Thursday Things

1. (Don’t even try to pretend like you didn’t see this coming.)


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Hate it, hate it, hate it. You can say all you want about how it’s only a forecast, how it’s probably not going to be that hot during the race, how I’m overreacting, blah, blah blah. The fact remains: not a single forecasting outlet is predicting a runner-friendly race day. Even the MARATHON isn’t predicting a runner-friendly race day.

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asldfkjasdfdf >:(

Assuming things hold, this will be my first yellow-flaged marathon, and I have to say, I am not looking forward to it. It’s just so frustrating, you know? I have no idea what kind of time I’m going to be able to turn in under those conditions, but considering the fairly slow times (5:25 and 4:57) I turned in on days when the high–the HIGH–was 64, I’m feeling less-than-optimistic about my chances of turning in the kind of time I was dreaming about this Sunday, if the weather had been perfect. All those hot, humid, terrible runs I logged this summer were meant to build my red blood cell count so that when it was 45 and overcast at the start, I’d have enough excess to make 26.2 feel easy…or at least feel easier. And there is literally not one single thing I can do about it. I can complain, I can cry, I can whine, I can pray my face off, but I cannot do anything to actually change the weather. And it just sucks. No, I wasn’t going for a BQ or an Olympic Trials qualifier (honestly, if either of those things were my goals, I wouldn’t run this weekend. I’d swallow the $185 loss and find a marathon on Saturday, or a marathon next weekend, or maybe even the weekend after that, but I absolutely would not run this week, unless I woke up race morning to 45 and overcast.), but I am going for a PR, and I’m incredibly concerned that this kind of weather is going to keep me from that, making the past 18 weeks for naught. I didn’t train just to finish this race. I trained to finish it fast(er than I’ve finished it before, ideally substantially so).

Those are my emotions. This is my rationality:

On the day of the 20 miler, the high was 72, and the low was 53. While I’ll start the marathon an hour later than I started the 20 miler and will have an additional 6.2 miles to cover, meaning I’ll finish the marathon over two hours later than I finished the 20 miler, I have run in similar conditions to what’s predicted for Sunday. I’ve run in much worse conditions, over and over and over again, throughout the vast majority of this Godforsaken marathon season. I acclimated to the heat a long time ago, and I don’t imagine I lost all of that in the past three weeks. 74 is terrible, but it’s not 84, or 94. 10-20 mph winds are also terrible, especially out of the south, because that means they’ll be hot winds, not cool winds, but the last three miles of the race head north, so that wind will be at my back when I need it. Even under the most horrific of conditions (ahem, Rock ‘n’ Roll), I managed to surprise myself with how good I felt while running. I made adjustments, but I still felt great. I felt great during Rock ‘n’ Roll. EVERYTHING about Rock ‘n’ Roll should’ve made me feel like shit. But when I hit mile 10ish, I felt so strong. Ditto that at the Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K, and the Big 10K, and the Chicago Half. Not a single race I’ve run this season has had perfect weather conditions, but I have felt better in every single race I’ve run this season than I felt in the Chicago Spring 13.1 or Soldier Field (though, admittedly, feeling better than I felt at Soldier Field wouldn’t take much.). The weather during the 20 miler was similar to the forecast for the marathon, and do we remember how I felt during the 20 miler? How I negative split the last three miles? How I dropped a sub-10:00 mile for the last mile? Right. It was warm, and it was too sunny, but I still did just fine. Now, granted, the last 10K of a marathon is no joke under the best conditions, but the point is I’ve been here before and survived this before. I’m capable of handling this.

But I still want the forecast to change.

2. Let’s talk goals!

I feel like at this point, it goes without saying that my main goal is to finish. I count this as my #0 goal, if you will, because even though it’s officially on the list…it’s not really on the list. The real list, however, looks like this:

#1: Run a 4:45.
This is part of my slowly-chip-away-at-my-marathon-time-to-BQ-in-five-years plan. 4:45 is this year’s target.

#2: Negative split.
Ideally, I’d like to accomplish this by going out at a no-faster-than-11:00 pace, and speed up by no more than 15 seconds/mile every five miles (so miles 1-5 would be run at an 11:00+ pace, miles 5-10 would be at a 10:45-11:00 pace, etc.). If executed perfectly (lulz like anything in a marathon is ever perfect), this would get me somewhere close to a 4:35, which is my dream, perfect day, everything has gone right time goal. It also gives me a lot of flexibility with hitting my actual, 4:45 time goal in case things go south. I’m wondering if I should continue to use this plan and see what I can do, even with the forecast, or if I should adjust, and if so, how I should adjust it. Should I slow all my times by 15 seconds/mile (starting at 11:15+, then going to 11:15-11:00, etc.)? Should I increase my speed more slowly: every seven miles? Every 10 miles? Something different? I DON’T KNOW. Because I don’t know, right now I’m thinking of just sticking with the original plan, though I am MORE than willing to take alternative suggestions.

#3: PR.
Anything faster than a 4:57:51 will accomplish this goal. Given that my pacing plan has me running a 4:35, I should have a lot of leeway with this.

#4: Rigidly stick to the same run/walk plan I stuck to last year, should it come to that.
That means starting with 4:1 run:walk intervals, dropping down to 3:2 run:walk if 4:1 becomes too much to handle, then 2:3, then 1:4. Ideally, I’d like to not have this happen at all, but having a walking plan made a BIG difference last year, and I think, especially in light of the forecast, it’s best to have something in mind.

#5: Make it to Ashland.
Last year, I ran into the wall as soon as I turned onto Taylor Street from Halsted. It was swift and vicious and horrible, and while I managed to continue running down Taylor until I got to Erin’s aid station, when I did get to Erin’s aid station, I honestly thought I was going to pass out. I’d like to not feel like that at any point during the race this year, if possible, but if not, I’d like to make it farther into the race before feeling that way. Ashland is just beyond Erin’s aid station (and, in my opinion, the WORST part of the course. Damn do I hate that stretch of Ashland between Taylor and 18th. Hate. It. Too much sun, too few spectators, nothing worth looking at [Sorry, Jewel Osco. I will never be excited to see you.]…everything about that section is the. worst. Even worse than post-Chinatown pre-IIT Highway Land, in my opinion.

#6: Refrain from negative self-talk.
I suppose this probably should be higher up on my list of goals, but whatever. Let’s put it in a more realistic location :P Although to be honest, I think I’ve been pretty good at this this year, or at least this summer. I don’t want my brain to sabotage me if I’m struggling, so hopefully I can keep negative, anxious Bethany locked far, far away where she belongs.

3. This past weekend I went on a Chicago Architecture Foundation boat tour. It was cold as ice, but SO awesome. I was in heaven. I’d overwhelm you with pictures, but I’ve already overwhelmed you with words, so pictures will have to wait until…hopefully sometime. Goodness knows it probably won’t be next week. After the marathon when I’ve run out of things to talk about! Anyway. RedEye wanted to know what everyone was doing on Saturday and asked for our pictures. Always happyto comply, I tweeted back to them. And look!

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Happy to sign autographs at any time.

Who’s joining my fan club on Sunday? Lemme know where you’ll be, and I’ll look for you!


Filed under Life

Chicago Marathon Training Week 17

Sunday, September 27: 13.34 miles in 2:12:34 for a 9:55 pace.
Chicago Half Marathon by my watch’s (generous!) stats.

Monday, September 28: Yoga.
This one:

I figured a Lululemon SeaWheeze yoga practice would probably be appropriate for the day after a half marathon. We spent way too much time sitting on our toes to open up the soles of our feet, though. I hate it when runner’s yoga does that – it hurts! Though I suppose that’s probably the point…

Tuesday, September 29: Dance.
We added more to the Lean On choreography we learned last week, and that “more” involved a bunch of tutting. Tutting, for those unfamiliar:

Except ours is obviously substantially less complex. It does look really cool, though, in my humble opinion *brushes shoulder off* Haha

Wednesday, September 30: 6 miles in 1:01:36 for a 10:15 pace.
Six blustery miles. The wind for most of last week in Chicago was INSANE, and Wednesday was no exception. I was seriously fighting it at some points on this run. I almost always wear a hat when I go out for a run, but I was afraid if I wore one it would blow away, so I just wore sunglasses. Between those and my arm sleeves, I felt super legit :P

Thursday, October 1: 4 miles (tempo) in 38:43 (9:00 and 8:53 [!!] tempo miles) for an overall 9:40 pace.
Once again, the wind was bonkers on this run, but I was SO happy with how things went! My last tempo mile was entire into the wind, so to bust out an 8:53 was the perfect way to end speedwork for this cycle. Next week (this week, but the time you read this) will be all easy runs, so I wanted to close out my speedwork on a good note, and this tempo run accomplished just that.

Friday, October 2: Rest.
Went to the podiatrist for a followup appointment. She was all panicky about my foot, which put me in a foul, anxious mood.

Saturday, October 3: 8.21 miles in 1:23:19 for a 10:08 pace.
Last long run of the season! Of course, the weather had to continue with its recent pattern of being absolutely hideous on Saturday mornings:


Yikes. Fortunately AccuWeather overstated the rain situation, and it actually only drizzled for maybe a total of 10 minutes. The WIND, though. Oh. My. Gosh. I obviously didn’t measure it, but the forecast said we could get up to 40 mph gusts, and I wouldn’t doubt that, especially by the lake. It was absolutely freezing and so, so windy. We ran fairly fast, as you can tell by our average pace, but meh. Whatever. An eight miler feels so insignificant at this point, and it was cold enough that I could handle a quicker run.

My podiatrist put me in a funk on Friday that all of my taper negativity and anxiety immediately latched onto. My foot, for the most part, had been fine. Maybe it felt a little off every now and again, but I haven’t had trouble running, even if it has “hurt” (“hurt” being a generous word for it: “ached somewhat” would be more accurate). My podiatrist, however, freaked out that I hadn’t been wearing my night splint (which, as we previously established, did more harm than good) and then got all up in arms over my foot feeling tight (never mind the fact that she only felt one of my feet, not both of them, so I don’t know what she was comparing the feeling to, since she clearly didn’t have a Bethany baseline to work with). I feel like she’s making a mountain out of a molehill, and I STILL don’t really think I have plantar fasciitis, since I continue to have exactly zero standard symptoms of plantar fasciitis, but at the same time, she’s the doctor, so I’ve been freaking out over worrying that she IS right, and I’ve just got my head in the sand. It has hurt a little bit more lately: am I just hyperaware of it, or is something going on? What if it DOES get bad during the marathon? What if this ruins everything?!?! These are the thoughts tormenting my brain at the moment, and I imagine will continue to torment my brain until just about this time next week. Taper is a helpful scapegoat to blame literally everything on right now, of course, but I do wish my mind could settle down over all this nonsense in the mean time.


Filed under Marathon Training

Thursday Things

1. As anyone who has spent any amount of time reading this blog should know, I’m half Dutch, and I’m more than happy to discuss this at length with any poor soul forced to sit through my ramblings about Dutch food or my incredibly limited Dutch vocabulary. Additionally, I feel immense responsibility to educate the anglocentric barbarians of the United States–nay, the world–on the correct pronunciation of Dutch words as a result of my upbringing, which, mercifully, included built-in education on how to pronounce double vowels in Dutch and, perhaps more importantly, raised me to pronounce “gouda” correctly. I am on a one-woman mission to teach every American how to accurately pronounce “gouda,” as I have documented on this, my humble corner of the interwebs, on more than one occasion.

(I did, however, refrain from correcting my barista at Starbucks last Thursday when he presented me with the bacon and “goo-duh” sandwich I got for myself using my birthday reward…though just barely.)

As I’ve said before, and will say again, and will continue to say until the day I die: the correct pronunciation of “gouda” is “how-duh.” My BFFs at de Quay, a Dutch-Indonesian restaurant in Lincoln Park, will back me up.

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Anyway. You can imagine my immense glee on Monday morning when my brother sent this article to my entire family. Not only did it confirm what anyone in West Michigan could’ve told you without any sort of research–that Dutch people are tall–but it also included this quote, which will perhaps go down as my favorite quote from any published article of all time:

In the Netherlands, milk became a popular drink at a time when clean water was in short supply. Any that wasn’t drunk was churned into butter or cheeses, often named after the towns where they were traded, such as Gouda (pronounced, to the confusion of cheese-lovers worldwide, “How-da”).



If the BBC says I’m right, I am, undeniably, correct. I was undeniably correct in the first place, because who do you think is a better authority on Dutch pronunciation: my great-grandfather, who immigrated from the Netherlands when he was 18, or your local Starbucks barista? RIGHT. My great-grandpa wins that fight every single time. But this further confirms my correctness, and I would like to make this article required reading for literally every single person who has ever, under any circumstance, consumed or wanted to consume gouda cheese. IT’S HOW-DUH, DANGIT, NOT GOO-DUH. It never has been and it never will be, so stop. calling. it. the. wrong. name. This will never not bother me.

2. It’s almost my favorite weekend in Chicago!! Not marathon weekend–though I do love marathon weekend–Open House Chicago weekend! I’m obsessed with Open House Chicago, and have gone for the past three years. I was reading through the buildings open this year and I’m already stressed. I want to go to ALL OF THE PLACES! And this year they have 200 options O.O Too many choices! I am pretty proud of myself, however, because when the Chicago Athletic Association hotel opened this year I was like, “That’s totally going to be part of OHC 2015,” and I was right! I did not, however, expect the Virgin Hotel, the Palmer House, and the W to be part of the lineup as well. There are also SO many churches this year! And, most excitingly, the Aon Center! Fun fact: when I did my internship in Chicago in 2011, I interviewed at a place in the Aon Center. I could’ve worked there! But they didn’t want me :( Oh well. Anyway, OHC will give you access to the 71st floor, and I’m super stoked. I know the line is going to be a nightmare, but whatever. I’ll put up with it for that, even if it is going to drastically cut into my time to see other buildings. I never seem to get very far out of downtown for OHC, so part of me wants to venture up to Edgewater and Rogers Park this year for it…but there are just so many buildings downtown. It’s a lot easier to get to a lot of venues when they’re all right by each other. Decisions, decisions.

3. I updated to iOS 9 a couple weeks ago, and now that I’ve gotten used to the different font and, even more so, the fact that apps now appear on the left when you want to quit them instead of the right, I’ve had time to actually learn to appreciate the new operating system. My favorite part? The News app. Holy smokes. Game. Changer. Technically, as a supporter of print journalism, I should probably be against the app, since it is nothing but oodles and oodles of free news, but I’m obsessed with it. It makes staying up-to-date on current events–current events that YOU care about–so easy. Big fan.

4. I need advice. Every single week of marathon training that I’ve attended CARA’s long run, two of my group leaders have given me a ride home. It’s not horribly out of their way, but it’s also not on their way home to drop me off, and I’m extremely grateful for their generosity. I know I absolutely need to get them a thank you of some sort, but I have NO clue what to get them. I’m a little intimidated, because they’re 10 years older (and 10 years cooler) than I am and approximately one gazillion and three quarters time richer than I am (like the Manolo Blahniks the girl wears? Yeah, you better believe those aren’t from Nordstrom Rack.), so I don’t want my thank you to seem lame, or like, “Oh, how adorable!” you know? I don’t want to feel like a kindergartener giving her teacher a handmade card at the end of the year. But I’m not sure what to get them that will 1) make me seem like a put together adult and 2) wouldn’t seem petty, so any suggestions at all are welcome and encouraged.

Can anyone clone me so I can go to all 200 OHC site? Please and thanks.
Do you use the News app on iOS 9?


Filed under Life