Imerman Angels

Friday, July 26, 2013

Post race week

This week has been a struggle. It is even a struggle to type this blog posting. I have been really tired and I am pretty sure it is because I have no properly rested after the race. My three runs this week have been ugly but at least I got them in.

July 23

The ugliest run of the week definitely happened on Tuesday. Despite the ugly run. I had a good Tuesday. I ran who two good friends who no longer live here and had lunch at Chicago Bagel Authority. When we got done with lunch, one my friends and I stopped in at the Nike Training Club store in Lincoln Park. It is definitely a cool store for women interested in Nike gear. I then walked her home and ran an errand. Once I completed that errand, I had to make the decision to run or not.

I probably sat on a bench for 10 minutes deciding if I wanted to put my sore body through this four mile run; eventually my body and legs lost the battle. Part of me wishes I could have videotaped myself during the first couple of miles of this run. It did not look pretty at all. Once I got past the point of looking like a gimp, I gained some good form. My body and legs still hurt but I made it through the four miles. Miles three and four were definitely my best because I actually started to feel somewhat normal by then. I ended up walking and running a total of 8.3 miles that day. Wednesday could only get better, right?

July 24

Meh. My thighs still killed me but I had an old friend of mine celebrating a birthday downtown and I decided I would run part of the way there. Once again, it kind of looked like I limped through the first couple of miles before looking like a normal runner. I put the little asterisk by my time Wednesday because I stopped and chatted with a friend around mile 4.5. I have not seen her or her fiance in a while so it would have been rude to just keep running. We stopped and talked for five minutes before I continued my run again.

According to my running app, the next two miles were fairly slow. I felt pretty good so I did not really notice. The last went well very well and I walked a bit before getting on a bus downtown.  I had a fun time celebrating my friends birthday with him and his friends. We went out separate ways after dinner and I went to go meet up with another group of guys in town for a wedding.  I took it easy at this bar because I wanted to get a run the next day.

July 25

This would be the day I start working out and running again, right? Wrong! My body has been angry with me for running so I decided not to work out and just run. It also did not help that I had a very lazy morning and did not have time to workout.

According to the numbers I had my best run of the week on Thursday. I got off to another slow start and eventually got it going. I had a great second mile run but my average pace went up during miles three and four.  I imagine that if I were running on a path with no stop lights that my time would have been better, but I am not complaining. I am just glad I could get these runs in.

Normally after a race I take a week off before running. I honestly did not know if I could complete these runs because my legs hurt a pretty good amount. It should also be noted that I turned the announcement feature on my running app so I could worry less about time. I think that this is something that I will continue over the next few weeks of training to see how I feel.  It should also be noted that I have not done the squat challenge or any type of workout this week. I am hoping that my legs will feel ok after my long run on Saturday.

Here are my paces from the past week:

July 23-4 mile run at 9:04
July 24-7 mile run at 9:06*
July 25-4 mile run at 8:41

Last but not least, I started the Art of Fielding this week. I am looking forward to it after hearing a lot of good things about it. That is all I have for today.

Run Happy!

What books are you all reading?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Rock 'N' Roll Race Recap

Race days can always be a little hectic because I am always afraid I will forget something or not wake up on time. Anyone that knows me also knows that I do not tend to get a lot of sleep because I like to go out before races.  I tried my best to get some sleep but it did not work. I'll start this race recap the night before.

July 20

After one failed attempt to go he expo on Friday(I thought it lasted until 7;ugh), I told myself I would go early Saturday;that did not happened. I casually strolled around my place, ate some food, wrote a blog and showered. Once again I thought I had more time than I actually had. I checked the expo hours at 3:40 and freaked out out because it closed at 5!  I rushed out of my house and caught a bus to the train and hopes I would make it on time. I ended up getting there around 5:15 and got to pick up my packet. Now that I got that figures out, I would have to kill sometime before going to th Sheffield garden walk.

                                                   JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound

I went to a Barnes & Noble to finish a book called "Out Of My League'" by Dirk Hayhurst.  A friend of mine called shortly after and said she locked herself out of her place and I went to her out(I got cookies and food out of the deal). I left there and headed over the garden walk to see JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound. They are a fantastic live band and a must see if they are in Chicago. It started to rain a little during their show and they only picked up the energy. It is one of the best times I've had at a show. I headed home after that at what I thought had been a decent hour.

Once I got home I had a minor freak out. I set out my running clothes and got ready to out my tag on my shoe and realized after taking he sticker off, it had a different name on it! I wrote on the half marathon's page and they quickly got back to me. It turns out they use recycled tags and I had nothing to worry about. I set my alarms and got to bed sometime after midnight.

Race day!
                                                              People everywhere!
Getting up around 3:45 a.m. is never easy but race days always add a little excitement. I got everything I needed to get together and headed out around 4:45. It also helps to see other crazies out and about that early heading to the same race. Once I got there I checked my bag and got ready for the race.

One of the worst things about race days is trying to get to a bathroom before a race. The lines are always terribly long. I kind of had to go, but definitely not enough to wait in an awful line so I headed to my corral. The only complaint I have about this race is letting people into corrals they should not be in.  My corral felt a little crowded but I could not do anything about it at that point so I had to get focused.
                                                                    Getting ready to go!

I started in corral five so I did not have to wait too long to get going.  I came flying out of the gates and kept this pace going for a while. I stuck with the 1:45 pace group for the first four miles or so and then I got a little ahead of them. Things were going great until about mile five or six.

It might have been later than that but my headphones stopped working(of course I figured out the issue after the race)! I ran a little bit, tried to fix it and eventually have up on the issue; I had to become a zen runner on the fly. Things were going great at this point so I did not worry. By mile nine, I started to give my legs mental pep talks.

The last three miles of the race were tough. My legs were dead and I still had to go to the bathroom. I did not exactly know my time but I knew  I had been ahead of my goal time.  The only thing I could do at this point is keep my legs moving. I felt really happy to see mile 12 until I got to 12.5 and the little hill just killed me. Emily mentioned in her blog that Midwesterners (especially on the northern end) do not like any kind hill;big or small. I forced myself over the hell and saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I finished as strong as I could and set a new personal best! My final stats are below. I would like to thank my Brooks  for helping me get through the last two races comfortably. Once I finished the race, I got my medal, a photo and quickly found a bathroom.
Finishers medal
Overall I am happy with how things went. I had a friend put it into perspective that it is not easy to do what I did and I felt a lot better at my time. It is also a tribute to hard work. I shaved 20 minutes off my last half marathon. Set goals and work hard to achieve them.

Walk Off The Earth at the post concert show

July 22

I normally do not get my medal engraved but I decided to this time. Thank you to Brooks and Fleet Feet for putting this event on. They had beer, champagne and cookie cake. I had a couple of beers, some cookie cake and headed out.  I had a nice time chatting with other runners and Fleet Feet workers.

Exocet at least one other blog post this week. Run happy!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Race week

It's the Rock N' Roll half marathon race week! I ran it for the first time last year and it quickly became one of my favorite races. I usually make the decision not to run at all during race week, but I already had to miss a few days so I did not want to skip too many more days. Here is a brief summary of the week.

July 15

Anyone living in Chicago reading this knows it has been a really hot week. On Tuesday, I had a work meeting in the afternoon and afterwards we hung out and got some drinks. I planned on running that day but the drinks were getting in the way. Despite the drinks, I made sure to drink plenty of water that day because it had been so hot out and just in case I planned on running later. Well after some drinks, lots of food and walking, I ran home from the bar! The first two miles were kind of rough but once I knew I would make it once I got half way. Somehow I managed an awesome third mile. I fought cramps pretty much the whole run but I made it home. Although I would not encourage late night runs, I enjoyed the non-crowded streets.

July 16

Seeing as I went for a late on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning (and do not forget the squat challenge), my legs were pretty tired. I told myself not worry about pace and just the six miles done. The first mile is really the only the mile where I felt like I struggled. Slowly but surely my legs felt better and I felt good enough to complete the six mile trip. My last mile ended up being the best again. It gives me confidence that I can finish longer races and that I have become a better runner when that happens. The body felt great after and I probably lost a ton of water weight because I sweated it all out.

July 17

I love running and all, but there is no chance that Thursday would have been a good idea to run. It felt like the hottest day of the summer so I definitely took it off.

July 19

Despite Thursday being the last day of running week, I got an unintentional workout Friday night. I went to see one of my all time favorite bands, Lucky Boys Confusion, at Taste of River North.


This has to be close o the 16th time I have seen them perform live somewhere and it never gets old! The smile that came on once they can on never left my face. It felt so good to see them after not seeing them for so many years. Unfortunately they had to cut the short set due to an impending storm that would cause trouble all night (more on that in a second). My friends and I went our separate ways and I went to hang out with another friend. Here is the part where the rain decided to cause some trouble even after if stopped raining.

Some friends of mine listened to the Peal Jam concert at Wrigley Field on a friends porch and when they came to the bar I went to, I figured the concert had been over. One of my friends told me that Pearl Jam's set got delayed and they started up again. She told me this around midnight and after seeing the planned set list another friend had shown me, I guessed they would play till almost 3 a.m. (they were only on song 4 of a predicted 40!)! One of my friends and I left the bar to go get some food and could hear the last song playing. We think they got cut a little short because I checked twitter and it said they played about 31 songs. Neither of us knew the mess that would ensue from the concert ending at 2:05 a.m.

We were amazed by the amount of people on the street from the bars closing and the concert ending; wrigleyville looked like a mess! We got some food at one of our favorite Mexican places and just kept walking because of all the traffic on Clark street. We got all the way to Wilson where he veered off to go to his girlfriends place and I decided at this point I would try to walk home. I made it all the way home without seeing one 22 Clark bus! That means I walked four miles in a little over an hour and beat the bus to my stop in Rogers Park. I definitely made sure to stretch when I got home because I did not want my legs to be too tired for this race on Sunday.

I hope this has been an enjoyable blog. It is time to head to the Rock N' Roll expo at McCormick Place to pick up my gear.  Run happy and good luck to all of those running the race tomorrow.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Marathon training week 6/Squat challenge

Week six of training is in the books! It felt really good to complete a week feeling pretty good after having to take 12 days off. I can't say I did not run with some hesitancy after all the shin pain I had before, but I felt pretty good. Here is a little summary of my training runs from last week.  The numbers at the end of each date are from the squat challenge.

July 9

The marathon plan had me doing three miles and I normally do not like doing three miles, but I wanted to play it safe for a while. I mentally planned out a route before I left for my run and got started. The first mile went pretty well (8:46 split) and things only continued to get better.  I missed a turn at the end of mile one and as a result of missing this turn, the three mile run turned into a four mile run. I dropped 36 seconds off of that pace during mile two. My last two splits were 7:56 and 7:29. The average pace ended up being 8:06. Once I got home I completed short full body work out and day nine of the squat challenge.

110 squats
110 hip thrusts
320 (squats)

July 10

fun. played at the Taste of Chicago last Wednesday and I wanted to get most of my workouts done before I left for the free show.

I felt pretty lazy most of the day so I decided I would run to a train station to complete part of my run to Grant Park. The run went really well.  I probably could have done better keeping my splits closer together but that is hard to do when you run on the streets. I still completed the run around the time I thought I would despite my up and down splits. I had a great time at fun. with two of my friends. If I had planned a little better I would have gotten there earlier to see more of Delta Spirit.

120 squats
120 hip thrusts

July 11

Another planned three mile run got extended. This time I ended up running 4.66 miles to meet up with a couple of friends before the Cubs game. I wish I could have spent more time with them but I got lazy in the morning and did not get my other workouts in earlier. The splits were ok on this run and I ended up with a decent time.

35 Bulgarian split squats
35 one-leg foot elevated bridges

July 12

130 squats
130 hip thrusts

July 13
First day of the Squat challenge I skipped

July 14

I had been looking forward to this long run for quite some time. If you have read any of my posts or remember from the beginning of this one, I had to take some time off of running. Taking time off meant that I miss the 11-mile run during that break. Another lazy morning turned into a mid-afternoon. The Mowgli's and Neon Trees were playing at the Taste of Chicago so I decided I would just run to Grant Park this time. During my long runs, I generally like to use the first mile or two as a warm-up. My legs typically get stronger as the distances get further. Despite all of that, I still felt pretty nervous about this run due to the heat and not having run that far in almost a year. The run felt great! The only time I ever got annoyed is when I hopped on the lakefront path around mile nine. I should have just stuck to my plan of staying on Marine drive. I felt pretty happy that my strongest mile of the run happened to be my last one! The legs felt great on Monday. I think all the workouts (i.e. squat challenge and Sworkit lower body workouts) I have been doing have paid off. I have also been doing this hip strengthening off of the Bob's running resources site I linked in an earlier post.  Since I am putting a lot of strain on my legs, stretching is probably the biggest thing that allows me to feel good every day;take care of your body runners!


I think that is all I have for tonight. The week will be busy with training runs, workouts and the Rock N' Roll Half-marathon! I plan on having at least two blog post this week. A Rock N' Roll race recap should be up Monday or Tuesday.

Thanks for reading and Run Happy!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

I ran!

The last 12 days have been pretty annoying because as I mentioned in my last post, I could not really run. Everything felt off and my body needed the running. It felt really strange that I constantly felt tired but got enough sleep. I also did not get new shoes. I went to Fleet Feet recently and the lady who fit me for shoes also agreed that I could probably use a new pair of shoes. However, running shoes are not cheap and I decided against buying a new pair (for the moment). I left Fleet Feet kind of down and wondering when I would run again.

That day came today! My shin pain felt pretty good so I decided I needed to be mentally strong and try to run. It also had been great running weather. I promised someone that if I did run that I would stop at the first sight of pain. When it came time to get off the train at Linden I did feel a little nervous, but I put on my running band, turned on some music, started the Runmeter and got moving!

The first mile felt great. Things were going smoothly and it did not feel as if I took 12 days off form running. The only annoying part came when I got to my first stop light and waited for what felt like an eternity! It came time to get going again and I heard the announcement of my pace and got a little annoyed because I know that dumb stop slowed me down. Since I continued to feel good I decided to pick it up a little during mile two.

Mile two felt even better. I have run this route a few times so I knew after that first stop that there would not be many more. My pace dropped significantly since there were less stops and I picked up my pace. My breathing could have better but the legs felt great so it felt like an ok idea to run even faster during mile three (I had to be somewhere around 2 p.m. and did not want to be too late).

My pace got even quicker during this portion of my run. Sometimes I will give myself mental pep talks by saying things like you are almost there so push it! I made it to my destination and my legs continued to feel good. The only trouble that almost occurred on the run is me going to the bathroom before I could get to a bathroom. This is a common issue for runners but I did not feel like peeing on myself;ha ha.  I did some clam reps and even played a little basketball. It will be interesting to see how my legs feel tomorrow while running and doing the squat challenge I am doing. Maybe all these squats I have been doing have helped keep my legs fresh.

I am excited that it looks like I will be able to get back into my routine. I know that I definitely will not be as grumpy now that my de-stressor is back. Marathon  and half-marathon training continues! The Rock N Roll half-marathon is only a couple of weeks away.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Marathon Training Week 3

If someone could not tell by reading the title of this blog post, I am training for my second marathon. The first few two weeks were pretty easy for the most part (minus a tired 8m run I had the first week).  There is no way I thought I would have an easy 18 weeks of training, but one can always dream. My dreams quickly ended as I started week the third week of training.

Towards the end of my second week of training I had a long run of nine miles to complete. I did not end up completing that run because I spent the weekend in Omaha for the College World Series and a friends birthday. I could have gotten a run in, but fun and humid weather got in the way. During the weekend I decided I would attempt my long run on the Monday I got back (June 24) since my long run for the week would be six miles. Little did I know, it would be one of the hardest nine miles I have had since I started running. 

Miles one through three went fairly well according to my long runs. I like to come out a little slower than my typical pace so I can save some energy for the end of the run. This is a strategy that has worked fairly well for since I started becoming a better runner. It worked according to plan because miles four through six went great; I felt great and my pace improved and stayed fairly even. I am not sure what happened once I hit mile seven, but nothing felt good. The day had been fairly humid but I have run in hot weather before so I did not think that would be an issue. I had just finished watching "Spirit of the Marathon" so I had been determined to push through the fatigue (not so smart when you can not breathe). I finished the run with a good time (just a little slower than my 10m race), but I did not feel great. The next two runs did not really go great as expected. I had a four mile on Thursday that despite leg fatigue, that went fairly well. I felt pretty good after the run and workout, but pain followed later that night and Friday. 

It made me nervous that my leg hurt in an area that is common for stress fractures. I had planned on doing a core/leg workout using an an app called Sworkit but I decided not to because of my leg. Later in the day I decided to ice my leg and get a free injury screening with a physical therapist. She ran me through a few test and did not think I had a stress fracture; good news. The bad news  is that she looked at my shoes (which I just bought) and said she said I probably need a new pair;bad news. Apparently she could tell from the ware on my shoes that I spend a lot of time on the outside of my feet and said that may come from my shoes over correcting me. She also suggested this site to me.

The moral of this story is to not over train, listen to your body and that is important to buy the right shoes. I took four days off and will try to run again today (July 2). I did a workout*/stretched and felt good after. Thanks for reading and hopefully I will do a better job of updating this blog.

*I started a squat challenge my friend Shannon sent me. I hope this helps me and is not over training.