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.

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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. 

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    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.

2015-04-02 09-54-09_www.runningexcels.comwp-contentuploadsOverall-PDF1

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!

Posted in Chicago, friends, Goals, Race reports, Races, running, training, Travel, Weather, work travel | 4 Comments

Bayshore Week 12: Shamrock Shuffle

8 weeks out from Bayshore. Another race week! I don’t even mind cutting back mileage if it means preparing to race on the weekend. I don’t think I raced as many times all of last year as I have so far this year.


  • Planned: Tempo w/2M @ 7:00
  • Actual: 5.7M @ 7:45 w/tempo: 6:59, 6:56

Coach called this a “get on, get off” kind of workout. I warmed-up, did the tempo and then did a super short cool down. I dreaded the workout all day, even though it was short because we got 5″ of snow Sunday night to Monday morning. I thought the sidewalks to and from the lakefront would be a mess, but in reality they were pretty manageable. It was a heavy wet snow so not super slick. The warm up and cool down miles felt great, but the tempo felt harder than I thought it would. I’ll chalk it up to jet lag and move on.

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How is this March 23rd? One week after it was almost 70 degrees.


  • Planned: Yoga + Spin
  • Actual: 1:00 Hot Vinyasa Yoga + 50 min Spin

I went to yoga in the morning for the first time in exactly 2 weeks. I really like the instructor in that class. She does a great job of emphasizing form and also has a strong focus on core throughout the practice.

Despite the fact that I was already dressed to go, my motivation to go to spin was zero after a busy day of work. A few texts with Jenny and a reminder to myself of how important cross-training can be, I dragged myself to the gym. And of course, as always, I was really glad I did. I didn’t kill my legs, but an evening sweat felt really good.

  • Planned: 45 min Easy + Strength
  • Actual: 5.4M @ 8:21 avg.

I waited all day for the sun to come out and temps to warm-up. I was busy with meetings during most of that time, but I hoped that by pushing the run to after work, I would at least get some Vitamin D. No such luck. It was cool and windy, but I refused to change out of the shorts I put on that morning when I thought it was going to be almost 50 degrees. Walter had a great time on this run, but I just felt blah (and hungry) the entire time. I am looking forward to warmer temps and getting these workouts done in the morning.

I was sore from either Monday’s pre-run strength (I increased my unassisted single leg squats) or from Tuesday’s yoga class so I traded the strength work for running errands and grocery shopping that evening.


  • Planned: Speed work w/6×400 @ 1:35-1:40
  • Actual: 5.85M @ 8:06 w/400’s: 1:35, 1:36, 1:32 (oops), 1:36, 1:34, 1:35

I had some pep back in my legs! Also, I ran in the morning after my 7:00 a.m. meeting got cancelled. It was mid-30’s and a little windy, but at least the sun peaked out for a few brief moments. When it hit my face and my legs were turning over fast during a 400, I could feel myself smiling involuntarily.

I skipped any strength warm-up or workout again because my legs (and upper body) still felt sore from earlier in the week.


  • Planned: OFF/Yoga
  • Actual: 1:00 Hot Vinyasa Yoga

It is my least favorite instructor in this Friday morning class, but there is really never a bad yoga class.


  • Planned: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

We mixed up the taper with a day off completely before the race. It is weird having a Saturday with no running, but it was a super productive day of running errands and hanging with the dogs at the park.


  • Planned: Shamrock Shuffle 8k
  • Actual: 10M w/8K @ 6:57 avg.

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Race report to come….


  • Run: 27 miles 
  • Cross Training: 1 spin class
  • Strength x 1
  • Yoga: 2 classes
Posted in bike, Chicago, Goals, Races, running, Strength Training, training, Weather, weekly recap, Yoga | 2 Comments

Bayshore Week 10 & 11: Emerald Isle Mile & England

9 & 10 weeks out from Bayshore. Halfway! Life has been crazy and all consuming lately, so I got way behind on my recaps. So this is a combined recap for weeks 10 & 11.

Week 10 was a major cutback setting up for Sunday’s Emerald Isle Mile. The timing for some lower mileage couldn’t have been better and I felt good and ready going into Sunday.


  • Planned: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Since I ran 3 days in a row, ending with my long run on Sunday, this was a much needed rest day. I was also able to get into the chiropractor to work on my hips and lower back. My left hip was tight from being in the car so much last week and then I completely wiped out on ice Friday night. That led to some pretty intense tightness over the weekend so I was hoping getting adjusted would help.


  • Planned: 45 min Easy + Yoga
  • Actual: 1:00 Hot Vinyasa Yoga + 5.4M @ 8:22 avg.

I thought I would try Saturday’s plan again and hit yoga first then run in the afternoon. With the tightness in my hamstrings and left side from the fall, I thought this might help loosen things up. I started the class feeling almost as tight as Saturday, but by the end, I felt 100% better. The only problem was that I tried to tuck my chin during a wheel and got SUPER dizzy. Luckily it was at the end of class because the dizziness was overwhelming and then I got nauseated and couldn’t stop sweating. Vertigo. It has happened before and it is awful. I tried a method that my brother taught me to get rid of it. It involves laying on each side for 5 min. It definitely helped, but didn’t completely get rid of the dizziness.

I did run that afternoon, which was potentially a questionable decision. But it was absolutely beautiful and my first chance to run in SHORTS and a T-SHIRT! I ran when I had vertigo before and knew that even though I would be dizzy at first, it would mostly subside after a few minutes. It was the same this time and it turned out just fine.


  • Planned: Spin + Strength
  • Actual: Easy 40 min Stationary Bike + Grandma Hips

I woke up still feeling dizzy so I worked all morning then got some medication at lunch. It helped some, but not entirely so I took it super easy at the gym. I rode the stationary bike very easy, barely even breaking a sweat, then went through the strength routine minus the inchworms, which I didn’t think my dizzy head could take.


  • Planned: Tempo w/2M @ 7:00 + Strength
  • Actual: 6.35M @ 7:47 avg. w/tempo: 6:55, 6:54

I woke up feeling much better and took advantage of another super warm day to run in shorts. The easy workouts made my legs feel really fresh and the tempo miles felt strong. Work got crazy and I had to squeeze this in so I didn’t do the planned easy strength warm–up. My dizziness felt better after the run than I had felt all week.


  • Planned: OFF/Yoga
  • Actual: OFF

I woke up feeling absolutely terrible. I was so dizzy that everything was making me feel sick. Yoga was completely out of the question. I spent half of the morning trying to get a doctor’s appointment, which I scheduled for Saturday at 8 a.m. The rest of the day was spent trying to work between the dizzy spells. That evening, Char came into town last minute and I learned that vertigo is typically treated by PT’s. She had a friend that specializes in neuro PT walk her through the complete Epley Maneuver. It made me 100% better for the first time since Tuesday.


  • Planned: 20 min shake-out + striderz
  • Actual: 2.6M @ 8:21 avg + 6xstrides

I woke up feeling great and joined Char for the first 20 min of her solo 20-miler. It was perfect running weather and I would have loved to keep going (but not for 20 miles!). After the run I went to the doctor and he showed me how to treat myself for vertigo in the future. He also confirmed that there wasn’t something else going on causing the problem.


  • Planned: Emerald Isle Mile
  • Actual: 3M w/u + 1M @ 5:56 + 3M c/d

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Race report to come!

Week 10 Totals

  • Run: 21 miles 
  • Cross Training: 1 bike ride
  • Strength x 1
  • Yoga: 1 class (damn vertigo)

Week 11 started with an overnight flight to London and had lots of ups (literally and figuratively!). I was there for a strategy execution course at Ashridge University.

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Ashridge Campus

I also confirmed that the sleeping problems I had during my last trip to Europe in November were likely a result of not exercising, as I slept brilliantly on this trip!


  • Planned: 1:00 Easy (optional)
  • Actual: 5.5M @ 8:35 avg.

Post red-eye run in the English Countryside meant all the hills and light rain. What else would I expect? I always feel better with a run before sitting at work all day, so I was glad that coach put this optional run on the calendar. By the time I got from Heathrow to the Ashridge Campus and checked-in, I only had time for 45 min, but I was really happy to get in a run.


  • Planned: 45-1:00 Easy 
  • Actual: 7M @ 8:45 avg.

If I found the hills on Monday, I found even longer and steeper hills on Tuesday. But at least this time I didn’t find myself on any busy roads with no sidewalks. The vertigo made a brief appearance on Tuesday morning and at the start of this run. The doctor had warned me that jet lag could do this so I wasn’t too concerned. The run helped and I felt great all day in class.


  • Planned: Tempo run w/3-4M @ 7:00
  • Actual: light strength + 9M @ ~8:06 avg.

After struggling to find a good route Monday and Tuesday, I joined a classmate and one of our instructors for this run. Since I had a few minutes before our 6:45 a.m. meeting time, I did some light strength in my room before I met the guys. We did most of the route on trails (some packed dirt and some single track) and the average includes about a 1/2 mile hike up the steepest hill I have ever seen. For the most part of the run, we were in the 7:30-7:40 range on the rolling hills and we had about ~2M @ 6:50-7:00 on a slightly downhill pavement section and then another 1+M @ 7:00 on the dirt path heading back to campus. This run was an absolute freaking blast and even though I didn’t execute the run exactly as planned, it was really fun to mix it up with some trails and with fast buddies.


  • Planned: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Sleeping in felt amazing after a late night of work after class all day. Being 5 hours ahead makes the work day reaaaallly long.


  • Planned: 1:30
  • Actual: Strength warm-up + 11.75M @ 7:48 avg.

I did almost my full strength warm-up then joined my buddy Andrew from Wednesday for another trail run. We did the same route from Wednesday and then added on a flat-ish 15 min toward the end to make the total time. Chasing fast people will not only make you faster, but it will definitely boost the confidence. I would never normally attempt this pace for a “long” run, much less on rolling hills with 1500-ish ft. of elevation gain.

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Pictures don’t even do justice to the views. Also, the fog lifted right after this and we saw the very end of the solar eclipse!

After the run, I hopped on the train and headed up to Birmingham for the weekend to stay with my friends, Ebban and Phil.


  • Planned: (Optional) 50 min Easy
  • Actual: OFF

I would have liked to squeeze in this run, but we had plans to head up to Nottingham for the day and I helped Ebban out by watching one of her littles in the morning before we left. We did do a lot of walking around Robin Hood’s home so the day wasn’t entirely restful.


  • Planned: OFF
  • Actual: OFF/Travel home

Loooong travel day home. I briefly considered doing the 50 min run from Saturday once I got home Sunday evening, but I unpacked, did laundry then stayed warm and cozy on my couch instead. All I could think was that if it was a nice, warm spring day, I would have definitely run some miles instead of being lazy. Oh, spring, where are you?

Week 10 Totals

  • Run: 33.3 miles 
  • Cross Training: 0
  • Strength x 2
  • Yoga: 0
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