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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Bridge Route

Photo found via Wikimedia Commons

So, as you may have figured out by now, I work in downtown Chicago. From my office I can run to many places. One of those places is Millennium Park. Yet, I'd never really explored the park until yesterday when one of the guys in the lunch time running group said, "Hey, do you want to do the bridge route today?"

Uh, sure! I'm always up for a new route and I had no idea what he was talking about.

What he was talking about was instead of running entirely on the sidewalks to get to the lakefront path we would take that silver serpentine structure pictured above. The rest of our three mile route was the usual route past Navy Pier but the beginning took place on this bridge. And included a brief bit of stairs that I took two at a time.

Other than having to dodge tourist all over the place, it was fun to twist and turn through the park and over the street. The bridge is essentially a wooden board footpath so that was a nice change of pace from concrete and asphalt as well. Then, to get to the regular path, we had to do a little cross-country running while leaping over random bunches of daffodils poking their buds up out of the grass.

I managed to hang just off the shoulders of the two guys I was running with for the first mile and a half. But on the way back I started to lag. Again, this is supposed to be my easy week! My legs really felt dead and my breathing felt labored but I managed to push it a little bit and catch up when we stopped for a traffic light. So, regardless of the tired legs and the fact that it was supposed to be an easy week, I ran 10K race pace...again.

Maybe that's why I'm so tired today.


Route:--Elev. Avg:587 ft
Location:Chicago, ILElev. Gain:-3 ft
Date:03/30/10Up/Downhill: [+108/-111]
Time:12:18 PMDifficulty:1.9 / 5.0
Weather:Mostly Cloudy
 54 F temp; 46% humidity
 54 F heat index; winds S 13 G 22

Distance: 3.36 miles
Speed:6.8 mph
Pace:8' 48 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
18' 46-0' 026.8+0.0-19 ft
28' 47-0' 016.8+0.0+17 ft
38' 44-0' 046.9+0.1+3 ft
end8' 58+0' 106.7-0.1+3 ft
Versus average of 8' 48 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Eat and Run

Monday night was the running club's "Run of the Month" which pretty much means running followed by eats at a local restaurant. This month's choice? The place pictured above. Of course, it wasn't quite nice enough to sit outside nor is it quite so green yet.

The weather was, however, definitely spring-like. My running buddy showed up and a few miles into the run we were joined by a gentleman who apparently used to run with the group quite often. He claimed he hadn't run in a year and yet he was still keeping pace with us at our 9-minute pace!

Speaking of pace, this week is supposed to be my "easy" week. But, as always, it doesn't seem to matter if I try to go fast or slow, my pace on Monday nights is about the same. And I'm STILL at the back of the pack. Oh well. Sometimes chasing rabbits is a good thing.

Monday night's run felt tough, though. I think my awesome runs last week gave way to some tired legs and tired lungs. I'm also realizing that I do much better when I rest two days in between runs. Guess I'll have to remember to do that before my half marathon!

After the run a large group of us headed to the restaurant and I think we overwhelmed the staff. They put up with us, though, and I ended up having enough of my dinner left over to take for lunch, too. I love having leftovers. Makes for no-brainer lunch packing :-)

And you know what, I'm going to take that back about being at the very back of the pack. Here's an example of the range of people we have in our group who were at dinner on Monday night. Exhibit A is Charles. He's running Boston in a few weeks. This is will be his fourth time running it. Exhibit B is Ken. Ken not only drives practically 30 minutes to run with our group, but he's an average 6 hour marathoner. He does run/walk and he's almost always by himself during the group runs. He's technically the back of the pack and he never, ever complains. He's super-proud of his accomplishments and doesn't care at all that people are faster than him. I rather admire that, actually. Then we've got the triathletes and the people who can carry on a conversation while running an 8:30 pace.

So, yeah, quite the variation. But we all love good food. And a glass of wine. Or beer. It's a good group and I'm glad I found them.


Route:--Elev. Avg:628 ft
Location:Forest Park, ILElev. Gain:+3 ft
Date:03/29/10Up/Downhill: [+22/-19]
Time:06:36 PMDifficulty:2.4 / 5.0
Weather:Mostly Cloudy
 40 F temp; 64% humidity
 40 F heat index; winds E 5

Distance: 5.49 miles
Speed:6.6 mph
Pace:9' 05 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
18' 33-0' 327.0+0.40 ft
29' 09+0' 046.5-0.1-9 ft
39' 08+0' 036.6-0.0+3 ft
49' 03-0' 026.6+0.0+7 ft
59' 20+0' 156.4-0.20 ft
end9' 19+0' 146.4-0.2+3 ft
Versus average of 9' 05 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com

Monday, March 29, 2010

Old Stomping Grounds

The Husband and I drove about three hours this weekend to visit my parents. My parents still live in my hometown area and although they don't live near the places I used to run on a regular basis, they do live near some places I like to run. And since I had a 10 mile run on the schedule I was happy about that!

Traveling always throws off my schedule a little bit. So when I woke up Saturday morning and dragged myself out of bed I really wasn't feeling like going for a run. Especially not a 10 mile run. But, I just told myself that it didn't have to be fast. I could go as slow as I wanted.

Plus, the sun was shining and even though it was windy and in the upper 40s, it was perfect running weather.

So, I pulled on my new capris, a short sleeved top and a long sleeved top, cued up my running playlist on my iPhone, and headed out the door.

And then something weird happened. My legs took on a mind of their own. I was running. I wasn't thinking about it at all. Before my run I'd been thinking about stopping to take some pictures of my old stopping grounds, including my old office, but I was afraid to pause lest I disturb the groove I'd found.

So, instead, you get a stock, semi-out-of-date photo of my old office.

I ran past at around the 4 mile mark. It was nice to see all the changes they'd made to the outside of the building since I'd been there last. I also ran past some new stores and restaurants that have gone in the area since I left. Ahh, a run down memory lane :-)

Occasionally I would glance at my Garmin when it would beep at the mile markers. Mainly, though, I was just running on feel alone. And that groove I'd found? Just under a 10 minute mile. It didn't even feel hard!

Just after mile 6 I entered a park for loop around the mile-long path. A huge portion of the park is prairie restoration as pictured at the top of this post. I love running through there. I've run two races that took place partially on that path and it's a great break from the rest of the residential and commercial areas. The change of scenery definitely gave me an energy boost.

At certain points I started counting down how much distance I had left. "Just a 10K" and "Just a 5K" I thought to myself. I think about how long that is in time, too. But, really, the time flew by and before I knew it my Garmin beeped mile 9. As I've been doing on all my long runs I tried to push it for the last mile. I felt a little like puking while pushing it during that last mile. Which I think is weird since I didn't take any water or fuel with me on this run. So, my stomach was empty! Maybe that's why I felt like puking?

And, yes, you read that right. I ran 10 miles (at a sub 10-minute-per-mile pace) with no mid-run water or other fuel. I haven't been taking water or Sports Beans or anything with me and so far I've been fine. Although, when I got back to the house on Saturday I literally had white crusty salt build up around my nose and mouth. I think that's a sign of not drinking enough? Anyway, I'm debating about what I want to do during my half marathon on May 1st. I'm planning to run faster so I might need some fuel mid-way. And if I do, then I'll need water to wash it down with. Decisions, decisions. Either way, I'd better start figuring it out now!


Route:--Elev. Avg:0 ft
Location:Urbana, ILElev. Gain:+0 ft
Date:03/27/10Up/Downhill: [+0/-0]
Time:09:29 AMDifficulty:0 / 5.0
 46 F temp; 55% humidity
 46 F heat index; winds SE 16

Distance: 10.00 miles
Speed:6.2 mph
Pace:9' 44 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
19' 59+0' 156.0-0.2-- ft
29' 47+0' 036.1-0.0-- ft
39' 44+0' 006.2-0.0-- ft
49' 51+0' 076.1-0.1-- ft
59' 51+0' 076.1-0.1-- ft
69' 43-0' 016.2+0.0-- ft
79' 28-0' 166.3+0.2-- ft
89' 40-0' 046.2+0.0-- ft
99' 57+0' 136.0-0.1-- ft
109' 12-0' 326.5+0.4-- ft
end********** ft
Versus average of 9' 44 min/mile
** Insufficient data to calculate this split

Posted from bimactive.com

Weekly Workout Wround Up

May Days Training Week 8: March 22nd - March 28th

This week's summary is a little late due to the traveling I did this weekend. Doesn't mean that this week wasn't great, though! Because it was. Read on...

Mar 22

8.5 mile tempo run that I totally rocked! I loved running to running group and didn't even mind the run home. I can't wait to do this more often. I love that I can run to the group start. And, honestly, I think I get there in the same amount of time as if I drove. Crazy, huh?

Mar 23

3 miles at lunch with the lunch-time group. Thankfully, even after my hard Monday night run my legs didn't feel like concrete blocks. Sometimes I dread going out on Tuesdays but in the end I love getting out of my office and taking advantage of the weather when it's nice.

After work I headed to the gym for about 40 minutes of strength training.

Strength Training with Legs focus

Wide Stance Squat: 15 @ 10 lbs x2
Seated Leg Extension: 20 @ 25 lbs
Seated Leg Press: 15 @ 60 lbs; 12 @ 80 lbs; 20 @ 55 lbs
Push Up (on Knees): 20 (WOOOOOOOO!)
Seated Back Extension: 20 @ 65 lbs; 15 @ 70 lbs
Seated Rear Deltoid: 20 @ 15 lbs
Low-Pulley Straight Bar Curl: 12 @ 15 lbs
Seated Dip: 20 @ 35 lbs
Wide Stance Leg Press: 20 @ 30 lbs x2
Horizontal Calf Raise: 20 @ 30 lbs; 15 @ 30 lbs
Crunch: 20
Reverse Crunch: 20
Crunch with Legs In (Stability Ball): 20
Crunch with Legs Vertical: 20
90 Degree Side Oblique Crunch: 20

I am stupid excited that I was able to do 20 push ups even if they were on my knees. Two weeks ago I was only able to do 12 at a time. Granted, that was after doing chest presses, but still. Now, I just need to be able to do 20 in a row OFF my knees.

Also, another 100 crunch day! Yesssss!

And, I'll be honest, those three sets of leg presses were pretty killer towards the end.

Mar 24

I made it to the gym with about 30 minutes to spare before my Hi/Lo class. So, I concentrated on ab work.

Crunch with Legs Up (Stability Ball): 20
Oblique Crunch with Legs Up (Stability Ball): 20
Reverse Crunch: 20
Crunch with Legs Vertical: 20
Crunch: 20
Hamstring Curls (Stability Ball): 10
Bridges: 2 sets of 10
Planks: 2 sets of 30 seconds

I'm not going to lie, while I worked it harder than some people in the class, I didn't go totally all out during Hi/Lo. I was pretty tired. And when I got home, WHEW my butt was sore. I think the combination of Legs and then the Bridges and then all the hamstring moves we do in class killed me. My triceps were pretty sore at the end of class, too. Lots of hardcore punching during "Duel of the Fates".

Also, I'd like to take this moment to applaud that I did 2 sets of planks for 30 seconds. I HATE planks. I'm horrible at them. But while these felt challenging, I didn't want to die. I think this is a sign that my core *is* actually getting stronger. YAY!

Mar 25

I didn't get a chance to run at lunch due to a meeting. However, on Monday my gym called and offered me a free 30 minute personal training session. I scheduled that for Thursday night.

I arrived at the gym a little early and warmed-up by walking on the treadmill for 10 minutes. Then I met with the trainer who asked me what I was interested in working on.

Since I have no lower ab strength and I've discovered that my upper back is also really weak I asked her to help me with those two areas.

We used the cable machine to do one armed rows while in a squat position (hello, burning quads!) and it was really nice to have her there to correct my form. Then we did lat pulldowns. Next she had me get into essentially a plank position with my elbows on the stability ball. Her plan was to have me roll the ball out slightly and then alternate bringing my knees up to the ball as I rolled it back in. Except, once again, the trainer underestimated my lack of lower ab strength. I was wobbling all over the place and she worried I was going to hurt my back. So, we left out the knee part. We did this circuit twice.

Then she had me do this crazy plank maneuver where you start out in a plank position on your elbows and then get yourself into push-up position one arm at a time. Then you lower yourself back down on your elbows one arm at a time. Do this one for one minute. Then die. Although, she did tell me my form was good! If you want to play along at home, here's a video with the move in it:

Following the want-to-die plank move we once again attempted to focus on my lower abs and, once again, she had to modify the move she wanted me to do. I ended up essentially doing a reverse crunch instead. And then another crazy plank thing. And then some more reverse crunches.

Then we did hanging leg raises. And called it an evening.

All in all, the trainer was super nice and had some good ideas for me. She didn't try to sell me on more sessions or anything, either. However, I really did like having someone there to push me and tell me "one more!" when I thought I couldn't go on.

Mar 26

Rest Day! Also, a travel day as Jason and I drove to visit my parents.

Mar 27

Even though I wasn't looking forward to running 10 miles, I ended up having one of the best double digit runs I've ever had. Certain parts of it were really windy so I even got some Illinois "hill" training in as well. Then I spent a few hours at the mall with my mom and came home with a super cute outfit:

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
Click to see larger

Mar 28

Sunday was spent visiting with my parents, driving back home, and then prepping for the upcoming week. So, no gym time or anything. My legs were a little bit sore from running and then walking around the gym. It felt nice to relax. At least until I got home and had to do laundry and prep meals for the week.

Total Mileage: 21.59

Another 20+ week! I seem to be having a difficult time getting closer to 25 miles per week this time around. I think it's because I'm doing more cross-training? Either way, my runs have been great so I don't plan to change things up too much.

However, I have this next week as an easier week since we're traveling again this weekend. On Saturday, my usual long run day, we'll be in Flagstaff, Arizona. Which, by the way, is not in the desert. It's in the mountains. At 7000 feet above sea level. If I get a run in, it will be nice and short and easy lest I pass out from the change in altitude. For reference, where I usually run? About 600 feet above sea level.

Hope everyone has a great week and that the spring weather (for those of us who have to suffer through winter) sticks around!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

That's Tight

A few months ago I was in Sports Authority looking for what the Chic Runner calls "booty shorts". I struck out on finding shorts but I did find two nice pairs of capri pants on the clearance rack for 40% off.

The one pair was technically a pair of tights in that they were really fitted and were tight at the spot where they hit just below the knee. Normally I don't like these kind because they make me self conscious of my hips and sometimes they're too tight on my lower leg.

However, this pair was super cute (gray with purple stripes at the bottom) and they even had a zipper pocket in the back! They were the only pair and grabbed them from the "Small" section of the rack and tried them on. Amazingly, I LOVED them. They fit perfectly and I thought they made my legs look pretty nice.

You can see me modeling them during the 8 mile run I did with Kim:


What I realized after the fact is that the tag says they're a size Large! I figured that the reason they were on the clearance rack was because they were mislabeled.

After wearing them for a few runs and deciding they are now my favorite pair of capris EVER I wanted to get some more. But these were the only pair at Sports Authority and I didn't feel like searching every sporting goods store in the world, especially since I'd thrown out the tags and had no idea what they were called.

The internet to the rescue! I starting Googling some of the numbers on the tags still in the capris and discovered that what I owned was a pair of Adidas Response DS Three Quarter Length Tights. And that 6pm.com had them on sale for $27!

But! Now I had the dilemma of what size to order. The ones I owned were tagged as a Large but were they really? Then I read the following review on Zappos (where they are also for sale but for $45):

These were extremely tiny! I wear a small in Nike for running pants and these smalls look like a child's small! Wow, please note this when ordering.

Okay then. I ordered a large.

I got them in the mail on Wednesday and they are PERFECT. I ordered a pair that are dark gray with black strips on the legs. However, I really want these, too:


Too bad those are still $45.

Anyway, as much as I love them, I think it's pretty crappy that the sizing is so off. Don't we go through enough hassle in our every day clothes without having to deal with crazy sizing issues in our workout clothes?

Sigh. On a more positive note, do you have a favorite item of workout clothing that you wish you had (or do have) more than one of?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Fast Deal


In an "I'm in denial that it can still be cold outside" moment I packed capris and a short sleeved shirt for my lunch time run yesterday. Thank goodness the sun was out and I definitely warmed up on our three mile jaunt, but standing at the corner waiting for the light to change before we started running I was COOOOOLD. It may be spring, but it's still nippy outside.

Even though all three of us women were complaining that we were sore from our various Monday night workouts we still pounded out three miles at just over a nine minute per mile pace.

Our splits?

Mile 1: 8:58
Mile 2: 9:21 (we stop to regroup at the 1.5 mile mark)
Mile 3: 8:54

Average pace: 9:05

We chatted about massages and racing and losing things only to have them come back to you in the strangest ways. I told the story about how my step-dad lost his iPhone while at an outdoor Christmas market in downtown Chicago and was frantically retracing his steps for it, but when I called it I found it out was being held in the beer tent. Someone had turned it in to the ladies manning the kegs. Phew!

We also talked a little bit about training and speedwork. I just found out on Monday night that my running group's track workout sessions start on May 5th. For $130 you meet every Wednesday from May 5th to October 6th at a local track where you run intervals with a local coach and former All-American college track runner. I saw them out there last year and it looked like they were working hard but having fun.

I'm thinking about doing it but I just don't know if I should when I'm training for my very first marathon. I don't really have a time goal for the marathon but I'd still like to run it the best I can. Plus, Wednesday nights are my favorite aerobics class! But, I always want to get faster and I know that speedwork will help. Plus, it comes out to like $5.45 a week. I can't think of a better deal! I guess this means I'm probably going to do it. I'll just have to apologize to my aerobics instructor :-) I'm sure that as a former Ironman triathlete he'll forgive me.

Speaking of deals, here are two giveaways in the blog world I'm interested in. They don't have to do with running but, hey, we all need to eat and we all need to wear clothes!

Holly is giving away coupons for free Greek yogurt in her Oikos giveaway.

And Jess is giving away a $50 Macy's gift card. Plus, she links you to an awesome time-wasting website where you can build outfits out of featured clothing items.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In the Zone


Last night I attempted my longest tempo run so far in this training cycle.

What did the training plan say? 1.25 mile Warm-up, 5.5 miles at 9:11, 1.25 mile cool down. I set it up this way so that I could run 8 miles with the running group (on Monday nights you can either do 5.5 miles or 8 miles). However, I didn't really want to rely on the running group for the entire 8 miles. Some nights no one wants to run 8. Some nights only the super speedy people run 8. And I've never actually run 8 with the group so I don't know that part of the route. So, instead, I decided to run TO running group, run WITH the group for 5.5 miles, and then run home. Distance to and from running group? 1.5 miles. Total mileage? 8.5 miles. That's a lot for a Monday night (at least for me)!

The run to the meeting spot was good. I felt nice and warmed up by the time I made it to the store where we start. I was really bummed, though, when I realized my running buddy wasn't there! I worried a bit that I wouldn't be able to sustain my tempo pace all on my own. I also worried that I'd be all alone at the back. Well, it turned out I was all alone but in the end it was a good thing. While I kept the rest of the group in my sights, I was able to run at my own pace and not have to worry about talking to anyone. The first mile kind of sucked because I started out too fast and I felt like there was an elephant on my chest. After that, though, I found my groove. It was weird. For the first time in a very, very long time I knew I was pushing it but it didn't feel that hard. I'm not saying I could have gone faster, but I was definitely in a zone.

Dear Zone, I would like to find you on all my runs. Do you think you could make that happen? Thanks.

Once we reached our finish point, I stood around chatting for a bit with some of the group members before taking off for home. The run home also felt glorious and I actually surprised Jason with how early I came in the door. The Garmin was being a little flaky which is why the Bones in Motion splits show that mile 8 was done in 16:40. So, I've included my Garmin splits as well.

Garmin Splits:

Mile 1 - 9:33
Mile 2 - 9:21
Mile 3 - 8:59
Mile 4 - 8:56
Mile 5 - 9:03
Mile 6 - 8:41
Mile 7 - 9:00
Mile 8 - 9:26
Mile .56 - 9:32 pace

Look at how freaking consistent that is!!! Even my warm-up and cool-down were almost identical to each other. Oh my god, if I could make that happen on half-marathon day I would be THRILLED.

I wish I knew what I did to make the run so great. To be honest, during the last few miles I had to go to the bathroom and I was a little worried. I was sort of regretting the chili I'd had for lunch. But even with that it was still such a great run. Who knows why that happens?


Route:--Elev. Avg:626 ft
Location:Forest Park, ILElev. Gain:+0 ft
Date:03/22/10Up/Downhill: [+49/-49]
Time:06:02 PMDifficulty:2.4 / 5.0
Weather:Partly Cloudy
 44 F temp; 39% humidity
 44 F heat index; winds N 20 G 24

Distance: 8.56 miles
Speed:6.6 mph
Pace:9' 09 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
19' 25+0' 166.4-0.2+4 ft
210' 21+1' 125.8-0.8+6 ft
39' 01-0' 086.7+0.10 ft
49' 02-0' 076.6+0.1-9 ft
59' 04-0' 056.6+0.1+13 ft
68' 49-0' 206.8+0.2-3 ft
78' 51-0' 186.8+0.2+3 ft
816' 40+7' 313.6-3.0-9 ft
end9' 33+0' 246.3-0.30 ft
Versus average of 9' 09 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com

Monday, March 22, 2010

Weekly Workout Wround Up

May Days Training Week 7: March 15th - March 21st

Mar 15

Managed a 5+ mile tempo run without the aid of the Oak Park Runners Club. And even made it book club before anyone else arrived!

Mar 16

I struggled through a 3+ mile run at lunch. Thank goodness the sun was shining or I really would have questioned why I was out there. Oh, who am I kidding, I was asking myself that anyway.

After work I went to the gym. It's also been a month since I lifted on a Tuesday night. Oh man, I was definitely tired. Normally I bump up the weights on the leg press machine but on Tuesday my knees were creaky and I could tell that using a higher weight would really kill me.

45 minutes of strength training with Back focus

One Arm Row (Stability Ball): 15 @ 7.5 lbs x2 each arm
Close Grip Pulldown: 20 @ 20 lbs; 14 @ 22.5 lbs (Aside: I hate these so much)
Sit Down Row: 12 @ 40 lbs; 10 @ 25 lbs (Not a fan of this either. I think my form is horrible)
Seated Back Extension: 15 @ 70 lbs; 20 @ 70 lbs
Seated Chest Press: 20 @ 20 lbs x2
Seated Shoulder Press: 14 @ 15 lbs (my shoulders are WEAK)
Low-Pulley Straight Bar Curl: 15 @ 12.5 lbs (much more difficult than using either of the seated curl machines)
Straight Bar Pushdown: 20 @ 15 lbs
Seated Leg Press: 20 @ 55 lbs x2
Seated Leg Curl: 20 @ 35 lbs
Horizontal Calf Raise: 20 @ 35 lbs x2
Crunches: 20
Reverse Crunch: 20 x2
Side Oblique Crunch: 20
Crunch with Legs Elevated: 20

I decided to go ahead and manually tell the computer program to reenable the automatic weight progression. I figure I've done enough strength training in my life to know if something is too heavy. Hopefully this doesn't bite me in the butt.

Also, the program only had me doing 95 crunches of various kinds. I add an extra 5 to make it an even 100. Woo! 100 crunches!

Mar 17

Normally on Wednesdays I go to the gym and take my Hi/Lo aerobics class and do a little bit of strength training. But this particular Wednesday I just wasn't feeling it. Some if may have had to do with the fact that last Wednesday I discovered that I don't like taking aerobics while wearing my glasses. Part of it may have been that I was tired. I don't know.

So, instead, I decided to be a good dog owner and actually take the dogs for a walk. I convinced my husband to come with so that I could run into the library and grab the next book for book club (One Hundred Years of Solitude. Anyone read it?) at the same time. Which means we got in a 1.5 mile walk. I suppose that's something.

Mar 18

Got in a 4.5+ mile run with the running group and Kim! The weather was PERFECT. Oh, how I wish it could stay like that forever.

After work I went to the gym to do strength training. My knees were still feeling creaky and I wasn't thrilled that it was a Legs day. Thankfully everything felt a-okay.

45 minutes strength training with Legs focus

Wide Stance Squat (1 Dumbbell): 15 @ 10lbs x2
Seated Leg Extension: 20 @ 20 lbs
Free Motion Squat: 12 @ 30 lbs; 20 @ 20 lbs
Wide Grip Pulldown: 20 @ 10 lbs x2
Push Up: 2 sets of 14
Seated Back Extension: 20 @ 65 lbs; 15 @ 70 lbs
Seated Rear Deltoid: 20 @ 15 lbs
Seated Arm Curl: 15 @ 15 lbs
V-Bar Pushdown: 20 @ 20 lbs
Adductor: 20 @ 50 lbs; 20 @ 110 lbs x2
Horizontal Calf Raise: 20 @ 30 lbs x2
90 Degree Crunch: 20
Side Oblique Crunch with Legs Elevated: 20
Bicycle Maneuver: 2 sets of 15
Decline Crunch: 15
Hamstring Curls (Stability Ball): 2 sets of 10

Mar 19

Rest Day!

Mar 20

Ran 9 miles in the wind and the snow flurries. Almost as badass as running the rain.

Also, I happened to be out on my run when it hit 2:00 PM Eastern Time. Once I realized that I'd be on the bike path somewhere when the time came to take a photo I hoped I'd be or see something cool at the exact moment. I totally didn't plan it this way, but just as the alarm on my phone went off I came to this:

And the view directly behind me?

So those are the photos I sent to A Minute in the Life taken at 2PM Eastern Time on Saturday, March 20th.

Mar 21

No running or gymming today but that doesn't mean I didn't help out the running community in some way. No, Kim and I headed down to the Chicago Shamrock Shuffle to volunteer at Gear Check. However, due to no fault of our group's organizer, we were only there for about an hour and most of that involved standing around. Not nearly the craziness of last year. Ah well. At least we managed to have an enjoyable lunch together afterward!

Total Mileage: Approximately 22.20 (give or take a quarter of a mile here and there due to the Garmin being flaky)

Yay for being back over 20 miles!

This upcoming week will have a few new things. I'm going to try and run TO running group tonight. Then my long run will be done in the town where my parents live. I've already got a route mapped out. It will also be my first double-digit run since July 2009. Right now the weather looks like it will be perfect. Let's hope it stays that way!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dear Deer

For the first time in months and months I didn't have anywhere to be on Saturday. Instead, I was able to sleep in and run at my leisure. And I totally took advantage of it!

Except, when I did get up and look outside the weather was horrific. Cold, windy and doing a combination of snow and rain. Ugh. I really, really didn't want to run in that. In fact, I started kicking myself for not squeezing in my long run on Friday after work. Friday was so gorgeous! But Saturday, the first day of spring, winter returned with a vengeance.

My husband told me I had three choices: suck it up and run outside, run on the treadmill, or not run at all. I knew Option C was not really an option. This time last year Option B would definitely have been my first choice. But this year? I've managed to avoid the treadmill for all of my long runs so I decided to suck it up and run outside.

I also decided that I would drive to the bike path so that I would be sheltered by trees. Also, for some reason 9 miles on the bike path goes so much faster than 9 miles on the roads. In fact, Saturday's run went so quickly I had a difficult time believing I'd really run 9 miles. And I didn't do it significantly faster, either. This Saturday's 9 miler was only thirteen seconds faster than last Saturday's 9. But something about that bike path just makes the time go by so quickly.

Maybe it's the deer. I saw five of them on my run! Three crossed the path in front of me and I ran within feet of the other two standing in the trees off to the side. I love seeing deer. Every time I go out to the path I hope I'll see some. Saturday did not disappoint!

I also saw several other runners. I wasn't the only crazy person braving the wind and the snow flurries. Actually, the snow wasn't really that bad once I got out there. I wasn't even that wet at the end. Of course, some of that might have been because I wore my Westchester VeteRUN 10K jacket. It's more like a sail than a jacket but, hey, that's extra resistance training!

Overall this run felt really good. I was even able to run under race pace for the last mile. After the run, though, I felt totally wiped out. I think the combination of fighting the weather, running hard, and being cold really took a toll on me. Thank goodness we had plenty of Thai food leftovers for dinner!


Route:--Elev. Avg:622 ft
Location:Brookfield, ILElev. Gain:+4 ft
Date:03/20/10Up/Downhill: [+246/-242]
Time:12:18 PMDifficulty:3.6 / 5.0
Weather:Light Snow Fog/Mist
 33 F temp; 88% humidity
 33 F heat index; winds NE 20 G 29

Distance: 9.00 miles
Speed:6.1 mph
Pace:9' 51 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
110' 03+0' 126.0-0.1-7 ft
210' 25+0' 345.8-0.3+17 ft
310' 13+0' 225.9-0.20 ft
410' 53+1' 025.5-0.6-4 ft
59' 45-0' 066.2+0.10 ft
69' 45-0' 066.2+0.1+6 ft
79' 52+0' 016.1-0.0-10 ft
89' 55+0' 046.0-0.0-10 ft
end8' 54-0' 576.7+0.6+10 ft
Versus average of 9' 51 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com