Saturday, May 26, 2012

Soldier Field 10- Spectating Edition

SF 10

Saturday morning I ran over to soldier field to spectate the SF10. I believe this is the first time I've shown up to a race, and not participated (asides from when I "spectated" my dads races back in the day when I was too small to walk)

•I ran into Britt near the start and wished her luck. (I hope I didn't bug you if you were trying to get into the zone!)

•Due to the corrals, my plan to head south on the course was dashed. I had to back track and then head south to get to a decent photo location. (plus I wanted to run a bit)

•Saw some crazy scary thunder storms a bit north of us. And did a "rain rain stay away" dance for everyone. it must have worked :)

•After cheering for Britt (coming out of the McCormick place tunnel) I turned around to head back to soldier field.

• Stopped at water station 5, to say Hi to Maggie @ Mag Mile Runner. You've inspired me to volunteer at a race. I will make it happen this year or early next year. I have so much respect for the volunteers out on the courses and ALWAYS say thank you to them during races. :)

•I saw lightning off in the distance. But, thankfully it stayed far far away.

• Found a nice spot next to the start line and mile 9.5? To sit and take photos of the runners coming back.

•Due to the wave starts I believe the very last corral started the race AFTER the lead men flew by.

•The winners! It was a TIE.

•one of the last corrals ready to take off.

• and they're off!

•it was fun spectating the race. Especially since it was on my terms- like not because I was injured. I live close by, so I figured why not come down, take photos and cheer for the runners.

•higher ISO enables more light which enables a faster shutter speed. Took too long to remember this. Need to keep practicing photography. Especially for fast moving subjects in lower light.

Congrats to everyone who ran this morning! You are all very inspiring.

Spectating is fun and got me all psyched to start marathon training June 11. The enthusiasm also got me to register for the inaugural Chicago Women's Half in late June. If anything, it will be a supported training run since it is not my goal race.

Next up for the weekend: tracking a friend who is racing Ironman Brasil tomorrow. Boa sorte R!!

- xaar

Monday, May 21, 2012

Seen on my run

Last weeks mileage: 22+
Week before: 47

Yeah, pathetic. Maybe I needed a "step back" week after some good mileage weeks.

More accurately I was protesting the protestors and saving them from my anger due to all of the inconveniences imposed on us Loop residents during the NATO summit (I was mainly upset due to the protestors, security not so much because I understand the need to protect the world leaders while on American soil)

So I went for a run very early on Sunday morning with CB.

We saw a nice sunrise. And NO protestors. Apparently they don't wake up at 5:30am because they need their beauty sleep.

• we also saw 3 bunnies. 1 hopped out of the picture. The remaining 2 held their ground.

• 6 people sporting Shamrock Shuffle 2012 shirts.

• 23 Canadian geese

• 98 Snow plows blocking the road to where the NATO summit was being held. With our minimal winter, at least the plows got some use! But it was strange seeing them out on an 80+ degree day.

• An unmarked car with a card in the front window that said "First Lady." only the driver was in the car.

• A happy runner dog

• On the way home we ran through a secure zone by the Hilton (world leaders staying there) that had 82 officers and a K9 police dog on the opposite side of the street that wanted to kill and eat CB. Thank god we didn't cross the street like we usually do there.

• No cars heading north on Lake Shore Drive. Those are the plows and the field museum in the distance.

This week I'll get back into the 40-50's for mileage and focus on being healthy- also continue strengthening my core and hips so when marathon training starts in a few weeks, I'll be in a great place!

What did you see on your runs this weekend? Anything out of the ordinary?

- xaar

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Race recap- Chicago Spring Half

I got a new PR!! by almost a minute.

Time: 1:47:16  (Avg 8:10 pace)

24/214 AG 11%
67/801 Female 8.3%
313/1486 Overall 21%


I biked over to the start from my house. It felt nice- maybe in the mid/ upper 50's, light wind. Looking south, there seemed to be storms, but the race announcer assured us that we would have some tailwind heading south, then some headwind coming back north- hopefully keeping the storms south of us for the duration of the race. I wasnt too concerned, because Last Year's edition of this race was run in the worse conditions ever! Short version of 2011: 40 degrees, pouring rain, and 40mph headwinds for the last 7 miles. Can anyone say "Hypothermia?"

1:48:07, My 1/2 PR from Rock n Roll Chicago last year. I wrote it on my wrist so I wouldnt forget.

Loosely, my goal going into this race was to run around a 1:50 and stick with the 1:50 pacer as long as I could. After my 5K last week, the pace calculator app in my phone predicted a 1:48:13 for me. Ive been running very consistently for the past 6 weeks, with 30-40 miles each week, 1-2 "speed" workouts and nice slower runs with the CB dog. I really wasnt sure what to expect because the longest ive run in the past few weeks was about 10 miles, really slowly.

Oh GOSH the ominous clouds in the Distance!!

Soon we were OFF and I felt really good running with the pacer. The first few miles were a little congested, but thinned out after a few more miles.

Around mile 2, I took off from the pacer at a water stop and never saw them again. I had brought a gatorade bottle filled with water so I wouldnt have to stop at water stations. I just kept chugging along at a very comfortable pace with my Ipod giving me tunes like Deadmau5, Maroon 5, Pitbull... etc

I took a GU around mile 4 and then it started to rain lightly. Actually felt kind of nice, because this was "gentle" rain, not vicious pouring rain. Another mile later and the lightning started. I remembered back to the announcer before the race saying "Do what you need to do to stay safe." OH GOSH

*the camera effect made my leg look dirty and hairy. FYI

The lightning continued on and with each bolt I saw followed by thunder, I thought "Sh*t! Run faster to be done faster." The rain was also coming down heavier by this point. Made the turnaround and suddenly rain was being pelted into our eyes. Not fun! but I kept motoring along at a nice pace. At the turnaround, I took some mango-electrolyte-salt strips Tribu had given me back in January.

I think it was around mile 9 I took another GU, and realized that I had a great chance of getting a PR. I just tried to stay focused and push the pace a bit- Sorry Dudes, you've been chicked! No, Im not sorry :)  My last mile was clocked at 7:50 per my garmin. I was really trying to hold back tears as I crossed the finish. 6 weeks ago if you had told me I was going to get a new PR in the half marathon, I would have said NO WAY considering all the crap ive been through with my hip.

6 weeks ago I ran the Shamrock Shuffle and could barely hold onto an 8 minute pace for 5 miles. I was running less than 10 miles a week and still dealing with pain from my hip.

6 Weeks later, I ran 13.1 miles and averaged 8:10 a mile.

I felt like I could have kept going.

I felt over the moon happy because I am stronger now than last year.

I felt confidence rush back into me at the finish, knowing that my fall marathon goal of 3:30 might be closer than I think.

I felt like I might finally be beyond this crappy hip injury once and for all.

To sum up this race in a few words: Conservative, Happy, Strong.

Final Thoughts- Housekeeping:

Pre Race:
- ate a power bar berry smoothie flavor on the way to the start while riding my bike
-drank a gatorade prime pouch 20 minutes before the start. MMM berry!

During Race:
-Chocolate Outrage Gu @ mile 4
-Mango electrolyte salt strips @ mile 6
-Right ear phone died @ mile 7 due to rain. Currently working properly :)
- Jet Blackberry GU @ Mile 9
-Drank water whenever I felt the need (only about 10oz total)

What I wore:

-Aspaeris Pivot Shorts and they felt AMAZING the entire time! No chafing even though I was soaked by the finish. LOVE LOVE LOVE these shorts!

- Track and Field Brasil- White Tank top. It was light and even when soaked, did not weigh me down.

-Moving Comfort "Alexis" Style Sports Bra. No show here- Even with the rain! :)

-Nike Lunar Racer shoes, with thorlo socks. Even while soaked, were still light and springy and NO BLISTERS!

Im so pleased with my run today- it far exceeded my expectations for my abilities at this distance after 6 weeks. There is a fire in my belly to keep running "fun", and break all my other distance PRs this year. Im so excited for what this year will bring. :)

- xaar

Fav Race Photo Challenge

This week's photo challenge from Mrs MagMileRunner is: We’ve seen your ugly race pictures. But I want to see your favorite race picture! And an explanation of why. It can be ugly or pretty, solo or with a friend or group … whatever reason, as long as it’s your favorite.

My favorite race photo from during a race would be the one below from the Chicago Marathon 2011. This was obviously in Chinatown- most likely around mile 22? Even though I was struggling quite a bit during this race, I somehow managed to pull it together for this shot. 

I mainly like how I look in this photo- dont mind my fanny pack! haha 

I ended up with quite a large PR (about 15 minutes) in this race despite all the set backs leading up to it, as well as the challenges faced during this race. I was just thankful to run that day.  Im still thinking I should order this photo...

- xaar

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday thankfulness

Thankful for my ability to run pain free.

-last week I ran 40.35 miles and am feeling great!

-ran my 2nd fastest 5k ever last week too! Take that hip flexor injury!

Thankful for CB runs. He keeps me running at an easy fun pace- with some SQUIRREL sprints mixed in. I <3 my happy runner dog.

I joined the "What's beautiful" under armor challenge. I posted my fall goal for the world to see. Follow me on my journey to complete this amazing goal.

Thankful I will be running the Chicago Spring half again this year. Will it be a PR effort? Stay tuned Saturday to find out :)

I've been running more consistently than ever before, so anything is possible!

My new "sinister bunny" Nike shirt arrived yesterday!

My first order of GU and Stinger Waffles arrived yesterday- meaning one thing: Marathon training officially begins in less than 6 weeks!!

I couldn't be more excited to run and achieve my marathon goal this year with the help and encouragement of my running Coach. :)

What are you thankful for this week?

- xaar

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My running "Must Have"

The weekly photo challenge from Mrs Mag Mile Runner.

What is your favorite running “thing”? Something that you either HAVE to have for every run or race, or something you don’t always have or use, but look forward to eating/using/wearing before, during or after a run. Maybe it completely changed your running, or is something you just really like. It can be something you wear, something you eat, something you use (in reality or digitally), etc, but it has to be a thing. 

My favorite running "thing" is my Border collie, CB. The past few weeks we've logged well over 50 miles on the lakefront (I think he needs a daily mile account to keep track). He now has his own Daily Mile  account. I love his enthusiasm- he is ALWAYS ready for a run. He trots along on the path, prances like a deer in the grass, jumps up on the higher wall portions to be closer to my height around the Shedd Aquarium, and !SQUIRREL! sprints to chase squirrels or pigeons (he knows better than to mess with the Canadian Geese).

Running with him the last few weeks has given me so much happiness that I'm constantly thinking about our next run together- i'm sure he is thinking the same.

CB is my "Favorite Running Thing." 

CB is my happy runner dog.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Race recap: 8th annual Run to Remember 5K

Time: 23:34  (My 2nd fastest 5K ever! and Fastest 5K in 2012!)
AG 12/261 (4.5%)
Women: 27/ 1271 (2.1%)
Overall: 189/ 2569 (7.3%)

I signed up for this race almost a month ago after hearing the shocking news that my cousin's husband had been shot in the line of duty up in New Hampshire. I thought it would be fitting to "dedicate" this race to Jerry. He is expected to recover fully thank God. A really nice article about him is here.

I went down to the Chicago Police academy/ Station on Thursday to pick up my race goodies. I really liked the shirt design, bib, and bag for this race.

Ive run 5 weeks consistently now and was thinking a 23:30 was in reach for this 5k. I havent been doing much speed work faster than 7:30 pace, until this past week where I was dabbling into some 7 minute mile 800's just to see if my hip would explode. I am still scared that something will trigger the awful hip flexor to breakdown again.

Saturday morning was the race, and I purposely left my house late to get to the start with about 10 minutes to spare. It was a nice 2 mile warmup to get to Soldier field, where I did some strides to get my heart rate up before getting into the start chute. Then the race announced that the start was pushed back 10 minutes! ehh, so I ran over to the portapotty, did some hip exercises, and then did some more strides to keep my heart pumping fast. Soon we were off!

It was a super foggy day in the low 50's, perfect race weather! So I wore my lulu shorts and a long sleeve tech shirt. During the race I actually felt a little warm, but I think I wore an acceptable outfit for the weather. (This is something I struggle with here in Chicago- overdressing for runs.)

My splits for the race were: 7:29, 7:32, 7:33, last .15 @ 6:51 pace. Somehow this short race managed to incorporate all of the "hills" in Chicago! First mile had a downhill, which was quickly made up for with a longer up hill to get up to lakeshore drive. Then another nice hill past the Shedd Aquarium after the Solidarity Drive tunnel- near the finish in front of Soldier Field on the path. My goal was to run around 7:30 a mile which I accomplished. I took advantage of the small downhills, and pushed up the hills.

This was part of the final up hill towards the finish. The photos were of all the Chicago Police officers who had lost their lives in the line of duty.

I feel like I ran a smart race, and really feel like I could have run a little faster. But, considering all that has happened with this injury, and my solid month of training,  I am very happy with how everything turned out. Im confident that breaking my PR of 22:18 will come soon enough.

I would recommend this race because it was well organized (considering the size 2500+ participants), the course was nice and a little challenging, and the cause is a good one- to raise money for the families of the fallen CPD officers. The post race area had loads of amenities such as muscle milk, water, Gatorade and other vendors handing out frisbees and other things. There was also a post race party at a local restaurant which I didn't attend.

I'm on cloud 9 after this race and am super excited to see where this year takes me!  I am so ecstatic to be running injury free, I'm a happy runner!

- xaar

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Today I'm thankful

For a beautiful sky that got me outside with CB for an early am run.

For a happy pup who is always willing to accompany me on runs.

For a beautiful city that makes running outside a joy.

For watching him running (with ears pinned back for aerodynamics) and enjoying time outside.

For a huge smile which has been the best start to my day. I'm a happy runner. :)

Happy Thursday!!

- xaar

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Abril en Numeros

120+ the number of miles run. Most miles in a month this year. And it felt darn good!

0- the number of races ran.

539- number of photos taken.

2- the number of Cubs games attended.

1- the number of those games they won.

5- number of times we went out to the sky deck ledge in one trip up the Willis (Sears) tower.

4- the number of marathons I had planned on running in the fall.

2* The number I still plan to complete **providing I can get into the other one.

2- the number of photos I added to my collection of "people who fall asleep across from me on public transit."

79.5 times- I've tried to come up with a new goal for the fall, and couldn't. Running block??

2 times- I realized my life would be infinitely simpler if I was CB.

2.5 days- I got to spend with my mom walking around Chicagoland.

12.7 miles walked during those days.

96- the floor in which a mediocre blueberry margarita magically becomes super delicious.

32,869 Calories consumed in 2.5 days.

4 months- the time period I've had this damn hip flexor injury.

April was a pretty good month. I'm hoping for an even better May.

- xaar