Christmas in July 5k and 10k Recap

8007_706628909382282_628933530_n

Sup, runfam? How many are you are waddling around after the RNR Half yesterday? Sorry I can’t join in on that fun, because I chose to opt out of yesterday’s race because I’m a giant slacker face that didn’t want to go run at the butt crack of dawn after two nights of racing here in my home town in a whimsical ball of fail.

Christmas in July was a weekend of racing put on by Runners for Wellness here in Lisle, and the races included a 5k, 10k, and 6/12/24 Ultra options. The race took place in Quad Killer Central Lisle Community Park. Let me just say that this race is hands down the best suburban race happening right now. I love a good ‘runner’s race’ and if you have 24hr runners with smiles on their faces at hour 22? You’re doing something right.

The event kicked off Friday night with the kid’s fun run with Santa. This was great, because it was free, and the kids got numbers, T-shirts and medals for participating. Tater and Hushpuppy loved it, as you can see in the below pics. Hushpuppy wore his medal all day Sunday he was so proud of himself.

CIJ2

The races started right on time, there were great post race drinks and snacks available, the race directors and volunteers were friendly, helpful and just all around awesome. Runners were given some of the best swag out there with tech hats, nice shirts, and really well done finisher medals.

And the age group awards? Nutcracker trophies! Probably the cutest thing ever.

I needed one of those.

Ok…so let’s talk about me and how awful I was, because I haven’t run this horribly since like, ever. I knew I would struggle, because 8pm is bedtime not running time, and it’s not like I get to lay around all day with my feet up in preparation for racing at night. Life could care freaking less.

I had an insanely stressful day on Friday and my heart rate along with my blood pressure was jacked up pretty much all day. I was also a hot mess nutritionally, so I knew it was going to be a straight up disaster. I just knew. Of course my friends show up right before the race, so I get nervous on top of my dread, and I wound up shooting out of the start like my hair was on fire, and clocked a ridiculous 7:32 first mile. I’m dumb. By the second mile, I was feeling puketastic, and was pretty sure I was going to DNF a freaking 5k. Stoopid Community Park! I am cursed when it comes to racing here. Cursed, I say!

I wound up finishing the 5k the 10th overall female and 6th in the 30-39 age group. No Nutcracker Trophy for this girl. Nope.

Saturday I woke up SICK. The intestinal issues were back full force, and I won’t go into all of the gory details, but let’s just say hydration was going to be an issue. I was super dehydrated. By lunch time it had subsided, so I was able to fuel with some sugar and carbs, and I actually felt ok by the time the race started.

The first half went well, I was actually on track to PR, but then around mile 4 my intestines reminded me that it was time to get my medication adjusted and try not to crap my pants the last 2 miles of the race. It was bad times. Like, really bad times. But I got through it and I was for sure I wouldn’t get a Nutcracker trophy. It had ended up being the worst 10k time I have EVER run. Pathetically awful. The curse of Community Park continues…

But hey! It was my lucky day! Turns out, the lady that won my age group was an overall winner, so my 4th place turned into a 3rd, and I WAS GETTING A NUTCRACKER! So that made it worth it. I was happy.

Christmas in July

I really hope this event takes off and becomes even bigger and better next year. I do think it needs some food vendors, though. You can’t really go sit your stank butt in a restaurant after a nighttime race. We have so many local restaurants in Lisle, it would’ve been great to have a couple of food trucks out there to visit post race. I also think having the races on a weekend that doesn’t compete with such a huge event like the RnR Chicago would’ve encouraged more runners to give it a whirl.

Definitely a race I will do again and again, even if Community Park will always be my running nemesis.

‘The Great Bull Run Chicago’ Recap

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

I’m writing a recap of ‘The Great Bull Run’ so SPOILER ALERT! I survived.

The event happened on Saturday at Hawthorne Racecourse in Stickney, just outside of Chicago, and the weather decided to make things interesting by having a monsoon all night long, and into the late morning hours. Luckily, the rains let up just in time for the first race, and we didn’t have to worry about dodging rain drops and bulls.

Full disclosure, I did receive media credentialed participation for this event, but my opinions are totally my own. The entry was rather pricey to participate (upwards of $60 to participate in both the Bull Run and Tomato Royale food fight) and participants were given a T-shirt and red bandana along with a beer ticket and the glory that is running with the bulls. Spectators and Tomato Royale only participants, had a reduced fee, and kids under 13 were allowed in for free.

90d91379-db1b-4bad-867e-fcb62952bc3d

Is my hair okay? I want to look my best when I’m trampled.

Now I’m sure the festival was lame because we were dodging huge walls of rain all day, and the weather effected the energy a lot. I also saw that a lot of people were wondering whether the event was going to be postponed or not via The Great Bull Run Facebook Page. Some of the weather was severe at times, so even I wondered if they were going to call it or not. It would have been nice if the organizers would have updated the participants. $60-$75 is a lot of money to have people left in limbo. Kids being allowed in for free was great, only there was nothing for them to do. No games, no food, nothing for them to really do but stand on the sidelines and watch. Again, maybe the weather affected this, I have no idea.

The ‘runs’ took place on the track, and I don’t know why I had this idea that I would be trotting along with mild mannered dairy cows, but I did. No big whoop, you just go on the track, they run by, and you jog alongside them.

The ‘heat’ was set up with a group of people to run with the bulls over 1/4 mile of the track. Three waves of bulls were to be released and you were to wait until the bulls passed you, then run with them, but watch your back, because more bulls were coming.

I’m still thinking these are dairy cows. So whatever. I’m not scared, bro! Let’s DOOOO THISSSS!

I was in the second heat at 11:30am so I got to watch the first one go down. First the announcer tells you that if you fall…stay down. Do not try to get up. Just let the bulls jump over you.

Now my spidey sense was tingling. Wait a minute! Bulls don’t really ‘jump’ do they? They mostly just like trample things, right? So while you want me to have the false sense of security that I will be jumped over by a bull with the finesse of a gazelle, I will probably have the choice of being trampled or gored.

Awesome.

Now I’m getting a little nervous…

The first wave of bulls gets released, and WAIT A MINUTE…these are not dairy cows! These are big, giant bulls! Holy crap! What did I sign up for! Then in the second wave of bulls, one bull goes rogue and heads for the fence where you’re supposed to be out of harms way!

What in the world did I just sign up for? Besides certain death, of course.

I could not get my knees to stop shaking as I walked to the track. I was playing all kinds of scenarios in my head of what terrible things were going to happen to me as I stood there, ankle deep in mud as three rounds of bulls barreled toward me. So I made the tactical decision to find the biggest, dumbest, group of day drunk, overzealous frat guys and use them as a human shield. They’ll do something like jump in front of the bull, which will give me time to climb the fence to safety.

Which is exactly what happened.

29276330-829c-4d08-835b-12ad1abdb728

First wave done! That was no big deal at all. I got this.

The first wave of bulls was no big deal. They did their thing, and it was scary/fun. Then something happened, and the second wave of bulls ended up being both the second and third wave of bulls combined, so it was about 7 bulls running at you, taking up most of the width of the track.

Hell naw. I jumped up on that fence like Spiderman. No way.

Nuh-uh.

Nuh-uh.

Then there was a rogue bull who was just running around in circles at the end of the track, and no one quite knew what to make of it. Eventually he was corralled and the run was over. It lasted all of three minutes.

I have a lethal tomato allergy, so I skipped outta there before the Tomato Royale.

I don’t think I would do it again. It seems like a lot of money for a rather disorganized event. Local 5ks are better run. I will give a lot of the fault to the rain and the bad weather, but it just seemed like a giant money maker. Not really an ‘adventure’ experience.

PETA was also protesting on the corner when we left, which made me feel guilty. Do I think this is animal cruelty? Not really. They live a nice life on a pasture most days of the year. It’s not like they’re doing this every weekend. They do a total of 15 minutes of ‘work’ a handful of times a year. I’m generally a supporter of PETA, but this was nitpicking.

So if you are an adrenaline junky willing to have 3 minutes of thrills for $60, then this is the event for you. Me personally, I’d rather ride a Ferris Wheel or something. But I got the T-shirt!

b76f5ed8-26c4-40e2-ba5b-dfcffed74ef1

Ho-ho-ho! Let’s do some ‘Christmas in July’ racing!

8007_706628909382282_628933530_n

Whenever there’s a race in my hometown, I get super jazzed. Remember the neon yellow and doodoo brown ‘Turkey Trot’ hoodie I wore with pride like an Olympic medal because it took place practically in my back yard? Well dust off those ugly Christmas sweaters, and get Santa a good SPF because we’re about to have Christmas in July here in the Chicago suburb of practically Iowa Lisle, July 18th and 19th.

The event will be a health and wellness expo held at Lisle Community Park (literally steps from the Metra, so you city people don’t have to act like you’re trekking across the earth to the wilderness known as the ‘Western Suburbs’) and will feature a totally FREE kids fun-run complete with bib, medal, and T-shirt…a 5k, 10k, 6hour,  12 hour race, and a 24 hour race for you super awesome road beasts out there.

Here’s some other info from the event…

CiJMedal

  • Fun run (kids races) are FREE and all participants will receive an AWESOME medal, a t-shirt, a bib. 2 runs – Friday night and Saturday night 30 minutes before 5K/10K.
  • Evening races on both Friday and Saturday nights: 5K – Friday at 8:00, 10K – Saturday at 7:30 PM
  • Ultra timed events, All start on Friday night kicking off with 24 Hour from 10 PM – 10 PM Saturday; 12 Hour 11:00 PM – 11:00 AM, and 6 hour 12 AM – 6 AM.
  • Ultras – no DNF – run as much or as little as you like! All participants get an award plus get cotton/poly wicking shirt AND hoodie!
  • Fully stocked aid station with meals served for ultras. Water, electrolyte drink, and snacks at the 5k/10k aid station.
  • Wellness festival
  • 5k and 10k participants get a cotton/poly wicking shirt, a tech hat, and medal.
  • Overall and age group awards.

For more info and to register head over to the official ‘Christmas in July‘ website. Online registration ends 7/13/14 and code ‘JustARoad10’ will get you 10% off your entry.  The courses are great, Lisle is a an awesome running community and I can’t wait to see you guys there!

Here’s a look at the 5k course. I’ve run this course 4,328,993 times and it’s fast. Very fast.

‘Great Bull Run Chicago’…Come Run With The Bulls With Me July 12th!

2013 PWP Studio Event Photographers

When I first got the invite to this event, I thought for sure it was from someone who wanted me dead. Not only am I clumsy and have a healthy fear of most 1,000lb angry livestock, but I’m also deathly allergic to tomatoes. So either I would be trampled to death as I tripped over my own big feet, or I would die from having a tomato hurled at my face. So I was like, “Uh…NO. Thanks, but no. I’ll stay alive, thanks very much.”

But after doing this thing called, “research” the ‘Great Bull Run’ sounds kind of fun! And safe!

The event is held at Hawthorne Racecourse on the track, so it’s not like you’re navigating the streets of Pamploma. The bulls are released in waves and you can just wait until they come up on you and you can run alongside them. It’s also safe and humane for the bulls as well. Here’s a video of the run itself.

The ‘Tomato Royale’ food fight takes place later in the day, and while I won’t be able to participate in that part of the event, it’ll be a blast to watch from way up in the stands wearing a hazmat suit.

So if you want to join me this July 12th at Hawthorne Racecourse, go ahead and head to thegreatbullrun.com and register. Coupon code: JENN gets you $10 off your entry and kids under 12 are free and there are also special ‘spectator’ rates if you just want to do the festival thing and hang out. It’s an all day event complete with food, music, beer…and running with the bulls! Hope to see you there. I’ll be the one clinging to the railing screaming.

 

adidas Originals Introduces the SL Loop Runner When runners crossed the finish line during the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, they kicked off their spikes and laced up the “podium shoe” SL 72, a shoe designed for athletes to wear between competitions. This sleek, casual athletic shoe debuted along with the iconic Trefoil logo. An original was born.

This summer, adidas Originals introduces the newest addition to the SL family, The adidas SL Loop Runner.

The SL Loop Runner is a modern take on the SL 72 with a lightweight upper material, iconic T-toe and sculpted concave midsole. The SL Loop Runner also features a unique execution of the serrated stripes, which peel up to form the eye stays.

This summer, if you’re looking for something with style to carry you from one athletic battle to another, then outfit yourself with the adidas SL Loop Runner— available in solar red, solar green, frost mint & onix. 

The best cure for a slump? Goal Setting!

goals

Over the winter, I spun my wheels a lot. So much so that by early spring I had no tread left on the tires. I thought I was doing everything right. I had a ton of motivation, I worked really hard, I’m naturally very organized, but I was always exhausted and felt frustrated about everything. I just thought I needed to work harder. Be better. Something was wrong with me because I wasn’t getting there.

Finally with the help of two books, “Peace Broken Pieces” by Iyanla Vanzant as well as, “The Ecstasy of Surrender” by Judith Orloff, MD and finally shutting my mouth for a second and opening my ears to the smart and awesome people in my life, I finally figured out that it wasn’t motivation or the ability to achieve that I lacked…

I had no clear vision. I was dealing with abstract vagueness. Sure I knew what I wanted, we all do, but in a very abstract way. They’re kind of like bubbles of wishes that float over our heads that we see from time to time, sometimes we get one, sometimes they drift away, pop, or you run around like a crazy person trying to flail your arms to catch them as they blow away in the wind. I was the last example which is why I felt like I was on a perpetual treadmill to nowhere all the time.

It was a long process that took over a month to put into a linear focus. A lot of it had to do with listening to those whispers of intuition, surrendering my need for constant control, and simply believing in myself. It seems simple, because it is on paper, but think about what’s in your mind right now. Sure you think you can run a 5k, but what if you fail? What if you look stupid in running shorts? What if your muscles hurt for a full month? At the end of the day, our inertia is fear based.

So back in April, I came up with my plan. Five goals a month. Real goals. Scary goals. Things that require daily frog eating that I could achieve because I believed I could achieve them. There’s something about putting that abstract goal floating in a bubble outside your mind that makes it a true reality. It’s on paper now, so I HAVE to do it.

I did it. I wrote those things down and it was HARD. April started out pretty crappy…but then it ended and I was bursting with happiness that I had accomplished what I had set out to do and great things came my way.

Now goals need to be actual goals, not things you’re supposed to be doing anyway. This is stuff that’s supposed to inspire you and put a fire in your belly, not make you roll your eyes, shrug your shoulders, and take up camp on the couch. 5 things you’ve been meaning to do, give yourself 8 weeks to do them. You can do ANYTHING for 8 weeks. Put it on some bright construction paper, either hang it up or put it somewhere it will haunt you and make you take action, and just do it.

For example I put ‘Dean’s List at School’ on my goal sheet because I don’t just want to complete my assignments and get a decent grade. I did that when I was 20. I know I can do that. I want to see my name on the list when it’s posted. For whatever reason, that motivates me to crack open a text book late at night instead of falling into a deep coma after a couple glasses of wine. You want people to call you, “Doctor Jenn” when this is over? You better work, girl. The wine can wait for your celebratory dinner when you see your name posted, then it’ll mean something.

That kind of stuff. It should be something that makes you jazzy and something you really want to do. Not something that makes you hate your life. You want to finally write that book you were putting off? Write 500 words a day for 8 weeks. Boom, you just wrote it and it wasn’t even painful.

Basically, you have to find out what it is you really want and draw that map to get there. Slumps happen because we grind our gears and get tired. Find your inner beast and get there.

 

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Reebok Outlet: 30% Off Everything
This weekend only (6/20 – 6/22) Reebok Outlet is offering everything an additional 30% off! With hundreds of new styles recently added, including new CrossFit and retro merchandise, this sale now has everything an athletic family needs for a summer of activity—CrossFit gear, kid’s shoes, yoga apparel, tennis wear, retro running and so much more! Just use promo code: JUNE14 at checkout to claim your deals. Sale ends Sunday, 6/22.

Keeping Cool on the Run

homer_running-1

 

It’s that time of year again…hating your life running outside because it’s hot, and this is what the weather forecast says…

heatwave

This week in Chicago has probably been the worst as far as heat and humidity, and you would seriously walk outside the door and instantly become covered in sweat. Then you start out on your run and while you feel like you’re putting out an Olympic speed record, you look at your watch and you’re not even sure if people can tell if you’re running or not. It’s so frustrating. I did 3miles of hill repeats yesterday and thought a major organ was going to become dislodged from my body. The sweat was an actual situation, like the brim of my hat was wet. The brim.

sweat

So like last year, I’m going to hit you up with some tips for staying cool during your run when it feels like Satan’s jockstrap outside.

Freeze a bandana or scarf and wear it around your neck

This is my favorite, and works like a charm. Just get a pack of those cheapie packs of bandanas at Walmart or Target soak them in water, freeze and tie it around your neck before you head out. It should keep you cool for about half an hour before it totally melts.

Don’t run at high noon

File this under ‘duh’ because, duh. Get those morning runs in early, or run later at night when it cools off a bit. When in doubt, go inside.

Have hydration on hand

I run with a handheld bottle, you might like fuel belts or camelbacks better. You’re going to lose gobs of sweat, and you don’t want to get yourself into a dangerous situation where you’re depleted and looking at a bad case of heat exhaustion/stroke. I like to freeze my bottle half full and then fill it with regular water so it stays cold on my run.

Dress for success

Now is not the time for cotton, or anything that doesn’t move and breathe. Loose fitting, tech fabrics in light colors are the way to go.

Sunscreen

Believe it or not, sunscreen can make you feel 20% cooler on a hot day.

Cover your head

I used to be a hat snob. I thought running with a hat on was just lame looking and I wasn’t about to go out there and look lame now! Then I almost died during the 2013 Chicago Women’s Half Marathon, and I started wearing a visor or a hat during the summer. It works. Do it.

Most importantly, go easy and be kind to yourself if you’re running at a way slower pace or need to take walk breaks to get through your training runs. Welcome to the human race. Your body will eventually acclimate and the struggle won’t be so real anymore. Also know that you need to stop if you start feeling cold, tingly, light headed, or short of breath. Those are danger signs and you need to see a medical professional immediately.

Happy Running! Or at least sorta happy running.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

CrossFit Sale: 25% Off Reebok Nano 3.0
Bringing it to the box, in super warrior or super hero style, are the Reebok CrossFit Nano 3.0’s, and for a limited time all pairs are 25% off! Constructed with a Dual Density platform that provides the perfect combination of forefoot cushioning and heel stabilization, these shoes are perfect for when you’re lifting cars, dodging bullets and leaping tall buildings. Available in various colors, or in the special superhero colors inspired by the legions from Marvel and DC Comics, all you have to decide now is how super is the hero within you? But you’d better act like a speeding bullet—this sale only lasts from Wed. 6/18 – Thurs. 6/19. Promo code: NANO3

Salad Harder Than Me Bro! A Look at My Keto-Based Diet

keto post

 

So yesterday, I started a whole thing about how I’ve been eating low carb keto for the last month, and whoa! is there a lot of different information out there when you google ‘ketogenic diet’. Bacon, burgers, meat-head muscle bound lifters, all sorts of crazy pants things that could really confuse people. Especially when I say things like I’m trying to stay under 50g of net carbs a day.

JENN YOU ARE CRAZY AND YOU WILL DIE! WHAT ABOUT THE WINE! <<< everyone in my life.

Yeah, I realized that just throwing that number out there is frightening and a tad irresponsible because it doesn’t explain the difference between macros and dietary fiber not counting as carbs, blah, blah, blah. Details.

As someone with food issues in the past, I am always hyper aware of ways of eating that are really just perpetuating a disorder in disguise. To me, and this is only my opinion, when you restrict entire food groups or make anything ‘bad’ you’re just being disordered unless you have a genuine sensitivity to things. As a kid, I was tested for food allergies and it showed sensitivity to ERRYYYTHANG from oats to corn. My scratch test looked like I had been attacked by a tiger with a steak strapped to my wrists. My mom was of the general opinion that it was all hocus pocus and I just continued to eat a normal American diet, but in looking back and doing research on clean eating starting last summer, I determined that I really did have a biological sensitivity to these foods. After all, I did develop a life threatening tomato allergy at the age of 33 after a lifetime of pasta eating in an Italian household.

This is the part where I could go on and on forever about the food supply and how awful it is, but I’ve already written about that, and that’s kind of delving into ‘personal belief system’ territory, and that’s for you to determine for yourself. I can tell you that the times in my life where I was my healthiest physically, emotionally, and mentally were when I did not eat refined carbohydrates. These were the times I was on the Atkins diet and when I was vegan. So obviously my body responds very well to a protein/plant based diet.

The turning point for me recently was when I took soccer pictures with my son. Now I had stuck to eating clean, but because I was also going through a major life change, I had turned to comfort foods (like copious amounts of egg white delights and wine) and when the pictures came back, I looked bloated, pale, and not very well. I was shocked. Absolutely shocked. A life of sugar and carbs had not done me any favors. Something had to change.

I was also inspired by another health blogger who had ‘gone totes hard’ for 8 weeks and when it was all said and done, nothing about her body composition had changed, but then you saw other women that had done an 8 week challenge looking amazing, so I wondered to myself what I could get done in 8 weeks. I didn’t want to look like the ghost pale younger sister of Jabba the Hut anymore, that’s for damn sure.

So armed with what I just described, I started doing real research. Not just cutting diet plans and training regimens out of magazines, but looking at me as a whole person. I’m tall, larger build, muscular, a volume eater, crazy busy, and not about to pump chemical shakes and meal bars into my body. I talked to my running coach, bounced some ideas off the nutritionist at the gym, kept on researching and came up with my plan. A ketogenic inspired way of eating, where I would limit my net carbohydrate intake in order to stay in ketosis. Ketosis is keeping your body in a glucose depleted state in order for your body to burn fat as fuel.

Now this is where the confusion comes in because we’ve heard this before with the Atkins diet and we were all lining up in the McDonald’s drive thru ordering double quarter pounders with cheese, hold the bun. Bacon for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Slather errrythang in mayo!

But the idea is to eat clean and be gentle to your body. That’s where ‘macros‘ come in… a lot of time you’ll see bodybuilders call this the ‘clean bulking’ diet or other names like that. Simply put, it’s eating a diet specific to certain ratios. I know, I told you there would be no math, so this website completely breaks it down for you. You enter a ton of information including measurements and activity levels, then it gives you this rad graph and tells you what ratios you should eat. For example this is what it tells me to eat:


*Generated by [Keto Calculator](http://keto-calculator.ankerl.com) 7.4*

* 2127 kcal Goal, a 15% deficit. (1736 min, 2502 max)
* 50g Carbohydrates
* 100g Protein (70g min, 116g max)
* 170g Fat (127g min, 211g max)

—-

Let me tell you…I’m a hungry girl, it is nearly impossible for me to make the 1736 minimum calories I need to eat. I eat like a damn horse all day, and barely squeak out 1800 calories.

Like yesterday…here’s what I ate:

Breakfast:

2 egg omelette with 1 slice yogurt cheese

Snack:

1/4 cup mixed nuts

Lunch:

3 thick slices turkey, 3 slices colby jack cheese, hard boiled egg, 1/4 cup almonds

Snack:

Quest Bar (kills the chocolate craving)

Dinner

2c salad greens, 4oz top sirloin steak, 1/2 avocado, 1 slice fresh queso crumbled, 2 tbs fresh Caesar dressing

And of course, I drank mineral water, Zevia, and Iced Tea sweetened with organic Stevia throughout the day. You HAVE to stay hydrated on this plan or you’ll fry your kidneys; especially if you’re really active. Also keep in mind that fiber doesn’t count when you’re counting carbs, even though they will be listed as a carbohydrate on a food label. Fiber is free! Fiber is good! Ya gotta poop, yo! Fat is also good too, so don’t worry about that so much. Your body is going to need it to burn.

So far? I took my 3 week progress shots today (which I’ll post when my 8 weeks are up) and my mind was BLOWN by the change in my body. Leaner, more sculpted, ain’t nothing giggling, and I must be cuter because dudes are hitting on me like, whoa. There was also a study released today that people on Gluten Free diets don’t have ‘brain fog’ and other day to day mental junk going on. So there’s that. You’re not specifically going gluten free on this diet, but you’re not getting much gluten, so by proxy you should get that benefit too, right?

If you decide to try this plan, read your labels. There are sneaky things in food. Take Zevia and Vitamin Water Zero for example, no calories, but 4g of net carbs. Same goes for condiments. Try to make your own or buy the freshest possible because sugar loves to hide in sauces, dressing and condiments. A great app to track your carb intake is the ‘Carb Master’. Super easy to just plug in what you’re eating, and it keeps track of everything for you.

In closing, just wanted to put out there that I’m not a dietician or giving medical advice in any way, but this is what is currently working for me and I wanted to share that with everyone and maybe clear up some misconceptions about what a keto diet is, and how it varies from your average Atkins diet. As always, if you have pre-existing health conditions, you need to check in with your doctor first, and not everyone can handle an eating plan like this.

So in 5 more weeks, I’ll post all of the pictures I’ve been taking so you can see what 8 weeks of dedicating yourself to fitness and eating right can do. Until then, I’m gonna finish this water and keep on keepin’ on.

Race Recap: 2014 Steamboat Classic

steamboat start

Oops I did it again…

I ran that stinkin’ Steamboat Classic again. The great thing about being a runner is that you get this thing called ‘amnesia’ and you forget that last year you ran the 15k distance of this race, saw Baby Jesus, begged a frat boy to spray you with a hose, and pretty much came a hair away from a DNF. Never again! I yelled shaking my fist to the sky. But I then remembered that the Steamboat Classic also has a 4 mile and a 4k race. I can stage a comeback and possibly not die over 4 miles, right?

Or maybe even win.

 

steamboat winner 1

And no, I’m never running that ‘Worlds Toughest 15k’ again as long as I live. That’s just crazy talk. When I watched the 15k runners head off into the park to go climb up endless mountains, I was like, “So long suckas!” and continued on the much better ‘World’s Fastest 4 Miler’.

Oh and I won (did I mention that already?). Not overall, don’t be silly, but I won my division, and after 7 months away from racing, that felt really rad.

So let’s talk about it.

Once again the packet pick up was at the River Plex, and it still went with old fashioned shoe-chip timing, and I think there were issues with the timing system this year. They seemed to have worked out the kinks, but at first the results were bananas. Like, how could a person I beat pretty solidly have a pace time just .02 slower? So it was nitpicky things like that. No big whoop, but not something you see very much anymore.

Check in was easy peasy, not much of an expo, and I was in and out of there in 5 minutes. Everyone is super friendly and it’s just a fun atmosphere. It really is a ‘runner’s race’.

Now let’s get down to business.

Race Day again was super easy to navigate. The start had moved to Main and Adams, which wasn’t a big deal. There seemed to be a LOT more people racing this year. Unlike last year when it was 2349° with 115% humidity, the weather was cool and dry in the mid 50’s at the start of the race. So idea conditions all around. I was so nervous. Like freak out, banana pants nervous. So I had to head to the porta potties before the race.

Last year I wrote about the biggest problem with this race was the porta potty situation. There just simply weren’t enough. Same goes for this year, too. I don’t know if it’s a city ordinance or what, but they need more potties. It was ridiculous. I wound up sneaking in to the Capital Building and heading up to the bathrooms on the 4th floor, but as I waited in line, the flushers started to fail from the overuse. I’m a jerk, but I’m not, “Drop a nervous deuce in a toilet that doesn’t flush” jerk, so I ran back downstairs and headed to the now empty porta potties as the announcer called 5 minutes to the gun.

Just like last year. My warmup will be sprinting to the start corral.

I made it with about 45 seconds to spare, probably with toilet paper hanging off my shoe, and lined up in the 9 minute corral. I knew I had a chance at a divisional placement, but I hadn’t run with a watch for a month, on a new training plan and diet, and a total headcase, so I thought it would be best to play it conservative for the first mile and see how it went.

Looking back, I think I went through the same thing last year. There is a lot of newbie traffic in this race. Tons of little kids, dogs, strollers, first timers, etc. So the start corrals are a bit of a waste because it seemed like all of the 9 minuters were really running 12’s. And that’s fine! Just glad to see people out there running, but for future reference, I need to remember to line up in the 8’s for a good start. Did a lot of bobbing and weaving, and it mentally frustrated me.

First mile: 9:18

I actually raised my eyebrow at that because since I’ve been running on pure effort lately and not time, I wasn’t even pushing myself for that split.

Mile 2 was still congested because we were running with the 15ks and didn’t split off until the turnaround which was still jammed with people, narrow and slow, now I was being a jerk and silently cursing people out in my mind who were just trotting along like this was some kind of shakeout run. WE’RE RACING, PEOPLE!

Dude Gif

Second mile: 9:08

I still wasn’t feeling like I was putting out that much effort yet. I usually really struggle in the first 3 miles of any race, especially in miles one and two because I’m slow to warm up. Could this be all of that dreaded speed training and weightlifting paying off? Not mindfucking myself daily with the watch and running based on feel alone? Wow. Maybe there really is a method to my evil coach’s madness after all.

Now as we headed back into town, the crowd was gone and I opened up the ol’ engine. I half expected the ‘Worlds Fastest 4 Miler’ to be completely downhill, but in reality, it’s almost identical to the ‘Shamrock Shuffle 8K’ course in that it’s really flat. Little hiccup elevation changes, but nothing memorable. It was a complete straight shot from mile 2 to mile 3 and I just sat back and kicked.

Third mile: 8:53

Wow. In my entire life I have never run a negative split race. Ever. Not even in my younger days. I am usually all over the place. This is pure insanity. I’m actually doing this right and I don’t feel like dying yet! Holy crap!

Now I was excited, and I kicked even harder. This was better than SF 10 miler last year and I was probably in the best shape of my life for that race.

I wanted to break 36 for this race. Missed it by 16 seconds.

Fourth Mile: 8:42

I crossed the finish line pissed that I missed my goal by exactly those 18 seconds I wasted weaving through traffic. Then I stopped myself and I was like, “You just ran a negative split race after 7 months off, pretty damn fast too. SHUT UP.”  Then after I cleared that madness out of my brain, I was like, wait a minute…I might have a divisional placement here.

photo1

So I did what every champion does…shotgunned a couple of beers before 8am, ate some of the food they had out and chilled with my homies til the placements were posted. The Steamboat Classic has one of the best post races out there. Band, food, endless beer, fun, it’s the best.

Finally, they start posting the time sheets, and I ran up there to see how I did, expecting maybe to eek out a 3rd. Maybe.

My name was at the top. I freaking won.

Maybe it was the beer before 9am, but for whatever reason I started crying. I know it was only a divisional win, but for whatever reason it meant a lot to me. Every race is special and an accomplishment, but I think because I got serious and listened to a coach for a change, putting trust into a training plan and surrendering my need to control everything, the win was symbolic of that.

So there’s that. I’m going to sit down with good ol’ Patches tonight and come up with another goal race and training plan…something that’s going to keep me on my path to the 1:45 goal at the Chicago Half and defending my Oak Brook Half title this September. But I can’t stress enough how much having a plan that works for you is everything. I’m not just talking about cutting out a magazine training plan and trying to follow it, but looking at who you are as a person. For me, my large muscular frame was treated as an asset and not a reason why I could never be fast. I can’t eat pasta, bread, and the like and do endless miles, I’m not built for it. Just changing that mindset helped a lot, but it wasn’t easy. I had to trust, put my watch in the drawer for a month, and give up control, admitting to myself that I really don’t know everything. Track workouts, a cyclical ketogenic diet, and weight training made all the difference, and actually made me a better runner than I had been when I had to take a break last year. Truth to the fact that if you surrender your own head noise, have some faith and trust in those who want to help you, things can only get better.

 

**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

adidas Summer Sale: Up to 50% Off Over 1,000 Items
If you’ve put off shopping for your summer sports wear until now, you have just hit the jackpot. The adidas Summer Sale is on and you can get up to 50% off of over 1,000 items! Running shoes, basketball gear, soccer cleats, swimwear—for men, women and kids—everything an athletic family needs to participate in a summer of activity. This sale lasts as long as the supplies, so don’t wait or before you know it, just like summer, the sale will be over.

#1000Miles: Pre Race jitters, a review, and other randoms…

wine gif

 

Hiya sportsfans. I’ve been swamped with this crazy idea that I could raise three kids,  go back to school, train for races, work full time, blog part time, get a book out the door and all of that jazz and never have a day where I just stare out the window and go, “uhhhhh…” I’m having one of those days, really. I think it’s the rain. That stupid Polar Vortex mind melded me into some kind of seasonal depressive that cannot tolerate anything but constant sunshine. Anytime it rains or is cloudy and cold, I immediately become Eeyore.

So I was like, “Whatever, maybe a totally random blog will help me clear the cobwebs and get the juices flowing a bit. I forgot to tell everyone that Mizuno and GNC put my goofy mug on their websites.”

And here we are. GNC and Mizuno put my goofy mug on their websites.

 

Mizuno Web

beat average

This weekend marks my return to racing as I run the ‘Steamboat Classic’ 4miler. This race is dubbed the ‘World’s Fastest 4 Miler’ and that’s a lot more appealing than the 15k I ran at the Steam Boat Classic last year which is dubbed You’ll scream for your mommy, see baby Jesus and puke “World’s Toughest 15K”.

Ugh. I cringe just reliving that race. It was the living WORST. But hopefully the 4 miler is a better race that doesn’t include endless repetitive hills and Frat boys spraying you with a hose as you run by because the heat index is above 90°. I am running this race with SO MANY people on my heart this weekend. From Elizabeth, who I promised to be her legs way back when and my own legs decided to die on me there for a while, to my friend J who is recovering from a horrific accident, my friend Irene who just underwent major brain surgery last week, and a couple others…I wish I could go out there and win a dozen medals for them.

I do have the jitters, though. I am confident as heck about my training, and feel like I’m ready, especially after yesterday’s 5k time trial. I’ve never run a 4 mile race, but my 5K ten-year PR and my 5 mile ten year PR makes me think that I can snag a divisional placement. I know, I walked into this trap at this same exact race last year. I went into it totally cocky after reading the previous year’s times and was all, “Hills? I freaking OWN hills. I’ve got this race won, baby!” then much to my surprise I learned that ‘hills’ meant ‘the sides of mountains’ and I came very close to my first DNF. This time, however, I am being really realistic and I do think that a divisional placement isn’t beyond the realm of possibility. It’s also making me a little bit nervous, too because now I’m putting a ton of pressure on myself to win. I usually do my best when I stagger up to a start line hungover, undertrained, and half injured because I seriously give no fricks. Now that I’ve put the time in, trained, and take this seriously, watch me stink up the place and have to write a recap about how much I sucked.

I know. I’m nuts. I’ll shut up now. Sorry.

So let’s talk gear! I recently got some SWAGALICIOUSNESS from lululemon, MPG, and New Balance and I need to tell you about it or they’re gonna be all, “So uh…Jenn, we like sent you swag and stuff to blog about…you gonna blog or what?”

Let’s start with lululemon…

Because I have monster thighs and wide hips, I really struggle with finding great running bottoms. MPG really holds it down with their running short and skirt line, and I almost exclusively race in their bottoms, but lululemon recently came out with two new shorts, the ‘Run Times’ and the ‘Dart and Dash’. Both are made specifically for athletes with…wait for it…athletic bodies… and they’re longer for us taller chicks that don’t like to flash our unicorn to passersby on our run.

dart and dash

First the Dart and Dash short. This is a distance short that is that perfect hybrid of racing brief and tri short. Good coverage, super light, comfortable, no chafing seams, and pockets forever. You could seriously pack a picnic lunch in those things. I wore them for my last two long runs, and they were great. I will also be racing in these shorts this weekend, too. The Luxtreme fabric and 4 way stretch is amazing, but I do have 2 complaints. 1.) Once you put stuff in the pockets you look like you have saddle bags. It’s weird looking. 2.) This Luxtreme fabric takes the sweat off of you, but leaves it nowhere to go, so it just runs down your leg, and gives you the “I just peed my pants” crotch sweat look. Which..whatever, I don’t care what I look like after a long run. Love me, love my crotch sweat, I say. They’re pricey at $58, but I would buy them. Totally worth it.

The second short from lulu is the ‘Run Times’ short made to replace my personal lulu favorite, the Groovy Run short.

lulu run times side

(That picture isn’t altered, or else I would’ve shopped out my cellulite)Now to me, an idiot, I couldn’t tell much of a difference between the ‘Run Times’ short and the ‘Groovy Run’ short other than the fit is much slimmer through the hips and legs. I actually like the Groovy Run short a bit better. But whatever. This is actually a very decent running short, and like the Dart and Dash short, it has the Luxtreme fabric and no chafing. I wore these shorts on a 4 mile tempo treadmill run and a hill workout, and they were fine. I did leave puddles of sweat all over the treadmill because the Luxtreme fabric wicks a little too well. Again, no chafing, fit well, works great. These are a bit cheaper at $54. Worth it? Meh. I thought MPG’s running short line was better.

Finally, you all know I’m a Mizuno girl, and this is one of the reasons why. This year they’re doing the ‘Baton Project’ which will donate your mileage for the week in dollars to the ‘Back on My Feet’ foundation. Head on over to their website to see how you can get involved, even if you don’t use Mizuno products, you should be a part of the cause. Heck, I’ll even pass the baton to you after I put in my mileage.

So I guess that’s it for today. See you awesome people on the flipside.

Happy National Running Day and Overcoming Discouragement

discouragement

Happy National Running Day!

I don’t know what to say about that beyond, “Go for a run today, everyone is doing it!”

So go run.

What I really wanted to talk about today was overcoming discouragement. As a runner, I am an intense Type-A looney tunes and can get discouraged quite easily. Perfectionism and all that jazz. Which is why I left my watch at home when I started race training again because I knew if I just coughed up a lung giving a long run all I had and looked down to see something ridiculous I would probably eat my feelings on the couch for the rest of the day.

It’s also really easy to sit here and regurgitate a lot of platitudes and cliches about being discouraged to motivate you, and I don’t even believe those things myself. This morning I saw the requisite “Wake up and be awesome!” meme on my Instacrack feed this morning and I was all, “Die. I’m sore as hell, out of coffee creamer,  and today is stupid.”

I should be a motivational speaker with that attitude, right?

Anyhoo, I wanted to talk about this because I hit a wall of discouragement while out on my long run this weekend and it was a tough thing to overcome. I went into my long run feeling super jazzy because I had just received a box of lululemon swag to review, and I had been sticking to my training plan like a damn boss and feeling great. I was ready to eat those 8 miles for breakfast. It was hot, but I had my cool refreshing drink in hand, so let’s do this.

It just didn’t happen that way. Everything went wrong.

First of all, now that I’m not running with music, I hear birds. I am terrified of birds. Have a fear of spiders? I have that same fear of birds. Especially since I was attacked by both a bird and a goose at this time last year.

My long run starts off on a pretty wooded trail, and this red-winged blackbird, aka flying asshole, was keeping tabs on me by flying directly overhead and squawking the whole time. Then eventually determined that I was some kind of predatory threat and dive bombed the crap out of me. So I ducked and screamed my head off like I was being killed, of course. Obviously that bird had issues and was definitely rabid and violent.

After that, I keep chugging along through this office park and fml, there’s a damn goose and his wife ready to rumble. So I crossed the street and like the damn scaredy cat I am, I kicked it into high gear to avoid certain death at the beaks of obviously deranged and rabid geese.

So by the first mile, I’m freaking cashed out. I just had two heart attacks and two 4oo meter dead sprints. Only 7 miles to go!

I’m on a main road now, getting ready to climb a pretty challenging set of hills. Apparently Red Winged Asshole Blackbird, alerted his buddies up the road, and one of them harassed me up the biggest hill. Nothing like sprinting up an insane hill to get the blood pumping and killing your legs dead!

By the time I got to the first stoplight, I was like, okay, whatever. Maybe I should just double back and call it a day. The birds hate me, my lungs are on fire, and my legs are dead. I do not have another 6 miles in me. Nope. This sucks, running sucks, and I should just spend my summer at the pool drinking. Whatever.

Somehow I talked myself into soldiering on, I don’t know why, I just did, and by the time I made it to my first water stop, I was feeling a bit better. So I literally told myself that, “You’re feeling better, Jenn! Of course you were tired, you just did a speed workout! But you kept going and that’s good!”

It’s true. I’m that simple of a creature.

For the rest of the run, I played all sorts of mental gymnastics with myself. Reminding of the long run last year on the same route I bailed on because my legs absolutely died and I was probably in peak condition then. So it just happens whether you’re mid-training or just starting. It’s not indicative of anything other than you’re just not having a good day. It can also be turned around.

And that’s what happened. I talked to myself like a total mental patient, and by mile 5, the run had totally turned around and I finished a lot stronger than I had just the week prior. I even kicked out the last 800m really hard, whereas last week, I slammed on the brakes as soon as I hit the street corner. Many pats on the back, atta girls, and what started out as the worst run ever turned into a great long run.

I think overcoming discouragement basically boils down to believing in your ability to go on. Just surrendering yourself to the truth of, “Yeah this sucks right now, but it isn’t forever” and staying on course can result in a totally different outcome. If it doesn’t, at least you can relish in the accomplishment of not giving up, and that’s still something.