Chicago Marathon Training Week 12

Sunday, August 21: Yoga.
This one, kind of:

I quit 34 minutes into the video for a variety of reasons. The practice felt far more intense than I needed or wanted for the day after 18 miles, I wasn’t a fan of the instructor, and quite frankly, I had one zillion other things I needed to be doing that day to get ready for vacation and didn’t feel like wasting my time on a yoga practice I was hating when I could’ve been doing things like going to CVS so I’d actually be able to carry liquids onto the plane.

Monday, August 22: 8 miles (tempo-ish) in 1:2x:xx for a 10:28 pace.
OOF. That’s how I’d summarize this run. I mostly gave up on RunnersConnect several weeks ago because I was sick of paying for workouts that felt far beyond my ability level and even more sick of one of the coaches on the website, who, when I voiced concerns over my weekly mileage in my training plan, basically told me I was an idiot for believing what I’ve read on the Internet about weekly mileage (because, clearly, everyone else is wrong, and this guy is right, that it’s totally okay and safe to jump from 18 miles/week for six weeks to 32 miles in a week with no buildup whatsoever. Right.), and then turned right around two weeks later and reprimanded me for running what he deemed to be too many miles over the course of three days. *rolls eyes* That particular coach turned me off RunnersConnect so much that I decided to stop using the site at all, with the exception of two more workouts to take me through the end of August (at which point I plan to cancel my subscription). One of those workouts was Monday’s: an eight mile alternating tempo run, with a one mile warmup, six miles of alternating tempo (RunnersConnect called for something ridiculous like 8:45, 8:35, 8:45, 8:35, 8:45, 8:35, to which I said LOLNOPE, and instead I aimed for more like 9:45/9:35, which is, you know, my normal tempo pace), and a one mile cooldown. I really was doing just fine through mile five, more or less hitting my paces and all of that, but at mile five I hit the wall HARD. My legs clearly were not up to that kind of workout two days after an 18 miler, so I ran/walked the last three miles of this run. Good thing I don’t have time goals this year.

Tuesday, August 23: Strength training.
NTC’s Slim Chance 2.0. I love this workout, though I do wish it lasted more than 30 minutes. Originally, I planned to bike on Tuesday and do strength training on Thursday, but as I was heading to the gym Tuesday morning, I realized there was no reason why I couldn’t do strength training on Tuesday, and opted for that instead. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I likely won’t have time at all to work out on Thursday, and I’d rather skip biking than strength training in favor of a rest day. I suppose I also like to take two rest days before races, so even though I’m not thrilled about taking a rest day on Thursday, I can justify it.

Wednesday, August 24: 5.25 miles in 53:xx for a 10:xx pace.
Meant to do six, but my stomach had other plans. I don’t usually have GI issues while running *knocks on all wood available*, but I had a heavier-than-usual dinner the night before and ran basically as soon as I rolled out of bed Wednesday morning, and around mile 4 my tummy decided it was done with this nonsense. Not the most enjoyable experience of my life, but I got through it.

Thursday, August 25: Rest.
I’m not usually one to take a rest day due to a lack of free time–I will find time to work out, darn it!–but that was the case on Thursday. I literally did not have any time to work out, and even if I had,  I think it was in my best interest to take an extra rest day anyway. My legs had felt tired for three consecutive runs, and when you add in the stress I felt from trying to get ready to go on vacation, I think additional recovery was in my best interest.

Friday, August 26: Rest.

Saturday, August 27: Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon.
I can’t actually report on anything about this race yet, as I’m writing this post on Thursday.But I’ll come back and update this little bit (and provide a full race recap, of course!) later on🙂

Thursday Things

1. Ohhhhhh my gosh, this week, you guys. This time tomorrow I’ll be on my way to the city I wish I called home, Seattle, to visit family. Even though it’s only been 10 months since my last visit, it’s been nearly 10 years since I last visited Seattle during the summer (my most recent trips have been in December, May and October) and I absolutely can’t wait. I’m also running my first race in Washington (state) on Saturday (and am desperately trying to ignore the 300 feet of elevation gain between miles 3 and 5 of said race. I’m choosing to believe that my “altitude training” from living 600ish feet above sea level, compared to the 100-400 feet above sea level of this course, will carry me through. That, or walking. Probably walking.)

Anyway, while I’m chomping at the bit to be on the West Coast, life in Chicago is doing its darndest to break me in the mean time. I don’t remember the last time I took a weeklong vacation to anywhere other than my parents’ house, and WOWZA is the prep to go away for this amount of time stressful. I feel like I have 10 million things I need to get in order before I leave my house tomorrow morning, and it’s super overwhelming. If I could do it all again, I would’ve taken today off as well to get my life in order before leaving. Of course, it doesn’t help that I will have approximately 14 hours between stepping off the plane on my return trip and needing to be on the Lakefront Trail running 20 miles, and will have approximately six hours from the time I step on the Trail for my 20 miler to be on my way to a wedding in the suburbs >.< This is why I (normally) don’t take vacations during marathon season (so of course, the year I decide to run two marathons, one of which is three weeks earlier than I’m used to running a marathon, is the year I go on a family vacation. Smart move, self.)

2. One of my roommates decided that she had had enough of the scuff marks that had been all over all walls since before I moved in two years ago, and asked our landlord to paint the place. He refused to do so (?! I do like my landlord a lot, because he’s super laid back and hands off, but sometimes I wonder if he understands what owning a property entails. Like, you know, maintaining that property, even if you don’t live in it.), but instead offered to buy us painting supplies so we could do it ourselves. Guess what last weekend’s project was?


I like that the walls now look nice and clean, but I was annoyed a bit over the whole situation. The scuff marks didn’t bother me, and I don’t even own the place! I find it so difficult to care about something like paint on the walls at a place that isn’t mine and isn’t where I’ll live forever. There’s a reason why I’ve never painted anyplace I’ve lived in as a tenant, you know? Whatever. It’s done now. All I have to say is that I had better get my entire security deposit back whenever I move out, if my landlord expects us to do the maintenance he should be doing.

3. And with that: to Seattle! I’ve got a couple posts scheduled for next week (though my marathon training recap will be a little incomplete), but I’m not bringing my laptop with me, so my appearances in Blogland may be a bit limited until after Labor Day. Until then, friends!

Have you gone on any vacations this summer?

Chicago Marathon Training Week 11

Sunday, August 14: IM 70.3 Steelhead spectating.
My FitBit claims I got 36,000+ steps on Sunday, though I call shenanigans on that, since there’s no way I walked upwards of 18 miles that day. I imagine clapping for an hour and a half helped my step count substantially. Regardless, I did get a lot of walking in that day.

Monday, August 15: 4 miles in 40:08 for a 10:01 pace.
Knocked this out Monday morning, and I’m glad I did, as the weather Monday evening turned out to be rainy and gross and awful. I was surprised by how fast I did this run. I didn’t really have any intention to run that fast, but I suppose having the pressure of getting to work on time got my butt in gear.

Tuesday, August 16: SoulCycle.


I hadn’t been to SoulCycle since February, and a few weeks ago, received an email declaring that the studio “missed my soul” and would reserve a bike for me on the house if I wanted to come back. Since free SoulCycle is my favorite SoulCycle, I took them up on that offer. I didn’t turn out to be entirely free, because I did need to rent shoes, but it was free enough. My roommate has also wanted to check out SoulCycle for a long time, so this was a good opportunity to make that happen. The class was surprisingly…easy? Maybe I’m in way better shape than I was in in February, but I expected to get my butt kicked, and that didn’t happen quite as dramatically as I anticipated. It was still a great class, just not quite as challenging as I remembered. I also had a different instructor than I’ve ever had before, which probably impacted things as well.

Wednesday, August 17: 7 miles in 1:10:59 (5 miles at tempo) for an overall 10:08 pace.
Oof. What a slog. I was supposed to meet some girls from my running group for this, but rain on the afternoon commute led to the cancellation of those plans, so I did these seven miles solo. I hadn’t done any speedwork in a while, so I aimed to make this a tempo run with a one mile warmup, five miles at tempo, and then a one mile cooldown. That kinda worked. A little over a mile into my run, my watch beeped and displayed a “Battery Low” screen (which I anticipated would happen, since I noticed it only had 10% battery remaining when I left for my run). I had never had that happen with my Polar M400 before, so I expected it to behave like a Garmin–that is, die instantly. But it didn’t! It continued tracking me for my whole run! I thought the Battery Low screen wouldn’t go away until I charged my watch, but when I accidentally lapped my watch a few miles later, it brought the stopwatch/distance tracking back up (and it had been beeping at all my miles). That was a most welcome surprise.

Anyway, the run itself. That rain that cancelled my group run led to some intense humidity, and as a result this run was all over the place. I aim to run my tempo miles in the 9:30 range, though that proved to be a little difficult when I couldn’t see my pace on my watch. I did a 9:24, 8:55 (oops), and 9:28 before feeling like I couldn’t breathe, so on my fourth tempo mile I took a bit of a walk break and did an 11:03 mile. I did make it through one more tempo mile (9:58), and then walked a quarter mile before running the remainder of my cooldown mile. This wasn’t particularly enjoyable, but I was really surprised at my paces when I saw them, especially given the weather.

Thursday, August 18: Strength training.
I did Pace Breaker on the NTC app. This was the first time I’ve done a rep-based workout on NTC, as opposed to a time based workout (all the workouts were time based before the update earlier this summer, and a decent number of them–including all the ones I’ve done–continue to be time based). The workout had a time estimate of 32 minutes, which was perfect for the amount of time I had available. I don’t know who came up with that time estimate, but whoever it is clearly is in much better shape than I’m in, because I didn’t even come close to that. I really only had 32 minutes, so I ended at that point, but I had to skip the entire last set of exercises and the cooldown to do so. This was an EXTREMELY lunge heavy workout–I think I ended up doing a total of 120 lunges when it was all said and done? That’s about 100 more than I’d usually do in a day (okay, fine: it’s 120 more than I’d usually do in a day), and I was really worried about how sore my legs would be afterwards (fortunately, they were much less sore than they usually are after a new NTC workout).

Friday, August 19: Rest.

Saturday, August 20: 18 miles in 3:12:22 for a 10:41 pace.
I would like to kindly request the cancellation of all 18 milers from here on out.

I don’t know if any of you remember the debacle that was last year’s 18 miler, but if you don’t, please feel free to refresh your memories. I had a most unwelcome bout of deja vu on this year’s 18 miler as well. I woke up Saturday morning to see this promising image on the radar:


which did nothing to inspire confidence in me that I’d get through this run 1) without being rained on 2) without being stormed on. All things considered, I think I was fairly zen about the situation. I knew if I didn’t get 18 miles in on Saturday, I wouldn’t do an 18 miler all season, but I also knew that life would go on if I didn’t hit 18 miles–the benefits of having run marathons before, I suppose. Regardless, I still wanted to get in 18 miles. The best way to make that happen, by my estimation, would have been to run a little bit before my run, run with the group for awhile, and then break away from them and run home to finish my 18.

That’s how things began. I ran to the group run, which I’ve done several times in the past, and felt just fine. As soon as I started running with the group, though, things just completely fell apart. My group leaders have been spot on with pacing this year, but if my watch splits are accurate, we were doing closer to 10:15 than 10:30 for the first four miles or so. My legs could not handle that at all, so I told the girl I was running with that when we got to water at mile four, I was going to go to the back of the group and fall off. While I wasn’t enthused about running 14 miles solo, I didn’t think it was worth killing myself early on to try to stay with the group, only to have to walk later. Truth be told, I wasn’t that upset about the situation. I hadn’t had a bad long run all year and knew I was due for one, and though I’d prefer to get that sort of thing out of my system on, say, a 10 miler, I’d also rather get it out of my system before any marathons come up.

One of our new group leaders hung back with me, which I really didn’t expect, and chatted with me for the next six miles of our run. We weren’t too far off the group, really, and I felt a lot more relaxed and capable of maintaining that pace. Around mile 8 or 9 (for me–they were all behind me, mileage wise, since I had run to the training site) it started to rain a bit. Then at mile 10.25, I saw lightening and heard thunder. I was about two steps from the Division underpass, so I bid farewell to my group leader and sought shelter.

AccuWeather threatened another 120 minutes of “heavy rain and a thunderstorm,” which was a bit inconvenient, as I definitely did not have 120 minutes to stand in an underpass, and also had 7.75 more miles to run. I hemmed and hawed for awhile, hanging out with some tourists for the Air and Water Show also seeking shelter in the Division underpass, before finally deciding I hadn’t heard thunder recently and that I could chance it.

It was pouring. I haven’t run in rain like that for a long time, and if I never run in rain like that again, it will be too soon. I was soaked to the bone within minutes, and the Lakefront Trail was just filled with puddles. The rain let up two miles or so later, only to come back with a vengeance in another two miles. All told, I think I got rained on for a total of six or so miles. And let me tell you, I have never, ever chafed like I chafed on that run. I have a line of chafing from the bottom of my sports bra that is six inches long (I’m not exaggerating: I literally measured it), and because apparently one piece of underwear rebelling against me wasn’t enough, my underwear also bit my butt, and let me tell you, butt chafing is a particularly unpleasant sensation. I also earned at least two new blisters, though compared to all my chafing woes, those were pretty minor inconveniences. I am slathering my entire body in Body Glide if there is ever so much as a threat of rain on a really long run ever again. But I got in my miles, and that’s what counts.

I’m less than a month away from marathon #1 of the season, and truly cannot wrap my mind around that fact. Having never run any marathons but Chicago prior to this, it’s very disorienting to have my schedule not follow the Chicago training schedule. I haven’t done a week-by-week analysis, but I think my mileage overall is tracking low this year, which also concerns me a bit. Obviously I don’t really have time to make that up at this point, and since I didn’t have a time goal in the first place, I suppose it’s not the end of the world. I do wish I felt a little more prepared to be less than a week away from peak week, though.


Thursday Things

1. At last! I can report on spectating a half Ironman!


After last month’s snafu in Racine, all my friends who had planned to do Racine signed up for Ironman 70.3 Steelhead, which took place this past weekend in Benton Harbor, Michigan – about two hours from Chicago. Consequently, I headed back to the mitten this weekend as well to cheer on my people.

I don’t have a car, so before IM 70.3 Racine, I joined Zipcar to get myself up to Wisconsin. I considered going through a “real” car rental service for Steelhead, and while that may have saved me a few dollars, I find Zipcar to be so much simpler and more straightforward than a car rental service. You don’t have to worry about the rental storefront’s hours, you don’t have to pay for gas, you don’t have to pay extra for insurance, there are, I would estimate, hundreds of locations around Chicago where you can pick up a car: the whole process, top to bottom, seemed infinitely simpler going through Zipcar than anyone else, and even if it cost a little more, I was certainly willing to pay for that convenience, especially since I needed to return my car on Sunday, and, as I quickly learned, good luck finding a non-airport rental car storefront in Chicago that’s open past like 3 p.m. on a Sunday.

So, after furiously getting my life in order after my long run on Saturday, I picked up my Zipcar and drove to South Bend, Indiana, where I had booked a hotel room for the night. South Bend isn’t exactly on the way to Benton Harbor, but it’s only about 40 minutes or so from the race site, and as all the hotels in St. Joe and Benton Harbor appeared booked for the night (or at least all the hotels where I have points were booked), I was fine staying in South Bend. I got there just fine, spent the night in bed watching the Olympics, and crashed pretty early, as I wanted to be to Benton Harbor around 6:30 a.m. the next morning. (That didn’t happen, but, you know, at least I had good intentions😛 )

I got to the race’s offsite parking location a little bit after 7 on Sunday morning, by which point nearly all of the lots in the Whirlpool corporate area–which is where they provide offsite parking–were packed. I somehow managed to find a spot fairly quickly, but if I were ever to go to Steelhead again, I’d definitely try to get there much earlier. The race provides shuttles to the race site from the parking area, but it’s definitely walkable, so I got to Jean Klock Park by the power of my own two feet.


There she is! The other side of Lake Michigan! My native side🙂

IM 70.3 Steelhead features a swim in Lake Michigan, obviously, which is basically three sides of a rectangle. Participants come up out of the water and into transition, entering on the south end and leaving out of the north end, before going on a big, long bike ride around southwest Michigan, then enter back into transition basically where they came in from the swim and exit out the same way the exited for the bike. The run is lollipop-style, with a stick (a broken, L-shaped stick, but a stick nonetheless) that takes runners up to just before mile 2, where they then run a loop twice before returning down the stick, entering into transition from the north end (the same direction where they exited for the bike and run), and finish near where they entered transition after the swim.

I thought I had a decent game plan for spectating the race, but quickly discovered I was quite wrong. If I spectate again, these are the things I will keep in mind:

1) Arrive earlier than 7 a.m. This also is probably a given, since the race starts at 7.
2) Spectate the transition out of swim from the NORTH side of the swim exit, not the south side, like I did. When you spectate on the south side, you have to cross through the participant’s path up the beach, which isn’t impossible, because it’s not like this is the Chicago Marathon or something with a steady stream of people for hours on end, but putting yourself in an easy spectating spot to begin with would simplify things immensely. This would also give you the opportunity to go directly to transition and watch your athlete start the bike, though you’d probably have to run to make it.


Pictured: the wrong side to spectate the swim exit from.
3) Walk around the transition/finish line area to Grand Boulevard, which serves as the exit to start the bike, the exit to start the run, and the entrance to finish the race. The first mile or so of the bike and run follow the exact same route, so you could post up in one spot and see your athlete three times (but you probably wouldn’t see them finish). I walked along the run course to about mile 1.25ish (the corner of N. Shore Dr. and Pollard, right by what appeared to be a former elementary school, under the glorious shade of some tall trees) and thought this was an excellent spectating location. It was right before the first aid station, so I had something to cheer other than, “Looking good, runners!” (That something being, “Aid station right up ahead. Stay strong!”), it wasn’t on the hill they have to run during the first mile, and it was relatively dead, which I think is a nice place for spectators to go, since those quiet miles can be the most soul-crushing, at least in my endurance sports experience. Additionally, being there gives you MORE than enough time to beat your triathlete(s) back to the finish line, so you can watch them come in there as well.

I’ve volunteered at races before, but I’ve never spectated to watch specific people, and it’s no joke! I really had no idea where anyone I was looking for would be, and since the tracking app wasn’t updating quite in sync with real time, more often than not I found myself panicking that my friends had died. I’m happy to report that none of them did, however, and I now have three more friends who’ve completed half Ironmans. As for me, this race really did nothing but confirm my suspicions that, at this moment in time, I have NO desire whatsoever to do a triathlon, even a short one. I’ll stick to my marathons instead, thanks.

2. Speaking of which: there’s a new course for Chicago this year! Well, kind of. More like a detoured course. Historically, the race takes runners past the Sears/Willis Tower down Adams St., but this year the bridge that crosses the Chicago River at Adams is very much not constructed at the moment, and isn’t supposed to be done until next February. As the Chicago Marathon is, indeed, a marathon, and not a run/swim/run duathlon, that necessitated a course reroute. And we have one! This year, instead of running to Adams, we’ll turn on Monroe, take that to Jefferson, and then get on Adams for the long, trying slog out to the United Center. That also means that the half marathon mark is in a different location this year, which I’m irrationally excited about. Please don’t mind me and my Chicago Marathon nerdiness.

3. So. As we all (hopefully) know by this point, I’m a pretty big fan of penguins. While I do love penguins with all my heart, puffins are a very close runner-up for my favorite kind of aquatic bird. Actually, they may be tied, because both varieties of birds are equally cute in my opinion. Anyway, one of my coworkers was out of the office for the past two weeks on a trip to Iceland, Scotland and England. When I arrived on Monday, this is what I found on my desk:



Straight from Iceland, where puffins roam free! Apparently they’re really fast and hard to photograph, so this magnet will have to do. But you better believe it’s displayed proudly in my cube. It makes me so happy😀

Have you ever spectated an Ironman event? Or a big endurance event in general? It’s a lot more complicated than I expected! And Ironman doesn’t exactly make it easy on you, with bare bones spectating suggestions.

Chicago Marathon Training Week 10

Sunday, August 7: Dance.
We had graduation on Tuesday, which meant we had an extra rehearsal on Sunday, per usual. Barely anyone showed up, but we still ran our routine into the ground nevertheless.

Monday, August 8: 6 miles in 59:28 for a 9:54 pace.
Soo I had a really awful day on Monday. Like really awful. It definitely cracked the top three for Worst Days of My Life to Date. I was supposed to do some sort of tempo-ish workout on Monday, but I was so worked up and so angry and so frustrated that I threw all my plans out the window and decided to run until I no longer felt worked up/angry/frustrated. And I ran fast. I believe this is the first time all marathon season that I’ve averaged a sub-10:00 pace on a non-speedwork run, and quite likely is the first time I’ve averaged a sub-10:00 pace in a non-race setting since…May? April? It’s definitely been awhile. My splits were a lone bright spot in my day. As was the view on my run:


(Recycled picture, but same location. This is my favorite spot on the lake. I haven’t run there at all since last April, but I needed something that would make me happy, and while this didn’t solve my problems, at least it made me feel a little better.)

Tuesday, August 9: Dance.
Graduation! All things considered, I thought our performance went really well this session. There were some people who very clearly struggled throughout the session to learn choreography–which is not a criticism at all, because learning choreography is really hard when it’s a brand new concept to you, and is even harder when you’re not able to make it to class every week–but even those who had the most trouble did just fine during graduation. Now we head into our two week break, which means I get to do other things with my Tuesdays for a change! Yay!

Wednesday, August 10: 4 miles in 40:53 for a 10:12 pace.
Was still feeling a bit of residual work up/anger/frustration on Wednesday, and busted out another pretty fast (for me and the conditions) run. I originally had hoped/planned to run more like seven miles or so on Wednesday, but I didn’t have the time, and it was hot, so…here we are. I still got in 26 miles this week, so I’m not beating myself up about it too much.

Thursday, August 11: Strength Training.
NTC Medball Madness. I thought I wouldn’t have time for a 45 minute workout…turns out I did. But I only did a 30 minute workout anyway. Oh well. I liked this one a lot. I felt like I accomplished a lot in that amount of time, which is all I really hope for out of these workouts, anyway.

Friday, August 12: Rest.

Saturday, August 13: 16.08 miles in 2:48:40 for a 10:30 pace.
Well, well, well! Look at that pacing😀

CARA did 15 miles on Saturday, so I ran an extra mile before the group run and then tackled 15 miles with them. The humidity on Saturday morning was simply crushing:


OOF. No thank you. Never again, please.

And because of that, this was far from the easiest run of my life. Fortunately, God took mercy on all of our souls and gave us cloudy skies for the majority of the run, but I still cannot recall another time where I was so sweaty during a run. My sports bra felt like I had pulled it straight out of the washing machine when I was done it was so soaked. BUT I managed to stay with the group the whole time, so I consider this run a success.

I’ve been having some arch soreness for the past couple of weeks, and I’m starting to worry about it a bit, especially after this week, when it was particularly noticeable. I really do not have the patience, time, or desire to deal with a case of plantar fasciitis, so I’m trying to be proactive about icing, rolling, and strengthening. The operative word there, however, is “trying.” This has FAR and away been my worst marathon season in terms of recovery and taking care of myself, and I’m really not proud of that at all. I have just over a month until marathon #1 of the fall, and I need to start prioritizing recovery and self-care, or I’m going to be in big trouble as the season goes on.


Thursday Things

1. For nearly as long as I can remember, I’ve listened to country radio in the morning. I’ve had the same clock radio since I was…in fourth grade, I think?, and I know for sure that I’ve had the dial set to the local county station (B93 in Michigan, US 99.5 here) definitely since high school, and possibly since middle school. Even though I’ve become less enamored with country music in recent years (bro country can stop being popular any time now), I’ve continued to listen, and since I moved to Chicago, US 99.5 has been the one radio station I’ve listened to in the morning. I’ve literally woken up it it every single morning since I moved to Chicago over four years ago. Lisa Dent & Ramblin’ Ray have been the first voices I’ve heard every weekday morning for four years, and I sincerely enjoyed their show.

Last Wednesday, I was disappointed to find out that Ramblin’ Ray had signed on with a different, non-country station, but I was downright horrified a few hours later when I found out US 99.5 had canned Lisa, the other half of the morning show. I know US 99.5 doesn’t really owe me anything (although they kind of do, since I’m a listener, and no listeners = no station), but I was legitimately hurt by all of this, particularly since Lisa and Ray were “on vacation” (purportedly) at the time, so neither of them even had a chance to say goodbye to the listeners. If that had happened, I’d be upset, but I would’ve gotten over it. As it stood, however, I was so upset that, for the first time ever, I’ve switched radio stations and headed over to the new country station in Chicago, Big 95.5. And, from the looks of the comments on those linked articles, I’m hardly the only one to do so. I don’t know how on earth US 99.5 expects this move to help them, since they were already nearly tied with Big 95.5 for listeners ages 25-54, and I can’t help but think this will push Big 95.5 over the edge.

However, I’ve encountered an unexpected problem with all of this: I can barely pick up Big 95.5. I’ve often struggled to get a good signal on US 99.5, so this is hardly a new experience for me, but Big 95.5 is FAR worse than US 99.5 ever was in terms of reception. I get about 75% static and 25% actual radio, which is super frustrating. But I’m not going back to US 99.5 – I’m too stubborn for that😛

2. One of my roommates moved out last week, another victim to love (by which I mean, she moved in with her boyfriend of two and a half years.). I was pretty bummed to see her go, as she had been a really great roommate, and I was even MORE bummed when I realized the rice cooker we had, which I used on a nearly weekly basis, belonged to her and would not be staying. Since I’ve been eating homemade “burrito bowls” for a couple of months for lunch, I wasn’t willing to live without a rice cooker, as that thing is clutch for meal prep, so I scoured the Internet and found one.


Eep! Is this not the cutest little itty bitty rice cooker you’ve ever seen?! It can only hold a cup and a half of rice (which is perfect for me), making it much smaller than the normal sized one my old roommate had, and I just cannot get over what a little baby it is.

3. Speaking of things that make me happy:


This solitary petunia is growing next to my building, and it makes me smile every time I see it. I don’t know how on earth it got there–I mean, a seed ended up in the ground somehow, and it sprouted and produced a petunia, but it’s not like it’s in a garden or somewhere else where someone would plant it. It looks totally different than my petunias from last year, so I can’t take any credit for it. But man, what a resilient little guy! Growing there right in the pavement. And here I can’t even get my New Guinea impatiens, planted in pots and regularly fed and watered, to stay alive😛

Have you ever had this sort of radio drama? I am so displeased by this whole situation.

Chicago Marathon Training Week 9

Sunday, July 31: Lolla.


I will forever count this as cross training.

Monday, August 1: 6 miles in 1:01:43 (cutdown run) for an overall 10:16 pace.
I took the morning off work on Monday (see: Lolla), but did wake up with plenty of time to get in a run. When I tried to do a cutdown run last month, it was an utter disaster. I hated every second of it. Monday morning’s weather was a lot better than July 6’s, and since I had done this once before, I had more appropriate expectations. I aimed to run each of my cutdown miles faster than the previous mile, and I did it! My cutdown splits were 10:22, 9:43, 9:35, 9:25. Woohoo! I walked for a quarter mile of my cooldown mile because that 9:25 mile was rough, but regardless, I was super proud of myself for how I did on this run🙂

Tuesday, August 2: Dance.
Another week, another round of endless rehearsing of the same combos. We have graduation this week, and I’m really glad, because I’m sick and tired of doing the same thing over and over and over again.

Wednesday, August 3: Strength training.
I was thrilled to wake up Tuesday morning to an NTC app update, which, according to the description, allowed you to “Easily find NTC Classic workouts” and had “New Workouts added, including Yoga.” Since my two of my chief complaints about the updated workout were 1) all the old workouts had been eliminated and 2) there was no more yoga, I figured this would solve all my problems. Well, not so much. None of my favorite workouts came back (*sheds a solitary tear*), and while they did add yoga, the yoga they added is so minimal it’s barely even worth it. But it’s a step in the right direction, so hopefully it’s only a matter of time until I’m reunited with Transformer and Heartbreaker and all my other old favorite workouts. Anyway, on Wednesday I did Slim Chance 2.0, which I liked MUCH better than No Speed Limit, the workout I did last week. This one actually made me feel like I got a really good workout in 30 minutes, and I could certainly see myself doing this one again.

Thursday, August 4: 4 miles in 43:01 for a 10:44 pace.
This was a HOT one. Oh man. It was 90 degrees and h.u.mi.d., but I chose to run outside anyway because gosh darn it, I am SO sick of the treadmill. I took it pretty easy on this run because of the weather, so I was quite surprised to average a 10:44 pace.

Friday, August 5: Rest.

Saturday, August 6: 12.18 miles in 2:06:41 for a 10:23 pace.
*insert praise emoji hands here courtesy of the weather* It was finally neither hot nor humid for a long run, which was SUCH a nice change of pace after the past few weeks. My CARA group ran 11 miles, so I ran an extra mile beforehand to hit my mileage. While running my first mile, I was joined by another CARA runner from the 9:30 group, and we chatted a bit. He’s doing both Berlin AND Chicago this year, which makes me feel less crazy about doing Fox Valley and Chicago, since at least I have three weeks between marathons instead of two, like that guy. I ran with a newbie in our group (newbie to our group/the marathon, but not a newbie for the week. He’s been there all season) and we had a nice chat as well. I tell you, nothing makes the time pass quite like having someone to talk to on a run. We messed up the turnarounds and had to do some extra mileage to hit our 11 (my 12), which meant we did a lap on the Wilson track. That was a first for a long run!

I’m a little concerned about training this week. While I should have no trouble getting in a workout on Monday (or Tuesday, with dance), Wednesday and Thursday are going to be much more challenging, and I really don’t know how on earth I’m going to find time to run/strength train. I suppose that’s bound to happen at some point during training, but it does still make me a bit uncomfortable. We’ll see what I’m able to do, but hopefully my mileage won’t suffer too dramatically.