A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Friday, December 31, 2010

December Wrap-Up


Due to a series of events I missed my opportunity to run my last run of 2010 outside. I'm a little bummed about that but I made up for it by doing 2x800 and 2x400 on the treadmill at the gym AFTER doing some strength training and BEFORE doing some ab work.

I started my treadmill workout with a .5 mile warm-up at 6.0 MPH then did half a mile at 8:00 min/mile pace, followed by another half mile at 6.0 MPH and then another half mile at 8:00 min/mile pace. Then I switched to 400s and did .25 miles at 6.0, .25 at 7:30 min/mile pace, .25 at 6.0, and .25 at 7:30. All that added up to 3 miles.

Which means that even though I felt like a total slacker for all of December, I ended up running a total of 51.96 miles!

Like November, December was sort of a "blah" month in terms of running. However, I did manage to finally join the running group for a Saturday morning run and I ran in a snowstorm so I suppose there were some highlights.

I'm looking forward to 2011 (already signed up for three races!) but first I need to do my year in review post and come up with a few resolutions. Do you do resolutions or goals for the new year?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Push it Harder

Although I've been feeling rather blah about running this month I decided to get off my duff and go out for a 4-6 mile run on Wednesday afternoon. I also decided to push the pace a little bit since I've been feeling like a slacker compared to Mica.

Well, let me tell you, pushing the pace even on a shorter run after not running hard for over a week? Not the best plan. I don't know if it was the weather (low 30s), how I was dressed (tights, short sleeved top, long sleeved top, gloves, ear band), the route (ran on the street most of the way), lack of fuel (double fiber English muffin with crunchy peanut butter and dried cranberries) or what but this run felt HARD.

And my right knee bothered me almost the whole time :-( I think it was the camber of the road since there was more traffic than usual so I had to run on the sloped part.

I cut my run a little short and decided to use a route I hadn't run in a long time. I was really dragging at the end until I got stable syndrome. That's when you can almost see the finish line so you power through.

After the run I decided to push myself a little harder and did my new 40 minute strength training DVD:

Stupid title, good workout

Afterward I sat at my desk and thumbed through The New Rules of Lifting for Women which I got as a Christmas gift. It had some really interesting things to say and I think I'll do a post on it later. Have any of you read the book or used the workouts?

Today I went to the gym and did 65 minutes on the elliptical followed by some ab work. By the way, I can totally hold plank pose for a minute (I timed myself with my iPhone stopwatch). Yay!

And then I added up how many miles I ran in December. I wasn't planning on running tomorrow but after I saw the number my mild OCD kicked in so I think I'll be squeezing in a few easy miles. Especially since tomorrow it's supposed to be in the 50s and I can wear my new capris!

I had these on my Christmas list but ended up finding them at Nordstrom's Rack for half price! And I had a gift card. Score!

I've still got my December Wrap-Up post to write as well as my year in review (complete with news about my very own "major award" that I haven't told you about yet). Stay tuned and I hope you have a happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Gifts

My Christmas gift to myself has been essentially taking the month of December off from worrying about running. I've been rather lackadaisical about getting in my runs and not worrying too much when I don't.

I did, however, go on my first double digit run since October last Wednesday. I slept in and then bundled up for a chilly 10 miler. Even though it had snowed quite a bit on Monday night I knew the streets would be clear enough. I took it easy and didn't worry about my pace. Especially since I'd run long less than a week before.

I meant to write about this particular run after it happened but I got wrapped up in Christmas prep and then actually celebrating Christmas with my family and my husband's family. Which means I don't recall much about this run other than that it happened.

I meant to at least run on the treadmill at our hotel while visiting Jason's family but it never happened. Late nights and early mornings coupled with enjoying not having to do anything specific lead to no running.

However, Santa brought me some new running swag including new socks and arm warmers. Not to mention my new medal holder:

I guess I'd better get out there and get ready to earn some more medals to put on that thing!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Let It Snow

Oh, the weather outside is frightful,

But my new running shirt (from Kim!) is so delightful.


And since North Face let us wear these nice jackets to go,

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.


North Face let us run in these fun shoes.

Photobucket Photobucket

And gave us this free gaiter, too.

Add on a free stocking cap. Whoa!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Oh, I might not have won the raffle.

And I might have run kind of slow.

But we runners are crazy, don't you know?

So let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

P.S. That jacket was really nice. But I don't know if it was $160 nice. And, no, we didn't get to keep it or the shoes.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Up and At 'Em

I have a confession to make.

When it comes to long runs, I've been super lazy since the marathon. I haven't run double digits since October and I haven't run anything longer than 8 miles since November 1st.

My running group does a Saturday morning run that starts and ends near my house but I've always been hesitant to join them because I've heard they were fast. But this Saturday I told myself I was going to run with them and if I was bringing up the rear well, so be it. I'd take my iPhone and I'd just make up my own route if I needed to.

When my alarm went off at 6:30 AM on Saturday it was a struggle to get out of bed. But I did and I dressed in my warmest running clothes to ward off the temperatures in the teens. Tights with windpants. Long sleeved shirt with a fleece. Ear band and gloves. And off I went to meet the group.

From my house to the meeting point is just under .9 of a mile which means I really have no excuse not to meet up with them. And, when I learned the route, I realized that technically I wouldn't even need to run to the official starting point since the route overlaps the way I would run there anyway.

However, the rumors didn't lie and the group certainly is speedy. Thankfully one of the guys I've run with on other runs was there (in shorts!!) so I had a buddy the whole way. Since I'd never run much of the route before it was definitely an adventure. There were some challenging spots (icy sidewalks, snow covered train tracks, small hills) but we kept up a pretty good pace for the most part.

When we stopped at the halfway point to regroup someone pointed out that the entire top of my head was white with frosted-over sweat. By the time I got back to my house there were icicles hanging from the end of my ponytail that matched the ones on my eyelashes. The skin on my stomach was numb from the cold air and when I got undressed to get in the shower I realized that other parts of my body were bright red. Ahh, the joys of winter running.

Since the route goes through my neighborhood on the way back to the starting point I peeled off there and finished the last quarter mile by myself. Now I know, though, that if I want to get in a full 10+ miles on a Saturday all I have to do is run to the starting point, run the full route, and run home. Perfect. And just like on the Monday night runs, I'll either learn the route or get really fast. Let's hope for both.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Treadmill Thursday

I had such grand plans for Thursday. I packed my gym bag figuring that I would either run at lunch or, if no run materialized, I would do a strength training workout in the little scary basement gym at work. Brilliant, right?

What was not so brilliant was forgetting my running shoes at home.


I still really wanted to get in a run. But that meant the treadmill. Since the treadmill in our basement has been rather suspect since the flood I opted for the treadmill at the gym. Plus, those treadmills are nicer and actually tell me what the incline is.

My treadmill goal? Speedwork! I went back to my first track workout from this summer and based my plan on that. I decided to do a one mile warm up, 4x800, 4x400, and a one mile cool down.

It's been awhile since I've done speedwork so I decided not to push the pace too much. I set the treadmill to a 1% incline and did my one mile warm up at 6.0 MPH (10:00 minute mile). After my warm up I hit the Pause button. The treadmill has a 60 second pause function so I waited until it counted down to 15 seconds and then started it back up.

I did my first two and a half 800s at 7.4 MPH (8:05 pace) with 45 second pause breaks in between each full 800. Strangely, they didn't feel all that hard. Sure, I was huffing and puffing, but I didn't feel like I was going to die. I didn't feel like I wanted to quit. I didn't feel like I wanted to walk.

The last one and a half 800s I did at 7.5 MPH (8:00 pace). And I did three of my 400s at 7.5 and the last one I slowly upped the speed until I was doing 8.0 MPH (7:30 pace). I could tell I was definitely working but I think I could have gone a little bit faster on each of those intervals. Which means I may have some new things to try out on the treadmill this winter.

The only downside to running on the treadmill is that when you change the speed it takes it a bit to get up to that speed. I didn't want to count those seconds spent accelerating towards my actual intervals so by the time I finished my cool down (also done at 6.0 MPH) I had actually run 5.25 miles. Although, I guess that's not really a downside.

But let me tell you: running a cool down on a treadmill is HARD. Not physically. Just mentally. My mind kept wanting to be done but I pushed on and finished the full mile.

And afterward I did 100 various crunches, some leg lifts, and some foam rolling. And then lay panting on the mat.

While I was recovering my running group was out singing Christmas carols at a nursing home. As much as I love my running group I wasn't too sad to have missed it. First, I got home from work later than originally planned so I wouldn't have been able to attend the pre-singing prep meeting. Second (and here's a little known fact), even after six and a half years of choir and performing in several junior high and high school musical productions, I am TERRIFIED of singing in front of other people. Dancing? Sure. Public speaking? Sure. Singing? Count me out.

But running like a fool on the treadmill while mouthing the words to Lady Gaga and Ke$ha? Sure.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Deep Freeze

Last night was cold. As in, definitely below freezing cold. I think it was maybe 13oF when I left my house to go running.

I debated about what to wear. Last week when I ran I wore my fleece and was too hot. So this week I wore a short-sleeved top and two long-sleeved tops, a fleece ear band around my neck, a fleece ear band over my ears, tights, shorts, mittens, and long SmartWool socks.

When I arrived at our starting point I looked around and felt woefully underdressed. I was surrounded by ski gloves, balaclavas, and windbreakers. When we stepped out of the store to start running the wind blasted me and I was immediately chilled.

I left the Garmin at home because I didn't want the pressure of trying to keep a certain pace in the cold but I somehow ended up running with one of the faster women. Either she was slowing down to hang with me or I was speeding up to hang with her. I'm not sure which and now I wish I'd had my Garmin.

Either way, we did all 5.5 miles together and most of me warmed up by the end of the first mile. My thighs, however, were like solid blocks of ice and my right knee was stiff for the rest of the night. We talked running tights when we got back to the store at our starting/end point and I proceeded to feel every pair in the place.

I definitely need more tights. The two pairs I have just don't cut it. I see some shopping in my future. What's your favorite piece of workout clothing?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Looking Ahead

It's that time of year again when you start looking ahead. This season usually feels so rushed that I prefer to take my time and savor it, but I know that if I don't start planning my racing calendar I'll miss signing up for some races as well as double book myself.

So, here's my tentative plan so far (totally subject to change):


S-NO-W Fun Run 5 Miler

My running group is doing this one as our winter group "race". Apparently it's quite the fun time seeing as how the run is followed by a huge party (with Schnapps at the finish line!). I'm already registered and planning to share a room with another club member.


Frosty Footrace 5K

Kim and I did this race last year. This year we've vowed to defend our second place spots in our respective age groups. Or just have fun :-)


March Madness Half Marathon

Another OPRC favorite that I'm hoping to attempt. The key here is actually getting registered! Apparently it sells out super-fast. Last year I was on a cruise ship when registration opened. This year? I'm going to try for it.


April's where it starts to get dicey. Racing season starts for real in April in the Midwest and the calendar starts to fill up. With...

Race That's Good for Life 5K

This is my running club's annual race so I'm definitely planning on running it. As well as volunteering to hang signs, stuff packets, and I'm sure lots of other things.

Cleveland 10 Miler

There's a rumor that my friend Rae would like to attempt this race. If she'd have me, I'd love to be there by her side. This is the weekend before one of my goal races for the year so I could treat it like a training run and help pace Rae.

Illinois I-Challenge

I'm definitely doing the half-marathon in my hometown. This was my first half marathon. Now they've changed the course so that it goes by my parents' house! This year the race organizers are doing something a little different. The I-Challenge means you run the 5K race on Friday night and then either the half or the full marathon on Saturday morning. What's a little 3.1 mile warm up the night before?

April also starts the CARA Circuit Races which have not been announced. Since I've gotten more involved in my running club I'd like to try and earn some points for them by running more CARA races. Once the official Circuit is announced I'll have to try and slot those races into my schedule.


Wisconsin Half Marathon

The weekend after the Illinois Half Marathon is the Wisconsin Half Marathon. I ran this last year and totally bonked. Kim wants to run this again this year and I would love to run it for fun. Plus, worst case scenario, I bonk at Illinois and get to redeem myself in Wisconsin.

Quarryman Challenge 10 Miler

This is the alternative to the Wisconsin Half Marathon. It's on the same day so I can't do both. My running group at work does the Quarryman every year so this would be my back up plan if we decide not to do Wisconsin.

May will also include the Chase Corporate Challenge 3.5 mile and possibly the Solider Field 10 Miler. I also heard some talk about a 20 miler on May 14th?


MetLife Duathlon

As part of my goals I want to do at least one duathlon. The MetLife one looks good because it's semi-local (45 minutes south) and it's an easily attainable distance (2 mile run, 11 mile bike, 2 mile run).

Ragnar Relay: Madison to Chicago

The "leader" of my work running group floated the idea of all of us doing the Madison to Chicago relay. You get a team of 12 people together and during this 24 hour race each person runs 3 legs of 3-8 miles each. It sounds complicated. It sounds crazy. And it sounds like fun. It's looking like we can easily find 12 people so I'm thinking this is going on the schedule.


Grand Haven Duathlon

This is my dream duathlon but I don't know if I want to sign up for it without ever having done one. The distances aren't that daunting (5k run, 20k bike, 5k run) but I'd hate to make a mini-vacation out of it and be miserable. Plus, it's only two weeks after the one in June. Although, my mom loved Grand Haven so maybe I can convince her to make it a mini-vacation with me? What do you think, mom?

The rest of the summer/fall is still open. I suspect there will be lots of CARA Circuit Races followed by...


Las Vegas Marathon

Yes, my second marathon. Hopefully in a location where it won't be 85oF on race day. Fingers crossed, anyway. This is also an OPRC-fueled event and although I've read the course is kind of boring (except for the parts on the strip) I think that might be what I need. And, hey, I've done the local marathon. Time to branch out!

I know it's crazy to think you have to plan these things out so far in advance. But, really, the earlier you register the better price you get. Speaking of which, I may need to win the lottery in order to pay for all these races! But, wait, it's not too late for Christmas gifts, is it? How about a race registration or three?

Friday, December 10, 2010

November Wrap-Up


November was quite the "low" month for me. I only posted 10 times in this here blog, a record low. I only ran 38.2 miles, a record low since I started keeping track. I didn't do a single Monday night run with the running group, also a record low since I joined.

But I did travel to San Francisco. I did PR in a 10K race. And I think my running motivation is coming back. I mean, even though the temperatures this week have been hovering in the 20oF range I ran on Monday night and I've actually been bummed that I haven't been able to run at lunch due to work things.

I'm looking forward to continuing to strength train and I'm hoping to join the running club on a Saturday morning run in the near future. Nothing helps to combat the cold and snow like running with a group. It will also help me get out of bed and get my runs done in the morning so I don't lollygag around. Although, there is something to be said for sleeping in.

What about you? Do you like to get up and get your workout done or do you just fit it in when you feel like it?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We Like to Party

Tuesday night was the running club's annual holiday party and awards dinner. Last year when I went I barely knew anyone. This year? I knew a good 75%, had my name announced several times, and even got to be behind the microphone. I also appeared several times in our photo slideshow but that's partly because I helped put it together.

What a difference a year makes.

Drinks and socializing followed by dinner and awards. First up we had the participation awards. You win participation awards by, well, participating! Attending runs, writing articles for our newsletter, and volunteering earn you points. And since I participated as much as I could, of course I won an award.

Towels! And, not to toot my own horn, but giving towels as this year's participation prizes was my idea. But, to give credit where credit is due, Geri (our social director) and Nick (the club president) came up with the rest, including getting the logo embroidered on them and the drawstring bag the towels came in.

In addition to receiving an participation award, I actually announced the names of all the other participation award recipients. Since I've been leading so many training sessions at work, I'm pretty comfortable in front of a crowd. No stage fright here! I'm happy they gave me that job, actually.

But the fun didn't stop there! Although I didn't win any of the "serious" awards (Most Improved Runner, I'm aiming for you next year!) I did get a "gag" award.

Remember this?

I've been on the butt end of some good natured ribbing ever since that incident. Which is why the club gave me the following:


We also learned some about the club's history (30 years old next year) and inducted our first member into the OPRC Hall of Fame.

Last year I almost didn't attend the holiday party. Now I can't imagine the season without it. Long live OPRC!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Icy Hot

As our club president said last night, welcome to the first Monday night run of the winter! Of course, winter hasn't officially started yet but tell that to Mother Nature. With the snow we got over the weekend and the below freezing temps we've had ever since you'd have to be crazy to run!

We'll there were quite a few of us crazy people out there on Monday night. I started out running pretty fast (for me) but slowly backed off so I could chat with a few of the other runners. I hadn't been out with the Monday night crew in a month and it was nice to run with them again.

Monday night run
Mile 1 - 9:07
Mile 2 - 9:24
Mile 3 - 9:26
Mile 4 - 9:39
Mile 5 - 9:52
Mile .52 - 5:40 (includes stop for traffic)

Believe it or not, even though the temps were hovering around 20oF or lower it didn't feel all that bad outside. In fact, in my long-sleeved top and my fleece jacket I was too warm. The jacket was soaking wet by the time I got home. Ewww. My lips, though, may never be the same. Running in cold weather chaps them something fierce.

My right knee does not particularly like this weather either. It was pretty stiff for the rest of the night and the stairs were not my friend. I know I should ice it but, really, who wants to stick ice on their leg when the temps are below freezing?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rotary Santa 5K

This past weekend was all about getting ready for the Christmas holiday. And what better way to get ready than to run a 5K dressed like Santa?

Kim, Jen, and I ran the Rotary Santa 5K in Arlington Heights. And, trust me, I wasn't the only one who showed up in a Santa suit.

I'm #799

This race was so much fun! I wasn't running for time or to get a new PR. I ran for the pure enjoyment of running a themed race (and my first race in costume) with friends. And enjoying the first snowfall of the year. Yes, it snowed the entire run.

The first mile was slow as everyone tried to find their footing and dodge the walkers, the gawkers and some very confused drivers. But after that we settled into a nice pace that actually felt pretty easy considering I was horribly overdressed. In the end we averaged a 9:23 pace for a final time of 29:05.

Mile 1 - 9:55
Mile 2 - 9:18
Mile 3 - 9:15
Mile .1 - 8:30 pace

I remember how hard I had to work during my second-ever 5K to get my time below 30 minutes. I love looking at how far I've come. Now I can do a 29 minute 5K without even thinking about it.

My mom was also there to spectate. She couldn't get over how picturesque the day was or how hilarious all the Santas were.

I love when she comes out to watch me race. I love sharing that part of my life with her. She always seems to enjoy it, too. Of course, how could you not enjoy 1000 running and walking Santas?

But that's not the only reason she was visiting. Nope, she was helping me get my house ready to host our family Christmas. Which means, putting up the tree!

So, a weekend filled with Santas and snow and decorating. Christmas is almost here!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Let There Be Light

Yesterday I didn't run and I didn't go to the gym. Instead, Jason and I spent over an hour and a half outside turning the front of our house into this:

Hanging Christmas lights in sub-freezing temperatures counts as a workout, right?

Four on the Floor

What does "four on the floor" even mean? Is it a car reference? I think it has something to do with an engine and putting the gas pedal all the way down. I could be wrong, though.

Regardless, I definitely put my gas pedal all the way down during my lunch run on Tuesday. The combination of wind, literally freezing temperatures, and my only running buddy being someone who runs a 10K in 46 minutes (that's almost 10 minutes faster than me) made me push hard for our 4 miler.

We started out into the wind which may have slowed us down some. It also took my breath away so I wasn't all that talkative during the first two miles. Then, on the second half of the run I was sucking wind and there was no way I could talk. I was not surprised to see my average pace drop to sub-9 minutes and when I uploaded my Garmin stats I also wasn't surprised to see that my splits looked like this:

Mile 1 - 9:29 (wind and stopping for traffic)
Mile 2 - 8:46
Mile 3 - 8:30
Mile 4 - 8:43

I pushed it HARD during that third mile and even so my running buddy took off on ahead for the last mile. That's okay with me, though, because I wasn't exactly talkative company.

I was really glad to get in a run at lunch but I think my speed and the weather conditions really took it out of me. At 4:00 my brain totally checked out (too bad I was in a meeting), I was starving when I got home, and could barely manage to make dinner. Oops. It's been so long since I ran at lunch that I forgot I need to bring lots of post-run snacks.

When I walked into my office after running my boss took one look at me and said, "Please tell me you didn't go running. It's COLD out there!" I may not like to run in the rain but cold will never stop me. I'll just put my foot to the floor and power on.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pump You Up

I know, I know, I said I was going to run on Monday night, but the truth is...I didn't.

It was cold. It was raining. My knee ached. I'd just run on Sunday. I could come up with all kinds of excuses. But what it really comes down to is that while I wanted to see my running group friends I just didn't feel like running.


In the past month I've read several articles and blog posts about the benefits of strength training and weight lifting. Charlotte at The Great Fitness Experiment is doing a weight lifting experiment for the month of November. And then I read an article in Self Magazine touting the benefits of weight lifting.

So instead of going and running when I didn't feel like it, I ripped the weight lifting moves out of the Self magazine and headed to the gym.

Click to see larger

For the most part I followed the workout exactly. The only change I made was that after the first round I upped the squats to 40 pounds from 30. Dealing with changing the weight amounts two times instead of three was easier and I already know I can squat more than 30 pounds. Some of the other weights felt too light but I didn't want to overdo it the first time. Next time I'll up the weights.

The whole routine took about 30 minutes and afterward I did 100 sit ups (25 regular crunches, 25 bicycle crunches, 25 oblique crunches, and 25 crunches with the stability ball), held a plank pose for a count of 60, did 5 push-ups (I hate push-ups), and a few other assorted things before hopping on the stationary bike for 25 minutes.

It felt good to break up my usual routine. Today I'm sore in a few spots and looking forward to lifting again. I think I may be one of those weirdos who likes strength training.

What about you? If you had to chose, would you choose cardio, strength, or something else?

My hamstrings and shoulders are a little sore today and I have a sore spot where I rested the bar while doing squats but otherwis

Monday, November 29, 2010

To the 5s

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving (or weekend for my non-US readers). I celebrated my Thanksgiving with my family in my hometown. There was talk of doing the local one mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning but when the morning dawned chilly,gray and rainy I was the only one brave (read: crazy) enough to go outside.

I skipped the Turkey Trot as it seemed silly to me to deal with driving and parking for one mile when I could easily head out the door of my parents' house and run further than that.

Of course, in my string of forgetfulness, I left my Garmin on the charger at home. At first I figured I'd just run "naked" and not plan a route or worry about time. I'm not quite that zen yet, though, so instead I mapped out a 5.5 mile route but still didn't worry about time.

The hilarious thing is that as I was running through cold, gray, drizzle I heard a car horn honk. I turned to see two of my best high school friends who were also in town to visit family waving at me as they drove by! I'll defend my hometown against anyone who says it's a small town but I guess it kind of is. But I like it that way.

Seeing my friends put some pep in my step and although I have no idea what my time or pace was for the run I know I pushed it hard and came home sweaty, damp, and ready for turkey!

On Sunday I joined some running group buds for another 5.5 mile run. We originally planned to run 8-10 miles but none of us were really feeling that distance. Instead we took it easy (average 9:40 pace not counting the bathroom break). Too much turkey, I guess.

Tonight I plan to run another 5.5 miles. I like that distance. Short enough to squeeze into a busy schedule but long enough to make it feel like you did something. Five definitely makes me feel alive.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Well, Pants

On Monday night, after recovering from the Shred, I packed my gym bag so that I could run at lunch on Tuesday. I even remembered to pack my Garmin and my visor!

Except when I got to the locker room and unpacked my stuff I found I'd packed three shirts...and no pants.

And I was really looking forward to running, too.

Thwarted by my apparent inability to pack, I went back to my office and pledged to run after work instead. In the cold. And dark.

Except I keep forgetting I live in an urban-ish area where it's never truly dark. When I got home I pulled on my running tights for the first time this year, dug my fleece ear band out of the closet, and went outside into the below-freezing temperature.

The street lights made it easy to see where I was going and I decided to do two laps around my neighborhood for an even 3 miles. I left the headphones at home so it was just me and my breathing as I ran quickly so as to spend as little time as possible in the cold air.

Leaving the headphones at home, though, doesn't mean I left my phone at home. Nope, just the opposite. I recently discovered an iPhone (and other smartphone) app called Glympse. It's a GPS tracking app that lets you invite other people to see where you are and where you're going. Jason and I used it during my 10K on Sunday and it worked like a charm. So I fired that up when I left the house for my run so Jason would always know where I was. You know, just in case. I almost always carry my cellphone with me but I think this gives Jason and added piece of mind that if something were to happen he'd know exactly where I was.

Although, really, running laps around my neighborhood is not all that exciting. I startle the occasional commuter walking home lost in his or her own thoughts. I get to see the specials at the local grocery store. I enjoy seeing the Virgin Mary outside the Catholic church all lit up in the night. But last night I ran hard and fast to ensure my lungs didn't freeze into one solid block.

When I got home and uploaded my Garmin data I found I'd run negative splits and averaged a 9:12 pace over the 3 miles. I also checked out Garmin Connect to see if it would create maps and other data similar to what I used to get from Bones in Motion. Sadly, it only creates a link to my run for the blog and not the actual map or table codes. Oh well.

So even though my running day started out "pants" due to lack of pants, I'd say it ended up pretty good.

The Run That Wasn't

Yesterday was one of *those* days in Chicago. Rainy and windy and miserable. But warm! I spent the day hoping the rain would let up enough for me to go running. I don't mind running in rain. But severe-thunderstorm-rain combined with darkness didn't sound like a good recipe to me.

Then there was the thunder and lightening as I walked home from the train. And then I saw this:

So I decided to trade my normal Monday night run for a date with the world's evilest aerobics instructor.

And because I felt like making up for not running, I chose to try Level 3 of the Shred. I've never done Level 3 before and I don't do the Shred regularly.

As I lay on the floor panting and dizzy and trying to recover I realized it had stopped storming. Damn.

I should have just gone for a run.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lincolnwood Turkey Trot 10K Race Report

And in my husband's words, Turkey Trot = Turkey Hat. And there were plenty of turkey hats out Sunday morning.

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I, sadly, do not have a turkey hat. Standing around waiting for the race to start I almost wished I did. A hat (or gloves!) would have been nice. It was chilly!

I met four of the guys from my work running group at the race but, as always, they are much faster than me so we all ran our own race. We meet before to joke around and rib each other and then after the race we all go out to breakfast. Works out well.

Jason also came out to the race since this course is perfect for spectators. Last year I ran this race and Jason got lots of good photos. This year was no different photo-wise.

What was different this year? Well, like last year I didn't go into this race expecting to break any records. But, I admit, once I was standing at the start I thought that maybe I could give it the old college try. I mean, all that marathon and speed training had to do something even if I have been slacking, right?

So, even though I'd gone roller skating for the first time in years and stuffed myself full of Chinese food the night before and woke up feeling exhausted and nauseous I went out at an 8:30 pace.

Last year I went out around the same pace but couldn't hold it as well. This year I slowed down but told myself I was going to keep my mile times under 9 minutes if it killed me. My 10K was from the Lincolnwood Turkey Trot Version 2009 so I knew Version 2010 could be a good one, too.

It was tough. During mile 2 I wished I was doing the 5K. Around mile 4 I passed Jason and said, "Feels tough today." Of course, ever the perfect spectator, he told me I was looking good and to keep it up. Since I'm good at following directions, I complied.

Throughout the entire race I alternated between figuring out how many miles I had left and telling myself just to focus on the mile I was currently doing. I admit I had my headphones turned up pretty loud so when I hit 6.1 miles and passed Jason I have no idea what he yelled at me. At this point I was pretty sure my average pace was faster than last year which would mean a new 10K PR. I pushed it as hard as I could toward the finish.

This is me totally trying not to puke

I crossed the line and stopped my Garmin as my stomach heaved. Thankfully I managed to keep my bagel with peanut butter where it belonged and I was fine a few seconds later. I guess an entire plate of sesame chicken is not what you want to eat the night before a race?

I found Jason and the rest of the guys from work and struggled to get my Garmin to tell me my final time. Turns out my Garmin time and my official time? Exactly the same. 54:08. Another PR!

Lincolnwood Turkey Trot 10K, I think I love you.

It's actually a 41 second PR and good for 22nd out of 89 in my age group and 193rd out of 483 overall.

My splits weren't even all that uneven. Check it out:

Mile 1 - 8:32
Mile 2 - 8:29
Mile 3 - 8:40
Mile 4 - 8:42
Mile 5 - 8:47
Mile 6 - 8:49
Mile .2 - 8:26 pace

Not perfect (I'd prefer to hold 8:30 the whole time) but I'll still take it!

Now, if the shirt wasn't so ugly I'd wear it with pride.

P.S. My right knee was fine during the race (with my knee strap on) but it was sore and stiff afterward. Some icing and some Advil when we got home took the edge off but it's still a little cranky with me.