{Currently} February 12, 2015

Reading: I just finished reading Station Eleven, as one of the books on my list of books I aboslutely must read in 2015. My sister pushed me to read it and I’m glad she did. I don’t normally pick up sci-fi-ish books but this one didn’t seem so other worldly. If you’re looking for a good book to read, I recommend it. Now…what should I read next? (as if I don’t have enough to choose from on my Goodreads lists…)

Obsessed with: This isn’t really a new obsession but I’ve found myself watching a LOT of Fixer Upper lately. I get sucked into design and renovation shows on HGTV all the time. I think it’s because my mom is always decorating and redecorating the house and I think I’ve somehow acquired that design gene. Once a room is ‘finished’, I always seem to find a way to justify changing it. Fixer Upper is entertaining mostly because Chip and Joanna are a hilarious couple. I appreciate that they don’t take themselves too seriously. I’m contemplating moving to Texas just to befriend them…and their kids… and their puppies (don’t tell Barklee Ann).

Also, I splurged on a pair of new booties. Obsessed. They were really comfortable right out of the box.

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Restocking: my supply of Nuun. I think the last time I placed an order was October (gasp!), so I bought a ton of different flavors this time around. I’ve been trying to drink *at least* 24 oz of water before noon every day. After I stopped training for a specific race and dedicated time to recovery, I fell into the bad habit of sipping coffee all morning (it takes me a long time to finish one cup) and realizing once I sit down to lunch that I haven’t yet had any WATER. Morning workouts are few and far between these days but I’m doing myself zero favors by waiting to consume water until so late in the day.

Happy about: how I’m responding to training lately. It’s only my 6th week back to consistent mileage and I’m slowly but surely starting to feel like myself again. My PR at Monumental feels like such a long time ago (and it kind of was); I keep reminding myself that running isn’t necessarily going to feel that great in the beginning, but each week seems to improve. The first 4 weeks back in a routine were a slog with plenty of easy miles, zero true workouts, and a fair amount of cross training. Besides an angry piriformis and a few visits to the chiropractor in January, it was a standard little base building phase. At the end of February, I started adding small workouts like: 4 x 1200 at tempo pace with 400 m recovery and 10 x 1 min surges.

I like the routine of my hip strength and core strength routines, spin, yoga, and 5 runs per week (between 25-35mpw) right now.

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My sister and I ran a few miles together over the weekend. Looks a little different now doesn’t it?

October vs. February

Spending time: in Holland, MI with my family. Last weekend, I took the Amtrak up to Holland to spend the weekend with my mom, sister, and brother. We all had a free weekend and made plans to go up there and relax. The state park there is busy in the winter, with residents checking out the frozen lake. I couldn’t believe how far out people were walking – you could barely even see the water beyond all of the ice. Can’t wait to go back and enjoy it this summer 🙂

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Surviving: the winter blues. When Chicago received 22 inches of snow last week (one of our biggest blizzards ever), I thought, “okay, this isn’t so bad.” But the next day I woke up with a big old ‘deeeeeerrrrrrrrp’ & thought, “when the heck is this going to end?!”. I trained through the past two Chi winters to prepare for Boston so I’m no stranger to dealing with the elements. There’s something about just making it happen that makes you feel like a badass while everyone is inside running on the treadmill. Last year, I would do anything just to get to the lakefront and get a solid workout in. But I don’t have Boston on the horizon and I’m fine with ‘resorting’ to the treadmill for most workouts (the only run I’ve consistently done outside is my long run, mostly because I have the time to get to and from the lakefront path). It’s been fairly sunny lately, but those grey days are a big downer. I increased the amount of Vit D I’m taking and treating exercise like it’s my own personal sunshine. 35 days until spring, folks!

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Relaxing with: hot epsom salt baths. Summer = ice baths. Winter = epsom salt baths. I bought Dr. Teal’s salt bath for tension and fatigue a few weeks ago. I add in a little bit of bubble bath (because why not?!) and take a hot epsom salt bath after most of my long runs. Winter training is so different from training through the summer. In the winter, I sleep in and have a lazy morning drinking coffee while I procrastinate my run. In the summer, I chug a half a cup of coffee and get my butt out the door before the temps climb too high.

Are you surviving the winter? Are you loving it or are you over it?

-J

{Currently} January 8, 2015

The last time I posted was over two months ago?! How the heck did that happen? Between the holidays, getting sick for a few weeks, running the Honolulu Marathon with my sister (and spending a week in paradise), I’m finally getting back into the swing of things. I’m sure everyone is feeling the same way these days — in Chicago, we’re mostly feeling cold and depressed about the crazy negative temps and too many treadmill runs.

Reading: All The Light We Cannot See. My mom recommended this book to me before I left for Honolulu. (And along with the other 2 books I bought for the trip, not one of them was read!) I’m about halfway through it and I’m sucked in. I like books that flip between two different view points — and you know that at some point the characters’ lives are going to intersect. The chapters are short, but you really get to know each character – and the writing is absolutely beautiful. I’ve seen this book on a lot of ‘Top Books of 2014’ lists so the ending has to be good, right? I’m also going to make more of an effort to read regularly this year. I read almost 30 books in 2013 and only 12 last year – not sure when the habit kind of dropped off, but I’ve felt like snuggling up with a good book lately and started to make a list of books I want to read this year. [If you could recommend ONE book to anyone in the world, what would it be. Yes, just ONE.]

Dreaming about: Spring of speed! After 5 consecutive marathon training cycles (Twin Cities 2012, Boston 2013, Grand Rapids 2013 [injury], Boston 2014, Indy Monumental 2014], I decided to take this spring to focus on shorter distances. It’s been so long since I dedicated a cycle to a half marathon and I’m excited to see what happens when I do. My PR at the NYC Half last spring was so much fun and I have a feeling I have more speed in these legs somewhere. I’ve been lucky enough to PR my half as part of marathon training the past few years. I’m all signed up for the Shamrock Shuffle 8k in Chicago, Cherry Blossom 10 in DC, and the Bayshore Half in Traverse City, MI. I’d like to throw in a 5k or 10k at some point, but that may be difficult to squeeze in, especially with the weather conditions in Chicago. We have a fair number of short distance local races in the spring, but ice and snow are always a concern and I’d like to avoid injuring myself. 🙂 I’ve been working on putting the final touches on my training plan. Hope it’s a smart and tactical plan without being too conservative. I’m slowly easing back in to running regularly. I took a full 2 weeks off all exercise following Honolulu. I didn’t have any motivation to get back to it quickly and I know that I put more stress on my body than I ever have with 6 weeks between my PR at Monumental and Honolulu. My knee (the infamous knee!) was cranky after Honolulu and I totally babied (baby’d? LOLZ) it to let the inflammation settle down. I’m focusing a lot on core and strength work, and adding in 4-5 runs per week for the next month. I’m hoping my patience pays off and I feel 100% ready to dive into speed work and tough tempos in February.

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Can’t stop laughing about: this video of my nephew on Christmas Day. He’s a pancake lover and he had us all cracking up. I mean, that little shoulder shrug totally says, “oh man, these are yummy!” doesn’t it?

Can’t get enough of: Live DJ spin class at my gym. Seriously, I feel like every time I go to this class I have a near religious experience and all I wanna do is hug people and give high-5s. The instructor and the DJ are (I’m 97% sure) dating and I swear I wanna be their best friend. Mandee, the instructor, is no-nonsense and she pushes you without being all corny about it (you know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever had a bad spin instructor). It’s a really difficult class despite being 50 minutes and I’m excited to squeeze this into my training plan when I can the next couple of months. There was no way I could commit to this class every week if I were training for a spring 26.2, so I’m excited to make this routine. Anyone else always choose Bike #26?

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Playing: Scrabble with The Man. We used to play this all the time, the first few years we dated. Back then, I think we played it so often because we were poor college students and didn’t have money to go out (much). My family always played it when I was younger and things could get quite competitive. (That’s you, Mom.) Manny and I are making a routine of playing it on Friday nights. Helloooooo game night. He actually beat me by 3 freaking points last week because he blocked a FORTY-EIGHT POINT WORD that I had queued up! Rage. I’ll get him next round.

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Reminiscing about: Hawaii. We flew back from Honolulu 2.5 weeks ago but it feels like it’s been months (time warp = holidaaaaaze). I’m not sure I’ve ever been so relaxed before. It was such a fun week with both of my sisters, Manny, Chanthana, and Kim. We left feeling like we did everything we wanted to do, like we didn’t miss out on anything. I promise to do a proper recap of both the marathon (#6!!!) and the rest of the trip soon – there’s lots to share (namely, how freaking proud I am of my sister’s 26.2 debut in crazy conditions!)

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What have you been up to?

-J

{Currently} November 10, 2014

In my post-marathon haze, I’ve realized just how boring a blog can be when LIFE isn’t really included in the whole training rundown. I used to be good about including life’s happenings in the weekly training recaps, but last cycle was anything but normal. I really enjoy reading Erin’s “currently” posts, so I decided to steal the concept. (So thanks for the idea and I apologize for stealing it, E!)

So, currently this is what’s happening!:

Reading: Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl. I’m almost done with the book and I think I still have mixed feelings about it. She’s received a lot of attention because of some specific passages and apparently had to cancel some book signings because of how they were received. I started watching her show, Girls, on HBO after seeing her film Tiny Furniture a few years ago. Most of the time, my reaction to her writing and to her show is somewhere between “omg this is a train wreck and I can’t look away” and cringing in embarrassment. That said, I think it’s refreshing that there is a show out there that portrays at least a few real life situations that 20-somethings have to deal with — even if it is a bit exaggerated. Next on my list of books to read? Wild by Cheryl Strayed (*finally* getting around to it!) and The Innovators by Walter Isaacson. I have them both on my iPad and now I just have to find the time to read them. Shouldn’t be too hard now that I’m not training, right?

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Decorating: Now that I’m not training and starting to feel like recovery is happening post-26.2, I suddenly have so much energy at the weirdest times. I go from being so sleepy to super energetic and back again. I have to do something with those spurts of energy and lately it’s been all about decorating and furnishing the apartment, two months after moving. I went on a cleaning rampage on Friday night and was going to go crazy if I didn’t hang some of our artwork and decor up on the walls. (Reverse taper crazy?) We finally decided on a look for the dining area & stumbled up on a customer furniture maker online, thanks to an ad he listed on Craiglist. This guy has been great to work with and had us choose the wood, stain, and style of our custom dining room table. I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT IT! It’s going to arrive just in time for Thanksgiving. We’re going for the rustic, industrial look.

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The chairs I bought online …

2014-11-07 12.35.59…and an example of the table that is being built this week!

Can’t stop smiling about: My sister’s half marathon PR at Outer Banks this past weekend! I woke up at 7 AM yesterday when I heard my phone ding. I had a few texts from her husband, updating the family on how she was doing. I signed up for text updates from the race but they never came through (until 1 hour after she finished the darn thing)! She looked so happy and relaxed at Mile 8 and I was so anxious to hear how she did! She ran a super strong and consistent race and I couldn’t be more happy for her. It’s been a crazy training cycle because she’s been dealing with chest congestion and an annoying cough for over a month (not kidding). Her doctor thinks it may be a specific allergy that she deals with at the same time every year but an allergy test didn’t come up positive. The fact that she ran such a strong race with breathing that wasn’t 100% clear is so awesome! I’m really excited to see what you do in the spring, Lin!

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This is Lindsey at Mile 8, screaming “I think I’m going to PR!!!!” Wahoooooo!

Drinking: A lot of beer (too much? never). Duh. #recovery

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Corey & CT

“Brunching” at 2 pm with these two (and Jacq!) normally turns into a long afternoon over a few drinks. It’s the best kind of Saturday.

Listening to: Serial! I first heard about Serial on the Slate Culture Gabfest podcast. I listen to a few podcasts off and on whenever I have the time, mostly on a lazy Sunday afternoon or right when I finish up work for the day. The story is already fascinating to me, only 1 episode in and I’ve heard it only gets more intriguing. It’s interesting to hear about people ‘binge-listening’ to this podcast just like they would binge-watch a show on Netflix. Has that ever happened before? I like it. Also, it’s the best kind of listening for an easy recovery spin at the gym. 53 minutes of spin with 53 minutes of Serial.

Planning: Our trip to Honolulu! In 5 weeks, my sister Brittany will run her first marathon with Saucony’s #26Strong program! We’ve been talking about and looking forward to the marathon since February of this year and I can’t believe we’re actually planning what we want to do, see, eat, and drink while we’re there! The plan is to run every single mile of the marathon with Brittany, as long as she wants me to. I am in full support of her racing it on her own if she really wants to OWN it. I’ll help her in any way that I can, for as long as she wants me to. My plan is to recover and slowly build some mileage in the next few weeks. I’m taking recovery seriously, now 8 days after 26.2. I haven’t run a single step (except to catch a bus the other day!) since the race so this week I’ll add in a few easy runs with some recovery spins at the gym to get back into a routine. I don’t plan on doing any tough speedwork & my longest run will probably be around 16 miles before we head to Honolulu. Brittany’s training is going so well and I’m really excited to share the experience with her. We nerded out about running Honolulu together when we were in LA for the Competitor photoshoot in July. Note: lots.of.makeup! Also, that’s an interesting facial expression.

So, what should we do while we’re there?! AKA, what *can* we do after running 26.2?

What have you been up to lately? Doing things you didn’t have time for during training, like me?

-J