Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Facinating and Disturbing

Must see You Tube video...

And I officially got my butt kicked...

Last night was the first Tuesday that I was actually able to run with the Lincoln Park Pacers. I signed up for the running club, oh, probably in January or something, and this was the first week that I was able to get out there and run with them. Which is totally my fault because I forgot that they do runs on Saturday mornings too. Oops. I am going to have to get better about that.

Anyway, I had no idea what to expect and last night it was a little blistery for a late-April-practically-May-for-goodness-sake evening. We meet in Lincoln Park at Diversey Parkway and Lakeshore, which is not too far from Adam's. I took the train down so I'd have about 7 blocks to walk and warm up. I knew that they run about 5 miles and I had a feeling it was going to be fast. There were only about 9 or 10 of us running last night since it was so windy. The ringleaders were actual marathon pacers (I will do an entire post on my debate about running with a pace group in the marathon later), which means they are freakin' fast! I told them my measly 11 minute per mile pace and we started off. One guy stayed with me for the out part of the run, which we ran north to Montrose and ended up on top of this hill, which I've been told is pretty much the only mountain in Chicago, haha. I think we were running about 9 minute miles, which was totally killer for me. At the top of the hill, we regrouped and headed the 2.5 miles back. I ran with two different guys on the way back, the LPP's were so nice to run a little slower with me but man, they were still running faster than I ever like to push myself. I believe that I have overcome a lot of my breathing issues, but when your mother has like 6 inhalers just to get through the day, it has to affect your own lung capacity, right?

It was awesome though, we did 5 miles in right around 45 minutes. I was totally beaten down, which is good. Running with other people is probably my least favorite thing in the world because I am so slow and if I speed up, I have so much trouble controlling my breathing. Surprisingly, last night was awesome. It was kind of like having a personal trainer, except they weren't really pushy and let me have enough of my own space to pace myself and actually complete the run. Thanks, Lincoln Park Pacers. I'll be seeing you in the park more often!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine What? and I heart Canada

I had a totally crazy trip this weekend. I checked in really early on Saturday morning to fly to San Francisco, then on to Vancouver. I was a little over-excited about it because we switched hotels in YVR and I have heard only the most fabulous things about the place. It's so awesome that I got a text from my friend Christen, who must have seen the trip in my line, asking me to get some extra shampoos from the housekeeper's cart. In our line of work, it's the simple things like in Vancouver where the hotel has rockin' amenities and is actually within the airport, which means: 1. No hotel van to wait for! and 2. No driver to tip when he takes your bags, therefore saving 2 dollars. Don't get me wrong, hotels within the airport aren't the best thing ever but when you have a relatively short layover all that hotel van time just eats away at sleep, which is about all I want to do after a long day of flying.

Our layover was supposed to be around 15 hours, which is my ideal length. It gives me just enough time to stop in to the gym, shower, eat, dry hair (which for me is a mega-project) and get plenty of the aforementioned sleep. I did my whole routine and yes, the room was FAB-U-LOUS. I remember sitting in the bathtub, which was about the size of Dad's hottub, watching Canadian TV (more on that in a minute) and thinking to myself, "wow, it's too bad we have to leave so early in the morning. I could definitely stand to take another bath in this lovely tub." And for the record, I'm not a huge bath person, this tub was just plain amazing.

Since I am an idiot and therefore jinxed my entire crew, of course the phone rings at midnight. I'm confused and think it's my wake up call until I look at the clock and realize I can't remember the last time I made it through an entire night at the hotel without a call from the crew desk. One of my favorite nighttime crew deskers (and I say that dripping with sarcasm), Sally, lets me know that our 6:30 a.m. flight cancelled and now we'll be working a 1 p.m. flight to San Francisco. In my incoherent state, I try to process this and do the math in my head and realize that instead of getting home at 12:30 that it will be no earlier than 10 p.m. now. Ug. Turns out we ended up home at 2:45 a.m. Hip hip horray for glorious Chicago weather. When it rains a drop, the whole airport goes insane. Two days later, I'm in way better spirits about it but at the time I was PISSED. On the brighter side, I had another really great workout (Wii fit says I'm down 3 lbs!) and got in another bath.

But back to the real reason for this post. I have a completely irrational love for Canadian TV. I can't decide if it's because all of the news anchors sound like Robin Scherbotsky from How I Met Your Mother when she gets all Canadian or if it's because I have an extra reliance on the TV to escape boredom in Canada since Sprint charges you for your first born child if you make calls while outside the country. Either way, I love the TV there. It's awesome. It makes me remember the days when international flying was actually a possibility for me. Even though in most Canadian cities you are within an hour of the border, it's still a foreign country and therefore bears a tiny bit of mystique. They also have BBC World, which makes me want to punch Comcast and RCN (our local cable companies) in the face for not carrying the channel.

Since I had all that extra time and I was in the airport so it's not like I had anywhere to go, I got my fill of swine flu coverage. I hadn't even heard about it before I got there. I'm hoping that I don't get assigned a Mexico City trip during all of this hysteria. In Chicago, it's just a turn anyway, meaning that you go down there and come back all in one day, which makes for a sickeningly long day compounded by the fact that you arrive at the international terminal and have to clear customs (unlike awesome Canada, where you get to do that before you leave). It's a barfy trip to start with and I want no part of face masks and sick peeps. I guess I'm lucky because I've never even had the regular flu so I have no idea what kind of suffering these infected people are dealing with. I hope that there continues to be no fatalities here in the U.S or else mass hysteria might break out. I'm not a believer in hand sanitizer to start with (there's nothing like good ole water and soap) but I saw on the news today that stores in Chicago are selling out of the stuff. Sure enough, I headed out on my almost-daily trip to our local Walgreens and some girl was all bent out of shape with the cashier because they were all out of the travel sized sanitizers. People crack me up. That chick is probably the same person who schedules a 30 minute connection and wants to yell at me about how far away the 2 gates are. Idiots.

My new favorite website

I think I previously mentioned it but I have had some relatively inexplicable weight gain lately. As far as I can tell, it seems like I've increased my caloric intake to offset my constant working out. Or possibly because I have a fabulous boyfriend and I'm letting myself go? :)

I don't feel like my eating habits have changed all that much, in fact I eat infinitely better than I ever did in college and high school, but I do have some work to do to get back into some of my favorite summer clothes. Anyway, one of my flying partners recommended this cool website, . I was already keeping a makeshift food journal but Gyminee gives you the USDA nutrition info and lots of people have added restaurant and grocery store brand food items. It makes it really easy for me to see what's going into my body every day. You can also track your workouts and weight progression on Gyminee. If you join, let me know and we can be "gym buddies", haha. I need people to yell at me when I have days like Friday (lunch: nachos at Q'Doba, dinner: bleu cheeseburger at a bar, not very nutritionally sound!).

Friday, April 24, 2009


I am glad that it's Friday, not that weekends really mean much to me these days, but just because it signifies the symbolic end of what has not been my favorite week.

Work has been completely crappy lately, it's a long story but let's just say it's been awhile since I had a long and satisfying trip and that always frustrates me to the max. Today sucks. I thought I'd be getting a trip (before I got royally screwed last night) and Adam made plans to go to a comedy show and there is no extra ticket for me. I really hate it when that happens. All part of the reason that I am working toward having a regular people life again.

I got my dress yesterday for Tracee's wedding and it doesn't fit. However, it's my "normal" size. This will hopefully be the motivation I need to log mega miles in the next month and a half.

I joined this website called and it helps track workouts and nutrition. It's replacing my little makeshift food journal but I'm really struggling with it. I know I need more protein but these are my issues: I hate fish. I hate eggs. I really don't like grilled chicken (but I'm working on it, apparently fried isn't so good for you, ha!). I already have too much fat in my diet so nuts aren't going to be the best source of protein for me since they pack as much (if not more) fat as protein. Ug. I am really trying to convince myself that maybe I like eggs or maybe I could learn to like egg white omelettes? I'm not sure if that's going to be possible since I gag when I'm cooking them for Adam. I am in need of some protein inspirations.

I didn't get a very good night's sleep last night since Preston decided to have a party at 3:30 a.m. That probably explains this pounding headache and exceedingly negative post.

Maybe I will head off to ebay... haha! Hopefully good news will be coming my way today!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

St. Louis Fun

It was so convenient that Amy and I were running our half in St. Louis, which is less than a five hour drive from Chicago. I sweet talked the boyfriends (well, mostly Amy's bf, since he's the one with the car) to drive down and hang out with us since Kristen had two weddings to attend on Saturday.

Friday was interesting. Amy rides free on United because of my passes so she had gone to Reagan airport to try to hop on a plane to Chicago, where we'd go to St. Louis together. Some times the best laid plans go awry and it ended up being about 8:30 p.m. (instead of 2:00) that she finally made it. Standby is always an exercise in patience, especially at an airport like Reagan, where there is a constant stream of people saying, "Oh, I'm on the 7:00 p.m. flight but I finished my day early, can I get on the 1:30 flight instead?" Amy pretty much spent 7 hours being bumped by revenue standbys. We decided to nix our plans of going to St. Louis on Friday night and to just drive down with the guys on Sat. morning. It actually worked well because Kristen was really sick and it gave her time to rest instead of entertain us.

We got to St. Louis early, had brunch with Kristen and FINALLY met her fiance! He was super nice and we ate a really great meal at a cute brunch/lunch place. They went off to their mega-wedding day and we headed south to the Budweiser Brewery.

As much fun as it is to play around with the equipment, y'all know the real reason we went.

FREE BEER!!!!!!! And yes, that is a glass of Stella that you see. They started giving that stuff away after the merger with InBev. Delicious.

We had dinner at one of my favorite STL restaurants, Zia's on the Hill. It was a fiasco because it was 6:00 p.m. on Saturday night, the place is uber popular and apparently the other 9,998 half runners decided to do their carb loading over there too. The poor hostess just plain sucked. This is one of the unfortunate side effects of my years of restaurant experience. I get extremely judgmental when the service is bad. This girl was disorganized to the max. Sometime during our hour and a half wait (we were quoted 45 minutes), I wanted to take her aside and show her how to get herself organized and understand how hostessing works. But I digress. The food was delicious and we were famished by the time we sat down. After dinner, the boys and Amy went to the casino (where Adam lost all the money that Brian won, apparently) and I went to the grocery store to get our marathon breakfast.

I've already told you probably more than you cared to know about the race so here are some pictures.

MORE FREE BEER! And this one was the Oatmeal Stout from Shlafly Bottleworks. SO YUMMY after 13.1 miles. I had forgotten how freely they give out the free suds in STL.

After the race with our coveted medals. YAY!

Getting in the fountain in front of our hotel was all I could think about once I realized I'd be soaked from the rain anyway. Too bad it was all algae-d and gross and I could barely keep my balance. I made it about 3 steps in but oh well, it was fun anyway!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ow... (oh and endurance running is gross)

So, I'm not feeling as sore as I did after my Austin half, but with that being said, I'm still feeling the after-effects of running a very long distance yesterday. The scary part: I'm going to have to run about that long now at least once every 2 weeks until my marathon.

(the rest of this post is probably not for the faint of heart. endurance running is just plain disgusting when you get down to the nitty gritty.)

It rained down on us for the vast majority of the race. Amy and I woke up early, had our mini-breakie and headed to the start line, which was only a couple of blocks from our hotel. She had an emergency poncho and our hotel was kind enough to be handing out giant sized trash bags to the rest of us, which I sported until about 500 meters into the race. The first five miles took us through Soulard, which, to me, is like the French Quarter of St. Louis. We ran all the way to the Budweiser Brewery, saw a Clydesdale, and turned back toward downtown. It rained a lot for those first few miles. I was personally miserable because I had to go to the bathroom super bad and there were huge lines at the port-a-potties and no toliet paper when we finally did stop. Imagine if you will, pounding your body on the pavement and with every step praying that you can hold it in... and yeah, that was my first 11 miles.

Racing is unfortunate that you can prepare and work at it for months, but it's really all about what your body is telling you that day. Case in point, our friend Kristen, who was supposed to run the race with us but had a major cold all last week. No way she could run 13.1 in the rain! I didn't have a cold, but it just wasn't a good race day for me. I don't know if it was the need to use the facilities or what but I just plain didn't have the kind of day I wanted to. I am so blessed that I had my "Coach Amy" kicking my butt, all Jillian Michaels style, for the entire race or I might have walked the whole race and ended up with a 4 hour time.

Back to the race, we got back downtown, passed the finish area and ran several miles west before turning around and heading back to the finish line. It was hilly in a completely different way than Austin, which I remember to be shorter but more intense hills. In St. Louis, the hills weren't very steep but they stretched for blocks and blocks. I was so annoyed waiting for the point where we'd turn around and head for home. There were a couple of points where we weren't getting rain pounded on but by mile 9 it really started to come down on us. The last couple of miles weren't too bad because I found a potty with tp- HORRAY!! At that point, my legs felt like boulders because I'd stepped in so many puddles and been splashed with so much water that everything was completely soaked. I just kept ringing out my ponytail in the hopes that it would help me shed some of the excess water weight that I was carrying. Maybe the last couple of miles were made easier by the beer they gave out around mile 11... YES!

I ended up finishing right around my previous time of 2:34 although my chip time is going to show much higher since we stopped for bathroom breaks and attempted bathroom breaks. I'm not entirely pleased with that effort but considering it was a really tough race day for me, I feel like I learned a lot about what I need to do to go forward. The reality is that it could be raining, snowing or sleeting in Chicago in October so this race was really good preparation for the various elements that could strike on my marathon day. I am determined to only do this once in my life, so I want to make sure I can finish and feel satisfied.

I have a long way to go, but I am looking forward to getting some outdoor training in now that it is getting steadily warmer every day. (I think I heard the weatherman say something about 80 degrees later in the week? I hope he meant here!!) I'm also hoping to get some shorter races in during the summer to work on speeding up my times.

I didn't have my camera but Bazan took some very fun pictures so I will post about our weekend in STL with pictures soon. Now, I must stretch out these old legs...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

And we're off!

Right about now, I am probably eating some sort of gross tasting gel or chewy thing to give me extra carbohydrates. Hopefully, I am not limping and/or dragging my leg behind me like a peg leg because of the aforementioned big toe incident.

I hope I'm keeping up with Amy and getting a time around 2:15 (or dare I say, lower?). Update tomorrow!

And if anyone is good at this whole blogging thing, I realize that mine is so generic and completely sucks. Please offer suggestions and or tips! I know there is a better way to do this. I totally should have taken a web design class!

Friday, April 17, 2009

You can find me in St. Louie

Ah... a good Nelly song... although I won't be smoking any of what Nelly references in that song. This is my second of my three training half marathon this year.

I'm finally getting around to starting my blog. I figured it's now or never (mainly because I've never had this much spare time in my life) and I feel like I'm about to go through a lot of really big life changes in the next couple of years. I also want to start keeping a record of training for the marathon and potentially a triathlon next summer.

The weather is AMAZING here in Chi-town and I am very excited to board a plane this afternoon for St. Louis. My friend Kristen, who I traveled with for KD, lives there. Tonight, Amy and I fly in and we are having a big girls night slumber party. Tomorrow, we get to meet her fiance for the first time (yay!) and she gets to meet the men in our lives since they are driving down in the very early a.m. from Chicago.

The race is Sunday morning and I am a bit troubled about it. I was nervous for my Austin race but in a different way. There were so many of you there waiting for me at the finish line so I was kind of freaked out about finishing well. Sadly, my first marathon related casualty happened last week when I broke my big toenail in half and it's kind of disgusting. I was at a hotel in Denver at their P.O.S. gym with these machines that I really hate. 36 minutes and 4 miles later, I had 2 huge blisters and my toe felt weird. I have been debating taking a picture for the blog but I think I will spare you. Never fear, dear readers, it doesn't hurt that much. It's mostly discomfort. Amy, who has been through this whole marathon training thing before, recommended that I super glue it. So I did. It's weird, it feels weird, but I think it might actually hold up for the race. Oh and it's supposed to be all gross and rainy in STL on Sunday. I've been feeling pressure (put on only by myself) to finish with a better time than the last race (2:34) but I haven't been training as well. Although, yesterday I had a really good 90 minute session and I feel OK overall.

We finally got our Wii and Wii Fit last night. It was hilarious and we stayed up really late with Preston setting it up. I was more impressed with the Wii Fit than I thought I'd be. True to what everyone told us before, that little machine is MEAN! It doesn't sugarcoat the fact that you are overweight. Let's see if it can help me take off some of the fat that I am NOT LOSING FROM MARATHON TRAINING (and yes, I am bitter about that).

Anyway, I have a really busy day ahead of me and lots of big news in the coming weeks. I will post pictures from the race on Monday.