Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Road to Chicago is Paved with Poor Decisions

As of today, I am 4 weeks out from the Chicago Marathon. And I have absolutely no idea what my race day will look like. My training has been, oh, what's the word?

That's the word.

It actually didn't start out that way. It started out perfectly. I had done weeks of base building and then had to drop my weekly mileage when I started my plan in June. In the past I've used the Hal Higdon plan with some tweaks, but this time around I went with the Hansons Marathon Method.

Things have really fallen apart in the last few weeks, so let's break things down by section, shall we?

The first 5 weeks are dedicated to base building, all of which 4 weeks of which I executed flawlessly. The fifth week I had my sister and her crew visiting, so one day I chose to skip so I could do stuff with them (I could have gone out early in the day but I was lazy). Then we spent the weekend in Palm Desert where it was 124 degrees.

So while I could have jumped on the treadmill for my runs, I just opted for this instead:

Thus I ended my base building 15 miles short. But I wasn't worried because it was time for the next phase!

I jumped into this part with lots of excitement! I had a speed session and a tempo session each week, along with easy days. Long runs started in the second week of this phase. Right off, this was a big jump in mileage, from 24 to 37. BUUUuuuUUTTtt, I had only run 8.5 miles the week before, so it was a huge jump and I was pushing the pace. Other than this little snafu, I was spot on did okay, missing only two runs over the next two weeks.

My last speed week was PERFECT. I was feeling great about the distances and paces I was hitting and ready for the last big phase:

This is the longest phase, at 7 weeks. In the first week I switched out my rest day from Monday to Wednesday because it was my one chance to visit my grad school girls. This meant I started a new phase by running 8 days with no break.

Nope, nope. I'm sure that was fine.

Actually that point is moot anyway, because that Sunday was my first 16 miler. I was cool, I was confident; I scoffed when my husband said that I could text him if for any reason I needed to be picked up.

I really did feel good.

Just a few miles in, I stopped to snap a picture of Venice High because it is the front of Rydell High!

*I was obsessed with Grease growing up.

When I started up again I was hit with this sudden pain on the outside of my knee.

I was honestly confused.

What was this pain? Where did it come from? I tried walking it out. I tried digging the heel of my hand into my thigh. Moving made it worse, so after a quarter mile I texted my husband and he picked me up.

After a day off I tried to run again but couldn't go more than a couple of minutes without having to stop and walk.  I was pretty disappointed.

I decided to return to my strength exercises (far too late, I know), drastically decrease my mileage, rotate my shoes, and stick to flat routes. Following two weeks of this plan, more resting and buying an IT band strap, I'm back on track!

I still feel that pain edging up after a few miles so I'm taking walk breaks. I also have not done any long runs, but I will do 10 this weekend and hopefully be good to run longer next Sunday. After that it's taper time--I'm extending it from one to two weeks--so these two Sundays are all I have left. I have given up my PR hopes at this point and am hoping for finishing without injury.

Luckily, no matter what, I will be running (and walking) with my friend Erika so it will be a fun day! It has been far too long since we raced together.

I'll just leave the math to her this time.

*I am still somewhat obsessed with Grease.

1. Have you ever been hurt at this stage in your training and had a happy ending?
2. I know I asked this before, but are you running the Chicago Marathon?

UPCOMING POSTS: What I see on my runs, race recap

Sunday, July 30, 2017

This Is *Technically* Fun

I've come to the point in my training where I have started technical runs: speed intervals, tempo runs, and long runs.

In case you missed it, I'm running the Chicago Marathon with Erika in October!

I've been looking forward to the technical work for a while since the first month was all easy runs.

Don't get me wrong, base building is very important. But I built up prior to starting the plan, and then had to slow my pace to train.

So to recap, you should never skip base building:


ANYway, the day finally came for speed work! My first run was 8x400s. I started out pretty well...maybe a touch fast. Unsurprisingly, I started to slow down. I would run my 400 and then try to keep jogging through my recoveries. But halfway through, my jogs shifted to:




I'm getting a slightly better handle on it. All of my interval work is like this.

I've started to focus on my race nutrition in the past couple of years, so I practice that during most of my runs too.

Last week I had my first long run, and I decided to wear my official Team Coeur shorts to see how they will do on race day. I'm used to little pockets in the front for stashing my food, but these have generous pockets on the back, cheek side. So I stuffed them with my food and didn't think about them until it was time to eat.

I think it may have looked a bit strange.

Definitely strange.

(My husband suggested those pockets may be meant for stashing keys and other non-edibles.)

I asked my team members for ideas and they recommended stuffing my food in the sports bra's generous pocket.

Err, on second thought, I'll probably just stick with my FlipBelt for now.

At least I have 10 more weeks to sort it all out.


1. What is your favourite way to carry your nutrition and hydration during training?

2. What is the strangest thing you've ever seen a runner do?


Friday, June 16, 2017

We Did It!

You guys. It finally happened.

This blog has reached:


And it only took 6 years, 6 months, and 8 days.

Now, you might think that is a very long time to reach 1 million hits.

You would be wrong because it is, in fact, an extremely, stupendously, enormously long time to reach 1 million hits. It's like...whatever the opposite of dog years would be.

Regardless, I have a lot of people to thank for visiting this site a million times!

And the bots.

They sure help my numbers, but of course the most important people to thank are you all, who come and actually read my new posts.

I know this blog is not everyone's cup of tea (despite my early illusions that everyone would love it!)

Oh well.

It doesn't fit into a specific niche and my schedule has become rather uh, sporadic. That makes it also fall off a lot of people's radars so when I see those of you dedicated to keep coming back, I feel very fortunate.

I know I could increase my readership again by visiting and commenting on lots of other blogs, but that wears me out and it feels too self-serving to pop up in the comments in the hopes that the writer might return the favour; especially when I don't post regularly. I do still read blogs, but don't always comment and no longer go to every blog on the list.

I know we're all in it together but TriGirl is a full on introvert.

Plus, I prefer organic and real interactions over the quick accumulation of views (even though that is fun.) I may not post often, but I'm just not ready to retire quite yet because I love drawing my little adventures. And every time you visit, comment, or share my site, it fills me with gratitude.

So for that, you, my readers, get a big thumbs up.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Suspension Straps: an exercise in suspension of reality

A few months ago we moved into our new place. It's a condo, and it comes with amenities, like a rooftop seating area with a large TV (that no one ever uses), and a gym.

More like a room with some random stuff in it so that, as the realtor explained to us,

Fancy. Also, not happening.

There are some weights, kettlebells, steps, bands, and a Pilates reformer that looks terrifying. But, there was one thing that interested me: a set of suspension straps.

I'm leaving off the name so that the company does not come after me the way the cycle company did. 

Suffice it to say it rhymes with "Blex"...or maybe:

I'm really not sure. Anyway...

I went on YouTube to learn a bunch of exercises and then set off to the workout room.

I began with the pull ups.

The official version:

My version:

So far so good.

Then I moved on to the squats and those were fine too. I tried push ups next.

The official version:

My version:

 I was very worried that I would fall through the straps, and onto my face.

Finally I tried seated pull ups.

The official version:

My version:

I decided to stick to pull ups.

The next day I woke up to a pinched nerve, thus ending my future as a suspension strap guru.

As of this week I'm training for the Chicago Marathon so my off season is officially over. I'll be using the Hansons Method; their half marathon plan worked really well for me so I'm hoping the full goes well too.

This will be very different from my other marathon training cycles so I'll do my best to keep you guys posted! In the mean time, I'm adhering strictly to the plan:

So far it's going very well.

If you've used the Hansons Method I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments!


Monday, March 27, 2017

I've Got Heart and Courage, Yes I Do! I've Got Heart and Courage, How 'Bout You?

Hi everyone! Today, I have a different kind of story to tell you, so grab your coffee/tea/hot water with lemon/Diet Coke and get comfy.

This is the story of a girl named Kebby.

Kebby was  always excellent at sports and sports-related endeavours. She swam, biked, and ran her heart out, all the way to Kona to race at the Ironman World Championships.

All while Kebby was triathloning and living life, something was bugging her.

She was troubled by the gear.

So, she set out to change all that, by starting her very own sports clothing company. After a ton of hard work, she launched Coeur Sports! (By the way, it's all made here in the USA!)

And aside from making all that amazing gear, she and her tiny team of minions mighty workers started an ambassador program.

Their team went through almost 1,300 applications for the 2017 team looking for just the right mix of elements to relay their message.

First off, COEUR is the French word for heart. It is also the root of the word courage. Coeur Sports' motto is Heart and Courage (my linguistics degreed self geeks out on this.)

As a Coeur ambassador, it is my responsibility to convey the following:

1. Encourage other women.

2. Welcome questions from athletes of all abilities and backgrounds.

*You can ask me questions any old time, no special Q&A required!

3. Be a good sport even if the race didn't go your way.

4. Know how to have fun even if you're in pain, experiencing bad weather, or if your spirit unicorn didn't show up.

5. Give high fives.

So, if you happen to see someone wearing Coeur Sports gear during your workouts or at a race, know that she is rooting for you! Also, if you are wondering how to spot an ambassador, we're hard to miss this year!


1. Do you find there's a brand that you love for both its clothes and its customer service?
2. Do you have any questions you've been dying to ask me, or that possibly just popped into your head?



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