Anatomy of a long run

It's 7 am.  I've been up since 6 (luxurious sleeping in), and had toast with peanut butter and honey, some Nuun water, and a cup of coffee.  Read the new issue of Runner's World, tried to get dressed and find body glide and put in my contacts without waking up the sleeping household.  Then, out the door.

 

Secret place for dorky warmup moves

Secret place for dorky warmup moves

This is my view before each run, behind our house.  It's where I fiddle with my phone and headphones, get my Garmin GPS to wake up, and go through a few warmup mobility moves: lunge matrix, leg swings, and sometimes some calf pumps.  I tried to do a selfie of me lunging but it's a pretty atrocious photo so I will spare you.  Instead, here's me acknowledging that it is, indeed, time to start running 16 miles.

 

Oh, fine, let's do this.

Oh, fine, let's do this.

I don't know what my affinity is for this thing.

I don't know what my affinity is for this thing.

First, above, I have to point out my armband.  No idea what brand.  I've had it forever and I never wash it.  It's cracked and the velcro is almost entirely given out.  It unwraps from my arm at least six times per run and I can't even begin to tell you what it smells like.  And yet, although I'll happily splurge on a new pair of Hoka's or a Oiselle top, for some reason replacing this thing seems unnecessary.   My running-economy priorities are weird, but they are fixed.

Okay, so off I go.  The plan is to head south for four miles, north for eight, and then back south for another four.  I'm also going to work my usual listening protocol for long runs, alternating between a book on tape and music.  For the first four miles, it's Attica Locke's new Bluebird, Bluebird which is a novel about a down-on-his-luck Texas Ranger investigating two murders in a small rural TX town.  It's wonderful so far.  You should read it.

I remember as I run the Oak Street Curve that today is the CARA Ready to Run 20 miler, which means that pretty much anyone in Chicago doing a fall marathon will be out on the lakefront for the point-to-point supported 20 miler.  Except me.  I am a lone wolf this training block, and although it's a little weird to wave and say hi to all these runners I know, I'm happy to be on my own.

 

Flock of geese in a sedate line, heading north.

Flock of geese in a sedate line, heading north.

Well, only about three miles in and it's time for a pit stop.  What can I say.  Luckily, Navy Pier has it all: air-conditioning, clean bathrooms, and a water fountain.

 

Also there's a Bubba Gump shrimp restaurant.  Weird.

Also there's a Bubba Gump shrimp restaurant.  Weird.

Back at it, heading south.  I should note that it is hotter than I wanted it to be - mid-70s, and pretty humid.  No wind, but a mix of clouds and sun.  I chose to go south first because I think that's the hotter section on the path.  I try to hit the water fountains about every two miles and make sure to take in several gulps at least.

At mile four, I'm about down by the Chicago Yacht Club (fancy!) where I stop for a drink at the non-fancy parks dept water fountain and toast myself with gel number one:

 

I love these despite the Lance connection

I love these despite the Lance connection

Down the hatch, washed down with water.  All right, time to head north.  But first, switching over to music and taking a break from chasing a gang of racist thugs in Lark, Texas.  I have an old playlist called "Country music LR" and that's what's up today, lots of golden oldies that keep me mellow and easy on the pace.

Speaking of pace, I've run the first few miles in about 11, now I'll push it down to between 10:30 and 11, which is where I stay pretty much the rest of the run.  If it were cooler, I would keep it at 10:30, but I'm giving myself a little leeway given the heat and humidity.

Heading north on the Oak Street curve I pass wave after wave of Ready to Run 20 milers heading in the opposite direction.

Mile 8 happens just north of Fullerton, over the bridge.  Legs feeling a little achy in the knees and tight in the hips, so at each water stop I try to do some hip circles or a squat or two.  Not much you can do about it on the run.

 

Gel number two, I salute you.

Gel number two, I salute you.

The 20 mile groups have thinned so it's quieter north on the path, which I like.  Around mile 10, I run into my friend Shana, and stop for a minute so we can chat about work, families, running, and of course - our national nightmare.  It's good to see her and we make plans for some runs together in the winter after my you-know-what is done.

Forgot to say I switched over to the novel again after a nice chunk of country music.  Powered by some Kris K.

 

Starting to drag a little, around miles 10 and 11.  It doesn't help that there's a giant walk for the cure type race up around Montrose, with huge crowds of walkers taking over the entire path.  One woman even snidely said to me, "You're going the wrong way" as SHE was blocking me on the right side of the path.  It was like wading through a parade.

Finally, I reach 12 miles, turn around point at the north-most end of the park.  And I realize that maybe I've miscalculated my route, not taking into account the half mile to the path from our house.  So what will happen is that I'll hit 16 while I'm still about a mile away from home.  Oh well. Too tired to care much about that now.

At the rotary at Foster Beach, I stop for a nice stretch and notice the changing leaves.  Fall is coming.

 

New-ish shoes.

New-ish shoes.

Either the last gel or the second wave of country music gives me some new energy, and I hit some faster miles on the way south.

Love this song in the Johnny Cash bio-pic when Reese and Joaquin do it:

 

So then I felt pretty good.  Ran through some mantras in my head - I have one where I do a body scan and relax each part sequentially also picturing waves of blue energy to cool me down.  What can I say, I need something to do in my head that long on the road.

Finally, that last beep of the watch, and done!

 

Sweaty foggy camera lens.

Sweaty foggy camera lens.

16 miles for the day.

51.7 for the week.

Done!

And then I jumped in the lake:

 

IMG_2623.PNG

I'm looking for a new love, baby

Tired face.

Tired face.

Checking in from the start of week 11, oh shit Hanson's plan.  Today marked a new beginning.  I'm finished with the "speed" phase of training and on to the "strength" phase.  There's a lot of science behind it but basically it means I'm done with the shorter faster intervals and on to longer repeats that are more marathon-specific.  So instead of Monday's 3 miles of work, I will now have Monday's 6 miles of work.  Hmm.  The key is pace, as it always is with those Hanson's boys.  My speed intervals were at my 10K pace, which is approx 8:55.  Strength intervals are at a specific pace they call "GMP minus 10 seconds."  Goal marathon pace minus ten seconds, which for me means 9:34.  So today I did a warmup mile then 6 miles at 9:34 (ISH) with 400 jog, and another cooldown mile.

It went well - despite the droopiness of my face above - but I had a little trouble locking into the pace.  I think I got used to the pushing-it feeling of my speed intervals and also to the 9:44 regular clicking off the miles pace of my tempo runs, so this in-between rhythm had me a little confused.  I started out too fast on nearly every mile, then had to make myself slow enough to find the rhythm but not TOO much to overcompensate.  Huh.  Still looking for that new love on Mondays.  I'll get there.

In other news, it's freaking WEEK ELEVEN and I'm actually doing this.  I can't tell you how amazed I am, but I'm a little afraid to even write about it because what if I jinx things.  Sure, I have the usual aches and pains and tiredness and some runs are crap BUT... I'm doing it.  There were so many times in the past year where I dreamed of trying this marathon plan but really not sure I could hack it.  And here I am, hacking it.  

In other other news, it seems like all I do is run.  Every day, multiple hours of running.  So many sweaty clothes to wash, so many fueling foods afterward, so many hours of pump up music playlists and audiobooks.  Getting a little sick of the lakefront path, not gonna lie.  My major decision: should I go NORTH or SOUTH.  That's it.  Nothing else changes.  

(I'm sorry, lakefront path!  Forget it!  I didn't mean it.  I can't quit you!!)

Last week: 46 miles. 

This week: 54.  

HOLY SHITE.

Today music-powered by (yes, you knew it):

 

Dawn patrol

Sunrise reward for pre-dawn start

Sunrise reward for pre-dawn start

Most of my runs in the last part of the summer have been early ones.  Way early.  Leaving at dark early.  Getting up in the 4 hour sometimes early.  This is for family scheduling reasons and I'm sure I'm complaining about it plenty at home but the truth is that for all the exhaustion (and the iffiness of running pre-light), I do love what happens when I'm out there at that time.

This sunrise, for example.  I was on the street heading to the lake and the sun was a huge ball of orange fire, a big burning egg, right at the horizon above the lake.  Framed perfectly by the bridge at the highway underpass.  I ran so fast to see it out on the waterfront but by the time I got there it was smaller and higher in the sky.  Still incredibly beautiful though, so I did my dorky running selfie, above.  

It's amazing what you get to see when you're out there in time.

Checking in from the beginning of week 9, Hanson's plan style!  (Oh shit, Hanson's.)  Last week was a good one.  I hit 40 mpw for the first time (looked like I was going to end up at 39.8 and you know THAT WOULDN'T PLAY, so I made my 10 yesterday into a 10.2 just because I'm Type A like that.  You are too.  You're reading a running blog, come on.)  Speed and tempo workouts went well.  Tempo thursday went especially well: it was cool, breezy, and I remember thinking to myself just before I dropped the pace, "this is going to be fun."  And it was!  Yesterday's 10 miler was similarly focused, strong, and I felt good throughout.  Hit my paces exactly on both, without too much effort.

This morning, however: bleh.  5 miles easy.  But those easy runs are so hard.  It's like I gear up for the tough days, get prepared mentally, get my sleep and water dialed in, etc.  And the effort pays off.  For the easy days, I roll out sometimes without thinking too much about it and then they kick my ass.  Today was that day.  I felt weak and shaky halfway through (maybe half a banana wasn't enough fuel), had to walk a bit, and then trotted it in.  Oh well.  It is what it is.

This week kicks things UP a notch.  The long run gets real, gets long that is, at 15.  Plus a tempo on Thursday that I don't even want to think about yet.  

More to come.

Audio-book powered these days by Jonathan Dee's excellent new novel, The Locals.  Check it out.

Lucky for you that's what I like

Marathon training has kicked in for real, after a few wobbly weeks of less-than-ideal mileage due to travel, family stuff, you know how it is.  But I've done two speed sessions and they've gone well.  Better than well: fun!  I often think that I'm still a middle distance runner at heart, and it shows when I do any kind of repeats or intervals, even when I'm doing them up and down the lakefront following Garmin beeps rather than around a track.  I always want to push the pace and it can get hard for me to lock into marathon "speed" intervals as opposed to that old (SO OLD) muscle memory of 70 second quarters, dozens of them, every Monday morning.

 

Yeah.  So, as you can see, pace is a little different in marathon training.  Hanson's says my speed pace for these weekly sessions should be 10K race pace, so that's about 8:55 for me.  

Next week we stepped it up to 600 repeats except Garmin won't let me program meters so I could either set for .35 or .40 mile.  I chose .35 because I can be a wimp, but in exchange for wimpiness, check my consistency:

 

These continue to go up in distance until about a mile, I think.  Then I'll switch to "strength" repeats instead of speed.  But for now, it's good times early out on the path.

 

Music-powered by:

 

Track and Field World Championships!

I was lucky enough to be in London during the Worlds, and was able to get a ticket for opening night on Friday... and then to watch the marathon right along the Thames on Sunday!  Here are some photos.

 

Moody sky over London Stadium but it didn't rain

Moody sky over London Stadium but it didn't rain

First things first: they let you drink beer in the stadium.  Because they're British, and smart.  Unlike SOME track venues (I'm looking at you, EUGENE.)

First things first: they let you drink beer in the stadium.  Because they're British, and smart.  Unlike SOME track venues (I'm looking at you, EUGENE.)

That's Jenny Simpson down there on the last lap of her opening round but you'll have to take my word for it.  I was waaaaay up in the cheap seats.

That's Jenny Simpson down there on the last lap of her opening round but you'll have to take my word for it.  I was waaaaay up in the cheap seats.

First and last time I see Usain Bolt in action.  What a legend.

First and last time I see Usain Bolt in action.  What a legend.

All of us - the entire stadium - on our feet during Mo Farah's final 10K.

All of us - the entire stadium - on our feet during Mo Farah's final 10K.

Thunderous crowd glory when he won.  I was shaking, throat sore.  G.O.A.T.

Thunderous crowd glory when he won.  I was shaking, throat sore.  G.O.A.T.

Sunday: beautiful day to spend hours on the Thames watching the worlds marathon

Sunday: beautiful day to spend hours on the Thames watching the worlds marathon

Men's leaders around 5K.  It was a four loop course, so you got to see the runners eight times.  That is, if you stood on the barricades all day (first men's race, then women's).  As I did.  You're welcome.

Men's leaders around 5K.  It was a four loop course, so you got to see the runners eight times.  That is, if you stood on the barricades all day (first men's race, then women's).  As I did.  You're welcome.

Callum Hawkins from GB, en route to a great 4th place finish

Callum Hawkins from GB, en route to a great 4th place finish

God, I loved watching the women's race and being this close.  Amy Hastings!

God, I loved watching the women's race and being this close.  Amy Hastings!

And here she is coming back, en route to a BRONZE MEDAL finish: Amy MF Hastings!

And here she is coming back, en route to a BRONZE MEDAL finish: Amy MF Hastings!

Late in the day

Isn't this a smirky little selfie?

Isn't this a smirky little selfie?

5 miles, cruising along at easy pace (11:15, as per HANSON'S).  Audio-book-powered by Roxane Gay's powerful, crushing, thrilling memoir Hunger.  You should read it.

I ran later in the day than usual, left my house around 5.  I love the rare late afternoon run (when it's cool enough to do so, of course.)  The light is so full and golden, the whole after-work crowd is mellow and out on the path doing their run or bike with the happiness of shaking off the office. I had chickpea curry going in the crockpot so there's that to look forward to.  My work for the day is done so I don't have to rush my after-run strength exercises and I can take a little more time to scroll through Strava or blog or just drink water and relax.  

I'm starting week four of the OH SHIT HANSON'S marathon training plan and so far, so good.  It's just been easy miles.  No "SOS" (something of substance) runs until week after next, I think.  I like that I'm building a lot of aerobic goodness with all this easy pace running.  My legs are feeling good.  I'm in a rhythm.  I wouldn't say I'm in a thrilled-about-running phase at the moment, and certain travel plans have made it a little difficult to follow the plan exactly, but I'm getting it mostly done.  I think my goal this training cycle will be no drama.  I want to do the work but not obsess if something gets in the way occasionally, as it inevitably will.  You know: life.  

 

Lakefront path, how I love thee

Do you know how many bikes I had to dodge for this run-selfie?

Do you know how many bikes I had to dodge for this run-selfie?

I hope you appreciate the realness of my running outfit here - the top is fire but the shorts are circa early 2000's, some old Nikes I call the "baggies" and I think you can see why.

New Hoka's!  Straight outta the box.

5 miles, nice n' easy as per the Hanson boys.

First Saturday in a long time I haven't done a long run, and I won't lie that I felt a little lame.  The first month of training is going to keep me at 21 miles per week, with just easy runs.  (Easy defined as 1.5 to 2.5 minutes per mile slower than goal marathon pace.)  That means 11:15 at the fast end for me.  "Fast."  Yes, it does feel weird to be running this 5 miler slower than my usual 10 miler.  But I know, I know, I know how hard it's going to get down the road this summer.  So I'm going to stick to the prescribed paces.  Easy days easy.  Hard days hard.  No real middle ground, at least in this training block.  

Yesterday in the car I listened to this ep of Marathon Talk.  I love Martin and Tom's accents, and how they rib each other.  They had a good wrap up of the British Athletics trials for Worlds, reading out some recent news editorials about the sad state of track for fans - how to invigorate it for the next generation.   Speculated that Mo may be running his last track race at Worlds in August (of particular note to me!  more on that later!).  But what I wanted to mention here was their interview with Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson about their new book Brave Athlete which has a fantastic subtitle: "Calm the Fuck Down and Rise to the Occasion."  It's about the mental side of endurance events, and on the podcast they gave lots of practical ideas about how to change your mental game when the shit hits the fan.  Counting is one.  Counting to four over and over, can actually move your brain to a different space from the pain cave.  Tapping (your thumbs against your hands) is another.  I can't remember all of them but it was sufficiently useful enough that I plan to download the book to listen to while I run.  (There was also a moving discussion about how to cope with the mental side of being injured - how long to let yourself "moan" [Brits are always moaning] and then how and when to simply change your attitude.)  Check it out.

As for today's run, still audio-powered by Camino Island.  Totally enjoyable.

 

Embracing the easy pace (or trying to): a story of two runs

on the overpass north of Fullerton

on the overpass north of Fullerton

Tuesday I practiced a speed workout from the upcoming marathon cycle (oh shit HANSON'S!).  1 mile warmup and then 6 x 800 at 10K pace (which for me is 8:55) with 400 jog rest, then 1 mile cool down.  I nailed the pace on the 800s - 4:28, 4:27, 4:26, 4:27, 4:25, 4:27 - but it took a lot of looking at my watch.  I found I'd jump out to a way fast pace in the first 30 seconds, and be down around 8:30 or so without noticing.  Then I'd have to modulate, and find myself a few seconds behind, like in the 9:05 area.  Have to tighten it up.  It's almost like it's easier for me to go faster or slower than it is to be right on the number.  But it's the beginning (not even the beginning), so I have time.  I want to internalize those paces.  Although finding my way to a rock-solid 9:44 min/mile is the goal - marathon pace.

It wasn't too hot and I felt strong.  Happy I did it.  Loved the fog rolling in around the sky line on the way back.  

 

Still working on the path so we all have to go on the steps part, makes for some dicey bike/runner interactions...

Still working on the path so we all have to go on the steps part, makes for some dicey bike/runner interactions...

Music-powered by some embarrassing things including:

 

But I wanted to jot down some thoughts about easy pace.  So the key to surviving this training cycle (again: oh shit HANSON'S) with its two faster days and one longer day per week will be to embrace the slow and easy days.  They are specific about paces for everything, which I love.  I'm going to try to hit them all exactly, because I'm type A like that.  For easy days, they specify that the "bread and butter" easy day should be 1.5 to 2.5 minutes slower than marathon pace.  So for me that means 11:15 to 12:15.  Pretty slow.  Much, much slower than I usually go on a "normal" run.  But those normal runs aren't in marathon training, of course.  So I'm finally going to walk the walk on keeping easy days easy so I can run hard days hard.  

It's weirdly embarrassing to me to post those runs on Strava, though.  I feel like people are going to laugh.  And who gives a fuck, of course.  But more than that, during that pace I find myself fighting some internal negative self talk: look at you, going so slow, what is this, jogging?!?  As if I hadn't ripped 3 miles of quality work the day before.  I'm going to try to let those voices go.  I want to get through this training with mind and body intact, and so I'll need to go slow on the days where I'm supposed to.  Also it won't feel so freaking slow during 50+ weeks of course.  It might be nice to allow myself to run easy (not medium) and trust that I'm doing something good for the training (getting the adaptations, as they say), while not putting too much stress on the engine or chassis.  Did I just use a car metaphor?  Who am I, Car Talk?

So today and yesterday: 4 miles at 11:28 average pace.  That's right.  My name is Emily, and I'm broadcasting my 11:28 mile pace.  

 

Hot as balls out here

Hot as balls out here

Collapsed with this melon and cherry slushy at the Farmer's Market.  Sweet nectar from the heavens.

Collapsed with this melon and cherry slushy at the Farmer's Market.  Sweet nectar from the heavens.

Audio-book-powered by: https://www.audible.com/pd/Nonfiction/So-Youve-Been-Publicly-Shamed-Audiobook/B00SNMHKNC?qid=1497542278&sr=1-1

 

Single track squish

Am I a dirtbag now?

Am I a dirtbag now?

5.3 miles and technical, baby!

First real trail run!  (In my Running Life 2.0, that is.)  I was feeling the need, the need for... mud.  And the opposite of speed.  So on Memorial Day Monday I got up early and drove out to the Palos Trails - about 30 minutes out of the city, which is what you have to do as a flatlander.  I was nervous about running alone, but I followed all good safety rules: my husband knew where I was going, which trail and which direction, I brought a map and my phone and water and a gel.  I sussed out the scene at the parking lot and felt comforted by the good amount of people there.  Mostly dirt bikers, because that's a thing at Palos apparently, but they seemed good-hearted (despite those scary face mask helmets) and one group of them helped me orient myself at the trailhead.  Did some dynamic warm-ups, and hit the Orange trail!

Right away, roots rocks and mud.  This trail is a loop through dense forest, well, I wouldn't exactly call it forest.  More like close and pressing in bushes.  Single track, so just enough for me alone, and I had to hit the shrubs whenever a biker came bombing through - that was probably the main drawback.

I won't even complain about the thick mud and how I slid around on it constantly.

 

This is what I wanted, right?

This is what I wanted, right?

I kept trying to avoid it, worried I'd lose a shoe, by going to the side.  But the sloping down of the trail meant that I just slid around anyway.  And once I just slid down full out, a nice biff for my first trail run.  Luckily there was no one around to witness (or run me over with a bike).  I think this is me trying to make a face about falling in the mud:

 

Me: is this how Kaci Lickteig does it?

Me: is this how Kaci Lickteig does it?

Physically - aside from wiping out - I definitely found it tougher than I had expected.  That was because of the hills of course, lots of up and down small to medium rollers.  I did experiment with power hiking, especially when I couldn't see the top of a hill.  I think changing gears is something I could definitely work on.  I'm much more comfortable locking into a pace and then zoning out.  But zoning out is definitely not an option on a rocky hilly trail like that - and I found it hard to constantly shift positions, hop over things, etc.  I noticed it was hard to find a steady rhythm.  Every once in a while I walked until I could get calmer and slow down my breathing and heart rate.

Definitely the right call to put on bug spray, BTW.  Another trail thing, I guess.

Towards the end the trail opened up and I got some nice vistas such as:

 

Beautiful day in the 'burbs

Beautiful day in the 'burbs

By the time I finished the loop I was a little surprised - the first half seemed long and tough, the last half went by too fast.  Did I walk too much?  Not enough?  Anyway, it was a first experience and I'll be curious to see if I can tackle one of the longer trails in the system again later in the summer.

 

Till next time, mud and ruts!  

Till next time, mud and ruts!

 

I play just what I feel

[argh, lost the post after I wrote it.  will try to reconstruct]

10 miles yesterday, 60 degrees and sunny low wind, kinda perfect.  Kept the pace tight on my 10:30 LR jam, but sometimes (after a bathroom/water break, that would slide to 10:50, which annoyed me.  So then I'd do a 10:18 or two.)  Still loving my watch!

 

Oh, but it never really ends...

Oh, but it never really ends...

I've run 10 on Saturday for the past four weeks in a row.  This week was 27 miles total, and I think I've been 20-25 average for the past three weeks before that.  I'm feeling good about my base phase.  Keeping the emphasis on easy miles, with two other runs of quality per week - one LR and one medium-intensity tempo/hills/interval day.  I think I will bring it to 30 mpw in June, to get ready to start training for real (oh shit HANSON'S) on July 1.

I'm in a bit of a love affair with running right now.  Just feeling very healthy and happy, glad to get out there in this spring gorgeousness.  No tweaks or pains at the moment (knock on wood) and just a lot of comfort and good vibes.  I even would like to kick it up a notch, but am holding back in fear or injuries or burnout.  I know things will ramp up hard toward the end of the summer and I will be really dragging, so I plan to just keep it rolling easy in June.  But I'm a happy runner now.

 

A hit of calories at the turnaround.  Sweaty phone lens.  

A hit of calories at the turnaround.  Sweaty phone lens.

 

Podcast-powered by this URP interview with Sarah Lavender Smith about her recent multi-day self-supported stage race in Hawaii.  My takeaway: running on lava sounds hard and painful.  I also just got Smith's new book, The Trail Runner's Companion (because I am a wanna-be trail runner) and now I'm dreaming of hydration vests and getting lots of "vert."  Sigh.  Not easy for us flat-landers.

Music-powered by the Dan:

 

New and improved!

I am so, so into my new Garmin 230.  I cannot believe how quickly the GPS popped on - I didn't even have time to take a picture.  No trouble with lag time during the run, and pace seemed steady throughout.  (It was supposed to be a rest day, but how could I not get out for 2 miles when the watch arrived yesterday?!)  I am really stoked.  I did not realize how degraded the old GPS system/silicone whatever in my old Garmin (a 210!) must have gotten.  This will be a super important tool for me during marathon training.  (Just over a month until it starts!)

 

Teen says new ponytail set up looks like "sumo wrestler" hair. Hm.

Teen says new ponytail set up looks like "sumo wrestler" hair. Hm.

In other news, I got a pretty big hair chop.  I like it in civilian life but for running that means it's going to be this dorky little pony tail from now on.  

 

Ten Things I Saw On My Run (4 mi, 6 am, nice and easy, headphones-free)

1. The Firecakes bus.  Whoop whoop!  

2.  One goose dive-bombing two others in a ferocious downward swoop, neck extended, beak wide open.  I didn't stick around to see how it turned out.  Geese, man.

3. The fact that my Garmin was off pace by, oh, a minute or two.  Grr.

4.  A woman wearing the same 2013 Chicago marathon t-shirt as I was.  We gave each other that special nod.

5.  Too many fellow runner folk out there and overdressed.  Come on, people, no more gloves and beanies.

6. The fact that my Garmin, even after switching over to actual pace instead of average, was jumping all over - 8:20 to 11:20 and back, neither of which pace I was actually running.  GRRR.

7.  Two guys doing warm-up strides near the Belmont harbor and a few people warming up for a speed sesh with the CARA coach.

8.  CARA trough: no longer crazy-overflowing.

9.  A woman walking about nineteen little dogs on leashes while holding giant Dunkin iced coffee.  

10.  A porta-john that did NOT have a jokey name.  What is even happening out there?

 

On the (windy) lakefront path, no one can hear you scream...

Sort of an unwilling participant in the Girls On the Run race on the path down by museum campus today.  Clogged up the lanes a bit but hey: girls on the run!  

Sort of an unwilling participant in the Girls On the Run race on the path down by museum campus today.  Clogged up the lanes a bit but hey: girls on the run!

 

10 miles easy, cool and windy, about 50 degrees.  Poured for a few minutes around mile 4, got drenched, dried off late with that breeze off the lake.  Right upper hamstring or glute felt kinda tight toward the end, so I hit up some Jasyoga afterward.  I've been on a nice 10-on-Saturday routine, and I like it.  

 

Bio break at Navy Pier.   Which is mostly what it's good for.

Bio break at Navy Pier.   Which is mostly what it's good for.

Podcast powered by this URP interview with Chris Mocko.

And music powered by:

 

 

But what I'm MOST EXCITED ABOUT is tickets to the 7:30 show of this.  GET AWAY FROM HER, YOU BITCH!

 

Hot hot hills

87 in the shade, WTF

87 in the shade, WTF

I just don't know, you guys.  I cannot deal with this sudden heat wave.  And who am I, opting for some hard hill repeats on a day where we hit mid-80s by the mid-afternoon?  Hungry for hills, I guess.

1 mile warm-up (ha!), some drills, and then five Grant hill loops - pushing the ups and downs, jogging the flats, and then 1 mile cool down (not really).

 

Thank god for the fountains

Thank god for the fountains

You know what helped me a ton, though?  THIS awesome new shirt.  OMG, I am so grateful for Oiselle.  They know what's what.  I love this fabric - silky, light, drapey - and I love how I didn't feel suffocated around the middle by a tight hem.  Good stuff.  I see myself getting a couple more of these and some of the tanks too.

Music-powered by 

BOW DOWN

Eliud Kipchoge hugging his coach Patrick Sang 

Eliud Kipchoge hugging his coach Patrick Sang 

There's not a lot I'll stay up until 12:45 am for, but watching Kipchoge go for his Breaking2 is definitely one of them.  And I'm still emotional today when I think about it.  This was an incredible event, a truly wonderful demonstration of talent and drive and precision.  The pacers, sliding in and out of formation with total focus.  Kipchoge, smiling in pain.  Dawn breaking after the start.  Texting Malcolm throughout and then calling our dad to wake him up when it looked like a sub 2 might actually happen.

It didn't.  2:00:24.  But instead of "OMG he was so close that's terrible!" I'm left with a sense of awe.  It was awe-inspiring in the original sense of the term.  I had chills in the last moments even when I saw he wasn't going to do it, watching the pacers drop back to urge him on, how they were pulling for him so hard, how he expended every single iota of himself to achieve this goal.  Amazing.  I felt lucky to witness this effort.

 

 

Middle of the night texting with Dad and Malcolm.   

Middle of the night texting with Dad and Malcolm.   

Here is a good inside-baseball account of the run and I give credit to LetsRun for writing this after their snarky take-down of the attempt earlier in the day.

Also all the other nay-sayers can just suck it.

Now as for me?  Channeling Eliud all the way (in theory, not in pace), I ran 10 miles @ 10:30.  It was a great day: cool and sunny.   Windy by the lake but warm in the sheltered bike path.

 

Stopped around mile 6 for some water...

Stopped around mile 6 for some water...

And fuel

And fuel

I thought I'd want at least one more water stop but wasn't sure I'd have any fountains so I actually ran with the water bottle in my hand (or hands - I kept passing it back and forth) for about 1.5 miles.  I'd never done that before and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be!  I channeled my inner ultrarunner.

 

Stopped by a baseball game to finish my water and jelly beans.

Stopped by a baseball game to finish my water and jelly beans.

By the time 1:45 had passed for EK, he was at 35 K.

By the time 1:45 had passed for EK, he was at 35 K.

Music-powered by a mix including: 

and

(Rick Danko, oh my heart)

On the straight and narrow

4 miles: 1 mi wu; 2 mi @ tempo/GMP feel; 1 mi CD.  Music powered by Bruno Mars.  Hit up some JasYoga afterward (such a treat.)

I'm annoyed because I wanted to run 9:45 - this is what the Hanson bros have as my tempo/GMP... but my Garmin wasn't linked up apparently because as I ran I just watched the pace drop slowly - it got to about 9:45 by end of the tempo part, but I could tell I was running faster than that.  Turned out those two miles were 9:13 and 9:17.  Not sure what happened.  Sometimes when I press the satellite button on my watch it quickly (too quickly) flips into timer mode as if it's linked up and ready to go, which is what happened this morning.  Don't really know what to do about that.  There's no way to tell the watch it's NOT linked up when it seems to think it is.  And of course no biggie on a run like today - I'm not even in training yet.  But as with all bobbles on the journey all I can think is, what if this happened on marathon day??  (Fine, fine, I'd run by perceived effort, but you know what I mean.)

I took the bike path in this town that runs along a railway.  Sort of a boring concrete strip, straight and narrow for miles.  But I have a weird love, or maybe it's an admiration, for a route like that.  No frills, no "scenery" to help you pass the time.  Just a straight up tunnel of bushes and concrete that tells you to cut the whining and just run already.

In more important news, I did a combo ponytail/braid:

 

Don't say I never did anything for you

Don't say I never did anything for you

Sidewalk running

4 miles (4.1 actually, ahem) nice and easy in light rain, early morning.  I'm out of town so took a route that had me almost entirely on sidewalks.  Which I realize is really unusual for me, thanks to Chicago's ubiquitous lakefront path.  I've lost my skills for curb-hopping, and was occasionally startled out of my zone (listening to Shalane Flanagan talk about doping on this excellent RW podcast interview) when a car would roll up to a stop sign and we'd have to do that eye-contact thing: You go.  No, you go.  Okay, I'm going is that cool?  A flashback to my suburban running roots!

Then a train crossing brought me to a full stop at the tracks.  No, I didn't jog in place.  And you shouldn't either.  And I didn't stretch.  Just stood there waiting, while commuters stared out the train window, watching me getting wet in the rain.

After all that talk about sidewalks, here's my halfway turnaround and the run's real reward:

 

Lake Michigan, I can't quit you

Lake Michigan, I can't quit you

Strides on the sand.  It was the camera that was tilted, not the horizon.

Strides on the sand.  It was the camera that was tilted, not the horizon.

Speaking of running partners...

My favorite runs involve this awesome person.  

 

Modeling yet another stop at the water trough

Modeling yet another stop at the water trough

If there's a better way to start your day than a few miles with your daughter, I don't know about it.  

The morning light made us happy

The morning light made us happy

I try to have no expectations and who knows if the running bug will get her, like it did me.  But I cherish this time together and know that I'm carrying on a pretty wonderful tradition, at least for now.  Right, dad?

 

She indulges my need for running selfies.  "I have to, it's for the blog!"

She indulges my need for running selfies.  "I have to, it's for the blog!"

Partner

I usually run alone.  Sometimes I'll join up with a local running group who meets on Saturday early mornings, and I've made some great friendships with a bunch of women who love to run and are all about the same pace for long runs.  Sometimes in NYC my brother will deign to jog along with me for a couple of miles at a (for him) laughably slow pace.  But by far most of my runs are solo by choice.  I love that time for thinking, listening to music or podcasts, taking it mile by mile in my own company.  

But every once in a while I get a treat: to run with my husband!  He's coming back from foot surgery last year and this was our first run together since then: 3 miles on a super-crazy windy day (gusts up to 20 mph on the lakefront).  Annoyingly, he's faster than me.  Though I loved it anyway.

 

Best tasting water in Chicago!

Best tasting water in Chicago!

I need to get him some real running gear

I need to get him some real running gear