So here it is, January 31st and I am just now writing my Resolutions post. But the reality is, I started a good portion of my Resolutions back on December 2nd…

Given my slight (ok huge) excel obsession, I have run data easily at my fingertips. It is easy for me to look at the current year and past year and see where I was/am at any given moment. Towards the end of 2013, I was looking back at that data. It was a year of hits and misses. I made some progress with running but one thing became clear to me. 2010 is still my golden year and I need to get back to that.

Now, it might be easy to say that since I was a novice, it was easy to have that first year be my golden year. But there are a few other things that I observed from that year that no longer played a part in my training.

I ran 5 days a week – that was my sole running goal when the year started and overall, it was a success. And sure, some runs were better than others but overall, I felt better. I already knew that 3 days a week was far too little and 2013 taught me that 4 days a week was better but not quite enough. So I started my Holiday Challenge. Now, there were definitely weeks where 6 days was REALLY difficult (even if it was only a mile) so I feel like 6 days would be too much to maintain overall. But 5 days… my goal from 2010 seemed to be the magical number for me.

The other thing about 2010 that I had lost was a nice solid base. I essentially assumed I was starting from scratch when I started my 2010 running despite a couple of years of random running (it was never consistent in 2008 or 2009).

Thus my first two resolutions were born – develop a solid base and run 5 days a week.

I am happy to report that since December 2nd, there has only been ONE week where I did not run 5 days… I ran 4 instead. But I am ok with that. I know there will be some weeks where it just won’t happen… but overall, I want my weekly number to be 5.

As for that solid base, well, I took an slightly odd approach to this. December I was only going to focus on the one mile run and January the two mile run. There have been a handful of days in January where 2 miles just was not going to happen… but overall both months were a success.

February will be the three mile run… This scares me just a tad since the weather has made it clear it will continue to be horrendous… three miles on the track is a bit… boring. But I am determined to make it work.

As for the rest of my resolutions… they are pretty basic for me and not entirely run related but here they are.

I need to build my savings back up. So I need to kick a few habits… like buying my lunch at work on weeks where I feel lazy. Its such a small thing, but it adds up BIG time. And bringing your lunch to work is healthier because you know exactly what is in it. So eating better (another resolution) should be easier.

Now, that’s not to say I will never buy my lunch and I will only eat healthy… Goodness no. But I am looking for the majority of the time to bring my lunch and eat healthy.

My last resolution is to get back to strength training… again, this started on December 12th and has been REALLY successful so far. So I am hoping I can maintain it. I will just need to play around with timing and schedules when I start to up the training miles… But since I have already made strength training a habit I am hoping it will be easier.

So, to recap the resolutions

Run 5 Days a Week
Build a Solid Running Base
Save More
Eat Healthier
Keep up the Strength Training

So far, I am nailing all of these!


Strength Training – Some Details – Part 2

Last week during a run, I had an epiphany. Said epiphany led to my first entry detailing my strength training. I decided to break up the strength training entries… because… well… because I felt like it.

Anywho – here is part two

Upper Body Stuff

Chest (option 1) – Seated Pushup – 15 Reps – 3 or 4 Sets
This really isn’t my favorite and in all honesty, it is the option I go with when I have already waited for my preferred option for longer than I like and I am still not able to use the machine. So, its more of a last resort. And yes, I could do regular old fashioned push-ups… but I HATE doing those… even though it really is a good exercise.

Chest (option 2) – Seated Butterfly – 15 Reps – 3 or 4 Sets
This is my preferred option. I have always been a huge fan of the butterfly exercise. I use the machine version simply because all the benches near the free weights tend to have some sort of understood weight list and I tend to get frustrated when I have to wait too long to do an exercise… after all, I want to keep my heart rate up a bit. So when at the gym, I throw in the towel and use the machine.

Upper Back (option 1) – Pull Down Machine – 15 Reps – 3 or 4 Sets
I usually do more than one exercise that targets (mainly) the upper back muscles. This overall exercise is just about as old school as you can get. I keep wanting to try to the machine that is also a pull down but it is a bit more free form (again, I don’t actually know what some of the machines are called) but there is that whole waiting thing. One observation I have made at the gym is guys tend to focus only the vanity muscles… in other words, the muscles they can see because “If I can’t see it then I don’t need to lift it” (yes, I have actually heard that phrase utter numerous times). This mindset tends to make it difficult to use certain machines…

Upper Back (option 2) – Seated Low Row – 15 Reps – 3 or 4 SetsAnother very good option and my favorite of the two (even though I do both when I hit the gym). There are lots of versions of a “row” to target the same muscles. And I have done a good portion of them but this one still remains my favorite. It is certainly challenging for me but not so much so that I feel like I am never making progress. In fact, I had a break through last week when my third set didn’t feel brutally hard so I was able to add on the 4th set. I was very excited! Progress!

Upper Back (option 3) – T Push-Ups – 12 Reps – 3 Sets (for now)
I just added this exercise back into my arsenal because it was always a save for when at home exercise. But given that the weather will be forcing me to run indoors for the foreseeable future, I figured why not add it back? And this is probably not the correct term but you stand with weights in both hands and your arms out (like a T) and bent at the elbows (kind of like a field goal in football…hmmm… maybe I should call this the field goal…)  so your upper arm is parallel to the floor. You push the weight up and then return to start. Since I just added it back, I am working my way up to higher reps and an extra set. When doing this exercise on Friday, I knew the third set was maxed out for me because it was difficult

Shoulders (option 1) – Zippers – 12 Reps – 3 Sets
I started doing this instead of holding the weights by my sides and lifting the arms up to form a T because for some reason my shoulder pops whenever I do that move… and it hurts after a few reps… so I needed to find something else. So now I hold the weights in front of me and lift my arms up with the weight sort of ‘sliding’ up my torso (following the line of a zipper on a jacket… hence the name) and then lower the weight back down. There is no popping with this move so it works… although, I do think the other move is better. But I just can’t do it.

Shoulders (option 2) – Shrugs – 12 Reps – 3 Sets
I do this move along with the zippers. Hold the weights and then just shrug my shoulders. I actually never used to do this move but some several guys doing this move at the gym and thought I would give it a try. I often find you can get a lot of good workout ideas by simply observing the other people around you at the gym.

Triceps (option 1) – Tricep Dips – 12 Reps – 3 Sets
Admittedly, I should do this move more often… its been about a once every other week occurrence but should be done more often. This move is easy to do in between sets when I am on a machine. I know you can do this move on a yoga ball as well… but have yet to give that a shot.

Triceps (option 2) – Tricep Pull Downs – 15 Reps – 3 or 4 Sets
I use one of the machines to do this move… its the pulley looking machine (Haha… I really should figure out the technical term for this one). I like that you can change out the item that you hold. I can use a straight bar, ropes (which are awesome) or an angled bar. All work really well but work the muscle just a bit differently so I try to change up which item I use weekly.

Biceps (option 1) – Bicep Curls – 13 Reps – 3 Sets (for now)
Old school and basic but still effective. Granted a lot of the stuff I do will also work the biceps to a degree, this one is still my main choice. I have tried the machines at the gym that focus on the biceps but I find the positioning awkward and they make my wrist hurt for some reason.

Biceps (option 2) – Bar Bicep Curls – 10 Reps – 3 Sets
I don’t do this one too often but probably should have two exercises for the biceps. Not sure why, but this move always feels more difficult to me.

I am trying to do two exercise that target each muscle group for the upper body (and yes, probably should do the same for the lower body). But time does not always permit for that. I do what I can…

Training: January 20th – 26th

Jan 20-26Monday – 2.04 Miles

The markets were closed on Monday in observance of MLK day so I had the day off work. It was a much needed 3 day weekend. I spent a majority of the day on Monday finishing that whole putting away my Christmas stuff thing… In general, as long as I have this done by Feb 1st, I see it as a good thing. I could have gone to the gym but since it was already around 3 and I knew it would be another hour and a half before I would be able to use the track (thank you DePaul Track team) so I decided to go for a run outside since it wasn’t too cold and it wasn’t snowing. All in all it was a decent run. Although, I definitely should have had more water to drink throughout the day…

Tuesday – 2.00 Miles & Lower Body Strength Training

Back at the gym after work. Definitely noticing that all those New Year’s resolution people seem to be done… it is no where near as crowded as it had been. I was amused when I finished the run and my time was exactly the same as the previous Tuesday. Although, this time at least, I didn’t feel like hell while completing the run. Then headed downstairs to use the weights. Trying to get in at least a solid 4 sets on all exercises before I increase the weight. For some of the exercises this is easy and for others not so much… Work in progress

Wednesday – 2.00 Miles & Upper Body Strength Training

I was feeling pretty good during this run but couldn’t get the pace any faster… so I was a tad slower than the previous day. My legs did feel a tad heavier which I think is due to the strength training. Afterwards, I did a one lap walk to sip water and keep my legs moving since a good portion of the strength training I do involves sitting on a machine. The strength training felt great and I was pleased with the workout when I was done. I have also been stretching really well after and I have been using the foam rollers at my gym… including the one that has foam “spikes” on it… They aren’t actual spikes but not sure what else to call them. Either way, that foam roller HURTS but I also know it is a good hurt.

Thursday – 2.00 Miles & Lower Body Strength Training

I was forced to do quite a bit of weaving while on the track. For some reason it was rather crowded with lots of walkers. I am fine with people using the track to walk but for goodness sake, use the outer most lane to walk and chit chat… this is becoming a HUGE pet peeve of mine. I was feeling really exhausted last week and I think my body was fighting me a bit. I decided to scale back a bit on some of the lower body strength training. Not only because I was exhausted but because as soon as I started on the strength training, I could tell I needed to scale it back. My body just wasn’t having it…

Friday – 2.00 Miles & Upper Body Strength Training

I was mentally just done by the end of my work day. I didn’t want to think about anything. I had to go home after work since I was given a loaner laptop so I could work from home when needed to get through this conversion. But I changed right away and headed back out because I knew if I sat down, I was not getting back up. After a mile and a half I was just done. I couldn’t handle another 4 laps. So I walked a lap and sipped on water. But then I started to get mad at myself for skipping the last half mile. So I decided to do some untimed speed work… I would sprint the straights and walk the curves. I didn’t give myself any time goals and since there is only one clock visible on the track, I couldn’t time theses (although getting a stop watch isn’t a horrible idea). But I had glanced at the clock when I started and when I was done. My 4 laps of speed work took me roughly 4 minutes. I knew I was walking the curves slowly and occasionally had to wait for people to get through some of the straight aways before I could start my sprint. This told me that my sprints were at a very good clip. I was really happy with it and the harder effort running was exactly what I needed after the brutal work week I had. I DID actually complete my 2 miles for the day and I was glad that I pushed myself. I know I need to start doing speed work more consistently so hopefully this was a good starting point. Then had a REALLY awesome strength training workout. I felt amazing when I left the gym but I was still completely burnt out. After my shower, I killed maybe an hour on the couch before crawling into bed and crashing.

Saturday – Rest

Part of the reason I pushed myself so hard during the week was because I really wanted a Monday – Friday workout schedule. I was starting to feel some of the fatigue from all the work I had been doing and I figured two days off in a row would do me a LOT of good. Plus… I opted to go into the office instead of just working from home. Knew I would get the same amount of work done in half the time. I then ran some errands and just wasn’t feeling the greatest when I got home. So I watched some TV and when I started to struggle to stay awake around 9 I just went to bed and slept REALLY well.

Sunday – Rest

Major Major rest… I really did nothing all day except lay on my couch. I even took a nap in the afternoon. It was glorious!


I feel like it was an incredibly successful week. The workouts I did were good… even if there was some signs of fatigue but I scaled back as needed. As for the running, I am ok with the pace I have been at. I am working on a solid base so I don’t feel like my time is as important right now. Since I do have some time goals for some races this year, I know that I will need to start pushing the pace at some point… and yes, that speed work will need to become a regular thing. But for now I am laying the ground work.

Goals for this week are to get in solid workouts Monday through Thursday. I have a race on Sunday so I am thinking I might use Friday as either a rest day or a cross-training day. Will see towards the end of the week how I am feeling.

Hope everyone has an awesome week! Stay warm out there!


I wanted to post something else today… But honestly, I am rather beat…

The past two weeks at work have been insanely busy. I get that work gets busy but I am talking coming in early (or attempting to… the buses haven’t been too cooperative with this effort) and staying late and still not even coming close to finishing everything.

Overall, I don’t have to work late or work weekends. In general most of my job is time sensitive, so I cannot put things off. This forces me to finish my daily tasks… well… daily. Yes, there are some things that are not AS time sensitive but for the most part everything needs to be done same day. This is both good and bad. Good in the sense that I (generally) leave work without having to worry about a huge list for the following day. I can clock out (so-to-speak) and I am done for the day.

But sometimes, we go through something that generates a MASSIVE amount of work. So on top of the normal day to day stuff, we have ten times that in extra work. And yes, everything is still time sensitive. Without really going into details… and if you are not familiar with my job or industry, it is difficult to explain without having to give a lot of background info.

So to sum it up in one word… Conversion

Now, this may mean nothing to you. But in my line of work it means LOTS of long hours and LOTS of work to be done. Its not a bad thing but… it is tiring and more stressful.

Through all of this, I am still maintaining my workout schedule and goals that I set for myself for this year.

All in all it is a decent balance. At the end of the day, I am mentally drained but physically I may still have a ton of energy… after all… I sit at a desk and stare at a computer most of the day. And though, I do think while working out, it does not require the same amount of concentration that work does.

Essentially the gym has been where I go to clear my head and de-stress.

The flip side to this is because I have been working later, I have been bringing my gym stuff with my to work and going straight from there to the gym. I have been getting home around 7 pm nightly… which may not seem that bad until I mention that I LEFT for work around 5:30 in the morning.

Needless to say, I have had some pretty long days… although, I suspect my electric bill will appreciate my lack of being home.

There really is no grand point to be made here – Except to say that at the end of the day, I am just done!

This has certainly been a true statement over the past few weeks…
Need to run This Day off

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Strength Training – Some Details – Part 1

I had an epiphany during my run last night… I talk in detail about my running and I have been posting that I have been doing strength training and you can figure out what muscles I am targeting (assuming you can decipher my short hand) but I really haven’t given any detail…

I started strength training when I first started college and its one of those things that I do really enjoy… I love it just as much as running. But if I had to choose between the two, I would choose running. Though… back in the day I never would have ever considered running… My how the times have changed

This year, I am actually tracking some of the details – The machine/exercise, the weight, number of reps and number of sets. I am not going to give you THAT much detail since it is ever changing… or at least… that is the goal. But I am going to give the general “day in the life of lifting” – The machine/exercise and what (main) muscle it targets and my normal reps/sets

I am also going to point out this is stuff that I do at the gym. I have a whole list of other things to do when I am not at the gym. An example… I am not going to do lunges at the gym because I can do those at home. As easy as it would be for me to spend hours upon hours at the gym, it is just not feasible right now. So while at the gym, I am focusing on things that I generally cannot do at home because I don’t have access to that equipment at home… more or less.

Lower Body Stuff

Quads – Leg Extensions – 15 Reps – 3 or 4 Sets
This is a fairly straight forward machine. It is certainly not my favorite but it is one of those love/hate things. Necessary evil but I am starting to see improvement and I feel like I am getting stronger.

Hamstring – Leg Curls – 15 Reps – 3 or 4 Sets
This one is old school. Lay on your stomach and curl the weight with the legs. My gym also has another hamstring machine where you sit instead of lay down but I feel like the laying down machine is the better of the two options. Occasionally I will use the other one when I get tired of waiting or if I feel like I need a slightly easier day. And lesson learned… doing this machine first after running when I am already winded and the blood goes straight to my head… not good… talk about light-headed… Yikes. Won’t be doing that one again

Butt (option 1) – Seated Squat – 15 Reps – 3 or 4 Sets
This is essentially the same as the straight forward squat except you are sitting down.

Butt (option 2) – Butt Machine (I honestly don’t know what else to call it) – 15 Reps – 3 or 4 Sets
Ok – I am sure you got a chuckle… One of these days, I will actually look at the sign to see what it is called… This is a machine where you stand up and put your foot on a peg and push the peg back. It is also a pretty decent workout for the quads. The machine is rather awkward and I feel like it forces form that is not exactly stellar so I have taken to trying something else…

Butt (option 3) – Standing Weighted Lift – 15 Reps – 3 or 4 SetsThis is starting to become my preferred option. There is a loop that I can put around my foot and hook up the pulley system thingy (very technical term I know) – All gyms have this piece of equipment but I have no idea what the actual term for it is. I can then set the weight and sort of pulse my leg back which targets the butt.

Inner Thigh – Inner Thigh Machine – 15 Reps – 3 Sets PLUS 1 Set of Pulses at double the Reps (4 Sets total)
Nothing fancy here… it’s the machine that all girls seek out at the gym… even those that rarely strength train. You sit down and squeeze the inner thighs together. I actually find this the most difficult muscle to target and work out. I really only know a few other exercises that will target this muscle.

Outer Thigh – Standing Leg Pulls – 10 Reps – 3 Sets (for now)
This is my new favorite exercise. I had been previously using the outer thigh machine (again… all the ladies flock to it) where you sit and sort of do the clam shell move sitting down. But something my physical therapist said to me when I had the IT Band injury kept replaying in my head every time I used the machine. You are a runner so you should focus on the strengthening the muscles from a standing position instead of sitting. So, similar to my third butt option, I hooked the loop onto the pulley machine thingy (Is there a technical term for this large piece of equipment?) and pulse my leg to the side. The first time I did this new exercise, I was rather humbled by how much more difficult it is standing vs sitting… which perhaps proves my physical therapists point… I REALLY want to get up to 3 or 4 sets at 15 reps each. But for right now my measly three sets at 10 reps is a killer. I clearly have some work ahead of me.

Alright – That’s enough for one day. Part two will be the upper body and then part three will be the core. Because, why do in one post what you can do in three?



Throwback Wednesday – Running Goes To Hell in a Handbasket Part 2

We last left off with my continued search for a condo… and racing in between.

As luck may have it, I found a place that I really liked… and it was a mere two blocks away. I made an offer and after a couple of days of back and forth, we had terms that both parties could live with.

I thought the hard part was done… oh boy was I so very wrong.

I have not kept it a secret that I am OCD about my finances. While looking for Condos I had a rather elaborate excel where I would input my “new” monthly costs (electric, cable, AC, Heat, Assessments, Estimated Mortgage payment) and it would spit out what my “play money” for the month would be. Now, not all properties are the same… and not all assessments are the same either. Some buildings included more than others. But the methodology was the same across the board. So I knew what I could spend on a place given all the variables.

And given the housing bubble… I knew I was going to have to prove I could afford the place. But holy HELL!!! I did not expect the hoop jumping that I was going through with the loan process.

I would be a given a list of items required, I would supply said list and then… NOTHING

There would be silence. I was completely unable to get a hold of anyone dealing with my loan. Phone calls went unanswered and voicemails were never returned. Emails were ignored. So I became paranoid that I would miss a call back from the loan people.

When I did finally get someone to get in touch with me I would be given a whole NEW list of crap. None of which were items that came up because of the items I had already submitted. Ok seriously, I work in a highly regulated industry. If you require X. Y and Z to get something approved, you ask for ALL of those items up front. Then if those items generate more questions, you have to go back. But oh no. We couldn’t give me the full list up front, we had to give it to me in pieces.

I will spare you the details of some of the asinine crap I was asked for. But I was frustrated and stressed. I could never get a hold of anyone to get a status.

So that whole being paranoid that I was going to miss a call back from the loan people meant I was not running. I had already given notice to my rental people so I had to be out of there by a certain date… and the more the loan process was held up the longer it would take to get a closing date. I knew if I missed a call, I wouldn’t be able to get a hold of anyone so I needed to be available as SOON as my phone rang. Even on the few occasions where I HAVE done a training run with my phone, I have never heard the thing go off (and it has). I just had to be available.

And since my gym is also known as cell phone purgatory… that was not an option either.

I had to be available so that meant I couldn’t run…

Training: January 13th – 19th

Jan 13-19Monday – 2.00 Miles & Upper Body Strength Training

My main goal was to have a better run than the previous three runs had been. All in all it was pretty decent. Definitely finding it difficult to run the full second mile without stopping for more water. It is incredibly dry in the gym and by the end of mile one it is difficult to swallow because my throat is so dry. Then it just gets worse in the second mile so I find myself stopping at 1.50 miles as well. Physically, I am not feeling dehydrated but my throat just gets so incredibly dry that I feel like it is smart to stop for more water. It was a good strength training session. I felt like I worked pretty hard for the day.

Tuesday – 2.00 Miles & Lower Body Strength Training

This was just an all around terrible workout. My first mile was slower than normal and I was struggling. Stopped for water after one mile. Then had to stop again at 1.50 miles and… yep… had to stop again at 1.75 miles. I seriously considered bailing. I just felt awful… I felt physically weak… had zero energy. My last two laps were incredibly brutal… I just felt… WEAK. But I kept telling myself it was only two laps and I managed to finish… and then was rather surprised when I saw my overall time. I headed to the weight area in hopes that I good have a solid strength training day but it was not in the cards. I did one less set and about half the exercises that I normally due. I couldn’t figure out why I felt so weak. I fully expected to wake up on Wednesday with a full blown cold because that was the only explanation I could come up with.

Wednesday – 2.00 Miles & Upper Body Strength Training

Well, woke up feeling great… go figure. I even had an awesome run. So Tuesday was some weird fluke. The strength training session was even better. I just felt great. I was able to add some reps and sets to certain exercises and I even threw in some different exercises. I was on workout cloud nine.

Thursday – 2.00 Miles & Lower Body Strength Training

Thursday was just as good as Wednesday. Awesome run… though it was a second slower from the day before. I blame the couple who were using the two inside lines to slowly walk and chit chat. Not only that but the guy kept looking behind him and every time he saw someone coming would move further into the outside line which forced quite a bit of weaving. I had to bite my tongue several times because he was clearly just being an @ss. When I headed to the weight area it appeared that EVERYONE wanted it to be a legs day. I had to wait for every single machine. And seriously… GET OFF THE DAMN PHONE! Ugh, seriously my biggest pet peeve at the gym is people that play on their phones between sets. If you are SOOO important (note sarcasm as 90% of the people at my gym are college students without jobs) then get off the machine and let someone else use it. I habitually will get through two machines in the time it takes some people to get through one set because they are too busy on their phones. Ok Rant over. Despite my annoyance, it was a great workout.

Friday – 2.03 Miles

Did not have time to run at the gym… I had a feeling that might happen so I also planned to run outside if needed. I left work late and had to be at book club by 7:00 so I knew running outside was my only option to avoid being really late for book club. It had started to snow but wasn’t too bad yet. After gearing up, I headed outside. It was kind of slick and the snow was definitely sticking so it was only getting more slick. But I stuck to the parking lot behind the zoo knowing that it is well maintained. It was a decent run and it felt good to be running outside again. The indoor track isn’t terrible but I still prefer to be outside. Then managed to get showered and headed out to book club and was only about 15 minutes late. It was a fun evening full of girl chat and I was shocked when I realized that it was midnight when we all left. Time flies when you are having fun I guess.

Saturday – 1.00 Mile & Full Body Strength Training

In all reality, I wanted to bail on this workout. I was exhausted. Not only was I on my 8th day in a row of working out (I know, I know, not the best of ideas) but I had spent a good portion of the day working on getting my Christmas stuff put away (yes, I realize it already mid-Jan). But I promised myself the week before when I skipped my 5th run day that I was going to do an extra day this week. Plus I wanted to do at least one mile in dedication to Meg’s Miles. I felt surprisingly invigorated after the run. I had already planned to do do lower body strength training and try out a few ideas I had for better leg strength training since it tends to be a lot slower in the gym on Saturdays but I also decided to throw in some upper body stuff as well. My ideas worked out nicely and I would like to do those exercises more often. I then went home and did massive amounts of laundry

Sunday – Rest

Glorious rest. I was beat. 8 days in a row was not the best idea but I really wanted to get on a Monday – Friday routine. That way I would be able to use Saturday for full rest, cross-training or an extra strength training day. Once race season gets in full swing it might be nice to have an extra run day on those weeks so I will definitely want the flexibility to take Saturday as a rest day. Anywho… after running a couple of errands, I went home and proceeded to crash on my couch and took a two hour nap. I had visions of finishing (or at least continuing) the putting away of Christmas decorations but instead my butt stayed firmly planted on my couch and I watched movies. I definitely needed the break.


It was a very productive week but I was exhausted. I think if I had scaled back on the strength training I wouldn’t have been as exhausted by the end of it. But I am pleased with everything that I got done. I finally started to feel like I can possibly up the weight for some of the exercises I do. So I feel like I am getting stronger. As for the up and down feeling during the week… still no clue what caused me to feel so off on Tuesday but oh well… having those off days comes with the territory.

This week I plan to stick with Monday through Friday plan. I think the two days of rest will be much appreciated by body.

It’s Time to Admit It…

I originally had a different blog post planned for today but this one has been on my mind for far too long. Inspired by Anne, It’s time to come clean

I have gained weight

There I said it…

I am not really surprised by this fact. 2012 was just a horrible year of running and I was incredibly stressed for most of the year but I couldn’t run… so I turned to food (I know I know – Bad). Lucky for me, I gained weight at about the same pace at which I lost it… slowly… over the course of two years. I gained back approximately 20lbs of the 70lbs that I lost.

Now – In all reality, I do not care what the scale says. I am finally getting back into strength training so that number on the scale will matter even less. BUT what I do care about is how my clothes fit. A lot of my clothes are rather snug and some I just outright cannot get into.

I have always been an advocate of everything in moderation. And I still believe that. I lost 70lbs with that strategy and was able to keep it off until everything went to hell in a hand-basket. I also know that more often I work out, the more likely I am to eat more healthy. It is when I stop I working out consistently that the old bad food habits creep back in.

I feel like for the first time in years, my running is back on track. So if I can keep this up, then I know the healthier eating habits will follow. But that is not to say that I won’t still eat Ice cream or candy or pizza. I still will.

Last year, I did try to combat some of the weight I had gained but it just backfired. Despite knowing that as soon as I say I am not allowed to have XY&Z that is all I want and then I am more likely to binge XY or Z later, that is what I tried. So this time around, I am not going to cut everything out completely. But I will allow myself cheats.

I also feel like now that I finally have the nausea issues that I experienced while on birth control eliminated, that it will help BIG time with the food aspect. I did so much experimenting last year trying to figure out how to counter the nausea feeling with food and nothing worked but it also caused me to make some not smart choices more often than not because I just didn’t want that feeling. Then, I just started to fear running because I knew that feeling would come… and… well… snowball effect.

So I am putting it out there. Now that I have the running back on track, it is time to get the eating back on track.

But that’s not to say I won’t indulge at all – Everything in Moderation – Here I go!

Base Building

Back in 2010, which I consider my first true running year, I was training for a half marathon. It was a year of firsts. And I really had no idea what I was doing

But, I somehow managed to train smartly and never got injured. I essentially had a 7 month training schedule for that half marathon.. but the first 3-4 months were more base building.

In 2011 and 2012 while I still ran, I did not run often. Nor was I running smartly. I got injured in 2011 and I didn’t actually train for any of the distance races I had. In 2012, running took a back seat to other life happenings. All the work I put in during the 2010 year was essentially lost.

Last year, I wanted to work on getting back on track. Though it wasn’t the stellar year I had hoped for myself, I did get back on track. However, I didn’t focus on building back my strong base. I had a really strong base in 2010 and I know I need to get back there to accomplish the rest of my running goals.

That’s part of the reason I wanted to take on the Holiday Challenge. You have to be able to run a mile to run two miles. So I figured, since December is typically a bad month of running for me, that I would focus on that one mile run. And to add to it, I would try to get back to my strength training routine. Which, I also feel, will help me with a solid base and to avoid injuries that I have had since that first magical year of running.

So the beginning of this year, I am focusing on that base. Knowing that all of the base building I am doing now will help me with my goal races this year (and yes, I do have a few). I also know that I need to a strong base before I can focus on trying to get faster in some distances…. I still have an elusive 5K dream…

I know that running is not easy and some days are better than other… this week has been a perfect example. Monday was a decent run, not stellar but I was pleased with it. Then Tuesday was just horrible… REALLY horrible. I felt completely out of breath and just weak. My strength training was just as bad. It was to a point where I fully expected to wake up on Wednesday with a horrendous cold because I couldn’t figure out why my workout was so terrible. But I woke up feeling fine on Wednesday. I then proceeded to have an excellent run and even more excellent strength training session.

I went from one extreme to the next… go figure

I am sticking with my overall plan for the year… to focus on that base. This month I am focusing on the two mile run and next month it will be the three mile run. I feel like after that I will have a solid enough base to start working on other things… a weekly longer run and… ummm… speed work… even though I HATE Speed work. I know I need to force myself to do it.

After looking back at my training logs from 2010, this is essentially how I did it. This is how I ran well for a solid year without getting injured. I moved away from that but it is time to get back there. Running, after all, is NOT easy… it is something you have to work at. You will have good days and you will have bad days.

After all – It Never Gets Easier – You Just Get Better

Throwback Wednesday – Chicago Half & 5K 2012

Back in 2011, I was actually signed up to this race… the half marathon. And I was going to do it with a wonderful friend. But since neither of us were anywhere near mileage, we both bailed… which was by far the quickest and easiest conversation. Which neither of us anticipated at the start of that phone call….

Anywho – Fast forward a year and I am registered to participate except this time I was only registered for the 5K with Chris. Eric was doing the half.

We all met at Eric’s bright and early to head out… But once we got near the race site, we quickly learned that bright and early wasn’t quite bright and early enough. Eric barely had enough time to gear check, take a restroom break and line up.

Chris and I headed toward the start line to watch.

It was a sunny day and pretty warm… not ideal by any means. But Chris was having issues with his IT Band and we knew we would have to wait for Eric so we opted to mostly walk the race. As we neared the finish line, Chris and I agreed that we would both run and finish our own races. So I took off… and I believe my weaving skills were better which meant I finished just slightly before Chris.

We headed through the finishers chute and were shocked when someone came up to us to give us a medal. I told the kind volunteer that I did not run the half and he (at least I think it was a he… I don’t actually remember) told me that the 5K runners get medals too.

I was shocked but pretty happy to be getting a medal for a 5K… which is VERY unusual.

Chris and I then found a bench to sit on while we waited a bit to go to the finish line to watch Eric finish. No sooner did we get there when we saw Eric go flying by so we back tracked and went towards the end of the chute to find him. The boys wanted beer and I wanted pizza so we split up briefly. We then decided to go meet up with other friends to watch football.

All in all it was a pretty decent day.

As I have stated before, this is not my favorite 5K. Love that the course is different from the normal 5K races and definitely love getting a medal. But its a bit of a hassle to get down there. So it’s not a race I am likely to do unless I have friends running the half who give me a ride to the race :-p

Official time – 45:41 for a 14:38 pace

Chicago Half & 5K Race Results 9-9-2012