Snot Central

It’s been years since I’ve been sick.

And then…Sunday happened.

After Saturday’s awesome 18-miler I was happy and excited about how well this training cycle is going. I spent the rest of the day eating and casually drinking with the boy and some friends. I went to bed earlier than I normally do on a Saturday night. I was asleep by 11:30 PM & was feeling tired but not wiped out (which usually happens after a long run). But I woke up on Sunday around 9:30 AM with a massive headache and extreme congestion.I spent most of the day watching TV and catching up on movies that were nominated for the Oscars (Ok, Argo was definitely worth the hype). It was just what I needed but I still went to bed feeling “blah”.

I managed to fit an easy run in on the treadmill on Monday. It was actually nice out and I was really tempted to head outside for the 6 quick miles but I didn’t feel up to it. Sweating it out at the gym sounded much nicer. I actually didn’t feel terrible during the run but my throat was uncomfortable and running without ummm…breathing…isn’t possible or recommended. (Who knew?!)

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Tuesday, the symptoms swapped. Instead of massive nasal congestion, I had super sore tonsils. 1st Lesson of the Day: gurgling salt water before consuming your first cup of coffee is not advised. It leads to massive taste bud confusion and, in generral, a yucky post-coffee salty taste in your mouth. 2nd Lesson of the Day: do NOT use Kleenex with Vicks lotion to wipe your eyes. That’s just…painful.

Rest was definitely mandatory yesterday. I had a 10-mile workout on the schedule. I really don’t like missing a workout but it had to happen. I felt really run down & wiped out at the end of a workday (even if shortened by an hour or so). I fell asleep by 10 PM last night and woke up around 6:30 AM. It was a small huge victory that I had showered, eaten breakfast, and sipped my first cup of coffee by 7:30 AM this morning. (I celebrated the little wins.) I’m still not sure how that happened considering how I’ve been feeling.

Needless to say, my mileage will be considerably lower this week than it has been all cycle. And I’m going to have to be okay with that.With a 10k to race this Sunday, I’m not happy that this cold decided to show up this week, but as Coach reminds me “better this week than Boston week“. Ok, fiiiiiiine. You’re right, Coach! (This is where my stubborn nature rears its ugly head.)

Lately, I’ve been focusing on my nutrition and what kind of supplements I’m taking. I’ve always been conscious of this but I just want to make sure I’m being smart. Just in the last few months, liquid iron has helped me with low-energy levels and adding EFAs to my diet has reduced inflammation following tough workouts and long-runs. I haven’t had a blood test done in awhile but I know that adding more Vitamin D wouldn’t be a bad move either. Everything in balance, right? Kristy shared this awesome resource with me today on how to prevent and treat cold/respiratory issues today. Definitely taking some pointers from the article.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue to consume throat lozenges, use sinus spray, take Nyquil to sleep, drink orange juice, and take Emergen-C at regular intervals until this thing decides to leave me. Until then, easy runs and limited physical activity.

Who knows?! Maybe this rest is exactly what I need to run a badass race on Sunday!

– J

Boston Marathon 2013 Training: Week 7 of 14

BM2013 Week 7 Training

Less than 50 days to the start line in Hopkinton! Whaaaaat?! Say it ain’t so!

Now that I’m halfway through the training cycle, I’m beginning to realize how much stronger I am than I was in December. I admit it, I was really nervous about this hip issue when I started my training in January. I wasn’t 100% sure that I had strengthened it appropriately and there was always a chance that it come back to rear it’s dull, achy head. I kept thinking back to my Twin Cities training cycle and wondering how I’d ever get back to that. Dealing with a testy gluetus medius took more patience than I thought it would (2 weeks of no running can feel like an eternity–I feel luckier than some to have a short rest period). Looking back, I know that if I had not taken the time out in November and December to give my body a rest and a good period of strength training, that I would be dealing with some major aches and pains right now. And they’d likely take me out of Boston or force me to seriously reconsider my goals.

Luckily, that’s not the case and I’m feeling strong and prepared to commit to 7 more badass weeks of training. It can only get better from here, no?!

I ran 46 miles this week: 2 easy runs, 2 workouts, and 1 long run. + 1 strength sessions and 2 core routines.

Monday: Easy 5. OUTSIDE in the SUNSHINE. Without a jacket! Woot woot!

Tuesday: Steady State. 9 miles total, 7:41 average pace. The goal was to run the last 8 miles progressively between 7:45 and 7:30. Lately, the miles seem to tick by on the treadmill for steady state and tempo runs. I honestly think I spent a lot of time just dreading the treadmill that I forced myself into horrible runs. Now that I’ve accepted the treadmill as part of my training, the runs are so much more enjoyable. Funny how that works, huh?

Wednesday: Rest. Spent 45 minutes doing strength and core routines at home while watching tv. My apartment is pretty small but somehow I manage to work up quite a sweat on Wednesdays. (At least when I can manage to get pup off the yoga mat. She does her own version of downward dog.)

Thursday: 8 x 800s. 9.87 miles total at 7:54 average pace. This was, by far, the most challenging run of the week. Ran 2 miles warm-up, 8 x 800 with 2:30 jog recovery, and 2 mile cooldown. Normally when I run 800s, the goal is to stay consistent in my splits and keep comfortable. This time around, the focus was on starting conservative and get progressively faster. My hip flexors and quads were pretty locked up after a considerable number of lunges on Wednesday and after the third repeat I was wondering how the h*** I was supposed to pick up the pace for each consecutive repeat. Gradually, the legs started to turnover and I wasn’t dealing with a massive headwind like I was for the first 3 repeats.

3:11, 3:12
3:12, 3:09
3:09, 3:06
3:06, 3:05

I was knocked OUT the rest of the day (started mid-morning). I snacked and ate a lot the rest of the day to refuel. This workout was killer but a confidence booster nonetheless.

Friday: Easy 4. Nothin’ to see here folks! (More hip flexor stretches to prepare for the long run the next day)

Saturday: 18 mile long run, 8:02 average pace. WAHOOOOOO! After 10 hours of sleep, a cup of coffee, and peanut butter toast I headed to the lakefront. It felt really weird to start my run when I would usually be finishing it, but I had nothing planned for the rest of the day and it was kind of liberating to not care about the time on the clock. Even at 11 AM there were a lot of people getting their runs in. The sun peeked out a few times and the wind wasn’t terribly cold. I’ve realized lately that I need to spend more time focusing on finding a rhythm and envision the start line at Boston. If I tell myself I can do it, the run goes by so much faster and I have more fun with it. I forced myself to stop looking at my watch so often. Whenever I did look down at my watch, I realized how fast I was running. So, miles 6-10 were considerably slower than the rest. My legs felt better the faster they turned over and the pace was still conversational.

To say that I’m happy about this run is an understatement.

This next week is going to be less intense, as I have a “mini taper” for the Wacky 10k on Sunday. I’ve never truly raced a 10k so I’m anxious and nervous about this one. I think the goal is to all out race it, so we’ll see! Looking forward to the easy miles and rest this week as well.

18 mi splits

The build-up through the first half of the training cycle has been great.

46 miles in one week used to sound crazy. Now I enjoy it 🙂

BM2013 Weeks 1 - 7 Training

Highlights o’ The Week

  • Added to my running playlist: Books from Boxes by Maximo Park 
  • This weekend’s long run was fueled by ramen courtesy of a new spot in Wicker, Oiistar. I had the “Musselmen”, the duck bun as an appetizer, and the poached pear for dessert. So good! And the service was great, especially sitting near the open kitchen. If you’re a fan of ramen, I highly recommend it!
  •  I saw this poster online the other day and after telling myself I’d buy it “one day” for approximately 2 seconds, I added it to my cart and Paypal’d it immediately. I have a feeling you runners out there will appreciate the sentiment. (Now all I have to do is buy it a frame!)

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  • Ok, I know I’m obsessed with my dog, but this video is hilarious. She had just woken up from a nap and I caught her doing this:
  • The lakefront was really cool this week. There’s a bend right near Fullerton that always has the coolest ice, but this week was especially cool. Are “ice rings” even a thing!?

Pictures o’ The Week

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It was cold this week. Puppy cuddles were totally necessary.

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What a grey week in Chi. Still, I love this city.

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I reached 200 unique beers on Untappd. See? I’m a MASTER

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Confidence booster.


Boston Marathon 2013 Training: Week 6 of 14

BM2013 Week 6 Training

This week was mentally and physically easier than last week. I’m slowly adjusting to running 5 days a week and I just seemed to have more energy and motivation to knock out these workouts. I’m pretty sure the fact that we weren’t dealing with fresh or slushy snow this week has a big part in that. Fighting to stay upright while running in the snow isn’t exactly how you want to spend your long run so this week was a nice change. I can deal with the cold as long as the sidewalks are clear and ice is taken care of. AmmmmIRight people?

I ran 40 miles this week: 2 easy runs, 2 workouts, and 1 long run. 2 strength routines + 1 core routine.

Here’s how it breaks down:


Easy 5 miles on the treadmill. I’m always shocked and confused at the type of apparel people wear to the gym. I saw a girl on the treadmill in front of me that was wearing shorts that were much too big for her, an old cotton t-shirt with holes in it, and shoes that looked like they were 5+ years old. For real, the heels were completely worn down. I was in pain just thinking about her run. I wanted to tap her on the shoulder and suggest some new shoes—they would do wonders for her! Anyone else see people at the gym that you feel like you need to help somehow?


9 miles in 1:14 (8:09 average pace). Easy pace first 7 miles and then speedy last 2 with increasing incline up to 2%. These miles actually ticked by on the treadmill pretty quickly. I think I’m getting used to running more on the treadmill but I definitely don’t want to make it a habit. I restarted my gym membership in the fall because I knew it would be necessary for training during the winter. Did some strength and form drills afterward to focus on hip strength (always).


Strength day! I didn’t time this but I’m pretty sure I foam rolled my a** for about 20 minutes following lunges and squats and other silly things. I diagnosed myself with CBS—as in, Crunchy Butt Syndrome. Symptoms include giant knots in your butt that, while seated, make it feel as though your glutes are the consistency of a Crunch candy bar. Trust me, it’s not comfortable. Luckily, the Trigger Point massage ball came to the rescue–in some seriously weird positions…Moving on.


7.5 miles in 00:57 total– 4 mile tempo at goal 6:50-7:00. This was my favorite run of the week. And that’s just weird because it’s a tempo run people! It’s supposed to be uncomfortable. It was definitely uncomfortable but in a good way. (That’s classic “#YouKnowYouAreARunner when” material right there, people!). My splits were on the speedy side: 6:54, 6:47 (whoops! I blame the wind…), 6:55, 6:52. This was a serious confidence booster. The sun was shining and the temps were mild relative to recent temperatures. Really great way to start Valentine’s Day 🙂


4 miles at 8:26 pace on the treadmill. Had a headache most of the day and generally didn’t feel that great but I forced myself to run these easy miles after dinner. Went by quickly and I actually felt much better afterward. Now if only I would just learn this lesson and head to the gym right away as opposed to wallowing in “blah” all day.


14 miles at 8:01 average pace long run along the lakefront. Ok, I *know* I ran this faster than I was supposed to BUT I felt really really really good! In fact, before I looked at my watch each time I could have sworn I was running closer to 8:30 pace. 8:00 felt conversational and easy. I found a rhythm and stayed there through the entire run. I ran with my Nathan waterbottle and filled it with Nuun. I’m slowly getting used to running with the water bottle during long runs. I appreciate what little arm workout it gives me—is it sad that I can see a different in my biceps because of carrying a water bottle once a week? Small wins.



Highlights o’ The Week:

  • Added to my running playlist: Default by Django Django
  • A solitary girly moment for Valentine’s Day dinner at The Trenchermen.
  • FINALLY booked my flights to and from Boston! Feels so good to cross that off the list—now this race is really becoming REAL! Two months away now?! Unreal. [Side note: feeling especially lucky to have a supportive family. All but one of my siblings have made plans to see me run Boston. They really are the best.]
  • I think Tuesday’s run went so well because I fueled up with Paczkis—and still ate one when I returned home. Definitely a highlight of the week. (Well, that + coffee and beer, as usual).

Pics o’ The Week:

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Just because it’s a rest day doesn’t mean you don’t work hard. And by “work hard” I mean roll your crunchy butt on a massage ball.

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Obligatory puppy pic.

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Rave Run of the week! The sun was shining during my tempo on Thursday.

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Woke up today & thought “blech”. 14 miles later and I thought “well, that wasn’t too bad”. BOOM!

What was the highlight of YOUR week?


Boston Marathon 2013 Training: Week 5 of 14

BM2013 Week 5 Training

Ba-da-bing! Ba-da-boom! Week 5. Done and….DONE! Another week and 38 miles, just a few hundred more to go, right?

I remember when 38 miles sounded like a lot. Now? It doesn’t seem like enough. Despite working hard to fit these runs in and feeling happy enough to run 16 yesterday (as opposed to 17), it’s so easy to think that I’m not working as hard as I “should be”. I’m going to try to play some personal mind jiu-jitsu this week and get comfortable with the idea that Coach has laid out a plan that will get me to my goal at Boston and beyond.

This week I ran a total of 38 miles: 2 easy runs, 2 targeted workouts, and 1 long run + 1 strength circuit + 2 core routines.

Monday: Progressive steady-state run. Started at 8:00 min/mile and ended at 7:40 min/mile. Does anyone else love progressive runs as much as I do?! 8 miles on the treadmill didn’t sound like much fun at all that day but for some reason I felt really strong. My stride and form struggled a bit through my gluteus medius issue but I’m finally feeling like I have the same amount of power in my hips as I did in the fall of last year. Still, it’s a work in progress and I need to keep strengthening certain muscle groups to prevent a ‘real injury’ in the future.

Tuesday: Rest (travel for work)

Wednesday: Easy 5 + core and strength routines. Nothin’ to see here, folks!

Thursday: Freezing rain and more snow expected Thursday afternoon meant that I turned into a wuss again. I had 12 x 400 on the schedule and there was no way I was going to try to bust them out with horrible footing and the possibility of slipping and falling on my a**.  A few months ago, when I first started to dread training for a marathon in the winter (for the 1st time), I asked around about gaining access to an indoor track. I’m really glad I did because I managed to find a full-size indoor track that would offer me a few one-day guest passes and it really came in handy this week!

I was *super* sluggish all day on Thursday and I didn’t think I’d make it through all 12 repeats but I broke it down and managed to get it done with really consistent splits: 1:28, 1:25, 1:28, 1:29, 1:28, 1:29, 1:29, 1:28, 1:27, 1:30, 1:28, 1:27. I was really surprised to look back on my training and realize that the last time I ran 400s was in August 2012 and I ran them consistently at 1:40. Getting faster despite feeling sluggish?! I’ll take it!

Friday: Easy 3. Shakeout felt good but my legs were still heavy after the 400s the day before. (Although I think it’s a good sign that they weren’t “sore”, just tired. Important distinction :))

Saturday: 16 mile long run, 8:06 average pace. Compared to the slushy 13 miles last week, this felt like a breeze. The BIG FIRE BALL UP IN THE SKY decided to show itself and warm me up, especially heading north. That, and a fresh bouncy pair of Kinvara 2s made me feel much better about getting through the 16. I tried to slow the pace at several points during the run but my body was determined to run between 8:00 and 8:10. Can’t complain about that!

63 days to Boston. :cue another panic excitement attack!:

Highlights o’ the Week:

  • Added to my running playlist: Marathon Runner by Yellow Ostritch. The title is more than appropriate, don’t ya think?
  • I bought the Saucony Fastwitch a few weeks ago but I’ve gradually added them to my shoe rotation. They just released the Fastwitch 6. I think I’ll be using them a lot for tempo runs but I could definitely see myself racing a half in them.
  • If you haven’t seen the 97-year old breaking the 100-meter record, you must do it now!!! Ida is my new favorite person on this earth.
  • Registered for my two races of the training cycle: Wacky 10k on March 3 and Chi Town Half on March 24.

Pictures o’ the Week:

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Fall spice latte on a winter afternoon. Workin’ at the coffee shop

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This really doesn’t happen often so I felt the need to document.

Curried salmon patties with avocado wasabi yogurt sauce- recipe in March issue of Runner’s World!

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A grey Chicago day, but still an amazing city

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I swear. She knows exactly what she does to us at all times. You can’t make this stuff up

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Another reason for my procrastinated long run Saturday morning—this little fur ball was nestled in my running jacket!


97 Year Old Woman Breaks 100 M Record: True Inspiration

I couldn’t help but smile, laugh, and :tear up: while watching this video originally posted by Runblogger. Ida’s spirit is amazing. Can you even imagine being that determined and still chase after your dreams at that age?

My favorite line in the video: “If I could find a way up, they’d have to sit on me”.


Boston Marathon 2013 Training: Week 4 of 14

BM2013 Week 4 Training

For anyone running through the weather rollercoaster we had here in Chicago….YOU’RE BADASS. This week’s weather was literally confusing, both mentally and physically. One day we had thunderstorms and 55+ degrees and two days later we had -15 to -20 degree windchills and “feels like” temperatures around 5 degrees. If that’s not confusing, I seriously don’t know what is. Preparing for either one of those temps requires some sort of scientific calculation that I have yet to solve but at least I was ready with the necessary layers to adjust.

This training cycle is going by so fast! I honestly thought I was going to sit down and write Week THREE’s recap today but it turns out I’m 70 days/10 weeks out from the Boston Marathon. And that scares the sh** out of me! 70 days and hundreds of miles to reach the start line at Hopkington. The thought just gives me goosebumps every time. I’m going to try to mentally prepare myself for that moment by dreaming about it for the next 70 days.

This week I ran a total of 35 miles: 2 easy runs, 2 workouts, and 1 long run. 2 core workouts and 1 strength workout.

Monday: Easy 4 miles in SHORTS. IN JANUARY. This was glorious and it went by so quickly. I still can’t believe that I was wearing shorts outside this past Monday. I’m going to try to remember what that feels like and pretend I’m running in that weather for the next two months.

Tuesday: 8 miles (first 6 were easy and last two were ~7:30. This was probably the least enjoyable run of the entire week (and that’s kind of crazy considering the weather conditions for the other runs). I went to the gym and ran this one on the treadmill and I honestly regretted it. Torrential downpours were supposed to start around 5pm and I wanted to start my workout around 4:30 so I was a wuss and went to the gym. In hindsight, wind gusts and sheets of rain sounded nice compared to the sweaty, damp mess that was the gym. It was 55 degrees and I’m just going to assume they weren’t going to turn on the A/C so I ended up running all 8 in a balmy gym that felt like it was situated in a rain forest. Next time? I’m running in the downpour.

Wednesday: rest!

Thursday: Ok, this is where the insanity/”badassedness” comes in. This is what I was dealing with:

Badass Windchill

I guess I should have interpreted the motivational tweets as subtle warnings of my insanity, but I left the house anyway. After wussing out and going to the gym on Tuesday, I figured I could suck it up and just get sh** done on the lakefront in less than ideal temperatures. I live 2 miles from the lakefront but in order to do a tempo, I need “open road/path”. I hopped on the bus and prepared for the cold lakefront. I ran 1.5 warm-up and then started my 2 x 2 mile tempo. And honestly, I couldn’t even feel my hands until the 4th mile. My body did a good job of warming me up but running against the wind during a tempo is a special kind of torture. There were other crazies out there that did not look prepared for the weather (especially the dude in the 80s windbreaker without a hat, scarf, gloves, etc. Who does he think he is?!). Once I ran back south and ticked off the tempo miles I was much more comfortable. I had planned to take the bus back home but hopped in the first cab that I saw one block from the path. I spent the rest of the day drinking hot tea and hot soup with an extra pair of wool socks. Ahhh winter.

Friday: easy 3 miles on the treadmill. Felt like I really needed the shakeout following the tempo the day before. I’m sure my legs weren’t warmed up enough to commit to 4 tempo miles, so this jaunt was much appreciated.

Saturday: 13 miles on the lakefront. Stepback week! After increasing the mileage for the past 3 weeks, a “short” 13-miler sounded wonderful. Coach told me to run anywhere between 8-8:45 and keep it conversational. I woke up to a 3″ slushy, snowy mess and was so happy that I’d just bought Yaktrax at Fleet Feet the day before. I’ve never run in Yaktrax and wasn’t sure if I would need them but it turns out the 4+ miles to and from the lakefront would have been *really* interesting without them. Next time I’ll probably take them off once I reach the lakefront because landing on the coils for 6+ miles was a bit weird, but not too uncomfortable. The Lole Women Warm Beanie and Smartwool Neck Gaiter were smart purchases too–kept my nice and cozy during my run through the snow. I actually felt a bit overdressed during parts of the run. I realized that I have a lot more long runs in these conditions once I arrived home. Ohhhhh winter (again….)

Highlights of the Week:

Pictures o’ The Week:

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My coworker can be really needy sometimes…

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Parmesan Garlic Foccacia Bread with Grilled Bread Cheese—next time I’m going to try it topped with jam

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Beer and pizza with my dad at Piece post-run 😀

Coach Convo

Happy to have completed Week 1 with Coach Hadley. I have a feeling this is going to be a fun/interesting training cycle