Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last run of 2011

And some goals for 2012

Low 30's, calm, no snow. Absolutely stunning. Chicagoland.

I met Britt for an early morning run. With lack of sleep from watching the UFC fights last night, I wasn't sure how I would hold up for 18+ miles.

The beauty of the lakefront, the serenity of my surroundings, and the addition of a super cool running buddy made this run one of the best of the year. The miles flew by with ease, and I couldn't believe how or why I prefer the tread to running on this beautiful lake.

Thank you Britt for prying me off my bff, the tread to join you for a spectacular run. I really couldn't think of a better way to spend the last day of 2011 enjoying perhaps the last day of beautiful, serene tranquil, Chicago before old man winter takes a firm grip on us.

-Track all of my runs, especially shoe mileage

-Continue to be smart about running to remain injury free

-Put in the work necessary to achieve some of my time goals for races.

-Run outside much much more

-Learn more Portuguese so I can say more than "Cb esta embaixo na mesa com oito cavalos e nove sanduĂ­ches."

I have other goals, but usually I just make changes in my life as I see fit- Instead of once a year. I find greater success that way.

Happy new year! Feliz ano novo! - xaar

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

1st annual Santa Xaarlin treadmill 10k

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I enjoyed a low key Christmas with WW and CB at home. We cooked some food, worked out and took it easy.

One of my favorite gifts- an owl hat! :) it kept my ears and head very toasty while walking to work today.

I also got a sweet gift card for dunkin donuts with CB's photo on it from my Daad. If CB is making $$$ off of this, he needs to start paying rent!!

Christmas morning I got on the tread and quickly decided to run my most dreaded distance, The 10k. I don't know what it is, but I have no desire to race a 10k ever. I've raced every distance between 5k and marathon- minus the 10k. So December 25 was the "1st annual Santa Xaarlin Treadmill 10k." 1st 3.1 miles averaged 7:50/mile 2nd 3.1 miles averaged 7:19/ mile My new 10k PR is now 47:00! It was a comfortably hard pace. It wasn't until mile 2 that I decided to start pushing the pace and make it a "race." I'm excited for next year to carry on this tradition of running my most hated distance on Christmas. In other news...

I registered myself and my dad (against my better judgement) for the Chicago New Years Day 5k. The weather is looking clear and free of snow and ice so we shouldn't slip and hurt ourselves. This race will be a nice "recovery" run post saturday's long run with my new running buddy, the super speedy Britt

If you get runners world, I would highly recommend you make Richard Blais's (winner of top chef all stars, and also ran the 2011 NYC marathon) beet salad featured in the issue. It's beets, avocado, orange, basil, shaved licorice in a vinaigrette. It's super easy and tasty. (and I can't wait to eat the rest of it tonight!)

I can't wait to see my dad tomorrow who is braving the cold to visit us for new years this week.

What are your new years plans? We are going out to eat at a secret location. :) - xaar

Saturday, December 24, 2011



Running Highlights:

12- Number of races ran

8- PR's achieved

??- Number of miles cycled and ran

2- Marathons, (Boston and Chicago)

5- Half Marathons (Chi Town, Chicago Spring, 13.1 Chicago, Rock n Roll Chicago, Chicago Half)

1- 10 Mile Race (Soldier Field 10)

1- 8K (Shamrock Shuffle)

3- 5k (Rock n Roll Tuneup, Hot to Trot, Santa Hustle)

1- AG placing (3rd in the Hot to Trot)

1- Injury that sidelined me from running for 2+ months. Shin/Calf pain.

Life Highlights:

2- States lived in (California, Illinois)

66- Route taken across the country to move to Illinois in January 2011.
1- Crazy Blizzard survived

1- Country visited for my birthday. (Montreal, Canada)
2- Races enjoyed with my Daad (Boston and Chicago)
1- New state visited to see my mom

Countless- The number of awesome memories wonderful, wonderful and I have shared over the past 365 days.
2011 was a huge success. Races ran showed improvement and inspired me to do more. Quality family time gave me so many memories (and photos) to cherish forever. 2011 was amazing, but I have a feeling 2012 will be even better.....

 Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011


Chicago is growing on me little by little. It's weekends like this past one, which make me like it more.

Friday night:
Went to my offices holiday party and with 3 drink tickets, watched my co workers boogie down. Awkward.


Wonderful wonderful took me to Greek town for the first time. We went to the Greek Islands restaurant. While there might be "more authentic" less kitsch places, the food delivered me into a delightful food coma for the rest of the day.

Dolmades stuffed with rice and meat.

Roasted beets marinated in garlic and olive oil. Heaven on earth. If it wasn't so time consuming to roast my own beets, I'd eat this all of the time. We also had pita bread and feta mixed with spicy peppers.

Main course was stuffed tomato and a roasted leg of chicken with rice pilaf. It. Was. Delicious.

Dessert was yummy rice pudding.

The seating was reminiscent of a Greek village terraced on a hill. The inside reminded me of Epcot. While I'd usually stay away from super touristy places, this place was so good I'm already thinking about the next time I plan to stuff myself with flaming cheese. OPA!

Saturday it also snowed in the morning.

It was "cute" snow and was pretty much melted by Sunday.

More relaxing. The top of my foot is finally starting to heal. For the last 3-4 weeks it's been hurting and I have no idea what caused it. It doesn't hurt when I run, or seem to get worse- but I really notice it while walking barefoot. The pain is much less after taking a few days off. Yay!

Do you like "themed" touristy type restaurants?

I usually like small hole in the wall places, but I'll be back to the Greek Islands. Food always is #1 for me.

- xaar

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I don't know what I'm doing...

But I'm going to have fun figuring it out.

7 weeks until I'm celebrating marathon #5 and hopefully a huge PR by eating loads of yummy Cuban food. The Ing Miami marathon is less than 7 weeks away at this point. Holy crap!

This past week:
40 miles running
21 miles stationary bike

I don't know what I'm doing training or attempting to train for another marathon. I'm not sure why I even continue training for these events when they take so much time and are so hard on the body. And I seriously don't enjoy the training 25% of the time.
Speed work 800's: love it
Hilly fast miles: super fun
Marathon pace run: bring it
Long run: eh, I'd rather not.

I've figured the problem is mostly that the weather here stinks and I'm too picky and refuse to run outside when it's too hot or too cold, or windy,Too dark, or rainy or when there are too many cyclists out. (too many excuses!) So I spend a lot of time running on my BFF, the tread. I can handle an hour no problem on the tread, but anything over 1:30, and I just want to hop off and go back to my apartment up stairs.

Saturday was a breakthrough for me. The weather was total crap for running outside (0 degree wind chill!?! That's not cold, that's slap your face until red kind of pain). So I had to gut it out and do the LSD run on the tread. All week I had been thinking about goals for next year and beyond as well as my accomplishments for 2011. The fire was lit with motivation and I needed to execute this run. I thought about my goal for Miami, goals for next year, and my other long term running goals during the run and the miles flew by. 11 miles in the first sitting, and then started the final 10 about 2 hours after the first 11.
21 miles in 2:59!

I realized that to reach my goals- whether it be short term or long term I need to put the work in (earth shattering revelation I know). It isn't going to be fun all of the time, but I can try my darnedest to enjoy it as much as possible. But who said accomplishing goals should come easy? I know deep down I'd cherish an accomplishment more if I had to work my butt off for it. Plus, if I ever want to run a 3:04 marathon to beat my dad's best marathon time, I'm going to have to start running more- and enjoying these long runs, starting now. Have fun while running or bust!

I don't know what I'm doing running this marathon in January, and I certainly don't know why I'm already looking at another in the spring and possibly fall to achieve my BQ goal. But I do know that each one of these, and the others that will certainly follow will be fun in their own marathon type of way. Ill make sure of that.

- xaar

Friday, December 9, 2011

The first snow!


Snow on the balcony!

He is not happy..

But I'm sure he is thankful his patas are not as cold...

What's the weather like where you are?

- xaar

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Santa hustle 5k

I decided not to race this one because of pain that has been lingering on top of my foot for the past week. Instead, WW and I just had fun. As much fun as we could on a cold rainy day.

It was about 40 degrees and light drizzle. I already had reservations about running a race this late in the year in Chicago. It could have been worse. But sleeping in might have been better. ;)

Creepy chick photo bombing over my right shoulder!!

No, I didn't keep the beard on while I ran. I put it behind my head for the run and then put it on for the finish. And still ended up with a mouth of fuzz.

We should have lined up further towards the front. (we were no where near the back- maybe the end of the first 1/3 of the 5,000 participants) I'm constantly amazed at the walkers who place themselves in the front 3/4 of any race.

The course was crowded with walkers for most of it. Lesson learned. We need to line up near the front even if we will do 10 minute miles. The path was also narrow and created bad bottle necks around turns and for when there were huge puddles on the course. Kind of dangerous in my opinion because people will stop short *OMG WATER!!! CANT STEP IN A PUDDLE!!* and forget that there are people running behind them.

The Santa hustle seemed well organized. There were milk and cookies along the course too as "aid" stations. Cute idea. Didn't take any.

This race broke my rule of "never wear the race shirt on race day." it's a superstition I have and luckily nothing went wrong ;)

I even met a few new friends. Yes. They had real live reindeer in a pen. Poor guys had to stand out in the rain :(

I would probably never do this race again because of a few reasons. The shirt- I will never wear it to the gym unless it's Christmas time. Ok realistically I probably would never wear it again. Another reason is the weather. It's a crapshoot as to what type of weather you will get in Chicago this time of year. Having lived in Chicagoland for less than a year and run 10 races here, I consider myself an expert on this subject.

$40 is a lot to spend on a 5k race, and since we took a cab to get there ( and then the L home) we spent $100+ just for trans and the race. Not entirely sure if it's worth it. I'm turning into a cheapskate. And, I like running for running sake. Kitschy themed races can be fun but I'd much rather prefer a smaller hometown race.

Final note:
Santas, just like clowns are super creepy! :)


Thursday, December 1, 2011

November en Numeros

2- the number of times I had to write this post because the Blogpress app is super buggy. :(

1- the number of sour beer academy's at Goose Island brewery I attended.

10- the number of new sour beers tasted that I've never tried before.

2-3, the number of those beers I'd actually like to drink again.

4- the number of beer academy's I hope to attend next year.

1- new state visited. Tennessee

3.5- number of minutes I smashed my 5k PR by.

4.9- minutes it took after the race to not feel like death and catch my breath.

9- times I thought during the race, "why so many effffn hills?"

22:18- my new 5k PR!

1- cool mug I won for 3rd AG

30- degrees at start of the race

30-45 seconds- my dad said I could have ran faster in the 5k had I not ran 6 of the hilliest miles of my life the day before through every street in my moms neighborhood.

1- smokehouse sandwich eaten from dunkin donuts.

0- number I wish I had eaten.

??- miles run/ cycled because I'm too lazy to add it up.

525- number of photos taken in november.

Looking forward:

2- days until I dress as Santa for the santa hustle 5k and attempt (maybe if I decide to race it) to continue to hold the record for fastest 5k between Tribu and I.

Beards are aerodynamic right?!?

1- reason why beating Tribu is important.

25-29. The age group we are both in for the next 7 months.

3- new gray hairs discovered on my head :( I'm getting old.

58- days until Tribu and I run the Ing Miami together!