Monday, December 12, 2011

Last Race of the Year

On Sunday I ran (more accurately ran/walked) the Rudolph Ramble 8K. It was a fun, final race of the year. I got to meet several of the ffcheer gang, and it was a cold but beautiful day. My time was slow (1:09:35.8), but it was good to get out. Plus, I'd never done an 8K so it was an automatic PR!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Up a Creek

My Thanksgiving morning run was a lesson in going with the flow. I had researched and scouted out the rec area where I wanted to run and visually confirmed that it had a converted rail trail. However, the park has many trails: bike, horse, multi-use. I checked the map, thought I had found the way to the cinder trail, and took off. Every road I chose had a gate up (which I ultimately figured out that I could bypass) and every trail seemed to lead to other trails, none of which were the one I wanted.

I ended up cobbling together a run with lots of backtracking, and I never ended up on the train trail that I wanted. The most promising trail ended when it was cut off by a wide creek, and I decided that I did not want to run in wet, cold shoes for the remainder of the outing. I did, however, make lemonade out of lemons when I dead-ended into a bike area called "Bump and Dump," which was a series of four foot high hills with flat tops for riding. That's one way to get in some crazy hill work.

After I finished I did some investigating in the car and discovered that the train trail is accessible from the road in a totally different area (although you can't park there). Today I will see if I can actually make it there.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Overexposure? Nah.

Earlier this month I was the guest announcer on Episode 197 of the Run Run Live podcast and had a guest post published on the Fleet Feet Cheer blog.

My husband teased me about overexposure, but I don't think two running-related social media items (plus my sporadic blogging) puts me at any risk of overexposure. It was fun, though, that these both happened at the same time. If you haven't seen or heard them already, please check them out.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Running at Elevation

Back in September my niece got married, so I had a lovely trip out to the Shoshoni Yoga Retreat in Colorado. I didn't do as much running as I had hoped (too busy with wedding activities), but I got in some hiking and a little bit of running. The elevation there is about 8,500 feet, so I got winded just climbing the hill to my cabin, but it was fun to try some running in those conditions. Plus, the scenery was gorgeous!

An early morning run.
You can see the light of the rising sun
reflecting off of the mountains in the distance.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Ran a 9K!

This morning I ran the Title 9K. For a variety of reasons my training has been sporadic at best, but I had committed to it so I was going to give it a go. I knew from the start that it would be a run/walk race. That kept me fresh, I ran the first 5K in my fastest ever 5K time, I did a huge sprint at the finish, and I finished 6 minutes faster than my goal time. All in all a great experience.

Not only is this the longest race I've ever done, but it's the longest distance I've ever run. It would have been hard to go this long without it being a race, but this was a great way to show myself what I can do.

Plus, this was my view for a good stretch of the run.

Big sun shining over Lake Michigan

Friday, July 15, 2011

Goals and Guest Posting

As a member of the Fleet Feet Cheer Club, I had the opportunity to write a guest post for their blog. I chose a topic near and dear to my running heart -- goals that aren't time-related. I hope people enjoy it and add on some good suggestions of their own. I had lots of fun writing it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Who Knew?

Okay, so lots of people know this, but I just went for my first run with a running partner last week and finally discovered why it's a great thing.

Sue and I have done some races together, but our paces are so different (i.e., she is far faster than I am) that we only start together. Last week, while I was visiting my in-laws, my sister-in-law and I went for a run together. She was nervous that she would slow me down, and my concern was that I wouldn't be able to carry on a conversation while running, given that I get winded enough as it is by myself. It turns out that neither of us had anything to worry about. Our paces were quite well matched and the conversation flowed quite well. In fact, it really made the time fly by.

I don't think this would work for my normal routine (it's hard enough to fit in runs as it is around the work and family schedule), but I definitely look forward to the next time I will have a chance to do this.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Creative Excuses

I decided to take advantage of the early morning cool weather (and Alex's extreme early morning wake up time) and take a long run. It was Dave's turn to get up with Alex, and I was wide awake so it looked like a perfect plan.

I should know better.

Hydrated, dressed, and ready to go, I open the front door, and a twenty-something guy is sleeping/passed out in my front lawn.

Thirty minutes later, and we've finally gotten them (it turns out there were three of them -- one on the lawn, one in the basement stairwell, and one by the street) to move on to their original destination, the basement apartment of the row house next to us. (So close...)

Of course, now my plan is all out of whack, I no longer can run guilt-free because Alex's day has started, my running buzz has dissipated, and I don't really want to run into these bozos now that they're right next door. (Although, in all likelihood they are passed out again, just in the comfort of their friend's apartment rather than the cold concrete in front of my house.)

But I'm going to see if I can salvage the plan. At least I have an amusing story for the 4th of July barbecue tonight!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Run for the Zoo

The Run for the Zoo was monumental for two reasons: 1. A personal worst on time (blame it on missing 2+ weeks of training to a nasty stomach virus), and 2. Alex ran his first race, participating in the Zebra Zip. Last night, he wasn't so sure that he wanted to run, but today he was really into it. He toed the line patiently among all the chaos of racing with the 3 and under boys group. He had a blast running and even got a medal. His only complaint was that it was too short!

Pinning on the bib

The two runners

With his medal. (He got a race medal before I did!)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Double The Races, Double the Fun

Two 5Ks in fours days! It went pretty well. My times could have been better, but I stayed under 40 minutes for both (even with a hill in the first race) and I greatly reduced my walking in today's race.

Thursday's race was in California, so I've added another race state to my list (for a total of three, but that's a start).

I'm definitely motivated to make some tweaks to my training to do even better in my June race, which will also be Alex's first kids' race. Plus, I'll definitely be making the Ravenswood Run a yearly event. What a fun race, and today's weather could not have been more perfect. After the race, we had brunch with Leslie, Marc, and Cecily and then went to a playground for an hour+ of play time. It was a great morning!

High fiving with Alex on the route!

Coming toward the finish line.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Week of Two Races

Big week coming up! Not only do I have my first race of the year, but I have two races on deck. My training has not been quite as assertive as I meant for it to be, and two of the last three runs have been real slogs. So, I'm going in with very low expectations and am hoping to be pleasantly surprised. Quite frankly, as long as I can keep my 5K times under 40 minutes, I will be happy.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Racing Traditions

I've now been running long enough to have a race that is a tradition. The first race I ran was the 2010 Ravenswood Run, and I'm going to run it again this year. It's a charming neighborhood 5K, and for us it has the added benefit that the route goes right past the home of one of Alex's friends (and friends of ours too). So Dave and Alex can hang out with friends while the race is going on and then walk up to see me cross the finish line.

The race is on May 1st this year, so if you are in Chicago and are looking for a fun 5K, come join me at the 2011 Ravenswood Run!

Friday, March 18, 2011

You Have To Take the Good with the Bad

I am really enjoying running outdoors again now that the weather is improving in Chicago and there is more daylight to run in. Seeing all the spring flowers poking out of the ground into being is quite inspiring and puts an extra spring into my step. However, I could do without the dead rats. To be fair, that should read "rat" -- singular, but almost stepping on one is way more than enough.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Goals for 2011

I've been thinking about my running/fitness goals for 2011 for a while. Then the great computer crash of 2010 happened and bled into 2011, making blogging quite difficult. The computer is (somewhat) fixed and we've also added a netbook into the mix, so I'm trying to get back into the swing of things, and first up are my goals for the year.

In no particular order:

Race Goals: I want to run at least three races this year, and I want one of them to be longer than 5K. I'm also shoehorning in the goal of having one race be a bit different than what I've tried so far in my running. Given that Sue has talked me into joining her for a relay triathlon, I've already got that goal in my sights. I want to be able to run an entire 5K without walk breaks. Finally, I want to run one race that also has a kids' run so Alex can participate too.

Training Goals: More focused training and sticking to the training plans. I did really well with Couch to 5K, but after that the training plans never held up. That was mostly due to illness and injury, but I like working with a plan and want to do better on that front.

Distance Goal: Once I proved to myself last year that I was sticking with running, I liked the idea of setting a cumulative mileage goal for the year, as many other runners do. (HT to Geek Girl Runner and Running Diva Mom for inspiration in this regard.) I have two goals in mind -- a low end goal and an ambitious (for me) goal. I'm not ready to share them because they feel ridiculously low, but I have them and will be working towards them.

Health Goals: My running is largely about improving my cardiovascular and overall health, but I do want to take off some pounds. We have always tried to be mindful of our eating, but are trying to make this a renewed focus this year. Because concrete goals are more likely to be met, I want to focus on better meal planning, more meals with non-meat proteins (we've done well at this already), and at least one meal a week with fish.

Fitness/Activity Goals: I am trying to get some sort of exercise every day, even if that is just a brief yoga routine. I want to work in more strength training and core work as well. I would like to do both several times a week but know that is not realistic for me right now, so the goal is to do at least one session of either every week and build up from there.

2010 Goals and Recap: I'm proud to say that I met my 2010 goal. My goal for the first year of running was to run three 5Ks. I did that and even added a fourth race at the 2 mile distance. That means that I got two PRs last year! Beyond my official goal, I had hoped that I would be able to run a 5K without walk breaks by the end of the year, but my training got too interrupted by illness and that wasn't possible. I did run the entire 2 mile race and cut down the percentage of walking in each 5K, so that was positive.