Training Talk Tuesday: Tri(in) on a Budget

Disclaimer:  This is going to be one of those do as I say, not as I did posts.

I saw this image the other day and had to laugh (in a holy crap, this is my life) sort of way.

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Obviously, this somewhat undesirable trait translated to my new-found obsession with triathlon. There’s a laundry list of gear tied to the sport, and I wanted the best of everything. Ahem…I spent my entire tax return on a tri bike. Side note, I had never ridden a tri bike in my life. When I picked her up after being sized at Performance Bikes in Aurora, I asked the shop’s owner, “So how does this thing work?”. He thought I was joking. I also purchased a decent helmet, biking shoes, a pricey tri outfit, and so on. Fortunately, I fell in love with the sport and don’t envisioning this light turning off anytime soon. (Whew!) But for those interested in triathlon (that are less crazy than yours truly), here are some suggestions on where to spend and how to save:

The Swim

  • Splurge:  On a decent pair of goggles. These usually run for about $20-$30. I just purchased this fancy pair from TYR. Nothing says ‘I’m ready to dominate this race’ like a pair of multi-color goggles.

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  • Save:  By renting your wetsuit, if necessary for your event. I made a game time decision and rented a wetsuit before my August triathlon (thanks, Chiberia). I was super pleased with Tri Wetsuit Rentals.

The Bike

  • Splurge:  On bike shorts for training rides. You guys, these will save your life (read:  butt). I found my favorite pair at Dick’s Sporting Goods for $40. Worth every penny.
  • Save:  By borrowing/renting a bike or using one you already own. I’m pretty sure a beach cruiser passed me during my first triathlon. Until you’re serious about the sport, I wouldn’t recommend buying a shiny new bike.

The Run

  • Splurge:  On a decent pair of running shoes. You only get one pair of feet, folks.
  • Save:  By repurposing one of your dri-fit tanks as your tri top. As long as your top is tight, it will do the trick. An $80 top isn’t necessary for one race.

Although I’ve spent all my money, I hope that I’ve helped you save some of yours. I will be accepting donations for helpful hints.  😉

Happy Tuesday! XO

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Mile 27

October 12, 2014 will go down in the books as one of my favorite days of all time:

  1. I ran 26.2 miles.
  2. I got engaged.

I feel obligated to tell you about this day. I mean, what running blog doesn’t include a Chicago Marathon recap (even if it’s 3 months late)?

The Race

I woke up right before my 4am alarm. I set roughly 80 alarms on race mornings, but I’ve never slept through a single one. I guess nerves are good for something. After showering in body glide and putting on my race day best, I headed to the CARA Compound at the Hilton. (Yet another perk of training with CARA. A warm place to gather and REAL restrooms are the bees knees.) I met my favorite running buddies, peed about 20 times (TMI?) and then we were off!

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Now that’s a bunch of good looking runners right there.

The last few minutes before race start sparked some intense emotions. I couldn’t decide whether to jump up and down from the excitement or pass out from the nerves. Fortunately, I regained my sanity after crossing the start line (some may beg to differ…) At the beginning of every race, I can’t stop smiling. (There’s something to be said for doing what makes you happy, right?!) A fellow runner sensed my excitement and ran towards me. She told me that she had run 30+ marathons and that the one thing she learned is to take it all in. Admire the neighborhoods, high-five the little kids. If people ask you what your time was, you just smile and tell them you had fun. I believe she’s part of the reason I had a great race. Thanks, little running angel.

I won’t bore you with the mile-by-mile details, but here are some highlights:

  • Miles 1 – 10: The glory miles. I felt awesome and was averaging a 10:20 pace. I ran with a friend who has lived in the city for many years, and he so kindly pointed out each neighborhood as we passed through. (Thanks, Jeff!) Boystown is one of my favorite spots in this stretch. Love the fun entertainment!
  • Miles 11 – 15:  The ‘holy crap! I still feel okay!’ miles:  This part of the race was still enjoyable. I passed the half-marathon point under my goal time and still felt pretty darn good.
  • Miles 16 – 20:  The dark ages, part 1:  The crowd was thin and the roads were quiet. It was during these miles I began to question why I had signed up for such torture a second time.
  • Miles 21 – 22:  CHINATOWN:  This is second to Boystown on my neighborhood love list. Cheering crowds and dragons, oh my! The energy of this area gave me the little boost I needed.
  • Miles 23 – 24:  The dark ages, part 2:  My leg hurts. I think I have a stomach cramp. I’ll just walk through the water stop, and the next one. You get the point…
  • Miles 25 – 26.2: The ‘let’s get this sh*t over with!’ miles:  By the grace of the Running God’s, I ran into my good friend at mile 25. We had lost each other for the majority of the race but were able to finish together. We encouraged one another to tough it out. It felt SO good to cross that finish line.

I finished the race with a time of 4:41. ONE minute away from my goal time. Until next year, Chicago Marathon…

The Engagement 

After slowly exiting the race, I met my boyfriend who told me we had to meet my cousin and mom…in Millennium Park. Now, that would be great on any other day besides that I HAD JUST RUN 26 MILES and was starting to get hangry. All I could think about was lunch, which apparently worked to his advantage. Once we made it to Millennium Park, he insisted we head to the bean. ‘Really, now you’re making me climb stairs?’ When we finally ran into my cousin and mom, I noticed my cousin had her video camera. I thought, ‘Wow! she must really be excited that I just ran a marathon.’ So clueless. She then asked to take our picture by the bean. As I started to walk away, I was pulled back to see my fiancé on one knee. These pictures tell the story much better than me. Photo cred to my wonderful cousin, Erin.

Smiling away...thinking about lunch.

Smiling away…thinking about lunch.

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Thanks for reading! XO

Monday Motivation

Chicago winter and my Christmas cookie withdrawal have left me in such a funk. I can barely drag myself out from under the covers in the morning. Putting on a swimsuit and strutting my white bod around LA Fitness is nearly impossible. Yes, of course I wear goggles and a swim cap to up the sexy factor. Bundling up to run, while looking like Randy from A Christmas Story, doesn’t sound like much fun either. It’s a lose, lose situation. Anyone else been feeling this way lately?

Exhibit A

Last week, I gave myself a stern talking to. The motivated me told the lazy, cookie-eating me to get a grip and ditch the excuses, “It’s too cold to train. I’m too tired…” until forever.

Enter:  Endure It (an endurance club offering coaching and classes in Naperville). On a whim, I emailed Coach Sarah regarding Ironman training, and we had our first meeting this evening. She offered to conduct a custom bike fitting and invited me to attend a complimentary Computrainer class this weekend. Allow me to geek out for a sentence or two… The Computrainer is a machine that hooks to the rear wheel of your bike and stimulates the variables of an actual course. As you ride, you watch a screen in front of you that tracks your progress and the progress of others in the class. Nothing wrong with a little friendly competition! If I’m alive after class on Saturday, I’ll share my thoughts.

After talking races with Sarah and the other coaches, I became all giddy about this summer’s events. It was exactly what I needed to get me back on track. Tomorrow’s gym bag is already packed.

Can I get an amen?!

Can I get an amen?

Thanks for reading! XO

Guilty.

…Of every single one of these things.

A Facebook friend posted this Thought Catalog article entitled 22 Really Weird And Annoying Things Runners Do. I found it embarrassingly accurate. If you’re a runner, I think you will relate. If you’re a non-runner, you likely know one of us weirdos.

4. Flood your social media feed with pictures of our running watches.  Posted this pic of my new running watch on Instagram a few weeks ago. So guilty.

4. Flood your social media feed with pictures of our running watches.
…Shared this pic of my new running watch  on Instagram a few weeks ago. So guilty.

Happy Saturday! XO

The Yearly New Year’s Resolution

There’s one thing every January 1 has in common. It’s the day I declare, “I’m going to start my blog today!” Four years and 7 days later, here we are.

So what does one say in their first ever blog post? You guys, I have thought about this for years. I decided to keep it simple and share some weird facts about me, as well as my 2015 race plans.

  • I’m from a small town in IL. All my family (I’m talking grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) lived on the same street. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
  • I was a dancer from the time I could walk.
  • I love chocolate (and candy) way more than I should.
  • I’m terrified of spiders and tornadoes.
  • I was a cheerleader in college, but I couldn’t tell you a single thing about football.
  • My life and loved ones are in IL; otherwise, I would escape to warmer weather. Summer should be the only season.
  • I’ve completed 3 marathons and trained with CARA the past 2 summers. I adore my running group. More about them later.
  • I’m obsessed with sharks. My fiancé surprised me on vacation and scheduled a ‘swim with sharks’ outing. I shed a few “The shark is going to eat me” tears, then I sucked it up and held a shark. It’s one of my favorite memories.
  • I’m getting married in the summer of 2016

2015 Race Schedule (Thus far…)

  • Shamrock Shuffle, 3/29: Ahh, the race that the Running Gods created for us 45,000 runners. To me, it signifies the end of Chiberia and the beginning of a new race season. It’s usually a beautiful day (knock on wood), making it one of the best days of the year.
  • Ironman 70.3 Racine, 7/19: This will be my FIRST half Ironman and my third triathlon event. I rarely drive 56 miles in one day, so there’s that. I’ll keep you posted on all of my training adventures.
  • Naperville Sprint Triathlon, 8/2: This is a short, fun and extremely well organized race. If you’re interested in triathlon, I highly recommend it as a first race.
  • Chicago Marathon, 10/11 (Pending the lottery): I’m obsessed with this race. The energy, the crowds, the neighborhoods…I can’t get enough. There may come a day I get sick of the crazy production, but I don’t anticipate this being for another 10 – 100 years.

As I train for these races, I’ll share training updates and tips I learn the hard way along the way. Stay tuned for some hilarious wipeouts, interesting learnings and exciting successes.

Thanks for reading! XO