Friday, March 29, 2013

fun facts friday

1. My mom bought me a great pair of touchscreen gloves on clearance.  She liked them so much that we went back to the store to get another pair for her.  The irony? She uses a cheap-o TracFone that is most definitely NOT a touchscreen.  In fact, it is still possible to count the number of pixels on her screen.  It also makes a loud beeping noise when you press the keys (this really annoys me).

2.  I'm headed home today for Easter. My mom isn't even going to be there as she is in Texas for one of my cousin's wedding. My aunt, uncle, grandma, mom and 13-year old cousin were driving down there.  I can almost guarantee that my uncle will have to drive 95% of the whole trip.

3. Since I am on a roll, here's another about my mom.  She called me to tell me about a news story she heard about people stealing other people's tax returns.  The perps just get a copy of a victim's W2 form and file for a return to go to his or her bank account before the victim attempts to file.  She then went on to laugh about how disappointed they would be if they received my tax return. Yeah, I didn't get very much money this year.

4. I called Matt at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday night.  And we talked for 12 minutes before he had to go because he was falling asleep. It wasn't even 9 o'clock.

5. I'm taking my bike home this weekend with the high hopes that I will be able to ride on Sunday morning.  Cross your fingers but it is supposed to be in the 50s! 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Illinois Marathon Training Week 19

19 weeks.  Wow.  This means I've surpassed the number of weeks I spent training for any other race including my half Ironman.  Five weeks till the marathon.
  • Monday - 15 min elliptical + 75 min yoga
  • Tuesday - 7 miles @ 9:27 pace with Kim
  • Wednesday - 50 min spin class (with working set of 30s on, 30s easy)
  • Thursday - 6 miles with 4 @ 9:03/8:57 (1% incline) on the treadmill
  • Friday - 2100 yd swim
  • Saturday - Off
  • Sunday - 14 miles 
  • Weekly Total - 27 miles + 75 min yoga + 50 min spin + 15 min elliptical
Photo courtesy of Kim!

This week was a good strong week for me! Swimming finally made a return in my schedule! And bonus! I didn't feel like I was drowning which is fairly typical when I haven't been swimming in awhile (months in this particular case).  I was even able to still do 4x100 on 1:45's (repeating a 100 yd swim every 1 minute and 45 seconds) which is definitely slower than I was while training last summer, but much better than I was when I first started swimming regularly.  Improvement!

Running after work in the sunlight is making me really happy. Thursday's tempo run was still completed on the treadmill, but on Tuesday night I met Kim for a run.  Having someone to chat with made the run go super fast and I felt great.

After a 20 miler last weekend, I expected 14 miles to feel easy.  But my head wasn't in the game this week and I slogged through it.  It wasn't a terrible run it just felt long and drawn out.  This is another reminder that running/training for a marathon is about mental strength and endurance as it is about physical strength and endurance, if not more.  When I am tired, I always want to stop and walk but I don't need to (most of the time), but I do anyways because my mind says my legs are tired.  Hills are the biggest challenge for me in this aspect.  They are hard and therefore I think I deserve a break, but I need to keep pushing and charge up the hill because I am strong enough to do that.  These are great lessons for me as I am running the marathon as well.  I am strong enough to keep running.

What is your biggest mental running challenge?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Illinois Marathon Training Week 18

This was a big, big week for me!

  • Monday - 13.1 miles on the treadmill
  • Tuesday - Rest
  • Wednesday - 9 miles avg pace 9:50 OUTSIDE!
  • Thursday - 7 miles w/ 3x1600 @ 8:34/8:27, 10 min of core work + push ups
  • Friday - 20 min stairmill, 10 min strength/cardio circuit
  • Saturday - 20 miles!
  • Sunday - 40 min walk
  • Weekly Total: 49 miles + 20 min stairmill + 20 min strength + 40 min walking
Yahoo! Yippee! Woot woot! Not only is 20 miles a PDR for me, 49 miles is my highest weekly total.  

Since I skipped my long run last weekend, I squeezed it in on Monday night.  With the extra hour of sunlight after work, you would think I would take advantage of it and run outside, but I've been a weenie lately and went to the gym because it was cold and drizzly.  Totally lame on my part.  But I got my run in on the treadmill.  I took a break about halfway through to walk around off the treadmill, go to the bathroom, etc. before hopping back on and whipping out another 6.5 miles.  The Biggest Loser was on so that helped distract me.

On Wednesday, I hemmed and hawed about going outside for my run, but after a text from my friend Laura (who is also running this marathon), I got out there and ran.  This was supposed to be a 10 mile run, but it was already very dark at mile 9 so I called it good.  I tried to pick a route that I knew had street lights and was heavily traveled so I was never running in the dark alone.  This approach was mostly successful except I forgot that the main road leading back to my apartment is not lit. This road is a 4-lane road that I would consider to be fairly major so I don't know why there are no streetlights (way to go Arlington Heights).  Thankfully, I only had to do a mile on this section and made it safely home, but I seriously had to stop and walk at points because I couldn't see the sidewalk.  

Thursday's mile repeats were hard.  Turns out my legs were a little tired from the 22 miles I had already run this week.  Bailing on the last mile repeat seemed like a great option, but I powered through by telling myself it would be worth the great feeling afterwards. It was. 

Since I had taken a rest day on Tuesday, I decided to do a workout on Friday and not take my usual rest day before a long run.  A decision I quickly regretted on Saturday morning when I woke up with sore glutes.  20 miles is scarily daunting to me, but I just headed out and told myself to take it 1 mile at a time.  Matt agreed to come pick me up if I was dying on the side of the road.  

Cascade is hilly and not that big so I ran some of the route twice.  The hills were hard and I was s.l.o.w. and I walked up my fair share of hills towards the end.  But I never felt like I couldn't complete it and I finished.  

I could also now write the book on how not to recover from a 20 miler.  I spent about 5 minutes stretching and attempting to ice my knees before my mom insisted that I get in the shower so we could go to Dubuque.  We spent hours standing and walking around and my feet were killing me.  On the bright side, all the walking really helped my legs and I didn't have to deal with much post-run soreness on Sunday.  On Saturday night, I wasn't much fun at the bachelor/ette party because all I wanted to do was sit with my feet up and snack.  

My motivation has returned and I am feeling pretty good about the marathon this week.  I am excited to tackle the rest of my plan! 6 weeks to go!

Monday, March 18, 2013

monday things

1.  My gym is collecting old running/gym shoes and I donated two pairs.  Yay for cleaning out my closet.  I also took a bag of clothes I no longer wear to Goodwill.  This way I can justify buying more clothes and shoes!

2. I ran 20 miles on Saturday. 20! I still can't even believe I did that.

3. I rested for about 5 minutes after my run on Saturday before my mom was all, "Get up! We are going shopping in Dubuque."  But by shopping, she really meant gambling.  I was ready to go after about 20 minutes, but she wasn't ready.  

4. Matt and I ended up at a joint bachelor/bachelorette party on Saturday evening.  I played a new-to-me game that I am pretty certain only a drunken idiot could come up with.  Although I was informed that this game has been around for a long time, I remain unconvinced.  Each person has a nail that is lightly tapped into a large stump.  You take turns at pounding the nail into the stump, but you only get one pound or hit per turn.  And here's the real kicker, you have to hit the nail with the small end of the hammer. 

Drunken idiot game? I think yes.

5. Did you do anything fun for St. Patrick's Day? I usually don't celebrate too much and this year was no different.  Matt and I did go to the church breakfast after mass with his family.  No green beer for me.  I am a bit saddened that I didn't get to enjoy a Killian's Irish Red Stout.  

6. Disappointed.  This is exactly how I felt when I woke up this morning to see freshly fallen snow on the ground and my car.  It's almost spring and I don't want anymore snow!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Illinois Marathon Training Week 17

Week 17 is in the books.  7 more weeks until the marathon. I actually feel refreshed after last week's recovery week.
  • Monday - 75 min yoga
  • Tuesday - 9 miles treadmill
  • Wednesday - 50 min spin, 20 min strength training
  • Thursday - 6 miles with 4 @ 9:02 pace (.5%) incline
  • Friday - Rest
  • Saturday - Volunteering at Punk the Monk (a workout in itself)
  • Sunday - Rest
  • Weekly Total - 15 miles + 75 min yoga + 50 min spin + 20 in strength training
Missing? My weekly long run.  Which was a half marathon this week.  Since Matt was visiting, I got up early on Sunday morning intending to start running while he slept it.  Rain was coming down and I wasn't thrilled about the idea of running in wet shoes.  So I gave into the temptation of my warm bed and thought I'd try again in an hour.  It was still raining then so I blew it off.  I'd rather spend time with Matt anyways.  I ended up running that long run on Monday night, but more about that in next week's post.

On Tuesday, the Chicago area was hit with another snowstorm.  I don't know why they only seem to happen on Tuesdays lately.  Work kept me busy that day so I didn't leave until after 5:30 (which really isn't that late) and I was tired.  The internal debate about whether to go to the gym or go home was raging in my mind and to encourage myself to go to the gym, I bribed myself with a little treat from Trader Joe's.  If I ate a snack, I thought it would help me have a little more energy.  Well it worked and I made it to the gym.  The run itself wasn't all that bad either.  Sometimes the hardest part is starting.

I can only hope that Tuesday's storm was the last snowstorm of the year.  Bring on spring!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A fabulous weekend + my volunteer experience at Punk the Monk

Why did I have a fabulous weekend?

Because my most favorite boyfriend came to visit.  We had originally planned to go out for sushi Friday night, but he took forever on the drive so sushi was a no go.  Instead we hit up Portillo's for vegetarian entrees since we don't eat meat on Fridays during Lent.  

Earlier last week, I texted Matt that I really wanted a cupcake.  Usually he just says okay since there isn't much he can do for me from 4 hours away.  

This time was different. He actually brought me cupcakes. 

He's pretty much the best ever. These beauts are from Take the Cake in Marion, Iowa. Flavors shown are Strawberry Cheescake, Salted Chocolate Caramel, Chocolate PB Swirl and I Do Wedding Cake.  Already missing another I Do Wedding Cake and Key Lime Pie. These were divine! Only one remains uneaten and I will be sad to see it go.  My stomach, on the other hand, will be very happy.

Since Matt was so nice to me, I thought I would return the favor and let him volunteer for Punk the Monk 5K the next morning.  Yeah, I'm rude. Please come visit me so I can make you get up early to stand outside in the cold and walk through snow in the rain. 

I've ran a few Muddy Monk races in the past and since this one was only about 10 minutes from home (at Deer Grove FP), I jumped on the chance to volunteer.  Volunteers get half off a future Muddy Monk race plus post-race snacks and a beer.

We showed up at the race site around 8 am and were put right to work organizing packet pickup bags and preparing waivers.  When runners started showing up, we also helped out with packet pickup for awhile before we headed out for our official volunteering position-aid station volunteers! This is where the fun really started. Our instructions were to drive over to a different road and then walk the quarter mile or so into the trees to set up the aid station.  Just follow the path to the trees. 

Turns out it isn't very easy to follow the path when there is approximately 5 options and there are trees on about 3 sides of you. One of the guys in our group was convinced we were supposed to go to the right so we headed off in that direction.  When that wasn't panning out we headed south.  Did I mention we were carrying about 3 jugs of water, a water cooler, a table, and a tent? Tromping through the snow is not very conducive to dry, warm feet either.  I thought I made the smart decision by wearing my cowboy boots, but my feet were still wet and cold.  A few times Matt or I would run ahead to see if we could find the aid station.  One time, Matt ran all the way to the edge of the forest preserve in the wrong direction.  Steam might have actually come out of his ears.  We were so incredibly irritated. 

Turns out we needed to head west, like way west.  Like it would have been closer to walk directly from the start and not take the van.  

I made this awesome made to illustrate my point.  The blue is the race path, the red is where we walked.  

See that green dot? That is the race start.  We could have just walked across the snow to get to the aid station. 

Even with the hour buffer we gave ourselves to get to the aid station and setup, we still managed to miss the first few runners.  But like true troopers, we whipped up our table and started pouring water.  We still managed to have water for 90% of the runners so I am calling this a success.  

Kelsey taking a break at the aid station to pose for a pic
By the time we got to the aid station, it felt like I had run a 5K. Dragging a heavy tent and carrying a jug of water all while tromping through snow is no easy task! I think it would have been easier to just run the race! 

Proof we were there!

And we still had to walk back to the start.  Ugh!  Matt walked the race path back to pick up all the flags and I cut start across the snow to go right back to the start.  I waited for him for 20 minutes and was starting to get worried that he had fallen and hurt himself and then he would be really mad when he got back.  Turns out, it just took him awhile to get all the flags.  

I took this photo while he was gone with Ian, Lindsay, Emily, me, Katie, and Kelsey
For all our hard work, we were rewarded with some Lucky Monk brew and these awesome mason mugs! I tried the Pale Ale and the Porter.  Pale Ales usually aren't my fave beer, but I really liked this.  Matt liked it so much he bought a pint bottle to take home!

Even with this bad experience, I still had a pretty good time and I will definitely volunteer again with Muddy Monk in the future.  The entire staff was great and very friendly.  Liz even ran the entire race path in snow boots and jeans and fell several times just to help us find the aid station/turn around point. Then they gave me an entire bunch of extra bananas.  And those awesome sunglasses Matt and I are sporting in the first picture. 

We shut the race after party down, but not until we had a few mugs'o'beer and plenty of snacks.  The rest of the day was mostly spent laying around on the couch because we needed to rest after all the exertion at the race.  I did manage to drag Matt to Kohl's so I could buy him a new shirt to say thanks for helping! I don't think he is going to volunteer for another race anytime soon!

The night ended with dinner at a Thai place in Arlington Heights where the curry was so spicy I managed about half before I absolutely had to stop.  It was delicious and I brought the rest home but I need to cut the spicy-level a bit before eating anymore.  Since I didn't finish my meal, I still had plenty of room left for a half a cupcake and a glass of almond milk. 

Sunday was a pretty boring day since it rained for approximately 20,000 hours. I had plans to run but skipped out on it when I realized it was raining.  Instead I made Matt's favorite oatmeal bake and lounged around on the couch.  

Left: Phone with an antenna          Right: Already addicted to new phone
Matt got a smartphone last week and officially joined the rest of the smartphone world.  He is already getting sucked into its magical powers.  I can't wait till he starts playing Words with Friends with me.  

Do you have any funny/bad/awkward volunteer stories?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

saturday stuff

1. I went to 3 grocery stores this week--Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Garden Fresh Market.  I think three was a bit of an overkill.

2. Speaking of Whole Foods, a new store in Kildeer opened on Wednesday.  It is right on my way to and from work so, of course, I had to stop in.  Big mistake! It was incredibly crowded and I lasted about 10 minutes before I had to get out o there.  The bulk/cooking section was awesome and I am excited to go back when less people are there.

3.  Since laundry cost me $2 and I am cheap frugal, I just take my laundry to my parent's house and I my mom does it.  No trips home means lots of dirty laundry.  So much that it has exploded onto my floor.

This picture does not do it justice.

4.  Weight training has been left a little neglected by me lately.  On Wednesday, I did some basic arm moves and I still have a knot in my arm.  This is certainly not encouraging to lift anything else anytime soon.  

5. My friend came over on Thursday for dinner and margaritas.  My first time trying my hand at risotto was a success.  I made this recipe from the Pioneer Woman.  In the biggest friend fail of the night, I forgot that Laura was allergic to oranges as I was blending up our whole fruit margaritas (because obvi that makes them healthy).  She drank it anyways.  True friendship.

6.  Spring forward is tonight/tomorrow morning.  I am not looking forward to loosing an hour of sleep, but I am pretty excited about it being still light out after work.  Confinement to the treadmill for after work runs begone! 

7.  Last weekend was blogger book club.  The food and wine was delicious once again and the book was discussed for about 10 minutes of the 3 hours we were there. Typical. Thanks Erin for hosting!  Since Kelsey and Katie were busy bopping people, I made sure to smile nicely for the camera.

From Ready Set Feast!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Illinois Marathon Training Week 16

Another recovery week for me last week.  I feel like I just had a recovery week which I did. Two weeks ago when I was on vacation I didn't run at all.  I've also realized this week that a 24 week training program is a long time.  Although the race is coming up in about 8 weeks, I have been training for 16 weeks.  When choosing this training program, I knew 24 weeks would start to feel very long, but I really wanted a plan that only had 3 days of running.

I still have a long way to go--including two 20 milers.  But I am starting to feel more ready for the race.  

February 25-March 3.

  • Monday - 75 min yoga
  • Tuesday - Rest (there was a snowstorm)
  • Wednesday - 55 min spin class with hills, 6 mile run
  • Thursday - 6 mile w/ 4 @ 9:05 and .5% incline
  • Friday - Rest
  • Saturday - Rest
  • Sunday - 10.5 miles
  • Total - 22.5 mi running + 75 min yoga + 55 min spin
Is a snowstorm a good excuse for not getting a run in?  My boss let us leave work early on Tuesday because we were getting 6+ inches of snow.  In the end, the roads weren't that terrible, but I was thankful to get a head start on traffic.  When I was leaving work, I thought about going straight to the gym, but I went home instead.  I certainly didn't want to go back outside once I was all cozy inside so I doubled up my Wednesday workouts.  

Saturday's run got put off until Sunday again.  I need to plan something for Saturday that makes me get off my butt because I end up just spending most of the day lounging around.  Sunday morning I got right out of bed and grabbed a quick snack before heading out for my run.  I wanted to do 13 miles, but I ran out of time.  Book club was Sunday afternoon and my dish still wasn't made! The run went okay.  I am still on the hunt for places shoveled sidewalks.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Park City Touring [Part III]

My last Park City post. For now. Or until I return again. Before we were even back in Chicago, Matt and I started talking about where we might go on our next vacation.  Matt was talking about where we should ski next.  And I, exhausted from all the skiing, suggested that we go somewhere and lay on the beach.  Matt laughed and responded that we were more likely to lay on the beach one day and then we would have to do another 100 things.  It's true, we don't do much relaxing on vacation.  My rationale is we are only visiting this city for a short amount of time and so we should see and do as much as possible.  Thankfully Matt is just as adventurous as me.

On our day off from skiing, we visited the Utah Olympic Park.  Since Salt Lake City was the host of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Park City hosted a lot of the outdoor events. Olympic Park has the track for the bobsled, skeleton, and luge, the nordic ski jumps, and freestyle jumps.   You can ride the bobsled track with a professional driver and experience 5 G's of force and 80 mph speeds for the lovely low price of $200 per person.  We skipped out on the part considering it would have been the fastest and most expensive seconds of my entire life.  I would imagine with the force you wouldn't even be able to keep your head lifted to see the ice wall whizzing by.

Olympic Park has two museums-a ski museum and an Olympic museum.  I loved seeing the evolution of skis and all the crazy different kinds of skis.

Like these really long jumping skis.  To give you a comparison, my skis only go to about eye level.

We also carried the Olympic torch.  

We practiced our slalom and downhill skiing skillz. Best part of the whole museum, right here.

We took the guided tour to hear more about the different events and got to travel to the very top of the track entrance.  They maintain the track by spraying water over it and then scraping off all the little bumps to smooth it out.

This is the view from the top of the Nordic jumps.  Doesn't this look terrifying? You can't see the bottom at all from the top.


I fall anytime my skis leave the ground, even going over short little jumps so I would never do this.  

The view from the top of the track was beautiful. 

I happen to think we are pretty beautiful too.

Bonus! We spotted more wildlife.  Moose! This is my first time seeing moose.  


This happened to be a cow with her calf.  Does any else think the plural of moose should be meese? Or is it just me?

If you were to win an Olympic gold medal, what activity would it be in?
I could probably take the gold in refusal-to-admit-I'm-wrong.  I'm a little stubborn about it, okay.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Illinois Marathon Training Week 15

I just counted and the Illinois Marathon is less than 9 weeks away.  9 weeks!

  • Sunday: Rest
  • Monday: 9 6 treadmill miles
  • Tuesday: 75 min yoga
  • Wednesday: 45 min cycle class with hills, 3 mi run with 1 mile at 8:13
  • Thursday: 6 mi w/ 3x1600 repeats @ 8:34
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: 17.5 mi
  • Total: 32.5 miles 
Snow covered running path

My highest mileage week yet. It was hard to get back in the swing of things this week after a week of vacation, but I still managed to get in all but a half mile of my weekly mileage goal.  On Monday, I could definitely feel that I had taken a week off. Running was tough and at only 2 miles in I remember thinking there was no way I was going to make it to 9 miles.  My glutes were sore from all the skiing I had done the previous week which wasn't noticeable until I tried to run. I cut my losses and quit at 6 miles.  Surprisingly, Thursday run went great.  I was able to do all the mile repeats without feeling like I was dying.

Saturday was intended to be my long run day, but after laying around for half the day, I just couldn't convince myself to go run.  Part of me was scared of the 18 miles, the other part was just lazy.  Sunday morning was much better.  I got up, had some breakfast, and put my running clothes right on.  The run wasn't so bad.  I only took one gel for food because that was my last one.  Nowhere near enough fuel for 17.5 miles. And it was apple cinnamon flavor which was disgusting. I did a lot of walking in the last 3 miles, but I finished out 17.5 miles.

Also what is with people not shoveling their sidewalks and Palatine not cleaning all of their trail? Running on the packed, uneven snow was more work.  I'll be changing my path this weekend to somewhere that is shoveled.
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