Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Madison Marathon Race Report

Race Eve
Wow! What a race. It started uneventfully enough, but ended with a lot of angst when at Mile 24 I realized my timing chip had fallen off! Awful! A marathoner's worst nightmare! But after a stop at the timing tent, a sleepless night and a few emails all is well again in the world of sisterbison. Phew!

With so much drama in the last 2 miles of the race, it's hard to reflect back on the whole thing. But for you, dear readers, I will do my best:) Adam was kind enough to drive me and my friend Sara from Chicago to Madison while we slept. Yes, slept. Sara ran the Soldier Field 10 Miler Saturday morning and with me coming off working nights......all it took was a few sentences of Adam's audiobook and we were out and when we woke up, we were in Madison. Perfect!

Adam and I had our pre-race dinner at Nostrano right off the capital square (separate post to follow), then walked around the square taking pictures. Then, like good runners, we went to bed by 9. Woke up race morning to cool temps, fog, and an overcast sky- perfect race weather. Gotta love Spring marathons. They may be wet, but they usually aren't hot like the Fall.

Hey there, nausea, let's be friends:
The medal cart the night before the race
The first few miles were, as usual, painful. I was running comfortably from a lung, heart and leg standpoint but I was so nauseated. I was nauseous before I even started running, though, so I kept telling myself that I'd be nauseous whether or not I'm running, so I might as well keep running. I played leapfrog with the HUGE 4:00 pace group for most of the first half. At one point, I passed a bystander whose sign said "Run fast- there's a RHINO behind you" to which I said "yeah, it's called the 4 hour pace group" and got a few laughs.

Mile 1: 8:54
Mile 2: 9:02
Mile 3: 8:44
Mile 4: 9:12
Mile 5: 9:22

The section through the Arboretum was very pretty but I just wasn't comfortable so didn't appreciate it very much. Overall, this is a great course. Past multiple lakes, through some beautiful neighborhoods w/ huge homes, multiple miles through the Arboretum. Rolling hills, but only 2 that were bad. More on that in a bit.

At this point, I wasn't feeling great. My perceived effort was just a bit higher than I thought I could maintain. But every time I decided to slow a bit, or walk through a water stop, to let the 4:00 group pass me, when I started running again my legs had a mind of their own and would pick up the pace and I'd pass the 'rhino' group again. I didn't really know what to do with that. So I decided to just run, probably too fast, knowing that I'd likely crash and burn.

Mile 6: 8:34
Mile 7: 9:33
Mile 8: 8:41

PR or not to PR, that is the question:
I was still a bit ahead of the 4:00 group, and I was making myself dizzy with the internal monologue in my head- should I go for it...again? For a second time in 2 weeks? And am I thinking sub 4:05 (current PR 4:05 and change) or should I even consider going for a sub-4:00?  Note that I did not have a single ache or pain anywhere so I thought my body probably could handle it. But I knew that it would feel a heck of a lot harder than it did on 5/15. The Rockford Marathon felt almost magical- everything just came together and a large part of it felt "easy". Nothing would feel easy about trying to pull together a similar race on 5/29.

So, around Mile 9-10 I made a conscious decision that I was not going to kill myself. Every race does not have to be magical...or a PR....or even particularly significant. I like running long and organized marathons are a fun way to see a town and be entertained by spectators and other runners along the way. So I chose to pull back. I intentionally walked until the 4:00 group was way far ahead and then decided to just keep moving w/o any focus on time. My splits correspondingly lengthened, but not by much.

Mile 9: 8:50
Mile 10: 10:00 (letting the 4:00 group pass)
Mile 11: 8:51
Mile 12: 9:04
Mile 13: 9:40
Mile 14: 9:43

Smart race:
From Mile 14 on, I tried to run an energy conserving "smart race". Despite my admonitions to myself about not focusing on time, I thought a sub 4:15 would be nice. And I decided that I would not allow myself to go slower than 4:30.

It's interesting, I believe I ran both Rockford and Madison "smartly", in their own ways. In Rockford, I went out comfortably/slow holding back to allow my heart to warm up, then exerted myself more in the middle miles to bank time in case I crashed near the end. Then when the feared crash never happened, I kept telling myself to stay calm, don't freak out, just keep running because I knew something special (for me) was happening and I didn't want to mess it up.

My "smart" race strategy in Madison (once I nixed the PR idea) was to walk through water stations, run like hell down the downhills, and walk any crazy steep uphills if I wanted to. Giving myself permission to take those little breaks prevented me from allowing my run to turn into a walk>run disaster.

Mile 15: 10:15
Mile 16: 9:42
Mile 17: 10:17
Mile 18: 10:05

"I'm the winner":
Then my folks appeared! Hurrah! The race was beginning to feel a bit tedious at that point and I just wanted to be done. To check Wisconsin off the list of 50 in 50. To qualify for Marathon Maniacs. To eat back the calories I burned. So thank goodness for my Dad, Mom and cousin Anna-Lisa. They were on bikes (the course was quite wide and the runners pretty thinned out) and provided me with much entertainment from Miles 19-22. Oh, it was so great. I joked that I had my own escort like the race winner and I decided that "I'm the winner". I asked them for a new right foot, then modified it to a new right big toe (why be greedy?). I asked them about Adam's race (he had finished the 1/2 by then), and about the wedding A-L had been to the night before (she was spectating on 2 hours of sleep, people! Amazing!).

Some of the spectators started cheering for my family: "Go bikers", "Keep it up bikers, looking good" which totally cracked me up. My favorite sign of the race had to be this one:

I can never thank my family enough- they really got me through those miles and there would have been walking if not for them. They were the difference between a 4:25 and my 4:11 finish.

Mile 19: 9:53
Mile 20: 10:03
Mile 21: 10:05
Mile 22: 9:47

Mid-Race Math=Huge Margin of Error:
At mile 22, there was a clock. And the clock said 3:30. Since I totally had stopped paying attention to time, my confused, wet (it was raining by then) brain thought '"oh hell no, I have to sprint now because I have a chance at a sub-4:00". Just glancing at the splits above, you can see that was clearly crazy. It took me a good 3 minutes to realize the clock was set for the 1/2 marathoners who started 12 minutes after us. Sure enough, my Garmin said 3:42. So I relaxed a bit.

Mile 23: 9:59

You've Got to be Kidding Me:
At mile 24 for some reason I looked at my right shoe and noticed.....no timing chip! Ahh!! Runner's worst nightmare, right? Soon thereafter I saw Sara and Elizabeth spectating and ran up to them, interrupted their enthusiastic cheering, and asked if they "wanted to hear the saddest thing ever"? (Don't judge- it seemed like a catastrophe in my 24-miles-in brain:( ). They both looked appropriately appalled, paused, then starting cheering wildly again. A perfect response:) Thank you ladies:)

Mile 24: 9:27
Mile 25: 9:44
Mile 26: 9:43

You've REALLY Got to be Kidding Me:
WAS THAT LAST HILL REALLY NECESSARY??? Here in Chicago, we joke about Mt. Roosevelt, a short but painful "hill" right after Mile 26 in the Chicago Marathon.  This hill was infinitely worse. You could see it approaching from almost a mile away, so plenty of time for dread to set in. Then it just.....lasts.....forever. It even continues into the finish gate! It continues after you make the final turn! It never stops! Again, my family saved me. My Dad was there at the bottom of the hill ready to run me to the gate. So there was no walking to be done. Rule number #1 of marathoning in my book is don't disappoint the spectators!! Thanks, Dad, you were a lifesaver!

Mile 0.2: 9:32 (as you can see, I couldn't even muster a final sprint after that hill)

My aunt and uncle were nice enough to have our stinky selves over for a post-race lunch. And to use their shower, which I'm sure no one appreciates more than my friend, Sara, because she was going to have to ride in the car w/ us back to the city:) It was great to catch up with family- thanks to Donna and Steve for a great afternoon!

Adam and I

Parting Advice:
DON'T LOSE YOUR TIMING CHIP! Never have I been so happy to see a result FINALLY pop up. Between the 3 checkpoints I did make it to and some finish line pictures, the Chief Timing Guy and the Race Director made it happen and I "officially" finished Marathon #9! Now to pick #10; it better be a good one!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Madison Marathon Goals

After staying up all night for 7 nights w/ very minimal sleep during the day, I'm not feeling super creative about blog posting. Don't worry though, I have a bunch of ideas for posts on the back burner that I should get to next week because I'm now on vacation for 2 weeks! Thank god.

But regardless of my lack of sleep, I have a marathon to run on Sunday, so I need to plan for it! The good thing is, I fully plan to bask in the glory of my success at Rockford for a few more months, and therefore take it easy on Sunday.

I'll keep this short and sweet so I can take another nap:)

A=B=C goal= Finish the race happy and ready to jump into another training cycle! By merely finishing this race, I will meet 2 goals:
      (1): Get Wisconsin in my quest for 50 in 50. It will be my 4th state. Boy, I have a long way to go!
      (2): Qualify for Marathon Maniacs! By running 2 marathons in 2 weeks, I can apply for my    
                Maniac number. I had never heard of MM until I started reading running blogs but as soon as I
                knew it existed I had to earn my way in:)

It'd be nice to finish sub 4:30, but no biggie if I don't. I guess the only thing I really don't want to do is PW, but hopefully that shouldn't be a problem.

Good luck to everyone running this weekend! Looks like a great racing weekend, in the midwest at least!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Violet Hour

 I'm a big eater. I'm a big drinker. But I usually combine the two. I rarely go to a bar/club/lounge just to sit back w/ a good drink and no eats. Well, a few weeks ago I made an exception and boy am I sure glad I did!

After dinner w/ two women who are much younger and cooler than me, they suggested we head to the Violet Hour. Now I don't live under a rock so I had heard of the place. I knew it was this sorta secret, hard to find place (dubbed a "modern-day speakeasy") that was super popular w/ the hipsters. Oh, the hipsters. 

Anyway, I wasn't sure if we needed a password or a secret egg or something to get into the Violet Hour, but I knew it was a bit off the beaten path. In fact, it's right in the middle of Bucktown, very close to my favorite nail salon (Pinky's) and favorite pizza hang-out (Piece), but it's hidden in that there is no sign and it looks like a construction site (see above, the door is right behind that white minivan at the end of the letters).

Before I met my friends inside, just to clarify that I'm a complete dork and will never be cool, I ran my quick daily mile so I wouldn't have to do a tipsy mile later on. (If anyone wants to give me the benefit of the doubt, you could say I'm a dedicated runner, instead of a dork. Anyone? Anyone? Didn't think so;( )

So is this place worth all the hype, including being called the "country's most exciting bar" by Food & Wine magazine? Yes. When you enter, you walk through this super dark hallway lined w/ thick velvet curtains. Apparently this is where the line forms on the weekends. When you part the curtains you see this candlelit world that looks like it's straight out of Alice in Wonderland, complete w/ all the weird characters from the story. The chairs are super high wing back and configured to make each grouping seem intimate.

The Violet Hour is really fun, unique, good for people watching with amazing drinks concocted by skilled bartenders--oops, I mean mixologists- using daily pressed juices and house-made bitters. Try the Juliet and Romeo, a blend of beefeater, mint, cucumber and rose water, it's to die for. My only (small) critique of the place is the absolutely ridiculous quote on top of the menu. While the place is really cool, no place is cool enough to pull off a silly quote that that. ;)

(Menu quote, in case you can't resist: "This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affections glow again and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen magically along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn." What??!!??)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Marathon Playlist

This is the playlist I used for Rockford. It was perfect for that race and that day. Since, I've used sections for a chill run and speedwork. Love it! I usually don't start playing music until a few miles into the race and Rockford was no exception. This gives me a chance to enjoy the energy of the beginning of the race and also to stay really in tune w/ my breathing and my effort level so I don't start too fast.

I hit 'play' around mile 3. I usually start marathon playlists w/ chill but still upbeat songs. This time I chose Miike Snow's newest album. That pulled me through the next hour, to mile 11-12. At that point, it's time to buckle down a bit so I move into some faster songs and songs like 'Show Me What I'm Looking For' and 'Somewhere Only We Know' that aren't super fast but pull you in and inspire you to run hard. Then 'Make This Go On Forever', 'Idioteque' and the 2 Working for a Nuclear Free City songs are a little slower giving me permission to pull back and bit and reassess. In this particular race, I assessed that I should keep up the pace and kick some butt!

Around Mile 12 , I'm ready for a pick-me up. Not quite to the 1/2; still a lot of ground to cover. 'After Hours' is one of my favorite high energy songs ever. This was the first time I've run to it which was really fun. 'Starlight' is another must-have. 'Teen Angst' and 'We Own the Sky' are great songs that encourage a bit of zoning out, a bit of a mental break, but are high energy enough that there's no danger of slowing down during them. 'First Breath After Coma' is that way as well, plus it's a whopping 9 minutes long so I'm just about done with a mile by the time it's over! 'B.O.B' is one of my favorite running sons of all time. Super fun, super fast. At this point I'm near mile 22 and nearly home free!

The next 3 songs- 'Dakota', 'Sweet Disposition', and 'Into the Fire'- are AWESOME! LOVE THEM! Another mile and a half done! At this point, I realized that my play list is WAY too long. I back-loaded a bunch of really fast, motivating songs and realized I wasn't going to get to them if I didn't do some skipping. If I remember correctly, I listened to 'Animal', 'Ghettomusick' (super fast), 'Raise Your Glass', 1901', and OF COURSE 'More'. This is one of my favorite running songs. The beat, the lyrics, just perfect. Katie at Run This Amazing Day recommended it on her blog and I'm so glad she did! I think I ended w/ 'Tonight' and 'Club Can't Handle Me' and for the final ridiculous uphill, an encore of 'More'. 

I hope this provides you with a little inspiration for your own playlists!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Today, I Rock

This workout was blogworthy. I just finished my first post-marathon speedwork session exactly 1 week after the marathon. And I felt GREAT! It was a perfect speed workout- challenging throughout, increasing to I'm-not-sure-I-can-even-do-this level of difficulty in the middle, and ending w/ the last 2 repeats at the puke threshold. But don't worry, I didn't cross the threshold. I haven't had a runner's high like this since, well, I guess since last Sunday. For some reason I'm really excited about this lil' old hour long work-out. I think it's because I wanted to quit so many times, it was REALLY FREAKIN' HARD, but I pulled it off anyway. Hurrah!

Here's what I did:
--1 mile w/u @ 8:57 pace. Since Rockford I've increased my "easy" warm-up pace from 9:13 min/miles to 8:57. It feels good to have my "easy" pace sub-9, since I so clearly remember when my goal pace was 10 minute miles.
--8 x 800m @ 7:30 pace w/ 1:30 recovery intervals
--0.95 cooldown at various paces around 8:57. I played around with the pace a bit to ensure I got 7 miles in the hour.

Overall pace: 8:32. For me, that's blazing fast for 7 miles. So excited!

I have a couple training questions though, and I'd love input/advice.

#1: I almost always (speed)walk my recovery intervals. I think I enjoy the mental break of actually stopping running in b/t intervals and the opportunity to drink water and pick a new song if needed to psyche myself up for the next interval. Do you think I'm losing any benefit of the speed session by walking rather than running during recovery? My heart rate definitely does NOT get back to normal during recovery, so I'm thinking walking is probably okay. (?)

#2: For the past 6 months or so I've really been focusing on leg turnover. In doing so, my form has improved quite a bit. I've read that a good 'goal' leg turnover is 180 per minute. Mine is almost always over 190 and closer to 200, on the treadmill at least. I need to count it outside, I suppose. Does anyone see any problem with such a fast leg turnover? I'm tallish (5'9") and I'm all legs so this means my stride is pretty short compared to what it could be. I believe this is good in that it decreases the impact of each step and I figure it will lengthen as I get faster. But I'm just making this up, I don't know if this is true or not. Any thoughts?

Okay, I'm off to shower and head to work. Oh yeah, and I pulled this workout off after 3 nights of working nights thus my sleep has been very poor. I bet I'll be really tired tonight!

Happy running!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Night at Sox Park

Every year Adam gets great 17th row, 1st baseline tickets to the Sox Game (for free!). This time we invited Adam's friend, Jay, and my friend, Sara, to join us. The Sox played the Cleveland Indians and won 1, 0. It's always nice when the Sox win (especially the celebratory fireworks after the game), but let's face it, the best parts of the experience are:

The Ghostbusters margarita man

The audience cam- we didn't get on it this time, but have in the past:)

Drinking beer out of straws. I've never tried that before- it's so convenient!

Hanging out w/ friends
(yes, I'm wearing my Chicago Marathon jacket from 2006, and yes I know it is 5 years old. what of it? ;) )

And, of course, the hotdogs. Let's not forget about the hotdogs:)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Three Things Thursday

This is my first foray into the bloggy trend of "Three Things Thursday" and since I have three (unrelated) things to say, it seems appropriate:)

1. Well folks, I'm full. All it took was this:

and now I need to return to eating healthfully and sparingly. Until 5/28 when I will carbo load for the Madison Marathon on 5/29! Until then, though, I MUST get back into good eating habits. I've been deviating for way too long. For inspiration, I re-read my review of Matt Fitzgerald's book, Racing Weight. And I'm going to go back to logging my eats in a food journal. I'm going to use the free program at SparkPeople this time. This is a challenging time for a diet re-boot since I'm going to work nights for the next 7 nights, 7pm to 7am. Ug. But, the good thing is, I will be having 2 breakfasts- when I wake up in the afternoon and before I go to bed in the morning, and 1 dinner. I tend to eat less calories at breakfast than at lunch so this might work in my favor. For dinner, I'm going to rely heavily on this:

1 serving of Barilla plus= 210 calories including 17g protein and 7g of fiber-- not bad for pasta!
1 tbsp of earth balance= 34 calories
4 tbsp of parmesan= 40 calories
TOTAL= ~300 calories!

This plus 2 healthy breakfasts and 1-2 healthy snacks should keep me under 1400 cal/day. Well, only if I successfully back away from the cheetohs! I will, I will.

2. I didn't put my contacts in before my run this evening but it was just as well because it was so darn foggy! My sunglasses fogged up immediately and even w/ them off I could only see 5 feet in front of me! It was fun. What usually looks like this outside my living room window:

looked this this:


3. In addition to my diet improvements, I need some daily exercise to keep me sane while I'm up all night. I will be intermittently busy throughout the night. There is usually not enough time to sleep but there will be 20 mins of free time here or there. So.....I'm going to spend them w/ Jillian. Jillian Michaels, that is.

That's it for now! Stay tuned for my 10 in 10 goal for the first week in June.....

Unpoetic Ode to Friends

As we move through the many stages of our lives, we have different groups of friends. Friends in the neighborhood growing up, high school friends, college friends, grad school friends, friends from work, friends from hobbies, friends of our spouses, the list goes on and on. Many of these folks we lose touch with (if anyone knows the Shannon Johnson who used to live on Bordeaux Dr in Rockford, Illinois give me a call), many we stay social-network-friends with and a precious few we remain close enough to that we still know the goings-ons of their day-to-day lives. I am TERRIBLE at staying in touch with friends, thus the ones I do stay in touch with mean all the more to me. (To the right:, me, Deepa and Trang- 2 of my med school buddies.)

Our friends serve many purposes- support, comic relief during the more painful times of our lives, laughter during good times, and companionship as we do activities we enjoy (going to the movies, running, eating, etc). Some have transient purposes and once we no longer have the same job or live in the same location the relationship loses its luster. But other friendships have such a strong foundation that you know the person will always play an important role in your life no matter how infrequently you talk or see each other.

One of my favorite parts of a long run is that moment when I know I'm going to finish the run. Sometimes this is the halfway point because I usually run out-and-back routes and once I'm halfway I have no choice but to go home. Other times I enjoy the feeling of knowing I'm going to not just finish the run, but finish the run well and knowing that allows me to take a step back and enjoy the run all the more, without the stress of wondering about my ability to finish.

Similarly, some of my most memorable moments with my dearest friends are times when we were having a great time, laughing and joking around and I think to myself- "I will be friends with these folks forever". I don't have to work to impress them or worry about might happen when they move away- I know we'll be friends until we're old and gray (but I plan on dying my hair so maybe not gray). Now, don't worry, I'm not about to go run out and buy some BFF necklaces (but those were cool while they lasted, weren't they? Do kids still do that nowadays??). But I do have specific memories of times with certain friends where I all of a sudden knew they would always be important to me. Does this happen to anyone else? Am I just a big goof? (Don't answer that.)

Anyway, I started thinking about this a while back as I drove home from seeing one of my med school friends who was in town for the weekend. Most of my closest friends have scattered all over the country, making the times we see each other all the more precious. I look forward to retirement (or at least a part time job- i.e. 40 hours a week) when I'll have time to travel the globe to see them all:)

Cheers to good friends!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Bristol

A couple weeks back, Adam and I headed to The Bristol w/ our friends Wendy and Bart. The Bristol has been around for a couple years but for some reason, I still hadn't made my way over to this cute and comfortable spot in Bucktown. The webpage describes the food as "locally-sourced and seasonal menu w/ Mediterranean roots". I agree w/ the first 2 adjectives, but am not sure I felt the intended Mediterranean vibe. But I love the focus on local (check out their local partners) .

I started w/ a nice glass of Sauv Blanc at the super cute bar, then we moved on to bottles of red at the table. We had 2 really great bottles- one was a syrah and I can't remember the other- hmm..wonder why? :)

The place is really cute. With their focus on beer (in addition to wine) and a "gastro-pub" atmosphere I was worried both the space and the food was going to be dark and heavy. But I was pleasantly surprised to find a room w/ tons of natural lighting (the whole front wall is windows) and lots of light wood. Very cute. Tables were a bit close together for me, but it's a great place to bring friends or family. Wouldn't go on a date, unless the goal is casual and comfortable rather then romantic.
We basically ordered a zillion things off the menu and shared. Some of what we had includes:

spiced olives -- olives are olives. Oh, maybe this was the "Mediterraean" twist??

monkey bread pull apart, dill butter, sea salt (see right)- soo yummy, worth the caloric splurge

octopus -- Adam said this was some of the best octopus he's had. I'm not a big octopus person so I can't say.

pork rillette

bruchetta (see below right)- I usually don't order bruchetta because I've never been wowed by it, but this was really good- maybe my favorite app of the bunch!

fettucinne carbonara w/ fennel -- this was the best pasta I've had in months. They handmake the pastas on sight and it was DELICIOUS! If I go back, I'll probably order this again.

hanger steak, bulgar wheat, grapes, pine nuts, yogurt

spicy ramp chorizio

The rillette, hanger steak and chorizio were all very good. I only ate a bite or so of each so I don't have much to say about them.

I think The Bristol does right what Leopold does wrong. Maybe it's not fair to compare them, but they both focus on beer and food (of course wine too) and locally sourced, seasonal food so are somewhat similar. The Bristol's menu lacks uber exotic offerings like sweetbreads and steak tartare but is much more well rounded w/ plenty of lighter veggies and pasta to balance out the requisite gastro-pub sausage fest.

I liked The Bristol. I'd go back. Especially for the fettuccine. Tell me when and I'll meet you there!

San Francisco Trip

A few weeks back, I took a quick trip to San Francisco to help a friend apartment hunt. While we didn't find a winning apartment we did find lots of good food and drink! And, really, what's more important here- shelter or wine? Think carefully now.

Our first day, we explored a bit and came across Cowgirl Creamery. I love this place! Whole Foods carries a few of their cheeses, but it was great to have access to such a huge variety. We had the cheese platter and the grilled cheese (so freakin' good) and sat by the water happily munching away.

For dinner, Sara found a great place called The Slanted Door. It's a modern Vietnamese place down at Pier 1/2 (away from the tourist action at Fisherman's Wharf) that focuses on ecologically farmed game meat and locally sourced produce. It's actually been around since 1995 but in the past few years moved to this location on the water. Since it moved it has been hopping! It nearly impossible to get a reservation and when we showed up at 5:30 (opening) there was already a line! But we got in quickly and enjoyed some crazy good food. Highly recommend the place. Amazing food, very helpful service (he basically told us what to order and he was spot on), excellent ambiance, on the water (picture right of Sara is taken right outside the restaurant).

I would say the following are must orders, all recommended by our server:

--grass-fed estancia shaking beef, cubed filet mignon, sausalito springs' watercress, red onions
and lime sauce

--cellophane noodles with green onion and fresh dungeness crab meat
--crispy imperial rolls with shrimp, pork, glass noodles and peanuts

So good. If you are in San Fran, make an effort to go here.

The next morning we headed out for a run in Golden Gate Park. What an amazing urban green space. It's multiple miles across with everything- an auditorium, a botanical garden, soccer fields, running paths, even a herd of bison. So, of course, that's where we headed. To the bison!

Then we finally started the apartment hunting. We looked high, we looked low. There were a lot of hills that wore me out:

I know it doesn't look impressive in this picture but it was a BIG hill. The apartment was at the top and the nearest laundry facility was at the bottom. No can do, crossed it off the list!

After viewing 5 unacceptable places (though one had a cute Australian guy, guess he doesn't come with the lease), we thought, heck maybe she should just buy a place:

How much can they be? Couldn't be more than million or so, right? Perfect for a fellow's salary....

After a tough day of apartment hunting, we had an early happy hour in the hotel (hey, it was 4pm in the Midwest) then headed out for dinner at La Mar, also at Pier 1/2. La Mar's cuisine is Peruvian seafood. Awesome! The place was very cute w/ an outdoor patio (though it was too cold of us to partake in that.) As usual, we asked our server for ordering recs and ended up with:

causa sureƱa:
Purple potato causa with panko breaded shrimp, red onion,
olives, lima beans, queso fresco and ocopa sauce

the empanada sampler

Arroz Jugosa:
Prawns, clams, mussels, calamari, octopus, white fish and
vegetables in a juicy arborio rice with a blend of Peruvian ajis -
served with rocoto aioli and toasted bread

And, of course, the national drink of Peru, the pisco sour.

The food was good and interesting but the only must order from the above La Mar offerings would be the pisco sour. Very well made. Go to Slanted Door first, but if you have two nights, La Mar would be a good pick.

Sara and I at the end of a whirlwind weekend:)

(Please note: a few of the above La Mar pics borrowed from a great San Fran food blog: http://www.nosaladasameal.com/2009/07/la-mar-san-francisco.html. If you live in the San Fran area, check it out!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More on Rockford

Got the official race photos and results so clearly must post them:)

The stats:
Finish time: 4:05:18
Splits (in min/mile) were relatively even:
Miles 1-6: 9:10
Miles 6-13: 9:11
Miles 13-20: 9:39
Miles 20-26.25: 9:22 (I sped up in the last few miles!)
overall 9:21

Overall place: 125/260
Division place: 5/12 (F 30-34)

Not too shabby. Glad to be in the top 1/2!

Now for the pics:

Yes, I look ridiculous. But, seriously, who looks this happy during a marathon? Apparently, I do. And, yes, even if you can't tell, I am running.

I think this is my favorite solo pic....

....but this is my favorite overall. Even though Adam is partially cut off, he looks so happy! And I, of course, look goofy. Someone's gotta do it.

Now for the paparazzi shots. See my dedicated hubby document my final stretch:

I especially like the last one. See Adam way in the background?

NOW I look like I'm about to die. About time.

I have few a few other random thoughts I'd like to share:
  • Thank you to all the bloggers and dailymilers who posted supportive messages or linked from their blog to my race report (super cool!). I'm still amazed by the motivation and strength I can draw from folks I've never met. Love it!
  • As I read the race reports from this past weekend, I feel a special kinship with runners across the country who dealt w/ the same windy, rainy weather that I did. Some had it worse (40 mph winds in Green Bay, for example) than others (merely 20 mph in Rockford) , but anyone racing above the Mason-Dixon line pretty much had threatening weather w/ wind as a significant factor in their performance. No fair weather runners here! Way to go, everyone!
  • I've caught it. Not the dreaded post-marathon recovery cold, but the ultra bug. How could I let such a time-consuming illness infiltrate my psyche? I blame a combination of my great race, my pretty much painless recovery (ran a 5K yesterday w/ no problems), and Paige's (of Serious Case of the Runs fame) motivational Ice Age 50K race report. I've been eyeing that race for a while and I really want to do it. Hmmm...maybe I need to revise the goals post I have waiting in the wings that talks about focusing on 1/2's for a while.....
  • Last but not least, I'm still FREAKING HUNGRY!!
Thanks for reading:)