Monday, September 21, 2009

I need to run much more often if I'm going to take this seriously.

I just looked at my heart rate monitor for the last couple weeks and I've only run a handful of times. Ugh.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Why I Race

For the last 10 or so years of my life, I've been struggling to fit in. I couldn't find a group that accepted me. I have always known I work best in groups, on teams. My best friends are usually groups of friends. I remember playing with my friends when i was in elementary school - my favorite game was to pretend my bike was a horse and play on my "farm." We rode our bikes everywhere, and in the winter, we hosted the winter olympics with sledding, snowball fights, and ice skating. We had gymnastics competitions on the front lawn. I played catch with my brother and dad. I swam like a fish. I joined my first swim team when I was 10, with Heather, Brian Wasko, and Joe Salemi. I stayed on that team until I was 15, making tons of friends in the process. At Milkovich I played volleyball and ran track. At Trinity I played soccer, ran track, and I was on the YMCA winter swim team. I kept up a four-sports-a-year schedule until the day I tore my ACL in May of 1999. From then on, sports was never the same.

I went to college, and took a gymnastics course, while working out almost obsessively. It kept me focused and strong. I loved college and I will always remember the exact layout of the SRSC. I read a ton of health magazines, and encouraged other people to work out. Then, right after college, I lost all my motivation. I let the hippie lifestyle take over, and I didn't do any serious physical activity until I started biking around the city in March of 2007. Sure, I hiked a bit in Colorado, and that made me happy, but I wasn't fit. Biking around Chicago really helped to keep me in shape, especially because I was riding 4 miles each way to work, plus more on errands. But eventually biking wasn't giving me the exhaustion that I needed, and in January 09 I got on a treadmill and started running. Now, I'm comfortable going 5 to 6 miles at a pop and my speed has gone up to almost 6 miles an hour. I finished my first triathlon in one hour and 52 minutes and plan to do another soon.

Since I've welcomed running and swimming back into my life, I have felt more centered, grounded, and enthusiastic about life than ever before. This is a cliche, but I feel like my old self again. Happy and motivated, like I was in high school and college. And although music and going to concerts has, and will, always be important to me, I don't get the same satisfaction from it now that I did from 2004-2008, when I was touring a lot and living and unhealthy lifestyle. It's hard for me to let go of that part of my life and my personality. I almost feel like I am cheating on myself by giving it up. But at the same time, I know I have to do it, and I'm happy to be moving on.

I race because it gives me goals and because it makes me feel like I'm a part of something bigger than just myself. When I'm running through the city and I see other runners, I feel like they understand why I'm out there, why I need it. When I go to Fleet Feet and hear other runners talking about gear they need for their next race, it motivates me to join that race or try that gear. I race because I feel like it is where I am supposed to be, and what I am supposed to be doing. I feel home.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Just now, while I was riding to go walk Dax, I shifted to the left to avoid an ambulance and my back tire hit a flattened plastic bottle at the exact same moment I braked. Long story short, this caused me to wipe out to the left, scraping my hand, bruising my hip, and crushing my left shoulder, AGAIN. It still hurts from my accident in July and I know this is going to make it worse. ARGH. I'm icing it now. Frustrating!

Yesterday (Weds), Andrea and I took a bike ride to the Botanical Gardens in Highland Park. We bussed to Devon and Milwaukee and then started the trail at mile 1. The ride was about 19 miles, then we had lunch at the gardens which was really beautiful. The ride back was faster than the ride there, or at least it felt that way. By the end of it I felt great. I had a hard time sleeping though, and could have used more ice and stretching.

On Tuesday, I worked all day at Carbon Day Festival and had a great time. I had a long talk with Shayna Gladstone's mom who is a life coach, about switching careers and made the decision to start looking for a full-time job in a career that isn't music. It feels good! I'm ready to move on. But anyway I was on my feet for 8 hours that day and needed a break.

On Monday, I ran 5 miles in just over an hour. That's pretty much a record for me! It was great!

That's about it for now... more tomorrow after my tempo run.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Making changes, struggling with injuries.

I actually had a really rough week. Last Friday (the 4th), I busted 3 spokes on my bike during a ride to the lake, which bent my wheel and made about 6 inches of the wheel rub against my brakes. This pressure put a ton of stress on the back of my knee. I had a huge knot back there and for the rest of the day, I couldn't fully straighten my leg. This has happened before and I think I need to get my bike fitted. Anyway, I ran 4.25 miles on it anyway, and really messed it up doing that. Iced it the rest of the day, the next day it was back to normal. Since then my knee has felt stiff going down stairs and it's popping a lot. I'm worried, but without health insurance there is nothing i can do about it. Awesome.

Jeff's family was in town so I took Saturday off to heal, Sunday and Monday off to spend time with them, and Tuesday I tried to do yoga, but I just really wasn't feeling up to it. Wednesday I went to the gym with the intention of doing speed work on the treadmill, but ended up just doing the elliptical and the Stairmaster. This injury put me out for quite a while.

Thursday, I finally felt ready for a big run. I did 2.5 miles on the treadmill, alternating speeds between 3.5mph (for one minute) and 6.5mph (for .25mi). Then I walked for a half mile to get my breath back, then ran a mile at 6.0. This is the first time that I can remember running a mile in 10 minutes. I was really excited! To do this after doing speed work made me really proud.

On Friday, my roommate and I ran together. He's a beginner, so we did a 2 mile loop around the neighborhood, alternating walking for 2 minutes and running for 3. He did great and I barely broke a sweat. It definitely showed my progress. Then I did an additional mile and a half with the dogs. I went slow so Ellie could keep up.

I should have run today, but I just really don't feel good. I have a headache, I'm sneezing a lot, and my body temp is running really high. Or at least it feels that way. Plus, I am exhausted. I could fall asleep at any moment. WTH is wrong with me?! Blah. Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow so I can get back on schedule. The race is in 13 days...

On a positive note, I've decided to get back on the wagon and quit drinking completely. I'm an all-or-nothing kind of person, and this goes for alcohol too.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My little pup is a champion runner!

Today's 4.25 mile run was difficult and frustrating but I finished without walking!

I woke up and couldn't find the watch part of my heart rate monitor. I have no idea where it could be... probably caught up in my laundry somewhere. So no heart rate for today, which is a bummer because I wanted to make sure I was in the 150-160 zone, no higher.

I got all dressed, ate, and rode my bike to Belmont harbor so I could ride along the lake. Once I crossed under the Red Line I could feel the mist/fog coming off the water and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees. It felt amazing and I was SO excited to run on the lake. Get to a good stop sign, set my bike against the pole, and realize I forgot my bike lock. OMG!!! I get so frustrated when I do things like that. It always happens when I throw off my routine.

I rode my bike all the way back home, annoyed and ticked off. Once I was there, I had a glass of water (which I think i really needed!) and put a leash on Chuck to take him with me. I really wanted to run on the lake, so I headed out that way. I ran on Grace to the lake, which was nice because it was very shaded and mostly downhill. I got stopped at a couple lights, so I know my pace time isn't completely accurate. This is why I really wanted to do the whole 4 miles on the lake. Oh well. I ran down the lake to Hawthorne and back up Broadway to Grace and home. The whole thing was 4.25 miles. My knees hurt a lot, my quads are sore, and surprisingly my back is really stiff, but i'm in a great mood. Chuck did great, although I tripped over him a few times. He didn't want water when I offered it to him (that stop must have been at least 3 minutes, trying to get him to drink!). Oh well!

i'm not sure what the plan is for tomorrow but hopefully I can get a treadmill/incline workout in either Sat or Sun.