Fartleking. . . Yup, You Read that Right

Yesterday I got home from work and had to run a few errands before heading out on my run. . . and wait out the heat like a baby. So after going to the grocery store, picking up my contacts and dropping a dress off at the dry cleaner I got this alert from my Nike Plus app:

Tuesday Nike

Ummmm, no? I’m ready to do 3 miles though? I literally have no clue what Nike was talking about but it was enough to get my butt out the door. Since I suck at speed I decided I’m going to ease my way in by doing a Fartlek workout (and because the name is fun). Fartlek is Swedish for speed play and basically means you alternate between moderate and hard but in an unstructured way. So as I was running my 3 miles, I would randomly spot something a block or so ahead and sprint to that object and then jog at a moderate pace to recover. The first half of my run was fun and went quickly. During the second half I found myself picking out people walking towards me as the end mark for my sprint. . .clever right? Overall though I think having to choose random things to run to made the workout fun and go by MUCH more quickly than my treadmill workout last week. I ended up with an average pace of 8:12 which is good for me!

This morning’s run was pretty much the opposite. Meghan and I made a plan to do our 5 miles together before work so we set our alarms for 5:20am and when it went off this morning, neither of us looked happy about it. But we dragged ourselves out of bed and headed out the door anyways. Thankfully the rain held out and while we both felt tired and sore, we finished the 5 mile run. . .slowly. . .but we finished. One thing that I’ve learned through marathon training is that sometimes it’s okay to just be happy that you woke up, got out of bed and completed your run. A couple years ago I would have taken a slow run as a failure and just given up the whole thing. Now I can realize that deciding to get up and run the 5 miles is a success.

Running slow isn't a character flaw. . . quitting isThe good part of running in the morning is that it’s done! We got back to the apartment before 6:30am and had already accomplished something! Tonight though, after book club, it will be stretch and foam rolling time because I am SO sore. Also. . . this is how I feel today (okay, most days). . .

My blood type is coffee



13 Miles in the Rain

Saturday was my 13 mile cut back run and it was. . . easy. It is crazy to look back and think that 13 miles (or 13.1 — because the .1 is always Oatmeal August 31the hardest) was something that I trained for weeks to accomplish. Half marathons used to be the event that I built up to and now it’s another notch in my marathon training belt.

I woke up on Saturday and ate a bowl of oatmeal (still working for me) and headed out. I decided to go Northwest a little before heading over to the lake just to shake things up a little bit. About 2 miles in to my ‘long run’ the rain started coming down. At first it was a light drizzle that lasted another mile or so and then it started coming down consistently harder. While my socks were getting wet and my clothes a little heavier, the rain actually didn’t bother me and turned out to be a nice 13 miles August 31change of pace. Because of the rainy weather, the beach was empty and the lake front path clear. As Samantha’s mom would say, the only people running in that weather are women getting married and in my case, those training for the marathon.

I trucked along in the rain for the full 13 miles, stopping only to get water twice (it wasn’t as hot as it typically is) and to check out a tree that had fallen from the storm.Fallen Tree August 31

While this run wasn’t very eventful, I have a feeling next week’s will be so stay tuned. . . 19 miles (longest run ever) planned for this upcoming Saturday followed by Chipolte Fest — is there any better way to end a run? Post workout snack August 31

18 Miles and The Search Is Over

And the winner is. . .  Honey Stinger Chews! I finished all 18 miles, feeling great and continued to feel fine all day!Honey Stinger

I started off my morning with a packet of instant oatmeal (thank you Deanne for the suggestion), drank a glass of water and then headed out. I followed my normal route for the most part but instead of going down Wellington to the lake I headed down Addison. I went South down the lake front path and took small sips of water as I passed each fountain. At 5 miles I tried my first chew — making sure to swish the water in my mouth to get the taste out after. I continued to run and stopped every 2 miles or so for water and every 5 miles for a couple more chews. As I ran past mile 13 and realized I still felt great, I started to think about everyone who has helped me along the way. Yes, I am doing the actual running part myself, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help and support of so many different people. So. . . . .

Thank you to Ken and all of Team LUNGevity for training, supporting each other and raising money and awareness for lung cancer.

Thank you to Gregg at Fleet Feet who recommended Honey Stinger chews and spent an hour discussing the pros and cons of each energy gel with me.

Thank you to my friends and roommates (Katie and Kelly) who are probably sick of hearing about running and put up with me going to bed at 9pm on Friday nights.

Thank you to Mr. Daar who has been telling us to take small sips of water for years. . . I finally listened Saturday. . turns out he was right.

Thank you to my Aunt Karen and Uncle Tom for doing this with me and for motivating me in the virtual (Nike) world and in the real one.

Thank you to Samantha for listening to me recount every mile of every run, for hosting yoga where I get my only stretching in and for giving me tips and talking about food while we run together.

Thank you to my Aunt Kim who is always positive and genuinely excited to hear about my running.

Thank you to my coworkers who put up with my workout attire and Barb who keeps us fed.

Thank you Steve, who patiently listens to me complain that I’m starving and then subsequently complain that I’m full.

Thank you to my family who is always supportive and my grandparents who have cheered me on at every sporting, school and life event (no matter how long and boring).

Most of all my dad, who taught me how to work hard even when things get tough and has told me I can accomplish anything I put my mind to — except sing.

Post Run Meal:

Chocolate milk Whole wheat bagel

17 Miles

The 17 mile run on Saturday was my longest and toughest so far. I woke up about an hour before I wanted to leave to try to eat something (still struggling to find something that agrees with my stomach).PB and Sandwich thin I decided on trying a toasted wheat sandwich thin with a little bit of peanut butter. I had a glass of water and ate about 6 bites of the toast. Being too nervous to finish it, I drank another glass of water and headed out.

Typically, I do my longer runs early in the morning but having slept in until 8:30 and then giving myself an hour to eat and digest, I didn’t head out until 9:30 or so. . mistake! This weekend was the air and water show and while it was a nice distraction to people watch, it was also very crowded on the lake front path. On my way out, I didn’t have much trouble and was able to navigate through the path, but as I turned around for the second half of my run it started to go down hill. Around mile 11, I started to feel hungry so I ate a few grapes that I brought with. I know now that this isn’t enough to fuel a long run but at the time I was just trying to find a ‘food’ that didn’t have a strong taste. I continued on but got caught up in the crowd 17 milesof the show. There were strollers and kids running around and from North Avenue to Fullerton the path was pretty much packed. I was able to get through but weaving in between people and the constant stop and go for that mile wore me down. The last 2.5 miles of my run I felt light headed and nauseous. Once I got home, I felt like crap for the next hour or so –still light headed and nauseous. Thankfully though, in the few hours after my run I started to feel better, showered and ate. By 5pm i was as good as new!

What I learned for next weeks 18 miler:

1. Leave earlier!
2. No matter how bad it tastes, I need to bring a Gu or something!
3. Have food ready for when I get back!


Post run dinner at Smoque BBQ

14 Miles — Check!

Leading up to my long run on Saturday I was a little overwhelmed. 14 miles was something I had never tried before and would be the longest 14 miles done!mileage I had attempted. While I’ve run 13.1 before, I laughed to myself that I was getting up early on a Saturday morning to run 14 miles with no real reward. Sure, I had run several half marathons over the past few years but those were a big deal. I told my friends and family who came out to support me, I carbo loaded the night before and I was motivated by thousands of people cheering me on. This time though, I was running a mile further and no one was getting up to watch and there certainly wasn’t anyone handing me a medal at the end or free beer and pizza.

Thankfully I had an easy Friday night. My roommates and I headed over to Wrigley Field for a yoga night sponsored by Lululemon. We down yoga at Wrigleydogged with hundreds of other yogis in the outfield and then headed over to a local sushi restaurant before turning in for the night. I woke up Saturday morning rested and ready to go and then something crazy happened. . . I ran 14 miles and didn’t stop! It was amazing. I felt great, I listened to music and I was in the zone. I ran 7 miles out along the lake and then turned around and ran 7 back, like it was no big deal.

No, I didn’t get applauded (except by Samantha of course who texted me mid run to encourage me and my roommates who congratulated me as I laid on our floor after) and no one handed me a banana and a cold water as I finished. But I did realize that I felt the same accomplishment and this time, I motivated myself the entire way. Once I got back to my apartment and sat down, it was a little hard to get up again but after a few hours of moving I was fine!

I did happen to have lunch plans that day though with my intramural team at Manny’s (our sponsor) which was definitely a great way to tack those calories back on!

Manny's Lunch

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

One thing I struggle with on long runs is doing them at a slower pace. I’ve been told by Samantha and several other great sources that long runs should be done at a pace 60-90 seconds slower than your race pace. The reasoning behind this is because in training you only get up to 20 miles, so you need to have that time on your feet to be prepared for the full 26.2. While this makes perfect sense in my head (and my legs will thank me later), while I’m running on Saturday’s it’s hard to slow down knowing that I worked so hard to get to where I am. As I am taking those longer runs ‘easy’, it feels a little bit like I’m setting myself up to come in last.

A few years ago, before I started running regularly, I signed up for a mini triathlon in Batavia, Illinois. I didn’t train for it as well as I should have and as a result, I literally came in almost last place (see results here if you don’t believe me- I’m in 537th place). After finishing, I decided that I would work hard and train the right way for every race after.

With Batavia in mind, I will continue to train for the marathon and follow the schedule and trust that my hard work will pay off.

I did my Saturday 6 mile run on the treadmill. While I don’t love running in place for almost an hour, the view was amazing!

View from Steve's gymNike 6 mile run

9 Mile Weekend

Saturday morning I laced up and headed out the door for my 9 mile run. Since my last half marathon was in September, 9 miles seemed like quite a hike for me. As I ran down the lake shore though, and the miles crept up, it actually felt great! I ran comfortably, stopping only at mile 7 to take a drink of water from the Fleet Feet Water Station just as it started to drizzle. The light rain felt nice as I finished the last 2 miles and stretched before heading back inside.

Chicago run 9 miler

Fleet Feet Water Station
Fleet Feet Water Station

Nike run 06.22.2013
9 miles done!

Red velvet waffles!