Sunday, April 29, 2012

Make me angry--I run faster that way:)

MONDAY: day off...weird to say that
TUESDAY: 4miles in AM; 45minute tempo in PM
WEDNESDAY: 6miles in AM, swim workout in PM
THURSDAY: 800/400 workout in AM, hard bike in PM
FRIDAY: 6miles easy in AM
SATURDAY: 12.5miles in PM with fiance
SUNDAY: 5k race, $200 richer

Nice Break:
After that 10k on last Sunday, I was wondering if those 13 days that I was forced to take off because of my bronchitis-like symptoms really paid off.  I figured we'd test that theory in workouts this week.  I thought about doing my tempo on Tuesday morning, but just honestly felt like "sleeping in" with Ryan instead. Tuesday evening came around and I REALLY didn't want to run a 45minute tempo. This is why I do workouts in the morning--that way they are over with before I can decide that I don't want to do them!

Tuesday Tempo:
Anyway, Ryan told me he would meet me at LifeTime, so that motivated me to actually go and do my workout.  It was about 20mph winds, so I decided to be smart and run my tempo inside.  I also decided to test my A5's out again to see if I could maybe even do a 10miler in them.  My workout actually went really well.  It wasn't until about 40/41minutes that my legs started feeling a little fatigued (I attribute this to the fact that I took Monday off, something I never do, so my body felt funny and not recovered from Sunday).  I ran just over 7miles for a 6:27 pace per Coach Cari's calculations based on my sickness/comeback from sickness.

Thursday nightmare:
Thursday, the workout was supposed to be 4x800 and 4x400, buuuuut I slept in for 3minutes too long and had to cut a 400 out.  The main goal was to run them all evenly.  My first 800 was a 2:41...yikes...I need to be closer to 2:45.  The next ones went 2:47, 2:48, 2:47, so I was much happier with those.  The 400s were better than expected--1:17, 1:18, 1:17.  I had to do this workout on the "Woodscreek school course" where there is a completely flat 0.3 portion, then a slight incline and slight decline portion, so everything equaled out for the 800s, but the 400s were flat the entire time:)

Then Thursday night rolled around.  I am currently driving two triathletes to their practice and generally only drive when they have their swim/run practice (MWF). Well, I was asked to drive Thursday (biking is Tues/Thurs), so I figured why not--might as well get a workout in too.  I got in a workout alright... I got more than I bargained for.  I made sure to stay far enough in back of the pack of the 7 riders--I'm not confident enough in my or their abilities to not crash!  Anyway, a pretty good cyclist from a local bike shop came to ride with us as well.  He was there to help the kids out, evaluate how they can improve things such as cadence, etc. At mile 25 of the 32mile ride, he came back to try to help me... except that the things he kept telling me to do slowed me down.  Eventually, I could barely see the pack.  He left me to ride back with them, and I was left on my own.

I should probably stop here and say that I am horrible with directions.  If you get me somewhere once, I can find my way there again, but if you tell me "go to this road, make a left, go 7 blocks turn right, etc.," chances are, I'll get lost.  So, I stopped and asked for directions.  Luckily, the park where we started from had three GIANT water slides and football and soccer fields, so I described the park to the guy mowing his lawn and he told me how to get back--"a left when this road ends, a right when the next road ends, another left when that road ends and it's 1.5miles from there."  Sounded like it would be easy enough.  Except that the park I ended up at was a playground with baseball fields.  Not quite what I thought I had described.  So, practically in tears at this point, I asked one of the baseball coaches how to get to the park I described.  He told me to go up to the light, make a left and follow it about 2 miles down.  Just what I needed--another 2 miles of riding:(

Luckily, this guy knew what he was talking about and I found my way back.  I felt HORRIBLE for the two kids I drive because they had to run barefoot (the kids run a few miles after biking) and then wait around for me as I  had the car keys.  From now on, I'm bringing my phone with on group rides!!!

Sunday's 5k:
Annnnnd finally, today's 5k recap. Ryan had found a race with prize money, so we decided to do it.  I had a 5k on my schedule anyway, so it worked out.  We showed up about 45minutes ahead of time, do some warming up, see that two parts of the course (it's a double loop) are on grass, and then Ryan and lil bro Alex throw around the baseball waiting for the race to begin.  Ryan saw some good competition for him (two Naperville guys) and me (Saucony and PowerBar teammate Kate) and we both hope we can still have good days.  The gun goes off and Ryan and the two guys go FLYING.  A little girl (8th grade) goes with him--SERIOUSLY? I'm not too worried--I know she's going to fade back.  It takes about 1/2 of a mile for her to realize she went out wayyyy too hard and she falls back.  Kate hasn't been running too much (structured anyway) since the Trials, just gradually getting back into things, so I made sure to get a gap right away just in case.  I went through the first mile in 5:30, thinking that COULDN'T be right.  My watch beeped, indicating the first mile was actually 5:45. Phew.

Then we came to the hill--we had to do this hill on both laps and literally heard EVERY person who finished the race complain about it.  It definitely slowed me down, but today wasn't a "go for a PR day," so I was okay with just staying under 6minute miles.  My second mile was 5:54 and third was 5:53.  I knew breaking 18 was still attainable with about a half mile to go, but remembered the hill and decided that I know what kind of shape I'm in--I'd rather not kill myself trying to break 18 on this hard course, and save something for next week.  I finished in 18:18, 4th place overall.

Ryan hung tight with these two Naperville guys for more than half the race, but they just broke off and he couldn't hold on--I'm thinking they probably didn't stand on their feet working for PowerBar from 7am-3pm and then go run 12.5 miles.  Ryan still won $50, but donated it to the race as that's how good of a person he is.  After the race, we went out to breakfast (!!!) before heading out to ride 2 hours (me) or 4 hours (Ryan).

I should probably mention that I was PRETTY MAD going into this race.  Something really not good happened on Friday, something out of my control.  Instead of getting upset over something I can't control, I decided to channel my anger toward my next race (after being an emotional eater and having Tortilla Chips, cookie dough, candy and potato chips to the point of wanting to throw up).  I guess it worked out :)

Overall, a great day.  Here's to hoping next Sunday is just as great!

Julie Ralston for placing THIRD at the Illinois marathon in 2:56 (almost 2nd place!!)
Matt Villicana for crushing the course in a 2:52 (next year I'll be there to run it with you:))
Rich Calvario for representing the alums in a 2:47!
DPFT runners for smoking the Lakefront 10miler on Saturday (SO many of you to list!)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Recap (on time!) of first 10k back!!!

After the poor performance I gave in the Race That's Good for Life (again, this was the dumb decision I made to run it despite basically having bronchitis just so my mom and I could possibly win the Mother-Daughter competition), I have been itching to get back into racing.

Today was my chance.

Ryan ran a race two years ago that he described to me as a "flat, fast 10k"...I haven't had a flat, fast 10k in awhile, so I was immediately convinced, providing my workouts went well throughout the past week.

Well, my workouts did go well (yay!) so I told him I was ready to break that looming 38minute mark that should be SO attainable for me!

This race that we did is a little different--the OSF Heritage Run 10k and 2mile race doesn't begin until 1pm. I can't think of the last time I ran such a late race, so I was nervous about stomach issues (I was fine).

I knew the wind would be an issue (20mph from some direction according to, so Ryan and I talked about sharing the lead with the other runners in the hopeful packs we'd be in.

We arrived and warmed up after BARELY being allowed to race day register as registration cut off time was 12noon and we arrived at 12:05. After our warmup, we saw one of our teammates (Shannon) which was great, but it also meant that I wouldn't be able to win this race as she's a PHENOMENAL runner and would for sure break 37. I was bummed, but told myself to just stick with her and hope that she'd pull me along to a PR.

She did just that. There were two other girls that pushed the pace in the beginning, but I didn't let it get to me as I knew they'd eventually fade (about 1mile in). Shannon's group of her and two other guys seemed to alternate and block the wind for each other...which I was very jealous of as I had broken the two other girls and one other guy that had stuck onto me at the beginning.

Overall, it was probably better that I just ran my own race as it not only pushed me harder, but also gave me confidence that I can run well even with the wind factor. At the turnaround is when Shannon saw me, realized how close I was and took off (she told me after the race). Unfortunately, I had no one blocking the wind for me throughout the beginning 3 miles, so I was exhausted and just told myself to maintain pace.

It worked! I broke 38minutes ALL BY MYSELF. WOOHOO!!!

The only part that I was a tad concerned about (I didn't know physically how my body would handle it) is that I coughed up a bit of blood at mile 5. I'm just going to say that was because I was running a lot into the wind and that I'm no longer sick :)

Splits below...

6:13 (18:20...just under 19 for 5k)
5:59 (my only goal was to have my splits equal or be faster than the previous ones -- so mile 1 and mile 4 should be similar, mile 2 and 4, etc.)
1:32 last 0.2
37:54.......2nd female, 8th overall finisher.

This workout also showed me that I AM in better shape than I thought after that 13 day hiatus. Now I just have to plan my next race!!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

SlimKicker recap

If you read my previous post, you know that I was sick (and out of commission in terms of running) for 13 days. During this time, I was VERY concerned about gaining weight as I NEVER take time off of working out.

While I was lucky that I was able to write everything down, I know that many people WISH there was a way to track calories on their phone. I also know many people who would LOVE to have some sort of motivation to eat right...not necessarily lose weight (an added bonus for me:)), but just eat GOOD food so they don't feel sluggish come 3pm.

WELL. Good news! Someone who I had been contacted by probably a year ago now had asked me if the above comments were something I'd be interested...basically an "app" or website that could help a person not only track calories, but also stay motivated. The app/website is here!

Try it... honestly, I had NO IDEA that I was eating the amount of sugar that I am. No wonder I'm feeling fatigued around the 3pm timeframe. I am now starting to watch how much sugar I eat, in addition to carbs/fats/proteins and calories. This website/app makes it super easy.

Try it, you'll like it:)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Getting back into shape... April 9-April 20

Well, I now understand what people mean when they say it's just so hard to stay motivated to run.

With being out for 13 days with basically bronchitis, I got into the habit of not working out. I was watching what I was eating so that I wouldn't put on any extra pounds, and actually lost weight from not working out. Yeah, I'm not sure how that works either.

So, it was very hard for me to start running again. Luckily, I had no choice on April 9th.

It had been two weeks since my last real day of working out, and I was driving two athletes to their triathlon practice. I was in workout clothes because I was considering running since I was no longer coughing up mucus....and the kids asked me to come with. So, since I was planning on running anyway, I ran with the kids. When I stopped 2 miles in (they had a plyo set to do before running back), I began coughing again. I ran back with the kids and then hopped on the treadmill--no coughing. So, I decided the next day to do my 800m repeats on the treadmill.

April 10th.
800s on the treadmill, AND in my new TypeA5's, worked out wonderfully. Not only did the 800s go better than I was hoping (started at 2:52 to see if coughing occurred... went down to 2:35s for the last two), but the shoes felt great! I ran a 30minute tempo on Friday per my schedule...but my hamstrings remained sore for quite some time after (4 days). Very frustrating.

April 16th.
The workout called for 20min tempo (5min jog), 10min @10k pace (5min jog), 3min@5k pace (3min jog), 1min @mile pace. I again planned to do this on the treadmill as I just didn't want to get back to the hacking cough that I had while sick. I was able to complete the workout with no real problems, and even swam with the kids after. Not surprisingly, my upper body was what was sore the next day.

April 18th.
Schedule called for 2x1200 at 6min pace, 2x1000 fast. Well, I was staying at my aunt and uncle's house in Overland Park, Kansas, for work and they just happen to live right across from an elementary/middle school...which just happens to have a track. Do you see where this is going? YES...I broke away from the treadmill habit! My 1200s and 1000s ROCKED and my hamstring soreness was completely gone!

I guess what I would want everyone to take from this semi-rambling post is DON'T GET SICK! And if you do, AND if it's respiratory, DON'T RUN! No matter how badly you want to run a semi-fast 5k so you and your mom can win the Mother-Daughter division, DON'T RUN! It will prolong the respiratory problem and you'll be coughing up blood for weeks!

It's definitely hard to stay healthy with all of the stress that we put on our bodies on a daily basis, so if you start feeling sick...EsterC usually does the trick for me. Load up on that Vitamin C, Green Tea, etc. and take a break from working out. Your body will thank you for it:)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

EGG SHELL SHUFFLE: race director's recap

Running wise, I have nothing to report this week as I literally tried running once since the Race That's Good for Life (Thursday, 1200 repeats, and it failed).

...except that the Egg Shell Shuffle, the 1/2 marathon and 5k race that Ryan and I put on, was AWESOME.

I can't begin to describe the compliments that we've received so far. Normally, race directors receive emails within the next 24 hours with ways to improve the race...people just like to complain. I know this because of my race director dad. However, we have received 16 emails... all with positive comments. Crazy, right?!

We did, of course, make a list of ways to improve the race for next year. Instead of going over those in my blog, I'm going to list the small successes that we've had throughout this race.

1. WE SOLD OUT AS A SECOND YEAR RACE. Yup. You read that right. We capped our race at 800 runners, had to close online registration at 6pm on Wednesday night. We still allowed runners to register at Dick Pond Athletics in Schaumburg on Thursday and Friday and had race day registration as we had been advertising this since January, not thinking we'd sell out.

2. We had 915 runners finish the races! We had over 500 runners compete in the 5k--which DOUBLES last years total between BOTH races.

3. Our prizes for the egg hunt rocked. Correction, our prizes in general rocked.

Skechers donated shoes to the top three overall male and female winners in both the 5k and 1/2 marathon. And donated 3 free pairs of shoes to our egg hunt. We also had an egg hunt winner receive a MOTOACTV (Motorola) GPS watch. Other prizes include: signed Bears football with two jerseys, Marian Hossa autographed photo, Nick Leddy autographed photo, Dick Pond gift cards ($25-150 range), Panera dinner for two, free Potbelly sandwiches, Nike+ watch, AlterG treadmill card ($250 value), Starbucks gift baskets, Dick Pond gift baskets, Dicks gift card and iTunes gift cards.

Top three in each age group received a Saucony bag with a waterbottle and PowerBar product (1st place), Timex hat with PowerBar product (2nd place) and a PowerBar water bottle filled with PowerBar product (3rd place).

4. Did I mention that instead of giving out tshirts like most races do, our runners received RUNNING SHORTS with our logo on them? Yeah, not your typical race.

5. Our volunteers were A-MAZING. Not only did our family and friends help like they did last year, but we also had 50 Conant High School National Honors Society students help out, in addition to 6 Starbucks employees. I was getting compliments throughout the race on how great our volunteers were.

Overall, there's no way we could put on as successful of a race as we did without the incredible support of our friends and families. We are SO excited that this year was an even bigger success than last year and cannot wait to start planning next year's event!

Feel free to check out our race website (we will upload pictures soon) at

In other news, after 13 days of not running (except for trying to run twice and failing to run at the Race That's Good for Life last Sunday), I'M RUNNING AGAIN TOMORROW! :)

Hope everyone had a WONDERFUL Easter. Can't wait to see blog recaps on Boston for a lot of my friends!

Race That's Good For Life... note to self: NEVER race with a respiratory virus.

After Powerman Alabama, I had a trip to Canada for work. Ryan and I drove the whole way home with his dad and two little brothers. Well, one brother was sick and I think I caught a little bit of it...that, combined with the "nasty little bug" going around in Canada has caused me to be sick for 13 days now.

I arrived in Canada Tuesday and had a fartlek 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 with equal rest scheduled. I usually feel a little tired after an early flight, but I was excited to do this workout. Unfortunately, my lungs did not feel the same way. I went from 70-80 degrees in Alabama to 40-50 degrees in Canada, and I'm pretty sure my body just shut down. Physically, the fartlek was great and I rocked it....minus the coughing up blood part. Yep. I pinpoint Tuesday, March 27 as the day that I acquired this wonderful virus.

I did take medicine after consulting a pharmacist at WalMart and I honestly think it helped my fever and whatever stomach bug I had. However, it did nothing for my runny nose and wheezing cough. I kept telling myself it'd get better; viruses stick in your system for 7-10days. Coach Cari said I could run still, but Ryan (who had just finished being sick) thought taking time off would be better. Ryan won as I literally had no energy the entire week.

I didn't want to skip the Race That's Good For Life as I calculated that if I ran an 18minute 5k and mom ran her usual 24minute 5k, we could win the Mother-Daughter competition. Well, the warmup on race morning was awful. I only ran a mile and decided that I'd just try to break 19 at this point. I did just that...I ran a 19minute 5k. I knew this meant that mom and I wouldn't win, which was the only reason I had even decided to run the race. I collapsed at the finish line, not able to breathe and realized that I was an idiot for even thinking of running.

Lesson learned.

If you have a respiratory infection, or even just a hacking cough, DON'T RUN! It will just make things worse! Honestly, I know as runners we are stubborn people, but it is not worth it. Be smart, take a few days to get healthy, and you'll come back stronger. I promise.

Powerman Alabama Recap (March 19-25)... plus asking the two Memphis bridesmaids!

After racing well at March Madness (not fast time, but moreso just racing SMART), I knew I'd be fine on my run at Powerman Alabama. However, I also knew that I would STRUGGLE greatly on the bike.

My predictions were correct.

I was pretty lucky and work scheduled me to work in Alabama the Monday-Thursday before Powerman Alabama. I worked in Auburn (and ran around Auburn University--that campus is TINY!) Monday-Wednesday and then in Hoover on Thursday. The Elite Athlete Coordinator (Nicole, who is AMAZING) was able to hook me up with a hotel for Thursday and Friday night (well, for Ryan too of course:)). The hotel, Hyatt Place Hoover, had a shuttle as well. Michelle Parsons, an incredible athlete from the UK, was staying in the same hotel, so we went to the mandatory elite meeting together. It was fun listening to her talk, not only because of her accent, but also because of how accomplished she is for her age and in general!

Unfortunately, Ryan had been having major stomach issues leading up to this race. He couldn't keep food down from Saturday, March 17th until Thursday, March 22nd. Needless to say, he was dehydrated as well. We both rode a loop of the two-loop course on Friday to test out our bikes (my first time riding outside!) and see how we felt. Ryan said he felt amazing....the only issue would be keeping today's food down so that he could race well. We went out to a pretty good hibachi grill for dinner and then went to bed shortly after.

Race day came bright and early. I knew I was ready for the run portion and was determined to stay with all of the girls except one as Ryan told me she could run a 35:xx 10k....and I couldn't do that right now if my life depended on it. The 10k run course was the 5k course done twice. There is a 0.8mile section where it is in the woods. During that first 5k, I was able to catch up to all of the girls (everyone started out real fast) that were in the second pack. During the second 5k, I caught the lead group (not the leader--she was WAY ahead of us all) so felt pretty proud of myself. I ran a 38:xx on a HILLY course and on trails for 1.6 of the 6.2miles, so I'm happy.

Onto the bike... yikes. I was in 6th place after transition as I came in with a pack of girls from the run--I got stuck behind during the trail section, which was fine because I couldn't go TOO much faster anyway. I immediately got passed on the bike by 3 females within the first 2miles. Since there were 11 females racing, I made it my goal to stay in 9th place for the first 20k loop of the bike course. I accomplished this goal and did not get passed until 1/2 way through the second loop.

I started the run in 10th place. My goal was to repass the female who passed me on the bike, and I did just that. I knew I didn't have quite enough time on the 5k run to catch the other two females who passed me later, so was content with finishing in the single digits. I ran a mid-19 for the 5k, with no "competition" nearby, so I'll take that.

As I finished, Ryan of course was waiting for me. He was also throwing up quite often. The poor guy had been throwing up since the second bike loop. He finished 5th ($500 richer!) but I truly believe he was capable of winning this race.

There is nothing more frustrating than seeing someone you love disappointed over something that they can't control. Ryan's little brother brought home a nasty flu bug from school, Ryan caught it, and was out of commission for almost a week. The timing just really stunk. We both decided next year that not only will we be healthy for this race, but we will also be in the BEST shape ever so that we come in ready to win. I really embarrassed myself out there with such a slow bike, but in my defense, not only was I competing with some of the best duathletes in the world, but I had also just started biking in January after taking two years off. I am NOT going to be that dumb this year. Ryan and I are ready for next March!