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Race Eve in Philly & Summary 9/9-9/15

I spent a good amount of Saturday & Sunday in Philadelphia with Cameron and it was a blast. I’ve never seen Philly before and I actually liked it a lot. Keeping this post short and sweet & will recap the actual race soon! I’m still getting used to blogging life, so try to bear with me as I get used to updating closer to real time.


We arrived in at the Sheraton Downtown Hotel around 3pm, and headed toward the expo. Our hotel was half mile to the expo and half mile to the start line.  Since we arrived late on the last day of the expo it was super busy and they were out of free samples of pretty much everything (lame), so we didn’t stick around too long. Ended up eating pasta at the Hard Rock Cafe for my pre-race meal. We walked about 2 miles between the expo, hotel, food & a little sightseeing.


left: church, right: philadelphia city hall.

near the hotel, thought it was an aptly named street :)

near the hotel, thought the street name fit the weekend 🙂

Back at the hotel, I compressed my legs, used my muscle roller, drank Nuun & Powerade, ate potato chips, candy, watched cartoons. Chips for sodium, candy for glycogen stores, and cartoons to relax. Running life, by far is the best.

Hotel View was beautiful!

Hotel view was beautiful!


relaxing at the Sheraton

Standard bathroom, but thought i'd share!
Standard bathroom, but thought i’d share!

favorite cartoon!

favorite cartoon!

Here’s a rundown of my workouts from this past week:

Monday: 40 min biceps/chest, 10 min abs

Tuesday: 6.4 miles 7:51/pace, 10 minutes of foam-rolling & 10 min of abs

Wednesday: 20 min shoulders/triceps,

Thursday: 6 miles easy 9:55/pace, 10 min abs

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 3 miles easy 10:00/pace + approximately 2 mile walk

Sunday: 13.1 half marathon race + approximately 3 mile walk

Total Miles: 28.5 + walking miles!

Race recap coming soon!!


Like a G6!

Thursday workout: 6 mile easy 9:55/pace, 10 min abs

Yesterday I ran 6 miles and it was easy to slow down because the humidity did it for me. I didn’t even look at my watch cause I knew I was shuffling & struggling to breathe. I always tell people not to even pay attention to pace when it’s this hot and humid out. When you’re not breathing normally, oxygen can’t get to your muscles, so don’t expect for them to run fast. You know those days where it’s so hot you can just see the steam off the ground? That was yesterday. The picture below was taken so you can see how sweaty & gross I was even though I was running 2+ minutes over my race pace. Sunday’s race weather is set for partly cloudy 55 low/75 high, couldn’t have asked for better race weather!

you can see that my pink Brooks sports bra + yellow tank= orange!

my pink sports bra + yellow tank= bright orange!

The last days leading up to a race I watch videos of races & runners to get me pumped up. Lately I’ve been watching the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials. Every time I see Kara Goucher finish she inspires me beyond the meaning of the word inspire.  At my very first 1/2 marathon in 2009 she raced and finished in a blazing 1:08:05. If that’s not impressive enough, she actually won the entire race– over every woman AND man. I didn’t know who she was when I saw her during my first expo experience and I knew nothing about the elite running world while I was training, but she definitely changed the way I thought about running and my passion for the sport.

A few months ago I let her know I adore/love/watch/stalk her…and she LIKED MY POST. I freaking love this girl.

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 9.31.05 AM

Besides stalking elite runners, another thing I do is get my 1/2 Marathon Playlist in order for race day. I am a firm believer that you can’t just wing it when it comes to music. You can’t play Pandora and hope the commercials won’t get on your nerves at mile 8. You can’t shuffle your ipod and mess with skipping songs for hours on end. For the love of God, pull yourself together and put ten minutes of time into orchestrating THE SOUNDTRACK for your race. There have been plenty of studies showing how music can help you push through fatigue and pain during workouts, so use this to your advantage!

 Here are some tips to pull off a playlist that will get you to the finish line: 

-What is your estimated finishing time? Make sure the time of the playlist is long enough so you don’t hit the end of the playlist and have to mess with finding more music. You need your playlist to last as long as it will take you to cross this finish line–and then some. Just in case you don’t hit your goal time, having an extra 10-15 minutes of inspiring & fast paced music will help you finish strong, instead of giving up just because your MP3s do.

-How are you pacing the race? Are you trying to start out slower to save energy? If so, don’t play Skrillex or crazy dance music right out of the gate.

-When do you normally get tired in training runs or races? For me it’s about mile 8 where I start to feel it. This is where I will estimate the mile 8 time in my playlist and place music that inspires me. Power songs. Put them where you think you will need a pick-me-up! Your playlist will be ready to give you inspiration, energy and encouragement without you having to search for the songs and waste time.

-And always, make sure you charge your iPod/MP3 player the whole night before your race so it doesn’t die on you halfway. The biggest letdown/heartbreak is the sound of silence halfway into a race.

Now I’m off to pack for the weekend. I almost forgot I already put my Checklist on here!

What are your running plans for the weekend? Long run? 5k? Race? I’m coming for you Philly!!

What is your favorite pump up song for racing?? mine is Like a G6 by Far East Movement. 

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Tapering and it’s suckiness- Part II

Tuesday’s workout:  6.4 miles , 10 minutes of foam-rolling & 10 minutes of abs.

Tapering is the devil. I broke down Sunday and cried sobbed. I said it in my previous taper post about how little things stress me out and break me down…and it happened, right on schedule. Training for a race is a big deal to me. I put a lot of time, energy, and planning  into it. And just the idea of failing or having an off day is heartbreaking. Stupid i know. One of my downfalls is getting upset about something that hasn’t even happened yet.

So how did i handle it? I got over myself, washed my face and went on with the day. I know i put the time and workouts in. All i can do is trust my training, rest my legs and try to enjoy the rest of the week. I also continually remind myself that there are people too sick, injured or unable to run or be active.  I know I am so lucky to be able to do what I love on a daily basis. I just have to remind myself every once in a while, not take my legs or health for granted.

before my Tuesday run! brand new attitude and need to get used to self-timer

Tuesday before my run with a brand new attitude! (and yes, I need to get used to the self-timer)

Yesterday’s run was a quarter mile warm up then 6 miles at an easy/moderate effort 7:54, 7:50, 7:58, 7:55, 7:35, 7:56, quarter mile cool down. This is the first time i’ve ever ran all my miles sub-8 and dare I say, it felt easy? If ever a time for my half marathon pace to feel easy i’m glad it’s this week. I have about 2 more easy runs scheduled for the week, a little walking around Philadelphia the day before and then it’s race time!

I also had extra time yesterday and finally gave myself a haircut. See, i’m keeping myself busy during my taper.


And don’t worry, i’ve been cutting hair off and on for about 7 years. My best friend and old roommate, Marie and I used to cut each other’s hair often and she’s in hair school now. I considered hair school before getting my Certified Personal Training certificate, but obviously my love for working out topped cutting hair. If anyone in Northwest Indiana or the Chicago suburbs needs a fantastic haircut, send me an email & i’ll give you contact information for the lovely Marie. (Gentlemen, I’m sorry, she is taken.)


I only trust girls with kick-ass hair & tattoos to give me a haircut. no joke.

How does everyone handle taper weeks?

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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.