Searching for Fresh Legs

2 weeks until Chicago Marathon

I was so happy to be back home for this full week. I had some catching up to do on life, sleep and just general rest. In the early part of the week I was getting a little concerned that my legs still felt heavy and sluggish. Later in the week, I started to see a glimpse of freshness and then by Saturday I was feeling decent, but still thinking and over-analyzing WAY too much.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

I was unexpectedly in NYC Monday morning after flight cancellations Sunday. I started the day with an hour and $100+ Uber trip to Laguardia from Manhattan (a 6.5 mile drive). I was lucky to arrive 30 min before the flight and still make the plane, but we sat on the runway for a few hours while Air Traffic Control was still backed up in Chicago. I finally made it to O’Hare around 1:30. Exhausted. Starving. But home. Happy Monday.


  • Plan: Tempo Run w/2M @ 7:10
  • Actual: 7M @ 7:54 w/tempo: 7:08, 7:04

Sleep won out over a run before my morning meetings and I didn’t get a chance to run until around lunch time (yay for fall weather allowing this!). I felt decent and the tempo miles weren’t bad, but I was definitely still not feeling any pep in my legs from the reduced mileage.


  • Plan: 1:00 Easy + yoga
  • Actual: 7.1M @ 8:28 + yoga

I actually acknowledged my alarm when it went off to run before my morning calls. It was a beautiful morning, but a little windy. Walter went with me for 6 miles and I felt pretty sluggish for for the first 3, but a little better after that. Where’s the fresh springy feeling that taper is supposed to bring?

I went to an evening yoga class, hoping to work out some tightness. It was perfect, for the most part, but there was one sequence of holding humble warrior/extended side angle/low lunge twists that just felt like too much for where I am in taper right now. My competitive side doesn’t like to give in and go to child’s pose, but I had no choice once my legs got really shaky and weak. I probably shouldn’t even have held as long as I did.


  • Plan: Speedwork w/3×1000 @ 10k pace (4:15)
  • Actual: 7.25M @ 8:08 w/1k: 4:15, 4:15, 4:14

It was much warmer than the last few weeks of morning runs, but I didn’t mind because for me to run on the track without too long of a warm-up/cool-down, I need to walk the beginning and end of the run. My legs felt a tiny bit of spring in them in the warm-up which was a nice surprise after the previous two days’ sluggishness. The repeats didn’t feel as easy as I would like them to at 10k pace, but at least I was able to lock it in and hold it. By the time I was cooling down, my legs felt fatigued again, similar to how they felt earlier in the week.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

I originally thought I might go to yoga, but since I was still searching for some recovery and freshness in the legs, I knew I needed a complete rest day. I rested like a champ…even working all day from my bed.


  • Plan: 1:00 – 1:20 Run w/1M in the middle @ race pace
  • Actual: 8.65M @ 8:05 w/Mile 4: 7:49

I went from running in a tank top and shorts on Thursday to capris and a light jacket on Saturday. I woke up to the sound of howling wind, temp of 37* with a “feels like” temp of 28 and rumors of snow flurries. But Walter was really excited to run in the colder temps and made it a solid 7 miles. When I started, my legs felt much better than they have at the beginning of the last few runs, but as I picked up the pace a little, it just felt harder than it should have. The one mile at race pace took me a while to lock in, but once I was in the range it really didn’t feel too bad. I was definitely ready to be done when I hit the 1:10 mark.

I spent the rest of the day with Chanthana, Manny and Jenny. We brunched, saw Gone Girl then got take-out later that night. Perfect way to spend a cold, windy, rainy day.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Another day where I thought I might want to go to yoga, but in the end opted for rest. It was a super productive day though. This is what taper does to me! I got a bunch of errands run and things done around the house…including planting fall flowers in my planters.



P.S. I wish I didn’t live in a world where I have to blur out my house number for safety purposes, but alas…




  • Run: 30 miles
  • Cross training: 0
  • Strength: 0
  • Yoga: 1 class
Posted in Chicago, friends, Goals, running, training, walter, Weather, weekly recap, Yoga | 2 Comments

Travel & Cutting Back

3 weeks until Chicago Marathon

I had some business and fun travel later in the week that threw my routine off, so it was nice that I didn’t have big workouts to do while I was gone. I was able to get my workouts in, but not miss out on too much fun.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: 1:00 Yoga

I was a little worried that going to a yoga class would be a little too much on my legs after the 21+ miler the day before. But I really wanted to squeeze in at least one class during the week and with travel starting Wednesday, Monday was my best option. It ended up be exactly what I needed and my body felt infinitely better after the class than before.


  • Plan: 45 – 50 min Easy Run + yoga (or strength)
  • Actual: 6M @ 8:26 + yoga

Nice and easy run with Walter on a perfect fall morning. My legs protested strongly for the first 2 miles but once they warmed up, I felt really good. I was happy to find that there were no aches or pains lingering after Sunday’s 21-miler.

That evening I went to an “Hour of Power” yoga class. It was tough at times and it’s a little frustrating that some poses and transitions that used to be easy and natural are hard and require a focused effort. It still feels great to be back on my mat and I know my core strength and balance will come back with time.


  • Plan: Tempo w/2-3M @ 7:10
  • Actual: 7.5M @ 7:50 w/tempo miles: 7:07, 7:07, 7:04

My legs were definitely still feeling Sunday’s long run. They felt loose, but a bit fatigued so that 3 miles at tempo pace felt a little harder than it normally would. It was a beautiful morning and I was happy to be out there which always makes tough miles better. The more I reminded myself to focus on form rather than being tired and kept the effort controlled, the better I felt.

After the run I had just enough time for a quick shower and to finish packing before heading to the airport to fly to Norfolk for a quick work trip. The airport was chaotic since Terminal 1 was shut down completely because of unattended baggage. Always thankful for TSA Pre-check in those situations.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Sleeping in on a business trip is a luxury that I don’t normally get. I slept until 7, sat in a meeting room all day, then hung out in an aiport for many hours. I eventually got on my very delayed flight that night to fly to Newark, then took a bus ride into NYC. I didn’t end up getting to Sofia’s place until well after midnight.


  • Plan: Speedwork w/”light 400’s”: 5-6×400 @ 1:35 – 40
  • Actual: 6.75M @ 8:09 w/400’s: 1:38, 1:38, 1:37, 1:36, 1:36, 1:36

The whole crew (8 girls!) slept in until 7:30ish, but when one of Sofie’s friends, Heather, was trying to quietly slip out the door in her running clothes, I popped up and asked her to wait so I could join her. Heather and I ran about 2 miles together along the East River before I turned back to hit the track and she continued on toward the Williamsburg Bridge. My body was feeling the late night and my legs were probably still a bit fatigued from peak week, but I was happy with the consistency in the 400’s, even though they didn’t feel light and effortless quite yet.


We spent the remainder of the day exploring the city as a group. We walked all around SoHo (with mandatory stops at GeorgeTown Cupcakes, Alex & Ani and the cronut place). Then we hit the High Line and had lunch at Chelsea Market before half of the group left to head out to North Fork, while a few of us stayed in the city for a quick trip to Central Park and a glass of wine on the Eataly Roof Top.


All of the out of town crew with Sofie on the High Line. It was a stunning fall day.


Ashley, Heather and I with a Central Park selfie.


  • Plan: 55 min Run
  • Actual: 7M @ 9:01 (4.65 @ 9:22, 2.35 @ 8:17)

I picked up another runner friend from the group Saturday morning. Megan is trying to break 2:00 in her 2nd half marathon in 2 weeks. We ran about 4.5 together through Downtown Greenport then I dropped her at the house and went back out to finish off my mileage. It was nice to have company and someone to take in the scenery with, but unfortunately neither of us took a camera!


Most of the views were similar to the one from our house…surrounded by water and sandy beaches.

The rest of the day was spent doing a North Fork wine tour. There were 14 of us in the group and we went to 5 vineyards. You can imagine how much fun it was and how the day progressed :) From the early parts of the day…


Pre-Wine. So many women.


Unplanned matching with the Bride (left)…STRIPES.



  • Plan: 1:30 w/Fast Finish
  • Actual: 11.15M @ 8:04 w/last 3.15: 7:49, 7:39, 7:30, 7:17 (0.15)

A full day of drinking wine meant a relatively early bedtime Saturday evening. I woke up at 7:15ish Sunday feeling pretty darn good, considering the events of the previous day. I quickly changed and headed out, hoping to be back before most of the house was awake. I did more exploring of Greenport and actually felt pretty good for the majority of the miles. Three bathroom stops in the first 6 miles (thankful for an open gas station, 7-11 and porta potty) told me that my body wasn’t pleased with how I treated it Saturday, but thankfully it still gave me what I needed. The “fast finish” miles were tough and felt WAY harder than anything that so closely resembles marathon pace should. But I guess that’s just how it goes sometimes…

The weekend ended with a cancelled flight because of the Air Traffic Control mess in Chicago. As much as I wanted to be home and see Brad, I got to spend another night with Sofie in NYC and sometimes that unexpected time with a dear friend is priceless.


  • Run: 38.4 miles
  • Cross training: 0
  • Strength: 0 (oops…Saturday I should have thrown that in!)
  • Yoga: 2 classes!
Posted in Chicago, Goals, running, training, Travel, walter, weekend fun, weekly recap, work travel | 3 Comments

Friday Fun XIII

My 13th version of this post! That’s my lucky number! I guess that means I better make this one reeeaaaallly good? I’ll try.

  1. Bachelorette Fun. My very good friend Sofia is getting married on November 1st and I am currently en route from NYC–>Long Island for her bachelorette festivities. I have known Sofia for almost 9 years and she is a dear friend. We met in 2006 when her and her twin sister, Carolina, were in my training class at work. We hit it off right away and the two of them ended up playing a big part in me meeting, getting engaged to and then eventually marrying Brad. I am absolutely over the moon for Sofia and Thomas and can’t wait to spend the weekend celebrating her in the North Fork of Long Island. We are going to have a campfire on the beach, visit some wineries and maybe do a little kayaking. The weather is predicted to be perfect and I am also excited to explore a little on foot with a few runs during the trip.


    At our wedding, with Carol (on the left) and Sofie (next to me)

  2. Chicago Marathon. In two weeks and two days, I will finally be running the Chicago Marathon. My training went very well and I am ecstatic about the three HUGE workouts that I had in my final peak week of training. The next couple of weeks will be spent repairing my body by cutting back mileage and intensity, but also trying to stay sharp and bottle up some energy. I hope that I can nail the taper and then I am really looking forward to seeing if all the hard work will pay off.
  3. Stitch Fix Wins. In my last Fix, I got two items that I absolutely LOVE. First were these maroon pants that are perfect for fall.IMG_1885.JPGAnd this pink-ish dress.IMG_1887.JPG
  4. Pretty Little Liars. I know, I know I am about 4 years late on this one. Last weekend when I was laying on the couch resting up for my long run on Sunday, I decided I needed a new Netflix obsession. I scanned what was “popular” and landed on Pretty Little Liars. I hadn’t seen a single episode and didn’t even know the premise, but it sounded like perfect mindless TV to rest up for then recover from my long run. In less than a week I have now seen 25 episodes…but with 96 total over 4 seasons, I still have a LONG way to go.
  5. This recipe. Have I posted this before? It’s okay if I did because if you haven’t already made this, do it now! It is healthy, delicious, easy and filling. I cut the recipe in half and still get 3 meals (for myself) out of it. {P.S. IMO you don’t even need the extra BBQ sauce as dressing}. Also the last time I made it, I used store bought hummus instead of making my own. Because marathon training. Duh.
  6. Yoga. Repeat offender. It is always on my list of favorite things and when I get out of a routine then go back, I struggle to figure out WHY I stopped going in the first place.
  7. This Video.
    My dogs love eating the crunchy ice from our ice machine but Ernie likes for me to put it on the ground and let him pick it up himself. I think it is hilarious to watch his dramatic reaction to when I try to hand him the ice to him. (side note: can anyone tell me how to make videos a normal size on here?!)

Have a great weekend, my friends!

Posted in Chicago, Ernie, friends, life, Races, running, swimming, training, Travel, triathlon, workout clothes | 4 Comments

The Big Peak.

4 weeks until Chicago Marathon

I was so thankful to be home for this big week of training. The mileage wasn’t especially high but I had 3 key workouts that were important to really nail. To do that I needed to be hydrated, fueled and rested and it is much easier for me to control those things when I am not on the road.

Texts from Coach on Sunday before the week started OVER-emphasized the need to listen to my body. He was adamant that I didn’t go into any of the three big workouts tired and that I should push my long run to Monday if there was ANY reason I thought I wasn’t ready on Sunday. Fortunately my body handled the intensity of the workouts really well and I was able to recover and feel good going into the next one.


  • Plan: 1:00 Easy or OFF
  • Actual: 1:00 Yoga

With all the timezone madness, Coach wasn’t sure which day I had actually done my long run. Although I did it Sunday morning in Hamburg, that actually equated to Saturday night at 9:30 Chicago time. This was originally an optional run day, but when he found out I ran Sunday and not Saturday, he told me to rest.

My body was craving yoga, but none of the studios near me had a class that was convenient with my work day {and more importantly, evening plans with Jenny & Chanthana} so I fired up the Yoga Studio App on my iPad and did an hour combo session (strength, flexibility, balance) in my living room. The dogs were somewhat perplexed by this situation and Ernie kept sitting on me…giving me a little extra resistance for planks.


  • Plan: 55 min Tempo Run (7-8M) @ 7:20-30 w/optional 7:05-15 after 4M
  • Actual: 12.5M @ 7:41* w/tempo: 7:28, 7:23, 7:21, 7:18, 7:13, 7:08, 7:04, 7:04 (0.6)

This was a MASSIVE tempo workout! Luckily I woke up to perfect fall weather. Coach told me that I should feel like I was holding back in the first half and then push hard for the remainder. It’s crazy, but the 7:20-7:30 miles really did feel like I was cruising. It almost felt effortless. I definitely had to work hard for the last 3.6 when I dropped the pace, but I still felt smooth and under control the whole time. SUPER HAPPY about this workout!

*I didn’t realize until later in the week that this workout, even with the slow & easy warm-up/cool-down, put me within 11 seconds my half PR pace for 12.5 miles. That makes me want to race a half :)


  • Plan: Yoga + 50 min Cross
  • Actual: Yoga + 13M Ride @ 15.8 mph

I was super excited to get back to my yoga studio so I got up early and I registered for a 5-class pack and signed up for an 8:30 a.m. class…at the Naperville location. #moron. I didn’t even realize it until I was sitting outside the studio at 8:30 and no one ever came. Fortunately I was able to switch the pack and the class over to the Chicago location and with a rare morning of no meetings, attend a 10 a.m. class. It was everything my body needed, with a good mix of hard work and stretching (and sweat!). How has this been missing in my life for so long?

I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do for cross training. The outdoor pools are closed for the season, but it was a beautiful day and I couldn’t stand the idea of doing something inside. I decided to finally take my bike out for the first time since Nationals for a ride on the Lakefront. It was great except for the slow speed tipover at the turnaround. It’s been years since I have done that. Rookie move.


  • Plan: Strength Routine + 50 min “REAL EASY” Run
  • Actual: Strength + 6M @ 8:28

I got a text later-ish on Wednesday evening from my local car dealership saying they were having a customer appreciation week and I could bring in my car for a FREE detail. I am obsessed with having a clean car so I jumped right on that and told them I would bring it in first thing the next day. The next morning I woke up, did my strength work right away, then loaded Walter in the car and dropped it off at the dealership. Walter and I had a nice, easy run back home (with some extra distance added to get the full 50 min). What I find interesting lately is that when I try to keep the pace super easy (~8:25+), I end up feeling kind of crappy and out of sync. But when I pick it up just a little (~8:10-8:20), it feels much more natural and actually easier. Not sure at what point you go with what feels easy or stick to a pace that you know is in the easy range…


  • Plan: Choose Your Own Adventure Speed work: 10×800, 4x1M (both @ 5K pace) or 5K TT
  • Actual: 11.25M @ 8:21 w/800’s: 3:16, 3:16, 3:13, 3:15, 3:15, 3:14, 3:15, 3:16, 3:16, 3:16

I kind of liked this whole “choose your own speedwork adventure” from Coach. It didn’t take me long to choose…the 800’s, of course. Why? In my mind that was the biggest, most monstrous of the three workouts and if you believe in the whole Yasso thing (I don’t) then technically it would tell you how fast I can run a marathon. It was another beautiful sunny, fall day (albeit a little windy). The repeats felt really smooth and controlled and I tried to focus on taking one at a time then the recovering, instead of getting overwhelmed with what number I was on (or how many I had left). This worked really well and I cruised through the workout…until #10. Then it got tough. It seemed like the wind picked up all of a sudden and my legs were tired and I really had to fight hard for that one. But then I was DONE!


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Rested like a champ. Did some cleaning and other little minor projects around the house, napped and watched a lot of TV.


  • Plan: 2:45 – 3:00 Run
  • Actual: 21.5M @ 8:17

YES! This is by far the best 20-miler run I have had in a long, long time and I think the fastest outside of a race. I took Walter for the first 5ish and started nice and slow, hoping to be able to pick it up in the last 5-10 miles. I kept checking in with my body as time went by and I continued to feel really, really strong. There were little aches that would come and go (normal) but I didn’t really start to feel the mileage until I went over 21. Then instead of pushing all the way up to the 3:00 mark, I hit 21.5 and called it a day (only had about 2 minutes till 3:00 anyway). Success…now bring on taper!


  • Run: 51.3 miles
  • Cross training: 1 bike ride
  • Strength: 1 (forgiven, because…yoga!)
  • Yoga: x 2! (including a class at my favorite studio!)
Posted in Chicago, Goals, running, swimming, training, walter, weekly recap, work travel, workout clothes | 5 Comments


5 weeks until Chicago Marathon

My feelings toward running this week in Hamburg were just as strong and exactly the opposite to how I felt about running in Jamaica. Not only was there a 30+ degree temperature swing from one week to the next, but Hamburg is one of my favorite places in the world to run.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

I got up early to get some work done and finish packing before leaving for Hamburg around lunch time. I spent the rest of the day/night traveling.


  • Plan: Tempo Run w/6M @ 7:05-7:20
  • Actual: 10M @ 7:40 w/tempo: 7:21, 7:13, 7:16, 7:12, 7:10, 7:04

Doing a tempo run almost immediately after getting off of a trans-Atlantic flight is definitely not ideal. I considered changing this to an easy run, but last time I had the opportunity to attempt a 6-mile tempo, I opted to only do 5 because of the heat and humidity so I really wanted to see if I could do it. Since the temps were in the mid-50’s, I knew that would help tremendously. And surprisingly, from the very beginning, I felt pretty good. There were definitely times in the early tempo miles that I had doubts, but the further I got into it, the better and more confident I felt.


  • Plan: 1:15 Reeeal Easy Run
  • Actual: 9M @ 8:29

Coach wanted me to take this one really easy and I was glad because despite sleeping until past 8 a.m., I woke up feeling super sluggish. It took over 5 miles until my legs came around and started to feel better.


  • Plan: 45 min Cross Training + Strength Routine
  • Actual: 45 min Easy Spin + Strength

I was out until 3 a.m. the night before with colleagues after our company party at the trade show. Thank goodness for a super easy workout and semi-late start to the day. It felt good to get myself moving and sweating a little before a busy work day.


  • Plan: Speed work w/ 8×800 @ 3:15-20
  • Actual: 9M @ 8:12 w/800’s: 3:15, 3:16, 3:16, 3:17, 3:15, 3:15, 3:14, 3:14

After sleeping in the last 2 days, it hurt a little when the 5 a.m. alarm clock went off. I took the train to the track at Stadtpark for my speedwork. It was foggy and really cool, which was a HUGE difference from the last time I did 800’s a few weeks ago. These felt really controlled and comfortable. It is exciting to see the progression on this workout from just a few months ago during Boston training, where the same effort equaled splits around 3:20.

hamburg track

This beautiful track sits in a park with miles of tree covered dirt running trails.


  • Plan: Strength Routine + 1:00 Easy Run
  • Actual: Strength + 7.25M @ 8:21

One of the other reasons {besides running} that I love going to Hamburg is spending time with friends who live there. Since there were also coworkers/old friends still in town, we had a great group of 6 for a fun night with dinner, drinks and live music. We had a great time and stayed out until almost 3 am, which I knew was okay because I could sleep as late as I wanted Saturday. I woke up around 11 am, did my strength routine then finally ran around noon. The brilliance of running in Northern Europe…temps still in the low 60’s in the middle of the day! It was a bit crowded with people walking at the lake at the beginning and end of the run but the rest was fine. My legs took ~3 miles to get going but eventually felt decent…I guess it’s just that point in marathon training.


The Inner Alster. It sits right in the middle of downtown so it was pretty crowded when I started my run.


  • Plan: 1:45 Run
  • Actual: 13M @ 8:13

Almost the same situation as last week. Early flight home meant 4 am wake up for a 4:30 start to get the miles in. It was dark but familiar and I felt pretty good for the whole run. Despite that, for some reason, (maybe the darkness or because my right glute/hip/hammy felt really tight) I just wanted this run to get over with. Luckily it went by pretty fast and I was on time for my flight. The lower back chaffing from my sports bra and (STILL SORE!) tail bone from cliff jumping in Jamaica were not pleasant for the 9 hour flight home.


  • Run: 48.25 miles
  • Cross training: 1 Easy Spin
  • Strength: 2 
  • Yoga: 0 
Posted in Chicago, Goals, running, swimming, training, walter, weekly recap, work travel, workout clothes | 1 Comment


19.6 miles at 8:26 average.

This run doesn’t look all that impressive on paper, but it is one run that I am more proud of than any I can remember. While I have training runs or workouts that I am happy with or excited about throughout any normal training cycle, it is rare that I would say that I am truly PROUD of a training run.

What makes this one different?

As I mentioned in my weekly recap, I had anxiety about running in Jamaica. Especially when I found out I was scheduled for the longest run of the training cycle while I was there. And even more when a scheduled day off on Monday meant that I would be doing this run on Sunday before we left. And then BEYOND when I learned that we would need to leave the hotel for the airport at 8 am Sunday. That meant starting the run no later than 4:45. In Jamaica. In the dark.

I briefly considered waiting until we got back to Chicago to run. But that meant starting a 20-mile run at 6 pm after traveling all day. And since I needed to unpack, do laundry and repack to leave for Germany the next day…I just didn’t see it as an option.

If there had been a treadmill at the hotel, it would have been a no-brainer. Sure, the outdoor portion would be hot as hell and miserable but I would run the first 5 miles on the TM then head outside when it was daylight. But I was at a boutique hotel with no gym and no treadmill. So outside it was.

We went to bed early Saturday night and I easily fell asleep by 10. I slept well for about 2.5 hours then slept like absolute shit between 12:30 and 4, when I finally decided to just get up. My nose was stuffed up and I was having bizarre dreams, undoubtedly related to the run. I decked myself out with a headlamp, reflective vest, blinky lights and a water belt then headed to the hotel gate at 4:45. When the front desk guy unlocked it for me, he was both baffled by my desire to run at that stupid hour and impressed by all my gear.

I had decided that I was going to stay within a 1/2 mile of the hotel until it was light out. I went back and forth for about an hour…0.5 miles in one direction and 0.25 miles in the other. I ran slow-ish for those miles (8:30+) and was on high alert for anything that could be suspicious. The only thing of note was a guy sitting in the dark in front of a house across from my hotel, smoking weed and asking me questions every time I came by (“Where are you from?” “Oh American girl!” “How far you going?” “Oh, you are fit…still running!”) and sometimes just mumbling things that were completely unintelligible. I was mildly nervous by his presence but the hotel was right there, so I figured I would be fine.

After what seemed like forever, the sun came up and I was able to drop the night gear at the hotel. I was so grateful for daylight and felt so much lighter without all of the gear. As I took off for the longest out and back section, I realized that I since I had been so anxious about safety, I hadn’t spent any time considering whether I would be able to actually run for 2 hours and 45 minutes in that heat and humidity. I had started slowly on purpose but the heat was already affecting me and I wasn’t even in double digits yet.

On my way toward downtown Negril I came up on a house whose gate was being protected by a pack of dogs. I had seen them earlier, but this time, as I attempted to pass the house, they came charging at me. Everything I know about how you should react in this situation went out the window as I instinctively turned around and tried to run from the dogs (dumb.) I was expecting one to bite me just as a man popped his head over the stone wall of the house and screamed at all of them. They quickly retreated and he yelled to me to “throw stones at them next time.”

My heart was racing from the sprint, but I realized that the shot of adrenaline actually made me feel the best I had all day. The next several miles to the turn around were uneventful and I hit mile 10 feeling decent, reminding myself to take it one section at a time. At this point, my shoes were already soaked with sweat and white foam was squishing out with every step I took.

I ran out of water at 12.5 so the 1.5 miles to get back to the hotel felt really long. I refilled with cold water and Nuun and drank half a coke from the refrigerator. {I knew that was going to be either be brilliant or the dumbest move ever}. It tasted delicious and the extra calories meant I wouldn’t have to choke down a 3rd Gu. I felt like a new person and set out to finish. I had broken the run in small chunks and at that point, it was the only thing keeping me moving. I told myself “2 out (opposite direction of the dogs) and 2 back to get to 18.”. I celebrated every single mile after that. 16…yes! 17…good job! 18…awesome!

When I got to 18, I was running short on time so I knew I wouldn’t get 20. I decided to go 7 min out and back and then 2:45 and DONE! I took my chances and went toward the dogs since they were gone on my last trip by. When I went by on the way out, one came out. I bent over to pick up a rock and he scurried off quickly. But on the way back they were out. ALL of them. I had rocks and threw them but only a few were even phased. They ran toward me again but this time I kept running in the same direction, which for some reason, made them less aggressive. They chased for a few steps, then stopped. Thanks to the dogs, it was my fastest split of the day…7:58.

I was absolutely exhausted, more sweaty than I ever have been after a run but also so, so proud of getting through it. I am sure some of you will think what I did was stupid. And I get that. I respect that running in the dark in a place like that is not something everyone would do or thinks is okay. But I definitely understood the risks and to be honest, I just hoped for the best. I am really happy with the decision in the end and also feel like this was a good mental toughness training for Chicago.

Posted in friends, Goals, running, training, Travel, Weather | 6 Comments

Jamaica Running, Mon

6 weeks until Chicago Marathon

We planned the trip to Jamaica waaaay back last winter and I didn’t even realize at the time that I would be in high volume training mode for Chicago. I was nervous about my runs during the trip for weeks and even researched on-line and called the hotel before the trip to see what the running situation would be. While the weather was unbearably hot and humid and the running situation wasn’t ideal…it worked and I was able to get all of my miles in during the trip.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Since I didn’t have a complete rest day at all last week, Coach started the week with a day off to reset. Nicely lined up with Labor Day so I took a long walk with a friend and the pups to the dog beach.


  • Plan: Tempo Run w/4M @ 7:05-7:15
  • Actual: 9M @ 7:47 w/tempo: 7:11, 7:07, 7:06, 7:01

Bright and early run before a super busy day preparing to be out of the office for the rest of the week (well, technically two weeks since I am currently en route to Europe for a business trip). Felt smooth and controlled on the tempos, but September definitely didn’t bring cooler temps. This was a sweaty one.


  • Plan: 1:20 – 1:30 Easy Run
  • Actual: 11M @ 8:20

Helllooooo 3:30 a.m. wake-up call. No choice but to run before the 7:30 a.m. flight since the “feels like” temps in Jamaica in the afternoon are well into the triple digits. I took Walter for the first 4 miles since I knew that would be the darkest and most deserted part of the run. Once I headed back out after I dropped him off at 4:30, there were plenty of other runners out on the path. Despite having major GI issues on this run (thanks to BBQ and cake late the night before), I felt really good and wanted to keep going! I forgot how peaceful those dark, early morning runs can be.


  • Plan: 1:00 Cross Training
  • Actual: Yoga

No gym at the hotel, but they had outdoor yoga every morning at 8 a.m. with a nice breeze coming off the water. It was gentle and lovely.

Breakfast views after yoga.

photo 1 (25)


  • Plan: Speed work w/ 6-7×400 @ 5k pace (~1:38)
  • Actual: 8M @ 8:06 w/400’s: 1:37, 1:37, 1:37, 1:38, 1:38, 1:39, 1:38

My first run in Jamaica. The hotel warned me to get out early before there was very much traffic since there are no sidewalks and people drive like maniacs. I was out the door by 6 and while there were some traffic, I was able to scoot off the road and stay clear when the crazy cars came by. On the way into our hotel the day before I had noticed a short (~1 mile) section of sidewalk/bike path just past the main downtown area in Negril. It was (conveniently) about 2.5 miles from our hotel so I ran over for the warm up and did the repeats there, then ran back for the cool down. I was absolutely SOAKED by the end of the run and was cat called by almost every man, woman and child I ran by, but all in a friendly manner and I felt generally safe the whole time. I felt all over the place on the repeats and was a little surprised to see how consistent the splits were when I got back and looked at the data.


  • Plan: Strength + 45 min Easy Run
  • Actual: 5.5M @ 8:20 

Another steamy, sweaty run, but nice and relaxed. I ran in the opposite direction from the hotel than the day before and it was interesting to see a different part of Negril. This area was more neighborhoods and less commercial but I still felt plenty safe and the traffic was even less. I should have done the strength routine before I left, but I wanted to get out and get done before it got any later and traffic picked up. I thought maybe I would go to yoga after I got back, but I chose a leisurely breakfast with Brad instead.

After breakfast, we finally took some pictures of our bridge and cliff jumping adventures.

photo 2 (29)


photo 3 (12)


  • Plan: 2:45 Run
  • Actual: 19.6M @ 8:26

I did this before we left Jamaica Sunday morning and it was an adventure to say the least. I think there is a lot more that I want to say about this run than makes sense here. Hopefully I will have a few minutes this week to share more!


  • Run: 53.1 miles
  • Cross training: 0
  • Strength: 0 (oops.)
  • Yoga: 1 (finally!)
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