Coming out of hibernation…

Oh hi, remember me?!  No, marathon training hasn’t killed me, but the summer heat just might (more on that later)!  Seriously though, I have been super duper busy these last few (almost three…oops!) weeks and haven’t been able to find much free time for myself, let alone time to sit in front of a computer and attempt to be witty.  🙂

So what have I been up to?  Oh, you know, just fighting the lovely Chicago traffic five days a week (1 hour each way), working my tail off at the office, finishing up those darn roman shades for my kitchen, and of course, running!  The good news is, the roman shades are done and have been installed.  I’m not particularly proud of them, but for my first sewing project since Home-Ec class in middle school, I’d say they came out alright.  What do you think?

roman shades

Please excuse my running bag sitting on the counter!

OK – let’s get down to business.  Here is a recap of how my training has been going:

Sunday (7/7/13) – Long Run (9 Miles):

In an effort to get my longs runs in before the heat of the day, I have been getting up at 5am to eat before heading out at 6am.  It was really hard to get up because I was up late, hanging out with our neighbors around the fire pit in our backyard.  When the alarm went off I groaned and crawled out of bed, choked down a CLIF Bar, took a few sips of my diet coke and promptly dozed off on the couch while I waited for my food to digest.  Luckily, I never got into a deep sleep and was able to force myself out the door a little after 6am.  The first three miles of the run felt great.  I didn’t feel too winded and my legs felt strong.  The sun was out but my route was pretty shaded up to this point.  I started to heat up a bit when I lost most of my shade into mile 4 and I felt my energy take a leap off a tall cliff.  At mile 4.5 I stopped to walk as I ate my energy gel and drink some water.  Tired of the same old scenery, I decided to try a new route today and crossed over into River Forest for the last half of my run, knowing I would be able to find more shade on it’s densely tree lined streets.  Feeling low energy, I began to think about new strategies for completing the run.  I remembered how easy it was to run with my Beginning Running buddy our first week together and decided to give our interval plan a shot.  I completed the last half of the run by alternating .50 mile running at a “faster” pace and walking 1 minute.  I was so happy when my watch beeped at 9 miles, not because I was exhausted (the intervals definitely helped me finish strong), but because I forgot to Body Glide up and that same spot in my armpit felt like someone was stabbing me every time I swung my arm.  I promise, I will NEVER forget Body Glide again before a long run!  Here are my stats for the run (slow to some standards, but within my long run training pace of 10:34-11:46).


Monday (7/8/13) – Rest Day:

After 9 miles on Sunday, my legs were a bit tired and I was longing for a rest day.  Typically, Monday’s are a rest day in the Hal Higdon Novice 1 training plan I am using, but because I’m trying to work in some speed work on Wednesday’s to improve my 5K times, I have shifted my normal Tuesday night workout to Monday, Wednesday night to Tuesday and then fall back on schedule for my Thursday night and Saturday or Sunday long run.  Luckily, I had an appointment after work and I didn’t get home until late so there wasn’t much time to get in a run before it got too dark/late.  I attempted to get in a quick three miler, but was unmotivated, tired and sore so I called it quits after one mile and went home to relax on the couch with my hubby.  I must have been pretty tired because 10 minutes later, I was catching flies on the couch.  Here are the stats for that run:


Tuesday (7/9/13) – 3 Miler:

Summer has really kicked into high gear in Chicago and this day was no exception.  Even though it was hot and steamy (~82 degrees with 74% humidity), I knew I had to get out there and complete my training run, especially after Monday’s failed attempt.  The run went reasonably well for the first two miles, but I crashed and burned on mile three.  I don’t think nutrition or hydration was the reason for my crash, I really think it had everything to do with the heat and humidity.  On hot and humid day’s like this I really struggle to not overheat when I’m running.  Walking is fine, but I often feel dizzy, sick to my stomach or like my face/head is going to explode when I’m running.  At this point, I’m really not sure how to overcome this, other than doing my training runs on the dreaded treadmill if it’s too hot/humid out.  How do you train when the mercury soars and the humidity is suffocating?


Wednesday (7/10/13) – Speed Work:

Holy moly was speed work hard this day!  I was thankful that the temperature and humidity had eased a bit and there was a nice breeze to help cool things off a bit.  After riding my bike to the track, I jogged a mile to stay warm and continued to jog as the rest of the group did their drills.  I’m still terrified that any lateral drills will bring back that horrible leg pain I was working through a few weeks ago.  All told, my warm-up consisted of a 2 mile bike ride and 1.5 miles of jogging.  After the warm-up, stretching and 4 stiders, my legs felt loose and strong…I was ready to conquer the workout!  The plan was to do 12 x 400’s at 5K pace with a 100 meter jog rest in between and a longer rest after a set of 4.  Remembering that I tend to go out way too fast, I kept my first set right around an 8:47/mile pace (2:05 ish for each 400).  They say consistency is key, and I was right on all the way through the second set.  I was really starting to struggle in the last two of the second set though, so I decided to sit out the first 400 of the third set.  The extra break did me a world of good though and with a little encouragement from “Coach” I successfully ran three more 400’s at 2:00 or under!  It felt good to know that I could do it and I’m looking forward to getting stronger and stronger…hopefully I will see 1:30’s or 1:40’s by the end of the program!  After the workout I cooled down with another 3/4 mile jog and a quick barefoot lap on the turf.  It was slow going riding my bike home since my legs were feeling pretty worn out, but I tried to push it so I could make it home before it got too dark (I didn’t have lights for my bike yet).  I made it home with plenty of daylight to spare though!

Thursday (7/11/13) – Another 3 Miler:

Thursday is the day I help pace for the CARA Beginning Running program.  This was our first day back after a two week hiatus due to a nasty thunderstorm and the 4th of July holiday, so I was excited to get back into the swing of things.  Today, my 5K buddy and I were scheduled to run 3 consecutive miles without any rest breaks.  I didn’t have any doubt that my buddy could do it though.  Like I have said before, she is a much better runner than she realizes and she definitely have the lung capacity to get her through easily.  After a bit of dynamic stretching, we started out on our route and before we knew it the three miles was up!  The weather was really nice, a little on the humid side, but not too hot for a change.  Here are our stats for the run:


Saturday (7/13/13) – Long (ish) Run and Post Run Yoga:

After a rest day on Friday, I was feeling prepared and excited to meet my run club friend for a quick run before she introduced me to my new favorite post run activity…yoga!  We met at 7am, which would normally be early enough to beat the heat of the day, but the humidity was up and I decided to wear running capri’s because, well, nobody wants to see me doing yoga in anything but pants…take my word for it.  Not thinking ahead and BRINGING a pair of capri’s to change into was my downfall.  The first mile or so was fine, we even got to laugh when a random car drove by blasting NKOTB’s “Hangin’ Tough” (seriously though, it was crazy loud and his windows were wide open), but by mile three I was dying.  You know that feeling you get when you’re wearing a wet bikini or swim shorts outside of the water on a hot day – damp, sticky and just gross – yeah, that was me.  I never wanted to shower so badly in all of my life.  I made it through the bulk of the run, grateful for every stoplight break, but had to take a walk break for a bit around the five mile marker – I was just too hot and my breathing was all off.  We finished the run strong though and made our way to yoga class.

Yoga was AMAZING…it felt so good to stretch my tired/sore muscles after an almost 6 mile run.  I really didn’t want the class to end.  I’m totally hooked and can’t wait to go back.  I’m even thinking about getting up even earlier on Saturday’s to get my scheduled long runs in and head over to yoga to stretch it out afterward.  Here are my stats for the pre yoga run:


Sunday (7/14/13) – Long Run – For Real This Time (10 Miles)!

My schedule says that I was supposed to get 10 miles in for my long run on Saturday, but after overheating before yoga and doing all that work stretching at yoga, I just wanted to shower and didn’t want to get all tensed up and sweaty trying to get in another 4.5 quick miles.  Not wanting to cut my long run short, I decided I would get up early on Sunday to get a full 10 continuous miles in…no breaks.  To my disappointment, the weather was just as hot and humid as Saturday.  Obviously, I didn’t make the capri mistake again, but I still struggled through this run.  This time around, I stuck to my new long run interval routine of running .5 mile, walking for 1 minute and so on.  It was so hot and humid I seemed to be going through water quickly and stopped to refill my hand-held bottle three times.  I drank EVERY last drop of those four (12 oz.) bottles.  I have to say that though the intervals made the run a lot easier, they got to be very monotonous and I found myself getting discouraged by the number of intervals left on my Garmin screen, allowing the Negative Nancy in my mind to push the “I just want to give up” button.  I’m happy to report that I did not give up, but I have to confess, I took full advantage of the water refill stops!  Here are my stats for the run:


Monday (7/15/13) – Easy 3 Miler:

After my 10 miler the day before I was really wanting a rest day, but I promised some run club buds that I would do (at least part) of the club Monday night run.  My hammies were sore and it was so HOT out (this was the start of our little heat wave last week…I think it was in the upper 80’s this day), but I’m glad I convinced myself to go.  I had a nice quick run and some good conversations with my friends.  I felt pretty good, but was never so happy to see my street coming up.  I was drenched in sweat and really wanted a swig of Gatorade.  After I ditched off from the group, I walked the half block to my house, made myself a nice cold glass of Gatorade and dizzily sat down to drink it.  After a few minutes I had my husband take me back to The Foot so I could pick-up my car.  I felt really silly and almost like I cheated!  Anyway, here are my stats for that run:


Tuesday (7/16/13) – Midweek Long Run (5 Miles):

This day was absolutely, positively the WORST running day of my life.  My Beginning Running buddy wasn’t going to be able to make it to our usual Thursday night run (which turned out to be canceled anyway due to the extreme heat), but we agreed to meet so I could help her get in her scheduled 3.5 miles.  I left work and should have known this run would end up in failure due to the extreme heat and humidity.  We agreed to meet at 6:30pm and since I had to get 5 miles in for my training I decided I would run to our meet up location (about 1.5 miles) and would then run home.  Because traffic was pretty heavy, I had to put a hustle on my run to our meet up location, which wasn’t easy in the heat/humidity.  By the time I got to the OPRF track (our meet up location), I thought I was going to die of heat stroke and wasn’t surprised when I looked up at the billboard that indicated it was STILL 91 degrees at 6:30pm!  After a quick break so I could catch my breath, we were off, choosing to try out a new route.  After about a mile we stopped for a traffic light and I started to feel queasy and light headed.  I was so embarrassed that I was the “teacher” and I had to walk…some role model I am!  We walked for a block or two and tried it again.  Another mile down and guess what, I had to walk again…my face felt like it was going to pop it was so hot.  This time we walked quite a bit further (about a half mile) before the sun retreated behind the clouds and the air seemed to cool off quite a bit.  We finished the run strong and I walked home with my tail between my legs, wishing I had brought some cash with me so I could stop and get an ice slushie to cool me off!  After my walk of shame I gulped down some ice cold water, took a cold shower and started to second guess myself and my ability to even finish a marathon.  Determined to finish, I decided that, as much as I hate them, I would do my training runs on a treadmill if the weather was above 90 degrees or excessively humid again.  Here are my stats for this horrible, horrible run that I will now repress any memory of:


Thursday (7/18/13) – 3 Miler:

I thought Tuesday was hot until Thursday rolled around with it’s 96 degrees and oppressive humidity.  I walked into the underground parking garage at work and it was like walking into a wall.  I was glad I planned ahead and brought my workout gear so I could run on the treadmill in the building’s gym.  I also decided to try out those new Brooks sneaks I told you about awhile ago.  Yes, they have stayed in my closet that long…I told you, I felt like I was cheating on my old trusty Saucony’s!  Anyway, I changed into my workout gear and hated the shoes immediately…they felt too small, like if I ran any more than 3 miles in them I would lose my big toenail for sure.  Having no other shoe options with me, I decided to give them a shot.  I turned on the news, positioned the oscillating fan for optimal cooling and began my run.  I was pleasantly surprised, the run was really easy and I felt really good.  I ran 3 miles at sub 10-minute pace and didn’t even feel winded.  Weird.  I’ve been struggling so much while running outside lately, I have to wonder if it really is just the heat and humidity slowing me down.  I have only run on a treadmill once before and I hated every seems-like-an-eternity minute of it, but that could be because I was used to running in the cold winter temps (I was running inside because it was in the negatives with wind chill that day and I didn’t feel like getting frostbite!) and the inside temperature was obviously much warmer.  I haven’t really made any adjustments to my food consumption, and the only change has been of the meteorological variety…could it be that I’m really that sensitive to the weather?  If so, how to I overcome that obstacle?!  It’s not like I can train solely on a treadmill in a climate controlled environment, or run a marathon on a treadmill for that matter (OMG…I would want to gouge my eyes out from the boredom!).  One thing is for sure, I’m really looking forward to the Fall!

Sunday (7/21/13) – Long Run (7 Miles):

It was another warm and muggy morning, but much cooler than it has been for this long run.  Since it was a step down week, I only had to log a 7 miler for my long run, but after a late night celebrating a friend’s birthday downtown, I found it hard to get out of bed and out the door by my goal time of 6am.  Instead, I took my time waking up and eating and headed out at 7:30am.  I stuck to my long run interval plan for this run and felt pretty good throughout the whole 7 miles.  I have been starting to pay attention to my energy levels on long runs in an attempt to nail down the perfect “refuel” timing to head off any bonk that might occur.  After talking with my run club bud, Jess, last weekend, I realized that my stores might deplete faster than the “normal” person since I seem to run out of gas somewhere between 4 and 4.5 miles.  To head this off, I decided that I would eat my gel at mile 3.5 and see how it went from there.  Holy amazing…it worked!  I felt great the entire run and didn’t see the “Average Pace” time on my Garmin sliding up like I usually do.  I was finally able to keep a nice, steady pace throughout the entire run.  Also, I think this is the first long run that I have ever done where I didn’t totally bonk out and suffer through the back half crawling along at a snails pace.  My only mistake is that I didn’t plan out my route very well, changing direction on a whim instead, leading me to finish the run about a mile and a half away from my house.  Ooops!  At least I got a nice cool down walk in!  Here are my stats for the run:


Monday (7/22/13) – 3 Miler:

Monday was another hot day (89 degrees), but much less humid, which was nice.  Since I didn’t bring my workout clothes with me, I contemplated doing 3 miles on the elliptical machine I have at home.  After some convincing from my husband I sucked it up, changed out of my work clothes and complained my way out the door.  Since I hated that pair of Brooks so much, I tried to return them over the weekend, but I was only allowed to exchange them for another pair of shoes.  The only color Saucony Guide 6’s they had in stock was black…no thanks, it’s hot enough…so I let them talk me into a different pair of Brooks.  This time I ended up with a full size larger than my street size (8.5 vs. 7.5) and the Glycerin’s instead of the Adrenaline’s.  I thought I might as well get the test run over with so I decided to test them on this run.  I absolutely hated them the first mile…surprise, surprise – they felt too big!  I’m really starting to feel like Goldilocks now.  By the end of mile 2 I was getting used to them, but by mile 3 I just wanted to be done with the run and in an air-conditioned room somewhere.  The run went relatively well, considering the heat and new shoe learning curve, I was happy to see a more “normal” pace.  I plan to give the Glycerin’s another shot on Thursday this week.  Here are my stats for the run:


Wednesday (7/24/13) – Midweek Long Run (6 Miles):

FINALLY!  The hot weather has broken…today was an absolutely GORGEOUS day!  Low humidity and much, much cooler temps (high of only 76 today!) made for a lovely sunroof open, windows down drive to work this morning.  I was anxious to get out of work and get my midweek long run in today, but after a slice of Chocolate Moose Cake from Gibsons (because I have absolutely no willpower) I wasn’t so sure how the run was going to go.  My stomach was rebelling before I even started to run so I was afraid the jostling would only make it worse.  By the time I got home, the brick in my stomach started to subside and just to be safe, I took my sweet time gearing up and planning out my route (so I wouldn’t end up a mile or more away from home at the end of the run again!).  After a short warm up walk I was ready to go…and go I did!  The weather was amazing and I found it easy to breath even though I was maintaining a sub-10 minute pace.  Thinking that the pace was too good to be true or last for the whole run, I decided I would continue to push as long as I could.  To my surprise, I finished the run feeling fast, strong and as though I had a lot of energy to spare.  This further proves my theory that weather severely affects my running speeds and leaves me hopeful for a nice crisp Fall day on October 13th (the big day).  Here are my stats for tonight’s run (I actually ran a 10K to see if I could beat my 10K PR race time from last year…blew it out of the water by 4 minutes!):



2 thoughts on “Coming out of hibernation…

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