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.