enjoying every second of life and running



My Boston Marathon packet arrived Monday. It’s exciting to get because it’s a sign because it’s getting close to time to go! I cannot wait to get out there and enjoy this race again. While we are there we plan to enjoy the town as well.

1) Rob and I hope to meet up with the ladies I met last year. Alaina is such a sweet person and knows the area like the back of her hand, like it’s her job or something. Okay maybe it is. 😉 I met Natalie on the bus to Hopkinton and she was so cool that I felt like we had been friends for years. Plus she was uber prepared for our 2 hour wait and shared everything she had with me since I was definitely under packed for the long wait. Natalie, I promise to come with provisions this year so we can enjoy our camp out. 🙂

Me and Alaina last year.

2) The expo is in a new location this year, the Seaport World Trade Center, which means we will get to see another side of the area and we have a couple new restaurants picked out to try.

3) We are definitely going back to Union Oyster House. The oldest restaurant in the USA and the seafood is so amazing that I can’t compare it to anything else. If you have other restaurant suggestions for our trip, please let me know! 🙂

Us at Union Oyster House last year.

4) We are running the Boston 5K Sunday morning together! It will be so nice to run some easy miles the day before the marathon. Rob and I are excited to add this to our trip this year.

5) We will be going to a Red Sox game Sunday! We had such a good time last year.

6) We will be driving to Boston again this year! It’s quite the road trip, but so much fun! Rob and I enjoy the time together listening to music and seeing the sights as we go. 🙂

I seriously can’t wait for the whole trip!! Not much longer now!!


2012 Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8K – 37:01

I gotta start somewhere.

That was the post-race motto assessment on my part. Of course I would wanted for a faster race, but my legs just wouldn’t have it. I’ve lost fitness and I have to work to get it back, so I have to start somewhere, but let’s start at the beginning.

Rob and I did not stay in Chicago the night before the race. Instead we choose to stay home and make the drive up in the morning, which without any traffic is just over 2hrs. We got up at 3:30am and got ready and were on the road by 4:45am.

I added some green to my running outfit to be festive. I had my green gummy ring that lights up, Zensah green compression calf sleeves and green adidas adios.

My stomach as been rock solid normal now for coming on two weeks. It has been crazy good. I really hope that my stomach troubles are behind me. My doctor did advise me to try taking an Imodium on race day just to see if that ensures that things stay good during the race. This was just under a 5 mile race, so it wasn’t a big test, but things did go well in that department.

The drive was relaxing and easy with the traffic being so light. We got parked in Millennium Garage off of lower Randolph Street with no issue. We then made our way over to Starbucks on Michigan Avenue that is between Monroe and Randolph. We got a couple tall soy mistos and took a seat at the window and chilled for 45 minutes before making our way to the car one final time and then to the start corral. Something funny that happens it seems every time we go to a big Chicago race is we run into our friends without even planning it. I don’t think we could plan it better if we tried. Ryan and Melisa were there to race, Ryan as an elite no less and Mike and Erin (also runners) were there for race support for them. Such a rockstar group and so good to see them before getting into the race.

Rob and I didn’t get into much of a warm up before we were lined up and ready to go. The weather was outstanding for the race. Overcast, mild temps (50s) and the lightest breeze. Ryan gave us the great advice of making sure to start slow for this race. He warned that even more than other Chicago races like Chicago Marathon people take off super fast and drop off after mile 2 or 3. He warned that it’s a tricky distance and many people go all out like it’s a 5K. Rob and I took the advice to heart. In my case, I’m out of shape so I would just start off easy and then try to add speed if I could find it.

The race did move quickly and with 8 turns durning less than 5 miles the time flew by quickly. Here are my mile splits to show that I have a lot of work to do.

Mile 1 – 7:35 pace (this is in the range that I planned)

Mile 2 – 7:23 pace (okay at least I picked it up, hope I can the next mile)

Mile 3 – 7:20 pace (okay, faster, but not I felt like my effort was harder so I was hoping for better)

Mile 4 – 7:39 pace(uh oh, I feel like I’m adding more effort, but clearly I am not)

.97 – 7:03 pace (I tried to force myself forward and it worked, even with the incline that’s before the finish. Just need to keep working at it)


7:27 Pace

Rob had a great race and ran exactly as he had planned. He finished with 33:50. PRs for both of us, since this was our first 8K! I’ll take it! 🙂

Only wish for this race would be a finisher medal. It wouldn’t need to be anything major, but for the price of the race a little something is nice. I like having a medal to wear around the city to explain why changing clothes and wiping my face is about the only cleaning up I will do before heading out to have a breakfast or lunch. It seems like people are more forgiving of a runner’s appearance when you have a medal draped around your neck, plus I love me some running bling. 🙂

I would recommend this race to those who plan to run Chicago Marathon or other Chicago races. It gives you an idea of the logistics for the morning. Since this race has two waves make sure to have a meet up location selected ahead of time with any friends or family. The barricades are different than other Chicago races we’ve done because of the multiple wave start. We never saw a “family meet up area” with the letters on pillars (A-Z) for people to find each other so I’m glad we had a meet up plan ahead of time and we had no trouble finding each other.


Everyday I’m Shufflin’

Friday I left work and met up with my girlfriend Lisa to take her to lunch for her birthday and then I went home to bust out my long run on the treadmill with the Boston marathon in my new kicks, the adidas adios 2.

I have to say it’s always daunting when your favorite shoe model gets revamped. Why change such an awesome thing? The adios has been serving me so well for over a year that I wasn’t pleased to see updates to the best shoe I’ve ever had. Even the tread was updated.

They look sweet with the 2012 Boston Marathon jacket.

I didn’t just jump into this new model with my 20 miler. I did get in 4 easy the day before in them. They do feel different, but not in a bad way, just different. The heel area and the overall shoe feels stiffer, which feels unnecessary. The fit in the arch and the fore foot does feel comfortable. I wish the heel wasn’t stark white and had the gold color like the new adidas Boston or just black would be good too.

Anyways, the shoes worked fine for my long run and caused no issues. AND my stomach as good too!! 😀

This morning Rob and I headed outside for 8 Miles before driving to Chicago for the Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8K Expo. The expo was at Navy Pier and was crazy busy by that afternoon so we parked a few blocks away and enjoyed lunch at Yolk before getting our race packet. This place is a must visit and I think they have three locations in the Chicago area. The service is really good and everything on the menu is outstanding. I had the smoked salmon scrambler, it was so good!

After an amazing lunch we took the long walk down to the end of the pier to get our packets.

The expo was medium sized and easy to navigate.

The expo shirt was nice and should go with my new shoes nicely for a future race.

Now we are back home to get a good night’s sleep before the early morning to get ready to race.



You know the best thing about trying a new race distance? Instant PR! Yeah it’s dodgey when the race is a unique distance so you don’t get a chance to race them as often, but I’ll take it anyway I can these days.

This weekend Rob and I will be running Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8K for the first time. Nothing like squeezing 40,000 runners into major city streets with approximately 8 turns in a mere 4.971 miles. I know what you may be thinking. Why bother, won’t that be more mayhem than actual racing? Well yeah, but it’s Chicago! That’s reason enough in my book. And the insta-PR doesn’t hurt either. 😉

But I have to ask, ‘Why is the Shamrock Shuffle an 8K, and not just a 5 mile race?‘ I went through the participant guide online and found no answers. I googled….nothing….no wikipedia entry….grrr! It is interesting that googling 8K brings a lot of St. Patrick’s Day related results….coincidence? Hmm…

I hate searching out data, so I just bit the bullet and emailed the race organizers directly. With as much logistics they have going on preparing for this weekend’s race I’m sure they are thrilled to see someone bothering them with the history of the race. I will update this post if I get a response. 

I’m not expecting any clock-busting pace, but I’m still racing. I need to wake my legs up and this is a great opportunity to work on that.


Trust Your Gut

Tuesday I finally went to a GI specialist. Why am I so thick headed about these things? I dunno. I only wish I should have done this over a year ago when things started to go badly than try to troubleshoot my diet on my own. Much like having an injury, it’s best to get the professionals involved when things don’t improve with standard methods. Lesson learned! If you ever find yourself in a similar issue of stomach troubles that persist at races and then ultimately impact your training runs and your daily life, even on non-running days, don’t wait like I did, see a doctor and work on a plan together.

I met with the doctor and went over how the last year and a half have been and my attempts to adjust my diet with hit and miss results. I teared up describing how my love for running now includes dread of the ultimate pain I would feel and fear of having an issue with no bathroom nearby.

I was given a blood test for Celiac to rule it out and am awaiting results. The doctor suspected that gluten is not my issue, but wanted to test to be sure. She gave me a plan of probiotic pills and other remedies to use for both sides of the tummy spectrum (sorry I’m trying not to be TMI here). I would say to anyone in a similar situation to work with your doctor to get your plan together and not just go about it on your own. I know that when I’ve been to the pharmacy and stare at a wall of over the counter remedies I felt overwhelmed  and was concerned that if I take one thing am I creating another problem. Working with my doctor helped set a plan that I know what is safe to take together.

It’s only been a week, but I have to say I feel MUCH better already. Saturday I had my long run with Rob and had ZERO stomach issues! Plus I’ve been eating gluten without any affect on my stomach. I hope that the improvements continue and this isn’t just a temporary relief.

My fitness has taken a hit from not being able to train through this issue, but I hope that comes back in time. It feels like starting over in running, but it’s okay since it feels amazing to run without severe stomach cramping.

On a non-tummy related note I wanted to tell you that the latest issue of Running Times is the best one I’ve read I think ever from them over the years.

There are so many useful articles about minimal shoes and strengthening your feet, and articles about the Boston Marathon.

I’ve noticed that Running Times content has improved in the last few months and this issue highlighted that. While the minimal shoe preparation article was very good, I do think they should have mentioned the weight of the runner since being overweight can make someone prone to more injury due to stress on the body and minimal shoes may not be something someone should attempt until they are closer to their optimal weight. Also base mileage was not discussed, which I would  assume that  someone should already be injury free and running a certain amount of mileage to be ready for minimal shoes. These are just my observations, I’m not saying run out and get minimal shoes based on this article alone is all. If you feel you are close to incorporating minimal shoes this article about strengthening feet is one to review and try out.

Regardless of the running topic, involve professionals (running stores, doctors, etc.), monitor closely what works and what doesn’t, and trust your gut.