Tick tock!

Tick tock, as my friend Jen Harrison keeps kindly reminding me. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†Yes, tomorrow (the 28th) is my 40th and I’ve had such mixed feelings about it all year. ¬†Yes all year, thanks to USAT (USA Triathlon). ¬†You see, we have to race the age we are as of December 31st so in my head I’ve already pretty much been 40 all year. ¬†But today, today has been a roller-coaster, the last hours in my 30’s. ¬†Yes, I am being somewhat dramatic, but that’s how I feel. ¬†All in all, I can’t complain one iota though! ¬†I have a wonderful family and friends, a new business, ¬†and other jobs I love! ¬†I know I am fortunate and I try hard not to take anything for granted.

So, here are some random thoughts I recall from past decades. ¬†As a teen, the thought of aging never really occurred to me, age 20 seemed cool, 30 old, and 40, well, that was certainly over the hill! In general, everything was a big bowl of cherries. ¬†In my 20’s, freedom! ¬†I loved working, the new responsibilities, ¬†being able to travel on a whim, ¬†I was filled with knowledge (or so I thought), and later in that decade, I married Scott and we started a 6 year adventure in Seattle. ¬†The 30’s entailed some self-doubt as I realized how much I didn’t know, but in part because some of my perspectives changed. ¬†Also because I was no longer fulfilled with my accounting career. (I’m not certain I ever was). Fortunately, my love for coaching swimming returned as well as a new zest for not only participating in triathlons, but coaching athletes for them too! ¬†And here I am in the last hour of my 30’s loving it all! ¬†40 IS young, my mind is young, and although my body is starting to feel older, I’m still quite active and loving it! ¬†In the end, I realize turning 40 is just another day in my life and it’s all good.

Oh, and I forgot to share my birthday wish! ¬†I would love for all of you to do 2 things this week; 1) Let someone know how much you appreciate them. ¬†2) Do a good deed for a stranger. ¬†Here are some ideas; anonymously pay for someones coffee or meal, ¬†carry an elder persons groceries to their car, volunteer to babysit someones kids for a couple of hours, do some charity work, donate blood, etc. ¬†You get the idea. ¬†ūüėČ

Thanks for reading!!!

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Hot Chocolate 15k Race Report

Shame on me for not getting this out earlier, but here are some quick thoughts from the Chicago Hot Chocolate 15k race from back in November.

My goal going into the race was to definitely run sub 7’s, and stretch to try and go 6:50 miles throughout.

I had two good 5ks and a solid 10k in the months prior to the race, and my training had been going quite well. I was averaging about 35 miles a week in October and had switched my training around to incorporate a good mix of long intervals (1000s to mile repeats) and speed work usually doing 200s and 400s.

Race morning dawned clear and cold. Temps in the 40s. Perfect racing weather. This race has gotten quite big, but RAM wised up this year and changed the route downtown to all city streets. No more lakefront path cluster like in 2010. The start and finish in Grant Park now match what they do with the marathon and shamrock shuffle 8k.

Race time rolls around. I hooked up with Noxons and the Morgans in the start corral about 20 yards from the line.

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The gun goes off and things open up real quick. The biggest issue with running downtown is that the Garmin can’t handle the tall buildings, so there are long stretches where it’s not accurately showing me my pace. In addition, the first mile starts with the lower wacker tunnel, so I have no idea how I’m doing. I’m holding back, trying to not go out too fast, and it turns out I overdid it as I go thru the first mile marker at 7:10 or so. Oops. Too slow. I picked up the pace to hit mile 2 at 6:41. From there I calmed down and knocked out 6:55 or so for the next 6 miles. I felt pretty good. I was working hard but not losing it.

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At mile 8 I kicked it in gear and finished up fast averaging 6:44 or so until the finish. Total time: 1:04:15 for a 6:53 avg pace. Considering my time in 2010 was 1:08:40 I was pleased with the improvement. I was also pleased with the negative split, even though I may could have emptied the tank a little earlier and not gone out so slow.

Afterwards it was chocolate time with the girls!

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RAM racing recently got ripped for putting on a crap version of this race in Washington DC. You can read one race report from DCRainmaker here. I was not surprised. I’ve always thought RAM falters when it comes to logistics and course management. They love fancy schwag, and they love cramming tons of people onto their courses (south shore triathlon=unsafe) and constantly spout off like they are the be all end all when it comes to race management. The Chicago course this year was much improved, but they have no idea how to do start corrals properly, insist on a narrow start lane funnel, and the whole day before packet pickup? Huge pain in the ass. Nothing worse than spending 2 hours hoofing it downtown from the suburbs so I can blow 20 bucks on parking just so I can spend 10 seconds grabbing my bib. I’d gladly pay 10 extra bucks to have it mailed and happily pick up my goodie bag day of race.

Back to the race I do have one final tip. If you are wearing a gps watch in a race downtown, turn off the autolap. If the signal is going in and out and you try to autolap at 1 mile intervals you are not going to get an accurate read on your pace. You just have to look for the mile markers on the course and trust they have them measured properly and manually capture your lap times. You can see my garmin file here.

Thanks for reading!

Holiday Wait!

Tis the season for holiday wait, I mean weight! ¬†Actually the wait may help your weight. ¬†Confused? ¬†Think of how long you spend waiting in lines, waiting on the phone, waiting in traffic, etc…Take advantage of this time to help with your weight. ¬†Here are some examples:

1) Instead of circling the parking lots waiting for the best spot, drive directly to the back of the lot and walk! ¬†It’ll reduce your wait time, yet add a little exercise to your day.

2) Rather than waiting for the elevator, take the stairs.

3) While waiting in traffic, do derriere clenches.  Yes, I said it.

4) Pull your belly-button in as far as you can and hold 10-20 seconds.  This one can be done waiting anywhere!

5) Bored waiting for that commercial to be over?  There are so many things you can do; push-ups, ab exercises, squats, lunges, wall sits, jumping jacks, triceps extensions, bicep curls, etc.  Heck, why just do all this stuff during commercials, do them during the show!

Get the gist? ¬†We all have a little time to help with our weight while we wait! ¬†ūüėČ

Inspiration

This is the time of year when many athletes are taking a break in training, which is all good. ¬†Some people never stop and a few have races coming up soon. ¬†Regardless of where you are in your season, it’s a good time to really think about what inspires you to train or workout. ¬†What and/or who is it that truly inspires/motivates you???

For me, well, I’ve had a few months off due to a back injury. ¬†So I am rearing to go and pretty much EVERYTHING has been inspiring me. ¬†TV is rarely on my agenda, but I watched The Biggest Loser tonight and was completely impressed and inspired as the contestants ran a freakin’ marathon!!! Now I’ve been fortunate to accomplish many things in my life, but a marathon is not one of them. ¬†(Honestly, I’ve had no desire). ¬† Regardless, ¬†this feat was truly amazing to watch!

Now, if you’re more of a couch potato and think you can’t even do a 5k, well you are sadly mistaken (with very few exceptions). I’m not necessarily encouraging you to do one, but I would love for you to find some activity which excites you enough to get off the couch and get your heart pumping for a little while. ¬†Grab a family member, friend, or colleague, and do something. ¬†Go for a walk, take a hike, walk up some stairs or parking ramps, try cross-country skiing, ¬†jump rope with your kids, try yoga…you get the gist. ¬†There really is no excuse. ¬†If your health is important to you, you will find a way. ¬†Just seek that inspiration and get out there!

Now, get to your keyboard and leave a comment as to what inspires you. ¬†Your comment may very well inspire another reader! ¬†ūüėČ