Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon {Race Recap}

I did everything I could do blow this race for myself. I ate like crap, drank a ton and spent hours and hours walking around Chicago. So obviously, I went into the race expecting a horrible race. While it was definitely not my strongest performance, it could have been worse.

We walked over to the starting line with plenty of time to drop our gear bags, hit the porta potties and find our ways to our corrals. With a whole four hours of sleep and an upset stomach, I was not at all looking forward to running. It was also about 70 degrees and humid. Blah.

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The race started on time and about four minutes after the start I crossed the starting line. The first mile cruised by. I obviously didn’t look too closely at the course map, because I mistakenly thought that we’d be running much of the same course as the marathon. Not so much. We ran maybe a few blocks of the same course.

My watch distance was off by the second mile likely due to going under lots of overpasses and the buildings of downtown. I realized I should just not look at my watch because it wasn’t reliable as far as distance or pace. With no goals in mind for the race, other than to finish, I just trucked along.

The course was boring but the music, when there was actually a band, was nice. It was pretty warm out, but I was doing my best to re-hydrate. I carried my fuel belt with my water bottles filled with Nuuns and took water at every water stop. A few sips in my mouth and the rest of the water over my head.

I was doing a pretty decent job of holding a steady pace. According to my results I was averaging about a 7:45 min/mile pace. As I got to the 10k mark, I started wondering how many more miles I was going to be able to go before I had to make a pit stop. Turns out two. At mile eight I veered off course to the lone porta-potty. Much to my dismay it was occupied. I took a gel and anxiously waited for the person in it to leave. Finally they did, I popped in and ran out as quickly as I could.

I got in two more miles before I had to stop again. Luckily there was one available and it was the last time I had to stop. The last few miles felt long. We went through a really dark tunnel under the Solider Field (I think) that was filled with potholes and so dark I was worried about tripping and face planting. They definitely needed more light there. When I came out of the tunnel we were near the lake as we approached the finish line.

I was so glad to be done when I finally crossed the finish line.

Official Time: 1:45:29       Avg. Pace: 8:03 min/mile

For a standalone half marathon, I set a new personal record. But this was about a minute slower than the second half of Lake Wobegon. I’ll take it as my streak continuing.

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Those two bathroom stops really slowed me down. All things considered, little sleep, bathroom stops, warm/humid weather, lack of training, boozing and eating like crap, I did pretty well.

Shortly after I finished, my girls finished just as it started pouring rain with some crazy thunder and lightning. With a small break in the rain we went back to the hotel for a little R&R before the Cubs game.

Would I do this race again? Not so much. Will I consider doing the Brooklyn Rock N’ Roll Half next fall as an excuse for another girls weekend? Absolutely.

 

Adventures in Travel and Recovery

What a busy three weeks it’s been since the marathon. I’m exhausted and while I’m not finally home, things are not really slowing down all that much. Quick and hopefully, abbreviated review of the past several weeks. I was going to add a bunch of pictures but then I may never actually publish this:

Week One:

I walked, walked some more, foam rolled and slept a little more than usual. I was itching for a run and met my BRF for a few loops around Elm Creek. We ended up doing nine miles which felt like plenty to me. After that run my hamstring was incredibly sore. Like so sore it hurt to push on it and walk. Ugh, more rest.

Week Two:

Off on a cross-country trip with the kids. Yes, just me and the kids, by myself for 12 days. First stop, Denver for my brother Ted and my sister Audrey’s high school graduation. Crazy that I have siblings in high school right? What is crazy is that when I graduated and went off to college, they were not yet four years old, younger than Ella is now. It was almost surreal watching them graduate. They are off to SOKA University and the University of Colorado in the fall. I think my favorite part of their graduation week was the time I got to spend with them. I feel like I missed they’re entire childhood because I went to college, then got married, had kids and now live states away. I got to do a long walk with Audrey, tour the Botanic Gardens with Ted and stayed up until 2:30 am talking to both of them. It was worth being exhausted the next day.

We had a great trip filled with lots of family time. My grandparents flew in from San Diego which meant we had four generations together. We went on a cultural adventure around Denver which included the Museum of Nature and Science as well as the Denver Art Museum. On our last day in Denver we also spent hours playing in and walking around the Denver Botanic Gardens.

I also got to sneak in a Florence and the Machine concert with my BFF Rachael. Our night also had to include a stop at The Market for my favorite cake. I ran a few times, slow and not far, but between altitude and an irregular sleep schedule, it was all I felt like doing.

Week Three:

Onto Indiana! Who has three siblings that were all graduating this year? Me! Next up was my sister Emma’s high school graduation. We arrived in Indianapolis LATE. We got to my mom’s house around midnight and the kids weren’t in bed until 1 am. Luckily we were working on Mountain Time which mean it was only 11 pm technically. The kids were so far off their schedule by this point, it didn’t matter. Luckily they slept in pretty much every day.

My grandma and step-grandpa Max drove up from Missouri for the occasion and I got to watch my brother Riley work his pastry chef magic on some of the best desserts I’ve ever tasted. We spent my time there eating. We had a special girls only trip to The Cake Bake Shop to toast to Emma’s graduation and my birthday. This is the second time we’ve done this with four generations and I think it will be a new tradition. It’s a good thing I went to Orangetheory and ran a few times while I was in town. While we were doing the girls thing, Anderson was busy with Papa riding in the Jeep and visiting the tracker store.

Late in the week, I got to watch Emma graduate with honors. She just looked so happy and I was proud of how great she did not only in academics but also in how many close friends she’s made in the two years since they moved from California. It is not easy moving across the country, especially in high school. Her graduation party was the next day and boy did we have good food. It was a nice party aside from one of her classmates asking me if I was her mom. I mean really. She is off to Indiana University in the fall.

Week Four:

We finally headed home! It was a two short flights but one long layover in Chicago. I was so happy to be home when we landed.I met my friends Morgan and Ashley for an easy, unplanned 10 miles that Sunday evening to get myself back on track. While I’m not really training for Chicago, I at least need to keep my base.

That brings us to this week and I still feel like I’m recovering. I’m working on a huge project for my old company and all of our summer activities are starting up. I hand wrote two other posts on the plane, but I cannot find them at the moment. Oops.

 

 

Lake Wobegon Marathon Training {Weeks 10 &11}

Phew. The last two weeks have been busy. After my long run on the 2nd, we flew down to Florida for a little vacation. We had five days of warm weather and sunshine. It was so nice to be away from daily life. While it was not necessarily a relaxing vacation, it was a much needed break.

Week 10:

Monday – 30 Day Shred
Tuesday – 12×400 @ 6:18 min/mile (7.75 miles @ 7:39 min/mile avg.)
Wednesday – Orangetheory
Thursday – 5 mile tempo (7:49 min/mil avg.)
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 17 miles
Sunday – 11 + miles of walking

Last year when we went to Magic Kingdom for a day, I didn’t have my new Garmin, so while I knew we walked a ton, I didn’t realize just how much. This year, we averaged about 12 miles/day of walking. That doesn’t count any steps I was taking when I used both arms to push the stroller. My legs were toast by the end of the week.

I didn’t run again until Wednesday, when we planned to hang out at the pool all day, rather than hit the parks again. After breakfast, I threw on some clothes and headed out to run around the boardwalk. While I could feel the lack of sleep and excessive walking, the run felt pretty easy. I was surprised to see that I was running 8 or sub-8 minute miles. It was a pleasant surprise.

Once we came home, I was happy to rest, that is after my late night intervals. Friday my only goal was to get my 10k steps. Saturday morning it was a lovely 14 degrees outside when I met Amy and Beth for our run. It was a bit of a shock to my system. The first few miles felt hard. I was dreading running for hours. As the run progressed though I started feeling better and better. Slowly my pace started to effortlessly increase. My last four miles were my fastest of the entire run. I decided to try to do a fast finish for my final two miles. I pushed a bit harder to so that I was on the brink of all-out effort. Mile 20 was 8 min/mile on the dot and 21 was a 7:54! Needless to say I had a serious runner’s high when I was done.

I can only hope that I can pull that off on race day!

Week 11:

Monday – 12+ miles of walking
Tuesday – 12+ miles of walking
Wednesday – 6.55 mile run (7:56 min/mile avg.)
Thursday – 5×1200 @  7:13 min/mile (6.75 miles @ 7:43 min/mil avg.)
Friday – REST (finally)
Saturday – 21 miles
Sunday – Rest

Our Weekend Away

We have never spent a night away from Anderson together. We once, two years ago, spent a single night away from Ella. We stayed in the same city and were away for less than 24 hours. Last year when Josh was asked to be a groomsman in a friend’s wedding out East, we decided it was time for our first trip without the kids. It’s expensive to fly the entire family anywhere, especially with Anderson turning two next month. Plus, we needed a weekend free from parenting.

I was so excited but nervous about leaving the kids. My mom was generous enough to offer to fly out to stay with them for us. We bought her ticket and lined up our plans for the wedding. I started prepping the kids a few weeks out about our trip. Ella was totally fine, which I knew she would be. I was nervous about Anderson. He’s still (I know STILL) nursing three times/day and I had no idea how he would do without me at bedtimes. I spent way too long writing my mom notes about any nuances I could think of. I made a fresh loaf of bread and grocery shopped to make sure they had plenty of food.

When the day actually came, we said goodbye to the kids before putting them down for their naps. Even on the way to the airport, I was slightly freaking out. Not that my mom wasn’t capable, but we’d just never left the state without them. By the time we’d checked in and ordered our first drink and antipasta platter, I was relaxed.

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We kept saying that it was so strange to not be making a dozen trips to the restroom, sitting in the play area and worrying about keeping kids entertained. To be honest, after a few drinks I had a buzz going. Our friends Ryan and Claire had just, basically that day, moved to Providence. They were amazing enough to pick us up at midnight. The next morning we were off for New Hampshire.

It took a bit longer than we expected, a little more than three hours of driving through the beautiful, lush trees.

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We arrived at the Bishop Farm B&B which was so cute and situated in the White Mountains. Absolutely gorgeous.

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It was almost like being in college again. Ryan and Claire were in the room across from ours. We ate together, drank too much together and walked from all the wedding festivities together. Claire and I even picked ticks off of each other after getting more than a dozen between us during our afternoon stroll.

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The wedding was something straight off of Pinterest. Jess looked beautiful and Paul was beaming as he watched his bride walk down the aisle. They had a bluegrass band and tasty food in the barn.

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The next morning we drove back to Rhode Island, making a stop for Josh to enjoy his first lobster roll and me to hug a lobster. Plus a quick stop in Boston for some treats from Mike’s Pastry. Sadly our quick trip was all but over after enjoying a really delicious Italian dinner.

I don’t know why we waited so long to take a weekend away. The kids did amazing with my mom. She had them out and about all over the Twin Cities. When we got home, they ran to us for big hugs and kisses. I thought Anderson would wean while we were gone, but nope, the first thing he did was take my hand and ask to go night night aka, give me milk.

We celebrated our return home with some s’mores after dinner and a well deserved glass of wine for Nana.

Chicago Marathon Training {Week Three}

Vacations are great. Fun, relaxation and lots of indulging. What they are not so great for is sticking to training plans. Last week we enjoyed a family vacation to the Wisconsin Dells immediately followed by a weekend in Lincoln with the Van Kirks for the 4th. I did my best to get my runs in as planned, but I didn’t do so great on was effective cross-training. I also was a champ at eating. Ice cream, chocolate and caramel topped pretzels, brats, s’mores, etc. Not at all stomach or race weight friendly. That’s a whole other battle this time around. That’s neither here nor there.

My hardest run last week was absolutely my tempo run. I woke up early to hit the country roads by our condo at Castle Rock Lake. It was already nearing 70 degrees with visible humidity. Not ideal for running but it did not deter me. I had beautiful scenery and a long empty road. I started my first mile at a easy pace. I had a five mile tempo on tap – a warm-up mile, three goal tempo pace miles, and one cool-down mile. Just as I was finishing the first mile, I saw a nice large hill. Where did that come from? I picked up the pace to try to get a sub-8 min/mile average for the three miles. I finished the first mile in 7:28. I was at the mid-point of another hill and stopped to catch my breath.

About a minute later and with a wipe of the sweat dripping from my head, I started on my next mile. I finished the next mile in 7:17. Again stopping to catch my breath. The hills were killing me. One last mile and I would finally be on cool down. Finally mile was my fastest, 7:06. Phew, I was done, one last easy mile and the torture would be over. Of course the biggest hill was the last one on my way back. I caught up with the family at the playground where I stopped to stretch and cool off on the cool sidewalk.

Monday – 2.5 mile hike with the fam
Tuesday – 5 mile tempo
Wednesday – 30 mins elliptical, 30 mins stationary bike
Thursday – 3×1600 @ 7:35 min/mile
Friday – Walk with the fam (about 2.5 miles)
Saturday – 12.09 miles
Sunday – Rest