Tuesday, March 26, 2013


You might recall about month ago, a group of chicago running bloggers went on a fun run, ended up at the half acre brewery tour, and were scolded by the fashionable young man who thought we were a little too boisterous.

Well, Erin of LoopLooks coordinated a little fashion link-up where we could all put up our best attempt  of replicating his appearance.  And for reasons i will never understand, this is the only thing i have been able to keep on my mind for the past 4 weeks.  Seriously, i have been forgetting things left and right, but this?  This i remembered even in my dreams.  I have some serious priority issues.

So this was our friend.  I'm going to call him Stuart.  I highly doubt his name is Stuart, but i was too drunk to remember, and he looks like a Stuart.  I digress.

This is my homage to Stuart:
I know you're all doing a double take right now!!
Obviously, you can't even tell which is which.  Just to prove that it's really me, and not just a second picture of Stuart, here is a pic of me and Wafflito!
***Waffles does not approve of this outfit or this photo.
Needless to say, I can't believe i felt the need to write a whole post about this.  Obviously, i lead an exciting life.  Although, while its not a competition, i obviously won, AND i get bonus points for holding an even more obscure beer than the beer guy.  Thats right, Matt and I scowered all the Binny's in Chicagoland and found the last two Ommegang special edition Game of Thrones "Iron Throne Blonde Ales" in Downer's Grove.  YEAH we went to Downer's Grove for nerd beer!
So i out-beered and out-hipstered the beer hipster.  At least i am succeeding at something!!

Marathon training week ????: What the hell am i doing.

Miles: 28?  I am no longer keeping track.  I ran 5 days last week though!  I am attempting an intuitive approach to marathon training (Code:  this is all BS.  Things just aren't going to be ideal.  I am heading into a marathon next month undertrained, and there is nothing i can do about it at this point.)
Martinis: 3
Strength: Minimal
Stretching: Mostly foam rolling

Outlook:  I'm going to just do the marathon.  I will most likely die in this marathon, but whatever - i'm just going to do it.  My pace leader just ran the Lakefront 50k this weekend, and his story was so inspiring, that i feel like a total nerd being like "I'm undertrained and won't PR at this marathon"  So what if i won't PR?  It's kinda of nice to take the pressure off, and just run a marathon for fun.  And if i come in last?  Been there, done that.  After the first time, it doesn't seem like such a big deal.

I'm still struggling to find that whole "work-life balance" thing.  But i think I'm doing a lot better.  I even bought a file folder this weekend which i feel is very responsible and adult-like of me.  Sadly, its still sitting in the bag.  You win some, you lose some.  I am starting to get into a routine again, of when i can go to the gym, when i need to spend time with the dog, and so on.  I spent all of last week in a training seminar for an engineering CAD program, and let me tell you - exercising your mind is every bit as exhausting as exercising your body!

My brain is still sore.
Waffles has been getting her exercise on too!  We had our first agility class last week, and she's terrible.  Even though i have seen her jump clear over the coffee table on multiple occasions, she is terrified of the plastic pole siting 4 inches of the ground.  She would flip onto her back every time we got near it, and then proceed to be dragged through, knocking the entire thing over.  We are practicing at home with a swiffer and some yoga blocks.  
So i'm still here, and i am still running a marathon next month.  I am also still reading everyones blogs at lunch, but for some reason i can't comment on my work computer.  I am debating asking IT to resolve the issue, but it probably isn't the most professional way to spend my lunch break.  Either way, just know i'm creeping on all of you.  Vwa ha ha!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Free is always better!

If i learned anything last year, it's to stop signing up for way too many races, because opportunities will present themselves to win entry in those races.  I am imparting this wisdom onto you my children!  Don't be a bonehead like me, sign up to win!

Here is the direct link to the sweepstakes: http://zoomarun.com/2013sweepstakes/

The Muscle Milk Light ZOOMA Women’s Race Series is calling all women runners to Run to Chi-Town for a fit girlfriends’ getaway this summer, and will award the grand-prize winner of a national sweepstakes an all-expenses paid trip for two to Chicago on August 9-10 for the inaugural ZOOMA Chicago Women’s Half Marathon & 10K, including luxury accommodations at The Langham Chicago, travel expenses, and a fitness-and-fashion makeover from the contest’s sponsors.

The sweepstakes is sponsored by Oiselle (women’s running apparel), Sherpani (sporty bags), Handful (sports bras), and FlexPower (performance and recovery cream), who will be also be providing runners’ up prizes.

ZOOMA Chicago, to be held on Saturday, August 10, is the newest race in the five-event women’s half marathon series designed to inspire women to live healthy and active lives.  Other ZOOMA races are in Austin, TX; Annapolis, MD; Cape Cod, MA; and Amelia Island, FL.

The sweepstakes is open until May 3, and winners will be announced on May 7 on ZOOMA’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/zoomarun).  

Not to be a bossy betty, but you should probably all enter this, because oiselle clothes are super cute, as are the sherpani bags.  And i am not one to give advice on bras, but the chestier ladies seem to swear by handful bras.  And you know, MAKEOVERS IN CHICAGO!  I would totally run 13 miles to get this.

Good luck!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Marathon training week 12: (wo)man with a plan!

Miles: 23
Strength training: I went grocery shopping all by myself?  All that candy is heavy!
Cross-training: Bowling!
Martinis: 2
Outlook:  I am excited about exercise, but not so much about this marathon.  I can still always bump down to the half.  I feel like that makes me a loser though.  Luckily, as a planner (code: nice way of saying OCD) i have multiple contingency plans in place for every possible scenario.

The past week, i have been getting my life back into order.  It kind of blew my mind what a rut i had gotten in, and i had been letting things slide.  Aside from returning to my derby roots, i signed up for a membership at the ymca i pass on my way to work.  I had a membership to xsport that i finally cancelled because they suck so hard that just driving past it brought me rage.  Now i have a place to go when the weather is bad, or when i need to pretend to lift weights.  Winning!  And, not only am i making it easier to get in shape, i am dragging waffles down with me - she starts agility training on Tuesday!  (Not that waffles is out of shape, she just needs something constructive to do that doesn't involve eating her collar off of herself!)  

My long run on saturday (16 miles) went great, especially considering the windiness/ice falling from the sky.  I was tired at the end, but i didn't feel like dying this week.  Although i did have a brush with death when a few of us were almost hit by a car down at navy pier!  (Considering the fact that they had IU flags on their car, and i had a Purdue headband, i am convinced that this was a hate crime.)  

I also went bowling with about a dozen of my cousins this weekend.  My arm is still sore from carrying around that 8lb ball AND a bloody mary.  Irish strength-training!
Matt and Waffles were out of town for the weekend, so i finally got the chance to clean without someone stealing socks from the laundry basket, and licking all the clean dishes as i unload them from the washer (Matt.....) Of course i missed them, but it was really nice to have the Sara time!

And they had a fun weekend in Cincinnati, so good times were had by all.

Lastly, when they did come home last night, Matt was bearing this beautiful Easter basket from his parents!
I am SOOOO ready for spring, and these beautiful flowers did just the trick!!  I am definitely starting to feel like a new person (insert spring themed metaphor here).  Now time to go out in the freezing rain....(booo!  hissssss!)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lacing up the skates again.

You may or may not know, but when i was in grad school, i joined the local roller derby, the Lafayette Brawlin Dolls.  Not because i was a great skater - sadly, the only thing i am worse at then running is skating.  I did it because i was lonely and i wasn't coping with the stress of grad school very well.  It was one of the smartest moves i ever made, because those ladies completely embraced me, regardless of my suck level, and gave me a space to unload all the stress and sadness.  By repeatedly slamming into the floor of a local junior high basketball court.  

Obviously, towards the end of school, i had to take a leave for my 20 hour work days as i finished my thesis.  Then the day i graduated, i moved back to Chicago.  Chicago has its own derby league, the Windy City Rollers, but those bitches are hardcore.  They are professional athletes and i don't think i will ever be able to make a commitment like that.  Also, it was seriously hard on my knees.
2009 bruises.
But bruises aside, i miss it.  It was an amazing stress reducer, and a huge confidence boost.  I don't think i would who i am today (an out of shape, snarky drunk, obviously) without those derby days.  So, while i still can't commit the amount of time it would take to play on a league, i have committed to Derby Lite!  

Derby Lite is a series of derby courses led by retired derby gals.  It caters to people who have never skated, all the way up to people looking to join a smaller suburban league.  I am doing the beginner class (the oak park one!), because i have a friend who convinced me to sign up.  Its 10 weeks, with a once a week practice, and the focus is more on skills and strength training rather than knocking people over.  I am so excited to skate again!  The ladies have been in a box in the closet collecting dust!
I can't speak to the Derby Lite classes (yet) as they don't start until next month.  But for me, joining a roller derby was a huge character builder that gave me confidence.  If you have ever wanted to be involved with a roller derby, but were scared because you have never skated before, i highly encourage you check this out.

Time to embrace your inner BAMF.  or at very least, your inner 5th grader going to a co-ed birthday party.  

In case you were all wondering, yes my derby name was/is gingerfoxxx.  Branding, people!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Gu Spew

Despite my running hiatus, i couldn't skip my long run on Saturday, even though it was supposed to be a 19 mile run.  I just couldn't.  Even if i don't make it to the start line (Highly likely) I look forward to the long run all week.  The started out really well- glorious even!  I'm so glad it is finally "less cold." For me, 40 degrees and light rain is basically ideal weather.  I had to run some of my miles before hand,   but didn't mind one bit.  Then i decided to have a Cherry Lime Roctane GU.  I do not know why i keep buying this flavor.  It does not taste like cherry, or lime, and actually tastes a little like rancid chocolate.

The run was nothing out the ordinary until about mile 16 - when i started seeing little spots.  Next thing i know, i told the group to leave me behind, and i felt that familiar gagging feeling in the back of my throat.  I ended up heaving down the lakefront path for a solid mile and a half.  If you have ever seen the show "It's always sunny in Philidelphia"  it was every bit as theatrical as Sweet Dee when she throws up.  I don't know if i should be offended that every assumed that i had drank too much the night before, or honored that they know me that well.  This time i hadn't drank at all though!  (I swear!)

Luckily, there was virtually nothing in my stomach, so it wasn't quite as embarrassing as it could have been.  The small group of people i was running with was nice enough to wait for me at water stops, but as i did not want to expose them to my body completely failing on me, i just kept screaming "Leave me behind!!"  I just wanted to be alone with my heaves!
I finally made it back to home base, where a friend was waiting for me (we carpooled). By this time, i was absolutely green, and could barely shuffle along.
By the time i got home, i just shouted at Matt to bring me ginger ale, and i laid in the bathroom for a little while.  I didn't even eat until that evening!  But when i did, i was voracious!
It was probably the sickest i have ever been on a run (DAMN YOU CHERRY LIME!!!!!)  But at least i ran 19.5 miles despite all of it!  So, victory dance for me - for the little things!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Marathon Training week 11: a shift in priorities.

Yeah, I'm still here!

Miles: 19.5
Martinis: 3
Stretching: Constantly!!
Cross-training: Lots of time with the pup :)
Overall outlook?  Thats kind of a long story.

Kim wrote this post about priorities a while back that has been constantly on my mind.  I know that my blog, and running in general should be high on my priority list, but it just is not right now.  In fact, career has been at the top of my priority list for the past month.  I know that makes me sound like an asshole, but its true.  I really do want to be successful at my job.  As a result, everything else has suffered.  Mostly, running and the blog, though.  I have been terrible at keeping up with my own blog, and all my friend's blogs, and i promise you its something I'm working on right now.  Now that i started a new, and ultimately much better for me job, i am able to look back over the past few months, and realize I was really and seriously depressed, and i didn't even realize it.  I was so miserable, and i felt like there was no escape.  This week alone, my energy has tripled.  I have been catching up on every i have been neglecting for months (except the blog, whoopsies!) but primarily my health.  I am starting to feel human again.  All my training has been crap this year, not because i became a terrible runner, but because i was really unhealthy, mentally and physically.  

But now that i am in a better place, i can shift priorities again.  I can focus this energy and health into rebuilding myself as a runner again, something i have neglected.  I have been beating myself up over not being able to run as much or do as much as everyone else, and that is stupid because it just ends in tears and drinking.  I even had a breakdown over all this during my long run on Saturday - how i have been failing for the entire year.  A complete stranger just looked at me and said, "You're really hard on yourself, aren't you?"  And it kind of hit me that, yeah, i am kind of an asshole to myself.

I don't know where any of this is going, i just felt the need to explain why i have been absent, why i haven't been running, and why i have been neglecting the blog.  My priorities are in a state of constant movement right now.  My health is now shifting to priority one - Eating right, sleeping enough, and exercise!  Two things I am really excited about?  Joining a Roller Derby group (more on that later) and Soon joining the ymca by my work (probably more on that as well).  I am now able to start rebuilding myself, and i am very excited to do so.

I hope you will stick around watch :)

Sorry to get all serious- I have an awesome story about vomiting on the lakefront trail coming up tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Meat Free since '83

Ok, so thats not entirely true.  There were multiple occasions when my parents forced me to eat hot dogs, bologna, and chic nuggets.  It was against my will though.  But, while i have not been entirely meat free since '83, the Chicago Diner has!  My BFF and i went to the new Logan Square location last night, as its just a hop skip and a jump away from both of our apartments.
I indulged in the vegan reuben with sweet potato fries, and was not disappointed.  (It was a little messy though - luckily i was there with a very understanding date.
On our walk home (ok, lies.  we were walking to a bar to keep drinking)  We encountered a homeless gentleman who asked for our leftovers, so of course we obliged.  In the end, it worked out well, because i totally would have broken into that takeaway box at the bar - it's just how i roll.  So, the universe is doing a good job of stopping me from over eating when i'm not running enough to justify it. Thank you, universe!  It's actually the 30 year anniversary of the Chicago Diner, so they are having sweet giveaways all month - I highly recommend you check it out!  And call me if you do, as i am right around the corner.  

Why am still talking about food, and not talking about running?  Stretching is going well, but even if i wanted to run, my neighborhood is an obstacle course of 2 inches of ice covered in 7 inches of snow.  The city does not make it safe or easy to run in the winter.  I also have MY FIRST DAY OF WORK TODAY.  Needless to say, i have been up since 5am choosing an outfit.  Where is loop looks when you need her??

Either way, i promise to run soon.  As soon as time, biology, and mother nature stop horse-whipping me.

Hopefully i will have an interesting post for you tomorrow.  I'm trying people!  (Lies - I'm not.)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Marathon training week 10. Ouch.

Miles run: 24
Martinis: 3
Strength: 0
Cross-training:  A lot of walking!

Outlook:  Well, it happened.  I would call it a full on injury, but my minor training aches and pains turned into shooting pains that have been making it difficult to walk, and are even keeping me from sleeping at night.  The main culprits are both knees, and my left foot.

It's my own damn fault too.  As i was having a total breakdown during my long run, and cutting it short due to pain, my training leader asked me if i was foam rolling enough.  To which i responded, "I haven't touched the foam roller since November."  Couple that with absolutely no post run stretching (It's too cold!) and attempting long runs in shoes that are probably not supportive enough, (especially for all the ice chunks!) and you've got one hot mess.  Needless to say, this week my focus in on learning proper recovery - I have been a bonehead for far too long.  This week is about stretching, foam-rolling, foot massaging, and eating of nutritious, protein filled post-run snacks.  It was arrogant of me to think that my body would run a marathon with me treating it like crap.  My mangled, tender foot and grapefruit knees have humbled me.

Seeing as how all my running this weekend was shut down, i got to spend the weekend at home, in a pain-killer induced haze doing my favorite activity besides running.  Cooking!  Matt bought a giant bag of arugula that is too much for two people to ever eat, so our mission was to have it for every single meal.  Some of my favorites:

Thats right, i learned to poach an egg.  and it was delicious.  And waffles ate like a queen on all the eggs i messed up.  She had herself a little doggy benedict!

Do you ever make training mistakes despite KNOWING it's a mistake?  I am a serial non-stretcher....it just really catches up to me in the cold winter days.