Sunday, June 21, 2015

4 weeks to RnR Chicago aka this was another great week.

This was my highest mileage week in over 1 year with 40 miles of running. And I feel great. RnR Chicago is 4 weeks from today!!! Yikes. I feel like I still have a lot of work to do before then to feel comfortable running longer distances again.

With the increased mileage I started toying with the idea of training for another marathon on Saturday afternoon. By the end of my long run on Sunday I had began rethinking that idea because I really didnt want to run an additional 5-8 miles once I was finished. Marathons and Halfs are my favorite distances, and I miss running marathons. BUT, I have been enjoying my free time since getting injured a year ago and the lifestyle changes that would accompany marathon training is something I'm not 100% sure I want to switch to right now. Either way, I've got 2-3 potential marathons I could train for in less than 15 weeks if I decide to do one.
The highlights of my running week were:

Running 12.87 miles in 1:42 on Sunday morning. While it was a bit warm, I felt really good. Miles 6-9 were at 7:31, 7:26, 7:30, 7:35. I wanted to do 5 miles at this pace but it was too warm.*
I ran south, all the way to 51st street- which is the furthest south on the LFP i've been in a long long time.
                                         
Another highlight was a speed sesh of 6x800's @ 6:39 pace + 2x1200's @ 6:39 pace on Tuesday evening.

The next day CB and I did a recovery run.
Friday morning Vicky and I FINALLY ran together. We've been friends for a few years and have run many of the same races but have never run together before now. It was so nice to actually run together and chat.
In non running related news, 

CB and I were happy the Blackhawks won the Stanley cup again.
I got my 1x yearly haircut this week. Instead of just a trim, I got 6+ inches chopped off. I feel 10lbs lighter and wonder why I waited so long to get it done.
My hair looked so nice leaving the salon- I hope I can master curling my hair now... I learned how to french braid my hair at 30+ years old, so maybe with the right styling products (Which I asked about and subsequently purchased), I can get a curl/wave to stick in my hair longer than 4 minutes.
I went to the Daley Plaza Farmer's Market Thursday in the pouring rain. I got a savory buckwheat crepe filled with goat cheese,turkey and olives. It was delicious.
Saturday evening there were bad storms in Chicago. CB was so freaked out from the lightning and thunder. I gave him some calming chews, but nothing really calms him down. I feel so bad for him when it's storming because there is nothing I can do to reduce his anxiety.
Post long run and after organizing the kitchen and all my running clothes, I got a salad and huge meatball from my local Italian restaurant and opened a bottle of 2007 "Le Cigare Volant" red wine by Bonny Doon. L and I always enjoyed going to Bonny Doon's tasting room in Santa Cruz, CA when we lived there. We have a few bottles from Bonny Doon left that survived the cross country move of 2011. 

Looking Forward:

*I really need to get more consistent with my long run fueling. I ran the 12.87 miles without  GU, sports drink or breakfast. I usually dont eat before shorter "long" runs, but I started fading in the heat without replacing electrolytes as I was solely taking water from the fountains. I'm good about using my Osmo for the speed work, and usually run longer races with a bottle of Osmo in hand, but I've been ridiculously lazy on my long runs lately by not taking anything with me (since it's "only" 13 miles or less). With 3 more longish runs left, I will make an effort to get my fueling consistent again and quit being lazy.

Other than that, I'll keep eating well, and plan to hit 40+ miles again this coming week.

Yay running, YAY.


Friday, June 12, 2015

The Original 5k 2015

Time: 21:00 a new PR by 13 seconds!

96/877 OA (top 10.8%)**

16/501 women (top 3.2%)**

4/131 AG (top 3.1%)**

**Yay stats and analytics!

I couldn't resist signing up for the second running of The Original 5k. I ran it last year and had a blast even though I was injured with peroneal tendonosis. I love the theme of this race "1970's original running boom" as well as the $19.72 entry fee. No frills, no shirt just an extremely well organized race put on by Fleet Feet. We did get a super cool hat though- much better than another tech shirt IMO.

The night time start made logistics challenging for me since I like to run on a near empty stomach. But after consulting with Kim, she suggested eating a larger than normal breakfast which helped a lot. I had a breakfast burrito that was much more plain for me than usual since I didn't want spicy things dancing around in my belly for a 5k. I ate a turkey sandwich around 2pm and felt good for the 7pm start.

The weather couldn't have been any better- low 60's relatively low dew point, overcast, no wind and intermittent light drizzle. I really expected it to be 85 degrees, windy and humid.


My goals for the race were to break 21, and-or PR. I was feeling good going into the race, but didn't feel I was quite at the same level of fitness I was at for the Vancouver 5k. Losing a bit of momentum running wise + eating and drinking all the things in Europe left me feeling a bit more sluggish. Plus I've been adding miles the past 3 weeks and had to back off on intensity because more miles and more intensity equal injury.

L and I took a bus to the start of the race- 5 miles away and 45+ minutes, And got there nice and early. We ran into Vicky who was super awesome to come out in the dodgy conditions to spectate. We also ran into some Fleet Feet Cheer team members and had fun taking some photos.


I warmed up for a bit with some strides and positioned myself near the front of the race. After the national anthem, we were off!!

Mile 1: 6:35  "I love this! This is so fun!"
I felt really comfortable the first mile- and though I could hold this for a while. Heh.
Photos courtesy of Vicky and L

Mile 2: 7:02 "Things are getting difficult. That is expected. Just a little more to go."
Every. Single. 5k Race. I fade the second mile. My effort was the same but I was comfortably uncomfortable now. Around mile 1.5 a girl clipped my heel and then passed me. Like seriously why run so close to people especially since we were pretty spread out by this point.
Photos courtesy of Vicky and L

Mile 3: 6:53 "I currently feel like shit and will never do another 5k again."
I kept chugging along and saw Vicky and L cheering for me which was nice. I started picking off folks and passed the girl that clipped my heel. Shortly after she clipped my heel again trying to pass me and I got pissed and sprinted off and left her eating my dust. Like once, forgivable accident but 2x!? WTF is wrong with people? I checked the results later on and was pleased to know I got a faster time than her.

Mile 3.1: 33 seconds (5:57 pace) "Collapse and die."
Hyped up on adrenaline, I sprinted hard. I also knew sub 21 was THISCLOSE. I kept my head down and ran as hard as I could. I stopped my garmin after the finish and saw 21:02 so I knew it would be close.  I saw the results posted post race and was pleased to see 21 freaking flat. Which reminds me of the time I was trying to go sub 2 in the half and got a 2:00:00.58... My next 13.1 I smashed that by 8 minutes. Im expecting a similar breakthrough to happen in the 5k- jut not 8 minutes worth obvs.
Finish photos- by Pete

I quickly found Vicky and L and ate some watermelon and 5 minutes later forgot how uncomfortable I felt running 5ks and joked I was ready to go again.

We found Pete who took some great photos at the finish and chatted for a bit.

Then we ran into more Fleet Feet cheer folks and took some photos.

We celebrated my new shiny PR with some PBR.
And then we went to 5 Guys for a celebratory burger.

I'm really happy with how this race turned out. I do feel there is a mental hurdle I need to overcome to race more efficiently at this distance. I know I could keep 6:3x pace for longer than 1 mile, but somehow I let myself give in and back off. Since I like challenges, I'll be working on embracing being uncomfortable more which means a few more 5ks are in my future.

I also feel that I'm better suited for longer events like half marathons because I can sustain a moderate uncomfortable pace over a longer distance and push through that discomfort better than the extremely uncomfortable feeling in a 5k where I give up relatively fast.

It was a great evening and I had a lot of fun doing this race.

Next up: Rock n Roll Chicago! My first half in over 2 years.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Yay running and stuff.




Ran 30 miles for another solid week of half training. Lowlights included it being cold and shitty (read: low 40's, 30+mph wind, + rain) for the weekend so more treadmill than I wanted.

Highlights included: 6x800's @ 3:14, 2x 1.5 miles @ 6:40, and a fartlekesque workout. I'm feeling great running more and will continue riding this as long as possible. Especially with a 5k in less than 2 weeks and a half in less than 1.5 months.


Cb is weird. What wouldn't be deemed comfy for me, is totes comfy for him.


Willis was looking fab for Memorial Day.


CB and I like to take selfies where we imitate each other.


CB ran outside 8 miles this week. We had a lot of fun before winter came back and ruined our outdoor adventures.


My orchid is blooming again. I've had this plant 4+ years now and get ridiculously excited each time it blooms.


And then the weekend was over. Womp womp.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I ran a bunch more than usual, made beer, and got to hang with a good friend.

I ran 30 miles last week! (And cycled 4 on Tuesday) which is the most I've run in one week since January. (And before that was quite abysmal in the mileage department running wise) I really enjoyed doing 2 mid distance runs back to back (Saturday and Sunday) - I wasn't planning it but felt great especially since Sunday's workout was 2x 2.5 miles at 7:30 pace.


Cb was super cute like always. He misses his daddy right now who is on a business trip.


I took some photos of the Soldier Field 10 while out for my Saturday morning 8 miler. It was nice seeing some friends I hadn't seen in a while running the course. It was a fabulous day for a race!


If this summer repeats Saturday's weather, I'd be a super happy camper. Post run I met Vicky and her dad for brunch at Eleven diner.


Post brunch I brewed beer again. This will be a single hop IPA made with "Warrior" hops. I recently just bottled this beer's sister- the same recipe IPA but made with a different hop- "cluster." It will be interesting to compare these beers and taste the differences.


Post beer making I met up with Vicky and her dad again for beers at Villains!! It had just reopened on Friday and I was dying to go- and luckily they were thirsty for some beer. I can't wait to return with L when he gets back from Brasil. Fun fact: we ran into one of the owners at the Copenhagen Beer Celebration a few weeks ago. We are so happy they reopened!


On Monday CB took me for a walk in Grant Park. He insisted I take photos of him with these awful stinky flowers that caused me to start sneezing.


On a less happy note, I recently read this story in the Rio Times. A doctor was biking on the Lagoon in Rio and was robbed. He was stabbed and died of his injuries. The crime in Rio (and Brasil) is no joke. This story is just heartbreaking and gives me chills because we ran around the lagoon in Rio while we were there in November and I thought it was "safe" although L was quick to remind me no where in Brasil is truly safe.

Running around the Lagoa in November.

On a happier note, CB and I ran before work on Tuesday. I love seeing him so happy (and consequently tired)
I'm enjoying running more (in the heat!!!!) and can't wait for my half marathon and 5k over the next few months.

--Xaar

Friday, May 22, 2015

Random Friday Word Vomit aka Popovers are awesome. {3}

Last week was super fun. I got to go to the Cubs game with my coworkers. I love work sponsored field trips. CB was totes jelly he couldn't go, but he still wanted to show his support.


I made popovers for the first time last weekend. They are kind of similar to Yorkshire pudding- and super easy to make. They were amazing fresh out of the oven with butter and jam.


Cb went on a few runs. I'm making up for not taking him out much when the weather was crappy cold.


Last Thursday, L and I went to the Chicago Craft Beer week event: Beer Under Glass at the Garfield Conservatory. While it rained a little we still had an amazing time talking to Brewers and sampling local beers in a beautiful location. I had wanted to go for a while but the timing never worked out. I was really happy we were able to go this year.


On Sunday I ran 8 miles. It was foggy and cool out, but very humid. I love running outside and not having to wear 10 layers.


We went to another CCBW event- Goose Island Sunday Funday! I had such a fun time last year that it was a no brainer to get tickets this year. But- I was mildly disappointed in the event. It just seemed too crowded. Watching the Brewers play dodgeball against each other was fun, but waiting in line for a very small taster of BCS variants was not. Regardless it was a good way to spend time with friends.


I signed up for 2 races! I'm no longer half assing my "training" and have a much more focused plan. I'm excited to run the Original 5k again- and finally run a 5k without flying first or drinking/eating all the things. I also signed up for the Rock n Roll Chicago half- because I love running in the heat. But seriously, I love the course which runs through the city and not the lakefront. And I haven't run a half marathon in 2+ years now. Crazy. PRs are gonna fall!


CB and I ran outside before work this week and it was so nice. Seeing him happy on our runs melts my heart.


This weekend I look forward to some longer runs and breaking 30 miles in a week... Finally!!!

I also will brew more beer- another IPA and make biscuits for the Cb dog. Can't wait for a nice chill weekend.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Paris day 3-4, Petit Dejuner, Pere Lachaise Cemetery, the best bread in the world, a delicious dinner, and a run in Jardin du Luxembourg


We started out day 3 at a cafe near our hotel. I loved the decor of this place- made me think of what Paris might have looked like in the 1920's. Before leaving the hotel for petit dejuner, we asked the concierge if they could call and try to make a reservation for us at one of the 2 fancier restaurants we had discovered online. Both were sold out online, and since our French was terrible, it was awesome he wanted to help us out. We wouldn't know until later in the afternoon if we actually got reservations.
I had a traditional french breakfast- basically carbs on carbs. Fresh squeezed OJ, an espresso, a french bread, a croissant and delicious strawberry jam. I could eat this every single day.
After breakfast we took the subway to Pere Lachaise Cemetery. Our first stop was Jim Morrison's grave. Also: Thank you google maps for pointing us in the right direction once in this massive cemetery.
Then we found the famous composer, Chopin's tomb.
2002 and 2015
We even made a new creepy friend!
The cemetery is huge- we didnt see many other folks there the day we went, which was a nice contrast to the craziness of the more popular destinations we went to.
After the cemetery, we decided to walk to a beer bar I had found. Along the way we saw a Charlie Hebdo memorial.
The beer place ended up being closed so we decided to grab lunch at a place we had seen on Anthony Bourdain- but on the way we saw this huge monument.
We went to "Du Pain et des Idees" for the best bread in the world. Most places in Paris do not specialize in either bread or pastry. This place is solely bread and it is out of this world delicious. I got a bread filled with tomato and goat cheese, and an apple tart which was better than any apple bread I had eaten before.
We eventually made our way back to the hotel and found out we were able to get a reservation at our #1 choice restaurant for dinner. I forget where I had found restaurant "Spring," but it sounded amazing- they don't have a set menu but create the menu based on whatever looks the best at the market that day. Later on I found out the chef is from Chicago.
We had the tasting menu which was quite an experience. There was no "menu" but instead the waiters wanted each course to be a surprise to us. We had no idea what we would be eating until the plate arrived at our table. We also got the wine paring which complimented each dish perfectly. I still need to track down some of the wines we had that night because they were so different than some of the wine I've had previously.
We had cooked oysters with butter, roasted asparagus with fish in a smoked tea broth, a filet of sole in a morel mushroom broth (we were encouraged to drink it straight from the bowl!), seared duck breast with turnip and foie gras, and an amazing trio of desserts. This dinner is one we will not forget. The whole experience was so different than anything we've had before, and the food was out of this world fresh and delicious. I would love to come back to Spring next time we visit Paris.


On day 4, and our last day in Paris, we finally went for a run around the Luxembourg Gardens. The gardens were only a 5 minute walk from our hotel and was the perfect place to enjoy a run before departing.
We did a few laps around the gardens and took photos.
This park is so beautiful and never seemed super busy with people in the times we walked through it. There were playgrounds, and bocce courts complete with coat racks.
After our run we stopped at a cafe near our hotel and I got a quiche Lorraine. It was the perfect end to our stay in Paris.
I loved the street our hotel was on (Hotel Apostrophe).
A 30 minute cab ride later and we were at CDG for our flight to Copenhagen. We had to check our carry on suitcases because the small suitcase + our carry on bag were more than the allotted 12kg per person. Yes- they weigh both of your bags together. 60 Euros later we were on our way!
We had such an amazing time in Paris. The food, the people, the architecture were everything we had dreamt about and more. I really hope we can return sooner than the 13 years it took me to come back.
And then we were off to Copenhagen!