Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Suzanne: Back in Training Mode and My First 5k of 2011

Well, I’m officially back in training mode! A little tough to get back into the routine of running but it’s actually been going well. I expected it was going to be a little more difficult but I’ve been feeling good and have been able to build up my mileage faster than planned. I’m attributing this success to the shape I’m in from personal training and other non-running workouts.

This Sunday I will run in the My First 5k Race, which will be my actual first 5k (I’ve only run in a 10k and two half marathons to this point) and my first race of 2011! I’m excited and a little nervous as I know a lot of people run fast in 5ks. I’ve been working on speeding up my pace – easy to do with my new Garmin – but my worst nightmare is to go all out and then die before the end of the race.

Speaking of the Garmin – I absolutely LOVE it! So easy to use and really a “must have” for any runner (don’t know why it took me so long to get one). I love how easy it is to upload my running data so I can keep track of all that information.

After the race this Sunday, I’ll post a race recap and hopefully some pictures. I’m just hoping it won’t rain, but I survived the rain (which never stopped) at Disneyland last week so I’m pretty sure I’ll survive whatever happens.

As far as training for this week, I’m focusing on two things: (1) speeding up my mile pace for the 5k and (2) continuing to build up my mileage base for my half marathon training. Need to build up to 6 miles (for long run) for Fleet Feet’s half marathon training groups officially starts on 1/8 at 6:30 am.

Races update – added the Davis Stampede half marathon on February 6th to the race calendar. The half marathon training group will be up to 10 miles before that race, which is what I’ve usually done in the past, so I’m adding the half marathon as a warm up to the Shamrock Half in March.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holidays and here’s to a healthy and wonderful 2011!

Happy Running,
Suzanne

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Suzanne's Early "Running" Christmas Present: A Garmin Watch!

Oh yeah baby, Christmas came early! I'm at Costco doing my shopping and I just happen to notice a Garmin Forerunner 405 CX. Let's just say the price was one that I couldn't resist (we all know how expensive Garmin's are) and I snapped one up. Isn't it pretty? Ha!



To try out my new toy, I actually ran in the rain! That was a first and it was only a light drizzle. The watch is awesome - it tells you your pace, how far you've run and your time. You even can program it so you're running against a time and it will show if you're behind or ahead. And it all can be uploaded wirelessly so you can continue to track your miles and times. Can you say awesome?

This week marked the official start of my training. Three weeks until My First 5k Race. And four weeks until the training begins for the Shamrock half marathon. I have to build my base up to 6 miles by then which shouldn't be a problem.

It's been a struggle to get back into "running mode" but I have to admit I missed it. While I've been doing different types of workouts it still feels great to just get out there and run...and let my mind go free. Running really helps me de-clutter my mind, organize my thoughts and just think through whatever is going on. As many working moms can attest - we have way too much in our heads at any given moment, so I'm happy to be training again.

Wishing everyone a wonderful holidays - is anyone doing any Christmas/Holiday runs? Good luck if you are!

Happy Running,
Suzanne

Friday, December 3, 2010

Oh Right, The Pact

I saw the link to Suzanne's blog post in my Facebook feed and my first thought was oh good, Suzanne wrote a post. Then I thought, crap how long has it been since I've posted*. Then I read Suzanne's blog post and thought, oh right, the pact. We both said when we met in November that we would be better about the blog. Call it our early New Year's resolution. So here we are. I'm kind of lazy today (even though I worked out this morning, weird) so I'm going to loosely follow the format of Suzanne's latest post.

Chicago Marathon
I've been a bad blogger, but I did update why the Chicago Marathon dream was unrealized, once again, here. Somehow I also managed to position myself as the poster child for most unfullfilled marathon attempts via The New York Times.

Twitter
I haven't been blogging, but I've been tweeting! Follow me here.

Training
Started personal training again and so far, so good. I really like my trainer. She's friendly and enthusiastic but not annoyingly so, you know what I mean? And, even though she is much younger than me, I don't feel ancient around her.

WW At Work
Two work friends and I have started Weight Watchers at Work. Very convenient to have the meetings during Monday lunch. Plus, the meetings are providing the accountability that I desperately needed. For me, getting on the scale in front of someone keeps my eating in check much more so than getting on the scale in the privacy of my own bathroom. Three weeks in and four pounds down. Might not seem like much, but slow and steady wins the race. Plus that include one week of Thanksgiving, a family Christmas party and a get together with Suzanne and friends. Somehow I managed to lose 1.6 pounds the holiday week. Without WW, I most likely would have gained 2.6 pounds with all of that going on. My goal is to lose 40 - 45 pounds because let's face it, the "baby" from my "baby weight" is now 6 years old, not 6 weeks.

Running
Getting back to a consistent running schedule;ran a couple time last week, three times this week

2011 Races
I have a few:

Chicago Shamrock Shuffle (April 10)
This is a couple weeks later this year, so better chance for better weather. It's usually the Shamrock SlushFest.

CARA Lakefront 10 (April 16)
This is a maybe . . .

Chicago Spring Half Marathon (May 15)
Also a maybe . . .

Soldier Field 10 Mile (May 28)
This one more likely than the Spring Half.
Need to convince my husband to do this one too.

Playlist Additions
Not a heck of a lot, but I do like the Pink song Suzanne mentioned too.
I've been on a One Republic kick lately, but others are:

"I Want It That Way" - Allister (note, this is NOT the Backstreet Boys version)
"Evacuate the Dancefloor" - Cascada (this song is so atypical for me, but it makes me run faster every time it comes on)
"I'm Not Over" - Carolina Liar - - Still a favorite running song
"When You Were Young" - The Killers
"Missing" - Flyleaf





*By the way, I still haven't been able to bring myself to look to see how long it's been since I posted.


Jenn

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sorry! Update! 2011 Races!

It's been awhile I know and I'm SORRY. Let's just say life got in the way! It's been a busy few months but I'm back and promise to get back to regularly blogging. Jenn promises too (we made a pact) but I'll let her do that in her own posting.

Speaking of Jenn, we actually got to see one another twice in the last month! The first was for dinner while I was in Chicago on business and the second time when we were in Chicago for Thanksgiving (an annual family trip). Always a treat to catch up with Jenn in person and eating fabulous food! Oh and guess what we forgot to do?? Take a photo so we could post on the blog - shame on us we know!

OK, so here's a recap of what's been going on:

TRAINER
As I mentioned in my last post, I joined a gym and started working with a trainer. She has kicked my butt and yes there were times I thought "I can't do this" but continued on. I'm proud of myself as this really pushed me outside of my "exercise comfort level" and the great news is that it's really made a difference. I feel stronger and this definitely (I would think) will only help with my running.

RUNNING
So have I been running? Yes and no. Yes, I've been running but not as consistently as I planned. This month my goal is to work back up into 8 mile shape. And the plan is to post a weekly update on how things are progressing.

TRAINING

I've decided to join a half marathon training group! Fleet Feet offers one where I live and I thought why not? So starting in January I will start training with a group on Saturdays (6:30 am for long runs) and Thursdays (6:15 pm for speed workouts). Last year I trained solo for my two half-marathons. While I will admit I prefer to run by myself I wanted to take my training to the next level and figured this made sense. It certainly can't hurt and I'm curious what impact it will have on my running. Time will tell. Anyone else have any thoughts/experiences with running groups?

2011 RACES
Research and identified some races for the first half of 2011:
January 2 - My First 5k
March 13 - Shamrock Half Marathon
May - Loop the Lagoon 10k
May - Fiesta Days Half Marathon

MUSIC
And here are some new songs that I enjoy working out to:
Pink "Raise Your Glass"
Katy Perry "Firework"
Taylor Swift "The Story of Us," "Better Than Revenge," "Mine" (note: I pretty much LOVE her new album)
Mariah Carey "Oh Santa"
Linkin Park "The Catalyst"

That's it for now. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and is enjoying the holiday season.

Happy Running,
Suzanne

Monday, October 18, 2010

Suzanne’s Finish Line Photo and What’s Next…..

My finish line photo just arrived and I promised to post on our blog. As I mentioned in my race recap I was excited to finally get a good “running” race photo because I was bummed about my photos for the SF Half Marathon. There was a great one of Judy and me before we started running but no good photos of me actually running - that’s the point of getting a photo to show you ran the race, right? This photo makes me smile because I clearly remember being so psyched that I finished and set a new PR! It was a very proud moment in my short running career.


So what have I been up to since the race? Well, I haven’t run in 2 weeks (on purpose) as I went on a self-imposed running ban. That does not mean I haven’t worked out. Recently, I’ve joined a gym and started working on strengthening my core. I’m the type that loves cardio but HATES (that might not be a strong enough word for it) weights. Never had any interest in it, never could keep it up and never wanted to (who’s with me?).

So I’m working with a trainer who is going to kick my butt into shape. Going to give it a try for 6 weeks and see what kind of results I can achieve and will keep you posted. I’m curious to see what changes I might see and how I feel. Where does running fit in? My plan is to incorporate running into my workout routine and try to keep a base of 6-8 miles (for long runs).

During the two weeks I haven’t run there is one thing I’ve learned….I really really miss it! It kind of surprised me as I thought I was tired of having to train and a schedule to stick to which I’ve been doing since we started the blog in March. This past weekend I was reading up on the running blogs we follow and I was so inspired and encouraged by what everyone was accomplishing. The fact is running has become a great outlet for me and something I look forward to (not every time I’ll admit but for the most part anyways).

A training schedule keeps me motivated and exercising. Yes, it’s stressful to fit it all into my busy life but every time I somehow found a way....and that’s a good thing.

I’ve already started researching races and there’s not a lot coming up the next few months that is nearby or fits into my schedule. However, I’m definitely looking into scheduling some 5k, 10k and half marathon races for 2011. My goal will be to do two (possibly 3 but I’m not certain) half marathon races in 2011, with 5k and 10k races included as part of the training schedule.

That’s it for now!

Happy Running,

Suzanne

Monday, October 4, 2010

Suzanne’s Race Recap: Urban Cow Half Marathon

Two words sum up my Urban Cow Half Marathon: Totally Pumped! Yesterday, I successfully finished my second half marathon since the end of July and improved my PR by nearly 16 minutes (15:57 to be exact)! Woo hoo!

A special thanks again to my big sister Judy who (again) ran the half marathon with me. I’m so so lucky to have your support and encouragement. You are an amazing person, an inspiration and awesome runner! And, as always, you make the race fun and enjoyable, and you kicked butt (you go girl)! Thanks also to Bill for being our cheerleader and driver!

So, here’s a race recap:

  • Judy and I jumped out to a pretty fast pace – fast pace for me people – and we kept that up for about 3-4 miles.

  • The first part of the race was very pretty as we ran through a park with lots of trees and greenery.

  • Have to admit I did not feel well during miles 4-6 and yes it probably had to do with the fast pace we embarked on. After drinking some Cytomax (love that stuff) I felt revitalized at mile 7 and ready to keep going.

  • Weather was good. At race time it was in the mid 60s and that was better than what it could have been. However I will agree with Judy that SF is a much better climate to run in. It got a little humid as the race progressed.

  • My knees started to hurt a little around mile 8 and that was a new pain for me. During the SF marathon my legs just felt extremely heavy – due to the hills no doubt – but never had knee pain.

  • Ran past our hotel and saw my girls and mother on their hotel balcony at miles 9 and 11. Definitely was motivating knowing that I’d see them soon!

  • My aunt Kathy, uncle Ray and cousin Tori saw me at mile 10 – sorry I didn’t hear you but thank you so much for coming to support me!

  • Loved a poster someone was holding up at mile 11 that read “If your feet feel tired it’s because you’re kicking so much ass!” It really made me smile and made my day!

  • Just as we hit the 12 mile mark and my legs felt tired a song came on my ipod that just made me feel good and I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face….wait for it…it was MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This!” I honestly felt no pain while that song was playing and just wanted to dance. Go ahead and laugh at me because I don’t care - go Hammer! And yes probably from that comment you know approximately when I was in high school – ha!

  • Legs definitely felt tired but they never felt heavy like my last half marathon. I took this as a sign that I’m improving. Don’t get me wrong I was tired but I definitely felt better when compared to how I felt in SF.

  • The finish line seemed SO FAR AWAY. At least I could see the finish line at the SF half marathon but this one was hidden around a corner and I could feel everyone’s pain around me that it felt like we were never going to reach it.

  • Proud of myself that I did manage to sprint the last 100 yards! Funny how I could barely muster the energy to keep running that last 1-2 miles but once I saw that finish line I could manage to sprint. It felt GREAT to finish and amazing how you feel no more pain once you cross that line.

  • I LOVE my finish line photo (which I’ll post after I buy it) with my arms in the air! I had no good photos from the SF half marathon so I’m excited that there were a few that I actually liked from this race.

  • Today I feel good. Sure I’m a little sore but overall I feel great.
What’s next? Honestly, I’m not sure. I’m kind of torn between keeping this up as it would be a shame to waste the running shape I’m in and just trying something new. Right now I want to find my next race but I decided I'm going to give myself some time to think about it as I’ve been in training mode since February. Could it be possible that I'm officially addicted to half marathons? Didn't think that would happen. If I do decide to race again I think I may want to up my training....um gee...I wonder what I'm going to decide?

What do you think? Any advice?

Happy Running,
Suzanne

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Suzanne's Blog: On Target, A Beautiful Sunset & I'm Ready to Run!

11 more days to go until the Urban Cow Half Marathon! I’m feeling really good right now about my training and preparations and I’m way ahead of where I was before I completed my first half marathon in July (unfortunately I had a hip injury during that training which impacted my training).

Last Sunday I didn’t think I was going to be able to get my long run in. I had almost given up then I decided that I just needed to get out the door and get going. To my surprise, I ended up having a terrific 9 mile run. I’ve never run in the evening (usually do not have the opportunity to with two kids) and I have to say that it was great. The weather was nice and cool (for here) and for some reason I caught my second wind right at the 7 mile mark and ran my fastest mile time the last 2 miles. Go figure! I also got to watch the sunset which was pretty beautiful and a good distraction. I was pretty psyched afterwards because it was definitely my best long run to date! Hopefully my 10 miles this weekend will go as well?! A girl can wish.

This week the plan is 2 - 5 mile runs and a 60 minute cross training session, in addition to my 10 mile long run this weekend. Wish me luck!

Next week’s schedule is easy: 4 miles, 30 minutes cross training and 2 miles before the big race on Sunday of 13.1 miles! Everything is all set as I made my hotel reservations and printed out the directions and information for packet pick-up. Very excited for my second half marathon adventure!

Also going to work on finalizing my playlist. Thanks Fruit Fly for the Cyndi Lauper suggestions – you’re right she definitely puts an extra step in your run when you listen to her! Did you like the Flo Rida song?

I’m also starting to research and plan my future races. It’s definitely been motivating to have races to look forward and it keeps me running so I don’t slack off too much. I’ll keep you updated on what races I decide to do. If I make it to Chicago for Thanksgiving I may end up running the Turkey Trot with Jenn – that would be fun!

Happy Running,
Suzanne

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Suzanne's Countdown Continues: 17 More Days to Go!

Thought I’d post a quick update today to let you know that my workouts have been on track and going really well. Five miles is feeling easy right now – please don’t let me jinx myself – and I’m feeling strong. During my last 5 mile run I enjoyed listening to my playlist of Muse, Kings of Leon, Coldplay and Linkin Park. That reminds me that I need to start on my playlist for the half marathon! Any suggestions?

Cross-training is going great and has been a really good balance to my running. I’m learning that I just have to squeeze my workouts in and sometimes just getting myself out the door (or down to the gym at work) is the biggest challenge.

I’ve also been following Hal Higdon’s advice (see my last blog for the tips) and easing into my runs by walking first and it seems to make a difference. In the past I'm always in such a hurry to get a run in that I immediately start running.

In other news, my “big sister” Judy is going to run the Urban Cow Half Marathon with me – she also ran the SF Half Marathon with me – so I’m super excited about that! Did I mention that Chick-fil-a is providing food after the race? YUMMO (to quote Rachael Ray)!

My parents, girls and my Uncle Ray and Aunty Kathy (who are visiting that weekend) are also attending the race so we’ll have quite a cheering section!

Happy Running,
Suzanne

Friday, September 10, 2010

22 More Days to Go!

That’s right – 22 more days to go until the Urban Cow Half Marathon. It’s GO time people.

My training has been back on track the last 2 weeks and I’m feeling OK. For the last few weeks I’ve been battling tight hamstrings and lower back issues. I can’t remember my hamstrings ever being this tight…it was difficult to touch my toes!

After some regular sessions of stretching (which I need to do more of!) and using Dr. Pain aka the foam roller (can you say OUCH!) I was back to normal. So I’m glad to be feeling much better and it turned out I didn’t have to take a break from training because I had no pain when I was working out. Weird, huh?

Also wanted to share that I squeezed in a run in while I took my car in for an oil change. Dropped the car off and then went for a nice 5 mile run, getting back to the dealership in time to pick up my car and drive home. Have to admit I never thought about doing that before and it was a good use of my time plus no one had to pick me up then drop me off. Yes, I got some looks from people when I went in to pay – it was really hot so I probably didn’t look that great after my run – but I tried to look like I didn’t care.

If you’re on Facebook be sure to “friend” Hal Higdon. Not only am I following his workout plan for the half marathon but I love reading his tips everyday.

My favorite “Tip of the Day” so far are:

Ease into your daily workouts and pick up the pace only when you begin to feel comfortable. Johnny Kelley, who completed 58 Boston Marathons and won two of them, started each daily run by walking. You think that's a tip only for old-timers? Kelley used a slow start even when in his 20s.

With so many gadgets now on the market from GPS watches to heart rate monitors along with training programs such as mine which tell you how far and how fast to run on any given day, I sometimes feel we think too much. On at least a few days, leave the gadgets in the drawer and just go out and run at whatever pace for whatever distance feels right on that particular day.


Lastly, here are some new songs that I am really enjoying while running:
Mine by Taylor Swift
If I Had You by Adam Lambert
Club Can’t Handle Me by Flo Rida
Stuck Like Glue by Sugarland

Happy Running,
Suzanne

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Half Crazy

Call me crazy, but I am now registered for Half Marathons in September, October and November. Here's the logic (I can picture my husband raising one eyebrow questioning the wisdom of such a move already):

September - Oak Brook Half Marathon
I've mentioned this one before; this has been in the works for awhile. You would think that since it's been in the works for awhile that I might be better prepared. Or prepared somewhat. Or at all. I've run here and there, but not with the consistency you need for a Half Marathon. My half-ass training for the Half is partly due to me nursing my IT band injury and partly due to our vacation turning into a vacation from running too. So, I'm scared. I'm scared at a dismal performance, a miserable time to the finish and possibly injuring myself more. It is a nice race in that it's close to home, my husband (he's running it too) and I have a hotel room right near the Start and it looks like it will be a pretty course. And while I don't want to throw the registration money out the window, I have to say that if my husband begged out of this, I would beg out too. The other option is to go have a good time, actually enjoy getting a good night sleep before a race and go as far as I feel comfortable, even if that's only to mile 8.

Yes, I'm torn about this.

October - Monster Dash Half
This looks like a fun race on Halloween (and it will be done early enough so not to interrupt with the kids' trick-or-treating.) I wanted to do a run on October 9, the same weekend as the Chicago Marathon to keep my mind off the fact that once again, I'm not meeting my Marathon goal this year but turns out that an October 9 Half will conflict with my son's football game. So, on a whim, I registered for this.

What can I say, they got me with the swag.

November - Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half
The Saturday after Thanksgiving, this means that I probably won't be among the 4 a.m. Black Friday shoppers in order to stay rested for the race. It's thisclose to my house so easy to get to and not too expensive. This one is 13 weeks out so I actually have time on my side to properly prep for this one.

So . . .crazy? Maybe. Stupid? Probably. I think with these races coming up though, it will help me stay on track to eat better, exercise more and for once in my years as a mother, drop some pounds and get fit. With that in mind, I've joined some blog world friends (and Suzanne!) and joined Courtney's 100 Day Challenge. We just started, it's Day 3 and so far, so (pretty) good. I made myself go to the gym to run after the kids went to bed even though I was exhausted, and I'm glad I went. I've also been watching what I eat pretty carefully. I messed up last night and ended up skipping my planned strength training class, but plan to pick up the class on Thursday. The 100 Day Challenge is definitely making me think of how I approach eating and exercise differently, even this early in the game. Thanks again to Courtney for the idea/organizing it. Check out my fellow participants' progress here.

Ok, I've finished my Whole Foods Asian Brown Rice salad (see I told you I was eating healthier!). Time to get back to work.

Jenn

p.s. Are you on Twitter? Follow me @jennrunschi

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Six Weeks to Get My Butt in Gear!

Let me start by saying this past week was my worst training week ever. I only managed to get 1 (yes that’s uno) workout in which is pitiful. Yes, I had a busy week but it’s no excuse. I should have and could have gotten my workouts done and I didn’t - it’s that simple.

Six weeks! That’s how long until the Urban Cow Half Marathon. Need to get my butt in gear and get going…no more excuses and it’s time to get serious.

I’m not going to continue to beat myself up since it’s not going to help and/or change anything, and instead focus on this next week’s training. I’m energized and ready to get back on track! And I know Jenn is going to help keep me accountable and motivated (please!).

This week my training is: 4.5 miles/3 miles or x-training/4.5 miles/50 minutes xtraining/7 miles.

Jenn and I have both signed up for Run Courtney Run’s 100 Day Challenge. I needed something like this to get me motivated and going again. Thanks Courtney!

Hope everyone else had a better week than me! And good luck to everyone this week…we can do it! On your mark, get set, RUN!

Happy Running,
Suzanne

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Suzanne Has A Bright Idea and Buys a New Pair of Shoes

Today I actually had a good idea! As I was stressing about how I was going to fit a workout in – especially because I haven’t run since Sunday – it occurred to me that I could run around the park during my daughter’s soccer practice tonight.

Honestly, I have never seen anyone do that or had it ever occurred to me that I could. Usually, I just bring my chair, my organizer or a book, and watch practice. So today I tried it. Luckily my daughter was fine with me not sitting right there and I was able to squeeze in a couple of miles. And, I was still able to watch practice – for the most part – and stopped so I could be there for water breaks to give her words of encouragement (it’s her first year playing soccer).

So I’m excited that I now have another way that I can get a workout in if I need to.

Oh, and good news…Mama got a new pair of shoes! After trying on quite a few different shoes at Fleet Feet I ended up with the same brand as my last ones – Saucony . They are so comfy and light. What is your favorite brand of shoes?

And to Jenn – I know all too well the disappointment that comes with not being able to run the marathon…the goal we both set out to accomplish. You are absolutely making the right decision for both your body and health. I’m proud of you for completing the half marathon (it’s a huge accomplishment) and now I’m excited for our half marathon adventures to continue!

Happy Running,
Suzanne

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fourth Time Is Not The Charm

Sigh.

Alright, before I get into that . . .Congrats to Suzanne on her first Half Marathon!!!!

Next, I know I've been absent from the blog for quite awhile . . .too busy and too lazy at the same time and I'm not going to bore you with the countless reasons (excuses?) I have for not posting. Fortunately Suzanne (she was always more organized :) ) has kept it alive and well for both of us.

I haven't been posting but I have been running. In fact, I recently finished the Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon in Chicago. Problem is though, that I aggravated my IT Band around mile 4 and finished slowly (even for a turtle like me) and painfully. Enough so that my husband talked some sense into me and I realized that the Chicago Marathon is not in the cards (again) for me this year. So . . .Sigh.

Yes, I'm a little depressed and dejected about it. I mean, how many times can one attempt the Marathon? I must be setting a record. Deep down though I know the smart thing is to pull back. I know that if I keep adding miles, especially in the teens, I'll just be asking for trouble.

So back to Plan A: Focus on Half Marathons this year and staying healthy.

I'm not ruling out the Marathon forever. For 2010 yes. For 2011, maybe. For 2012? Who knows. Maybe I'll be able to convince Suzanne to fly to Chicago in a few years to run the Marathon with me :)

Next up . . .getting this IT Band under control. I rested for a week and ran for 30 minutes yesterday in no pain. Going to run this week but take it easy . . .trying to stay healthy enough for the Oak Brook Half Marathon, a Labor Day race my husband and I have been planning to do together. (And when I say together, I mean, we line up together and 0.10 seconds after the start, he is way ahead of me, I keep him in my sights for a little bit and then eventually lose him. And find him again when he's patiently waiting for me at the Finish.)

There's also a Half Marathon not too far from me on October 9, the day before the Chicago Marathon. If my IT Band cooperates I may just run that too. There's also a Half very close to me the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I know, I know, here I go again, asking for trouble. I think though, if I stay in line with 13 miles as my max, I might be okay. Better than adding 14s and 16s and 18s into the mix. Heck, I just might qualify as a Half Fanatic!

Oh, I am going to volunteer for the Marathon. Figure if I can't run it I might as well be out there handing out water or bananas. My sister, cousin and Mom will be volunteering too. So Mike W., Maurissa, Jim M., Brittany, Scott C., Tina, Nic C. and Cubicle Dad, look for me! I'll be watching out for you and cheering you on.

Ok time to get back to work. I promise I'll post on a more regular basis now (really Suzanne, I do :) ) Are you on Twitter? Follow me @jennrunschi.

Jenn



Saturday, August 7, 2010

Suzanne’s Next Half Marathon Adventure

It’s been almost 2 weeks since I completed my first half marathon! I’m still pumped that I was able to successfully complete it, despite those darn San Francisco hills! I expected to be in a little more pain afterwards, but surprisingly I felt pretty good. Yes, I was a little sore but nothing more than I usually felt after my long runs.

Originally the plan was to take it easy but for some reason – my competitiveness I suspect – I really want to run a half marathon completely healthy and see what I can do. And, as you all know, I want to run a FLAT one this time.

So, after doing some research I’ve decided that my next half marathon adventure will be the Urban Cow Half Marathon in Sacramento on Sunday, October 3rd. A little earlier than I probably would have liked but I have 8 weeks to prepare. Oh, did I mention it’s FLAT….and all finishers receive a cowbell.

This time I will be following Hal Higdin’s half marathon training schedule. My training schedule this week is: 4 miles/2 miles or xtraining/4 miles/40 minutes of xtraining/6 miles.

Enjoyed my vacation last week, including my long walks (5.3 miles was our longest) with my Dad and husband that actually included hills if you can believe it.

Looking forward to continuing my running adventures and will keep you updated on my training.

Happy Running,
Suzanne

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Suzanne’s Race Recap: 2010 San Francisco Half Marathon

Wow, I can’t believe that I finished my first half marathon! It feels good to type those words. I won’t lie…the San Francisco half marathon was tough. The hills, inclines and more hills made it tough on someone like me who hates hills and wasn’t in the top shape I would have liked to have been in, but I was determined to finish.

My morning started with a 4 am wake up call to eat, stretch and get going. At 4:30 am I headed to the course and meet up with my “big sister” Judy. It was COLD. I guess that was a blessing in the end as even as we warmed up I was never hot.

At 6:17 am our wave finally started. It was exciting to cross the start line.



The run started off fine and we were off to a good pace. Didn’t officially start thawing out until mile 4. Then the lovely hills started and they were no joke. Since I didn’t do any hill training and wasn’t sure what my stamina was going to be like I power walked most of the hills to conserve my energy. Honestly, I probably power walked faster than I would have ran.

The Golden Gate Bridge was next and that was pretty cool to run across. We returned from that to guess what? More hills! The steepest in San Francisco according to the signs posted – 31.5 percent incline grades (whatever that meant but believe me it was steep).

Finally started going downhill for once which was a relief. Then we get more to a residential area and I’m praying for flat running but no…we had to climb up into the Golden Gate Park area. I honestly was not sure at that point how I was going to make it mentally. Who’s idea was it to put hills at the end of a half marathon – seriously?!

Cardio wise I felt great but my legs felt heavy like I had extra weights attached to my knees. Fortunately I had no pain in my hip or anywhere else…just tired legs.
Music wise here is who pulled me through: Lady Gaga, Kings of Leon, Muse and Eminem. They rocked and kept me going. Thank goodness for music!

I was relieved to finish and managed to try to muster enough energy to actually try to sprint (it definitely was not a sprint but as much as I had left in my tank) to the finish line. I was very excited, relieved and proud to have finished 13.1 miles…something I wasn’t quite sure was possible just a few weeks ago.



I’m happy that I finished and am proud, but wished I could have had a few more weeks to properly train. Those last few miles I had to really dig deep and gut it out. As for whether I’ll do this again….while I don’t see a full marathon in my future I definitely think I will continue to run 5ks, 10ks and even half marathons. I’d especially like to do another half marathon when I’m 100% healthy and had the proper training.

A special thank you to my “big sister” Judy who decided at the last minute to run the half marathon with me. Judy you made the run fun, you kept me going and I’ll always remember my first half marathon because of YOU! Thank you thank you for all you did – I truly appreciate it.

Thanks to my Mom and Dad for accompanying me on my half marathon adventure today! Bill – you too for supporting Judy!

And to my bestie Jenn who inspired me to try to run a marathon. This blog has been a fun way to document this process and share the experience with everyone. Thanks for always being there and so supportive - even though we're miles apart. Now I'm excited to cheer you on as you train for the Chicago marathon! Go Jenn go!

Thank you to all of you - family, friends, co-workers, fellow bloggers and runners - for all the support and encouragement as I took on this challenge.

It was fun and I learned a lot about myself and running. We’ll see what will be next on the running calendar for me and I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated.

SF Half Marathon 2010 Complete!
Suzanne

Monday, July 19, 2010

OMG, I’m Running the SF Half Marathon on Sunday!

It’s almost here. On Sunday, I will be running the San Francisco Half Marathon. My start time is 6:12 am and I’m running the first half which goes across the Golden Gate bridge.

This morning I completed my last long run of 8 miles. It was an interesting run as the first mile did NOT suck (it usually does for me), I didn’t hit my runners high until the 4 mile mark, and afterwards I felt really good. I’m glad I got up early to get the run in because it is HOT here…the last few days have been in the 100’s.

The plan is to get two more runs in this week – 4 and 3 miles – before the big day.

Here are some new songs that I’ve added to my playlist:
Muse – Neutron Star Collision (I LOVE LOVE THIS SONG!)
Enrique Iglesias – I Like It
Katy Perry – California Gurls
Taio Cruz - Dynamite

This weekend will be fun. On Saturday we will go to the expo to pick up my race packet and go to dinner with the family. We’re staying overnight at the official race hotel which is at the starting line which should be convenient. I’ll definitely post a race report and try to incorporate some photos too.

And a special hello to all my Idaho relatives that I saw this past weekend and asked about the blog and Jenn and my training! We appreciate your support.

SF Half Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Why I Love and Hate to Run!

Okay, this should be fun and we definitely need participation from all of you. Below I’m listing reasons why I both LOVE and HATE to run. Please add your suggestions to those listed below in the comments section. Jenn will add in as well.

Why I LOVE to Run
1. I always feel better after I’m done running no matter how tired I may be before starting a run
2. Being able to just think through whatever is going on in my life while on a run. To think in silence is huge for me as a working mom as I don’t get many opportunities to do that.
3.There is nothing better then when you get that “runners high” and you feel like you can run forever
4.It’s a major stress reliever
5.Running makes me feel better about myself
6.When I’m running consistently, I really enjoy it - especially the mental toughness and competitiveness of it all
7.While I have only run one competitive race so far, that race was the most fun I’ve had exercising since playing basketball in college
8.Running (and exercising in general) sets a good example for my girls.
9.The benefits of running makes me a better person because I feel good, have more patience, less stress and more.
10.Playlists – I love music so I enjoy putting together lists that will keep me going during a run
11. When you run a personal best...it's an awesome feeling!
12. Eating pizza guilt-free after a long run (thanks for the reminder on this one!)

Why I HATE to Run
1. The first mile always sucks no matter how great of shape you are in
2. It’s HARD work – physically and mentally
3. It’s a mental fight to even start a run and then to keep going
4. Whenever you think you’ve got it down and it’s getting easier….a run kicks your ass
5. When I want to run outside, it sometimes can be a major challenge to fit it in with work and family schedules. And when it's really hot outside!
6. It really sucks to get injured – I should know!

In making these lists I found out that I really do love running. There are just some days when it kicks my butt. But I suppose that’s the allure of it all and why I keep doing it.

Looking forward to hearing what all your reasons are for why you run!

SF Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Monday, July 5, 2010

Three Weeks to Go Until SF Half Marathon!

And we're down to three weeks to go! I just received the official email to let me know I was officially changed from the full marathon to the half marathon. My start time is 6:12 am and I'm starting to get excited.

This week I did my runs and felt good. My long run was 6 miles - yes I changed it from 8 miles after I did some research and they said to do 10 miles as your longest run prior to the half marathon. I felt OK and more importantly I had no pain in my hip. Was a little sore the day after and it was minor. I'm just hoping I'll be able to physically hold up these next few weeks...just three more weeks please!

It continues to be a "mental fight" as I'm still not used to the mileage like I used to be. Five miles used to be nothing and now it's a challenge. Funny thing is that in the end I'm physically able to do it but my brain thinks otherwise. Very interesting conversations to say the least...ha! I'm hoping the next few weeks will change that.

This week the plan is: 3-4-5-8-3

The next week will be: 4-5-4-10-3

The next two weekends we have trips planned so that will be a scheduling challenge but I'll make it work.

Hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th of July!

SF Half Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Monday, June 28, 2010

4 Weeks to Go!

Four weeks to go and I can’t believe it. Where has the time gone? How am I feeling? A little nervous to tell you the truth because I’m still recovering from my injury and I need to build up my mileage to run the half marathon successfully.

Last week I did complete my running schedule and I feel OK. My hip is still a little sore but it’s not painful. Planning to go to the chiropractor this week to get worked on to see if that helps now that I’m running again. And I’m still using a styrofoam roller – thanks Judy – that I affectionately call “Dr. Pain.” I can’t take credit for that name I read it somewhere online and it’s absolutely accurate.

This week’s running schedule is: 3-5-3-8-3

You’ll notice I’m increasing the frequency of runs as I need to get my mileage built up in a short amount of time (4 weeks!). I just added a short 3 mile run which should be doable. It’s really heated up this last weekend – it was 106 yesterday – so I need to make sure I run really early now or run on the treadmill.

And, I wanted to say a special CONGRATULATIONS to my cousin Liz and her husband Ken who completed their first half marathon “Seattle Rock n Roll” this past weekend. Good for you and hopefully in four weeks I will have done the same!

SF Half Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Been awhile

So sorry that I haven't posted in awhile. Let's just say life has been pretty busy for both myself and Jenn.

Just returned from nearly a week long business trip and I'm trying to recover. Simply put I'm exhausted and am realizing that writing a blog entry right now may not be the brightest idea?!

Was not too good on keeping with my running schedule while travelling but I'm back on track this week - I promise!

Ran 3 miles on the treadmill on Tuesday. Felt OK and surprisingly my cardio was good. The rest of the week I will run 4 miles, 3 miles and 6 miles. For the first time I walked without any hip pain and/or aches last week.

And, I was able to officially change my registration from the full marathon to the half marathon. I'm going to do the first part of the SF marathon as everyone told me it's the best as you get to run across (and back) the Golden Gate bridge. So I'm looking forward to that.

I've also decided that I will continue to run after my half marathon adventure and I'm starting to look for races(5k, 10k)to sign up for that will give me something to look forward to. We will see how I feel after the half marathon if that is something I want to do again or if I somehow feel inspired to do a marathon someday (I'm thinking that is highly doubtful after this whole hip injury thing).

This weekend I promise to blog about how my running is going and how I'm feeling. In a way it kind of feels like I'm starting over with training. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing but I'm ready to go.

Hope everyone is having a good summer!

SF Half Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Suzanne Makes an Important Decision

As the title indicates I’ve made a major decision. After a lot of thought and careful consideration, I’ve decided the smart and sensible thing for me to do is to run the SF half marathon instead of the marathon on July 25th.

Obviously, I’ve had to start considering this when my hip did not immediately heal. I really didn’t want it to come to this as it makes me feel like a little bit of a failure as this was not the original goal. However, I’m starting to come to terms with it and am slowly realizing that completing a half marathon is still a major deal and accomplishment! It just so happened that the deadline to make any changes to your registration was this past Friday.

Had I not run into my hip problem I think I could have done the marathon. However, I’ve basically lost almost 3 weeks of training (where the mileage is intense now) and I don’t have enough time and am not physically healthy/strong enough to safely train and prepare for the full marathon. Maybe one day…we’ll see.

This week I went to the chiropractor – my first time ever – and it is helping. The pain isn’t constant anymore. She asked me to rest this week to let it fully heal and I’ve been good and have done so. It does feel better everyday and not sure if it’s due to the rest, my visits to the chiropractor or both, but I’m thankful nonetheless.

Now that I’ve decided to do the half I need to revise my training schedule and it’s on my to do list tonight. The plan is to resume running Wednesday of this week, which coincides with my travelling for work. Basically, I have 6 weeks of training left.

This week’s training is: 3-4-3-6

Thanks everyone for all your support and advice. Let’s just hope that I can get healthy again so I can complete the half marathon. That’s still an accomplishment in itself and I hope I can indeed achieve it.

And good luck to Jenn on her first week of marathon training!!

SF Half Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Good Luck Jenn and Week 10 for Suzanne

Good luck to Jenn as she starts her first week of marathon training while working in Las Vegas. Go Jenn GO! Enjoy the Bellagio (even though I know that will be tough when you’re working) – it’s one of my favorites in Vegas!

This week was interesting. I was able to run 4-7-4-8. One run was cross training on the elliptical. My long run was a battle. While I’m excited to be running again and my cardio is surprisingly good, it’s a mental battle to get back into the “zone” of running. Before I had to slow down due to my hip I was getting to the point where 5 miles felt like nothing. Now…not so much.

It kind of feels like I’m starting completely over and it’s a little discouraging. Don’t worry though I had my pity party – during my long run I might add – and I’m ready to keep moving forward. My hip has been OK. A little sore here and there, some aches but no pain while running (although I still feel like I’m running scared waiting for it to hurt). I was sore yesterday after my long run but the soreness was not there today, which was what it used to be before I got hurt. So let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Week 10 Training is supposed to be: 5-8-5-16. Instead I’m going to try to achieve the miles but in 4 longer runs: 6-10-6-12

I’m going to try to be smart about catching up to my training calendar. I don’t want to be an idiot and try to immediately run 16 and risk getting injured. So I’m going to keep building my miles up and hope to catch up in the next 2 weeks. I’m open to other suggestions others might have from their own experience with dealing with injuries during training. I’m still determined to run the marathon.

And Jenn I’ll be dealing with the same thing as you in a few weeks as I’m travelling for most of the second half of June for work (two separate work trips). Of course, right when training really kicks up for our longest runs. So I’m going to have to do some major planning to fit it all in. We can do it!

SF Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Randomness According to Jenn

1. I'll be in Vegas for a work conference the week Marathon training starts. (And I'm part of the team working the conference, vs. attending the conference, so I'm going to have to push myself to stay on schedule.)

2. The fitness center at the Bellagio does not open until 6 a.m. What the hell?

3. Looks like I will kick off Marathon training by running on the Las Vegas Strip.

4. I saw three women at the gym today pretending to work out. Full make up, done-up hair, jewelry and perfume. Really?

5. I am tired, it's been a helluva a week at work. So yay for me that I ran 4 miles today.

6. My new favorite pre-run snack: Luna Smores Bar.

7. Days until the Chicago Marathon: 126.

8. A lot to celebrate in October . . . I turn 40 four days before the Marathon . . . and four days after the Marathon my husband and I celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.

9. I'm a little worried about Suzanne's hip. Glad she is taking it easy.

10. Favorite running song today: One Republic's "All The Right Moves"">

Monday, May 31, 2010

Training Resumes for Suzanne

On Sunday, I successfully ran 3 miles on a grass field with no pain whatsoever.
Everyday I continue to ice and stretch. This week I will resume training and see how things go. I’ll be honest that I’m nervous and trying to be optimistic. Please, please let me be able to continue marathon training!

I ran a little today on my regular running paths (concrete) and it was really different. While I was running I kept thinking about my hip and looking for any signs of pain or discomfort – almost like I was expecting the pain to reoccur. It was really odd and made for an uncomfortable run. When I was done my hip was OK. I did not have any pain while running and just a tinge of soreness afterwards - very similar to what I had previously during training.

Week 9 Training: 4-7-4-16

This week I plan to cross train on the elliptical for one of my runs so I don’t overdo it but can continue to get my cardio in and train. Wish me luck and I’ll keep everyone updated on my progress.

SF Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Thursday, May 27, 2010

On the road to recovery…..

I don’t usually remember what I think and/or dream about when I sleep but on Monday night I dreamed that I was running for the first time and my hip was pain free.

Since my run last Tuesday I have taken the last week off to rest and ice my hip. This Tuesday I worked out for the first time. Completed 5 miles on the elliptical and felt really good. I kept looking at the treadmill and wondered if I’d feel any pain if I ran? A treadmill finally became open and I decided to try.

Very happy to report that I ran 1 mile without any pain or discomfort. I had to really restrain myself as I wanted to keep going and run faster, but I decided to be smart and see how I felt after icing and stretching that night. Overall I felt good but my hip was a tiny bit sore.

I’m continuing to take it easy and doing cross training while waiting to start running again. This little break might be a good thing - can you tell I’m trying to find the silver lining in all of this - as I have really missed running/training. Never thought I'd say that and I know that sounds crazy but I’ve gotten into training mode and I look forward to completing my runs.

I just hope that I’ll be able to physically continue and once I do I will bring even more enthusiasm and appreciation to my marathon training.

SF Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Friday, May 21, 2010

To Run or Not to Run a Half Marathon this Weekend?!

That is the question I've been struggling with all week. My hip still hurts – my left hip to be more specific. As you know, for the first time my hip really bothered me at the end of and after my 11 mile run last Saturday.

Both my husband and Jenn advised and pleaded with me to rest this week. Take it easy, ice and rest so you don’t further hurt yourself. Makes sense, right? Well, I truly intended to listen to them…honestly I did. However, on Tuesday I was walking without any pain for the first time. I felt GREAT! So I decided I just had to sneak in a 4 mile run. Good idea, right?

WRONG! I was so excited to get out and run…I felt like a kid sneaking out of the house. At exactly .77 miles I had to stop. The pain was excruciating. I know the difference between aches and actual pain, and unfortunately this was pain.

While I tried not to think about it, I knew that this probably meant that I was definitely out for the half marathon this weekend. I’ll admit this made me sad and I was down about it (still am). I really wanted to run this weekend and I was looking forward to participating in the 1st Annual Rock Your Socks Virtual Half Marathon and 10K too!

The smart and safe thing to do is to continue to rest and ice my hip. Despite how badly I want to race this weekend, it would not be in my best interest to try and go out and run the half marathon. While I’m not happy about it, I keep telling myself that I need to keep focused on the real goal: running the SF Marathon on July 25th!

Hopefully, I can recover and get back to training….never thought I’d say this but I really miss running! I just hope my body will allow me to do so.

Anyone else had any running injuries? How did you cope and recover? Please share!

SF Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Suzanne’s Favorite Running Songs

To follow-up on Jenn’s recent blog on music, I thought I’d share some songs that are featured on my running playlists. They are listed in no particular order but these are the songs that get me going, inspire me or just make me happy to listen to while running. I’m starting to put together my marathon playlist so feel free to provide suggestions. Mine will definitely include the songs listed below. Enjoy and don’t judge me too harshly for my musical tastes – I can’t help what keeps me running!

My Power Songs
Eminem: Till I Collapse, Lose Yourself, Not Afraid
Muse: Supermassive Black Hole, Uprising
Lady Gaga: Bad Romance, Poker Face, Just Dance, Telephone, Paparazzi
Britney Spears: Stronger, Piece of Me, Womanizer, 3, Anticipating
Kanye West: Stronger, Gold Digger
Glee: Don’t Stop Believin’, Halo/Walking on Sunshine, Gives You Hell
Def Lepard: Pour Some Sugar on Me

Girl Power
Mariah Carey: Obsessed, Touch My Body (Mariah is my FAVORITE singer!!)
No Doubt: Just a Girl
Shania Twain: Honey - I’m Home, Man! I Feel Like a Woman!
Taylor Swift: Love Story, You Belong to Me
Gwen Stefani: Hollaback Girl, What You Waiting For, Bubble Pop Electric
Fergie: Glamorous
Dixie Chicks: Let Er Rip
Kesha: Tik Tok, Your Love is My Drug, Blah Blah Blah
Avril Lavigne: Skater Boi, Girlfriend
Kelly Clarkson: My Life Would Suck Without You, Since You Been Gone
Cher: If I Could Turn Back Time, Strong Enough

Songs that Make Me Run Faster (or at least I’d like to think they do)
Black Eyed Peas: Hey Mama, I Gotta Feeling, Let’s Get it Started, Imma Be
Bon Jovi: Living’ On A Prayer, You Give Love a Bad Name, Born to be my Baby
Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch: Good Vibrations
C+C Music Factory: Gonna Make You Sweat
Ricky Martin: Cup of Life
Jennifer Lopez: Let’s Get Loud
Timbaland: The Way I Are
Rhianna: Don’t Stop the Music, Disturbia
Michael Jackson: Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough, Shake Your Body
50 Cent: In Da Club
Justin Timberlake: SexyBack
Pussycat Dolls: When I Grow Up, Don’t Cha
The Killers: Somebody Told Me
AQUA: Barbie

Inspirational
R Kelly: World’s Greatest, I Believe I Can Fly
Tina Turner: Simply the Best
Wicked (The Musical): Defying Gravity
Nickelback: Gotta Be Somebody, If Today Was Your Last Day
Mariah Carey: 100%, Make It Happen
U2: Beautiful Day, Elevation
Survivor: Eye of the Tiger
Jamie Foxx: Winner

Other Songs that I Run To
George Michael: Monkey, Faith
Wham: Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
Tupac: California Love
Jay-Z: We Run This Town
Kings of Leon: Be Somebody, Use Somebody
Linkin Park: Crawling, New Divide, In the End, One Step Closer, Numb
Nickelback: Rockstar
Adam Lambert: Whataya Want From Me, For Your Entertainment
Coldplay: Viva la Vida, Speed of Sound
Vanilla Ice: Ice-Ice Baby

Monday, May 17, 2010

Join Suzanne in Running the "1st Annual Rock Your Socks Virtual Half Marathon and 10K" This Weekend!

Are Jenn and I on a blog roll or what? Jenn forwarded me this virtual race and I just signed up since I'm running a half marathon this weekend. Who is going to join me? It's a 10k or half marathon.

Here’s the information:

1st Annual Rock Your Socks Virtual Half Marathon and 10K

WHEN: Friday, May 21, Saturday May 22, or Sunday, May 23

DISTANCE: 10K or Half Marathon

COST: FREE

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Go to this link and comment on the blog to let her know you are in! Then send an email to racingwithbabes@yahoo.com with your name, distance and blog address (if applicable). And don't forget to invite all your friends to join in.Then on the weekend of May 21-23, pick your course and run your race!

When you are done email to the above email the pictures, a link to your race report and your finish time.WHAT WILL YOU GET?: Every participant will be linked on the Run Like A Mother Half Marathon and 10K Recap. And all racers will be entered to WIN a prize.

Trying Out Something New

Suzanne already at 11 miles, isn't she doing awesome?! Way to go buddy, but take care of that hip.

A few quick hits from me:

  • Today is Day 1 of my Caffeine Wean. I drink a lot of caffeine, diet Coke mostly. Not sure what exactly spurred this other than the nagging knowledge that I don't drink enough water so I eyed the 7 remaining Diet Cokes in the kitchen and decided, one a day then I'm done. I went cold turkey on Red Bull a few years back so I think I can do this, right? Work is really busy so may not be the best time to wean, but I'll give it a shot.
  • No More Fast Food. Well, ok, I will probably grant myself a Portillo's cheeseburger (If you're in Chicago, you know it and love it) when the Marathon is over. I eat like crap. I know it and anyone who has ever dined with me knows it. Hard to get serious about training when I stuffing crap into my mouth. I was inspired by Suzanne's moratorium on pizza and Cubicle Dad's success with giving up fast food.
  • Jillian Michaels of Biggest Loser fame (yes, Jilly and I are Facebook friends, why do you ask?) posted a challenge for the week: Say nothing negative about yourself. If you start, say something positive about yourself. I tend to have a glass is half-empty outlook when it comes to my training (ugh, this is so hard, how am I ever going to do this, I can't do this) to my issues with my weight/appearance. Most of what I say is "in-my-head" talk so let's see if I can curb this.

Ok, lunch time over, my one Diet Coke is empty so time to grab a water bottle and get back to work.

Jenn

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom, 11 Miles Hurt and I’m Running a Half-Marathon on Saturday

Happy happy birthday to my Mom! She has always been so supportive of everything I do – this marathon included – and I’m very lucky to have such a wonderful mother. You finally made it in the blog mom!

Yesterday I got up early to run 11 miles. I made the mistake of not eating anything before my run as I thought drinking some Gatorade would suffice. ROOKIE MISTAKE. My run actually started off really well. I was happy with my pace and how I was feeling through mile 8. Around mile 8 is when I started feeling the pain in my left hip. My left hip has been slightly sore after the last few long runs but nothing to complain about. Once it started hurting I could not for the life of me stop thinking about it as I kept unsuccessfully trying to push it out of my mind and focus on something else.

When I hit 9.8 miles I started to walk and did the walk of shame for .2 miles. I really regretted doing that and felt like a complete failure as I have not walked any part of my runs since my “six miles sucked” (3/17) run. When I hit the 10 mile mark I forced myself to finish the run. Words cannot describe how painful it was to restart running. Honestly I’m not sure how I managed to run that last mile but I am very proud of myself that I did. Eminem did not let me down as his two songs – “Lose Yourself” and “Till I Collapse” – got me through that last mile.

While I was happy that I finished the run, overall I was very disappointed. My time was OK (even with the .2 walking) but not quite where I wanted it to be. I was on pace for the time I wanted up to the 8 mile mark. I also realize that I was an idiot for not eating before the run. After the run, I was also the most sore I had ever been up to this point, particularly my left hip and right knee. I had a nice ice down when I got home.

Today I’m feeling much better than yesterday but I still feel the aches and pains. It’s really made me question whether I can physically withstand what is necessary to complete a marathon. Don’t worry, I’m absolutely going to keep going but I’m not feeling as confident as I was last week. I’m just praying for a good week of training to help change my mind.

This week’s training is: 4-6-4-12 (I will be running 13.1 instead)

This Saturday I will be running in my first half-marathon! It happened to coincide nicely with my training so I entered it. I enjoyed my 10k race so I’m hoping to have the same result with the half-marathon, but I have to admit that I was more excited about the prospect of running a half-marathon last week before my 11-mile run. So wish me luck!

This week I will try to focus on each run as it comes up and not look too far ahead. I need to focus on staying healthy, injury-free and strong so I can continue to train hard and successfully complete this marathon.

SF Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Have A Confession . . .

. . . but before we get to that, we need to give Suzanne a minute. Because somewhere in Northern California, she just fell off her chair realizing that I wrote a blog post two days in a row.

Okay so the confession . . .

Britney Spears is my power song.

There I said it. Now he may not have fallen off his chair, but somewhere in suburban Chicago, my husband rolled his eyes, swore, or both.

You see, my progressive metal-loving husband can't stand Top 40, Showtunes, Pop, Alternative, Country, Hip Hop, you name it . . .anything that pretty much isn't metal or progressive metal. (Okay he does like some rock classics.) He is not a fan of my musical taste, but maybe that's because my musical taste is pretty much all over the map. I call it open-minded, he'd call it . . .musically un-educated.

Our iTunes library appears to have a multiple personality disorder because for every Metallica and Metal Church, there's a Shania Twain tune. Or for every King's X and Flotsam Jetsam, there's Gwen Stefani and something from the Glee soundtrack. Now I do like a lot of his music. Rush, Dream Theater, Queensryche, and yes, even some Metallica and Anthrax have found a home on my running playlist. (After twenty-plus years together, it had to rub off on me :) )

But I read Suzanne's post about running to Britney, I tried it out, and while I'm glad I wasn't her mother during the head-shaving-bashing-the-car-with-an-umbrella stage, I'll tell ya, Miss B got me through a couple of tough miles.





I've been making quite a few iTunes purchases lately, adding new songs to my running playlist for motivation. (See, I told you I'm ready to play Marathon again!) Some songs are just because I happened upon them, some are Suzanne's recommendations and I found a list on the Run Like A Mother book blog that are pretty awesome** (Allister covering The Backstreet Boys anyone?)

New additions on my running playlist . . .maybe you'll add them too?

Teagan and Sara
I have a few T&S songs on my Nano, but I've found this one is good for the "middle miles"



Whitesnake. Why? Because I went to high school in the '80s, that's why.



Jack McManus. This song popped up on Pandora while I was at work. Haven't run to it yet, but it makes me smile so it's on the playlist.


Lastly, Paramore's Brick by Boring Brick. I defy you to run to this song and not ba da ba ba da ba ba daalong with the band at the end.



Happy Running!

Jenn

*I know once my husband reads this post he will proceed to point out several examples to illustrate that he is not a musical snob. Then I will remind him of the the time we were at Appletree Records as college students in DeKalb and he threw - - yes, threw -- an album (I know, we're old) back in the bin when the review called it "radio-bound."

**The Run Like a Mother book is pretty awesome too. Suzanne and I are both reading it as we train.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Yikes, it's been three weeks since my last post? Luckily Suzanne has kept the blog (and for that matter, training) going for both of us.

I've been in a funk for the last few weeks but I'm back in the saddle today, running 3.5 miles at lunch. Further proof of my desire to play Marathon? An updated training schedule (to account for my missed runs during my funk stage), a new race (Oak Brook Half Marathon , running it with my husband) on the calendar and a renewed energy in all things Marathon.

As added motivation I signed up as part of a charity team, Team CPD, benefitting the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. The Foundation provides support to the families of Chicago Police officers who were killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty. This support could be anything from paying for prescriptions for a CPD widow to paying the college tuition for the children of police officers killed in the line of duty.

Why CPD? Well, I am the proud daugher of a retired, 30 plus years on the force Chicago Police officer. My uncle is also a retired copper (as us Chicago police families would say) and my cousin is a CPD detective.

During my past Marathon attempts (sigh) I've run for the American Cancer Society and Children's Memorial Hospital, raising nearly $5,000 for the charities combined. (Thank you friends and family!) Both great organizations but the CPD Foundation is a little closer to home so to speak so I'm glad to take part. I don't have my fundraising page updated yet, but will have it ready soon for anyone feeling generous!

I have a lot of memories of my dad as a police officer . . .there are photos of us opening Christmas presents while Dad is still in his uniform because he just got home from the overnight shift . . . I distinctly remember the tremendous relief I felt as a 7 or 8 year old during a tornado watch (or warning? I never get them straight). I peeked from my hands over head position against the wall when I saw my Dad, in full police uniform, walk down the school hallway to pick me up and take me home. There's also of course, the time I got to ride in the squad car when I was 5 because genius that I was, I stuck a Barbie doll shoe (or 2?) up my nose while watching "The Johnny Cash Christmas Special" and my dad and his partner came home to take me to the emergency room.

Ok, enough reminiscing.

This week's mileage: 5, 3, 4, 5. Very doable :)

Happy running everyone!

Jenn

Sunday, May 9, 2010

10 Miles Baby, No More Pizza and Week 6 Training Begins

I can not believe that I ran 10 miles this week - double-digits baby! Got up early on Saturday morning for my run and I’ll admit I was a little nervous about how it would go and how I would feel. I was so nervous that I could only manage to eat 1 piece of wheat toast. Started off slow – I think because I was still half asleep – and was able to continually pick up the pace for the rest of the run. It felt great until the last 1.4 miles of the run. It seemed to take FOREVER but I was able to gut it out and finish the run strong, sprinting with what energy I had left for the last .5 miles or so.

My playlist for the run was my favorite songs from the 90s! I have to say some of the songs made me laugh and brought back good memories which made the run even more enjoyable.

It really amazed me that I was able to complete 10 miles. And I felt better once I got home and drank some Gatorade which my body seemed to need. Today I had some minor aches but nothing major. I’m going to need to start stretching more after runs and start icing a little bit as a preventative measure.

This week’s chapter focuses a lot on food and how to properly prepare your body. Of course what was on the top of list of foods that are poor sources of carbohydrates? One of my favorite foods of all-time…pizza! Oh how I love pizza.

While I am reluctant to admit it, I have noticed the impact of my food choices on my energy and running performance. This will be a huge sacrifice for me, but after this Wednesday – Wednesday is my daughter’s school birthday party and the pizza is already ordered – I’m going to swear off pizza until after the marathon. Guess what my post-marathon meal is going to be people?? Yes, you guessed it!

This week’s training is 4-5-4-11

Say goodbye to 3 miles short runs! Oh how I’ll miss you 3 miles! I remember when working up to 3 miles was hard and now I wish my runs were only 3 miles…oh how far I’ve come. Coming up fast is the half marathon race which is a week from Saturday. I’m excited and looking forward to it but need to focus on getting this week’s training completed first.

SF Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Monday, May 3, 2010

Suzanne Training: Week 5

Week 4’s training went well. All runs felt great. Once I get about a mile into any run that I start it feels good…it’s just getting started that can prove difficult. I was also encouraged that I was able to do it even though I had to travel last week. It shows that we can all do this if we plan ahead and make it a priority.

This week’s training is 3-5-3-10

After this week we say goodbye to 3 mile runs as the short runs will turn into 4 mile runs. Of course just when 3 mile runs were getting easy.

And this marks the first double-digit long run – 10 miles! Whew. It’s hard to believe that each week I’m able to actually complete the long runs. But the training must be working as I have been able to do it each time. After my race on Saturday though, I’m looking forward to my long run this week. Never thought I'd say that!

SF Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Race Recap: Loop the Lagoon Results

On Saturday, May 1st, I completed my first race ever…a 10k. And…I LOVED IT! My official time was 1:05:05 and I recorded my fastest mile time to date during the run. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect since I’ve never actually participated in a race before, but I had a blast and I’ve included some race tidbits below.

DON’T START FAST! I took Jenn’s advice to not get caught up in the hoopla at the beginning of the race and just start slow. While I was successful in doing that, I can’t tell you how HARD it was to watch all these people just blow past me. I had to really focus to stay calm and resist my competitive instincts to just speed up. You would have laughed if you heard me talking to myself (in my head, not aloud) during the first few minutes of the race.

KILOMETERS?? So I set my Nike ipod sensor to the 10k distance. However, I did not realize that when I pressed my button to find out my pace that it would tell me what my pace was per kilometer! Jenn knows that numbers are not my friend and there wasn’t a chance in hell that I was going to be able to translate what my per kilometer time was into my mile pace. That was very unnerving at the beginning for this to happen as I was already trying to NOT speed up and run with everyone that was passing me up.

SWEET REVENGE! It was awesome to start passing up all those idiots that blew past me in the beginning. One by one I started to pass them as they either slowed down or were so winded they actually stopped running. It was very satisfying each time I passed someone up. It really kept my mind busy watching people in front of me and thinking about “are they tired?”, “they look like they’re getting tired,” “I bet they’re going to stop,” “I’m going to catch them,” etc. It was fun and kept me really entertained during the race so it made the time pass so I wasn’t concentrating on every stride I was taking or how tired I was.

EMINEM ROCKS! Songs that really got me going during the run: (1) Gonna Make You Sweat by C+C Music Factory (2) Lose Yourself by Eminem (3) Till I Collapse by Eminem. Both Eminem songs made me attack the hills we had at the end of each loop. I didn’t realize we were going to have any elevation to run up but I surprised myself and did really well running up them. It gave me great pride to run at a good pace up the hill, passing a lot of people along the way. When people actually stopped running it almost made me run faster.

FINISH STRONG! My goals for the race were to (1) complete the race, (2) complete without stopping and (3) to hopefully be able to finish strong. I’m proud to report that I met my goals and felt great at the end as I was able to finish strong by running the hill and then sprinted the last half mile of the race. Fittingly, the song that I crossed the finish line listening to was Celebration by Kool & the Gang.

I WANT TO RACE AGAIN! This race definitely brought out the competitor in me. I really enjoyed running in this environment and am looking forward to doing it again in 3 weeks. I have my half marathon race on Saturday, May 22nd. It’s hard for me to believe that I will be running 13 miles – is that possible? In any case, I’m looking forward to crossing another finish line and continuing my goal to finish the ultimate race….the SF marathon!

SF Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Tough Week Ahead

This is going to be a challenging week. I’m travelling for part of the week and I have brutal flight times – really early flights! As a lot of you working moms already know, travelling is hard. While I don’t travel that much when I do it’s really stressful. I try to get as much done before I leave to make it as easy as possible for everyone and then I still have to get myself ready as well. No matter how organized (lists, lists, lists) and prepared I am, it still ends up being stressful in the end. It doesn’t help that I have a mountain of laundry to try to get through….I can’t tell you how much I HATE laundry but that will be a separate blog posting one day on that topic.

And, of course, there’s the inevitable working mom guilt that kicks in too. I’ve been prepping the girls and telling them that mommy will only be gone for 2 sleeps and know that I’ll be thinking about them the entire time and they can ask Daddy to call me whenever they like. As they’ve gotten older they’ve become much better about the whole travelling thing but it’s still hard nonetheless. It still breaks my heart when they ask “why can’t I come with you?” and “how can I give you a hug if you’re not home?” Trying hard to hold back tears!

Okay, back to running. So for week four of training my mission is to complete 3-5-3-8. I’m planning to run my 3 and 5 miles on Monday and Tuesday so I then can squeeze in a 3 miler on Thursday, which should be doable. My 8 miles will take place on Saturday when I run my first race – a 10k! I will run that and then run the extra 2 miles to get to my 8 mile total. Should be interesting to be in a race and see how that feels. Will definitely do a race recap after that.

Speaking of recap, last week overall was a good running week. Completed my 3-4-3-7 week without too much of a problem. That’s not saying that running 7 miles was easy or fun – far from it. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to run until the afternoon – at 82 degrees and no wind around a lagoon that was buggy! I finished the 7 miles but drenched at the end of it. I couldn’t help it this time but I will get my long runs done in the mornings from now on. We haven’t even begun to hit hot weather yet here. For the first time I was sore the next day. It wasn’t anything too bad or painful but just minor aches. I must be getting old – and will be turning a year older next Sunday!

Happy running!

SF Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Friday, April 23, 2010

Faker

I went to the gym recently wearing my favorite running top: A Nike hot pink tank with a picture of the Chicago skyline and the words "Marathon Training 2009".

I like it because it's comfortable, it covers my "I gave birth to two kids so I don't have washboard abs dammit" tummy nicely and many times, it makes me feel like I am a real runner.

Sometimes though, I wear it and I'm waiting for someone to come up from behind, look me over and say, "Really? You? Marathon training? Faker."

I'm not exactly sure why, but it bugs me to no end when the feeling that someone is going to call me out on my insanity and my nerve to think that I, the unathletic one, would tell the world via my Nike top that I call myself a runner takes over.

Granted, I haven't quite finished a marathon in my four years of trying (see why here). I've never been athletic. In fact, far from it. I still remember the third grade anxiety I felt every night before gym class. I was terrified of the gym instructor and even more terrified when we would have to run laps around the gym (I frequently came in last place, mortifying) or when we would have to do pull ups (failed again). I remember concocting a scheme when I was 9 or 10 and telling my mom that I couldn't go to gym class that day because I tripped on the basement stairs and twisted something in my neck. My mother was rightfully skeptical so you can imagine my delight when I overheard her telling my dad . . .well, "the rug is moved like she fell on it." I thought I was so clever by twisting the rug at the bottom of that stairs to fake my accident. Anything to get out of Mr. Helmke's gym class.*

My feelings of terror related to all things athletic continued through college. The second time with my husband's dad's side of the family we were at a picnic. Harmless enough, until someone had the bright idea of getting a volleyball game together. Now, I'm already nervous getting to know the family and now I have to demonstrate my poor athletic skills? So much for making a good impression.**

So when that feeling enters my psyche . . . that I'm a faker, that someone is going to find out my little secret and tell the world that I'm a phony, I have to mentally push it out. I try to remind myself that even though I'm slow, I'm still running. Even though I haven't finished a marathon yet, I will (knock, knocking on wood). Even though I take walk breaks through the water stops (and ok, sometimes the hills) I am still running the great, great majority of the races . . .5ks, 10ks, and even a few Half Marathons along the way. I need to get this in check before mile 19 of the marathon or I'm toast.

On a lighter note, Suzanne, I'll have to add "Stronger" to my playlist. I've been meaning to for awhile. My favorite running song of late? Orianthi's "According to You". It's cheesy pop, but it works.


J

*I can't remember if my Mom made me go to gym class or not. I'm thinking yes, I must have blocked it out.
**For the record, my husband's family are a great bunch and in fact, very supportive of my many years of marathon efforts.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Totally Redeemed Myself

So I admit I was a little down after my lovely 6 mile run on Sunday. I did not like feeling like a failure – for those that know me I’m pretty competitive and I don’t like to lose/fail…at anything.

I took the day off from running on Monday to try to forget about it but it still really bothered me. Well I’m happy to report that today I ran my 3 miles and I TOTALLY REDEEMED MYSELF! Boy did I feel good and recorded my fasted 3 miler to date! Woo hoo! I was determined to have a good run and I felt strong and confident, and really enjoyed the entire run. Even had a good 400m sprint at the end. I enjoyed hearing Tiger Woods tell me “Congratulations. You ran your fastest mile to date!”

Looking back I really should have ran on Monday to get it over with and it would have stopped me from dwelling even more on my bad run. I’ll try to remember that going forward. What I’ve learned is that there will be times I’m not going to feel great but the important part is finishing what I start. Yes, I had a bad 6 mile run, but I finished it and that’s what I should focus on. It doesn’t mean I can’t run the marathon.

And a special thank you to my “big sister” Judy for your encouraging words on Monday. Appreciate it as always!

I’m also going to start posting songs that really help me on each run. Today, it was Kanye West’s “Stronger.”

Happy running!

SF Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Six miles sucked!

Week two of marathon training completed. Ran 6 miles today and it was not a fun run – the title of today’s blog pretty much sums it up. I battled with myself after mile 2, so it made for a long 4 more miles! I meant to run on Saturday but never got around to it so there was 2 days in between runs. Not sure if that contributed to my “sluggishness” or not?

I was very good earlier in the week and got my runs in on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. All of those felt good and I had no problems. No shin pain either so I’m hopeful that was a 1x thing.

Looking forward to training this week so I can get the bad 6 mile run behind me.

Week 3 training is 3-4-3-7

Week 4 will be interesting as I’m travelling for work half of that week and I have my first 10k race that Saturday. And in week 4, we say goodbye to 4 mile runs in the middle of the week and say hello to 5 miles. Week 4 training is 3-5-3-8.

I’ve also joined a women’s basketball league so cross-training will be added to my overall training. It should be interesting considering I haven’t played even a pick up game in awhile but looking forward to it. The games will be played on Sundays so I’ll be sure to get my long runs in on Saturdays from now on.

Happy running!

SF Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne

Sunday, April 11, 2010

An Unplanned Vacation (Jenn)


The title of this post could mean that my husband whisked me away from our little Midwest suburb to the balmy beaches and breezes of Maui, but alas it does not.

Sigh.

My unplanned vacation was a vacation from running, blogging, and a general sense of organization. I'm not quite sure where I went on this unplanned vacation but I didn't run a step, I didn't blog at all (but thankfully Suzanne did, she ran a lot too, isn't she doing great?! At least chances are great that one of us will finish a marathon!) and the house is in an even greater-than-usual state of chaos. WTF?


I have a little cough/sore throat but I am pretending I don't because I need to get back on schedule this week. Training calls for 4 mi, 3 mi, 5 mi, 6 mi. I dread getting on the treadmill at some ungodly a.m. hour this week (yes Mike, I am going to get up before you leave for work, really) but I know I will feel better if I do. I could feel work stress getting to me more this past week. Partly because of work, partly because I didn't run.


Time to get in gear. The Marathon (and my 40th birthday) are now less than 6 months away. I have less than 6 months to become fit, fabulous and finally organized!


With that, I need to stop blogging and get organized to reduce some of the Monday morning chaos. Need to get the kids' clothes, lunches, paperwork ready. I'm remembering now too that I still need to order a birthday cake for my daughter's party, haven't started on my daughter's kindergarten Timeline project yet (even though we've had 2 weeks to do it) and I didn't send out those thank you notes I promised myself I would get to this weekend.


And I wonder why I wake up at 2:30 a.m. and can't fall back asleep. Yawn.


Oh crap, one of the dogs just threw up in Mike's shoe . . .


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chased by a dog and the Wind Kicked my A**

Successfully completed my first official week of training! Ran 3 miles on Friday and 5 miles today to finish my week of 3-4-3-5. It is windy, windy, windy here and boy did it kick my a**. There were times when I felt like I was not moving forward at all but I finished. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow so I had to make sure I got my run in today.

I also experienced getting chased by a dog. Not a fun experience but it sure does get the heart rate going! Luckily it wasn’t a huge dog but I was just praying it wouldn’t bite! The dog eventually left me alone, but does anyone have any tips on what to do when a dog starts barking and chasing you? Other than RUN!

Next week’s training is 3-4-3-6

Overall, it’s been a good week. I’ve felt good and have been able to sprint the last 400 meters of each run with what energy I have left – love that the Nike ipod sensor does that! I do think though that I need to plan one day of rest before my long run because my shins were a little sore after my run today, which I have never experienced. They felt fine while running but once I stopped it felt like my shins were on fire – not a pleasant feeling. I’m going to see if that makes a difference next week and will let you know.

Happy running!

SF Marathon Here I Come,
Suzanne