Bayshore Week 16: Pain in the Butt

4 weeks out from Race Week. Monday’s run (and how I felt after) gave me a little {injury} scare, but fortunately it was nothing and I was back to feeling great by Wednesday. Aaaaannnd that is about the only thing that went right this week.

While we were in Virginia last Friday, we found out that both of our dogs had the flu that was going around in Chicago. Wednesday, after I was up with Ernie while he was coughing all night, I took him to the vet again. X-rays showed he was in the early stages of pneumonia and they kept him in the hospital. He wasn’t critical, but definitely needed to be treated. I left the vet bawling my eyes out and didn’t feel much better until we heard that he finally broke his fever Thursday afternoon. I also was fighting off some kind of cold or bug all week, so the stress and lack of sleep weren’t really helping.


  • Planned: Temp0 w/3M @ 7:00 – 7:10
  • Actual: 7.75M @ 8:01 avg. w/tempo: 7:05, ?, ? 

I got up at 5 a.m. and started this in the pitch dark. The area where we were staying outside of Richmond is not great for running, so after the warm-up I did the tempo in loops around a mall frontage road. It’s boring, but well lit and it works. Two crappy things about this run: first, my left glute was still really tight for the first couple of miles. And second, there is one section along the loop that completely loses GPS signal. My watch showed those last 2 repeats were 7:14 and 7:13, but on both miles, my watch jumped from 6:50’s to 7:20+ within a few seconds and then took a few minutes to get righted and start working back down again. Womp. After the run, I rushed to get ready and then had to drive back to Virginia Beach for work.

Getting in the car shortly after the run and then sitting at a desk all day definitely didn’t do any favors for my tight glute.


  • Planned: 1:15 – 1:30 Easy
  • Actual: (Unplanned) OFF

All day Monday after the run, my glute was sore. It had progressed from *a little tightness* to, “ouch…that isn’t good.” Monday night I did what runners should never do when we feel pain and that is google “pain in the butt”. I convinced myself that I had piriformis syndrome and was going to be benched for the foreseeable future. The googling scared me enough to skip my run Tuesday. I was super bummed because I had planned a fun new route from my hotel in an area I had been wanting to check out. Needless to say I was in a very crappy mood, especially since I also woke up with a scratchy throat and some congestion.

The good news is that this was also travel day…finally time to go home after being in Virginia for a full week.


  • Planned: OFF 1:15 – 1:30 Easy
  • Actual: 10M @ 8:21 avg.

In the few days before I left for my trip to Virginia, I had started Delos Therapy (more to come in a later post!). I already had an appointment scheduled for Wednesday morning and I was praying that they could work out my glute. Collin dug around, while I tried to yoga breath and not drool all over the table. He successfully released the tightness (which he said was, in fact, NOT in my piriformis) and I felt immediate relief. He told me to try out a run later and see how it felt.

When I left my house to run in the afternoon, I was skeptical of how I would feel, but after everything with Ernie, I definitely needed a run. I didn’t know if I would even get to the end of my block before I needed to turn around, but I had to try (I was also still feeling the beginnings of a cold). I thought best case scenario the run would be in the range of 45 min…maaaaybe an hour, but I felt awesome immediately and continued to feel good mile after mile. There was no lingering tightness AT ALL. I made the in-the-moment decision to do the full 1:15 – 1:30 run that I skipped Tuesday. The miles flew by and I even ran and chatted for a little while with the guy who I had paced with at the 5k in February. These are the kind of miles runners live for…grateful, healthy and effortless.


  • Planned: Speed work w/3x1M @ 6:30-6:40 45 min Easy
  • Actual: 5.3M @ 8:32 avg.

Since I switched Tuesday and Wednesday’s workout, Coach told me to push everything back by a day and do the speedwork on Friday. It was a bright sunny day, but quite chilly for late April. Even in gloves and long sleeves I was chilled. Plus the little cold that I was fighting the few days before definitely reared it’s ugly head during this run because I just felt blah and couldn’t wait to be done.


Walter’s first walk since being sick. We took him out briefly while we picked up our lunch.



  • Planned: 45 min Easy – 1:00 Easy Speed work w/3x1M @ 6:30-6:40
  • Actual: Strength Warm-up + 7.7M, 8:01 avg. w/Repeats: 6:42, 6:35, 6:45

Oof. This was rough. I felt sluggish and crappy pretty much from the beginning. The gray, gloomy weather certainly didn’t help. Don’t be fooled by the second mile…I had a bathroom stop about halfway through that repeat and stopped my watch. The last mile was a good test of mental toughness because I thought about quitting about 15 times, but ultimately finished without stopping. 6:45 wasn’t within the goal range for the day, but I was happy I didn’t stop. Not much you can do but move on from workouts like this one.


  • Planned: 1:45 Run OFF or Easy Run
  • Actual: Yoga

In hopes to make up for the lack of strength work and possibly to sweat out some of the cold I was fighting, I went to a class late Saturday morning. I swore off the Hot Power Fusion class after the last time, but somehow I still went back. It was miserably hot, but I had towels and just tried to embrace it. Other than getting a little light headed in the very last few minutes, it actually felt really, really good and was actually just what my body needed.


  • Planned: OFF 1:45 Run
  • Actual: 12.6M, 8:21 avg.

Ugh. Another tough run. Super low energy and the wind certainly didn’t help. I kept it super easy in the early miles (8:20+), then picked it up to 8:10 – 8:15 for the middle miles, but couldn’t sustain that and the last few miles were back in the 8:20+ range again. I don’t like when I don’t finish strong so that was a bummer.


  • Run: 43.4 miles 
  • Cross Training: 0
  • Strength x 1
  • Yoga: 1 class
Posted in Chicago, Goals, Races, running, Strength Training, training, Travel, walter, Weather, weekly recap, Yoga | Leave a comment

Bayshore Week 15: Virginia

5 weeks out from Bayshore. Before I know it, I will be tapering! Coach is definitely peaking the workouts with both mileage and intensity.


  • Planned: Temp0 w/5-6M @ 6:50 – 7:10
  • Actual: 9.75M @ 7:48 avg. w/tempo: 7:08, 7:10, 7:12, 7:05, 7:04

I was excited to see this massive workout on the schedule, but also a little nervous because my legs were still feeling a little sore and fatigued from the week before. Coach gave me strict instructions to cut it short if my body was telling me “no” in any way. It was also raining (pouring at times) and windy, but I figured I would give it a shot and see how my body responded. I was pleasantly surprised when I locked into 7:10ish pace pretty easily and didn’t feel like I was working too hard. Unfortunately my stomach did not cooperate in mile 3 (hence the slowest mile) and I ended up taking two quick bathroom stops in mile 4. The further I went, the more I knew that there was definitely not a 6th tempo mile in the cards. I felt good from a cardiovascular standpoint, but my legs were just DONE. All-in-all, not a great run, but not a bad one either (minus the stops).


  • Planned: 1:00 Nice & Easy Run + Yoga
  • Actual: 7.15M, 8:24 avg.

Woke up early and ran with Walter before a busy day of work and travel. It was one of those beautiful, cool spring mornings with bright sun and zero wind. My legs were tired from Monday’s run, but loosened up after about 4 miles.

Unfortunately no time for yoga before my flight that evening.


  • Planned: 45 min Easy Run or Cross
  • Actual: Strength Warm-Up + 5.4M @ 8:19 avg.

BIG BIG BIG DAY! I could have done 45 minutes of cross training, but this was a huge day at work and I couldn’t imagine it starting with anything other than a run. I have spent the majority of the last 2.5 years working on the acquisition of a small technology/software company in Virginia Beach and we finally closed the deal on Wednesday. It was the culmination of a huge roller coaster of events and I am very, very proud and excited. Given all of that, the run itself was a bit of a blur, since my mind was filled with so many things for the day ahead.


Big Day = New Dress. (And awkward hotel room selfie)


  • Planned: Speed work w/8-10×400 @ 1:35-40 (5k pace) 
  • Actual: 7M, 8:33 avg. w/400’s: 1:40, 1:36, 1:35, 1:35, 1:35, 1:34, 1:35, 1:35, 1:34, 1:34

I lucked out and found a high school track about 1/2 a mile from my hotel. It didn’t have a rubberized surface, but is still a good spot for repeats. The workout was not necessarily a strength or speed builder, but more to keep my legs sharp. The repeats felt smooth and controlled, but re-starting after the walk breaks in between seemed to agitate my already tight left glute. I am sure all of the sitting that I was doing while in the office all week didn’t help.



  • Planned: 45 min Easy – 1:00 Easy
  • Actual: 35 min elliptical + strength

Since I ran Wednesday when I had the option to cross-train, I decided on a non-impact workout Friday instead of running 6 days in a row. Especially given the tightness in my glute the day before, I thought giving it a rest before the long run would help.


More awkward selfie-ing. This time of the hotel gym variety.


  • Planned: 2:00 Run
  • Actual: 15M @ 8:06

It was pretty warm in Richmond (65+), which felt awesome after all the cool mornings in Chicago, but I definitely wasn’t prepared from a hydration standpoint. I thought I would find water fountains around the city, but never did. I surprisingly felt pretty good until the last couple of miles when I was definitely very thirsty. It wasn’t as severe of a bonk as I anticipated once I realized there was no water to be found, but I didn’t finish nearly as strong as I would have liked. I also missed a turn earlier in the run so I ended up having to walk ~2 miles after I finished. The route gave me a solid tour of Richmond, which is a really great place to run (minus the lack of fountains!).


  • Planned: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Brad and I walked around Cary Town in Richmond, had pizza at Mellow Mushroom (!!), took a nap, saw a movie and did laundry at the hotel…the best mix of productivity and relaxation.


  • Run: 44.4 miles 
  • Cross Training: 1 x elliptical
  • Strength x 2
  • Yoga: 0 classes (sadz) 
Posted in Chicago, Goals, Races, running, Strength Training, training, Travel, walter, Weather, weekly recap, Yoga | 2 Comments

Shamrock Shuffle 8k

Yet another race report that comes waaaay after the race. But two races in one month?! That is half the number of races (including triathlons) that I did in all of 2014! Just like the Emerald Isle Mile, Shamrock Shuffle was on my calendar since early in the year. It was another chance to see how the speed is coming along and {bonus} an almost guaranteed PR since I haven’t raced the distance since 2010.

2015-04-12 10-58-43_Registration - Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle

The race snuck up on me. I came back from the UK the previous Sunday and then was trying to dig myself out of a mountain of work the remainder of the week. It wasn’t until I saw a comment from someone on Thursday that I even thought to look at the weather forecast. If I wasn’t excited about the race before, seeing a forecast of low 30’s with 25+ mph winds definitely didn’t help.

Usually as race day gets closer, the excitement and nervousness builds, but I never got butterflies. It was a mixture of several things, but primarily because I didn’t have any strong feelings about goal times or paces. It wasn’t until I got the race plan from Coach the night before that I thought…oh wow, this is going to hurt. Kevin initially wanted me to go out around 6:45 and then shoot to negative split down to sub-6:35. I have a tremendous amount of trust in Kevin, but I had several thoughts about that plan…mostly of the yeah, right variety.

Race Day

I took the train to downtown on Sunday morning and met Jenny and Chanthana at 7:30. Jenny and I did a 20ish minute warm-up while CT generously stayed with our stuff. Then we split up so CT could warm-up while Jenny and I took all of the bags to the drop off. Despite being there plenty of time, at the last minute we really rushed for time and squeezed into the corral with less than 1 minute before the cut-off. I didn’t get to do any drills and only did 2 quick strides before slipping into the corral, but at least I had ~3 miles under my belt. We found CT quickly in the corral and we huddled together trying to stay warm while we waited.

FullSizeRender (54)We were in corral B, which seemed like a good place to be at the time, but we learned later that supposedly a sub-23 5k earns you a spot in A.

Mile 1: 7:12

The masses of humans in front of me in the start was like nothing I have ever experienced. I was weaving in and out to pass people and trying hard not to make contact with shoulders and elbows. I could see Jenny just ahead of me doing the same thing and thought that if I was slightly behind her that I was probably in a pretty good place. The mile didn’t feel hard, but with all the weaving, it did feel much faster than 7:12.

Miles 2 – 4: 6:50, 6:54, 6:52

I knew I had to pick up the effort and pace significantly to get down closer to where Coach thought I should be. All the way through mile 3 was still significantly crowded. The pace felt okay, but I was just generally annoyed by all the weaving and dodging that I was doing. There was more room going into the 4th mile, but that was also where we headed straight south into the 30+ mph wind gusts. The wind felt like an invisible wall and didn’t let up until we made the left turn back toward the lake. I felt like my legs were moving in slow motion, so I was surprised to see that mile was still in the low 6:50’s.

Through the majority of these 3 miles, I kept trying to convince myself that I really wanted to run fast and make it hurt. I felt a little like my heart and body were fighting my head. In my mind, I wanted to race hard, but the willingness to push my limits and embrace the pain wasn’t there.

Mile 5 (0.97): 6:38

I tried to lay it all out in the final mile. I was passing tons of people, but it was more spread out so I wasn’t weaving quite as much. Eventually we made the turn onto {Mt} Roosevelt and I pushed up the hill with as much effort as I could.


Pain face at the top of the “hill”.

When I rounded the corner and could see the finish chute, I had a brief flashback to Chicago Marathon and how that felt as Char and I ran the same path to a PR. I picked up the turnover as much as I could and tried to leave as much as I could out on the course. I did make it hurt in that section…I felt like I was finally giving all I had on that stretch.

FullSizeRender (55)

Shamrock Shuffle 8k: 34:29, 6:57 min/mile

Shortly after I finished I spotted Jenny and we also saw Kimmie. The three of walked through the finishers area together, chatting and commiserating over a tough, cold day. Jenny and I eventually convinced ourselves to jog out another 2 miles for a cool down and to make 10 total on the day.

While I didn’t have a time goal going into the day, I thought I could have possibly broken 34 minutes. On a different day? Maybe. Given that I lost nearly 20 seconds in the first mile, I do think a sub-34 is in the cards for me. But at least it was a 2+ min PR from my 2010 time! Onward.


Posted in Chicago, friends, Goals, Race reports, Races, running, training, Weather | 5 Comments

Bayshore Week 14: Building

6 weeks out from Bayshore. And then somehow the race was 6 weeks away…how did that happen?! This was a big training week – the highest mileage since last fall. I had some really good workouts, but also some runs that were less than fun. Given the work and mileage over the previous days, I was happy to end the week on a high note with the long run.


  • Planned: Temp0 w/3-4M @ 7:00 – 7:10
  • Actual: 8.25M @ 7:39 avg. w/tempo: 7:06, 7:03, 6:59, 6:52

This is one of the best tempo runs I have had in a really long time. I went relatively early so I could finish, change and eat breakfast before my 9 a.m. meeting but it was (finally) somewhat warm so I was able to run in shorts (!). I felt like I was holding back in the 7:05-7:10 range and even felt relatively comfortable at 7:00-7:05. I felt strong in the last mile so I decided to push the pace a little, (which Coach gives me the general go ahead to do on tempos). I have hit these paces for this distance before, but I don’t remember feeling this strong before!


  • Planned: 1:15 Easy Run + Yoga
  • Actual: 9.05M @ 8:19 avg. + 1:00 Hot Power Fusion Yoga

I woke up with a little bit of a scratchy throat and runny nose. Between that and the chilly, misty, dreary weather, I was not excited for this run. The first half didn’t feel great, but once I turned around and had the wind at my back, I felt much better and finished stronger than I started. When I got home, I chased the run with hot Nuun All Day to try to get a boost of vitamins and kick any potential illness that was coming on.


I felt much better as the day went on, which is good because it was an insanely busy work day that didn’t end until nearly 8 p.m. Needless to say I missed the evening yoga class I planned to attend so I went to an 8:15 Hot Power Fusion class (still taking advantage of my free week). It would have been exactly what I needed with the focus on balance, stretching and mobility, but it was FREAKING HOT in there. I have never taken a class in such a hot room and I really didn’t like it. I was so distracted by the heat and how much sweat was pouring off of my body that I couldn’t enjoy it. I had to take my shirt off to put under my hands in down dog so that I didn’t slide off of my mat. At the end of the class, my fingers were pruned because of the amount of sweat. I may have never sweat that much in my life.


  • Planned: OFF/Yoga
  • Actual: OFF

I had full intention of going to yoga or at least to the gym for strength work, but I sat down at my computer early in the morning and couldn’t ever get away from it. Then I had to drive down to Peoria (again) in the evening so it turned into a full rest day.


  • Planned: Strength + Speed work w/2x1M @ 6:30 – 6:40 + 4×200 “all out”
  • Actual: 7.15M @ 8:09 avg. w/repeats: 6:34, 6:30; 45, 45, 46, 42

I thought that the weather might interfere with this run since storms were predicted, but I somehow squeezed it into a dry window just after dawn. I did this around my in-law’s neighborhood and Walter joined me on the warm up and cool down. The streets are flat, but it was really windy from the south so I tried to stick mostly to east/west roads. The first repeat felt pretty hard and I questioned if I would be able to keep the pace for #2, but the second one felt much better. Super confidence booster.


  • Planned: 1:00 Very Easy Recovery
  • Actual: 6.9M @ 8:40 avg. + 1:00 Hot Power Yoga

I woke up several times in the middle of the night to the wind blowing so loud that I really thought (in my half-asleep-dream-state) that my house might blow over. When my alarm went off at 6 a.m., I was sleepy and dreading the cold and wind so I procrastinated as long as I could before I had to leave to make it back for my 8 a.m. call. The main thing that got me out the door was that I was supposed to run “slow” so I could slog along for an hour and still call it a success. But as always – slow runs never feel good to me. I felt blah the whole time and was counting down the minutes to be done.

Still taking advantage of the free week I decided to hit up an “advanced” yoga class on Friday afternoon. I promised myself if it got too hard, I would allow myself to relax in child’s pose. I also armed myself with a full towel and a hand towel, which made the heat much more tolerable. Other than how warm and crowded the room was, the class didn’t feel any harder than my normal yoga studio classes. But since it has been several weeks since I held warriors and lunges in a vinyasa class, it did make my legs sore.


  • Planned: 1:45
  • Actual: Strength warm-up + 13.1M @ 8:01 avg.

It was a beautiful day and even though, I started with arm warmers, I finished in just a tank and shorts! Walter joined for the first 5ish. I didn’t start to really settle in until after 3 miles, but once I got in a groove, I felt strong for the rest of the run. My legs didn’t have as much pep as last Saturday’s run, but I still finished with the last 7 between 7:50 – 8;00 and the last 3 sub-7:50.


  • Planned: OFF
  • Actual: 1:00 Restorative Yoga 

I have completely slacked on strength for several weeks in a row, so I really wanted to get myself to the gym and go through my full strength workout. Unfortunately I was pretty sore from yoga on Friday afternoon and possibly a little from Saturday’s run so I decided to rest and then go to the restorative yoga class in the evening. It was EXACTLY what I needed.


  • Run: 44.5 miles 
  • Cross Training: 0
  • Strength x 1
  • Yoga: 3 classes
Posted in Chicago, Goals, Races, running, Strength Training, training, Travel, walter, Weather, weekly recap, Yoga | 2 Comments

Three Things

I was looking back through some old posts recently and remembered how much I used to talk about something OTHER than just my training. I miss that. But with life’s craziness, I just can’t seem to keep up as much anymore. In an effort to not bore you all with weekly recaps, here is a smattering of other life things. I can only promise that this is completely random…not that it will be entertaining :)

  1. S’mores Pie. My mom sent me the recipe and ingrediants for this pie as part of my birthday present. I haven’t gotten around to making it until now (mostly because I didn’t want to eat the whole damn thing alone). It was sweet and gooey bliss. IMG_2498
  2. Microchip Registration. Last Friday when we were out and about with family, there was a perfect storm of events that led to Ernie getting out without his collar on. We absolutely panicked and it was a devastating 45+ minutes before we were able to track him down through a series of phone calls to our old vet, PAWS animal shelter, the RFID chip manufacturer, Chicago Anti-Cruelty society and then eventually the very, very nice man who found him. I learned an important lesson that would have saved us at least 30 minutes of panic: just because you get your pet micro-chipped, does not mean that the chip will display your information when scanned by a vet or shelter. You must register the chip and your information with the manufacturer. For ours, it is only $19.95 and can be done on-line. It is well worth the small fee if you ever lose your precious pup. 

    FullSizeRender (53)

    After his big “adventure”. He never even knew he was lost.

  3. Nottingham. When I was in the UK for work a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit some friends that live in Birmingham over the weekend before I came back. Being the uber-hosts that she is, my friend, Ebban, organized a fun group for a day trip to Nottingham (the home of Robin Hood!). This was despite the fact that she had moved into her new house less than a week prior and that her husband flew in from Iceland that morning and had to make the 3.5 hour drive from London to Nottingham to meet us at lunch. Like I said: UBER host. In addition to its storied history, Nottingham is a really cute little town and is also home to Ye Oldest Pub in England. (Thumbs down on the food, thumbs up on the beer and not sure how to feel about the legend of it being haunted). It was a really fun day!

    With Robin Hood himself.


    With Ebban in the center of the town square.


Posted in Ernie, family, life | 4 Comments

Bayshore Week 13: Early Mornings

7 weeks out from Bayshore. Lucky week 13! I came into this week a little stiff from a hard effort on Sunday. But because I didn’t end up running that much faster than my normal tempo workouts, we treated it like a long tempo instead of a race with full recovery. There was a ton going on this week, so almost every run was started in the dark or just as the sun was coming up.


  • Planned: 45 min – 1:00 Easy
  • Actual: 6.95M @ 8:22 avg.

I was really tight in the beginning. Partially from Sunday, but also because it was chilly and I didn’t have all the right gear with me. We drove down to Peoria Sunday night for a meeting I had Monday and since the weather was supposed to be warmer, I didn’t bring gloves, etc. Eventually I warmed up and everything loosened up quite nicely. It’s great to be able to do loops and easily drop Walter back at the house when he is tired instead of having to trek back on city streets from the lakefront.


  • Planned: 45 min – 1:00 Easy
  • Actual: 7.15M @ 8:25 avg.

I had a 7 a.m. call so if I wanted to run before morning plans followed by the drive back to Chicago, I had to wake-up really early. I set an alarm for 5:30 but my phone died in the night and it didn’t go off. By some miracle I woke up at 5:39 and was able to get out the door for an hour run and be back 3 min before my call started. WIN. Walter seemed a little sluggish to start (it seems he runs slower in the dark?) so I took off his leash and let him trail me at his own pace. My in-laws neighborhood is small and low traffic, early in the morning. He did AWESOME and stayed right on my hip or just back from me the entire time.


  • Planned: OFF/Yoga
  • Actual: OFF

My body was ready for a day off. I would have loved to squeeze in yoga, but with Brad home, making dinner and hanging with him was more important than an evening yoga class. We did get in two good walks with the dogs since it was an amazing 65+ degree day!


  • Planned: Speed work w/2×1000 @ 4:05
  • Actual: 6.5M @ 8:08 avg. w/repeats: 4:00, 4:00

It rained all morning so I focused on work and planned to get outside once it was dry and sunny. I was rewarded with ALL the vitamin D when I finally ran around 5:30. I also got to go in a tank top and shorts! I did the repeats at the track, which was nice but there was a soccer game on the infield, a junior high track practice and lots of loitering teenagers. I managed to not have any collisions, but dodging people was more annoying that I would like for fast 1000’s. I don’t think I would have hung around if I had more than 2 repeats.


  • Planned: (Optional) 45 min – 1:00 Easy
  • Actual: Strength warm-up + 7.25M @ 8:19 avg.

Good Friday is a holiday for my company, but with family in town, I got up really early to get in strength and my run before a full day of plans. The last thing I wanted to do at 6:30 in the morning on a vacation day was strength work, but since I skipped it all week, I knew I needed it. I felt pretty good on the run, but my left glute was really tight, so I spent lots of time during the day stretching and rolling it out on the TP Therapy ball.


We also did a ton of walking with the kids throughout the day…but obviously I let them do all the hard work.


  • Planned: 1:30
  • Actual: strength warm-up + 11.2M @ 8:03 avg.

I woke up really early again since we had plans for breakfast and the zoo before everyone headed home. I finished the strength work and was running with Walter by 6:15. Walter was a little tired so I took him back after 3ish miles, then finished up. The overall average doesn’t show it, but the last 7 miles of my run were (accidentally) almost a perfect progression: 7:58, 8:01, 7:55, 7:52, 7:50, 7:49, 7:47. It was one of those days where everything was flowing and I felt like I could have kept going for a long time at that pace.


  • Planned: OFF/Yoga
  • Actual: 1:00 Restorative Yoga

My yoga studio only had one early class on Easter Sunday and since I drank a pretty healthy amount of wine at Jenny’s on Saturday night, that definitely didn’t happen. The good news is that it forced me into getting creative to find another class. I ended up with a free week at Core Power Yoga and the Sunday night restorative class was just what I needed to round out the weekend.


  • Run: 39.1 miles 
  • Cross Training:  0
  • Strength x 2
  • Yoga: 1 class
Posted in Chicago, Goals, Races, running, Strength Training, training, Travel, walter, Weather, weekly recap, Yoga | 2 Comments

Emerald Isle Mile

Thanks to work being crazy, I am WAAAAY behind on life, so writing race recaps just hasn’t happened. BUT these are my favorite kind of posts so better late than never?!

As I have mentioned before, I am treating this spring as a time to work on speed in shorter distances and capping off the “season” with a half marathon in May. One of the races that Coach put on my schedule to test how my speed was coming along was the Emerald Isle Mile.

2015-04-02 09-41-54_Emerald Isle Mile - Running Excels

Yep…a one mile race. I have always wanted to do this so I was excited and curious to see how I could do. I have only time-trialed the mile 2 times – both on the track. The first time I ran a 6:15 and the second time, I squeaked in with a 5:59. Ultimately my goal was to go sub-6 and to hopefully beat my previous time trial.

The race was on a Sunday morning during one of the early March spring-tease weeks. It was sunny and creeping from mid-40’s up to low-50’s. Perfect weather. I met Coach and Chanthana in the West Loop to ride to the race, which was on the South Side in the Beverly neighborhood. With no traffic, we got there really quickly and had plenty of time to sit in the car and chat about all things running.

Eventually it was time to warm-up so we jogged the length of the course out and back and added some on around the neighborhood. We spent most of the time dodging the Southsiders who were already setting up their chairs for the Irish parade that would follow shortly after the race. We also noticed that there was a nice little tail-wind, but that the course definitely was not completely flat. Keep in mind, this IS Chicago, so we aren’t talking massive hills…but there was a decline in the first 400 m and a slight incline for about the last 800 m.

After some drills and strides, it was time to line up. There were about 200 people in the race, so we inched up to the very front and waited a few minutes while the race director and timing people fixed a glitch in the timing system. Luckily it was warm-ish, because standing for an extra 10 minutes before running as fast as you can is not ideal. The anticipation was kiiiiiillling me. I knew it was going to be a painful 6ish minutes and I really just wanted to get it over with! Finally, the horn blew and we took off.

Two girls took off really quickly and because they started so fast, I felt like I wasn’t running fast enough (I didn’t wear a watch) so tried to push more. I noticed within the first 400 m that it got HARD. Which made sense when I passed the 1/2 mile point and the announcer called out 2:49…2:50. Shit! I started WAY too fast. I just tried to  keep the pace as fast as I could and hoped I could hold on.

Thankfully, as much as I was hurting, I had a distraction because shortly after the 1/2 way point, I caught one of the girls. I held back behind her for a few steps then tried my best to make a convincing pass.

I thought I had dropped her but in the last 300 m or so, she passed me back. I was hurting so bad…my lungs felt like they might explode, but I could see the finish and it seemed so close, so I pushed and passed her again.

With about 100 m to go….

Then as this picture sequence from Chanthana shows, she was catching back up…

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…And she passed me back in the last 10 meters. I felt like I was DYING…my limbs felt tingly and numb and my heart rate was maxed out. I pushed as hard as I could when she came up, but in the last couple of meters my legs were jello and I felt them buckling underneath me as I tried to give more.

We crossed right at 5:55-5:56 and official results show she just baaaarely edged me out.

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Being out-kicked is never a good feeling, but I was grateful to have the extra push. I definitely wouldn’t have had the guts to push as hard without that. (but…#crossfit)

I felt like I could collapse as I stopped running. I don’t remember the last time I pushed my body that hard. My chest felt like someone was pulling at it from every direction.

Coach and I both ended with 3rd place overall and first in our age groups. For some reason they cancelled the awards ceremony, so we headed back to the city and I hopped on a plane to the UK that evening! And I was plagued by track hack for the next 2 days!

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Overall I am happy with the time. I think if I paced it better, I probably could have run a few seconds faster, but without any experience or a time gauge, I had no idea what the pace would feel like. But I would definitely like to do it again sometime!

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