Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in the books, speaking of books, and the path ahead!

Well that happened fast, 2016 already in the books.  It seems like everything I read is talking about how excited everyone is for the year to be over and how much they cannot wait for 2017.  2016 was actually very good to me (minus the last month #yuck) and I will forever have some GREAT memories!  In a year of Instagram for me, here are a few of my favorites....
This Spring coaching these girls was one of the highlights of my life for sure :)  I still think about them everyday.

In May I ran my first real race back - at Bolder Boulder - it was a pretty much perfect weekend.
My sister, and my 3 nieces/nephews came - and my coach :)
I have to include this one, because this sign is now framed in one of our rooms!
I married my  best friend, and this truly was "thee best day of my life"
My girls at rehearsal dinner... Missing is my sister (probably chasing one of her amazing kids around)  - but these girls are so special, absolutely salt of the earth.

The Chicago Training Cycle with W, one I will never ever forget, we literally ran stride for stride all summer long - at 4 in the morning, in ridiculous heat, through the ups, downs, through it all.

And CHICAGO!  No words can capture how hard I worked to get back here.  It was a very special day.  And hopefully a harbinger of what's to come.

Unfortunately, the honeymoon foot incident put a bit of a damper on the end of the year, and most of my vacation time has been consumed with PT and rehab; but it doesn't seem like work to me because it's my dream, it's my passion, it's my breath.  New Years' Day marks 5 weeks, and I am getting very close to being able to hit the roads again; I can taste it.   Injury for an athlete can almost take your voice away; so I have been reading a lot.  Here is "CB's Book Review" - if you are interested ;)

From Left to right:
1)  Dandelions Growing Wild:  This is a running read - BUT I think anyone would love it.  Talk about overcoming adversity - dang.   To me it seems that some people get A LOT to overcome, and knock them down one by one, and some just get small little pebbles.  Either way it doesn't matter, what you get is YOUR journey and you walk it as only you WOULD and you COULD.

2)  GRIT:  Awesome read about what drives some people to no end, why some people are so GRITTY, why they are GRITTY, and what GRIT means.   Now first a disclaimer, I don't necessarily think GRIT is 100% a good thing.  I think GRIT can be overwhelming and all consuming.  But I do think it is important to understand if you have it, so you can understand why you are* (as insane as you are).    It was funny as I read this I related to every single story - never the smartest or fastest, but always the grittiest.  I think it helped me actually in the last few weeks understand why I do what I do - why I am so driven, so focused, so disciplined - to a fault at times.  There is a quote in the book that just totally resonated with me:
"It sometimes feels like we have nothing left to give, and yet, in those dark and desperate moments, we find that if we just keep putting one foot in front of the other, there is a way to accomplish what all reason seems to argue against."

3)  How Bad Do You Want It?  This is a strict sports Psychology book, that I wouldn't recommend unless you are competing in something.  It might be boring otherwise.  My favorite nugget from this one is EXPECTIONS are everything - if you expect and embrace the "pain cave" to come; you almost get a thrill from it.  Never get too cocky or too complacent - assume its coming, embrace it, and take it head on.  Makes me ready to take on my next race :)-

4)  You are a Bad Ass  Oh man, no matter what, read this!  I loved this book, totally a kick in the pants - and gets you riled up to create YOUR life.  We often are a results of our past experience and upbringing - which can be a great thing - but you also have to set your own mental paths for what you can and cannot do.  I have been told NO a lot, and believed it.  I think physically I can qualify for the O trials - it's been the mental piece that has stopped me in my tracks.  This put a few new tools in my toolbox to tackle that!

5)  When Breath Becomes Air:      Absolutely oustanding book about a Dr. whose goal is to integrate the patient's feelings and emotions (basically bedside manner) with the science.  My opinion only**  But there are very few doctors who have both, if you find one, you are blessed.  Ironically, during the course of the journey he himself is diagnosed with cancer - and everything he has spent his whole life working towards; now he never gets to use.  As he dies rather swiftly after diagnosis.  A book about not waiting until the perfect moment to do something - because you might not get tomorrow, a book about legacy, and the impact, the purpose, the meaning of YOUR life, a book about life - and the purpose of living.  A deep one, but a GREAT one.

6)   Man's Search for Meaning:    So this was REALLY deep, recommended to me from a list of books you must read.  It was intersting for sure.  The author was actually a prisoner in the Holocaust and he survives (obviously :) - - Essentially the whole book is that you can survive ANYTHING if you have a greater purpose - if you feel you are alive to do something, to achieve something, to be there for someone.  It can be your meaning in life is to be a phenomenal parent, leader, business owner, or it could be to qualify for O Trials, or a cancer saving doctor - it doesn't matter - what matters is that DRIVES you day in and day out to be the best you can be; and sometimes that means just surviving.  Deep - but good.

So, 2017 - the path ahead!  I am more focused and determined then ever to continue chasing my dream.  I feel like every year I gain more GRIT, more experience, more miles in the bank that will pay off.  In the short term, first things first is to get healthy and back to the roads; which is very close.  I have been running on the Alter G - and close to my full body weight.   Past that, my goal is still to run on 3/19 - - but I need to learn to be okay with not having a perfect training cycle; as obviously I am already behind.  I am going to take it one day at a time; and do whatever it takes to get to the line.   Then spend the Spring and Summer getting faster; focusing on a Fall 1/2 marathon PR - - all leading to my goal race in January 18.  
I also am excited to announce I will be coaching again this Spring! As for work - continuing  to be the best leader I can be - building our regional team to be as strong as possible.  And in every thing I do, my goal is to get out of my head - - focus on me, and what I am doing in the very moment; not worrying about everyone else, the next task,  the next day, but be present, be happy, be alive TODAY...because that is the only thing for certain.

All the best  - here's to an amazing 2017 for all!

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Yea.  Lately those are about the only two verbal reactions I can muster.  :(    My next post was supposed to be a super happy one, a random update on training, a 1/2 marathon race recap, and perhaps plans for the Spring...and an exciting Honeymoon adventure story.  But then, well life happened.  As usual, what I planned never came to fruition.  And you think I would be used to it by now, but for some reason - it never gets easier, just more routine. I know exactly how to dig myself out, how to grind, how to get back.  But unfortunately, for the dream I am chasing you don't get points for comebacks, only consistency, progress, and victories.

After Chicago, I bounced right back into training and the consistency and all my prehab/strength work was finally paying off - I felt AMAZING.  Off to Kauai and then when I came back, I was really excited to do some serious damage in a 1/2 marathon.  Life was GRAND.

Kaui was definitely not your typical lay on the beach vacation - it was an amazing adventure!

the only sunny day we had we made the most of (trust me, no sun, CB does NOT do water, I am always cold) This was an awesome snorkeling adventure!

The runs were absolutely epic here, you would be running in a sunny sauna, then pouring rain, then a rain forest, then a desert, it was like 10 different ecosystems in one run.  Crazy.

We hiked the "Sleeping Giant" in pouring rain, but it was still amazing!

This was the Waimea Canyon Hike, we took the  unbeaten path and found this gem!

Just chilling on a rock at the edge of a cliff.
And then the next day I was a moron, it was pouring rain, and after probably pushing myself too hard at a morning track session in ridiculous rain/wind we went hiking - - and I stepped down, way down, on a rock in  the water and I knew immediately.  Of course, I ignored it, I didn't want Justin to know, but I knew.  I broke something.  24 hours later I really knew.

What I will not do is be fake with you.  I do not think anyone reads blogs to read a bunch of fluff.  This is real - or I would not do it.  Having said that, this entry is more for me then updating friends and family :(  It is so much easier for me to write my way through life then actually say it.  I'm absolutely, positively, 100% devastated.  I spent my entire 2015 fighting, fighting, fighting to come back.  2016 was amazing, and then one very, silly step at the end now zeroes out all the work, all the progress, I had made.    And at the same time.  I know:  
The good news is setbacks like this sometimes make you step back and look at things - and the MRI and blood tests show my bones are strong as hell, everything is in the right thresholds, and it was just a freak accident.  And so you motor on.  I know how to do this, I know how to keep my fitness in the pool, I have an amazing doctor in Dr. Maynard who is my lifeline  throughout this, I know how to rehab, and God knows why but I have a coach who still believes in me, even when right now when I am struggling with believing in myself.    I'll be back. Because it is in the journey  that dreams are made.  And man, will I have one hell of a journey to look back on.  When I went through the ankle injury in 2015 I had 4 phrases I said every single day that drove me to keep fighting, to not give up.  I never stopped saying them actually, but now I cling to them more then ever.

I know it's nuts, I know I am nuts.  I should hang it up, it's not happening.  But I can't, I won't, I want it too bad.  Maybe more now then ever before if that is even possible.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Chicago Marathon Recap

I've held off writing a marathon recap because depending on the day I am either content with how it went or find myself wishing I had done more.  

I flew back to Chicago early to get adjusted to the time zone change and humidity  - but also because it's home, and any opportunity to spend time with family is worth it!  I was glad I did because I was able to get some pre-race inspiration from friends.  I got to see Mrs. Cyr (whom I ran the race for) and I got to run with a good friend from my hometown, Jill.  Between those two connects and hanging with mom a little bit, my heart was full to the brim going into Saturday morning!
Late Friday, W, Pete (waterboy #1), and Justin (waterboy #2) arrived - all separately of course because that would be too easy to come at once :)  We had a blast watching the Cubbies win, and I single-handedly would like to take the credit for that win as I had everyone cross their fingers at the appropriate time when Baez hit a home run!  Then off to bed as we had a big day ahead of us on Saturday.
My standard Cubs Game watching uniform these days - Cubs PJ's and red/blue painted toenails - it worked - Cubs Won!

The Gang at my mom's Friday night - the 4 of us have spent a lot of time together over the last year; probably the best part of this whole journey for me.
Saturday proved to be AMAZING - perhaps maybe too amazing for the day before a marathon, but honestly, I cannot say I regret any of it.  As a Skechers athlete I got the opportunity to do a shakeout run with him, and W came too!  More inspiration from, in my humble opinion, one of the best marathon runners of all time.  A friend/mentor set up lunch for us as well; which was just another amazing piece of this journey.  I know there is a lot of negative out there, but I believe people are truly awesome, throughout the year time and time again I have seen people go out of their way to support, fuel, enable my dream.  

Just you know me, a Skechers teammate, and Meb (Insert emoji with hand over head)

Just you know #2....lunch with Meb!
After that we hit up the expo and then Justin and I went to this really cool Mass they do at Holy Name Cathedral downtown for the marathon runners.  It's pretty neat, the priest customizes the homily and then he blesses all the runners and you get a bracelet.  More inspiration!
Then, staying true to routine we went back to the hotel where I made my own pasta - just like I always do- before my long runs.  Mentally I wanted to tell my body  - this was just another long run. 
That night unfortunately I think I slept an hour.  BRUTAL.  But I never let sleep the night before bother me because once I read that it doesn't matter, 2 nights before DOES,  - so you know since I read that, it's true right? :)
Sunday I did not need an alarm obviously, and I got up and did my usual UCAN bar + caffeinated tea (this time seasonally appropriate Pumpkin Spice Tea).

EXPO FUN:  That's me just running along my 2 favorite runners Kara and Meb :)-

This is the Mass I was referring to, Justin took this, I am the one in red (of course) #favoritecolor

All ready to go the night before, this one for Mrs. Cyr
This year W and I qualified for the Elite Development Corral/Tent (WHICH WAS SWEET) - our own bathrooms, bag check, hydration, warm-up area, etc.  We walked the mile from the hotel and W and I did a quick shakeout run, and then bathroom.  Without details - all systems "a go" - things had played out perfectly :)
From there we were "escorted" to the start, and the rest was blur, before I knew it the gun went off and we were running.
The goal was to run steady 6:30's through about 20 and then let it rip if feeling good.  Take in calories at 5,10,15,and 20, and water as much as possible.
Here's the positives:
  • I felt great running - like I was walking
  • I NAILED THE FUELING!!  Stomach felt great, took in calories like clockwork at 5,10,15,20
  • I never hit the wall with the total physical and mental bonk - THANK YOU UCAN!
Here's the frustrations:
  • Pacing.  Again.  &^(**(&!  My watch went kafluey after the first tunnel and I was having a hard time judging pace -after reviewing the splits with Adam this week, it was my same old pacing issues, 2 miles that were completely out of control fast which killed me later on.
  • Hydration.  I was SO focused on calorie intake I kind of ignored the hydration piece, just sipping at water stations to get the calories down.  I think this was really the nail in the coffin.
  • At 18 my legs got stiff and I felt like I was going 600 pace, and it was really more like 640 at 20 I knew there would be no "ripping it", and I had REALLY been looking forward to that.
I wish I had the split for my last 800M. I saw Mrs. Cyr and she just LIT me up, I know I sprinted in, and at least I felt like I did :)
When you cross the line in Chicago, it's very isolated.  The bandstands are closed to the general public for security reasons so there are literally THOUSANDS of people (who bought tickets) cheering you - and you don't know any of them.  When I crossed the line, I crouched down... and was a little overwhelmed with emotion.  Thinking about the journey there and the journey Mrs. Cyr is running right now.   A medical staffer came over and wanted to know if I was ok, and when I responded yes I was fine, she looked at me, and said, "Oh yes, those are tears of joy!  :)
And they were.....You never really know what lies on the other side of the finish line.  2 years ago I crossed and thought I was well on my way to qualifying for the O Trials.  Within months my world spun downward with my injury and I spent 2 years climbing my way just to get back to running a marathon, much less racing for 2:45.  And as I spent months fighting it, and questioning it, I learned that happiness in life is learning to just accept "it."  Because, well, that is the life journey.  That is "it".  And how you respond to "it" - determines the quality of life you have. 
So as I started this recap I was thinking geez my reactions to Chicago are a mixed bag, Yes I got a PR, but I was in shape to run 2:48, I know it.  That was a lot of work to come up feeling a tad short.  I have to address the pacing and hydration; and I am confident I can and will.  But sitting here now? It's not mixed.  I made progress, I learned a ton this training cycle on fueling, pacing, strength training, post run recovery, and nutrition.  I made the most of what I was given, and in the process got to train with the best possible training buddy you could ask for.  The best is yet to come, I believe that.  I am closer than I think.  
I know it's cliche, but I want to end this recap with thank you's.  It truly takes a village, and I would love to hug a lot of people for this race.  To Becky, Doc Maynard, Tara, and Brent for getting and keeping me healthy.  To Kerry, Erika, Jen, Lauren and my sister for being my biggest supporters.  To W for the early mornings, brutal workouts, and just plain fun.  To Ashlea, Shelly, Katie, Paul, Rachel, Emily, and Danielle for keeping me strong and flexible - 2 opposing strengths, difficult to merge.  To Adam my coach for putting up with me, believing in me, and getting me back.  To Skechers for sticking with me and enabling me to do what I do.  To my parents for their endless support and love.  To Justin, my best friend, and the reason I am so "full" right now :), and to Mrs. Cyr - my hero, my inspiration, and the deserved recipient of the finish line medal. Not every race would have this many dramatic thank you's but this one does because it was two years in the making!

Justin and I - -just knowing he is out there puts me at ease.

The gang at the end.

A training cycle/year I will NEVER forget.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

2 weeks and counting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well the taper has begun and so that means, I actually have's crazy, how much time training is part of my life and I don't even realize it.  But now that I find myself having a few more minutes to spare it's the perfect time to catch up on things; one of them being a blog update.
Most people know by now, but I am running the Chicago Marathon on October 9th!  I am pretty excited, grateful, anxious, and JACKED about this one!!!

Training Cycle
This by far has been the best training cycle I have ever had.  It has truly made me appreciate the journey and not the outcome.  I literally went from not being able to walk to running 85+ miles a week.  It is so humbling to think literally almost a year ago today I was probably at the lowest point in my life.  I saw my dream - what was left of it - slipping between my fingers.  I could not get my ankle to heal in time, and after 9 months of forcing it, forcing it, forcing it,  I finally decided to shut it down in November; but man was I lost.  I had invested so much in it, made major life decisions and choices to chase it, and 2015 had literally taken the air out of me.  Where now? You know the story from previous blogs, but I picked myself back up as painful as it was and rehabbed.  Becky got me back running, and created a pre and post run routine that I still do.  My coach built me back, painfully slow, but day by day.  Looking back at my log, it's so gratifying to see.  I told him just the other day, this is probably the first time in my life I tangibly saw myself evolve - both mentally and physically.  Last year it was like part of me died, this year it was a "re-birth" :)
As the weeks built, so did my confidence, my engine, and my passion.  We did not race much, as the goal was October and to get there I needed an engine.  So we focused a lot on mileage and specific pace work for our goals.  I got to see workouts that I once saw as daunting (ahem...tempo runs, 10 x 1k, 19 milers) become fun, become doable....become achieveable.  In fact, I think a huge milestone for me was a barn burner workout.  It was triple digits, heat of the summer here, and it was 3 x 5k....yes you read that right.  And after it was done, I knew it.  I knew that my dream would happen.  It's not an "if" anymore, it's a "when".    And so here we are.  It's funny because I just told Justin this morning, I have had 38 weeks (since Jan 16th) to train for Chicago.  This is more then ANY marathon training plan, right? Yet I still feel caught off guard!  It's here, what?  I still need more time to practice fueling, I need to race more, I....but as Adam reminds me the big picture is qualifying for the Olympic Trials.  Chicago is a stepping stone there.  Take the first step.  And I cannot tell you how excited I am to be taking it.  This is my 'Olympics', 'Superbowl', 'Big dance'.  I have never fought so hard to get back, to be where I am at, to be looking at Chicago head on.  With a huge frikkin grin on my face :)

Me and my coach at Bolder Boulder 10k in May....this guy is like a big brother, coach, cheerleader, hero all in one.  No one knows me better as a runner then him. No one.  He means the world to me.
1/2 Marathon Recap - Simulation Run
Last weekend, W and I (W is my teammate training partner who I will share more on in a few seconds if you can put up with this part), had the opportunity to do a simulation 1/2 marathon run 3 weeks out.  Goal was to not race, just run the thing at marathon pace.  Do you know how hard that is....OMG.  Hardest thing I have ever done, I was on my best behavior to treat this as a business trip.  The weekend was a blast, we flew in together, went out to eat together, and ran together.  Just like we will on game day.  The goal was 6:30 pace,  and if I do say so myself we nailed it!  Came in at 6:29 pace....and we managed to both podium, 2nd and 3rd.  If you know me, you can understand how hard it was not to race this with 1st place being within reach.  But when you hear your coach's voice in your head, and he means so much to you, you behave :)  Mission accomplished.  The taper began.

Post race shenanigans, that stupid sign says "running buddy" - if only you knew the drama associated with that picture #technologystillaworkinprogressformom
Training Partner
I think in 'running' life you probably get the opportunity once, maybe twice to find a training cycle and partner that matches.  I received a huge gift when "W" entered the picture.  We were teammates when she was on SDP; and after I got injured she would text me all the time to check in.  She knew the pain (more mental then physical) behind watching your dream slip away.  She kept asking me to run, and once I started back and could run 6 miles (I mean what's the point of putting on your shoes for less then  that ;) she was the first person I called.  We ran the canal and grabbed acai bowls afterwards.  We ran again, and again, and again.  And finally I asked her if she wanted to train together.  And the rest is history.  As dorky as it sounds we have the WHOLE cycle captured on Instagram, it's hilarious.  At first it was a joke, but now looking back it's cool.   You can literally look at all the pictures and remember the workouts,  anxieties, highs, lows, humor, and aftermath.  Forever documented via hashtag!  We trained SO tightly together month after month through the AZ heat, through the mental ups and downs, through 4am wake-ups, through laughter, through frustration, through dreamy eyes.  When I was down, she picked me up.  When she was down, I tried to make her laugh at least.  I learned so much from her, not just about running, but about nutrition, about life, about the journey.  I know W better then most people know their sister.  I can tell you by her texts what is going on.  It's incredible what hundreds of miles in silence and in words can create between 2 people.  Trust me I care about Chicago.  But even if it wasn't my day, I would still walk away fulfilled from what I got out of this training cycle. I'll never forget this year.

My first run back in February, the beginning of the most amazing journey ever.
Why Chicago?
So with 2 weeks to go, one last thought.  Why Chicago?  Many have asked if I was ready to race months ago, why wait for this one.  Or why train through the AZ heat, why didn't you wait and do something in December.  It's easy for me.  Chicago, is much more than just another race.  First, it's home.  It's core to who I am.  My Midwest personality, my work ethic, my's all Chicago.  My family means everything to me, and they are Chicago.  They grew up there, the Cubs are there, and as silly as it sounds the Cubs are so much more then Baseball, we grew up with them on.  Second, Chicago is Justin and I's (is that proper grammar?) city.  The Chicago Marathon that we ran for his mom brought us together, it's where we got married, and it's our common love.  Finally, 2 years ago I finished the Chicago Marathon wishing I had done more, feeling like I didn't quite achieve what I was capable of...little did I know that the time in between that day and today....well who knows what I thought, but good grief not the way I envisioned it :)  I will admit that crossing the line 2 weeks from today will mean a lot, I have never worked harder, been more focused, to get back.  I cannot wait.   I have some unfinished business to attend to :)
Sunday October 9th this year too will have even more meaning then 2 years ago.  I've talked several times in my blog about my hero, Mrs. Cyr, a breast cancer survivor.  She is tiny - but fierce.  If you knew all that she has accomplished, yet all that she has been through, you would be in awe.  She is such a fighter.  This race is for her, every single mile, is for her.  The race she is running is way tougher than mine, but I have learned so much from her fight, her will, her attitude.  Sometimes I think half of the game of life is just staying in the game, to keep standing, to keep fighting and not giving up.  Again, while my race pales in comparison to hers, Sunday is about that pride....never throwing the towel in, pushing right back, hanging on tight.....until you can climb right back in and run again.  She did.  She will.  And I am.

(Insert picture of me and Mrs. Cyr...I don't have one....we'll have to fix that on 10/9)  :)


Saturday, August 13, 2016


No one wakes up in the morning and says, "Gee I think today would be an epic day to Fail", yet unfortunately it happens anyway.  Millions of times a day around the world people fail.  We do not meet others expectations, we do not meet our expectations, maybe we forgot the expectations.  Whatever it is WE deem as failure, if we do that, we fail.  It's pointless to tell someone they succeeded when the result is not what they envisioned as success.  It's nice, sometimes necessary, but deep down will not make them feel better. Why?  Because failure is deep inside, it's motivation, it's intensity, it's dedication, it's focus, its passion all unraveled after weeks, months, maybe years of working towards something.   So whether it is "thee" thing you were working toward or a milestone marker along the journey; when it doesn't meet your expectations - it's failure.  And that is where it gets tough. 
I wrote in my last blog about my "failure" at the Chicago 1/2.   Scores of people have told me how top 10 in a major race is a big deal, 1:24 is really fast, you ran a 5:33 mile!?  And yet I could not find anything deep inside me to be at peace with that.  It is not what I set out to do, I failed.  And that is okay.  Because from that failure I grew; where previously I would have floundered.
I immediately focused on understanding why I failed - I need the data to understand what I would need to do differently to achieve my end goal.  I was lucky!  This was a milestone race, not my end goal; what if I had learned this on game day?  I went out too fast, I was way too amped, and then I panicked, and it was a mental bonk.  I learned a) to pace myself b) if I did hit a fast split to be confident, I can run there I proved it because I came back at the end.
I gained confidence in myself.  I could have broke and said that's it - months of training...for that?  I quit - I am  not cut out for this.  But, instead, I grew hungrier, I realized how bad I wanted this, I realized I was not weak, rather I was in training.  And I was committed.
And so we got back on the horse quickly.  The MDRA 15K was planned, so we didn't decide to just go race, it was part of the plan all along.  But man was I glad it was so soon.  I wanted to use my new data :)
So last Sunday I ran the MDRA 15k which also happened to be the MN USATF 15k Championships - so a good field, a good course, and good timing.  
So what did I change?  I feel like my pre race nutrition is set.  No change.  My pre race warm-up is also set, but I put a little more focus into it-  I think I had been going through  the motions, and I wanted that to be a little more dialed in so I was more in tune with pace.  My first mile.  That was the change.  I didn't go out with the  lead pack - I ran my first mile in 6:12!  Compared to the 5:51 in Chicago I felt like I was walking!  And when I saw the 6:12 I literally said "sweet".  From there I knew I had it, I just held until mile 5 where I was in 6th place.  That's when Adam had said no more looking at the watch,  RACE.  And so I did, one by one picking them off as he says, and then with a 1/2 mile to  go seeing the leader a tad too late.  I was closing the gap but ran out of runway.  I crossed in 2nd, averaging 6:08 pace, never feeling better.   I came back, I learned from my failure versus letting it define me.  I would have  never done this even a year ago.
Failure is so key to the journey; in fact when used correctly it can be the road map to success.

My armswing!!!  Many of you know I have been working on keeping my arm in and it's working!  My dorky e3's are working!  #theyarenotweights

Sunday, July 17, 2016

RNR CHI Race Recap!

I'll make this one short and sweet because my last 2 blogs were long  (wayyyyyyyyyy to long).

This morning I ran the RNR Chicago 1/2 marathon; a key race before my main goal race.  And I bombed it.  It happens, I ran nowhere near my goal/nor my ability - but glad it happened now and not on game day I guess.  

The weekend was a blast though, got to spend it with Justin and see my family.  If that was all that happened this weekend it would be sensational in itself.    Several ACAI bowls, and fun at the EXPO.  I had plenty of hometown support too!!  My parents and Mrs. Cyr and Chase - really close family friends - pretty much family -  were able to make it!

used the bikeshare program to get everywhere - - fun, but some kinks that need to be worked out - ask Justin :)

Epic running along the lakefront

acai bowl #2 - not very good, wasn't a fan, tasted like sludge 

EXPO shenanigans - so  much fun

Acai bowl #1 -EPIC, best ever perhaps!!!

I have absolutely no excuses, I ate great, plenty of sleep, weather was terrific, course was flat.  I just was stupid and went out WAY too fast.  Here are my mile splits and my mind dialogue.

  • Mile 1:  5:51  - OH NO, crap
  • Mile 2:  6:16  - Perfect. stay here, not  too much damage done, you're fine
  • Mile 3:  6:04  - Ok, should be able to lock in here...
  • Mile 5:  6:33 - ugh CB, you dug yourself a hole now, hang on, it's your fault
  • Mile 6:  6:14 - perfect
  • Mile 7:  6:19 - - Im losing it
  • Mile 8:  6:36 - -Gone
  • Mile 9:  6:39 - - really gone
  • Mile 10: 6:42 - - ok, you can give up, or grind back
  • Mile 11:  6:32 - -there you go, fight back
  • Mile 12:  6:39 - - I feel fine, just no acceleration
  • Mile 13:  6:18 - - salvage it
Total Time 1:24:02 - 9th place overall

The key thing I learned and can take away is I started out way too aggressive and completely threw out our game plan.  I was way too amped up.  I have been training my tail off and so dialed in I think I just had way too much pent up energy.  I have got to stick to the game plan and pacing will take care of itself.
The good news is that the body feels great, and sometimes it's just not your day - - you move on.
And so that is what I shall do :)  I have had an amazing year so far and if this is the worst thing that happens to  me, I am living the life, xoxoox.
at  least i looked good :(

Trying to salvage something at mile 9

                                      recovering fast so I can get back to work - Normatec boots are amazing - and I had the hook up :)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Peanut Butter Runner

If I could choose another name for this blog I think it would be 'Peanut Butter Runner" love for peanut butter (and acai bowls) is well known and ever-growing.  But, I do eat other things believe it or not :)  At least once or twice a week I get a message or question related to food/nutrition.  I have largely stayed away from posting about what I eat/when I eat/how I eat because quite frankly it scares me :(  People can be mean - and I am not an expert and my diet is nowhere near perfect, nor do I intend it to be; it's just what is working for me right now.  But, last week Justin and I were literally talking about this exact subject and someone pinged me asking me a food question - and he said you really should. In the spirit of starting this marriage thing on the right foot, here's to listening to feedback and posting on food!
Most of what I have learned about nutrition and food I attribute to my sister Kate (while she knows nothing about running, I have found almost anytime I have issues I can call her and she has the answer), my friend Lauren Kay who has a great nutritional background, and when I lived out East I actually did see a nutritionist, Bill Nadeau, to figure some things out.  All three have helped me tremendously.
Instead of go into details of what a typical day or week looks like, I think it might be easier to just kind of share the basic principles I follow.  And again, this is what works for me - I think that paleo, vegan, froyon, pizzatarian, or whatever type of diet you are on is 1) great and 2) normal - IF it works for you. Sometimes we worry so much about what other people are doing - and the truth is we were born as US, not THEM - so do what works for you :)
So here we go, these are most of the questions I get....

1.  Do I count calories?
Yes and No.  I do not limit myself, but I do have a number I have to hit or we have "system breakdown" lights that go on.  This is easy for me if I am in my routine - but if I am traveling or have a crazy week (think wedding week) then I have to keep a running tab in my head and it becomes more difficult.  It also does not help that I am VERY plain, and picky about food, I always have been. So while I could just "eat anything", I don't, because I don't like anything  Furthermore, as we progress in our plan and make jumps in mileage and/or intensity I have had to "re-figure" that magic number out again and again.  Having a coach that understands this has been great as we have moved very conservatively - basically in 5-6 week blocks - that has allowed me to find it and my body to adjust accordingly.

2.  How do I think about the Macros?
I am a carb machine.  And I know tons of people will tell you carbs are bad.  I'm sorry it's just how I am, I tried "paleo" for 3 months when I lived out East and I have never been more miserable, I felt terrible.  No energy and my running suffered tremendously.  So I eat a lot of carbs - rice, cereal, pretzels, popcorn - all staples for me.  Never, ever count them.  If I crave them, I think it's my body saying it needs them.  In fact, Saturday night I do the typical pasta before the long run and as I eat it (this is really dorky) sometimes I visualize the tank filling up, and then before I go to bed I eat cereal and the tank is overflowing - - so when I run the next day at like mile 15/16 I think back to that and say - I got plenty o gas in the tank!
Protein.  I don't do protein shakes or try and get a certain amount of grams per bodyweight.  And I never had a steak or bison, or burger I liked.  Even when I was little steak grossed me out.  I just don't like the taste.  Instead I eat either fish or chicken 6 nights a week (pasta Saturday night).  Again sometimes visualizing the protein healing up all the damage from that day's mileage.  I like turkey and turkey burgers too.  And I eat lots of nuts.  I kind of use them as croutons almost on top of my veggies at dinner :)
Fats.  So when I was cool in high school I did the whole low fat thing - looking back on that what was I thinking?  Anyways it led to issues of low body fat% which caused all sorts of problems leading to a string of injuries.  Enter Bill, that nutrition guy I mentioned, who basically saved my running career.  He completely broke it down for me - and I looked at my fat% versus what average was, not even athletic average - and it opened my eyes.  How things have changed - enter my love for peanut butter and nuts in general.  I never look at fat.  In fact, I think fat is what keeps us healthy.  Having said that, this was a journey too, as one of the best sources of fat is avocados right?  So Bill had me start eating those (WHICH WAS A BIG STEP< I EAT LIKE A 1st GRADER).  And who knew - I was SEVERELY allergic to them (hospital allergic) @Kelly and @Elisa  #verydramaticworkmeeting.  And so one step forward, then 5 backwards after that episode.  It shook me up pretty bad.

3.  How do you think about fruits and veggies?
I eat a banana everyday (magnesium is KEY, I could preach all day about this, I think it is the #1 secret weapon for runners) and I have lots of veggies every night  - even on Pasta day because I have an acai bowl that has kale and broccoli hidden in it :)

So this sucker believe it or not has kale and broccoli in it, but you do not taste or see it, BRILLIANT!  #inflammtionfighter
4.  How much water do you drink?  What are your hydration go to's?
Another HUGE growth area for me.  Justin used to call me a camel, I never drank much of anything. And how embarrassing is this, I used to drink about 4 Diet Cokes a day :(  In November of 2014 one day I said, I am trying to do something that the odds are already against me, why would you make it even harder, how bad do you want this?  And I quit cold turkey.  Have not had ONE since, and I have never felt better.  And now, you will RARELY find me without water bottle in hand.  I drink my body weight in water every day + 1-2 Nuun tablets a day.  Now, I am sponsored by Nuun, so full transparency here, but it has been one of the biggest game changers for me.  Once again, a learning process, and I was drinking SO much water it was depleting my system of all minerals.  My coach helped me on this one, and man what a difference I feel.  It's nuts. I highly recommend EVERYONE to try Nuun.  You can't just have water all the time, and Nuun replaces all the minerals you have lost. Incredible.
I also wake up and drink caffeinated tea every morning and no caffeine tea before I go to bed at night. In the morning it has really helped my runs, I have an extra "pop" I did not have before.  And at night, it's my signal to my body to wind down.  In fact, I think my favorite wedding present was a red teapot, it's special because it's from someone very important to me at work, and she knows my whole dream and journey ;)

My favorite wedding gift :)  Little red Tea Pot - I use every morning and night!

That's a lot of Nuun!  This stuff is a gamechanger, literally put a pep back in my step.
5.  Do You Snack?
So, I know this will seem really weird, but not really.  I never have been a big snacker.  I don't really like eating in the car or while walking or while working and I am a busy body and so that is what it would have to be.  I need down time, time to just "be" and so when I eat, I like to sit down and just "eat" - listen to the people I am with, or read, or sometimes just think.  Eating quickly or on the go just is not my thing and my stomach is so sensitive if I do it I end up not feeling so great. I will say before I go to bed I eat a bowl of cereal every night because otherwise I wake up hungry.  To which everyone always tells me, well you're not eating enough at dinner.  I eat about 1500 calories at dinner, so I don't think that's  the case.  I just get up at 3 or 4am REALLY hungry if I don't. And I prefer to run without breakfast in me, so I think that allows me to do that as well.

5) What are your grocery trip staples?
I eat a lot of anti-inflammatory foods - Bill and Lauren have helped me with this a lot.  Basically, any athlete training at a high level has a lot of inflammation and you have to combat that to prevent injury.  So while ice, massage, epsom salts help  - I also believe what we put in our body can be the best ally for us.  Hence my obsession with acai - a superfruit known to fight inflammation!    I also started eating fish about a year ago and I believe it has gotten me to where I am today, feeling great. 
So here's a list of my go to's :
  • Fish
  • Bananas
  • Nuts
  • Rice
  • Vegetables (except red peppers - I do not like spicy food - so I pick these out and give them to Justin :)
  • Cereal/Almond Milk (dairy bugs my stomach, I have had to cut my froyo down b/c of that:(
  • Chicken
  • Pasta 
  • Water/Nuun tablets
  • Tea (AM/PM versions @ Teavana - $$$$ habit)
  • pretzels
  • Peanut butter (Lauren makes me homemade PB, amazing)
  • Bread from Sprouts - I am REALLY picky on my sandwich bread
  • Cornbread (recent obsession - from Sprouts)
My friend Lauren has helped me a lot with nutrition, and also makes me REAL peanut butter!
6)  Do you use supplements?
Again a HUGE journey, but have a rotation now that is working for me.  I take a fish oil supplement to fight inflammation, Stronium for bone strength, and a multivitamin to get all the minerals I am missing (primarily the B's,)
The 3 supplements I take every day
7)  Do you have any vices?
I have a "bar" addiction.  I love my bars, KIND, Quest, Cliff, Rx Bars.  I share this with my nephew, Connor :)  Perhaps we should go to an addiction class together for it!  I know they are bad for you, but I love em', and so I eat one for desert at lunch every single day.  (I did use to have 2 a day though, so improvement!!)

I realize I left a lot of the pre-run/post run nutrition specifics out, but that really is a whole other blog, and so I thought maybe my next race recap I could include that? 
Lastly, I am the last person to be giving advice, but for what's it's worth my two cents would be that this has been a long journey, with lots of  trial and error.  Never take what one person does and follow it out the window; tinker to make it fit you.  But then at some point you have to STOP tinkering and let your body adjust.  I am at a point right now where I am holding steady through game day and then before the next cycle I will tinker a bit more.  And my biggest piece of advice?  One thing at a time :)  Small changes you can tackle; changing everything was overwhelming for me and never worked.  Once I started to focus on one thing at a time, it stuck, and I could feel a difference. As always, any comments or questions I am all ears as I am still very much learning!


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Post Race Recap: The Race to the Altar (Best Race of my Life!)

One of the unintended effects for those who have been following this blog is that along with the running journey, comes the life journey.  The intense nature of my dream lends itself to a lifestyle that tends to be all encompassing, as such it is rather difficult to separate the two entities - well three actually - training, personal life, and work - which is often why you tend to hear about all of them.  Today will be one of those blogs!  In a perfect way, it's a marriage of personal life and training - a race review of the best race I've ever run, "The Race to the Altar!"

Race Choice
I thought it might be worth doing a quick trip down memory lane for those who joined my dorky blog later on - post engagement!  It was on my "bucket list" to volunteer at a major marathon, and Justin is nothing short of amazing, so for my Christmas present he flew both of us to NYC!  The day before the marathon we went running in Central Park and a quarter mile from our hotel he said he had to "tie his shoe".  As I was immature at the time (#wouldneverdothatnow) - and getting pretty impatient -   - I hate stopping.  So I'm thisssssssssssss close to blasting him right? - and boom I turn around and he is on one knee.  The rest is history.

After he proposed in NYC!
We had plenty of time to plan for the wedding, we were engaged in November of 2014 and married the past weekend (June 2016).  The gap was because I was supposedddddddddd to be running the Olympic Trials in the marathon - but life had different plans for me in 2015 and it was a BRUTAL year (#injurycity).  But, that turned out to be a blessing in disguise - for so many reasons - one of which is Justin and I became very, very close through some incredibly trying times.
Running was the "thing" that brought us together - the travel, the wins, the losses, the injuries, the dreams achieved and crushed.  So we decided that the Save the Date, the invites, the decorations would be around the "Race to the Altar" theme!   From there we just started hammering out the big decisions:
  • City:   Easy pick - we both have a deep love for Chicago - for different reasons.
  • Venue:   We wanted downtown Chicago - we would have been living in a cardboard box for years to come - so we went with my hometown.
  • DJ/Church/rehearsal dinner:  All easy decisions - conquer and divided!
  • Colors:  Red (my favorite) and Green (Justin's Favorite)*
*we actually had all females with roles in the wedding wear a touch of red and all males involved a touch of green!

Reception Venue @ Hotel Baker
Race Bib Save the Date! ( I can't figure out how to turn this horizontally?)
Actual invitation
We spent a lot of time on bridal party, as that was important to us.  For my girls I asked 4 amazing women who each have given me a gift in life that I will be forever grateful for - and then gave them a bracelet with that gift on it.  Here's the coolest part; they gave me a necklace at the wedding with all the gifts on it together :)

The bracelets for the girls...
The necklace they gave me!
And then... the invite list.  Honestly, we did not have ANY disagreements on it - it was just a matter of paring it down; at one point we had the population of China attending!!! This was extremely HARD, and we literally talked through every single invite.  Once that was done - - mama bear literally took over - and she nailed it!

The Lead Up
I never thought of myself as a bridezilla, so I really never imagined getting stressed over a material thing like a wedding.  But embarrassingly, the 2 weeks prior I was a hot mess. I not only got a 2 week headache - I got 3 bloody noses - my go to ultimate stress barometer - -  and I got the flu.  Neat.
I have gotten quite a few questions around training and did I take a break this week - well yes and no. After some discussion we decided to keep the mileage the same, but completely take out the intensity, which proved to be a godsend.  I needed the mileage to help me with the nerves, I didn't need the intensity to break me down.  In fact the Sunday before, I went ahead and ran 19 miles with "W" (my training partner) - I figured the more I told myself life was normal,  the more it would be.
We didn't talk much in that run, but really we did :)
Pre-Race Preparation
I flew home Tuesday in time for final dress fitting, DJ meeting, and the arrival of Justin from Cincinnati.  The dress fitting was a tad stressful  - the DJ meeting comical, and the arrival of Justin calming.  My mom's house was BUZZING - my sister and her 3 kids were there, Justin, and me.  YIKES!  It was a Full House - no fights though - and I do have to say this was probably the one week of my entire life where I felt like such a princess.  Everyone was so nice to me, I even remember asking my mom if when dad picked me up if he could come in and grab my bag in the airport  (I would NEVER ask for help, but at the time I had the flu and felt weaker then a pencil).  Mom's response?  "Oh, Absolutely, I will tell him!".  Sometimes it's fun to be a princess :)
Huge relief post final dress fitting - it fit! (despite some mini drama from the dress lady!)
On Wednesday the entire bridal party went to the Cubs Game - this was a total blast because we all got to know each other really well, and had a great time!  The Cubs lost, but you can't win em all and we are saving the wins for the World Series this year :)-
Getting to know everyone was the absolute best part of the game!       
The Race
The night before was rehearsal and the dinner.  If there was any major bloopers or drama this would be it.  Our rehearsal was rather comical; a tad disorganized  - but we got through it and then headed out to celebrate.
we both look incredibly distressed here, we're not - but I wanted to show you his lime green shirt, my red dress - our colors :)

#mygirls  (Minus my maid of honor, not sure where she was!)
I ran before graduations, new jobs, hard goodbyes, scary hellos, moves, deaths, births, illnesses, bad news, good news, and so quite honestly I cannot imagine why I would not run before this major milestone.  So my bridesmaid and I ran 15 miles, which wasn't without epic humor (we may or may not have tried to drink from a hose on a random house #thirsty), and then breakfast with the boys.  It was REALLY humid, especially for a desert girl, and when Kerry and I walked into the restaurant we were, well, the picture illustrates it.  I told Kerry that Justin and Dan were the best for bringing all our stretching accouterments and clean clothes. And her quote set up the day perfectly..."...and he will be doing this 16 years from now, you  know that right?"
Post 15 miles, a tad humid - all the nerves out!
Eating a house @ Buttermilk for breakfast!
From there it was really a whirlwind, showers, hair, makeup (#asgirlyasCBgets), and then home to put on the dress and head over to church.  There was a rare, perhaps the only moment, of quiet peace when time stopped in the 15 minutes while I was dressing and my mom was getting ready.  She knocked on the door to help and I had already got the dress on, and immediately she was in tears, and then I was in tears.  I couldn't help but think of all the sacrifice and love my mom had put into not only this day, but my life.  But - DAB not WIPE - and boom we were back in business.  It was game time.
Next thing I knew we were in the prep room at church and time flew, all I really remember was Connor (my ring bearer) running around saying he wished his pants were tighter.

Connor my ring bearer - aka - "pillow boy"
The mass went perfect.  I remember walking down the aisle with dad and him singing some ridiculous song from when I was four years old, and then seeing Justin when I looked up.  As I sat down next to him my leg was violently shaking - - to which he asked are you really cold or nervous?  I think for the first time in my life I had to say I wasn't cold :(  
Our readers, gift bearers, and ushers were all chosen for a particular reason; a hero, representative of something/someone, a mentor, etc.  We decided to make the program a little more descriptive then normal and explain who everyone was in the  bridal party and involved in the mass - and wow!  That was probably the thing I got the most compliments on!  People loved it :)
I had told myself I was going to hold it together - no crying - but when we started the vows and I looked into his eyes - I lost it.  I mean not all out sobbing but audibly shaking in the voice.  We closed mass by taking 2 roses to the Mary statue in the back of the church.  That was our symbolic way of acknowledging and winking at our angel above, Justin's mom.
And then, Mr. and Mrs. Davis walked down the aisle!!!!
Me & Daddio.
Mr. & Mrs. Davis!
The rehearsal was awesome; with my mom planning all sorts of surprises!  She made cowbells for everyone and a racing start line banner for the entrance. The bridal party speeches were nothing short of amazing and kicked off a night of laughter and love.  The night flew by, wishing time would slow as we could have spent hours with each person who came.  It was quite humbling to know we had people from Australia, to California, to Boston to be with us.  But before we knew it, it was the last dance and this perfect day was coming to a close.

We ran in to Eye of the Tiger!
Post Race Recovery
Afterwards Justin and I went upstairs and he proceeded to take all the Bobbi pins out of my hair; I'll help you visualize that one with his quote half way through. "Bobbi is a __________ (insert another man's name) !
We decided not to go on a honeymoon right away, and get the finances in order - so instead we have spent the week in Phoenix chilling - and I can honestly say this is the first time since I graduated college where I have totally unplugged.  No email, minimal phone, etc.  And it felt awesome!  It also has  been great with the extreme heat to have my ultimate water boy here to bike along.  It's been a great week - lots of food, naps, pool, naps, food, naps, food, and pool.

I love running with this guy by my side!
I think he is starting to share my acai obsession!
Justin asked me while taking out the Bobbi pins that night what was my favorite part of the day.  We had decided that we did not want to see each other beforehand; however I did have this vision in my head of a picture where each of was on a side of the wall and holding each other's hands.  We were supposed to be laughing, smiling, excited.   So here we are, call it 15 minutes before mass started, and Aimee *(amazing photographer) takes me to the spot. She puts my hand in his.....and all of a sudden every emotion, fear, and worry leaves... my shoulders relax, my HR drops, I feel a blanket of comfort.
Justin:  "Are You There?"
Me:  No response, I'm trying not to cry
Justin:  "Are you There?"
Me:  No response, tears are running down my cheeks
Justin:  "Ok."
And at that moment I knew that he would be there for me the rest of my life whether I audibly heard it or  not.  I think in life you can ask once, twice, a thousand times if someone is there - but then if they truly LOVE you, you have to just let go and trust they are.  They might be here or above, present or astray, focused or struggling - but they ARE there and they ALWAYS will be.  Trusting, loving.