Tag Archives: running

Swimming lessons and some other random things

Just popping in with a quick and extremely random post. Guilt made me do it. So guess what I had yesterday?

The good/bad stuff.
The good/bad stuff.

It was barely my fault. I hadn’t had one since my July post, and have gotten used to not having Powerade in my life. I’ve replaced it with more water (goal #1), coconut water, matcha green tea latte, and an occasional Vitamin Water and bai. However, we were at One’s looong afternoon softball game, and it was warm and I was thirsty. I also wanted to be hydrated for my race today, and Bill bought it for me. Who am I to waste money and generous actions?

It just made me laugh. I don’t like being extreme about any type of food. And just like Coke Zero, a couple Powerades during the year won’t kill me. I am super proud of myself for breaking the addiction though. I’m in a good position to moderate now.

I also had coffee for the first time in two months this week. I wasn't trying to refrain because #coffeeislife, my stomach just hadn't been cooperating. Tall soy mistos for life!
I also had coffee for the first time in two months this week. I wasn’t trying to abstain because #coffeeislife; my stomach just hadn’t been cooperating. Soy mistos forever!

Moving on to other amazing things:


For posterity. True that it was Bill’s easy run and my tempo run, but still, will there ever be a run again where I log in a faster time than him? Answer: no.

Finally, did I tell you guys that Bill got me swimming lessons for my birthday? I’d been mentioning that I would love to have a coach watch me swim, work on my stroke efficiency, and just generally correct any of my self taught improper swimming techniques. I guess he was listening because he got me six 30 minute private swimming lessons with the head of swimming/masters swimming coach at the Y. What an awesome gift!

Also an awesome gift: the start of fall weather. Barely there but I know it's coming.
Also an awesome gift: the start of fall weather. Barely there but I know it’s coming.

I had my first lesson on Friday. I can already tell that I’m going to love these lessons and get so much out of them. The coach watched me swim a couple of laps and basically told me that I was working way too hard. We worked on my technique from the beginning by focusing on body position in the pool and body/core position during the freestyle stroke. It was so amazingly helpful. I LOVE how he is breaking the stroke down into basic basics. It is exactly what I wanted out of a class.

I only swim once a week, but it is an important part of my cross training routine. It is so nice to give my legs, hips, knees and feet a break from pounding the pavement. Swimming can be relaxing (and that is usually how I choose to spend my swimming day – nice and easy), but it can also be a great workout for your upper body and core, which I love. If you want to work the legs too, throw in some kick board drills and feel the burn. It is shocking how hard my legs work without my shoulders and arms “working way too hard.” Ha.

Have you ever taken a lesson as an adult for swimming or other sport?

How do you feel about food rules? Are you an abstainer or a moderator? Definitely a moderator here (unless kettle corn is involved), but Bill is an abstainer.




Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve – The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

I ran my first ever ten mile race on Sunday – the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in Washington, DC. This race has been on my list since I started running a few years ago. Mostly because I adore DC. I worked there for a summer in college and fell in love with the city. It’s hard for me to say it’s my numero uno, tip top, very favorite city because I’m from Chicago, which is also an amazing city, but it might be (shhh..don’t tell my family).

In the weeks leading up to the race, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to race it or run it for fun. Our local racing season is August through March, so by the last 10k in March, I’m usually kind of over racing, and my feet and calves were certainly over it. Although I’d run a few small short races in my hometown, I hadn’t ever run a large longer distance destination race. So I didn’t know what to expect on that front.

In the end, I decided to race it and was hoping to run it in the mid/high 1:16s to 1:17 which was consistent with my past few races and fitness level. And then I saw it was going to be 36 degrees at the start. With 20-30 mph winds and gusts of up to 50 mph. A 36 feels like 26 kind of thing. That threw me off a little bit, but I was committed. After surviving the awful flight to DC on Friday afternoon, I felt like I had a new lease on life and anything was possible!

Pre race. I wish you could see more of my awesome sweater.

Bill and I woke up around 5:30 on Sunday morning, ate breakfast, got dressed and were out the door by about 6:10. We ran the 1.1 miles down to the race start and all was good until we stopped moving. Oh the wind. Oh the cold. I stayed extra long in the Porta-John just to be in a relatively warm and sheltered area. And that says a lot if you know anything about me. The good news is that Bill gave me a horrid throwaway sweater to wear until the race start so at least I had an extra layer on. I shed that at about 7:20 and stepped into what I thought was my corral. Spoiler alert. It was not my corral.

So pretty. But seriously, look at those flags. It was windy!!


The race directors decided to not use any signage during the race due to the high winds. That was a safe decision but it made for a confusing start. It was unclear where my corral was, and I just stopped walking and cut through the gate when I saw some other red bibs in a corral.

Once the race started, my shivering decreased but my frustration went through the roof. At first I couldn’t understand why everyone around me was moving so slowly, but I quickly figured out, while on the Memorial Bridge, that the red group was way up ahead of me. Ugh! I spent the first two miles weaving around runners, up on sidewalks, down on sidewalks, nearly clipping other runners’ shoes. I found out afterward that I passed 2,856 runners during the race. I love racing technology!

Anyway, I saw myself losing so much time right up front and it was really disappointing. I’d planned to start out at a 7:40 pace and barely managed to break an 8:10 pace for the first mile. However, I tried to get past it and kept pushing through. I ended up with some good splits as the race progressed. I think my legs liked the cold! My splits per my watch:


Strong gusts of wind hit around mile 8.5 and then the last mile included a hill. Still, my average pace per my watch was 7:41 which I would have been okay with but, since that included an extra .15 miles of completely failing to run the tangents with all the weaving, my official pace was 7:47 and total time was 1:17:53.

On the positive side, I did take note of the gorgeous city during the race. The race course included parts of routes I ran while I lived in DC which was so cool. And so 17 years ago. Yikes!

The weather during the race, other than the blast at mile 8.5, was perfect. The miles clicked by and the race was over before I knew it. I really liked the ten mile race distance.

I also thought it was cool how once you get to the staging area, a race is a race is a race. A runner in DC is the same as a runner in Orlando. We are all dealing with the weather, our nerves and the Porta-John line as best we can.

And finally, I saw Hardcore both during the race and afterward! She happened to be in DC this weekend for an unrelated reason, but got a bib transfer the day before the race and ended up running it. In a race with over 15,000 people I thought there was no way I would see her, but I was so glad I did. It’s such a boost to see a friendly face during a race. By the way, she ROCKED this race. She has gotten faster at every race she has run this year.

Hardcore and me. I can’t believe I ran into her a THIRD time later that afternoon.

I’d love to say that I let go of my disappointing time once the race was over, but I’d be lying. It nagged at me all day long. If only I’d been more patient and double checked the corral. If only I’d been able to start off at my pace right off the bat. If only I had a better sense of where I was supposed to start. And the fact that I otherwise felt good and ran a strong race just made it worse. It sounds so silly; I mean, I’m a 37 year old mom of three who started running three years ago. I do not get paid to do this. There are like five two people who read my blog who would even care to find out how I did. Whether I run sixty seconds faster or not doesn’t matter at all. Like really at all. And maybe I wouldn’t have run any faster even if the race started differently.

I still care and I was still disappointed in myself.

So let’s focus on Bill who won the Master’s Division and came in 43rd place overall! He’s had to take a few weeks off of training (still running, but a significant decrease in mileage and no speed work) so he wasn’t sure what to expect. He was debating whether to push through some 5:40s or just chill out with Meb’s 6:00 group. He ended up running a 5:27 average pace and finished the race with a total time of 54:26. How ridiculous is that?!? Such a great race on such minimal training and some pretty serious foot pain. He’s tough. I am so proud of him.


Thanks for the miles, DC! I have a feeling we will be back again.





Running Friends

What is it about running friends? Even if you don’t spend a lot of time outside of running with them, they know you. Like really know you. Chances are, they know way more about your digestive health than any other human on the planet. Like what too much wine/cauliflower/butter/ice cream the day before means for your long run that morning. They immediately understand what you mean when you mention that your right hip is nagging at you (again), and whether your foot/knee/butt/back/calf pain is the same or different than the pain you had there eight weeks ago.

Everyone knows who is going to be extra grumpy when meet-up times need to be made earlier (me) or later (Legs and Curls). Who will look forward to cross training on the bike this summer (Legs and Muscles) and dread it (me). Who wants (that’s a strong word) to get some track sessions in (Curls and me) and who would rather run 10 extra miles than step one foot on to the track (Hardcore).

But the bond that running friends share goes beyond knowledge of the obvious physical stuff. There is something about meeting friends to run when you are barely awake and definitely not put together. Before you’ve had a chance to get ready and prepare for the day, both physically and mentally. It’s in those early morning hours before you are “on” and ready to present some version of yourself to the world, when you are just you. Well not *just* you, but you, your true self. That is the person running friends get to see and know, and I think that is why there is a closeness with them that is hard to match after you unlace your running shoes.

My running group has had some pretty intense and personal conversations, and I think it has something to do with being able to be open and genuine because we are our authentic (half asleep) selves when we come together. It may also be because we don’t necessarily share the same social circles outside of running. There’s this sense of closeness yet distance that governs the relationship, which makes it easier to talk openly.

Another important part of the running friend relationship: no kids allowed. You know I love ’em but, really, when is the last time you’ve had a full, let alone deep and meaningful, uninterrupted conversation with them around? The ability to completely focus on what another adult is saying in a relatively quiet space without being pulled on, whined to, stepped on, etc., only happens when I am out on my runs. I’m also not distracted by my phone, and I’m not simultaneously in the middle of (or thinking about) laundry, cleaning the house, making grocery lists, making meals or running errands. It’s just the girls and me out for a run before real life begins.

Now let’s be real – the majority of our conversations are not all that deep, but there’s a bond between running friends that is hard to articulate and replicate.

Speaking of conversations, we had lots of them at a recent running group dinner. We all got together with our husbands to discuss important things like compression leggings,  shopping math and our shared love of brussels sprouts.

Do you like my inside shoes? Classy.

It was so fun! We had a delicious southern meal that included brisket cooked by Bill on the Egg, baked grits, baked beans, an array of roasted vegetables, and some roasted brussels sprouts* with a balsamic reduction and goat cheese. Dessert included three different varieties of bites made by Mrs. Foodie’s company, Sweets Petit. We had Coconut Pecan, Salted Nut and Cacao Nib and Pistachio Fig bites – sooo good! I also picked up some dark chocolate salted carmel cutie pies from P is for Pie. Also delicious. We do love our food.

Sweets Petit bestselling coconut pecan bites.

* I just learned that brussels has an “s” on the end of it. Please tell me I’m not the only one!

Do you prefer to run alone or with friends? 

Any insights on running friends you’d like to share?