Monday, September 22, 2014

One of us had a good run, the other drank delicious beer.

I'm now halfway through my "4 weeks off running to get the Cankle to STFU." The spot on my Cankle is feeling less cranky as a result.. Duh.

I mean it's like splitting hairs because asides from when the Cankle initially imploded May 1, I really haven't been experiencing anything more than a very mild discomfort, barely noticeably, if at all. It just escalates when I string a few days of running together which is no bueno. Could I still be running? Probably. But that goes against my goal for a long term solution to this chronic tendinosis issue. (As well as general right leg issues).

Yeah it's tough to be sitting out all my favorite races this summer/fall but I am seriously over starting almost from scratch each year after nursing various injuries for a few months at a time.


CB got to run around Tuesday before heading to the fido to go truck. He had been "wild" this past week. Not sure if it was because L was away for business, or if he wasn't exercising as much as he should but he needed to release some energy.


He was less "wild" for like a day before he started acting out again.

Posing with the Dog and Rooster. Mine and CB's zodiac animals respectively.

Wednesday we took a walk to the planetarium to see the new Chinese Zodiac statues that were installed that morning. (thanks Kim for the tip!)


We also enjoyed the sunset.


And finally he was tired.

Saturday morning I made another set of quiches. This time it was: bacon, onion, collard greens with Comte/Emmental cheese. These were super delicious. I think weekend quiche baking will be my new tradition. I love experimenting with different cheese and ingredients.


Saturday afternoon we went to the Goose Island #312BlockParty.


They were tapping different varietals of their Bourbon County Stout every 30 minutes which was amazing since these beers are so difficult to find.


We tried 6 varietals. My favorites (in order) were

Bramble Rye BCS
Proprietor's BCS
Coffee 2013 BCS
Violet Hour BCS
Coffee 2014 BCS
Buffalo Trace BCS


Despite the rain earlier in the day, it ended up being a gorgeous afternoon and evening.


The live bands were fab and we had a lot of fun. It was a nice way to close out the summer. {sad face}


To finish out the weekend we ordered some food off Grub Hub and watched a movie. Nice and chill. Just how we like it.


2 more weeks without running should go just as fast as the first. And yet I'm not overly excited to get back out there. I'm enjoying this new "balance" of life/workouts quite a bit without the OMG I MUST TRAIN FOR THIS NEXT RACE mentality.


--Xa'ar

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Beer, Buttery Bread and Brasilian Bikini

And yet again the theme of the week was "sleepy." Work has been busy and jet lag is contagious. I swear. Every time L gets back from a business trip his exhaustion rubs off on me.

CB was sleepy too.

I got some summery dresses but the weather in Chicago has been hovering in the 50's lately. Womp. At least the weather in Brasil will be gorgeous in the springtime....

2 of the 4 dresses.. the other 2 are completely different styles than these, because diversity is fun...

Mae sent me this photo of São Paulo from her house this week and It instantly put a smile on my face. I cannot wait to return to SP!
I made more quiches last week. This batch was pancetta, Comte, and Emmental cheese. I added some half and half this time and they raised up like soufflés. I'll stick to milk-less quiches in the future..

We went to the Chicago craft beer fest on Saturday. We usually only go to their spring festival, but this year the fall date worked for us.


It was at the Great Hall of Union Station.


We immediately noticed there were less attendees and less breweries compared to the spring fest. But there were plenty of delicious new to me beers to try.

Selfie within a selfie!

A list of the beers I tried: All "new to me"

  • Not your father's root beer. ABV 10%- Small Town  WHOA SO SWEET & DECEPTIVELY STRONG!
  • Maiden Voyage- Aquanaut (Rye beer)
  • I Troll- Pig Minds, Double IPA
  • Always the Hard Way- Pig Minds, Double IPA
  • White IPA- Slapshot brewery, White IPA
  • Spiced Orange Ginger Beer- Crabbies
  • Coastbuster- Upland Double IPA Probably the best beer at the festival. Reminiscent of Pliny
  • Anthem Cherry Cider
  • Premium Elderberry Cider
  • Chocolate Porter- Small Town
  • Unapologetic IPA- Stone (At Hackney's post beer fest)
That brings my total of unique beers consumed to 968 since I started using Untappd.


We also made some new Brasilian friends.

I feel like my Portuguese speaking abilities are about to "click" and then I'll be able to actively participate in conversations. I was surprised at the amount I could understand this weekend. Ok no I'm not, I study Portuguese a lot and am near fluent in Spanish... I just need more words. I'm planning to be able to hold my own next time I go to Brasil.

Sunday morning I made pao na chapa. (Grilled buttery bread, a breakfast staple in Brasil)


I took CB for a walk and was creepin on his arch nemesis.


And the Brasilian bikini I ordered from France finally arrived. I bought the super discounted "surprise" bandeau. All I knew is that it would be by designer Rio do Sol and would be a bandeau. I'm happy with the colors. It's just all like WHOA the difference between American style bikinis...
'Cuz when in Rio de Janiero...

-Xa'ar

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Yay helicopter, yay running, yay beer, no more running. Womp.

Last week I went to the airport to finish up my application for GE. That means no more standing in the slow moving security line with the rest of the clueless herd. *And will make my return from international trips much easier too! 

We went to the "Dread Zeppelin" concert last Friday. It's a group that sings Led Zeppelin songs in a reggae style. The lead singer is a "300lb Elvis impersonator" who sings like Elvis. It was fun.


L and I went for several runs during last week. The weather was gorgeous and I was so happy to run outside....


At 8am I woke up to a loud helicopter close to my apt, when I saw the shadow of it through my blinds I jumped out of bed and exclaimed "Holy shit it's right outside our window!"


I was super amused watching it drop off AC units on the building across from us.


Video of the helicopter

We ran again and saw that the Chicago marathon banners were up in grant park. I'm really happy to not be running it this year.  {injury aside}3 years in a row was enough.


We went to Kaiser Tiger again. We love this place. Great beer selection and the food is delicious too.


Post Kaiser tiger, we went to Au Cheval for mixed drinks as a "dessert." Yum.


We also went to check out Vice District Brewing which just opened in the south loop. It's a nice taproom with 5 of their beers on draft (eventually will be 14!) and you can BYOF (bring your own food)


Later on Sunday I found the video of the NBC nightly news with Lester Holt which profiled some dog treat trucks around the country including our very own Fido to Go! I was excited to see if CB and I made the cut, which we did multiple times! CB loves his Fido treats and we were happy to see them get national exposure.
*My Daad insisted I add this screenshot of CB... 


Here is the link to the video segment on Fido.

Poor Quality screenshot from the NBC segment. Im in the ratty green Toms with CB!

Monday was pure shit.

At PT it was mutually decided that I should take 4 weeks completely off running. There's still a lingering spot of minor discomfort on my Cankle that needs to cool down. I was happy to get in 19 miles of running in gorgeous weather last week before this decision was made....

I'm mainly concerned about long term success of getting rid of this chronic peroneal tendon issue. I want to avoid surgery in the future... and running through this extremely mild discomfort is just not worth it to me.


I came home Monday to see the laundry pods had jumped off the dryer after I went to work. The main question was "OH MY GOD DID CB EAT ANY!?!" After analyzing his behavior, looking around the house for throw up, and even offering him a laundry pod to eat (he refused) I concluded he was a GOOD BOY and didn't eat any. That was confirmed Tuesday when he didn't poop orange/blue or bubbles.


Monday night we saw the "super moon."

Tuesday we went to see Fido to go and CB was very happy.


Tuesday I also cooked quiches for the first time. Apple wood smoked gruyere cheese, spinach, onion, and red pepper quiches. So freaking delicious.


They came out amazing! And now I have a bunch. :) I cant wait to make more quiches with all different flavors...


Wednesday and Day 3 of 28 of no running I went to PT again and bought a resistance band because the ones I have at home are waaay too weak for my super duper strong hips. I'm able to do 96% of my PT exercises at home and wanted to add side steps and "monsters" to the routine. Yay PT, yay.

And now for the rest of the week I'll cycle a bunch, lift weights, learn Portuguese, cook tasty things, and enjoy life like always. And hopefully work will be less busy.. But thats the life of an accountant... yay close yay.


--Xa'ar

Monday, August 11, 2014

Iron Girl: Pleasant Prairie Sprint Triathlon (My 1st Tri EVER!)

I started out Saturday morning feeling like CB..
I wanted to go cycle outside and do one last OWS before the Triathlon Sunday, but wasn't feeling it. After hitting SNOOZE a few too many times I got out of bed and rode to Lake Michigan. By then it was too late for a decent cycling trip due to the marathon training groups/crowds, so I tried to cycle hard to the Lake to compensate for it.
It was a beautiful morning and I was slightly more excited to swim after seeing the sunrise.
I went without wetsuit because the water was a "warm" 72 deg, and because I wanted to practice swimming without it since I wasn't going to be using it for the race.
The water was choppy, like crazy chaos choppy with 2-4' waves, and I just wasn't into it, so I swam for 11 minutes and then went home to pack before taking the train to go meet KIM.
My trusty knobby tired, 15 year old Hybrid looking nice on the rack.

Packet pickup was a breeze and I found a decent place to rack my bike. I also tried to ignore the bikes on my rack and look for other distinguishing landmarks so I would be able to find my bike easily during the race the next morning.
Luckily I was in the middle row, about halfway back in front of a large light pole. SCORE! Super easy to remember where my bike was.
"You mean I have to swim from THAT shore to THIS shore??"

We got up early to head over to Pleasant Prairie. I was a bit nervous by this point because I wasn't just running, or going to the pool, but I was now about to swim, bike, and run consecutively and had to ensure I was on point with setting up my transition area + remembering all my essential items for each discipline.

It was overwhelming. I really didn't know what to expect.
Sunrise over the Rec Plex, Pleasant Prairie.

I set up my transition area and went over it 20 times. I envisioned what I would need for each part of the race, and tried to keep it simple. I stuffed my snacks, gloves, sunglasses and chapstick inside my helmet and stuffed my socks inside my shoes so I wouldnt forget anything.
My sweet Specialized hybrid ready for its 1st triathlon and 2nd race ever + my transition area.

Once transition was closed we began the LONG walk to the other side of the lake for the swim start. I was getting more and more nervous at this point. I really had no idea what to expect for the swim. And the thought of getting kicked, caught up in the crowd, running out of breath IN THE MIDDLE OF A FREAKING LAKE was super intimidating.
ALL THE BIKES.

I tried to remain as calm as possible because worrying and thinking of "what ifs" is just a big waste of energy and takes up valuable mental space. I thought about why I was participating in this race and how I wanted this day to go.
Completing a triathlon has been a goal of mine for a very long time. I used to watch my daad participate in Tri's back in the day, and was always inspired. I get teary eyed every single time I watch an Ironman on TV. (Half and Full Ironman races are on my bucket list too).

When I got peroneal tendinosis/itis for the 2nd time and decided to give PT a try, I promised myself that I would remain active and try to keep my fitness up as high as possible while rehabbing the cankle. I started cycling a ton, and eventually added in swimming. Soon after I got the brilliant idea to put all this cross training to good use and scratch "complete a triathlon"off of my list. Since I was usually training for a fall marathon, I never felt it was a good idea to compete in a triathlon for risk of possible injury.

So funny that once I was injured, I decided to give Triathlons a try.
3+ months ago I had a decision to make: either be depressed I couldn't train for another marathon in my favorite time of the year to run, or make the best out of a bummer of a situation. I chose the latter. I cycled my ass off most weeks, and forced myself to swim and didn't run for a while to let my cankle heal. This triathlon was going to be a celebration of being patient and smart.  Plus I was really needing to do something competitive even if I wasn't going to "race", since I miss running and the electric atmosphere of a race so much!

My only goal for this race was to have fun.
I have to swim to the other side of this lake?!?! 

I chatted with Kim and Bobbi pre race and  got a little silly waiting around for my wave to start.
Awkward pose a la "Style" bloggers.

15 minutes before my wave I went into the water to warm up a bit. I swam a little and hung out in the water visualizing the swim. I knew the 1/2 mile swim was going to be a huge challenge for me and knew i needed to stay focused and calm for it to be a success.
Having a blast with Kim and Bobbi pre race.

I lined up for the swim on the far right (slower traffic on the right...)but near the front. The horn sounded and a myriad of purple caps ran into the water. I felt ok at first but within a quarter mile I was starting to feel like I was suffocating so I started my hybrid doggie paddle/breast stroke to calm myself. It was in the middle of the lake I had a "come to Jesus meeting." I was starting to panic. I was in the middle of a F*cking lake, couldnt touch bottom, and was fatigued. I wanted out. NOW. But I used my special jedi mind tricks to calm myself, HTFU and carry on.

By the half way point or a little later, I regained composure and was able to get into a nice rhythm of 10 strokes, 5-10 breaths while doggie paddling. I started passing purple caps, and some folks from the wave in front of me, and the wave that started 10 minutes ahead of me! CRAZY.
It was ridiculously encouraging to start hearing the cheering of the spectators- which signaled I was starting to get close to being done. I turned around and saw the shore I had come from was getting further away. When I finally touched bottom with my hands I stood up to walk out of the water and head into T1. When first stepped onto the sand I started crying.

I had just accomplished something that 8 weeks ago scared the shit out of me.

1/2 mile Swim: 18:57
-32/112 AG
-333/1049 OA
The whole run to transition I was full of emotion- elation that I just completed the swim!

Transition 1 went as well as I expected. I took my cycling gloves and tried to brush the sand off of my feet with them before putting on my shoes/socks. I stuffed my snacks into my pockets. Put my helmet and sunglasses on, and put some body glide on my legs/tailbone and bike seat (just in case my leg would chafe again).  I grabbed my bike and ran to the transition exit.

T1: 2:28
-37/112 AG
-328/1049 OA
The bike also went as expected. I tried to keep my distance and ride 4 lengths behind the person in front of me if I wasnt passing them. It was a little strange to be passing people, and being passed at the same time. The course was full of rolling hills but nothing too crazy. There was also some wind, but I dont think it impeded me at all. Around mile 3 I realized I had left my cycling gloves in transition.. Oh well.

At mile 4 I ate my chia squeeze pouch. Around mile 8 I ate a fruit bar. I drank half of my bottle of Osmo. I was pushing hard because I had very low expectations for the run due to the cankle and wanted to give a good effort and wreck my legs.

Before the race I had anticipated I would hold a 15-16 mph pace for the 12 mile ride.*

12 Mile Bike: 42:22, 17mph*
-55/112 AG
-472/1049 OA

*Later on I was shocked to see I averaged 17mph. I thought 16mph would have been a stretch on my knobby tire hybrid. Kim and I were speaking later on about this and her Garmin read 11 miles. My cyclometer which was spot on at mile 5 had registered 10.95 miles. So averaging 15.5 for 11 miles sounds a lot more plausible than 17mph. I know in years past people have questioned the distance of the bike course in this race. Clearly it was short of the advertised 12+ miles. But I don't care all that much... 
I dismounted my bike and ran it straight to my transition spot. took off my helmet and threw on my race belt and ran out of T2.  This was super easy especially since I didn't have to change shoes.

T2: 55 seconds
-3/112 AG
-21/1049 OA
I started running and my legs felt like jello. My original plan was to walk/run the 5K. After a few minutes I looked at my timex (yup, going old school here since my Garmin is useless on the bike/swim) and saw 3:00. I debated starting to walk, but I was feeling good and my ankle was feeling fabulous. So I continued running not having any idea what pace I was going, but kept it relatively easy.
Photos by Bobbi

The course went around the lake and had a small out and back portion on gravel. I took water at the aid station and also on the way back. It's probably the first time in a while I've actually taken water during a 5k. But I was SOOOOO thirsty and hot. The first mile was 7:45! I forget what the subsequent miles were but I was constantly reminding myself to keep it easy and not over do it. 
I was fully prepared to stop and walk if my ankle started escalating. Miraculously it felt normal. Like pre injury normal. At mile 1, I realized if I kept around an 8:00 pace I could potentially break 1:30 so I kept chugging along.   For the 5k it seemed like 97% of the participants were walking which was mind boggling to me. And that was awesome because I must have passed 200+ people during those 3 miles many of them being the 30-34 age groupers! Yep, the competitive side of me started coming out... lol.
I LOVE this photo that Steven took (Kim's Husband). 

I kicked it in to the finish and saw Bobbi, Steven and Kim spectating, and felt like I was gonna hurl, luckily I didn't. I received a medal, turned down chocolate milk, took a water and headed back to where they were spectating.

5k run: 25:08 
-5/112 AG 
-53/1049 OA
Kim and I post race, She KILLED it on the bike portion of her relay!!

I felt super foggy once I finished.  I was actually more excited that I had completed the 1/2 mile swim than the entire race because I knew that the bike/run would be a piece of cake and that the swim would give me the biggest challenge. (It didn't disappoint!)  Completing a triathlon has been on my radar for years- and to finally accomplish that goal felt so satisfying. At the same time the competitive side of me was all "but if I learn how to swim much better, had a road bike, and could actually run..."  Eh, I'll save that for when I am 100% healthy and for when I buy a road bike. Im not overly enthusiastic on signing up for another triathlon right now.
Some things I would improve on should I ever TRI again...

I think my fueling overall was ok. I ate a fruit bar brand: "that's it" and a chia squeeze 45 minutes pre swim. I ate another "That's it" bar and another chia squeeze pouch on the bike. I also drank half my Osmo during the bike portion. I realize now I should have drank a lot more, because I felt pretty depleted and dry like a toast for the run. I also should have taken some salt tabs because I got a raging headache a few hours later that took entirely too long to go away after taking 2 aleve.  I should have known better than to not take salt if I was working out in the heat. I will remember for next time...
While we were waiting to get let back into transition (they don't let you in until all the bikes have returned) the final lady arrived on the bike. The crowd erupted into applause and encouraging cheers for this lady as she got ready to start the run. When she left for the run everyone started cheering again for her. It made me tear up seeing the camaraderie for our fellow triathlete. I later saw on the IG Pleasant Prairie facebook page that she had finished- it was her first triathlon.

What I found really interesting about this race was that it was full of all body types, all fitness levels, all ages-  everyone going for the same goal. People you wouldn't expect to be fast (solely based on appearance) were kicking major ass and flying by more "fit" looking people. It was incredible and humbling. Everyone was so encouraging to each other-  I lost track of how many high 5's I gave out on the 5k during the out and back portions.

I really feel like I couldn't have picked a better first triathlon to participate in.
This weekend I'll remember forever. I got to spend time with good friends and got to challenge and show myself that I can do anything, even things that scare the shit out of me!