Friday, January 27, 2012

Miami and a goal

Time to trade this

For sun, much warmer temps, palm trees, blue ocean.... I'll share plenty of photos later since I'm still in frosty Chicagoland chillin with my WW at the AA admirals club waiting for the flight to take us to paradise for the weekend.

My only goals for the Miami Marathon are
To have fun and keep my hip from getting further damaged.

Thank you for all your support and encouragement over the past few months- especially the last 2 weeks while dealing with this bummer of an injury. I really do appreciate all your kind words.

- xaar

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

11 Thingamabobs

I got tagged by Christy @ Pedestrian Runner  and the Discom-BOB-ulated Runner, so I feel obligated and honored to participate.:)

This will be a nice diversion from taper and worrying about this damn injury. (It will be gone by Sunday.. It will be gone by Sunday, It will be gone Sunday...)

The rules of this post:
1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog (FB page or other Social site) and tell them you’ve tagged them.

6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag people!

1. I lived in Merida, Mexico for 2 years while I played professionally as a clarinetist in the Orquesta Sinfonia de Yucatan and taught music lessons. 

2.  I ran cross country in high school for 2 years, but was plagued by too many injuries so I quit before my senior year. I picked running back up in 2008 and havent looked back.

3.  Now I have an accounting degree, and do absolutely nothing with classical music. Currently I wish I was doing something in preventative medicine. There isn't enough emphasis on prevention, it;s all just take a pill for this and that... I hate that mentality.

4. I prefer running on the treadmill to running outside. Except for races :)

5. I grew up in the Tampa Bay, FL area and have also lived in South Carolina, California, and currently Illinois. Im a nomad... But my heart is in the San Francisco Bay area.

6.  I love food far too much. Sushi especially.  I really dislike pasta. Unless it has a creamy tomato or vodka sauce on it.

7. Xaarlin is my nickname, Its the way I think my real name would be spelled in Mayan if my name existed in Mayan, which it doesnt because "Charlyn" doesn't exist in many places. Which I LOVE. 

8. Craft beers are so delicious, and I love trying new ones when we go out. I prefer IPA's, but Pear Cider and Stouts are a close second.

9. I miss being able to drive to Napa and visit wineries.

10.  I take a POD (photo of the Day) everyday of somewhere in chicagoland and send it to my Daad since he doesn't live near me.

11. Im really thankful for my friends, both in real life, in the bloggy world and the people ive met in real life from the blog world. Its really amazing where this blog has taken me and the people I've met over the past year when my main goal for creating/ maintaining it  was to just share my adventures with my family spread out all over the US!

Now here are the questions from the Pedestrian Runner:

1. Which actor played James Bond the best?  Pierce Brosnan
2. Are you a cat person or a dog person? Dog. I love my CB
3. What is your favorite race to date? NYC Marathon 2002. My 1st marathon. I was blissfully unaware of what running and training for a marathon meant. But it was seriously fun.
4. Do you prefer beer or wine? Beer. Too many cool bars near me to drink hard to find brews.
5. What is the first race that you ever completed? St Paddys day 1 mile, when I was 9. Got 1st in my AG!
6. Do you have a coach to help you with your training? Not yet. I need to look into hiring a coach.
7. If you could compete in any long distance triathlon and race fees were not a factor would you choose IM or Rev 3 races? I would love to do a full IM. Once I get over my fear of cycling outside, and swimming in a lake...
8. How many blogging friends have you met in person? 4. SUAR, Stephanie, Junie B, and Britt All very cool ladies!
9. Who is going to win the Superbowl, New England Patriots or New York Giants? GO PATS!!
10. If you could meet one person alive or dead, who would it be? Dalai Lama
11. And finally the big question, do you prefer Star Wars or Star Trek?  Star wars if I have to chose :)

Here are my Q's for the next group:
1. Favorite Color:
2. What's your favorite season?
3. Do you have any pre-race superstitions?
4. Favorite food:
5. If you could run a race anywhere, what would it be?
6. Would you be doing a different career now, if you knew back then what you know now?
7. How many states have you traveled to?
8. What's one thing that scares you?
9. Where is your favorite place to workout?
10.  Would you want to live forever?
11. What's the best piece of advice you have received? 

Tag, you're it!

Junie B- @ All that Glitters 
 Katherine @ Neon Blonde Runner
Nelly on the Run 
Stephanie @ It's all Happening 
Laura Belle @ Beer, Dogs & Getting Healthier
Britt @ Chicago Runner Girl 
Meghan @ The Perfect Compilation Tape 
Ashley @ Redonkulous Runner 
Stefanie @ RUN ON! Lar @ Marathon Lar 
Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's *not* only a race

A week ago I pulled something in my groin. I ran .5 mile this week. I am running the Miami Marathon next Sunday. I am in pain- although its getting better with rest. I am hoping that writing down my thoughts will help clear my head of the negativity that has been consuming me.
  • Running clears my head. I am going batshit crazy right now. Partly because of not being able to run, Mostly because I am supposed to run a marathon in 6 days and cant run.
  • The $$$ spent on Airfare, Hotel, Race Entry, food, new shoes, boarding for CB....
  • The thought of not being able to "suffer" with Tribu for 26.2 miles on one of the most scenic courses around makes me sad. Palm trees, ocean, south beach. Although it may be a different kind of "suffering" by Sunday if I cant run.
  • I stayed optimistic all last week until Friday when I tried to run. It was a big FAIL. By Saturday I found a nice video of the 2011 Miami Marathon and was almost in tears watching it, thinking that I might have to pull out of this race.
  • Saturday morning when I go to the expo, I will make the decision of whether or not I will run the full. If I cant run Friday afternoon, I will switch to the half. Half the suffering I suppose. I'll take my camera and document the race then.
  • I just bought some Aspaeris Pivot Shorts that will be delivered early this week. Im hoping the compression will take some of the stress off of my injured area. and BTW, Best. Customer. Service. EVER. Ordered them 30 minutes ago and asked if they did express shipping on the online form. I got a phone call 20 minutes later to confirm they can ship them quick so I can have them for the race.
  • I love to run. Races make me even more excited about running. I love the thought of a "moving city." I love reading the signs people make, I love making small talk with people on the course, I love experiencing races in places I haven't run before, I love the camaraderie of the runners, and the support of the volunteers and spectators, I love the electricity in the air before the start of the race, I love the feeling I get when the gun goes off and my heart flutters with anticipation of what will become of the next few hours.
  • I love the feeling of crossing the finish line, knowing I left everything out on the course.
  • It's not only a race. It's a celebration of the hard work put in over the past 3.5 months. It's the blood, sweat, emotional tears of training and enjoying the good moments along with the crappy ones.
I just hope the icing, rest, warm soaks, icy hot, resting, icing, icy hot can heal this annoyance in time so I can enjoy this race. It's the 10th anniversary of the Miami Marathon this year, and also the 10th anniversary of my first marathon (NYC). I want to run my heart out and enjoy every second.

It's not only a race.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

One year ago today

We travelled 517 miles from San Jose, CA to Needles, CA on our way to Chicagoland. (you can read about our journey and see the loads of photos we took Here.)

It was an adventure driving across the country, seeing crazy desolate beautiful landscapes and kitsch route 66 landmarks all the while wondering "what the heck am I going to do when we get there?" WW had accepted a job in Chicagolandia, a place I'd never been- we packed up our places and drove across the country to the windy city.

It all seems like a blur now. I can't believe how it's already been a year since we left California to move here. And so far, as much as I miss California, I'm really thankful for all I've gained in Chicagoland.

- xaar

Monday, January 16, 2012

My 3 wishes for Miami

1. That the hip-groin pain I currently have goes away. It flared up on Saturday after my run and now it's painful to walk until it warms up. (getting up from extended periods of sitting at my desk is excruciating for the first few steps) It might be from sitting weird on the couch post long run last week because it hasn't bothered me in a few months up until then.

2. My 2nd wish is to come up with a realistic- challenging goal for the Marathon next week. I don't want to underestimate my abilities, but I Also don't want to crash and burn at mile 17. BQ is out for this race, but if I'm at the start healthy next week, A 20 minute PR might be within reach.

3. My 3rd wish is entirely out of my control. I wish for it to be mid 40's to low 50's at the start of the race. Since it starts at 6am, those temps should provide optimal race environment. (plus even if it's on the "warm side",I'll hopefully be finished before 10am). I also wish for no snow storm to delay our flight to Miami.

I'm happy because the shin pain I've been experiencing for the past few weeks disappeared. Really strange. But the hip-groin pain has taken its place :( I'm thinking a nice warm soak and some foam roller-TP therapy massage will get me healthy in a few days, and I'll be as good as new.

Anyone use KT tape for Running ailments?

I bought some to put on my shin for the race, but now I'm thinking it could help the pain in my hip if it lingers on..

Less than 12 days until #5!

- xaar

Friday, January 13, 2012

Slushy white stuff

We had our first real winter storm yesterday. I was completely mesmerized by the snow falling and blowing around outside my window at work. It just kept falling and never seemed to stop.

Snowy bike!

Icicles hanging from the roof.

Some of the signs were completely covered.

As well as the trees.

Now it's super cold and walking to work was a slushy slippery mess. 3- the number of times I almost ate pavement because my boots don't have proper traction.

My new pumped up kicks! I'm hoping that since they are "stability" they will help prevent the over pronation that I do which is causing my shin to hurt. The first run in them went well, but it will be a slow process to get rid of this shin pain. Not sure if I trust these new shoes for my marathon in 2 weeks yet.

And I'm super duper excited to follow the marathon trials tomorrow. I'm rooting especially for Desi and Meb, but I'm also incredibly inspired by all the runners participating.

And also a big shout out to June who is volunteering at the trials saturday and then running the Houston marathon Sunday. Good luck lady!!!

Who are you cheering for in the Olympic marathon trials?

I'm really mad that they aren't broadcasting it live!

- xaar

Monday, January 9, 2012

When great runs go bad

Saturday was beautiful here in Chicagoland this past weekend. I was excited to be able to do my final long run outside and enjoy the *spring* like weather for another week.

18 miles avg 9:00/ mile

But it was a *horrible* run. Granted the first 11 miles were glorious. I was cruising at 8:30-8:40 pace and loving life.

Then the GI issues hit me. I had to stop and walk and contemplate whether or not to continue on or find an open restroom (which are hard to find on the lakefront this time of year). I used my Jedi mind tricks to settle my tummy and continued on, albeit at a much slower pace than before to complete my run.

If I could survive this, I'm pretty certain I could survive anything in a race.

So what can contribute to a *horrible* run?

•lack of sleep the night(s) before •dehydration from too much "drinking" or not enough water the day before

•food. I know some people are sensitive to eating certain foods before longer runs. Luckily, I'm not one of them and the tacos Friday night had no claim to my problems.

•emptying out your insides before a race (or long run). Extremely important for long runs where the restrooms are boarded up and in short supply!!

•improper fueling during the run. Not enough water intake, not taking enough gel, chomps, salt tabs etx This can cause muscle cramps and eventually injury.

•wearing proper clothes for the weather. It was low 30's and little wind so I wore, CEP comp sox, shorts, long sleeve shirt and a light jacket. Should have worn gloves, but i felt cool the entire time. (and happy I finally figured out how to dress for the cold)

There seems to be a lot that can make a run go bad, but in reality most of the factors are in your control. This *horrible* run was my fault. It wasn't some new problem that hit me like a train- but it was 100% preventable.

Post long run We checked out Panozzos, an Italian market that we saw on Diners, Drive ins and Dives a few weeks ago.

My porchetta sandwich was amazing and WW got a massive meat ball sandwich. They were delicious!

We also tried out "Waffles" this weekend.

I got waffles Benedict. It was a Liege waffle (very sweet and dense) with pulled pork, egg and hollandaise sauce. Very delicious!

What are some additional causes for crappy runs? What has caused you trouble during a run before? - xaar

Friday, January 6, 2012


This weekend will be my last "long run" before the Miami marathon in 3 weeks. I'm actually looking forward to running the 18+ miles outside and enjoying the crazy beautiful weather that has descended on Chicagoland lately.

This run is bittersweet because I'm finally starting to enjoy these sessions. There is something therapeutic about going on auto pilot for a few hours and enjoying the scenery, sounds and smells around you. I also enjoy reflecting on my training and thinking about the future while on longer runs.

I'm hoping tomorrow brings peace about whether or not I should pursue another marathon this year in the spring to achieve a BQ, and Fall if I fail in the spring. This marathon training has been a good speed/ base building towards my future running goals no doubt about it. And I'm excited to see how my half marathon times improve with the speed work and consistency I've been putting in. but, my shin has been acting up again and I've had to replace some running workouts with hilly stationary bike workouts lately.

The big question is do I really want to put my family through another 12+ weeks of me ranting about training, injuries, and talking incessantly about running? (and will this shin pain just go away once and for all!?!) - xaar

Monday, January 2, 2012

New years day 5k

First, my thoughts go out to the man that was critically injured By 2 pitbulls on the lakefront today.

My dad and I ran the new years day 5k on Sunday. Luckily it started at 11am which gave us enough time to digest all of the yummy food and brew from Revolution Brewery's new years eve dinner.

My wonderful wonderful was smart and stayed in our warm apartment.

So to cut to the chase, I got a 23:37 which surprisingly was good enough for 2nd place in my age group and 19th woman. Far from my PR during thanksgiving. My dad beat me by 50 seconds to get 3rd in his age group! It was a good start to 2012!

The race was small by Chicagoland standards. About 750+ people were timed and maybe about 300 more participated without chips for the fun run/walk. Sunday was the opposite of the awesome run weather I had the day before with Britt. It was mid 20's with wind gusting to 45mph!

Mile 1- 7:24 "crap I'm going too fast. Felt good at first then definitely a bad idea." **

Mile 2- 7:50 "holy head winds! Why the hell am I doing this? I should just walk or slow down."

Mile 3- 7:30 "ok. No more head winds. Feeling better but my legs are begging for me to stop."

Mile 3.1- 54 seconds "just run to finish. C'mon just finish strong and don't let the guy with the dog beat you. Ok. Good job dog on beating me- at least it was a big dog."

**running a 5k in winter was never a priority (due to marathon training) and mainly I just did it because my Daad thought it would be interesting. Note to self, running 6 fast hilly miles on Friday, followed by 18+ miles on Saturday followed by a fast 5k will cause your muscles to cry and beg for mercy!!!

My Daad and I post race. We were cold. Overall, I'd say the race was well organized. We started up near the front and while it was run on the narrow inner path of the Lincoln park, it never felt crowded. The course was well marked and the volunteers were awesome. We even shared the path with the oncoming runners and there were no problems. Water and bananas were plentiful at the finish and the race directors also had devices to punch in your bib # and it would print a ticket out with your time and place in the race. That's how we found out we placed in our age groups.

The after party at sedgwicks was cool. We got our free beer and waited around for the awards. While waiting, there were numerous items being raffled off- like gift certificates to restaurants but sadly we didn't win anything. We eventually just went up to the announcer to get our medals because it was announced they would just be mailed out. That is my only complaint. We wouldn't have waited around so long had we known that.

(my dad didn't realize CB was doing business when he took this photo of us in the snow. Haha)

So I would do this race again, but it would have to be a last minute decision because I surely never want to run in ice or snow or rain.

How was your new years? Did you run on new years day?

26 days until marathon #5! -xaar