Redemption Week

7 weeks until Chicago Marathon

I came into this week feeling a little beat up, physically and mentally. I was sore from the long run the weekend before and early in the week, the summer weather hit its peak heat & humidity levels. I needed my body to shed the soreness and respond to some tough workouts so that I could regain confidence as I headed into the biggest part of training. By midweek, I was feeling much better and with the help of a little break in the heat on Thursday I had a confidence building speed workout which led into a good weekend of running.


  • Plan: Tempo Run w/5-6M @ 7:10-7:25
  • Actual: 9.75M @ 7:48 w/tempo: 7:22, 7:18, 7:14, 7:16, 7:10

I drove down to Morton on Sunday evening because I had to work in Peoria for the first couple of days of the week. It is nice to mix up the running routes a bit, but I was really nervous going into this run. It was brutally steamy at 6 a.m. and my legs were still really cranky. Fortunately the legs loosened up significantly in the first couple of miles and after I dropped Walter off, I was ready to see what they had in them. I would have LOVED to try for 6 tempo miles, but at about 2.5, I made the call to push the pace and stop at 5. I was drenched in sweat and even with two short water breaks at tempo mile 2 and 4, I could feel myself getting dehydrated. Considering tired legs and the heat, I am really happy with how it went.


  • Plan: Strength Routine + 1:15-20 Easy Run
  • Actual: 9.6M @ 8:22 

It’s crazy that 72 degrees and 86% humidity actually felt cool after the previous few days. My legs were super creaky in the first couple of miles with Walter and still felt pretty heavy even after that. At the very end, I unintentionally picked up the pace a bit (~8:00-8:10) and suddenly started to feel more like myself than I had for the entire run.

Once again forgot to get up in time for strength work. I promised myself I would do it once I got back to Chicago that evening and I just flat out forgot.


  • Plan: 1:00 Cross Training
  • Actual: 3000 yd. Swim + Strength

Morning swim in the outdoor pool in my new suit. I am liking these weekly swims, but I had to keep reminding myself that it was okay to back off and take it easy. There is no reason to kill myself in the pool right now.

Since I skipped Tuesday’s planned strength routine, I did it Wednesday afternoon.


  • Plan: Speed work w/3 x 1M @ 6:40 + 4 x 200 “all out”
  • Actual: 9.5M @ 7:54 w/repeats: 6:36, 6:37, 6:35; 200’s: 41, 40, 39, 39

Wow…what a difference 10 degrees makes. It almost felt fall-like on this run with low humidity, temps in the upper 60’s and a nice cool breeze. I ran to the track (and saw Chanthana on the way!) and even better than being all alone at the track was seeing my buddy, Lynton, there doing mile repeats as well. I felt really strong during this workout. I REALLY needed that confidence boost.


  • Plan: Strength Routine + 45 – 1:00 Easy Run
  • Actual: Strength + 7.25M @ 8:20

Finally did the full strength routine before my run for the first time in a while. It was humid, but overcast and even though my legs took a bit to warm up, I actually felt more like myself on this run than I have in a while. Walter joined me for the first 4ish then I went back out to finish up and found myself just really enjoying myself instead of worrying about my legs being tired/sore/sluggish.


  • Plan: 2:00 Run
  • Actual: 15M @ 8:14

I thought a little company on my long run might help after the last couple of weeks of tough runs. Luckily Jeff was game to run together and we met up for about 12 miles starting at 6:30. The miles flew by and I felt really good, despite it still being warm and humid. I finished much stronger than the last couple of weeks with the last 4 miles: 8:04, 7:58, 7:58, 7:53. I really needed this.


  • Plan: Short Easy Run, Cross Train or OFF
  • Actual: 4M @ 8:25

Nice, easy recovery miles with Walter. I was surprised how good I felt at the end of a big week. I also find that recovery runs on Sunday after a Saturday long run seem to make the Monday tempos feel better than a full rest day.


  • Run: 55 miles
  • Cross training: 1 Outdoor Swim
  • Strength: 1 full strength routine, 2 modified/shortened (much better!)
  • Yoga: 0. womp.
Posted in workout clothes, weekly recap, training, walter, Goals, swimming, running, Travel, Chicago, Yoga, Weather, Strength Training | Leave a comment

Summer Finally Arrived.

8 weeks until Chicago Marathon

We have been SUPER lucky with this summer’s weather in Chicago. For the most part, it has been gloriously cool with low humidity. I firmly believe that we earned it after enduring the absolutely brutal winter. BUT the warmer temps and humidity graced us this week (in Virginia & Chicago) and I definitely felt the affects in my running.


  • Plan: Tempo Run w/3-4M @ 7:05-7:15
  • Actual: 9M @ 7:50 w/tempo: 7:13, 7:16, 7:08, 7:07

I seem to default to vacation mode when I am at the lake…even though this was most definitely a work day for me. I slept in until 8:30, then after a little foam rolling, I ran around 9:15. It wasn’t crazy hot (low 70’s) but there was almost 100% humidity (it sprinkled during the run and rained the rest of the day). I picked the route for the tempo hoping to not punish myself with all uphills but not cheat by doing more downhills. The way out is much more UP and the way back is much more DOWN.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 2.30.44 PM

I had to fight hard for the first 2 miles and then my legs were shot, but I was able to use the downhills to keep the effort in check and still be in the goal range.


This is what a humid 9-mile run looks like for me. So.Much.Sweat.


  • Plan: Strength Routine + 1:00 Easy Run
  • Actual: 7.2M @ 8:23 avg.

Last run on the hills before going back to Chicago. I forgot to set my alarm to wake up early enough to do strength work and run before my flight. My legs were a bit sore/tired from Monday’s tempo so I decided I was better off scratching it than doing it when I got back to Chicago.


  • Plan: 1:00 Cross Training
  • Actual: 3200 yd Swim

I was looking forward to this all week because I have been missing outdoor swims (and also my legs were ready for a break). I had meetings in the morning so I went at lunch, which worked out perfectly because the sun was out and it was glorious. I am not sure why I was surprised that I didn’t feel strong and fast after 10 days not swimming though :P. I also find it ironic that my longest swim of the summer happened after triathlon season was over.


  • Plan: Speed work w/7×800 @ 3:15-3:20
  • Actual: 9M @ 8:03 w/800’s: 3:15, 3:16, 3:16, 3:16, 3:15, 3:16, 3:16

This was a day I am really lucky to work from home. I woke up at 6 a.m. to a complete downpour and while I normally don’t mind a rainy run, since I would be walking on the front and back end, I wasn’t all about it. {The new Lakefront track is 3 miles from my house and my warm-up was ~2.5M and cool down ~1.5M so I walked the balance.} After weather stalking all morning, I finally ran around 9:30 and it was 76* and 90% humidity. I planned to start easy on the 800’s and work my way down but the first 3-4 at 3:15-3:16 felt like cruise speed. Then as I sweat out everything I drank that morning and more, it got hard. The last 2-3 were brutal and I felt like I was running through sand.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Worked all morning then went to the Cubs game with Chanthana in the afternoon. I was almost as sweaty as some of my runs this week! After the game I had finish all the work that I didn’t do that afternoon and ended up working until after 8 p.m.


  • Plan: 2:35 Run
  • Actual: 18.25M @ 8:27

This was absolutely brutal. I started at 6 a.m. but it was already 77 degrees and 96% humidity. I know you southerners have been dealing with this all summer, but I am definitely not acclimated. I took Walter for 3 miles then set out with a water bottle and extra Nuun tabs hoping that I wouldn’t crash and burn. I split the run up into 3×6 mile segments, with the goal of 1-6: 8:20+, 7-12: 8:15+ and hoped the last 6 I could drop the pace. I was right on track through 12, but even at these conservative paces, I fell apart in the last 5 miles. From 13 on: 8:27, 8:32, 8:32, 8:38, 8:48, 9:14 (0.25). Yikes. I filled my water bottle up 4 times (2xNuun, 2xwater) and still felt so thirsty, but it got to the point where it hurt my stomach to drink any more. I was pretty disappointed and after two crappy long runs in a row, my confidence was suffering.


  • Plan: Short Easy Run or Cross Train
  • Actual: 4M @ 8:43

I was pretty sore from Saturday’s run, so this was a true recovery run. I took Walter, we made stops for water several times and just focused on getting the junk shook out. It worked because I felt much better afterward than before.


  • Run: 47.5 miles
  • Cross training: 1 Swim
  • Strength: 1 modified session (need to focus)
  • Yoga: 0 (grrr.)
Posted in Chicago, Goals, running, Strength Training, the lake, training, Travel, walter, Weather, weekly recap, Yoga | 2 Comments

Friday Fun XII

There were a couple of things that happened this week that I couldn’t let go undocumented for all of the Internet to read so here I am with my random Friday Fun!

  1. New Running Shoes! My three primary pairs of running shoes all have about 330 miles on them. While the Pure Cadence (definitely) and the Wave Sayonara (possibly) can handle more, the Saucony Fastwitch cannot. (Makes sense since they are the most minimal of the three). I was starting to feel weird, not good sensations in my ankles and achilles the last few times I wore them. I ordered a new color and half size bigger in the Fastwitch and am trying the Mizuno update in the Wave Sayonara 2. The Fastwitch will most likely be my marathon shoe.

    shoe collage

    Sayonara2 with a side of puppy feet on the left. Fastwitch on the right. 

  2. Jolyn Swimsuits. The loveliest Megan turned me on to these suits about a month ago and in anticipation of a few trips coming up, I ordered one…then another once it arrived. I will save you from a picture of me in the suits…the models on the website show them much better :) The suits are SUPER reasonable (~$50) and, in my opinion, can double as a cute suit for the beach or for training. Don’t be fooled by the strappy tie back, these things stay in place really (11)
  3. Team USA Rolldown. I may have squealed a little when this email popped up in my inbox on Tuesday afternoon.2014-08-20 17-21-13_ Team USA Chicago - Olympic Roll Down List - IBM Lotus Notes Of course, once I read it, I learned it wasn’t an actual invite to Team USA, but rather a notification that I am on the roll down list (essentially an alternate). The age up results were posted and I got 30th place…with only 7 seconds separating 27-30. Next summer I will be training for Nationals again and I’m hoping for that email saying I get to compete in Worlds just a month later.
  4. Big Milestone. There is a project at work that I have spent 2 years nurturing through major ups and downs and twists and turns. Throughout the life of the project, I have gotten the reputation as someone who only delivers bad news because things have gone sour so often. But on Monday, we officially hit a massive milestone that propels the project ahead. If all goes well (fingers crossed), we should have everything successfully concluded in October. After the two year roller coaster, needless to say I am ecstatic. 
  5. Jamaica. One of the trips that is coming up that I mentioned above is a 5-day vacation to Jamaica the first week(end) in September. Brad and I planned this trip with good friends from Greenville earlier this year and while a beach vacay would probably make WAY more sense in the frigid depths of winter, I am beyond excited to spend much needed time with a few of my favorite people. {We won’t dwell on the fact that I will likely have a 20-miler on the schedule while I am there…}
  6. Lakefront Track. A couple of months ago, I noticed there was a little oval construction happening right next to the Lakefront Path around Montrose Ave. A quick Twitter poll told me that, yes, in fact there would be a brand spanking new public track opening in a just few short months. Yesterday was my first chance to do speed work there since it opened. The rain all morning probably helped, but there wasn’t a single soul sole (pun intended) on the track other than me and the track is super nice. Being able to run to the track (~3 miles from home) instead of driving 20 min each way is a MAJOR convenience.
  7. Maxi Skirt. I will spare you from the bore of the Stitch Fix misses this month, but I had to share this one “hit” because I now own my first maxi skirt. I have always thought these looked silly on me, but this one is so soft and I love the pattern so I will be going outside of my comfort zone and rocking it until summer fades 3 (11)

That’s all my friends. I would love to hear about some of the things YOU are loving this Friday!

Posted in Chicago, Friday Fun, friends, life, Races, running, swimming, training, Travel, triathlon, workout clothes | 3 Comments

All the Easy Miles

9 weeks until Chicago Marathon

With triathlon season (sadly) coming to an end, it’s time for me to focus 100% on Chicago Marathon. I was able to bounce back with decent mileage this week, but mostly all of the easy** variety as I recovered from USAT Nationals. Without two-a-days nearly everyday, it was also time get serious about strength training again.

**When hills are involved, nothing ever really feels too easy.


  • Plan: 45 min – 1:00 Easy Run
  • Actual: 7.1M @ 8:27

Ran the first ~3 with Brad on neighborhood roads and it was really nice to have his company. My legs felt stiff and sluggish for the first couple of minutes, then loosened up really nicely. I was pleasantly surprised at how fresh I felt despite being only a couple days removed from the triathlon.


  • Plan: Strength Routine + 45 min – 1:00 Easy Run
  • Actual: Strength + 7.2M @ 8:20

Despite going to bed at a normal time, Brad and I both slept in a little longer than planned. I finally crawled out of bed around 7:30 and got started on my strength routine. It was windy, wet and cool, almost fall-like outside. My legs felt like they were barely moving, but my watch kept telling me I was running faster than “easy” pace. That’s definitely the result of a day off plus two easy days in a row.


Ernie likes to “help” me do my strength exercises…by sitting on me.


  • Plan: 45 min – 1:00 Easy Run or Cross Training
  • Actual: 7.15M @ 8:24

We flew to Virginia at 7 a.m. and I briefly entertained the idea of a 3-something wake-up call to run before the flight. Once I saw the high in Virginia was only 75, I decided that there was no reason to run at an unreasonable hour if I could do it without melting later in the day. I ended up running at 5:30 p.m. after travel and getting some work done. It was overcast and not overly humid, but my body felt sluggish. It could have been from strength work the day before or being back on hills again, but my legs didn’t really have much pep.

photo 2 (27)

Laying in the driveway post run. I miss getting to do this when I am in Chicago.


  • Plan: Strength Routine + 1:00 Progression Run
  • Actual: 7.4M @ 8:07: 8:33, 8:23, 8:17, 8:12, 8:00, 7:52, 7:44, 7.29 (0.4)

I rode with Brad to the Richmond area on Wednesday night so he wouldn’t have to drive by himself for 3 hours. Plus I thought it would be fun to run somewhere new and I can work from anywhere. We stayed well outside of Richmond and my quick research for running paths was unsuccessful, so I just ran from my hotel. There were no sidewalks and it was a really commercial area, so I ended up doing 5+ laps around a mall feeder road. So much for a fun new running experience?! A mere 13 hours after a lackluster run the night before, this one was just as sluggish. My legs seemed to like when I picked up the pace every mile, but overall I still felt a little sore and tired.

I forgot to do the strength routine before I left for the run, so I (obviously) skipped it since my legs were already pretty sore.

photo 1 (23)

On our drive back from Richmond, we stopped so Brad could hit golf balls and I stretched the legs out with a walk around the course.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Much needed rest and sleep.


  • Plan: 1:45 Run
  • Actual: 12.75 @ 8:20 

Similar to the two previous runs, this was yet another not-so-great one. Even bordering on downright shitty (although thankfully, not literally).  I managed to procrastinate until 8 a.m. and while it was miraculously cooler than a normal August day in Virginia, the sun was warming things up quickly. I just never really got into this run mentally. I was starving at mile 4 (only ate a banana before) and a long hill around mil 9.5 kind of broke me. I stopped by the house at mile 11 to get water and go to the bathroom (sure sign of dehydration for me) and it took every ounce of motivation to get started again. I usually never end long runs without rounding up the mile, but I was just happy to get to the 1:45 target on this one.

Rounded out the day at the lake with a couple of rounds of wake boarding. I knew I woudl be sore but I had to prove to myself that I could still do some of the “tricks” I learned a few years ago :)


  • Plan: Strength Routine + 1:00 Easy Run
  • Actual: Strength + 7.2M @ 8:22

Woke up with sore muscles in places that I haven’t used in a reallllly long time. I still did the strength routine, but shortened it a little and cut out the single legs squats. I wasn’t sure how the run would go, but I actually warmed up quickly and it felt pretty good to loosen up the sore muscles.


  • Run: 48.8  miles
  • Cross training: 0
  • Strength x 2
  • Yoga: 0 (Back at next week! Can’t wait!)
Posted in running, Strength Training, training, Travel, walter, Weather, weekly recap | Leave a comment

Closing out Tri Season

Prior to last weekend, I can only think of one time that I have come off of an “A” race and not fallen deep into the clutches of post-race depression (PRD).

{That was last year after the NYC Marathon, when I was injured during the training cycle, thus didn’t have as much invested in the race. Plus I had so much to look forward to with my first Boston training cycle on the horizon.}

photo 5

The most fun I have ever had running a marathon.

The PRD always hits me like a freight train around 48 hours after crossing the finish line. Then I feel like shit for about 3-4 days before I can pull myself out of the post-race haze and move on with my life. During those days, I also spend WAY too much analyzing what went well, what didn’t go well, what I would change, etc. Some of that can be productive, but when the “what didn’t go well” gets way too much attention, it is counterproductive.

So this past Monday morning, I woke up expecting to mourn the end of triathlon season and over-analyze every part of the race and the days leading up to it. But those feelings never came. While I  was a little bummed that I didn’t ride as well as I thought I could’ve and that I didn’t make Worlds in Chicago, that was overshadowed by being pumped about a 10k PR and the fact that I had a freakin’ blast racing (plus drinking and eating) in Milwaukee. I woke up Monday morning mostly just ready to focus on running and the Chicago Marathon.

chicago image

Side note: Maybe all of that also means that it wasn’t truly an “A” race? Likely.

With that being said, the last couple of days, after a run in the morning, I have found myself bored in the afternoon. Like, shouldn’t I be going for a lunchtime swim or bike ride? Somehow *just*running doesn’t seem like enough after doing two-a-days all summer. Of course this is crazy because when I was doubling up on workouts the last couple of months, I felt like a lunatic that was constantly training. But I can’t pretend that I don’t miss swimming in the cool water with the sun shining on me at lunch. And while I definitely won’t miss riding on the Lakefront on weekdays, I will definitely miss Sunday morning rides up through the North Suburbs along the lake.


My beloved Holstein Park Pool

I know this feeling will be fleeting as the colder weather sets in this fall and I would be driven to indoor pools and rides on the trainer. But somehow wrapping up the season this year seems different. While training for a marathon and a triathlon was overwhelming at times, I never got burnt out like I have in the past. It has been two years since I trained for a longer distance triathlon and I really miss it. I have had thoughts of Ironman dancing in my head for the last couple of summers and just haven’t been able to pull the trigger. The time just hasn’t seemed right. But as I close out triathlon season, knowing I won’t be spending much time on my bike or in the pool in the coming months, dreams of that sub-5:00 70.3 are dancing around in my head. And real thoughts of finding the right Ironman race and a support team (i.e. training partners and a Coach) are bubbling up again.

I still don’t know if I am ready get serious about an Ironman. There is so much that goes into training and there are some questions I need to answer first (primarily around a potential new position and/or more responsibility at work) in the coming months. But I am day dreaming about cycling and swimming, knowing that my 6 day/week running schedule and increasing mileage probably means I should stay in my running shoes and out of the saddle/pool for now.


Posted in bike, Chicago, friends, Goals, Races, running, swimming, the lake, training, triathlon, Weather | 5 Comments

USAT Nationals Round 2: Race Recap

{Race Photos still aren’t available and I really want to get this out so you get a lot of words with no pics of me suffering to break it up.}

I love this race. I love the course, the support, the other competitors, the weather and just about everything that is USAT Nationals in Milwaukee. This was a day with some big ups and a few downs, but ultimately I am extremely proud of leaving it all out there and scraping by with a new PR.

Race Eve

After a full day of pre-race shake-outs and logistics, Char and I finally checked in our hotel room in downtown Milwaukee. Around 5 we headed out of the city to bring dinner to her Grandma at her retirement center. It was a really lovely evening with lots of laughter and story telling. We were back downtown by 8:30 to do all of the final prep and sit in the recovery boots before crawling into bed at 9:30.

Race Morning

Char was lucky enough to be starting at 7:37 so she was up and out of the room by 6:15, just after we had room service bring us breakfast (expensive, but best idea ever!). This worked out well since I had some time to myself to relax and get ready before heading to transition to set-up. I made the 15 min walk to the start around 6:45 and had all of my stuff set up by 7:15. But just before leaving transition, I decided to make sure I could still get my bike off the rack with my aero bottle in place. I was racked by the brakes because that was the only way to get a wheel on the ground, but my bike was STUCK. I was so glad I checked it and ended up turning my bike around with my wheel dangling. I was nervous about the T1 disaster from last year, but I didn’t see any other option. After all of that, I was swept out of transition by officials as it was closing.

I watched Char start, exit the swim and head out on the bike before finally settling in a shady spot by the bike route to relax. I was SUPER anxious and nervous sitting around by myself but eventually Brad and Jesse got there and kept me company before it was finally time to head over to the swim area.


Looking down at Brad while prepping to go swim.

1500 m Swim – 23:04 (1:24/100 yd), 14/169 AG

About 10 minutes before my wave, we were able to jump in and warm up. I swam ~200 yds then made my way to starting corral. We were all bobbing in the water at the 2:00 countdown when the announcer pulled us out of the water for a “delay” (cue more waiting anxiety). We ended up sitting on the dock for 10-15 minutes before they let us back in for another 4 min warm up. Finally, the horn blew and we were off.

If I thought last year’s start was rough, this year was twice as bad. There was so much clawing, kicking and grabbing in those first 100-200 yards. It was so brutal, I couldn’t put my head down and when I finally did, I was sucking in mouthfuls of water. I just kept repeating to myself “stay calm, get in a groove” over and over again. I did eventually find a rhythm and was able to hold it for the majority of the swim. I was pulling hard, regulating my breathing and searching for buoys that seemed to come to me quickly. I didn’t know exactly how the course went, so I was glad for the yellow caps in front of me to follow, but I felt a lot more confident once I was able to site on the next buoy and not just follow the crowd. This was the first time in a LONG time that I was able to see girls ahead of me and catch them throughout the swim. On the way back toward the finish, I was matching stroke for stroke with a girl next to me. It was annoying because we kept running into each other and I kept sucking in more lake water.

When I finally reached the steep exit, I looked at my watch and was a little surprised to see a 23:xx on it because I felt like I had swam strong enough for a 22-something. I was still happy with the effort and how much better I felt than in recent swims.

T1 – 2:31, 25/169 AG

They changed the swim out this year (for the better) but it made for a long run to T1 (Garmin read 0.26 mi). Overall T1 was smooth and much better than last year.

24.8M Bike – 1:10:26, (21.2 mph), 45/169 AG

This was, by far, the most disappointing part of my day. I got on the bike and per usual, felt winded and my heart rate was high. I did my best to find a groove and bring things back to a steady place, but still push a heavy gear. For some reason, no matter what I did, I just could NOT find any power. I felt like I was fighting so hard for every push of the pedal and it just wasn’t clicking. I was working my ass off, but the numbers didn’t show it.

My Garmin takes splits in 5 mile intervals. My thought process:

  • 1-5: 20.5 mph – Okay…not bad. I am working really hard, for that split, but its just taking a few minutes to get warmed up. I can overcome one split below my goal.
  • 6-10: 20.7 mph – This bridge SUCKS. I am wobbling all over the road with the cross wind. Whhyyyy does it feel like there is a constant headwind? Ugh. This hurts. I am working soooo hard and yet I still can’t get over 21 mph. But, there is still time…
  • 11-15: 19.7 mph - Eff this. I suck. I am slow. Why are the flags laying straight down when I feel like I am riding into a stiff headwind? So many girls passing me. I can kiss a PR goodbye with these splits.// THEN at mile 14.5…Something clicked. Wait, what just happened? I feel better now. Get in a heavier gear. Can I get this split over 20 mph?
  • 16-20: 22.4 mph – Where has this been all day? Cadence too high…need more gears. Push. Finally have power in my legs. Keep pushing…how much time can I make up?
  • 21-24.5: 21.4 mph - Push over the bridge. Wow, my speed is staying up on this bridge incline. Where was this earlier? Fly down the bridge. Pass that girl back. Can I finish this in 1:09?

The Garmin was a little off (0.3M) so some of these splits were likely slightly faster than it read. And the last split showed 22+ until I had to slow down into the finish and dismount.

The most frustrating part was feeling like I was laying it all out there, without the results I wanted. Looking back, I took a GU around mile 10 and felt better about 10 minutes later. Maybe I just needed calories? With the late start and delay, I may not have timed it right. Or maybe the lack of putting myself in an uncomfortable place on the bike in training really did make me forget how to truly make it hurt?

T2 – 1:18, 21/169 

In and out. Super happy with this one.

6.2M Run – 43:18, (6:58 min/mile), 18/169

I ran through the exit and saw Brad, Char and Jesse cheering for me. I told them, “That didn’t go well” and ran on. Despite being disappointed in the bike, I immediately felt good on the run. I settled in, did a little body check and liked what I was feeling.


Exiting Transition. And the form has already fallen apart. Yikes.

Miles 1 – 3: 7:04, 6:50, 6:54

In mile 2 and 3, I thought, damn I feel good. I saw crazy numbers like 6:35 at one point and while I felt great, I also knew that probably wasn’t smart. I held back slightly, but didn’t want to let my watch dictate my pace too much. I ran on feel and focused on passing girls ahead of me when I could.

True to form in this race, mile 4 is the absolute hardest. All of a sudden, I felt like I hit a wall. I cursed myself a little for being “stupid” in mile 2 & 3, but tried to remind myself that “It’s supposed to hurt”. Mile 4: 7:08

In a last ditch effort to change my attitude, right before I hit the 4 mile marker I took a Gatorade chew that I had thrown in my pocket in T2. I slugged back water shortly after and within a minute, I felt like a new person. I took full advantage of the 2nd wind and picked the pace back up for the 5th mile. Mile 5: 6:54

By the start of mile 6, the 2nd wind was gone. My pace slipped to 7:15 and I was trying every mental trick to push harder. Then I thought, “What the hell. Why not?,” and took another chew and some water, figuring it was probably too late to help. But sure enough, a minute later, I got a 3rd wind (in a 10k? huh? I know.) I was able to get the pace back down some, but not under 7:00. A girl in my AG was passing me right around the 6 mile marker and I tried to hold onto her. She was too fast, but having her there helped me push it into the chute as hard as I could. Mile 6.2: 7:04, 6:37 (o.2)

ABSOLUTELY stoked with my 10k time. It is a 36 second PR, over my standalone 10k, and over a minute faster than last year at this race. The fact that I was able to troubleshoot and find a 2nd and 3rd wind when things got tough is something I am really proud of and is a good lesson learned going forward.

2014 Olympic Distance Nationals Overall Time: 2:20:39, 19/169 AG

Not quite the sub-2:20 I was looking for but still a PR by 37 seconds. I think I can easily assume 30ish extra seconds in T1 for the change in the swim exit, but that isn’t what caused me to miss my goal. It was the bike. Even riding as well as I did last year would have put me 1:30 faster and gotten me a 2:19. That is where there was the biggest question was for me going into this race and I knew it could go either way.

I am stoked with a Top 20 finish in my AG, but unfortunately since I age up next year, that doesn’t get me a Team USA slot for World’s. My time puts me at 30th in 35-39 AG. (But would have put me at top 20 in that AG last year!) Wrong age, wrong year.

I was super happy to hear that this race is coming back to Milwaukee again next year. You can bet I will be back again searching for that elusive sub-2:20.

photo 2 (26)

Not making Team USA obviously did not stop us from celebrating properly.

Posted in bike, friends, Goals, Race reports, Races, running, swimming, training, triathlon | 8 Comments

Race Week!

Race week for USAT Nationals & 10 weeks until Chicago Marathon

Taper for triathlons is always tricky. It’s hard to feel like you are really cutting back yet still get in a little time for each sport. I cut my plan WAY back from what it originally called for, knowing that I wanted to feel really fresh and ready to race on Saturday. This meant 0 bike rides all week and only 1 swim, plus my running miles.


  • Plan: Tempo Run: 2M @ 7:05 – 7:15 
  • Actual: 6.1M @ 7:53 

Slept in until 7:30, then super sweaty tempo miles on the lake front: 7:05, 7:04. My legs were still a bit sluggish from the weekend but I was happy with how they responded to a little push.

No swim or bike in the afternoon. Weird to only have one workout!


  • Plan: 45 Easy Run + 1825 Swim
  • Actual: 5.35M @ 8:24 + 1900 Swim (main set: 5×100 w/5″ RI, 7×75 VO2 Max)

Woke up early to run before an important 7 a.m. meeting. Not sure if it was because it was so early or that it was super humid but I felt pretty sluggish the whole time. Walter went with me and we both got pretty gritty from the overnight rain.

Maybe my last lunchtime outdoor swim? I felt really good once I got warmed up in the pool and didn’t want the workout to be over so soon!


  • Plan: 1:00 Easy Run w/4-5×200 + 50 min Bike w/15′ Tempo
  • Actual: 7.7M @ 8:18 

A cooler morning but also really early again since I had another 7 a.m. conference call. First 4 were with Walter and my legs felt a little fresher for most of this run. I started to feel blah toward the end which I am thinking is because I didn’t get in any calories at all before I left. For an hour run, I should probably eat a banana or at least drink some juice before I go. The 200’s at the end actually felt good and added some pep to the legs: 49, 46, 47, 45. 

Bike was at the shop getting a pre-race tune-up and new bar tape. Instead of going to the gym to spin out my legs indoors, I skipped the second workout and replaced it with a massage.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Slept in until 7:15, perched myself on my bed to work all day and rested like a champ. (Also, swapped to my race tires, cleaned my bike and packed for the race!)


  • Plan: 25 min Shake-out run + test swim + short shake-out ride
  • Actual: 2.7M @ 8:29 + 560 Swim @ 1:30/100 + ~2M Ride

Char and I went for a nice, easy shake-out with Walter on Friday morning when we got up. It was way warmer and more humid than it had been all week, but my legs felt fresh. We ate breakfast then drove to Milwaukee and went straight to the race site for a test swim. The water was warmer than anticipated and it was good to get in and get some confidence. We grabbed our packets, ate lunch then it was time to ride our bikes over to transition to drop them off. Good timing on everything.


The view from the first 2-3 miles of the run course.


  • Plan: RACE DAY
  • Actual: 2:20:39

Race Report Coming Soon!


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Early breakfast before driving back to Chicago. Then two naps and lots of couch time. Perfect recovery day.


  • Swim: 4100 yds
  • Bike: 26.8 miles
  • Run: 28.1 miles
  • Time: 6 hours 11 min.
Posted in bike, Chicago, Ernie, family, running, swimming, training, triathlon, walter, weekly recap, work travel | 1 Comment