Saturday, January 28, 2012

Getting To Know Me!

There has been a game going around on the blogging network fittingly titled "11 Things."  It's kind of a chain game where people answer questions and ask questions and tag their blog friends for them to do the same.  I'll be honest, I'm not really a "chain game" kind of person.  But I like reading other people's responses and thought I would play along a little.

I actually got tagged 4 times!!  I'll answer the most recent two sets of questions (sorry to the first two...but no one really needs to know THAT much about me!!).  The two bloggers that tagged me were Amanda from Too Tall Fritz and Jeni from A Sparklish Roar.

Amanda's Tag Questions:

1. Favorite race/event & why?  I would say my favorite race has to be the Shamrock Shuffle 8k.  It's pretty much the first major race of Chicago and is hugely popular!  People generally have a great attitude and wear interesting clothing!

2.  Were you a princess or TomBoy?  Actually neither.  Maybe more TomBoy. My mom did put me in a few dresses when I was younger but they were not all "fru-fru" dresses (with the frills and lace and stuff).  And until a few years ago, I probably didn't own a dress in at least 10 years. I wasn't really a TomBoy either because I can't play sports.  But I always did outdoor stuff like camping, rafting, etc while growing up. And always wanted to hang out with my older brother and his friend.

3. Who or What inspires you & why?  I think this is always a hard one.  I don't have one specific answer.  Many people inspire me for different reasons.  I think anyone that goes out and tries to do something that seems "impossible" to them, but put in the dedication/commitment to succeed at it, that's always inspiring to me.  An old friend/former coworker of mine never ran ever.  Started running last year when she signed up for the Chicago Marathon.  She was on a plan that started you from the beginning, like working up to one mile to start!  And she trained longer than me for the marathon (since March since she was a beginner) and finished it!  I know what her time was, but you know what?  It's doesn't matter!  She never thought she was going to do it and actually didn't tell her family or anyone because she thought she would fail.  She told me and a couple other people and that was it.  But she did it and finished!  And wants to do it again!  That's inspiration!

4. Do you have more "online" friends or real life friends?  I guess I have more online friends due to facebook and blogs.  I love my online friends and online running friends because they show so much support.  But nothing can replace the few "real" friends I have.

5. 20 Year Class Reunion...Are you going, legitimately busy or you wouldn't be caught dead stepping in the door?  I'm going.  I went to my 11 year reunion (yes, my high school never did anything right).  When I went there, even though I had already lost 15 pounds from my highest known weight (and felt good, dressed up, the whole 9 yards...and even got asked out...I think we were the only two single people there, wait, where was I...oh, for my 11 year reunion, I had lost 15 pounds.  But since then I've lost at least an additional 65 pounds or so.  So yes, I'd love to go so everyone can see how great I look!  Haha!

6. Do you prefer Flowers or Candy from the significant other or should they save the $?  Flowers for sure.  I don't want to eat the candy, so please don't buy it!  It will just make me fat!  I love flowers and really have only gotten flowers from two other people besides my father ever.  And my dad always bought my mom flowers, for a special occasion or just because.  So sweet!  But don't buy them for me because you did something wrong.  That might just piss me off more!

7. If you were rich and famous and had the balls guts to name your kid something outlandish, what would that be?  First and Middle name, please!  Nothing...I'm not really an outlandish name person.  I can't even make something up right now!  lol

8. You're in a marathon, in first place, on world record pace...You have to "go". Do you stop for a port-o-pot, and possibly lose the race and miss the world record or do you go in the street for the world to see?  I mean, really?  I wouldn't stop!  If I could, I would find a bush or something quickly if I thought I had the time, but first place, world record, marathon?  I would try to hold it as best I could.

9. Why do you run?  I run because I can.  I never used to run.  I hated the mile in gym at school! I'm not an athletic person at all. So to think that I run half marathons and marathons?  Pretty unbelievable and that's why I do it.  It's hard for me and I like the challenge of it.  Those good run days make up for all those bad run days!

10.  Favorite type of run: Group, Solo, Tempo, Long Run, Speed Work?  Group runs for sure (even just one other person).  It makes the time pass so much better and I keep my pace up better (if the person is faster than me).  And I like to chat (have some bonding time).  But there is nothing like a 5-6 mile run solo on a beautiful summer day in the forest preserves!  Really helps clear your head and is so peaceful!

11. Most adventurous "out of character" thing you've ever done?  To me, it's not out of character.  To others, it totally is and people usually can't believe it.  That I've been skydiving...twice.  I'm a pretty quiet person with a pretty quiet life.  But I love those adrenaline rush things.  I think I need it in my life to shake things up, get the heart pumping and the blood flowing.

Jeni's Tag Questions:

1. What's your sign and do you think you are a typical ____?  I'm an Aquarius and no, I don't think it's really accurate for me.  The accurate things are friendly, honest, sarcastic, intellectual.  Inaccurate: Rebellious, unemotional, detached, inventive.  Makes me think of some fiercely independent, rebellious, aloof person!  I don't think that's my personality.

2. What is your go to meal for energy?  Uh, I don't really have one!  I know what is "healthy" to eat or what to eat to lose weight...but I need to brush up on my energy food knowledge.

3. What is your top ten bucket list?  I haven't made a bucket list yet.  I've actually been meaning to but never got around to it...I'm a procrastinator.  I've done a good number of bucket list items already though.  I guess getting married and have kids is on my bucket list...but I can't wait until old age to do the kids thing (and don't want to for the married thing).

4. One thing you do every day without fail?  Go to the bathroom!  Well, it's true!  That's also the first thing I do! :)

5. Favorite font?  Um...really?  I don't care!  lol.

6. How many Facebook Friends do you get before you "clean house"?  I've never cleaned house on my facebook.  It's probably because I don't add people unless I know them (usually) or know them through my running group, charity group, etc.

7. Do you text or call?  Well, I used to say call.  In the past year, I've gotten more into texting even though I used to hate it!  lol.  It really depends on who I'm calling/texting.  Different for different people.

8. One thing you do to make yourself look better on those days you're just not up for looking better?  To tell you the truth, I'm really low maintenance.  So if it's a day that I'm just not up for looking better...I probably won't even try!

9. What kind of vehicle would you drive, if you could drive anything?  I'm not a car person, I don't know makes and models.  I currently drive a convertible and have for about 11 years.  I love them and would probably get a really nice one!

10. Do you have a nickname?  Now, my real nickname is Mandy.  That's an obvious one.  My whole family calls me that and a few friends.  But my other nickname is Beena.  My dad calls me that and even got my nephew calling me "Auntie Beena" when he was little.  I don't know where it comes from or why, just one of those things.

11. This year I want to accomplish _____?  Well, it's obviously running related!  I'm planning two marathons.  I would like to accomplish that goal!  And PR at least one of them.

My questions:

1. If you could travel to one place, where would it be and why?

2. What is your favorite distance race to run and why?

3. You are in a foreign country and are asked to try their delicacy which is some horrible bug type you eat it or pass?

4. What would your ideal job be (if money or location wasn't an issue)?

5. If you could be one animal, which one would it be and why?

6. Funniest thing that's every happened to you during a race?

7. You are working out with the weight machines at the gym and a big muscular guy comes up to you and asks if he can work out with you.  Do you work out with him or politely decline his request?

8. How tall are you and do you like your height or would you change it?  If you would change it, what would it be and why?

9. Have you or would you ever dress up in a strange costume for a themed run (example, like turkey for a turkey trot)?

10. What is one thing people would be shocked to know about you?

11.  Uh...yeah I got nothing!  lol

I'm supposed to tag friends, but many of my friends are already tagged.  I'm going to be a party pooper and not tag anyone!  I know, I know!  If you would like to answer my questions, feel free to do so!  Let me know so that I can hop on over to read the answers!

Did you learn anything new about me??

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Aliens and Changes

First things first.  I was recently notified by email that a follower of my blog could not post a comment.  This was the second time I've heard that, but the first was a while ago and so didn't think much of it.  If you can not post a comment on my blog...please send me an email at  If it is a problem, I'll have to figure something out. 

Second things...uh...second.  I bought on ebay a reflective vest so I can be a nerd safe.  The one I bought was really cheap and probably looks it but I figure, I wouldn't use it too much anyway.  And I tend to wear a lot of black while running and run in the evenings during the week.  The neighborhoods around me don't really have sidewalks so I'm constantly running in the street and definitely do not feel safe with the cars.  My marathon jacket I bought does have a reflective zipper and other small things but I feel it's just not enough safety.  And I finally wore my reflective vest last night for my run.  Nothing sexier than a runner in a reflective vest!  And then you get a bunch of runners together in reflective vests and I think they look a little like aliens, don't you?? true geeky runner form, I took a self picture (with flash to get the full alien look) of me in my running vest prior to my run last night.

Could that be any sexier??

And I stole a picture from my running group showing what a group of reflective vests look like all together...aliens, I say!  (No, I'm not in the photo).

Running Aliens?
Now for the whiny and crying and sad and depressed and "my life sucks" part of the blog.  Didn't know this blog had that section, huh?  Well, I try not to.  I try to be a relatively upbeat and happy person, because all in all, things really aren't that bad!  But sometimes you just feel "blah".  And all these stupid issues come into your head! 

I'll just focus on one of my many "problems" on this blog.  For those that are recent additions to my blog, my blog technically started out as a weight loss/healthy eating blog to help me get off the last 10 pounds I was struggling with so I could get to a "goal" weight.  I finally got them off (for a total of about 90 pounds lost).  After that, since I became more into running and found some running blogs I enjoyed, and also while training for the marathon last year, my blog turned kind of into a running blog.

But in the past year +, I've probably gained back 15-20 pounds!  What started with 5 pounds turned into 10 and last I checked was 15!  But I haven't even weighed myself in about a month!  And I've been eating crap!  And this is all just so depressing for me!  So I really want to lose about 20 pounds.  And it all started again the other night when Janet Jackson was talking about Nutrisystem on Jay Leno.  No, I'm not doing Nutrisystem.  I know that's not the right way to go (at least for me).  But sometimes you just get so frustrated that you think thoughts like "Maybe I just won't eat all day!" or "Maybe I'll just do Nutrisystem because then I won't have to worry about figuring out what to eat."  But actually, I'm kind of a mini-pro at knowing the "right" things to eat.  You have to be to lose 90 pounds in the first place (if you did it the right way).  

So I just need to start implementing good eating behaviors again.  I emailed my cousin because she has always had her struggles with weight too (although she is pregnant so it's not too much an issue for her right now).  Anyway, I emailed her and she gave me some ass-kicking good suggestions and advice.  It's funny because she usually asks me for help and I always give her the advice.  Weird to have the tables turned! 

So, that's that.  I have a 10-mile run to do Saturday with my running group.  And we do it in a very hilly neighborhood.  And I haven't run more than 7 miles since the marathon (did 7 miles twice this month though) I'm a little nervous about these 10! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

It's Official

It's official.  I signed up for the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon on April 28th.  This is the second marathon that I will be running (of course the first was the 2011 Chicago Marathon). 

I needed to sign up right now for a few reasons.  First, the price increases after January 31st (granted it's only a $5 increase but I'm cheap!).  Second, if I'm not signed up for it, I still have in the back of my head that I may not do it.  Maybe with the guarantee now that I'm doing it, I can have that mental push in the back of my head while training!  Mentally I have been completely unfocused this marathon training as opposed to the last one. 

Until recently, I didn't really have a reason why I was so unfocused.  After thinking about it for a few weeks now, I've come to the conclusion that the winter training was throwing me off.  Running in the evenings after work, it's dark and cold.  Maybe it's also the snow and ice.  I've been running more on the treadmill (I absolutely hate running in place!!).    In the summer, it's unbearably hot and humid gorgeous out!  I look at the houses and the lawn decorations that I'm running past which distracts my mind.  I don't have to worry about just running on busy and well lit streets.  I love seeing the animals and running in the forest preserves.  I just love being outside in the summer.  And even though some people would rather run outside in the cold, I'd rather run outside when it's hot.

But all this is a moot point.  It's winter marathon training.  It's dark at night (and in the mornings).  It's cold and snowy.  I may have to run on the treadmill.  Suck it up!  It's what you signed up for!  And that's the reason I signed up for it.  I figured it would give me a 100% reason to run through the winter months.  Normally, I put running on an almost nonexistent back burner for January and February!  I may run once a week on a treadmill or outside on a nice day but that's it!  I wanted to keep up the good mileage even in the winter and this was the way I could think to do it.  After all, I've become somewhat addicted to running since training for the marathon last year and want to keep running!  And I would like to get better and the only way to get better is by continuing to do it.  And I can use the treadmill for speed training.  I can use my Saturday running in Palos to get better at hills.  And maybe come spring, I won't feel like I'm just "starting" again, because I will have still been running for months on end!

And then there is of course my marathon goal!  I finished the Chicago Marathon in 4:53.  Not the time I wanted but not bad considering it was my first marathon as well as other conditions of that day.  Basically, I wanted to finish.  I ran conservatively.  I learned some things that may help in the later miles.  I would like to finish as close to 4:30 as possible (with an ultimate goal right now to break 4:30).  April weather in Chicago is definitely unpredictable (as is any other time of the year...temps have ranged from 30's to 80's in very recent years for the October Chicago Marathon).  Of course I would love to have perfect weather in April when I run the marathon.  But I have to be prepared for any weather.  Will it be hot?  Cold?  Rainy?  (I think I can eliminate snow but you really never know).  After my 20-miler run I did in preparation for the Chicago Marathon, it rained almost the entire time and I knew I was miserable!  So my fear is that it will be rainy!  I've run in the rain plenty of times but usually it's not more than 3 or 4 miles. 

The only thing I can do is train.  Ok, the other thing I can do is have confidence in myself that no matter what the circumstances are that day, I will be able to do it.  Nothing ever goes as planned.  The key is how you handle those situations.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Goal Recap

I thought I would fill you in on how my goals for the year are going so far.  I'm actually only doing it to get a kick in the rear (don't worry, I will kick myself) and get moving on them.

The goals and my progress so far:

2012 Goals

1. Make at least 1 recipe a week. 
 - So far so good!  I wasn't home this weekend to cook but I have all week to make my 1 recipe!  By the way, I cook but it might be egg sandwiches or something.  I wanted to start cooking more actual recipes.  Good way to try new things, see what I like and don't like and make my own recipe book with the successful meals!

2. Do my daily stretching and knee strengthening exercises.
- Wow, I was doing so well the first 4 days on this!  I have now just realized I haven't been doing it at all for the past week!  I'll start again today.

3. Take my vitamins daily.
- Again, total FAIL so far on this.

4. Stop drinking pop. - No pop at all since the 1st, not even a sip!  I'm pretty proud of that!

5. Drink a minimum of 6 glasses of water a day.
- I need to go buy another water bottle.  I don't have one and the little bottles of water are not cutting it with getting me to drink enough water.   I'm doing "ok" on this but not 100% successful.

6. Track all the miles I run this year.
- Daily mile and I are friends.  I like tracking my running and giving my thoughts to how my run went and why.  Success.
7. Get a PR for my half marathon in July. 

8. Get a PR for a 5k.
 - TBD

9. Get a PR for a marathon.
- TBD.  I should be able to get this one.  I will see in April.
10. Another goal which shall remain nameless....
- This was something I wanted to stop.  I've slipped a couple times but it's early and habits are hard to break.  Work in progress here.

So overall, not the most fantastic start to my goals.  The good thing about goals is that you can always keep trying until you are successful. 

I'm going to add a goal to the list.  I want to get back down to my goal weight of where I was in October 2010.  I need to change a few things right now in order to accomplish this goal.  I have no doubt that I will get back there. 

Have a good week!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Please Vote for Me!!

"I ain't to proud to beg!" (Courtesy of TLC)

As I said yesterday, I was picked as a finalist for "Athlete of the Month".  This is where I need YOUR help!  If it sounds like I'm begging for votes, it's because I am!  :)

My picture is listed on CARA's facebook page.  Click here for a link to the page.  I am the first runner shown.  Click on my photo and then "like" it.  That's it! 

But if you are an extra special friend of mine...(and you all are, right?), then please do me a favor and post this on your blog for me!  It would be truly appreciated!

Leave me a comment on here to tell me you did!  And if you have a blog that I don't know about, you can be sure I will check it out!!

I have until Sunday to beg ask for votes!  So be sure to tell all your friends, spouses, kids, etc!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Short post...

I'm going to be asking for some votes tomorrow through Sunday and wanted to give you all a heads up.

I'm not sure when, but I'm thinking it was about a month ago, I must have received an email from CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association - who I trained through for the Chicago Marathon, read about it here) telling people to submit a story to them to be picked as "Athlete of the Month.  Now, I don't really remember much about it at all!  I mean, I probably just figured "What the heck, it won't hurt to submit something!" I really didn't think I would be picked for anything!

I do vaguely remember it saying things like you don't have to be the fastest runner or even have completed a marathon or anything.  Basically (I think) they wanted to know your story, how you started running, maybe challenges, etc.  I'm pretty sure I wrote something about running, losing weight, running, marathon....blah blah blah!  lol.

Low and behold, yesterday I received an email from CARA telling me that I was chosen as one of the five finalists for Athlete of the Month!  Really!?!  Me?  I mean, I guess I do have a semi-good story.  I still didn't think I would be chosen for anything!!


Check back here and I will post what you need to do (haha!!).  I'm not sure yet.  I think it will be posted on the CARA facebook page and you have to "like" my photo.  The person with the most "likes" will win.

And because you are all so very special to me, I know you will all post it on your blogs so as to help get me more votes, right??  I love you all!  Just remember that!  lol  :)

So please check back tomorrow!!  I'll give you all the details!  How cool would that be if I was Athlete of the Month!  I guess this just proves that it doesn't hurt to try for things!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New and Old

I'm warning you ahead of time, this may be a messy post with lots of things thrown in. After writing it all down however, I may edit as necessary.  Do you write your posts ahead of time?  I tried and can't. I change it all when I sit down to type!  I guess I'm a "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of girl!  I digress... (and it won't be the first time)...

Where to start? about let's start with how my goals for 2012 are doing.  I'm only going to talk about a few...

1. Make at least one new recipe a week.  I made a new (old) recipe this week.  It's a Ratatouille Polenta Bake.  You can get the full recipe here.  I'll just list the ingredients and mention the changes I made this time around (not planned changes).

Ratatouille Polenta Bake

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 medium bell pepper, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
1 small unpeeled eggplant, (1 pound), diced (2 cups)
1 medium zucchini, diced (1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 tube (16 ounces) refrigerated plain polenta (or any flavor)
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

Basically you put the polenta on the bottom.  They tell you to use the polenta rounds.  This time around, the 2 grocery stores I had gone to for my normal groceries didn't have the polenta rounds.  I bought cornmeal and just made the polenta myself.  Then I just poured it into the bottom of the baking dish.  I liked this better except making the polenta is not as quick and easy as buying it.  Whatever, I save a few bucks and also some gas for not traveling to another store.  Then I let the polenta set in the fridge while I went to the gym.  This way it would harden.

The other change I made was...well, I couldn't find the eggplant I bought!  I just bought it earlier that day!  I remember putting it in the bag with the bananas!  Checked my car, not there. checked the bags again, not there.  Checked the fridge again, not there!  Luckily I had some baby bella mushrooms in the fridge and decided to use those in place of the eggplant.  Is a ratatouille still ratatouille without eggplant?? 

The other change I made was not using Parmesan cheese.  I didn't have any, didn't want to buy any...just didn't care about it.  So I made up for it by increasing the amount of mozzarella to 1 full overflowing cup!  :)  Everything is better with cheese!  Oh and actually I didn't use mozzarella either!  I forgot the exact name of the cheese but it was mexican related.  They didn't have the mozzarella cheese in a small bag and I was not buying a big one!  I don't trust myself around delicious cheese!! Mmmmmm!!!!

Anyway, here is a photo of my completed dish!

Ratatouille Polenta Bake
Seriously, could that look any more delicious!  And it's really good and healthy!  Since I live alone, I get all the leftovers too!

Still wondering what I did with that eggplant?  I know you are!  I thought maybe I just really forgot to put it in the bag with the bananas.  The next morning as I was walking to my car, I was wondering what this mess on my driveway was, until it dawned on me...

Eggplant anyone?
It's my missing eggplant!  What happened was I must have dropped it when bringing in the groceries.  Then I went back out to the gym.  I actually remember that when I backed out, it seemed as though I rolled over something but didn't see anything in my driveway (and frankly didn't care).  Apparently I backed out and rolled over my eggplant!  I'm glad that mystery is solved!  Not that I lost sleep over it or anything!

2. (We were talking about my goals, remember?)...Stretching.  I'm doing  much better in the stretching department.  I am not a stretcher!  That's bad, I know!  I've never been much of a stretcher.  But when I went to the doctor in December and he basically threatened to shoot me (it's true, he did!) because I had the worst flexibility in my hips he has ever seen in his 28 year medical career (including himself), I realized I should take stretching more seriously.  He also said I had an incredibly tight IT band, and with a small previous IT band issue, figured that stretching will only help that issue too.  I have been trying to get in the full amount of stretching the doctor prescribed (I'm close to getting it all in), I have also been more conscience of stretching on my own too, especially after a workout or run.  I actually will take the time to go up to the front of the gym (more on this in a minute) and sit down and stretch for a little bit.  I'm hoping when I go back to the doctor, he notices a difference.  I'm not sure if I do but I thought I was ok before!

Let me just say, the gym I go to, the floor area where we can do abs or stretch or whatever, is all the way in the front.  This gym was newly built a few months ago.  Why would they put this area up front?  So that all the people walking up to the gym can stare at you (I do it too, so I know everyone else does it).  Maybe it's so that the people at the front desk can just stare and laugh at you (you know they do!).  Whatever it is, it's kind of an awkward place for it!  Why would they build the gym like that??  Again...I digress...  At least I'm taking some time to stretch.  I think there is still room for improvement but something is better than almost nothing!

3.  (Remember...goals)  No pop.  I have not been drinking any pop since the first of the year.  It's going well except there are a few times (like around lunch) when I would have grabbed a pop from the fridge at work (it's free).  Old habits are hard to break. 

4. 6 glasses minimum of water per day.  Why am I still struggling with this?  I am getting the 6 in but it's still hard.  At 10:30 pm, I might have remembered that I only drank 4 glasses that day and chug down 2 full glasses right before bed!  Not the way I want to do it.  Baby steps...

I guess the only other thing that I am going to talk about here is running (surprise, surprise!).  I'm almost finished with week 2 of my second marathon training.  It's going well.  There are some slight knee issues but nothing major.  I think I'm just afraid of hurting myself so I try to be extra careful and sometimes when you are too careful, you overcompensate and other things become injured!  Trying not to let that happen!

Because I'm trying to be extra careful, I'm not going faster.  I feel slow!  I want to get better and maybe improve some of my race times.  I also feel that I'm short of breathe right now when I run too!  I don't know why as I work out all the time!  I feel like it shouldn't be that hard!  Granted I've been doing more treadmill runs lately since I've been a little on the sick side and treadmill running is actually harder for me.  I think it's something about running in place with the same scene that I don't like!  When I'm distracted, I run better! 

I decided I needed to do something about it.  On Monday, I was pretty sick (just a cold but sick nonetheless).  My personal trainer had cancelled on me and my running group was going running!  The temps were cold and windy (20 for a high and really windy).  I really wanted to go to this group run but felt that I would be best staying inside and running on the treadmill so as not to make my cold worse.

I know I've been running at a 10 min mile pace.  That was my marathon training pace.  I'm not happy to be running 3 miles at that pace.  On Monday, I tried very conservative intervals just to get a feel for it. I know people do speed training, frankly I'm an idiot when it comes to that.  I don't really know what to do.  Monday I did 5 intervals of 400 meters at 10:00 and 9:13.  I felt like my breathing was heavy.  But my knees actually felt better at the faster pace than the slower pace.  Weird! 

My 3 miles ended up being a 9:43 pace.  I still wasn't happy with that because I felt my lungs couldn't handle it! 

So yesterday I decided to try it again.  A little faster but still conservative.  I started with a 10:00 warm up of 400 m, then started an interval of 400 m at 9:13 and 9:40 (instead of 10:00).  After one round of those intervals, I felt that it was a little too easy and I wanted to just push myself a little more.  I did the next intervals (I don't remember how many) 400 m at 9:05 and 9:40.  I did this until the end when I still felt pretty good (breathing was better than Monday) and decided to do my last 400 m at 8:49 pace. 
My 3 miles ended up being a 9:26 pace.  Felt much better about that.  Would like to move consistently into the 8:00's but one step at a time.  Actually, I'm extra happy about this run as I did it after my personal training session where we worked on legs.

One thing about getting faster is you have to have the endurance to do it.  Since my lungs were giving me problems (could have something to do with the cold I'm fighting), I was unsure if I had the endurance to do it.  The other thing is mental.  For me, I don't want to injure myself.  I have knee issues and I'm extra protective of them!  I've always joked and said "I'm going to run until I can't run anymore!"  That's true but I'd rather the "can't run anymore" to be later in life rather than sooner. 

Pressing on!  I have a 7 mile long run Saturday.  I know I can do 7 miles.  The problem, I'm running with my old running group (my marathon training group).  That's not really the problem!  I'm excited to be running with them.  They created their own marathon training running for the winter to prepare for the Illinois Marathon that a lot of us are doing in April.  It's awesome to think I will still have people to run my long runs with!  My problem is that a lot of them are faster than me...the other problem is the location we are running in is in Palos and it's a hilly neighborhood!  I do NOT do so well with hills!  Probably good to train on them but I feel as though I won't be able to keep up with the group!  I guess I will do as good as I have to and if I have to slow down, I will.

Until next time...

Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful new year!  I'm actually feeling really good this year!  2012 is going to be my year! 

Do you all make new year's resolutions?  I normally don't.  I don't understand why people do and just break them.  It really doesn't ever seem to mean much.

This year, however, I did make a few resolutions.  My resolutions are more like "goals" or things to do to improve me and my fitness, things that will make me feel better and will improve my training for the marathons I have planned this year.

2012 Goals
1. Make at least 1 recipe a week.  I live alone and cooking isn't always the first thing on my list.

2. Do my daily stretching and knee strengthening exercises.  Since my doctor visit, I have become lazy and haven't been doing his prescribed exercises to help my knees, hips, IT band and hamstrings.

3. Take my vitamins daily.  I have not taken my multi-vitamin since the marathon!  I also need to take iron pills (since I'm borderline anemic). Right now, I should be taking vitamin C also.

4. Stop drinking pop.  My stomach feels much better when I'm not drinking any pop, especially diet coke!  Also, drinking pop ends up interfering with the amount of water I drink (see #5).

5. Drink a minimum of 6 glasses of water a day.  I've really been slacking on my water!  I used to be one that drank water all day long!  Now it's hard for me to get in the min. 6 glasses every day!  Especially since running the marathon, I think I got burned out on drinking water!

6. Track all the miles I run this year.  I started using and I'm really excited about this for some reason!

7. Get a PR for my half marathon in July.  My old PR was 2:13+.  Right now, I'm just going to shoot for under 2:10.  Due to training for my marathons, I don't want to injure myself with pushing too hard with going for a half marathon PR that's too tough.  Any PR will be acceptable for this!  Ultimate goal PR for a half is to get under 2 hours!  Maybe I'll shoot for that next year (although it's really hard not to try for it this year!).

8. Get a PR for a 5k.  My quickest 5k time was 27:55 (Nov 2010).

9. Get a PR for a marathon.  I'm planning on doing the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon in April and also the Chicago Marathon again in October.  I'd love to PR for both but especially for the Chicago Marathon since that was the first one I did last year!  My goal is to get as close to 4:30 as possible.  Ultimate goal is to break the 4:30 mark.

6. Another goal which shall remain nameless....this is for me only...I know, it's like a cliff hanger!

When I decided on these resolutions, I didn't realize how many of my goals are daily goals!  It makes it a little tough to remember everything that I have to do daily right now (vitamin, stretching, water, pop, etc.).  It's also really hard not to drink pop because I'm so dependent on it for caffeine since I don't drink coffee.  But I know it takes a little bit of time and all these things to become habit.  And I know my running will improve too.

In other news, when I was thinking about goals after last years marathon for this year, one of them was doing a triathlon.  Triathlons scare me!  When someone tells me they are a triathlete, I get a look of awe on my face!  The biking scares me and the transitions scare me.  I should be good with the swimming and running.

But when faced with the idea of running two marathons and trying to do a triathlon, it got a little daunting.  It seemed like too much.  Until I was talking to my hair stylist last time.  She mentioned an indoor triathlon that is just based on time, not distance.  And it's small, so it will be easier to complete.  This seemed like a great idea, not only because it was small but because she wanted to do it too, so I didn't have to do it alone.

Registration finally opened and we are signed up!  I'm doing this triathlon on Feb 25!  Yes it's small but I think it's a perfect opportunity for me to get a "feel" for doing a triathlon.  I also think it's perfect that it's based on time.  You see how far you can go with 10 mins of swimming, 20 mins of biking and 15 mins of running.  This makes it seem more manageable.  I won't be the last one out of the pool or the last one on the bike!  I'm really excited for this!

Did you make any resolutions or goals?  Share some with me!