Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Lacking Motivation

It's Christmas and I'm feeling anything but right now. I'm in a "blah" mood and I know part of the reason is that I'm lacking motivation to workout. 

There are a million and one excuses...I'll only name two. You're welcome.

1. Shoulder surgery recovery.  I know this is a big one and you guys are all going to tell me to cut myself some slack. And I know that I need to. But when you are down and out and depressed, it's difficult to just not blame yourself. My recovery is going well. I did ask the doctor if I could run and he said I could try and see how I felt. I've run 4 times in the past 2 weeks for about 3 miles each time. Usually my shoulder gets a bit sore after about 1 mile. I have been going slow and walking when I need to. But I don't want to go out there (my only positive is that I can run and look at the Christmas lights). I'm tired, I'm achy, I'm slow.

2. Weight gain. Due to recovering from shoulder surgery and my general lack of motivation, there has been an obvious weight gain. And with the weight gain, it's harder to run. Joints hurt and I'm tired. I feel sluggish when running or just sitting at home. It's VERY easy to become a slug when you fall out of your routine. And that's where I'm at right now.
Any ideas how to get motivation back? Just do it? It doesn't help that certain things in my own person life can get me a little down but in all reality, life is fine. It's just more excuses. Tired. No time. Sore. Crabby. Blah, blah, blah.

I'm so sorry for my down and depressing post. I feel as though I want to be honest on my blog and this is my honesty. Working out has always been a stress reliever for me so not working out is definitely not helping my mood. I'm happy after a good, sweaty workout.

There are things I want to accomplish in 2016 and 2017, so I need to get this rear in gear!!  Thanks for letting me vent and any opinions or suggestions are completely welcome!

Hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year!!  I promise to be more cheerful and happy when I see you in 2016!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

One Month Post-Surgery

Happy December!!  Just a quick update to let you all know I'm doing well after having shoulder surgery on November 12th.

Just a reminder, I first injured my shoulder while running on a dirt trail in July 2012. I tripped over something (tree root, rock...not sure) and landed on my shoulder and dislocated it. Since then, I've dislocated about 15 times.

The surgery went well. The doctor just needed to tighten up the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint. Nothing was torn. It also has nothing to do with my rotator cuff, which is a common question I get.

I was expecting the worst going into surgery. And then I expected it to be even worse than that. It's the way my medical stuff has been going this year. Pain and more pain. So I was very relieved that it actually wasn't as bad as I thought. Sure, I was on my pain meds, but it was still better than I thought. I'm no longer taking pain meds and haven't for a couple weeks. I was in a sling until this past Monday (so 3 1/2 weeks) but was able to take it off as of Monday. I am working on range of motion and a bit of strength (no weights). I have 2 exercises right now and have been doing them 3 times a day every day since I could start doing them. This week after seeing the doctor, I realized I can push it a bit more than I have been so I've really been getting my arm up there, pushing past a small amount of pain and tightness. It's ok, I can do that. It's allowed. :)  But only on the 2 movements.

Today has been a slight milestone. I'm pretty proud of myself. These things might seem little to you but they are huge to me! I was able to "kind of" straighten the front of my hair today for the first time since surgery. I've been a complete mess this past month! I can't even brush my hair with my right arm. I've also moved the mouse back over to my right side at work instead of using my left. I've also been eating today with my right arm. These are all things I have not been able to do for 1 month. I'm not doing them perfectly. But I'm doing them.

Sleeping in a recliner is still happening and that's depressing. I've tried sleeping in the bed a few times but it's so uncomfortable, I end up moving to the chair at some point. I can't wait to sleep comfortably in the bed.  But I can fully dress myself now, which I wasn't able to do before.

Anyway, it's the little things, right? I've gotten in some milestones. I've been starting to (sometimes) feel a bit more normal. It's going to be several months before things really feel better. But I'm happy with where I am after 1 month. I've had some wonderful support helping me through it all!

Have a great holiday if I don't get back here before then!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Taking Care of Business

First, I ran the Chicago Marathon this year. Slowly. In fact, it ended up being my slowest time for a marathon by about 5 minutes. I'm not worried about it. There are several reasons that factored into that, namely the weather and my IT band. If I have more time, I will try to recap it for you! I was never worried about the time for this marathon anyway. But I finished and marathon/ultra #9 is complete!

Next up is the Naperville Half Marathon this Sunday (November 8th). Since my longest mileage since the marathon has been 4 miles, I don't have high hopes for this. Ha! My goal when I signed up was just to get through it however I can, and get the the extra medal for the Triple Crown Challenge. The extra medal was because I did the Fox Valley 20 miler, the Chicago Marathon, and then the Naperville Half Marathon. I'm going to do a 5:1 run/walk and do the half nice and easy!

After this half marathon, I'm going to be on the DL (disability list). I'm finally having surgery on my shoulder to fix the chronic shoulder instability I have from all the dislocations. For those that don't know, I was running on a dirt trail in July 2012, tripped over a rock or tree root or something, went flying like superman, and landed directly on my right shoulder dislocating it. Since then (with the majority being between 2/2013 and 6/2014) I've dislocated it about 15 times. The last time was in September of this year while taking a nap on the couch. I've had enough.

My surgery is scheduled for November 12th. They will be tightening up the shoulder joint since the tendons and ligaments are loose. I'm prepared for a painful, hard, and long recovery. I'm just hoping it will be all worth it in the end. If it sounds like I'm not too excited about this, I'm not. It's been a very hard decision to make. There's been a lot of stress and tears. Again, knowing that the likelihood of never dislocating it again after this brings tears of joy to my face. Having chronic shoulder instability and repeated dislocations is exhausting mentally and painful physically. Be careful how you are holding the rail when you go down the stairs. Be careful how you are putting on your sweater. Be careful how you are taking it off. Be careful that you don't slip on ice and throw your shoulder out. Be careful how you .... and the list goes on and on with things I have to think about every day to make sure I don't dislocate my shoulder.

So wish me luck! I'll try to follow up post-surgery and let you know how it goes (although it will be several days!).  I may just make a video as typing with my left (non-dominate) hand will be slow and tedious!  Hope you all have a great day and happy fall running!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Make Up!

I got yelled at for not blogging. You know who you are! Haha!

Yes, I've missed blogging a lot of activities. Let me give you a very brief recap of my happenings!

In July, I competed in an International Distance triathlon at the Sister Lakes Triathlon in Dowagiac, MI. I rocked it out minus the panic attack that lasted the first 1/3 of the swim! My first international distance! I was so excited!!

I tri'd with these awesome people!

I also participated in the Venus De Miles 62 mile bike ride in July! I was an ambassador for the race this year (and I'm sorry not to have posted a recap of it by now). It was hard! So very hard! Haha! But fun and challenging and we helped a few people out on the course (we = Derek and I. Derek was once again a "men-in-drag support crew" for the race).

Some of the ambassadors - the 62 mile group

In the beginning of July, Derek and I also participated in the Metric Century ride in Plainfield on July 4th. Unfortunately for me, there was a detour and the course was upped from 62 to 68 miles. I get very grumpy around mile 50 on a bike right now so the extra miles were definitely a challenge! And the most bike miles I've ever done!  But it's a great ride and I love doing it.

After a long 68 miles!

Also at the end of July/beginning of August, I did the St. Jude Relay raising money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Amazing Experience!

My amazing St. Jude team "Counting Stars"

A couple weekends ago, I ran the Fort2Base for the first time! They have a 10 nautical miles course (11.5 miles) and a 3 nautical miles (3.5 miles). I would love to give you a recap on this as it was so much fun and I had a great time! Finishing the race at the Great Lakes Naval Base and having all the navy men and women helping us up Hero Hill was amazing! Loved this race!


So I hope to write recaps on all of these. I will probably start with Fort2Base and work my way backwards.

Of course, I'm still marathon training for the Chicago Marathon...

Saturday morning early training runs!

I haven't only been running and biking...

I also tried my hand at painting! It was so hard! Still trying to get Derek to let me hang my painting in the living room! Ha!
Paint night with these beautiful ladies!

As of last week, I'm dealing with a bit of foot pain, which I'm thinking is the start of plantar fasciitis! Nooooo!!!! So I'm trying to nip that in the bud before it gets worse. Any suggestions? I'm rolling my foot on a frozen water bottle, stretching my foot, and was just recommended to roll it on a golf ball.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Weekend Heat And Racing

The weather around here has been a bit funny. I would say that it's been relatively cool with lots of rain. Way to go summer in Chicago. It has been great for running, of course, but terrible if you like to have some summer heat! I am one of the people that likes to have summer heat! It's so cold all the time in Chicago that when I can get 80-85 degree temps for a bit, I welcome it! Sure the runs will be a bit tougher but I know it will be a short time and come fall...hello fast race times in cooler weather.

Well, I'm biting my tongue right now. It's going to be HOT this weekend. Temps will be about 90 degrees but with the humidity, the "real feel" temp will be close to 100. At least in Dowagiac Michigan, where I will be on Friday night and Saturday.  Because, lucky me, I have a triathlon!  The Sister Lakes Triathlon.

I'm pretty bummed about it being this hot. I'm already going to struggle on the run but now add in the extreme heat and humidity. But it's ok. It's nothing new. I'm never one to shy away from running outside. So I've run in extreme heat before. I know how to use caution to make sure my body will be able to handle it. I know I will be slowing down and walking (often). I'm not going to come in first place anyway!  I'm also going to add my fuel belt on the run just to be sure I have my fluids handy.

I'm doing the Olympic/International distance. This is my first time doing more than a sprint! I've done two small indoor triathlons and 2 different sprint distances. This is how my triathlon this weekend stacks up:

1,000 meter swim (this is actually pretty short for an Olympic distance so I'm happy about that)
21.6 mile bike
10k (6.35 miles)

The event that I'm least worried about is the bike. Sure I'll be tired and my butt will hurt but I will get through it. The event that I'm most worried's a toss-up. I'm worried about the swim for a couple reasons. I've never swam that far before in open water. I'm also really hoping my shoulder stays where it belongs! No dislocations on this tri please.  Not sure yet if the swim will be wetsuit legal but I'm hoping it is. I'm worried about the run's last so I'll be tired. And it will be hot so I'll be extra tired.

I'm just going to take it one stroke, pedal, and step at a time. Get through it any way I can as best as I can given the circumstances. I'm pretty good at listening to my body but not very good at staying positive sometimes!

So we will see how this one pans out. I want to have an Olympic distance triathlon under my belt. My goal is to one day do a half ironman.

Good luck to all my friends racing this weekend. There are a lot of events going on and I know a lot of people doing them!  Stay safe and run happy!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Venus De Miles! Let's Do This!!

I'm so excited that Venus De Miles is coming up soon (just over 1 week away)!  Since it's coming up, I thought I would give you a bit more information about it and about the organization that it supports.

Venus De Miles is an all woman's bike event that begins in Lake Forest, Illinois. They have a 25 and 62 mile ride that you can participate in. In addition, this year they added a 5k run! So they have a little something for everyone! I will be participating again this year in the 62 mile ride and I can't wait! Derek will also once again be a part of the men-in-drag support crew. Read my recap of the event from last year here!

The organization that this event supports is Greenhouse Scholars. Last year I didn't know much about it until the day of the event when I had the pleasure of hearing someone that was benefiting from this organization speak. The first line of their web page sums it up pretty well:

"Greenhouse Scholars provides comprehensive personal and financial support to high-performing, under-resourced college students."

I'm completely honored to be able to help and speak about an organization that helps kids go to college! These kids are amazing and just need a bit of support to get there! So the proceeds of Venus De Miles benefits them!

Greenhouse Scholars has multiple program components to help the students: Mentorships, internships, peer support, tuition scholarships, networking, flex funding, etc.  Visit the website to learn more about the program and how you can help! 

So not only is Venus De Miles a fun event that brings together a sense of community for women (with an awesome after-party, seriously!!), but it supports an amazing cause.

So why not join me on July 25th??  Register today and come join me in helping some amazing students!  Register with my discount code "GetToGoal" and you will get $10 off the regular registration fee. That is for either distance of the bike ride and even the 5k run! All events get all the same perks!! You can also read my earlier post which details a bit more of the event details and also some of the post-race event party perks (hello food, drinks, mani's and pedi's!).

I'd love to see you there!

Monday, July 6, 2015

January - June 2015 Review

Clearly I'm not doing monthly recaps like I did last year. But I'm still recording it. I think because I didn't set any mileage goals, I haven't posted about it. But here is how my year is shaping up half way in!  It has definitely been a bumpy year.


Run Miles: 33.51
Barre Classes: 9
Bike Miles: 5
Additional Cross Days: 2

January was so long ago but what I do remember is that I intentionally cut down my run miles. I was so burnt out from all my races last year that I knew I needed a mental break. I also had a month unlimited to The Dailey Method and took 2-3 barre classes every week.


Run Miles: 40.16
Cross Days: 4

February was a bit all over the place. I went to Louisiana for vacation (but did run once on vacation)! I got engaged! Yay! Then ended up in the ER the next day. Turns out I'm ok but I did take a solid week off because of it. So Louisiana, engagement, and ER all happened within 1 week of each other. Glad February ended...minus the engagement. That was nice! :)

In Louisiana with my love!

Ooohhh sparkly!!

Run Miles: 66.26
Bike Miles: 13.31
Cross Days: 2

In March I tried to get my running back a bit. I knew I had a half coming up in April and also I had intended to do the full marathon in Iowa in June. Things were looking a bit up and up...except the running was pretty rough and slow. I kept plugging along.


Run Miles: 56.92
Bike Miles: 37.06 + 2 spin classes (no mileage on bikes)
Walk Miles: 2.35
Barre Classes: 1
Additional Cross Days: 1

I did the Lincoln Half Marathon on April 4th. It definitely wasn't a fast half marathon but I had fun nonetheless. I would definitely do this one again given the opportunity.  Then things once again took a turn for the worse. I was out a full week because I got sick. Most people on the planet got sick around this time. Then while I was sick, I got a painful lump which turned out to be an abscess and had a minor surgery near the end of April. This took me out for a while. For the next 3 weeks, I could only do some minimal walking.

Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon

Run Miles: 32.46
Walk Miles: 13.72
Bikes Miles: 39.75

Don't be fooled by all these wonderful stats. For the first 2 weeks of May, I could only do some minimal walking. I also missed out on 2 half marathons that I had previously registered for since I couldn't run.  I finally upped the walking in the 3rd week to some walk/run intervals once my incision starting healing a bit. At first, I forgot where the bike miles came in at because I could not sit on a bike for a while, then I remembered that I did Bike the Drive for 32 miles near the end of the month. I also did 1 bike/run brick workout. I needed to start triathlon training stat now that I could mostly workout again. The only thing I really could not do was swim yet until the incision healed.

Bike the Drive

Run Miles: 68.43
Bike Miles: 29.29
Speed Workouts: 4
Cross Days: 2

Once I made the decision that I was no longer doing the full marathon in Iowa this month and switched to the half, I felt better. I was almost out of running for a full month from end of April to part of May. I knew the half would be hard too but I could get through it. Yes, I realized I never wrote a recap. It was hot. And hard. I got through it.  I also started going to a speed group on Tuesday mornings with my run group. That has been tons of fun! I'm hoping it helps get my running back a bit more. I'm starting to feel like my old self again (mostly). But yup...still no swimming! Yikes! That triathlon in July might be tough! (Spoiler, I've gone swimming twice so far in July to prep).

Wow! That was a lot going on in this first half of the year. From hospitals and doctors, to being sick, to surgeries. It's been a bit bumpy. I'm just trying to roll with the punches.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Five Things Friday

I thought I would do a "Five Things Friday" in an attempt to catch you up on my June and lack of blog posts.

1. Chicago Marathon training started this month! I am nearing the end of week 3 and so far things are going well. I'm trying to stick to my training schedule because for past marathons, I've either...1) followed the programs to a "T"; 2) "mostly" followed the program; 3) not really followed much of a program.  I have to say, the times I've followed the training schedule mostly to a "T" have been the best marathons for me. That's not to say that an occasional weekly run might be missed due to other obligations, injury, or whatever...but I try to follow it as best I can while still being able to live my life.

2. I have the Intent Tinley Park Duathlon this coming Sunday in Tinley Park (about a mile from my house in Tinley).  This will be the 3rd time I've done this duathlon, and even though it's under new management, the course still looks mostly the same as previous years.  I almost didn't sign up for it this year but I know it's always a good stepping-stone for my triathlon, which is in July.  It mentally prepares me for the transitions and for the bike-run "brick" legs.  I still haven't fully decided whether to wear my clip-in shoes or just gym shoes on the bike. Since my "accident" with my clip-ins, I'm very scared and cautious when using them around other cyclists.  I can control what I do but can't control what they do. I have been practicing with them so we will see. (2013 Race Recap and 2014 Race Recap)

3. I started physical therapy on my shoulder.  I made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon to possibly start the process of having surgery. He adamantly recommended me try physical therapy first. I went this past Monday and got some exercises from the physical therapist, who by the way is super nice! I asked him if he thought the exercises could help someone "like me", meaning someone that has dislocated their shoulder between 12-15 times in the past 3 years. He told me that if I'm diligent in doing the exercises, they definitely could help. So I'm doing my exercises. Every day. Even twice a day most days. Fingers crossed.

4. I have a triathlon in mid-July. And I haven't practiced swimming once yet. For a  couple of reasons. 1) I had that surgery at the end of April and the incision was/is taking a long time to fully heal. I was advised not to swim until it's healed. Since it's still occasionally bothering me, I kept waiting to jump in the pool. 2) Since I'm using the surgery as a great excuse not to swim, I haven't been telling everyone that I'm a bit nervous to start swimming again with my shoulder. I know I can swim so it's just a matter of getting some swim cardio in. I'm planning on starting next week, hopefully.

5.  I've gone to the new FNRC Tuesday morning speedwork before work 3 out of the last 4 weeks!  This is pretty huge for me because I DO NOT like getting up early and working out before work. But I have a lot of fun during these morning runs and it gets me doing something I probably wouldn't be doing on my own. The first week we did a ladder on the track, the second week we did a 25 min tempo run, and this week we changed it up and did some bleachers and core work along with running 400 meters in between on the track. I missed the 3rd week when they did hill repeats because I desperately needed the extra sleep.  But I'm looking forward to more Tuesday morning runs with the group!

P.S. Sorry for the lack of pictures. Technical difficulties!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Speedwork - Starting Over

My goals with running have changed drastically this year and last over the previous years. I'm not necessary looking to get PR's in everything I do (although it would be nice). I'm not just "trying to be fast" which is good because I'm not.  My goals last year was to learn to Run Happy! And I succeeded!

This year, I hadn't made any goals. I was struggling just to run. Had several health issues that arose and made me take time off of running a couple different times. I was burnt out from the previous year's races.

I generally run for fun (or try to). I like the exercise benefit I get from it along with the stress relief and I love running with my friends and my Thursday FNRC group. I've been trying to incorporate other things besides running into my schedule but generally, I'm still all about running (although I try to cycle at least once a week right now since the weather is nicer). I puffy heart cycling!

I guess I have made my goal for 2015 to get stronger physically. Yes I would like to lose weight for my wedding and have been trying to do that with food (which has been up and down). But I would like to do different things then just straight running 3-4 miles all the time. Mix it up. Get my body stronger, my core stronger, my glutes stronger, drop some weight so it's easier to breathe while running.

A guy from the run club decided to create a Tuesday morning (yes, morning) speedwork group. Anyone that knows me knows that I don't like waking up earlier than I have to prior to getting up for work. I have gotten up early for a random spin class or early run session but I feel like I'm sleeping through it then rushing off to work. But I thought, why not try this speedwork group. I've done speedwork in the past and thought it might be fun to try it with others and maybe even have some type of schedule.

I got to the track to meet with the group. He explained that we were going to do a ladder (200, 400, 800, 1600, 800, 400, 200 meters). We warmed up and so it began. In the beginning of speedwork, I never like the "uncomfortable" feeling that you need to reach. You should be uncomfortable while doing speedwork. It's not supposed to be easy. I did the 200 meters and the 400 meters. And I was definitely uncomfortable. I wasn't looking forward to the 800 or 1600! I completed the 800. I've never run a 1600 meter interval (unless I did a tempo run and that's different).  I repeated to myself "Just keep moving". If I slowed up, it's ok. Just do the best you can. I did the best I could.

I was a little disappointed with my mile split. I used to be so much faster. But I told myself it was ok. I gave myself the advice I would give someone else. "You have to start somewhere. You aren't racing the other people in the group. And you hung in there for the 1600 interval! The fact that you got up and came here early (out of normal routine) is a huge accomplishment. Just keep working at it and you will improve."

Hm...I give good advice to others! lol.  So I'm really excited to see the progress by the end of the summer. He gave us the schedule of workouts and there are intervals, tempo runs, fartleks and hill repeats! Sounds fun, doesn't it!

I actually didn't get to go back down the ladder, unfortunately. I ran out of time. I just did a 400 meter cool down and had to leave to get ready for work. I think in the future, I will get there 10 minutes earlier and do my warm up so I can fit the whole workout in.

I really enjoyed the workout though and it was nice to get it in early and have the evening free. Maybe this will help change me into a morning workout person??  ....  or maybe not. Haha!

First FNRC Tuesday Morning Speedwork Group Run

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Feeling Better


I want to thank everyone for the kind words and suggestions on my health update post.  As of the past (almost) week now, I've been feeling much better. My pain had gone down from 50-90% to a 10% and is now about 5%. So not much at all and rare.

For about 3 weeks, I did nothing but walking or resting. My walking might have been anywhere from 1-3 miles depending on how I felt that day and it wasn't fast walking since that aggravated my ailment a bit. And 3 miles was usually just verging on the "a bit too much" side of things so I didn't do that often.


Last Thursday I decided to try my first hand at running again. Between being sick and resting a full week and then this ailment, I've had close to a month off of running. But I know my cardio is low because I couldn't really do any cross training either. Walking was it.  But Thursday at my run group, I decided to do run/ walk intervals (1 minute running/3 minutes walking), just to ease into it and see how the incision would feel after running. Lucky me, I have an awesome run group and everyone decided to run/walk with me! It was a lot of fun with me yelling "RUN!" and "WALK!" lol. My watch was set to the intervals but not everyone can hear my watch.  But the run felt really good so I was happy!
A bit rainy but a good looking group!
I also did a run/walk interval on Sunday with Jill. I was still afraid to push the running too much and I'm still more focused on healing completely, and so with my incision still not fully healed, I kept my run interval at 1 minute. I shortened the walk interval to 2 minutes though.  We did a bit over 3 miles (3.37 miles according to my garmin) and my incision felt great. I have to check it out again (I only look at it every couple days), but I'd like to see how much more healed it is now!

In other (related) news, I did drop down from the full marathon to the half marathon in Iowa in June. I'm ok with that decision. It's the smartest thing. I also had to skip another half marathon this past weekend but I bought it on a groupon so it was cheap and I'm not upset to have missed it.


I'm also kind of excited for cycling season! I bought clips for the shoes to "clip in" but I haven't been able to try them yet since I haven't been able to ride. I'm excited to try them...but not excited to possibly kill myself! lol. Have I told you of my love of cycling?!  I also have 2 months to train now for my international distance triathlon! Yikes!!  :)


Don't forget that I'm an ambassador for Venus De Miles this year. The fee will increase next week so make sure to register before then if you want to save money! And to save more money, don't forget to sign up with my discount code "GetToGoal" to save $10! Good for either bike distance or the 5k run! Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

St. Jude Runs Chicago to Peoria

This year I will be participating in the St. Jude Runs Chicago to Peoria.

It's a relay style run similar to Ragnar Relay. Participants will be running from Chicago to Peoria which raises money to help St. Jude Children's Research Hospital find cures and save children battling childhood cancer and other deadly diseases.

My fiance's sister has a team that I will be running with. We will be running approximately 160 miles in relay form all day and night on July 31st to August 1st.  I'm really excited to participate this year. I've wanted to participate for the last couple years but have always  had prior commitments. This year I was going to do it.

I have committed to raising $1,250. I can't do this alone. I need your help. This is a great cause and every donation, no matter the amount, helps. I hope that you will be able to donate to my cause. I listed the link below. Please feel free to share with anyone that you think might be interested in donating.

Link to my personal fundraising page:

In addition, we are having an awesome fundraising event that I am selling tickets.

The tickets are $40 each and the event is June 6th in New Lenox, IL. You have the opportunity to win a round trip ticket to Las Vegas. There will be unlimited food, non-alcoholic drinks (cash bar) and several bands lined up. There will also be raffles with some great items!  If you are interested in purchasing a ticket, please let me know. I would love to see you there and remember, this supports a great cause! 

Thanks for any support you provide!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Marathon and Health Update

I haven't been talking about it much but I had previously won an entry to the Marion Rotary Marathon for Shoes in Iowa in June from Too Tall Fritz. I was able to choose either the full marathon or half marathon. After leaving it to a facebook vote (for fun...that's fun right?), it was decided that I was going to do the full marathon because my friends love to torture me! You guys are so sweet.  I also knew that Amanda (Too Tall Fritz) would be doing the full and my friend Julie was also deciding to run it and do the full. So I would have company. Can't beat a free full marathon! (Or half really, anything free is nice!)

Come training season, I've been having a hard time. Not just training for the marathon, but training for my halves and just running in general. I never really recovered from getting burnt out from all the racing/races I did last year. By December 2014, I was just done.

I know with running, there are always ups and downs. I'm in a "down" slump right now but an "up" could be right around the corner. I have my friends, my run club, and my Thursday run group. I also have the upcoming nice weather, which I just love running in! So I was just trying to hang in there. Get through the running, enjoy the good run days when I have them, and be thankful I am able to be out there running!

Thinking about the full marathon in June was starting to really stress me out. I'm just really struggling to run. While running, sometimes I'm struggling just to breathe. I don't have allergies (that I know of). I did get checked by a doctor last year and my iron levels were fine (I struggled with anemia in recent past). So I'm not sure why I was having such a hard time. I'm still not sure. And it's just definitely frustrating at times. My long runs were hard. Friends made them easier to get through. I even got up to a 15 mile run recently. 

Then I got sick/a bad cold. The day of my 15 miler (maybe that's why I struggled that day?)  I really wanted to try to recover quickly so I decided to take a few days off. I was pretty sick and actually took a full week off of running and all working out. One week of no running won't hurt me and will be better in the long run when I'm recovered.

After a week, I ran a slow and easy 3 miler. It was a gorgeous day. I actually enjoyed the run. It wasn't easy but it was peaceful.

Then I got a pain in the butt. Literally. Ok, "near" the butt. I haven't talked about it much because the location is a bit strange and awkward. You just don't mention your butt. Unless you talk about it on your blog. Everything is fair game on your blog, right? The day after I noticed the pain, I felt a large lump. Lumps scare me. (Spoiler - I'm ok.) They aren't normal and generally shouldn't be where ever it is they are. After 2 days and the pain becoming more severe, I decided I should get checked out by a doctor. When I got checked out by the doctor, she said it was an abscess (infection) and scheduled me for a surgeon the next day.

I was relieved it wasn't anything serious. I was scared to be going to a surgeon. The lump already hurt. It hurt to sit down, it hurt to walk, and it hurt to turn over in bed. And it hurt bad. I was glad to be seeing a doctor and possibly just having it removed because I wanted the pain to end. But I knew that having it removed would also be painful. So I prepared myself to be in pain. That way I wouldn't be surprised.

Friday, I went to the doctor and they took me to the procedure room. The surgeon told me it would hurt. She said they would give me a numbing shot but she wasn't going to lie, the numbing shot would hurt like hell.  And hurt like hell it did. I feel like I've had a lot of painful health things this year. I'm super thankful none of them have been serious. But they have all been painful. And just when I think that this is the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life, something that feels a million times more painful comes along. The numbing shot process felt like years and it was excruciating. And all I could do was say "Ow! Ow! Owww!!!!" and bear it. When she finished, my legs were shaking and tears started rolling down my eyes. I didn't think I could take this anymore. And I'm not being dramatic. I'm being completely serious. This "pain in the butt" was becoming way too literal for me!  When she cut into the abscess, she realized it was much deeper and larger than she thought (by the way, I wasn't all the way numb yet so that hurt too). Then she had to give me another numbing shot deeper. I was dreading it. It hurt but since the original numbing was kicking in, it only maybe hurt half as much.

Then I was pretty numb. The surgeon was doing her thing. She was telling me that I was actually doing really well. I laughed with relief that I was not hurting much anymore and told her I was feeling a bit better now. She said if I could see what she was doing, I would "jump off the table". I told her ignorance is bliss.

Mind you... I have never had a baby or given birth. So don't tell me how painful that is. If I ever get a chance to experience it, I'll let you know what was more painful. Lol.

I also didn't mean to give you this full medical update. It just sort of spilled out. And if I can't trust my blog readers, who can I trust!?  :) You complete me! Ha!

So what does all this mean now that my abscess was removed? It means that I have an open wound that I need to heal. It means that until it heals, I really am not supposed to run. Due to the location, running could cause a lot of friction in that area and it could take longer to heal or get worse. So since my 15 miler on April 19th, I've run one 3 miler. I had to skip my half in the beginning of May too since I had just had the surgery.  Lately, I have just been walking. And sometimes walking hurts it due to the location. I don't want to push it and have it take longer to heal. So I've been laying pretty low.

What does this mean for my marathon in June? I don't know. Before this, I was considering switching it to the half anyway because I was struggling so much. But I decided to just keep trying to push through it for the time being "just in case". Now with being sick and then having this surgery thing, it's just becoming A LOT  of time off of running (and any high impact cardio). So I'm now seriously considering dropping to the half. I could probably do a walk/run interval and "just get through" the marathon, but do I want to? That's what I'm really trying to decide. I also entered the lottery for Chicago (which I wasn't originally planning on running) and got in. So I signed up for the Chicago Marathon (more on that another post). So I could scrap this one and run that one.

That's what I'm deciding. That's where I'm at in my running and health life right now. One day at a time, one run at a time (when I can run again). Again, I'm just super thankful to have my health and all my "issues" are not severe.

Happy running my friends! If you go for a run, run a mile for me, ok?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Exciting New Thing!

I know it's been a while since I last posted. I have several things to mention but first I want to mention the most exciting one!

I have been selected to be a Venus De Miles Ambassador this year! This year, the ride (and run) will be July 25, 2015 in Lake Forest, Illinois.

If you will remember, I participated in the event last year in 2014. Melanie from See Mommy Race was an ambassador last year and I used her code for a discount when I registered (she's also a fellow ambassador with me this year too!). And Derek participated as well as one of the "men in drag" support crew... and the best looking one there if you ask me!
Melanie and I at Venus De Miles 2014

My "man" and I at Venus De Miles 2014
So what does this mean for you? 

1. You can sign up using my discount code GetToGoal and receive $10 off your registration (regular registration only).

2. Not only do they still have the great cycling distances of 25 miles and 62 miles, but they added a 5k run as well. So if you are not a cyclist but would love to join me, you can do a 5k run!  I love that they have 2 distances for the bike event in case you are not a high distance cyclist...or you just want to get to the after party sooner! (Hey, that makes complete sense to me!)

3. You will get to learn more about the Greenhouse Scholars, which is the charity Venus De Miles supports!  Greenhouse Scholars helps high performing underprivileged kids go to college. I heard one young man speak at the event last year about how important Greenhouse Scholars was to him and it is moving. Your money will go to a great cause.

4. There are so many fun things associated with this race. I will have to go into it more another time, another post, BUT...the after party was amazing! So much food, beer, fun wine drinks... There were mani's and pedi's.... So. Much. Fun. Stuff. The rest areas have food. They also have anything women might need. There is sunscreen, hair ties, feminine products, lotions...the list goes on and on.

So you should all definitely join me. Sorry men, it's a ladies ride and run. There will be an opportunity for any of my male friend cyclists to apply to be a "men-in-drag" support crew but I will let you know when that opens up if my men friends are interested.

I'm riding the 62 mile ride. I hope some of you will join me for that distance but there is also the 25 mile ride available for you! Use code GetToGoal and receive $10 off!

Happy running and happy cycling. Remember to have fun and be safe!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Three Things Thursday!

Whoa! Where have I been?'s too cold outside!

Anyway, just for a short update, I thought I'd do a Three Things Thursday to fill you all in on what's going on in my world!

1. This is "old" news for those that I'm friends with on facebook or that follow my page but...for those that don't... I'm engaged!  Yay!! 

I had to get it sized though so I've been without it for almost 2 weeks. Luckily, they called me today and I'm getting it back! I'm really excited to be engaged to the love of my life which I never thought would happen!

2. I re-joined weight watchers. For those that have long time followers, I originally lost 90 lbs on weight watchers back from 2007-2010 and hit my goal weight (according to their system).  Hello marathons, dating, and several other excuses and I put back on 30-40 lbs. I've tried several different tracking systems and clean eating methods, etc... and nothing ever stuck.

Finally, with the proper motivation (to look awesome in my wedding dress), I re-joined weight watchers 2 weeks ago and have been doing very well.  Before you get all on my case about weight not really mattering and I should be happy with my body... I am. Mostly. BUT... I know I've gotten into some unhealthy habits that I need to change. My running is harder, clothes don't fit, and on and on.  So my goal is to be HEALTHY. Not just a number on the scale. Plus, I want to like the way I look in my wedding photos. Let's be honest. Who doesn't.

3.  I have several giveaways I've been procrastinating on since I've slacked on blogging (plus I was on vacation, my computer is making things hard on me in the blogging front, and I was in the hospital.. I'm ok by the way). So I hope to get one of my giveaways out this weekend! Stay tuned!

Tomorrow is happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, January 26, 2015

My own 30 day challenge!

I'm not very good at getting any strength training in unless I'm going to a barre class or something of that nature.

I see all these 30 day challenges but they get to like 1,000,000 squats (a bit of an exaggeration)... and I can't do things like that. Plus I really just want to strengthen my core. I want to be better at planks. I used to be really good and could hold a plank like no one's business. In fact, we had a challenge at my house once and all held planks until people gave up. I won! I held that plank for like 5 mins! 

I can't do that anymore. Especially after I hurt my shoulder, and then last year, hurt my back. I lost A LOT! 20-30 seconds of planking is hard for me. Not to mention all the plank variations.

So to try to increase my plank endurance and do it consistently, I decided to create my own 30 day challenge.  I also threw in some wall sits for good measure, because I like them and I couldn't think of anything else.

I also understand that some of this might seem very basic and very minimal to some of you that are strength training beasts. Hey, everyone needs to start somewhere. I will be doing this with a few of my friends who have decided to join me. Friends = accountability. I will also be doing this in addition to all of my other weekly/daily workouts. Just a little something extra. It's not too extreme that I know I should be able to do it but it's still challenging enough that I will be feeling it and have to work hard.

If you like 30 day challenges, feel free to join me! If you do, let me know how it's going for you!

You will have to excuse my picture. I was having trouble on the computer and had to upload the picture through a screenshot on my phone. Ugh.  Anyway, the challenge starts today with 20 second planks (3 times) and 20 second wall sits (3 times). Fridays are rest days (I'm flexible, use whatever rest day works best for your schedule), then Saturday is always the increase for the next week. So starting Saturday, it will be 30 second planks (3x) and 30 second wall sits (3x). Every Saturday, I increased by 10 seconds.
Since I'm so flexible (and forgetful), I added a couple extra days at the bottom. So if you forget to do it one day (that always happens to me), you didn't ruin the 30 day challenge. Simply add it to the days at the end. Try to limit these as best you can and try to not forget more than 3 if possible!  This is designed to just help me get stronger and better.
Anyway, happy Monday!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

One Major Holdup - What's In Store For 2105?

I'm reading a lot of your blogs and am hearing about all the wonderful and challenging goals you all have for 2015! Way to make me feel like a slacker! lol. Seriously, you guys are awesome and motivating!

For the past (almost) 2 weeks, I've taken a break from running. Mentally and physically I needed it. As you saw from my last post, I did a LOT of races. Which in turn involved a LOT of running. I may not have been fast, but 1,000 miles at any pace is still 1,000 miles, right?  Eleven half marathons, a full marathon, and an ultra are still all those things whether you are fast or slow.

My plans nearing the end of last year were to take 2015 much easier. And then my boyfriend pointed out I already have races/runs planned from April through August. But it's only 1 per month so that's progress!  Here is what I already have planned. P.S. you have to excuse my sidebar that still has races from last year listed. I can't change it from this computer and keep forgetting to do it elsewhere.

2015 races on tap so far...

February 8: Frosty 5 miler, Channahon, Illinois - I did this race last year and it was ok. But believe it or not, my crazy friend is planning this as part of her bachelorette weekend. We are going out on Saturday night and this race is on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.  Let's just say, my goal is to finish and not throw up from my hangover.

April 4: Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon, Springfield, Illinois - This one has been on a small bucket list for a couple years. Should be a good time!

May 3: First Midwest Bank Half Marathon (aka Palos Half), Palos, Illinois - I did this one last year and it's local and basically almost all of my run friends do it. It was half off for a special deal price and I scooped it up!  My initial goal is to PR this race. But... see my hold up problem below. PR = TBD.

June 14: Marion Rotary Marathon for Shoes, Marion, Iowa - I won this marathon entry from Too Tall Fritz. So I guess I'm doing a marathon this year. Ideally, I would have tried to say "no marathons for 2015" but when you get a free use it. I have no goals for this race. Easy, peasy, get through it without dying.  Anything can go in June as far as weather goes so I'm not planning on a PR or anything. Just going for a little 26.2 mile run (up some hills and through a cemetery...seriously. Through a cemetery. Hey, I didn't make the course).  They actually have a video you can watch of them driving the course so that was cool.

July 18: Sister Lakes Triathlon (Olympic Distance) - Woohoo!!  Here I come Olympic Distance. My goal is to not dislocate my shoulder. Hey, that's a pretty good goal considering what happened at the Esprit De She last year.

August: St. Jude Chicago To Peoria Relay - I haven't signed up for this yet but it's essentially similar to Ragnar where you have a team and you each run a leg and repeat until you get to your destination (Peoria). My boyfriend's sister has a team and I told them I'd do it this year.

So there you have it. My list of races as of right now. This might even seem like a lot to some people but it's a far cry from last year. Although it's hard to say no if free races pop I reserve the right to change this list at any time!

So what's the One Major Holdup I was talking about?  Weight. I know everyone should be happy with their body, etc, etc. And I am. BUT...I want to fit in my pants again. And I know it's a major factor on why I'm running much slower right now.  I need to get it together. Badly.

Ideally, I'd like to lose about 30 lbs. But I'm happy with any downward movement in the scale that holds. So I'm taking steps to achieve this right now (started yesterday). I will fill you in on those in a week or so.

I'm also having a problem figuring out how to PR my half marathon when I don't like running fast. I don't like running outside of my comfort zone. I need to put steps in place to figure this one out soon as I need to get a move on.  Any ideas how to get started on this goal?

Thanks for all your motivation and encouragement! Here is to a fabulous 2015!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2014 Year in Review

2014 is one running year I won't forget. That's why I'm glad I have a blog. I won't forget it because it's documented! I just read my 2013 Year in Review with a smile!  So, without further adieu...


I completed 11 half marathons, 1 full marathon, 1 ultra marathon, a sprint triathlon, a duathlon, and a few other things (5k's, 8k's, helping friends train for their first marathon, etc).


I completed 11 half marathons. Wow. That is a lot. In my 2013 recap, I had done 6 and that had been the most in one year. This year I got a few free (maybe 5) and did a couple vacation half marathons and that's what really did it for me.  My goal for my half marathons was to learn to "run happy". I know you have all heard me talk about it but the entire spring was dedicated to running happy, being consistant, shoving negative thoughts out and continuing to push on even when it was hard. I didn't care about time. I wanted to enjoy my runs, look around and take in the surroundings. It worked. Slowly but surely, I was able to remain positive even when I was tired, sore, or hot. One foot in front of the other. Keep moving forward. Smile. Slap hands of spectators. Take photos. Whatever I had to do to keep my thoughts positive.

1. Get Lucky Half Marathon, Chicago, IL (March 15) - I originally signed up for this race to keep me running through the awful cold winter months that preceded the race. (Recap Here)

Me and Derek
2. Mustang 50th Half Marathon, Las Vegas, NV (April 19) - Vacation and checking a state off my list! This is the first and only half marathon for Mustang's 50th Anniversary. Hot, no shade...but an awesome medal and ran the whole thing with Becky! (Recap Here)

Me and Becky
3. First Midwest Bank Half Marathon, Palos, IL (May 4) - Managed to get into this half marathon for the first time ever (for free). Local half, tons of friends doing it and supporting, and it was also my cousin's first half marathon! Go Nick! This was also my fastest half of 2014 (although a far cry from my PR) (Recap Here)

Me, Gayle, Nick
4. Chicago Spring Half Marathon, Chicago, IL (May 18) - Ran this half for free also! Went down with some friends.  This half was the first one of the year that I started noticing my progress in the "run happy" department. I was enjoying the gorgeous weather and Chicago skyline. There is nothing like the Chicago skyline on a gorgeous and clear day! (Recap Here)

Marty, Ryan, Lynn, Julie, Melanie, Me, Derek
5. Michelob Ultra 13.1, Chicago, IL (June 7) - Also free (blogger benefit). Met up with a friend from out of town since she won my giveaway! It was hot and I tried not to die. Decided a run/walk interval was the way to get me through this one (Recap Here)

Susan, Kim, Violet, Melanie, Jill, Me, Meg
6. Rock N' Roll Half Marathon, Chicago, IL (July 20) - I actually was less than impressed this year with this race. And it was hot. Lets say, I was happy it was over. My positive attitude had to work double time on this race! (Recap Here)
Me and Derek
7. Zooma Half Marathon, Chicago, IL (August 2) - free since I was an ambassador of the first time being an ambassador! (Recap Here)
Me and some of my fellow ambassadors
8. Double Half Marathon, San Antonio, TX (Sept 7) - Vacation Half Marathon. Also probably the hottest half of the year but had a decent amount of shade so not too bad. (Recap Here)
Me and the love of my life!
9. Tri Town Community Half Marathon, Merriville, IN (Sept 28) - Signed up for this half since it was on a groupon and fit into my marathon training schedule. A few of my friends were doing the half and a few were doing the full. Um... wow. This half was something else. And not to be repeated (especially for the full). (Recap Here)

Karen, Becky, Carol, Me, Derek
10. Valparaiso Half Marathon, Valparaiso, IN (Nov 9) - Won a free entry. Hard since it was the weekend after my ultra and my positive attitude was shot out the window during the ultra. But it was free. And my friends were doing it. And it was well run. (Recap Here)
Melanie, Me, Julie, Jimmy
11. Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon, Schaumburg, IL (Nov 29). Always wanted to do this one. Signed up. Regretted that I still needed to run a half marathon as I was ready to quit running. Ha! Made it through relatively ok. (Recap Here)
Me and the FNRC
WHOA! Now I'm tired just recaping my half marathons!  On the the rest of the year!

Esprit De She Triathlon - I did this triathlon the day after the 13.1 half in June! (Recap Here). I dislocated my shoulder at the start of the swim, got it back in, and continued and didn't even do that bad! I was on cloud 9 when I finished and officially earned badass status!
Me with my supporter!
Grand Rapids Marathon!! (October) - I PR'd. That was my only goal this whole year. It's been a couple years and my marathons last year were rough so I really made this goal my priority. I hurt the last 5 miles and definitely lost tons of time but still a 5+ min PR so I'm happy. Thanks to Julie for running 15 miles with me! I know that helped! (Recap Here)
So happy crossing the finish line!
Julie, Derek, Me
Lakefront Ultra 50k (November) - Two weeks after my marathon (13 days actually) - I still had not fully recovered from the pain in my leg/IT Band maybe. And super windy day. I was miserable. It was the hardest race of my life. But I finished. This is the race that really did me in. I didn't want to run afterwards. Ever again. lol (Recap Here)
Don't let the smile fool you. I'm crying on the inside. I'm just happy I'm a few feet away from finishing!

Jan (first ultra), Melanie (Second ultra), Me (Second ultra) - They both had a great time, btw.
So to recap my review...I had A LOT of races in 2014. A LOT! I didn't plan to have that many half marathons, they just happened. And I think that's why I'm so burnt out right now. I need a break. I'm taking 2 full weeks off of running to recouperate! Luckily this break comes with the coldest temps of the season!

I also did some barre classes too, and that was a nice cross training break! I need to strengthen up my core!

Before I forgot, I couldn't slack off the entire month of December because I also had a goal of achieving 1,000 miles for the year. And with about 60+ left for December, lack of motivation, and no big races left to run, it was a HUGE challenge to get it done. I finished with 1,000.04!!

So even though I didn't PR any of my halves or 5k's, it wasn't really my goal in 2014. I did PR the triathlon, duathlon, and my marathon! I also completed some of the longest bike miles ever! (I just keep adding on to this recap as I remember things I did! So sorry!)

4th of July Metric Century Ride - Recap Here. 62 miles done!

Venus De Miles - August. Recap Here - Not really a recap but whatever. I did 66+ miles because we got a bit lost at the end. Longest ride ever! Lots of hills too so it was rough at times. But still tons of fun!
Me and Melanie!

Because this photo needs to be posted as often as possible.
Me and Derek dressed for the Men in Drag Support Crew!
Ok folks. I think I'll let you get back to your lives. I had a busy year. I'm planning a less busy 2015! :)  More to come on that!