Thursday, July 10, 2014

More, Randomness

I have been debating whether it was worth keeping this blog going. I am busy, I don't race or train like my old normal, so there are no fancy race reports. It takes time to write and most of the time I think who really cares.  But just when I think about shutting it down, I get a message from someone about what they've read and it helps them or motivates them and weirdly enough that has happened twice just this week. Its also a nice distraction from what I really should  be doing like setting up online bill pay to make my life easier, or stretching and foam rolling like I preach a million times a day.  I started this blog years ago for the athletes I coached, the injured athletes I work with or any mom or person trying to balance  family, work,  training and racing (pick your order of importance).   A lot of the posts turned into actual stories that became part of a book I was so lucky to be a part of contributing to. And,  we still get messages from people across the country who have read the book.  Maybe some of this lately will turn into another book down the road. There's definite potential for a sequel. 

So here goes for now, complete randomness!

I have been so busy at work, and am smiling because have helped lots of runners/ athletes get back on the road; I have a very full schedule and am "being efficient" at work,  but at same time managed to send Jack off to the wrong week of a summer camp. Whoops I swear I changed that registration. 

I can change the propane on the grill without blowing up the house, add salt to the water softener, ( I count this as a workout these days), and fix the garage door opener
but have driven past the turn to my subdivision more than once lately, and most days forget at least 1 thing I am supposed to take with me when i leave the house.

I think there is a birds nest at the top of my chimney. Need to do some investigating on this one.

I can get up get my workout in, and get out the door looking sort of professional, but haven't  sat still long enough to see  ANY of the Tour yet, and even though we were able to see the World Cup action at work thanks to Telemundo, they aren't showing the Tour.
I must try to catch some,  because fit cyclists on their bike in spandex leaves you with a good visual for the day.

My work schedule changed again at the start of summer, to be ……"more efficient" (i'll keep my comments about healthcare these days to myself). If I am not up working out by 5:30 or 6 in the morning it won't happen. There is NO time after work, M-Th. If there is,  I'm fairly worthless.   I still like to train and race so, I get up and do it. The good part about this is I have seen some amazing sunrises and there is no traffic on the roads when I'm out biking!  Lately, I am trying to get to the pool more than 1 x month.  My new team Betty suits and the outdoor pool make it so much more fun. 

My randomness must be driving Jenny crazy when it comes to writing workouts. But have stressed I have no big triathlon agenda.  I have more than once signed up for races last minute to include attempting an xterra that was epic failure because I crashed so hard descending the bars jarred loose and i looked like I was run over by a car. But I loved it and want to do it again.

For the 4th I ran a 5k in the morning and hung out with JH. She crushed the 10k and I raced some young teenagers in the 5k. My PR for the week was on the track, though. Despite all my randomness I ran as good as I almost just about ever have on the track at my 40-something age! But,  because of my 40 somethingness  2 days later I felt like a locomotive at the 5k. It was hilly which added to the joy, but it was a start to an amazingly fun and random weekend.  

I found myself on a boat the next day in Lake Michigan with the city in the background and a group of very fun friends.  The water was way to cold to swim, but I did jump in, and afterward dancing in the streets to 90s rap music at a street festival. 

I miss the mountains from home, but this was a very fun day in the city.

I'm finding randomness is ok. I am still working out, but having a lot of fun too. Not having my summer focus on getting myself ready for Vegas or a World Champs leaves more time for fun. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Some Training, Some Racing and ....Summer is Fun!!

The official start to summer isn't for a couple more days, but I have already been enjoying all fun that comes with summertime.  A little training, a little racing, and a little more summer fun than what was normal. Winter/summer ratio in Chicago isn't equal.  We had what seems like 8 months of winter hell, and summer is so short in Chicago that I plan to make the most of it this year.  I have already spent more time in my back yard and patio than past summers and I must say it is looking pretty amazing (well, Jose and his crew along with Mr. TruGreen help me a ton).  
This happened

 Although as of writing this the plants might be drowning because more of this rolled in. 
Weird Sky

There have already been multiple fire pit parties, including 1 in particular that really helped put say good bye to the polar vortex, and kick off summer. 

Just some of the fun  at the fire pit party

I am managing to train some but compared to other years it is practically nothing. I could almost, (not quite....but its close) fall into the weekend warrior category!  Thanks to Jenny she writes a great week of workouts and I manage to get most of it done. I even did a threshold test on my bike a couple weeks ago and wasn't too disappointed with the results. The other day I was out riding, and was short on time so i just rode harder to get the most out of it.   I have been on my TT bike but really only because its the one with power. I have been on my cross bike on the trails for recovery which gets me VERY excited for cross season. Running is probably going the best. I have been on the track, the trails and lots of miles from the house. The only big race on the schedule is still the Portland Marathon in October, so I have a feeling the run miles will start to increase. I still go to Mark my strength guy who kicks my rear and keeps me strong. I love this workout each week it makes me strong inside and out! Last week I pushed the sled with 165# on it back and forth across the gym a bunch of times! It was so hard, I tasted blood!

Since solider field, I have only raced our very local little Batavia Triathlon. It is in my back yard, I have never done this local race. I was mad and pouting that I couldn't go do the Tour of Galena bike race weekend thanks to an extended lacrosse season, so I signed up.  Its pretty much a sprint, and since thats the about my equivalent of training it was perfect, LOL. I was digging stuff out of my transition bag that hadn't been touched since Vegas 70.3 and trying to put easy laces in my shoes last minute and …put on the race wheels but forgot the Trek needs the brakes adjusted so the race wheels can roll smooth and fast!  I don't know how to do this.  Ooops.   So I raced anyway with the training wheels, who cares its Batavia Tri.  It was a fun race and very well organized and it was fun to go race hard and I was happy to see that some fitness is coming back.   My friend Kristen Wade kicked all our butts including the young children who are fast!
Betty on the Run
AG win

I plan to race more this summer, just not sure what else. Im having fun being random!  Oh yea, except I did sign up for my first  Xterra! and can't wait to give this a try. It should be a blast as long as I don't kill myself trying to go fast on crazy terrain!

There has already many grill-fests and eating dinner out on the patio, 

falling asleep in the sun on my lawn chair, and sleeping with the windows open.  I love summer when I can wear fun, sassy sandles,  tank tops and not need a coat, layers or freeze. I have been out on many very fun girls nights with my amazing friends. 

 I also spent a very fun random Sunday afternoon hanging out here. Fun!

And, Summer is just getting started!  I  have some very fun trips and adventures planned….some involve training, some racing and some just fun!  

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Strength > And Finishing on the 50

My schedule at work is filling up again with injured runners. Its a little early in the season to be breaking down. Races are just getting going and there is a long season still to go. Don't get me wrong, rehabbing a stubborn injured runner (yes I've been there myself as an athlete)  and bringing them back to running is one of my greatest challenges. I love it when I can high five them out the door and say I hope I never see you again unless its at a starting line!   Recently I have been repeating myself at work as to how appropriate strength of the correct muscles is important for running strong, efficiently, maintain form and to prevent injury.  To be hurt and on the sidelines at this point in the season can be caused by one or a combination: 

1. obvious trauma like stepping in one of the crater like pot holes left behind from winter
2. coming back from injury the wrong way:  as in too fast 
2. training error; doing to much to soon, more than you are truly ready capable of, or following your friends/ training partners workouts
3. poor strength; you might get away with it for awhile but eventually, overuse and soft tissue trauma will come find you

any combination of the above can lead to an entire season of pain and dysfunction

So it takes strength to:  
1 complete the steps appropriate to recover properly from injury or prevent it in the first place
2. hold back, do the correct strength exercises and have someone check out your form
3. stick to your training plan, which should be appropriate for your level of fitness
4. not give up, with the correct therapy and intervention you can overcome it and you'll be back running again 

I recently ran out of some strength in the last few miles of my first real race of 2014; Soilder Field 10 miler. The day was perfect and I was so excited to finally be on a starting line!  Wow that race is HUGE, but I had so much fun. My time was the second fastest I have ever raced a 10 miler/ and considering I've been climbing out of the muddy polar vortex pit, I'll consider it a victory knowing how my training has gone this winter and spring. The first 8 miles were perfect and I was holding a pace very close to my PR, but my calves said you haven't done enough strength work to run that pace for the entire 10 and cramped up. I had to slow some/ walk about like a granny to shake them off a couple times during the last 2 miles. In the end I finished on the 50 feeling accomplished!  I wore my BETTY tri shorts to race in.  Quite honestly they are amazing to run in.  They are so comfortable, don't ride up, stay put, and of course looking best you can can help you feel better when you are suffering. 

Smiling at Soilder Field

perfect day to race

When I think of strength, I mostly think of physical qualities, 
but lately I realize how much strength is also mental and moral qualities.

Strength is also:

1. saying no, when you always say yes
2  being nice and smiling when you want to be mean and say naughty words
3. standing tall and firm when you want to fall and crumble
4. going to work the next day after an amazing  "Ferris Beuller Day Off" 
5. doing whats right and what your conscience tells you, instead of giving in 

3rd row behind Cubs dugout!!
Ferris Day Off!

I took a day off mid week for my own "Ferris Beuller" day.  A planned day off mid week to head to the city to a Cubs game with 2 of my amazing girlfriends made for an epic day and fun start towards a new chapter in my world.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rise Above

I always love to see athletes or teams rise to the occasion in competition and step up, when it really counts, when the chips are down, when its tough, and hard and yes…. painful. They rise to the occasion and rise above the unfavorable odds or circumstances. It is so admirable and motivating to see athletes face it and not crumble when it gets hard.

Its happened recently in sport with Meb wining the Boston Marathon. I was  putting together injured people that Monday when the historic race was taking place and could only read about later many of my friends watching in tears as an American won the Boston marathon for the first time in like 31years.  So inspiring, motivating and …..timely.  I went for a run that night!

The Blackhawks stepped it up, pulled through  and won the series after coming from behind to move on in the quest for another Stanley Cup. I confess I'm not a true hockey fan, I love football. However I have no problem admitting I've jumped on the BlackHawk bandwagon the last 2 seasons because they are Hot,  they fight for it, and they rock. It can't be that bad of a bandwagon to be cruising around on.

Last weekend I watched 10 year olds on the lacrosse field step up and come from a 5-1 deficit, not collapse or give up,  but fight  back to battle it out for a hard fought……. tie. Sure it was a tie, but the lesson to 10 yr olds was not to give up when behind 5-1, but to fight back with all you have.
Jack, staring it down

Rising above is facing head on your weaknesses, limitations and going for it. Its scary,  uncomfortable and often painful, but when you challenge yourself to deal with it, you are in the end stronger.  I've been faced with all kinds of opportunities this spring to rise above, look it square in the eye and keep moving forward.  

My Psimet team had a group team ride recently.   I had been planing on doing this for some time but, gulp had no idea it would be an 80 mile ride around Lake Geneva.  I haven't done a work out longer than a whopping  2 hours since …..well before Vegas World Champs 70.3, so maybe early August. Yet I really wanted to go ride with this very amazing group of women bike racers who the next week went to race the Joe Martin Stage Race and kicked butt. Coming out of the polar vortex of which I had barely gotten on a bike or ridden, I sucked it up, showed up, put my head down and rode. I suffered some at the end, due to lack of miles, but it in the end it was a win for me and am feeling stronger riding already.
PSIMET ladies  @ worlds largest Starbucks!

Anyone who knows me well recently, knows I haven't been swimming either, since yes, Vegas. I believe I swam 1 x in 2014, but recently decided to find some swim arms again and showed up to masters, and faced it head on. It might have been easier to go swim solo, a few times to get a little feel for the water again, test it out, but swimming solo is …….so boring. I went to masters jumped right  in and swam. I felt like I need to rest every 150, (and did hang on the wall a bunch) , but got through it with a smile on my face.

Yesterday, I found myself looking at a track workout to be done on a cold,  windy,  rainy day. I procrastinated getting ready to go drive to the track in the late afternoon, my only chance when Jack was off at lacrosse practice. If I have to wait to workout, it gets tough I can think of a million reasons not to do it, but I faced it,in the cold the wind and damp, stressing about my splits in the wind and  drove to the track faced that horrible feeling of trying to run fast on the track for the first time in cold wind, and in the end, I surprised myself! 
A cold windy Betty

Spring is here, (kind of )  things are green and growing in my back yard. I love seeing the things I planted a few years ago, take root, come back and eventually bloom into amazing flowers.  As a single mom now, I am facing a lot of new things that are sometimes scary. But every little opportunity I have to look scary things square in the eye, I give it my best to stare it down, and not walk away. It shapes you into something stronger and beautiful.
Last year's Lilacs

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Relax and Rebuild...spring break at the beach!

I just returned home from a most fabulous vacation to Florida for spring break with my friend DL.  An escape to sun, fun and the beach was much needed and this trip was one of the most relaxing/yet fun trips I've had in a very long  time.   It was the perfect combination workout, relax, shop and celebrate. The polar vortex of this winter turned my life upside down and inside out and left me  frozen without any control under a very large snow drift.  There was no reprive from the frozen-ess.  Just when it would warm up just a little and I'd start to thaw out,  another artic blast would blow in again.  After such a long extreme winter,  a trip out of here was so needed for a change of scenery, soak in some sun, build in a little more training and relax in the sun.

We loaded 3 tweens, 2 teenagers, 2 moms into a suburban with 2 bikes and a lot of luggage, left our neighborhood sub at 4 am and drove south practically without stopping to the ocean beaches of Florida. Did you know in a new suburban with a large tank and with bladders that will allow it you can drive 6.5 hours without stopping!
worth the drive!

We rented an adorable house on the beach sufficient to house all we hauled with us in the suburban.
My mission was to: 
1. relax, 2. clear my head 3. smile and have fun 4. workout 5. catch some sun 6. sweat 7. play on the beach 8. have more fun

We set  no alarms,  and I woke up and sat at the beach and saw dolphins with the  sun coming up,  or drank coffee on the porch.  I went for some great runs and its nice to see that  when you aren't trudging through snow, frozen wind and can shed a few base layers fitness is actually starting to come around and my easy run pace is actually starting to look decent again.  I did swim and bike some mainly for recovery and to enjoy being outside.

 Part of rebuilding strength and fitness is getting strong and following a plan and starting back at the basics. I floundered all winter randomly working out without direction, that got me through the polar vortex, but now I am now more focused again.   I started working out regularly with my long time personal trainer Mark Nilles who has been pushing me to a new level with some great strength workouts. He recently expanded his gym which only enables him to push us even  harder with more room and more toys.
Its been fun slamming some metal around

I have also started working with my friend Jen Harrison to get fast running and help direct me in my new adventure of marathon training with using bike racing and a few triathlons to cross train and keep me sane. So far, I have been more than thrilled in just the few weeks she has been coaching me. Now I need to get a few more races on the schedule! 

Even though I am focused again and loving being back to training and working hard, my goal  on this trip wasn't to  focus on training. I wanted a vacation to sit by the beach, play with the kids, celebrate spring and have fun and enjoy not having to get up at the crack of early and be on a mission to check off a lengthy to do list as I do regularly on most days. Balancing being a single mom, full time work, running a house, and trying to train some leaves me running crazy most days.  So,  sitting still on the beach was perfect!
beach souvenirs

moms on the beach
Betty bikini on the beach to recover!
Dinner out with this very interesting man
We returned home after another 14+ hours in the car in which I confess started liking country music (again).  It seems spring may actually have made its way to the midwest.  I have a slight tan, a smile on my face and am ready to face real life again.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Running! and Getting Lucky!

Get Lucky 1/2 marathon came and went, so did my birthday and the horrible stomach flu. 
dress and curled hair/ no run, bike clothes or pony tails

The only race that had been on my schedule for 2014 was the Get Lucky 1/2 marathon. Training without a coach, and  with the polar vortex definitely left me low end of being ready for a solid race. Too many runs ending walking or plodding along with tears rolling down my face don't leave you ready to race. But, I was set and totally fine to just go run, finish with a smile on my face and call it a mental victory. Then somehow I got an awful stomach flu that wouldn't leave.  I've never had it last so long and blamed the polar vortex. I lived on saltines sprite and rice for about a week. Even the afternoon before race day I was still sick and could barely get through a 3 mile run.  I think I puked and ...... out all that nasty virus & effects of polar vortex in me.  I headed to the city race morning with my friends  and decided to switch to the 7k. I wanted to run! With the fee required to switch races, its the most expensive and only 7k I've ever done! I started in the middle not even in the front, thats how un-prepared I felt. The weather was a decent enough to lose a few layers and wear my SWEET Betty team shorts some lucky socks to make it fun (and a little warmer).
Betty Runs!

I just ran, no plan no idea how or what I could do. The course required navigating oncoming traffic, ice and mud but it was fun to get out, and just run. 

 I was happy to be able to
1. run in shorts
2. suprise myself with decent pace on haphazord training
3. finish with a smile, even if it was just a 7k

fun friends and they smashed their races!
Its lighter out now, the snow has been melting, I can see the concrete of my patio for first time in months and ....I have more motivation. Enough that I pulled the trigger and signed up for Portland Marathon. This will be a new adventure and very different from anything I've done for years. It is Oct 5, so I can still dive full force into Cyclocross all fall and winter.  Im planning on doing lots of running, some bike races and maybe a few triathlons to break up the miles of running and keep it interesting. 

Speaking of running!, Locals spread the word. We are giving a talk at Geneva Running Outfitters on Thurs March 20. My friend and fellow employee Lisa Mertz and I will be speaking on kicking off training and race season smart! Tips on how to stay injury free, and run faster to include some info and video on our SEP (Sport Enhancement Program) at Dreyer where I work.  GRO
Click on Events.

More running!  My friend's 17 year old daughter is an amazing Kaneland High School student. She is organizing and promoting a local 5k through her school DECA program that supports the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago. Please get out and support her race if you are around the western suburbs. Seize the Purple

Happy Run Miles!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Truth Is

 Truth is I go to work every day to help people heal from trauma, overuse, or just wearing out, and while I give everything I have to help people get better it sometimes just isn't enough and I can't help all (I have a great track record though) patients recover completely.  While I can do everything possible including massage, stretching, taping,  encouraging them on, coming up with a great treatment plan, bend over backwards  and do cartwheels (not quite, but almost and don't put it past me) sometimes it still won't be good enough if they don't do their exercises or take ownership in their injury.

Truth is if you skip your workouts and skip the work and steps it takes to get stronger,  you won't get more fit, you run the risk of injury and you most likely won't cross the finish line or meet the goal you wanted. In the end, if you skip the steps and the work, you will never be completely satisfied in the outcome at the finish line.

Truth is, I haven't put goggles on my face or swam since Vegas 70.3 World champs in September. Truth is, I haven't wanted to. Although,  I do miss wearing my Betty Designs suits. I did put on the mosaic bikini on 1sunny 20 degree day just to see if it fit. (whew! it did)
sunny and 20 deg!

Truth is, I have only signed up for 1 race this year so far, it is a 1/2 marathon on March 15. Truth is I've only been consistently running worth anything for a few weeks, so truth is I probably won't get the time I'd like, but truth is, I'm ok with that right now.   Truth is, I got my ass kicked on a killer hill run with Jen Harrison, and running legend Dave Walters and Ioved it. Truth is Dave can be so motivating when you are sucking it up a steep hill. Truth is, I drove an hour and showed up to run where the starting temp was -4 degrees plus windchill. Anyone who knows me well, understands I hate leaving the house under those circumstances and hate showing up to run when I'm not feeling strong.

Truth is I love Jimmy Fallon! but can't seem to stay awake to watch him.

Truth is the olympics were amazing, and now  I want to learn how to snowboard and do slopestyle!

Truth is I have no direction and no coach; while low pressure is awesome, I'm starting to want direction again.  Time to look for a coach.  Recommendations anyone?

Truth is I have't minded shoveling this pile of snow, and truth is I've taken my frustrations out on shoveling, running intervals so fast on the treadmill I've almost fallen off backwards, and painting my family room.
Zoey, on her snow mtn.
Good bye -pain

Truth is when you go through your lowest, most difficult times you see who your true friends are. The ones who aren't afraid to reach out to you and hear you out, tell it like it is, cry with you, put you in your place, or tell you your hair looks great or  even when it looks awful because its been in a pony tail for 2 days.   Truth is I have a few friends I rarely talk to, but when we get together its like we've never missed a beat. I went to Madison recently to visit a long time friend I hadn't seen in a few years and we had a blast. Madison is amazing even in the winter.

Truth is I am currently going through a divorce, not my choice.  Truth is Its the most painful experience I've ever been through.  I've named it the polar vortex. Seems fitting.

Truth is this kind of pain/experience can only make you stronger. Seems like I  might be able power clean a semi one day.

Truth is there is always someone worse off than you, and wow, I've seen some people at work that have experienced some very tragic situations this winter that makes your own  pain seem like nothing.

Truth is spring is coming, and unless I've gone crazy because I never sleep,  I hear birds in the morning. I am awake before they are.  And with spring comes more sun, more daylight, and warmer temperatures and melting of the polar vortex.