{Chicago+Wedding} Weekend Recap

This past week, I found my way back into the groove.  After being sick, I was able to get back to eating on a normal schedule and worked out a whole bunch.  Saturday morning, I set my alarm for a 5 mile run.  The weather was PERFECT!  Then I quickly packed up a weekend bag and the BOY and I drove into the city to meet with a photographer (who we loved!).  Afterwards, I met my mom at the yoga studio in Lakeview for a Heart and Hip Opener Workshop.


The teacher was knowledgeable and incredible!  The class flowed smoothly as we were gently encouraged into positions our bodies weren’t meant to attain and I’m not sure that my hips and shoulders have ever felt so alive!  After the class, we got dressed and ready for dinner and the theater.


A big group of us went to see Avenue Q…which is absolutely hilarious by the way!  As long as you’re not offended by the puppet nudity that is!

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I went to bed immediately after we got back to our friends because my mom and I were up bright and early (actually it was still dark) to volunteer at the St. Jude tent for the Chicago Marathon.


It was a chilly start to the day but it ended up being ideal running weather.  After we sent the St. Jude runners on their way, my mom and I grabbed signs and a cow bell and made our way along the course cheering on all the St. Jude heroes and thousands of other people tackling 26.2.

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We continued to walk along the course and by the time we realized we were close to where we were staying, we’d walked close to 8 miles.  In the end, we walked over 10 miles along the course and I was ready for lunch and a nap.  When I woke up, our city fun still had a few more stops in the form of white dresses!


We had a successful trip to BHLDN (It might be my new favorite store and it’s not just because they serve bubbles)!


I finally made my way back home a little before 8pm exhausted and exhilarated after our crazy weekend!


I was greeted enthusiastically by Cooper and these still blooming gorgeous flowers!

I’m super excited to have made so much progress on our wedding (no…I didn’t buy a dress yet but I think I’m close) and loved spending the weekend with the BOY, my family, and our close friends laughing, eating, and cheering!

How was your weekend?  Are you still recovering?

Walking Down the Stairs Backwards

And other random thoughts post 26.2


half marathon


Confession: I read most of Hal Higdon’s book, but the week before the marathon, I was so darn sleepy that I wasn’t reading at all before bed.  Which means…that I didn’t read his chapter about immediate post race happenings (titled humorously and appropriately The 27th Mile) or the last chapter, whose title I don’t even know but I’m assuming involves what I should be doing this week.


Instead, I am winging it and basically walking down the stairs backwards!  I woke up Monday more with intense stiffness through both of my quads.  For the most part, my other sore areas (back, shoulders, lower legs) felt ok, but my quads hurt rolling over to get out of bed.  I moved slower than my 101 year old grandfather that morning and was beginning to question why I hadn’t taken the day off from work.  In the end, work was exactly what I needed,  minus the squatting and stairs, walking around felt great.  Plus everyone’s encouragement helped me ride out the last of my runner’s high!


By Tuesday, the high was gone and the quad soreness remained.  I took the stairs backwards, two at a time, and even crawled at one point.  It was comical to my coworkers who think I am crazy for running a marathon in the first place.  Although my body was recovering, my tummy was still a bit off.  I was crazy hungry but nothing tasted good. I’d eat a bite of peanut butter and a bite of cracker, followed by a sip of chocolate milk, and a nibble on some veggie burger.  The only two things that I craved…tootsie rolls and tater tots!  Not surprisingly, the BOY was more than happy to whip up an unhealthy dinner of tater tots and curly fries Monday night.  By Tuesday, I was eating a little more but still couldn’t finish a bowl of oatmeal.  We had NO food since the marathon expo and race took over my entire weekend, so I went to Panera to pick up lunch on Tuesday plus a loaf of bread for the next day and of course a cookie…those I was able to eat just fine : )  Each day after that, my appetite returned and I carried tootsie rolls and dried fruit for post lunch munchies!


Image courtesy of Team-Sparkle.com


Since I haven’t been running this week, it’s been lovely sleeping in and really having a laid back week!  There has been plenty of people to share my marathon story with and of course plenty of reflection on this year’s training, plus insight for races ahead.  Will I do another marathon???


I’m not sure!  I may be retired…until I get into New York that is!


Funny TV Ecard: The only marathons I participate in are the Law and Order kind.


So I guess the jury is still out on that one.  I’d love to run New York,  not for time, but for fun because I LOVE NYC!  And if I do find myself training for another 26.2, a few things to remember.  Number 1, I need to do more core and glute strength.  My glutes got really tired around mile 20.  They need to be stronger to support a long run, like a marathon.  Number 2, my parents need a balloon.  It’s much easier to pick out than a face amongst the crowd.  Number 3, my family needs oranges.  Once I find them, I want oranges.  Number 4, have a back up watch besides Garmin, just in case there are a bunch of tunnels, which New York may have!


Until then, I’ve got shorter races to run.  Up next…the Hot Cider Hustle 8 Miler on November 2nd.  I figured after a week off from running, it’d be good to get back to it before winter comes.


Also on my agenda…searching Pinterest for motivating quotes (as seen above) and mouth watering recipes, sleeping in, catching up on DVR, and oh yeah…I got bangs!



Apparently, my mom couldn’t figure out when this picture was taking.  Considering I haven’t had bangs since age 12, I’m not sure why she was so confused.  Post marathon, I thought they might work since I’m not running 4-5 days per week.  We’ll see what happens!  And one last thing on the books…a massage/facial on Sunday morning.  Woo Hoo!



What do you do to recover after a marathon?

Couldn't have said it better myself!


Marathon {A Running Poem}

At mile 25, you hate yourself for signing up.  It sounded like a good idea 8 months ago!

You hate yourself for skipping that long run and you hate yourself for drinking that extra beer.

You hate your running shorts that feel too tight and you hate your shoes that are too over or maybe it’s under supportive.

You hate the fact that marathon isn’t 25 miles from, what is it…Athens?  And you hate yourself for not paying enough attention in high school social studies to know for sure who even completed that run.

You hate the heat, the sun, and the rain.

You hate the guy that you see who has already finished, medal around his neck, and you hate the girl who has never even dreamed of running a marathon drinking a mimosa on the side of the road.

You hate the fact that you have no music and you hate more the annoying song stuck in your head.


Yet 1 mile later, when you lunge head first towards that finish line with one finger ready to press stop on your watch, you fall in love…


You love your strong and capable legs and your powerful heart.

You love your family and friends waiting in the heat, sun, and rain to cheer you to the finish.

You love your training log and bright yellow highlighter used to check off each run.

You love the man who just put a medal around your neck and the woman who hands you a 312 beer.

You love the view from the finish line and the PR flashing on your watch.

You love the way the city skylines looks in the distance and the fact that you ran through most of its neighborhoods.

You love how hard you’ve worked to get here and that adorable new marathon sweat shirt you bought at the expo.


Your heart is so full and the only part of your body that doesn’t hurt.  Before you even sit down to loosen your shoes and catch your breath, you are already planning your next race!

Every Step is an Adventure

This post title came from a close friend and not a marathon poster, but I loved it!  What a great way to describe a marathon.  Because every step you take and corner you round, leads to another exciting moment and marathon memory!




All of which begins 8 months before when you sign up for this great race!  But the real excitement begins at the expo.  And is followed by a day of prep, planning, and organization.  On race day, all of your hard work is behind you and it’s time to just focus and enjoy the ride.




My race day started at 4:40am, when my alarm went off.  Despite the early hour, I didn’t even hit snooze.  All of my stuff was set up the night before (which led to many comments from my family about my crazy need for organization), so I got dressed, picked up my bag, grabbed my breakfast, and got into the car with my parents who drove me from Lakeview (we stayed with some friends) down to Grant Park.  I found my way to the Charity Village entrance.  Since I was there early (5:15am), I sat down on the sidewalk to enjoy my overnight oats with a few other runners, also eating oatmeal from tuperware.




When charity village opened at 5:30am, I was one of the first to arrive at the St. Jude tent.  I was met with a round of cheers (even at this early hour) and gladly entered the heated tent packed with snacks and supplies for any runners’ needs.






I used the bathroom, twice, chatted with some of the other heroes, and at 6:15am, the group of us running in wave 1 walked to the starting line corrals.



Pre race selfie!


There were some extra security measures, but the morning went smoothly.  On the way to the corrals, I chatted with other new heroes and loved all of the sweet people that I met and the stories that they shared.  On the way in, I linked up with two other heroes running in corral D with me.  We were able to fit in two more bathroom breaks and get to know each other while we waited for the 7:20am start.  There was a moment of silence for the runners of Boston which was emotional and then the national anthem.  There were some problems with the microphones which meant that the lyrics were fading in and out.  What gave me chills was when all of the runners began singing along and filling in the gaps, softly but confidently, it was a really cool feeling!


When the gun sounded, the elite runners hit the pavement and my new friends and I all shared Good Luck wishes for sub 4 marathons (all of our goals).  When I crossed the start line, I put on my game face and got down to business.  The game plan…run the first 10 miles at 8:30 min/miles, run the next 10 miles as close to 9 minute miles as possible, and hope for the best for the last 6 miles.  Unfortunately, we went under a HUGE tunnel before mile 2 and I lost my Garmin reception.  When I emerged, I lost time and distance and my watch started switching between 5 and 11 minute miles.  I knew I wasn’t running 5 minute miles and hoped that I wasn’t running 11 minute miles.  I tried to get my watch on track but in the end decided to find a comfortable pace and reset my watch at mile 3.


My family and I had a good plan to see each other, so I hugged the right side of Clark St heading south and was ecstatic to see my Mom and Dad on the side of the road cheering me on and handing me Nuun water.  I was running speedy and maintained my desired pace until mile 10ish.  At that point, I stated having trouble eating my Honey Stinger blocks and my stomach felt like it might cramp up.  It was a total bummer since I’d had no tummy troubles in all of my training.  I hit the half way point with no idea of what my split was and continued to drink water, possibly too much.


I saw my parents, along with the BOY around mile 17 and they told me I was running 8:45 minute/miles based on the text messages they were getting.  Wow!  That was way too fast and my stomach was on the verge of loosing it.  Around this time, I found myself with the 3:45 pace group and my legs were starting to feel heavy.  I begged my parents for more Nuun and time updates while the BOY snapped unflattering pictures of me.



Help! My watch isn’t working!




I need some water!



I swear, usually I am smiling and thanking the spectators…especially my family!  Somewhere, my dad has video of me doing this, but I don’t have it to post and share.  I continued to push for 9 minute miles until mile 20.  And then reevaluated my strategy.  I knew that I didn’t train to run a 3:45 marathon and that I needed to slow down.  I started off too fast and wasn’t taking in enough fuel.  My legs hurt like crazy!


Although I had no idea what time I started, I knew that if I could finish the race at 4 hours on the clock time, then I would have run a sub 4 marathon.  So I kept that in mind as I slogged through the last 4 miles, walking through water stations and then trudging through the miles one foot in front of the other.  I never wanted to quit, but used the children of St. Jude to motivate me through those tough miles.


I had enough left to push up the last ‘hill’ passing a bunch of people along the way and kick it into gear finishing right around 4 hours on the clock. I knew that I had PRed, but had NO idea what my finishing time was.  The coolest thing about the marathon is that even though I wanted to collapse (and there were plenty of people to catch me if I did), I pushed forward to claim my medal and get wrapped up in plastic.  When I thought that I didn’t want to hold my wrap, there was someone there with tape to close it, and I knew I needed some water and a snack, and there was someone to hand it to me.  And when I thought I couldn’t hold another thing, they handed me a plastic bag.  And when I had an empty hand, they filled it with a beer : )  Two people from out of the country separately mentioned to me how much they love the Chicago marathon.


The only difficulty that I had was finding my way back home to Charity village.  I met up with one of my pre race hero friend and as we tried to navigate our way north to get south, I spotted my Mom and the BOY!  The BOY said that he remembered two years ago that walking back to the village on my own was the hardest part of the race and so he said I shouldn’t have do that again.  It was such a great surprise to see them and their excitement as they shouted out to my final time…3:54:17!  Since signing up for this race, I had in my head that I wanted to shoot for 3:55, so I was beyond excited!  I hobbled back to the village, accompanied by my fans.




I was met with a huge energetic welcome from the St. Jude volunteers!  I probably should have done some stretching, but was trying my best to keep it all pulled together.  I drank some water and took bites of food but didn’t finish anything.  I tried to motivate myself to get moving again when sitting made me just so happy!



Sub three my friends!



Woo hoo!  I posed for a few photos and then bundled up before trekking to the train station to head back up to the north side of the city.


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My walking wasn’t pretty and the stairs up and down were brutal!  I have to say that 2 days later, my quads are still burning!  We had a feast of pizza complete with Fall Mosas (apple cider +  champagne = pure genius!).




My running buddy from last weekend (and close friend of my bro’s) came by to celebrate with us.  She finished her first marathon which was super impressive!  Everyone laughed at the tales of our journey from start to finish.




By 5 in the afternoon, I was ready to pass out, so luckily my parents were driving us back to the suburbs.  They joined the BOY and I at Yogurtland for some delish fall flavors and high calorie toppings.  It was the perfect dessert!  And a good way to wrap up a LONG and eventful day!




The BOY and I crashed into bed at 9pm and slept easily through the night!


I’ve had a fear since signing up for this race in February that I would have a Sophomore Slump.  I’m not sure why, but my training started off tough and slow.  After my second 20 miler, I was feeling confident and prepared.  Thankfully, all of the cards aligned for a beautiful race day and a successful PR!  Post race reflections still to come…still more sleep is needed!




10k 51:47

Half Marathon 1:51:47

30k 2:42:29

Final 3:54:17

Average Pace 8:57

Overall Place 9868 (out of ~37,000)




Is anyone else running fall marathons?

How’d they go?

Pain is Temporary-Internet results are Forever!

This title was stolen from one of my favorite signs during today’s marathon!  It was one of the best along with some of the funnier ones comparing the government to a marathon and a huge knock on Jay Cutler.




Despite being in pain from head to toe, I wanted to pop in quickly and say a HUGE thank you to all of my blog readers, friends, and family who cheered me on through 26.2 miles (and then celebrated with me afterwards!).  It was your support and encouragement that pushed me through a challenging last 4 miles to an unofficial time of 3:54:17.  A 6 minute PR!


Expect a full marathon recap later in the week when I’ve caught up on sleep!

T Minus 36 Hours

I’ve only been to a few race expos in my day, but the Chicago Marathon is by far one of the best.  Two years ago, my Mom and I had a BLAST at the expo.  She left with some snazzy new shoes!  It did not take any help to convince her to come with me to volunteer at the St. Jude booth at the expo this morning.




The expo started at 9 and because of some added security, we needed to be there early enough to get checked in.  The BOY and I commuted downtown together on the train.  Definitely a change for him to have someone so chatty early Friday morning!  I met up with my mom outside the train station and bid the BOY goodbye as he walked over to work.




We had a little trouble with our shuttle situation, but found the St. Jude booth easily, just after 9am.  We got all set up and started passing out signs, stickers, and meeting all of the runners and their families.


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After a few hours on our feet talking with everyone we saw, I was exhausted!  I definitely got busted by some of the runners taking a break to sit down with my feet up and eat an almond butter sandwich.




Then it was our turn to go exploring!






We packed up plenty of SWAG in our new SWAG bags.  And of course my Mom found some awesome shoes to try, while I picked up an overpriced (but totally awesome) bright yellow Chicago Marathon 2013 long sleeved Nike top.




After the expo, and probably more time on my feet than prescribed, I taxied back towards the train station where my Mom and I grabbed some food, a cold drink, and then I walked over to meet the BOY on the train, where I crashed into him for the ride home.




The expo today got me psyched for the race…I’m still in shock that it is finally here…especially speaking with all of the other runners.  It also got the butterflies fluttering about in my stomach.  With T minus 36 hours to go…here are my last minute thoughts about race day:

My feet are a bit sore.  Probably not the best idea to spend all day on my feet but it was totally worth it to support St. Jude and all of the other runners before the race.

I keep finding other sore areas which make me really nervous for aches and pains on race day.

I feel like I trained well, but I don’t know how I will feel on race day.  I’ve run 26 miles before, so I know that I can do this.  But I remember saying that it was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done.  Will my mind be strong enough on Sunday to push through?  Or will aches and pains get the best of me?  I fear as sophomore slump.

I keep thinking about my strategy for Sunday and I’m hoping that this mental prep will help me PR.

Thanks to Hal Higdon’s book for the tips on mental prep that I read on the train down to the city today.

It is okay if I don’t PR.  I am still a good and strong person, but man, I really want to break 4 hours and PR.

I’m so excited and honored to be running the Chicago Marathon this weekend!  I am lucky to have so much support from my family, friends, and patients.  I can’t wait to celebrate with them after the race no matter what happens Sunday morning!


Keeping my fingers crossed for the 60 degree partly cloudy weather that the weather.com told me would be here on Sunday!  Until then…it is just a waiting game.  Waiting and hoping that I have trained well enough to be prepped mentally and physically for 26.2.



Do you like race expo’s?

What do you do the day before a big race?

The Last 8

It sounds so dramatic doesn’t it?!

Just like 2 years ago, I really wanted to go into the city and run my last long run on the Chicago Marathon course.




One week before, the city is already preparing for the big race.  And so are many of its inhabitants evidenced by all of the runners out and about today.  With on and off again storms, I was a little worried about the weather, but it held out.  I drove down to my brother’s condo, picking up one of his friends along the way.  She is doing her first marathon this year.  We took the bus down to mile 18 in Little Italy.  Then started running while my brother biked along with us, carrying water and snacks.  We started off speedy and then slowed to a consistent pace.  The weather was hot, thick, and humid which made running tough.




We were pretty red and sweaty when we finished just over the Roosevelt bridge running 8.2 miles at an average 8:27 minute pace.




We hopped the red line from the loop back up to Lakeview with a snack and some water.  I had lunch plans with a friend in the area, so I showered and hit Southport for some shopping while I waited.  I bought an adorable red dress (damn Anthropologie…how I love your stuff) and checked out some cute new winter gear.




The storms found me on my way back home to the suburbs, where I curled up with the kitten for some rest.  I’ve got one last week of taper ahead of me before the big day.  I’ve only got 3 more short runs and am hoping to use the rest of my ‘free’ non-running time to catch up on sleep.  I think I’m as ready as I’m going to be!  But I’ll use this last week for some extra mental prep.



Weekly Mileage

17 Miles


Countdown to Marathon Day

1 week

Sweet Potato and Banana Baked Oatmeal



So even though the blog world is alive with Pumpkin Love, I have sweet potatoes on the brain.




And of course breakfast!  Plus also, some brown bananas!  One banana went into this recipe while the other two turned into these incredible muffins!




I used one of my favorite baked oatmeal recipes for inspiration.  However, I didn’t have any flax seeds in the house.  Instead, I decided to try baking in some chia seeds.  I always love chia seeds before a run, and I’ve never tried baking them into my oatmeal before.




I accidently got involved in the Bear’s game and missed the timer’s beep, so my oatmeal was almost overdone.




But ended up JUST RIGHT!




Although pumpkin is all of the rage, don’t forget that left over sweet potatoes make an incredible addition to breakfast bakes AND eggs!




And an awesome pre run breakfast!

My September goal was to focus on my nutrition…specifically to enhance and support my running.  I created a few tasty and filling breakfasts, which have been fantastic and as always my crockpot has provided some healthy week night dinners.  I completed two 20 mile runs…woo hoo!  And overall had a fantastic fall month.




Moving forward…my October goals are such:


1. Stay Healthy

2. Sleep Often

3. Run Smart

4. PR!


I received my official packet pick up ticket in the mail and it is finally starting to look and feel like fall.  Chicago marathon…here I come!  I am trying to use these next two weeks to get my body and mind ready for the race, without over thinking things.  It’s not an easy balance!  I am also trying to calm my nerves.  And, for those who asked…my shoes are totally ready for the race : )




Did you set goals for October?



Sweet Potato and Banana Baked Oatmeal

Adapted from Pumpkin Banana Baked Oatmeal Bars



2 cups old fashioned oats

4 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

Dash of cloves

3/4-1 cup mashed sweet potato (1 medium sweet potato)

1 cup almond milk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 banana, mashed



Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 9×9 baking pan with cooking spray.

Combine oats, chia seeds, baking powder, and spices in a small bowl.

Whisk egg, sweet potato, almond milk, and vanilla in a separate bowl.  Stir in dry ingredients until well combined.

Pour oatmeal into your baking pan.  Bake for 30 minutes, until edges are just starting to brown.

Let cool and cut into 4 bars.

Store in airtight container in fridge or freeze for later.  Thaw and reheat in microwave.



A few more of my favorite sweet potato breakfasts…

Sweet Potato Dough Boy Smoothie

Sweet Potato French Toast

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Sweet Potato Chia Bowl

Trust the Taper

I recently reread Hal Higdon’s chapter or tapering in preparation for these last 3 week of training before the Chicago marathon on October 13th.  I picked up some interesting tips, but before I share those with you, I wanted to fill you in on my week (and why you haven’t heard from me).


Sunday, I took an active recovery from my 20 mile run to walk the mall with my girlfriends.  We had a fantastic lunch at Cheesecake Factory, with plenty of delicious carbs for me before talking and shopping our way through our favorite stores.  I had planned to do a meal plan on Sunday but realized that this was an odd week ahead, so my plan involved mostly premade options (hello veggie burgers) and grilling.  Sunday night, the BOY made some of his famous grilled fajitas for dinner while I finished laundry and other exciting household stuff.




Monday morning, I woke up to run 5 miles in the cold and dark and then realized I didn’t have to work that afternoon and would much rather run later!  Instead I was a TA in a graduate classroom that morning, which I LOVE!  Then took the rest of the afternoon off to spend time with a friend, who is soon moving to Arizona and catch a late night Cubs game with my family.




We had the most beautiful evening…even if the Cubs didn’t win!




I slept Monday night at my parent’s house and got to sleep in after our late night.  Tuesday morning, the first thing on my agenda was a 6 mile run.  Which went great!  Even without pushing and on tired legs times all of the stairs at the Cubs game, I still made decent time.  I spent the rest of the day at work and come home late.




Moving on to Wednesday.  I worked a 12 hour day and was just tired and a bit cranky by the end of it.  Although this was the one day I had ‘planned’ a meal of grilled chicken, the BOY and I decided last minute (as I walked in the door) to use our almost expired Cooper’s Hawk gift card for some dinner and a glass of wine.  When I came home, all I wanted to do was curl up like Cooper.




Thursday came with running decisions…my long run of the weekend is 12 miles but I wasn’t exactly sure where to fit in with all of the other excitement I’ve got going on this weekend!  This morning, I really wanted to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and run, but had no energy for speed.  Despite…I pushed through my fatigue to pull out a solid 4 mile pace run maintaining less than 8:30 minute miles.




I’m still not exactly sure when I will be squeezing in this next long run…tomorrow morning I have a massage booked : )  But I’m sure I’ll get to it eventually!  I had some strong runs this week in perfect fall weather.  Woo Hoo!  This week has been pretty crazy as I’m sure you can tell from this scattered post.  Plus, it’s been tough to blog (and read your wonderful blogs) with Cooper all up on my computer.





So back to the purpose of the this post…the taper!

I’ve been skimming through Hal Higdon’t book Marathon for the past two months.  I found the chapter on tapering to be one of the most interesting. 


Here are a few things that I learned from Hal…

-Marathon training is not the time to lose weight.

-Tapering should begin 3 weeks before race day after your longest (most likely 20 mile) run

-Decrease mileage by ~25% each week.

-Decrease running frequency.

-Even though you are decreasing weekly mileage, you should keep up your pace and intensity to get your body used to the speed.

-Don’t use your free time for other exercise, such as strength training.

-Begin increasing carbs each meal the week before the marathon.

-Don’t try to make up for any lost training during your taper.

-Cut back on calories during your taper.

-Eliminate junk food and empty calories the entire week before your race.

-It is ok to have a beer the night before the race if that’s what you typically do.

-Tour the course if you are able.

-Don’t overeat the night before. Hal says ‘Eat what you usually eat. Drink what you usually drink.’

-Don’t worry too much about sleep the night before the race, but get a good night’s sleep two nights before.


Hal says that he almost does no work for the last 3 days before the marathon with a light jog the day before.


I have been doing a lot of mental preparation this week as I get closer to race day.  I seem to have found a new love of carbs, potatoes in particular and of course worry about my strength as I decrease my miles and frequency.


My last piece of advice…

Trust the Taper!!!



Are you tapering right now?

What tips do you have?

Dress Rehearsal

When I decided to follow the intermediate training plan, I was looking forward to attempting two 20 mile runs.

With one already behind me, I am was still nervous about this last long run.  It’s just in my nature and probably how I will always be.  There were a lot of things not lined up for this run, including my new shoes and my lack of chia seeds for breakfast.  I can’t run without chia seeds!  I prepared almost everything last night, so I could be up and out the door early this morning.  It’s a like a marathon dress rehearsal!




Packet pick up was 6:30am and with the parking situation, you had to get there early in order to avoid walking miles to and from your car.  I arrived right at 6:30 and got a pretty decent parking spot.  There was more than enough time to pick up my packet and cute new 20 miler socks, and use the potty twice.  It was a stunning morning with the full moon still hanging in the sky.




In true fashion, I made a friend, who happened to graduate from my high school (a few years after I did) in line for the potties.  We didn’t run together because she is many minutes faster than I.    At 7:30am, I walked over to the start line.  This is the perfect sized supported run, and even before it began, everyone was very friendly and helpful.  I must say I felt a little jealous of all of the running groups there together.




I ended up lined with wave 5, the second 9 min/mile wave.  When we first hit the course, I realized that I didn’t want to begin at 9 minute miles, so I pulled out ahead.  My goal was to maintain miles closer to 8:30 for the first 10 miles and then fall back to 9 minute miles for as long as I could.   Within the first 2 miles, my calves and right peroneals were burning.  I’m guessing this had to do with running in my new shoes.  In my head, I broke the race down into sections.  The first 5 miles flew and my legs started feeling better as I found my stride around 3 1/2 miles.




Mile 10 was back by the Elks, living in the park.  With half the run over, I decided to focus on the last 10 miles.  I told myself it’s an easy out and back and I could do this on tired legs.  My miles definitely slowed over the last half of the race.  I remember that mile 15 was the hardest when I ran the 20 miler two years ago, and I struggled through miles 15-16 in the marathon too.  So I was not surprised when I had to stay focused and push myself through the last 5 miles.  My goal was just to take in water when I could and maintain my pace as close to 9:00 minutes as possible.  As I passed the mile 18 sign, I was able to find enough power to finish the last 2 miles strong.  When I saw the Elks again, I knew the finish was near.  I pushed up the last little hill and sailed down to the finish.  I pushed m pace some, but also kept in mind that in the real race, I’ll have another 6 miles to go.




My Garmin was a little off from the race course, but both times met my expectations.  I had an unspoken goal of wanting to finish in 2:55, which on race day would leave me one hour for the last 6 miles.   My watch buzzed 20 miles at a time of 2:54:17 and crossed the finish at 2:55:30.  My fastest mile was 8:07 and my slowest was 9:31.  My average throughout was 8:42 min/miles with my last mile clocking in at 8:58.  I felt pretty good when I was finished and was happy to stretch, nibble on pretzels, and chat with other runners.  Even though there were tons of people running, I spent most of the time running by myself, which gave me plenty of time to think about the upcoming marathon and life in general.


20 Miles of Thoughts

Thank you Readers!  My new black shoes were AWESOME for today’s run!

I remember how hard the marathon really was.

Today’s outfit will be perfect for race day. I’ve been training in shorts, but hope to wear capri’s for the marathon.

I need a new race belt.  My current one works for tri’s when I don’t have much in it.  Today, it was bouncing everywhere and I had trouble getting my nutrition in and out of it.

Oh!  She’s wearing a cute race belt!

Don’t forget to cut up your Larabar before the marathon like you did today.

My Garmin is great for pacing!

I need a better plan for when I take in nutrition and water.

I should have packed a post run snack.

If things align, I could reach my marathon PR goal.  This is the first run where I felt like this!

Hooray for carbs and tapering!


Hey Marathoners, how did your 20 miler go?

What do you do when your Garmin and course don’t match up?

How do you decide when to eat or drink during a run?



Total Weekly Mileage

37.6 miles


Countdown to Marathon

3 weeks