Marathon Training – Weeks 10-12

Six weeks left (and only 5 more long runs) until go time!

All I have to say is THANK GOODNESS! I’m quickly losing my love for running and each run takes a serious motivational speech to get me out the door. Yup, I give myself motivational speeches and bribes to get myself to run. The bribes mainly consist of food and mimosas and allowing myself to buy copious amounts of Spark but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do ;)

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I only have two more “scary” long runs before the big day – an 18-miler next weekend and then a 20-miler 2 weekends after that. I can do it…

Thankfully, Kyle has my back (I warned him when I first started training that I would want to quit every freakin’ day starting in September) and every time I say that I’m done, no marathon for me, he tells me too bad you’re going to run it. This typically results in a lot of whining and glaring, but he’s right, I’m going to run it whether I like it or not ;)

And then no more marathons for me EVER again. It’s not the running, it’s more of the time commitment that’s a killer. All of you that have run more than one marathon are my heroes.

I’ve noticed a few things over the past few weeks that I think come with the marathon training territory.

1. Everything hurts. Always. Not the “painful I need to see a doctor” kind of hurt, just the “my entire body is worn out and needs a rest” kinda hurt. I think it’s normal but I’m ready to take a break from running come October 13th!

2. I’m realllyyyy tired. I’m fairly certain that I could sleep for 12+ hours/per night at this point. Running 30+ miles/week really takes it out of you! I’ve been trying to let myself sleep more and fit in my running where it works best. On that note, I should probably get my iron checked again just to make sure that’s not a contributing factor to my sleepiness.

3. Hanger is real. I’ve been getting better at containing my hunger by eating larger meals and more protein, but when the hunger ninja strikes, it isn’t pretty. I always carry snacks with me (I’m think I may be reverting back to my toddler years, ha!) in case my stomach starts growling.

Okay, now for the last 3 weeks of running…

Week 10 called for 15 miles. It also fell on my Vegas weekend. I knew in advance that those 15 miles were not going to happen on a Saturday morning in Vegas so I moved them to Thursday afternoon. I was super nervous – 15 miles was going to be the most I had ever run at one time, but the weather turned out to be perfect (slight breeze, 70 and sunny) so I was excited to try it out. I ran along the lakefront to take advantage of the frequent drinking fountains and I managed to complete my run at my training pace. This run definitely left me feeling like I could easily (it’s all relative…) conquer the marathon!

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Week 11 was a completely different story. I had 16 miles on the agenda and it was hot and humid in Chicago that Saturday morning. The run sucked. There’s no other way to describe it. Thankfully, it didn’t just suck for me and our running leaders said multiple times to not let this run make us discouraged about our training. It shouldn’t be (fingers crossed!) that hot or humid come October in Chicago. Regardless, I finished the 16 miles, had some good conversations along the way and am more than happy that the marathon is in the fall ;)

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Week 12 definitely required some pep talkin’ for myself. It was only 12 miles (again, it’s all relative at this point!) so I decided to run it by myself. It didn’t happen Saturday morning or Sunday morning, so this morning (the Monday morning of Labor Day) I made myself crawl out of bed at 5am. That was painful… Okay, painful isn’t the right word but I just didn’t want to gooooo (whiny voice). Not surprising, once I was out getting my run on, the 12 miles felt great! Yes, it was really humid and my knees kind of hurt but it was really peaceful and I felt accomplished at the end. Anddddd… now I’m getting ready to go to brunch with my friend. It will involve mimosas (part of my personal bribe) and then I’m getting a massage as 12:30. #treatyoself

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Did you miss my previous marathon training recaps? Find them here!

Do you ever bribe yourself in order to get a workout in? Fellow marathon trainers, what tricks do you use to stay motivated through the last few weeks?

Marathon Training Weeks 1-3

Before my marathon training started, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to recap my experience. I knew weekly updates would be too much. I mean, I wouldn’t have much to say besides, “Yay, I ran again!” I think they’d be super boring for y’all, so I’ve decided to do recaps for every 3 weeks of training.

I’m not going to cover every detail, but I’ll share what I think to be the important highlights of the last few weeks and how I’m feeling about my upcoming marathon adventure. Also, I’m not going to discuss paces in these recaps unless something drastic changes. Since I’m running with a CARA and I’ve already selected my running group pace, my long runs will always be at a 10 minute/mile pace.

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Now, let’s jump into Weeks 1, 2 and 3!

Week 1 was right after Blend and it was most definitely a doozie. I was exhausted and barely had enough energy to get myself to work let alone to the gym. I fit in 2-3 mile runs and a Body Pump class as well before my long run that Saturday.

The 6-miler I had with my running group on Saturday morning turned out to be excellent. As a first-time marathon-trainer (not counting last year because I didn’t go through the full training program), I was nervous to start training and to meet my CARA running group. Thankfully, both the run and my group were fabulous and it was a great way to kick of my training!

What I ate pre-run, Week 1: O2Gold + Spark + Catalyst + Banana <– I should have added in a spoonful of peanut butter as well, but thankfully, the O2Gold pushed me through.

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Week 2 training was also a tad disorganized due to my trip to Colorado at the end of the week. I fit in 2-3 mile training runs and a few strength classes at my gym and pushed my long, 7-mile run to Thursday evening rather than Saturday morning.

My Thursday evening run confirmed my hatred of working out after work. My body has zero energy, I’m either under- or over-hydrated and I have no idea how to fuel myself during the day to make for a successful evening run. Plus, races are in the morning and my body has adjusted accordingly.

With that being said, my 7-miler was not fun. I forgot to take my O2Gold and ran solo and it was humid and it just plain sucked. Big time. I pushed through at just under 10 minutes/mile (my running group’s pace) and was more than happy to be done and suck on my inhaler for a few minutes ;)

What I ate pre-run, Week 2: I have no idea what I ate during the day (I need to journal my food on running days!) but I’m annoyed that I forgot all of my AdvoCare essentials pre-run. I’m certain they would have made my run go from hellacious to “not-that-bad.”

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Week 3 training has been the best training week so far. It kicked off with a 3-miler in Estes Park and although that run was severely lacking in oxygen, it set the week off on the right foot. {pun intended… hehe!} I fit in a few Body Pump classes along with another 3-mile run and a 4-mile run before my 5-miler with CARA on Saturday. And good news, the 5 miles were great! It was crazy humid and I think I sweat out about 10 pounds, but it felt good to get back to running with my group again.

Also, as a side note, every third week is a “drop-back” week in marathon training. I’m not exactly sure how it helps your body, but I believe it has to do with muscle recovery before the next weeks’ mileage builds. Regardless, I was happy to have a shorter long run on Saturday.

What I ate pre-run, Week 3: O2Gold + Spark + Catalyst + Banana + Nuttzo = WINNING! I felt awesome and this combination is most definitely a winner.

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So, how am I feeling now that I’m on Week 4?

I’m obviously still at the very beginning of my training so that 26.2 miles seems like a very distant thought in the future. However, I am feeling optimistic (ask me this when I get to my 15-miler weekend…) and am looking forward to building my mileage and friendships throughout my training.

I’ve started to understand the importance of fueling my body well with optimal food, supplements and LOTS of water while cutting out crap.

I’m also starting to understand what type of apparel I will need to wear in order to be as comfortable as possible on my long runs – capris, a tight sports bra and a hat are going to be requirements for this girl!

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Overall, training has been going great so far. I have been going with the flow and taking each day at a time – if I’m tired, I don’t push it, but if I have energy and feel strong, you better bet I’m out there running or lifting! I know I’m going to need more rest days as my mileage grows on the weekends, but I’ll tackle that once I get there :)

What is the longest distance you’ve run? 13.1 miles… twice!

What do you typically eat before a long run or workout? Obviously I’m obsessed with bananas and nut butter (why fix what’s not broken?!) but adding in AdvoCare has really helped my performance and stamina!

The series of unfortunate decisions…

… That led up to my first marathon training long run should never be repeated. By myself, by you, by anyone with half of a brain.

By some miraculous event (aka – O2Gold), my long run actually went quite well but I do not plan on gambling my luck with the marathon gods again anytime soon!

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Take this post as a “do what I say, not what I do” lesson when you’re training for a marathon.

1. After a girls’ weekend away, always take a vacation day the following Monday. It’s inevitable that you will be exhausted after a fun weekend getaway and if you are not well-rested, the week will be miserable, your workouts will suffer not happen, and you will eat utter crap that will mess with your digestion system, a runner’s nightmare. Lesson learned.

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2. Unless you are injured, do not make up excuses to skip a mid-week training run/workout. If you start making excuses at the beginning, it will just be that much more difficult to stick to your plan in future weeks. Yes, life happens and you may have to miss one or two scheduled runs. Don’t panic if this happens, move on and get back to your schedule ASAP. Lesson learned x2.

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3. Eating fiber and fat rich foods along with alcohol, such as Chipotle tacos with lotsa beans and a charcuterie plate and big ol’ glasses of red sangria (not that I know would from experience… ahem…), the day/night before your long run is probably not the best idea. Your stomach will hateeeeee you the next morning and all of us runners know that an angry stomach is not a fun stomach to run on. Third lesson – check!

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4. Sleep. For the love of all things precious and holy, SLEEP. Do not set out on your weekly long run with 5 hours or less of shut eye. Just don’t. Trust me, being called a loser or a granny or a fun hater is so much better than exhaustion during a long run.  Plus, closing your eyes for a quick nap mid-run is not only unsafe, it will also cause your running group to think you’re a big weirdo. Remember, you’re spending 18+ weeks with these people, it’s best to make friends ;) Lesson #4.

On a related note, as appealing as it might sound late at night, once you arrive home from a night out do not proceed to take multiple photos of your dog in his new bandana and text them to your husband who is still out with friends. He knows what the dog looks like and does not want to have to explain to his friends why you are sending him photos of your animal at 11pm.

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5. Eat more than just a tiny banana before putting your body through an intense physical workout. #twss Get some additional carbs and some peanut butter and whatever else works for your body into your system before your run so you don’t turn into a hangry monster post-run. Hangry monsters call their husbands before they’ve woken up for the day and demand brunch as soon as they return. Hangry monsters + tired husbands = crisis mode and an expensive (albeit tasty) breakfast at 7am on a Saturday. Hangry turned delicious lesson #5.

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I am thankful that my addition to love of AdvoCare and my fabulous running group pushed me through my first long run. I will not, however, be repeating any of my actions from the last week in the foreseeable future. #girlfrandsnotarisktaker

And with that, who wants to run 7 miles with me on Thursday morning?! I will be in Colorado next Saturday and plan to fit in my run before leaving because running at mountain elevation is terrifying so I can have more time for hiking and sleeping and eating and drinking!

What are your common sense tips for running?

And seriously, who wants to run with me on Thursday morning?! 5am. 10 minutes/mile. Be there <– and by there, I mean Chicago.

 

The sign.

Over lunch hour today, I took a walk to pick up my marathon training packet. During the 20-minute stroll many thoughts whirred through my mind.

A marathon? Seriously girl, what are you thinking?

6 A to the freakin’ M. Every. Single. Saturday. From now until October. Blechhhhhh.

Hey, at least I have an excuse to continue shopping at lulu this summer!

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As my training  begins this week, I have noticed more negative than positive thoughts seeping into my head. Then today, at the CARA office of all places, a sign appeared out of nowhere.

As I was waiting for the volunteer to hand me my packet, I began a conversation with a woman who will also be running the Chicago Marathon this fall. I asked if this would be her first marathon. Her answer blew me away.

It was going to be her second marathon. She ran Chicago 3 years ago and shortly after was diagnosed with breast cancer. She explained that she had cancer when she ran but did not know and after not running since that marathon, she had been recently cleared to run by her doctor.

Instead of showing grief or anger for her situation, she proudly exclaimed, “I’m a breast cancer survivor!” as she threw her arms in the air.

We walked out of the building together continuing our conversation about her health and our upcoming training. After we said goodbye and parted ways, I couldn’t help but realize that she was the sign I needed.

This woman is so grateful for life. She beat cancer, she fought for her life and now she’s running her second marathon as a sign of her strength.

She’s running as a survivor. She’s an inspiration.

Sometimes we need a sign; a sign to put everything into perspective. Whoever sent this sign my way, thank you.

As painful as marathon training might be over the next 18 weeks, I am not fighting for my life. I am not suffering.

I am strong. I am healthy. I am grateful. I can do this.

Bring it on, Chicago.

So, you’re running a marathon…

So, you’re running a marathon.

It’s inevitable that you are currently experiencing a multitude of emotions. You’re excited. You’re proud. You’re terrified. And you’re pretty darn sure there’s a good chance you will die before crossing the finish line.

It’s official, you’ve gone mad. Marathon mad.

Marathon Emotions, Part I…

Stage 1 – Initial elation. Period of euphoric excitement. Or as I like to call it, “the tell EVERYONE you cross paths with of your upcoming 26.2 mile adventure” stage! You’re excited. You’re amazed. You’re proud. YOU are a freakin’ rock star! You are going to be running 26.2 miles in a few, short months and you CANNOT wait to let everyone know. You’re certain your training team is going to be the best team EVER and you’re going to rock those early Saturday mornings. And the finish line? You know that crossing it is going to be the best feeling ever!

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Stage 2 – An excuse to spend ALL the monies. New shoes x2 – check. Monthly massages and facials (gotta keep the muscles happy and repair the skin from sun damage!) – check. New running gear – socks, shorts, sports bras – check, check, check! Beer (those carbs might come in handy) – check. You have allllll of the excuses in the book to spend money and if something doesn’t fall into these categories? You WILL be able to find a way to relate it back to the marathon. “Oh honey, I needed that extra makeup. I have to cover up my tired eyes from my 5am running wake-up calls” or “My new purse? I needed another one to carry my marathon sneaks. They’re precious cargo and can’t be smashed” or “Babe. I need those weekly pedicures. My feet require extra treatment for the next 18 weeks. You’re the one encouraging me to run.” This is where you feel sorry for Kyle. #blesshisheart

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Stage 3 – Yes, I can! Your first training run happens. It went well and you think, I only have to multiple that times 5 and I have a full marathon – easy peasy! This, my friends, this is what they call a runner’s high. You feel great and encouraged and ready to take on the world, or at least a marathon… You are a freakin’ ROCK. STAR. and aren’t afraid to admit it! Just remember (and as a future note to self…) they’re called “highs” for a reason, and what goes up must eventually come down…

Stage 4 – Shiiiiiizzzzzzzzzzz, what did I get myself into?! 26.2 miles? Training runs EVERY Saturday morning at 6am? Articles discussing bodily issues related to distance running including inner thigh chaffage, nipple chaffage (lovely…), puking, and pooping… seem to pop up in every single one of your Google searches. And you start to think that death doesn’t sound so bad any longer…

Stage 5 – OMG I am going to die. I am going to $&*#@ die. The realization after your first long (and semi-painful) run that those 26.2 miles aren’t going to be as easy as you initially anticipated. Scenes from the Hunger Games play through your head, and you think that you might rather take over for Katniss than lace up on race day… “Maybe,” you think, “maybe I’ll die before any of those unsightly, embarrassing bodily functions happen to me during the race. Now, that wouldn’t be so bad,” thinks your (already) delirious self. Unfortunately, you’re already committed, financially and mentally, so – death or dismemberment, there’s no getting out now!

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Stage 6 – Fear of abandonment. You’ve already accepted imminent death come race day, but what if no one is there to watch you slowly die cheer you on? Have you been too annoying with your obsessive marathon talk the past few months? Will you have to WALK home after running 26.2 miles… surely there will be cabs near the finish line…? Will there be no one there to take photos of you crossing the finish line? On a positive note, you realize you have Ugly Runner Syndrome, so a lack of photo evidence is probably a good thing…

There ends Part I, but stay tuned… Marathon Emotions, Part II coming to a blog near you soon…

Have you ever run a distance race? What stages of emotions did you encounter while preparing for race day?

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

I did it.

The lines are signed. The registration fee is paid. The training group is confirmed.

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I signed up and I’m running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon!

As you might remember, last year about this time I registered for a marathon and it didn’t end up happening. I was under a lot of stress with our big move, was facing some health issues and decided it would be best for my body (and my sanity) to forgo the marathon experience until I was in tip-top shape. While it wasn’t a total fail, I still ran the half-marathon – basically untrained, BTW! – I am craving that death-like marathon experience and cannot wait to participate this fall!

Typically, the Chicago Marathon entry works as a lottery. SO many people would like the opportunity to run the marathon (because Chicago is just that freakin’ awesome, #amiright?!) that everyone is entered into a lottery and at the beginning of April, the marathon committee randomly selects individuals for the race.

There is one exception, however. If you run for charity, you are automatically registered to run!

So guess what I did… I signed up to run for charity! So not only have I committed to running 26.2 miles (gulp), I have also committed to raising a minimum of $1,250 (my stretch goal is $2,000!) for the charity of my choice – TEAM PAWS Chicago.

What does TEAM PAWS support?

Funds raised by TEAM PAWS support PAWS Chicago’s national No Kill model, dedicated to ending the unnecessary killing of homeless pets. By rescuing and treating homeless pets and finding them loving new homes, PAWS is saving more than 5,800 lives every year. PAWS also focuses on prevention, providing nearly 18,000 low cost/free spay or neuter surgeries in low-income communities where most stray and unwanted pets originate. As one of the largest No Kill shelters in the nation and a national model, PAWS is dedicated to sharing best practices and lifesaving strategies with people and organizations across the country.

Why TEAM PAWS?

As you all know, I have a very soft place in my heart for this guy.

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I could go on about how I’m an animal lover, about how I support the ethical treatment of ALL animals, about how it is important to help those who can’t help themselves, and about how much joy animals bring to our lives. I love that PAWS Chicago supports not only the current issue by finding homes for homeless pets but also focuses on prevention.

I am running for a cause that is near and dear to my heart and I’d love it if you supported me and shared this link with your family and friends! Even $1 can go a long way to help our little, furry friends :) You can donate here, follow along with my fundraising progress, and read more about PAWS Chicago on my TEAM PAWS personal page.

As an FYI, this money goes directly to PAWS Chicago – I don’t see any of it or get any sort of commission from your donation.

Well, with that being said, it’s time to get running!

Here’s to surviving 26.2 miles in October! (P.S. More details including my goals and information about the race to come once I sort through my thoughts!)

Have you run a marathon? If so, what is your #1 piece of advice? 

Have you ever run for charity?

Long Beach Half Marathon – Race Recap

As I shared after the race on Sunday, Kyle and I both ran the Long Beach Half-Marathon this past weekend – not the full marathon as I had originally planned.

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This was my 2nd half-marathon – the first being the Monster Dash in the fall of 2011 – and I was definitely much less prepared for this race than my first.

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I steadily trained for the full marathon from May-August but after the move to Chicago, starting a new job and finding out about some health issues, my training basically stopped. I didn’t stop running altogether but I wasn’t running more than 4-5 miles 3 times per week. Definitely not marathon (or half-marathon) training runs!

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Anyways, onto the race recap!

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We woke up bright and early and fueled with bananas and peanut butter before heading over to the race. Our hotel – The Long Beach Courtyard Marriot – was only a few blocks from the race start and finish lines!

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Our race was supposed to start at 7:30am but because of the masses (like 10,000+ – not kidding!) of people running the race, we didn’t actually cross the start line until 8am and we were one of the first groups to start!

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The overall course was gorgeous. We had great views of Long Beach and the Pacific Ocean but man was the course crowded. We were weaving in and out of crowds, trying not to trip ourselves in order to pass other runners throughout the ENTIRE race. I expect this to happen during the first 2-3 miles of every race as people overestimate their pace but passing people for 13.1 miles is a little ridiculous.

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Because of our delayed start time, we made a quick bathroom pit-stop around Mile 3. That 1-minute break was much needed and I was actually happy to be able to focus on running rather than my full bladder!

Since I was following Kyle’s lead throughout the race (This was his 1st half-marathon and since I didn’t really have a training plan/goal, I decided to stick with him as a running buddy.) we made quite a few water stops over the next several miles. I didn’t drink at all of them – I don’t like the way water feels sloshing around my belly while running. He also requested a few walking breaks – one around Miles 7, 8 and 10.

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Once we hit Mile 10, I knew I could not walk again or I’d never be able to start up running and make it across the finish line so I continued on ahead of Kyle.

As a side note, I’ve decided that running buddies are key to long runs and races. Those last 3.1 miles were killer and I hit a major wall that probably would have been much easier to overcome had I been running with someone.

Speaking of hitting a wall – I want to give a shout out and a HUGE thank you to all of the race spectators. Your cheering, funny signs, bite-sized candy and orange slices made those last few miles bearable and also made it possible for me to finish the race! Who knew that a granny telling each runner that they were a sexy beast, a tiny Milky Way and sucking the juice out of an orange slice could fuel me for a few miles??!

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On Mile 11 (or Mile 24 for her…), Monica from Run Eat Repeat zoomed past me! I love her blog and was pretty much in blog-celebrityville for those few moments. You can give me the Creeper McCreeperton award for the race because I snapped a photo of her as she passed by.

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Yep, I’m that creepy.

Anyways, I eventually made it across the finish line and man, why is that last mile always so emotional??! Spectators are cheering, you’re delirious and I always have to focus on breathing in order to not break down into tears, hyperventilate and/or collapse from sheer exhaustion.

My official time was 2:18 – slower than my first half-marathon time of 1:52 but still okay considering that I didn’t train and haven’t ran more then 4-5 miles in the past month.

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Kyle’s official time was 2:23! I was impressed considering that he came to the race after spending a week in Russia, it being his first race of this length and only making it up to a 9-mile run during his training. Yay for Kyle!

After donning my medal (they gave me the full marathon medal since my bib was for the full) and shoving a bag of Cheez-Its, a Rice Krispy Treat, a banana and fruit snacks down my trap, Kyle crossed the finish line. And yes, I was able to eat that much sugary-carby goodness in less than 5 minutes. My body craves some major carbs to replenish its energy stock after a race of that length and I couldn’t chew the food fast enough!

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Once we got our finisher’s photo, we wobbled back to the hotel to clean up before gorging ourselves with pizza and beer. Typical.

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So what are my overall thoughts?

It was a beautiful course but I just can’t recommend the half to anyone. It was way too crowded to be enjoyable and probably actually quite dangerous at some points because of thousands of runners. I actually overheard a spectator call us a herd of wildebeests. (I’m sorry sir but the only time I’ll respond to the term beast is when the word sexy is in front of it!) I think the full is another story – I’d love to try that one out, maybe next year??!

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I’m not sore in the least. (Pre-publishing edit – I was actually sore 2 days after the race but only my glutes… apparently they can power me through 13.1 miles ;) ) I’m really shocked about this considering my lack of training. It just goes to show that other types of fitness like Body Pump, Yoga and Cardio Kickboxing keep you in damn good shape and are just as important as actual running when preparing for a race!

After being able to finish this race, I think there’s something to be said for under-training. Yes, you need to be able to run and be in great cardiovascular health to run long distances but your muscles should not be fatigued. My muscles were fresh and ready to run and that they did. I also have a little bit more “fluff” right now than I’ve had the past year(s) – moving and stress do a number on the bod – and that probably powered me through the race as well… and don’t worry, I’m workin’ on it… with Body Pump and Cardio Kickboxing on my side, I’m determined to be back into my normal shape by the holidays!

How’s that for a super long post? If you’re still here, I’m glad because I really wanted to share with you my thoughts about the race and running a half-marathon without training!

What are your thoughts on training for long-distance races? What’s the longest distance you’ve ever run?

Long Beach Marathon – We’re Alive!

Helllooooooooooo!!! <– I’m quite delirious from dehydration at the moment so please excuse the incoherence of this post.

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I just wanted to check in with you beauties and let you know that Kyle and I survived our half-marathon! Woohoo! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t bummed that I didn’t do the full as I had originally planned but there’ll be more marathons in the future.

I’ll provide a full update later this week but overall, I think I did pretty darn good for not training since moving to Chicago almost two months ago and having my last “long” run with Katie a month ago at HLS!

THANK YOU to everyone who tweeted and texted during the race, especially to Carly for sending me a photo of wine around Mile 6! I loved looking down at my phone and seeing words of encouragement. Trust me, when you hit a wall at Mile 11, anything and everything helps :)

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Oh, and the best part of the race? Finding these in my finisher’s goodie bag. Hells yes.

Now, I’m off to eat my body weight in nachos and steak (gotta refill my iron stores!) and guacamole and enjoy a beer or five… This girl is hungry!

Did you race today? Are you enjoying a Sunday Funday? If so, have a drink for me!

Confessions + An Announcement

1. Confession – I joined the most expensive gym country club fitness club in Chicago yesterday. It’s like a country club but fitness style. #oops

Kyle wasn’t too keen on the monthly fee (especially since we have a gym in our apartment…) but I justified it since the monthly membership fee is only $40 more than the CorePower Yoga membership I was paying in Minneapolis AND it includes so much more than CorePower did! I have yoga + body pump + cycling + pilates + zumba + kickboxing + ropes training + core classes + barre + SO MUCH MORE. The gym even has 5 pools, a gigantic weight room, an even larger cardio room, a spa IN the locker room, a salon, 2 restaurants, a juice bar, free valet parking (I can walk so I won’t be using this…), a sun deck/fully stocked bar for the summer months, a golf driving range, tennis courts, basketball/soccer courts… I’m sure I’m forgetting something here… Anyways, it’s pretty much my piece of heaven here in Chicago and it is going to be worth every single penny!

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I attended a “Buff Yoga” class yesterday and I’m fairly certain my inner thighs are going to be sore for the rest of my life.

2. Confession – I kinda fell off the marathon training bandwagon. I doubt any of you are surprised to be reading this. I haven’t provided a weekly training recap in, well, weeks and I have mentioned that my stress levels were not very conducive to running. Kyle and I still have our plane tickets to California and I am still running every week just not as far as I need to be for the whole 26.2 miles thing. I’m  planning on running at least the 13.1 miles and then running/walking every other mile after that. We’ll see how it goes but the last thing I want to do at this time is put physical stress on my body and have more hair fall out. I’d rather have hair than be a marathoner ;)

run

3. Confession – I freakin’ love Chicago. Minneapolis never really felt like home the 4ish years Kyle and I lived there. Maybe it was because we knew it wasn’t going to be our forever home or because we didn’t have any family there or because we moved there without knowing a single person in the city but regardless, I am so happy to finally be somewhere that I feel like I belong. Plus Chicagoans are SO much nicer than Minnesotans (sorry friends but it’s true!). I’ve already met more people in the 1.5 weeks I’ve been in Chicago than I did in Minneapolis all 4 years. And they’re all nice and actually invite you to do things. Amazing.

4. Confession – Kyle’s mom brought us a “housewarming” quiche since we don’t have room for a gift in our tiny apartment and it is seriously one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It is cheesy and egg-y and is FULL of summer squash. I may have had it for every meal since breakfast yesterday. Remind me to get the recipe from her…

quiche

5. Confession – I love summer but I am ready for the hot weather to be gone and for cooler, fall days to arrive. I am over being coated in sweat the minute I walk outside and I want to be able to take Mitchell for a walk without worrying that he is going to get heat stroke. I’m also kinda over the pool… I know… Ask me how I feel about this confession come January but I honestly get kind of bored just lying by the pool. I think this means I need to work on my relaxation techniques ;)

pool

6. Confession – I’m addicted to Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s happened y’all and it ain’t pretty. I was anticipating some delicious coffee here in Chicago but Dunkin’ has taken it to the next level.

dunkin mug

Thankfully, I drink my coffee black or I’d also need to be buying some new pants considering how much coffee I drink every day! I’m also addicted to lululemon and may have ridden my bike 10 miles in 100+ degree heat to get the last Sand to Savasana Duffel bag in the Chicago area yesterday. I needed it, obviously ;) I also got a new top to reward my biking efforts!

lulu Collage

And now for the announcement! I promise this will be my last announcement for a long, long time – I’ve just had so much change happening in my life that I have needed to have a life-changing announcement every other week ;)

Drum roll, please…………..

I was offered and accepted a new job in Chicago! (insert big, proud smile right here)

Although I’d do a great job playing the part, it isn’t to be part of the next Real Housewives of Chicago series ;)

I will be working for a large retailer (I’m not sure how they feel about blogs so I’m keeping the company private for now.) here in the Chicago area and will be doing something similar to what I was doing for Target. I’ll be between a few of their offices but when I am at their downtown office, I will be able to walk to work. YES – my downtown office is about the same distance as my old condo was to my Target office in Minneapolis – I am so freakin’ excited!

The company actually called me about 30 minutes before I was getting ready to board my one-way flight to Chicago. Talk about perfect timing! I was able to negotiate a later start date (and more vacation time – details on interview/negotiation tactics will be in a future post…) so I will be starting on September 23rd.

I am so excited to have a job and to have a little bit of time off to allow myself to learn my new city and to relax before jumping right back onto the 9-5 bandwagon.

I took my drug test last Thursday and as long as I pass it (I’ve never done a drug in my life so if I don’t pass, someone laced my pee!), I will be good to go :)

Mini-Confession – I actually felt guilty for a few seconds after receiving a job offer. (Ridiculous, right?) I know of SO many people my age (and other ages) that cannot find a job and there I was – just sorta looking and a perfect job falls into my lap. I quickly realized that I worked my tail off at Target and my resume reflected that. I also rocked my interviews and allowed myself to be relaxed about the entire situation so the guilt went away and I allowed myself to be happy and proud.

So, take this as a life lesson my fellow ladies – Do NOT feel guilty about your great accomplishments! YOU deserve them and you deserve to be happy about them.

Tell me one of your confessions. 

Marathon Training – Week 8 Recap

I’m almost halfway through my marathon training!

This means that in 9 short weeks, I will be running 26.2 miles. Please send help. And, if you place a wheelchair with an oxygen tank and a gallon-sized margarita with my name on it at the finish line, I’ll love you forever.

lake 1

This week’s training went fairly well for me. I was able to fit in all of my scheduled runs for the first time in almost a month!

Week 8 Fitness Schedule

  • Sunday: 90-minute walk around Lake Michigan in Milwaukee
  • Monday: 3-mile run
  • Tuesday: Yoga Sculpt
  • Wednesday:Yoga Sculpt
  • Thursday: 6-mile run
  • Friday: 3-mile run
  • Saturday: 11-mile run in Chicago!! (This was supposed to be 13.1 but I’ll get to that in a minute…)

I can feel some of my stress starting to ease. Note the key word here… some.

When I visited my doctor last week due to my stress-induced hair loss issues she told me – excuse my her French… that I need to “chill the f*$! out.” She’s cool and just says it how it is which I really appreciate in the medical profession. Anyways, all of this stress is causing major issues with my hair (obviously) and my exercise-induced asthma (not good when you’re trying to train for a marathon) and it is starting to give me anxiety.

Stress can cause a variety of responses from your body, one of which is chest pain. Yep, I’m having issues with that now too. Obviously, I don’t deal well with multiple stressful situations occurring at the same time!

Even though mine is solely being driven by my asthma and stress/anxiety (trust me, I’ve had every test and scan in the book performed – I’m as “healthy as a horse” according to the lab technician…) – is terrifying and should be taken seriously. Needless to say, I am taking her word to heart and trying to reduce the amount of stress in my life as much as possible.

lake 2

My job is thankfully not stressful but after Friday, I won’t have any job to worry about. This should mean that I’ll be able to fit in another hour or two of sleep each day which is desperately needed at this point.

I also made some time to bake last night, I am getting a massage this afternoon after work and I have quite a few “goodbye” happy hours and dinners planned with girlfriends this week – all of which are huge stress relievers!

So, what does all of this talk of stress relief have to do with my marathon training? When my doctor told me I need to calm down and chill out, she also talked to me about running. Remember how I was having those really bad training weeks a few weeks ago? She told me that my body is so emotionally stressed/drained/exhausted at this point that adding in the physical stress of marathon training is too much for it at the moment.

Ugh… not what I wanted to hear.

Her advice was to continue training but to stop when I feel like I should stop and to not go one step farther. If running 15 miles per week was the only stress I was putting on my body, I would be fine but since I have the added stresses of moving, packing, finding a new job, etc. – I need to focus on one thing at a time.

lake 3

This brings me back to my 13.1 mile run that turned into an 11-miler on Saturday. Kyle and I headed down to Lake Michigan bright and early on Saturday morning so I could fit in a good 2-hour run before 9am. I started off well and tried to run at a slow-for-me pace. I was happy to see multiple Chicago Marathon running groups along the lake and also happily took advantage of their water/Gatorade booths. I figured that since I’m also training for a marathon, they’d be okay with me drinking a few ounces of their water ;)

running group

Anyways, the first 5 miles of my run were awesome… and then I turned around.

Hellooooo, Windy City! I was wondering where the wind was for those first few miles and apparently, it was at my back. No wonder my pace seemed quick while I thought I was running slow! The next 5 miles were not rough but they weren’t great either. And then I hit mile 10.

Wowsers. I walked for about 1 minute after Mile 9 and then for 1 minute after Mile 10 and by that time I knew I was out of energy and oxygen. I ran for 10 more minutes to make it to a little over 11 miles and then decided to stop per my doctor’s instructions.

To be honest, I wasn’t even the slightest bit bummed that I didn’t make it to 13.1 – I hadn’t had a long run in over 3 weeks and this was my longest run in my training so far so I was pretty proud!

Kyle was somewhere close by walking and enjoying the views with Mitchell so I texted him “need water now” and he quickly found me and gave me a big bottle of H2O :)

My overall thoughts about the run?

  • I ran too quickly – My average pace was 9:50 minutes/mile. I need to slow it down to at least 11 minutes/mile on my next long run.
  • I drank too much water/Gatorade at the Chicago Marathon stations. I must say, however, that I am glad I can experiment with this before my actual race day!
  • I loved running a new route and having new scenery to gaze at and enjoy. Lake Michigan reminds me of an ocean, at least in the summer months! Plus there is some amazing people watching in Chicago ;)
  • Sorry Minneapolis runners but Chicago runners are SO much more friendly and social than they are here in Minnesota! I probably had around 15 runners introduce themselves to me and ask me what event I was training for – I also had quite a few comments regarding the brightness and awesomeness of my shoes.
  • Compression socks/sleeves are the best recovery gear ever. Amazing.

compression socks

I can confidently say that I am happy with where I am at in my training program and that I know I’ll be able to do this, even if there is some walking involved!

If you’re new to ONW or missed my earlier posts, check out my previous weeks’ marathon training recaps!

How do you deal with stress? Do you have any tips or ideas of things I can do to de-stress and chill out?

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