Chicago Women’s 5k: Race Recap

This past weekend was all about running. Saturday? Beer run. Yep, beer run. 4 bars, 3 miles, and just a few beers and plenty of water to stay hydrated.

2nd Annual Chicago Beer Run

After more than a few attempts, Hillary and I (somewhat) nailed it.

Sunday? Chicago Women’s 5k.

On Saturday night as I prepared my race outfit and packed my bag (unnecessary for a 5k, I know), I felt tired but anxious. Every 15 minutes, I kept telling myself that I’d go to bed “in 15 minutes”. I was a bit tired from runnin’ around most of the day and a horrible night of sleep on Friday, but didn’t feel like laying down.

I went to bed at 10:30 and all of a sudden, my 4:55 AM alarm went off. Up and at ’em. I ate my oatmeal, sipped my coffee, and went downtown. (I was surprised that I was riding the train with several women who were wearing bibs for the half, which started 20 minutes before the 5k. There’s no way they made it to the start line on time!)  Hillary and I planned to meet around 6:15 AM, which meant we’d have just enough time for a quick warm-up before heading to the start line.

My goal was to start off at 6:30 min/mile pace and see if I could go a bit faster each mile.

Chi Women's 5k Ali Engin Photo 2

Photo Credit Ali Engin Photography

The start wasn’t crowded because it seemed like a relatively small field (not sure how many 5k finishers there were). By a quarter mile in, I was running by myself with girls 10 yards ahead and behind me. The tunnel of heat on lower Wacker was an unwelcome surprise but I felt like my legs were moving well. I had flashbacks of the Chicago Marathon and the lines of dudes peeing in the tunnel, which is something I’d rather not be reminded of (heh…).

Mile 1: 6:40 and feeling good.

We made a right turn heading south and I still felt like I had it together. Wasn’t sure yet whether or not I’d gone out too fast or whether or not I could trust my watch after the tunnel section. The course was clear and running south on Lakeshore felt smooth, but my legs were really starting to feel it. It didn’t help that the sun decided to pop out and say ‘hello’.

Mile 2: 6:29 and struggling.

Around Mile 2.4 I stopped to walk for 10 seconds. Yeah, walk. I was instantly disappointed in myself. Looking back on it, I’m not even sure why I slowed. I know I was tired and the humidity wasn’t helping. My legs felt like they were wading through sand even though I was still on pace for a PR. If I had just kept my legs moving I would have been fine. It was a mental rather than a physical decision to stop. My body was tired, sure, but it was my head & heart that allowed me to stop in the first place. Something to work on.

The downhill section heading into the Roosevelt bridge underpass at Mile 2.7 was a nice push. And then I quickly realized that the next 300-400 m would be uphill to make the final right turn to the finish. I pushed myself up the hill. Honestly, I was surprised that I had any kind of finishing kick. The previous half mile felt like a total slog and I didn’t think I’d have it in me.

Mile 3: 7:02 and looking for that finish line.

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My official finish time was 20:41, just 3 seconds from a PR (2012 Bastille Day 5k 20:38 in similar conditions). 

 Chi Women's 5k 2013 Results

I can’t believe that I finished 7th. I was disappointed but I know that a sub-20 5k finish is in me under better race conditions. 75% humidity is no friend of mine. I’m especially happy that I was able to come so close to a PR this early in this training cycle. (I told Coach I’d rather run a marathon than a 5k any day, but I know it’s only a matter of time before I come around to a speedier short distance race.)

Chi Women's 5k 2013 Finish Photo

Photo Credit: Ali Engin Photography

I’m usually not a “mantra” kind of person. I’m pretty sure I’ve never used one intentionally, but Friday night changed that. Andrew WK tweeted this and I quickly realized it would be perfect motivation during a race to keep going:

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(I was shocked that Andrew WK actually responded.)  So, I now have two mantras to choose from: “Push yourself past yourself” or “PARTY HARD AND RUN HARD, JENNY!”. I haven’t decided yet which one I like more but I know I’ll be using them both at some point. 🙂

Lessons to remember:

  • Internalize a mantra and don’t try to find excuses to quit.
  • Focus on keeping the legs moving as opposed to how hot you think it is. (It will all be over soon.)
  • Try to get that finishing kick started before the last quarter mile.
  • Wear an iPod if ya want to, ya dummy! A steady tempo would have been nice to have!
  • Always take advantage of free ice cream from an ice cream truck.

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Chi Women's 5k 2013 Chi Women's 5k 2013 Chi Women's 5k 2013

– J

Chi Women’s 5k Preview

Yesterday’s 5k was somewhat disappointing but somewhat motivating for the rest of this cycle. I was 3 seconds from a PR and let the heat and humidity get to me mentally. I’ll have a full recap up in a day or two but here’s a preview!

Chi Women's 5k 2013 Results


I didn’t run the time I wanted to, but a 7th place finish isn’t too shabby!


Chicago Women’s 5k: Race Prep

3 days until the first race of a fresh cycle and I’m probably more nervous for this race than I have been for any other in the past year. I’m running the Chicago Women’s 5k on Sunday morning. 3.1 miles of uncomfortable hurt headed my way.

A good friend offered some wise thoughts this morning when I told her I’m starting to get nervous. She said nerves mean that I have high expectations for myself. If I didn’t dream, I wouldn’t be nervous. (I think I’d rather take the risk.) Then she said:

“The way I look at these races leading into my goal race is: it’s a great way to test yourself mentally mostly and secondly physically. These are the races there is no pressure for time. Use it to your advantage and see how far you can push yourself. Break through new mental barriers. It’s your head that’s going to get you faster because your body is doing the workouts and is there. Trust your workouts.”

I know I’ve already begun this training cycle with some unexpected (to me, anyway) speed. I ran consistent sub 1:30 400 repeats a few weeks ago and this week I did 6 x 800 Yassos with pretty consistent splits (3:05-3:08) despite a massive headwind on the lakefront.

Coach told me to run like a gazelle, but I decided I’m going to run like a BADASS. “Quiet confidence” at the start line, AMIRIGHT?

To run like a badass requires a badass race outfit.

Chicago Women's 5k Badass Outfit

Nike Pro Sports Bra

Adidas Boston Marathon Supernova short

Saucony Type A5 Racing Flats

I haven’t worn the Boston shorts yet and I figure the first race is a good time to do so. 🙂 This will also be my first race in the Saucony Type A5. In the past I wore the New Balance 1600s for most of my speedwork. I still really like that shoe. The main difference I can feel between the two is that the Type A5 has a bit more support than the 1600s. You can feel the road more in the New Balance 1600s but both flats make me feel speedy. They’re both 5 oz so perfect for a 5k race.

The inspiration and motivation to kick ass on Sunday is brought to me by the USATF Nationals. USATF is streaming the event live through the weekend and if you want information about where to view on cable, check out Michele’s information.

I’ll be stalking the weather until Sunday. So far it looks like it’s going to be a scorcher! Good luck to all the ladies running both the 5k and the half!

Chicago Women's 5k 2013 Weather


Running, Lately

Running lately has been as fun as I’d hoped. Back to routine, back to progress. I enjoy running more when I’m working toward a goal and a new training cycle is definitely making me excited about what’s to come. My body is slowly getting used to 5 runs per week again and I’m all too happy to climb into bed at night. After three weeks of a new training cycle, I’m happy to see that I really haven’t lost any speed since Boston (which is surprising considering the sloth-like state I assumed for 5+ weeks!).

This past weekend I went home to see my family for the first time since Christmas (other than seeing them in Boston). I was looking forward to the trip for weeks, especially because we have a new addition to the family and I’m an aunt to THREE crazy boys now. Unfortunately, the trip didn’t go as planned and after car trouble on Friday night, I was really upset and disappointed that our Friday night plans with my family were botched and we had to return to Chi to deal with the car.


Luckily, Megabus had available seats on an outgoing bus the next morning and a decent return time on Sunday afternoon. Friday was a long and exhausting night but I forgot about all of that when we arrived at my mom’s house and the entire family came over to enjoy an afternoon hanging out at the house and in the back yard. It’s times like these when I really miss the peaceful quiet of my mom’s backyard. I sat on the deck in a comfortable chair with a beer in my hand and closed my eyes while the sun shined down. (If I stopped to imagine it, I felt like I was back in Cabo minus the sun pool.) That feeling has me longing for an apartment with a small patch of “green” in the concret jungle of Chicago.

Because of the travel difficulty on Friday night, I wasn’t able to run my normal long run on Saturday morning. I switched it to Sunday morning. After dragging myself out of bed, I laced up and went out around my hometown. Since I was in high school, the park district has added plenty of paths and trails that basically go all the way around the town. I’m nostalgic about the older paths because I ran them when I was younger, during cross country in middle school and high school. It’s funny how they never seem to change, but I’m glad they never do.

I usually run out-and-back on a lakefront route in Chicago but I felt like I was ‘exploring’ more during Sunday’s run. In a matter of 90 minutes, I ran through practically the entire town. And I got some nice hill training in too because, unlike Chicago, the town actually has hills!

These pictures are dedicated to all the urban runners out there. This is what “nature” looks like, people!

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If you run in the city, when was the last time you ran on a wooded path? Do you make an effort to find paths or trails like this every once in awhile? Do you prefer city or suburban running?


Dreams Are Scary

It’s week 3 of a new training cycle.

I took a lot of time off after Boston to recover mentally and physically (more mentally than physically). It didn’t take long for the fire to start burning, though. Within a matter of weeks a race schedule for the remainder of the year fell into place and I started to get excited about running again, slowly by surely. I have more energy when I’m in a training cycle, at least if we leave out the long Saturday afternoon naps (if I’m so lucky.) It’s nice to have something to look forward to.

I set some goals for 2013 that sounded super scary on January 1st (with Coach Hadley‘s help).

I rarely set a goal race time at the beginning of a training cycle. I want the race to come to me. I don’t want the pressure of the time on the clock to ruin my training. I want to keep pushing and see what happens. The closer I get to the start line, the more comfortable I become with a goal time. At that point, I know what I’m capable of and, if all goes well, that number will be there waiting for me at the finish line. Plus, there’s always the secondary goal to be happy about.

This year was the first time I actually typed out mid-term and long-term time goals.

It seemed so silly–to let the dreamer in me out. I kept my goals to myself. When I ran Chicago 2011, my goal was to finish and have fun. When I ran Twin Cities 2012, my goal was under 3:20. A few weeks before the race, 3:18 seemed possible. I ran a 3:17. At Boston 2013, my goal was 3:12-3:14 but I wanted more than that. I wanted to experience the race that I’d waiting 2 years to run. I knew I could PR after a strong cycle, but I honestly would have been happy just to do so by 1 second. It was enough just to be there. I ran a 3:14.

If you asked me in January if I’d be running a fall marathon, my answer was “no”.

I thought I would want to take some time off. With the Twin Cities and Boston cycles so close to one another, it just seemed like the fall would be a good time to rest and recharge. But here I am again! 3 marathons within one year, with a total of 18 months of training. I’m gearing up for races and thinking about the times I want to see on the finish clock for each distance, from 5k to the marathon.

I put my race schedule in a Countdown app this morning and gasped at how little time there remains until my races. 72 Days until Hood to Coast with Nuun?! Insanity!

Countdown to Fall 2013 Races Jenny Poore

Dreams are scary but I guess it’s time to buck up, work hard, and celebrate when they come true.



New Training Cycle: Return to Habit

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I started a new training cycle last week. I’m 20 weeks out from the Grand Rapids Marathon, with plenty of shorter distances to train for and get me to the start line of my 4th marathon (what the what?!). Last week was the first week I ran 5 times in 7 days since the beginning of April.

It turns out my legs still know what to do. My lungs, on the other hand, are still getting the hang of it. It doesn’t help that Chicago’s weather has been incredibly bipolar lately. One day it’s 50 degrees and rainy. The next it’s 77 degrees with 70% humidity. I keep telling myself that things will become easier once the weather decides to be somewhat consistent and we can all acclimate to the heat around here.

I can’t believe that Boston was 7 weeks ago.

Time to get back to it and get ready for a strong cycle:

Less beer, more Nuun.

I love a good brew. I normally drink a beer with dinner every night of the week and clearly, enjoy more than one brew on the weekends. With the heat of the summer coming, that’s probably going to change. The last thing I want to do is sabotage my workouts by consuming too much beer and forgetting about hydrating properly. (It definitely helps that I recently tried Watermelon Nuun and have a new favorite, tied with Citrus Fruit. Tasty hydrating concoction, I love you!)

Hellooooo, Jillian Michaels!

In preparing for Boston, I did something I never thought I would do. I purchased a Jillian Michaels DVD, complete with her airbrushed abs and flowing locks on the cover. 6 Week 6 Pack Attack! In all seriousness, it’s a crazy hard workout. (I’ve been humbled more than 10x with this 30-minute workout.) Even on days when I don’t have time to spend some quality time with JM, doing core work needs to become a routine again, not just an afterthought or something I “forget to do”.

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Morning, sunshine!

Gone are the days when I can lazily wake up at 7:30 and hope to squeeze in a workout before starting work (that never really worked for my anyway!). The morning alarm is going to have to happen a lot earlier. Training for Boston was different than any of my previous cycles because I fought the winter elements on the lakefront, which usually meant that I waited until the late morning or early afternoon to run at the warmest point of the day. (That’s a luxury that I truly appreciate.) One good thing about the summer is that you *have* to wake up early in order to avoid melting into a puddle of sweat any later than 8 AM. I’m willing to set my alarm to 5 or 6 AM just so I don’t feel like I’m going to die on the run. As another “nudge”, I’ve written myself angry messages as the titles of my alarms on my iPhone. Whatever works, right?! (One of them is actually nice. It reads: “Coffee is waiting“. That’s a nice thought.)

Get in my belly! 

I think I’m getting back on the smoothie train, guys. I’m not sure how I managed to enjoy frozen smoothies when it was 10 degrees and snowing outside, but I did. Now that it’s getting warmer, I think I’ll look forward to putting them in my belly again. I don’t have any super tasty recipes to share, but my favorite lately has been:

  • frozen black cherries
  • frozen mixed berries
  • greek yogurt (with honey)
  • almond milk
  • Tera’s Whey organic dark chocolate protein powder
  • chia seeds
  • and a banana or avocado.

I don’t think it’s any accident that I started to feel stronger when I began adding more protein and fat to my diet. (I also add Udo’s omega oil and Floradix liquid iron to my shakes!) Last week, I also made a point to go to the grocery store with a list that made actual MEALS. Saved money for the entire week and made some delicious dinners including: salmon with yogurt-mustard-dill sauce with egg noodles and steamed broccoli, breaded pork chops with mashed potatoes and sweet corn on the cob, and chicken with sautéed onions, roma tomatoes, and jalapeño with brown rice and asparagus. I doubt that will happen every week but it felt so good to cook fresh food at home each night of the week.

I finally sat down to read two months’ worth of running magazines & came across this quote in the May issue of Running Times:

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Getting back into a routine is tough at times but all of these things make me feel more productive and energetic. How do you trick yourself into following a routine again? Do you find it easy or difficult to start a new training cycle?