Training Week 383

By , February 19, 2017 4:33 pm

Highlight of the Week: Running with family!

Monday | February 13, 2017: 5 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 42°/42°, Time: 51:52, Pace: 10:22 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Strength: Lebert Equalizer and one dumbbell, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Tuesday | February 14, 2017: 4 m run
Loc: hood, Temp: 35°/35°, Time: 41:37, Pace: 10:24 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Wednesday | February 15, 2017: rest
Thursday | February 16, 2017: 5 m run (incl. 4×800) + 1,008 yd swim + 10 m ride
Loc: hood, Temp: 34°/34°, Time: 50:55, Pace: 10:11 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: fine, annoyed with the wind in the last two repeats
Loc: FitNation, Time: 21:59, Pace: 2:11 min/100 yd avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: surprise, surprise – annoyed with my foggy goggles
Indoor Bike Time: 31:48, Pace: 18.9 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, legs getting a bit tired

Friday | February 17, 2017: teaching strength class + 3 m run (w/Anne)
Strength: Lebert Equalizers and one dumbbell, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 27°/28°, Time: 37:01, Pace: 12:20, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Saturday | February 18, 2017: 10 m run (w/Dad on bike)
Loc: Overland Park, Temp: 43°/54°, Time: 1:47:08, Pace: 10;43 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great
Sunday | February 19, 2017: 4 m run (w/Andrew)
Loc: Indian Creek Trail, Temp: 50°/50°, Time: 46:35, Pace: 11:37 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, hot!


  • The warm February weather (pdf to link) is appreciated, but so, so odd. We haven’t had snow, either! Check out this article from Wednesday – “It’s been 60 days since Chicago has had an inch of snow” (pdf here). It doesn’t feel like winter at all. I usually struggle with the winter to spring transition (I have a hard time with spring) but maybe it will be easier, since we have spring weather now?
  • This was a quiet workout week. Lack of sleep from last weekend, and stress of dealing with Khali’s surgery exhausted me. I was lazy at the beginning of the week and then I had to cram all my cross training in to one day before I left for Kansas City. Oops!
  • I had such a pleasant long run with my dad on Saturday in Kansas. The weather and company were great! And I felt great! Although my stomach was messed up for a few hours after the run – I forgot how the sun does that to me.
  • I had a great run with my brother-in-law on Sunday, too! It was nice to catch up! We ran on a part of the trail by my snister’s house that I hadn’t been on yet. Naturally, since we’re near Kansas City, we found a massive hill!

Link to Training Week 382

Random Thoughts Thursday 128

By , February 16, 2017 6:23 am
  • Khali is recovering well! But she is anxious to go back outside. We figured we should at least wait until she is off her medication (last pill is tomorrow) to let her out. A lot of people ask me how Data reacts to her – he’s fine! He lets her approach, then usually walks away. I did see him hiding behind boxes and swatting at her when she walked by yesterday, but I think he was being playful (???).

  • What boxes was Data hiding behind? Oh, this load of stuff (sentimental stuff, a few games, kitchen boxes, etc.) we’ve had stored at the warehouse (for about one and a half years) since we started clearing out our townhome to sell it, and just brought home! We still have garage stuff and most of our books at the warehouse. Slowly but surely, we’ll get it here! (It’s obviously not a rush, since we’ve been without these items for one and a half years! Although, I do miss a few books, and Steven definitely misses his garage stuff!)

  • Another, “yeah, figures” article – “Scientific Proof That No One Wants to Hear Your Vacation Stories” (pdf here), but actually, not for the reason I thought. The article says people would rather hear stories they can relate to, rather than stories about experiences they’ve never had. Makes sense – wouldn’t it be more enjoyable to relate and connect with someone? But the reason we prefer relatable stories (according to this article, anyway) is because most people are crappy storytellers. “Human speech is riddled with informational gaps, and familiar stories allow listeners to use their own knowledge to fill in those gaps.” Hmm!
  • I know I’m a horrible storyteller. So let me try to tell you a story about a recent Target trip, ha. A lady and I were both trying to jockey our carts around the same section of the chocolate aisle. So I said to her “Looks like we both need our chocolate!” as I picked up the peanut butter cups I was there for. She starts asking me about the peanut butter cups and I tell her what I like about them. She picks up a bag to look at, and I finish my reasons of why I am buying them with “and they’re vegan!” and… she puts them back immediately. Ha, maybe I should have left the vegan part off?

  • I’ve been actually paying attention to the extra stuff my Garmin tracks, like sleep (to try to figure out how to sleep better) and steps. Last year I whined about how our work was going to have a steps competition but only walking steps counted, not running. At the time I thought it was major BS, but now that I actually pay attention to my steps, and realize I would rarely break 3,000 without running, I kind of see their point.
  • Work pet peeve – people who sent you pdf files but don’t look to see if they are properly oriented! I review a lot of drawings, and people send me the pdf rotated ninety degrees in the wrong direction, constantly. What does that tell me? You didn’t open the pdf after you made it to make sure it was correct. Sigh.

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 127


By , February 14, 2017 6:29 pm

Even though our veterinarian is fantastic, I was anxious about Khaleesi (Khali) getting spayed today. I’m nervous when they put them under to operate!

But, the vet technicians and assistants made me feel at ease – they called and sent text updates (with pictures!) throughout the day to let me know how things were going. Khali came home late this afternoon.

We’re supposed to monitor her activity for fourteen days to make sure she doesn’t jump or play too much! Ha! We’ll give her a few days inside* and see how that goes. I completely emptied out the downstairs bathroom so it’s all hers.

She found a comfy spot right away…

And I’ve been in here, monitoring her since she got back. I’ve learned she is a snorer! She’s being completely sweet and purring (and snoring) A LOT. I wonder if she’ll even want to go back outside… (I am guessing yes – she loves killing things).

Fingers crossed recovery goes well!

(Gah, I had the weirdest déjà vu writing this post. Does that ever happen to you?)

*Edited to add: I am happy it’s so oddly warm outside right now, so that Snow is not too cold, sleeping outside, without his sister’s body heat!

Training Week 382

By , February 12, 2017 1:59 pm

Highlight of the Week: Feeling energetic on my runs (I’d been feeling off for awhile, and I didn’t this week)!

Monday | February 6, 2017: 5 m run + 16.8 m bike + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 40°/41°, Time: 48:46, Pace: 9:45 avg, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: great
Indoor Bike Time: 55:10, Pace: 18.3 mph avg, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: good, excited to teach the workout on 2/11
Strength: Lebert Equalizers, Difficulty: easy (1/2 observing, no partner), Felt: good, hyper

Tuesday | February 7, 2017: 5 m run
Loc: VP Woods, Temp: 38°/39°, Time: 53:40, Pace: 10:44 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: decent
Wednesday | February 8, 2017: rest
Thursday | February 9, 2017: 5 m run (incl. 7×400)
Loc: Lake Andrea, Temp: 22°/21°, Time: 48:55, Pace: 9:47 avg, Difficulty:medium, Felt: strong
Friday | February 10, 2017: teaching strength class + 1,386 yd swim (incl. drills) + 3 m run
Strength: Lebert and one dumbbell, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: FitNation, Time: 42:17, Pace: 3:03 min/100 yd, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good (still annoyed with fogging goggles)
Loc: VP Woods, Temp: 40°/39°, Time: 29:53, Pace: 9:57 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great

Saturday | February 11, 2017: teaching indoor cycling (16.5 m) + teaching fitness boxing + 5 m run
Loc: Efit, Time: 55:04, Pace: 18.0 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Strength: body weight workouts, pads and mitts, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: hood, Temp: 43°/41°, Time: 49:05, Pace: 9:48 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great, strong

Sunday | February 12, 2017: 12 m run + 10 m bike
Loc: Lake Andrea/Outlet Mall loop, Temp: 34°/41°, Time: 2:09:10, Pace: 10:46 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: really good!
Indoor Ride Time: 34:57, Pace: 17.2 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good


  • The crushed limestone trails were REALLY squishy this week. Like, beginning of spring squishy. I actually felt bad running on them – my shoes sunk in deep enough, I know they’ll freeze in to ruts. Eek.
  • On Thursdays I do speedwork around a lake by my house. It’s windy, and lately, cold, on Thursdays, but knowing I may see a pretty sunset gets me out the door! And I’m happy I’ve been consistent about doing speedwork on the same day of the week. It’s more typical of me to put it off for as long as I can.
  • It was so warm here Saturday morning. As I was leaving to teach indoor cycling, I felt like we could have cycled outside – it was in the mid 40s with a “feel like” in the 50s because of the humidity and low winds! I did see cyclists out Saturday and Sunday.
  • As you guys have heard me talk about a zillion times, some of my runs are on the shoulders of high speed (low traffic) highways. Most drivers have been decent when they see me, going all the way to toward the center of the lane, or even crossing in to the other lane. However, on Saturday, I noticed a car coming toward me was driving right on the edge of the shoulder and swerving a bit in to it. Sigh. I got way over away from them, and they did drive right down the line, and continued to do so when they passed me. I hope they arrived to their final destination safely…
  • This is the second week in a row I cycled more than I ran!

Link to Training Week 381

The importance of play

By , February 10, 2017 6:45 am

I’ve been running across articles promoting the importance of playful workouts recently, and it’s got me all pumped up. That’s one of my goals for every class I teach – to make it fun.

Why? Because…

  • … newcomers are more likely to adhere to a workout routine if it’s fun (and they weren’t beat down by the class).
  • … making a workout playful makes it more than just another thing to check off your list on the road to a healthier life – it makes it a part of your day to look forward to – a reward in itself.
  • … when you’re having fun, you forget how hard you’re working.
  • … when you’re having fun, time flies (you know, in case you haven’t gotten to the point of the class being a reward yet).

And so on and so on. You get the idea*!

I try to do this in my classes with the following methods:

  • The program itself – I come up with playful ways to work whatever part of the body we are focusing on for that move, and I switch it up each week so it’s not the same thing over and over.

    Bar Crawl, anyone?
  • Camaraderie – I partner people up so they can encourage and challenge one another.
  • Music – I have a large library of music to pull from, and sometimes do themed playlists. Again, I switch it up each week to keep it fresh (although I use a lot of the boxing songs on a cycle cause the beat’s so good).
  • My attitude – I try (sometimes I have an off day) to be cheerful and playful and am goofy sometimes a lot of the time (and sometimes SUPER hyper…).

Anyway, this isn’t meant to be a how-to post. I actually want to hear from YOU because I am always looking for ideas and inspiration – what are some recent workouts you’ve done lately that have been fun and playful?

*I don’t train with children, but want to mention, they’re one group you’re REALLY supposed to make things playful for – I mean, kids’ exercise is playing! And they’re supposed to get an hour of playful exercise most days of the week. And most kids don’t.

Random Thoughts Thursday 127

By , February 9, 2017 6:23 am
  • William turned a month old on Tuesday! I get to see him next weekend. Yay!

  • My mom mentioned she is doing a challenge at work to exercise a certain amount of minutes a set amount of days a week. I texted her the day after she told me to ask how her workout was, and she responded with “Wow you have a great memory” (then told me about the workout). My brain is programmed to remember stuff like that – I told her it’s my job to harass people about working out!
  • Just say no to… lunch time meetings! I understand lunch time meetings are sometimes necessary because of time zone differences, but I swear, some people seem to prefer them and schedule them over and over, despite me politely (???) asking if we can have them before or after. Wah wah wah. (I know I’ve complained about this before. I wanted to again.)
  • We came up with a name for the opossum – Littlefinger. Thankfully, there are lots of Games of Thrones characters so we should never run out of names for the critters. Now we need to name the two raccoons.

  • This guy does NOT have a Game of Thrones name. I was chatting with my neighbor yesterday and she said her daughter named the stray white cat Puff. Puff, it is!

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 126

We’ve been here a year!

By , February 6, 2017 4:06 pm

A year ago on this date, we were moving in to our home! (All photos below are from move-in day.)

“Where the hell am I going now?” I learned from our first move it’s better to take Data to the new place FIRST and let him explore (rather than take him after the stuff moves in), so we did that at this house. 

Someone recently asked me if I have any regrets moving where we did. NOPE. We wanted peace and quiet and we got it. We were unhappy and on edge in our townhome. We’re not at all, where we live now. We’ve had one of our best years here.

Overlooking his new kingdom.

Steven wanted more projects and he got them! We’ve accomplished so many things at the house in the past year, all with his leading and planning (and some times, ALL his labor and very little of mine). And there’s always more to do. He’s happiest planning, solving problems, and building. It makes me happy to see him in his element and help when I can. And I’m grateful he takes the lead with that stuff – it’s not my forte!

I am so happy we hired movers for move #2. They rocked.

We have longer commutes now, and have put many more miles on the car, but a year in, we’re doing fine with it. We’ve adjusted our schedules accordingly and gotten used to it.

Powered by chai lattes!

I’ve also gotten used to running out here. We live off of a country road with a high speed limit – not ideal for running on anytime, really, but especially when it’s dark or the road conditions are bad. But I’ve found safe routes. And I luckily live between two thirty mile+ trail systems, a forest preserve, and a two+ mile lake trail loop. I have lots of awesome options, and even more if I hop in the car to get there.

We were unpacked in a few days, thanks to some help and smart packing!

We live “in the country,” but we’re actually equidistant between three decently sized cities, and it’s only a fifteen minute drive to each. We’ve figured out where to shop, and more importantly, found the good Chinese and pizza takeout. Ha!

We’ve met quite a few of our neighbors. We’ve yet to hang out with any of them, but we always have nice conversations when we run in to each other. One couple described our street as everyone being really nice, but mostly keeping to themselves, and that’s perfect for us. We also have some fur neighbors too, like Denali above. A lot of our neighbors have horses and we’ve seen plenty of interesting wild life in our backyard.

Again, so happy we hired movers.

We love having guests stay over, however, our house is actually the same square footage (plus a basement, woo hoo) as our townhome. So, we only have one guest bedroom! We plan to be here for a long time, and hope we can expand someday.

Move-day project – cutting closet rods so we can hang up our clothes and feel like we really live here!

But I love how the house is set up now. I like how the entire first floor has one big circulation loop. It feels spacious. And I like that the kitchen is NOT next to the living room. And that the living room has two story ceilings (that seemed like a waste when it was an option at the townhome, but I just love it here). And I love my huge soaking bath. And all the gorgeous windows. And I could go on and on…

“I’ve had enough.” The end of a long move day!

So yeah… you guys already know we love our home! Thanks for reading about it over the past year! There is definitely more to come – we still have so much we want to do!

Training Week 381

By , February 5, 2017 6:48 pm

Highlight of the Week: Getting muchos bike miles in / working out so much with the Efit crew!

Monday | January 30, 2017: 4.8 m run + 17 m ride (incl 2×15 mins incline) + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 22°/25°, Time: 47:21, Pace: 9:52 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: fantastic!
Indoor Ride Time: 1:00:04, Pace: 17.0 mph avg, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: good but legs BURNING!
Strength: AireX pads and medicine balls, Difficulty: easy, Felt: hyper

Tuesday | January 31, 2017: rest
Wednesday | February 1, 2017: 1,176 yd swim (drills + breathing practice) + 5 m run + 16.5 m ride
Loc: FitNation, Time: 28:33, Pace: 2:26 min/100 yd avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: ok
Loc: Gurnee, Temp: 28°/28°, Time: 57:02, Pace: 11:24 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: strangely tired (running on snow probably didn’t help)
Indoor Bike Time: 55:01, Pace: 18.0 mph avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: great, sweeeeeeeaty!

Thursday | February 2, 2017: 4.5 m run (incl. 10×1:00)
Loc: Lake Andrea, Temp: 20°/20°, Time: 44:15, Pace: 9:50 avg, Difficulty: medium/hard, Felt: good 
Friday | February 3, 2017: teaching strength class + 1,197 yd swim + 5.7 m run
Strength: kettlebells and circuit, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but a bit off
Loc: FitNation, Time: 27:11, Pace: 2:16 min/100 yd, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but a bit tired
Loc: hood, Temp: 25°/24°, Time: 1:01:40, Pace: 10:49 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, warm

Saturday | February 4, 2017: teaching indoor cycling (15 m) + teaching fitness boxing + 3 m run (w/Dawn, Jen & Judy)
Loc: Efit, Time: 55:29, Pace: 16.2 mph avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good
Strength: cardio dumbbell moves & boxing, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: good
Loc: Grayslake, Temp: 25°/28°, Time: 35:06, Pace: 11:42 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great

Sunday | February 5, 2017: 10 m run
Loc: DPRT/Kilbourne Loop, Temp: 29°/34°, Time: 1:55:07, Pace: 11:30 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: steady, just slower


  • It’s been a treat to run different snow-free routes this January and February and not be stuck on the safe (traffic-wise) road by my house! In fact, I am avoiding that route and saving it for when we do get snow!
  • I’d been thinking about trying pool drills so I did on Wednesday. The drills went fine, but of course, I completely screwed up my watch when I was doing them. Oops. I also practiced breathing on my left side which feels awkward and makes me lose all swimming confidence. Ha!
  • The Frosty saga continues. On Friday the park district called to ask what shirt size I want. I should have said “I am not doing the race.” Instead I told them a size. Now I feel like I should do it! Oh, and this time, they said it’s a two mile race.
  • A friend joined me at the pool Friday am! It’s fun to swim with someone else, but the best part is chatting in the hot tub after!
  • I had a busy Saturday morning at the studio! I taught my first cycling class of the year (I cycled a lot this week – did hill work Monday, practiced the studio class Wednesday, then taught it Saturday), taught fitness boxing, then ran 3 miles with some people. It was a fun morning!
  • All that cycling is making my legs move a bit slower on my runs, but that’s fine with me, as long as I am still hitting my speedwork paces (I am)!
  • It’s time for my first monthly recap of the year! In January I ran 122 miles (23 runs), cycled 89 miles (7 indoor rides) and swam 6,783 yards (6 swims). My coldest run was 3°F and my warmest was 51°F. I taught 9 strength classes and 2 fitness boxing classes. I missed teaching a scheduled strength classes and a fitness boxing class to meet William!

Link to Training Week 380

Random Thoughts Thursday 126

By , February 2, 2017 6:23 am
  • The race I am doing in Iowa in April does expanded age group awards for larger divisions. My age group goes six awards deep! I wonder what color (or metal?) the awards are after bronze? I entered the Athena division, which is what I did the last time I did this race (and won it).

  • This week, I learned something new and exciting about the car I have been driving for almost ten years – there’s rear windshield wiper fluid! I can clean off the back window from INSIDE the car! Ha ha. How I missed this over ten years, no idea. I am thankful Steven reminded me of it. Now is the time of year to use it.
  • I’ve been on and off Instagram for years. I couldn’t find a way to make it work for me – to be interesting and not just another social media thing that makes me stabby. But I figured it out – to mostly follow people I know, and only a few businesses and celebrities. There are a few things I don’t get though – why am I getting so many follow requests from people I don’t know (why do they want to follow me when my page is set as private and they can’t see anything I post?)? And why do people post the exact same thing on Instagram and Facebook (maximum exposure? and for people who aren’t on both? (like me, since I only started using it again late last year, ha ha!))?
  • Gina is doing a trail race in two weeks, so I ordered her some Dirty Girl Gaiters. When I was checking out, I didn’t see where I could mark it as a gift or say it was from me, so in the special instructions area, I asked if they could write a note for me, and they did! And it was hand-written and they even put a little heart by my name! Stuff like this is simple and easy for business to do, but it really makes clients like me happy that they took the time to read my request and accommodate it.

  • I keep having dreams that I wake up past the time I am supposed to be teaching a class. I will forever be paranoid about being on time!
  • We rarely see animated movies in the theater – not our thing. But, I do like to watch them at home, when they come to Netflix. I watched Zootopia last week and thought it was cute, and even downloaded the theme song!

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 125

Things I’m excited about in February!

By , February 1, 2017 7:53 am

Looks like it’s shaping up to be a week of lists and bullet points. That’s about all my brain can handle! I feel so distracted lately!

  1. Continuing to write a weekly training plan for a friend. It brings me so much joy to see a friend work hard and make progress, and feel good because of those efforts.
  2. Training hard on my bike! I’m starting to do some indoor incline training to get ready for RAGBRAI, but I also want to work on my speed – I am doing the bike leg of a triathlon relay in June!
  3. Teaching indoor cycling! I am teaching it twice this month, and I work hard on my playlist and the class sequence to make it fun (but also challenging MUAH HA HA) for my students.
  4. Seeing this guy!!! And family!
  5. Meeting our friends’ newest baby! Some of our friends here had their second son in December and we get to meet him this weekend.
  6. Saving money! I opened my first savings account as an adult (I know, I know, we won’t get in to why I didn’t have one until now) and plan to put my part-time job money in it.
  7. Having a new 5K to focus on (the race is April 1). Normally, I’d be putting Frosty on a list of things I am excited about in February, but I don’t even know if I’ll go. What a clusterf*ck.
  8. Celebrating our one year anniversary of closing on the house! It’s this weekend! We took January off from house projects, but I think we are picking them back up this month. We are going to do some work in the basement – clean up the ceiling (it used to be finished, then was flooded, and a lot of old ceiling structure needs to be cleaned up) and set up an area for Steven to put an Olympic weight set.
  9. Date nights with friends. Nothing planned yet… but I know we’ll get a few things going! And hopefully some date nights with Steven. I have some movie theater gift cards burning a hole in my pocket.
  10. Strengthening my swimming. I want to get better at breathing on my left side without it feeling like I am drowning myself!

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