Category: Running + Training

Training Week 262

By , October 26, 2014 7:18 pm

Highlight of the Week: Naturally speeding up for the last 8 miles of my long run this week. That came out of nowhere! And it would be awesome if that happened at a long distance race!


Monday | October 20, 2014: 2.5 m walk (w/Steven, Christina + Will) + teaching strength class
Strength: Cone and one dumbbell, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: good
Tuesday | October 21, 2014: 8 m run + 6.15 m run
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 44°/44°, Time: 1:24:53, Pace: 10:36 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Grant Woods FP, Temp: 48°/49°, Time: 1:00:59, Pace: 9:55 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: amazing… somehow!
Wednesday | October 22, 2014: 7.3 m run
Loc: hood, Temp: 37°/39°, Time: 1:14:20, Pace: 10:11 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Thursday | October 23, 2014: 3 m run (w/Julie)
Loc: Mill Creek Park, Temp: 37°/37°, Time: 31:37, Pace: 10:31 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Friday | October 24, 2014: teaching strength class + 14.2 m run
Strength: Cone and one dumbbell, Difficulty: easy, Felt: okay, struggling with a headache from Thursday
Loc: Round Lake to Grayslake, Temp: 51°/59°, Time: 2:25:36, Pace: 10:15, Difficulty: easy, Felt: fantastico
Saturday | October 25, 2014: 5 m run
Loc: Ray Lake FP, Temp: 53°/53°, Time: 52:09, Pace: 10:25 avg, Difficulty: easy Felt: so so, too hot
Sunday | October 26, 2014: 6.5 m run
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 60°/54°, Time: 1:07:01, Pace: 10:19 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: really good


  • For the past couple of weeks it’s taken me around 3 miles to warm up for my runs. Those first few miles feel a little bit slower, then something clicks after that and I feel fantastic. This is great for longer runs – I’ve ended up unintentionally running some negative splits! But not so great for those shorter runs where I find myself waiting for that feeling to kick in, ha ha. 
  • Geesh! Lots of solo runs this week! Next week will be the same, until the weekend, unfortunately! But! I have company lined up for that run – my first of three 20+ milers in November! And I have company for my second one, too! And I am thinking about doing the final one on Thanksgiving morning – you can probably guess why!
  • You guys! Gina ran a new half PR yesterday – 1:56:17!!! Isn’t that awesome?! Keep in mind that she just started running halves this year! I am so proud of her. I can’t wait to run the Dallas Marathon together! 

Link to Training Week 261

Preferred route type

By , October 24, 2014 2:02 pm

Today I got to run my favorite type of route – a point-to-point! I was able to do it because after Steven finished working he waited for me in the next town over from ours to give me a ride home. Thanks, Babe!


What is your favorite type of route for every day exercise and races (point-to-point, loop, out and back, continuous loops, figure 8, something else)? Is it the same or different? 

I discovered during the Chicago and Madison marathons (which are both kind of wonky loop courses) that I really don’t like doing races where I can see a major landmark marking the finish during parts of the race. It’s kind of a mind, um… let’s say trip, for me. In Madison, I could see the capitol for most of the end and it killed me that I had to go out of my way to get there. In Chicago, it made me bonkers that we ran very close to the finish at the half way point. 

I like to think I am a stronger runner now than when I ran those races in 2010 and 2011, and that doing something similar wouldn’t bother me… but, eh. It probably would.

So I’ve come to prefer point-to-point. My second preference is a loop, which I especially enjoy if the course doesn’t double back on itself. I like to feel like I am running someplace I haven’t already run that day. Ha ha. 

And then there is the out and back. My favorite half marathon, the Wisconsin Half Marathon (see sidebar for coupon code, ha ha), actually has two out-and-back portions in it. I actually really enjoy it at that race, because I usually know a ton of people doing the race and it’s a fun distraction to look for them! I’ve never done the full though, which does the same thing as Chicago – go very close to the finish, at the half way point. 

Of course, having a race be a certain type that I don’t prefer won’t stop me from doing it! I’ve just come to learn what I prefer! How about you?

Training Week 261

By , October 19, 2014 5:03 pm

Highlight of the Week: Getting back in to the marathon training grove / actually doing speedwork <— I know, whuuuuut?!


Monday | October 13, 2014: 10 m run (first 5 w/Kelly) + teaching strength class + 3 m run (w/Bobbi)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 55°/55°, Time: 1:41:27, Pace: 10:08 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good / challenged by the humidity!
Strength: Cone and one dumbell, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good – workout flowed much better than last week
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 62°/63°, Time: 30:47, Pace: 10:15 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Tuesday | October 14, 2014: 4 m run (w/Kelly)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 60°/60°, Time: 41:17, Pace: 10:19 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: blah (poor sleep / horrible humidity)
Wednesday | October 15, 2014: rest
Thursday | October 16, 2014: 9 m run
Loc: Millenium Trail to Nippersink FP and back, Temp: 57°/56°, Time: 1:32:34, Pace: 10:17 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great after 3ish miles
Friday | October 17, 2014: teaching strength class + 16.5 m run (first half w/Bobbi)
Strength: Cone and one dumbbell + boxing, Difficulty: medium, Felt: great
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 58°/58°, Time: 2:55:46, Pace: 10:39, Difficulty: medium, Felt: decent / normal delirium at end 
Saturday | October 18, 2014: 3 m run
Loc: hood, Temp: 42°/47°, Time: 29:28, Pace: 9:49 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great
Sunday | October 19, 2014: 5 m run (incl. 6×400)
Loc: hood, Temp: 32°/36°, Time: 48:53, Pace: 9:47 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good


  • Afternoon running is just not my forte. It takes me so much longer to warm up than when I just roll out of bed and go. So odd. When does running (or exercising) feel naturally best to you?
  • I am starting to ramp up my mileage for Dallas Marathon training. Toward the end of  Milwaukee training, I was running 5-6 days a week, around 40 miles a week. I am going to continue to run 5-6 days, but try to get the mileage closer to 50 a week, so my long run doesn’t end up being the majority of my weekly miles. I’ve done this type of training in the past and it seems to work the best for me (and make me feel awesome)!
  • I feel this way all the time, but have been thinking about it more this week – it’s such a blessing to have friends to run with. My training partner, Kelly, meets me at 5:00 am (or earlier!). Bobbi came over and ran the first half of my long run with me this week. I enjoy the miles solo or with friends… but they do feel easier and faster with a friend there!

Link to Training Week 260

I prefer the surprise

By , October 14, 2014 6:01 am

Thank you so much for all your nice comments on my new tattoo! It’s healing great! I will share a less “red” picture of it soon!

Social media makes it so easy for organizations to share information about their races – registration price increase warnings, changed course maps, parking directions, last minute tips, live updates on lead runners, and so on. Mostly, it’s great. If you can’t find information on their official site (or your email isn’t responded to, gasp!), you can contact them via social media, or see if someone else is asking the same questions. 

So I typically follow the races I am signed up for or thinking about doing, on Facebook, because I enjoy seeing this information. 

There is only ONE thing I don’t want to see – the race medal. 


Ha ha ha. I just like to be surprised! Seeing the race shirt or bibs is okay (but not preferred, for me), but for whatever reason… I don’t want to know what the medal looks like until it’s being placed on my neck!

Do you like seeing the race “bling” before you receive it?

Keep Running

By , October 13, 2014 8:02 am

Yesterday I had a chance to do something small to celebrate recent marathon (and half marathon!) success and my general love of running/being active! It’s something I have been considering for a year


I got my first tattoo!


I saw this the text “keep running” on a tattoo online over a year ago, and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I took that as a sign that I was committed to it and it was time to get inked!

A few friends gave me recommendations for local tattoo parlors and I chose to go to Good Family Tattoo in Antioch (Illinois). I am super pleased with the experience and LOVE how the tattoo turned out!

I asked my artist, Elisa, if she had any tips for a first-timer and she said “just remember to breathe.” Basic, but it was a good tip! And it made me laugh, since I say that a lot in the strength classes I teach. 


Of course, the tattoo is tiny, so it only took 10-15 minutes*! It didn’t hurt much at all – just felt like a bit of pinching. I was surprised by how quickly it was over (twss)!


I can see how people get addicted to getting these. They’re fun and easy. I already have another style in mind that I like…


I will probably think that one over for a year or two, as well though! Ha ha. 

*When I called to ask about getting this, they recommended just coming in as a walk-in (right when they open at noon) since my tattoo was so small and simple, and I had a font in mind (BONUS POINTS to anyone who remembers where that font is from!). So the whole experience was around fifty minutes long – getting there, signing paperwork, showing the design, then having Elisa recreate it using the font online and getting the stencil ready, putting it on, going over care instructions, paying, etc. Elisa actually told me that most people get tattoos on top of their shoulder blade or on top of their shoulder, so we looked at those spots too, but Steven and I both really liked it in this area. I’m happy Steven came with me and helped me pick out just the right spot!

Training Week 260

By , October 12, 2014 4:22 pm

Highlight of the Week: SO MANY!!! Running during the lunar eclipse, catching up with Emily during the half marathon (and feeling fantastic!!!), and getting a special post-marathon treat!


Monday | October 6, 2014: 3 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 58°/57°, Time: 30:16, Pace: 10:05 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good
Strength: Cone and one dumbbell, Difficulty: medium, Felt: decent enough!
Tuesday | October 7, 2014: rest
Wednesday | October 8, 2014: 8 m run
Loc: hood, Temp: 43°/42°, Time: 1:20:55, Pace: 10:07 avg, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: pretty good!
Thursday | October 9, 2014: 5 m run
Loc: Ray Lake FP, Temp: 58°/57°, Time: 53:55, Pace: 10:47 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: a bit meh
Friday | October 10, 2014: teaching strength class + 3 m run (w/Bobbi) + 2 m walk (w/Steven)
Strength: Cone and one dumbbell, Difficulty: easy, Felt: okay – IT bands so sore
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 40°/40°, Time: 32:03, Pace: 10:41, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good / dumb for forgetting my dark gear
Saturday | October 11, 2014: Prairie State Half Marathon (w/Emily)
Loc: DPRT, Temp: 35°/51°, Time: 2:13:50, Pace: 10:13 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: fantastic
Sunday | October 12, 2014: 4 m run
Loc: Millennium Trail, Temp: 51°/53°, Time: 41:48, Pace: 10:27 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but hot!


  • Monday’s post marathon shake-out run was crucial before teaching class! I had been sitting at my desk all day, and that made my stiff legs even worse. I felt a bit odd the first 3/10ths of my run then it clicked and I felt great, and felt good teaching class too (minus coming down to the ground for pushups – man those hip flexors were SORE!). 
  • Overall, I recovered fairly quickly from the marathon, minus some lingering tightness in my IT bands. By the end of the week, they were starting to feel “back to normal.”
  • I was annoyed I was going to miss the lunar eclipse Wednesday morning by being on the train… so I decided to run during my normal train time (and take a later one)! Wow. Just wow. Seeing the full eclipse was amazing, especially when it turned “blood orange.” I am so happy I got to see it! My photo above is super meh-town, but check out these!
  • Holy cow – Week 260 = 5 years that I have been blogging my workouts! Nuts! I actually reference these posts a lot, so I am happy I track this info. 

Link to Training Week 259

Prairie State Half Marathon 2014 Race Report

By , October 11, 2014 3:32 pm

I just realized that Emily and I have run a half together for the past 3 years* (Chicago Half Marathon in 2012 and Prairie State Half Marathon in 2013)! What a perfect way for friends who don’t get to see each other that often to catch up!

This year’s race was the same as last year’s – the Prairie State Half Marathon – but with a faster time goal!


For some reason, I’d kind of forgotten the reputation this race company (All Community Events) has**. Things like (occasional) bad race day logistics, poor communication, incorrectly measured courses… I think I’ve always gone in to their races expecting to have fun so it hasn’t been an issue.

And it still wasn’t this race, although there were some things that seemed off. Packet pickup was super easy, but they didn’t print our names as promised on the bibs. We made the deadline – maybe it’s cause we registered via snail mail? Eh, no biggie.

Everyone had to park remotely and take a bus to the start. I got there an hour before the race and it was fine. I was expecting a cluster; according to Emily, that happened later.

I found nothing online about gear check rules (must not have looked hard enough). I doubted they’d let us give them things that were not in a clear bag and I was right – but they had clear bags there. And a line to wait in to get them. No worries.

The worst thing, which again, didn’t bug me, was that the porta potties were lined along the start of the course. So… all those people like us, waiting to go and just figuring we’d cross the start line as soon as possible since it’s chip timed? Those people opened their porta pottie doors to a wall of runners. Eek! Luckily we got out in time, and it’s nice they still started the race on time. But I bet some runners did not appreciate the people exiting the bathrooms on to the narrow race course.

We started the race about 7-8 minutes late. Which worked out great with the crowds. I remember it being a bit crowded at the start last year and this seemed better, plus we got the boost of passing people most of the race.

The race is on a crushed limestone trail I run often. So why pay to race it, right? I’ve learned that course familiarity really helps me, and man, it’s awesome to share the beautiful fall foliage on this mostly shaded course with other racers. 


Our goal was to finish between 2:10-2:15. To start out slower and end faster. Right away, Emily told me it was going to need to be more of a positive split race, which works well, too!

This course has ample aid stations, which Emily walked and I ran slower ahead (walking during a race bugs my knees). I stuck to my fuel every 30 minutes strategy, which worked well.

The first half flew by and I was blabbing away. It was fun to see Erica fly by (and after the turnaround,  my neighbor, Jen, running her first half with her husband, Troy)! I was super surprised to see Bobbi right before the turnaround (this is an out and back course). I also saw a few club friends too, and we saw Emily’s mom! What a treat to have so many spectators and know so many people running!


The turnaround was a bit congested, but that was the worst of it! I felt really strong and determined to keep us on pace! Emily had a 2:15 pace band and according to mile markers, we had a minute banked. And… according to our watches compared to mile markers, were also a tenth short on distance. Due to that, I did NOT trust our minute bank. Ha ha.

So the last three miles I went drill sergeant and ran a few steps ahead, encouraging Emily to pump her arms, pick up her feet, find her inner push, and so on.


I was worried I was annoying to her and others, but the people around me said they liked my tips, ha ha. We kept a good pace, still passing some (getting passed by speedy marathoners). I knew Emily would have a finishing kick (after running the Chicago Half Marathon with her) so I encouraged to bring it out right before the end, and she really got pumped when we saw her husband!

Our official time? 2:13:50. My watch hit thirteen miles as we crossed the finish. So… I have to trust the course is right, I guess!


Our posted (on paper) times first showed an added minute to clock time, then later (online) went back down a minute. Ha ha, at first I thought they were adding the missing tenth!

Gear check was a bit of a mess – it took them 10 minutes to find our bags – but luckily it was warm out and we weren’t in a rush! (The weather was great – 35° start, 51° at finish, perfect for a tank. I was grateful for the shaded trail!)

Emily and Adam took the shuttle to get their car and I went and changed just in time to see my neighbor finish (she ran with her husband) and crush her goal big time! Ha ha, right after that, a little girl was convinced I belonged to her crew, calling me “Dani,” so I had to help her find her family, tee hee.


Me, Jen and Troy

I’m really happy with how this went! I wasn’t sure how I’d feel running a half marathon 6 days after a full, at a faster pace, but I felt fantastic the whole time, and never tired!

And it helps that during the whole run, I knew I had brunch to look forward to with Emily and her husband, Adam! They drove to Wildberry and I walked there – my legs appreciated it.

Is it too early to start looking for a half for us to run together next year?!?!

*And we have gotten faster each year – 2:22:52, 2:19:16 and 2:13:50.
**I typically wouldn’t list all this stuff, as none of it bothered me, but I wanted to share it in case anyone stumbled across this race report… and those sorts of things are important for them in choosing a race. 

Random Thoughts Thursday 66

By , October 9, 2014 6:22 am
  • If you missed the lunar eclipse and blood moon yesterday, and live in the right parts of the world, you’ll have two more opportunities to see it happen next year – on April 4, 2015 and September 28, 2015. Mark your calendars (ha ha, apparently, I was dorky enough to mark my calendar for yesterday’s)! According to this article, it’s rare to have so many of these happening in a row, as well as for them to be visible in all of the US. Here’s some of the awesome (ha, ha ha, not) pictures I got of yesterday’s:

 141008eclipse 141008bloodmoon

  • Gina asked me to help Luca out with something very special… learning about Star Wars! Ahhhhhh! I am so excited to teach him about my favorite movies (IV-VI, obvs) and talk with him about it! I wanted to send him a book so he could start getting familiar with the story line and it took me forever to find one that just told the stories of the movies and not some side story. But! There was success yesterday on my lunch break! Yay! I can’t wait to read this to him when I see him in December. I also must find some good Star Wars toys to send, too…


  • I am feeling kind of bummed about Halloween this year. For the past four years we’ve gone to Iowa and celebrated with my family, but I am not sure if I can do that this year because of a work committment. I still have some hope that we will somehow be able to make it out there! We just have such a good time!
  • Just for fun, here is an interesting article about how people have been wrongly depicting what running form looks like, for many, many years. 

And a few more random post marathon thoughts:

  • The official photos came out, and my form was not as good as I thought it was at the finish (cause, derr, I was tired?). So, while I am getting better with form, I still really need to focus on it… maybe forever?
  • I stopped running with music in December 2012, and am thinking about adding it back in to some workouts, maybe to help with speed. Do you listen to music when you workout? I play music when I teach strength class, for sure. But on the run, it’s either my thoughts, or conversation with a friend. 
  • I used the Glympse app so Steven could see where I was at any moment while I was running. The app lasts four hours, so I reset it just after midway point. I really like that I can do that for a marathon and it doesn’t completely drain my battery. 
  • We haven’t really had a post race celebration. My sleeping and eating have been really off since Sunday. But I finally slept through the night last night (instead of waking up at 2:00 am full of energy). Yay!

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 65

Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon 2014 Race Report

By , October 7, 2014 6:27 am

Wow! This is the first marathon course I have done more than once! In 2011 and last Sunday! Are you a specific marathon repeat offender?


I started out 2014 like every other year – telling myself I wasn’t going to do any marathons. In fact, Milwaukee 2011 was supposed to be my last marathon for awhile! I love love love the training, but always bonk the race HARD. But then, so many friends were signed up for this race, a good friend was an official pacer of a goal time I had last year (4:10), and yeah, I love this course. So just like every other year since 2011 when I said that was my last marathon… I signed up for it. 

Here is your TL; DR, cause as little as I thought I had to say right after the race, the thoughts all came flooding back in (I suppose, once the brain started working again post-race): I did not join my friend’s pace team. I didn’t train for that. I didn’t PR this race. It was my fourth fastest (out of seven marathons, which makes it right in the middle, finish time wise). BUT! This was my best race, strategy-wise. I typically physically and mentally bonk at mile 16 of the marathon. That didn’t happen here. I hit 16, and kept going strong. Only the last 5 miles were a struggle. My goal was to average an 11:00 minute mile pace. I averaged 10:53s, and as I mentioned, my half splits were only 25 seconds apart. I am very proud of my 4:44:59 finish time, and encouraged to see how much more I can improve before the Dallas Marathon on December 14th!

Okay, now you’re in for the long haul…

Quite a few Efiters (from my strength studio – Essential Fitness) were doing this race! Yvonne was going for a PR. Ed was the 4:10 pacer I mentioned. Bobbi and I were going to stick together, and Dawn was running her first (!!!) full. Dawn wanted to hang with us, and Kelly jumped in for the last half to pace her. 

It was so great to be around my close friends the morning of the race. I road the free shuttle to race start (it’s a point to point – my preferred course type) with Yvonne and Ed, and found Bobbi and Dawn right before race start. I think I was the least nervous of all of us. I felt confident and excited, and ready to work hard. And I was really happy with the weather – started at 36° (“feels like” 29°). Those are my temps! Even with the silly wind. 


Yvonne, Bobbi and me


Bobbi, me and Dawn

The race started at 7:30 am, just after the sun came up. I ate a Clif shot energy gel right before we took off. My goal was to eat A LOT and often to keep my energy up. Right away, I remember why I love this course so much – it’s just so darn beautiful. You are running through the country and past nice neighborhoods (it’s right by Lake Michigan) until you hit the lakefront bike path in Milwaukee. The old, tall trees are beautiful, and the lake was stunning that morning:


There are a good amount of spectators too, for so much of it being country/residential. People playing instruments or recorded music, a kid ringing a huge bell… this course has just the right amount of spectators! You’re not always on show, but someone is almost always nearby. 

So I felt jazzed from the start. I was talking A LOT to Bobbi and Dawn. Just blabbing away (probably annoyingly). I tried to keep us in check to stay close to our 11:00 minute mile goal. I did not want to go out too hard. But man, this course has a few short rolling hills, and we kept speeding up on the downs! Oops!

And from the beginning, I stuck to my annoying race strategy of eating something (gels, soft pretzels or fig newtons) every 30 minutes, as well as taking an electrolyte pills. Why annoying? It was hard to carry all of that food without my backpack. I am lucky Bobbi and Dawn would hold things for me while I fished my pills out of my HipS-sister. And that Steven (and Bobbi’s family) was (were) on the course at mile 7.5 and mile 20 to give me Vitamin water and “real” food. I tend to get sick of eating (I know, ME?! Makes no sense) at the end of races, but I still forced myself to eat something every 30 minutes until the end. I think that helped me not bonk so early. And I filled up my water bottle at every single stop. I drink a lot when I run. 


The miles were ticking by and when we got to 9 or 10 and couldn’t believe how quickly the race was going! We were getting a lot of fun comments on our matching Efit shirts! A lot of instructions to “stay together.”

Which is exactly what I did not do. Sigh. 

A little bit before mile 13, we saw Kelly! I was so excited for her to join our crew! She said she had been saving up things to talk about all week! Hee hee! I said hi… then ran past her, and looked back and Bobbi and Dawn were behind me. I kept running as I had earlier when they took walk breaks (I’d slow down, they’d catch up). I kept looking back and eventually I couldn’t see them anymore. 


I felt really bad. I didn’t want to be that friend that takes off. Bobbi had the same goal as me. I texted her and asked if she wanted me to stop and wait (I would have!) and she had a “no, go ahead silly, but I love you for asking!” response. And that was the last I saw them. Bobbi and I texted throughout the race, but I was on my own then. Just me, and songs from Grease stuck in my head (do NOT watch a musical right before running a race!!!!). 

So I kept my sub 11:00 pace, focused on my form (gosh, I tried so hard with it) and attempted not to bonk at 16 like I typically do. 16 came and went and what… I still felt good! No way! I was ecstatic! The only issue was that I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom, and told myself once I saw a porta pottie without any line, I would go. 

That was at mile 18. I hadn’t walked or stopped yet in the race and was a bit bummed to stop, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Well, TMI ALERT, I was in such a hurry that I wanted to make things go as quickly as possible so I pushed really hard and strained my abdomen. It felt… weird. I felt stupid, for hurting myself going poo. (<—– NURSE KELLY, this is the part I wanted you to read!)

But of course, after, a load was lifted (ha ha ha) and I was feeling good. 

A bit lonely though. I talked to as many people as possible. I kept trying to find someone to pace with, but I was passing everyone. So many were walking or struggling, and I felt like an ass, passing by and asking if they were okay. A lot of people were running this as their first marathon, which was fun! I met a guy from Dallas. I met a guy (Brian) from a local suburb who is also running Chicago this Sunday. Brian and I ran together for quite a bit, and I cheered him in at the finish!


Brian and Kim and RBF

I saw Steven again at mile 20. I was started to feel it, and was looking forward to my Vitamin water (which of course, I had to force myself to drink). Then I saw quite a few running club friends a bit after that and was starting to get out of it and have death face!!! NOOOOO!!!

But I made it to 21 before it felt like a super struggle. And I just kept with the plan. I really, really wanted that sub 11:00 average, and not many miles over 11:00! Mile 23 was, as it was the only time I stopped to walk – the last time I filled up my bottle. 


Mile “27″ was 10:21 pace

I kept thinking, “where is the damn downhill?” There is a quad-killer downhill just before mile 23ish. I talked it up to people on the course who seemed to be struggling – cause when you are hating your run, you can always look forward to a downhill. Unless like me, you’ve run this race before it know it’s gonna hurt. And apparently, I forgot how much this course kills my IT band and hips with the rolling hills and camber of the road (for much of the end, you are on streets still open to a lane of traffic). I started fantasizing about getting a post race massage, even though I knew I wouldn’t want to make Steven wait around!

The last three miles took forever, as they do. My watch was off by .1 mile the whole time, and every time I hit a mile marker early on my watch, it messed with me. I kept telling myself things like “3 miles! You ran that yesterday to prep!’ “Two miles! That’s four laps at the park” and so on. It doesn’t work, ha ha. The downhill helped my pace, but then running along the open lake did not for the last two miles. It’s flat, yes, but with a 13mph wind pushing in to my face, I just couldn’t keep the pace down (and it warmed up to 50°, “feels like” 45° – and was sunny, gah). I tried so hard. 

I really wanted to look good when I came in to the finish line. I thought about my Slouchy McSloucherson issue and didn’t want to see pictures like that. I wanted Steven to see me with good form. Ha ha, that is why I started talking to Brian at mile 20. I asked Steven how my form was and he said “sloppy” and I said to that guy “he was supposed to lie and say ‘good’!” Hee hee. Brian said “you look great!” which did encourage me. (And Steve was being honest!)


He wasn’t lying. Ha ha.

So I pushed as hard as I could, really focusing on my form, scanning all over for Steven… I finished without seeing him. I immediately starting crying. I knew I had made my goal (I had no idea until later in the day how even my half splits were) and was just spent. I really gave it everything. 

A medic was worried about me and followed me for a bit, which was really sweet. Then I got my bag and hobbled around, looking for Steven and Bobbi’s family. I got a text from Steven that he got there one minute after I finished. I didn’t know where Bobbi, Dawn and Kelly were. I actually kept asking Dawn’s boyfriend how Dawn was doing (he was riding by the course on his bike) and he kept saying they were right behind me. They weren’t though. So Steven stayed back to get their pics at mile 20 and just missed me at the finish. Which is totally fine, but I was overly emotional about it when I finished. When I finally saw Steven he asked what was wrong and I cried and said “I tried to finish really strong for you so you’d be proud of me!” And of course, he told me he was proud of me. Gosh, I am still emotional just typing about it! Lameness alert!

All that being said, I am so happy I got see Dawn finish her FIRST MARATHON ever! I kept thinking about her buddy, Zach, during the race, and how proud he was of her and the special relationship they have. That really kept me going.

And I loved seeing Bobbi finish, and getting to watch her husband and three of her kids watch! They were so excited for her!!!

Speaking of her kids, I was hanging with her youngest daughter, and a random spectator asked if she was my daughter. I said no, but the spectator was so sweet, she said to Bobbi’s daughter “Your friend did an amazing thing today! You should be inspired by her!” What a way to end the race. There were so many supportive random strangers! I love that! 


I ran in to quite a few friends before I left and was so happy I did!


Everyone was beaming at the finish, whether they had the race they wanted, or not. We wore our schweet medals proudly! (I love the shirt (definitely a keeper!) and medal this year!):


I love the medals we got this year. And the race organization was top notch! I am not sure if they had this before, but it was the first time I have used it post race – the changing tent! How nice to get in to something clean after the race. And realize that the throwaway gloves I stuffed in my bra chafed the hell out of me. Kim. Just. Throw. Them. Away. Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

After saying goodbye to everyone and changing, I remembered to ask a stranger to take a picture of me and Steven. 


That brown bag he is holding was the bag they gave us at the finish – it had two pieces of fruit, chocolate milk, crackers, nuts and a Fiber One bar in it.

He does so much to support me at races, and really, in my weekly training, and not very often do I get a photo token of that. I am very happy I did!

We hobbled back to the car. Wait, I hobbled, ha ha, not him. Then we stopped in Kenosha for some groceries. It was too odd of an hour to eat a sit down meal so we ate our leftover pizza in the car! My appetite did not kick in until 2:00 am – when I woke up early Monday morning, to a grumbly stomach. 

Post race, I feel good! My quads are sore, my face is wind burned (forgot to put vaseline on my nose, but kept applying chapstick to my lips) and I only chafed in that one spot, and it healed pretty quick. Win win! Now it’s time to keep training for the Dallas Marathon! I feel very encouraged by this race. My strategy seemed to mostly work, and I think it helped that I ate healthy for the three weeks leading up and lost a bit of weight. We will see what December brings!

A few other random thoughts (I know, this is so hella long – I warned you, right?!):

  • I am so happy I am missing the toenails on my Morton’s toes. That has helped so much with training and with this race. No blisters on those toes (or any others).
  • I wore shoes that had about 80+ miles on them. Not really ideal – I like brand new or barely worn, but it worked well. They only felt “unsupportive” (flat under the ball of my foot) a few times in the middle and never bothered me again.
  • I did see someone wearing a backpack even though they weren’t allowed. I saw it in the last two miles when I was in a bad mental state and it really bugged me. Ha ha.
  • The same spectator who told me and the Efit gals to stay together asked me where they all were when he saw me solo. 
  • I tried to read spectator signs for distraction. I really liked an ermagherd one.
  • Before this race, I remembered signing up for Athena division for a race, but couldn’t remember which race it was! It was this one, ha ha. I placed 13 out of 44 in that division. 
  • I made sure to buy new shorts for the race, so Bobbi wouldn’t have to smell my old ones. I should have done this for my bra, too (duh).
  • I saw someone doing the race in a RAGBRAI jersey. Meant to talk to him and never did. Darn!
  • I thought about bringing the GoPro and decided not to. 
  • I like that they put our names on our bibs so people can cheer us on by name! It means a lot when you are struggling. 
  • I bought a pin at the expo. I like to put them on my water vest. You know, the one I wasn’t allowed to use. Ha ha. 


Training Week 259

By , October 5, 2014 6:44 pm

Highlight of the Week: Running a pretty great marathon, and feeling so proud of my friends who participated too!


Monday | September 29, 2014: 4 m run (w/Kelly) + teaching strength class
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 55°/55°, Time: 38:33, Pace: 9:38 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great
Strength: Kettlebells and Step, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good!
Tuesday | September 30, 2014: 5 m run (w/Kelly) + walk (w/Steven)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 47°/46°, Time: 49:08, Pace: 9:50 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Wednesday | October 1, 2014: rest
Thursday | October 2, 2014: 3.5 m run (w/Kelly)
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 60°/60°, Time: 33:49, Pace: 9:40 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Friday | October 3, 2014: teaching strength class
Strength: Kettlebells and Step, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good
Saturday | October 4, 2014: 3 m run
Loc: hood, Temp: 39°/38°, Time: 28:55, Pace: 9:38 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Sunday | October 5, 2014: Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon (first almost 13 w/Bobbi and Dawn)
Loc: Grafton, WI to Milwaukee, WI, Temp: 36°/50°, Time: 4:44:59, Pace: 10:53 avg, Difficulty: easy/hard, Felt: mostly great


  • On Tuesday’s run, Kelly and I had to re-route TWICE because we ran in to live skunks. What. The. Heck!
  • Man, the taper makes me NUTS. Not in the “I am worried I am losing fitness” or “I think I am injured!” sense. But in the, “I want to run what I want to run and I know I shouldn’t” sense. 
  • The marathon went really well! Not my best by speed, but my best by strategy! I feel really encouraged by it! I just wanted to maintain sub 11:00s. My average pace was 10:53, and I ran the first half in 2:22:17, and the second in 2:22:42. Those have GOT to be my most even splits ever.  More to come later this week!

Link to Training Week 258

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