Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Boston Marathon Training 2018 {Week 14}

Week 14!

Weekly Miles

Running: 56.16 miles, 7:50:40 hours
Cycling: 0 miles, 0 hours
Yoga/stairs: 00:26:00

Total Miles for this cycle
Running: 722.60 miles, 102:18 hours
Cycling: 186.63 miles, 14:42 hours
Yoga/stairs: 04:02:00 hours


Race week! Although it was more training as usual, race on Sunday, no legit taper. I felt off all week, including a headache on Saturday night. I cut out alcohol after my last beer Sunday evening and ate pretty good all week. My “taper” was to eliminate the tempo on Thursday and just do easy miles instead- no sense in killing my legs to kill my legs again.

The boys are good. We discussed self care this week. Mainly not sneaking off to chew a bone to escape from reality. They need to confront their realities and live in the present. Self care also means controlling their emotions- no attacking little brother and no revenge peeing. By keeping their emotions in check, everyone will be happier. Instead of thinking of the next time they can have me time, I want them to instead deal their problems head on and take care of them.


2x3 miles at 6:58 on Tuesday felt like crap. I felt overheated and like I was struggling- so I amended it to 3 miles at 6:58, 2 miles at 6:58, 1 Mile at 6:58.

Still, Tuesday uniform FTW.

The half marathon was irrationally disappointing.


Taking hot baths! It’s more of an injury prevention thing for me than omg self care- I’m not trying to escape from real life- just want my muscles to feel the benefit of hot water and salt. It works! So much better than ice baths.

Getting a 3 minute course PR at the March Madness half on Sunday! It was struggle bus almost the entire time, but I kept pushing, never gave up and clocked my 2nd fastest half on a beast of a course.


I have been feeling bummed about the half- more than I should. I don’t really understand where that feeling is coming from. I think if I had to pinpoint something- is that I did everything right- consistency is everything with performing- and despite that, still felt like garbage. It’s been a while since I felt like that in a race- and it’s jarring. I need to move on and slay these last 4 weeks of training.

Looking Forward

This week I’m running Shamrock Shuffle for the 7th time. I’ve only missed one since I moved here. Not really sure what my goal will be since I’m running 16 miles Saturday, and 3-5 pre race. If I had to write a goal down- it would be 1. Run a good effort (like sub marathon goal pace) . 2. PR. My pr is super stale and my half marathon PR pace is literally Seconds off my 8k PR pace. I haven’t “raced” this race in a while (yay spring marathon training!) so I expect that it is out of sync with my other race times. Regardless it will be fun.

I’ll likely cut out beer until Boston now. Maybe one post shamrock? I also need to watch what I eat a little more so that I can get to a better weight before Boston- shouldn’t be a problem without the beer. I just want to get to Hopkinton feeling like I did everything possible to have a good race. We are spending a lot of money for me to do this, and I don’t want to feel like I half assed it. This will be my last Boston for a while- so I hope everything aligns for a magical unicorn race.

I haven’t cooked anything out of my books in a few weeks. But I did make sweet potato pear soup (my own recipe) and egg in a jar.

Sweet Potato- pear soup with spinach sautéed with shallots and sherry

I’m enjoying cooking new to me recipes and am currently at 23/52 for 2018. A continually updated list is {HERE}

Days to go: 27! 🦄


Monday, March 19, 2018

March Madness Half 2018 {race recap}

My 2nd time running this race! It was my 2nd fastest half, and I got a 3 minute course PR!

Time: 1:39:30
AG: 8 of 66
Women: 31 of 443
Overall: 165 of 978

I went into this race thinking if I could run my marathon goal pace/be close to my PR, that would be great. I also figured that with tired legs (I ran 43 miles the days before) and the hills that I would likely be a few minutes over that time.

Race morning I had some oatmeal and a banana before we drove up to Cary, IL. The drive was as quick as 45 miles could be. Got my bib and everything super quick- the Hillstriders are A++ with organization. Then we waited for the start. I decided to wear a singlet + shorts because last year I was super hot wearing leggings and long sleeve in pretty much the same perfect conditions. Yay! For blogging and it being useful for something. (Race recaps)

I felt fairly ambivalent about this race - since it was basically a training run for me. I get a little nervous before races regardless- I’ve pinpointed that to the fear of having a code brown which luckily has never happened in a race before. I lined up near the front of the field- like 10 rows back and got my iPod and everything ready.

Without fanfare, we were off with a simple “GO.” I checked my watch and saw low 7’s and decided to go with it-the Race was downhill at this point. More on this later* I just decided to keep a steady effort when climbing hills/flat/downhill. Mile 4 is when I started feeling that the effort was too much for my pace. I’m sure the hills had something to do with this - but mentally I was f*cked. I started thinking all sorts of negative stuff- like how the hell could I possibly run a 3:10 if I can’t even hit 7:15’s right meow. I tried talking myself off the ledge- “you’re running hillz, expect the pace to be slower.”

Some miles were good others I felt like shit. I like how it’s a small low key rural race vs over stimulation like any of the big races in Chicago. But it also gives me too much to think about and not be distracted.

I played leap frog with one of the Irish Waldos and few other women for most of the race. This race reminds me of Boston not only due to the course, but because you end up running next to the same people for most of the race.

Around mile 6 I took off my gloves since I felt hot. I ended up putting them back on at mile 11.5. I tried to push the pace with 4 miles to go but I felt stuck. Everything felt like it was too much effort. After cresting “Mile 10 Hill” a Guy running near me started saying how thankful he was for being done with that huge hill and how awful it was. I echoed his comments and just hoped to be done soon so I could hop off the struggle bus.

With half a mile to go I realized I could break 1:40, so I tried to scoot as quick as I could- which felt like I was running through molasses. I saw L and was so happy to be finished.

There are some days which are extraordinary - those days when everything clicks and you feel light as a feather and it’s the best day ever! (Naperville half marathon, Carmel Marathon) then there are the ordinary days when you get it done but it’s nothing special. Then there’s the sub par terrible days. Today was one of those. It wasn’t terrible by a long shot, but it was far from ordinary. It was a big MEH with me feeling heavy and slow- nothing felt good and I just wanted to be done.

I spent too much time analyzing why I felt crappy and came to some conclusions:

What I did right:
•wore a singlet and shorts
•ran with my iPod
•race morning nutrition was ok

The look of disgust on my face cracks me up now

What wasn’t great:
•getting in my head too much during the race
•trying a new sports drink.
•no caffeine at all.
•the way I put my headphone wire around my shirt- I was messing with my right earbud the entire time because it was being pulled by the wire.
•possibly going out too fast- but after talking to my Daad, and thinking more, I doubt this was a cause- I routinely run each week- 6 miles at 6:58 , and 9 at 7:15- 3 at 7:08 shouldn’t destroy me
•shoes not being super fresh and getting close to retirement
•dehydration. I weighed myself pre race and then again post race (after eating a ton of food and drink) and only weighed 1lb more. That was concerning to me.
•the non-tangible aspect of running where despite *everything* being perfect- weather, training, nutrition, you have an off day.
•being 3lbs heavier than Naperville. I felt fat and slow.

So despite all of that I was still happy with my time. I tried some new things on Sunday to get out of my comfort zone. I used Maurten sports drink- it’s super full of carbs. I also decided to go with the 7:08’s in the beginning because it felt appropriate, and because my goal marathon time would correlate to a half with similar pace so it wasn’t so ridiculous.

2018 miles vs 2017

The last 3 miles I was clearly struggling.

Oatmeal and banana at home
Sis bar one hour pre race
500ml Maurten during the race
Singlet/shorts for high 30’s calm.

First beer in a week. And likely the last until Boston.

Lose weight.
Abandon maurten for Boston. Use SiS
Remember that while my goal is 3:10, I’d be pumped to run a PR in Boston- better than 3:28.

You learn more from failure than from success.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hustle Up The Hancock 2018 {race recap}

On February 25, I completed the Hustle up the Hancock/875!

My work sponsored a team, so I was excited to tackle this challenge (especially since it was free and for a good cause)! But in all seriousness, I was pumped for this because it forced me to incorporate stairs into my weekly mix of workouts which are great for Boston’s hillz. For the 1.5 months leading up to the race, i added stairs and extra jump squats after my speed work, tempo and long runs because those are my “hard” days. I wanted to give the stair climb a decent effort and not feel like crap.

Race morning I woke up early and ran 10 miles because that’s totally normal. I would have ran 15, but didn’t wake up early enough. Boston training doesn’t stop for Hustling up the Hancock. My coworkers thought I was nuts. I was all “it’s different muscles to run than to stair climb” lolz.

I met my team in the lower level and took our group photo before getting in line for our wave. As we inched our way towards the start, there were boards to write comments- like “i do this because” or “I participate for...” its a huge fundraiser for the respiratory health association. I wrote on the one that said “in memory of...” I wrote “my grandmother” with a heart around it. My grandmother was a lifelong smoker and suffered from lung health issues (among other things) until her death in 2002.

As the start line got closer, I took a SiS gel and continued chatting with coworkers. I decided to wear my run backpack because bag check was a block away and I didn’t feel like going over there to drop it. I packed light and wasn’t “racing.”

I wondered if the stairwells would be crowded, but realized they start participants every 8 seconds- which hopefully would space folks out enough. After discussing with our CFO that he should go first (I knew he’d fly up the stairs) I went second for our team. I got up 2 flights of stairs before I realized I hadn’t turned on my iPod. Derp. After fighting with my headphones, I was ready to roll.

One of my other coworkers flew by me around floor 4- I was convinced I would pass him a few floors later. I just decided to keep a very steady effort. No double steps, just a brisk walking pace.

Within a few floors, my heart rate was though the roof (like a 5k effort) and I just kept my head down to avoid seeing what floor I was on and subsequently doing the math to determine how many floors of the 94 I had left. I got to the first aid station and was shocked it was only floor 16.

I ended up passing 25-30 people in the stairwell. Many folks would take breaks in the landings. I just kept chugging along. The worst stretch was 30-60. It felt like the climb was taking a long time and would never end. The last 30 floors seemed to pass by super quick. Maybe I got a second wind? I never went anaerobic, but was definitely feeling the effects of climbing 94 flights. I was so happy to see the finish! I gave my coworkers a high 5 who finished before me. Our CFO had the best time on our team, a few min later was the guy that passed me early on. I had the 3rd best time on our team and was super happy with my time. We cheered in our remaining teammates before taking the freight elevator back down.

I feel like I executed the race perfectly! I felt super dehydrated later on in the day despite drinking a bunch of water. It was such a fun event and I hope I can do it again next year!

When I looked up my results I saw I was 415th overall- and (just in my last post how I don’t believe in luck, superstitions, fairies, whatever) that is significant because April 15 was my grandmothers birthday. Serendipity.


I wore my workout gloves to help avoid blisters while holding onto the railing (pro tip!)

No water during the 18 minute journey.

The stair training I did absolutely helped me feel good for this event- as well as not taking off fast.


Monday, March 12, 2018

Boston Marathon Training 2018 {Week 13}

Week 13!

Weekly Miles

Running: 53 miles, 7:31:29 hours
Cycling: 0 miles, 0 hours

Total Miles for this cycle
Running: 658.45 miles, 93:16 hours
Cycling: 186.63 miles, 14:42 hours
Yoga/stairs: 03:36:00 hours


I went to Tampa for the first time in 6 years- super long overdue considering I’m from there, and my Daad and some family/friends still live there. I swapped last week’s long runs with this past week so I’d have a bit of a cutback because I didn’t want to spend my vacation running. There’s so much more to life than running all the miles, yet Boston training must go on!

The pups were boarded for our trip, and I know Ze was pumped to be able to play ball non stop for 4 days straight. CB on the other hand probably hates all of us right now. I feel bad for my old man- 13 years young having to give up his daily routine and soft bed. He will likely sleep 2 days straight once we pick him up.

My awesome green journal with my favorite pen. Beer tastes better at 35000’ and or because it’s the last beer for a while.

Another lesson I’ve taught them on social media is not to point out whatever perceived faults they have about their pictures/life whatever. I might have discussed this earlier. Just post the picture and be done with it. Be positive. None of this “I’m writing some really solid thoughts down in my sad cheap journal- but I wish I had one of those fancy expensive journals like the other dog bloggers because my thoughts would be better.” Comparison is the thief of joy. And by thinking you’re inferior for whatever lame reason, just makes you feel worse. Fact. Just stop.

I finally finished “the subtle art of not giving a f*ck” and hurt my neck from nodding in agreement the entire time. So many good common sense things to come out of that book. One of the best things I read was how people feel the need to be special when in reality we are all the same and mediocre (very few of us are truly special and extraordinary). People often try to out victimize each other in an effort to be special at the other end of the scale. I see this on social media all the time and promptly unfollow those accounts because I refuse to bring myself down the drain with those awful people.


The treadmill stopping abruptly near the end of my first 2 mile interval. WTF. My ankle now feels weird in the same exact spot and the same way it did a month ago after slipping on the ice. **update** (since I wrote that a few days ago) ankle is feeling better and less weird. Hopefully that continues after more TLC and MICE.


3x2 miles at 6:58. For some reason I psyche myself up too much for these workouts. Why would I get so stressed? I’ve run 13.1 continuously at 7:15 pace- so why not 2 miles at a time with a pace of 6:58!?

Getting my Boston bib number (18981) and wave/corral (3/3) assignment! I love my bib number mainly because 9 is my favorite number and it’s straight up 9’s and a palindrome, and it was Hunahpu’s 9th anniversary this weekend too. Ha. I’m not superstitious in the least (because I’m in control of my life, not magical fairies), but enjoy finding dumb connections in shit like that. So serendipity! Much wow. Such 9!

Running in Tampa! I got 3 solid runs in- 2 in my daad’s hood and 1 at flatwoods. At flatwoods I saw a large black unidentifiable animal cross the path about 50 meters ahead of me- I was so preoccupied with what it was that when I happened to look right a few steps later- there were 3 large deer 20 feet from me! They scampered into the woods before I could get my phone out. Didn’t they know I needed interesting blog pics!? The rest of the Run was uneventful- and I dropped some fast splits that morning and felt really good. The other 2 runs were nice too. I was just disappointed I didn’t see any alligators on my runs. I did see a few 6 footers later on in the day. I’m guessing it was too cold for them to get out of the water in the morning.

Delicious dinner with great people.


Going back to Tampa was much needed. Seeing my dad and his dog Bella was great! Seeing my bff of 30+ years, Caitlyn was so wonderful too!

We went to our first Hunahpu day beer fest and I was impressed. The fest itself was well organized - it was outside at Raymond James in the parking lot and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. The whole weekend was simply amazing. I can’t let 6 years go by before my next visit to Tampa.

Looking Forward

This week I’ll be running the March Madness half in Cary, IL for the 2nd year in a row. I’m excited to test my tired legs on all the hills. Ideally, I would like to beat my current PR of 1:35.34. I haven’t looked at the weather forecast yet, so I don’t know if that variable will come into play- it’s out of my control and not worth my energy anyways. Right now, I think I should run close to 1:35. I always find my “on” switch for race day and come ready to throw down a solid effort.

The one and only Bell dog!

I’m also cutting out beer. Huna was my last hurrah for beer before Boston. Getting to race weight and feeling fab for Patriots day are now my top priorities over the next 5 weeks.

One of the last beers for a while. At least it was on the patio.

I’m enjoying cooking new to me recipes and am currently at 23/52 for 2018. A continually updated list is {HERE}

Days to go: 35! 🦄


Monday, March 5, 2018

Boston Marathon Training 2018 {Week 12}

Week 12!

Contrast that to last February’s 165 running miles and 130 cycling miles.

Weekly Miles

Running: 65.01 miles, 09:10:20 hours
Cycling: 0 miles, 0 hours
Yoga/stairs: 00:31:00

Total Miles for this cycle
Running: 605:43 miles, 85:44hours
Cycling: 186.63 miles, 14:42 hours
Yoga/stairs: 03:36:00 hours


Another solid week ✅ another weekly mileage PR! And I feel really good.

I decided to swap my weekend long runs with next weeks long runs- so instead of 10 Saturday, 10 Sunday, I did 10+ Saturday (16 total with long run + MRC + drop/pickup Zé at school) and 16 Sunday. Whoa. Saturday added up quick. I didn’t want to have to do 2 hour long run while on vacation. My only concern for training on vacation is not getting enough fluids/electrolytes - I’ll have to remember to pack my handheld and salt tabs.


Feeling crappy towards the end of the week. Luckily I don’t think I’m sick. But my back was super achy (probably from washing Ze) and my quads were destroyed when I woke up on Thursday which made for a fun 9 miles at goal pace. Yay DOMs from the stair climb?

I was also a single boy dog Mom of 2 for the first part of the week- it was very challenging to maintain their schedules and mine- I’m so blessed my husband helps out with the pups when he’s here. But those 3 days were quite difficult. It will be great running with Ze post Boston so I can wear him out and be more efficient in the mornings too.

Dog Mom status unlocked. Border collie umbrella


4x 1.5 miles at 6:58 on Tuesday. (Tuesday uniform FTW! I went into the workout thinking I’d have to amend it to shorter intervals, but once I got going I felt great. I need to stop thinking worst case scenario with these hard workouts. I’ve also switched from my flats to my marathon shoes for the strength workouts and that has made a difference with my calf. The flats have a lower heel toe drop and put extra stress on my calf where the marathon shoes have a few extra mm.

Our run club also had our March run which was super fun! Such a great group of people!

Sunday’s Run was also noteworthy- I ran 10 easy inside and planned to do the last 6 as 8x3min hard, 2 min recovery (also on the tread) but forgot to bring my marathon shoes to change into for the fast miles. I decided to finish the run outside and nailed it. My goal was 8x3 at marathon pace, 2 min recovery, but even with the head wind I started going faster and faster each interval. The first 2 intervals were the most labored and the rest seemed to get easier and easier despite the quickening of the pace.


I found it interesting people thought me running 10 miles before the stair climb (and 5 after) was crazy or impressive. I was just all “Boston training doesn’t stop for stair climbs.” I’m giving this cycle my all- and want to get to Hopkinton healthy and ready to run a 3:10. (No X this time). I am doing everything I possibly can so I can achieve this massive goal. (Current PR 3:28, Carmel Marathon 2016) It’s audacious and crazy and exciting. I know Boston isn’t conducive to PRs given the nature of the course, hillz, late start, course crowding, weather- but on a perfect day with solid training, anything is possible. Still, running 26.2 at 7:15 pace is daunting and still seems out of reach- but I felt the same exact way before Naperville where I crushed my half PR with a 1:35- 7:15 a mile.

My new Boston scarf!

Looking Forward

Vacation! Yay! I’m excited to run in a warmer climate without all the layers! I’m more excited to see family and friends and eat and drink some delicious stuff. (Cuban Food FTW!) I might even swim laps for the first time in 2+ years.

I’m encouraged by the gains in fitness I’ve been seeing since December when I started training- and also the gains I made while training for my half PR. 6 more weeks to go!

Latest new to me recipe: carrot soup with sautéed cremini mushrooms

I’m enjoying cooking new to me recipes and am currently at 23/52 for 2018. A continually updated list is {HERE}

Days to go: 42! 🦄