Sunday, November 24, 2013

This week

I'm looking forward to...

2.5 days of work.

My new boots that are arriving Monday.

More impromptu play times with the CB dog since it's too cold to take him out for runs :(
Mais Portuguesa. Esta noite estou aprendendo com um copo do vinho. Está muito melhor. 
Definitely looking forward to keeping up with running a Turkey Trot again. Can't wait to run hard and feel my lungs burn and feel so alive.

And most important, can't wait for L to return from Brasil.  Gah, I am feeling so homesick for Brasil and wish I was there right now. Can't believe it's been almost a year since I was there. Feels like yesterday and a long time ago all at the same time. Eu sinto falta de voce, Brasil.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


With work being so busy the last few months, I've had some revelations about how my time is spent and how I'd rather be spending it. There are also various things that I currently do that add no value to my life and sometimes add stress.

The holiday season usually makes me feel all "meh" for various reasons. This compounded with the yearly inventory I take on my life- where I'm at, what I've done, where I want to be, usually doesn't put me in the most festive of moods during the "Holiday Season." I like being with my small family and generally avoid the anxiety inducing larger gatherings.

So for some "fall cleaning" I'll be changing some aspects of my life.

•Stop reading most blogs/twitter/FB are high on my list. What was once a source of inspiration has turned into stress triggers for a variety of reasons.*

•My blog is my journal & nothing more. While I'm thankful for the connections I've made, I'm disabling comments for a while. I love going back to read old race recaps and other posts I've written. My only target audience has been and will always be myself.**

Enough with the negative nancy stuff...

Some positive changes:

•Devote time each day to learning Portuguese. This has slipped away due to my professional time wasting skills.

•Keep chasing goals because coasting through life is a life not worth living. Whether it be athletic, personal, or professional I refuse to settle. Ever.

•Continue to relax on the "OMG running, running, running" chat. Running is a hobby, it's something I enjoy but to talk/think incessantly about it is out of balance.

•Cook more at home and make simple delicious healthy food.

•Continue to document thoughts and feelings here on the blog. But never let that get in the way of real life adventures.


And with that, I feel much better.

*Not all blogs.

**If you wanna chat, you know how to find me.

- xaar

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Naperville Marathon

Waaaay back in January I registered for this race. I did not know why at the time- perhaps it was being jet-lagged from arriving back Stateside after 9 days in Brasil or maybe the hangover from all the delicious caipirinhas I drank while there, but on January 28, I found myself signed up for a marathon nearly 10 months away. Over the next few months I registered for the Chicago Marathon and Fox Valley marathon- because I wanted at least 1 possible shot at BQ'ing and registering for the 2014 Boston Marathon. So here I was going to be running 3 marathons in a 7 week time frame. Once I realized the magnitude of what I had done, I started questioning myself. The 2 main questions were: would I even be healthy to run Naperville? And what would my race plan be?

In July Kim emailed me to ask if she should run the full or half because she was getting a sponsor entry from a friend. She then asked me what my race plan was- I said "are you saying what I think you're saying?" And it was at that point I knew that I had signed up for this race to pace and run with my BFF (I just didn't know that when I registered).

I was nervous because I didn't want to let Kim down- since I hadn't run much over the past 7 weeks. The week before the race I sent her 27 questions- like what's your pacing plan, do you want me to encourage you in the late miles or STFU, so I had a good idea of her expectations to make sure we had the best experience possible.

The day before the race I took the train out to Britt's place. Her and her husband, D were so generous to let me stay with them instead of having to drive from Chicago way too early the morning of the race. She was so kind to even drive most of the course with me and point out all the interesting features and major inclines on the course. Read: this course is by no means flat.

The morning of the race I was a ball of nerves for Kim. I so desperately wanted the race to go well for her.

While waiting in the heated field house, I ran into a bunch of friends who were running or spectating the race. They recognized my owl head hat.

Ken, Me, Britt, Erin

Soon it was time to run 26.2 miles through beautiful Naperville.

I'll let Kim tell the story about the race experience because this race was entirely about her. Go read her blog for the race report and loads of photos.


•Seeing Kim's family and Bobbi and Erin and Michelle multiple times cheering their hearts out for us.

•The horse spectating around mile 4.

•The 105 people I gave high 5's to.

•Telling Kim early on if both Britt and us were on pace there would be a slight chance to see Britt around mile 14. WE SAW BRITT and cheered for her!!!
Had either one of us been 10 seconds faster or slower we would have missed her.

•Giving Britt's husband, D a high 5 shortly after seeing Britt.

•Having Kim's dad run with us for a block around mile 23.

•Grabbing Kim's hand at mile 26 shortly before the most heinous hill ever and running up that son of a bitch with the biggest smiles on our faces.

Proof at mile 26. All smiles!

•The wave of emotion that came over both of us as soon as we crossed the finish. Kim, I'm so freaking proud of you!!!

Kim's photo post race

Thoughts on the race

This was the first year for the Naperville marathon and I have nothing but positive things to say about it. (Some of the race directors are also the race directors for Fox Valley)

•Extremely well organized

•Ample Port o Potties at the start and on the course

•Heated field house to wait in before the start when the feels like temp was 24 degrees.

•Interesting and challenging course which went through commercial, residential and forest preserves.

•Loads of enthusiastic spectators and volunteers.

The only "negatives" I had were:

•Could have used a few more aid stations. They seemed pretty spread out- had I brought my own water this would be a non issue. I also understand the logistical challenge of getting aid stations in the middle of a forest preserve.

•The forest preserve from miles 14-20 went on forever! It was desolate and hilly and sucked our energy because we thought it would never end.

I'm so happy for Kim getting a new PR and even more happy that I got to run with her and help her achieve something great.

Marathon #10 for me will always be one of my all time favorites.

Now go read Kim's race report.

- xaar

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

4 days

4 days until my 10th marathon ever, and 3rd of 2013. I'm happy this whirlwind of 3 marathons in 7 weeks will be coming to an end this Sunday. Don't get me wrong, it's been a blast training for Fox Valley, running Chicago with my L and now running Naperville this weekend with my BFF Kim. I'm just ready to move on to other goals and not have the gray cloud of 26.2 looming over my head. 
I've taken a much needed break post Fox Valley as evidened by weeks 39-present.  Mentally and physically I'm ready to start tackling new goals and building a good base for whatever 2014 has in store for me. 

I've been looking at 2014 marathons, but am trying to not get too consumed by it all. At the end of the day I love running. It's fun. My family comes first. I have some goals that I want to achieve, but my health and family life is more important. Being injury free for almost a year is making my heart and mind jump for joy with all sorts of crazy thoughts. This is the longest I've been without a significant injury. And I need to keep it that way. 
I'm viewing Naperville as a spring board towards 2014 and as a "reset" in my life. There's a lot of areas I need to work on in and now is the time to address those deficiencies so 2014 will be the best year to date. 

I'm so excited to see some of my favorite people in the world this weekend and have a blast running 26.2 miles through Naperville with a wonderful friend. 

Let the next chapter begin!*

*Hopefully full of wild achievements, amazing memories and silly vine videos. All while maintaining a healthy balance.