Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 5 of ??? Sub 20 5k training.


So I’ll *try* to refrain from sounding like a broken record for the 5th week in a row. BUT, I really need to start giving myself more credit in regards to my abilities. I’m pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, it should be uncomfortable but not impossible. I’m always left wanting more post speed work.  The 4x1 mile repeats were tough. In fact, it was probably the hardest workout I've completed in the past 5 weeks. The first mile was particularly difficult. I couldn't get into a good rhythm, and just felt off. The rest of the repeats felt comfortably hard but marginally easier. So I’m chalking this one up to an off day vs being too difficult. And this was the first time I was just happy to be done with a speed work sesh.

Monday: REST!
Tuesday:  7 miles- Progressive
Wednesday:  3 mile run, 5 mile cycle
Thursday: REST!
Friday: 20 miles cycled- 10 AM/10 PM
Saturday:  8 miles total. 4x1 mile repeats @ 6:22, 6:22, 6:18, 6:18. 3 min recovery between. COWABUNGA
Sunday:  4 Mile recovery run. 8 mile cycle

Total time: 5 hours
Running: 22 miles/ 2:50.43
Cycling: 33 miles/ 2:09.30

Total miles: 55 miles total

The snow came back again, along with the cold.

The week was super ridiculously busy at work, which spilled into my personal life leaving me zapped by the end of the day not wanting to work out. BUT, since I have a goal I either woke up before work to work out, or pushed through at the end of the day- something I was so thankful for later on. I hate to sound cliché, but that 7 mile progressive on Tuesday was the perfect addition to my day. I just didn't feel that way when I started. By mile 7 I was happy to have a midweek longish run and I felt energized- a complete 180 to how I had felt 56 minutes earlier when I got home pre-run.
During work this week I reminisced about running my last marathon almost a year ago while drinking tea out of the mug I bought at the race expo. (I don't buy all pint glasses from races!). Knoxville was so fun, but I don't miss spring marathon training one bit!
I also wore my "most expensive shirt" to the gym this week. That sweet cotton blend only cost me around $1500, but is priceless because I am injury free and running better than I ever have in my life currently. I am also keeping up with my PT exercises to ensure I don't waste my "investment" that I put into PT.
CB got to see his boyfriend this weekend too for a quick sniff fest. CB was so happy to see Paddy. Couldn't say the same for Paddy.
Our weekend was chill and helped us unwind from our busy work weeks. CB wasn't amused for our awkward "family photo" we took.

Looking forward:

We registered for the Shamrock Shuffle. It will be my 4th and L's 3rd, and I cannot wait to obliterate my PR from 2013 when I last ran it. I was on the fence about it for a while since I'm not really into super large events as much any more, but quickly decided I would regret my decision on race day when I could see all the runners going by our apartment. Shamrock Shuffle here I come! Plus, it is 2 weeks after my first 5k of the year, so It will be a great test to see where I'm at for the sub 20 goal.

Mikkeller Running Club Chicago:

Also: Come join us on Saturday March 7th for our 2nd Mikkeller Run Club run. RSVP/Details HERE.  Hope to see you on Saturday!!




Friday, February 27, 2015

Week 4 of ?? 5k training

Another week, another training/weekly review......

This week saw some more "breakthroughs" in my running. While I'm loosely following a 5k plan I found online, I am 100% following the speedwork + pace recommendations in it.

The {reoccurring} lesson I keep relearning each week is to trust my abilities and not to talk myself out of workouts because they seem "too difficult." I picked a challenging yet attainable goal. The speedwork will be challenging- more so than marathon training. But I need to just HTFU STFU and get shit done.

Workouts:

Monday- 8 mile cycle

Tuesday- REST!!

Wednesday- 5 miles with 4 @ tempo (6:53, 6:53, 6:48, 6:44)*I was stressing about this workout and the paces I'd have to hit, yet once I started running everything fell into place and I felt good. It was a comfortably hard pace and I could have kept going another 2+ miles. COWABUNGA!

Thursday- easy 3

Friday- progressive 5 miles

Saturday- 6 miles. 12 x 200's at 45 seconds, (6:00/Mile) pace, with 1 minute 200 meter recovery between. This workout felt so easy! Workout called for 8, but I took it to 12 and could have done many more!

Sunday- 9 miles cycle

Total: 40 miles
Total time: 4 hours, 5 min
23 miles running
17 miles cycling.

One thing I love about 5K training right now is the low mileage especially during winter. Last year this time I was training for a marathon and doing 99% of my runs on the treadmill, with 16+ milers at 4am before work. It was difficult to train in those circumstances, but I will ensure I do the work to get to my goal. I am currently enjoying the flexibility of shorter workouts which do not impact my day to day life. Such as having to eat right, and go to bed early before a long run.

But on the other hand I am bummed I am not running more. I love long runs where I can zone out and coast up and down the Lakefront. I cannot run outside when it is below 30 degrees due to Reynauds and my inability to breathe/stay warm in extreme cold so my mileage has dipped this month.I doubt I'll break 100 running miles for February due to the cold. But, I have been cross training more which I know has been really good for me and injury prevention. And jumping back into marathon training post crankle would have been dumb because going from 0 miles to 40-50 a week is recipe for disaster. Keeping training short and sweet is the way to go while I build up my base again.

Life and stuff:
When  I racked the Belgian Stout I am brewing on the black berries, I had a lot of leftovers. I ended up using the blackberry puree to make a blackberry lime sorbet which turned out pretty well.
For our 11 month anniversary*, we went out to Vice District for a beer, followed by Kurah in the South Loop.  *We aren't one of "those" couples that celebrate anniversaries for everything. But we do like going out for no particular reason at all. 

Kurah was delicious- it is a Mediterranean tapas bar. The food was really good- but the portion sizes seemed a bit large to be considered "Tapas" unless it was meant for a group of 4 or more. For example, we ordered the Dolmades, stuffed grape leaves- I was expecting around 6 to come out, but a plate of 16 arrived at our table! Now we know what to expect next time we go there.
A blog post wouldn't be complete without a selfie... Happy 11 months! I'll be all cliche and shit and say wow time has gone fast, and yet it feels we've been together forever.
We finished our weekend watching the Oscars (Zzzzzzzzz) and drinking good beer with the CB dog.
With only a few weeks until my first 5K of the year, I am feeling pretty good about my training so far,  but also know that the race is not super conducive to PRs. Regardless I am excited to test my new speedy legs out on a race soon to see where I am at in this sub 20 goal.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Week 3 of?? 5k training aka See you in 56 days...

This week was a nice contrast to last week's suck fest. I pretty much smashed all of my workouts and felt great- minus Saturday's 5k hills post brunch. Derp. I should know better.

Monday: rest!

Tuesday: cycle 10 miles
                10x 400's @ 6:18, last 2 @ 6:10 pace

Wednesday: easy 4

Thursday: easy 4 progressive with strides

Friday: rest. Hungover. Rest.

Saturday: 12 mile cycle, 
                  3x2:00 hills @ 5k pace felt heavy and slow. Yay brunch!

Sunday: 12 mile cycle, 3 miles east

55 miles total. 34 cycle, (2:18) 21 running (2:42)
5 total hours.

Notes:

Thursday we went out drinking with friends, nearly repeating our exact path on Sunday. Links taproom Check! Emporium arcade Check! I woke up friday so incredibly hungover there was no way I was going to attempt speedwork or workout of any kind. I think I was super dehydrated from my run plus re-hydrating with 4very strong 10%+abv beers was not smart. Lesson learned.

On weight:
I've accumulated a few extra lbs over the past few weeks and have decided to shed them to get to a better racing weight for my first 5k of the year. That means a few less beers a week and some smaller portion sizes. Nothing too drastic but need to acknowledge I must make a change. I feel heavy and slow more than i'd like. It's amazing what a few extra lbs can do negatively.

Saturday L and I racked my Belgian stout onto blackberries for secondary fermentation. It's already been fermenting 3 weeks and posted a 8.53%abv before secondary. I really hope this one turns out well since it's the first beer I've adapted from a 5gallon recipe. I had been using all grain kits before this, But something about measuring out the grains and hops made it extra satisfying to make. I'm almost to the point of making my own recipes based on the hops/malts/barley/yeasts that I like.
The Belgian Stout prior to being moved to secondary + blackberries

After racking the Belgian stout on the blackberries, we brewed another adapted recipe- a Russian Imperial Stout. Folks, the wort of this beer smelled absolutely divine & was a gorgeous brown black color. I have high hopes for this one. But it won't be ready for another 56 days. At least I have 2 carboys now so I can keep brewing other beers while this one ferments. Next up: the same Belgian stout I used for the blackberry stout, but we will either leave it plain or add a flavor like coffee. Then I'm done with stouts and will start brewing more spring appropriate beers.
The Blackberry puree for the Belgian Stout, The grains for the RIS. That Russian Imperial Stout boil though... Look at that deep color! The smell was divine!

For Valentine's Day we went out to Belly Q and had an amazing time. The food was delicious and our waiter really made the evening pop with her knowledge of the menu/drinks.

Of course- since we brewed beer we made more spent grain biscuits which CB was super happy about. Our freezer is overrun with spent grain and biscuits right now. CB does not find that to be a problem though...

Yesterday it snowed again and was super cold so I didn't get to run outside for my long run. And the reason there was no long run.  Oh well. We had brunch & got to celebrate our friends daughters 3rd birthday which was cute and fun. It's so amazing to see the difference between 2 and 3 with her!

Onto another exciting week. Only 25 days until my 1st race of 2015!

--Xaar

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mikkeller Running Club Chicago {inaugural run}

Saturday February 7th was the inaugural Mikkeller Running Club Chicago held at The Northdown!


On our way to The Northdown I was a ball of nerves- would anyone show up? Would people have fun?


We did some recon on the course before the event started to make sure we weren't running on huge sheets of ice. Luckily the course was relatively clear with some minor slushy spots.


We couldn't have asked for better weather- at 11:15am it was 30+ degrees and sunny. Amazing.


We got to Northdown around 11am and there were people for the run waiting!! As the clock ticked closer to 11:15 more and more folks showed up. Northdown had made some shirts with the Mikkeller Running Club logo which were very popular with the group/


I said a few words thanking everyone for showing up and mentioned our basic premise of the club- how MRC gets fit through running while enjoying loads of beer and delicious food. I also thanked our fabulous clubhouse- the Northdown for hosting us.


And then it was time to run! L and I selected a course that went along Ravenswood because it didn't have many intersections due to the metra.


Runners!!!


This run was super low key and no pressure for any pace. Everyone seemed to be having a blast chatting away with their friends.


We got back to our Clubhouse and enjoyed our 1st post run beer complimentary of Northdown- Mikkeller Mosiac Dipa. Delicious.


L and I also got the brunch pork frites Which hit the spot hard after a nice morning of running.

It was great seeing Pete and Eric, (and Jeff and Carla) as well as many many new friends enjoying themselves.


We also blew the Bangkok chapter's record out of the water for the most folks at an inaugural run- they had 14-16 last month and we had 37! It felt amazing to have helped organize this event and see how much fun people were having. There was a lot of buzz post run & beer about the "next time" which made me so freaking happy.

The cool thing about this club is it meets on the 1st Saturday of each month and now has expanded to chapters all over the world. So if you find yourself in Boston, NYC, London, Sao Paulo, or San Francisco (along with many other cities) the 1st Saturday of the month, you can run with a cool group of folks and have a delicious beer at a fun bar afterwards.


Can't say thank you enough to everyone who came out for our first run as well as our Clubhouse Northdown for making this event a huge success!

Come join us for our 2nd Mikkeller Running Club Chicago on March 7th at 11:15am. We will meet at our clubhouse the Northdown.

RSVP here on facebook:



Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 2 of ?? 5k training

This week was a bit of a bust training wise. I was very busy at work and felt "off" all week and decided taking an extra rest day or 2 wouldn't kill me. I still nailed all of my speed work.


Monday: REST

Tuesday: FARTLEKS! 5x 3 minutes at Goal 5k pace (6:22/mile) with 2 min recovery (8:45/mile).

Wednesday: REST

Thursday: Cycled 9 hilly miles

Friday: REST

Saturday: 3 progressive miles followed by 3.3 Miles with the Mikkeller Running Club- More on that soon!

Sunday: Progressive run- 10 min easy, 15 minutes @ 7:12/mile, 5 minutes @ Goal 5K pace (6:22/mile) followed by 3x 30 second hills @ Goal 5k pace (interval 3 on treadmill)

I am still amazed that I haven't had to modify the speed workouts either for pace or time yet. I'd only amend the workout if it felt exceptionally hard. But after 2 weeks, I feel all the speed work i've done so far is comfortably hard- like i'm not over exerting myself trying to keep the pace nor do I feel like I gave 100% effort (I'll be saving that for the goal 5k!). After each speed workout I feel energized and like I could have kept going. These workouts leave me craving more speed!

I still don't have a goal 5k (or 5ks) yet. I am however signed up for 2 5k's in 2 different countries (USA not included!) but depending on the circumstances of each of them, will probably not be sub 20 worthy... PR worthiness remains to be seen and will not be totally discounted... One has a crazy elevation profile including a brutal uphill finish, the other will be at the end of a week of excessive wine and beer consumption. I'll keep looking for some Chicagoland 5k's to consider for the sub 20.

CB as always was exceptionally cute this week. Very playful and full of energy. I forget he's over 10 years old now.

We also made some more spent grain dog biscuits- with the grain coming from a porter my husband brewed earlier in the week. CB was very happy.


We finished the week at the Inaugural Mikkeller Running Club Saturday morning, and drank with good friends sunday.
"For relaxing times..." 


It was a good 2nd week of training despite the extra rest days. On to week 3!

Friday, February 6, 2015

A New Chicago Run Club and going outside my comfy zone

I remember exactly when I started to like craft beer. L and I went to Beer Revolution in Oakland (a top notch bottle and can store with some beers on tap) around 2010 after it opened. I had a stout on tap and L picked out a bottle from the fridge to drink. After our first sips we traded beers to have a taste and my mind was blown. He had selected "Black" by Mikkeller an insanely flavorful deliciously dangerous (17.5%abv) imperial stout. I had no idea beer could be so opaque black and complex and sweet and thick like motor oil and still be delicious.

After that moment, our lives were forever changed for the better. We began to seek out Mikkeller beers and anyone who collaborated with them. We also started going to breweries to enjoy more and more craft beer. That day in Oakland 5 years ago a single bottle of Mikkeller Black was our craft beer "aha" moment and we've been huge fans of Mikkeller and craft beer ever since.

A few weeks ago L surprised me with a Mikkeller running club shirt and jacket. I was so happy (because I can't wait to run with them in Copenhagen this year & now have the official club shirt) - that we posted a photo on Instagram saying how now we have the shirts, the only thing lacking is a Chicago chapter of the club.

 The next morning I had a message from Copenhagen asking if we wanted to start the Chicago chapter of the Mikkeller run club- I said HELL YES! After a few emails back and forth the Northdown agreed to be our official "Clubhouse." I couldn't think of a better place since they have one of the best craft beer selections in Chicago as well as a delicious menu. Hello Pork Frites!
PORK FRITES! Fries, Puled pork, bacon, jalapenos + cheese sauce!

Tomorrow February 7th  is our inaugural run with the club. At 11:15 am  we will run an easy 3 miles starting and ending at Northdown (our clubhouse) and enjoy one beer on the house. I know L and I will be staying for brunch and more beers.

About the Mikkeller running club:

The idea of Mikkeller Running Club is to stay fit through running. That makes us capable of enjoying even more of the good life – which includes state of the art food and drinks.
Obviously our main passion is beer – especially drinking beers – and sometimes (preferably) in large scales.
However, speed is not the main target in Mikkeller Running Club. Having fun and great social relations is our top priority and we´re just proud to see MRC members take part in races and events around the world.
There are now chapters of MRC all over the world- and you can run with them on the 1st Saturday of each month!

Come out and join us!

Google: RSVP

Facebook: RSVP

Official Mikkeller run club gear

Northdown will have some pretty sweet Run club shirts on sale as well!


Between getting the logistics set for the MRC and training for a 5k, I've been way outside of my comfort zone lately and it feels amazing.

I picked "sub 20" as my 5k goal a few weeks ago and have been following a plan. Initially, I thought I'd have to back off on the fast paces prescribed or alter the speed work because I wouldn't be able to hold the paces for the duration of the workouts. But I was wrong. With each of the 3 speed work sessions I've completed, I've realized I'm a lot stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. 10x1 minute at 5k pace. Check. 20 minute tempo at 5k pace + 30 seconds. Double check. 5x 3 minute Fartlek at 5k pace. Triple check.
Shit eating grin stupid selfie post 3 mile tempo avg pace 7:00/mile. just seconds away from my 5K PR pace.

In life, nothing worth anything comes easy and most of the time we end up talking ourselves out of something potentially amazing because of our own doubts. I'm happy I am continually stepping out of my comfy zone to live and do cool things. In 2015 I will be the Chicago Captain for the Mikkller run club- which combines my love of  craft beer (and favorite brewery ever) as well as my passion for running. And I will also break 20 min in a 5k.

 It's time to get shit done.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 1 of ?? 5k training

I started training for a race! Well, I don't have an actual race picked out yet, but I started following a training plan! I am registered for one race this year so far, but not really sure if it is a race or more of a fun run. But regardless, running in Europe for it will be fun.

I'm all in for seeing a 19:xx on the clock this year for a 5k. That would be a 1:30+ PR smashing my old PR from 2013 after multiple marathons and time off that year. Id love to hit this sub 20 in the spring, but know progress takes time. I need to awaken my speedy muscles again after all those long slow marathon miles.

I have a few advanced 5k plans I found online that I'm tweaking for whatever I feel- like slightly longer long runs. The good thing is that I'll also be totally prepared to smash my half marathon PR if I find one with perfect weather this spring. Yeah- no more registering for events way in advance to "save" a few $$$. I'd much rather have perfect weather and spend a few extra dollars than "save" money and not be able to hit a goal due to shitty weather (and be miserable in the extreme cold, wind, or heat). Luckily there's 5ks all the freaking time in Chicago, so when I feel ready to test these legs, i'll have many options.
Plus I'd much rather sleep in than go for a marathon training long run in sub freezing temps or hit up the treadmill for 17+ miles. Cb has the right idea.

Monday: 9 Miles stationary bike

Tuesday: 10 x 1 minute @ goal 5k pace. (6:26/mile) Warm up/cool down yada yada

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 5.5 Miles, 45:00

Friday: 3 mile tempo at 7:00/mile. COWABUNGA! with 1.3 mile cycle WU+ 1 mile running WU
              7 Miles cycled- aka cooldown

Saturday: 8.5 miles on the lakefront

Sunday: 2 miles run in the snow with CB, and a hilly 6 miles on the stationary bike.


When I ran on Saturday I saw some cool things- like some guys ice fishing in the harbor. I was wondering if they would be able to do it this year since it hasn't been as cold...
And a tree covered with ice near navy pier.
Sunday: CB and I ran around Grant Park for a bit- he had a blast running in the snow. The little rubber boots have given him a much better quality of life during the winter. I haven't seen him this happy in a long time!
We watched the Superbowl and were happy the Patriots won.
CB didn't seem to care all that much since he was too busy with his friends.