Friday, March 29, 2013

Saddest Easter bunny ever

Yesterday I ran outside after work for the first time in probably over 6 months. I don't like running while its dark because the lakefront path has many uneven surfaces and I have a tendency to trip. Not fun!

Since it now stays light until after 7:00, I went on a run date with my favorite little man.

The weather was cool, and there wasn't any wind which actually made me feel quite warm. The Churro Dog looked like he was having the time of his life for our 6.5 mile run (always melts my heart to see him so happy).

I think we're going to have to make run dates a regular part of our week from now on.

The skyline looked fantastic as usual. (Especially with the use of a filter app)

Saw these photos of myself from the Chitown "10k" I ran Sunday. All I could think was WHOA I look terrible! Hey! At least im not heel striking!!! The left phot was from the beginning of the race, the middle and right were from the finish- where you can tell how pissed I was at the course snafu. I also look terribly bloated while rocking a muffin top.

This week I've really turned around my eating and have been working to break the psychological connection I have with eating large amounts of food. (More food= more satisfying) I've found that I don't need nearly as much food as I had previously thought and it's scary and eye opening and awesome at the same time.

Breakfast! Ovomaltine! I got it in Brasil- it's basically crushed up chocolate malt balls with vitamins. It's awesome with rice milk. Yummmmm great way to start the day!

I feel that by eating significantly less than normal + whole non processed foods I have more energy, less fluctuations in mood, and feel great. I also have yet to actually feel hungry. Yesterday was the first day in a long time I didn't have a single snack. And I didn't miss it. I tend to eat out of boredom and am making a point to be very conscious of this.

With that being said, I do plan to enjoy the Chicago Beer festival tomorrow and sample many new and delicious craft brews, as well as have a wonderful Easter brunch at a swanky restaurant downtown. For me, food needs to be in moderation and be healthy and non processed 70-80% of the time, and indulge sometimes. I want to look and feel better. I'm the only thing getting in the way of achieving those goals.

Happy Easter from the saddest bunny ever!

What are your plans for this weekend?

Have you ever experimented with your food intake?

- xaar

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chitown 10k [but not really] recap

38:40, for 5.15 miles. Not a 10k. Avg Pace: 7:30 a mile. YAY

So i signed up for this race a few days ago because I was going to cheer for Britt, Jenny and Hillary anyways because we had a brunch date for post race. Figured I would give an earnest effort at the 10K distance after my first 10k in Brasil in January. This race would be one in which I was trained well, and coming off a less than stellar experience at the half marathon last week due to weather.
Myself, Jenny and Britt pre race

My only goal going into this race was to try to maintain 7:30's and then kick it in for the final mile.  *Spoiler alert* there was no final mile.

The half and 10k started together. After a half mile or so there were volunteers directing 10k runners to turn. I thought this was incorrect after briefly studying the course map- but who am I to question? *Since im never in a position to win a race, I dont generally look at maps closely. I followed the small herd. After a mile and not seeing a mile marker I knew something was wrong. But there was really nothing I could have done to go back, or fix it. So I followed the herd. Somewhere after mile 4 we turned back south to head towards the finish. I knew for sure at this point, there would be no more loops and we would be done a mile early. And I was BUMMED.
The Race director made an announcement post race that volunteers had mistakenly started pointing the 10k'ers in the wrong direction and because of this snafu, they will refund the 10k runners and give a $10 coupon towards a future All Community events race. Needless to say I'm going to ask for my refund.

 I really had my heart set on beating my time from Sao Paulo. Because if you arent improving, youre going backwards right?!? And it's only about the PRs and PBs?!?!?  haha I really just wanted a good race since last week's half was in crappy conditions. I did get a good 5.15 mile "race" in today.

During the last half mile I saw Pete who was so nice to cheer me on and take a few photos!
Post race, we all went to a delicious brunch place (Frances' in Lincoln Park) that had "spiked" milkshakes. I was on "Team Oreo." And it was delicious!
I had their skillet which was yummy and cant wait to eat the remaining portion of it later.

It was so nice to catch up with new and old friends :)
Post Brunch with some serious speedy company: (photo stolen from Jenny)

Final thoughts:

I ran this race  in 2011- the first year it existed, and had no problems. (didnt run it last year due to injury) I understand problems and mistakes do happen and I applaud the Race Director for stepping up and announcing a fair resolution to this snafu. While i'll probably never do their Chitown race again, because it is run on the confusing inner paths of the lakefront, I would/ am considering running some of their other races this year.

Silver Lining:

I now know im going to PR the hell out of the Shamrock Shuffle in 2 weeks. *save for catastrophe, and that makes me happy. Im a stronger, non injured runner FINALLY!

- xaar

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Not my best photos...

I really thought it was cool that the Get Lucky race posted photos of the participants to their Facebook page. Unfortunately, my photos are not too frame worthy... *they aren't the best,(from RnR Chicago) but are certainly no where near the worst.

I look puffed up and about 15lbs heavier here than I do in other photos...

Thankfully not so puffed up here.

You can probably tell what I'm thinking through the grimace. In case you can't, (the PG version) would go something like "wow running into the wind/sleet sucks. This is soooo fun. Can't wait to do this again. Yay running."

By Monday I felt so emotionally drained. I couldn't find my key before work and by the time I got to work realized I left my lunch at home on the kitchen counter. I almost broke down into tears. Found my key in my purse (figured it was there) and went back home to get my lunch. Luckily I live a mile from work. CB was so distraught when he saw me come home early, I almost considered not going back to work. But I did, and it was a busy day. Thankfully things have gotten better this week.

Maybe the time change/ weather had something to do with my depressive state. I am now a firm believer in Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Do the season changes/ time changes affect you?

-I never believed or even heard of  S.A.D. while living in California or Florida- but then again, we really only had 2 seasons there and they weren't too different.

- xaar

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Get Lucky Triple 7k (half marathon)

1:49:30 4th fastest half for me.

I positive splitted the shit out of this race! LoL

3 words to describe it: flying, freezing, frozen

I usually take loads of photos at races. This time I took 1 and it wasn't even near the race.

When I got a few blocks from my apartment, I felt the wind. It was cold and ferocious, not unlike anything I haven't encountered before, but as I was making my way to soldier field, I knew it was going to be one of "those" kind of days. I love you Chicago, but really!?!

Got to meet the speedy Pete B. before the race. I took this photo from his post ;)

Pete was kind enough to stick with me for 10 miles because he is coming back from an ankle injury otherwise I would have been eating his dust!

The first half flew by due to the tailwind and chatting with Pete. Sorry if my speech was slurred, my face was frozen. Is this how Botox feels? I felt really good running a bit faster than planned (and thought I could "bank" some time in the first half) I was wrong!?

If the race just kept going south on the path, I knew I would have kept the 7:50ish pace through to the end. But instead the race turned us back north into 20+mph headwinds and sleet-rain type stuff which stung my eyes and felt like sand or shards of glass.

I really don't know if the wind/sleet defeated me mentally or if I could have pushed more. It was much more difficult running into the wind regardless.

I got a 10k PR!! *ok not really because that kind of stuff doesnt count. Ever.. :)

My pace for the first 10k was 7:53, my pace for the rest of the race slowed to 8:48 in the wind. Ugh. If it weren't for Pete, I would have slowed even more from 7-10. It was really nice to run with someone new & super speedy. Very motivating for sure.

My L came to the finish to cheer me on. He took a video of me for the last 10 yards and I gave him a big thumbs down. Haha *I really couldn't smile. I was freaking frozen to the core and shaking.

Final race thoughts
Bag check was a cluster. If Pete and I had waited 5 more minutes to check our bags, we probably would have missed the start (we checked them about 30 minutes prior)

I brought my own water, but it seemed the aid stations were spread out further than I would have liked had I not brought water.

The volunteers were smiling and energetic despite being in awful conditions for a few hours.

•woke up 4 hours before the race to eat a cinnamon crumpet. Fueling win! (Thank you Kim!)

•took a Gatorade prime + salt stix pre race

•gu at mile 5.5

•wore Nike hyper warm long sleeve, UA tiger print tights, Nike bears windbreaker, Nike headband & gloves, owl head hat, swiftwick socks & my brooks pure cadence 2's.

•no music which I enjoyed.

What's next?

I have no idea. Might consider the Chitown half or 10k next weekend only if conditions are *perfect* otherwise I'll just keep training, for what I don't know. Still debating between a spring full or focusing on shorter distances to get speedier.

I loving being injury free right now, and am enjoying every step. I don't want that to change.

Happy St Patricks day!

- xaar

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What to wear?

This Saturday is the Get Lucky half marathon. For me, it's the culmination of 6 weeks of consistent training, and also the spring board for a possible Spring Full...

As of today, the forecast is looking a little on the chilly side- "feels like" 26!?! I'm really hoping the forecast improves over the next few days- read: warmer, less wind.

The dilemma I'm facing is what the heck to wear!?!

Do I go with a tank top, arm warmers, and shorts?

Or do I go with a long sleeve tech shirt and shorts?

I'll also wear gloves and my owl head hat.

I'm really stuck. I hate being too hot while running (with a jacket), but I also HATE being too cold pre race. If it was shorter than a half marathon, i'd wear a jacket for sure. Maybe I'll just have to suck it up (HTFU) for this one.

obligatory Churro Bear pic

also worth mentioning, if you're running or spectating this race, we will have a meet up by the bag check at 8:15

What would you wear for these conditions?

- xaar

Monday, March 11, 2013

Nike Women's 10k recap

Last week I was invited to participate in the Nike Women's 10k virtual race, which benefitted the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.

The Nike Training Club studio located in Lincoln park (833 w Armitage) had a special event going on for this "virtual" race with special guests Jeanette Jenkins "The Hollywood Trainer," Niena Drake who is an awesome DJ, and 2008 olympic gold medalist in Gymnastics, Shawn Johnson! How could I turn something like that down?!

All virtual racers got this cool Nike Dryfit long sleeve.

(Back of shirt)

The studio was bright and fresh. Classes are offered here every day... FOR FREE! I'll definitely be back to get my butt kicked by the trainers!

Before the run, we listened to Shawn and Jeanette talk about training and life. One of the things that resonated with me was Jeanette's response to a question from the audience. A girl asked "what is the one exercise that we should be doing, that we are probably not doing currently? -like push-ups, lunges..."

Jeanette answered: "look at yourself in the mirror everyday and tell yourself I love you."

After a quick warmup we were off on our "fun run" of 6.2 miles along the beautiful lakefront. I stuck with Jeanette and Shawn as they clocked 8ish minute miles. The effects of the rain and snow really showed because my favorite ice pancakes were nearly all melted and the path was freaking flooded! It reminded me of my high school cross country days- running through really deep- 6"+ puddles!

My feet were soaked by the time we finished our 6.2, but it was a seriously fun time!

Shawn was so nice to take a photo with me post run. She is all muscle!

It was a fun event, and I'm lucky to live in a city where events like this are possible. Of course if I lived in the middle of a corn field, I still could have participated in the run an received the shirt by registering and logging my run on the Nike + app.

Post run there were mimosas, coffee and delicious appetizers to be had.

I'm looking forward to going back to the studio to take some Nike Training Club classes in real life soon- I use the app at home and it kicks my butt!


- xaar

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Too many cinnamon crumpets

Woke up this morning to "wintry mix" and I seriously considered doing my last long run before the "Get Lucky" half next week on the running machine. I had one cinnamon crumpet (like an english muffin) with butter and cinnamon sugar, and then took CB dog out. It was still "wintry mixing" outside so I ate another. A bit later I realized it was clear so I headed out the door for my run which was to be 14 miles with 5 x20 sec pickups last 2 miles, but because my hip flexor has been bugging me this week, I cut it to 11.11 miles in 1:38 . **No pain, but i can feel it when I walk. Maybe pissed it off by slipping on the icy pavement 9 times between Monday-Wednesday. Luckily, I didnt fall. Been using the TP ball to massage it.**

Eventually headed out the door when It seemed clear out, and felt the effects of eating dos cinnamon crumpets. FREAKING side stitch for like half the run. And while this run was meant to be an easy effort- so I have fresh legs for next Saturday, the side stitch definitely made me keep an easier than normal pace. And also the freaking ice field north of Oak st beach.  Then there was headwind on the way back. EXHAUSTING

Photo from last week's run with the Churro Dog. YAY for self timer!!

I bought some Pro Compression Shamrock Socks earlier this week and made the brilliant decision to wear them today. So glad I did, because now I probably wont wear them next week for the race because they seemed to rub my feet in all the wrong places. No blisters, but some "hot spots." I might give them one more chance this week- because the shoes I wore today- the Nike Pegasus Shield keep my feet very warm and sweaty because of the weather shield, my other shoes dont do that. (The socks are not lopsided, nor are my legs. I fixed the socks post photo, and pre run) 

I saw some more pancake ice in the harbor and since I usually dont run with music outside, I started getting consumed with my own thoughts- not necessarily a good thing sometimes.
I have an unhealthy relationship with food (in my opinion at least). I ate 2 crumpets this morning when I really only needed one. I have no filter when it comes to portion control. There is NO GOOD REASON to eat as much food as I usually do. Heck, most of the time I am not even that hungry, but end up feeling super freaking full afterwards because of over eating. After reading Kim's latest post, I really resonated with wanting to "EAT ALL THE FOODS."

I cant keep using "I'm training for a race" as an excuse for my poor choices in food consumption any more. It's not like I'm eating fast food or garbage like that- I actually eat fairly healthy- but could do a lot better.

With getting older, I've noticed my metabolism is not even close to what it was 15 years ago when I could "EAT ALL THE FOODS" and barely gain any weight.

The most disturbing/ eye opening thing I read recently was that consuming an extra 100 calories a day = weight gain of 10lbs a year. (3500 calories equals  1 pound) 100 calories is like a few cookies? YIKES. 

I made this Pizza Margherita last week and ate half of it. I really only needed about 1/4 of it (12" round pizza, FREAKING DELICIOUS btw)

Between all the un necessary food consumption plus beer/wine, Im starting to slowly gain weight. And even though my BMI is around 19.2 which is considered "healthy" almost underweight, I hate the way I look and feel. (I think BMI is a ridiculous way to measure if people are overweight/obese for many reasons). I feel way too heavy for my frame and feel sluggish.  I dont want to count calories (plus fat, protein, carbs), but may start just to see exactly what I am consuming daily so I have a better idea of what I need to fix.

It's firmly ingrained in my head that a meal needs a main protein + several sides. I need to remind myself that I do not need this to be happy and healthy. There's a healthy balance, and I need to find it. I do plan to start making more time (post next weeks race)  for strength training + core work + working out a little more than I already do now.Just not ready to change things up too much before the race.

Workout more, eat less/ eat better seems like a good way to start.  And I feel it's important to mention that it's not entirely my weight that I am concerned about, it's more about being leaner. I would like to have more muscle definition and less flab. I'm sure I could lose inches off my hips/belly and not lose too much weight. (but I also have no desire to work towards a 6 pack of abs or have the physique of a body builder, there's a happy medium somewhere in between and that's what I plan to find) 

In other news....
On my run today while cruising through Grant Park, I saw the banners for the Shamrock Shuffle. Im super excited to run this event for the 3rd year in a row!

Do you struggle with food?
- Indulging a little is more than fine in my book. I have no desire to turn a 180 and cut sugar/carbs/ whatever out of my food because I dont believe that is healthy. But I can definitely improve my current habits.

Who else is running "Get Lucky" next week?

Are you running Shamrock this year?

- xaar

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Too many variables

13.14 miles 1:49:45
With 3 x 2 miles at Steady Pace of 8:05-7:55

Half Marathon in 2 weeks!

Ive been going into Saturday's long runs with a mixture of excitement and dread. The past 3 long runs i've completed felt ok, but the rest of the day I ended up feeling like sh*t. Since I only run 4 days a week, feeling like crap 25% of the time is not acceptable in my book.  I re-evaluated what I do before and during run, and also decided this week to tweak my post run routine. Cut to the point, So far I do not feel crappy like the past 3 Saturdays.

My Plan:

Friday- ate lentils, rice, some brussel sprouts & 2 medium boiled eggs for dinner. Also drank a deliciously hoppy IPA.

Saturday Pre Run- upon advice from Coach, I tried to limit my sugar intake and just had a banana instead of the honey stinger waffle.(Would have had a bagel or toast, but didnt have any!)  Drank a quarter cup of coffee.  20 minutes before the run, I took the gatorade prime & a salt pill.

The first half of the run I just felt blah. Im not going to analyze this because not all runs are of the OMG FREAKING FANTASTIC RAINBOW POOPING PONY variety. Didn't have the spring in my step i've had on the past 2 long runs. Yet, mentally I was all game for this run.

When I got up to Oak St beach I wondered what the condition of the path would be. Soon I realized it was covered in 5"+ of ice. I ran a small way, and had to walk. I was slipping all over the place.
With the start of mile 5 brought the first of the 2 miles at steady pace. This first 2 miles killed me. I even thought about turning around and trying again tomorrow. But I kept at it. After mile 6, I choked down an almost frozen GU and another salt pill. I also carried water with me and made sure to drink a little more than I felt I needed to.
Pancake Ice in Lake Michigan

Maybe it was the GU and/ or salt, but after that my run seemed to turn around for the better. I felt light and springy and the other 2 sets of 2 miles felt fantastic. For runs of under 16 miles, I usually dont take anything- maybe just a salt when it's hot unless it's a race- then I'll take some GU.

I was mezmerized by the Pancake Ice swaying in the waves. I could have stood there for a while watching it.

The highlighted miles are the "Steady" pace miles.

  At times during this run I felt very cold and then very hot. Perhaps it was the wind. The first 6 miles I ran into some wind- most notably at mile 3.

I also saw people setting up for the Polar Plunge near Castaways. I cannot fathom why people would want to jump in Lake Michigan when the harbors are covered in ice! YIKES!  *I also saw people ice fishing in one of the harbors too.

Today I wore my Brooks Pure Cadence 2's outside for the first time. (I've worn them 2 times on the running machine since I got them a few weeks ago.) They were light and felt pretty good- I like how the arch is higher in these compared to my other shoes. I'll probably wear them for the half marathon.

And for my reference:
Wore the UA purple tights
Black CEP socks
Nike Hyperwarm Longsleeve
Adidas Lined Jacket.
Nike Headband

And today as I was running I got kinda bummed because soon it will be too warm to wear my owl head hat on runs. I hope it's cold enough to wear it for the race :)
To continue on with how Im feeling better for post long run, today I:
Drank a small protein shake when I got home. Also drank a large Earl gray latte from Caribou, then soaked in a hot bath for entirely too long. Then I got RAMEN for the 3rd week in a row. It really hits the spot post long run.

 I feel there are too many variables to adequately pinpoint why I felt like crap post run for the past 3 weeks and why I'm feeling good today.
-Still running in extreme cold (today's feels like was 11)
-Getting used to running long again (Before these 4 weeks of training, my longest runs were 6-7 miles)
-Fueled more today during run than past 3 weeks (Today took the GU and extra salt today)
-Bonking from too much sugar  (lowered sugar intake pre run)
-Brought water instead of gatorade with me today and drank about 16oz
-Drank Protein post run

With no injuries to speak of thanks to my dedication to the Trigger Point Kit, The Stick & Foam Roller, I am still contemplating what my next steps will be for races this year. But for now, I'm incredibly thankful that I'm healthy and feeling good post long run.

Now I just need to figure out what I'll wear for race day! :)

- xaar