.


Training: December 16th – 22nd

Dec 16-22

Monday – 1.00 Mile & Upper Body Strength Training

This run and workout were in danger of not happening since the previous week. Work announced that we would have a little holiday dinner and I agreed to go. So I brought my gym bag to work and vowed not to drink anything other than water at the dinner. My co-workers kept insisting that I would never make it to the gym but I was determined to prove them wrong. I left once we were all done eating (and after drinking only water) to take the train to the gym but a co-worker also going to LP offered to drive me to the gym so I accepted. I knew the run wasn’t going to be pleasant after eating a ton of food but I also knew that it didn’t matter how fast I went. I was quite please with my 10:29 time because I had fully anticipated the run taking me at least a minute longer to complete. I then hit the weights… and weight lifting is so much easier on a full tummy than running.

Tuesday – 1.13 Miles & Leg Day

After my sinfully indulgent Monday, I decided to add a little extra to the run… and decided to just do extra laps until I felt like I was done… so one additional lap later I decided I was done :-p BUT my mile time was faster than the day before… so progress. I started to notice that the runs were feeling better and they felt easier (excluding tummy filling adventures) so I was happy about that. I then headed to the weights area of the gym and worked pretty hard knowing it was my last leg day before vacation.

Wednesday – 1.00 Mile & Upper Body Strength Training

I had visions of doing extra laps but I just didn’t have it in me. I still needed to finish my holiday cards and start packing… I was also telling myself that I would do Laundry… So I kept it to my normal 8 laps and then strength trained. I wanted to get in a good strength training session knowing it would likely be my last until I got back from vacation. I felt pretty good after the workout and managed to get the holiday cards done. However, Laundry did not happen… so I brought home a small load of dirty laundry… That whole being an adult thing was kind of aloof this week…

Thursday – 1.95 Miles

The entire week the weather forecast called for rain and I was freaking out all week. My gym would be closed for regular maintenance… though why they can’t close on a Friday/Saturday or even Saturday/Sunday is beyond me. I am not thrilled with running in the rain but after the Zoo race this year, I decided I can deal if I need to. However, barely warm enough to actually BE rain instead of snow… Yea… Hell no. I had been trying to work out contingent plans (like running after a LONG day on Friday which I was NOT thrilled with) but luckily, when I got home from work, I saw that the rain would hold off long enough for me to get in a run. I was THRILLED! I felt pretty good during the run too. After the run, I finished packing and then headed to my buildings condo association meeting.

Friday – Rest

I woke up long before my alarm went off at 2:45 and could NOT get back to sleep… It was going to be a VERY long day. I got dressed and did my last minute leaving town stuff and then headed off to work with suitcase in tow. The morning at work was super busy and the phone just would not stop ringing. But things slowed down enough in the afternoon for me to wrap up all my lose ends and leave work a tad early to get to the airport. After a trip on the train and a fairly hassle free trip through security, I had some dinner and then had a little time to kill before we boarded. Flight was on time leaving and I was happy about that. It was a very packed plane but the plane was a mere two weeks old (and BTW – there is such a thing as new plane smell) and therefore had TVs at each seat so I passed the time with episodes of Big Bang Theory. We were actually going to land about 5 minutes early until Traffic control suddenly decided we needed to come in a different way so instead of touching down we were going back up to turn around… Which meant we landed late instead. *sigh* this is why I planned to take the day as a rest day. Got back to my parents and went to bed fairly quickly… Only to have issues with a pillow that I have been using at my parents for WAY too many years. And the thunderstorms didn’t really help me stay asleep much either….

Saturday – 1.05 Miles

Woke up bright and early Saturday and just did not want to get up… it was rainy and gloomy but dad and I still had our Christmas Shopping to do. So off we went to Starbucks for coffee and breakfast and a chit chat while we waited for stores to open. It wasn’t exactly pleasant shopping in the rain but once we were done we headed to Bed, Bath and Beyond so I could get a new pillow (YAY!). I then proceeded to nap when I got home. Luckily the rain stopped and I was able to head outside for a run. After a quick check of the weather conditions I bundled up and headed out…. and quickly remembered that 15mph winds in TX are a LOT warmer than in Chicago… so I was a tad overdressed and got way too warm way to fast. Oops… I also got killed by the “hills” in my parents subdivision around their (man made) little lake. From door, loop around the lake back to door is just over a mile. The loop around the lake itself is roughly .80 around and though the hills are short some of them are STEEP. My flat track running legs were not prepared for that… But I survived… even if I was far more winded than I should have been.

Sunday – 1.24 Miles

After some shopping and the grocery store with mom (and some left over pizza for lunch), I headed back out to tackle the hills again. And… It really didn’t go that much better. After a stop at the water fountain (thank goodness it was still on… yay for rarely below freezing weather) I started on a second lap but the full lap wasn’t going to happen so I turned off the lake-loop path and headed back home instead.


All in all it was a good week of training and I still had a week of those lake-loop hills to go…

Sunday – 1.24 Miles

A Holiday Letter… Blog Style

Those who know me well (or anyone that has met me during the Holiday season) knows that I am mildly obsessed with Christmas… Ok fine… I am REALLY obsessed with Christmas. Give me a string (or several) of lights and a bunch of glitter covered ornaments and some Christmas carols and I am in heaven. And if you happen to walk into Crate & Barrel with me when I discover that their Christmas Ornaments are out… well… you may lose hearing for the next several hours due to my squeals of excitement

As a kid, as I am sure is true with most children, Christmas was all about the presents. And though, that is a part of Christmas that I still enjoy, it is not the point of the holiday anymore. I truly love the sights and sounds of this holiday. Something I do several times a year and really just LOVE is (Lincoln Park) Zoo Lights. Thousands of strands of Christmas lights set to Christmas music… Oh HELL YES!!!  And if you have ever seen my home at Christmas time… you might assume it is visible from space because of the number of Christmas lights I have up. But another thing I love at Christmas time is my Holiday Cards.

Back when I moved from NJ to TX, I started to send out Christmas cards to friends in states where I had previously lived (so NJ and MI). It was a very small list and it was something I started to do to feel more like an adult (let’s ignore the irony there). Slowly but surely, the list grew. Now I have a list of over 100 people divided up into three categories. I also have this all color-coded and in an excel spreadsheet… and… But moving on.

What some may or may not know is that I write two holiday letters. One for the family that essentially sums up my
life over the past year and the other one for my friends and is usually whatever I felt inspired to write for the year.

This year, I have decided to sort of write a third – one for my blog. And since it is my blog… I am going to do what I want with this letter


It has been an incredible year in general. There have certainly been some curve balls thrown my way but overall it was a great year. As someone who has always had an incredibly small family, I have always looked to friends as a sort of extension of my family. This year is no different and I am beyond thrilled that I have several new additions to my “family” and I want to take this time to talk about that… and I am going to keep it run specific because this post will be long enough as it is.

I wasn’t sure what I would get out of this blog when I started it. But I have been pleasantly surprised. I have never considered myself a stellar runner. I can usually accomplish the goals I have set for myself but I am also conservative when I set those goals. Not because I don’t think I am capable of more but more because it is all I am capable of for that moment in time… if that makes sense at all.

Races are a good example, I look at how training has gone and the weather forecast reports before I set a time goal (if any) for a race. Granted, I have certainly surprised myself with some races this year. But I still feel like the goals I set for the races (that I ended up blowing out of the water) were appropriate given the training. I also believe that there are just those magical running days… the days where everything lines up perfectly for you. Those kinds of days are rare but those days are also part of the reason why I continue to run.

Running is typically a solitary sport but there have been so many people that I have shared my running experiences with this year. These people have not only supported me but they have helped me fall back in love with running again… after 2012 it was no secret that I was sort of lost when it came to running but this year I was able to get it back and keep it.

The hardest part of the run is that first step out the door. There is no doubt that there have been many days where this statement has been incredibly true. But with all the support I have gotten this year, that first step has been a lot easier to take. So, I would like to thank these people especially for supporting me over this past year. There are lots of other people as well, but I choose to limit the list to people that I have actually shared experienceswith this past year. The list is in first name alphabetical order…  Simply because I cannot color-code this in excel… well I guess I could but I am not going to :-p

Chris (Altruda’s Alley)
Chris (My Kind of Run)
Declan (Stop Running Dad)
Eric (This Hobbit Runs)
Erica (Erica Finds)
Erin (Eri-thon)
Karen (Trading in my Heels)
Maggie (Mag Mile Runner)
Pete (Lakefront Trail)
All of my other Blog Followers and Friends

And as always, a thanks to my parents for always supporting me in
my life and especially on this crazy running journey I have taken.
I know you cannot always be there cheering me on in person, but I
know you ARE always cheering me on.

What to Expect Next Week

Since next week is Christmas and I will be in Texas, you won’t be hearing from me much. I have a couple of posts drafted up already, but outside of those, I don’t plan to blog. But I may decided to throw in a few posts with pictures of the Cat or the Christmas decorations my parents put up…

This means no training reports or Throwback… I know you are disappointed but I promise to catch you all up once I return.

I still fully intend to keep up with the Holiday Challenge while I am in Texas… and hopefully the weather on Saturday will cooperate… or my mom will take me to her gym (hint hint mom). Also going to try to keep up with some sort of strength training. I do have one set of free weights at my parents house and there are tons of body weight exercises that I can do as well… so we shall see.

In other news… I was thrilled that it was NOT raining when I got home yesterday and I was able to run outside. With my gym being closed I was stressing out over what to do about running. In fact, I even considered running after landing in TX. I am SOOO thrilled I do not have to do that now since it looks like it will be storming there so there is a decent chance my flight will be delayed. Plus, I just did not sleep well last night… I think this is becoming the norm when I travel…

It’s been a very busy week and I am looking forward to some downtime next week. I wish everyone safe travels and a very happy holiday season!

2013 Race Reflections

I started off the year promising myself that I would race less than last year…. Yea… clearly that happened…

I never had the intention to PR at all this year. I went into the year with zero expectation and lots of hope. And, no, I do not consider them one and the same. I knew that the running needed to get back on track and I really wanted to improve my race times over last year. So, I guess you could say those were two goals that I had for racing this year.

Surprisingly, I managed 3 PRs this year… and I also managed to put up some of my worse times for a few distances… which I find ironic and amusing at the same time. The worse times can definitely be attributed to weather (Jingle Bell) or falling off the training wagon (Navy Pier). But overall, I consider the year a success.

When I look back over the year of racing, there are certain races that rank up there for me in terms of wonderful memories.

New Year’s Day 5K

The year started off with a race… and in my mind it set in stone that I was committing to getting my running back on track. I was lucky enough to have my best friend and her husband in town and I got to spend the day with them. The husband joined me for the race and we ran it together. And though neither of us was truly pleased with the time, I still rank the race and the day as a fond memory.  (Full re-cap of the race to come in the New Year)

Rave Run 5K

The race itself was just so-so. But on the way to the race, I met Courtney on the bus. We ended up chatting most of the evening and though we didn’t actually RUN together during the race, it was wonderful to have met someone new and have a new friend. She was instantly added to the racing crew and was promptly sent an email with a list of races she should sign up for… This became a common thing throughout the rest of the year

Chicago Spring 10K

Yea… Not going to lie… I was beyond disappointed and pissed after this race. It was the first time in about 2 years that I was doing a 10K race that I actually felt prepared for. But hot temps and not enough water on course proved to be my downfall. Though this race memory actually stings still, had it not been for this race, I would not have done SF10…

Soldier Field 10 Mile

After Chicago Spring, I wanted redemption and this race had been on my mind for several months already but I was afraid to take the plunge back into distance. However, after that 10K, I just needed a running ego boost. So two days before race day, I signed up quickly acknowledging that this might not be my smartest move. I wasn’t trained for a 10 mile race since my longest run to date had been a 10K but I went into the race with the knowledge that I was going to give it my best effort and that it was going to hurt. Having some friends there helped to calm my nerves on race morning. I had a solid plan for the race… run the first 6.50/7.00 miles like it was a “training run” and play the rest of the race by ear… if I felt good, keep running and if I didn’t, I was perfectly content with walking. The weather and running gods were on my side that morning though and I ended up having an amazing race. Not only was I able to run 90% of the race, but it was also my first occurrence of getting very emotional on a race course as I struggled with tears of joy the last mile. I was so beyond thrilled with how this race went for me… and bonus… I didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought I would.

United Run for the Zoo 10K

This is and probably always will be my favorite 10K but when I woke up on race morning and saw that it was drizzling, I was very disappointed. Dad was in town to watch me run this race and the week prior I had secretly laid out some goals for myself… One outlandish goal that I really WANTED but assumed I just wouldn’t hit because I had been nowhere near it in training, One realistic goal that I had every possibly of hitting if I pushed myself a little and one easy goal… a goal that I knew I could easily hit unless something went seriously wrong during the race. Again, the running gods were on my side (even if they did cause the rain) and I ran amazingly well. I had no idea of what my time or pace were until I crossed the finish line and checked the watch… not only had I blown my outlandish goal out of the water but I finished the race a full 6 minutes earlier than I had predicted… and the time I told my dad to head to the finish line (he hung out inside to stay dry)… Oooops. Despite what the watch said, I wanted to see the official time before I got too excited but over brunch with my friends (including new addition to the crew, Maureen) I saw my official time and was overjoyed. I had never expected to PR in the 10K this year but was pleasantly surprised given I didn’t feel like I had run hard at this race.

Bastille Day 8K

A race that I came to love the previous year… and really… I love all of my LP Races. I decided to do this race again despite my dislike for running in the heat. And in all reality this race will continue to show up on the schedule. But, as luck would have it, the heat broke and it was the perfect evening for a race. I wanted to PR but after getting sick in the beginning of June, I hadn’t run more than a 5K in quite some time, so I figured it was out of the picture… that is until I saw the 4 mile marker on the course and I suddenly realized that I was actually on pace to PR. I held on and flew into another PR for the year…. And it would be my last for the year. I was especially excited that I had my friends to share the experience with and the trip to get frozen yogurt after the race didn’t hurt either.

Nike Get Fly Track Meet

Though not a race in the typical sense, it was the end to a month long program where I and three of my fellow bloggers met for a relay track meet where we would run a mile and try to better our time from the beginning of the month. I was incredibly nervous when I agreed to this because I knew that my teammates were stronger and faster runners than I was. But I threw caution to the wind and had a BLAST with the whole program… and of course the boat load of free Nike gear and the Free Training Session with a top personal trainer didn’t hurt either. We all arrived at the track in our coordinated outfits ready to run. I definitely had a goal in mind… I wanted to knock a minute off my mile time… in a month. When it was my turn to run, I lined up for the hand off and… forgot to check the clock for the start of my lap but remembered to check the mid-way clock… and then promptly forgot to look at the clock for the rest of my laps (4 in total) so I had no idea if I was on pace or not. I originally thought it would be difficult to accomplish this goal but with the support of my teammates, I not only nailed it but bettered it. All in all it was a fun evening spent with three amazing women.

Women Rock 10K

This all women’s race was perfect for the female members of the race crew and I was thrilled that Maureen convinced her sister and roommate to join us as well. It was unfortunate that one of us had to fly home for a family emergency as she was greatly missed but the rest of us did enjoy the race. The race itself was decent but after two races earlier in the week, I was a tad tired so ran well but definitely didn’t push it at all. After the race, we all enjoyed our glass of Champagne and chatted. It was just a fun morning for the girls.

Pumpkins in the Park 5K

When it came time for my favorite 5K, I definitely did my part to convince as many people as I could to sign up and quite a few from the crew did. We all ran our own races and my own race was run foolishly considering I had a time goal in mind… break 32:00 at the very least but I really wanted to break 31:30… Due to my foolish mistakes of going out too fast and then the extreme weaving I did… I essentially spent the race running intervals which caught up to me by the end… especially with the hills. But I managed to hold on enough to break 32:00. Post race, we mostly parted ways but a few of us went to get ribs for dinner… because… you know, you are supposed to eat protein after you run :-p

To recap the race year in numbers

Number of races signed up for = 25 + Nike Get Fly Track Meet
Number of races ran = 20 + Nike Get Fly Track Meet
Number of races I took a DNS on = 5
Number of race miles = 95.10
Number of PRs = 3

It really was a great year of racing for me… lots of highs and lows and many more fantastic memories. I can’t wait for next year!




Throwback Wednesday – Running Goes to Hell in a Hand-Basket – Summer 2012

Since the day I moved into my Apartment back in December of 2005, I knew the only way I would move out of the apartment was if I either got married or could afford to buy a condo… whichever happened to come first.

As someone who is a tad (fine – a LOT) OCD about my finances, I knew what I could afford. I had been looking at stuff online for months but hadn’t actually started to hit the pavement so-to-speak. So while mom was visiting in July, we started the process.

It started off easy enough. I knew what I wanted… and what I could afford. What I wanted and what I could afford didn’t exactly match up. So instead, I had a small list of requirements that I refused to budge on (primarily location) but could also afford. I fully understood that when I found something, I was likely going to need to put in a little bit of work over time to make it what I truly wanted. But, for me, as long as I had my location, the rest I could deal with.

Essentially, I wanted a Kitchen that was larger than the one in the apartment, which really was not too difficult… though I did see some that were smaller. With regards to the kitchen, I also wanted something that was at least in the same condition of the apartment. Although, ideally I wanted a better condition if I could find it. I also wanted a bathroom that didn’t need to be all pretty and new but I also didn’t want something that would need to be gutted. Outside of that, I wanted at least a one bedroom.

Location, Location, Location. I had my priorities

Mom and I found a place that I really liked pretty quickly. It happened to be the first place that I looked at. And after looking at a handful of other places after, I kept going back to that first one. So I put in an offer.

On a Friday afternoon, I was given a verbal that my offer was accepted. But the seller was dealing with a re-location company (essentially the company she worked for paid to move her to a new location). And they were closed for the weekend so we would get everything signed on Monday.

But come Monday, there was still no paperwork and we found out that two more offers had come in over the weekend. Since nothing was signed after my verbal acceptance, I was now in a bidding war… sort of. We were told to submit best and final.

After lots of stressed time had passed, I found out that my offer was accepted and paperwork was signed.

I started to make plans for the move. I scheduled my inspection for the following Sunday and was rather excited about my new adventure.  I had the BTN Race on the Saturday before and so the following morning, mom and I headed to inspection

My Uncle (Parents best friend) just happens to be an inspector, so we met up on Sunday morning and after snafu with the keys, we were finally in. This having been my first inspection, I wasn’t actually sure what to expect but also knew that there was the possibility to find stuff wrong so I was nervous.

And find something wrong we did… To sum it up… the AC was grossly inadequate and for anyone that knows how cold I like my place (particularly when I sleep) knows that was a non-negotiable point for me.

After a serious discussion with my uncle about all the options and then further back and forth with my mom and my dad, it was decided that I would walk away. I still have no doubt that was the correct decision.

But right decision or not, it meant I was thrown back into condo looking… and needless to say this is not a quick process. I kept a close watch on properties that came available and searched for the criteria I had. I essentially felt like I had another job.

Looking for a place to move into became the priority because I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay in my Apt for another year and though I had time left on my lease, I also knew that I needed some sort of cushion. The beginning of August was consumed with condo hunting. I became more and more stressed worrying that I wasn’t going to be able to find anything that made me happy.

As much as I tried, running had to take a back seat. Condo hunting became the priority.

Of course, in the middle of all of this, I had another race to get through…

Training: December 9th – 15th

Dec 9-15

Monday – 1.00 Mile & Leg Day

Monday after work I headed home to change and then headed to the gym… I am failing miserably at that whole run to/from the gym thing. But its been REALLY cold here. However, I still got in my mile run on the track. I think I have completely given up on the treadmill… I just hate it too much. But I can deal with the track. Afterwards, I headed down two levels to use the machines and get in a solid leg day.

Tuesday – 1.00 Mile & Upper Body Strength Training

Again, went home after work to change and then head to the gym… at which point I decided that perhaps I should just bring my gym stuff to work with me to save about 30/45 minutes of time. I really don’t like bringing my gym stuff with me to work and/or bringing some of my work stuff to the gym… but knowing how cold it was supposed to be, I figured it was a better option going forward. I was happy to notice that I shaved off a little bit of time on my mile run around the track. I then headed to the machines again to get in the strength training. After doing bicep curls I decided I would need to use the one up heavier weights because the ones I was using were getting to easy. Ahhh… Progress

Wednesday – 1.00 Mile & Leg Day

Went straight from work to the gym and wow… what a difference 45 minutes makes… much more quiet… although, school is also out which adds to that whole quite factor. Post Jan 1 will NOT be fun at the gym. Did my mile and as I was nearing the end of my 8 laps, I noticed that if I kept pace, I could not only beat my mile time from Monday but also from Tuesday. This became my new mission and I succeeded. Back down to the machines to get in my leg day. I definitely feel like I need to add stuff to my Leg Days at the gym… but right now I am under quite the time crunch with the holidays. So I will work on that after the New Year.

Thursday – 1.00 Mile & Upper Body Strength Training

We had a meeting at the end of the day at work which meant I left work later than normal. And since I knew I also had a condo building holiday party to get to, it was always the plan to go straight to the gym. Of course this also meant hitting the begging to rush hour… But made it the gym and quickly changed. I REALLY wanted to beat my mile from the day before… I was on a 3 day roll so why stop now. I succeeded… by 2 seconds but hey… two seconds is two seconds. Did a shorter upper body day but with the heavier weights for bicep curls. I really wanted to do more but I was already party start time and I still had to get home to shower and change quickly to get to the party. So, I walked home, took a very quick shower, threw on some clothes, threw the hair in a pony tail and headed downstairs to the restaurant in the building. Gotta love easy logistics. I had a lovely conversation with a guy who lives in the building as well about running and races and triathlons. I might just have a new running buddy to throw into the mix.

Friday – Rest

I didn’t feel like I NEEDED the rest because overall I have been feeling really good. Yes, this is why I will be going back to 5 running days a week. The fact that I was going to be running all over the city getting race packets and to get just a little bit of food at the grocery store (because… you know… its generally a good idea to have more than coffee and pop in your fridge) before heading home had a LOT more to do with the rest day. Plus, with two races over the weekend, I figured a rest day wouldn’t hurt. So I made myself a frozen pizza (yes, I still maintain my pre-race ritual) and then relaxed with a little bit of TV before heading to bed early.

Saturday – Jingle Bell 5K Race

You can read the full recap here. When I woke up, I knew it was going to be a difficult race… but since I had ZERO time expectations, I didn’t care. And with a race a mere blocks from my home… I didn’t have to worry about logistics. But I did have to worry about snow… a few inches of freshly fallen snow. I equated the race to essentially running in slippery sand… because really, I have gotten more traction on the few sand runs I have done. This made for one very unhappy ankle. I felt the pain throughout the race, but once I was home and done, I realized that resting was probably my better option. And since I had slept horribly the night before, a nice long nap sounded wonderful. And to quote my mother, “Naps always help.” So after a shower, I completely conked out on the couch for a solid two hours. When I woke up, I figured out that the pain was actually my Achilles Tendonitis flaring up again but it felt significantly better than it had a few hours prior. So I met Courtney for dinner and then a tour of Zoo Lights. Thankfully everything was shoveled by this point.

Sunday – 1.00 Mile & Leg Day

Yea… you all may have noticed the DNS that I took for the race. After the pain I felt running a 5K, I didn’t think an 8K on essentially the same course was going to go any better. So I opted to bail and head to the gym instead. Admittedly as I sat on my couch enjoying my cup of coffee, I did feel guilty because this was the race that I had actually been looking forward to. But I also had no doubt it was the right decision since the ankle was still a tad angry with me. So after a breakfast of Scrambled Eggs with Toast and a quick cleaning of the closet (where I finally pulled out my winter sweaters) I headed to the gym. My ankle felt fine during my 8 laps on the track and I am sure the soft surface helped quite a bit. Throughout the run, I was surprised to discover I was keeping a 10:00 min pace… which made me rather happy, so I was determined to hit that on the last lap and ended up crushing it to finish my mile in 9:49 instead. Hell Yea! Then did a leg day… and might have over done it a tad… I used the butt machine (I call it that because I don’t know the actual name but knows it targets the butt muscles), which is not the norm for me but also know that I SHOULD make it the norm. Then headed home for a quick shower before heading back out to go to a friends Saint Lucia  (Seriously click on the link to check out the history behind it… its really neat) party.  A really cool tradition that he has where he makes incredibly yummy Saffron Buns… to which I probably ate about 25 of them (Hey – It was my dinner and I was starving).


So despite the DNS, it was still a very good week for working out.  I was also a bummed that the mileage for the week was a little less than the previous week, But oh well.

Hoping to have another solid week before heading to TX to where I intend to keep up with the running. The strength training will take a back seat since I won’t really have access to a gym. But I might be able to get in some body weight strength training stuff. And you know… carrying all the bags after finally doing my Christmas Shopping should totally count as strength training :-p

My only potential difficult day this week will be Thursday when my gym closes for some maintenance. They do this about twice a year which is fine… and it’s always when school it out but did they HAVE to choose a Thursday & Friday instead of Friday and Saturday? Thursday is far busier than Saturday… so really… not happy. Planning to run outside on Thursday instead but the weather calls for rain. And there is no chance in hell I will be running in the rain when it is not even 40 degrees out. So fingers crossed that it is not raining when I get home from work on Thursday.

Race Re-Cap: Jingle Bell 10K/5K

Jingle Bell 10K-5K

After running all over the city on Friday evening to pick up various race packets and to run one additional errand, I settled in at home for some pizza and movie watching. Both packet pick-ups were pain free and I learned that downgrading from the 10K to the 5K would be as easy as simply lining up with the 5K Racers instead of the 10K come Saturday morning. Easy enough.

Woke up Saturday about 30 minutes before the alarm went off (I love being a morning person on weekends… note sarcasm). Given that I really hadn’t slept well the night before, I was not exactly thrilled and I felt exhausted. A quick look outside my window showed me that the snow that was predicted for Friday night through Saturday did not disappoint.

Oh Boy…

I geared up and choose to wore my (mostly) retired Brooks Trance knowing that they would likely get wet and not wanting to ruin my every day Asics. I have plenty of miles left on the Brooks but I just prefer the Asics… so the Brooks are now my inclement weather running shoes.

I slipped and slid my way to the Peggy Notebaert Nature museum and was thankful that I was able to hide out inside while I waited for the race start. I already knew now to expect any plowing along the course… it was a course through the park and not the streets/sidewalks of LP. And to add to that… very little of LP was shoveled or plowed by that time anyway.

Despite loving snow and thinking that everything looked beautiful, I typically choose to not run while its snowing or on freshly fallen snow. But after my quick snowy run the previous Sunday I thought that this might not be so bad.

Spoiler Alert… I was wrong…

I found a place to hangout and avoiding getting bumped into dozens of times and snapped a really pretty picture of LP from inside the Museum.

LP Snow 1

A few minutes before the race started, I headed outside to line up with the 5K. I was really glad I decided to do the 5K instead of the 10K… The wind coming from the east was not exactly pleasant and it was whipping snow into my face/eyes.

It was a no frills Start… and I really do mean no frills since I heard zero announcements but we suddenly started moving. I passed Mr. & Mrs. Claus before crossing the start line and we were running in a winter wonderland.

To say it was slippery might be a bit of an understatement. I saw several people fall near the start and I knew it was going to be slow going.

I was slipping and sliding plenty and it felt like I was essentially running in Slippery sand… which I am really not conditioned for to say the least. But at least I managed to stay upright then entire race.

The course headed north to the end of Diversey Harbor before turning east to go over the small overpass right next to LSD. I couldn’t help but wonder if all the drivers were looking at us thinking we were crazy… and admit that I was likely to agree with them. I walked the little hill to get to the overpass… I was already feeling the slippery sand in the legs and knowing I had a race the following day, decided it might be smart to not overwork the legs. I also walked the downhill… which I rarely do… but it was REALLY slippery and I just did not want to deal with a sprained/twisted ankle. I saw several people just slid down the very small hill so figured I made a smart decision…

We ran along the east side of the harbor, which made me kind of nervous since one bad slip in the wrong direction and there was a chance you would end up IN the harbor… and the water, with a thin layer of ice over it, did NOT look inviting. So I hung out as far away from the edge as I could.

By this point, I am running and walking a lot. Ok fine, I am mostly walking. My ankle is starting to bother me. We hit the mile marker and someone behind me goes “there is no way we are only at one mile”, I looked at my trusty Garmin and saw that we were at exactly one mile so I told her that the mile marker was correct. To which she then sort of sneered at me… Ok fine… sorry for correcting you…

We get to the infamous Fullerton underpass… a steep hill down followed by just as steep of a hill up… I loathe this section of just about all races that choose to use it. I really REALLY hate that hill… and add a few inches on top of it and I am really not going to like it anymore. Obviously, I walked up it.

There were a couple of very cheerful and enthusiastic volunteers near the hill giving everyone high fives and encouraging words. Very much appreciated all the volunteers standing outside in the cold snow so that a bunch of crazy people could run an organized event.

By this point my ankle was really bothering me so I was trying to run only the sections that were packed down snow and/or not as deep. Which helped a lot but there were very few sections of packed down snow… and really… Just so not physically prepared for a sort of sand run.

We reached the turn around and I grabbed a cup of water, which to my delight was not frozen. However, I was shocked to see no trash cans near the water tables so after I finished my water, I put the empty cup in my pocket… clear cup plus white snow do not mix well… I knew the cup would get lost in the snow until the spring thaw.

We hit the mile two marker and I saw the clock time but it didn’t really register with me until after the race. I just didn’t care. The ankle was really bothering and I was just ready to be done with the race.

Back to the Fullerton underpass and the hills… At least under the underpass it was salted and there was no slipping and sliding. After that we headed back north and past the finish line to loop back around. I really tried to run the rest once I saw the 6 mile marker for the 10K course and knew I only had .20 to go… but the snow wasn’t packed down much and it was REALLY difficult for me. I managed to tough it out though…

I saw the 5K clock as I was crossing the finish line and had a brief moment where I thought there was no way that was accurate but after thinking about it for a minute, I realized it probably was…. And a check of the watch confirmed it.

I found a trash can to toss the cup that was still in my pocket into and headed home. Advantage of a race a couple blocks from home… I didn’t need gear check.

I snapped a few pics of the pretty neighborhood before I reached home… to which I realized just how much of a beating my ankle took…

LP Snow 2

I iced and rested the ankle before hopping in the shower, but I quickly figured out that my now very tender ankle wasn’t going to appreciate standing and it certainly wasn’t going to appreciate heading back out to slip and slide around. So I bailed on the holiday party and rested the ankle… I then proceeded to completely conk out for a solid two hours.

When I woke, I realized the ankle pain was actually the Achilles Tendonitis flaring again… Grrrrr. I have no doubt that resting it was the right thing. I iced it a couple more times before meeting Courtney for dinner and Zoo lights. Luckily everything was plowed/shoveled by then so there was no slipping and sliding our way through.

And as for my official time… By far my worse 5K time ever…

Jingle Bell Results

Outside of the pain, it was kind of fun running in the snow… and holy moly did it look pretty. But in reality, you really need to prep your body for that kind of running and I just wasn’t there… which I paid for afterwards.

One Crazy Weekend…

I fully understand that during the holidays everyone gets super busy. There are holiday parties left and right and Christmas shopping to do (or at least you are supposed to be doing Christmas shopping…) and… It’s just busy!

But this year, I decided I needed to add more to the mix. I decided to sign up for two races… in one weekend.

Initially, this was a brilliant idea to sort of prepare for what I have in store for Marathon weekend in Disney. But with an abysmal October in terms of training… followed by low mileage and more strength training for November and December… I am no where near prepared.

I signed up for the 10K for Saturday and the 8K (only option) for Sunday… I am feeling really overwhelmed. Not only are these two races alone about where my weekly mileage was last week (and remember the week before was zero) but I just know that I am not prepared for either distance. And add the distances together… yea… we are talking like past three weeks mileage combined…

To top it all off… Chicago will be getting snow tonight and through tomorrow… so lets just make this more difficult…

When I signed up (outside of the whole Disney Prep reason), I thought it would force me to keep my mileage a little higher… Yea… that happened…

I am going to try to downgrade to the 5K for Saturday and then just deal with the 8K on Sunday…for some reason an 8K doesn’t seem nearly as bad as a 10K…

After the races I have Holiday Parties to go to… Yes… Both days… During the day… and the plan, is to go to Zoo Lights on Saturday evening. So I have a VERY busy weekend ahead where I will be all over the place… and I really do mean all over the place

Luckily both races are a couple of blocks from my place… And really, that was part of the draw for the races. But the two holiday parties are no where near my place. Oh and of course pack pick-up is also all over the place too. One is at Fleet Feet (all three locations but I will go to Old Town) and the other is Belmont/Lincoln-ish area. And the latter is just a royal pain in the tushy to get to. Hopefully the snow will hold off until I get home at least…

After this crazy weekend, I fully anticipate crashing around 8pm on Sunday night…