Weekly Training Report: May 18th – 24th

May 18-24

Monday – 2.20 / 20:40

Headed outside on the LFT for a short run. It was a windy day but the weather was gorgeous otherwise. Knowing that I had a goal race that I was prepared for, I opted to keep the mileage low and decided two-ish miles would be good for the day.

Tuesday – 1.25 / 11:52

Decided to head to the gym to avoid the cooler weather and get in a strength training session. Keeping with the low mileage theme for the week I did a little warm up mile and then decided to do some sprints where I would sprint the straights and run the curves. In all fairness… I should probably make speed work a regular thing. After the run, I hit the weights and got in a pretty decent workout.

Wednesday – Rest

After work I got the race bibs for everyone for the JPM Corp Challenge and the packets for Chris and I for SF10. The weather was icky so I didn’t walk as much as I might have but I still got in a decent walk.

Thursday – JPM Corporate Challenge – 3.50 / 37:46

What a difference a day makes… the weather was now gorgeous compared to the cold and rain and wind from the day before. It was a good day for a leisurely run downtown. You can read my full report of the race here.

Friday – Rest

This was always a planned rest day with a goal race the following morning. I just hoped that race anxiety wouldn’t get the best of me and I would actually get a somewhat decent night of sleep…

Saturday – SF 10 Mile – 10.00 / 1:49:35

It was race day and I was ready to race… although not as ready as I should be. I knew training hadn’t gone too well and I wasn’t truly ready for the going after my time goal but… I was at least more ready for this race than the previous two years… minor victories. You can read my full report here.

Sunday – Rest

I did consider running but I was also pretty tired. The previous day had been a very long one with the trip up to Milwaukee and the play. It was a fun day but I was tired. After getting back into the city, Chris was nice enough to take me to the grocery store before dropping me off at home. I met up with a friend later in the evening to see a movie but the movie ended up being sold out so instead we grabbed some drinks instead and just talked. All in all it was a good Sunday.

~~~~~~~

Definitely have some work to do before I can go after the 1:40 goal again. Heading into the “off Season” for me but I think I have a good plan of how to tackle it.

Race Report: Soldier Field 10 Mile

1 SF10 5-23-2015

Over the years, this race has become one of my favorite races… it is a race that will always appear on my race schedule. In all good intentions, I wanted to train for this race… for the first time ever since I missed my 10 mile time goal in November. But life happens when you are making plans and training went to hell in a hand basket. Despite my desire to nail my time goal, I knew that ultimately, I wasn’t where I needed to be to make it happen.

But I was still optimistic that things would line up perfectly and I would have one of those magical run days…

I headed over to Fleet Feet to get my and Chris’ race packets on Wednesday after work and it was a seamless process… although getting the confirmation email from them was not so seamless… I think they had some sort of email issue because this is the first time I have ever had that issue with a Fleet Feet Race.

While looking at our bib numbers in the email, I noticed that Chris was two corrals behind me… and I haven’t the foggiest clue how that happened because he is faster than me. Luckily, this year, I had an early corral so I knew I would start the race earlier than in years past. But I joked with Chris that my new goal was to finish the race before him… Because I knew if he passed me he would happily smack my butt while running past me. We then came up with a running plan. He would more than likely catch up to me and then run the rest of the race with me since I was going for a 1:40 and he would be happy with a 1:30.

He was gracious enough to pick me up the morning of the race which made the logistics far easier. Post race we would head to breakfast before showering and then leaving for Milwaukee to go see Book of Mormon. We got there with plenty of time and no issues. After taking a quick pre-race picture, we checked our bags and headed over to the start corrals.

2 SF10 5-23-2015

The starting ceremony honored all those that have lost their lives fighting for our country and thanked those that continue to serve. There was a long list of names read out of those that have lost their lives since this race last year. I found myself getting choked up this year thinking of S just starting his career in the military and hoping that I never have to hear his name at this race.

The race started at 7 am on the dot with the elites and then the first two corrals. They allowed a minute and a half between each corral after that so 6 minutes later, I was at the very front of my corral and right on the start line when the horn went off and we started running.

And I stupidly went out WAY too fast… I was running sub 8 for maybe half a mile which I is a pace that I can maintain for… about half a mile. Being at the very front of the corral might not have been the best idea…

I slowed it down and just ran comfortable for the next few miles, walking through the first water station. I was checking my mile splits whenever I saw the mile markers and knew I was already off pace for hitting my goal and knew my pace was not going to get better the more I ran.

Right after the second water station as I was finishing my cup of water, I saw Chris and sprinted to catch up to him. I briefly debated smacking his butt since he would have done the same to me had he actually seen me as he passed me but instead I tapped him on his shoulder. This was about 3.50 miles into the race. We ran together until the mile 4 marker and I checked my split. I was slowing so I told him that 1:40 wasn’t going to happen. He said he would see me at the finish and we parted ways.

We reached the turn around shortly after and I was started to head back toward Soldier Field I did a body check. I was starting to feel sore and I knew I had a blister forming… or already formed on one of my toes that would only get worse if I left the tape on it.

I also saw someone down on the ground… clearly in distress and not moving. There were about 10 other runners around this person and I heard one person on the phone with 911… Scary sight to see and I hope that person ended up being ok

After the next water stop which wasn’t too far after the turn around, I stopped to take the tape off my toe to stop the blister from getting worse. So I lost a few minutes there but knew it had to be done. I then headed on my merry way…

Until I reached the one massive hill that kills me every year. I know I write about this hill every year but I also manage to block it from memory each year and never remember it is part of the course until I am upon it. Since I was already struggling, I opted to walk up the hill instead of run.

The next few miles were a struggle… the sun was shining bright and I was getting thirsty quickly. One thing I love about this race is that there is a water station about every mile and a half which I am very thankful for. I was walking more than I wanted to but I just couldn’t hold on.

Once I hit mile marker 8 I saw 1:34 and change on the clock. I knew I wouldn’t be able to run two miles in 15 minutes so I knew that a 1:45 was out the window but I still had a fighting chance for a 1:50 so I started to try to pick up the pace a bit but still allowed myself a few walk breaks.

Hitting the 9 mile mark and knowing I was almost done, I allowed myself a short walk break and then took off. I wanted to leave everything I had left on the course. The last half mile feels like forever because we have to go past the start line and keep running until we reach the downhill to head into the stadium. I love that downhill because I can pick up time and charge ahead.

As I entered the stadium I could see the time clock reading 1:55 and change so I rushed forward as fast as I could to beat the clock from turning over to 1:56. After crossing the finish line, I was definitely done. It wasn’t my best race but I did give it my best. I got my medal from the nice serviceman and thanked him for his service before getting a bottle of water. I then headed toward gear check to get my bag and find Chris.

He had already checked his time and knew he was 1:23 and change… Awesome job!

I got my bag and we headed out of the concourse and got our runner goody bag… which is an actual bag. I think more races need to do this because it is difficult to carry the bottle of water and all the snacks we receive post race. We did not stick around for the post race party and headed to the car to go get food and shower and get on the road.

This race always does a great job on the medals and this year is no different

4 SF10 5-23-2015

My Official Time – 1:49:35 for a pace of 10:58. It is not the time I wanted but I am happy with it knowing that I wasn’t where I needed to be physically. I have some work to do to get to that 1:40 goal….

5 SF10 5-23-2015

Race Report: JPM Chase Corporate Challenge

JPM Corp Challenge 2015.jpg

It was my first time running this race since 2009. I am hardly the same runner I was back in 2009… a lot has changed. But I did know that one thing had not changed… this is not a race you run for time. Plus I had a goal race two days later so it was never my intention to run this for time. I decided to use this race as a shake out run and just run at a slow conversational pace instead.

Despite knowing that this is a race you cannot run for time, I still expected some sort of organization. Instead it seemed like mass chaos. And really… why on earth does a race with over 25,000 runners NOT have a gear check tent?!?!?!

From what I could see there were a total of “4 corrals” and I am putting that in quotes because there was zero policing of said corrals and there didn’t seem to be any reason why a person was in the A corral over the D corral. The only Corral that was policed was the “elite” corral… and those people had a different color bib.

It took forever to get into the corrals and there was certainly no way of knowing which corral was for which pace. Would it really be that difficult to hang some pacing signs?

Granted, I fully understand that this race is 90% people who don’t usually run and instead do this “race” once a year to spend time with friends/co-workers but the race organizers could still attempt some sort of order for those of us that do run.

My two biggest complaints are definitely the lack of gear check and the lack of correctly paced corrals.

Be that as it may, I knew going into this race that unless you are an elite, there is no way to be able to run this for time. Which meant that I went into the race deciding I was just going to have fun and run slow.

Lucky for me, one of my co-workers wanted someone to run with and she runs at a slower pace than I normally do so I happily volunteered to run with her.

The race started on time but it took me a solid 22 minutes to cross the start line. Race organizers narrowed the corrals down significantly and that was the start line thus creating a huge bottleneck. Not exactly the best way to get over 25,000 runners across a start line.

Once crossing the start line, I turned to my co-worker and asked, “so how are you at crowd dodging?” She said she was decent so I proceeded to start weaving because there were so many walkers already… If I wanted to run this race for time, I would have been very annoyed.

The rest of the race was pretty enjoyable and I chatted with my co-worker some. I noticed all of the mile markers, though I was apparently the only one from my company who noticed all of them. I have no idea if they were accurate because running on lower Wacker means I lose satellite reception on my Garmin. Luckily, it had been cold the previous day so lower Wacker was not hot and stuffy like normal.

There was never really any room to open up and there were a lot of turns as well so it was difficult to truly get into a groove. Nearing the finish line it was difficult to break into a sprint because there were too many people but we tried and did finish strong.

When then found our co-workers and waited for everyone else to finish before calling it a night.

All in all, it was an enjoyable night and perfect weather but this race definitely has a LOT of room for improvement.

My official Time – 37:46 for a 10:48 Pace which I am more than happy with for a shake out run

3 JPM Corp Challenge 5-21-2015

Ready to Race

Tomorrow I am running the Soldier Field 10 Mile (SF10) race. Over the past couple of years, it has become one of my favorite races to run for several reasons.

The race has been always been very well run. Fleet Feet does an excellent job putting on races and this race is no different. The course is wide and open and there is quite often more than enough room to run. Water stations are plentiful which is always a huge bonus for me… and the back half of the race is along the LFT which (by this time of the year) usually has water fountains on which has helped me more than once. Ending the race on the 50 yard line of Soldier Field is unique and a lot of fun… even if you aren’t a Bears/Football/Sports fan, it is a different kind of finish line that makes this race a little more unique. And I have always been a fan of the medal we receive as well.

But there is something else about this race that I love that I have rarely spoken about. In case none of you have noticed, this race occurs on Memorial Day Weekend every year on Saturday. There is a reason for that. Fleet Feet chooses to honor those have served and are serving our country. Those that are willing to risk their lives for our freedom. Before each corral starts to run, the announcer always names every single person within that corral who has served or is still serving in our military. At the end of the race, we receive our medals from a military person. There is also always at least one person who runs with an American flag every year… I have no idea if it is the same person each person.

I remember the first time I ran this race how moved I was to see that American Flag while running this race. At that time, I was struggling because I foolishly took Gatorade instead of water at the first water station which caused my stomach to cramp the remainder of the race. But seeing that flag, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride and I was determined to finish the race even though I desperately wanted to quit. Each year, I continue to be moved by seeing that American flag on the course and I know this year will be the same.

This year, however, I expect to be more emotional than normal. I have always had the utmost respect for those that have served or are serving in our military. I have had family members serve in the past and have known a lot people through the years that have served as well. But this year is a little different for me because now one of my dearest friends is in the military. From the time that I met him, I knew that was his goal and it is what drove him to try and be the best that he could be. He has helped me so much over the past year. He was there for me when I really needed someone and he helped me battle my demons. He helped me become a better runner. I am now considering time goals for various race distances that I never dreamed I could attain but I am already close to them. Yes, I had to put in the work but he helped me get there with support and encouragement and knowledge. I know he will always cheer me on and believe in me, even if it is from afar. This time goal that I have in mind is because of him… and honestly, it is a time goal that I never considered until he suggested it. He had faith in me before I did.

I want that time goal that he set for me but I also know that training fell apart this cycle and I am not where I should be. But I still intend to go after the goal. I am prepared for missing it but I still want it and that want will help carry me through. I also know that he has my back and has faith in me and knowing that will help when I start to struggle on the back half… When my lack of training sets in and I start to hurt and want to give up.

So tomorrow when I line up to race, I won’t be racing just for me. I will be racing for those that have served and continue to serve our country. The men and women that are willing to risk their lives for our freedom. Thank you to all of those men and women.

Weekly Training Report: May 11th – 17th

May 11-17

Monday – 3.05 / 29:20

It was a windy and a humid one out there. Definitely battled the wind when I turned back south and then when I headed west but overall it was a good run. Need to work on getting acclimated to the warmer and humid weather too.

Tuesday – 3.01 / 29:46

Really didn’t feel like/want to run but I forced myself to lace up and head out there. It was warmer than I expected it to be but the run was a battle the entire time. My heart just wasn’t in it.

Wednesday – Rest

I was in the same boat as Tuesday but I also didn’t think I had the will to battle through another bad run so I decided to get some errands out of the way instead. Since I wasn’t running, I figured walking my errands would be smart so I got in quite a nice walk.

Thursday – Rest

This was a planned rest day since there was a condo association meeting in the evening. It was our annual meeting and oddly, I actually do enjoy going to these.

Friday – 3.08 / 29:38

I received a text from S on the way home. S has always been my support in running even though it can’t be everyday anymore. But it was just the swift kick in the butt that I needed to get out the door and actually look forward to the run. The run felt awesome which was a stark contrast to most of my running over the past few weeks. I also passed Eric while on the LFT.

Saturday – 3.07 / 29:47

Haircut day which means an early start for me. Well… in all honestly, most every day is an early start for me but this one meant I was up, dressed and had breakfast all before 9. After my haircut, I headed to get groceries and proceeded to do two miles of Grocery carries (AKA Farmer Carries) home. Awesome workout but the extreme humidity and much warmer temps meant I was sweating like crazy by the time I got home. I changed to head out for a run immediately since the weather called for off and on rain/storms and the next hour looked clear. I ran into Eric when I was near my half way point so he joined my for a little bit. He was doing 10 miles but I knew I was calling it at three miles. It was very humid outside and I knew that running at noon may not have been the smarted move… especially after two miles of grocery carries but since I need to start acclimating to the weather, I figured why not.

Sunday – 3.07 / 29:32

My building has yet to turn the AC on so it has been stifling in my condo. I made sure to get my meal prep for the week done right away to avoid the afternoon heat up. I then headed out for a run even though I knew it was the warmer part of the day but I also knew that it was cooler outside than it was in my home… plus I wanted to watch the Hawks play at 2. It was cooler along the LFT which was much appreciated and for once, I was happy to run into the wind. I did notice at one point running where it felt like I crossed some sort of front because it went from cool to a wall of heat… it was odd because I had never felt that before and it was a drastic change. I was at least quicker than the day before so that was something.

~~~~~~

I made the decision early in the week to just ditch the longer run and instead just focus on trying to run 5 days this week. Small victories.

Weekly Training Report: May 4th – 10th

May 4-10

Monday – Rest

Mom was still in town so when I got home from work we headed up to our favorite restaurant for dinner. It was yummy 🙂

Tuesday – 3.09 / 29:42

It was foggy and chilly running on the LFT. The wind going north was brutal but luckily it wasn’t one of those of days where I was always running into the wind. The week didn’t look promising weather wise so I wasn’t sure how often I would be able to run outside. So I took advantage of it while I could. After the run, I did a lot of lunges… I think I did 50 per leg… but of course I didn’t count or write it down…

Wednesday – 6.01 / 59:26

Living about half a mile from the LFT, it is usually as cool at my place as it on the LFT however, today was a day where it got noticeably cooler the closer I got to the lake. There was easily a 5 degree difference between my home and the lakefront. But despite the dense fog along the lake, I took advantage of less wind and cooler temps and decided to put in 6 miles.

Thursday – 2.02 / 19:43

This run was brutal. Doing a lot of lunges and then doing a longer run the day after wasn’t the smartest plan since my body is a tad out of shape right now. Added to the warmer weather which I am not acclimated to yet and I just felt beat up during this run.

Friday – Rest

As it was getting closer to time to leave work, I checked the weather, as I often do if I plan to run and saw that there were some pretty severe storms moving quickly towards the city. Part of me hoped I would be able to get home and run in time before they hit. However, a check of the weather once I was on the bus told me that I would be lucky just to get home in time. In the end, I made it home about 10 minutes before it started to pour. So it ended up being a night on my couch catching up on TiVo.

Saturday – 2.00 / 20:00

Everything about this run sucked. I took it to the indoor track because the weather was awful and no matter how hard I tried, I could not seem to make my legs go faster than a 10:00 pace. I was rather angry with the run when I was done so I decided the smart and logical thing to do would be to get in some speed work… because this makes perfect sense. Taking advantage of the track, I sprinted the straights and walked the curves. Surprisingly, I was able to sprint… go figure. After the track work, I headed downstairs to get in some strength training. Definitely should have increased the weight though because it felt a little too easy.

Sunday – Rest

I had the best intentions to run but I was just too tired. The thought of dealing with the awful was completely unappealing as was the thought of hiking it to the gym to run two or three miles. A nap sounded so much more fun… so that is exactly what I did.

~~~~~~~

Despite not having the best week of running, I was glad that I at least got in a longer run for the week. But I also came to the realization that I am not going to be where I need to be to go for my time goal at SF10. Unless I have one of those truly magical race days where everything lines up perfectly, it is just not going to happen… so that’s been making the motivation to run more difficult.

Weekly Training Report: April 20th – May 3rd

Apr 20 - May 3

April 20 – Monday – 3.00 / 28:36

Took the running indoors because there was a wind chill of 39 and I just didn’t want to deal with that at the end of April. My first two miles were a little too fast and I faded starting the third mile but I still managed to finish strong on the last two laps. Followed the run with leg day at the gym. My attempts to stay consistent with strength training have been hit or miss… a lot of miss

April 21 – Tuesday – 2.18 / 20:41

At the last minute, I decided to take the run outside instead of hiking it to the gym. I quickly realized that was a bad idea because it was insanely windy. Wanted to battle for 3 miles but just couldn’t manage it… it really didn’t help that I wasn’t dressed correctly either.

April 22 – Wednesday – Rest

The day was a scheduled rest day as a friend from NYC was in town. We met up for drinks and some hockey watching. Then one of his friends joined so two drinks turned into three drinks, then one of my friends joined so three drinks turned into four drinks. My friend then decided going to another bar was a fantastic idea… so five drinks later I got home at 11:30 at night with a 4:45 am alarm clock the following morning…

April 23 – Thursday – 2.00 / 19:23

Can I just say that I LOATHE hangover running. This is also why I don’t drink that often. But I still managed to hike it to the gym and get in the run. I was miserable during the run but felt much better after the run. I was also glad that I was able to maintain a decent pace for the run. After the run I got in a really awesome upper body strength training workout. I then stayed up to watch the Hawks game… so it was another night of getting into bed at 11:30 with a 4:45 am alarm clock the following morning…

April 24 – Friday – Rest

Two late nights with early alarm clocks was rather painful and I paid for it. I was beyond exhausted the entire day and getting worse. My biggest concern was falling asleep at work. I knew running was just not going to happen. Not only would it have been an awful run with an increased risk of injury but I wasn’t sure I would be able to stay awake past 8 pm… I made it to 8:15….

April 25 – Saturday – Rest

The original plan was to run a few errands and then head to the gym for a run and some strength training. But my errands took me a little longer than planned… not helped by a few detours on Michigan Ave. When I got home I still had a ton of packing to do for my business trip. By the time packing was done, I was starving and knew running while hungry wouldn’t be pretty so I bailed.

April 26 – Sunday – Rest

Also known as travel day. In all fairness, I could have run in the morning but we all know how much I loathe morning running. So I enjoyed a lazy morning before what I knew would be a very busy week. I then got picked up by my co-worker and we headed to the airport to go to Providence, RI for the week. There wasn’t enough time to run between getting to the hotel and going out to dinner.

April 27 – Monday – Rest

We all (there were 3 of us) met in the hotel lobby at 8 am for a nice little 5 minute walk to the office. Once we arrived we dove right into work and before I knew it, 11 hours had flown by and we still weren’t any closer to leaving for the day. It had been a little crazy and stressful so we decided that Margarita’s were a necessity. The food was very good and the margarita’s very strong.

April 28 – Tuesday – 2.91 / 28:19

Our leader for the week, A, was in desperate need for a good nights rest since she had been on the road all month. We left “early” at 6:15ish and headed back to the hotel. I was determined to get in a run and my other co-worker, T, wanted to join me. We changed quickly and met in the lobby. The day before I had found a huge (by Chicago standards) hill that I wanted to tackle. T probably didn’t quite know what she was getting herself into when she said she wanted to run with me because she gave me a, “are you F*cking kidding me” look when she found out I wanted to take on the hill. I conquered the hill and T decided she no longer wanted to run with me shortly thereafter… Oops… I may have over-done it with her. But I still continued on and throughly enjoyed my run through part of the historic district of Providence with lots of beautiful colonials… and sidewalks made out of bricks that were not even close to level. I thought of S with his “good training” motto.

April 29 – Wednesday – Rest

It was another late night and the huge group of us went out to dinner together. As much as I would have liked to run, sometimes it is just as important to go out and get to know the people you work with better.

April 30 – Thursday – Rest

By the time we left the office it was after 8. I am OK with running in the dark in Chicago (though still don’t really enjoy it) but there is no way I am going to run by myself in the dark in a city I am not even close to familiar with. Plus it was our last night in Providence so we had yummy Italian food and then sought out a famous dessert spot. It was then back to the hotel to pack.

May 1 – Friday – Rest

We headed to the office after checking out of the Hotel. There was a lot of work to do and very little time to do it in. Once at the office we jumped in and just focused. At 2:30, A and I headed to the airport to catch our flight back to Chicago. When we landed we found my mother at baggage claim because she flew in to surprise my Aunt at her surprise birthday party… I can talk about it now since it happened :-p By the time we got my place, we were hungry so grabbed a quick dinner and then watched the Hawks win before I completely conked out. Thank goodness the Hawks did NOT go into OT.

May 2 – Saturday – 4.04 / 38:16

Mom and I started out having brunch with a friend of mine before heading downtown to do some unplanned shopping and then running a few errands. I needed groceries and for the first time in my adult made a decision to get my healthy lunch food instead of having pizza for lunch all week. I may officially be an adult now… It was an absolutely gorgeous day out so I decided to take advantage and headed out for a run. I wanted at least 3 miles for the day but kind of wanted to go for 5. In the end, I decided to see how I felt. Overall I felt great but I was feeling it a little more than I wanted to 2 miles in so I knew it would be smarter to do 4 miles instead of 5 miles.

May 3 – Sunday – Rest

Surprise Party Day!!! And oh boy was my Aunt surprised… especially since my mom answered the door. It was wonderful spending the day with some awesome ladies.

~~~~~~~

My goal for this week is just get back on track. Ideally I want to hit at least 15 miles for the week and should do a longer run of 6ish miles but the weather does NOT look like it will cooperate. Secondary goal is to run at least 3 miles 5 days this week… and for you non-math folks, that will give me the 15 miles :-p