Chicago Marathon

Epic Weekend

Sam and I went up to Chicago last weekend and had a great trip. There’s so much to tell…


We woke up before dawn on the longest day of the year

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As soon as we got into the city, I met up with Jess and we went for our long run together. The first thing we saw when we got onto the lake path was this lady running with a dog balloon:

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We thought she was crazy until we saw this sign and realized that there was a race for PAWS going on.

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This ended up being a good thing because we got really thirsty around mile three and managed to convince the volunteers to let us have some gatorade even though we weren’t part of the race. Thanks PAWS!  After 8.5 miles, we went back to Jess’ place to shower and relax with this very snuggly lady:

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That afternoon, we went to a rooftop party celebrating our friend’s graduation from his MBA program at Northwestern. We ended up walking like half a mile so I’m going to add that to my daily total and say I did 9.

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This guy was the highlight of the party. I think you can see that we are in love.

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We watched a storm roll in from the rooftop, then ran inside when it started pouring. This was a bit of déjà vu for me since the same thing happened at our rooftop wedding exactly a year ago.

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The next day I met up with my friend Jess at one of my favorite brunch places, Southport Grocery. I don’t know how I’ve been there so many times without ever trying the grown-up pop-tart:

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Then I went to my favorite cheese shop Pastoral for some goodies

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Which Sam and I enjoyed later on a little anniversary date in Millennium Park

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If you’ve never tried Stiegl Grapefruit Radler before, I highly recommend it. It has a low alcohol content and is just a bit fruity- perfect for summer.

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The next morning, Sam joined me for a short run along the lake path and through Millennium Park





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This is where the start line for the Chicago Marathon is. See you in 3 months!

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We saved the best for last: before we got on the road, we had lunch at Irazu and ordered 3 of their mind-blowing oatmeal shakes! More on that later 🙂

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I miss you Chicago!




First day of training

My 18 week training plan for the Chicago Marathon officially starts today!

Here’s the schedule I created, tweaked from this Hal Higdon Plan

Training Plan

Excel formatting is one of my favorite forms of self expression

Here’s the gist of it:

Mondays: Easy run

Tuesdays: Strength training and yoga at the gym (or other cross training)

Wednesdays: Easy run

Thursdays: Speed work

Fridays: Bike to work- about an 11 mile round trip (or other cross training)

Saturdays: Long run

Sundays: Recovery day and foam rolling

For the Thursday speed workouts, I’m planning to rotate between these drills:

Fartlek: Pick up the pace for segments of 30 seconds to four minutes, interspersed with easy-paced segments of similar duration. Go by time or run them between trees, street signs, or other landmarks during your run.
Kenyan Outbacks: These are like tempo runs—a few miles at a challenging pace—but with the second half much faster than the first. Example: Run an out-and-back route with the “out” in 20 minutes and the “back” in 17 minutes.
Track ladders: Do a track workout up and down the distance ladder. Early in the buildup the ladder range can be 200 to 800 meters; later on it can rise to 800 to 1600 meters. Example: Run 200, 400, 800, 400, and 200. Include an equal amount of slow jogging to recover between each faster repeat.
Yasso 800s: In the early weeks of the schedule, run six 800-meter repeats with 400-meter recovery jogs. Increase the number to 10 during peak training.
Hill repeats: Focus on form, not speed. In the early weeks, run four to six times up a moderate hill of 100 to 200 meters at an easy effort. Walk or jog down. In the middle of the training plan, simply do some tempo and long runs on hilly routes. Late in the buildup, run three to eight hill repeats of 100 to 400 meters at a medium to hard effort.

And of course this drill:








Glory Days

I’m back at home visiting family and friends this weekend. This morning, I went for a run with one of my running idols, H. Over the last two years or so, H has transformed from normal post-college lazy human being to world-conquering running superhero. She ran her first marathon a few months ago, and she is the person I go to to ask questions/whine about running.

H lives in another part of the country, so it was great to be able to meet up with her for a run while we were both home. Right now she is recovering from her marathon and working on her running form. She had a ‘form analysis’ done by a physical therapist, and she is working on correcting some things- namely her posture and her stride. She runs with a metronome-like app- it ticks out a beat which she is supposed to match her steps to.

We did run/walk intervals, which I have never tried before. Basically we ran for a minute then walked for 30 seconds, for 6.5 miles. While it was nice to take regular breaks, I got a little hangry towards the end. Basically whenever we stopped to walk I wanted a hot dog. Actually the whole time I just wanted a hot dog.

my love for hot dogs knows no bounds

Our run took us through town, and we ran by our old high school. We decided to take a lap around the track for old times sake. H and I both ran track throughout high-school. We were sprinters- H specialized in hurdles, while I ran the 100/200/4×100 short sprints. As we were doing our lap, and watching the high-schoolers practice, we remembered the great divide between the sprinters and the “long distance” runners on our team.


Where it all began

At the time, despite the fact that we were running 20+ sprint reps during workouts 6 days a week, we saw ourselves strictly as short distance runners. Sometimes we would do a 1-mile warmup with the whole team, and we thought that distance was SOOO LONG. If you had asked High School Me to run two miles, I would have whined like crazy. I didn’t think I was capable of running distance, and I was not interested in trying.

I kept this mindset throughout my college years and beyond. When I first started running regularly about three years ago, I was majorly intimidated by the prospect of running multiple miles. I remember being so amazed the first time I ran THREE WHOLE MILES! It was a revelation that I had that kind of distance in me, even when I was relatively out of shape.

I guess I’m kind of trying to tell you where I’ve come from, and why running a marathon is such a stretch for me. It’s something I spent most of my life believing was for super-elite long distance runners, a category which I would never have put myself in. 26.2 miles still sounds daunting to me – every time I say it I just think “THAT IS TWICE AS FAR AS I HAVE EVER RUN”.

This story has a happy ending. After our 6.5 mile run/walk, I dropped H off at the hotel she was staying at, and decided to step in to take a peek at the breakfast situation. Long story short: I ate half of the food on the buffet. I don’t mean I tried half of the things, I mean I ate half of the total quantity. There were even hotdog-like sausages. It was amazing.

Truer words have never been spoken

Truer words have never been spoken

Running Updates

I’m still figuring out how I’d like to use this blog. I created it with the intent of using it as a motivational tool for my marathon training. So I’d like to post updates on my runs. This may not be the most interesting content out there, but I’ll do my best to keep it exciting. I’d also like to post some of the recipes and meals that I make, so I can stop bothering everyone on instagram with my foodporn. Considering that this blog has zero readers, I don’t think I’m in much danger of disappointing anyone.

Anyways, no day like today to start updating the interwebs on my running progress!

Sam & I are working on getting to the gym in the mornings before work. my goal is to run 2-3 days during the week, then one long run on the weekends. I’m off to a good start this week, with runs on Monday:

And a 4 mile run this morning:


I drive to the gym, run a loop around campus, then shower and get ready at the gym so I can head straight to work at 8am.

I really, really had trouble getting out of bed this morning, mostly because it was flipping cold again, below 30 degrees, when my alarm went off at 5:20am. I won’t get into how terrible this winter was, but lets just say I have post-seasonal-affective-disorder, and I’m still really crabby about cold weather. Surprisingly though, I did end up enjoying my run- the sunset was pretty awesome:

My hope is that these weekday campus runs will get me into the habit of running in the morning before it gets too hot out. Next strategy to try: running to and/or from work.


Yesterday, as I was driving through the mountains on my way home from Virginia (more on that later), I got some exciting news: I won the lottery! Not the one where they give you all of the money though. This is the Bank of America Chicago Marathon lottery. Apparently, so many people are jumping onto the marathon bandwagon (myself included) that they have to distribute the 45,000 entries at random. Now that I think of it, this is the exact opposite of your traditional lottery. Congratulations, you’ve won the right to run 26+ miles, and you have to pay us $185 for the pleasure of doing so! Negative jackpot.

Winning 4.18.14

I don’t think I’m properly conveying my excitement though. I mean, first of all, winning things is awesome. That kind of competitive thinking is what I love about running races in the first place. Secondly, if I hadn’t gotten the lottery entry, I would have had to run on a charity team, and while there are some very deserving causes participating, I am a fundraiser by profession and I don’t know that I need that added responsibility right now.

Not to mention that I have really been looking forward to conquering the marathon this year. Last May I ran my first half marathon. As I was running those last three miles, all I was thinking was “I will never run a marathon. I will never run a marathon”. It was my mantra. 13 miles was painful enough, and I could not imagine putting myself through it twice in a row. But somehow, after a couple of months, that pain was been trumped by the lure of conquering the big one: the 26.2 mile marathon. The truth is, I know I can do it. I enjoy challenging myself, and this is a big, once in a lifetime, bucket list kind of challenge.

So on Sunday, October 12, 2014, approximately 6 months from today, I will be in Chicago running the race of my life with two of my best friends. Here
goes nothing.