Tag Archives: running

Turkey Day Menu

22 Nov

I’m thankful for my health, my ability to participate in an early morning turkey trot…

And trotting alongside such excellent company at that.

I’m thankful for another year of our family brunch allstars…

Egg casserole and monkey bread.

I’m thankful for an incredible menu.

Not listed: our favorite libations, specifically very classy wine.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

I’m thankful to have such nice folks reading my blog! Hope there is plenty of football and elastic-waisted pants in your future, wherever you might be celebrating today.

Triathlon Survival

30 Aug

Oh what, did y’all forget this was going down?

That’s right, I won! They don’t give those shiny medals out to just anyone.

Alright so I “won” in the sense that I didn’t drown, I didn’t crash my bike into other humans or non-moving objects, and the whole thing is now completed and over and a thing of the past.

Upon rising at 4am on Sunday, I began asking myself why I chose to tackle such a challenging sporting event. You mean to tell me I will be voluntarily hurling myself into 73 degree Lake Michigan, after which I will pedal furiously on my $100 Huffy mountain bike for 13 miles, and just to top it all off I’ll be running a 5k, just for good measure?

 I was also asking myself why in God’s name I paid good money to be awake at the same hour that many young Chicagoans found themselves in drink-induced verbal altercations with hot dog vendors at Wiener Circle,  but that is neither here nor there.

Ultimately,  crossing that finish line without the help of a lifeguard rescue or a roadside assistance vehicle marks a win in my book. I imagine I will be putting myself through this whole thing again next year, which is not a bad thing considering there’s a whole lot of room for improvement now that I know I won’t drown.

Before I sign up for the madness again, I just have some tips for future me.

First, get yourself a personal cheer squad. Check.

10,000 bikes look approximately 100% different in the pitch dark of 5am than the pink-orange glow of 7am. Remember the chick with the cupcake balloon tied to her bike? And remember how much time you spent in your first transition, frantically running up and down the aisles of bikes, shouting, “Has anyone seen a purple Huffy?!! It cost $100 on Craigslist!!” Remember?

Get a cupcake balloon.

In fact, on the subject of bikes, get a proper bicycle altogether. And then personally seek out the road-bike-toting athlete who zoomed by you on the course, rang his little bell and called out, “Yeah Huffyyy!”

Old dudes will unknowingly punch with you with their club arms in Lake Michigan. They swim sideways and resemble giant sinking seals. He doesn’t care nor does he know that he just bashed you with his beer belly. Don’t panic. Just keep swimming.

Do not question the carbs.

Your almond-butter-filled sweet potato will serve as a sweet and unfair memory at around mile 7 of the bike.

Drink water. Bring water. And coconut water.

Bring shorts. Just… bring shorts.

Calm down. Smile. Enjoy the swimming sunrise. Take in the quiet of Lakeshore Drive at 7am on a Sunday. Laugh at the simplicity of the run and at the madness and encouragement of the  crowd in those last few minutes.

And for God’s sake have cold beer at the ready this time.

Triathlon Update: How to Not Suck at Running

27 Jul

This post was supposed to make its debut Tuesday – It’s a little hard to have “Triathlon Tueday” on … Friday?

Just go with it.

The name of the game in this neck of the woods has been “getting back into the swing of things” – last weekend was all about getting my Rocky Mountain High on…

My sister-in-law got hitched atop a beautiful mountain in Colorado. Beautiful nuptials, and quality time with JC’s fam!

But back at the ranch, it’s time to get serious about our impending triathlon! In less than a month we’ll be swimming, biking and running towards the finish line. For me, that means dealing with my least favorite leg of the race… the final, the anchor, the dreaded… running.

Cross-training is a must. When I first decided I was going to “do running”, I sought the guidance of the world wide internets to educate me on topics like, say, learning to run for a period of longer than 10 minutes at one time. While the internet overflows with resources, everything seemed to be pointing in the same direction: start small with running/walking, and slowly build up to greater distances.

Simply put, this method just didn’t work for me.

It wasn’t until I gave up on running and turned my attention to other outlets I enjoyed more thoroughly: consistent weight training, mixed with a regular 90 minute dance class once a week. While the dance class helped me work on endurance, I think the strength piece helped me lay a foundation of muscle which turned out to do a lot of the work for me. After training for a significant amount of time – I’m talking 3-4 total body lifting sessions a week for at least 8 weeks – I’ll never forget my first run. JC & I headed out for a 30 minute out & back, and I could run the entire 30 minutes. I owe this entirely to strength training while also discovering a cardio outlet I could actually enjoy instead of suffering through.

It’s all about the experience. This theory is otherwise known as “bribe yourself to squeeze as much enjoyment out of running as you can.” I’m not trying to make mountains of molehills here — let’s face it, running will never be as cool as watching Teen Mom or eating ice cream — but gearing up an exciting playlist, wearing comfortable clothes complete with earbuds that will stay put, and choosing a picturesque route along the lakeshore to serve as a backdrop for my huffing and puffing are all keys to my success.

While you are running, don’t, under any circumstances, stop running. It’s just like that old Winston Churchill quote: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” If you think you’re getting tired, keep running. If your legs feel heavy, keep running. If you feel like your lungs will explode if you take one more step — you get the picture, do. not. stop. running! Everything will just be harder if you do.

I’m certainly no pavement pounding expert and I see approximately zero marathons in my future. However, using the keys I’ve discovered, I’ve been able to unlock a few secrets about running that have allowed me to incorporate it into my rotation.

Are you a runner? Which part of the triathlon trifecta troubles you – swim, bike, or run? Or none of the above, because you’re just a badass like that?

Happy weekend!

Triathlon Tuesday: Sprint Distance

17 Jul

If you’re anything like me, you might occasionally find yourself in the mood to hit the pavement or the gym for a good workout only to find yourself hemming and hawing over what to actually do with your sweat session.

After all, there are a million options plus one hundred schools of thought: old school steady state cardio, like running multiple miles at the same pace? How about trading that run for a shorter session with intense intervals built in to keep your body guessing? And what about weight training?

It’s confusing.

Personally, I’ve found the most success with sticking to activities I can actually (at least mostly) enjoy – and for me, those typically lean more towards weight training and group fitness classes (especially dance.) I’ve tried the whole running forever thing and frankly I just can’t understand what would possess a person to casually run 6,7,8,9+ miles on any given day (more power to you gazelles who can swing it – it’s just not for me.) But when I stick to what I like, I find I actually somewhat regularly scan myself into that gym that I’m paying for month after month.

However! Even though I’d like to think I’ve found my workout niche, I’m still up for a challenge here & there. And despite my status as  a self-proclaimed weight room novice,  I spent most of my growing up years as a swimmer. Being that I now live in the obscenely active city of Chicago I’ve met a number of fine folks who have casually completed triathlons, and so before I could think this through and, you know, come to my senses, I bought myself a one way ticket to Run Bike Swim.

So here we are.

What is it? A Sprint distance triathlon entails a 1/2 mile swim (approximately 33 laps in a 25 yd pool), 12 mile bike, and a 5k (3.1 mile) run, in that order.

How do you train? From what I can tell, training for a triathlon depends completely on where one currently is in terms of cardiovascular shape. I work out pretty regularly, but given that I’m a weenie I decided to be pretty conservative and try out this 13 week “Couch to Triathlon” training program.  So far it hasn’t been outside of my comfort zone, but has provided enough structure to keep me committed to my training “appointments.”

Speaking of which: I find I cannot seriously commit to a workout “plan” unless I physically place each workout onto my calendar. From there, I have to mentally envision this event as an actual appointment that I MUST show up to – no different than a meeting at work or a dinner date with friends. Does it work? Sometimes yes, sometimes I remember that it’s a completely self-imposed gimmicky attempt at getting myself to workout.

If that doesn’t work, I have the publicity of the internets to back me up. I recently posted my hypothetical week-at-a-glance training, and while I never posted the actual result, knowing that I would need to publicly own up to skipping a workout helped me suck it up and just go.  Plus I get a cool little check mark if I just finish the workout, so there is that.

My prospective week in training:

More likely:

We’ll be in Colorado this weekend for JC’s sister’s wedding, so whether or not the ??’s disappear from that 50 minute bike depends entirely upon our hotel setup. But knowing I have to report back on this makes me that much more eager to bang- out an hourlong stationary bike ride whilst a mile high.

Any triathletes out there? Do I have this on lock or am I going to totally need CPR on the beach?

Swim Bike Run

29 Jun

Before we discuss the title of this post… let’s be serious, you know I want to talk about food.

In the next week I’ll be moving to a new apartment (!), and a few weeks after that I’ll moving to a new office (!!!), so suffice to say there’s plenty o’ change on the horizon for me.

As for right now, my home & office are steps away from one another. So how come I just recently discovered the idea of going home for lunch??

Maybe this lunch wasn’t the most photogenic, but I’ll be darned if it wasn’t tasty.

It all started off with an open-faced sweet potato, slightly mashed.

In a skillet I heated up:

  • 1 chicken italian sausage, diced
  • ~1/2 C chopped mushrooms
  • ~1 C. spinach
  • dash red pepper
  • dash italian seasoning

then added:

  • ~1/3 C. no salt added marinara sauce
  • 1 oz. goat cheese

The marinara & goat cheese combo made for a divine alfredo-y sauce.

Not bad for a midweek lunch, eh?

One more thing before I go. I think I’ve neglected to mention – I woke up after all of my wedding chaos had passed and realized, in panic: “OMG! I’m racing in my first ever triathlon!!”

Since then, I’ve swallowed my jitters and hit the pool, the bike, and of course, the treadmill.

But with 2 months to go until the race, I plan to use this place as a way to stay accountable. I figure it I report it to you guys, I kinda have to do it. Otherwise I’ll look like a big fat slacker on the world wide internets.

So for the coming week, including today, here is what my training schedule looks like.

Words of encouragement – who’s got ’em?!