Friday, March 31, 2006

The Expo Report

The race report will have to wait until Sunday (and until my psychic powers develop, it will have to remain that way), but until then there's the Expo Report.

Let's just say, it's a good thing we got paid today. Leah might have gone a bit over the deep end. Not to say the outfits she got aren't cute, because they are. Technical gear just tends to be a little pricey.

So we got up early to get to the expo right when it started. As Leah mentioned below, she was on a quest for size 10.5 shoes and the early bird gets the shoe, as they say. We left around 9 for downtown, taking the Red Line to Grand. Getting to the Red Line was a bit of a challenge, though, as we were being blown about both to and fro. The wind is definitely going to have to die down before Sunday, or I'm going to be lucky to even finish.

It was an absolutely beautiful day today. It was so warm, I actually had a little sweat on my brow. It was very exciting. I can tell you are excited too. I can feel it right through the computer screen.

After about a mile of walking, we ended up at Navy Pier, the site of the expo. It was nice getting there early and during the work day as it was not all that crowded. We picked up our chip and bib (we had to walk all the way to the low number area, a small price to pay for getting the super-cool green Preferred Start bib) and commenced to shopping.

All the local stores were really nice. We started at the Brooks booth, which was actually being run by this store called The Runner's Edge (careful, there's sound). They were exceedingly nice as Leah tried on a pair of Brooks Adrenaline and weighed the confidence of an old standby (Adrenaline) against the hope of something different (maybe something in an Asics). Well, she knows what the Adrenaline are like, so we decided to shop around a bit, although not before taking advantage of a buy 3, get 1 free sale on Wright Socks (they're the double-layered ones). We weren't spending money, we were saving money.

The next place we tried for shoes was the Asics booth. The person who helped us with the shoes was local professional runner, Jennifer Harrison (scroll down for pic). She is a tri-athlete who also trains local athletes through a place called MultiSport Madness. Leah tried on a few "beefier" shoes in case they might feel a bit more supportive, but nothing felt quite right.

We continued to make lap after lap, grabbing up all the free samples and eating whatever we could find. A brief free-sample report:
  • Clif Blocks - Delicious. We tried the lemon-lime and the Cran-Rasberry and both were awesome. Also, the texture was really good. This has been mentally added to the list of things to try
  • Clif protein Bars - unbelievably good. Try the Cookies and Cream.
  • Clif Electrolyte drink - Gross. We had some sort of Apple drink, and it tasted like water with a hint of apple, like if the ice melted after you finished a glass of apple juice. ICK.
  • Kiefer Milk Drink thing - Tastey, but I doubt I would drink it with regularity.
This continued until we hit the Nike gear. Leah has a bit of a soft-spot for Nike Dri-Fit and, as luck would have it, there was a whole rack of matching running clothes. A tank-top, sports bra, and pair of shorts later, we were checking out with the nice people at Running Away, one of our favorite local running stores. Wisely she passed on the matching running hat because, you know, that would be over the top. My assessment of the outfit Leah bought? She wears it well.

The bags were starting to pile up, but we still didn't have any shoes. So it was back to the Brooks booth to pick up a pair of ol' reliable. But wait! If we both bought a pair, they we would get an extra 4 dollars off per pair. Remember, it isn't spending money, it's saving money. I generally wear Asics 2100s, but I can do either so, so I agreed and got the Brooks Adrenalines as well. Mine were bright yellow, however, while her were the standard grey. I think the guy who sold me the shoes might have been suggesting that they were kind of girly, but I think they just look fast. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway.

The last thing was that I still needed a shirt to race in. Last year, I wrote all over my good running shirt in a fit of excitement at the Chicago Marathon and I don't really want to wear a shirt that says "Go Jason" to the Shamrock Shuffle. It just doesn't really seem appropriate. So one more purchase and then home. Once again, though, the shirts were nearly half price and so we were practically minting money.

In the end, the damage:
  • four pairs of Wright Socks
  • two pairs of Brooks Adrenaline
  • Nike shirt, shorts, and bra
  • Two adidas dri-fit tank tops
Not too bad. If you total up the savings, it was really a steal. At least, that's what I plan on telling out landlords when we can't afford to pay the rent.

It was time to go before we could be further seduced by the Siren's call of the technical gear. We left the expo and braved the wind once more. We leaned into the wind and trudged back up grand in search of something tasty for lunch before we had to head home. As luck would have it, we were right near Boston Blackies, and amazing burger joint. This place has been the same since it was built and has incredible burgers at a very reasonable price to go along with really fast service.

It was the perfect end to a perfect expo day. Now I'm going to stay in my apartment until the wind goes away.


Alright, so there is a way inside joke between Jason and I happening here when I keep saying RACE DAY or EXPO DAY. A couple years ago my friend from college got married in Bloomington, Indiana. We were living in B-town at the time and of course went to the wedding but then continued to get hammered with them at bars around town. We were out until like 3am. Usually this is isn't much of a problem but this time we were going to the Indianapolis 500 race the next day. It's been a family tradition for as long as I can remember although it used to be for boys only....wait I'm totally off track here. Anyways we had to leave bloomington around 6am to meet up with everyone at the usual meeting place around 7am (no i don't really know why we all leave so early, although I suppose it's to beat the traffic. In the end though I think it's so we can all start drinking right as the sun comes up). So the entire way up to Indianapolis Jason and I, due to a mild hangover and super tiredness, would start yelling :


So we tend to bring that out every once in awhile.

Anyways, we are getting ready to head down to the race expo. It's a beautiful day here in Chicago so it should also be a nice day to hang around downtown. Pictures and hopefully a shoe success story when we return.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Five Days and Counting

After our 3 mile run, it was time to commute back out the Batavia. Leah is currently doing another practice run of those detector shifts that we've mentioned a few times (you know, the ones that are going to screw with our schedule until we go insane) and so we didn't have leave for work until one.

Heading past the ballpark, it started to become very clear that Spring was about, spring. Or be sprung, depending on who you ask. Either way, it is starting to get very baseball-y around Wrigley. The beer trucks have descended upon our neighborhood, filling the bars with frothy goodness in anticipation of the official bar season. The construction on Wrigley is nearly finished and it is starting to look like a ballpark again. All this leads me to the inevitable conclusion that winter is finally gone. You can't see, but I'm going a celebratory fist-pump.

And then we got downtown...

Holy Cheese, there were a lot of people out! And here's the thing, I know this can't be right. I mean, we were there at around 2 or so, so the mighty throngs of people on the street didn't even include all the people humping crappy 9-5 jobs. There just can't be this many people in Chicago. I mean, I've been downtown in the winter. There are about 7 people in the entire city.

My theory: there is an entire underground society that only comes out when Major Daley orders them to. He doesn't care about Chicago in the winter (because, come on, Chicago winters suck), but in the summer he wants Chicago to look its best and busiest. That's when he calls upon these people, like seat fillers at the Academy Awards (I, of course, am George Clooney in this scenario).

It's the only explanation.

Tomorrow I'm On An Expo Quest

So being about 6' tall I need a 10.5 size running shoe. I used to work at a Sportmart and at stores like these they don't even order the 10.5 womens shoe. After 10 it goes by whole sizes, so 11 would be the next size. Specialty running stores usually carry the 10.5 which is always good news. Race expos are great though because shoes are usually a bit cheaper than the running shoe stores. The problem then? I think that the Brooks people, for example, usually bring ONE size 10.5 to the show so tomorrow Jason and I are going to go to the Expo first thing and try and nab that one! Great thing about being a graduate student is that we can take the morning to do that and then work from home the rest of the day.

I get so stupid excited about race expos. I wonder if this giddyness goes away and the expos just become a pain. Maybe this doesn't happen though for a girl who loves shoes and all things running :-)

We had a relaxing morning today because I have a shift at the lab from 4pm-midnight. We headed over to a local coffee house in our neighborhood called Avanti and spent some time talking to the owner Margarite (I have no idea if I spelled that right, she said it's like Margarita, which of course I can maybe just the a becomes an e?) about how she got started with the coffee shop as she is the sole proprieter. It's fun talking to people that have their own business, because they are usually real excited to talk about it as I bet I would be if I ever had my own business. So, if you are ever in the Wrigleyville neighborhood and looking for a good place for a cup of coffee I highly recommend this place. It's on Southport between Waveland and Grace.

We also met a guy, Tim, who is a runner as well and also a math professor at Depaul University which was kind of cool. He will also be running the Shamrock Shuffle this weekend, so perhaps we'll run into him there.

Oh yeah running. After we got back from the coffee place we headed out for an easy 3 miles. Just did our favorite out to the lake front path and back. No running tomorrow or Saturday because of RACE DAY on Sunday, but we will be walking around the expo tomorrow so that will count a little bit.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Stupid Football

What kind of sport is that, anyway? You know what a real sport is? Running forward for a long time until you stop.

Football. Pfft.

Why am I raging against football? Well, today Leah and I were scheduled to run 400's today for our weekly speedwork and we had begun doing at the Wheaton College track. It was really great last time and was absolutely perfect for the 400s (being both round and 400 meters long). However, this track encircles a football field. See where I'm going with this?

Yep, there was a football practice going on during our speedwork time. I had half a mind to go up there and tell them how inconsiderate it was of them to be using the track on our time. I was this close to doing it, but at the last minute I managed to restrain myself and instead sat in the car impotently before driving off. I think they got the point, though.

So now we were faced with the question of what to do now? None of the options that came to mind were particularily appealing. We could drive back to Chicago and run the sprints there, but as soon as we started to do that we heard something on the radio about I-290 (our highway of choice) being a big sticky mess of evil, so that made us quickly re-think this decision. Heading back to the lab was an option, but we had just succeeded in escaping work, so returning seemed like admitting defeat. I say Boooo! to that.

Suddenly, Leah had an idea! (wee!) There was about 55 minutes until the train would arrive to take us back to Chicago, so we could park at the train station and then run from there. 20 minutes out and 20 minutes back would be a nice little run and would suffice as a workout. And, with the Shamrock Shuffle being just 4 days away, doing a milder workout was fairly appealing.

As luck would have it, the suburbs of Chicago all have a series of trails going through all the surrounding woodsey areas and one of these trails started at the Wheaton train station. It was really quite nice. We ran out and back at a nice little clip and finished in plenty of time for the train. It was a running miracle!

Once we got back into the city, we were reminded of why we haul ass all the way out into the suburbs each and every day. While waiting for the subway to take us back to our neighborhood, we were treated to a couple of guys playing a clarinet and drums while a bunch of people in sombreros danced around them. I could have watched them all night (but I didn't).

While heading home, we passed by Wrigley as we always do and Leah snapped a couple of pictures. Opening day is less than a week away! Go Cubs!

And just because...

Speed Later

***editors note (by editor, I mean LeahC). At my computer here at work the pictures in this post look very dark. It was kind of the point for them to be darkish with high contrast when I took them, but here they are almost too dark to see. If you click on them you can get the bigger image and see what they are. Gotham City or Chicago at night?***

I got up right on time this morning but then remembered that the trains are stupid in the late morning leaving the city. There is a train at 8:40 and 10:40. I wasn't going to be able to make the earlier one but the later one didn't give me enough time to run before hand. Of course there is an 11:40 train, but that would just get me to work too (i know this is all very interesting!) we are taking the 10:40 train and then running our 1/4 speed workout at the Wheaton track this evening.

In other news I believe that Jason and I need to be intervened (?). Alchohol? Drugs? Of course not! But we have realized that we have a candy problem. The problem? I Looooove it! The downfall of me will be sour twizzler bits!!! or gummy bears! or lemonheads! We thought about discussing the finer points of candy on one of our people might talk about wine or scotch. I have tried to quit just doesn't want to quit me!

I will post again later with a recap of the 1/4 miles. We are really going to try and slow them down this week, especially since we are racing on Sunday.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

4.5...Nice and Slow

Today Jason and I went out for a 4.5 mile run which was really nice. I wore the new T-Shirt which was alright just a little big. I'm going to have to try and dry it and see if I can get it to fit better without resizing itself to a childs x-small.

Last night we were at the lab from about 12pm - midnight. I had another one of these practice shifts from 4-midnight. Again nothing interesting happened but I did meet another one of the graduate students who is from Lancaster in England. He was saying that he just got back from Vegas because of a Foosball tournament. I said oh ok, and then realized a few minutes later that he like competes for real. He said that he was in the top 10 foosball players in the UK last year or something.....pretty impressive.

On the way home yesterday it was rainy and gross and I was tired and took a bunch of pictures with my digital camera so I thought I'd leave you with some of these artsy/rainy/blurry pictures. (also a picture of our kitty Dagny)

Monday, March 27, 2006

What is this Blog about?

Jason and I started this blog while we were training for the 2005 Chicago Marathon. I think that it is very common anymore for people who are training for some race to start a website to talk about their training and what the heck they are doing (because let's face it when you are new you don't know what you are doing).

The marathon came and went and it was about the most important event in my life. Actually the events line up as such:
  1. Birth
  2. My Wedding
  3. Completing 2005 Chicago Marathon
Was it actually the race day that was so important?

What about those weeks I had to take off because my ankle was swelling up, or the runs that were so horrible I swore off running forever.....these things don't seem to be things you want to necessarily even remember let alone list as the third most important event in your life.

What is it about training for a marathon that changes a person so?

I recently posted about being rejected from a job. One of the comments was something like, "think of this like a marathon, you are only in the first few miles". This got me thinking that you can think of most everything in your life as if you were training for a marathon (and getting through the actual 26.2 on race day!). Starting something, sticking through it till the end. Yes it sounds simple, but after getting through 10 months of training AND the marathon it becomes more clear. Things seem more doable, because shit, I got through the marathon.

Right then, so what is this blog about?

It's about life. It's about running. And everything in between.

Thanks for stopping by and you can now send e-mail to Jason and me at This is now also linked at the upper right hand side of the site.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The People are Back

We ran along the lake front path this morning as we always do and to our delight the path was packed full of runners and bikers and roller bladers and dogs and walkers and kids. I love when the weather starts to take a turn for the best and Chicagoans all seep out of their apartments which they have been holed up in for the past 4 months. It's way fun to run when this happens because there is so much more to look at than snow and ice and one or two other lonely runners out on the path. We ran 9.2 miles and had a great time. We started S-L-O-W and maybe picked up the pace after about 3 miles or so. We didn't pick up the pace much, but got into a rhythm that we felt really comfortable in. I had a bit of leg pain, but nothing debilitating and was able to easily get through the run.....however.


I got up at 7:30 this morning and had a bagel with peanut butter and we went out to run around 11 or so. By the time the run was over my stomach was yelling at me for being so stupid and so I need to remember to eat closer to when we leave for the run.

Here are the weekly progress reports. Also I did get t-shirts made and would highly recommed if you are interested in ever making anything (they do shirts and posters and even stamps I think) They had super speedy delivery and the shirt looks exactly as it did online.

We'll be racing next weekend so we are looking forward to that (although a tad bit nervous!)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Pace run

Leah has already posted about our nifty new T-Shirts, which turned out brilliantly, but what about today's run?

Well, we were due for a 4 miles pace run and so we left from our apartment and went under the newly re-opened underpass at Addison so that we could run along the lakefront as long as possible. Then it was just 1.5 miles out and back. Not too bad, right?

Well, apparently my "pace" is a bit slower than hers. Everything was going just fine for the first half. After the first mile, she noted that we were at 8:36 and so we were doing great. I agreed with the great part, since I felt great. Great great great.

We kept chugging along, but I started to drag a bit (less great). It became harder and harder to keep up. Our conversation changed from us talking to each other into her talking and me gasping "un huh" and "okay" in between tortured breathes (not great). Needless to say, at some point I couldn't keep this up and dropped behind (just bad).

I started to feel more and more like I was running in syrup (I like syrup and all, but...) and got slower and slower while my breathing remained quite labored. Finally, even though I was getting close to the end, I stopped and walked for about 10-15 seconds to get my breathing under control. Once it was close enough, I ran as hard as I could to the finish. Man did that suck. I haven't had that much trouble breathing since I was an asthmatic little kid.

I'm pretty sure that I can generally run this pace, so I'm not entirely sure what happened. Maybe the problem is that we haven't run this path in such a long time and the distance has contracted in my memory, only for my body to discover that 4 miles at pace is still 4 miles at pace.

Oh well. I'll just kick that 9 mile run's ass tomorrow and I'll forget all about this run.

Eye of the tiger, baby. Eye of the tiger.


Wow is awesome! I created a t-shirt and ordered it on Thursday and got it this morning! How nice is that for fast service. Just wanted to post the shirt quickly and I'll have a pace run recap later. I think all parts on the shirt are just a little too big....but something to know for next time!

Friday, March 24, 2006

After Run Routine

I'm liking this whole "post-run" recovery thing we are finally doing.

Up until the last few weeks, when Leah's legs started to hurt more, we hadn't really been doing any of the proper things after our runs (icing, eating, drinking...being merry) and some ill effects had cropped up. Leah had some shin pain and I had some sort of lower leg pain. Leah's too tough to talk much about her shins, but they had started to get kinda bad. Something had to be done!

Finally, however, we have wised up (read: been forced to wise up by our legs) and have begun icing after most all of our runs and eating. Also, we've been stretching more. Basically, everything that every single runner will tell you to do but we hadn't really been doing consistently.

So, after our runs, we've been eating various energy bars (manly Powerbars for me, delicious Luna bars for Leah) and some Gatorade. I guess you are supposed to eat within the first hour of the end of your run and it should be high on simple carbs with some protein (simple carbs replace the glycogen and protein helps the muscles repair). So far, so good.

Leah's been icing regularily and I have definite plans to ice like I should. So far I've only iced a couple of times. It's not much fun and I'm a big wimp.

The end result? The legs are slowly starting to feel better. What are the odds that proper training would have a positive effect? Weird.

Early Start

Whoa another day up at 4am. Jason and I live about 45 min - 1hour away from Fermi Lab. The traffic in Chicago can be very nightmarish and so to deal with rush hour traffic we have a solution in which we leave Chicago by 5 am, then there is zero traffic and then go home around 3 when at least the trafffic isn't so bad. Of course the other way to do it is to leave late on both ends, but then I have to be here at the Lab late and no one likes that. I do tend to favor the later schedule or working at home after $1 beer night but today, I have my FIRST EVER practice detector shift and so I have to be here from 8am -4pm. So I decided to get here early and try and get some work done before I go on shift. We'll take the train home tonight as the traffic on Friday nights never gets better.

Yesterday we went an easy three and to our surprise (and delight) the Waveland Ave. underpass to the running path is reopened! It's real fancy inside the tunnel now with tiles and lights and all kinds of good stuff. This is just really good news for things like pace runs or tempo runs because it sucks getting stuck at lights when you are trying to be speedy.

Today is a rest day. Tomorrow is 4 mile pace run and Sunday is 9 miles. Buidling up that distance again, which is always fun.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Well the phone interview is over. I was rejected within 20 minutes.

I'm awesome.

I really don't understand what this company wants. I should have interviewed there when I was 21 because my ability to answer monkey questions was much higher. This job was open to BS/BA, MS or PhD is a wide variety of fields (from accounting, to physics, to chemistry.....). With the questions they asked me it seemed obvious they actually wanted a BS in Computer Science who has no real world experience, is not currently working on a 600 person collaboration, has not given NUMEROUS presentations at conferences. They are a well established company so they can pick and choose who they want to hire. I just think they should put BS in computer science ont he job description because that is obviously what they were looking for. Or look outside the freakin' box.

I really feel like they missed out (everyone says this if they are rejected from a job). It's just frustrating that all the work I have done here is not equal to sitting through CS classes and graduating and being able to giv definitions to computer science terms. I am so worried that Jason and I will not be able to find a job because we don't have enough of ANY 1 skill. I can program, I can think analytically, I can solve problems, I can learn fast. Really who wouldn't want to hire me.


I barely slept last night worrying about the interview, we'll leave the lab here around 2 since we got here at 6 am (!!!). Run a couple miles and then maybe to Bernies to get beers and eat burgers (yum)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Ok, Is This Too Nerdy?

I found this webstie called in which you can design your own t-shirts. They have all styles of shirts (short sleeve, long sleeve, tank tops etc. etc.). So I was thinking how great to make shirts advertising this blog which I could wear at races and so on. Maybe not to race is as they are just plain cotten, but before and after maybe.....get the word out? Just an idea. Might just be too nerdy even for me though.

Today we had a 40 minute tempo run. I don't know if I like these runs. I mean they are supposed to be hard I know, but I just don't feel like I know what I am doing. So today we ran a normal speed for roughly 15 mintues. Then I broke the next 20 minutes into 4 minute segments. I would try and speed up at each segment. Then from 12 -14 minutes I hit the top speed I would hit and then slowed down from 14-16 minutes and then again from 16-20 minutes, then did about a 6-7 minute cool down. I guess this is about right, and unlike last time we tried a temp run I was able to get all the way through it which is always good news.

Tomorrow is easy three, and then taking Bob's advice we will just run next week distance this week since we are racing next week. I hope all this speed stuff & harder runs helps with our time in the 1/2 marathon. Last time we ran this race we were training in Bloomington, IN and had the help of hills to get us stronger. So we'll just have to see.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

4 Easy Miles and Some Practice

Wind and cold could never stop your fearless runners. I am so annoyed with this weather as mentioned earlier. I am hoping for a warm up in the next week but I can't get too excited about that prospect.

At about 1.5 miles I asked Jason to give me a practice interview so I could start to formulate answers to questions I might recieve on my upcoming phone interview (Thursday morning). All of a sudden we were at the stopping place and I literally (almost) don't remember the middle miles. It was great because the time went by really fast and I was able to get a handle on what I don't have a handle on, and ideas on how to better express myself, and thought of questions to ask the company if that time should come in the interview.

We also found out this evening that our advisor wants us out of school before May 2007. In an e-mail he sent he made it sound like that could be and would be the latest possible date. You know what I say to that?


That means I have to for real find a job and something to do after this party ends and now this interview might actually mean something. I was thinking of it as a practice because I believe their hiring period is until the end of the year.....well now I might actually be able to make that. Go Go C++ skills. Go!


It's 31 degrees right now with a "feels like" 18.


So frustrating. I just want it to be warm. I do this every year too. I get real excited about March and then I freeze for another 30 days hoping each day that is wrong and it's actually going to be 60 degrees and sunny.

We will run tonight when we get home from work. 4 miles. Knowing this city it will be into the wind the whole way. I hope that it warms up in the next week and a half so that the 8K we are running won't be too unpleasant!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Garmin 205 Reviewed

Hi People-

This guy has a great review of the new Garmin 205 GPS watch. It looks pretty sweet!

Monday Question

Well two weeks from yesterday is the 2006 Shamrock Shuffle. I'm totally excited about it because it's such a fun race. I am a little worried however, because of how much my legs have been hurting lately. I am hoping that they calm down in these next few weeks so I can preform well at the race.

Now here is my question. The schedule called for a race this coming weekend instead of the following weekend. So should I just follow this week's schedule two weeks in a row? Or should I do next week's schedule this week and this week's schedule next week (what????)

I would just switch the two, but that would mean running 1/4 miles again this week and I don't know if it's bad to do that 2 weeks in a row. Right now I'm leaning for just repeating the week but running the weekened distance for next week's schedule this week....make sense?


I didn't think so!

No running today but we do have vollyball tonight. Last week we actually won (wait for it...) 2/3 games!!!! Maybe we can grab another couple of games tonight as well.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

umpf 8.5 miles

Today Jason and I went for an 8 mile run. After we got back I measured the distance using Google Earth and actually found the distance to be more like 8.5. I really need to get my Timex GPS watch battery replaced so I can do more than just run by landmarks. Or...there is the new Garmin 205 out there. Come on Garmin let's get that software Mac ready!!! (OR just use Google Earth or Favorite Run BEFORE I leave...neither of which are as cool as GPS watches!)

Alright, the run. Well my legs hurt for the first 3 miles. what's up with that distance? As soon as we get past that my legs start to calm down and I stop being pissy and get through the run. Maybe they actually just go numb and that's why I don't feel it....who knows. I iced them when we got home though using a dixie cup of ice per leg. I didn't time the run, but I'm pretty sure we were going pretty slow, probably around 9:30 miles or so which is just about right as I think you should run long run something like 45 -90 seconds per mile slower than your race this is about right for us.

My new favorite love after a run? Luna Bars! They are freakin' delicious! There is one called Orange Bliss or something and tastes just like a Dreamsicle! I promise. Jason is annoyed because these power bars "for women" are way freakin' better than normal power bars.

There was TONS of activity on the lake front path this morning. There was some kind of race happening so we had to dodge that and it looked like a running store called Sole Universe was out there somehow because there were mile markers that said stuff like :

Boston 20 - Mile 11

and so on. There must have been a 20 mile run planned for people running the boston marathon. I can't even imagine running fast enough to ever qualify for that. I would have to drop about 40 minutes from my first marathon. Even crazier though are the qualifying times for men. Jason would have to drop like an hour and 10 minutes to make it. SHEESH!!! Well maybe as my dad says, you don't have to get faster you just have to get older since the times drop per age group. I'll get right on that.

Alright Alright, I know you all want to see the dorky here you go :-)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Owww! But Right On Pace!

Jason and I had a 3 mile pace run today. I gave my legs a nice rest yesterday which was well appreciated. However, I believe that I woke up sometime in the middle of the night on Thursday night with a really nice charly horse in my left calf muscle. I might have been dreaming, but I did wake up with a ReAlLy sore leg so I am assuming that is what happened. It worked itself out by the end of the day however.

Last night, Jason and I were planning on walking on down to the Borders to look for a C++ book so I can prepare a bit for my upcoming phone interview, however on the way we stopped for A beer at a local brewery near our apartment called Goose Island. Well 5 beers each later, and some dinner and seeing Michigan State loose (yes that's right I had them in the final game in my bracket....stupid stupid Big 10! Tom Izzo you are the end of me!) we came right back home! I am almost in last place in the family bracket pool....but Jason is leading and looks good to bring home the prize! Go Jason!

So right the 3 mile pace. Well we stayed right on pace by my legs were really hurting! What the hell! So I was pretty pissed off about that and I'm hoping the fire will cease and I can get back on enjoying (fully!) my runs. Tomorrow I will be sure to take some Aleve before I head out for the 8 mile run. I know that this is not a recommendation of many runners, but it helped a bit when I did this over the summer and it has to be better than the crap I went through today.

So right, according to we went 3.05 miles and came in at 25:50 which is an 8:28 pace. Maybe a *little* fast for what we are planning for the mini marathon, but you never know!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Big Fat Flakes & Motivation

Well as we headed out for our easy (!) 3 mile run today there were huge snow flakes bearing down on us. Honestly it was almost the worst run we have had yet this winter and it's the freakin' middle of March. What happened! The run went "ok". We went really slow and stopped to stretch a few times. My ankles/outer shins where flaring up again and I am very much looking forward to a day off tomorrow.

So right. Motivation. Where is it? As I am sure I have mentioned I am working towards a PhD in physics and am working out at Fermi Lab on the research portion of my degree. Most of my meetings this week were canceled and Jason is done with his analysis after working super hard for a few weeks so I have been working from home a lot. I will actually put working in quotes ("working"). I don't know what is the matter with me. I look at other graduate students in all disiplines and they work like there is no tomorrow. They are super interested in what they are studying and can't get enough of it. I'm not saying that I don't like physics or Fermi Lab because I think that what we do at the lab is beyond amazing....I mean seriously...they can accelerate protons & anti-protons and smash them together. They can aim the freakin proton beams so that they hit at certain points. Then our detectors can find the crap that we are looking for..itty bitty teeny weeny yellow polka dot....particles?

I just cannot get into my analysis at the moment. I don't like reading physics papers because I don't really understand them and would always rather read a novel. I have a list of things to do. I look at it. I think about it. I look at it. I think about it. I don't actually DO anything about it. Humpf. I feel like a bad person, like I should confess about my lack of motivation of late. I am hoping that this shittay feeling will pass and I can wrap my head around what needs to be done with this analysis and get on the work horse and get it done.

Alright enough moaning about work.

Tomorrow is a day off, then Saturday is 3 miles at pace and 8 miles on Sunday. I am hoping that my legs will enjoy the rest tomorrow and be geared up for the weekend runs.

I Don't Know What I'm Doing

Well alright. First of all I have to thank my cousin Sarah for finding out about the Wheaton College track. It's a beautiful full track that I guess is just open for the public. I have not been on a track since I graduated high school and it was way fun to be back and I was telling Jason what all the marks on the lanes meant and so on. He had actually NEVER been on a track before....isn't that crazy. His high school didn't have a track team and so they did all their running around a soccer field.

Onto the 1/4 mile workout. We did a 3 lap warm up and talked about how fast these 1/4 miles should be. Since we had a problem last time in that we ran these way too fast for a 1:50 pace I said well let's try for 1:45 as I thought that it wouldn't seem like such a jump from where we were before. The problem again is that I go 1/4 mile? Run!

There was another guy at the track running on the inside lane so to give everyone space we decided to run in lanes 3 & 4. So I am a big nerd and we started staggered just as you would for a 1/4 mile race, which was pretty fun actually. So where's the part where I don't know what I'm doing? Here were our splits:
  1. 1:25.54 (ok need to slow down)
  2. 1:31.21 (slow down lots more!)
  3. 1:29.98 (grumble grumble)
  4. 1:30.61 (alright then, forget it)
  5. 1:31.78 (here i checked if our first 200 was much faster than the second....nope exactly the same)
  6. 1:29.24
  7. 1:21.92 (ooooh 10 more seconds and I would be close to a 70 second 1/4...I would like to go all out for one and see how fast I could run it!)
So my question to you readers is the following. I could not run a 5 K at 6 minute miles which is what these splits amount to. However, I was still able to run fast at the last split which shows that I can obviously run these times. Is this counter productive to my training? Am I not getting the workout that I should be? Thanks for any input!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

To Marathon or Not To Marathon

I am starting to get geared up for summertime. This is probably because the weather just won't quite warm up. We are stuck in the lower 40's here in Chicago and doesn't look it will be getting any warmer than that for the next 10 days (according to But with summertime comes marathon training time. Jason and I have been discussing whether or not to attempt to run the Chicago marathon again this year. The problem is that we have the shifts at the lab and our schedules will be totally thrown for a loop until at least the end of July. However, I have started looking at marathon training programs and I think it would be ok because for the particular plan I was looking at, 20 miles doesn't even happen until early September. My thinking then is that the craziness will be over and we could concentrate on running only.

I am also thinking that I will try and keep my base weekly milage up after the half marathon in May. If I could go into the training program feeling VERY comfortable with a 10 or 12 mile run then I think the weekly runs would take less out of me. I am looking at using Hal Higdon's Intermediate I or II marathon training program depending on how I feel as the time arrives. The only issue here is that my life this summer will be commuting, working and running....but I would get to run another marathon so maybe it's ok.....

We'll be heading to the track early this afternoon for 1/4 mile speed work.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Holy Wind Batman!

Today Jason and I went out for a 4 mile run around the neighborhood. It went alright. My shins/ankles were on fire at only around 0.8 miles. I stopped and loosened my shoes and that actually helped a little bit. I was still able to get through it and finished really strong. This could be due to my super tunes I had pumpin' my ears at the end.

But damn the wind was strong! I noticed it at my back on the way out for the run as it just about picked me up and threw me a couple of steps. Then we had it from the sides for a couple miles and since we can't just run in a straight line the middle-end of our run was directly into the wind...yowza. My head hurt after we finally turned a corner and were blocked from the wind for a couple of blocks.

Not much else to report. Thanks my buzzin' cousin Sarah I found out about the Wheaton College track and it looks to be open to the public from 6am - 11pm. This is right on my way hom from work and so Jason and I are going to try and get 1/4 miles in there tomorrow on our way home. The track looks really nice as I see it on the train so hopefully the wind will be died down a little bit and we can get a good speed workout in.

***as I am sitting at my desk right now I can hear the wind blowing around the building...yikes I really hope that dies down a bit***

I have also finally updated all the graphs and weekly summaries at the running updates page. You could also get there anytime by click on the first link on the right hand side. I have included some of the nerdy graphs below

  • February Total Distance
  • March Total Distance to Date
  • Weekly Sums to Date
  • Yearly Total to Date

So the graphs are good because well the lines all go up. :-) Our weekly total distance is moving back in the correct direction and we have logged already about 150 miles on the year. Not bad for two busy graduate students!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Running in Washington

The last week saw me in Washington D.C. I went to our nation's capitol to talk to congressmen about the president's FY 2007 budget which includes a nice increase for the Office of Science. I thought it was really excellent that you can make an appointment to talk to our representatives and then fly to Washington, walk into their offices and have a 15 minute meeting. I don't know how many other countries you can do that in. I found out about DOE, NSF and AAAS fellowships that will put you into a congressional office for 1 year.....could be a fun opportunity....perhaps.....Anyways onto the vacation/running report. It's a bit long so to skip all the fluff I have put the running stuff in purple italics so if you are just interested in that go ahead and skip down. As usual click the pictures for a bigger version.

My flight left Chicago on Tuesday at 12 pm. Of course for my insane self....I must be at the airport mega early to catch my flight...I was at O'Hare at 9:30 am. This is not actually my fault as I planned for both traffic on the way and long lines at the airport. Of course there was neither and it took me roughly 30 minutes to get from my front door to the gate. Well I got a lot of reading done which was nice.

I was flying with 3 other Fermi Lab people and after we all got to the hotel and changed....there was a Pepsi incident on the airplane, the three graduate students and some california people decided to walk around and do some sight seeing. We were staying about 3/4 of a mile from the White House so we walked by there and then down to the Washington monument. On the way home we found the Einstein Monument and how do 5 physics nerds resist stopping for a group photo.....well we do not. We did however get 5 cameras to take an automatic picture at the same was funny trying to get that going. Alright everyone press start, now run into the picture. It actually came out pretty nice.

On Wednesday we had our first day of meetings. We started at the University Research Association (URA) office to get any last minute information and then headed to Capitol Hill for meetings. I had meetings at 11am, 1 pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, and 4pm. Most of these went really well. There was always two of us meeting with a staffer person. I realized quickly that all these staffers were my age and so I thought about my meetings as if I was talking to one of my friends about what it is I exactly do and why it is important. This worked pretty well and I found out that the staffer from Congressman Visclosky's office (NW indiana) grew up about a block away from where my grandparents and then aunt & uncle lived. He was also a fellow Indiana graduate and so I felt very comfortable talking to him about the issues at hand. After all the meetings were over I realized that my feet were quite hurting me so I decided to take a cab back to the hotel because I wanted to get a run in before meeting the rest of my group for dinner.

It was a really beautiful late afternoon when I started the run. I thought for kicks I would time the run just to see where I was at. The running schedule had called for a tempo run for that day, but I figured that I had done enough walking around and such and just went out to enjoy myself. I ran to the mall area and around the Washington mounument and looked toward the Capitol building and thought that's not too far. I ran all the way there and up the stairs and looked back out towards the mall. It was really beautiful, so I stopped for a second and stretched. There was a gentleman trying to take a picture of himself in front of the Capitol so I offered to take the picture for him. I started to head back to my hotel and thought that I would run around the White House and take Pennslyvania avenue back. I was probably about 10 minutes away from the White House when I looked up and saw 3 huge helicopters heading that way. If I was just a bit earlier I think I would have been able to see the President getting out of the helicopters....ah well. I headed back up around the white house, up Pennsylvania avenue, and to the hotel. I hit stop on my watch and look at it and see that I had been running for an hour. Nice. I just checked on Google Earth and I think the run was probably a little over 6 miles.

On Thursday we had a whole day of meetings. I only had 4 meetings scheduled so I had tons of time during the day where there wasn't much to do. My poor feet were killing me so I didn't want to walk to far away from the buildings where my meetings were. I had my first meeting on the Senate side, then a meeting on the House side and then back to the Senete for 2 more meetings. The last two meetings that I had were an hour apart but in the same building. So meeting one went really good, and afterwards I went and got a Diet Coke with the guy that was my partner at the meeting figuring I had tons of time.

So I get to the room where the office is and the Senator's name is not on the door. SHIT. He must have moved and the meeting is in about 15 minutes. All around these buildings are signs that say where everyones office is, so I quickly walk out of the office and look for one of the signs. Of course there is not one anywhere in sight. I walk around the corner and see one of the signs at the end of a super long hallway. So I walk super fast to the sign, find the senator that I should be seeing and realize that he is 3 buildings away. I ask the security guard the fastest
way to get there and he says to go through the basement (all the buildings are connected through these underground tunnels). So I have about 10 minutes at this point so I get to the basement and start running, in the heels which are breaking my poor feets. I realize that this is stupid so do I stop? No, I take off the shoes and start really running. People were looking at me like I was insane. I get to the elevator at the end of the middle building, just catch it and everyone in the elevator laughs at me because, well, I look ridiculous. In the end I got to the meeting with a few minutes to spare.

The group I had traveled with had a photograph planned for 6:30 pm on the steps of the Supreme Court. My last meeting ended around 4pm so I didn't quite have enough time to go back to the hotel run and get back for the picture. However, I did go back to the hotel changed and walked all the way back to the Supreme court. I would say that this would be about 3 miles or so. We ended wanting the picture in front of the capitol so it was back around to the other side. We took the picture and then the group seperated for dinner. I fell into bed that night like a sack of potatoes.

I woke up around 9am and the bottoms of my feet felt bruised. I stuffed them into some shoes and went downstairs for breakfast. I contemplated not doing anything until it was time to get ready for my meeting but that's really not my thing, so I head back upstairs, but on some running clothes, shove the feet into my shoes and head out. Boy am I happy that I did. It was such a beautiful & warm day out. Although everything below the waist was sore it felt really good to be running. That mornings run took me past the Vietnam Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and I believe the WW2 memorial. This run was not as long as the one I had taken earlier, but I had to get back to the hotel to get ready and check out.

It was so fun running in Washington D.C. I love running in towns that I don't live in because it forces me to think about whether or not I would even want to live there. It makes it feel like home since running is such a normal thing that I do here at home. I loved Washington and will think about applying for jobs here when that time comes.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Running Report

(from the guy who's not running)

I've taken another day off since my leg is still hurting. It is starting to feel better, but
since it wouldn't support my weight very well going down the stairs, I figured it would be better not to push it. Tomorrow I'll probably try and do a walk/run if it is feeling reasonably okay. I've been using Icy/Hot on it and icing and that seems to be helping.

Leah's in DC right now persuading Congress that science is the new hotness. From what she's told me, it sounds like things are going quite well. Hopefully she'll get to bring home some of that science money she's trying to convince the govenment types to hand over.

Apparently she also went on a run up Pennsylvania Avenue and into the Mall area and had a great time. Nice work keeping up with the runs, especially after a day walking around in heels! She ran for an hour because it was so great she didn't want to stop. Nice work, Leah. Hopefully she'll fill in some details when she gets back.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I ran yesterday too!

What are the odds of that?

Anyway, I just wanted to mention something troublesome that happened towards the end of my run yesterday. With about 200 yards to go in our "run around the ring," my left leg went all gimpy. The pain was shooting through my outer shin/upper ankle area and my leg would no longer fully support me and so I started limping a bit. I hobbled/walked for a few feet until I could get my legs back under me and then finished the rest of the run.

I've had something of this sort happen before where my leg started to feel weak, as if it might give out. However, it has never actually given out before. Now, today, I have these shooting pains up the outer shin area of my left leg. I'm not even sure if shooting is the exact right word as it is more like waves of throbbing pain. Sort of hard to describe other than the fact that this is actual pain and definitely not soreness. It doesn't hurt more or less if I walk on it or rest it and my leg doesn't hurt to the touch. It seems like it might be a nerve thing, but I really don't know.

Has anyone every experienced this or heard of this sort of problem? Is there anything to do besides the usual icing/resting formula? Help would definitely be appreciated!

Runnin' The Ring (again)

Yesterday was, as usual, a long day at the lab. I had a 9:00 am meeting and so needed to catch the 7:40 train, which means in my insanity to be everywhere 20 minutes early, I had to leave at 6:30am.....which means that I woke up at 5:30 am. We had a volleyball game at 8:30 pm...ugh. I wanted to get a run in yesterday because I didn't think I would be able to run today and I am going to be so freakin' busy in DC over the next few days that it might be tough to even get runs in...but I am going to really really try. So we ran around the ring at Fermi Lab this is about a 3.75 mile run. Things felt good for the most usual a little bit of a sore shin but nothing that stopped the run.

We'll see how my shins/feet do after this week since I have to be in "fancy" clothes which includes non running shoe attire.

Monday, March 06, 2006

How's the Running?

It's going good!! I haven't posted in awhile but have had a good weekend of running. On Friday the boy and I worked at home and we ran 3 easy miles in the afternoon. Not too fast, not too slow just right. Friday evening we went downtown because I had to get grownup clothes for my upcoming trip to Washington D.C. (not as fun as getting jeans and cute skirts at the Gap.)

Saturday morning we were planning on doing 3 miles at pace. We had to stop by the place to get neighborhood parking permits because my friend was coming into town in the afternoon and so didn't know for sure how far we would run. We decided to run faster than normal, but not too fast...we tried to find a comfortable stride and stick with it for the full run. I think we did a good job of this. We got home around 11 and frantically cleaned our apartment because my friend Corey and her son were coming over at around 12:30. Our cat Dagny was a big hit with little Aaron, but she didn't think he was so great she just looked at him like, "Are you freakin' kidding me with this?"We had a great time with them, walking around the city. We went to Goose Island for lunch and then headed to Ethel's Chocolate shop for coffee and desert.

On Sunday we ran 6.5 miles. The scheudule called for a 5K race but because we were so screwed up last week we decided to run 6.5 in order to be inbetween the 6 miles last week and the 7 planned for this upcoming Sunday.

Other than that we had a good city weekend walking around plenty, stopping for Garrett's Popcorn and I even found a pant suit with pants that were long enough (always a great find for a gal who's almost 6' tall). Tomorrow I leave for Washington DC and hopefully will be able to find time to get a run or two in. I think it'll be totally fun to run in DC so hopefully my busy schedule will allow it.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

1/4 Miles Not THE 1/4 mile

First a little background info:

When I was in high school I ran the 1/4 mile in Track and Field. That's all I did. I ran the 1/4 in the medly relay, the open quarter and then the final leg of the mile relay. I once asked my coach if I could perhaps try and run hurdles, he looked at me like I had a second head and said, "Leah, think about what you just asked me." and walked away. So I was pretty fast in high school. My senior year I went to the state compition in the open quarter mile and placed somewhere in the top 25 people in the state. Not bad. (I had one race below 60 seconds and yes I will be riding those coat tails for the rest of my life :-) )

Jason and I are now starting to incorporate speedwork into our training plan. Yesterday we ran six quarter miles which was supposed to be at a 5K pace. We decided to try and run them in 1:50 as this would be close to our 8K pace at the shamrock shuffle last year. However, my mind reels back to 1997 and I go, ready start......RUN RUN RUN YOUR ASS OFF!!! I couldn't slow down to 1:50. Not that I was very fast either but we had the following splits :1:39, 1:33, 1:38, 1:38, 1:38, 1:36. So we were consistent just a little faster than what a 5K would be for us.

Anyways, it was a good workout and running the two blocks worked out well. Man did I sleep well last night....probably because I could barely move. We have an easy 3 miles either today or tomorrow. We will pass our corner bar on the way home tonight which is serving dollar beers....and we are working at home might work better to run tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Feet Like Feathers

Do you people realize that it is not summer yet. I hate the month of March because I so want it to be spring and it's so not even close. The next 10 days on have the temps in the 30's & 40's. It's just so annoying as winter closes out because it can never quite do it in a timely maner.

Jason and I are now taking trains/walking to work so we tend to notice weather more than if we are just driving. As the temperatures rise we will start to rid our bikes downtown to the train station instead taking the subway which ends up being much faster or at least much more consistent because it always takes about 30 minutes to get down there. We are also considering trying to move downtown but coordinating a sublet on our place and finding a place we can afford in a month might be tough....but perhaps it could be done.

In about a month we will start detector shifts here at the lab. Better known as Data AQuisition (DAQ) shifts and I am going to have put on a happy face for 4 months to get through them. The schedule for these shifts is one week on (all 7 days of the weekends off) two weeks off. There are then three types of shifts Day, Nite and Owl. So your first week is 8am - 4pm, then two weeks off, then a week of 4pm-midnight, two weeks off, then one week of midnight-8am. Then repeat that set of three one more time. It ends up being 4 months total. So ok ok, maybe not so bad but there are two of us on these shifts and unfortunatly we have it set up as I'm on for a week, then jason for a week then a week off. In short (maybe I should have just started with this) we will be here 14 days every 21 days. So scheduling life and runs and commuting is going to be a nightmare...but I already have a matrix working that should work as good as it can with the scheudule the way it is.

The question is, do we try and train for a fall marathon? Still working on that one. We will totally keep running, but I don't know if we can keep on with the disipline of a marathon training program. I am guessing we'll try it for the first few weeks and see how it goes.

Ramble a litte more shall I? No? Ok then, onto last nights run. We had a 3.5 easy run and it went great! I was worried since we had been out of the house for about 12 hours, but it ended up going really well. I had no pain on my legs, my breathing was awesome and it was a run where it was a shame it had to end. Ok this might sound really really stupid but I think that if I wear thinner socks my legs hurt less. I wonder if thicker socks are forcing my feet some how in my shoes and hence causing me to run a bit stiffer? I don't know just an observation of the last few weeks.

Tonight is another session of speedy quarter miles. I had always heard that in Chicago there are 8 blocks to a mile. I measured two blocks using and sure enough 2 blocks is .26 miles. So we will just run loops around our apartment. Run two blocks, walk one-two blocks, run two and so on. We have 6 repeats so we'll see how this works out.