Thursday, March 31, 2011


Last summer, post-surgery, I optimistically sat and wrote trainings plans and race schedules to include all of the things I wanted to do last fall, winter, and for 2011. Most of those plans were quickly squashed by a long-slow recovery and a cautious physical therapist.

Needless to say, my plans to coordinate a RAGNAR team for the Chicago relay in June (and the Great River relay in August) went right out the window along with everything else. For those of you living under the proverbial rock, the short of RAGNAR is that it's a series of 2-day, ~200mile, 12 -person relay races. Pretty sick, if I do say so myself.

Wellll, I never got around to putting together a team. BUT yesterday I stumbled across a team of Twitteratti looking for a 12th team member. It sounds like 11 running gals from around the Midwest (and beyond) created a team and plan to run together. How friggin' cool is that?! Did I mention my love of the Twitter? Because I pretty much want to send it flowers and chocolates and maybe even ask it to marry me. But I digress. So this group of runners, the majority of whom only know each other through Twitter have made a team and are looking for a 12th.

How perfect is that?!


The downside to running with a group of people I don't know is that I feel like I would be the weakest link and that relative strangers (who haven't been through the last almost 2yrs of injury with me) may not understand my weaknesses and woes. I truly believe I can be trained and ready to the relay, albeit slowly, but is that enough? Granted, the runner they are looking for has 3 moderately easy legs, all in the 5 mile range. I know I will be able to run more than 5 miles in one go, because shit, I can just about do that now. But is 3-5mile legs in 24hrs? Will that be too much? Will I re-injure myself? Will I let my team down?

I *really* want to do this. I have even written up a very doable, but conservative, training plan to get me to the relay. But I just can't keep the self-doubt from creeping in...

Monday, March 28, 2011

How Yesterday's Run FAILED

Man alive was yesterday's run AWFUL. If I could go back and do it all over again, I would simply stay in my pajamas. On the couch. With the dogs. And it didn't just suck balls for one reason, there were like eleventy hundred reasons.

The first of which was a MAJOR outfit malfunction. Thank the little baby Jesus that I follow the "nothing new on race day" rule and tested out my new Skirt Sports capris at the Y. I put them on at home and stretched and wiggled around. The cut was cute and flattering, functional little hip pockets, it seemed good. I bought these in the same size as all my other SkirtSports clothing, which fit great and I LOVE, so I never thought these would be so awful. I should've given more thought to the fact the waistband kept rolling and bunching, but I didn't. I book it over to the Y, hop on the treadmill and instantly knew this was not going to work. With every step the waistband was rolling and inching down. Like unflatteringly, uncomfortable, dangerously creeping down. I spent the first several minutes pulling and adjusting. I even tried jacking them up dangerously close to camel-toe territory. If I wasn't so uncomfortable I would have actually been embarrassed to be doing this in public. Ugh, fml.

Second, I forgot my inhaler. Most of the time this wouldn't be a deal breaker but I have been hella congested lately. I'm not sure if it's a touch of a cold or my allergies starting to rear their ugly head, but my sinuses are like concrete. Aerobically I've been feeling pretty good so I didn't think it would be a problem, but I was wrong. The fact I came into the warm gym from the cold outside probably had a hand in it, but I was wheezing from the word go.

Third, after the Shamrock Shuffle I took 2wks off. Not purposely. Not recovery time. Just travel for work, everyday life and exhaustion got in the way. When you work 5 12hr+ days in a row its hard to motivate yourself to do a whole lot more. Did I mention that these 12hr days were out of town and over the weekend? I was overworked, sleep deprived, the house was destroyed, there was laundry to do AND a new puppy. Oh, and it's still cold out. Where the hell is sprnig already!!!! Yeah, that's like a quadruple whammy! I realize these are all excuses, wah wah wah, but whatever. Life happens. And sometimes when life happens I just don't make it to the gym.

Finally, no music. I realize many people tun without music but I just can't do it. At least not inside at the gym. Outside, or with other people, no probolem. Inside, on the treadmill, in the noisy smelly gym, no friggin way. The iPod was DEAD which super pissed me off as soon as I got there. For reals, this relatively new iPod has little top no battery life and it never has. Drive me CRAZY!!! My back up was my iPhone...except that I never took the time to load music on to it. FAIL. So instead I deciede to stream Pandora...except that it kept cutting in and out. At out point I *almost* threw my phone at the window. But them I'd be the crazy girl not only sporting a camel-toe and holding up my pants, but throwing a public tantrum. And I'd have a broken iPhone and no moolah to replace it.

So it was at that point, approximately 17minutes and 1.2 miles into my run that I got off the treadmill.

And that is how my run failed in every way possible yesterday.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Race Report: Shamrock Shuffle 5k

2 weeks ago today was the Shamrock Shuffle, a race that has always been near and dear to my heart. I mean, what's not to love about a run that celebrates St Patty's and has men in kilts playing bagpipes on the course? Not to mention the last time I ran the Shuffle I PR'd the 10k and felt great doing it. But that was so not going to be the case for this year.

Last race I did was the half-ironman where I fractured my foot. That was June 2009. Since then I have done a whole lot of nothing. PT, surgery, R&R, and more PT. Just about the time I was able to start running in December I went back under the knife for more surgery, which put me back at the R&R and PT. Needless to say I was super stoked when my PT said the Shuffle was a go!

I knew I could cover the 5k distance because I had been doing it for weeks at the gym, but I certainly wasn't going to do it very quickly. And the time thing was almost enough for me to not to do the run. I've never been a fast runner, but the thought of running 15min miles was daunting to me. I'll say it, I was embarrassed at the prospect of a 45min 5k on my race record. I wrestled with that until just days before the 5k when I decided to just get over myself and do it. We all have to start somewhere, and after a year and a half of injuryI decided this was as good a time as any to restart my running

Saturday night I laid out my outfit and I pinned on my number. I dug out my Garmin which has been packed in a box for well over a year. It took me a bit to remember how to use the damn thing. After some swearing, and instruction manual reading, I figured out how to set my pace alerts: no faster than a 12min mile, no slower than a 16min mile. I figured with that would give me a generous window to run in and walk in (as my PT would want it).

W and I headed down to State St and who did we run into, but a coworker of ours and his girlfriend. Now this coworker of ours is fit. Like built for speed, negative body fat %, animal on a bike, FIT. He has just recently taken up running as a way to stay in shape with all of the travel he does. I was not happy to see him. It's one thing to suck it up at a race, it's whole other thing to have to suck in front of a coworker. I'd be lying if I didn't think about trying to hang with him at any cost. Screw common sense! Screw the prescribed run/walk intervals. I just wanted to with this coworker. Shit.

We head into the start corral and that's when I decided that I needed to keep this run about me. Not my coworker, not the other runners, me. As soon as we started shuffling our way across the start line it hit me, I was running. Its been a long, hard process, but I was running. And it felt GREAT! It wasn't fast, it wasn't pretty, but I was loving every minute of it. And I was tearing up. Yes, I was that girl trying to nonchalantly wipe tears off my face. What can I say, I never thought I would see this day again.

Did I mention that I was running faster and for longer than planned? Being out there with all of those people it was hard to slog along at a 14min mile, so I ran how I felt comfortable. The plan to run 4/walk 1 was quickly replaced with walk the hills. We clipped along at a 10:30min pace, which is pretty much what we kept for the duration, the exception being Observatory Hill (which is just CRUEL to make people run in the first place), a short flat by the Horticulture building, and a portion of the hill by the Lakeshore dorms.
Photo courtesy of the talented people at Focal Flame

In the end W and I finished in 37:37 and had a great time doing it! And yes, that is W over my left shoulder looking a little more, um, rough than me. :)

Next on the schedule is the CrazyLegs 8k.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Yoga School Drop Out

After much debate and over-analyzing, I have officially become a yoga school drop out.

This is something I've been hemming and hawing over virtually since the teacher training began. not even a week after the first training module I headed in for stomach surgery, which was far from the ideal way to kick this whole process off. Surgery turned out to be much more serious than planned, and the recovery was more than triple what I anticipated. About the time I was feeling better we headed into event and sale season here at work, and it just hasn't stopped yet. Every weekend is booked, work weeks are running looooong, there's now a new puppy in the house. I'm exhausted!

Ladybug and the new pup, Willis, napping together.

When it comes down to it, this winter/early springs schedule has been so busy that I just wasn't giving myself the time to practice and dedicate to the teacher training. And the less free time I had, and the more exhausted I was, the more I stressed about the situation. The more I stressed, the more I resented even going to yoga classes.

And that seems just about as anti-yoga as it gets.

As I looked ahead to late spring and summer, I was noticing that the majority of my weekends were already booked and it's not even April yet! Not to mention the number of weekends that were already double-booked... I'm exhausted just thinking about it!

Part of me feels guilty and like a huge failure, but more of me feels relieved so I think it's win-win situation in the end.