Friday, March 30, 2012

Fashion Friday and a Cat Video


wardrobe remix wardrobe remix
wardrobe remix wardrobe remix


wardrobe remix wardrobe remix
wardrobe remix wardrobe remix


wardrobe remix wardrobe remix
wardrobe remix

Also, Kelly sent me this video earlier today. She had perfect timing. 
I was all stressed out about work stuff, but this video made me laugh so hard, I cried. 

I've been spending the rest of the day trying to re-enact the 
"You're talking to me?" "Mmmmrrrooooow" scene with my cat.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012


First 100-mile month. And it feels great!

Actually, scratch that. 
I've been feeling like I'm getting sick.
I ran tonight and feel a little bit better, of course. 
And it's all "above the neck" so I'm not too worried. Just annoyed.

PS - Did you enter for a chance to win a free entry to 13.1 Chicago?



Note to self: If you're doing to be a dork and do the "arms up" as you finish, look UP and SMILE. 
Commit to being a dork! Don't just half-ass it. 

Also I like how in the bottom middle photo above, I'm floating.
WHILE stopping my Garmin. TALENT. 
Because usually when I try to stop my Garmin without looking, I hit "lap."
And when I try to hit "lap" without looking, I stop my time.

This picture would be great if they didn't put the ugly orange letters over us ... what the heck. 


In front of the port-o-johns? Really, event photographer?
Oh, and I finally decided my fanny pack is too dorky even for me.
So I broke down and bought a Spibelt. I took my dorkiness down a shade. 

13.1 Chicago [Half Marathon] Giveaway. (Yup, another one.)

By now you've probably seen many opportunities to win a free entry into 13.1 Chicago on June. Well ... here is another one! And as a BONUS, if you win, you get to run the race with ME! Because I was already registered for this race before I was offered a free entry. #firstworldproblem

You can read all about this year's race on their web site, but the basics:

Chicago 13.1 Marathon
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Start Location: South Shore Cultural Center
Start Time: 7:00 AM

Course Map: Download Course Map

This race is WALKER FRIENDLY. The course will remain open for 3 hours and 30 minutes (16 minute/mile pace).

You can also read the experiences of other bloggers at last year's race (which wasn't typical - the race was cut short due to heat):

The Journey of a Running Green Girl
26.2 Quest
We Wander and Ponder
Runner's World forum

If you would like a chance to win the free entry, do any or all of the following:
  • Follow this blog via RSS subscription or email subscription (links on the left side of this page)
  • Like MagMileRunner on Facebook
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Share a link to this post on Facebook
  • Share a link to this post on Twitter
  • Share a link to this post on DailyMile
  • Share a link to this post on your own blog
  • Share a link to this post on another social media channel
Leave a comment listing all the things you did. No need to list in separate comments. Each thing you do will earn you one entry into the drawing. Using, one winner will be selected on Thursday, April 5 (one week from today).

Unfortunately, if you are already registered for this race, you cannot win and be reimbursed. (I asked, as I was already registered, and part of this offer was a free entry for the blogger + a reader.) In the interest of full disclosure, I am not being compensated monetarily for doing this giveaway, but I was promised access to the VIP tent on race day, whatever that includes.

If you want more chances to win a free entry, check out these blogs.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

June Half Marathons Training Plan

Check out this glorious picture of me
about to PR at the Oak Forest Fleadh 5K.
I don't know if I've ever taken such a nice race photo.
Notice that I'm floating. And I'm wearing a skirt.
I'm practically Super Woman.
So far this year, I haven't really been following a training plan for my races. Mostly because they have been short races (5K's and an 8K) and also because I haven't been planning to go all out and race the one longer race I'm doing (Sunday's half - even before I decided to pace my friend, I wasn't planning to run it super hard).

Basically my training for the year has just been "run whatever the group is running." I think 80 percent of my runs have been group runs. Which has been a lot of fun! And has definitely made me faster. And I have a nice solid base of miles and marathon training draws closer.

Now that the pressure is off for this Sunday's half (I found out it's my friend's first half marathon, so I'm just going to stick with her and have fun), my focus is on PR'ing the pants off of one of my June half marathons. Or both.

I'm going to try to follow a plan based on a personalized plan from the Smart Coach. I know I'm not going to follow it exactly, but I'm going to use it as a starting point.

For now, my plan is:

Easy runs:
 2-3 days per week, 3-6 miles at a pace of 9:32, working down to 9:21.

Tempo or Track workout:
1 day per week
Tempo runs: 6-7 miles, with the tempo miles at a pace of 8:05, working down to 8:02 (which is just a few seconds slower than the HM goal pace)
Track workouts: 1600m repeats at a pace of 7:33 working down to 7:25 (my 5K PR pace is 7:30)

Longs runs: 
Saturdays. The RW plan has me doing 13 miles every weekend, using the same easy pace as my easy weekday runs. That seems excessive. I'll probably start with 8 and work my way up to 12.

Strength/core work: 
At least once a week. The Pilates and weights classes that I like at my gym conflict with my group runs (of course they do when you go to group runs regularly on four different days of the week). So I will have to skip a group run once per week. I'll probably rotate which day I skip.

Based on this plan, I should be able to run a half marathon at a 8:00 pace. That seems pretty ambitious to me - honestly I would be happy just to finish in under 2 hours for both races. But aim high (er, low), right? I'll see how I feel on race days, I'll probably follow my heart rate more than my pace and see where I end up. Plus it would be fun to PR two weekends in a row (I mean, why not try?) so I'll probably do the June 2 race a little bit easy to give myself some wiggle room to PR again on June 9. (And also so I have some gas left for June 9.) But I'll keep an eye on the weather and factor that in as well. (13.1 Chicago, my June 9 half, was cut short last year due to the heat.)

Currently, my half marathon PR is 2:22. SEE YA!

ALSO, speaking of half marathons, if you're doing the Chi-Town Half & 10K this weekend, meet-up with us before the race!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

About that Half Marathon ...

Before I jump into my post, here's the pic with the Green Men at the Shamrock Shuffle:

Green Men at the Shamrock Shuffle
Nicole, Amanda, Green Man, me, Green Man, Kelly. Thanks for the pic, Nicole!!

Thank you for all your comments on my last post (well, and every post!), especially all the encouragement for this weekend's half marathon and my ability to kill my PR. 

But, I don't think I'm going to race it.

I wasn't planning on doing the Chi-Town Half in the first place. I did want to do it, but I went back-and-forth, and decided not to register. (You know, to save money and stuff, also none of my usual running buddies were doing it.)

But then one of my college friends posted on Facebook that she registered for it. And I haven't seen much since college (she moved back downstate after graduating). That quickly changed my mind. I mulled over it for all of 24 hours before I went ahead and registered.

I was talking to that friend yesterday morning, and she asked if I was going go "fast" at the half. I told her I was thinking of doing a 9-minute pace, which would be a big PR, but that pace didn't totally scare me. But I could tell by her response that 9-minute miles were definitely "fast." She said she would try to keep up with me. Which I know is a recipe for disaster.

So once again, I had to make the decision - run my own race, or have fun with a friend?

I like lists, so here is a list ...

Why I should just have fun: 
  • The only reason I signed up for this race is because she is doing it, and we don't see each other very often. If we stick together, that's 2 hours or so more than we've spent together in almost two years.
  • I'm signed up for four other half marathons this year - I will have plenty of chances to PR. And PR again. 
  • While I certainly feel like I could race this one, and PR, my running schedule for the past few months hasn't really been with this race in mind. I mean, I've definitely put in the miles, but I haven't been doing them intentionally for this race.
  • Even if we stick to a 10-minute pace, or even 10:30, that would still be a PR for me, and I think those paces are more in line with her plans. 
  • AND that would give me more room for yet another PR at one of the half marathons I am doing in June. Because you're supposed to PR every race, right? 
  • [Edited to add] I don't want to wear/burn myself out on running/racing. I know that I've signed up for a lot of races this year, and I want to keep myself injury-free for marathon day. If this isn't a goal race, why push it? 
Why I should race:
  • Because I'm a jerk with a giant ego.
So, there you go. Obviously I am one of those super happy friendly runners who loves running with friends and making everyone feel great about themselves. You can lump me with the pro-finishers-medal crowd, the pro-running-skirts crowd (but only if they sparkle and there is a theme involved), the pro-"you're a winner just for trying" crowd.

And I'm OK with that. Gold stars for everyone!!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Shamrock Shuffle 8K Race Report

Spoiler alert: I PR'd! But of course I did, I've never raced an 8K!

I knew going into today's race that it would be a little crazy. With 40,000 registered, the Shamrock Shuffle 8K is the second largest race in Chicago (after the marathon) and the "official" start of Chicago's running season. I guess. I've been racing all winter ...

Anyway, I had a lovely 5am wake-up call in order to catch the Metra train to get downtown by 7am. I met up with the other F'N Runners at the Hilton for indoor bathrooms and a group photo.

F'N Runners before the Shamrock Shuffle
Look at all those sparkle skirts! This isn't even the whole group. 

Then it was off to gear check and the corrals.

Shamrock shuffle
Me, Kelly, Amanda
My arm warmers are courtesy of my high school soccer team.
They were my socks, I cut off the feet. Worked really well.
Upon entering the race area, Kelly looked around, and said with a straight face, "I'm surprised no one else is dressed up for The Hunger Games." Cracked. Me. Up.

I didn't find our corral to be too crowded or crazy, but maybe that's because we got in about 20 minutes before they closed. And then had another 15 minutes before the race started. According to the official results, I crossed the start about 2:20 after the gun, er, air horn. And even though the course was pretty crowded, I didn't have to deal with too much weaving around people. So I'm glad I submitted my recent 5K times to get in such a high corral.

I, of course, forgot to turn off my auto-lap on my Garmin, so shortly after we went under the first tunnel, my Garmin beeped for lap 1. I spent the race doing mental math, between what Garmin beeped and hitting lap at the actual mile markers.

Amanda sped off ahead somewhere under the first tunnel, so Kelly and I ran the first 3 miles together. Her goal was to finish sub-40, but she was running Garmin-less, so I told her our [actual] splits. After the mile 3 sign, Kelly took off, and my heart rate was right where I wanted it to be, so I didn't try to catch up. Around mile 4, the course turns down Michigan Ave (almost the Mag Mile, but a little too far south), and I kept plugging along, trying to mentally prepare myself for the Roosevelt hill (overpass) that I have heard about so many times, but had yet to ever experience. It wasn't too bad today, but I'm sure I'll hate it at mile 26 of the marathon.

The last turn (off of Roosevelt) was close to the finish, so I started speeding up. I think a guy tried to pass me in the end, so I sped up faster, and I'm not sure who finished first. Which is silly, it's a huge race and I'm sure there were plenty of people around me speeding past, they just weren't right next to me. I like to think that my sparkle skirt inspired the people around me to run faster, because they are probably thinking "just don't let the chick in the sparkly skirt beat you." So this is one way I can give back to the running community.


7:57 pace

I was pretty happy to get in under 40 minutes. This isn't quite what McMillan thinks I can do, but I wasn't expecting to hit that time. 

I found my friends in the post-race area, and we ended up taking some photos with the infamous Green Men of the Shamrock Shuffle but those photos are on someone else's camera, so you (and I) will have to wait to see them. Then, after waiting for everyone else to get through a monster Gear Check line (I had my super-fashionable fanny pack and DIY arm warmers and didn't need to check anything), we made use of our beer tickets and enjoyed a beautiful Chicago day morning by Buckingham Fountain (which was still off).

Shamrock shuffle
Get your own "I run with fast women" shirt at
Proceeds go to the American Cancer Society!

Shamrock shuffle
Amanda, me, Kelly
Expo vendors, if you're reading, sunglasses are a great giveaway for us cheapskates.

After waiting around for my train (damn you Metra and your Sunday schedule), I was starving when I finally got home, but luckily I walked in on the middle of a late breakfast, and there were pancakes and sausages already made! Seriously, I may never move out of my parents' house.

Also, my niece was over for a visit!! So today is like the best day ever. I think she liked my skirt. Or maybe she smiles at everything. Not this picture though.

Aunt Maggie & Madeline

Next up: Chi-Town Half Marathon next Sunday. At one point during the race today, I thought to myself "I can't believe I signed up for a half next weekend. What was I thinking?" In true runner-amnesia form, I wasn't even off the train before I was thinking "I'm gonna KILL my PR at Sunday's half! Yeah!!!!!! Running is awesome!!!" Although PR'ing shouldn't be hard, my half marathon PR is 2:22. But I've improved a lot since my last half. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Chicago Running Bloggers Meet-up

Given that I'm running the Shamrock Shuffle tomorrow (in green striped knee socks, a green sparkle skirt and a white shirt that says "I run with fast women" on the front and "" on the back - say hi if you see me!), today should have been a "day off" from running. A day I could have actually slept in! Except ... I helped organize a running bloggers meet-up for this morning. And Kelly was picking me up for it around 7:30am. Another Saturday morning of thinking "why do I do this to myself?" as my alarm goes off.

Answer: because I love running, and I love meeting other runners!

Olive "greeted" Kelly through the front window when she picked me up this morning (she said that's how she knew she had the right house ... which probably means my crazy cat lady status is official), and we were off to Chicago. Specially, $2 Chicago parking. As Kelly was turning down random streets in the south Loop, I had to ask "where are you taking me?" But what I was really thinking was "I told my husband/parents that I was meeting up with some people I meet on the internet in the Big City and you're taking me to some out-of-the-way 'parking lot' ... " Just kidding. Sort of.

We did make it to the mythical $2 parking lot that was actually $2, the only drawback is it was 1.5 miles from Millenium Park. Lesson = $2 parking is good if you are in running shoes/clothes, but I wouldn't recommend it for date night.

Anyway ... we made it to The Bean by 9am to meet up with our newest blue-clad running blogger besties. And there were pictures, duh.

After giggling our way through obligatory self-portraits in The Bean, we walked over to the Lakefront Path and started the running part of the meet-up. Even though Kelly and I are racing tomorrow, you can't meet up with a bunch of runners and not run. (Not that we wouldn't have had fun and/or have enough to talk about.)

By Oak Street Beach
We headed up to Oak Street Beach and back down to Navy Pier, which was just over 3 miles. At Navy Pier we headed to the Shamrock Shuffle expo for bib pick-up and to meet-up with more bloggers. We ended with lunch at the Navy Pier food court - not the most glamorous or tasty, especially being in the middle of the city, but when you're dressed like this and spend all your money on race fees and compression socks, you don't have many options: 

After that, Kelly and I walked the 2.5 miles back to her car and headed back to my house to drop me off. And she got to meet my parents. I think that means we're going steady now. As running partners. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Volunteering at the Shamrock Shuffle Expo

Shamrock Shuffle expo for Fort2BaseI don't know if I mentioned it here yet, but I'm an ambassador for the 2012 Fort2Base race.

I ran this race last year and really enjoyed it and thought it was a very well done race, plus it's at Great Lakes, where my husband drills for the Navy Reserve, so it has an extra-special place in my heart. And 12 miles the weekend of Sept 23 will fit in well with my training for the Chicago Marathon (I just have to remember not to race this one). And Kelly [from Wednesday's run] is the director of ambassador outreach.

Anyway, what exactly does a race ambassador do? Basically promote the race to their local running community. Today, that meant volunteering at the Shamrock Shuffle expo. I was actually really exited to do this! I like any opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into planning a race. Plus it's a great event, so I was happy to promote it!

Basically, volunteering at a booth = handing out printed material and talking to folks about the race. And telling them it is OK to take some of the candy we have set out. (A lot of people were happy to see actual candy, and not more energy bars/gels/etc.)

It was interesting to talk to the race directors and get more insight into race planning and the race community. Between the two directors I met, they are currently or have been involved with RAM Racing (of the Hot Chocolate race), Rock 'n Roll, Zooma and other non-series races.

But of course a perk of volunteering is the free swag. (I have TONS of American Cancer Society Relay For Life stuff from my three years serving on the planning committee.) As soon as I got to our booth, the race director gave me a headband (my choice of color - I went with the blue camo since that "reminds me of my husband's uniform"). Then, we were talking about last year's race shirts, and I mentioned that I wish I had ordered my husband's in a size I could wear, because he never wears his and the tops are so nice! (Very attractive lightweight quarter-zip pullovers.) The men's was also a different color than the women's. Anyway, she went through her bag of swag and now I have a men's shirt in my size too! Sweet.

Shamrock Shuffle swag
Today's swag: on the left, Shamrock Shuffle shirt and bandana, on the right: Fort2Base headband and pullover

Also, as you can see, this year's Shamrock Shuffle shirts are red. Which to me (and so far most of my Facebook friends) is an odd choice. I assume it's red for Bank of America. They were also giving out green bandanas. So at least I'm all set for this year's Christmas Eve Cookie Run???

Finally, the last time I posted pictures of The Bean on my blog, my dad commented "I wonder why almost every picture I ever see of Cloud Gate never has a cloud in it."

Dad, these are for you:

Cloud Gate aka The Bean

Cloud Gate aka The Bean

Cloud Gate aka The Bean

Fashion Friday: Still "Summer"

Saturday: Yes, it was St. Patrick's Day. I went out for Vietnamese food with BFF Scott. At least I wore green though. Top from clothing swap, skirt and belt from Target a long time ago, shoes from Plato's Closet awhile ago.

wardrobe remix wardrobe remix
wardrobe remix

Sunday: My niece's second birthday party. This entire outfit, minus the shoes, was from a clothing swap. And I'm pretty sure my "skirt" is actually one of those tunic tube tops. But my shoes!! Are actually new! I bought them at Target on Saturday. You could actually go out and purchase them right now! Amazing. That I made it out of the Activewear section at Target.

wardrobe remix

Even my niece was styling, in a cute little dress, jeggings, sparkly shoes and a custom feathery headband. (The star said "Birthday Girl.")

Madeline Madeline
Gold star for whoever can accurately guess my mom's age

Madeline Madeline
Modeling some of her fashionable gifts. I got her the hat (with a matching blue hoodie and some books).

Even my bro (not my niece's dad) was styling, in the BMX-er dude sense of the word style. Yes, that is Chuck Norris on his shirt. I assume that is a play on the whole "Texas Ranger" thing.


Monday: An outfit I've photographed before; didn't feel like photographing it again. Especially since this time I didn't wear such awesome shoes. (I'm kind of over heels.)

Tuesday: Trying to embrace this whole "bright color" trend. Cardigan from Old Navy (long time ago), tank from H+M (long time ago), skirt from clothing swap, shoes from Target, necklace ... I dunno. It's old too. Everything's old or secondhand, minus a few pairs of flats that I've purchased in the past few months. And a dress for my cousin's wedding in May.

wardrobe remix wardrobe remix

wardrobe remix

Wednesday: Skirt + tank + cardigan = clothing swap. (Although maybe the cardigan was from Goodwill ... I can't keep up anymore.) Scarf was a gift from BFF Ultra Vera after a work trip to China (years ago, when she used to travel internationally for work all the time.) Shoes from Target a loooong time ago, and the same ones as above.

wardrobe remix wardrobe remix

Thursday: Summer dress + blazer. Sometimes this is all I have brainpower for at 6am. But it's a good way to make your summer clothes "office appropriate." The dress is from Old Navy (via Goodwill), the blazer from NY&Co a long time ago, the shoes are the same as Sunday (Target), necklace from Etsy.

wardrobe remix wardrobe remix
wardrobe remix

wardrobe remix

So I've been doing Fashion Friday posts for a few weeks now ... what do you all think? Yay? Nay? Should I keep doing them? Or does my sense of style suck? Be honest. I can take it.