Marathon Training Recap Week 15-Peak Week

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We are less than 3 weeks away from The Chicago Marathon. I can’t believe the day is almost here and that summer is officially gone. Our weekend involved hanging out, yard work, and lots of napping…always a requirement during these last few weeks of training. Last weekend I felt like I was back in my first trimester of pregnancy. Seriously, so extremely tired. But I’m getting lots of z’s during the week and feeling a little bit more energized this week. Here’s how training went down last week:

MondayBarre class @ The Barre Code

TuesdayRun was cut short because Madelyn had a Dr’s appointment. Managed to squeeze in 3.3 mi @ 10:09 pace. Was also having problems with my earbuds. I finally unplugged them and finished my run music-less. It was kind of nice.

WednesdayMidweek long run. 10 mi @ 9:37 pace. Best Wednesday run I’ve had in a while.

Thursday5 mi @ 8:31 pace. On fire. First time all summer achieving negative splits. It was beautiful: 9:13, 8:46, 8:20, 8:19, 7:59. I’m going to try to ignore the pace on my watch for the rest of training and see how that goes. So far it seems to be working out well for me. Core & upper body strength work after my run.

FridayRest day. Stretching and lots of foam rolling.

Saturday18.53 mi @ 10:19 pace. Miscalculated 20 miles and run was cut short because of pure lack of motivation. Still feeling good about the marathon.

SundayCore work and this yoga for runners video on youtube. Youtube is a great resource for post run stretching videos. I’ve been using them a lot this training cycle and my legs felt normal after my long run on Saturday.

Onto week 16! Time to taper and to look into getting new shoes :-) Always a plus! I’ve been switching between Saucony Guide 7 & Newton’s Lady Issac. Not sure what I want to wear for the marathon.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite thing about Fall? What shoes are you currently running in? 

Getting Through The Long Run

Happy Monday guys! We are three weeks away from The Chicago Marathon and that means TAPER TIME! I thought this would be a good time to share what has helped me get through those long build-up runs the past 15 weeks. Here are 10 tips that make running long distance a bit more bearable.

1. Have your route planned before you head out.

18.53It’s so much easier to run long distance if you have a good idea of where you’re going. I’m usually pretty good about this, but I failed on Saturday when I set out for my 20 mile training run. My first loop was 14.9 miles (which was preplanned and routed using MapMyRun). The second loop, I underestimated and by the time I got to my starting, point, saw my watch and then my car, I decided to call it quits. I know that if I had planned that second loop better, 20 miles would’ve happened.

2. Create a killer playlist. Last weekend, I thought I forgot my headphones at home. I was just about to get in my car and drive back and I saw them laying under my seat. I couldn’t fathom running 18 miles in the cold without some sort of distraction. I use Spotify for all my running music and used it to create my Chicago Marathon playlist last year. When I’m not training, I use the free version. I can usually get through a decent run with very little commercials. I found that with some of my training runs, my wireless data would cut out and leave me without music for a little bit. This annoyed me and so I figured if I’m training for a marathon, I might as well treat myself to uninterrupted music. You can download music and play it offline from your mobile device with the premium version. You can also find me *here* if you’re looking for more spotify friends.

3. Run with Friends. Don’t have friends that run? Find new friends! ;-) Or join a running group and make new friends there. I have done most of my build up runs with Badgerland Striders and I have met some fellow Chicago marathoners in the process. Running with people that share a common interest helps pass time and keeps you on track. When you’re running with a friend, no one wants to be the first person to stop and start walking. It’s a great way to challenge yourself and each other.

treatspostrace4. Get inspired. Confession time: some days, running is the last thing I want to do. As much as I LOVE to run, there are days, like Wednesdays after work, where running 10 miles is the last thing I want to be doing. Sometimes those midweek longer runs really take some mental preparation. When I need a little extra inspiration, I will read some of my favorite running blogs (Hungry Runner Girl, Run Eat Repeat, Chic Runner) or scroll through  my Instagram feed for inspirational pics. This usually does the trick and gets me a little bit more excited for my run.

5. Treat yo self! Training for a marathon is no joke. It takes a toll on your body, your mind and your overall well-being. Reward yourself for setting your alarm( on a weekend) to run what some would call a crazy amount of miles.

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6. Find a GU that excites you! Because if you’re not running, when else is it acceptable to eat salted carmel GU?

7. Get some fun toys. I would be lost without my Garmin and now add in my bluetooth headphones to running gear I can’t live without. I love uploading my runs and seeing how I’ve improved from last year, where I struggled in my run etc. It’s definitely  more than just a GPS watch.

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8. Have a support system.  Marathon training & sometimes running in general would not be possible if it weren’t for my wonderful husband, mom and sister who have helped to keep an eye on Madelyn while I’ve spent all morning running. This also involves them waking up early on weekends (or staying up after working all night) when they really didn’t have to. It’s nice to be surrounded by loved ones who understand why you want to be in bed by 9pm on a Friday night…

9. Get properly fitted gear. I cannot stress enough the importance of going to get professionally fitted for every pair of shoes you wear. After I had Madelyn, I got fitted at a local running store and they put me in a very stable Brooks’ shoe. I continued to run in this same version of shoe throughout my first marathon training and after. I couldn’t figure out why, later on, my feet were hurting me so badly. They were a great shoe! Turns out, after a while I didn’t need that much stability and I had been running in the wrong shoe. They were right for me after I had a baby, but as I got more strength back in my core, the shoes were a wrong fit for me. Shorts are also a big one for me. Ill-fitting shorts have the power to break your run. My favorites are my Lululemon tracker short. I haven’t really tried any other brand. When you find one that works for you, you stick with it. And sports bras ladies!!! Definitely find a great fitting sports bra. I know that I will NOT be wearing my black Nike one for the marathon. If ever.

10. Recover. Ice baths and foam rolling is where it’s at if you want to walk like a normal person the next day.

iceicebabyAnd sleep. Allow yourself a nap if needed over the weekend of a long run. It will make you feel better. I promise.

Question of the day:  Tell me! What gets you through a long run or a grueling workout? 

Pumpkin Season!

Happy Wednesday! I hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! I just finished up week 14 of marathon training for Chicago and I’m well into week 15-PEAK WEEK! After this week is over, the mileage starts to decrease before the big day is here. I’m very excited and only a little bit nervous ;-)
Here’s how week 14 went down:
Monday: Barre Class
Tuesday: 5 miles @ 9:10 + core work
Wednesday: 9 miles @ 9:50. Had some Garmin issues along with rainy & windy weather, but I powered through and figured out what went wrong at the end.
Thursday: 5 miles @ 9:10 + core & stretching
Friday: Barre class/stretch
Saturday: 18 miles @ 10:05. Played around with my pace for the marathon. Ended the last mile going uphill. Muy mal planning on my part. Weather was slightly cooler than what is normal for this time of year, but I refused to put away the shorts just yet.
photoSunday: Brunch with the family/rest day/took lots of naps and it was glorious.
On Sunday, I was feeling domestic. With last week’s cooler temps, I thought it would be the perfect time to whip up some baked goods. I had a counter full of zucchini and a cupboard full of canned pumpkin. Put the two together and I present to you, Paleo Pumpkin Zucchini Bread. It turned out so good (and made our house smell like Fall), that the whole loaf pan was gone with in two days. Oopsy whoopsy. I will be making another batch, experimenting with another type of almond flour. Maybe it will be done in time for a special house guest next weekend? ;-)  I’d like to find an almond flour that works well in baked goods and doesn’t make my bread/muffins too “soggy”. It was good, but a little bit more “soggy” (as I hate the word moist!) than I would’ve liked. The pumpkin could’ve been the culprit too.
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Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup shredded & zucchini
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mix dry ingredients (first 4) in a small bowl. Set aside
3. Shred unpeeled zucchini and blot with a paper towel to squeeze out excess moisture
4. Beat 3 eggs in a larger bowl. Place the remaining ingredients (except zucchini) in the bowl, then mix on medium for about 2 minutes until all ingredients are combined. Add the zucchini and beat again just enough to incorporate.
5. Slowly add the dry ingredients with the mixer running, until all of the flour mixture has been mixed in.
6. Spoon the batter into a loaf pan. You can also make muffins.
7. Bake for about 50-60 minutes until the middle is set and a toothpick comes out clean.
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Question of the day: What is your favorite pumpkin flavored thing to eat/drink/make? I also love pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting :-) My fave!

The Family that plays Together

Happy Packer Day! Madelyn clearly knows what’s up. 

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I hope everyone’s week is going well. One day closer to the weekend and to my little cousin’s wedding! I’m thrilled to watch her get married, and I can still remember when she was born…how’s that for feeling old?! 

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Al & her fiance at our wedding

We definitely started our week off with a bang. On Monday, Madelyn spent some quality time with her great grandparents and my mom, while hubs and I hopped on the Amtrak and ventured down to Chicago for the Cubs vs. Brewers game. I can’t remember the last time I was at Wrigley Field for a game, but it felt good to be back in familiar territory :-) 

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When we got into the city, we ventured into Old Town and visited the Fleet Feet there. Of all the stores to visit in Chicago…clearly I have a problem. I think I love this store so much because it’s my first experience with running stores. I remember calling my mom after my first visit there and saying, “They just have so much stuff for running!” I also participated in a few of their fun runs during my Chicago days. As we left Fleet Feet, it started to pour. We didn’t really have an agenda until the game, so we kind of ducked out from the rain and then decided to head toward Wrigley.

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We ate at Mo’s Cantina before heading to the game. The day turned out to be perfect. Great weather and an awesome date, what more could a girl ask for? 

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After the game we met up with Kristine for a few drinks and before we knew it, it was time to catch the late train back to Milwaukee. But not before stopping for some Lou’s. Of all the Chicago style pizza the city has to offer, Lou Malnati’s is my absolute favorite. That crust tho! Unbelievably delicious. Hubs ordered our pizza to go because he didn’t think we’d have enough time to eat there. His plan was just to have us eat it at on the train. I had a better idea. Instead, we sat in the park near our old apartment, shared some pizza and talked about the old times. This is the same park where we took Oliver on his first walk and where we had our engagement pictures taken. By far my favorite place in Chicago.  

IMG_00671Today, I met my mom for lunch at Sven’s Cafe. I haven’t been here in a while, but I stuck with my usual. Mixed greens salad with goat cheese, chicken, walnuts, grapes and balsamic. It never fails me. I also had an Italian soda with pumpkin. It was good, but just a tad bit too sweet for me. My mom had the coconut Italian soda and that tasted much better.  

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I also decided that today would be my last day of work for the week. I have so much to get done before this weekend and I want to spend some time with Madelyn before she heads down to Chicago (for the first time ever without us!!!!) to spend time with her grandparents for the weekend. I know she will have a blast, it’s me that I’m concerned about ;-) 

Tonight, I was really feeling a bike ride. The last two runs (the only runs this week!) I’ve had have not been the greatest. My legs have felt heavy and I’m left feeling defeated. I don’t know if it was the humidity or the fact that I ate like crap this weekend (or both) but I haven’t been on my A game. So I decided it would be best to give my leggies a little break and head out for a bike ride with my entourage in tow. 

IMG_00811It felt really good to work my legs but in a different way. We rode up to Leff’s Luckytown for some food before the Packer game, and then rode our bikes back. The best way to consume “not so healthy” food. I told hubs it felt great to work off the food we just ate as opposed to just sitting there and letting it sit in our stomachs.

Tomorrow, I have a barre class on the workout schedule and then taking the day to chase Madelyn around while trying to smuggle her with hugs & kisses. it’s funny, I’ve spent a whole month away from her so you’d think a weekend would be no problem, but it never gets easier. 

What’s on your workout agenda for the weekend? Any other fun plans? I’m also headed to a marathon Q & A session at PRO this weekend! I’m thrilled for that! 

Chicago Marathon Training Recap Week 12

Hey guys! Happy September! I can’t believe it’s already that time of year and that football starts this week! EEEEEK! Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. The temperatures become a little more bearable for outside running, pumpkin in everything, and cozying up in blankets with the scent of fall candles are all of my favorite things.

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Rock N Sole 1/2 Marathon Recap & a PR

I hope everyone had a great week!  I decided to take a break from my busy life and sit down and write a race recap.  Last Saturday I ran my 6th {and best!}  half marathon.  A co-worker of mine and I have been “training” for the Rock n Sole Run in Milwaukee.  I use the term “training” loosely because I didn’t really stick to a plan this time around but I did make sure to get a few longer runs in there.  The longest run I did was 10 miles and that was the week before our race.  I didn’t have any real expectations for this race, given the winter we had.  My goal was just to go, have fun and do the best that I could.   RnS Half 2014This was my second year participating in the Rock n Sole Run.  Last year, I ran the quarter marathon.  The course was very different this time around, but it was a major improvement.  We started in the Third Ward, ran south toward Bay View, came up the Hoan Bridge from the south end, down Lincoln Memorial drive, up Lafayette hill, back around the Oak Leaf trail, back down the hill by UWM, south on Lincoln Memorial drive until the finish.  The course had a few serious hills but also had some nice declines where I was able to make up my time.  The Hoan bridge was by far the worst climb.  It was an uphill climb for about a mile, after we made it over the bridge, I turned to Jen and said the “worst part is over”.  She reminded me that we still had to run up Lafayette hill.  Although that one’s steep, it’s really short so in my mind I’d rather take the short and intense hill over the long uphill one.  I lost my running partner at the decline from the bridge.  I always use the momentum on hills to guide me down faster, whereas she keeps the same speed-something we already knew about our running styles going into this race.  We said from the beginning that we’d stay with each other as long as we can, but if one gets ahead, it’s not a big deal.  The course flattened out on Lincoln Memorial drive as we ran past the Calatrava and along the lake front.  Even after the run up the bridge, my legs felt really good.  I looked down at my watched and saw that I was averaging 9:18 min/mile.  Something that I’ve never done for a half marathon.  I thought about slowing down because I didn’t want to burn out but I was already 1/2 way through the race so I just kept with it.
RNS SplitsBefore I got to Lafayette hill, I started to slow my pace because I knew what was coming (the awesome advantage of being very familiar with the course!).  As I ran up it, I shortened my stride and took my time.  I felt my legs start to tighten up and my breathing became short.  I made it up that hill without having to stop and walk but at the top of it I told myself that I needed to slow down my pace and get my breathing under control otherwise I was in a for a tough finish. I slowed down for about a block or two, got my breathing under control and was back at it for about a 9:14 min mile.  As I was running on the Oak Leaf trail and I kept thinking about my running partner and how I wished we could’ve kept pace with each other.  Just as I was about to head downhill back toward Lincoln Memorial Drive, I felt a tap on my shoulder…it was Jen!  I was so thrilled that she caught up to me!  As we were making our way downhill I told her to just let the momentum carry you down…like running downhill when we were kids!  It worked and she was able to keep up with me for the rest of the race.  I looked down at my watch and knew that I was right on pace for earning a PR.  Shortly after mile 10 I spotted some port-o-johns.  I had been needing to use the restroom from about mile 4 and couldn’t hold out any longer.  I told Jen to just go ahead and that I would catch up to her.  I finally caught up to her when we had a 1/2 mile left to go.  I finished the race in 2:03:54, shaving about 7 minutes off my best time.
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              Time for a mani!

The race as a whole was very organized.  I ran with my own water belt, but there seemed to be enough aid stations, port-o-pottys and entertainment along the way.  The only thing I could recommend that they do differently is to have a cover over the gated bridges…I hate running over those!  Also, at the start of the race, I saw a girl fall into a construction hole…the cone wasn’t enough of a warning to keep her from taking a tumble.  Luckily, she was okay.  All in all, it was a great race and I’d be back for it again next year.  The course was beautiful and the weather was perfect…everything you need a great race!
And of course there was beer and live music at the finish line :-) WIN & WIN! Not a bad way to end week 1 of marathon training either.
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