Friday, November 30, 2012

What a week!

First...did you see my guest post on Running Kellometers blog from the other day?  If not, go check it out!  I'm kinda famous!  ;-)  Thanks for letting me be a part of it Kelly!

Ok, I've been sitting on this post for the past 2 days but I just can't get my head together today to finish it.   So this is all you're getting.  Sooo sorry!  I'll be back to my normal self next week.  It's been kind of a rough week personally for a few reasons.  One I can't talk about.  The other was coming home from work to find this...

Yeah, that's my car. With the side window smashed.  I just stood there for like 5 mins staring at it while another woman from the train kept repeating "Oh no, that's just awful!"  Thanks lady, I wasn't aware.

I called the police department and a cop came to file a report.  Nothing was missing so it was just probably some stupid teenagers.  There was glass across the way where another car must have been so I'm thinking I may not have been the only one this happened to that night.

I tried to keep things in perspective because it definitely isn't the worse thing that could happen but it was hard because I was so angry that people are such idiots, I just could not stop shaking (my hands, legs) from anger for the rest of the night.  And it was a rest day.  Things like this always happen on rest days, I should not have them anymore.  Then I called my mom and just couldn't take the pent up frustrations any longer and just started crying on the phone. I have a tenancy to do that to my poor mom...

So on top of my other "problem" which cannot be mentioned and which I am trying to completely forget about (because the best way to deal with something is to completely ignore the problem...right?), you just feel like calling it quits.  Until...the next day is your Thursday night group run that you are partly responsible for organizing and it turns out like THIS!!!

Thanks for lightening up the photo Maggie!  It was really dark before your tremendous computer skills.

Kelly and I are in charge of the Thursday run groups but Kelly has been studying for a huge exam (which is tomorrow)....therefore, I was the group leader this week.  And it was our biggest week since we started our Thursday's in February 2012!  This wasn't even all the people either (missing a couple in the photo).  I think we had about 19 people and one dog!  I'm so happy with the way this group has grown!  I had so much fun chatting with my current run friends and some new friends that just joined the group that day!  Our friend Becky made some delicious cookies for after and then a few of us met up for a drink and some food.  I indulged a tad with 2 cookies, spiked apple cider, and some fried pickles.  Yes, this was my dinner and I'm not afraid to admit it.  I mean, the cookies alone took like 5 minutes to eat, they were so huge!  I resisted taking some home, which I'm sure was a smart idea!

I was in such a good mood after this run and our post run gathering.  There are times when your runs suck and there are times when you just need them to survive life.  I wish I could bottle that feeling!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend Round Up

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  Mine is pretty traditional.  Every year we switch between my Aunt's house and my parent's house.  This year was my parent's year and I love that for a few reasons.  It's closer to me (about a 15 minute drive) vs. my Aunt's house which is a good hour away.  I also love my dad's cooking.  He cooks relatively healthy, we always have and there is no use of butter or anything like that.  But do not be fooled!  The food is incredibly delicious!  In fact, there was hardly any left.  We had turkey which he cooks on the grill, garlic/dill mashed potatoes (no cream or butter), plain green beans, the most delicious homemade stuffing.  I took a little mashed potatoes and turkey home with me.  My Aunt does make pie and it's completely full fat!  She makes pumpkin pie and pecan pie.  I'm not a fan of pecan pie but LOVE pumpkin pie.  I do know how to make a good low fat pumpkin pie but I don't want to step on anyone's toes so I just leave it and suffer the fattening consequences.  I will say that I have a pretty hilarious family (it's my dad's side that comes) so it's always a pretty fun time.

Thursday morning, how could I forget, was the Pilcher Park Poultry Predictor in Joliet.  As far as turkey trots are concerned, I never used to do them before a few years ago.  I never would run after August, after the Rock N' Roll half marathon.  Well, times have changed and I've done a few different turkey trots around Thanksgiving.  I love to run ON Thanksgiving so I feel better about all the food I'm going to eat.  This year I opted to do the Poultry Predictor.  The run was inexpensive and the point was to predict your finish time.  The people that came the closest would win a pie or turkey (they probably gave out 40+).  So it doesn't matter if you are the fastest or slowest, you only win if you come closest to the predicted time.  Sweet!  I might finally win something!  You couldn't use your garmins or any watches.  There were no clocks on the course or at the start/finish.

I met up with a bunch of F'N Runners.  Our F'N Runners were actually scattered all around and several different turkey trots but since there are so many of us...we still managed to round up a nice size group at the Poultry Predictor.  And we mostly all wore our shirts too so it's always fun to see us out on the course.

F'N Runners at the Poultry Predictor

The temps were pretty decent that day.  It was going to be a high in the 60's and was probably about upper 40's for the run (I can't remember now).  I predicted a finish time for me at 38:25.  That was about a 9:36 pace.  This run was a 4 mile run and I felt that that pace was slightly challenging but not impossible. The run was through a nature preserve and a rather beautiful area to run in.  It was a little difficult trying to figure out what pace I was running and there were no indicators of the distance we traveled throughout the run either.  I kept thinking that I didn't want to run too fast or too slow because...A. I needed to finish the run and.. B. I wanted to come close to my predicted time.

I actually really enjoyed this run.  I liked the "rustic, old-school" feel it had.  I liked the fact that I could win a prize even though I wasn't the fastest.  Turns out, I was way ahead of my predicted time.  I came in at 37:02 (predicted was 38:25) for an average pace of 9:15.  I was very happy with that time.  It's actually a 4 mile PR for me.  I've only done 1 other 4 mile run and it was last years turkey trot in Palos.  I was having knee trouble and ended up at about 44 minutes.  In fact, a couple days after last year's turkey trot, I tried running and ended up walking 2 miles home in tears because of my knee pain and took 3 weeks off until I found out it was runner's knee. lol.

Anyway, I did not win a pie but my friend Becky did!  She was only 2 seconds off of her predicted time!

Friday, I headed out to Waterfall Glen in Darien to run the 9+ mile loop with friends.  There were Yankee Runners, Frankfort/New Lenox Runners, Bloggers, etc.  It was nice to meet a few different people.

Black Friday Waterfall Glen Group
I ended up running with my friend Julie and Jill.  As soon as I started and I hit the first hill, I wanted to turn around and go home.  But I trudged along with my friends, we chatted, they gave me advice on some issues I'm having personally and we tried to make sure we were having fun!  I love Waterfall Glen but's rough!  And we went the easy direction of the loop.  The opposite way is harder. It's a hilly run almost from start to finish and with the loop being 9+ miles, it's a pretty good distance to do for hills.  The last (and only) time I was there, I did my 20 mile training run for the Illinois Marathon here.  We went the easy way loop first and the hard way loop second, and I almost cried at mile 15 when yet another giant hill came up! lol.  I was really glad to only be doing one loop this time.  And during this run, my friend asked me, "You did your 20 miles here???"  Yes.  That is all.

Elevation Chart from my Garmin at Waterfall Glen

The 9+ mile loop at Waterfall Glen.  I like loops... lol
The run ended and I was happy again.  I was going to Columbus, Ohio that weekend to see my nephew.  Can I tell you how NOT fun it is to run a hilly 9.3 mile loop and then sit in a car for 5.5 hours??  I got out for gas and could barely walk. In fact, at my brother's house, they asked my I was walking like I had an ear of corn up my butt....that's true, they did ask me that! lol

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!! (and First Marathons)

I wanted to first say thanks to all of you that commented and gave me suggestions on my Speedwork post.  I think besides that fact that I'm just not a "fast" runner, I also don't want to injure myself and I get nervous running faster.  Any little ache or pain afterwards and I'm wondering if it's a beginning of a stress fracture and maybe I should stop speedwork. lol.  I did attempt another round of the 400 meter repeats the other day and they went well, although very inconsistent.  Practice.

Next, I want to apologize for not keeping up on all of your blogs as of late.  When there was a few new employees at my work (including a new boss for me), on top of some major deadline strings, as well as no computer at home...well...blogs were the first thing to go.  I love reading them though so will try to incorporate them back into my life a little bit.

Third, my friend Reen completed her first marathon and I wanted to direct you all over to her blog to show some support!  I've "known" Reen a long time on these blogs because we are both Weight Watcher alums...which is how our two blogs met.  Reen has done both an amazing job on her weight loss journey, keeping it off, starting to run, and now completing a full marathon!  So proud of her!  Please head over to her blog and read her race recap of her first marathon!

Lastly, I would like to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving Day and weekend.  I will be spending Thanksgiving with my parents.  My Aunt, Uncle and cousins will be over.  My cousin Angel and Brent just adopted a 3 year old boy (after a long hard road of disappointments and struggles), so I'm happy to spend some time with the new family!!  And there will be pumpkin pie...which I LOVE!!!  I will be turkey trotting Thanksgiving morning.  I also have a 9 mile run at Waterfall Glen planned with my run friends on Friday.  After this, I will head over to Columbus, Ohio to see my nephew and spend some time out there.  It appears to be a busy (but nice and relaxing) weekend for me.  Enjoy your weekend. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Speed Work

It's Friday!  I'm pretty excited about that, although I really don't have any plans other than a 9.4 mile run tomorrow morning with my Yankee Runner marathon training group.  I haven't seen some of these people since the marathon so I'm pretty excited to go even though they are making me get up at the butt-crack of dawn.  Other than that run, I may go see the new Twilight movie. I'm not a HUGE Twilight fan but I did read all the books because my cousin had them and since everyone was talking about it, I wanted to see what the big deal was about.  The books are of course better than the movies but since my friends usually ask me to go see the movie, I do since it's nice to spend some time with them.

The other day I was talking to Kelly about speed work.  I'm not a fast runner.  I've never been.  I also say my "fast" pace and my "regular" pace aren't too far apart.  In the beginning of this year, I was going to try to attempt speed work and then I started getting some of my minor injuries.  Since my injuries were almost back to back to back, I laid off the speed work.  When I recovered from the injuries, I laid off the speed work for a while to make sure I stayed injury free.  When I felt enough time had passed, I threw one track workout in and tried a few fast intervals another time.  But even with reading other people's reports on speed work, I have a hard time incorporating it into my run life.  Then it got close to my 3rd marathon (Chicago in October) and I laid off the speed work again.

I think enough time has passed after the marathon and I'm not currently training for a particular race that maybe I can start incorporating some speed work into my training.  But where to start?  I'd basically like to PR my 5k time.   My current PR is from 2 years ago and I think that is crazy!  I didn't train for that run.  I was sick as a dog.  I figured the course must have been short but it's in my neighborhood and I've run it many times, and's not short.

Kelly told me to start with running 400m intervals.  400m intervals are short enough that you can handle the faster pace since you know you will stop soon.  She told me that you should be pushing hard but not as hard as 5k pace (I think I have that right... lol).  She also said that the first 400 shouldn't be my fastest and the last interval shouldn't be my slowest.  She said it's supposed to be hard. If it's easy, you aren't pushing hard enough.

I told her I was unsure what my "fast" pace should be (and that I know all about the McMillan pace calculator thing).  She said to not look at my garmin for the first time and try to run the 400s as consistent as possible by running by feel.  Then afterwards, look at my splits and see how consistent (or not) I was. 

I had planned to run on the busy street (because it's dark) which from my house out and back is 4 miles.  But as I started running, I realized this might not be the best path for speed work because I may get stopped by lights or cars so after my first speed interval, I started running back into the neighborhood so I wouldn't have that problem. I also don't like to attempt speed work in the dark because it's very easy to step wrong or trip since visibility is low.  I tried to keep my splits as consistent as I could but I was running by feel and so I wasn't sure how well I was doing at that.  I had set my garmin up for interval training and was using the beeping to tell me when to switch from one to another.

This is what my 400 splits looking like by running by feel:

Speed: 2:07, 2:07, 2:06, 2:08, 2:11
Recovery: 2:30, 2:32, 2:36, 2:31, 2:32

I was shocked when I looked at that.  I did fall off slightly at the end but since I was running "garmin-less", not bad at all!  Even my recovery intervals were very consistent!  I was pretty thrilled with that because I actually pride myself with knowing how to run by feel and how to listen to my body while running so I can adjust accordingly.  By the way, can I tell you those 2:00 minute speed intervals felt like 4:00 minutes and I kept thinking I was missing the beeping on my garmin to tell me when to switch!  lol.

Now, I kept saying that it was only 400's, and that's true.  It's a short distance and not at all what running a 5k at that pace is like (which I know).  But I have to stop saying "only" 400's.  The thing is, I have to start somewhere.  I can't just jump into running 8:30 pace for 1 mile followed by a small recovery.  I mean I could run an 8:30 pace for one mile, but that would be it for me!  I'd probably be running 10:30's after that!

So I started with 400's. I guess I should do 400's again next week.  When should I switch to 800's?  I also think the paces were right on with what I want to run right now.   8:30 pace for my "fast" pace and 10's for recovery.  I'll check the "chart" to see what the suggestion is also.

So thanks Kelly for helping me attempt some speed work!  Your help was appreciated!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Perfect 10 & Turkey Trot

Last weekend I had two races.  I never race (or even run) two days out of the weekend.  However, I had signed up for the Navy Pier Perfect 10 months ago and this happened to fall the same weekend and my Tinley Park Turkey Trot 5k.  At the last minute, I decided to sign up for the TT and compete in both, figuring I'd try my best on the Perfect 10 (10 miles) and run easy the next day at the Turkey Trot.

Perfect 10
The Perfect 10 had a 10k and a 10 mile run.  The 10 mile run was supposed to start at 7:30 and the 10k run was supposed to start at 7:45.  I carpooled with a few F'N Runners from my house to the race.  It took us no time at all to get there and we arrived at 6:30, an hour before the run.  Since most races are not at Navy Pier, we just all wanted to make sure we got there and parked in enough time. 

The weather that weekend was supposed to be warmer than it had been.  In fact, it was supposed to be in the mid-60's Saturday (which apparently was drastically different than the weekend before when I was on vacation but a bunch of my friends did the hot chocolate run).  I decided to wear shorts and a t-shirt (with arm sleeves).  I almost wore a tank top but deciding we would be by the lake and it might be windy, I stuck with the short sleeve shirt.  We were able to wait inside Navy Pier, which was a nice change but decided to take a walk outside to see if we even wanted to wear the arm sleeves we all had.   We stepped outside and it was windy and cool so we decided to keep them on instead of gear checking them to be safe.  We had someone snap our photo.

F'N Runner Carpool Group
(L-R: Kim, Melissa, Me, Maggie)
About 15 minutes before the 10 mile run was supposed to start, there was an announcement that both runs would be delayed 30 minutes (10 mile starting at 8:00 and 10k starting at 8:15).  At first we thought we heard it was parking related.  After the run, they said on their facebook page it was because a vendor didn't show.  Whatever it was, we were all a little irritated.  If it was parking related, people should have been more prepared and gotten there early.  I have little patience for people that don't think. 

While waiting, I realized I was hungry.  I had eaten oatmeal before I left around 5:15, and a banana when I got to Navy Pier (around 6:30).  I figured for a 10 mile run, I really wouldn't need much else.  But now the race wasn't supposed to start until 8:00, which didn't make my stomach happy.  It was growling a little and that was making me nervous.  I tried to calm myself down, it's only a 10 mile run. I live even if I'm a little hungry.  I had brought only 1 GU with me for during the run, around mile 5.

We set out to the start line and I lined up in the 9:00 minute pace group because it was right there.  My plan was to PR, which I figured should be relatively easy barring no major issues.  I only ran one 10 mile run, which was Soldier Field in May this year and due to iron issues, my time wasn't great for me and I came in at 1:44+ (10:29 pace).  I knew I could probably do a 10:00 pace for an average.  To push myself, I wanted to try for a 9:45 pace which would bring me in at about 1:37+.  I did a half this year and averaged 9:53 so I thought this might be doable but still challenging and not easy.

The run started and about 30 seconds in, my garmin completely looses satellite (it wouldn't register even a wrong number).  I don't know why as I usually get satellite at Navy Pier (I've run down Navy Pier when running after work sometimes).  Luckily I'm not hugely dependent on my watch like some people and am pretty good with rolling with unexpected things during a race.  However, my garmin didn't resume any satellite until almost mile 2 and it was wrong until at least mile 2.  This was only a problem because I didn't really know how fast I was running. 

After the first mile marker, I manually lapped my garmin and realized it was a 9:25 pace, slightly too fast for me to maintain for a long run.  I was immediately hot and rolled down my arm warmers half way through the first mile.  When I got to the second mile marker, I was still running sub 9:30's (as I manually calculated by the clock I passed).  During the 3rd mile, I tried to slow down.  It was hard to know exactly because my watch was still crazy so I had to just try to guess that I was running slower.  I think I was and maybe had a 9:40 pace for the 3rd mile (?). 

After than it got rough.  I was winded and having a slightly hard time breathing.  I have noticed some breathing issues lately in my runs but figured it was nothing.  I am also trying to not jump the gun and assume it's iron related like before, although it has been 3 months since my last test and they did lower my iron supplements the last time, so I'm thinking about having it retested just to be sure before it gets really bad.

With all that said, I started struggling a little before mile 4.  I saw a fellow Yankee Runner that I've trained for my marathons with around mile 4 and we chatted for a few minutes.  She asked how I was doing and I just shrugged my shoulders.  I didn't want to say that I was not having a particularly good run at that moment because I was hoping it would change and get better.  I just told her I was hungry and feeling low on energy but trying to hold off on taking gu until mile 5.  All of the water stations just said water but I realized that a few had powerade.  I didn't take any from the one station I noticed it from thinking I could just get it later (that was a stupid thought by the way).  I let my Yankee Runner friend go ahead (she was running with a friend and seemed to be doing good). 

I was starting to having tons of negative thoughts around mile 4.5.  I wished it was only a 5 mile run.  I wished I had just signed up for the 10k.  I thought how much I hated out and back courses.  I felt really hot.  I just kept trying to push out those thoughts.  It's only a 10 mile run.  I can do it.  Regardless, I should be able to PR.  Just keep running.  Your legs feel good.'s really draining to constantly be fighting with yourself in your mind while running!  Mile 5 came, I ran around the cone, and took a gu.  It was a new flavor that I had been afraid to try for a while (Cherry Lime) but it was really delicious actually!  Ok...second half was off to a good start!

I had wanted to walk now since mile 4 but had been trying to fight it and not walk for the entire race.  About mile 7 though, I finally caved and told myself that I could walk but ONLY for 30 seconds and I'd have to start running again.  So as the 30 seconds were up, I almost tried to convince myself that a longer walk would be ok, but practically screamed at myself to start running!  Hey, whatever you have to do to get through a run.  While running, I started telling myself, "You are doing great! Just keep running!"  lol.  Ugh...

This run was starting to not be any fun.  I couldn't wait until it was over.  Some around mile 7, we ran into the 10k walkers.  It pretty much wasn't much of a problem, thankfully (until the end).  Mile 8 came and I said only two miles left!  I tried to pick it up but really don't think I did much.  My watch was working but I had screwed it up somehow and it was pretty useless at this point!  Mile 9 came and I thought I could do anything for 1 mile!  And i just repeated that over and over..."You can do anything for 1 mile, you can do anything for 1 mile..."  Then I started thinking that it sounded strange and thought, "What can I do for 1 mile?  Can I rollerblade for 1 mile?  Probably although it would not be pretty.  Can I dance for 1 mile?  That sounds don't dance for a distance!"  Seriously, I was thinking all of this during the last mile!  My mind must have been going crazy!

And then there was Navy Pier!  I couldn't have been happier!  But to get there, walkers and tourists were blocking the path and I had to run up on the grass nearly missing a big boulder.  Then running into Navy Pier...there wasn't an area blocked off for the runners. So we were dodging tourists and walkers and runners that finished.  It was pretty awkward.  People were looking at us like, "What is going on here?"     But even after all that, I didn't mind the run in itself.  Yes, there were issues with the race that I would liked to have been different but overall it was ok.  I was just mentally struggling with myself.

Right after I finished, my friend Melissa saw me and came up to me.  I told her I needed some powerade and food now.  I was so out of energy and hungry at this point.  I met up with my other friends and we snapped a couple of photos.

The group after the run
Blogger meetup (we missed some people in all the chaos)
The medal
I was pretty disappointed in myself afterwards.  Yes, I knew I PR'd.  At the time, I didn't even care. I was disappointed that I knew I was off of the 9:45 pace (1:37+ time).  Although I thought I came in somewhere around 1:39-1:40.  I should have been happy with that.  It wasn't THAT far off my goal.  But I was disappointed in how miserable I was throughout the run.  I was disappointed in the fact that I allowed myself to walk (for that 30 seconds).  I was being incredibly hard on myself.  I want to be a "fastie" like some of my friends.  They run and it looks effortless.  It seems they have great runs all the time.  Now, I do know that that isn't true.  But I wasn't being the most logical person at that point.

My official time was 1:38:58 (9:54 pace).  I was shooting for a 1:37+ so I was only about 1.5 minutes off of my goal time.  Seriously not a bad time at all for me and I should have been happy with it.  I'm "ok" with it now and happy that I PR'd.  I shaved about 6 minutes off of the 10 mile time I had from earlier in the year, which means progress.  Can't be mad at that.

Tinley Park Turkey Trot 5k

The Tinley Park Turkey Trot 5k is a local 5k right in my neighborhood. The course runs right past my house and in fact, it's the 5k that I have my current PR on.  They have since changed the course and I wish they would have left it alone!  I was  able to walk from my house to the start line, which took me about 8 minutes.  I decided on shorts and a tank top, with arm sleeves for this race.  It was going to be a high near 70 Sunday and I didn't want to be hot like the day before. On the walk there, I was a little cold because it was so windy!  I just can't win! lol.

The day before, during the 10 mile run, around mile 7 I told myself there was NO WAY I was racing the 5k.  And I hadn't planned on it anyway.  I got there, looked around, had someone that I probably should know, come up and congratulate me on my 10 mile PR she saw on facebook.  She is apparently my friend on facebook but I couldn't remember who she was!  I think she may be a Yankee Runner that I train with for the marathon, but all bundled up with a hat, I couldn't figure it out.

While waiting to start, I saw a kid with this shirt on...

The crowd before the start
This is a small local race and there are kids, runners, spouses, older people, walkers, jogging strollers out there.  I placed myself slightly in the middle of the pack so as to not get trampled by the little kids.  The gun went off and off we went.  With all these people out there that don't typically do runs, and all these kids, there really isn't any race edicate (spelling??). It was really crowded with everyone bunched up for the first half mile and I was around a 9:30 pace.  I was still just planning on running easy but after we broke up a little, I noticed my pace had gone to around a 9:20 pace.  So I just decided to try to do my best.  Even though I figured I would not PR (since I've done no training to PR), I thought I would see how close I could get.  My 5k PR is 27:55.  All of my 5k's this year have been over 29 minutes.  So I thought I would be thrilled with anything in the 28's.

Man...I'm not a fast runner!  Trying to hold a slightly faster pace for me is so challenging!  How do you all do it?  According to my garmin, I was holding a pretty steady pace for the 2nd and 3rd miles.  After I crossed the finish line, I went to get food and then get a printout of my time.  My time was 28:47 (9:16 pace).  I was happy with that because it was a PR for the year...although not an overall PR.  Considering I ran 10 miles the day before, I can't complain.  My garmin said 9:20, 9:01, 9:02 for the first 3 miles.  Since it was just slightly ahead (probably due to weaving and stuff), it' s not entirely accurate but it gives me an idea of how my splits went.  I'm trying to figure out what I need to do in order to get a PR.  My PR is 27:55 (8:59 pace).  This was in 2010 and I ran this run very sick (so sick I almost didn't go).  So I have no idea how I did that back then.  I didn't have a garmin so I don't know my splits either.  I'm definitely going to figure out how to work towards PR'ing this for 2013.

So overall, 2 races in one weekend.  They went well even though I can be crazy sometimes.  My next race is the Poultry Predictor in Joliet on Thanksgiving.  It's a 4 mile run.  I'll talk more about this and my other upcoming races in the next post.

Anyone have any tips on getting faster for a 5k?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Post Vegas Vacation and A Running Weekend

Sorry I haven't been blogging.  I haven't been in the mood.  And then vacation came.

I went to Vegas last weekend (basically from Halloween through Sunday night) so I was there for almost 5 full days.  It was fun.  You know, it was Vegas!  Actually I did some different things this time than the last time I was there in 2001 so that was fun.

We stayed in a hotel a few miles south of the strip.  It was a time share of someone's uncle and so I basically paid nothing for the hotel ($25 total).  Of course this arrangement meant that I had to share a bed with with someone but that was no big deal to me.  There were 4 of us that went down on Wednesday morning (Halloween) and 1 friend was coming in on Thursday.  We also met 2 of their friends down there who currently live in Arizona.  So basically there were 7 of us at times...but really just the 5 of us.

L-R: Madaya, Keith, Tim, Becky, Me, Doug
 Madaya and Tim are the ones from Arizona.  Becky, Doug, Keith and I are the ones that came out on Wednesday.  Missing this day was Joe who came out on Thursday. 
We didn't eat here but this is a photo of the whole group (Kind of L-R: Joe, Madaya, Doug, Tim, Becky, Me, Keith)
It was 80 degrees for a high mostly every day...and I tried to take advantage of being outside as much as possible.  Some of my group stayed in the casino next to our hotel or at the hotel...whereas I would go to the casino...then go to the pool (HELLO!!), then go to the hotel.  If I wanted to call my parents, I went outside and sat at the pool instead of inside the hotel.  I mean, it was like 40 degrees back in Chicago!  I was kind of amazed that my friends didn't want to be outside as much as I did.  And in good form, Becky and I even went for a 4 mile run around the hotel on Thurs or Friday (I can't remember, lol).
One of the pools at the hotel.  There were several.
We also went to Hoover Dam which I didn't go to last time I was out there.  I was super excited to do this!  Then we proceeded to tell "Dam" jokes for the next two hours...

At Hoover Dam...(apparently someone said my shorts are too short.  I don't care. I hate long shorts)

Also at Hoover Dam.  I really like this photo.
On Friday, the men were at some car convention and the women went to shop and walk on the strip.  It was nice to get away from the guys for a good portion of the day and have some girl time.

One thing I got crap for...I think it was the day we went to Hoover Dam (I know believe this was Thursday, lol).  Becky and I ran 4 miles in the morning, walked around Hoover Dam which included lots of stairs, then walked around the strip all night.  On the way back to the car that day, I mentioned..."Man, my feet hurt!"  Now, I was NOT complaining.  I simply made a statement.  To which 2-3 of the guys jumped at me... "What!?!?  You run marathons and you are complaining about your feet?"  And on and on they went!  I was just like "Shut up!"  lol.  It was a little frustrating.  Yes, I run marathons...but I'm not on my feet ALL DAY!  And I complain that my feet/legs/shoulders/neck, (insert body part) hurts while I'm running marathons too!  lol.

We did lots of stuff, saw lots of things.  I did actually drink much until the last night there, when we went to a few clubs and I was like, "Well, last night in Vegas!"  Plus my roommate kept buying me drinks all night long!  Every time I turned around, he was handing me another.  And since I was like "Well, I don't care about anything!"...that night, well, you know the rest.  Luckily Joe was our DD because he wasn't drinking that weekend.  He was having some stomach issues and wasn't going to drink.  But apparently we were wildly entertaining for him that night!

I'm also waiting for all my friends to upload their photos!  I couldn't take good photos on vacation to save my life!  So I just stop taking them and told my friends I'm stealing some of theirs.  I was also waiting to see if they took any embarrassing photos of me that last night...but I happily think they did not!  (There were some from the first club before the major drinking started, but they didn't upload those either).  I'm actually not much of a drinker....but...anyway.

This weekend, I have 2 races.  I never put 2 races in one weekend.  I had signed up for the Navy Pier Perfect 10 run a million months ago.  It was really cheap (on a good deal) back then and was the only race I had signed up for before my marathon for after the marathon.  This run is on Saturday.

On Sunday, I decided to sign up for the Tinley Park Turkey Trot 5k.  I was debating what to do with this one.  I've done this race since moving to Tinley Park (so I've done it twice) and really want to keep doing it.  It's cheap and super close.  Actually, I can walk to the start line from home and the course runs right past my house.  After vacation ended, I decided to just go ahead and sign up for it.

My plans are this:  I'm going to "race" the 10 mile Navy Pier run.  On Sunday, I'll see how I feel for the 5k and if I'm sore or tired, I'll just run the 5k easy.  This is the second 10 mile run I ever done.  The first was the Soldier Field one in May of this year.  This was right after I found out my iron levels were horribly low.  I could only run between 0.5-1 miles usually at a time (except in the beginning, I ran 2.5 miles straight).  Iron affects the oxygen to your lungs and I could barely run (since I could barely breathe).  My time for that run was just under 1:45 (1:44+) and about a 10:29 pace.  My goal for this 10 mile one is PR, which should be no problem!  But alternately, I should be able to run a sub 10 minute average pace.  I just put in a 9:45 average pace and it comes up with 1:37+ so I think that will be my goal for the 10 mile run.

Have a great weekend everyone!