Sunday, September 30, 2018

Chicago 10 Mile 2018 {Race Recap}

We ran the inaugural Chicago 10 mile yesterday put on by IMF Manufacturing. In June, we ran their Chicago 10k  and had a lot of fun so when we got an email to register for a decent price, we signed up. 

1:13:42***  {more on this below}
1st of 35 AG
4th woman of 202
22nd of 353 overall

We woke up around 5:30 and got ready to head to DuSable harbor for the 8am start. It was a gorgeous day- high 40’s, light wind, low dew point. Basically the racing conditions I’ve dreamt of for a while. 

The boys helped me make sure I had everything. 

We got to the race start and hung out a bit and waited for our MRC friends to show up. The atmosphere was chill as this was going to be a smaller race- less than 400 people. 

L was especially excited to run this race as redemption for the boiling hot solider field 10 in May. 

My “goals” for the race were mainly to: have fun, and keep a steady moderately hard effort. I already had run 33 miles and cycled 2:30 by Saturday morning.  My legs were tired (have been tired for a while, thanks Ironman training!) so I didn’t want to hold myself to an unrealistic pace expectation. My 10 Mile PR from the solider field 10 in 2013 was 1:17:33- avg 7:45 pace and I thought it would be nice  to beat that if possible. 

I lined up at the front. There were a few fast guys and a couple of fast women- and I thought for a second that I’d possibly have a shot at top 3 (and an award!). This field was definitely not as deep as most other Chicago races. 

Soon it was go time and I took off. First mile around 7;00. Oops. I backed off slightly to be around 7:3x 

I haven’t done any consistent speedwork the past 18 weeks- just a couple of workouts including 800’s and balls out miles with Ze on the path- so I knew 7:0x was a completely unrealistic pace to maintain. 

I was top 3 woman until around mile 3 when a girl passed me. I trailed her by about 20 seconds until Mile 6, and then she kicked it into overdrive and I just stayed at my effort. I didn’t want to over do it with 2 weeks to go until the Ironman. 

I had a lot of fun running out on the path- it was less congested than I thought it would be due to the marathon groups and cyclists. I actually found myself running by myself for most of the race. It spread out nicely. 

Or squad rolls deep. 🍻🖤

At the turnaround I thought about picking up the pace a little, but decided to stay at the effort I had set earlier- I was completely happy running 7:3x’s and getting a PR, and feeling good. 

It was awesome seeing friends from runclub and giving side fives to them on the course. 

It was also cool to hear multiple people tell me “congrats you’re in 4th and not far behind 3rd.”

Yeah-3rd place took off at some point and I never saw her again. Ha. 

I stopped to walk through water stations so I could drink water from the plastic cups. I didn’t bring a bottle like I usually do, and I was thirsty AF. 

As I was approaching the finish, I knew the course would likely be short***  I trotted into the finish, lapped my garmin (9.75 Miles)*** got my medal, grabbed a water and did what any other crazy runner would do- I  did a quick cooldown around the field to reach 10 miles. 

We stayed and spectated and cheered for all of our runners to finish. 

Everyone seemed to have a great day! L smashed his PB*** by a ton. Averaging 8:30’s!!

We decided to get tacos at Cruz Blanca post race. Easy enough, right? Just walk to the green line, then walk to tacos. We waited 7 min for the train, and then got stuck at lake/LaSalle due to bridges being up, a sick passenger, and construction. An hour later (on a trip that should have taken 25 minutes) we arrived at Cruz Blanca to find the entire block had lost power. 

They were able to pour beers while we waited for them to get their systems back up and running. 

It wasn’t long before we had food along with our drinks. 

We went to Ballast Point for more beers and had a good time talking with friends. 

*** on my 1:13:42 (avg pace 7:22) 

The first mile marker measured .9 to my garmin. And while I know the garmin is a tool, and not a be all end all, it is usually accurate enough on the lakefront due to not having many obstructions. 

Each mile came up short vs my garmin. And the gap grew by the later miles in the race where it was measuring close to .25 short. I had hoped there would be a loop or something near the end to compensate , but sadly there wasn’t. 

I crossed the finish with a smile despite it being .25ish short. I figured the recent construction on the path probably contributed to the course being short since they had to change it shortly before race day. 

So yeah. I ran a PR effort-  basically 7:33 pace for 9.75 miles. Which I’m quite happy with given that I’m fatigued and not been doing any speed work. (I’m really excited to start pushing myself again post IM Lou!)I know that averaging low 7:30’s was more plausible than low 7:20’s at my current fitness level.  

I had a lot of fun with friends and running in gorgeous weather to be too upset about the course. I’d probably do this race again next year since I like the medal and shirt design. 


Strawberry fruit bar an hour pre race
SiS berry caffeine gel at start, mile 4

What’s next?

Spectating the Chicago marathon next weekend. 

Becoming an Ironman x2 in 2 weeks at Ironman Louisville. 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Ironman Louisville Training 2018 {Week 17}

Another peak week in the books! I had planned to cycle a couple more hours, but am happy with 16 hours in the books. 

I’m still tired. I’m still emotional at the lamest things. I’m completely ready for this training cycle to end with a great day in Louisville in less than 3 weeks. I go back and forth about feeling meh about training and feeling optimistic that I’ll cut hours off the bike and run compared to IM Wisconsin. It’s difficult to compare running races to each other, but triathlons are so incredibly different. Regardless, I’m shooting for a several hour reduction in time compared to 2016. More on my race “Goalz” in a week or 2. 

Bears home opener. Was bummed it wasn’t a flyover. 


Waking up before 4am every single day. Sleeping in would be if I set the alarm for 4:30. While the sunrises are beautiful most days,  it’s difficult to exist on an average of 5.5 hours of sleep a night. Working 47 hours a week + taking care of my family means all my workouts are before work. It would be so much easier to do doubles, but I think I’d get less sleep. 

Not being able to open water swim. There were beach hazard warnings issued again this past weekend. To feel confident, I just need one or 2 times  in my wetsuit. I am good at talking myself off the ledge during races if things get rough. 

Craving food I usually don’t eat. I have been craving red meat for the past week. I usually have red meat less than 1x a month- but I’ve eaten way more than that lately. I must be lacking in iron or other nutrients/ minerals. 


Booking a distillery tour while we are in Louisville. I also booked dinner reservations at an amazing place I’ve wanted to go to since I saw the chef on Top Chef a few years ago. Friday will be a fun busy day in Louisville between checking in to the race and the tour and dinner. I’m also trying to make the weekend about something other than the race for L so he enjoys it too. 

Big coach hanging out with me while I cycled. 

Having a mid month run with my run club. A photographer from Runners World followed us around because we will be featured in an upcoming article about the Chicago area run groups before the marathon. It’s always so wonderful to see old friends and make new ones!

I swam 2000 yards and it was ok. I had to stop and adjust my goggles and ear plugs multiple times. But otherwise I felt really good. 

I love my new cap. I had to get a new one because my other one was about to rip. Couldn’t justify buying a solid color one. I wanted something ridiculous. 

Looking forward:

I’m excited for a few hour reduction in workouts this week. I’ll be aiming for around 14 hours total. I guess it’s “taper.” I don’t know what I’ll do with all of my extra “free time.!?” Ha ha ha 

I need to figure out my nutrition plan for the bike. I’m debating between using Maurten and salt or going with some SiS gels + small bites of food. Once I get to the run I’m good. I just don’t want to feel like I’ve eaten at a buffet by the time I get to the run. 
Derpy Ze. 

The potential for chilly weather is starting to freak me out a bit too. I’m worried about how cold I’ll get on the bike post swim. I also don’t want to freeze on the run. If this was just a marathon, I know exactly what I’d wear. But since the run will be at a lower effort than my “racing marathon pace” I’ll have to dress a bit warmer. I plan on wearing a short sleeve jersey for the bike- and have a wind proof (?) vest I can wear.  I’ll know better in a few more weeks, but this is the kind of crap that’s going through my head now. (I know I know- basically a waste of time currently!)

We picked a bunch of peppers from the balcony garden yesterday. So many scorpion, reapers, habanero,  biquinhos and baccatums! Most of them are being dried to be turned into powder. We are also making chili oil, and have pickled  the Biquinhos. 

This week I’m running a 10 mile race on the lakefront. I’m excited to be in a race environment even though it will be on tired legs. 

To do list:
•figure out nutrition on bike
•quit thinking about the Louisville weather for another week
•eat better/drink less this week to feel good for the 10 miler 
•continue to get as much rest as possible
•start making a “packing list” for IM race weekend
•figure out how to get a Dunkin’ Donuts ham egg cheese croissant into my bike special needs bag without it going rancid. 
•decide which beer to put in my run special needs bag
•be more positive about everything. 
•focus on giving my best effort in my workouts this week. Keep easy, easy. Push on the hard workouts. 

Less than 3 weeks to go! 😂😛💥🤔🤮😭

Monday, September 17, 2018

Ironman Louisville Training 2018 {week 16}

Gorgeous sunrise run. 

Weekly totals. I worked out 18 hours last week. 18 hours!!


I’m tired, but tired in a good way. Little things make me cry- like seeing a lady brushing her old dog at the park near my office, seeing my friends crush their races, thinking about IM Lou and my upcoming races, and getting stupid emotional post run of the mill 6 mile run. Y tho? You know you’re almost done with IM training when....

Workouts went well this week. I was shocked to see the totals on Friday- I had already worked out a lot by that point and knew I had a huge weekend ahead of me. I just put my head down, woke up early (like always) and got everything done. 

I came to the conclusion that my mood is directly linked to how (I perceive) my workouts/training is going. When I feel I’m not doing enough, I get pretty down on myself. I feel like I’m wasting my time (and my family) and my money. Like why sign up for stuff if I’m not putting in the work!? But a few “bad” weeks over 20 weeks does not make a crap race. I need to remember that. I just hold myself to a level of work ethic- I can’t half ass things. It’s not in my blood. 

Stopping to sniff the flowers and everything. I love my big dog. 

Low lights:

I’m tired. I guess if I didn’t feel tired at this point of the training cycle, something would be wrong. 

I feel like I just don’t have enough time- between working out 18 hours, working 47 hours and life, I feel stretched thin. 

Feeling extremely nauseous post swim. Typically I have only gotten nauseous post open water swim (especially if the water was not calm). I’ll attribute this to swimming while dehydrated, too much caffeine and on empty stomach. I swam post 13 miler and didn’t eat anything (typical for me as I don’t like to run while full). I should have eaten a SiS bar before I ran to the pool. Upon the rec of a trusted athlete friend, I bought some ear plugs. I’d hate to feel the way I did post swim on race day in a few weeks. 


Running with Ze a few times. He really seems to like running. He is really good at staying to the right side and not being erratic while on the path- a good quality when cyclists are zooming by at high speeds. 

A guy stopped to talk to us while we were taking pics. He said he recently lost his border collie who looked similar to Ze (we joked they all do look alike) and that seeing Ze made him happy. Ze has this effect on people. When I have time post IM, I’ll work on training him better and pursue therapy dog certification. 

Catching the sunrise while outside was also nice. While we were running literally every single person was taking photos of the sunrise one morning. Cue tears. 

I completed the virtual version of the Rapha Women’s 100k ride this weekend- and kept going to hit 100 miles on Zwift. I cycled on the trainer for 5:40! While the mileage is questionable (I’m not convinced I can go 100 at that pace) it was a solid 5 hour 40 minute effort. 

With week 1 of 3(?) of peak training in the books, I’m encouraged but also feel I’m spending a lot of time to be completely mediocre at 3 events on race day. Swimming aside*, I’ve been putting good work in on the bike and run and really hope this translates to a nice reduction in time come October 14. The Louisville course is “easier” than the crazy technical bike course and hilly run of IM Wisconsin. *re: the swim- I know I  won’t get better without a lot of coaching and time and consider that investment to not be worth it for a 10 min cut in time. 

Cuddling with my big dog while watching the replay of the Berlin marathon. He’s not usually very affectionate, but for an hour and a half he slept under a blanket on top of me. 

Looking forward:

I am excited more and more for October 14. I’m enjoying looking at restaurants and other places to see (bourbon distilleries) while in Louisville. 

I just need to lock down my nutrition plan for the bike. 

I need to figure out what to wear on the run portion. 

I’m excited for life post IM. 

27 days to go. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Ironman Louisville Training 2018 {week 15}

Weekly training totals:

Run: 46.67 miles, 6:30.33 hours
Bike: 139.37 miles, 8:25.47 hours
Swim: 2200 yards, 52.04 minutes 

Total miles: 187.31
Total time: 15:48.24


This week was better. I clocked nearly 16 hours of workouts and felt in a more positive mindset. With 5 weeks to go, and basically only 3 more big weeks of workouts, I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and no longer feel it’s a train. 

Everything is falling into place. There’s some loose ends to tie up over the next few weeks, but overall I know I’m in a much better spot than I was 2 years ago. I’ve watched the Ironman Louisville recap videos a lot this week, and they definitely helped me gain some more excitement towards this race.  Texting with friends who are also training for Louisville has also helped tremendously. 


Low lights: 

Not being able to swim in the lake. The weather created some huge waves and dangerous rip currents and a guy died after being swept into the lake on Saturday. 

I went to the pool and just as I pushed off the wall I collided with a guy crossing the lanes (Y THO!?). It elevated my heart rate too much and I couldn’t get into a good rhythm of breathing for at least 5 minutes. After that, I was a manatee gliding through the water again. 


Feeling pretty good on the bike and during my runs. Ive been pushing myself on the trainer and am seeing improvement. I doubt I’ll ride long outside again before game day- I prefer inside due to safety, and time management.  Running has been good too. I almost got to 50 miles this week- which I haven’t hit in a while. 

We saw Live and Counting Crows on Saturday. It was nice hearing Live again, and seeing CC for the first time. Last outdoor show of the year for us :(

Live, Live. 

CB dog has been good- the Horner syndrome is still present on his left side, but it’s not slowing him down at all. 

I made 3 new recipes this week! I’m now at 36/52 new recipes for 2018. A full list of the recipes I’ve made this year is {HERE}
I tracked some friends who did IM Wisconsin yesterday. It was great seeing them achieve goals that they set. 

With 34 days to go I’m making a list of the things I need to figure out before race day:

•Feel comfortable in wetsuit during OWS
•Nutrition plan for bike
•Where the nearest Dunkin Donuts is to our hotel so I can buy a ham egg cheese croissant to put in my bike special needs bag. 
•What to wear on the bike if it’s on the cooler side 
•What to wear on the run. I’ll likely change completely in T2 again. 
•Run nutrition 
•Which beer to place in my run special needs bag 

And the list goes on. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Ironman Louisville Training 2018 {week 14}

Weekly training totals:

Run: 42 miles, 5:53:22 hours
Bike: 121.65 miles, 6:40.26 hours
Swim: 0


I’m just ready to be done. I enjoy the training most of the time, but lack of sleep is catching up to me. I could finish the race today if I had to. I’d just like to move on with my life. 

When I signed up for this race last year, I had the plan to try to whack as much time as possible off the bike and run (and swim a bunch more) to see if I could be more competitive and put together a 5 year plan to qualify for Kona. I realized early on that goal was unrealistic at this time (working 47+ hours a week + taking care of our family is more important to me)  and that this race would become another “just finish” and consequently didn’t excite me all that much. I know I can finish barring any catastrophe. 

Every day, multiple times a day, I find myself day dreaming about my goals for next year- and that sucks because I’m still working on this goal. I am putting in some quality work on the bike and am seeing improvements which is encouraging- I also just completed my highest run mileage week in a while. I don’t need motivation or whatever external force to do the work, I wish I just felt more excited about it. I’m sure as race day approaches, I’ll be more into it. 

Low lights: 

I went into this week looking forward to doing my first OWS since my last IM in 2016. Rain storms prevented me from executing that. 


I did my first race on Zwift- 6 laps around the volcano and got first place in my division- I was the only woman. Ha. I pushed myself really hard during this ride and increased my FTP number more. It’s nice to see progress!

Ze has been great. I haven’t been able to take him for a run due to the heat, but we play a lot inside. 

I took the big dog to the park and he enjoyed sniffing everything. 

One of the only perks of getting up at 4am everyday...

I baked another wheat loaf. They are coming out amazing. I do need to try something else soon. 

We had our run club on Saturday- it’s always a great time interacting with everyone. Our next Mikkeller Run Club Chicago is October 6! 

We got Chinese food for the first time in a while on Sunday, and CB dog picked this fortune cookie..

It was a somewhat solid week of training- I missed a several hour ride and swimming- but I felt good to get back into training again after our trip last weekend.  

Looking forward:

Open water swim. 

Continue to push on the bike and build fitness. 

Add some intervals on the run, run with Ze if the weather is better. 

Take CB to the park again. 

40 days to go!