That Saturday Where I Slept All Day

Oh, right.  That was today.

I woke up early to meet with some fabulous Girls on the Run coaches.  I love meeting with other women who are involved with GOTR — they’re always the same: vibrant, happy, and full of life.  You can spot a Girls on the Run coach a mile a way.  It was great to meet with everyone before the start of the fall season!

Anyway, once I made it home I had big plans for my Saturday.  A little lunch, a short nap, and then to conquer the to-do list.

So I ate lunch, took a little nap… and then Goose woke me up at 8:00 pm.

WHAT?!  Why is it dark outside?

I would be more upset about this if it hadn’t been a super productive Friday night.

Nearly 100 fundraising letters signed, stuffed, and sealed.  (If I have your address, be excited.  A letter will be coming your way shortly.  Want to beat the letter to the punch?  Don’t think I have your address? Head to our fundraising page.)

So Saturday’s plan is adjusted.  Dinner, a little work, and off to bed to wake up at a reasonable hour.  Goose and I have three miles (that we didn’t do today) to bang out tomorrow and then I have a to-do list to conquer.

Bring it, Sunday.

How are you spending your weekend?  Have you ever taken an unexpectedly long nap?  (This is not the first time I have!)



Filed under Life, Training

“Just” a Half Marathon

Something dawned on me today.

This is the first time in my running career I’ve ever been training specifically for a half marathon.  I’ve run plenty of them, but it’s always been a training run for something else.

2008 Chicago Distance Classic - I have no idea what I'm doing in this picture.

It’s strange, because I think the half marathon is my favorite race distance.  It’s long enough to be a challenge, but short enough (good grief, did I just call 13.1 miles short?) that training for it doesn’t entirely take over your life.  You can rock your long runs, take a nap, and do something fun with the rest of your day.

Several times when I’ve been in full-on marathon training mode and loathing my long runs, Goose has suggested I knock it off and train for half marathons.  I tell him it’s a good idea, then finish marathon training, cross the finish line, and somehow find myself signing up for a big goal all over again.  (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this.  Finish lines are like crack.)

2009 Chicago Rock & Roll Half Marathon - this is such a fab screen grab.

I actually think I could crank out a pretty decent time if I trained specifically for a half, tapering at the appropriate time and peaking at race day.  My current half marathon PR is 2:38:41.  I don’t want to put any pressure on my recovering self, but I really want a sub-2:30 in Vegas.  Not only would I then be able to cross two things off my 30 before 30 list in one swoop, I think it would make for a pretty satisfying comeback.

Disney Princess Half, 2011

So I’m going to go ahead and go for it.  9 minutes is a pretty sizable PR, but hey, dream big right?

What is your favorite race distance?  Also, please tell me about a time you set a PR in a big way. Help me believe, baby!

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Filed under Run, Team Challenge

Everything You Need to Know About Nutrition & Fitness

I am pretty awful when it comes to fitness and nutrition.  I’m learning, but I still miss the recovery window and I can’t take a Gu without choking.  Today I was playing around on StumbleUpon (which could be the end of productivity as I know it) and found this awesome infographic.  The site was even kind enough to provide code to embed and share it with you.  So here it is.  Tips from people smarter than me.

More Health and Fitness News & Tips at Greatist.

What are your favorite pre-workout foods?  What do you eat after a long run?

Leave a comment

Filed under Training

Thankful Things Thursday: On Comebacks & Goose’s Half Marathon

Hooray!  It’s Thursday.  I look forward to this day every week now, because it reminds me of how good life really is.  Oh yeah, it’s Thankful Things Thursday time.  I have so many things to be thankful for this week that I’m not even sure where to begin.  So let’s get a move on.

And yes, I blatantly stole this tradition from Ali at Ali on the Run.  Because it’s such a happy tradition, I know she doesn’t mind.

I’m thankful that Goose and I are running a half marathon together this December.  We’ve been talking about this idea for a while now, but last night we finally made it official.  Goose is running his very first half marathon on December 4, 2011.  We’re both taking on the Rock & Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon as part of Team Challenge to raise awareness and funds for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.  (Why, yes, that is a link to our fundraising page.)  I am bursting at the seams with excitement about this.  It’s my comeback race.  A sizable goal, but one I feel is entirely doable with my current health situation.  We get to raise money for a cause that is very close to my heart, join an amazing team of runners who support that cause, and I get to do it all with the love of my life by my side.

Our little 15 minute run on Sunday? That was a "let's see if we could be running buddies" run.

Goose has always, always held firm that he is not a runner.  I truly believed that there were just some hobbies that we’d never share, and that running was one of them.  He’s proving me wrong in a big way.  (Does this mean I have to play soccer now?)  I am so touched that he’s showing his support for me in this way.  (Feel like donating?  Head here.)

On that note, I’m thankful for Team Challenge.  We attended an information meeting last night and it was incredible.  Everyone was positive, enthusiastic, and supportive.  There were so many smiles in that room, it was out of control.  Coach Brad talked about how they plan the training locations around bathrooms for their participants with Crohn’s and UC.  It’s the little things.

And the free t-shirts.

So pretty.

I’m thankful for water.  No, seriously.  I’ve been drinking H2O like crazy this week, and I can’t believe how amazing it’s making me feel.  No headaches.  No eating random things just because they’re around.  How did I not know water did all these things?  Clearly, I’ve been living in a box or something.

I’m thankful that Ali is ordering more of the infamous I [heart] Sweat tees. I think Goose and I each need one for our new half marathon training adventure, don’t you?

I’m thankful for the music at Tuesday’s Barbell Strength class.  Techno-ish versions of Enrique Iglesias’s “Hero” and “Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” by Britney Spears?  Yes, please.  It kept me smiling when my muscles were crying.

I’m thankful for the College and Teen editions of Jeopardy!  Goose loves some Jeopardy! and I like to feel smart.  With the not-quite-grownup editions, we both win.

Thanks for making me feel smart.

I’m thankful for leftovers.  We had dinner at my parents’ house last weekend, and we have two or three meals in leftovers sitting in the freezer right now.  This means I don’t have to cook dinner tonight, and I have my choice of my brother’s garlic pepper chicken or my dad’s yummy homemade ribs.  Decisions, decisions.

I’m thankful for my gastroenterologist.  I am so, so excited to be running again.  I wouldn’t be bouncing back without his guidance, knowledge, and support of my goals.

I’m thankful that I was nominated for CBS Chicago’s Most Valuable Blogger.  You can vote if you want.  Yes, this is a shameless plug.

I’m thankful for the kind of friendship where you can go for months without talking and pick up right where you left off.  I caught up with my friend Molly this week and we didn’t miss a beat.  Part of this is probably because she seriously stalks my blog, so I just had to get caught up on her life.  She already knew about mine.  Still, there’s something to be said for the kind of carefree, close friendship that doesn’t need constant maintenance but is always there.

And who doesn't love a girl who will carry your lip gloss in her cleavage on your wedding day and help you reapply it 97 times? (Photo: Becky Hill Photography)

I’m thankful for Whole Living magazine. It shows up at my house monthly and I don’t know why.  But it does have some pretty rad articles, so I’m going to be a little sad if it ever stops.  Probably not sad enough to subscribe, though, if I’m honest.

I’m thankful for this week’s absolutely gorgeous weather. (Knock on wood.)  It’s been in the 70s and 80s every single day this week, with a light breeze and no humidity.  What more could you ask for?  We even slept with the windows open for a few nights.  Heavenly.

Your turn. What are you thankful for today?


Filed under Thankful Things Thursday

Aches, Pains, Strength, and Stretching

As I get back into the swing of things with my training, I’m realizing just how easy I’ve been taking it for the past six weeks or so.

Oh my gosh.  My calves are sore.  Not “I’m injured” sore, just “I’ve been running” sore.  It’s just that I’m not really used to it anymore.  So I may or may not be wearing some compression sleeves underneath my jeans today.


I took this awesome photo so you can decide if I am or not.

Okay, yeah, I am.  I also wore long pants for the sole reason of being able to wear compression sleeves everywhere I go today without looking like a fool.  You can’t wear them for too long, can you?

I’m notoriously bad at the stretching and strengthening part of endurance sports.  It was painfully obvious at Barbell Strength last night, as some muscle groups (those used primarily in running, swimming, and biking) were pretty strong, and the others, well, notsomuch.  The little grandma in class with us dominated me on tricep exercises.  Seriously.

I’m trying to be better, but there are only so many hours in a day, and the thought of filling them with stretches makes me kind of cranky.

A compulsive list-maker, I decided to write down some ways I can sneak these things into my routine and make them fun.

  • Keep going to Barbell Strength on Tuesday nights and drag BFF with me.  Workout date!
  • Do a little warm up jog to loosen my muscles, and then turn on episodes of Friends or Dawson’s Creek while I stretch.
  • Go to yoga with Coach Amy once a week.
And that’s as far as I got.  I wasn’t lying — I really don’t like stretching.  This is the part where you come in.
Tell me, please.  How do you fit stretching and strengthening exercises into your routine?  How do you make them fun?


Filed under Training

Strength & Awards

I finally did it.

Barbell Strength class!  This is the third week I’ve had it on my list of fitness goals, but I finally made it there last night.  (I enlisted BFF to come with me.  That way I couldn’t back out.)

I am not embarrassed to admit that I used really light weights and I was still sore by the end of class.  It’s the amount of reps that will kill you.  Ouch.  I’m so glad I finally went!  It’s a tough class, but I’m sure I’ll go again.  Bonus points for the fancy techno mixes of Enrique Iglesias and Britney Spears.

Okay, this is not the actual piece of equipment I used. But the weight is accurate.

I really enjoyed the group setting for lifting weights.  When I lift alone, (okay, the half dozen or so times I’ve attempted to lift alone) I get worried that I look funny, my form is wrong, or people are laughing at me.  In the class, it was easy to compare my form to the instructor and other participants.  I could ask questions if I needed.  And best of all, someone else was in charge of making sure the workout was appropriate and we worked all our muscle groups!  I love following someone else’s lead when it comes to workouts.


In other news… Forward is a Pace is up for an award from CBS Local!  I was nominated as one of the Most Valuable Bloggers in Chicago in the Health/Fitness/Medical category.  And now it’s all up to the votes.

If you feel so inclined, click the photo above to vote.  You’ll also see it in the sidebar of the blog until voting closes on September 9.  You can vote for one blog in each category every day.  (While you’re at it, head on over to the Sports category and vote for Pace of Chicago, my friend David’s incredible endurance sports blog.)  Thank you in advance!

Do you like to take classes at the gym, or do you prefer to workout alone?


Filed under Life, Training

Turn It Up

It’s a good thing VH1 no longer airs Motormouth.

Does anyone else remember that show?  They would plant hidden cameras in the cars of people who sang out loud while driving, thus exposing them on national television.

I would be the perfect candidate.  There’s nothing I like more than rocking out in my car, especially to music from the 90s.  Bonus points if the song just happens to play on a radio station.  Then it’s like a happy surprise and makes me crank it up even more.  (Thanks to 103.5 for busting out lots of ‘N Sync recently.)

While I have an undying love for the songs of my youth, there are some recent hits that I’m swooning over, too.

Hot Chelle Rae – Tonight Tonight

LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem

Jason Derulo – Don’t Wanna Go Home

Lupe Fiasco – Show Goes On

And of course…

Matt Nathanson – Faster

If you ever pull up next to me and one of these songs happen to be on the radio… trust me, you’ll know.

What songs are you loving right now?  Are you guilty of singing too loudly in the car?


Filed under Life

Because a Couple Posts a Day Aren’t Enough…

Clearly, I have a social media addiction.

I’m sure that’s the reason I decided to create a Facebook page for Forward is a Pace.

Want more of the random thoughts floating through my head?  Head on over and click like.

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Filed under Life

Running Together

Goose and I never run together.  Ever.

I mean, we tried a few times when I first started running.  We had just started dating and he didn’t say no to me nearly as often back then.  It didn’t really work, though.  For one, Goose had an awful habit of running on a slight angle, so he almost always ran into me.  But the bigger reason is that we have totally different running styles.  I am slow and steady, and Goose’s style is more “if I run faster this will all just be over.”

Yesterday, for 15 minutes, all of that changed.

We ran together.

And I loved it.

My “ease back into running” schedule called for just 15 minutes today.  Goose, confident that just 15 minutes was doable, decided to join me and we cranked out 1.33 miles.

We capped off our Sunday with some outlet mall shopping and an incredibly delicious dinner at my parents’ house.

While I was doing all that, racers at Steelhead were anxiously awaiting news about the swim.  For 3 hours, they waited.  Because of a small craft advisory, the swim was cancelled.  Participants did a time trial bike start, then just biked 56 miles and ran a half marathon.  I obviously wasn’t there, but a friend of mine sent me a few text message updates from the start. (My phone was also a flutter with friends, letting me know they were thinking of me today.  Thanks guys. You know who you are, and you rock.)

I have to admit that I’m a little relieved that I wasn’t put in such an angsty situation for my first half iron distance race.  It doesn’t take away the sadness that I couldn’t continue my training, but it does present a little bit of a “silver lining.”

Besides, I think there might be a really fun comeback race in my future.

How did you spend your weekend? 


Filed under Life, Run

Lessons from Half Ironman Training

Today is a bittersweet day.  It was supposed to be my first Ironman 70.3.  Steelhead.

It’s not my first DNS. (Did Not Start.)  There are plenty of races I’ve signed up for that I didn’t race, for one reason or another.  That happens when you’re impulsive and sign up for races often.  Steelhead was not an impulsive decision.  I had an incredible coach, I was fundraising for a good cause, and I was dedicated to my training.  But my body said, “Lauren, knock it off,” and I decided to listen.

Okay, so I’m not donning my wetsuit and jumping into Lake Michigan today.  That doesn’t take away the hours and hours of training I logged to try to read my goal, or the lessons I learned along the way.

In an attempt to stay positive today, here are the things I learned about life, triathlon, and myself during training… in no particular order.

I am a badass.  I mean, I kind of knew that already, but there were so many training days that proved to me how tough I am.

I can ride 63.66 miles on a bicycle.  At one time.  And then I can still walk.

You have to know when to call it a day.  Sure, there’s a chance I could have made it to the starting line this morning.  But there’s also a chance that pushing it that hard could have meant ignoring my UC and putting myself in the hospital.  Pushing yourself is a really important part of endurance sports.  But so is knowing when to stop pushing yourself.

I can swim half a mile in open water in 18 minutes.  I took more than five minutes off my open water swim time this year!

I am a little fish.

Drinking water is important.  A lot of water.  Way more water than I ever thought I needed.

Left to his own devices, Goose makes really awesome signs.

Don’t let the teenage boy do your body marking at a race.  If he is your only choice, make sure you repeat your race number several times.

Otherwise, this could happen.

The most difficult decisions to make are the most important ones.  I’ll admit I’ve been a little weepy this weekend.  I cringed when I checked the weather and saw today’s high of 74 degrees in St. Joseph. (Come on, seriously?! In August?  I checked the weather to make me feel better.)  A few times, I wistfully thought, “I should be checking in now,” or “We should be leaving for St. Joe now.”  But at the end of the day, I know that the decision not to race was the right one.

I am almost back to being 100% again (yay!), and I am more aware of my body’s limits.  I learned about my arthritis and my body’s extreme reaction to heat.  Now I know how to better prepare myself in racing situations, and just how far I can push my body before it starts pushing back.  Best of all, not racing due to my UC gave me the push I needed to start getting involved with CCFA.  I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

What have you learned from tough situations?  Is there anything awesome in your life that a difficult decision lead you to discover?


Filed under Life, Triathlon