52 minutes 6 seconds

This morning was glorious.  I had a beautiful five mile run- and scored another PR with my pace.  

The sun was still rising, and the sky was magical.  I felt good, the air wasn’t making me feel like I was in an oven.  

Then I went to work and had my soul crushed. 

Luckily- I came home to the handsomest guy I know.  He worked hard to cheer me up.  There was silly dancing, and even some romantic slow dancing.  Then- the cherry on top was a delicious Bloody Mary made with love. 

It occurred to me during the pity party I was throwing for myself that my birthday coming up bothers me a little.  The whole business of growing older.  Growing old.  I’m mourning my youth a little.  

Tomorrow’s schedule say 3 miles, but I might need a longer run to clear my head before work.  We’ll see how hungover I am from this ONE drink.  The good news: I’m a real cheap date.  

22 minutes 7 seconds

Final taper run before the half marathon this Sunday.  I expected it to feel easy and short since it was only two miles… but it turned out to be a bit of a challenge.   It’s weird and misty outside.  I’m really hoping for a lot less humidity on Sunday (right now it’s 94%!) 

Foxy got extremely frizzy, and I got extremely sweaty. 

For now, foam rolling and hydrating so I’m super fresh on Sunday.   The next two rest days are going to be… weird.  

Does it count as foam rolling when I just lay on it?


There’s a point in here somewhere..

I’ve been noticing something lately that I was having a hard time articulating. My running has turned a corner.   I think a huge part of that has been mental for me.  Yes, it’s significantly easier to run 40 pounds lighter… but I was always able to run.  Now I enjoy it. It’s still hard, and some days each step is a challenge.  I still have aches and pains.. but I find myself able to better push through things that would have stopped me in my tracks even a year ago.  

I’ve always liked the idea of a mantra.   I tried to find one on my own- to come up with some original thing that resonated with me. Turns out I’m not as creative or well  spoken as I had thought.  I read Scott Jurek’s book “Eat and Run” and tried adopting his “sometimes you just do things.”  But sometimes I just didn’t.   I have an old workout DVD called “yoga booty ballet” that I occasionally like to do for “fun” and they make you say “I love, honor, and cherish my body.”  But I didn’t.  I wasn’t there.  I’ve been at war with my body my entire adult life.  I’ve had terrible issues with body image, and just self confidence in general.  When a run felt hard, I mentally berated myself.  I beat myself up for wanting to walk/stop/go slower. Loving and honoring my body was something so foreign to me that it was almost laughable. I needed something I couldn’t find.  

My good friend Kaitlin is a large part of why I run.  She saw me running, and started running.  I found out she was running, so I kept running.  She signed up for the Naperville half marathon (a distance I LAUGHED at the thought of ever in a million years running) and I signed up. Somewhere during that first year and training for that first half is when we got to be good friends.  She was so patient when we’d run 10 miles at a 13:45 pace with me complaining every single step of the way.  She could have run faster on her own, but she stayed with me, and kept me going.  She introduced me to Oiselle. 

Oiselle is an athletic clothing line made for and by women.  With Kaitlin’s expert gift giving advice, I received a few Oiselle items from Santa that year- and I ADORED them.  The logo for Oiselle is a bird, and since my boyfriend calls me Katiebird or sometimes just Bird, I was so on board for any graphic detail with a bird on it.  The problem was my size.  The items I got technically fit- but in a very painted on- not to be seen in public kind of way.  So I packed them away in the back of the closet for “some day.”  

Fast forward to this spring.   My collection has grown a small amount (both presents received and purchased for myself.) And suddenly- things that were sausage casing tight- fit appropriately.  I became obsessed with shopping online and stalking the website for sales. I’m sure their tag line was always “Head Up, Wings Out” but it didn’t find its place in my brain until this year.  It started out kind of silly- reminding myself not to hunch forward when running. I began to realize that every time I said it- I stood taller, prouder, more confident.  I tested it.  I ran easy, I ran hard, I ran short, I ran long(er).  No matter what, “Head Up,Wings Out” helped.   

My times began to improve pretty rapidly.  I went from running a 12+ minute mile to a 10+ minute mile on short distances in the span of 6 months.  Since my very first 5k (which I think took me 40 minutes) I’ve had it in my head that “real runners” run that distance in 30 minutes or less.  I can proudly say that I have now done that twice.  

First time EVER!!!
When the opportunity to join the Oiselle Volee team opened up- I jumped at the chance.  A year ago, I would have said “someday when I’m a real runner I might join.”  So much self doubt was holding me back.  
A very exciting mail day!
I realized recently that I was a real runner a long time ago.  Before finding my mantra.  Before hitting that time goal.   Before running my first half marathon.  I finally listened to the world when they say “if you run, you’re a real runner.”   I’ve been running for five years, and each step I’ve been a real runner, even if I only realized it now.   I know in my heart that finding my mantra is how I got here.  It’s how I stopped the negative talk and replaced it with positivity. 

This morning was a 4 mile easy run with my fur baby.  He’s napping. 

I’m writing this from the bath tub (don’t judge me.). Pro tip?  Those black charcoal peel off face masks?  They don’t work if you’re sweating in a hot bath.  

Lush: So White bath bomb

Tomorrow is three miles, Thursday is two.  Then TWO rest days before the Foxy Valley half marathon.   I’m stupid excited.  More than I’ve ever been, I think.   I’ve never felt this ready, and while I don’t know if I’ll PR (it’s pretty damn hilly) I’m hopeful I might.  

So yeah. Mantras. Helped me get over a lot of mental garbage that was holding me back. Do you have one? What works for you? Do you stick to the same one- or change it out?  

I’m starting to prune.  Time to go adult.  

110 minutes 2 seconds

Sundays are for long runs.

Ten miles! 10.06 to be exact, but 10 miles! Today was my last long run before the Fox Valley Half Marathon next Sunday.   Second Sunday in a row Kaitlin and I ran a beautiful shady path, second Sunday in a row we had an amazing run.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take any pictures this week- but it was just as picturesque and lovely as last week.  

Last week. Please excuse my ham.

I worked a 12 hour day yesterday, and didn’t have to work today- so we decided not to go at zero dark thirty- so less terrifying at the beginning… unless you count me telling Kaitlin hometown murder stories while a stranger ran behind us, or my description of an imaginary man made of squirrels rushing out of the woods to kill us.  I’m the worst.  I can’t believe she talks to me, let alone runs for nearly two hours with me.  

I felt AHHH-mazing.  From start to finish, I felt like a real runner which is something I’ve struggled with.  It’s been five years!  And I haven’t quit!  I’ve quit every type of exercise I’ve ever tried, except running.  I feel like I’m getting strong and making progress.  And I’m kind of in love with it!

We did see a coyote on our way back.  With less than two miles left- I refused to stop/walk/slow down.  I may have been running right toward a coyote- but I figured if it wanted to eat me- I wasn’t going to be able to run fast/far enough to get away- so I took my chances.  I believe he was headed home to his coyote family after a long night of coyote work- and NOT on a direct path for the dog park.  Right?  Right.  

One of my favorite things about long running and not having to work. Bath time!

Lush: Melting Marshmallow Moment bath melt and Bunny Moon jelly face mask

I love baths.  I’m lucky enough to have a boyfriend that knows how much I love baths- and remodeled the bathroom right around the time I moved in- and let me pick out a nice deep tub.  I’m a big fan of Lush bath bombs and luxury bath oils.  My newest obsession are the Lush jelly face masks!  So relaxing!  And my face feels like a dream.  

Lush: Birth of Venus jelly face mask

I’ve got big plans for an amazing Bloody Mary while we watch the Bears season opener today…. and possibly a nap.  

 I’ve got until November first to decide on my next training plan.   Will it be cross fit? Swimming? Boot camp?  We’ll talk about that later.   For now- I’m just going to enjoy a lazy Sunday recovery.  

52 minutes 50 seconds. 

All summer long, I’ve been running at either 5 or 6 am until last week when I had a temporary work conflict and was running mid-day in the full heat/sun. It. Was. Miserable.  Today is my day off. Naturally, I planned a 6am run today.  Naturally, I overslept.  

But it’s September. At at 8:30 when I finally hit the road- it was 56 degrees and breezy.  It was sunny- but the mature trees on my chosen path gave me just the right amount of shade. 

It’s not the fastest I’ve run 5 miles, but it felt amazing.  Wait.  NO!  I just scrolled through my Garmin history.  It IS the fastest I’ve run 5 miles!  PR for the win!  

I think my friend Kaitlin was right.  Listening to a podcast about murder DOES make you run faster.  I’m enjoying the “my favorite murder” podcast a lot. If you’re into super polished/edited/organized podcasts… this is not for you.  But if you want to feel like you’re just hanging out with a couple of your funny friends who occasionally get way off topic- I highly recommend it. Starting tomorrow, a podcast I LOVE is coming back from “summer break.”  It’s called “buffering the vampire slayer” and besides being funny and charming- the ladies who host it create the most amazing episode recap songs for each Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode. It’s amazing. What are you listening to?  Favorite albums? Podcasts? Audio books?

I’m off today, but the love of my life is back to reality.  This probably means nothing SUPER fancy to eat until Saturday.  Maybe I’ll give this whole cooking thing a shot tonight.  Eh.  I really love him- and he prefers not to be tortured by my cooking…. so… we’ll see.  

5am to 9pm

Today was long.  But so good.

It started with a nine miler.  I’d be lying if I said I had been looking forward to it.  My last several runs have been rough.  I’ve felt like each step was a challenge- and I had a lot of mental road blocks.  My great friend, Kaitlin, got me started on a podcast (#myfavoritemurder) and it’s creepy, but wonderful.  I started on episode one last night, so with murder on my mind… I drove to meet Kaitlin at 5:45am at a new running path.  I’ve never been so aware of how easy I would be to murder than I was for the 3 minutes I waited in my car for her. It was so dark.  And there was no one around.  Then she got there, and I didn’t feel much safer.  We headed from the parking lot to the path and it looked like we were walking into the nothingness.  Thankfully, it wasn’t as dark as it looked from afar, and there was some moonlight trickling through the trees.  The sun slowly started to come up- and everything was BEAUTIFUL.  There was a chill in the air- a mist along the ground… and you guys?  BAMBI was there!

The first two miles felt good, but some how long.  I was surprised we weren’t half way done by mile two- but we felt good and strong, and had so much to talk about.

 We got done and I got home at 8am which gave me exactly 25 minutes to get ready for work.  I showered- but didn’t bother to wash my hair.  It felt disgusting.  I got a stupid amount of compliments on how cute it looked.  Remind me to be filthy more often.

Work was… interesting.  On the whole, it went as well as a ten hour day can go after a 9 mile run.  Some stuff happened that is going to cause trouble down the line- but nothing that can’t be managed.  Luckily, no one pooped anywhere inappropriate today.

I came home, and not only had my wonderful, amazing, and terribly handsome boyfriend repotted our plants and done a bunch of cleaning, he also made me swordfish with homemade compound butter that I would be happy to eat with a spoon!  It was all so delicious.  My only complaint was there wasn’t more to eat.  That’s always my complaint… and maybe why I struggle to lose weight… but it was THAT good.

After dinner, we went to Oberweiss for a chess date.  He had a strawberry shake, and I had an amazing view of this hottie.

Total day- five out of five stars.  Would recommend.

Tomorrow should be pretty great.  I do have to work- which is unfortunate… BUT I only have to work an 8 hour shift! Eight and skate! And I may or may not be wearing a costume.  (By that I mean I am for sure wearing a costume.)  See you tomorrow!