Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Week 11 of base building for races next year

Nothing new to report here- just the same old "holidays are throwing off my schedule" bullshit again. I have done some running speed sessions, and they didn't feel completely awful so there's that. I know that once the holiday food/drinking indulgence goes away, i'll be flyyyying through those intervals.

I was thinking about doing a 2015 recap, but I'm not really feeling the need to rehash the year in greater detail than this- I pr'd some 5ks and an 8k. I also ran an abysmal half marathon. The highlight(s) of my 2015 athletic year was creating the Chicago Chapter of the world famous Mikkeller Running club,  winning the inaugural Mikkeller Beer run 5k in Copenhagen, and signing up for IronMan Racine 70.3, IronMan Wisconsin 140.6 and the Carmel marathon. I also bought my sweet bike, "Mortadella" which as of today, I've ridden outside a whopping 2 times, one of which I fell over from not unclipping from the pedals successfully! Yay!

As for 2016 goals, well, there may or may not be a more detailed post about that. Currently: Finish all of the above mentioned races in one piece is #1 to me. Super exciting, I know. It's hard for me to be super jazzed about races more than 10 weeks out- even then I dont give them too much thought because it's a waste of energy.


Monday: Cycle 13 miles
Tuesday: 5 mile run- 6x400's @ 6:50 pace
Wednesday: Cycle 11 miles
Thursday: 3 mile progressive run
Friday: 4 mile run with L.
Saturday: Cycle 16 miles
Sunday: 4 mile run, 2300 y swim

Total: 57 miles for 5:43

Swim: 2300 Yards,
Bike: 40 miles
Run: 16 miles


Shots of Fireball at Northdown.
CB enjoying walks with my Daad outside.
The ride back from the pool.
Drinking a Revolution Fistmas ale in front of all the cans at the Revolution brewery, during the tour.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 10 of base building for races next year

I feel like I could just copy and paste the past few weeks thoughts here and call it a day. The holidays and darkness and cold make it difficult for me to stay with a consistent workout schedule blah blah blah. On the other hand, I also don't take myself so seriously that I completely alter my life around workouts, because life > gym time- But obviously I keep in mind my goalz while in the thick of training cycles because I don't do this shit purely for fun. (If I didn't find swim/bike/run/yoga whatever fun, I'd find something else to do to get my calorie burn on)

This week started out promising- I had sketched out 8 weeks of "pre marathon get my ass back into running shape" training aka 3 focused running workouts a week to add to the cycling and swimming replacing the unfocused garbage miles I had been doing. I was excited and anxious to start some speed work again, but as luck would have it, Tuesday morning I smashed my left knee into the bathtub hard. The same left knee in the same spot which got scraped and bruised when I fell on my bike a few weeks ago. Out of caution for potential injuries, I didn't run until the knee felt much better. I also had to back off on cycling intensity because I could not afford to create some long term issue. The Dead Sea salt bubble baths were quite delightful in place of the workouts though.


Monday: 18 mile cycle

Tuesday: REST & smashed my knee

Wednesday: 12 mile cycle, 3 mile run

Thursday: REST

Friday: REST

Saturday: 30 mile cycle

Sunday: 5 mile run (4x800's) 2000y swim

Total: 69 miles, 5:34
Swim: 2000 yards, 41
Bike: 60 miles, 3:51
Run:8 miles, 1:02


I went to the Chicago Christkindl market during work to pick up some last minute gifts.
I completed decorating for the holidays... A 20' pine garland from Trader Joes + 200 multi colored lights + 6 owls, night chicago bean, fox, and yarn dog = enough decorating.
CB got to see Fido to Go again this week. We stocked up on treats to get him through the holidays and in return he let us take photos of him all dressed up.
On Sunday we drove to Three Floyds. Enjoying their ramen + beers = happiness.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 9 of base building for races next year

Another week, more base building completed. Same old same old. The theme for this week was once again reminding myself of the big picture and not getting upset at day to day stuff. I didn't hit the duration goals I had this week for workouts, but I had a week full of fun events that usually don't happen this frequently. I know that come January I'll settle back into a nice groove with my training and eating, and that's only a few weeks away. Until then, I really just need to not get upset about sleeping in (which if I do is rare and likely needed), eating out and drinking with friends because, life.

In other news, I signed up for the Carmel Marathon. I had been thinking of doing this race as a confidence builder/ capture the unicorn BQ race before IM training begins a month later, but was on the fence because my #1 goal is getting to the start of IMWI healthy. By the end of the week I was convinced it was a good idea, and L was on board so we booked the hotel and I registered. Bonus: some good friends will also be running it. Double bonus: I can transfer to the half if I have to. As luck would have it, I went for a run a few hours after registering and it was abysmal which instantly made me regret this decision. I've since come around and am now moderately excited about it.. I'm just in a funky mood lately/hate the shortened daylight/not a fan of the holidays.


Monday: 16 cycle miles

Tuesday: 3 cycle miles, 6 mile run 

Wednesday: 10 cycle miles, 3 mile run {brick}

Thursday: 15 cycle miles, with 30 sec intervals every 4 min

Friday: 3 mile run with the pup

Saturday: 5 mile run

Sunday: REST

Total: 61 miles, for 5:13
Cycle: 44 miles, 2:52
Run: 17 miles, 2:20

Goals for the week:

Swim. The cough has been lingering. Between that and the weekends events, swimming was put on hold this past week.

Running speed work. Was on hold after the bike fall. My knee and hip were feeling off during the week and I didnt want to risk it.

Continue with bike speed work stuff.

Write out a plan for the next 8 weeks to get me to the start of marathon training/ continual IM base.


The sunrise was so beautiful for a few days last week. It made me so happy to see the vibrant colors  in the morning.
Thursday I went to the Christkindl market with Vicky. We had Gluhwein and then caught up over dinner. With the temp at almost 60 degrees, it was enjoyable to be outside in Chicago.
Friday morning I took the CB dog for a run. I had been promising him for a while and we finally made it happen. He had so much fun trotting down the lakefront.

Later on in the weekend, we were in he elevator and a small kid pointed to him and asked me what he was. I said "What do you think he is?" the kid replied " He's a dog, but looks like a cat..."

Sunday evening when we returned home we opened the door and CB wasn't waiting for us. Sometimes he will come running from the bedroom, but this time we didnt hear him at all. I started thinking the worst, or where the hell was he- so we walked into our place and I saw the bathroom door was shut, so I opened it. Out flew CB.. He managed to shut himself in the bathroom, and thankfully did not destroy the door trying to get out. I have no idea how long he was in there.
After going for drinks with friends on Saturday night, we decided to wake up early Sunday and go stand in line for the Half Acre "Big Hugs" release. It was nice outside but not so fun to be standing for a few hours while hungover and still drunk. We got loads of Big Hugs and Vanilla big hugs and went to Northdown for foods.
The Northdown burger hit the spot hard (as well as that runny egg) and we were happy to chill and drink a few beers a the bar before heading home.
I'm looking forward to another good week of workouts and life stuff. 


Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 8 of base building for races next year

This week was a lesson in patience. I started off the week with a bad cold- congestion, low grade fever and an annoying as hell cough so I did what any smart person would do and take a few rest days and pound the NyQuil/DayQuil. That regiment of rest, meds, and hot baths paid off because by day 4 I was nearly good as new. Was I frustrated I couldn't continue building my workouts, sure. But taking care of myself for the big picture was way more important. One week of greatly reduced workouts isn't going to impact the long term goals I have.

This past weekend also marked our 11th Mikkeller Running Club run! As always, a great group of folks showed up for our 3 mile run + beer afterwards. We also had a white elephant exchange which was a blast. Our next run is January 2 at Northdown. Join us & bring your friends!


Monday: REST
Tuesday: 14 miles cycle
Wednesday: REST
Thursday: REST
Friday: 16 miles cycle
Saturday: 10 miles cycle, 3.3 mile run
Sunday: 15 miles cycle

58.30 miles total, 4:08.09 total time
55 cycle miles, 3:38
 3.3 running miles, 29:17

Continue building, but with more focused workouts.

Ride outside again (if the weather is agreeable!)

Practice clipping in/out of my bike so I can avoid falling like I did on Sunday.


The first half of the week was a whole lot of nothing because of the cold, I even missed my company holiday party {sad face} but life got way more interesting as the week rolled on.

Goofing on the CTA platform on our way to MRC Chicago. I squealed with excitement when I saw the holiday train approaching, but it blew by us. Womp womp.

Sunday the weather was high 30's so I took my bike outside for its 2nd ride. Everything was smooth sailing for a while. I stopped around mile 5 to fix my gloves and continued on. Around mile 11 I decided to take a photo of the skyline from Jackson Park because it was a gorgeous day. When I stopped, I unsuccessfully tried to unclip from my pedals- my weight shifted the wrong way and I fell over in seemingly slow motion on my left side. My elbow/hip were hurting, and my knee suffered a scrape- all from a ridiculous fall!

I took my photos and rode home. The bruise on my hip is awesomely grotesque. A strange thing about this fall is my right knee and hip are hurting worse than my left side. Today I saw a bruise on the inside of my right knee where it hit the frame. Sheesh!

After cycling, we went out to enjoy the weather and the remainder of our Sunday. We started for brunch at Corridor Brewing where we enjoyed their delicious beer and food. Post brunch we found some unicorns- some bourbon county regal rye at a local store, and then went to the Goose Island taproom for a few more beers. Ending the night at Urbanbelly for some soul hugging ramen was the perfect ending to this week.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Week 7 of base building for races next year

After coming off a small cutback week, I was pumped to keep chugging along with training. I knew this week would be super chill due to a reduced work week + some fun events we had planned. But, as the week went on I started getting a dry cough which was not fun and started impeding workouts- plus I knew to back off a bit to not over do it and let myself recover properly.

Monday: 15 mile cycle
Tuesday: 6 mile run
Wednesday: 15 mile cycle
Thursday: 11 mile cycle
Friday: 15 mile cycle, 2 mile run
Saturday: 4 mile run, 2000 yard swim
Sunday: 8 mile cycle

Total: 77 miles, 6:27

Swim: 2000 yards, 41:55
Run: 12 miles, 1:33
Cycle: 64 miles, 4:12

Goals for this week:

Now that i've delayed writing this post for a few days, my only goal for this week is to get over the bad cold/sinus shit i've acquired. Saturday I attempted some running 400's and had to bail because it just felt like way too much effort for the pace. I did go swimming afterwards and noticed my endurance was shot. I couldn't go more than 150 yards at a time without coughing. So yeah, getting over this crud is #1 on my list- unless hot baths and coughing equates to PRs and 6 pack abs... *


Thanksgiving morning I made some cinnamon buns. Absolutely not from scratch, but delicious none the less.

Wednesday was "date night" and we went to Trenchermen. It was delicious as always. We finished the night at Violet Hour.

Saturday I went swimming. L told me that it would be good for my lungs. All was good for the most part unless I went over 100 yards at a time or if I inhaled some water. I only had one coughing fit due to a combo of water inhalation plus the sinus issue. *

The rest of the weekend was spent chillin. We went to some bars and randomly ran into some good people we know. I love how things like that just seem to happen here in Chicago.
*And at the time all I had was a dry intermittent cough. No fever, no real sickness otherwise I wouldn't have gone to the gym or pool because it's a dick move to go to public places like gyms when you're clearly sick. 


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Week 6 of base building for races next year

This was my first cutback week in a while, and first rest day in a long time- 21 days to be exact! I dont think i've gone that long without a rest day ever. Some of the runs and cycling during the past few weeks were super easy- like pup runs- but I am always analyzing how I feel to avoid over training and would take rest days if necessary, yada yada yada. 

I couldnt have planned a better week for a cutback than this past week. And I cant even take credit for purposely making this a cutback, it just happened all serendipity and shit. Which does remind me that I really ought to sit down and write out an outline of base training so I can be more focused and more efficient as the days grow closer to actual training. 


Monday: 7 miles cycle

Tuesday: **REST**

Wednesday: 14 miles cycle

Thursday: 5 mile run

Friday: 12 mile cycle, 3 mile run

Saturday: 14 mile cycle, 3 mile beer run

Sunday: 18 mile cycle

Total: 76 miles for 6:10 duration

Swim: goose egg

Bike: 65 miles, 4:16

Run: 11 miles, 1:33

Weights: 20 min

Goals for next week:

  • Plan out my training for at least the next 2 months. A rough sketch outline is acceptable.
  • Incorporate some cycling drills into my trainer sessions.
  • Ride the trainer since I neglected it last week.
  • Swim because I neglected it last week and didnt feel like riding my bike in a storm.
  • Continue to work on nutrition during hour + workouts. 


We went to FOBAB (Festival of wood and barrel aged beers) Friday evening and got to see the first snow fall. yay...

We had so many amazing beers that had come into contact with wood or a barrel at some point. I had 21+ beers that were all super unique and delicious which is what I enjoy most about craft beer. 
Saturday we had our South Loop Beer run! 7 of us plus CB went out in the snow and ran from bar to bar and had beer.
The snow was so pretty, until the next morning when it turned to black ice. {sad face}
We had such a fun time running in the snow and drinking beer a some of our favorite South Loop bars/breweries- like Kasey's, Vice District, First Draft and Villains.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 5 of base building for races next year

300 days until my next goal race- seems like an eternity and also not enough time. When I started this cycle or (base building for base building for this cycle) I assumed swimming and cycling would be my biggest challenges to get to the finish. After 5 weeks of base, I'm feeling much more confident in my swim abilities even after just 2 times in the pool. I took a year off from swimming after my triathlon in 2014, but pretty much picked up where I left off once I started swimming again a few weeks ago. Once I am able to get my shit together and manage my time better I'll go to the pool 2x a week. The cycling which is nearly 80% of the race is now going to take more of my focus. I have a nice trainer but have a very difficult time staying on my bike with it more than 20 min (I get so hot!)- although I almost made it 1:30 while watching the Ironman Kona broadcast on Saturday. I go back and forth about these races- from feeling really excited to seriously questioning why I decided to do this in the first place.. (a post for another day) But I always return to being pumped about the challenges ahead for me. I had a "stress" dream about the IM last night- I was all set to do a half IM and because of weather they changed the course to a Full at the last minute And instead of being upset, I was ecstatic and had a blast during the race.


Monday: 17 miles cycled

Tuesday: 6 mile run

Wednesday: AM- 5 miles cycle (Trainer) PM 4 miles cycle (trainer)

Thursday: 12 miles cycled, 2 mile run

Friday: 8 miles cycle (trainer)

Saturday: 4 mile run, 2 mile cycle (to-from the pool), 1800 yard swim, 18 mile cycle (trainer)

Sunday: 4 mile pup run

Total: 83 miles for 7:37 duration

Swim: 1800 yards, 38:00

Bike: 66 miles, 4:36

Run: 16 miles, 2:22.28 

Goals for this week:

  • Check the weather and ride outside if possible.
  • Speed workouts for running and cycling (also cycling drills). 
  • More focused swim workouts.

The owl head hat returned this past week since it was super windy and cold.

I swam for the 2nd time and felt really really good. Im sure it's because of the sweet sugar skull cap.
My view during the IM Kona broadcast. ALL THE FEELS.
Went to see Spectre with Vicky Saturday evening and had a blast!

Took the Churro dog for a 4 mile run around Northerly Island on Sunday. It was 50+ degrees and absolutely gorgeous out! I regret not taking him earlier and also fitting in a bike ride, but I know I shouldn't increase my workouts too much too fast because burnout/overtraining is no fun.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ikea Bygel Bar Cart *Hack*

When we moved into our condo a few months ago, I came up with several projects I wanted to complete to make our place more personal. The first thing on my list was to make a bar cart to hold all of our liqueur. I instantly started searching "Ikea bar cart hack" and saw some really nice before and afters with the Bygel utility cart.

The Bygel cart on the Ikea website.

I assembled the frame of the cart and took it to the park behind our place to spray paint it.
The "before"

I bought Krylon metallic copper spray paint for the frame because I knew it would go really well with the colors currently in our condo. 

Most of the bar cart "afters" I saw online only painted the frame- usually gold. I didn't like the way the white trays looked, so I researched spray paint and found the "chalk finish" Krylon cans. In my mind I thought a nice shiny copper frame coupled with matte gray-black trays would look really sharp.
I only bought one can of metallic spray paint because I wouldn't be covering much surface area. BUT, the day I went to paint it, the wind was a lot stronger than I perceived and while this first pass looked good in the bright sun, it looked uneven when I brought it back into our place. Needless to say I had to buy one more can to finish the job.

A few weeks later on a calm warmish day, L and I took the frame and trays to the alley behind our place and finished the frame plus all of the trays.

After letting the cart dry, I had to disassemble it to put the trays on it which scratched the paint a bit. I got really frustrated at this point, but made sure the cart was fully assembled before I took it out on the balcony to touch up the areas on the frame that got scratched. I decided not to use the drawer that came with the cart and I also haven't found a use for the hooks.

Total cost: $56.  Bygel Cart $29.99, Metallic Spray Paint x2: $14 total, Chalk Finish Paint: $12
The finished product! 

A few nights ago I unwrapped all of our liqueur and arranged it on the cart. 
Top shelf of the cart stocked with "Bar do Luiz" napkins (we snagged while in Brasil last time), our cocktail shaker kit, New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon, Whistle Pig Rye Whiskey, La Colombe Different Drum Rum (with coffee), Jameson Gold, and Baluarte Resposado Tequila.
Second shelf with a random assortment of beer glasses and stemless wine glasses taken from the cabinets I could reach in the kitchen.
Bottom shelf stocked with more and more Mexican spirits- Tres Geraciones Resposado Tequila, Don Julio Tequila Blanco, Alipus Mezcal, El Requerdo Mezcal, Santa Pedrada Mezcal and Brasilian Cachaca from Joao Mendes.
Im really happy with how the cart came out, and also happy that we now have a dedicated place to store our booze (as opposed to random cabinets or on the countertop). I plan to get some bitters and drinking vinegars to add to the cart and will learn how to make some simple mixed drinks.
Last night while snapping photos for this post I drank some of the New Holland Beer Barrel aged bourbon- which was just as delicious as it sounds.



Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 4 of base building for races next year

4 weeks down and many, many more to go before I actually start training for my goal races. I feel like i've gotten into a nice routine of working out lately- alternating run/cycle days while increasing the duration and intensity little by little also while throwing a brick in the mix. Working out never feels stale because I have options, which I didn't really have when solely training for running races. I find it difficult at times to wrap my head around the fact that my ultimate bucket list goal race is next September- nearly a year from now. It's great because I have a ton of time to prepare, but also exhausting because I will have been focused on this goal for such a long time, and usually I like the more instant gratification of 10 week marathon training cycles or even less for shorter distances. But, this is a great exercise in patience and going outside of my comfort zone and the lessons learned while I go through this process over the next year will be worth it when I hear the words "Charlyn, you are an Ironman" at the finish. Until then I just have to take each workout day by day and continue to stay engaged and excited at weekly milestones.


Monday: 3.12 mile run with the pup.

Tuesday: 16 miles cycled

Wednesday: 12 miles cycled, 2 mile run (brick)

Thursday: 8 mile run- including final 2 with the pup

Friday: 20 miles cycled

Saturday: 3.2 mile run with Mikkeller Run Club Chicago

Sunday: 5 miles cycled on my trainer

Total: 69.32 miles, 5:55

53 miles cycled, 16.32 miles run,

3:27:07 Cycled, 2:27:32 running


Getting to run outside with CB 2 times was awesome! He was so happy and I was super happy the weather was "warm."

Our Mikkeller running club met for our 10th run this past Saturday and it was one of our largest groups with 40+ folks. We always have a great time running and then enjoying post run beers at Northdown. Our next run will be December 5.

I was bummed not to have a longer run/cycle workout this weekend, but was happy to log almost 6 hours.

Goals for next week:

Continue to build duration of workouts and intensity. 

Do some cycling centric speedwork/exercises.

Do one running speed sesh.

Go to the pool. 'Nuff said.

CB and I had a blast running together. His enthusiasm is contagious.
I finally finished my bar cart project! I just need to stock it with booze and it will be good to go. A post about that is in the works.
Our 10th MRC run was a huge success! We meet every 1st Saturday at our clubhouse, the Northdown. Join us for our next run!
CB wasn't amused spectating the Hot Chocolate 15K when we went to get food in the morning. I think he would have rather gone running with the folks participating.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 3 of base building for races next year

I find myself swinging back and forth between feeling confident about my 2016 goals and the next day wondering what the hell have I gotten myself into. I like this juxtaposition because it is keeping me interested in what I am going after even though 2016 is super far in the distance. I get bored/burnt out easily with focused training cycles and historically have kept  my dedicated marathon training to a short and sweet 10 weeks, because 20 weeks is just too ridiculously long for me (after a good base buildup of course).  Focusing on weekly "mini" goals and trying to not think obsessively about the big far off goals is definitely helping me stay super jazzed about 2016 and not feel overwhelmed.

This past week I saw 2 quotes which really resonated with me:

"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized."-- Daniel Burnham

"I never worry, life is a journey, I just wanna enjoy the ride."-- Nikki Minaj

2016 is all about chasing dreams and making them reality.


Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5 mile run

Wednesday: 14 miles cycled

Thursday: 10 miles cycled, 2 mile run

Friday: 8 miles cycled

Saturday: 6 mile run/ "Faster than boo 10k"

Sunday: {1} 12 miles cycled
Sunday: {2} 2.2 Miles to and from pool
Sunday: {3} 1550 yards swam

Total: 60.08 miles, 5:21

46.2 miles cycled, 13 miles run, 1550 yards swam


I swam this week for the first time in over a year! I was surprised at how great I felt doing my janky free style stroke. I was able to do a few 200 yard sets and also some sets with my pull buoy and left feeling much more confident about my swim abilities. Swimming is my main limiter for triathlons and is also something that scares the crap out of me due to being in close proximity to others in races.

I ran more this week and felt really good. I didn't do any speed sessions, but just getting out there and building mileage was nice.

Goals for next week:

  • Swim 2x
  • Increase bike mileage + add a dedicated speed sesh.
  • Cycle outside if weather permits.
  • Increase running mileage + one speed sesh.

The sunrise was gorgeous this week.
L and I went to Revolution tap room for a friend's birthday party on Friday and had so much fun! The tour was really informative too.
We went to Lagunitas Taproom on Sunday and had a fab time eating and drinking- the tour was also really good.
CB has been super precious but mad at me for not taking him on runs. We will change that for next week.

I registered for my 1st "virtual race"- the "Faster than Boo 10k" because I liked the shirt. I didn't quite make it to 10K on Saturday's run, so I'll likely make it a point to run a bit more next week to make up for it.