Running pic

Running pic
Yup, that's me!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lincolnwood Turkey Trot Recap

New PR! New PR!  That’s right – this weekend at the Lincolnwood Turkey Trot I broke the elusive 50 minute mark for my 10K time! 49:05 Woot! Also, beat the nemesis by slightly over a minute! Also, just checked Athlinks and the nemesis has NEVER broken 50 minutes.  Why yes, I am a big stalking stalkery McStalker  – what of it? What is amazing to me is how competitive my AG is (and big – instead of the usually 40-44, 45-49 they did a 40-49, so lots of people).  I was 10th in my AG, but the 25th woman overall.  I just looked at my time from last year and I was about 3 ½ minutes faster this year and my time last year was a PR for 2010 - not too shabby.  Here’s the rundown.  I almost skipped this race because I was doing it by myself – always a drag.  But, I got up out of my warm snuggly bed and had a cup of coffee and a slice of whole-grain peanut butter toast.  I had a PRP (you know what that is) and got dressed.  I wore Craft capris, a Saucony sports bra (TJ Maxx purchase), a random tank-top chosen because it isn’t cotton and it’s long enough to stay tucked in, a tech half-zip from the Zooma women’s half-marathon, Nike gloves, Balega socks, my Saucony racing flats (it still cracks me up that I even have racing flats), and my iPod shuffle. It was chilly and overcast with some wind but not too gusty.  They had free parking that was close - a real plus that you understand all too well if you live in Chicago and run many races, a for once a decent t-shirt (long sleeved tech-t!) where they minimized the super-ugly cartoon turkey that graces all of their shirts.  Port-a-potties were plentiful and clean and there was a covered shelter to wait under before the race started.
The race started well – I had managed to get close enough to the front so I could avoid the walkers and slo-pokes yet surely still have people to pass along the way.  The first mile went by really quickly – under 8 minutes according to my Garmin. Miles 2 & 3 also clicked off at just about 8 minutes or a little bit over. By this time we had split from the 5K portion of the race and I started to look for people to fix on and then pass as a way to keep my pace up.  Somewhere around mile 4 where the course starts making a sort of zig-zag or as I like to call it, a radiator pattern,  going up a street for about a half mile, then over a block and back to the main street – repeat three times.  I passed a woman in a sports bra and running skirt (OK already – we see your back muscles.  Now put on a shirt because you’re making me cold just looking at you!), and then I hung on to a woman in an Evanston Running Club singlet over a long sleeved shirt.  I passed her at a water stop around 4.5 – this is where I realized that I was clicking off the miles and hanging on to the ~8/mile pace and if I could keep it up I could beat 50 minutes.  Also about then I noticed a running buddy about 10 yards in front me and I knew if I could keep up with her she would pace me in (unwittingly – I didn’t let her know I was behind her) under 50 for sure and I decided then that if it killed me I was going to keep up with her. Luckily she’s a nice runner who keeps an even pace.  I stuck to her like glue and tried to keep a little gas in the tank for the home stretch.  Just before the finish line there’s a long straightaway and then a right turn into the - I don’t know – last maybe 100 yards to the finish and I could see the clock and I took off.  I heard my friend yell my name and it pushed me just a little bit more.  I saw the clock turn to 49:00 just before I crossed and I almost started to cry I was so happy.  I fully realize that breaking 50 minutes for many runners is no biggie, but we all have our personal goals.  I remember when breaking 30 minutes in a 5K or an hour for a 10K were big goals for me, so I know all too well that it doesn’t matter if you are an elite or a middle of the pack runner as long as you’re doing as well as you are able.
Next up I’ve got the obligatory Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot and then the Schaumburg half-marathon over the weekend. While I'd love to PR in the half, realistically I doubt it will happen considering all the running/racing I've been doing so close to this race.  A year ago this was my first half-marathon and since then I've run one full marathon, one 20-miler, 5 halfs, 4 10-milers and more than a handfull of 5Ks, 10Ks, and 8Ks. Like I said - I'd love to PR, but I'm just happy with the accomplishments.  I have a check-up on the 28th and I can't wait to brag to my doctor!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Running shame

Hey – a rare non-race update from Poppy, the race whore! Mostly because I have running shame today and I need to share.  First some background.  About 9-10 years ago I had my gallbladder out.  Since that time when I need to poop, I have to poop NOW. I really envy the people who are able to sort of think, “Hmm… I need to poop but I can wait until I get home or to an acceptable substitute.”  Yeah – not me.  I can take you on a tour of Chicago and point out the McDonald’s, Starbucks, hotel lobbies, gas stations, park district field houses, etc. where I have had to stop for an emergency dump.  Running only intensifies the need – this is probably why I go on (and on and on) in my race recaps about whether or not I’ve pooped and the number of port-a-potties near the start of a race and on the course. I have in the past mentioned that the world is my toilet when I run, but that was on trail runs where you can be the proverbial bear shitting in the woods and as long as you go far enough off the trail no one will ever be the wiser.
So this morning I was meeting one of my running buddies at 6am for a 5 mile loop.  Now usually in this situation I would get up at 5am and hope to take care of business before I head out but today it was cold in the house and the bed was really warm and I couldn’t pry myself out before 5:35 which only left enough time to pee, dress, and brush my teeth.  Now some additional background.  I’ve always felt my husband doesn’t get enough fiber and since he has a family history of colon cancer and fiber is supposed to be good for preventing that I recently started putting a couple of tablespoons of Benefiber into the smoothies I make for our breakfast every morning.  I get plenty of fiber to begin with – a baggie of shredded wheat for my ride to work snack, 2 pieces of fruit every day, lots of veggies, whole wheat pasta and bread when I can – you get the drift.  So the Benefiber is probably a little overkill for me. When my running buddy and I hit the 3.5 mile mark I mentioned that I might have to make a detour in the park we run through at about the 4.5 mile mark.  I don’t know if it’s the mentioning of the potential poop, or that I started thinking about it, but the launch sequence began and I wound up suggesting we run through an alley and yes, I POOPED IN AN ALLEY.  Right between a dumpster and a telephone pole.  Am I not just the classiest broad around?  And yes, I did have tp with me. I think someone saw me too and I’m sure they have great fodder for their morning tweet or blog post or FB status. However, I immediately felt so. much. better.  I seriously think I could make my millions by installing those European pay-toilet kiosks around the city. 
Anyway, that’s today’s over-share, just for you.

Chicago's Perfect 10 recap

Too bad the Perfect 10 race wasn’t as good as I hoped.  I finished the Soldier Field 10-miler back in May in 1:27:XX and I was hoping to finish the Perfect 10 in 1:20:XX  or less.  Not so insane when you consider that my Hot Chocolate time was 1:18:XX – I was hoping I could squeak out the extra .7 miles more in 1.5 minutes or so.  Or not.  I finished in 1:25:XX.  Oh well. A new PR, but not what I’d hoped for and my nemesis beat me by ~45 seconds.  Grrrrr.  I wonder if I’m her nemesis?  Or if she even cares? Eh. I’ll probably never know.
I was already irritated because the race director changed the start time from 8am to 7am which would mean that I’d have to get up at freaking 4am to get down to the start at Navy Pier  and have time to check gear and hit the head at least once.  A friend from college came down to run the race with me and she was likewise less than thrilled at the time change.   We were bleary eyed at 4am but we persevered, downed our coffee, ate our breakfast of champions (frosted sugar cookies), hit the head, and hit the bus to Navy Pier.  It was pretty cold out and the first race of the year that I wore my tights (black Nike purchased for ~$8 at the outlet from the sale rack). I rounded out the outfit with an Icebreaker ¼ zip top, Brooks glycerin bra, thin Nike gloves, my pink Newtons, and a pink Oiselle fleece hat that makes me look a bit like a cancer patient but keeps my ears warm and was free to boot. Needless to say pictures from this race are fah-bulous – or not.  Runners were allowed to wait inside Navy Pier until the start which was really nice because it was cold and windy. The start was sort of disorganized since we had to run west on the pier to get to the lakefront path and then head south.  I could pretty much tell this wasn’t going to be an A race for me.  I was tired and had a little bit of the lead-leg going on.  When we hit the 10K turnaround ~3 miles in I was pretty sorry that I’d signed up for the 10-mile.  You have to know that when the dude in the cargo shorts passes you, and then you see the guy with his arm in a sling already headed back that it’s not going to be a great race.  It was pretty much only the thought of the fabulous breakfast I had planned that kept me going. After the race I had to get my gear and find my friend who finished about 10 minutes ahead of me (7th in her AG!), and then we went out for a much deserved breakfast complete with a.m. cocktail and then home for a nap.  Lesson learned – no more races at 7am unless they’re outside my front door.
As a PS in case anyone cares what I wore to the Hot Chocolate race it was as follows: long-sleeved grey Saucony Fleet Feet Chick’s Night reward shirt, Brooks Glycerin bra, my grey Layer 8 shorts (still the best buy ever from Marshalls/TJ Maxx), Sensah lavender calf compression sleeves, pink Newtons, and Nike gloves.  No chafing despite the pretty dumb choice to wear a brand new shirt.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hot Chocolate 15K recap

I retract all the mean things I’ve said about RAM racing and the Hot Chocolate race.  This year they finally seem to have worked out all the kinks.  The expo was super-easy to navigate – I changed my corral (I was placed in the D coral and managed to move it not to the B like I’d hoped because it was already full, but into the C – no biggie because they weren’t really checking all that hard anyway), got my bib and goodie bag and was on my way to dinner all within 10 minutes. 
I got up in the morning about 5:15 and had the usual cup of coffee and a piece of whole wheat toast with low-fat peanut butter, waited about 15 minutes and had the P.R.P. (pre-race poop – sorry if that’s TMI). My sister-in-law came over about 6:30 and we headed to the L to get to Grant Park.  When we got down it was obvious that this was a huge race – I think I heard about 40,000 people which makes sense when you think about it.  They had to get the (very) expensive permits to close downtown streets and for that you need many runners to recoup your costs.  Gear check was a shit show – crowded with runners milling around.  Check your gear and get the hell out I say!  S-I-L and I got to the corral and waited, and waited.  Turns out the 5K course had to be rerouted due to a truck stuck under a viaduct and that delayed their start by about 15 minutes and in turn the 15K start. 
As usual, I can’t remember anything mile by mile.  I know I was doing fine and seemed to be ticking off the miles pretty regularly.  I remember passing the United Center and thinking the new statues of Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita looked pretty good and I remember passing a row of townhouses that were on the marathon route.  Mostly I was just feeling relief that the course wasn’t jam packed elbow to elbow and there was plenty of room to maneuver and get ahead when I needed to.  As usual the ‘hill’ over the Roosevelt bridge at the end of the race was painful – it’s hardly an incline but to us flatlanders it counts and coming at the end of the race is always hard. 
I blew off the chocolate fondue at the end of the race and just grabbed three squares of chocolate and got my gear and met up with S-I-L at the Congress Hotel lobby.  S-I-L had a great race – she placed 4th in her AG which is pretty amazing for such a big race.  I think I was in the 120’s, but I beat my nemesis by about 15 seconds which felt pretty good!
Next up – Chicago’s Perfect 10 10-miler. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Trick or Treat Trot Recap

You know how people are always talking about taking it easy after they run a marathon?  I sort of pooh-poohed the whole idea of taking it easy and scheduled races for the next (and I’m not shitting you here) ten weeks post-marathon.  One 5K, two 10Ks, one 5-mile, one 5mile brutal cross-country race, one 8K, one 15K, a 10-miler and 2 half-marathons. Not to mention my regular gym schedule of lifting 3 times and one hour of personal training. And my regular weekday running groups that account for 18 miles/week. Oh hai, I am an idiot.  My 10K this past weekend (Trick or Treat Trot) was for shit.  It was cold and very windy which didn’t make for PR conditions to begin with, but my final time was, for me, pretty terrible and my worst 10K time of the year.  However, due to a combination of the crap weather and a really popular half-marathon that was held the day before, most people must have stayed away because I wound up with 2nd place in my AG.  Normally my time wouldn’t have even put me in the top 25 – my AG is pretty competitive - but I guess the ‘good’ runners did the Monster Dash the day before.  Whatever, I’ll take it.  Supposedly the AG awards are getting mailed out which is good because there is no way I would have stayed around.  I hope it’s some sort of medal thingy because I don’t get these AG awards often so it would be nice to get something I can display instead of an award certificate. 
I did a run Wednesday  with my Chick’s Night group and it was my marathon training buddy’s birthday run.  It was a milestone birthday so last weekend we got together to make tutus to wear and surprise her.  I believe that they were much appreciated and if you were in the Lincoln Square area you certainly couldn’t miss the nine grown women hustling past in pink tulle tutus.  I have to admit that I enjoyed running in a tutu and I’m going to keep mine around for future use – I see breast cancer races and all-women’s races in its future.
This weekend brings the Hot Chocolate 15K.  I made the cut-off for the B corral (not too terribly competitive – I used my half-marathon PR of 1:55:XX from Green Bay ) which is good because as mentioned in the entry on the Bucktown 5K, RAM races are one big shit show.  Last year I wasn’t in a corral and it was crowded (this year the race has thankfully been moved to wide city streets) with walkers and slower runners.  I had to muscle past people and then when I stopped to use the porta-john I had to wait in line and then when I got back on the course I had to pass most of the same people again. Digestively not a good race for me, but that’s an entirely different story.
Did a 4 mile shake-out run this morning with my ladies group and it felt really good.  I wore my Newtons because they seem to have more arch support than the Kinvaras and the foot issue I was having seems to have gone away since I’ve switched back.  I’m planning on running in them tomorrow and I hope the added miles don’t hurt the tootsies – the Newtons have a tendency t squeeze my toes a little bit. It should be warm enough to wear shorts and compressions socks, but I haven’t thought out the rest of my ensemble yet so you’ll just have to wait until Monday to get the Fashion Report.