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Race Checklist & Workout Summary for 9/2-9/8

Checklist? Check! If you know me personally you know I make a freakin’ list for everything. I love it, can’t/don’t wanna help it. If you are traveling out of town for a race, i hope this helps you out.

My List for a Race Out-o-Town

__Garmin Watch & Charger



__Sports Bra


__Shirt/or Throwaway Shirt

__Socks/Compression Socks

__Running Shoes

__Sandals & after race clothes

__Anti-Chafe Cream

__Aspirin/pain reliever (for after race)


__Hair ties/headbands

__Gels or Sports Drinks/Water/Nuun (doesn’t hurt to have extra left in your car or hotel room)

__Race Confirmation/Hotel Confirmation/Course Map (for family or spouses traveling with you)

*Let me know if I’m missing anything important!

race day outfit

race day outfit


My training week always start on Monday & end on Sunday (cause Sunday is generally my rest day). Here’s what week #1 of my taper looks like.

Monday:  8 easy miles

Tuesday: 20 minute back workout, 30 minutes Abs

Wednesday: 8 mile progressive run

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: 5.6 Tempo Run

Saturday: 6 miles easy

Sunday: Rest Day

Total Miles: 27.6


My new Kinvara 4’s & Matt is wearing Nike LunarMTRL

Anyone training for a fall race? I’m diggin the cooler weather already!

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Tapering and why it generally sucks. Part I

Friday’s workout: 5.6m Tempo

Saturday’s workout: 6m Easy

During a taper, about 2 weeks prior to a race, your supposed to cut down your mileage, cut down the intensity and let your legs do more resting than running. Cutting back just before a big race feels like pure torture. All the extra time NOT running is spent in the following ways:

  •      Worrying about the race
  •      Reviewing every detail of your training log, and then panicking when you can’t come up with a secret formula for your race.
  •      Becoming a hypochondriac. Seriously, what is this the twinge I just felt in my ankle? Is it broken!?!? Did I really just sneeze? Great, now i’m gonna be sick for the race :/
  •      Lots of self doubt, self hatred and pure disappointment in the workouts I should have put more effort into. If i had a few more weeks of training!

That’s tapering, a lot of extra time to worry about things that can go wrong. I have friends and family that will gladly tell you what a brat monster I can be right before a race. I thought my world was falling apart, i would stress over every little thing and snap on anyone who questioned otherwise…but after the race I was back to normal. Usually.

So what are some ways to battle the dreaded taper? Start by not over analyzing your previous workouts and focus your energy on resting your legs. Fact: You will NOT lose speed or endurance during your taper. You can however, overdo it by trying to squeeze in those last few hard runs leaving your legs tired or sore on race day. I generally add tapering weeks into my training. For example, i increase my mileage for 3 weeks and cut down the 4th week by about 20%, then begin increasing again. This has helped me stay away from injuries and also gets me used to cutting my mileage down without going insane.

I’m going into my final week of tapering and had my last tempo run yesterday with Matt. He helped pace me pretty well. We did a total of 5.6 miles- 8:18, 7:47, 7:37, 7:46, 8:07 with a mile warm up and a little over half mile cool down. 5 miles is a short run for me, so a few quick miles won’t leave me fatigued next week, but this will be the last time I run near half marathon pace until race day.

After my tempo, sweaty & happy

Today I ran 6 easy miles with my friend Laura. I forgot to take pictures of us! I know, internet rules: no picture = never happened. I swear it did though, cause i remembered to take a selfie as I waited for her to roll up. We had a great time even though her Garmin died a mile in and I forgot mine at home. Sometimes running without all the gadgets feels good 🙂


Things to do during a taper:  take your vitamins & drink plenty of water. Sleep extra hours, stretch, ice, foam roll, compress & eat carbs in moderate amounts all week (instead of binging on a box of pasta the night before). Create a list of things you need to do or buy before race day or traveling to a race and take care of it. Start laying out your race day clothes, shoes etc, so half the packing will be done. Take a few minutes with the race route map and familiarize yourself with the course and where water stations & toilets are located. Finally, think positive about the race. When you find yourself doubting whether or not you can finish the race or hold a certain pace try and remember all the hard work you’ve done during training and pray to the Running Gods that the weather and race conditions will forever be in your favor.


Pro Compression socks, baseball & a Summer Shandy, gotta enjoy it while it’s around!

Have a nice weekend!


Injuries! All Alone in the Moonlight!!

Ok, first things first. Runners are doctors. Your legs hurt? Probably shin splints. Knee ache? You got runner’s knee, bro. Bottom of the heel? Plantar fasciitis. Boom.

In all seriousness, just because you used the Runner’s World, “touch where it hurts app”, it’s probably a good idea when pain lingers longer than a week or so to get checked out by a doctor or sports therapy/rehab specialist. Especially if the pain hasn’t gone away even after you take time off from running . A few years ago, I probably should have followed my own advice. But like Alanis so wisely sang, “you live, you learn.”

During the 2011 Chicago Marathon, my one and only marathon, I had a hard time training due to knee pain.  My lone, long run ended at 15 miles, 2 weeks out from the big day. That’s right, the farthest I’d go before attempting the 26.2 mile race was 15 miles. If that’s not daunting, I assumed my knee pain was an overuse injury, like Runner’s Knee, and also assumed i’d be fine since I would be running less during my taper. I assume now that I was an idiot then.

Smiling pre-race cause my knee doesn't hurt...yet.

Smiling pre-race cause my knee doesn’t hurt…yet.

Fast forward to the race and neglect of my pained knee– I was on pace, comfortable might I add, to break 4 hours. Then the knee pain decided to make it’s appearance at Mile 15. Needless to say, because the picture below says it all, the knee pain sucked, my calf cramped, i did a LOT of walking and did not break 4 hours.  4:28:28. Everyone told me it was a great time for my first go around, but I knew i had a shitty race, I didn’t fuel properly and I was injured. bleh…just bleh.


If you look closely at my right leg, you literally can see the cramp i had. This is mile 15, this is when it went downhill. Don’t you just love when the photographers catch the great moments?

That was October 2011. I waited and was in denial until January 2013 and finally found a Chiropractor that specialized in sports injuries. He adjusted me, the knee pain would disappear then return almost every 6 weeks like clockwork. Finally he suggested we do a more aggressive therapy 2-3x per week and see if we could fix the problem permanently. Turns out I had the World’s Tightest Hip Flexor. I’d like to thank my 6 years sitting at a desk job for that one. It was so tight it literally took the right side of my hip, pulled it down, tilted it forward and caused my knee to turn inward, putting excess stress on my knee. I also had a huge muscle imbalances and extremely tight quads and IT band.

After the sports therapy and doing more squats, deadlifts, lunges & stretching than I care to recall, I’m all better. 100% better. It took about 2 months of therapy & strength training, and about a month of running on sore leg muscles while correcting form before i started feeling like i had two capable legs again.

Why didn’t i go to a traditional general practitioner? Because I knew nothing was broke, tore, fractured or sprained and didn’t feel like paying for x-rays or an mri and having them prescribe me pain meds, so I started with the physical therapy aspect first.

Fun Fact- Because i knew my race was a total bust I shot gunned a beer at mile 21 from a man who looked like Santa Clause holding a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon, he was encouraging it and I needed the carbs. I also have a very difficult time turning down a free beer.

Anyone ever have something strange like this ^ happen during a race??

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BA DA DA DA, LA DA DA! Okay, This is Supposed to Be James Bond-y.

The weekend started out with the usual, “what do you want to do today?” (which happened after I decided it was too flippin’ hot to run) so we decided to be random and do things we always say we should do, but never actually get to the doing. We hopped the Metro, went down to U Street and ate lunch at the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl, where only The Obama Family eat for free. It was a little pricey for a hot dog joint but it’s been featured on Man Vs. Food and it’s famous and crap which automatically inflates the price. I got the Half Smoke (chili dog, onions & mustard) and an order of cheese fries.IMAG1540IMAG1538

We headed back on the train a few stops south to visit the International Spy Museum. It was a blast, killed a few hours and they had a James Bond exhibit called 50 Years of Villains– which was awesome!

My favorite part of the whole day was seeing Xenia Onatopp’s costume. I have had a huge crush on her since Goldeneye came out (and yes, i always chose her when we played Goldeneye on N64). She killed people with the strength in her thighs—and she’s smoking hot.


Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp

Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp

and me, trying to emulate her as much as possible
and me, trying to emulate her as much as possible

I’d make an excellent spy.


Alright guys, I have somewhat of a tempo-ish run tomorrow. Hopefully this ice cream is the secret to fast legs.

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Evolution of Running Shoes, Specifically Mine.

Without a doubt running shoes are the most important piece of equipment we need. When I started running I had no idea what I was doing. I put on whatever pair of Nike’s I owned and hopped out the door. Granted I was running for 1/2 a mile at the time, but even when I decided to run distance, i had no clue about running specialty stores, shoe fittings, the type of arch I had, if i pronated, or what the heck pronation even was. I couldn’t tell the difference between an everyday sneaker or ones meant for high mileage. Thank God for the resources we have now.

I’ll say this first, go to a running store and have your foot and gait analyzed. They do this at Dick’s Sporting Goods or local running stores near you. If you’re lazy you can do the wet paper bag test to see what kind of arch you have. Then you can have a friend use their phone to film you running on a treadmill to see if you have any type of overpronation or underpronation.

I started running in a pair of Adidas trail shoes, couldn’t tell you the name of them if they walked over my face. And why i thought i needed ‘trail running shoes’ in the Chi-Town suburbs is kinda beyond me right at the moment. Then I graduated to Nike Lunarswift which I thought were nice, but a didn’t like the way it grabbed my ankle like a kid that won’t let go… Again, this is a more supportive shoe that I apparently didn’t need.

Then one day, in a Sports Authority, I tried on Nike Lunarfly 2+. They felt like a second skin, and I ended up running for years in this model. These were a lightweight, neutral, cushioned shoe.

Nike Lunarfly 2+ my first love

Nike Lunarfly 2+ my first love

Cincinatti Flying Pig 1/2 in Nike Lunarfly 2+

Cincinatti Flying Pig 1/2 in Nike Lunarfly 2+

Chicago Marathon and a pair of Lunarfly 2s

Then the Nike Lunarfly 3+ came out. They were okay, felt heavier than the 2’s and i still use them to hike in because i just have a hard time parting with running shoes… what? we spent soooo much time together, the memories! This past January the Lunarfly 4+ came out, and my opinion of the shoe has gone to hell. They’re awful, the ankle is really high and cuts into the front & backside of the ankle, the cushioning just isn’t there and the fit is completely different than the earlier models. I bought a pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 15’s to see what the fuss on Skinny Runner was about, but they are not for me and I ended up returning them. The felt heavy and restricted my foot’s motion.

Rock N' Roll Usa 1/2 and Lunarfly 4s

Rock N’ Roll Usa 1/2 and Lunarfly 4s

Now that I’ve complained about what hasn’t been working, here’s what I’ve been digging lately. Brooks Pureflow. These are the first shoes i’ve loved since my Lunarfly days, however I already tried on the Pureflow 2s and wasn’t excited about them. Bummer, but it did open me up to the idea that Nike isn’t the only brand that creates good running shoes. I picked up a pair of Saucony Shadow Genesis on a clearance whim and so happy I did. The Shadow Genesis are a little firmer than what I’m used to, but they are so comfortable and they feel like they are shaped for my feet,  like they should be called Saucori’s.  I’m already looking at the Kinvara 4s (Saucony’s lightweight cushioned shoe) as my next purchase.

Saucony Shadow Genesis

Saucony Shadow Genesis

Top to bottom: Nike Lunarfly 3’s, Lunarfly 2s (my last pair!), Nike Flex Experience, Brooks Pureflow

So that’s my shoe collection from start to finish.

What do you run in?

Do you have different types of shoes for different workouts or racing?


Happy 24th!

Happy 24th!