Picture Friday

Me 2-22-14
At my Birthday dinner with wonderful friends and mom on Saturday (Thanks for the Picture, Mary!)

BDay Present 2-2014
Birthday Present from Mommy – I LOVE Polka Dots!

Sunrise 2-28-14
Sunrise from the Bus stop this morning… spring is on the way


Training: February 17th – 23rd

Feb 17-23Monday – Rest

I had originally planned to run on Monday… Then the weather called for snow… LOTS of snow. My best friend and her Husband also closed on their condo in my neighborhood the previous Friday. So spending the day with her was a much better idea. And it was a great day.

Tuesday – 2.00 Miles and Strength Training

Tuesday I went to the gym after work because it was still just a tad too cold. I knew this would be my only day at the gym for the week so I got in a 2 mile run and then did all of my favorite strength training exercises. I did both upper and lower body stuff but thought it best to not spend 3 hours at the gym which is why I only did my favorite exercises. The extra rest day from the week before helped but it still wasn’t enough.

Wednesday – 3.02 Miles

It was warm and the sun was shining and the wind chill wasn’t in single (or negative) territory. I geared up and eagerly headed to the Lakefront Trail for a run. It was incredible! Really just one of the best runs that I have had in a long time. I didn’t even mind the huge puddles (much) that I had to run through… and yes, my feet were soaked by the time I got home.

Thursday – Rest

Due to the weather, my mom decided to change her flight to Friday instead. I could have either gone to the gym or run outside but I had mentally committed to 5 solid days of rest and I knew my body needed it so I went and got my taxes done instead. So at least I was sort of productive.

Friday – Rest

I met mom at the airport and later we went to Macy’s to look around. We kept it low key and just grabbed some food to go before watching the Olympics on TV.

Saturday – Rest

We started off the day at Cafe Vienna for Breakfast and then headed to Michigan Ave for some shopping… which has turned into a Birthday for me (yes, Saturday was my birthday). We then both took naps and got ready to go to dinner at Calo’s… my favorite restaurant. I got to celebrate with several of my good friends over yummy food and drinks. All in all, it was a great day and a great birthday.

Sunday – Rest

After breakfast, mom and I ran some errands. I needed some things from Target and I needed groceries. So we got both done and then headed to Best Buy. The rest of the day we lounged around and watched TV. We ordered a pizza for dinner and watched the season finale of Downton Abbey.


Obviously not a stellar week for training but I knew that I needed the rest. Getting back to training this week. I just really hope that the weather starts to get better soon… I am finding it more and more difficult to run indoors…

Throwback Wednesday – Monster Dash 2012

The timing of this race wasn’t exactly stellar… I had run exactly 2 times since the Oktoberfest 5K… That is two times in nearly 5 weeks.

Eric discovered this race and was really excited about it. I signed up more as a “sure why not” kind of thing but the desire to actually RACE was minimal. Lucky for me (perhaps) is the fact that the the 5K portion was not officially timed.

We got to the race site far too early. Luckily it was a nice morning. The sun was out and it was a tad cold but not too bad. We wandered around a bit and checked out other peoples costumes. Eric then went to line up for the Half and I headed toward the start line to watch everyone start the half and then the 10K.

Finally I was able to line up for the 5K and we were off. Not a huge fan of the start of this race. The sidewalk is in bad shape. Eventually we wound our way to the Lakefront trail heading North. It was crowded but I didn’t care. I was not running for time. In fact, I ran/walked the race. One cool thing was they had buckets on candy on the course at various spots. A nod to trick or treating I am sure. But it was kind of fun to get excited like I used to when I was a kid.

Once I got closer to the finish line, I ran up the hill and sped up a bit… and then I came to a complete stop… Several feet BEFORE the finish line. Ummmm…

It was so crowded that I wasn’t actually able to cross the finish line. I stopped my watch because I didn’t really care about my time but there was no point in letting the watch run while I waited for the crowd to move. I would have been so angry had I actually been running for time or had I done the 10K or the Half.

Once I got through and actually CROSSED the finish line, I got my medal and grabbed a bagel and a bottle of water. I rather liked the medal at the time… even if I didn’t really have to work for it. I do like getting a medal for a 5K but still feel a tad guilty if I didn’t really work for it…. Which was a common theme with me and 5K medals for 2012

I didn’t have to wait too long for Eric… the 30 minutes (maybe 40… I don’t entirely remember) time difference between the half start time and the 5K start time helped… as did the little pile up at the finish line.

We didn’t stick around for too long after and made our way back to the bus to head home.

My ‘Official’ Time – 36:50 for a 12:20 Pace – My watch also indicated that the course was about a tenth of a mile too short…


Scheduled Rest

When I first started running… and had no idea what I was doing… I, surprisingly did a lot right. I ran a set number of DAYS instead of chasing a certain number of miles. If I started running and wasn’t entirely feeling it then I would simply run less that day. I also took a solid two days a week of rest. For the most part, I kept this up for a year without injury.

Then everything fell apart…

Over the past year, I have evaluated what worked for me and what didn’t. I also took a look back at all my running logs. I know what works for me now and as the saying goes… if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

So, towards the end of November, I returned to what worked for me. Except, I really missed strength training. I also know that strength training is GOOD for runners. I took my running mileage down… like way down… to somewhere between 1 and 2 miles a day…. With a handful of runs over two miles… but every few.

At least 5 days a week, I was running. I was also strength training at least 3 to 4 times a week. I was going strong for about two months and overall I was feeling good.

Then… around the middle of January, I started to noticed that I was tired. Not just, I didn’t sleep well tired… but really just exhausted and fatigued. I started to tell myself it was a combination of my longer work hours while still maintaining the workout schedule. But about two weeks ago, I figured out that in all reality, my body needs a break.

See back in 2010 when I started my 5 days a week of running, I was NOT strength training. Sure, I might throw in some lunges or sit-ups every now and then but overall the only thing I was doing was running. So I wasn’t really comparing apples to apples when I set my goals for this year. I found the flaw in my plan…

I started toying with the idea of taking a scheduled break from working out about a month ago and then two weeks ago… the decision sort of made itself. I couldn’t deny that my body needs a break.

My diet has been a LOT better since the holidays ended and I have actually been sleeping really well… even if there is the occasional night when I don’t sleep as well… but for the most part, I am getting my 7 to 8 hours.  So really, there wasn’t too much explanation for this constant feeling of fatigue. I also started to notice that my workouts were getting harder and harder to get through and in all reality, I felt like I was just going through the motions instead of working… if that makes any sense. The strength training wasn’t stellar and the running pace was getting slower and slower and I have found it really difficult to push myself harder. I would try and my body just wouldn’t let me.

So I took an extra rest day last week, I scaled back on the running miles a tad and I scaled back the strength training. This week – only two runs for me… and I can already tell that my extra rest day last week helped but wasn’t enough.

I feel confident in my decision to rest a lot this week while mom is in town. In the past, my periods of rest where usually the result of illness… or just plain being lazy (or condo buying….).

My hope is that taking a solid 5 days off will allow my body time to recharge so I can enter my next phase of training. It is time to start focusing on some of my longer distance races for the year and work on my time goal for the BAA race.

While taking the time off, I am also going to try to come up with a better schedule for the strength training and running. I have known for a while that once I start running longer that I would need to revamp the strength training plan so I will use this time off to do that. Not really sure what the end result will be yet but I have some ideas on how to make this work. I am willing to be flexible over the following weeks until I find the secret recipe for myself.

I went into this year determined to get my running base back and focus on being a stronger running… and the reality is that sometimes you need the rest. Sometimes you need to listen to your body.

Has anyone else ever taken an extended period of rest while training?

Throwback Wednesday – Moving and Running Do Not Mix

The week after the Oktoberfest race, I finally got good news… I had a closing date… and it was in less than 48 hours… Mom was on her way up to Chicago and I still had a LOT of packing to do…

On top of all of that… the skeeball league I had signed up for and committed to months ago was starting up and I was heading to Atlantic City with Eric… a trip that was also planned months ago… hell… it was planned before I even started looking at condos.

Timing is everything…

I did consider backing out my other commitments but in all reality it wouldn’t have made much difference. I was incredibly lucky in that my mom was driving up to assist with everything.

Closing day… Oh boy… I won’t go into details but it was a HIGHLY stressful day that had lots of snafus that could have caused MAJOR issues… It all worked out… at the very last possible second things could. But the added stress didn’t help.

After the closing, I wanted to show my mom my new pride and joy and then I had to zip off to Skeeball. In giving mom a tour we noticed that the closet shelves had been poorly installed… which added a whole new set of costs that I had no originally planned on incurring. Home Ownership is fun…

The following morning, bright and early, mom and I hiked it over to Sherwin Williams to pick out paint colors and get some samples… there was NO WAY I was sticking with the existing colors. We then had a short chat with the building manager and learned of some fun rules that had been updated and that I apparently had a very outdated version of the by-laws… Fun

This meant needing to hire movers at the last minute and no longer being able to have the painters in over the weekend. Our time line was getting smaller by the minute. Lucky for me, choosing the final paint colors to use was a quick and easy process. I knew what I wanted and had spent hours already pouring over paint samples… so once we had the samples up on the wall it was a quick decision.

Then we had to grab a quick lunch and I needed to pack for a weekend get away. Mom then drove Eric and I to the airport. I spent the weekend trying to enjoy the trip but overall I was really stressed and exhausted so I probably didn’t have as much fun as I would have had the timing been different. Mom spent the weekend hiring and scheduling worker bees.

The following week while I worked, mom directed the worker bees. We decided that I was going to get all new shelving in my closets so we made a trip to Container Store. Despite the unexpected expense… it really was worth it in the long run.

Morning dad was going to get into town, I woke up with a cold… day before I was to move. We picked dad up and continued to run errands. It was a night of very little sleep for all us… all sharing my studio apartment…

Woke up the morning of moving feeling really icky… months of stress and losing sleep due to anxiety had finally caught up with me. Mom went to the condo to direct the guys installing my floors and urging them to work FAST while dad I stayed at my Apt to direct my movers.

Get the apartment all packed up and dad and I head over to the condo… floors are still going down in the Living Room… so that means ALL of my possessions must go into my bedroom. And for the record… my apartment was once accurately described as the clown car of apartments.

So now, I own a one bedroom condo and I won’t be sleeping in that bedroom for quite a while… love the irony.

Dad I headed off to Ikea while mom stayed behind to clean… and it ended up being a good decision because there was no way all three of us would have fit in the car with the furniture on the way home. A panicked SOS to Chris and Eric to help me with getting the furniture from the car to inside my condo was also needed. The stuff was HEAVY and I can only lift so much and my father shouldn’t be lifting…. thats what guy friends are for right? :-p

Eric stayed behind to help me put together my new TV console while Chris jetted off to meet friends since he already had plans. Dad managed to get my mattress out of my bedroom and into the living room so I could sleep on something other than my pretty new hardwood floor.

After another night of not really sleeping well, we ran some more errands and then dad took off… With the marathon the following day, it was really the only option. We couldn’t park the car in any of the normal places and we didn’t want him stuck in extra traffic. Mom stayed behind to help me try to unpack… but since my closet shelves weren’t going to be installed for another week… there wasn’t much that could be done.

I also had to turn in my keys to my apartment… the apartment that I lived in for 7 years… I was really sad. It was however, only fitting that the person that handed me my apartment keys when I moved in was the same person I would turn them into…

I still felt miserable… I had a rather nasty cold.

Sunday (Marathon day) mom and I needed to do something that did NOT involve the condo so we went for breakfast and then wandered around MI ave.

The following week, I spent a lot of time sleeping and getting over my cold while. My closet shelves were installed and I spent two more weeks getting stuff unpacked and put away.

Needless to say… there was very little time for running…


Training: February 10th – 16th

Feb 10-16

Monday – 3.00 Miles & Lower Body Strength Training

It became evident that my three months of training was starting to take its toll… I have been incredibly fatigued for weeks but I have soldiered on and pushed through… Oh and that whole not icing after every run like a good girl finally caught up to me as well. My knee flared. So I have been icing for a solid week now but didn’t want to take a full week off until Mom is here… so I decided to scale back and cut miles if needed. Despite all of this, my run on Monday was at a surprising pace. I honestly expected to be slower and even thought I was on pace to BE slower… but I picked it up a tad for the last mile. Go figure. I also scaled back on the strength training. I wanted to keep up the working out but I need the rest… so dropping the reps/sets was my compromise

Tuesday – 2.50 Miles & Upper Body Strength Training

I was so angry after this run. One other thing I have noticed about the track is that on the days we run counter-clockwise (in general we run clockwise one day and then the opposite direction the next… unless the first person on the track completely ignores the directional sign and runs whichever direction they choose and the rest of us just follow) is that it hurts more to run counter-clockwise… though I am not entirely sure why. I also tend to be slower. I fought hard but I just couldn’t do the final 4 laps. In fact, I almost gave up after 2 miles but then forced another half mile… which my body did not appreciate so I gave it. I didn’t spend a lot of the time strength training after because I really was just angry about the run. I was also tired and just frustrated in general…

Wednesday – 2.97 Miles

The temperature finally hit double digits and the wind chill didn’t send that temp into the single digits. I just couldn’t do another run indoors… Mentally I needed to be outside. When I got home, I geared up and headed to the lakefront trail. I considered turning around shortly after my two mile turn around point but I really wasn’t ready to give up yet so I headed to my three mile turn around point… but with all the snow, I could get to all the way there and be able to stop for a moment without being in the way. I was blown away by the beauty of the LFT in the winter since I tend to avoid the LFT in the winter. I was really disappointed that I didn’t bring my phone with me so I could take some pictures…

Thursday – Rest

I had every intention of running…  I geared up and headed outside but then Mr. Garmin decided he wanted to sleep… He just wouldn’t locate the satellites. After waiting outside for 20 minutes and still not hitting the ‘Halfway’ mark for locating the satellites… I gave up. I was cold and I had no idea how much longer I would be waiting… and I knew I would lose the light soon as well and I hadn’t geared up for running in the dark. I just didn’t have the heart for running at the gym so I opted for a rest day knowing how much my body needed it.

Friday  – Rest

Towards the end of the day, I wasn’t sure how my Single self wanted to spend Valentine’s day. Part of me wanted to run outside, part wanted to run at the gym and then strength train and part of me wanted to just veg on my couch with junk food and watch the Olympics. I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and couldn’t resist the junk food (and I really should not be allowed in a grocery store on a holiday intended for couples) so option C was the winner.

Saturday – 2.06 Miles

I had a lazy morning watching USA hockey beat Russia… thank you body for not letting me go back to sleep after waking up at 6:45 although I ended up being glad I was able to watch the game live because it really was an awesome game. I then went to run an errand and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to run or not. Part of me felt guilty for even considering another rest day (even though I knew I still needed it) and the other part of me just wanted to run. So when I got home, I geared up before I had a chance to change my mind. Luckily Mr. Garmin thought running was a good idea as well… I decided to stick with a shorter run and use the parking lot behind the zoo. I was glad that I made that decision because the knee reminded me of the flare up about a half mile in… although, overall it felt better than it had earlier in the week. Progress…

Sunday – Rest

I did consider running outside since the sun was out and according to the weather app I use, it was warmish. But in all reality, I had decided that Sunday was going to be my day on the couch where all I would do would be watching TV/Movies and being an overall lazy bum… and it was glorious!


I will be taking a planned break from running for most of this week. With the weather on Monday, I didn’t even bother with trying to run. Mom gets in on Thursday and I won’t lace up again until she is back in TX. I feel like I really need this break so I am going to take it and hopefully next week I will be recharged and ready to go. Luckily the weather will be nicer this week so I can get in a run outside too.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Picture Friday

Ok – So I really liked this idea last week and totally love the idea of making this a weekly thing


Happy VDAY
Let’s Just get this out of the way

A Co-Worker sent this to me earlier this week saying that he imagined this being me. I completely agreed with him and he totally made me smile after getting yelled at by two different clients in the span of 10 minutes. The thing about my job is that some days are slow and some days I barely have enough time to get my normal daily tasks done. On those latter days, this is very much applicable. There are also some days where if I did NOT bring my lunch… I wouldn’t be eating…

Runners are often referred to as Crazy… and we definitely are. This winter a lot of us have been forced to either run in the snow or run indoors. Though, I can run on a track instead of a treadmill… I will admit that mentally it is more challenging to do so. So I have been going a little nuts being forced inside.

Outside Run 2-12-14
And the previous picture transitions to this one… The weather in Chicago warmed a bit this week… Like the wind chill was no longer in the single digits warm. It was about 20 degrees when I did the run but the sun was out and there was very little wind. I just couldn’t handle another day on the indoor track. I was thrilled to be outside and it was absolutely gorgeous along the Lakefront Trail in a way that is the complete opposite from the summer. I actually really wished I had brought my phone or a camera with me… Might do a run on the Lakefront Trail over the next couple days just to get some pictures. Now… if only my watch had cooperated last night when I tried to run. But Maggie taught my how to use the stop watch function so it hopefully won’t be an issue again…

This is not running related and I imagine it will be difficult to read (click on the image to make it bigger) but since one of my other passions is Baseball, I am adding this one. The letter depicted above is Derek Jeter’s resignation. He will complete the 2014 season and then retire from baseball to pursue other interests and have a personal life. He is a true Yankee… He came up through their farm system and has never played for another team…. nor would he want to. He is not only an outstanding player but has shown incredible respect, leadership and humility. As a die hard Yankee fan, I will be very sad to see the last of the core 4 go. I knew the day had to come but it will be a sad one. He will go down in history as one of the best Yankees. After all, that is why he has number 2… the single digit numbers are reserved only for Yankee greats (some Yankee history for ya) and I am sure they are already preparing his plaque for monument park (which means I will need to make a return trip).

Hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Product Review – Suddora Sweatbands

The good people over at Suddora contacted me to review their product. Though I do not typically use sweatbands, I was intrigued so thought I would give it a go.

Disclaimer – I was offered the product for free but all thoughts and opinions are my own

In the past when I have tried sweatbands, I have used the ones that go on the wrist and I have found that they rarely fit well. In fact… One that I have fits so horribly that it actually HURTS because it is way too tight.

I decided that I wanted to try the Zipper Sweatband Wristbands because who doesn’t need another spot to store items when on the run?


I threw it in my gym bag to use the next day. I had a two mile and some upper body strength training on the schedule. I put it on when I got the gym and was immediately impressed that it fit snuggly but it did not hurt.

Throughout my entire two mile run, it didn’t budge. It stayed in place without being bothersome and definitely came in handy to wipe sweat from my forehead. After my run, I headed down to the weight area curious to see how it would hold up when I was using my arms more. And it held up really well. It didn’t budge and never felt too tight. It also came in very handy when I did planks and found that the arm that I wasn’t wearing the band on was slipping on the mat. When I took it off in the locker room it came off easily and didn’t leave a huge imprint… which further proves that it fit well without being too tight.

I was very impressed with how the product held up in my first test. More than a week later and the product is still holding up well.

The pocket is a good size too. I have mostly been using it to hold chap stick and my gym locker key and both fit easily with room to spare. I don’t use gels or Gu but I imagine the pocket would easily be big enough for at least one of those (if not two)… I just don’t have any of those at home to test that theory.

Overall I was very impressed with the product and think it will come in handy during the summer running season. I plan to use it to wear under my watch because once I start to sweat the watch moves around a lot on my wrist which bugs me to no end. It will also fit my gym pass which will be useful on the days when I choose to do a run to/from the gym or just get in my run outside and end at the gym. In the past I have had to hold my gym pass… which is annoying for a runner who likes to have free hands.

They have a variety of different products from sweatbands, arm bands, and even headbands and tons of different colors to choose from. So go check them out!

Throwback Wednesday – Oktoberfest 5K 2012

Since I am always up for an evening race and this one is in LP, it was pretty easy to decide that I would sign up for the race. Eric decided to join me as well.

I had opted to wear the race shirt… because I needed to do laundry and I had packed a good portion of my running gear… The thing was HUGE… like close to being a dress huge. Oh well. Eric and I met up shortly before the race started… as in maybe 5 minutes before and we lined up and took a quick photo.

2 Oktoberfest 9-20-12

I knew we wouldn’t be running together… He is faster than I am so we separated quickly once the race began.

Since I run through LP often I am pretty familiar with the course… It was a normal course… except for a few weird things… like having to run across the baseball fields… which was just WEIRD. And rather bumpy… The grass in that area is not exactly even… There was also some looping on the other side of the LaSalle underpass which is hilly. I was hardly prepared since running wasn’t happening. But I made the best of it.

I hated the course though.

Eric and I met up after the race and neither of us wanted to go to the after party. Eric’s sister had gone into labor so he had to make plans to go to MI. I had packing to do… even though I still did not have a closing date and I needed to be out of my Apt in about two weeks…

In hindsight, I think my stress over the condo and moving shadowed any chance of enjoyment with this race…. plus, I just REALLY hated that course (luckily it changed in 2013).

My Official Time – 35:59 for a 11:36 Pace

Oktoberfest 5K Race Results 2012

Strength Training – Some Details – Part 3

I know lots of core exercises but I always seem to only do some at home and some at the gym… rarely do I do them in both spots… not entirely sure why… This is still just the stuff that I do at the gym. I am playing with the idea of having one full day devoted to the core when I go to the gym but haven’t decided yet. Right now, I just add a few of the below to the end of my Lower body or Upper body day.

Core Stuff

Yoga Ball Sit-Ups – 50 Reps – 2 or 3 Sets
This is one of those exercises that I used to never do in the gym… perhaps because when I started using the gym… about 11 years ago… they didn’t have a Yoga ball. Now they have several. I still prefer the Yoga ball I have at home over the ones at the gym (which always seem to be over-inflated or under-inflated) but I decided that I really should be this exercise more often.

Plank – 2 or 3 Sets of 30 Seconds
Again, a move I tend to do at home more… perhaps because I have easier access to a timer than at the gym.  I never bring my phone with me when at the gym… and when I do, I leave it in the locker so I don’t have a timer to use when I am at the gym. There is clock mounted on the wall which has a seconds hand but it is rather difficult to read and far away. It is also only visible from one side of the two sided stretch area. The digital clock on the floor (of course) is not visible from the stretch area at all.

Lower Back – 15 Reps – 2 or 3 Sets
There is a machine that you sit in and lean back and then lean forward and repeat that works the lower back… but hell if I know what the machine is called. It works really well too and is usually less popular than some other contraptions that work the back in the same way.

Standing Side Crunch – 25 Reps – 3 or 4 Sets
I know there are lots of ways to work the obliques (side abs) but this is my favorite. I always have a weight in my hand when I do these as well. I know side plank is probably a better exercise but for some reason that always REALLY hurts my shoulder whenever I try to do that… so I stick with this.

Leg Raises – 12 Reps – 3 Sets
I have a love/hate relationship with this one. I know it is a very good exercise but its HARD. Although… it probably wouldn’t be as hard if I did it more often… work in progress