Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Week 9 of ?? Sub 20 5k training aka I Shuffled and did stuff

Another week another race PR.

I love these photos from the Shamrock... Even the derpy face ones... It's quite clear (and encouraging) my stride is no longer nearly as whackadoodle which means I'm way more efficient. (No more knees turning inward, feet kicking out) all of that was fixed with 4 weeks off running & continued PT. The result: I'm more balanced and using less effort for more power. Boom! *Although I could care less what my stride looks like as long as I can run injury free and PR when I put the work in.*

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 5 progressive miles, 6 cycle miles

Wednesday: 5 mile run, 5 mile cycle

Thursday: rest

Friday: 3 miles with 2x 400's, 7 mile cycle

Saturday: 3 miles with strides

Sunday: 4.97 miles for the Shamrock Shuffle 35:17 and a new PR!!

Cycle: 18 miles, for 1:15
Run: 21 miles, for 2:40

I took this week more conservative since I had a race on the schedule. My priority was to go in with fresh legs and PR and feel great. I PR'd and felt great and was happy with the result especially since I have a very difficult time in cold weather.

Not much else to say about this past week's workouts. For this coming week, I'll go back to 2 speed sessions and hopefully add a longish run on the weekend. I want to keep chasing the sub 20, but I also want to run a half marathon and blow that PR out of the water. I don't have a "goal" 5k on my schedule yet, but will try to find something in the next few weeks to see where I'm really at with the sub 20 goal.

It snowed 6" on Monday. Um yay?

CB didn't find the snow amusing later on in the week either.

Sbux spelled my name correct on Friday and subsequently I bought lotto tickets (to celebrate!) but have yet to check to see if I was a winner.

I bought some books last week. Per Emmers blog post, I bought "how to be Parisian wherever you are" and then proceeded to go overboard with a few more books- well ones I "need" because L and I will be going to Paris and Copenhagen.

I also made CB more spent grain biscuits on Saturday. I have a ridiculous amount of spent grain and biscuits in the freezer now.

This week, I'm looking forward to:

More speed sessions!

Walks outside with the CB dog.

A longish run on the weekend

Our 3rd Mikkeller Running Club run! (Come join us!)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Shamrock Shuffle 2015

Time: 35:17  (a PR by 1:42!!)

AG: 52/2785 (1.87%)
Women: 204/12847 (1.59%)
OA: 1080/22877 (4.72%)


We went on Saturday morning to the expo for our bibs and swag- it wasn't too crowded at McCormick place which was nice... We also ran into Emmers and walked the expo with her.

There were a lot of vendors and races present- I found a few races I hadn't heard of before which sounded interesting- mainly the Tiki Run.

Shamrock style...

We took it easy on Saturday night and had tacos.... And margaritas. And a couple of beers. Because of course we had to have a Mikkeller beer.. Might not have been the smartest to have a 17.12% abv Mikkeller beer the night before, but I'm sure it helped us sleep well.

We woke up to a gorgeous sunrise sunday morning. I wish that was an omen for good weather... But it was super cold and super windy.

We got to grant park and met up with some of our Mikkeller run club teammates as well as some Chicago running bloggers. It was nice seeing everyone!

We had 12 folks on 2 teams running for our Chicago MRC chapter. Spoiler alert: we ended up 8th and 24th out of 58 teams!!!

L and I bummed around grant park for a bit before I bag checked my puffy jacket.

We were pretty cold.

Race expectations:

I threw any real expectation out the window for this race because of the weather. With it being low 30's and 20-30mph gusts, the feels like was just too damn cold for me. If this was a non race day, I wouldn't have run outside because I don't fare well in cold conditions. My plan was to take the first mile easy and slowly negative split the race. Also, I knew I would PR because of all the quality workouts I have completed over the past few months...


I got into the back of the A corral and immediately saw Eric and Mo. Those badasses ran a marathon the day before!! We chatted a bit and I "warmed up" by doing a few half assed strides in the back of the corral. But I was really cold, especially after I shed my old jacket.

I took off and slowly started passing people. My garmin was hovering around 7:1x before the tunnel and I felt good. I saw Kimmie and chatted with her for 10 seconds before continuing on my way.
*i manually lapped the splits *

The first 4 miles felt really easy. Like thinking about it now, maybe I should have pressed a bit more. BUT I walk a fine line in the cold with running- I go from being able to breathe to almost hyperventilating very quickly. I kept expecting the wind to be bad but it didn't really hit me until mile 3.5 near Willis- but since the course turned a lot we were fortunate not to experience that strong blast of wind too long.

I passed the 5k in 22:04.

At mile 4 I decided to pick up the pace more and consequently had a really difficult time breathing. Add to that was the strong headwind while running south on Michigan Ave. mile 5 was slowly sucking the life out of me.

Post run I was shivering as I walked a long way back to bag check to get my puffy jacket. I got my PR beer mich ultra and hung out with a big group of friends while waiting for L. By then I was shivering so bad the beer was barely staying in the cup.

Post race thoughts: I was really happy with how I ran given the circumstances of shitty weather. I had a lot of fun singing along to the 5 songs I put on my iPod for the race. I think the music helped keep my energy level up because I tend to get pretty defeated in the wind and cold. Also, starting out slightly conservative and passing people the entire time was also a big boost for me. I never found the course to be over crowded or anything. Yeah there's people running alongside you unlike any of your training runs, but it was far from brushing shoulders with them.

We went to Kaiser Tiger post run for brunch with friends. It's always nice to celebrate races with friends, beer and brunch.

By the evening the effects of running outside had caught up to me and I was feeling the usual headache/fever/funk I get when I run in the cold. Add to that incredibly achy calfs and I was a joy to be around! I took some aleve and called it a night.


I wore: owl head hat, Nike ear warmer headband, sunglasses from the expo, MRC shirt, armwarmers, my Nike tights, swiftwick socks, Saucony A5 shoes, Saucony Mitten/Gloves.

I brought a small bottle of Osmo with me during the run and took sips as necessary.

I ate a small bowl of oatmeal before the race.

Yay for another fun race!! I've taken the train to PR City and am not looking back! Yay no injuries!

Next up: a 5k in Copenhagen unless I find something else in Chicago first.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Shamrock Shuffle "to do" list aka my "cat" does cat things.

The Shamrock Shuffle is this Sunday! Yippee another race!! This will be my 4th shuffle- (2011-2013) only missing last year's Shuffle because I ran a marathon in Tennessee.

With great anticipation for my 2nd race back from the great Cankle (peroneal Tendinosis) disaster of 2014, I am excited and anxious and pumped to hit the roads and push my limits again. Also, I must maintain my PR streak in this race.

My "to do" list includes:

•What to wear (prob the most important thing)

•What music to listen to, if any

•Pacing strategy

•Where to get brunch afterwards

For "what to wear" I know I'll wear my Mikkeller Running Club shirt with arm warmers. The forecast is looking to be around 35 deg with 20mph winds. (And I'm hoping the rain/snowy stuff stays away!)

But now comes the most important aspect of race day wear: bottoms.

Do I go with my trusty Nike Pro booty shorts?

*Due to the cold I am leaning against it. BUT I can check a bag and just deal with the freezing temps and have warm legs waiting for me. I don't mind my legs being cold, but if my neck is exposed I freeze.

Or my Track n Field crazy leggings?
*These are pretty thick compared to the Nike legs. I've only worn them once for our MRC 3 miler. I'm leaning against them because they are thicker and a bit more snug.

Or my Nike leggings?
I've worn these for 2 5ks when it was around the same predicted temperature (low 30's) and I felt good. They aren't too thick so I don't get over heated too quickly. Leaning towards these because I'll have more opportunities to wear my booty shorts as the temps increase.


In my last 5k I didn't run with music and I didn't miss it at all. BUT I'm wondering what would happen if I put "Can't Hold Us" on repeat with some "Lose Yourself" mixed in. Would it give me an extra pep in my step??


If I plug my recent 5k 21:13 into the McMillian calculator it predicts my 8k time to be 34:58. (Avg 7:02) if I plug 20:30 Into the calc (a time I think is conservatively achievable at my current level of fitness because the 5k was not under optimal conditions) I get a predicted finish of 33:47 (avg 6:48).

I feel 34 would be a good number to shoot for, but pacing will be my biggest issue because the garmin won't be accurate in the city & mainly because I haven't been able to practice pacing myself to lock down what a certain pace feels like. The cold will also negatively affect me. I'm still relatively new at this shorter distance stuff and it's hard to know if I'm going out too fast so early in a race like this. I'll just shoot for low 7's and try to negative split the shit out of this race.
My "cat" decided to do cat things and check out what I was doing because that's what he does. He knows no boundaries.


I've thought of a few places but haven't decided on one specific place yet. But I know that first beer post race will taste sweet because of the PR I will run and because I am beyond the injury! And post race brunch with friends is always fun.
2011 Shamrock Shuffle 42:082012 Shamrock Shuffle 39:582013 Shamrock Shuffle  36:59 (PR)

It was fun to go back and see my Shamrock Wear "through the years." Sparkle skirts the last 2 years... My running "style" has come a long way since 2011! I am a firm believer in "if you look good, you feel good, and run faster."

I'm excited for the Frozen Shuffle this weekend, mainly because I'd be kicking myself if I didn't run it. It's one of the "low hanging fruit" races of Chicago for me because I can walk to the start in 10 minutes. Doesn't get any easier than that! Although I do hate the crowds... It will be fun I keep telling myself!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Week 8 of ?? Sub 20 5k training

This week was a bit meh. I was happy to run in Vancouver one last time- with L! But then had to fly home and go to work the next morning for all day meetings!! Always super fun. I just couldn't shake the exhausted no energy feeling Thursday- so figured a rest day was in order. Friday I was even more tired and stuffy so had to take off one more day. It's just not worth it to me to over do it while sick and prolong it.

Monday: 5 miles along the Vancouver Seawall with L.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 5 miles. Some progressive.

Thursday: REST aka no energy

Friday: REST aka stuffy head no energy

Saturday: 10 total: 4 am miles with CB, 6 miles speedwork pm. 2x 1.5 miles at 6:22, 6:10 respectively.

Sunday: 5 miles

Saturday I went for a "test" run with CB and felt much better so I figured a nice speed sesh was in order. It felt more difficult than it should have, but I got both sets of 1.5 miles done. I finished out the week with an easy 5/recovery run to help rid my quads of the soreness from the 2x1.5's. The first half mile my legs were like lead and super sore- but by the 2nd mile I was feeling better. My legs are still a bit sore, which was to be expected.

The sunrise on Wednesday was amazing!

I missed my little puppy bear.

One of the "outtakes" from our run on Saturday. I like taking photos with CB on our runs, because he's so stinking happy and cute, but also because I know the days for us to run are getting more limited as he ages and I want to document these memories.

I also opened another bottle of the black berry stout I had made. The first tasting was lackluster a few weeks ago- but I left more bottles to condition for additional time. The difference between 1.5 and 3+ weeks was huge! The beer today had more carbonation and flavor (more caramel/tartness) and was definitely more drinkable than the one I opened after 1.5 weeks of conditioning. I definitely respect beer a lot more now that I'm beginning to realize everything that goes into producing beer.

I also made more beer. I basically made the same stout as the blackberry stout, But will put coffee in it instead. Then I'm done with stouts, and will move onto a different style which is more spring appropriate. Maybe Gose or pale ale?

This week I'm looking forward to the Shamrock Shuffle... My 4th! Yay.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Vancouver days 4-5 {more sea wall running, Public Market, breweries and oysters!}

On Monday L didn't have any training so we decided to start the day with a run along the sea wall. We were also lucky that the sun came out!

I took L to the totems.

And we 'Grammed them.

And took selfies with them.

Vancouver looked amazing in the rain and overcast conditions. Vancouver also was stunning with the sun out!

The sea wall wasn't busy at all.

I was so happy to go for a nice run with L and spend some time with him!

The cherry trees were also in full bloom.

After our run, we took the cute water taxi to Granville Island to go to the Public Market and Granville Island Brewery.

The tour at GIB was informative and fun. The gal leading our tour definitely knew her way around beer.

We ended up sampling 8 of their beers, including the potato stout I had post race. My favorite was either their winter ale or their Scottish ale. Yum!

Once we were good and buzzed, we walked over to the Public Market for lunch.

The market is super clean and full of the usual market type stalls- containing fruits & veggies, meats and other goods. They also had many food vendors with all different ethnicities of food. We ended up with Indian food and it was so delicious!

We couldn't pass up dessert. Duh. I had chocolate mousse.

After lunch we took the 4 minute water taxi ride back to the other side.

The sunset was especially amazing on Monday night- my last night in Vancouver. That was the view from our hotel.

For dinner I wanted oysters (because Vancouver seafood = so good) So we ended up at "Chewies." The oysters were out of this world fresh and delicious. My favorite were the Kusshi from BC.

Post Chewies, we closed out our night at Steamworks brewing with a couple of good beers.

On Tuesday morning we went to Medina cafe. I can't remember where I had found this place, but the menu looked incredible.

I started with a lavender latte. Divine.

For breakfast I had "Fricassee Champignon" basically a delicious skillet with mushrooms, potatoes, arugula and fried eggs.

We went back to the hotel and I re packed my suitcase and took one more photo from our room.

Then I said goodbye to L and took a cab to the airport.

I love the airport- it's super clean and has cool statues in it.

I wore compression socks on the 4+ hour flight to Vancouver and my legs were throbbing by the end of it. (The soreness lasted for a few days) On the way home, I didn't wear compression socks and my legs felt great. A day later they still feel fresh. Same thing happened on my flight to Brasil. Needless to say I'll never wear them on a flight again.

I got wifi on the plane and killed time by writing blog posts. It was still a long ass flight at 4 hours.

Final thoughts:

I loved Vancouver. It surpassed all my expectations for scenery, food and ambiance. While the diversity of the folks in Vancouver was surprising to me, the concentration of super cars or exotic super cars was even more surprising. The amount of Ferrari's and Lamborghini's and Maserati's was crazy! I had no idea there was so much money in Vancouver!

I was so happy L and I got to take a short trip to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. It was so wonderful to visit Vancouver together.