Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday things

1st Thing

The odds were slim to get in, so I didn't have high hopes of making it. Also, kind of relieved to dodge the inevitable $everal thousand dollar cost associated with this trip. I especially question the use of the exclamation points in the above... "Sorry! You're not in !!!!!" NYC marathon, well done on your punctuation marks and editing!!!!

2nd thing:

With the news from above!! And news that my goal BQ 2013 marathon conflicts with a friends wedding outside of the country, I am currently left without a fall marathon. (minus the Chicago marathon that I'm running with WW) I am slightly bummed about it, but very very happy to visit a new country. It's only running anyways. Perhaps focusing on a shorter distance like the half marathon for this fall, and remaining injury free is the smartest path to take- which will catapult me into a great place for a winter or early spring marathon.

3rd Thing:

This is how I currently feel. I've got some allergies or a mild cold and am somewhat pissed about it. There are loads of sick people at work that should have stayed at home, but instead came to the office to share their germs with everyone. How effffn thoughtful!

4th Thing:

My mom is arriving tomorrow!! and I couldn't be more happy to bum around Chicagoland with her! Thanks to all of your comments on This post, I now have enough Chicago attractions to visit with her for the next 4 visits. The hard part will be narrowing down the list for the 2.5 days she is here.

5th Thing:

So because the last few "things" have been more rant-like, I'll end on a more positive note.

I really enjoyed our 8 mile run this past weekend. Even though the path was more crowded than previous times, CB stayed on track and was pretty good.
I'm really looking forward to taking my mom out on the path this weekend!

Do you run if you're sick?
-I feel a little tired, a bit more congested than normal with a slight sore throat (sleeping with mouth open?). Might try a few miles tonight.

Which cool races are you running this fall-winter?

Who has the best deep dish in Chicago?
-since I'm a recent transplant to Chicago, im not up with the best of the best deep dish... I've heard Gino's and UNO are good. Tell me your favorite!

- xaar

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"Few things in life match the thrill of a marathon."

-Fred Lebow

So I've decided to participate in Mrs. MagMileRunner's Photo Challenge. This week's challenge was "Memorabilia from your favorite race."

My favorite race is difficult to pinpoint, because each one, short or long, has provided me with challenges and triumphs that could all qualify them for favorite. The 2002 NYC Marathon is one that I often think of, so it must be one of my top favorites! (Plus it has my favorite medal, and crystal Tiffanys apple)

I honestly don't know why my dad and I signed up for the lottery for this race. Maybe he can fill me in later :)

The lottery took place in April? and we didn't get in. No big deal, I wasn't running too much then after being plagued by shin splints/stress fracture. Then in July or August of 2002, we got an email from the NYC Marathon stating there had been a 2nd lottery (because many people had cancelled due to the attacks of September 11, 2001) and now we were ACCEPTED INTO THE RACE! We decided to run it because we never knew if we would have the opportunity again- especially for both of us to run it.

Sadly, I remained injured and actually went to the doctor for my shin problems (most likely stress fracture) and they told me to lay off running and take high doses of anti inflammatory. This is what finally made me lose my faith in doctors towards running injuries. I might have ran 50 miles the entire time before this race. No cross training. It seriously wasn't ideal.

 I remember us taking the bus over to the start and waiting around.It was freaking cold! After a few hours of waiting in what looked like a refugee camp, it was time to run and my Daad and I got into our corrals. I had never run a race as far or as big as this one. It was seriously incredible! Soon, our wave was shuffling to the start while Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" was blasting. Thinking about that moment- the start of my 1st 26.2, still gives me goosebumps. Running over the 1st bridge, the Verrazano Narrows bridge was so crazy cool. Somehow, I managed to run the first half of the marathon in around 2:35. Then I immediately though SH*T I need to run another 13.1

(Not the actual race shirt, but another my Daad bought me)

I remember it even snowing (flurries) during the race at some point. I went to eat a power bar during the second half and it was rock hard from the cold! There were no GU or Chomps back then! At the time it was the most delicious cookies n cream flavored brick EVER! My feet felt like they had 20lb weights attached to them after mile 15, blisters, chaffing (I had no idea about body glide) my body was hurting. But, I made it a point to jog for a Little bit, and then walk, because at least jogging would get me done faster than walking. Pain is nothing compared to what it feels like to give in.

Getting into Central Park was spectacular. When I saw the countdown to only a half a mile to go, I sprinted it in to the finish. It was such a thrill. Seeing all of the Burroughs of NYC, all of the ethnic neighborhoods, was so awesome. I could probably write a super long post about all of my NYC memories, because even after 10 years, the smell of hot dogs at mile 23 (along with 100 other memories) is still so fresh in my mind! (along with turning down eating at the Hard Rock Cafe post race, only to eat at Mc Donald's and climb the most painful flight of stairs in my life!)

On the plane heading to NYC from Florida, my Daad and I were looking at an NYC Marathon magazine that had been sent out. There, we saw a crystal apple made by Tiffany's commemorating runner's achievements from the marathon. My Daad said he would buy it for me if I finished. (I think he believed I had a sno ball's chance in hell of finishing) When I called him from my cell (with a few miles to go) his first thought was I had DNF'd. He was so surprised I was almost done!

Running and sharing this race experience with my Daad (he finished about 45 minutes ahead of me) ignited my love of running, but it wouldn't be until 2008, where I really started running seriously again (and thankfully much more injury free than before.)

This Wednesday I'm hoping to get the news that I will be running this great race again to mark the 10th anniversary of my first marathon, the NYC Marathon!

- xaar

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ok ok, I'll jump on the bandwagon

Thankful Thursday!

My Mom is coming to visit me next week!

This will be her first visit to Chicago and I'm super excited to show her this fabulous city. But, I need help... I'm not a touristy person. Just give me a dive bar with a good beer selection and I'm happy. I need ideas on where to take her. I've got navy pier, shedd aquarium, willis tower, cupcakes and Chicago dogs on the list. What am I missing?

My dog is now legal

Thankful because: I just read an article stating that police will start cracking down on unregistered Chicago dogs- perhaps Chicago is hurting for $$$? Apparently only 5% of Chicago dogs are actually registered in Chicago, and police will begin visiting dog parks to fine people with unregistered dogs. So I plunked down $16 this morning to make CB legal. ($5 a year, $1 processing fee). Now I am happy to avoid a costly fine, and CB is happy to be a legal resident of Chicagolandia.

Thankful to Nike

I was selected as a winner from the shamrock shuffle #makeitcount photo contest. For winning, Nike sent me one of their sweet new GPS watches. I can't wait to take this baby out for a run on the lakefront this weekend! *although I still love my garmin :)

Thankful and not for the Helicopters

The Blackhawks have been practicing "urban" training over the past few days in downtown. Monday was cool because they started around dusk buzzing low around the buildings. Tuesday it was not so cool at 10pm mainly because I couldn't take photos of them...

What are your favorite places to visit in Chicagoland?

What would you want to visit in Chicago?

Where else should I take my mom?

What are you thankful for?

- xaar

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Goals post injury

Dealing with an injury that sidelines you for several months is hard enough, but how do you plan your goals for when you return back to the asphalt?

This is the predicament I'm in currently. I had goals for several distances pre hip flexor explosion, but now am left picking up the pieces of these unachieved goals and have no idea as to what my legs and mind are capable of anymore.

The past few weeks I've been diligent to log no more than 10% increases in mileage and gently incorporate some "pushing the pace" segments into my runs while hitting 30 mile weeks. I'm scared to death of pushing too much too soon and getting injured.

For "goal" race times I could just pick an arbitrary number, or I could be more scientific. I just registered for 8th annual run to remember to see where I'm at physically after 4 weeks of somewhat solid training.

After the 5k I will plug my time into the McMillan calculator to see what my "predicted" times would be for other distances and go from there. I also plan on hiring a super awesome running coach to help me focus and reach my potential as a recreational runner.

How do you decide your time goals? How about after a lengthy injury?

- xaar

Monday, April 16, 2012

Woefully inadequate

Training went well last week. I accumulated 30+ miles to stay on track with my 10% increases to get me ready for marathon training. I also was consistent with the core and hip exercises.

Last week my extended family received some terrible news. I won't go into detail about it, but thankfully everything should be ok. I can't begin to imagine what they went through when the event happened, nor can I imagine what they are going through currently.
I wish I was there to give them
A hug and help out wherever needed.

Please don't take anyone or anything for granted. Life is so precious and fragile.

I continually offer my support, prayers, healing thoughts, but it seriously seems inadequate given the situation.

- xaar

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Soul cleansing

Why do you run?

Because its a necessary part of the training plan for an upcoming race?

Because you love feeling the wind at your back and sun kissing your face?

Because it clears your head and acts as your therapy?

Because the sound of your feet hitting the pavement is so primal and natural?

CB and I ran 10.4 miles along the lakefront and took it easy. (his first run in a while and my longest since mid February because of the hip flexor injury)

It was glorious.

We enjoyed our time together and had so much fun taking in the stunning weather and scenery. The sun on my face, the wind in my hair, the flowers in bloom- all so beautiful this Easter morning.

Being out there with my pup reinforced my My running mantra and made me appreciate every step and breath. We were garminless, and didn't care about our time.

After this run, I'm feeling invigorated and rejuvenated towards life and running- ready to tackle anything that comes my way.

It was a soul cleansing run.

- xaar

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My running mantra

I have this stuck to my folder which covers the time on the treadmill.

The past 3 months of nursing this hip flexor injury have been brutal. And because of it, I now have a profoundly deeper respect for running.

Reading my note "remember what it felt like when you couldn't run" gets me motivated to tackle all of my runs. It will carry me through marathon season this year.

I am thankful for each day I am able to run pain free.

- xaar

Monday, April 2, 2012

Marzo, a recap en Numeros

312- the number of total miles cycled and run in March. Goal achieved!

66- miles run

246- miles cycled

1- Race ran. . (Shamrock Shuffle 8k)

2 minutes- by which I PR'd the 8k despite 2.5 months of very minimal running due to the hip flexor injury.

(This is what a hard fought PR looks like)

1 Contest- won!! (From Nike's #ownchicago photo contest to capture Spirit of the Shamrock Shuffle.) I will talk more about my sweet prize when it arrives this week. Thank you Nike!! :)

The winning photo!

1 race- which I had wanted to do but couldn't due to the injury. (Knoxville Marathon). Next year you're mine!

1 beer festival- attended.
(Chicago beer festival @ union station)

13? Beers- sampled from a tiny mug.

1 favorite- new cider tasted. Fox barrel pacific pear cider.

1- the number of times we caught CB doing something bad because we set my camera on time lapse while we went out.
(in his defense, we didn't put the boxes on the "off limits" couch like we usually do)

4+ cupcakes eaten and shared. Lemon, pistachio, turtle and maple bacon. All delicious!

Looking forward- April (and beyond) Goals

6- weeks of base building until marathon training starts.

24- Weeks until I smash my marathon PR!

27- Weeks until WW and I run the Chicago Marathon together!!

9 times I've thought about this goal marathon and gotten terrified, And excited about pushing my limits.

5 times ive thought about hiring a coach to help keep me on track and focused this season.

Happy April! What are you looking forward to this month?

- xaar