Friday, October 30, 2015

Being a Role Model

Sometimes things suck. Sometimes I think that I am being pulled in far more directions than I want to be pulled in, and I think that trying to make everything work out is way too hard. I mean, I know that I am not the only person on the planet that has all of the same things going that I do, but my blog, and I want to talk about me.

So let's look at these pieces.
  1. I have a full time job. In general, it is a 40 hour per week job, however, for the last year+ I have been locked in at around 50 hours. Someday maybe...
  2. I train for marathons, and have found through this cycle that I am really enjoying higher overall mileage. So keeping the miles high might be important going forward.
  3. I have a family. A two year old, two puppies, a husband. All need lots of Emily time, and I want to give them ALL the Emily time that they need and want. 
  4. I need to have some ME time. And I know that a lot of people might say "running is your me time" but honestly, I need something else, something MORE than that. I need to read. Relax. Watch tv, have friends, whatever...
These things KILL my calendar. I am slammed all the time. I am trying to figure out how to make all of these things fit into my little life and my sleep and blogging are usually the first things to go. I know that I am not the only one out there that has issues like this, but it is possible that I AM the only one with this pretty little blue eyed thing who looks up to her every single day.
So for that reason, I keep trying. I keep searching for that perfect balance where I can do everything that I want to do, and everything that I need to do.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Last Long Run

So first of all, this is not REALLY the last long run, because I have to run 12 on Saturday, but it was what really FEELS like the last long run, since it is the last one OVER the half distance, and the only one over the half distance since my last 20 miler before Chicago. I stuck to my neighborhood, which is sometimes a bit of a struggle because it makes it more tempting to go home, but this time, I pulled it off.

So, I did not get out in the morning. It was absolutely pouring, and I have decided that I am probably allergic to rain (not true, I just hate it when I am running, mostly because it makes seeing difficult). And I still felt like absolute hell from my medication even though I had not taken it for nearly 24 hours. I actually fell asleep on the couch after I got up and made my coffee like I do every day. I slept well the night before, I got up at my normal Saturday long run time, and this happened!

Regardless, as a result, I did not get out for my run until naptime. We decided to use the morning to be semi-productive. We went and did our family grocery trip to Jungle Jim's.
That is Addie on our grocery trip. We were relaxing while J had a beer and played a pinball game. That is an old airplane chair that they have in the bar of the grocery store (yep, my grocery store has a bar).

So anyway, my goal for this run was 18 miles with the middle 8 at 8:00-8:05. Admittedly, I felt a little discouraged when Coach Jen sent me my schedule from Chicago-Indy. It seemed like the paces were getting a little bit slower. I asked her about it, she said the goal was still the same (3:30-3:32) but she wanted to make sure I was ALL THE WAY RESTED. Maybe I need it? And just to run the marathon pace miles happily. If things feel good and I want to run 7:50, ok!

So lets take a look at my splits:
Mile 1: 8:30
Mile 2: 8:31
Mile 3: 8:27
Mile 4: 8:27
Mile 5: 8:24
Mile 6: 8:20
Mile 7: 7:54
Mile 8: 7:58
Mile 9: 8:01
Mile 10: 7:58
Mile 11: 7:52
Mile 12: 8:04
Mile 13: 7:53
Mile 14: 8:02
Mile 15: 8:27
Mile 16: 8:29
Mile 17: 8:23
Mile 18: 8:29

I took a gel and water at mile 6 and at mile 12. It started raining at mile 10. Luckily, It was just misting most of the time, so I managed to not get TOO wet and skeezed out by the water.

Also, it is funny to look at the elevation for this run. The first twelve miles were SUPER flat and the last 6 were an out and back with a funny hill and climb. It looks COMPLETELY different than the first 12.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What's next?

Clearly I have something going on... I mean, non-professionals don't just go out and run 18s for no reason at all. Right? So, I have made the decision not to waste all of the training that I put in to Chicago.

So in less than 2 weeks, I am going to be running the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. I am still going to put everything on the line and put myself out there and try to get it. I am still going for the BQ. If I wasn't, I am not sure that there would be any reason to run. To me, running a marathon is not fun in and of itself. For me, it is not part of a larger goal like training for an ultra. To me, this is it, right now. So in the spirit of determination and not wasting 6 months of my life, I am moving on and tackling this beast.

Admittedly, I was considering not putting this out there in the internet world at all (until I tweeted splits via the tracking), but I had enough questions asking me what I was up to now that I was through Chicago. So, Indy was an obvious decision because there was enough time between the two, it was easy driving distance from Cincinnati, and I have two AMAZING friends (Chelsa and Karen) who QUICKLY convinced me this was the right decision and had made a hotel reservation for me the SAME DAY as the Chicago Marathon. I am SO GRATEFUL to have them as friends.

Onward and upward.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Post Chicago Health Update

So yeah, I am obviously still trying to build up my mental game. Some days I feel like it is going well, and other days... not so much. Last Thursday was a great example of a mental day that started out awesome. And ended... not awesome. At all.

So, as you know from my recap of the week, I had a tempo run on Thursday. As you can see, that was a 6 mile run with 5 of them at tempo. Now, trust me, that was not that plan. My original goal was 8 miles with 6 at tempo pace. So... What I ran, with one more tempo mile and then a cooldown mile. I cannot remember how much, or what I was posting about a year ago, but I got hit with some ongoing problems.

It was the same problems that hit in Chicago, and the same stuff that has hit me several times over the last few years. Running and sometimes not, it has effected me many times over the last year. And for once in my life, it is not something that I caused myself.

Dizzy spells.

Not great at all. And they come out of nowhere a lot of the time. In Chicago I was feeling less than awesome for 6 miles before I finally called it. I suppose you figure things are a little different in a marathon type situation, especially with everything that you have put into preparing for this race. But when it is just a training run, you sit for a few minutes and start running again and you are not feeling any better? It is much easier to just call it.

So I think the biggest struggle that I had on Thursday was the fact that it just smashed me in the face. I started out pretty easy, comfortable, and cranked out the first mile in 8:12 before starting to push the pace a bit to get to more of my tempo miles logged. I was supposed to be running them at around marathon pace, but I felt free to run how I wanted to. I was feeling awesome, and the miles were ticking off at a quick pace. I thought this was going to be the confidence boosting run that I needed to really bring me back around and bring the confidence back that I had lost when I dropped out of Chicago two weeks ago.

But then after the first 4 tempo miles, It was game over for me. Something happened, and the dizzy hit me like a bolt to the chest. I took some time, sat down on a bench near where I was at the time, and tried to regroup. After a few minutes, I got up and started running again. My legs felt like lead, my head was swimming, things were not great. Not even a little bit. I was terrified with the lead legs just because I have fallen so many times in the past. And for some strange reason, I just could not get over the hump of trying to slow down and finish the miles. In my head, I had to log the miles on my plan so I needed two more tempo miles before I could slow down.

Eventually, I just had to throw in the towel. I was not getting any better and I could not get out of my head at all. I called it at 6 miles, 5 of them tempo paced, and just walked back to my office.

Since Thursday, I have been to the doctor, started and stopped a medication (that made my head even more foggy and made me ridiculously tired), made an appointment with a neuro at the recommendation of my doctor, made an appointment with my therapist in case it is anxiety, and ran 18 miles with only a small issue.

So. Onward and upward.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Training Recap: Week of October 19

First of all, is it ok to express my weirded-out-ness about the fact that it is the 26th of October? How the heck did we get to this point already? Damn this month FLEW.

I am not sure what I am ready to disclose at this point as far as what I am working for, although if you follow me on twitter, you probably know already. Tomorrow is the day. Today will be a training recap, as Mondays around here usually are.

So, here we go!

Monday: 9 miles with 4x 30s strides.
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: 7 miles, easy (8:41 avg)
Thursday: 1 mile warm up, 5 miles tempo. Tempo miles were 7:42 avg
Friday: Strength
Saturday: 18 miles with 8 at marathon pace
Sunday: long walk

Rather than focusing on what did not go according to the plan that I wanted, I am trying to focus instead on what I am doing in the moment. I am trying to remain positive about my runs, and remember, as Coach Jen says, "I GET to run." I don't HAVE to do this to myself. I GET to.

And don't we all need to remind ourselves of that?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Chicago DNF - My Mental State

I promised a post on my mental state after Chicago. When I reviewed the race, I purposefully did not talk about much of my time in the med tent or the race aftermath PRIOR to us heading over to Wicker Park to meet up with John. That is for two reasons:
1. I wanted to write this post.
2. I am STILL reviewing everything in my mind. Even now.

Taking this bib off before reaching the finish line did a number on my psyche.

As I sat in the med tent, laying down on a little cot after drinking half of my bottle of gatorade and having all of my vital signs taken, the excitement of that started to subside and I started to think. I was QUITTING. I was dropping out of a race that I dedicated myself to back in May when I was just coming off a PR in Toledo and also in a boot! I started crying, almost uncontrollably from my cot and pulled my heat sheet over my face because I knew the doctors would want to make sure that I was ok if I was crying and it was hard to admit that it was because I was just so MAD that this happened and disappointed in myself (yes, I know, I listened to my body, I should be disappointed in the SITUATION, not myself...) for being where I was after I worked so hard and fought back after lots of mental hurdles to get there.

When J arrived at the med tent it was a little better. I was able to calm myself down, at least a little bit, and I was able to convince the doctors that fluids would help me and I did not need to go back to the starting line in a vehicle and see the doctors there. (Claustrophobia did not even cross my mind until two days or so later). I stood up, off my cot with a doctor on one side and J on the other - apparently they were more worried about me falling than I was - and was able to walk back down Wells with J.

He convinced me to stop at Whole Foods on our walk back so we could get some snacks. I got myself a tub of honeydew melon and a kind bar to make sure that I got enough to eat since I would not be at the finish line. I was relatively silent during all of this, mostly I was trying to keep myself from crying. I knew that at any moment I might burst into tears, and I was trying to avoid that as best as I could. I was really upset, but sometimes I know that J gets irritated when I am upset about things that are outside of my control and this is one of those things...

After purchasing food (and beer) at Whole Foods, we walked back to the hotel where J started a steaming hot shower for me. I found some surprise chafe (the worst kind of chafe) and sat in the shower on the floor for about 45 minutes crying. I allowed myself that. I allowed myself the time to sit and hang out and mope. I admittedly moped a bit before we left to meet John (I laid in bed while J did some work) but then I tried to get over it, at least not talk about it.

I am approaching two weeks post-race now. I am still not 100% over it, but I am back on the training bandwagon, and I have HIGH hopes to still get there.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Annual Frankenmuth trip

Last weekend, J, Addie, and I all made the trek up to Toledo for the weekend. That was planned before I did not run in Chicago. As you may recall, my mom, sister, Aunt and cousin and I all go up to Frankenmuth MI one Saturday in the fall to spend the day together, start Christmas shopping, and usually just have a good time. Several month ago, Jason got asked to play golf with his friend Jamie in Toledo on Saturday the 17th, so he suggested I find out if that would work for our trip. A few text message exchanges with my mom and we were set!

Now, obviously, I had originally planned to have already finished my  fall goal race by now, so I would be OFF completely all week, not having any kind of workouts to worry about I would be in recovery mode. Only.

Yeah... clearly that is not the case...

Anyway, I was still excited for the trip and I was still planning on using that day as my "walking" day on the schedule rather than trying to squeeze in a lot of miles when we were planning on leaving at 8 am and needing to go and get coffee/bagels before. I was up with my mom WAY too late on Friday night (that is always what happens when I go home - no idea what is up with that) and then up at about 20 minutes to 7 on Saturday morning, let my pups outside and got dressed. My mom was up as well, and after getting the dogs inside and letting J know what was going on we left to go to Barry's Bagels and Starbucks.

By the time we arrived back home (and have of my Venti Pike was gone, whoops) Aunt Laurie had arrived and we were just going to wait for Rachel. Addie woke up, so I brought her downstairs and settled her onto the couch with J and when Rachel arrived we all said goodbye to Grandma Kate, J, and Addie and off we went to go pick up Megan. In years past, Aunt Laurie picked up Megan on her way to my mom's, but since she got a new house that is even MORE on the way, we went and got her afterward (note: I feel like this made a difference since we started at my mom's at the same time as always, but still had to pick someone else up).

As usual, our trip was focused around one specific store.
Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland.

There is Rachel, me, and Megan in the wreath. I think I have a similar picture of the three of us from last year (but maybe on the other side of the wreath.)

I mostly bought gifts on this trip.

I am not done with ANY of them, but it was nice to check a few boxes while I was there.

I got some pictures of the Roo from my dad who was watching Addie while I was gone and J was golfing.

It appears as though she may be a percussionist?

Also - I found this when I was there.
That is Elsa's ice castle. And if it was not $220 (!!!) I would have seriously considering purchasing it for my Elsa loving daughter (they have a lot of other Disney Christmas Village items).

Did you do anything extra fun this weekend?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Chicago Marathon - the BQ that wasn't...

It is obviously abundantly clear that the day of the Chicago Marathon just wasn't my day... But let's document it a little bit better, maybe having all of that additional information written down can help me reflect on the race a little bit better. At least, that is my goal with this post.

In theory, I was ready to #OWNCHICAGO. I had done all of the training. I  had run all of the miles. I was READY. (also, nervous. But if I was not nervous, then something would be wrong, I think!)
I set my race day alarm for 4 am. I made a cup of Starbucks Via (note for future marathons - check to see if your hotel has a coffee pot - hot water from the sink is not great) and then made my breakfast and my Gen UCan. I took my time getting ready. I read a few blogs from my phone (while keeping it plugged in to the charger, I wanted to make sure that I had full charge for tunes on the run) and ate slowly, making sure to finish everything that I had packed.

I text with Krista a little bit to find out when they were leaving, and I decided to leave my hotel at 6:15 after peeing several times. That would hopefully give me the time to walk over there (stretch my legs a little), use a port-o-potty, and get into the corral by the 7:20 time that the corrals closed.

As I got close to Grant Park, there started to be more and more people. I went through Gate 1, since I was in Corral C. As soon as I turned the corner off Michigan the crowd STOPPED. I overheard some people say that if you didn't have a bag, you could get over to the right (I had no idea why, but I did not have a bag, so I tried to shove through crowds to get over there). After about 25 minutes I got through and made my way toward the C corral. I had heard that there were not potties in the corrals, so I looked at the lines. Then I looked at my watch. Getting a chance to pee? It was just NOT going to happen. I didn't have to go terribly, I just wanted to get EVERYTHING out before I started running. I figured the worst thing was that I was going to have to stop 2-3 miles into the race. Oh well...

I made my way into the C corral toward the front right, which was where Krista and I agreed to meet. I found her and Joe and we chatted for a few minutes. I ended up not having dinner with them the night before as we had originally planned due to being REALLY HUNGRY and so J and I just went and got something solo. But we talked for a few minutes and started to get excited about what we were about to do.

When we started, it took us about 5 minutes to get across the start, not too long at all. Krista took off - seriously, she was FLYING. I did everything I could to keep my pace in check immediately. Note: these splits are based off the mile marker on my watch, which I can tell from looking at the map was in and out with signal, likely due to the buildings. My tangents are less than awesome, but I definitely was NOT running on sidewalks or through buildings.

Mile 1: 8:07 - little too fast, better hold back a bit.
Mile 2: 8:21 - ok, not quick enough let's go Em, settle in.
Mile 3: 8:06
Mile 4: 7:46 (whoops)
Mile 5: 7:58
Mile 6: 8:05

It was here that I started to have issues. So, running along through the park at mile 6, people were still clumped very close together. This is unlike any marathon I have run before (or half, since I have only run 2 fulls previously). Usually after the first 2-3 miles, you have some space to move around, and I definitely did not get that here. I ended up RIGHT behind some guy with a shirt on that had some kind of strange pattern. The pattern started jumping around on this shirt, which was making me feel a little uncomfortable. I got around him, but progressively started to feel worse.
Mile 7: 8:04
Mile 8: 7:57
Mile 9: 8:08

Mile 8 and 9 were particularly fun. We were running down Broadway and although I was starting to feel worse (honestly my head was feeling disconnected from the rest of my body), I tried to enjoy what was happening around me. There were drag queens onstage who were singing and shouting - admiring my socks, in particular, and they were clearly having a blast. But in the back of my mind, i was starting to get nervous. I should NOT feel this dizzy and sick only 9 miles in. I have WAY too far to go. I crossed the 15K mat and if you look at my splits (this is the last one I posted), I was hitting my goal DEAD ON.

Mile 10: 8:13
Mile 11: 8:08
Mile 12: 8:12

Sometime during the 12th mile I actually started swaying... And that scared the bits out of me. Seriously, I got terrified. And so... I pulled up. I walked over to a curb. I stretched my calves and tried to breathe. And then... I stepped off the course. I started crying immediately and walked back toward the med tent I had just passed. I told them I was very dizzy and wobbily. They sat me down, did a bunch of checks (heart rate, blood pressure, etc) and gave me a bottle of gatorade. I drank it and started to feel nauseous so they helped me get back to a cot. I text Jason to tell him where I was (he was about a mile up the road) and he started to head back to me.

I was crying. Not because anything hurt, but because I was so down about what had just happened to me. I truly don't know what went wrong or what happened to make me feel that way. My suspicions are some combination of dehydration + some claustrophobia mixed together. I tend to get very anxious in crowds, and this race WAS a crowd, big time. I had pretty much immediately decided that my vision of trying to get into NYC was NOT a good one. I am not going to put myself through that again.

So that was that. J got there and we decided to walk over to Old Town to see my cousin (turns out, they moved as you know from a previous post) but I was already starting to feel better, so we walked back to the hotel.

I want to look back on some of my mental thoughts AFTER this race, so be on the lookout for that coming up!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Post Chicago - Fun times!

So, I planned to get my Chicago Not-a-Marathon blog post written today. I hoped to have it written before today and going live 10 minutes from when I am writing this. But it has taken me a lot longer to try and get my thoughts together around that than I thought it might, so I am delaying that post again.

I am still not sure exactly what went wrong (although I have theories), and I am not quite over it yet. I have not moved on yet. And I am definitely feeling sad about it still (reignited yesterday when I synced my watch for the first time. That made me start examining my splits, etc.) But again... I am still working through all of my feelings about this.

Instead of that, I have decided to post about what we did AFTER I didn't run. I mean, we had planned a mini vacation around this race with both of us being off on both Monday and Tuesday, so even though I was a little bit down in the dumps (ok, a LOT down in the dumps) I was determined to yank myself out of it so we could enjoy ourselves!

I am going to skip the race part, because that will be included in a separate post.

A few hours afterward, J and I got in a cab to head to my cousin's new neighborhood in Chicago. He and his wife just purchased a brand new place in Wicker Park, and we agreed to head over there to meet up with them. J's team (the Chiefs) were playing John's team (the Bears) so even though John is not really following the Bears right now (as he said, all of his eggs are in the Cubs basket), we thought that would be a fun and good excuse to get together.

So we had the cab drop us off on the corner that John told us to go to and ended up at the Fat Pourhouse. This is apparently owned by the same guys who own a bar that we went to the last time we were in Chicago to have drinks with John. That was last summer when we went to Billy Joel. This bar was in a completely different part of town, but we could kind of tell based on the pictures that we saw on their website and the extensive draft and bottle list. J, John and I all had a few beers and watched the end of the game before walking over to John's new place to meet up with Ashley.

We hung out there with them for a few hours, saw everything in their new home, Ashley and I talked for a while (which was good. She and I have not spent a lot of time together in the past, sadly). And after an hour or so, J and I headed back into the city for our dinner and to hang out. We got dropped off in Near North, a neighborhood that we really like. But all of the restaurants there were packed, and honestly, I was wearing sweatpants and therefore not feeling super comfortable at a place that had a sign that said "proper attire required."

So we left Near North and headed back to the Mag Mile where our hotel was. We ended up at a restaurant that was part of the hotel next door to ours called The Windsor. We started with guacamole, which was excellent. I ended up having a giant salad (it was delicious) and J got some ribs (he said, also delicious). Although it was not what we had planned on when we left Wicker Park, it ended up being really delicious and I am happy with the way everything turned out!

On Monday morning, we were up at a decent time, but hung out in the hotel drinking the coffee I walked to grab at Starbucks before walking over to our car at around 10:15 am. We had BIG plans for Monday.

Within an hour of driving we had arrived at our planned destination.
3 Floyds Brewery in Munster Indiana. This has been on J's must try list quite a while and due to us planning to have Tuesday off as well, this trip we were finally able to make it happen! It probably added only 10 minutes of drive time to our trip and we avoided the toll roads as a result. So saving $9 is much better than 10 minutes less in the car. That is official.

We had a taster to split and ordered an appetizer. This place was where we planned to have lunch, and after seeing their list of eclectic food items, I was pretty excited. Our appetizer was bacon and duck fat caramel corn (and NO, I am not kidding!) and it was AMAZING. For our meal we split an order of wings and some fried cheese curds (I might not have run a marathon the day before, but I was certainly enjoying eating like I had!) which were both AWESOME.

After our trip for beers in Munster, we continued our trek through Indiana with the next stop in Indianapolis. We had booked a hotel downtown via Priceline while we were getting ready for the day back in Chicago. When we got to Indy, we checked into our hotel, I did about an hour of work, and then we left. We decided we were going to have a drink (and J was going to have the special shrimp cocktail.) at St. Elmo's. We grabbed dinner and a beer or two at a little brewpub, then stopped at BWs for some Miller Lite (we needed something that was a little less) and J played a few games of Golden Tee.

The next morning, we got coffee before heading back home. I was sure glad to see my Roo!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Training Recap: Week of October 12

So yeah, I know I have still not talked about Chicago. Still not ready.

So since I DNF'd my marathon a week ago, instead, we are able to talk about another week of training! Because I did train this past week, maybe not super heavily or anything, but I did get out there for another week of logging runs (three) and walking one day too.

So let's take a look at the past week!

Monday: OFF
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: goal - 6 easy, actual - 6 @ 7:50 (oops)
Thursday: goal - 7 w/5x30s surges and strides. actual - 7.53 with 4x30s strides, 5x30s surges and 7:47 avg pace
Friday: OFF
Saturday: walk around Frankenmuth MI all day
Sunday: 12 miles at 8:12 avg

Total mileage of 25.53.
Total panic attacks: 1 (not running related)
Total hours spent in the car between 6 pm Friday and 2 pm Sunday: 10

I plan to discuss training in more detail (along with that lovely panic attack) later on this week. But for right now, I am plugging away as you can see. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably have slightly more information, so that is a self plug to FOLLOW ME THERE.

This week will be another busy one in the office, but I am hopeful to get some posts written and up this week, so watch out for that.

And that is IT for now!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Chicago Marathon: the expo

So...  If you have not already guess based on my twitter posts with splits, I DNF'd in Chicago. I don't want to go into many details here, it deserves its own post, and that will come. Later.

But for right now, let's talk about travel to the city, the expo, and my pre-race plans.

On Saturday morning, I got up pretty early, about 5 am, let my dogs outside and fed them before putting on my headlamp and heading out for an easy 2-3 miles, and then 2-3 strides. As you know from my weekly recap, I ran 2.7 miles and then 3 strides for 30s each. I ended up at just over three miles total (like 3.07 or something?) After I got home, J went to the basement to do a workout of his own on the treadmill.

After Addie woke up, J and I loaded up the car, said goodbye to her (she was staying with Grandma) and hopped in the car. We were on the road probably by 8 am. We got to Chicago uneventfully by about 1 pm (EST) and went right to the expo. It was noon-ish in Chicago, and we made the decision to go right to the convention center and park there despite the fact that parking was going to be pricey.

So into the convention center we went. First stop was to get my bib. In order to do that, someone had to scan a little QR code that came in my participant guide that linked to me. I was then told what station to go to to get my bib. By the time I got over there, they already had my packet out and knew my name and everything, it was kind of crazy. It was like a well oiled machine.

After that, I grabbed J (he was waiting for me to do that part so he didn't have to stand in a line) and we headed out into all of the vendors. I was a little bit overwhelmed by the number of people, but we made our way to the back of the center to get my shirt. They gave me the shirt (red, Nike, tech) along with my clear plastic bag for gear check (full of coupons, samples, and advertisements for other races) and I only waited in line for a few minutes.

There were a few must see booths, including one special one for the man I dragged to the city with me... the Goose Island beer bus. We hopped on the bus and got some beer samples (2 small cups of 312 for me and 2 small cups of the Goose Island IPA for J, and then I purchased a glass and bottle opener from them too. Other purchases included insoles for J's shoes, a Saucony "Run Chicago" tee shirt, and "Meb for Mortals".
When we left the expo, we went to hang out at the hotel and watch football for a while. I had arranged for parking through an app called "ParkWhiz", if you have not heard of this and  you live in Chicago (or plan to travel there!) I recommend it, it worked out pretty well. I had booked my hotel through the race website as soon as housing was available. We were staying at the Allerton, which was a small but nice hotel. We watched football and I napped a little before we headed out to Rock Bottom for dinner. We decided to go a bit earlier than originally planned for digestion time. I decided to have a beer with my dinner as well to try and take a little of the edge off.

After dinner, I was in bed by 8 watching a football game and asleep before nine, preparing for my big goal race in the morning with a 4 am wake up call.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Super Heroes at the Office

So, in order to get through writing my real race recap and marathon expo rundown, I need to take a break and get a few other things out to make sure that I am on top of posting again this week. I know that it may take a while to really get out all of my feelings about the race, but I wanted to try to continue to be posting the way that I have been.

So last week at the office was Customer Service week. Our  in house customer service team (they handle escalations, training, our BBB rating, etc), planned the event for the whole office last week, and had a Super Hero theme. We had a super fun week, and thanks to all of them for planning some fun for us.

Friday was "dress like a superhero" day, and in a rare turn of events, I dressed up (I am trying to participate more frequently in office events, and this was a step in that direction). Plus, I figured out how to turn some of my regular running gear into a super hero outfit. I had come up with this a while back and it was going to originally be my Halloween costume, but when super hero day came up, I couldn't resist.
I went as Aquaman. Admittedly, I did not even KNOW what Aquaman's super power was when I selected this costume, but I was informed what it was later, and now I might be a little embarrassed. He can talk to fish. So I was alternately called throughout the day AquaLady, AquaGirl, Aqua Woman, Aqua Emily, Glitter Girl (that belt was shedding EVERYWHERE), and the Fish Whisperer. Lovely.

But I am not the only one who stepped up to have some fun.
We have SheRa, a Ninja turtle, Plastic Bag Man (don't ask), two batmans, two wonder womans, a Superman, Aquaman, and my personal favorite, Quail Man!

There is something to be said for a job like this one.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Long Distance Running Club: Once a runner

So, Oiselle decided to start a running/reading club. I am pretty excited about it, since it combines a few of my favorite things! Running & reading. Not to mention, I always want to belong to a book club, I am the first to admit my nerdiness here.

(Find out about the book club here:

The first book that was selected was Once a Runner by John Parker.

I ordered the book as soon as I heard what it was for my kindle, so I don't really have any shots of the book with my cup of coffee or anything. But hey, that the easiest way for me to read.

This book was written in 1978, but definitely still has relevance today, and it made me want to try a few of the workouts that were discussed even though they almost certainly would kill me (for example, 60x400m - I nearly want to die after 12). I have seen in more than one amazon review that this is a "cult classic" although I am not sure why that is. I suppose it is a classic among the cult that runners are and not many others. I suppose that could be true. A lot of the book focuses on running, workout, and the eccentricities that are runners.

I can also see why a lot of the Amazon reviews are either from runners (love the book!) and non-runners (feel like... meh...).

So onto the actual book!

Once a Runner focuses on a collegiate runner named Quenton Cassidy. Quenton is a miler (this may date the book in and of itself since the mile is no longer a track and field event). Because he protests a dress code for athletes, he is suspended from the school and the team not long before his goal race, where he would be racing against the best miler in the world. Because he is suspended, he is training with Olympian Bruce Denton, who is a graduate student and club runner at his school.

They come up with a plan to disguise him with facial hair, a uniform from another school in Ohio, and register him as a Finnish runner. It works to get him into the race, but once he gets running, everyone knows that it is Quenton Cassidy and is cheering for him.

The book ends where it began, Quenton, at the track, admiring his Olympic medal.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Chicago Training: Week of October 5

Well, last week (this week when I am actually writing this) was race week. I cannot believe that my heart and soul (other than J and Addie) that I have been pouring my energy and thoughts into is here. By the time this post goes live, I will know if I reached my goal or not.

J and I left for Chicago early in the morning on Saturday and got to the hotel and stuff before going to the expo. But I will update all of that stuff later.

So let's take a look at this FINAL week in training.
Monday: 6 miles with 4x30s strides. 6.57 total miles, done on treadmill.
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: 4 miles, easy. 8:51 avg pace.
Thursday: 5 miles with 2 mile tempo. Tempo avg was 7:52. 4x30s strides. 5.53 total miles.
Friday: OFF
Saturday: 2.7 miles, 3x30s strides. 3.07 total miles. + walking around expo.

Obviously, I am writing and pre-scheduling this, so I have no timing and stuff for you, but I am sure that I have tweeted it by now, so you will know if I make my goal. Not sure if we will have wi-fi in Chicago (TBD) so we will see if I start getting my recap written or not.

Now to figure out what is next!

Friday, October 9, 2015

2 days out.

Well, it is Friday, and tomorrow J and I leave to head to Chicago. I will be spending a long morning in the car and then hopefully going for a quick shakeout run (even if it is just on the treadmill at the hotel!) to make sure that my legs are feeling ok after spending 5+ hours in the car. But I don't want to focus on that right now. I am definitely feeling nervous and would rather not worry too much about it right now.

The hay has been in the barn for a few weeks now, and now it REALLY is. Any last minute jitters or worries about the weather have been adjusted. I packed for cold weather and I packed for good/cool-warmish weather. As of this moment, it is looking like shorts + arm warmers will work. And I am really hoping for that. After all, I had big plans for those pop rogas to make it out!
So fingers crossed that Sunday morning is about 50* when we get started. If that is the case, I will be fine.

I want to talk about the things that I have been doing this week to make sure that I am as ready as possible for Sunday morning. So here is a little breakdown of my "week of marathon" routine.

1. Limit veggies. They can do some bad things to your stomach, so I try and avoid them somewhat in order to avoid potential GI distress.
2. No alcohol. Usually I might have a beer at dinner with J, but not this week. Not at all. I had one on Saturday night (nearly a week ago) when we went out to dinner, but that was it.
3. No new foods (see reason number 1).
4. Visualization. I have been picturing the clock with a 3:29:xx on it when I cross the finish line. And in my visualization, I burst into tears and practically fall down when I get there.
5. I have been reviewing my training log, but the GOOD runs. I have ignored the skipped stuff, ignored the runs that I quit early. I have focused on 2 strong 20 mile runs. Several 18. Every nailed speedwork (and I nailed most of them!) A full Yassos workout for the first time EVER with a 3:22/800m average. I mean...  Yassos have some meaning behind them. I am not going for that, necessarily, but...  It means I am ready to nail my goal.
6. Spend time with my lacrosse ball and foam roller. I saw Dr. Mike for the last time on Wednesday afternoon, and while I hope not to be in terrible pain again, I hope to get to work with him again.
7. Rest. In general. Lots of time with my legs up in the air.

Hopefully I have spent the week doing everything right. I feel good. I feel ready. So let's bring it on.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


In an effort to write about something this week other than my nerves around the marathon, (because trust me, they are certainly overrunning my mind right now) I want to write about the fact that FALL IS HERE. Fall is my most favorite time of the year, and I would just live somewhere where it was all fall, all the time, if I could. I know that there are places out there that have temperatures like fall all the time, but they don't have the other fall benefits. Colors, pumpkins, other squash, etc. 

But sometime last week, the weather turned. It started getting light out later in the morning (I would drop off Roo at daycare in the dark). The temperature dropped into the 40s overnight (it was in fact in the 40s when I took off for my run on Saturday morning). I have had to head out for my runs in tights and long sleeves (which also involved me trying out my brand new Flyte long sleeve in pop!)
I saw a picture of Lauren Fleshman in this top - I think she is wearing it in her Jaybird video that is on YouTube? - and NEEDED it after that. Then on Saturday I finally had a chance to pull it out of my drawer and take the tags off. And as I said, it is getting light out later, so I needed that brightness for my run!

J and I had plans to take Addie out for a pumpkin picking excursion last weekend, unfortunately it was very rainy. I am bummed about that because the rest of October is going to be a bit busy for us. We have Chicago, then Toledo, and by the next weekend after that, it will be so close to the holiday that all of the local farms will be pretty busy (I am assuming). Oh well...  We will get a pumpkin SOMEWHERE. The plan for the pumpkin is to paint it this year. Well, let Addie paint it. 

We had our fall financial planning session with our advisor, which led me to look into a few things to make some adjustments. October is going to be a tough month for me, financially because I have some car repairs that need to be done and obviously, we have a trip to Chicago coming up. 

I want to set some goals for fall, but not knowing yet how Chicago is going to end up admittedly has me a little bit nervous to make too many plans... Which might be a little bit weird since my fall is not going to change if I do not hit my Chicago goal. I am not going to try a redemption marathon in three weeks or whatever. I am just going to... be off. And start getting ready for the spring. And right now, I do not know what my spring plan is going to be. I don't think that I am going to run a marathon in the spring no matter what the outcome is...  To be determined, I guess?

So... for now... no fall goals other than to enjoy it with J and Addie and start getting prepared for the holidays. I took the time to decorate this year for Halloween, which definitely has me feeling a bit more cheerful than I did last year at this time. Last fall was rough for me, and I am really working hard to make changes (and have been for a year now) in order to have a more enjoyable year. So far, I would call that effort a success?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Taper Madness

Ahh... taper madness... It definitely seems to set in on most marathon cycles. And for those who train hard for halfs, it sets in then too. I usually get it much worse for the full than the half though. Anyone with me?

I found the above image at The Runiverse.

The hardest part for me is feeling mentally ready. You definitely start to question everything that you have done to get ready for the race and wonder if it is enough. What if I ran another 20? What if I hadn't messed up and quit that 22? What if I ran that 12 early in training when I came home from Vegas? What if I skipped Ragnar and did "serious" runs instead?

Yeah. We all have to get over it. It is SO not that big of a deal, right? The work is done.

I keep repeating that to myself.

The work is done.

So here are a few articles I have been reading and rereading to reassure myself.

Battling Taper Madness
Three Mantras to Calm Taper Madness
Taper madness: running withdrawal puts many marathoners on edge
How to spot taper madness

There is tons of other information out there on the subject. And trust me, if you have trained for an endurance event, you get it. If you haven't, but you know someone like me, you get it. You have seen me pacing in meetings or staring at a bowl of candy...  All of these things are real.

Have you suffered from this madness?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A day for me

Last Monday I took the day off. I did not have any real intentions with this day, it was not like a day full of doctor appointments, or a day with a sick kid or anything. I had the day off, and nothing too pressing going on, and I was looking forward to it.

So the day started the same as every other. I got up too darn early, dressing in my running clothes (that did not match), got my kiddo up and dressed (she had to wear her Chiefs gear, since they had the Monday night game. I knew J would appreciate that.), and headed off to the other side of town where my office/her daycare is. Because I am now OFFICIALLY tapering (since I ran that 20 on the 26th), I only had 6 miles at convo pace plus strides to do on Monday. I was ready to roll out.

I dropped off Addie and headed out right from her daycare. I was planning on running a loop in Ravenwood, a nearby neighborhood that I knew had about a 1 mile loop in it, and then head over to the track. I have yet to get tired of the track this cycle. Plus even when I am running normal-ish paces, I feel like I am flying on the track! That makes it extra awesome. So I started running. My legs were a little sluggish on the first mile, like they always are, especially when I have not had coffee, but it was not long before I was feeling great.

I ran to the track, then planned to leave there at about 4.75 miles, that would get me back right around the time I was finishing my run, assuming that my strides were about the same distance as they always are. I left the track and was in the ZONE. I was jamming to the music that was on my phone, I was feeling awesome. And BOOM. I tripped over a big yellow curb. It is one of those ones that is used to designate parking places. There were several others around it. And there were yellow stripes painted all over the ground. So how I missed it, I will never know. I am just clumsy I guess? And as usual, I broke my fall with my elbow. Typical...
I also banged up my knee pretty great, but I did not take a picture of that. Luckily, I think my elbow is just scraped up. I don't have any issues with the bending and things like I did when I broke it. But the knee turned black and blue almost immediately. But after sitting for a minute and gathering myself up, I finished the run.

After running, I went to Panera to drink a cup of coffee and eat a bagel (yay taper food!)before going to see Dr. Mike for my last appointment. I will probably go back before the marathon to make sure everything is in perfect condition and get taped, but he released me from working on my hips and back that he has been working on for the last 5-6 weeks. 

I had lunch with Karen at the cheesecake factory and did not allow myself to be tempted by all of the deliciousness that was there. I got chicken lettuce wrap tacos and NO cheesecake (impressive, right?) and really enjoyed them. I know Karen was jealous, because she was already on the "cut out leafy green" part of taper, whereas I still have a week. But her lunch looked really good as well. Tuscan chicken of some sort... 

She was on a mission to get a new dress for her sister's wedding, so we did some shopping together. She ended up buying something at Macy's and plans to also buy something online from White House/Black Market and then making the final decision. I tried on a dress at H&M myself for my company Christmas party. Karen and the woman working there both said it gave me a figure and made me look like I had a waist. Honestly, I felt like I did NOT have a waist in it. Obviously, I need to trust others more than I trust myself when it comes to these things. Regardless, it is a contender, but I did not buy.

After shopping at the mall, I told Karen that I had a gift card to Buckeye, and I should get up there and use it. I probably needed a few more gels to get me through the marathon and even if I do not use them now, I will use them in the spring. So Karen agreed to come with me, because she pretty much had to drive right by there on her way home. Naturally, I cannot go in to a running store and JUST buy gels. I walked out with 3 gels (vanilla spice roctane), 2 vanilla honey stinger waffles (the BEST pre race food), 2 Buckeye running t-shirts (one for me, one for J) and new shoes. Ooops...
And I am in love. These might be the marathon shoes now. HA!

After Buckeye, I settled myself in at Starbucks, ordered a coffee and got to work on the blog.
I really love writing here and I am trying to get more planning done around posts to try and get some written in advance and then I can just jump in on open days and write and actual update. Maybe then I can be more consistent about it?

I needed this day. I am glad that I have so much vacation time just sitting around. I need to be more consistent about using it, even when it is for no purpose. It felt good today to be able to just do whatever I wanted to do... That just does not happen enough. Now... to be more consistent!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Chicago Marathon: Week of September 28

Whoa...  One week from today the marathon will be OVER. It is unlikely that I will have a recap post written by then, but I should have a post written about my last week in training, I would think (and I will plan on). I may drop in and just let the bomb out (bomb meaning finish time... I have no idea what to expect right now).

So let's take a look at the first week of taper, shall we?
(Quick reminder that I am only tapering for 2 weeks rather than my typical three since I needed to get one last twenty mile run in, if for no other reason than my mental state.)

Monday: 6 miles with 4x strides for 6.54 miles. 8:19 average pace. Also - wiped out on the curb.
Tuesday: Body weight strength workout and CORE.
Wednesday: 5 miles, easy pace. 8:46 average.
Thursday: Final Track Session! 5.69 miles @ 7:50 avg pace. 2x1000m and 4x400m.
Friday: OFF
Saturday: 12 miles. Stuck to my neighborhood and the treadmill and ran relaxed with the last 4 at marathon pace. 8:09 average.
Sunday: walk with my girl.

Taper is a weird time, I am sure anyone who has been through it will agree, but that is a post for another day, right?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Race day ensemble

So after my 20 last weekend, I think I made all of the decisions that I needed to make regarding my marathon ensemble. There were a few obvious choices, like my oiselle singlet (below wearing it in Chicago the last time I raced there).
But there were also less obvious choices, like what shorts, shoes, and socks I was going to wear. I pretty much decided that my bottom half from the 20 was the way to go.
First up, SOCKS!
I plan on donning my rainbow procompression socks, affectionately known on social media as #thegibblers.
The mac roga in pop.
The strappy bra (the old version, I like it best!)
And my Brooks launch. The exact pair I wore in Columbus. I save these shoes for 20 mile runs and races, so they have less than 250 miles on them, even now, a year later.

So there we go. That is what I plan to wear in Chicago, so if you see me on the course, between the pop rogas and the rainbow socks, I will stand out, I think!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Two Year Old. What?

So yeah, I have a lot going on with the race right now. Work has been busy as well. But let's take a few minutes and check out that little Roo. Somehow she has made it to not-so-little status, which makes me happy and sad all at once.

She loves yogurt. And when you point your phone at her, she immediately "CHEESE" es.

She might have a Picky Bar obsession, just like her mom and dad. And we have actually had to INCREASE our monthly subscription, and be sure to get some uncaffeinated flavors, because We obviously don't want her to have that!

She loves a selfie.

She loves Minnie Mouse (and her birthday gifts from Grandpa - my dad).

She knows how important it is to focus when pooping (and she is about 85% potty trained!)

My girl is ONE COOL CAT. And I really love her little nugget face (and we are working on the binky, she was screaming in the store. We will get there. We have to!).

More on the best two year old ever sometime soon, but hope you enjoyed seeing a little update of her!