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

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hidden Temple in the City

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Last Thursday I was riding my bike home from work and my ART appointment when I looked over the side of a bridge and saw what looked like a lovely park. 

When I got home I looked on Google maps and realized I was riding right over the Ping Tom Memorial Park.  I’d recently read about it in the Chicago Tribune but I had no idea where it was.  Until now. 

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Some quick calculations and I realized I could do an easy 5 mile run there and back from my apartment.  So, on Friday morning I headed out my front door with Ping Tom Park as my goal.

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After several days of temperatures in the 90s the cooler morning air felt wonderful.  Running came easy even though I hadn’t been out on my feet like that in over a week. 

Sure, I had to stop at some intersections and sure my Garmin wouldn’t find a signal for what felt like forever, but I had a goal and I was running and I loved it.

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The park is set behind a housing complex in a rather industrial area of the city.  Unfortunately when I was running they were picking up trash from the apartment buildings to every so often you’d get a whiff of something unpleasant.  But the park was filled with people sitting in the sun, doing Tai Chi in the shade, or just walking along the paths.

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I didn’t have a much time as I wanted to explore so I’ll definitely be back.  It was an easy run from my apartment (although not the most scenic) and the park has a drinking fountain for that mid-run refreshment. 

And the other best part?  My hip felt perfectly fine afterward.  Maybe all this PT and ART is finally doing something. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Weekend Wildness


Ladies and Gentleman, let me introduce to you the Stupid Tan Lines: Summer 2012 Collection.

Item #1 :

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Item #2:

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Item #3:

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And just how, exactly, did I end up with this lovely collection of tan lines?

By parking my car here:


And riding my bike to here:


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And then 5 more miles to get lunch here:

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And then turning around and doing it all again to get back to my car.  Plus a slight detour when I got a little lost.  Total mileage?

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64.22 miles.  Today my legs feel sore in all sorts of new places.

I am not the world’s fastest cyclist so not counting stops for traffic or my stop for lunch I did those 64.22 miles in just shy of four and a half hours.  My Garmin died around mile 52 so, sadly, it didn’t catch the last four miles where I was pushing it really hard and probably averaging closer to 18 miles per hour (instead of the 14 for the rest of the trip). 

I really just wanted to be done and, thankfully, an older gentleman on a bike behind me gave me the motivation to push harder. 

But riding my bike my furthest distance ever (by a factor of 2) wasn’t the only wild and crazy thing I did this weekend.

Oh, no.  On Friday afternoon I biked over to the nearest gym to which I still have a membership (until the end of July, anyway) I decided to swim some laps. 

That went….let’s go with….well, at least I didn’t drown. 

I have forgotten everything I learned from my lesson back in January.  I think I’ll be taking my work bonus and getting myself some swim lessons.  I felt awkward and ungangly in the water and I think I swallowed half the pool.  I was in the water for 30 minutes and I hope that at least half of that was swimming.  For the first 10 minutes I just did laps, for the next 10 I used a kick board to try and work on my breathing.  For the last 10 I used a pull buoy so I could work on my arm movements. 

I slept really well on Friday night. 

Saturday I tried a new strength workout that left me feeling a bit sore.  Peace Love and Oats posted a workout she recently tried and I thought, hey, why not?  I swapped out the cardio parts, though, for some deadlifts, dumbbell rows, and stability ball work. 

And today?  Today I am taking a rest day.  I think I earned it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Medal Day

Monday night's run was definitely not medal-worthy.  I felt pretty good for the first two miles or so but then my legs turned into lead and my left quad started hurting and I just wanted to be done.  Of course, my Garmin didn't catch a signal until after the first 1.5 miles so it didn't even record the parts where I felt strong.  Blah.  At least the company was good since I was running with my running club.

So, instead of focusing on runs that didn't garner any fruit, I'm sharing what I do with my race medals for Mag Mile Runner's photo challenge.

Above is the very first race medal holder I ever got.  I showed the website to my mom shortly after the 2010 Chicago Marathon and she ended up buying me this medal hanger for Christmas.  Until then my medals were just hanging on the door handle of my home office.

I very quickly outgrew this medal holder, though.  Running 30 races in one year will do that to you.

So, towards the end of 2011 I was gifted with two more medal holders.  My mom gave me this one:

And then Kim gave me this custom one:

I now have all three hanging in my office at home.

 The one on the far left has my half marathons and my marathons (other than Chicago).  The next one has all my races that I ran in the actual city of Chicago (plus 2011 Ragnar that ended in Chicago).  Then the next one has all my other race distances and age group place medals.  

There is one other medal that isn't on my medal rack.  And that's the medal from my very first half marathon.

The 2009 Illinois Half Marathon.  That one hangs in a shadow box in my office at work.  It's also my first race medal ever (if you don't count my keychain) so it got some special treatment.

I haven't added any medals since December 2011.  The marathon section of the one medal rack looks a little sparse.   I'd like to add some more but until then it's one day at a time.

Monday, June 11, 2012

An Athlete and an Athletic Supporter

Right after I write about how I can’t get out of bed and workout before work I managed to get up and 3.2 miles on Thursday morning.  Of course, that’s partly because I didn’t have to be anywhere until 10:00 AM instead of 9:00 AM but still.  I ran.  In the morning.  On a weekday. 

It was my first run in my neighborhood and I decided to meander through the university campus just south of us and see where that took me.

Once you get past the university it’s not the most scenic route but the bits through the university were lovely and shaded.

But you know what’s funny?  When I run by myself I run faster than when I run with people.  This used to be the complete opposite.  Not sure what’s happening there.

After my run I showered and got ready for a day of work and errands.  But first I walked (!) to my doctor’s office for a hip check-up.  He ended up doing a technique called “dry needling” to loosen up some of my muscles.  Amazingly, it felt better almost immediately.  Not cured, but better.  He then referred me to another PT who will do some trigger point massage therapy.  This new PT is exactly one block from my apartment which I’m stupidly excited about. 

Who knew I would love living in the city so much?

Other benefits to living in the city?  Being able to go cheer at races!

I rode my bike (thanks, REI, for the new tube!) to the half way point of the Allstate 13.1 Half Marathon on Saturday armed with a tub of Red Vines.  Kim suggested I hand out treats and we picked up these puppies on Friday night.  The runners seemed to enjoy them greatly. 

I had grand plans to do a strength training workout on Sunday after doing an abbreviated one on Thursday evening but ended up relaxing on the couch instead.  Hey, sometimes you need a day to sleep late, enjoy brunch, and read the paper.  Right?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Goals Check-In


My main goals for this year were to do something active every day that I can and figure out what to do about this stupid hip.
And how’s that going six months into the year?
Well, I’m definitely doing as much as possible.  Although, this morning when I woke up before my alarm I thought, “If I’m going to keep waking up before I have to, maybe I should start working out before work.”
And then promptly went back to sleep.
Seriously, though, ever since we moved I’ve been waking up way before my alarm.  I wish I could find some morning workout buddies to keep me accountable.  Without them I’m much more inclined to roll over and go back to sleep.
When I do manage to do things, it’s either a strength workout, a bike ride, or a run.  I still haven’t managed to get to the pool.  Still terrified of lane sharing.  I’ve GOT to get over that.  I wish I had some swim buddies, too. 
Anyway, I rode my bike downtown and back on Saturday to visit Kim who was manning the Fake Meats booth at the first ever Chicago Veggie Pride Parade. 
However, my bike now has its first ever flat tire.  Time to put my REI membership to good use and get a discount on a bike tune-up and flat fix.  I’ve read too many horror stories of people trying to change their own bike tubes to try it myself!  I’ll just pay someone to do it for now. 
On Sunday I didn’t get in a workout but I did promote running!  It was a weekend of booths.  Sunday I set-up and staffed the booth for my running club at a village event.
We got some interest but also a lot of people who gave us the side eye and said “I don’t run!” or “I could never run!”  Seriously?  That may be true but don’t you think it’s weird you need to comment?
Monday night I had to take all the stuff pictured above back to our storage area in Oak Park so I took the opportunity to run with the club.  A nice, steady 5.5 miles. Although my hip was a tad sore afterward.
And speaking of my hip, I have a follow-up appointment with the doc who recommended PT on Thursday.  We’ll see what he has to say since PT didn’t seem to be making a HUGE difference. 
In the mean time, I’ve got an ART appointment tonight.  Maybe some strength training or a quick run (it IS National Running Day, after all) afterward.  We’ll see.