Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Shamrock Shuffle 8k 2018 {Race Recap}

On Sunday I ran my 7th Shamrock Shuffle!

TL;DR version- I PR’d and ran a great race despite tired marathon training legs. 

We went to the expo on Saturday to get our bibs. I was shocked at how few vendors were present. I kept thinking- where’s the other room of booths? I remember when the expo was full of booths way back in 2011- I’d imagine if people only want free shit, and never buy anything, that there’s no incentive for vendors to return. 

Race Morning:

I woke up early to run 4-5 miles pre race. Boston training doesn’t stop for non goal race shuffles. I felt good, albeit a little rusty since I ran 16 miles (with a few hard miles) the day before. The 4 miles helped me feel a bit less rusty pre race. 

We walked over to the start area and took a group photo with our MRC team. We had a record 6 teams, and 27 people running for us this year!

Best run club ever!

I got to see Anne!

We made our way to the bag check area and I took off my jacket and pants and just ignored the fact it was cold and windy. I could complain incessantly about the weather- but that is mentally exhausting. I was here to run a decent effort and not let dumb stuff out of my control get in my way. 

I ran into Pete in the corral and hung out with our MRC team for a few min pre race.  I got my iPod ready and took a caffeine SiS gel 10 minutes before the start. Soon, the gun sounded and we were off. My goal was to try to break 35, so running high 6’s, low 7’s was the pace I was trying to hit. We ran together as a group for the first mile- which I clocked at 6:46. I felt fantastic.  

Eventually my MRC teammates pulled ahead and I just kept a steady effort. I was feeling good and didn’t want to push too hard since this was not my goal race - I just wanted a good, simulate the last 5 miles of the marathon, dig deep, kind of feeling. 

Photo: WolfpackChi

I got to the 5k in 20:59, beating my stale PR from 2015 by 1 second! 
I was trailing behind my MRC peeps by 20-30’ for a while and by mile 4 I decided to try to catch them- but they also sped up! The headwind on Michigan ave didn’t help me scoot faster. I never caught them- they finished 20 seconds ahead of me. 

I was ecstatic that I had just finally broken my 8k PR by 1:30 AND unofficially broke my 2015 5k PR by 1 second. On tired legs. 

We took another group photo post race and waited for everyone to finish. 

Obvs not this photo- this was from the expo. 

I had a beer in the park and then we went to Kaiser Tiger to refuel. I had one more beer there before swearing off beer until Monday afternoon of April 16. 

I feel like I executed this race perfectly. I was also incredibly encouraged to see all my hard work pay off- I wasn’t training for an 8k and at the bare minimum hoped I would run low 7’s and break 35- but I did even better by averaging 6:47 and breaking 34!  

I put the 33:42 into McMillians running calculator and it said a comparable marathon time would be 3:19. (Which I would be more than happy running in a few weeks) Had I run on fresh legs, I’m sure I could have taken 15-20 seconds a mile off of my time- which would have put me at the equivalent of a 3:10 marathon. 

It’s also crazy to think I’ve taken almost 9 minutes off of my time since I first ran this race in 2011! 


Oatmeal a few hours pre race.
SiS caffeine lemon gel 10 min pre race. 
No water or anything during the race. 

Wore long sleeve + MRC Shirt, shorts and racing flats. Temp: 33, wind 20+mph. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Boston Marathon Training 2018 {Week 15}

<b>Week 15! </b>

I received my Boston Rabbit gear and my Boston Marathon Runner’s passport!

<b>Weekly Miles

Running: 61.42 miles, 8:24.23 hours

Cycling: 0 miles, 0 hours 

Yoga/stairs: 00:21:00  </b>

<b>Total Miles for this cycle

Running: 776.02  miles, 109:31 hours

Cycling: 186.63 miles, 14:42 hours

Yoga/stairs: 04:23:00 hours </b>


This was my peak week of training which culminated with the shamrock shuffle 8k. After my disappointing half last week, I focused on getting into a good head space for the rest of the week. I was excited to test my tired legs in the Shuffle. Overall it was a solid week of workouts and I felt really good. 

I told the boys this week that they should take their complaining offline. It’s not a competition of who has the most miserable life. (Plus who wants to be around those negative people anyways!?) Like if they have an event outside but constantly complain about the weather, they will likely have a bad experience. Instead- focus on the things they are excited about and the experience will be better. The mental portion is so important for so many things, running included. I won’t tolerate their negativity!


I still felt off on Tuesday so I amended my 3x2 miles @ 6:58 to 4x1.5 miles @ 6:58. The half mile less per interval helped me feel better and more confident. 

Tuesday uniform on a Wednesday FTW


Running 10 miles outside to break in my marathon shoes! It was windy and cold AF, but my run went so well. I finished the last 6 indoors because I didn’t want to put a ton of miles on my new kicks, and I was cold. 

The waves were insane!

I Smashed not only my stale 8k PR from 2015 in the Shuffle but also my super stale 5k PR from 2015 during the race. Insane despite running 16 miles the day before and 4 miles pre race. More on this in the race recap.

Celebrating CB’s gotcha day on Sunday. 13 years ago yesterday,  I adopted him from the Greenville, SC humane society. We celebrated with Shake Shack burgers. I cannot imagine life without my big dog. 

Photo of CB with the prettier more instaworthy burger. His only was cheese and meat. 


I’m right where I need to be with 3 weeks to go until marathon Monday. My goal for the shuffle was to (bare minimum) run marathon pace 7:15’s. Ideally my goal was to break 35:00 - which I ended up breaking 34:00! This race has given me an incredible confidence boost- especially after last weeks disappointment. 

<b>Looking Forward</b>

For the next 3 weeks, I’ll be eating well- with the plan to lose 3-5lbs before race day. No more beer either. I had a few post shamrock and they hit the spot hard- but I know my success in Boston will be worth it  because of knowing I did everything possible to put myself in the best place possible. 

Warpigs Lazurite. Worthy of celebrating 2 PRs!

I’ll also start doing more yoga/meditation. Typically I only do yoga on my rest day- but I should start doing race day meditation daily. Visualization is so important for getting into a good headspace before an event. 

I’ll hopefully run outside on the weekend so I can continue breaking in my marathon shoes- I’d like to have 30-40 miles on them before Boston. 

I’m so excited. 

I’m enjoying cooking new to me recipes and am currently at 23/52 for 2018. A continually  updated list is 


<b>Days to go: 21! 🦄</b>

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Boston Marathon Training 2018 {Week 14}

Week 14!

Weekly Miles

Running: 56.16 miles, 7:50:40 hours
Cycling: 0 miles, 0 hours
Yoga/stairs: 00:26:00

Total Miles for this cycle
Running: 722.60 miles, 102:18 hours
Cycling: 186.63 miles, 14:42 hours
Yoga/stairs: 04:02:00 hours


Race week! Although it was more training as usual, race on Sunday, no legit taper. I felt off all week, including a headache on Saturday night. I cut out alcohol after my last beer Sunday evening and ate pretty good all week. My “taper” was to eliminate the tempo on Thursday and just do easy miles instead- no sense in killing my legs to kill my legs again.

The boys are good. We discussed self care this week. Mainly not sneaking off to chew a bone to escape from reality. They need to confront their realities and live in the present. Self care also means controlling their emotions- no attacking little brother and no revenge peeing. By keeping their emotions in check, everyone will be happier. Instead of thinking of the next time they can have me time, I want them to instead deal their problems head on and take care of them.


2x3 miles at 6:58 on Tuesday felt like crap. I felt overheated and like I was struggling- so I amended it to 3 miles at 6:58, 2 miles at 6:58, 1 Mile at 6:58.

Still, Tuesday uniform FTW.

The half marathon was irrationally disappointing.


Taking hot baths! It’s more of an injury prevention thing for me than omg self care- I’m not trying to escape from real life- just want my muscles to feel the benefit of hot water and salt. It works! So much better than ice baths.

Getting a 3 minute course PR at the March Madness half on Sunday! It was struggle bus almost the entire time, but I kept pushing, never gave up and clocked my 2nd fastest half on a beast of a course.


I have been feeling bummed about the half- more than I should. I don’t really understand where that feeling is coming from. I think if I had to pinpoint something- is that I did everything right- consistency is everything with performing- and despite that, still felt like garbage. It’s been a while since I felt like that in a race- and it’s jarring. I need to move on and slay these last 4 weeks of training.

Looking Forward

This week I’m running Shamrock Shuffle for the 7th time. I’ve only missed one since I moved here. Not really sure what my goal will be since I’m running 16 miles Saturday, and 3-5 pre race. If I had to write a goal down- it would be 1. Run a good effort (like sub marathon goal pace) . 2. PR. My pr is super stale and my half marathon PR pace is literally Seconds off my 8k PR pace. I haven’t “raced” this race in a while (yay spring marathon training!) so I expect that it is out of sync with my other race times. Regardless it will be fun.

I’ll likely cut out beer until Boston now. Maybe one post shamrock? I also need to watch what I eat a little more so that I can get to a better weight before Boston- shouldn’t be a problem without the beer. I just want to get to Hopkinton feeling like I did everything possible to have a good race. We are spending a lot of money for me to do this, and I don’t want to feel like I half assed it. This will be my last Boston for a while- so I hope everything aligns for a magical unicorn race.

I haven’t cooked anything out of my books in a few weeks. But I did make sweet potato pear soup (my own recipe) and egg in a jar.

Sweet Potato- pear soup with spinach sautéed with shallots and sherry

I’m enjoying cooking new to me recipes and am currently at 23/52 for 2018. A continually updated list is {HERE}

Days to go: 27! 🦄


Monday, March 19, 2018

March Madness Half 2018 {race recap}

My 2nd time running this race! It was my 2nd fastest half, and I got a 3 minute course PR!

Time: 1:39:30
AG: 8 of 66
Women: 31 of 443
Overall: 165 of 978

I went into this race thinking if I could run my marathon goal pace/be close to my PR, that would be great. I also figured that with tired legs (I ran 43 miles the days before) and the hills that I would likely be a few minutes over that time.

Race morning I had some oatmeal and a banana before we drove up to Cary, IL. The drive was as quick as 45 miles could be. Got my bib and everything super quick- the Hillstriders are A++ with organization. Then we waited for the start. I decided to wear a singlet + shorts because last year I was super hot wearing leggings and long sleeve in pretty much the same perfect conditions. Yay! For blogging and it being useful for something. (Race recaps)

I felt fairly ambivalent about this race - since it was basically a training run for me. I get a little nervous before races regardless- I’ve pinpointed that to the fear of having a code brown which luckily has never happened in a race before. I lined up near the front of the field- like 10 rows back and got my iPod and everything ready.

Without fanfare, we were off with a simple “GO.” I checked my watch and saw low 7’s and decided to go with it-the Race was downhill at this point. More on this later* I just decided to keep a steady effort when climbing hills/flat/downhill. Mile 4 is when I started feeling that the effort was too much for my pace. I’m sure the hills had something to do with this - but mentally I was f*cked. I started thinking all sorts of negative stuff- like how the hell could I possibly run a 3:10 if I can’t even hit 7:15’s right meow. I tried talking myself off the ledge- “you’re running hillz, expect the pace to be slower.”

Some miles were good others I felt like shit. I like how it’s a small low key rural race vs over stimulation like any of the big races in Chicago. But it also gives me too much to think about and not be distracted.

I played leap frog with one of the Irish Waldos and few other women for most of the race. This race reminds me of Boston not only due to the course, but because you end up running next to the same people for most of the race.

Around mile 6 I took off my gloves since I felt hot. I ended up putting them back on at mile 11.5. I tried to push the pace with 4 miles to go but I felt stuck. Everything felt like it was too much effort. After cresting “Mile 10 Hill” a Guy running near me started saying how thankful he was for being done with that huge hill and how awful it was. I echoed his comments and just hoped to be done soon so I could hop off the struggle bus.

With half a mile to go I realized I could break 1:40, so I tried to scoot as quick as I could- which felt like I was running through molasses. I saw L and was so happy to be finished.

There are some days which are extraordinary - those days when everything clicks and you feel light as a feather and it’s the best day ever! (Naperville half marathon, Carmel Marathon) then there are the ordinary days when you get it done but it’s nothing special. Then there’s the sub par terrible days. Today was one of those. It wasn’t terrible by a long shot, but it was far from ordinary. It was a big MEH with me feeling heavy and slow- nothing felt good and I just wanted to be done.

I spent too much time analyzing why I felt crappy and came to some conclusions:

What I did right:
•wore a singlet and shorts
•ran with my iPod
•race morning nutrition was ok

The look of disgust on my face cracks me up now

What wasn’t great:
•getting in my head too much during the race
•trying a new sports drink.
•no caffeine at all.
•the way I put my headphone wire around my shirt- I was messing with my right earbud the entire time because it was being pulled by the wire.
•possibly going out too fast- but after talking to my Daad, and thinking more, I doubt this was a cause- I routinely run each week- 6 miles at 6:58 , and 9 at 7:15- 3 at 7:08 shouldn’t destroy me
•shoes not being super fresh and getting close to retirement
•dehydration. I weighed myself pre race and then again post race (after eating a ton of food and drink) and only weighed 1lb more. That was concerning to me.
•the non-tangible aspect of running where despite *everything* being perfect- weather, training, nutrition, you have an off day.
•being 3lbs heavier than Naperville. I felt fat and slow.

So despite all of that I was still happy with my time. I tried some new things on Sunday to get out of my comfort zone. I used Maurten sports drink- it’s super full of carbs. I also decided to go with the 7:08’s in the beginning because it felt appropriate, and because my goal marathon time would correlate to a half with similar pace so it wasn’t so ridiculous.

2018 miles vs 2017

The last 3 miles I was clearly struggling.

Oatmeal and banana at home
Sis bar one hour pre race
500ml Maurten during the race
Singlet/shorts for high 30’s calm.

First beer in a week. And likely the last until Boston.

Lose weight.
Abandon maurten for Boston. Use SiS
Remember that while my goal is 3:10, I’d be pumped to run a PR in Boston- better than 3:28.

You learn more from failure than from success.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hustle Up The Hancock 2018 {race recap}

On February 25, I completed the Hustle up the Hancock/875!

My work sponsored a team, so I was excited to tackle this challenge (especially since it was free and for a good cause)! But in all seriousness, I was pumped for this because it forced me to incorporate stairs into my weekly mix of workouts which are great for Boston’s hillz. For the 1.5 months leading up to the race, i added stairs and extra jump squats after my speed work, tempo and long runs because those are my “hard” days. I wanted to give the stair climb a decent effort and not feel like crap.

Race morning I woke up early and ran 10 miles because that’s totally normal. I would have ran 15, but didn’t wake up early enough. Boston training doesn’t stop for Hustling up the Hancock. My coworkers thought I was nuts. I was all “it’s different muscles to run than to stair climb” lolz.

I met my team in the lower level and took our group photo before getting in line for our wave. As we inched our way towards the start, there were boards to write comments- like “i do this because” or “I participate for...” its a huge fundraiser for the respiratory health association. I wrote on the one that said “in memory of...” I wrote “my grandmother” with a heart around it. My grandmother was a lifelong smoker and suffered from lung health issues (among other things) until her death in 2002.

As the start line got closer, I took a SiS gel and continued chatting with coworkers. I decided to wear my run backpack because bag check was a block away and I didn’t feel like going over there to drop it. I packed light and wasn’t “racing.”

I wondered if the stairwells would be crowded, but realized they start participants every 8 seconds- which hopefully would space folks out enough. After discussing with our CFO that he should go first (I knew he’d fly up the stairs) I went second for our team. I got up 2 flights of stairs before I realized I hadn’t turned on my iPod. Derp. After fighting with my headphones, I was ready to roll.

One of my other coworkers flew by me around floor 4- I was convinced I would pass him a few floors later. I just decided to keep a very steady effort. No double steps, just a brisk walking pace.

Within a few floors, my heart rate was though the roof (like a 5k effort) and I just kept my head down to avoid seeing what floor I was on and subsequently doing the math to determine how many floors of the 94 I had left. I got to the first aid station and was shocked it was only floor 16.

I ended up passing 25-30 people in the stairwell. Many folks would take breaks in the landings. I just kept chugging along. The worst stretch was 30-60. It felt like the climb was taking a long time and would never end. The last 30 floors seemed to pass by super quick. Maybe I got a second wind? I never went anaerobic, but was definitely feeling the effects of climbing 94 flights. I was so happy to see the finish! I gave my coworkers a high 5 who finished before me. Our CFO had the best time on our team, a few min later was the guy that passed me early on. I had the 3rd best time on our team and was super happy with my time. We cheered in our remaining teammates before taking the freight elevator back down.

I feel like I executed the race perfectly! I felt super dehydrated later on in the day despite drinking a bunch of water. It was such a fun event and I hope I can do it again next year!

When I looked up my results I saw I was 415th overall- and (just in my last post how I don’t believe in luck, superstitions, fairies, whatever) that is significant because April 15 was my grandmothers birthday. Serendipity.


I wore my workout gloves to help avoid blisters while holding onto the railing (pro tip!)

No water during the 18 minute journey.

The stair training I did absolutely helped me feel good for this event- as well as not taking off fast.