Thursday, August 30, 2012

5 Weeks

As I wrote the title of this blog, I realized the Chicago Marathon is only about 5 weeks away!  That's not where this blog post was going's definitely worth noting!  I cannot wait for it to be over to run my 3rd and final marathon!

But what I really intended when I wrote "5 weeks" was to talk about how much a certain 5 week period typically sucks.  The 5 week period I'm referring to is the point in marathon training from about the week where you run 16 miles on your long run (on the novice 1 schedule) until you run your 20 mile run.  That is a 5 week period which, for me anyway, sucks. 

I've been hearing a lot of the first time marathon runners that I know complain about tired legs or how their runs having been sucking lately.  They are starting to not like running very much anymore.  I remember this feeling OH SO WELL!  In fact, even though this is my 3rd and final marathon, I still feel that way.  My first marathon training, for the 2011 Chicago Marathon, I remember talking to my personal training (who had run 7 marathons) about being so tired.  I told him that my pace seemed slower.  I remember saying over and over, "After this marathon, I will never run again!"  He told me that this is a completely normal feeling at this point in training.  He even felt that way during his marathons.  In fact, I've seemed to feel this way during this same period every marathon training, including this one.

Granted, not everyone may feel this way, there are a few running friends that post on our facebook run group page, "I just had the most wonderful 18 mile run!"  I want to trip every single one of them!  lol.  But running does come more naturally to some people and maybe those are the people that have "wonderful 18 mile runs"! 

So this is my words of wisdom to my first time marathon training friends.  It is hard right now.  It's the 5 week slump that we are smack in the middle of!  Hang in there!  It will definitely get better.  I always say about this time, "Just make it through the week of the 20 and I'm golden!"  And there is definitely some truth to that.  Running will get more fun again.  It won't seem as much of a chore as it does now.  And hey...the marathon is only 5 weeks away! 

I was thinking of some ways that I get through this 5 week slump.  Here are a couple of my ways:

1. I change up where I run.  I'm never running in the same place twice during one week.  I run my long runs in Yankee Woods (some flat, some hills).  I run my Thursday runs usually on Old Plank Road Trail (completely flat and straight).  I might switch it up to some hills.  I might run along the lake.  I might run on the streets in my neighbor.  But I think changing up where you are running is one of the best things to do for yourself mentally.

2.  Run some runs solo and some runs with people (if you have the option).  Running solo is great.  You can clear your head.  You can depend on just yourself (which is good because that's really all you have during the marathon).  It can be therapeutic.  But let's face it, if you are like me, after an hour of running solo, it can really get to you mentally.  So try to find a run group or a run friend that you can run with on occasion. I run about half of my runs solo and half of my runs with other people.  Again, it's the change that's good and helps break up the monotony of running so many miles.

3.  Run with music sometimes and run without music.  Again, I like change.  Listening to the same boring playlist all the time for hours can get dull.  It's also not the safest to do if you are running alone.  But I like listening to an upbeat, fast tempo playlist while I'm running.  It can take your mind off things for a while.  I also run without music during my long runs and my Thursday group runs (usually).  I like knowing I can run without music if I have to.  Case in point, during my second marathon, I had trouble getting my bluetooth headphone to turn on and had to run the ENTIRE marathon without music.  Did I panic a little at first, yes!  Did I hate it for a while, yes!  But I did it.  You can't rely on something like music to be able to get through a really long run, because you never know what will happen on race day!

As far as my running goes, my running has been better than both marathon trainings that I've done before.  Even though I'm tired, my legs are tired, and running is a chore right now, I feel much better.  Knock on wood, my injuries have been holding off.  My iron leveled has slightly improved.  I've been working on better hydration over all and better food intake than during my second marathon.  I've been trying to stretch better and foam roll more than during the second marathon training.  All of this probably contributed to my injuries.  I'll admit though, it's easy to get back in old habits of not drinking water and not stretching!  I'm struggling with this right now.  I've also lost about 8 pounds in the last two months.  I know that's not an ideal thing to do while training for a marathon.  And trust me, I'm sure I won't lose any more between now and the marathon.  There were days I probably needed to eat more food and I felt it.  But I tried to eat enough to fuel my body. And when I didn't, I felt it during my long run.  Now that my long runs are...well, long (18 miles this weekend), it more important than ever to make sure you are eating a good amount of food.  So I'm definitely trying to make sure I'm consuming enough of the right foods on Thursday and Friday preceding my long runs.

As I mentioned before, my 18 mile run is this weekend.  I am reaching back to my previous 18 mile runs and I've always had pretty good ones!  I'm holding that with me while I run my 18 this Saturday (possibly in the pouring rain from what I'm hearing). 

I've also been thinking a lot (A LOT) about my marathon strategy.  I'm probably obsessing internally about it and I shouldn't be.  My friend Shelby and I were discussing how to make this marathon our best marathon (we both ran the same first two).  We are thinking of starting slower this time than the first two times.  Right now, we are thinking of starting at a 10:30 pace.  I just have a hard time wanting to start slower because I think, "If I start slower, I'll just keep getting slower!"  I always think that I'm not going to speed up!  But right now, my best marathon pace average has been an 11:11 pace.  Ultimately, I want to beat that pace.  What I wrote at the beginning of the season was a 4:35 finish time.  That's my ultimate goal time.  That's a 10:30 average pace.  So, I'm just not sure how to make sure I achieve this time.  I guess I'll never know until I do it. 

Are you running a marathon this year or have you run one in the past?  Do you have this 5-week slump the way I do?  How do you cope with getting through it?

Monday, August 27, 2012

New Items

First things first...I was on my way home after a run a few weeks ago and thought my passenger car seat looked a little ridiculous!  Do any of your passenger seats look like this??

Random runner stuff
The seat had countless water bottles, shoe inserts, my garmin charger (??), and my bra since I changed in the car (the umbrella has no relation to being a runner.  It was raining a day or two before this).  When I need to drive someone somewhere, it goes something like this... "Uh, hold on..."  While I throw everything to the floor in the back.  I've since cleaned most of that up, by the way.

Now on to the fun stuff!  A few weeks ago, I was one of the winner's of Maggie's "Super Awesome Raffle for the American Cancer Society".  I was the #2 winner and that came with many cool things!  A few of the items I won were...

I won the shirt that Maggie is wearing in the picture above "I heart fast women"

Injinji toe socks

I won the purple socks on the right
I won these three Bani Bands
I have wanted to get one of those "I heart fast women" shirts that Maggie sells for her charity so I was super excited when I won one!  I wore it for my 16 mile long run the other weekend and it felt great!

Maggie wears the Injinji Toe Socks.  I had thought about trying them but never bought any because frankly, they seemed weird and was afraid to spend money on them.  Maggie swears by them but what works for one, doesn't always work for another.  But Maggie has some really cute ones in her normal running stash!  So I was super excited (again) to win a pair of these to try them out.  They were just the normal "generic" kind but that didn't matter to me.  I haven't worn them on a run yet.  I tried them out last week at my bootcamp class and at first, it just felt like I had stuff between my toes (I guess I did though...).  They didn't bother me during the workout at all and I forgot I was wearing "different" socks.  Maybe I'll try them on a run this week and see how they go!

The Bani Bands...well, I was super excited to win these (obviously!).  Haha!  I guess I was just super excited to win anything!  I finally tried one of them out on my 4 mile run on Sunday because it was raining and thought it would keep my bangs out of my face.  It was really comfortable.  I messed with it a little in the beginning but after I got used to it being there, it felt good.  Never slipped off my head, not once!  Loved it!  Most bands slip right off my head and really never wear any of them for that reason!

The next new  I've been always having trouble finding the "right" shoes.  I never worried much about it until starting to train for these marathons.  I don't have great feet (hello bunions...super sexy) and my arches fall inward.  My ankle on the left side tends to fall inward as well (which is why I need a stability shoe), while my right ankle remains neutral (hence I should really wear a neutral shoe on that foot). can't buy a stability for one foot and a neutral for the other and therefore, I was fitted for a stability shoe.  The shoes I've been running in lately are Nike.  But I've been all over the map as far as trying different brands of shoes.  I knew I didn't like my Nike enough to want to run 26.2 miles in them.

So a few weeks ago, I bought a pair of Saucony.  It was a horrible shoe shopping day for me and I tried on at least 5 different pairs of shoes!  I went to Road Runner (where I bought my last pair) and had 25% off that day (for being a VIP member).  I ended up buying the Saucony pair just to get something, when in reality, I knew I wasn't going to like them.  The good thing about being a VIP member at Road Runner is that you have 90 days to return the shoes.  And they tell you to wear them, dirty them up, make sure you like them or don't like them...and then you can return them if you need to!

When I tried the Saucony pair, I wore them for 8 miles and they felt too big and my feet were slipping in them.  And by the end of the 8 miles, my ankle and shin were bothering me.  I was afraid to try them again and just wanted to return them fast!  The marathon is 6 weeks away and I needed to find my marathon shoes!  This past Friday, I went back to return the Saucony's and was in and out in 10 minutes!  I ended up with a pair of Brooks that felt pretty light on my feet and really comfortable.  They ended up matching the 25% off I got the first time too!

I decided to wear my Brooks for my long "cutback" run of 12 miles last weekend.  I'm pretty aware that I should start out with a less mileage run for my first time wearing new shoes just in case they don't work...but like I said, I'm anxious about the marathon being 6 weeks away.  Luckily they felt pretty good during my 12 mile run.  I'll wear them for my 9 miles during the week and see how that goes.  If that goes well, then I will wear them for my upcoming 18 miles this weekend...(ugh...why did I chose long distance running as my sport of choice?).

My new Brooks
Um...they are purple (bluish-purplish) too....and purple is my favorite color.  I think it's fate!  Marathon shoes?  Maybe!

And if you didn't notice, I'm wearing my CARA shoe tag all the time now too.  It has my emergency contact information on it and since dislocating my shoulder while running in July, well, I now realize that I'm not immune to emergencies!  Better safe than sorry!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Health News


Back in May I was diagnosed with anemia and low vitamin D count.  My iron level was 22 when the normal range was 45-160.  It was affecting my breathing while running (something about not being able to get oxygen to the lungs) and I could sometimes only run 1/2 mile at a time before having to stop and walk.  It was extremely frustrating for me as a runner!  In fact, I ran the Soldier Field 10 miler right after I found out I had anemia and it was a struggle.  Read about it here.

I was also extremely tired and most days got to work and wondered how I would make it through the day.  I was irritable and no fun to be around or talk to.  The low vitamin D levels also affect your mood and makes you tired.  I was prescribed 3 iron supplements (65 mg each) daily and 2000 IU of vitamin D.  With a multivitamin, I was taking over 1100% of my daily value of iron through supplements alone.

I did notice a difference within the first month.  But it takes at least 3 months for my levels to really start improving.  Within the first month of taking it, I was able to run 4 miles straight again and I was thrilled with that.  My pace started improving a little as well.

Last Friday was around the 3 month mark from the first round of tests and I was anxious to see what my levels were now!  I figured, taking all that iron, my levels should be through the roof, right??  I mean 1100% not including food!  And with my vitamin D?  Well, taking 2000 IU every day PLUS running in the hot sun ALL summer!

Yesterday I got the results...drum roll please!!......

My iron and vitamin D did improve.  BUT I'm still on the low end, although now in the healthy range.  That's good I guess.  My iron levels were not through the roof like I thought.  My number went from 22 to 65.  People tell me that's great!  But I keep looking at the normal range which is 45-160.  I just don't understand it.  I mean, what do I have to do to get my iron at like 100!  I read all about how to absorb it better...take it with Vitamin C, don't take it with caffeine, don't take it with dairy.   The Vitamin D I should be taking with dairy.    I try to do all these things.  I do need, however, to work on getting the foods that contain more iron. My daily value from food is usually only between 50-65% when I track it.

I still need to take the 2000 IU of vitamin D and I'm down from 3 supplements to 2 supplements of iron. I guess it's better than nothing.

But I'm thinking towards the marathon.  I'm sure my iron level was around the 22 number for my IL Marathon in the spring (and probably low for the first Chicago Marathon as well).  And I managed to run it.  My friend who is a nurse honestly doesn't know how I managed to do that AT ALL!  In fact, when I first told her what my iron level was... she said "I don't know how you are able to run at all!!"  So I'm thinking (fingers crossed no more injuries) that I will make it through the Chicago Marathon with flying colors!  Only about 1.5 months left for that!  Bring it on!  (even though I cried on the last mile of my 16 mile run last week).  Haha!  We all need to let it out sometimes I think!


I've been to a physical therapist 5 times for my shoulder.  That was more than I anticipated going but since I'm considered an "athlete" ... (which makes me chuckle because I consider myself far from it), I don't like to be limited by an injury.  I wanted to get my shoulder as healthy and strong as possible.  Actually partly so that I can do a few triathlons next year!

My physical therapist told me yesterday that my shoulder and shoulder blade are doing great!  He said whatever I'm doing...keep doing it.  My shoulder blade was "winging out" when I was moving my arm.  The best way I can describe what it looked like to the therapist was the gills on a fish.  He said my shoulder blade is not doing that anymore and is remaining flat against my back!  Yay!!  The problems I am still having it the pain but he said that is the last thing to go away.  He said the first to improve would be range of motion, the second thing would be strength and the last thing would be the pain.  But I'm happy it was improving.  I'm cleared to do any type of strength training I want with a couple exceptions.  No pull ups and no wall climbing.  So no one ask me to go wall climbing this year!!  And I'm done seeing my physical therapist after this week...such good news!  He hurts me...often!

NEPHEW poor nephew can't catch a break.  For those that don't know about him...he's 17 years old.  He recently had minor surgery on his knee for a torn meniscus but found it was unrepairable so more major surgery wasn't needed.  Well, now the poor kid needs another surgery!  As I know he won't mind me posting this on my blog (he posts things on his facebook), he has a testicular hernia.  He's had symptoms for a few months but hasn't said anything to us.  My brother said... "Anything that has to do with that area, tell me right away!  Don't want trouble for those guys!"  Haha!  My brother...

Not sure when this surgery will be but I'm estimating sooner rather than later.  He lives in Columbus though and I hate being far away from him when he needs surgery!!  Maybe I'll make a trip out there since I was thinking about it anyway.  I'll have to see when his surgery will be first.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Progress and Failure

First, I'm a bit conflicted.  About what?  The weather, or course!  It's been absolutely fabulous to run with temps in the lower 60's (in the morning) to mid-70's (evening).  But (says in a very small voice)...I kinda miss the 80's!  Where is my summer!  It's only August!  Now, before you all start beating me over the head and replaying little recordings of me saying how absolutely miserable I was running in June and July, it was in the upper 90's to about 103 degrees!  I just miss the 80's!  Can't we have a happy medium??  Ok, that's about all I have to say about that.

Progress:  My shoulder is doing pretty well.  I have gone to a physical therapist and my range of motion has improved dramatically.  But it's not without pain.  My physical therapist told me that the pain is the last thing to improve (range of motion and stuff will all improve first). I was very sad to hear this considering he puts me in a lot of pain while I'm there.  In fact, my therapist (PT for short to protect the innocent), doesn't really care about my pain at all.

PT:  "Oh!  This hurts?  Great!  Let's do it more, deeper and with greater force to see if we can really make those tears come out!" 

As long as my shoulder doesn't feel as though it's going to pop out of the socket, the pain doesn't matter to him.  It matters to me!  But who cares about me!  But all in all, big improvements.  I'm happy with that.  I wish it was 100% percent better but I'll take what I can get.

My shoulder blade when doing normal arm stuff still isn't great.  It still wings out and doesn't stay flat.  But when I contract it (example: doing rows), it does what it should be doing.  Not sure if that will get better with time??

Fail:  What did I fail at??  Actually I got yelled at by PT today.  At the end of the session, he wanted to test my arm strength.  It's one of those where you don't let him move your arm down, out , whatever....    I FAILED!!  MISERABLY!  And it didn't help that he started making me laugh.  It went like this:

PT: "Ok...start...start...start...start"  ... As he is easily moving my arm down, or out, or whatever direction.  Maybe you had to be there.

But I chalked it up to the fact that my shoulder and arm was tired from the exercises I had just done and the pain he just put me through.  So he decided to try the other know, my good side.  I thought, "OK this should be MUCH better!"  FAIL!!  How is that possible?  I'm really not that weak!  He is appalled at my lack of strength and beat me with a stick.  So he wants to incorporate more of that into my exercises.  He said to do it once a week.  I told him I do...sometimes.  But it's very lacking.  It's about 10 minutes and I'm done.  I'm not sure what once a week is really going to do for me anyway!  But yes, I totally got yelled at.  Now wait until he finds out how much weaker my hips are!  I have about ZERO strength there!

Dinner with runner friends:  Yesterday I had a mid-season dinner with my Yankee Runner group that I run my long runs with.  I didn't go last year, not sure if I was busy or didn't really feel I knew people well enough.  This year I went and it was a lot of fun.  It's always strange to see runner friends (who you usually ONLY see in run clothes, sweaty, with their hair up) looking all nice and fancy!  Afterwards there was a huge raffle with gifts from Turkey Trot entries, boxes of GU, a book, and lots of CARA t-shirts.  They even raffled off the remaining cases of beer that we didn't drink.  Before the raffle, a guy named "M" gave me his ticket because he had to leave.  Um..."M" has had a run crush on me since last training season (I mean, who doesn't??  I'm super sexy with sweat all over me and my face is bright red!)...but I'm not really interested so I kind of felt bad even taking the ticket from him.  I figured if I won with his ticket, I would get something he might want so I could give it to him.  And I actually did win with his ticket...near the end of the raffle.  The only things left were the T-shirts.  And only XS and L.  I picked the Large but it's not large enough for him to I guess it's mine!  Hey!  My intentions were good, right?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I'm pretty tired the last several days so forgive me but I can't even think of a witty blog post title for today!  But since I had some things to share...I wanted to post anyway.

My dad teases me for being a runner (and being addicted to running, being a crazy runner, etc).  I know it's because he is remembering the days that he used to run in his 30's and competed in 5k's, 8k's and 10k's.  He's only 54 now but his knees and feet don't want him to run anymore.  So he secretly likes me running and loves to tease me.  In fact, he said "I bet you will get up at the butt crack of dawn and watch the Olympic Marathon!"  To which, because I'm stubborn, said, "Actually, I never watch the Olympic Marathon!" Which is actually true.  BUT....that was before I knew people that ran and this year I got invited to a Women's Olympic Marathon Breakfast Party!  Jealous??  I know you are!

I actually watched the start from home at 5:00 a.m. then drove to Kelly's house.  It was a fun time and we got to eat some delicious breakfast food!  There was also a game but I didn't win because apparently I can't read questions properly that early in the morning!  I don't drink coffee so my brain was functioning on water and champagne!  What???  You don't drink champagne at 5:00 am??  Well, you should!

Go USA! (Top L-R: Kate, Maggie, Amanda C., Me, Susan... Bottom L-R: Sara, Kelly, Nicole)
Also, I've been doing great on my eating the last 2 weeks.  I'm definitely eating better and not as much crap (like my cream).  I may be doing a little "too" well though and sometimes have a hard time getting all the calories I should be getting on longer run days...  I'm trying to make sure I'm eating enough good stuff (hello delicious avocado and peanut butter!...not consumed together) without using "running a marathon" as an excuse to eat crap. And that doesn't mean I didn't go out to breakfast AND dinner on Saturday...where I still had hashbrowns (breakfast) and delicious chicken fajitas for dinner!!  Mmmmm.....!!!!

I will refrain from talking about my shoulder...    :-)

ANYWAY...with the exception of today which will be in the 90's, how about the upcoming weather!!  I see some upcoming days with highs only in the upper 70's!!  My Saturday long run day of 15 miles is one of those days!  I'm hoping humidity is manageable and I can get a good run in!  It's been kind of nice that during my runs lately, I have been feeling better!  My 10 miles last weekend went pretty well.  I did struggle a bit at times but I managed to push through!  There are some killer hills on the trail I do my long runs at (at the 4 mile mark, it's all downhill...but it's a killer coming back up on the way back!).  If Kelly reads this post...she will know EXACTLY what I'm talking about!  There are about 3 brutal uphills all in a row and I thought I was going to quit and walk up the last one but I didn't and before I knew it, I was done with the hills (at least THOSE hills...there are others).

I'm also really excited for some of my friends who are training for their first half marathons or full marathons!  It's exciting to see them thrilled when they have completed their longest distance to date!  I remember thinking I could never do those distances and then I just did them!  In fact people still ask me, "how do you run 16 miles?"  And I can't really answer them!  I just say, "I don't know, I just do it."  I tell them you don't wake up one day and run 16 miles, you train to do it.  And I still wake up on a day that I have to run 16 or more miles and think, "How am I going to run 16 miles today? I don't think I can do it!"  But I get up and I just do it. Same as 10 miles or 13 miles.  I just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving until I'm done.  Can you tell, 16 miles and above must be where I start doubting my ability!  You would think after running 16+ miles as many times as I have, it would get easier!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Shoulder Update

This is the last shoulder update blog post...I swear!!  :-)

I had been trying to decide whether I should seek physical therapy for my shoulder.  I went to the doctor, he was only slightly helpful and then told me to get some physical therapy, although he said I wouldn't need much since my shoulder seemed to be doing well.

Since that doctor visit, I had a chiropractor appointment.  She looked at my shoulder, did some work on it and gave me some exercises to do.  After a few days, I just didn't feel confident that the exercises that I had were doing much good.  I'm sure they were doing something but I wasn't sure if I was making the progress I should be making.  After some thinking, I decided to contact the physical therapy that is recommended through CARA.  The reason I originally didn't want to go is that my insurance doesn't cover it 100% so I didn't want to be stuck with some large medical bills (more than I already have from this stupid shoulder injury)!  But after weighing my options, I thought I can go a couple times, have them look me over, test me out, and give me some good exercises.  I want to be as physically healthy as possible and I don't want to be limited by my shoulder in the future.

I went today to the physical therapy appointment.  I have to say I feel much better that I went. I feel confident in the tests he gave me and the exercises.  Basically, the problem I'm having most is that my right shoulder blade is not remaining firmly down, it's overcompensating for the injury and coming outward (when I'm lifting my shoulder or doing anything with my arm).  Also, I need to strengthen the muscles around my shoulder to hold it in place.  When you dislocate your shoulder, your tendons and ligaments get torn and stretched out and they really don't recover.  The muscles are what's going to help to keep my shoulder from re-dislocating.

As far as my shoulder blade coming outward.  I was laying down and he was lifting my arm up and around, etc.  It wasn't too incredibly sore.  Then he did the same thing again and it was much more sore. I told him I didn't understand why.  He said it was because he was holding my shoulder blade down when it was hurting.  He wasn't allowing it to come outward and it was causing me pain.

So I have 4 exercises to do right now from him.  He also told me to try to make sure I keep my shoulders down when I run since I have a tendency with the injury to hike that right one up.  He wants me to also make sure I'm swinging that arm the normal way I should be while running, which I'm not sure I'm doing.  So these are the things I will be working on.  I am going to another appointment with him next week and I'll see how that goes.

Hope everyone has a nice weekend!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Looking Ahead

I have to say, this year has not gone as I originally set out.  I wrote a whole long list of goals in the beginning of the year of which I've probably not achieved a single one (yet). In fact, I'm not even going to look at it right now.  What's the point?  I don't live in the past.  I learn from it.  I may have thought those were good goals to shoot for back in January but this has been a slightly crazy year for me and ... well, plans change.

So instead of looking in the past and what "should" or "could" have been, I've chosen to look to the future.  I have some pretty awesome things to look forward to!  I've been pretty lucky to have met some new and awesome people this year, which is part of what will make the rest of this year awesome!  (Have I said awesome enough?)

First, have you been watching the Olympics??  What the heck happened to the USA Men's gymnastics team!  And Japan contesting that score....what an upset for Great Britain!  What an upset for Russia and how amazing was that finish for USA in the Women's gymnastics finals!  Swimming: Lochte is hot, Phelps was sort of having a rough time until yesterday, Grevers proposed to his girlfriend (I LOVE THAT), Schmitt did awesome winning gold yesterday, etc...  These are by far my two favorite Summer Olympic sports!  And I'll confess, I'm a runner that doesn't watch much of the running/track events...NO! PLEASE DON'T STOP READING MY BLOG!

Another thing I have to look forward to is a half I signed up for in September, River Run Half Marathon.  I had said I was going to do this half for about 2 months now but I officially signed up.  It's in Cleveland, OH and a friend of mine posted about it in June.  I get tired of running races in Chicago sometimes and it's nice to change it up.  This half in Cleveland is the same day as the Chicago Half, September 9th.  I have several friends who live in Cleveland and thought..."Run a half, visit some friends!"  I initially mentioned it on my run group's facebook page to see if anyone would want to head there with me.  My friend Susan (who you might remember from running the Rockford Marathon, recap here) said she wanted to go with me.  A few other people contemplated it but are not for sure.  So, after signing up, I looked at the course and I think I will really enjoy this half.  It seems to be in a nice area, it's a point to point race (and we get bused to the start), and the elevation decreases from start to finish (a slightly downhill half??).  This half also fits in perfectly to my training schedule for the marathon.

Elevation Chart for the Half

Ohhhh, the marathon!  The most exciting thing for me to look forward to this year!  I was recently speaking with a "new" friend (someone I've known since 7th grade but recently started talking to on facebook...and had a crush on in 7th grade and was hugely humiliated at a dance by my friends involving him!) where was I???  Oh ok.  He said that since it's my 3rd marathon, I should do great because I will know what to expect.  Oh he's so naive! lol.  Little does he know every race ends up turning out completely different than the ones before and you have to expect the unexpected! 

But I'm really excited for the marathon.  Again, this training season isn't quite as I expected (have to remember the unexpected thing...) but I'm still confident that I can PR this one.  Now I'm just trying to formulate a plan to help me achieve this goal!  To be determined...

Another thing that I'm excited about?  I've improved my eating and it's showed on the scale as I've dropped 4 pounds!  I know you are not supposed to diet while training for a marathon, and I'm not dieting.  I'm just eating healthier (most of the one's perfect) and trying to plan a little more.  I'm making sure I have plenty of healthy options at the house and at work.  I'm trying to plan my lunches a little more (still need to work on this). And I'm trying to plan my pre-workout snack better.  Eating healthy will definitely have a good impact on my running.  And starting today, I'm not drinking pop (again) anymore.  I stopped in the beginning of the year for about 4 months and then it started creeping back into my life.  All good changes to improve myself.

I'm also excited...I hope this isn't a secret...but a friend of mine started organizing a team for the Ragnar Relay next year of which I will be a part of!  Typically a team is 12 people each running 3 legs of varying distances from Madison to Chicago.  Our team is going to have 9 people each running 4 legs.  I'm super excited for this since I've wanted to do it for a couple years now!

What are you looking forward to?