Track Day!

I woke up pretty tired today and it was really easy to want to procrastinate doing my morning run. However, knowing that today consists of a double run I knew I couldn’t wait too long to get my first run done and out of the way.

It was another gorgeous morning to run and the weather was perfect for getting on the track. I love track days! It’s a nice switch from the many miles I do on the prairie path and the roads. Iit’s always nice to be able to stretch my legs and run at a fast pace.

This mornings workout consisted of 90 minutes with 8 x 800s on the track. I can definitely tell that the last couple years I have been running mostly in marathon mode and my body still finds speed workouts a bit shocking. However, I must say the 800s this morning, felt better than the 800s I did last week, so, I feel that I am making progress and soon track workouts will feel more natural!

I finished homeschooling Leah, for the day, and my other kids are home from school. They have a couple of friends over, (aka my adopted/donated children) so our house is pretty busy at the moment. But, soon I will escape to the roads and once again regain my sanity with a 50 minute easy run!

My run…my play time.

Saucony Hurricane Launch Rep

A perfect morning for a nice, easy recovery run! I’m trying to be really disciplined on my recovery days and run at an 8 minute pace or even slower. This is hard for me as I find it much more comfortable to slip into a 7:30-7:45 pace. However, today my legs felt pretty trashed and I felt just fine right around the 8 minute pace.

Yesterday’s 5k was really small and my only goal was to go there and get a good workout not race. I figured if I could run a comfortable 6:30 pace I’d get exactly what I needed out of the run. It’s nice to go to a small race and run it as a workout and still be able to win it. ( :  I did a quick cool down, received my award, and rushed home in order to get everyone to church on time!

I was given the opportunity this year to represent Saucony as a Saucony Hurricane Launch Rep, so the rest of my day I will be visiting Dick’s Sporting Goods Stores in Lombard, Oswego, Yorkville, and Geneva to see how Saucony is doing! (I’m still homeschooling Leah and on days when I do store visits she comes with me and does her work in the car. One nice aspect of homeschooling!)

Then it’s back home to get the other kids from school, do homework, eat dinner, and get them to all their extra-curricular activities. Oh, yes, and my second workout of the day is a 90 minute P90X yoga dvd. Anyway, I don’t have any more time to waste on the computer this morning so I better get going. First stop, Starbucks…I need caffeine.

I Had a Bad Day and the Clock Don’t Lie…

Thanks Daniel Powter for the inspiration.

I don’t particularly care for your song or having bad days!! If I didn’t write a post saying I was running the Shamrock Shuffle, I very well may have stepped off the course this morning and walked away with a DNF.  However, I hate quitting and the feeling it leaves in my stomach, so I figured I’d rather set a new PR in running my slowest 8k ever than finish with a big, fat DNF.

Within the first quarter mile I learned that I was definitely not recovered from the 20k trail race I ran last Saturday. By the time I was ½ a mile into the race, I knew that I was going to have to back off and settle for a good effort tempo run instead of racing. It’s hard to swallow my pride and let runners pass me that I could normally beat, but today I had to do just that.

Thankfully, my Dick Pond/Fast Track teammates (sponsored by Saucony), Shannon Ring, Meg Sullivan, and Columba Montes , ran very well. Congrats, especially to Meg, who Pr’d today!! We are all awaiting team results and are hoping we placed in the top 5! This year’s field was really, really competitive!

Things I learned today…One; while it’s a good idea to get a good night’s sleep before a race, it might not be a good idea to take a sleeping pill the night before a race.  Maybe there are some better ideas for Insomnia?  I’ve dealt with it for as long as I can remember. Two; I need to change my training and start adding speed work. I’m excited to be working with a new coach, Carla Hastert, who will be giving me a new training schedule this week. Three; I need to start strength training again, and four; I need to suck it up and run fast. Oh, and number five;  training tip of the day…to the guy at the race with the backpack containing smokes, give that up and I’ll bet you will run faster! ( ;

Marlboros and Running

 So how did everyone else do?

Sleeping Soundly

I just left my dad with six sleeping kids (my four and two of their friends). When my kids were little they liked to watch me race, now that they’re older they think it’s boring.  I too, have learned it’s easier to leave them sleeping  than hassle with waking them up and dragging them along. Of course, when I come home, they always ask how I did, so I guess they’re still a little interested in what I do!

This morning I’m running the Shamrock Shuffle 8k in Chicago. 40,000 people are registered to run this race! Crazy!? I really don’t have any expectations today. I’m going to run my best simply to find out where I am and what kind of training I have in front of me.  I’m actually expecting a painful race, one that shocks my body into remembering what it feels like to run hard. (I haven’t done much speed work since the marathon). What will I be thinking this morning? “It’s not suppose to feel EASY!!”

Results to follow…

Another runner’s blog and then some – How it all started…

As long as I can remember I’ve always loved running. I loved running after my brothers, I loved racing the neighbor kids, I loved running with my dad, I loved stepping onto the track to see how fast I could go, and I most definitely loved the wind at my back and the sun on my face. In gym class, I loved being timed in the 50 and 100 meter dash and I couldn’t wait to run the mile. Not only did I want to beat all my classmates, I also wanted to beat last year’s me. There are a lot of people who love to run, but there are also a lot of people who hate to run! Why? Why did I, and why do I, love doing something that most people find miserable!?

The credit goes to my dad. I remember being little and watching him walk out the door to go for a run. I remember when he would come back home, sweating and refreshed, feeling good that he accomplished a great feat. I remember being old enough to FINALLY join him on his three mile runs. I remember running my first year in high school and he was my biggest fan, my running partner, and my “coach.” He never missed a track meet. I remember when I went down state as a freshman in the 400 meter relay, my dad was so proud and he was not afraid to brag about me (something he still does to this day). And I can guarantee you, that when it was my turn to run, I could hear my dad cheering and yelling for me to push, to do my best, and not give in to the voice that was telling me to quit or slow down!

Unfortunately, I did begin to listen to the voices that were telling me to quit. And a short time after I started my sophomore year of track, I decided to quit. I was starting to hang out with a different crowd of kids and becoming more and more self-absorbed. I didn’t have time for track. I wanted to do other things that left little or no energy for running. And by listening to these voices I ruined what could have been a fantastic career in high school. It was unfortunate that one of the high school coaches didn’t intercede for me and say, “Suzanne, don’t quit, you could be a high school star.” But, I did quit and by doing so, I threw away any hope of setting new track records (something I swore I was going to do in the four years I was at Wheaton North High School) or a college scholarship. Running became something I used to do and something I used to be good at. It wasn’t until my senior year in college, at Taylor University, that I would decide to start running once again. And once I ran those first few solitude miles on the country roads of Indiana I was hooked immediately…

Survivor 20k

Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon 2011

Last year, in the midst of running high mileage, while training to qualify for the olympic marathon trials, I ran the Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon. The race was August 14, 2011 and we were very lucky to get a beautiful morning with ideal race conditions.

Earlier in the week, I had debated about going to Wisconsin and doing a much smaller half marathon. I wanted to run a descent half, but I also didn’t want to feel the pressure to “perform,” which sometimes happens at bigger races. The reason being was I had put in two weeks of 100 plus miles and the week leading up to the Rock N Roll Half, I was already over 80 miles.

I was feeling pretty trashed and figured I wouldn’t be able to run as well as I knew I could under different circumstances. However, after talking to one of my training partners, I was convinced that on August 14th, I would just “suck it up,” ignore the pressure, put on my game face, get in the zone, and run.

I drove to the race by myself and I didn’t have any expectations. I warmed up a couple of miles, did some strides, and took my place on the starting line. I figured that once I started the race I would know, within the first few miles, if I was capable of racing or if this was going to end up being a good, effort training run.

I started off feeling great and thought I’m just going to keep running this pace until I’m forced to back off. I didn’t look at my watch. I didn’t pay attention to my splits. I just ran. I was in the zone. In fact, so in the zone, I was almost worried the effortless pace was going to come back and bite me.

Races like this don’t come around too often. There’s nothing more exhilarting then feeling like you could keep going forever. There’s nothing better than running hard, yet feeling like you aren’t putting forth any effort whatsoever. And, there’s nothing like watching the miles fly by wondering how your body just keeps going.

On August 14th, 2011, this is just what happened. I will admit around mile 10, my quads started to ache with the pain of 100 mile weeks creeping up on me, and the head wind going into the last two miles wasn’t as comfortable as the first 11. But, I knew at that point I could still over-power my body with my mind and finish strong. I was surprised when the finish clock came into view and I realized I was going to run a sub 1:20!

It was a great feeling to come to a race with tired legs and without any expectations, and end up running a 1:19:51, a new half-marathon PR. Not, only that, but during the race I ran a faster 10k and 10 mile time than I had ever done before! The 3rd place finish, in a race that big, and a nice cash prize made it even better. ( :

In 2012, I hope to run better than a 1:19:51 and set a new 1/2 marathon PR.