Friday, November 30, 2012

How the eff do you run a trail race?

One foot in front of the other, silly! And duck for trees, Jump over roots and don't trip!

But first, some terrible race photos from my gobble trot.

I can run and sleep at the same time!!

Minus the weird leg kick, I actually like this photo of Tribu and I... Although she isn't 2 feet taller than me in real life. That was some camera magic ;)

No, but seriously

I've got the Schiller Chiller coming up tomorrow and am nervous. I haven't run an honest to god trail race in a loooong time. Ok maybe except for the infamous "turkey trail trot" of 2009 in San Francisco, or the "Nitro turkey" 5k also in California. There was also that horrendous Muddy Buddy experience of 2010 that shall not be mentioned.

But those weren't "trails." Sure, they weren't on paved roads, but they might as well have been. It wasn't technical in the least bit. I'm very concerned about twisting my already weak and cranky ankle.

Muddy buddy San Jose, Ca circa2010- The race which left the worst taste in my mouth for "adventure" races. Because of that race, you'll NEVER see me sign up for a warrior dash, spartan whatever, or muddy buddy ever again. I won't go into my reasoning here. That's best served by a retro race recap. Or you can ask me later. But let's say that those aren't to be confused with trail races. I've really got the bug to run off the pavement after reading some lovely ladies blogs about their trail adventures.

We dressed up for the race because it was encouraged. Um yeah. Hula girl and batman hitting the trails.

I'm psyched that the weather will be MUCH warmer tomorrow than it was for the Turkey Trot. 50's!?! Why yes please!

I don't know what to wear just yet... But I do know I'll be wearing my Asics GT 2130's that I wore for the MB.

They even have mud in them from the Muddy Buddy over 2.5 years ago! (and about 10 total miles on them- mostly from the muddy buddy)

I should probably get my outfit for the race picked out tonight because the morning of the race is the worst time to be making last minute decisions on what to wear. As for race day plan, well "don't fall" is my number 1 priority.

What complicates my pre race routine is that I have my company's holiday party tonight- where I'll be rocking the sparkly creation above. The race (which I'm not taking too seriously) will be my excuse to leave the party before things get too crazy. :) And yes, it will get crazy. Dance floor+ alcohol + people who love to dance and drink = crazy!

My only goals for the race tomorrow are to have a heck of a lot of fun, and not get injured :)

What do you wear for a trail race?

Any advice for me tomorrow when I hit the trail?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Grant Park Turkey Trot

Time: 24:18 (5th Fastest 5k since Athlinks started keeping track)
4th AG out of 100
18th Woman of 617
103rd of 1034 Participants.

Pre Race:

Race Day:
 Race Recap:

Bag Check was a cluster- 15 minute wait. "Warmed" up for 5 minutes as a result. Started out conservatively and never got passed (we were "chicking" everyone) , ok, maybe we got passed once by a 15 year old. Garmin was on "manual lap" by my mistake since the last time I used it was the Chicago Marathon, so no splits- but I'll go ahead and say they were even as even could be, negative possibly. Sprinted the last .1 uphill to the finish. WTF uphill finish?!?  We chatted the entire time and had a freaking blast running together while we couldnt feel our fingers or toes or faces. Im pretty sure my speech was slurred by the time we finished. Hello Hypothermia!  Somehow we both ended up 4th in our respective Age Groups, and top 18/19 women.  Obviously a smaller field for a Chicago style race. I am also proud of L for clocking one of his faster times in a 5K this year.

Overall a  fun time, and I finally felt ready to tackle a 5K at mile 2.78 of the race, once I was properly "warmed up." BRR.
Post Race:

Sorry CB, but antlers just look so adorable on you...

Next up: The Schiller Chiller 5k on 12/1. 

Currently praying for warmer temps.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

This week is gonna rock!

Im really looking forward to this week. Not only because L will return from a nearly 2 week business trip, or because CB will go to the vet for a checkup post surgery (so he can get the all clear to run again), but also for Thanksgiving and it being the only excuse I have to make 30 side dishes (unless we go out- after all its only L, CB and I), but also because my Tribu is coming to visit!. You might remember Tribu from the huge disaster that was the 2012 Miami Marathon where she so unselfishly stuck by my side the entire race, while I hobbled/limped through 26.2 miles with a hip flexor strain in 90 degree/ 100% humidity after training in 30-40's in Chicago all winter long. She put aside her possibility of a 2nd BQ for a PW. If that's not friendship, I dont know what is. Best 4:30 spent. Ever!

We will be tacking the Grant Park Turkey Trot this Saturday for our first race together since that dreadful January day in Miami. Im struggling with a "plan" for this race. Im so much of a freaking planner that I like to go into races with some semblance of a goal, but ever since the Fox Valley Marathon and the injuries I've incurred, Ive been taking running lightly while I heal. While i'm confident my 5K PR (22:18) from last years "Hot to Trot" is in no danger of being broken, I do wonder what I am capable of for this Saturday. Had I not gotten the ITB and the Ankle issues, I would have been shooting for a mid 21 something. That's out of the question for sure.

 The 3 other 5Ks I've done this year were 23:34, 23:37. and 23:41. Pretty damn consistent! So i'm thinking of going for  a 23:30 and see how that kind of pace feels.

I went for a run this Sunday and it was absolutely gorgeous out.The path is pretty empty this time of year post Chicago Marathon, which is a welcome change from the chaos that is the trail during the summer with all of the training groups.

It's really nice to not have to worry about passing a large herd of runners, or getting hit by a cyclist. I can just run and enjoy the moment. Since i'm not running a Thursday Turkey Trot, I plan on hitting the lakefront  in the morning for a nice mind clearing run.

I will happily be rocking out my new leggings (on right) which I got from Target this weekend in Saturdays race. I had been obsessing over the $80 pair on the left from for a few days, but they didnt have my size. When I saw the knit pair in target for $20, my heart skipped a beat... I plan to wear running tights under them since they are not made of a spandex/athletic material. My legs will be happy and warm in their new tacky leggings :)

Finally, I made vegan chocolate pudding from scratch. And it turned out delicious. Thank you Kim for the recipe! 

How do you make a "goal" for a race?

What are you looking forward to this week?
-Im definitely looking forward to spending time with my family and Tribu and also a 3.75 day workweek :)


Thursday, November 15, 2012

The night I got to workout on Soldier Field.

Wednesday night I went to Soldier Field for a football inspired Nike Training Club workout, on Soldier Field...

I saw the event being promoted on the @nikechicago twitter feed last week and decided to submit an entry for their "VIP" contest. I ended up being one of the winners. (The general registration for the event was free and included a pretty sweet t shirt for the non VIP participants.)

As a "VIP" I got a Nike plus Fuel band, a Nike bears tee, Nike sports bra, nike hyper warm long sleeve, nike socks, nike free trainers, and Nike running tights. All were comfortable and kept me warm. Pretty freaking sweet! Even sweeter was I got a "plus 1," so I invited Emily to join me.

The event featured a 30 minute workout on soldier field with Nike master Trainers Marie Purvis and Alex Molden (Former NFL defensive back for the Saints) followed by appetizers then a fashion show hosted by Kristin Cavallari and Brittney Payton. (Daughter of Walter).. There were over 450 women in attendance!! It was an amazing event.

Words really can't describe how it felt to be walking in the bowels of Soldier Field to the Visitors locker room where we saw the lockers with our names....

We got a pep talk from Marie in the locker room, and then we got to run onto the field.

The workout was a difficult 30 minutes worth of short intervals of lunges, squats, jumps- I was out of breath and my quads/glutes were on fire by the end of it.

Earl Bennett , wide receiver for the bears also made an appearance!

Being on Soldier Field was amazing!!

After the workout they had some delicious appetizers for the participants, and then the fashion show began.

Got a photo with Brittney Payton. Was also hoping for a photo with Kristin, but they whisked her away quickly.

Kristin looked fabulous.

One of my Fav looks of the show. (All of them were stylish!)

Nike really out did themselves at this event. I really didn't know what to expect, but it far surpassed whatever I would have imagined. They certainly pulled out all the stops! And did I mention this event was FREE for EVERYONE who registered? Nike said they are planning on having more events in the future- I hope so because this was amazing. I might also have to start going to their NTC workouts at the Nike Chicago store each week to challenge myself. I love the NTC App, but working out in a group is much more fun.

We had a blast! Emily, my co-worker Adele, and I.

THANK YOU Nike for putting on such an incredible event!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Some "off" season goals

Goals for the "off" season:

A "Perfect day"
I ran outside today and "Popcorned"**  the Perfect 10 race which happened on the lakefront on my usual running route. It was a beautiful day to run with perfect running weather of around 50 degrees.  During the short 4  miles I was out there (maybe 2 miles actually within the race) I felt fat and slow which got me thinking about how to change that- especially after seeing Tera Moody fly by me with a considerable lead over the entire field of runners (she won the race and beat all the guys too!) I decided to make a list of goals and ways to become stronger and more well rounded.....

**Popcorn- Brasilian Portuguese Slang word for "Race Bandit" because you "pop" into and out of the race.


I want to roll into 2013 feeling stronger than ever. I also want to do my best to "prevent" any more injuries, since I believe my neglect has caused a majority of them.

What I need to remember is what happened during my first year of High School Cross Country.

  • I ran the first 3 mile race of the season (injured) in around 30 minutes. I spent the next 2-3 months being a gym rat  doing strength training, treading water in a pool, and not running at all until a week or 2 before the final race The last race of the season I dropped my 3 mile time to 24 minutes. BAM!  Proof strength training works. Why I always skip it is beyond me... [Insert comment about being lazy]

In order to prevent/ correct existing injuries and become a faster runner I will finally listen to the advice my wonderful  coach for the marathon told me multiple times and....... begin to strength train.

  • Continue with strength training after nearly every run. Which means about 3-4 days a week.
    • I've come to realize that you get out of running/working out what you put into it. Yes, I dropped my marathon time by 25 minutes because I was running a lot, but I also wasn't strength training, so I got an ITB issue and ankle issue out of simply running and not nourishing my muscles with other activities to keep them balanced.
  • Incorporate other fitness activities into my routine. 
    • Like Nike Training Club (because it gives a set of exercises to do with demonstrations which I find interesting), or Bikram Yoga, or even swimming (just never in lake Michigan. never). 
  • Eat a bit healthier, drink less craft beers to lose the muffin top.  I've gained weight and gotten "doughy" after my marathon. 
    • I've taken weeks of rest post marathons, and am no longer running 40+ miles a week- i'm lucky these days to break 10 miles total for a week. Something's gotta give. Balance is where it's at. Portion size is my vice. So is craft beer.
  • Keep my running mileage on the low side, and mix in some speed work here and there.
    • 20-30 miles a week tops until the injuries have sorted themselves out which gives time for strength training and much needed rest. 
  • No stretching.. OK limited stretching. (For Kim)  :)
    • My bad hip flexor injury was caused by stretching. I over did it. POP. Instant pain for way too long. Ever since January 2012, I no longer do static stretches.(like bend over and touch your toes). Its so easy to over do it and not realize until its too late and then youre in pain and cant lift your leg at all. (That's a lie, I'll do static Soleus muscle stretches and a few other specific area "stretches" only because I'm confident there is no way to strain whatever it is im stretching- which those end up being more like yoga poses anyways...)
    • I use the first parts of my runs to warm up if im going to run fast. I never just decide to run a fast 800 'cold." After 15 minutes of easy running, Im confident I wont tear a muscle while doing a tempo run or 800 because I wasn't properly stretched out. Hasn't happened yet and I doubt it ever will.
    • If I must stretch, I do dynamic stretches.  I'll do these before I hop on the tread, or sometimes after a warmup and before a half marathon or 5K. I find it would be difficult to strain something while doing a dynamic stretch, but that's just my opinion. I'm sure many people would disagree and say stretching is so incredibly necessary. To each his own.
  • I want to be in the best shape of my life.
    • A lean, mean, running machine haha I just want my "nice" jeans to continue to fit me. Oh, and to be able to beat all of my Daad's PR's from the past 10 years... I doubt i'll ever come close to his 16 minute 5K  from 30 years ago. Bust seriously, I just want to continue to improve and drop my times for as long as possible. Im competitive with myself.
Other Goals
  • Remember to not let running take over my life.
    • Hard, when I have a "running" themed blog and enjoy the sport so much. But seriously there is more to life than running, especially when it is not paying my bills.
  • Keep exercising and running fun.
    • Take the pup for runs more once he's healed, go for runs with friends, participate in running clubs or other fitness events in the city. Continue to take photos during my runs. 
  • Challenge myself outside of "fitness."
    • Become much much much better at Portuguese so I can communicate with my future in-laws Mae & Pai, and friends when I visit Brasil next year in a few short months.
    • Cook more often
    • Keep our apartment cleaner and better organized.
    • Play with the CB dog more on days we don't run.
Injury Update:

"Off" season because Im still somewhat injured and not training for anything. After 2 weeks of half-assed strength training (consisting of squats, reps of leg extensions, some upper body weight lifting exercises I dont know the names of and the Myrtl routine) after each run, Ive noticed a HUGE difference in the way my ITB is responding on runs and in life in general. *The ITB never gave me any problems until the Fox Valley Marathon in September.*  My longest runs have topped out around 5 miles since then (with most around 2-3 miles), and now Im not experiencing the tightness or stiffness in the ITB during these runs, yet it is still present in different forms. (Like getting up after sitting with my legs crossed- it is cranky)

The ankle is still swollen and has some minor discomfort when walking in flat shoes, and while running. I've recently tried to "provoke" it (I don't recommend thisI know my limits and listen to my body and won't ever put my self in a place where I will injure myself further. No workout is worth it.) to see if it will get worse, stay the same, or even get better.**I did this with my hip flexor strain a few months after it happened because it was consistently achy even if I didnt run for a month. I had to know if running would make it worse- at that point running did not aggravate it**  Basically I start pushing the pace to do fast 400's or 800's to see what will happen during/after a run. So far it doesnt get better or worse. Maybe after a few beers I'll massage the hell out of it to see what will happen. A massage which focused on digging into my hip flexor nearly 7 months post injury finally made the achy feeling go away- also made me cry in pain at the time. So maybe a good massage is all my ankle needs. I do some peroneal tendon exercises a few times a day, but i'm not feeling any benefit so far.

I now need to print this out and post it everywhere- my office, my bathroom mirror, the Churro Dog, etx so I make good on these goals. 


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cone of shame

Thank you for all your kind words on yesterday's post. We really appreciated it. :)

Sweet CB had his growth removed yesterday and is recovering nicely at home.

I think he gets better reception than our DirecTV. Haha

Poor guy is also wearing his winter boots and socks so he can't scratch the stitches.

The vet also had to shave a lot of his chest fur for the almost 3.5" incision. My running buddy is on the DL for a few weeks until he gets the all clear from the vet. :(

I'm sure he will be good as new in no time. It's just hard seeing him like this.

- xaar

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I ran 2 miles in jeans this morning

I've accomplished more in the past 2.5 hours than I expect to complete for the rest of the day or week.

I got my vote on.

Woke up way before my alarm went off (thank you daylight savings) and decided to wake up L and run down to our polling place for an early morning (6am) vote.

It was a bit disorganized since there were 2 precincts voting in the same location, I'm sure they will figure out a system as the day goes on.

Why you no give me "i voted" sticker Chicago? I was really looking forward to wearing my "badge of awesomeness" for the day...

Churro Bear.

After bolting from the polling location and leaving L behind, I ran home a few blocks to get CB to run him over to the vet for his surgery.

He was happy to go for a run/walk... until we got to the vet. Today he is having his teeth cleaned (again) and having a growth removed from his chest which will be tested. I am always concerned when he goes under anesthesia. I will also be concerned until the lab results come back in a few days- he has been acting fine so my fingers are crossed the growth is a benign tumor. I'm still a freaking worrywart because he is my baby.

After dropping CB at the vet, I ran home. Making it a total of 2 miles run in jeans this morning. Hell, it's faster to run than to walk.

And then I changed and caught an EL and somehow managed to be less than 3 minutes late to work even after stopping at Starbucks for breakfast.

Apple fritter!

And now my productivity comes to a halt while I wait for the vet to call and let me know CB is out of surgery.....

- xaar

Friday, November 2, 2012

October review

49 miles run.

I was expecting about 20, and was surprised to see 49. Then I remembered I ran the Chicago Marathon earlier in the month. :)

My ankle is still a little swollen, so I've been taking It easy on the running front. I started doing strength training after each of my runs which (is making me sore) but also seems to be helping my ITB tremendously.

I indulged in soft stinky cheese and farmers market bread. And it was freaking delicious.

Even went to a Barrel Aged Beer academy at the Goose Island brewery. Those types of beer I usually avoid, but was pleasantly surprised :)

I've had some nice runs with the Churro Dog this past month. We like cruising the lakefront on the weekends for 4-5 miles.

I dressed him up yesterday as a "mummy" for the Fido to go truck contest. After the photo was taken, he shook and all the toilet paper fell off. Needless to say He wasn't entered in the contest. He still got some yummy treats and got to see his "girlfriend"- a leggy blonde greyhound (the only dog he likes in our building.)

Next week he goes for surgery to remove a growth on his chest. :(

I'm sure he will be fine. But I'm still worried about my precious bear.

I haven't registered for a turkey trot yet. I'm leaning towards the Saturday one since I can walk to the start. I'm having a hard time registering since I'm not 100% yet and would want to race.

Happy November!!

- xaar