Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Showing Some Training Group Love

My latest #RunChi post is up. All about the benefits of working with a training group. Plus, a pre-half marathon photo of me and my running buddy before we were overheated and exhausted.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Action Shot

I finally caught up with the pictures Dave took from his spot on the path during the race. This was at about 10.5 miles. I was very happy to see them!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Mission accomplished! I completed the half marathon!

My main goal was to finish. Check. I had several time goals: ambitious, realistic, and easily achievable. The ambitious goal went out the window pretty quickly because the heat was rough. The race started at a Yellow event alert level, but that was bumped up to Red less than an hour in to the race. I definitely could have met or beat the realistic goal, but I was running with two women from my training group and one of them was really struggling in the heat. Between mile 4 and mile 5 she needed to slow down, so we changed our game plan to stick with her through the race. We shifted to 3:3 intervals, but even that was a challenge after a while, so we did a lot of walking and ran when she felt like she could. We stopped at every first aid station for ice and had a few other stops as well. But we completed the race, and we did it together.

Here are the splits. That was probably a slightly faster start than it should have been, but in the moment I felt good that I was not going out too fast. In fact, the beginning of the race felt so good, I came up with an on-the-spot mantra for the race: "I could do this all day." I really felt like I could and kept telling myself that throughout the race.

Pace (min/mi)

One of the coaches from our training group gave us our medals, and I admit that I got a bit choked up in that moment.

I'm not sure if I'll do another one. It's not highly likely, but never say never. Plus, I have to admit that I would love to do one in cooler temps to see what I could do time-wise.

I'm feeling surprisingly good post-race. I think some of that came from not pushing as hard as I could, but also from good training and lots of hydrating.

Here's a picture of me with my medal after the race!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

One Week

As I am typing this, I am exactly one week away from the start of the half marathon. I alternate between being really excited about this to really scared. "What was I thinking?" is a constant refrain in my head. I try to replace it with positive thoughts, but that is challenging.

I've done the training, I have a plan, and I can do this. I want to be able to embrace and soak up the experience. Fingers crossed for that and for cool(ish) weather!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Becoming One of "Those" Runners

Training for the half marathon has done a lot of good things for my running, but possibly the most amusing (and, admittedly, proud) developments is that I am now, somewhat regularly doing things that I thought only hard core runners did.

Most notably, about a month ago I ran a 10K. However, the training plan schedule had us running eight miles that day. So after a hard, hot 10K (which will get its own post at some point) I regrouped while attending the awards ceremony, got some fluids, and then headed back out to do two more miles.

Similarly, a few weeks ago, I had an hour long run on tap for the evening. It was raining lightly when I left the house, but the radar looked promising. Wrong. The rain increased to a steady, albeit not heavy, drizzle. I logged my time, doing the whole run in the rain, which is something I'd never done before.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Run for the Zoo 2012

My training is paying off in spades. I got a PR in the Run for the Zoo 5K and, unless the course markings were way off, managed a monster negative split on the last mile.

36:40 (mile splits: 12:11, 12:49, 10:37!)

That's 1:13 faster than my previous 5K PR (the 2010 Ravenswood Run, which was my first 5K), and it was 2:39 faster than my time at Ravenswood this year, a little more than a month ago.

Here's a picture of Alex and me after the race.

Monday, April 30, 2012

New Shoes

When I decided to start running, I knew I wanted to be smart about training, equipment, etc. in order to not get hurt. So, one of the first things I did was go to Fleet Feet to get some running shoes. They put me in the Saucony Omni 8, which worked great. I've had a couple of pairs of those, as well as a pair of the Under Armour Charge RC. Everything was humming along fairly smoothly until I started doing more mileage. (Ok, for me that meant more than 2-3 miles at a shot, but it's all relative, right?) My left foot would get tingly and numb after a while. It would dissipate when I would walk for a bit, but it was quite annoying, and I knew it was a sign that something was amiss.

After seeking lots of advice, it seems like my wide feet are the likely culprit, so the first step in trying to solve this problem is new shoes. I put the good folks at Fleet Feet to work again on Saturday and tried on several options, but the ones I liked best overall were the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12. I knew better than to have my first run in them be Sunday's race, and I can't wait to try them out in training this week. [Update: So far, so good. Did intervals at the track and my feet felt fine. Next test will be this weekend's long run.]

Here they are. Hooray to Brooks for making their shoes in wide widths!


Yesterday was the Ravenswood Run 5K, my annual first race of the season. It was a beautiful morning for a run -- temps right around 50 and fairly clear skies. This was my first race with a run/walk game plan, and it is amazing the consistency it brought to my race. Every mile was within 15 seconds of each other, and the last was two seconds faster than the second.

I didn't PR, but I met my secondary goal of staying under 40 minutes (39:19), and I am quite pleased with my steady pace throughout the race.

Today I get a rest day in my training plan since I did the race yesterday. I think I should use that time to more closely investigate foam rollers. I've been thinking of getting one for a while, and it's going to be a necessary tool as the mileage starts increasing in the training program. In other equipment news, I got new shoes, but more on that later.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Yesterday was a breakthrough day in my training. After two weeks of the training program, I'm really starting to see results in endurance and how I feel when running. We had a 6 mile long run scheduled, which is the farthest distance I've done to date, and it went great. I never felt miserable and actually felt strong throughout the run. I stuck with the 4:2 ratio, which is working really well for me. Plus, since I walk so fast, I never really fell behind from the group doing 5:1.

You know it felt good when I'm itching to go out again. But today is a rest day, and I am going to respect the plan.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One Small Step for Me...

Tonight was the first group run for the half training program. So much about this is way outside of my comfort zone, especially running with other people, but it went great. I stood back and observed for the gathering, but the run/walk group was small enough (we started with 4 runners, a mentor, and one of the coaches) that it was manageable. The run was okay, but the 5:1 ratio was a bit more than I could do for the whole three miles, so I slowed a bit in the second half and took more walk breaks. Sue, the mentor/group leader, dropped back and ran with me and was very encouraging.

All in all, a good start and I'm looking forward to Saturday.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Always Falling Behind

So many reasons, but I don't feel like beating myself up or making excuses. Here I am now. Hopefully, I'll make this a more regular thing.

The big running news for 2012 is that I've decided to jump start my commitment by signing up for a half marathon!! I've known for a while that a half would be my biggest race ever but just wasn't sure when that would come together. Then, Fleet Feet announced that they are hosting the first ever Chicago Women's Half Marathon.   For some reason running the inaugural race is highly motivating to me, so despite my current fitness level, I decided to take the plunge and go for it. The only way this will happen is by doing it smartly, so I have signed up for a training program. This week is our first group run, which will be something totally new for me. Should be interesting. I didn't get my training schedule until yesterday because I was traveling and, lo and behold, I was supposed to start on my own this week. Oops. Behind yet again. So, today I went out for a four mile run.Off to a good start!