Sunday, July 20, 2014

Spectating RnR Chicago and My 1st OWS EVER!!

109+ miles cycled/swam/ellipticalled/ran 

Low point of the week:
Running Tuesday morning and the Cankle getting pissy again.

Consequently, the PT told me not to run the rest of the week which was fine considering the time and money I'm putting Into Cankle rehabilitation and wanting a successful long term outcome. It was amazing how crunchy my ankle was when the PT performed Graston on it later Tuesday. The unfortunate part is that while the tendon is seemingly ok, the sheath around it is being ridiculously stubborn and asides from my PT exercises, and icing at home- time is the only thing that will heal it.

Highlights of the week:

Going to the Green City Market Chef BBQ again.
We've gone the past few years and have enjoyed it immensely. Basically many of the best restaurants in Chicago set up tents and create small plates of food.

Think of it as a much classier version of the Taste of Chicago. Or the "TRUE" taste of Chicago.

We got to have small plates from Cookies and Carnitas, Spiaggia, Honey Butter Chicken, Rick Bayless, The Chopping Block, Pecking Order, Sable, and many others...
I had a stout beer float, a cherry bourbon Popsicle, tequila berry punch and many other delicious drinks. I should have realized that alternating beer and cocktails without drinking water would end in disaster, but at the time it was perfect. Friday was rough.

Another highlight:
Saturday I completed my first open water swim (OWS) ever!!
I got to the beach around 6am and stuffed myself into my wetsuit. Somehow I zipped it up all by myself!! Success! The water was a very cool 60ish degrees but with the wetsuit I felt comfortable. It took me a ridiculous amount of time to be able to breathe. I swam for a while and took breaks to stop to catch my breath.
The water was smooth as glass which was good, but I still felt a little bit of anxiety. I'm really happy I went out to do this before the triathlon in 3 weeks. I would have freaked the eff out at the TRI. I felt like I was suffocating with the wetsuit on- for the TRI I don't plan on wearing it because the water will be warmer and it will take me longer to get out of the damn thing than the swim itself. Ha.
I survived my first OWS and didn't get attacked by lampreys!

I plan to go out a few times a week to continue to get more comfortable in the open water.

Later on Saturday I ordered some food from my favorite Japanese restaurant. CB wanted my bacon wrapped tomatoes! Stinker!

We watched a rebroadcast of the Ironman Asia Pacific championship, Melbourne and I got all choked up and and had the thoughts of how I must do this one day. (Like I've had for years and years) Patience. Also, I must learn how to swim much much better and get a road bike and overcome the cankle..sigh.

Another highlight of the week: was spectating the Rock n Roll Chicago half with Vicky and CB. I've ran this race the past 3 years, and while it stung a little to not participate, I was excited to cheer on my friends.
Andy Wacker around mile 5.5, far in the lead and eventual winner.

Then we saw Shalane Flanagan fly by!

I also got to see Ken, Pete and Kimberlie having a blast on the course. They all look fab for this being around mile 13!!
Vicky, myself, CB and Joe. Fleet feet cheer & racing teammates.

We migrated over to the finish and watched Shalane zoom past us again to take 1st woman and 5th overall.

We also saw Adriana Nelson (15th woman at Boston Marathon 2014, 1st woman US Half Marathon Championships 2013) pacing her husband to a strong finish!

I've lost track of all the races I've spectated/played photog at this year. But I hope that supporting my friends in their adventures is building up my good karma bank so that when I eventually return to running I'll be injury free for a long long time. ;)

Honestly, I just enjoy being around the race atmosphere and seeing people striving for something better and achieving their goals. It's so freaking inspiring!
Another fab week in the books.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Another fabulous week

I'm swim/bike/and running in 4 weeks and I'm so excited!!

This past week I:
•Swam once for 2000 yards. Was mad the storms came because I wanted to try an OWS.
•Ran once with a 6x 3.5 min walk/1.5 min run. And had no pain yippee!
•Cycled 6 times for 95 miles.
•Had 2 PT sessions for an hour each.

I started looking at sprint triathlon training plans to dial it in for the next 4 weeks but most of the ones I found were too easy or didn't seem to line up with what I am currently doing. I also can't deviate from my "return to run" program. So I decided to keep doing what I've been doing and just up the intensity/duration of my cycling and swimming. I do some bricks 3-4 times a week between cycling/running and cycling/swimming. I think I'm in a good place physically to feel confident and prepared for the triathlon on 8/10.

I have no expectations for the TRI other than HAVE FUN.

The full moon looked cool over the buildings earlier this week.
Saturday my plans to try my first OWS were thwarted by the polar vortex. I hope to go out after work for some laps later this week when I don't have to compete with lightning bolts.

I ended up cycling and then running Saturday morning indoors. The run felt good- 3.5 min walking/ 1.5 min run (repeat 6x) I think the Cankle issues are finally starting to go away for good. PT + being patient with recovery (and not rushing back into running), plus diligence with my at home PT exercises are making a world of difference. I don't log the time I spend doing my PT exercises at home but it's probably a minimum of 20-30 minutes a day.
I found this on the ground Saturday after our massage. What the heck is it? I've never seen anything like it in my life. Lol.

Saturday CB and I watched the Brasil game. I'm now bummed the World Cup is over but happy to not hear the "oooooo eeeee aaaaa" each time the coverage starts.

Sunday I rode outside. Figured I might as well start seeing how my gear feels on the road. I was excited to wear the pretty jersey Kim got me for my birthday :)

Cycling was as expected on a knobby wheeled hybrid bike. I've wrestled back and forth about getting slicks (tires), but decided I'd rather spend the money on a new road bike if I decide to pursue triathlons after August.

I tried out one of the 2 possible TRI shorts I bought (and would potentially wear) for Pleasant Prairie Triathlon and got chaffed in places I never knew existed. I cringed when thinking of how this might have felt had the shorts been wet from swimming first. I will try the other shorts soon to see if they are better. Fingers crossed!

After cycling 14.5 miles outside I cycled to the pool and got to wear this schweet skull swim cap Kim also gave me for my birthday. The older Chinese ladies at the pool were clearly intimidated by me. Hehe I'm convinced it made me faster and feel less out of breath for the 2000 yards...
Post cycling and swim, I felt like CB above. Exhausted. Woof.
After a brief nap, CB and I went to play some frisbee.
After 9.5 years he still has game.
And he melted my heart with his happiness.

We zonked out post frisbee and watched the Germany- Argentina game. CB chose Argentina to win but obviously he was wrong.
We closed up the weekend with one of my favorite beers and good memories.

Looking forward this week workout wise:

•I want to do at least 1 OWS.

•Complete level 3 of "return to running" by walk/running 3 times this week pain free.

•Cycle more than last week & with higher intensity.

•Cycle outside a few more times.

•Swim at the pool 1-2 times and focus on breathing and technique.

•Keep researching triathlon stuff so I feel confident for Pleasant Prairie.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Birthday week. Birthday week.

It all started with a surprise dinner at Maude's. Delicious cocktails were had along with some really fantastic food.

We went to my new favorite coffee shop in the loop again- Dollop. I got a maple latte and a quiche. Delicious.

I was silly post maple coffee.

And then we played frisbee with CB.

And later on had beerz because we enjoy beer.

Another morning Churro Bear "CB" was silly.

On my birthday I went to work. Then I left early to watch the Brasil v Germany game. It was so ridiculously heartbreaking to watch. Sigh

I also went to my PT appointment on my birthday because, why not? Cankle doesn't take a break from being a whiny bitch...
L took me out to dinner at an undisclosed location.
We went to Japonais by Morimoto and it was out of this world fantastic.

THE Iron Chef Morimoto even showed up, but I refused to go all fan girl on him and get a photo. Instead I was mesmerized watching him talk to and instruct the sushi chefs.

The Air Cheesecake was mindblowing my delicious- as was the rest of our meal.

The 2 couples sitting at the tables next to us were also celebrating their birthdays too. Crazy.

It was a fabulous week leading up to my birthday minus the horrendous Brasil loss.

CB requested a solo appearance.

And I also registered for my first triathlon. I'm really excited to experience a triathlon since it's so different than anything I've ever done before. I'll be rocking a cute TRI suit*, my hybrid mountain bike and probably walk/running the 5k portion since my ankle is still a cranky asshole.

*why is 99.99999% of TRI apparel so fugly? And yes I realize the function of the outfit is more important than looks, but I'm a firm believer of "look good, feel good." And I refuse to look like Violet Beauregarde....the blueberry girl from willy wonka.

It will be fun.

Figured I might as well put all my swimming and cycling to good use. :)

I also bought a wetsuit which should arrive today.** Based on my measurements it should fit, but after my swimsuit snafu I'm not holding my breath. I want to try some open water swimming as well as force myself to go further than 50 yards at a time.

The wetsuit fits, I think?  Its very snug but I can move. My only other experience with a wetsuit was when i went SUPing in Monterey bay last year but that was a different type of wetsuit for a different type of activity.

I just have to get over swimming in the lake.


*I grew up in Florida with salt water. Lakes are something I avoided like the plague. Heat + bacteria = really unsafe lake. At least Lake Michigan is bigger....

Thursday, July 3, 2014

That time my cousin visited Chicago and I took her to all the best places

It all started with a long over due trip to O'hare to pick up my cousin.
The "we haven't seen each other in 8 years" selfie on the L.
Then we got the best Ramen ever at Umai.
The next morning we took the L to go to brunch...
A delicious brunch at Little Goat was had.
Then we went to La Colombe for the best coffee ever.
And then we walked to Millennium park to burn off some of that delicious brunch.
And we did touristy things like see the bean.
And take photos with the bean.
And admire the reflective properties of the bean.
Then we continued our walk to the Hancock tower.
And we saw the best views of Chicago.
*Pro Tip* If you want your photos from above Chicago to come out good, use a flash.
We continued to admire beautiful Chicagoland from all angles. 360 degrees, in fact. HA

And then we continued our walk around Chicago.
We took more "iconic" Chicago photos.
We went to dinner at Porkchop which was DELICIOUS. And had yummy mixed drinks. *but not my cousin because she is not 21.
Saturday morning we went back to Millennium park and admired more statues.
And were one of the first people to visit the bean for the day.
We did yoga in Millennium park and it was so fun!
So fun, that we needed a "jumping bean" photo.
We also needed a group shot at the bean photo.
Millennium park is beautiful.
Later on we watched the Brasil game. It was nerve wracking watching the game go into penalty kicks.
The big surprise of the trip was taking my cousin to Bottle and Bottega to paint a chicago themed picture. She is an excellent artist and I knew she would enjoy this part of the trip.
My blank canvas + wine. The Brasil game drove me to drink 3/4 bottle while painting...
Painting was fun and we were happy with our finished products!
Then we went to the Terrace for dinner.
But the sky had other plans for us.So we had to eat inside.
We went to Eataly for some Nutela crepes for dessert and they were DELICIOUS. *Surprising since I dislike nutela so much.
Saturday night we went out to the Planetarium for the best view of the skyline.

And we watched the weekly firework show.
It was beautiful.
Sunday we went to Chinatown.
And had fun exploring the shops and drinking bubble milk tea.
Chinatown is so cool.
We went to the Potsticker House for lunch. It is one of my favorite places in Chicago. We had Wontons in chili oil.
And steamed pork dumplings. And more foods which were all yummy.
Soon it was time to head back and get ready to go to O'hare.
CB made a new friend. **We also went to a TON of boutique stores where my cousin finally bought that white shirt. It's like an exact replica of her dog. How could she pass up something like that?!?
And just like that... the weekend was over and my cousin had to go home.
It was so fun showing her around Chicago and catching up on the past 8 years.
I know we won't go 8 years ever again without seeing each other.