Monday, July 29, 2013

FVM BQ or BUST Week 6

6 weeks down, 8 to go! Time sure flies when you're having a blast!

This week also posed the biggest challenge with training so far since I was in Las Vegas from Thursday-Sunday night. Needless to say I got my key workouts done before wheels up Thursday afternoon.

It's really not all the fabulous...Really.

Monday easy 5

Tuesday REST!

Wednesday 6 mile tempo @ 7:40-7:35/mile. Total 8 miles

Thursday 16 miles, easy my shin started being funky so I took an easier pace than normal. My shin gets wonky if I run too many days in a row at a high intensity. Between last Sundays rock n roll Chicago and the key workout, my shin wasn't happy and it was just a bad idea to attempt this run especially immediately after a hard tempo.

The bonus to this day was getting upgraded to 1st class (thank you L!) I had a lot of leg room and of course several glasses of red wine. The downside: L didnt get upgraded at the last minute and had to sit with the rest of the herd. Boo!

Friday REST

Friday was a nice day of relaxing by the pool with cold drinks in hand.

Running outside in Vegas is not fun. Take my word for it.

Saturday Easy 5
Running on the Las Vegas strip is like training for the Amazing Race. Must run through casinos, construction areas, drunk people and clueless tourists. Yeah. Fun.

Sunday Unintentional rest day
I was supposed to do an easy 8, but between all the food and drinks and celebrating my L's birthday, waking up early to get this run done didnt happen. And for this one time, I'm ok with it. Running in Vegas is challenging. Unless you have a gym, the strip is just a sh*tshow at all hours of the day. I'm going to California next month and can't wait to go run on the path I used to frequent.

Updates n Stuff

I'm keeping a journal of all the unprocessed things I consume this current week.Which is everything I'm consuming this week. No processed sh*t here for 7 days. Sorry gummy bears, I'll eat the rest of you soon enough... I won't take photos of the meals because it's boring to see a post with 5 photos of oatmeal or Nutella covered bread or a blurry photo of a sandwich.


While in Vegas L and I went to the Hofbrauhaus 2 times!! I freaking love that place- the cold German beer and delicious German food PLUS the live entertainment make this place my fav. Also, the lack of douche bags and women dressed like cheap hookers contributes to the fun atmosphere.

Yay for routine!

While eating at Bouchon Bakery, Hofbrau, and Nobu are all fantastically delicious, I'm happy to be home and back to my regular scheduled programming.

Vegas was fun, but im realizing I'm too "old" for it. I'm not into getting f$cked up at a club or dressing like a tacky street walker (yes ladies, you all look tacky and cheap with your stripper shoes and dresses so short if you sneeze your vajayjay might fall out)

Meh. I'll never understand why people cheapen themselves like that. But realistically it's not the way these people dress that rubs me the wrong way, it's the sense of entitlement and acting like assholes which bothers me more. Have respect for others and don't forget about your self too!

But I'll probably be back again next July to celebrate L's birthday only because it falls on the same week of a conference he helps out at each year. Until next time...

55 days to go until FVM!!!

- xaar

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

FVM BQ or BUST week 5

Monday Easy 8
Ran to Fleet Feet for Pint Night and then ran with L who took the EL up there.

I tested the new Newton energy model at fleet feet for 4 miles and initially liked them. But after 2 miles my Achilles' tendons were both getting very tight. I was happy to drop them off and wear my Newton Distance again post run. (The Distance are probably my favorite shoes right now)

Tuesday 8 x 800's, 8 miles total, 61 minutes
800's started at 3:22 and dropped to 3:18 by the end. Felt very controlled but very sweaty.

Wednesday REST DAY!!
Woke up with ITB funkiness which lasted the entire day. No pain but just tightness. Attributed it to sleeping weird and crossing my legs at work. Note to self: DON'T DO THAT!!

Bought a cool dress from Anthropologie to wear to the Green city market Chef BBQ.

Thursday 8 miles, 6 @ GMP 8:00-7:47, 8 miles total 1:05
Woke up early to make this run happen before work otherwise it would have been scrubbed. L and I went to the Green City Market Chef BBQ and ate all sorts of yummy things from Little Goat, Nomi, Three Floyd's, and the list goes on and on of the "who's who" of the best restaurants in Chicago.

Some of the highlights- berries soaked in Makers Mark, Sloppy Goat, basil cake with lemon curd...

Friday Easy 5
Felt hungover all day. I drank a lot of craft beer at the Chef BBQ.

Saturday REST DAY!!
Still felt like crap all day- felt like I had a fever and was very worn out. Bummed around the expo for a while.

Met up with Tribu eventually and chatted a bit. Then went home and slept.

Sunday Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon. 13.1 miles, 1:47:20
It was warm, but felt pretty good the entire time. My recap is Here if you missed it.

It was a fun day running with Sara and Pete.

Later on L and I went to Piece Brewery for some more mashed potato pizza and good beer.

Another great week in the books!

And to go off topic for something more serious..
Yesterday i freaked out after I googled the ingredients in a popular electrolyte drink. Sorbitol appears to be used as a sweetener (and is also a laxative) Along with Polyethylene Glycol. I was surprised to find "ingredients" like this in the drink and wonder if this is why so many people suffer from stomach issues during runs...probably just a coincidence... Needless to say I'll probably not finish the rest of the mix I have for this drink. *I am not a chemist nor dietician or nutritionist but this stuff sounds scary as "ingredients."

This motivated me to set a "challenge" for myself to not eat any processed foods for next week. No GU, Nuun, Gatorade, gummy bears etx. I imagine it will be more difficult than I think but definitely better than consuming all the artificial dyes and preservatives. (Which I don't consume many of already because of my distrust for the government letting companies put questionable chemicals in our food supply) Stepping off soapbox now.

60 days until the Fox Valley Marathon!!!!!!!

- xaar

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon 2013

Time: 1:47.20 a new course record by one minute, 12 seconds.

78/2245 AG Top 3.5%
337/11956 Women Top 2.8%
1235/18755 OA Top 6.8%

Avg/ Max HR 177/191 My AVG HR compared to the 2011 race was 10 beats less a minute and 5 less for max. I also ran almost a minute and 10 seconds faster than that race. 

Three words to describe this race:  Fantastic, Friends, FUN

Went to the expo Saturday and did expo things. Like take goofy photos.
And took more goofy photos...  And bought the new passion fruit flavored GU that ive been wanting for what seems like FOREVER.
Was feeling awful on Saturday- like I had a fever, general state of BLAH. so we took it very easy the rest of the day before the race.Drank 1 beer and ended up with a nap and some sushi.
Met BFF Tribu at the expo. I am totally out of it in the photo.

Woke up early to eat a cinnamon crumpet and a few sips of coffee to get the day started. Took out the sleepy CB dog and then walked over to the start- luckily it only takes 20 minutes. Did I ever mention why I love living downtown and running these downtown races?!?

Found some Chicago Running Bloggers by gear check and had to take a photo.
Some Chicago Running Bloggers. I'll add their linkz in later.

After some tweets back n forth, Sara and I decided to run together. We had a similar goal and thought it would be a blast! My only goal was to negative split and not over do it. MY GOAL MARATHON IS 2 MONTHS FROM MONDAY! OMG
We lined up and had 5 minutes to wait before we were off for our steamy run through the city. While It was "cooler" than earlier in the week, 70 degrees at 6:30 am is by no means "cool" nor ideal to run 13.1 miles.
All the runners!

We even managed to get one photo right before we took off of all of us.
L, Me, Sara, Pete

Pete, Sara and I stuck together for most of the race- with Pete taking off the last few miles to stretch his legs. The time flew by quickly as we chatted and had fun running through Chicago.  I felt good and relaxed through most of the race. 
Britt was spectating and caught this wonderful photo of us around mile 8? As you can tell, we were having such a terrible time... 

The splits were negative, dont worry, just trust me. I already did the math. The 13th mile also included the ".1" for an avg pace of 7:34 because I forgot to lap mile 13. I manually lapped each mile because the tunnel, the buildings and the GPS dont mix, and sometimes I forgot until the next block. Whoops.

Saw a runner down around mile 12. I hope he is ok.

Cold Sponges around mile 11? were like kisses and cuddles from baby abominable snowmans.

The dance party in Mccormick Place tunnel was a nice touch because I f*cking hate that part of the course..

Saw Declan at the finish taking photos.

The runners who run together take sweaty post run photos together.
L, Myself, and Tribu post race

Nutritions n Housekeeping

  • Ate a crumpet at 4am/sipped some coffee
  • Took a gatorade prime 10 minutes before the start with a salt pill
  • Took a new Passion Fruit GU Roctane around mile 6. I know, I know, dont take anything new on race day. well this flavor was delicious and not overly sweet.  and my tummy didnt explode.
  • Wore my Nike sports bra/ Nike Pro shorts, Swiftwick socks, Brooks pure cadence shoes which I got some blisters from. WTF?!?!?.
  • No Ipod. Chatting with friends is way better.
Post race L and I grabbed our "beer flavored kool-aid" and chugged quick so we could meet Tribu and friends for a delicious brunch before they took off back to Tampa.

As I mature as a runner and grow in life, I realize more and more that its not always the PRs and goals surpassed that I will remember**, but instead  "that race I ran with friends and had a fantastic time."
CB is not amused to be awoken from his nap.
63 days to go until FVM!!!

**Of course i'll remember the PRs, and of course they are nice. BUT every race does not need to be a PR effort. Period. There is more to life than that. 

- xaar

Friday, July 19, 2013

Rocking n Rolling version 3

This Sunday I'm running the Rock n Roll Chicago half marathon for the 3rd time in a row. The first was 2011 where it was in late August but a very cool day- I ran a 1:48. Last Year I ran a 1:49 and it was so OMG hot, yet I got some of the best race photos ever! Which I ended up purchasing.

Once again this race will serve as a training run for my goal race of Fox Valley in 2 months. Holy Sh*t literally 2 months away!!

Some goals n thoughts

After consulting with Coach B. we decided its best not to go all out. I've got a "speed limit" that I won't be exceeding should my legs actually want to "race" after 2 intense workouts and almost 30 miles already run this week. That's the fun part- wondering how my legs will react after one of the most focused weeks of running I've ever had. As much as I'd love to go sub 1:40 and I now know more than ever I'm totally capable, the goal is Fox Valley and a BQ- along with nailing 7 more weeks of training. Blowing my load on this race is just plain stupid.

Decisions, decisions

•Do I run in my Brooks Pure Cadences or my Newton Distance shoes? I love them both equally. They are like kids, I can't play favorites!

•Do I once again join Team Skinz or opt for Team Shirtz? 99% I'm going for team skinz.

•Do I continue the minimalistic approach to "in race" nutrition that I've practiced for my long runs so far? Or do I eat a few more GU's like I usually do in races? 1 GU vs 2-3 Gu.

•Do I run with my trusty water bottle to avoid the water tables? Absolutely!

BFF Tribu who you might remember from the Great Miami Marathon Slog of 2012 and The Butt Arse Freezing Cold Grant Park Turkey Trot of 2012 is coming to visit me this weekend and also take part in some Rock n Roll action.

The main goal of all is to have a freaking fantastic time running through the streets of this beautiful city I call home.

- xaar

- xaar

Monday, July 15, 2013

FVM BQ or BUST Week 4

Incase you missed it and actually care to read about my training:
FVM BQ or BUST weeks 1 and 2

FVM BQ or BUST week 3

This week Coach B. prescribed a cutback week, which was very welcome considering all the things I had going on. And regardless, had it not been a cutback week I would have nailed every single one of my workouts because training half ass is just not in my blood & won't help me achieve my goals.

Monday: Easy 5
Ran with my boys for an early am Birthday Celebrationrun. The pup struggled in the humidity.

Tuesday REST DAY YAY!!

Got a coffee and I don't even know what to say about my name here.... ;)

Wednesday speed, 6x1 mile repeats. 9 miles total 1:10.xx

Mile repeats ranged from 7:41-7:35 (always progressively getting faster) and felt very controlled. Ran on the running machine because I was waiting for a call to return to work to finish a project. Ended up finishing the workout & then waited a while before heading back to work at 10PM!! I am thankful this was a one time occurrence.

Thursday Easy, 5 with some hills

Cleaned our apartment before L's cousin came to visit.

Friday Easy 5 with the pup

Took the pup with me again to wear him out before L's cousin came to stay with us for the weekend. CB is not friendly despite his demeanor in photos. He is usually very shy and hides behind me when people approach. In our apartment he will bark at visitors.

Once L and T got back from the airport, we went to Piece Brewery for dinner. WE HAD MASHED POTATOES ON OUR PIZZA! Thank you Jenny for the recommendation! (Also lovely to see her and the Man!)

Saturday easy long run. 10 miles 1:27 and Stand up paddle board, 1 hour.

Ran the first mile with L and then took off to complete my easy 10.

We have paparazzi following our every move.

The run was easy and enjoyable. Saw Chanthana again out on the path too.

The humidity seemed more tolerable which was a welcome change. Post run we didn't go to Caribou or a bar like we usually do on Saturdays post long runs. Instead we went to Waffles where I left a sweaty butt print on the bench,and then took in some Chicago sights.

I "blend in" with the Agora statues. HA!

While L took T to Willis and the bean, I met up with some lovely ladies for a stand up paddle board lesson.

Photo courtesy of Declan @ Stop Running Dad! Erin, Me, Emily, Maggie, and Anne

It was nice to see everyone and try something new together. SUP is deceptively hard on your core and quads. My legs were shaking the entire time. It was really peaceful to paddle around and chill the eff out since I was in a major funk. The secret to staying upright- keep your eyes glued to the horizon & stand straight up. and I'm sure all those years of ballet, gymnastics,& dance classes didnt hurt either with keeping good posture and balance. I'd like to rent a board again and paddle around before summer is over.

The 4 amigos at sunset

We walked out to the planetarium to catch the sunset and the best view of the Chicago skyline. It was stunning.

Sunday Rest Day YAY

Sunday was T's last day with us and she (and L) were both craving authentic Brasilian food so we made a reservation at Sinha.

We met up with Emily and her husband to have the most delicious brunch ever! I'd post a photo of the food, but it truly wouldnt do the flavors and experience justice. The smiles on T and L's faces after they ate the complete Feijoada (bean,rice, pork, sausage stew with farofa, kale, fried plantains) were priceless and I knew I hit a home run with choosing a great place that reminded them of home. It was authentic and delicious and we will definitely be back.

What's next?

I'm running the Rock n Roll Chicago this weekend for the 3rd year in a row on Sunday.

69 DAYS TO GO until FVM!!!!

And now back to running week 5 of 14.

- xaar

Thursday, July 11, 2013


I feel Old. Like if I don't get dinner by 5pm and go to bed before 9pm I get cranky kind of old.. Or if I have a 6x1 mile workout on the schedule & because of a work snafu (not of my doing) I might have to go back to work at a moments notice I get really cranky. Luckily the workout got completed but still had to go back to work at 10pm for an hour. FML

So lame.

Lame is what many blogs turn into during the summer (and perhaps this one is no exception?*)

The training stops, the posts become less frequent and the content becomes uninteresting. Why is that? But I suppose there's always WIAW (is that still a "thing?" Do people actually care what someone ate? I for sure don't. ) and that's the end of my generalized rant about blogging for the year.

L and I went to RPM Italian for my birthday dinner. It was totes delish! And being the "lame" blogger that I am, I only took one photo. And that was of the birthday candle/gelato. It didnt occur to me to take my phone out and document our amazing beet salad, 600 day prosciutto, my ravioli stuffed with sausage & ricotta cheese in a truffle butter sauce complete with fresh shaved black truffles on top. Nope. The only thing on my mind was to enjoy time with L and have the best damn birthday celebration with him. Lame blogger? Possibly. Best partner ever? Absolutely! and only one of those matters to me.

Photo of Monday's happiness.

Monday July 8th was one of the best days of my life. Definitely a top 3 day out of the 11325 I've had so far. As much as I'd like to discuss what made it so wonderful, I'll keep those memories to myself, locked away in my heart.


This necklace Kim gave me is so not lame!!

Next dilemma is:

Dear Xa'ar,
I have 3 runs left for this week- an easy 10 and two easy 5 milers. The thing is, L's cousin is coming to visit and CB should not be left alone with her while Xaar is out for a run. Do I run the 10 miler tonight and the 5's Friday & Saturday (& take CB) or take my chances with leaving CB behind for my 10 on Saturday?**

Hmm. Tough one. I'd say this is such a lame thing to expend brain cells on. Just run.

Dear Xa'ar
I just ordered L's birthday presents and they will arrive tomorrow (i thought they would take longer). His birthday isn't for a few more weeks. Should I give him the presents this weekend, or closer to his actual birthday?**

Well, even though your presents can't ever top what he gave you, they are still pretty kick ass. This is also super lame to be worrying about. Have a beer tomorrow and think it over. You'll figure out what's best.***

CB says this post is LAME!

So there you have it. The current mental musings of myself. I'm thankful this weekend will be far from lame, but whether or not any of it makes its way onto this blog remains to be seen.

Happy almost weekend.

*Except I'm not here to do giveaways, get new followers, increase my SEO, or sell my soul/integrity to the devil for shitty product reviews.I'm solely here to write down my heavily filtered thoughts. I could care less if anyone read them. But I am thankful for the friends I've made.

**Yes, I just wrote questions to myself and answered them.

***I don't ever take myself too seriously. If this blog stops being fun, it's going to get canned.

- xaar

Monday, July 8, 2013


31 years ago today:

This morning L, CB and I braved the 75 degrees/100% humidity for a very challenging run. There's no other way I would have wanted to start the day than a run with my boys.

My Daad sent me a bunch of old photos a while back. I absolutely love looking at them. (I forgot to ask my mom for old photos... Next year!)

My grandfather and I.

Some of my favorite moments are the ones I can't remember, but that are preserved in these precious photographs.

My grandmother and I.

Unfortunately for my daad's side of the family, I do not have memories of my grandparents because they were taken off this earth entirely too early. My only memory of them is captured in these photos.

My great aunt and I.

I've had some stellar experiences over the last 31 years which have provided a treasure of memories. There is no doubt in my mind that each year should be better than the last- and so far that has held true.

I am thankful for all the family and friends in my life who consistently are there for me.

31 is the start of a new year and new chapter to my life, and I couldn't be more excited.


I have to say its pretty cool Shalane Flanagan and I share the same birthday- She's a year older than me... Much better than Beck, Jaden Smith, Kevin Bacon, Toby Keith, Anjelica Huston, Wolfgang Puck, or Nelson Rockefeller... Oh wait! They are all July 8th babies as well :)

- xaar