Saturday, December 30, 2017


I always find it fascinating to read about how others train, compete, and recover; learning something regardless of the level or sport/profession.  I am fascinated by what makes successful people "tick"; that's probably why I love reading biographies/autobiographies.  Post marathon the topic of the day tends to be about recovery, what's next, what are you doing, etc.  So much so, it spurred me to focus this blog on...recovery💤
I'm not sure there is a right or wrong way to recover - what works for one, could be a disaster for another.  And in today's world of Instagram, Strava, and Twitter where we all follow each other's journeys, it's hard to not get caught up in what everyone else is doing; and of course thinking that's what you should be doing😐
I am reading a great book, "Peak Performance", which no matter what you do, even if it truly is sitting on the couch eating bon bons, you would get something out of it, on how to do that at an optimal level😉  Anyways, a key premise of the book is stress & recovery; and that contrary to what most people think, progress/growth happens after recovery, not after stress (work/training).
No spoiler here, I tend to focus on the "stress" portion of the equation, like a champ😩

Physically, I didn't feel that beat up, which is shocking considering all my ankle/hammie issues; however I did take 1.5 weeks completely off anyways.  After 3 days I actually felt fine, but just wanted to err on the side of conservative.  I shy writing this because I think if my coach had his preference I would still not be running here at the 4 week mark (and sometimes he reads this!); but for me it really wasn't physical, it was mental. I almost needed running to recover, but NOT training....if that makes sense?  I was tired from the year, everything about it was a grind.  But we don't need to rehash that now,  do we?🙅
 I have not "trained" at all for 4 weeks - - run yes, trained no.  Meaning, I had no schedule, no workouts, stopped strength work, stopped PT, basically stopped anything that sniffed of "training".  The first day I got back I saw my "circle" (Doc, Becky, Brian/Torrey, Brent) to make sure everything was in working order - my pelvis tends to tilt after hard efforts - which if left alone can pull and tug at everything and cause a chain of fun.  So I got that adjusted, took a few ice baths, and then pretty much decided to be a normal person for the next 4 weeks; and for the first time in...well ever...I took 2 weeks completely off from work; no email checking, nada, nothing.  Completely checked out.
So what did I do?
  • Slept.   A lot.   I mean there were nights where I would sleep 10 hours, get up, go for a run, come back, eat and then take a 45 minute nap.  And it felt amazing.  I'm guessing it was my body's way of saying...I need this, just let me be.
  • Just Be.  Read, chill out at Starbucks, hike.   I really made an effort not to clean, reorganize, reorder, the entire house.  This was not about doing all the things I needed to do because I had the time, it was just about being.
One of my absolute favorite pastimes is to get Starbucks, my famous Acai bowls, and just chill and read, catch up on email, write this blog, etc.  
  • Eat.  The same.  I got this question a lot.  Do you have to totally change your diet?  No.  I don't watch calories, and if I am brutally honest, I actually have to in the reverse manner.  So it was SO nice to just eat when I want, and not have to worry about fueling enough.   The only thing I really changed diet wise was when I did run, I didn't use UCAN...mentally I want that to be my "training" competitive advantage, and  given that I wasn't doing any hard or long efforts I just stuck to cereal😊  Come Jan 1, when we get back to business, UCAN is called back into action!
  • Run.  Not train.  For me, what I missed/craved was running with other people, running routines, run-breakfasts, etc.  There's no stress, no harm in those runs in my opinion.  So I ran when I wanted to, without any structure.  And ANYTHING that felt like training, I said no to...for example a 6 am request, I dinged....that sniffed of discipline, alarm clocks, and rigor😁 
Brenda!  One of the best parts of this layoff was not worrying about how far or fast I needed to go; but being able to just run what others are doing and having fun while doing it!

Run buddy Tim, who is all kinds of fun to run with, and going to help me a lot in this next build up phase!

I actually got to run with Molly Huddle, who trains out here in the winter!  Which was interesting given I hadn't run hard or long for 3 weeks; but a run is a run, and it was fun!
  • Let loose.  Well...for me.  Chasing a dream involves a certain amount of discipline, therefore a lot of choices.  To me, they are not sacrifices, but choices; but nonetheless they take a lot out of you.  I go to bed, really early, and I wake up, really early.  My days are pretty much planned to the minute.  I avoid anything that could end up in a sprained ankle😉, and I really don't go out much - I just don't have time between training, coaching, and working.  All of my free time, goes to Justin, and I wouldn't change that for anything.   So, I stayed up late, I went hiking, I went skiing, I colored (my niece, Eleanor, taught me how😍), I baked, I went out, and I took copious amounts of naps.
Week night movies and dinner out?  #crazy

Skiing lessons!

Family time!

Yep, I totally baked those for my #1 Buckeye Fan for the bowl game 💃

And yea, I colored that, Eleanor gave me coloring lessons (hysterical)  "So, you really need to just to pick 3 colors and stick with them and stay within the lines.  If you need help choosing them let me know".     OK boss!
I am not going to lie, as I write this and think in a few days it's back to business - - - I get nervous.  My body is in for a rude awakening😵  But, on the other hand, I am excited, I am ready, this period of rest has strengthened me, and I am ready to rock n roll.  I think I really did this recovery period right...for me...Which is good.  I have big goals for 2018!
(I have been thinking a lot about those in my downtime, and that will be my 1st blog for the new year!)

**And lastly, I want to say to everyone who reads this, thank you, your support has and continues to mean so much.  From the bottom of my heart, my wish for your 2018 is nothing but tons of good health, abundant happiness, and just plain smiles😉

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

CIM Recap

The good thing about waiting so long to recap CIM is that it isn’t a gut reaction.
The bad thing about waiting so long to recap CIM is that it isn’t a gut reaction.
Over the course of the past few weeks I’ve been asked almost every day, so - how’d it (CIM) go? What do you think? Are you happy? Are you upset? You must be pumped!? You must be so disappointed, right? To which I’ve answered almost every time, “I think... I’m still processing it”.

I remember the day before and just experiencing, what I think most runners would agree is the best part of the sport, the community.

Hugging my UCAN rep, Katie.  I talk a lot about UCAN and how much it flat out works; but maybe more important to me is the people behind the brand.  They have witnessed many highs and many lows; they "get" that it's part of the sport, and I will never forget the text Katie sent me after the race.  I would do anything for these guys; when I get that OTQ I want to physically give part of the finish line to them💗

One of the coolest parts of the sport is how approachable the best of the best are; this is Steph (top 10 at NYC this year) and Ben Bruce (stud runner himself) with their coach Ben Rosario from NAZ Elite.

And me and Brenda!!!  I met Brenda at Kara's retreat (see previous blog on that😉) - she has to be one of the coolest people ever!  She is a rockstar at Oiselle and we actually still keep in touch!

Another cool part of the running community is how really, it's all one big family.  This is Sally, who started Oiselle, who Kara (Adam's wife) runs for - I know Kara and Adam both love her to death so I figured if they love her, I have to meet her - and wow, yes she is amazeballs 😊

And running buddies!!!  Many long runs with this rock star Bry!💚💚💚

I remember the night before spending time with my mom and Mrs. Cyr who flew in and feeling incredibly grateful.
I remember bagel boy at Whole Foods; we both were eyeing the blueberry bagel package because thy had the highest carb count 😉 he took the last one, and I probably looked like a little kid whose favorite toy was taken away😩 However, 5 minutes later when I was there and Justin was telling me to just decide, bagel boy came back  after he had paid for them and gave me one! II truly believe the majority of people have an amazing heart given the chance.
I remember sleeping like a rock, as all the work had been done at this point, and the training cycle such a grind, I was/am just tired.
I remember waking up at 4, fueling with UCAN and a bagel (yes the blueberry one😉), and reviewing the course one last time.
The proverbial pre-race shot....note my shoes are perfectly coordinated with my racing singlet #planned

I remember the boarding the athlete bus in the pitch dark and being totally at peace.
I remember the elite start corral and seeing all the faces you start to see over and over again from being in the same circle (another incredible aspect of the sport); and just wanting to start.
I remember the first 10 miles thinking the pace felt like I was walking? 6:35's were too easy; this must be a good sign?!
I remember at 13 smiling at Adam & Kara in my head, my pace was exactly what they beat into me the night before on the "pep talk" phone call.
I remember shortly after 13 thinking...okay it's time to start squeezing it down a little, and then pressing the gas pedal; and it really not working.  But, not panicking. 
I remember at 15, thinking I shouldn’t even be here (NEGATIVE MIND SWIRL💩), if you asked me in April if I would be running today I wouldn’t have been even able to look you in the eye.
I remember at 17, slamming on the gas pedal to squeeze it down, and having absolutely nothing there. And panicking.
I remember nailing the fueling plan, I felt fine, I didn’t hit the wall, there just was nothing in the tank beyond 6:35.
I remember at 22 6:35 started to slip away and there was nothing, nothing I could do, in my mind I was sprinting. In reality I was slowing.
I remember at 24 entering the pain cave and telling myself to suck it up this was for Jane Cyr.
I remember crossing the line and hearing my mom call my name because I can hear my mom’s voice among 14,000+ people any day.  
I remember the hug.

I remember bagel boy. Yep after 26 miles, and among some 14,000+ people we ran into each other. Tell me that was not meant to happen?!

I remember the moments afterwards feeling elated, disappointed, confused, grateful, exhausted, excited, like a winner, like a failure, full, empty...but keeping that inside because what mattered most was the hug.

I remember sitting on the curb at the hotel all clean and ready to go waiting for the LYFT to come and Justin saying, so how do you feel about all this. And tears welling up. And he hugged me and said , I thought so.

And so life goes on, and some days I felt so pissed at myself, and others, so grateful, and others, lost.

And usually as more time goes on, I get more analytical and critical with myself; but this time it’s the opposite.

Going in, our "A" plan was 2:53, 6:35 pace.  I ran 2:56:08.  I never hit the wall, I never ran out of gas, I just didn't have any gas.  

I decided I’m proud of CIM. I decided that I did what I set out to do amongst a lot of !%$& that happened in 2017. And I never ever gave up, when many have bagged it after February. I decided I feel really far away from something that means a whole lot to me, but I gained something more this year then any qualification could ever deliver - acceptance.

I nailed the race plan, I nailed the fueling plan, I got the hug...I just didn’t have it. It wasn’t in me. And all things considering I decided I am proud of what was in me.

The more miles I run, the more I realize it's about the story behind those miles.  The miles that made this CIM story were filled with a lot of struggle, pain, and fight.  I ran every single mile in a fight against cancer.  And cancer didn't win.  We won.    I love you Jane Cyr, xoxoox ❤

Bring on 2018!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Training Update, Taper Time, & a really important Hug!

Today marks the start of exactly 2 weeks to race day; which means it's time to take it down a notch, let the body recover, and freshen up.  Typically, I am not a taper kinda gal, I dread the cut back, the emotional ups & downs, the mind swirl that makes me discover a new tweak that will definitely cause me to DNS whatever race it is😖, and the new found time that allows me to reorganize and/or re-clean every room in the house.  But, then again, this has not been a typical training cycle; and I could not be more excited to take it down for 2 weeks.  Nothing has come easy, and it has been a bit of a grind, way too much fighting, way too little dancing.  But all if a sudden, things have just started to come together, just in time.

A recent trip home for "Early Thanksgiving" included a 20 miler in the tundra, a Bulls game for my guy, and a Hug from me --> All 3 sent me home realizing how full my heart is and things are coming to together....home has a way of doing that, doesn't it?

The difference with previous cycles was that I had workout build on top of workout build on top of workout, and after months of doing that, I could see my progress develop.  This cycle, I struggled to get healthy, then I struggled with injury, and I fought my way through training with endless doubts and fears; never really getting that momentum, really feeling stuck in neutral.
What I did have this cycle, is SO MUCH SUPPORT.  From Doc Z, to Doc Maynard, to my PT gurus in Brian & Torrey,  to my strength coach Dave, to Becky my rock, to Brent, to Ashlea, to my mom, to Justin, to my Track Angel Bill, and of course my Coach, Adam.  And probably what gives me the edge like no one else, is my inspiration, Mrs. Cyr. Which brings me to why I am running on 12/3.  I think if I was reading this I would say, if it wasn't going your way, why didn't you just call it?  And the answer is so simple to me.  Anybody can call it.  But if I call it, Cancer wins.  Does "it" really need another point?  Mrs. Cyr and I are winning this one.
So what do I have going for me this time:

  • I strung together faster longer runs this time around
  • I strung together a really consistent base of weeks upon weeks of 85/86 MPW;without racing much there really wasn't much up and down like last time
  • I strung together 3 really good workouts the past 3 weeks:
    • Track ladder
    • 1.5 mile repeats at faster then race pace
    • 2 mile repeats at progressively faster then race pace
  • Strength work→ Dave and I met 2x a week almost every single week
  • Confidence in my fueling like never before with UCAN
  • Mrs. Cyr in my heart, and a hug at the finish line
This actually is a happy "CB"...this was after my last true workout, the 4 X 2 mile repeats.  I knew in my heart I had put together 3 solid workouts in  3 weeks,  I needed that.  So this is more of a I'm "dead" in relief "dead" 😊
Naturally, I know the question is, so what's the goal.  I think I have an idea of a, "A", "B", and "C" goal, but I need to talk to the boss to make sure I am thinking about it right and he is aligned.  Regardless though, there is a bigger meaning to getting to line this time, and crossing it.  And I guess for the first time in my running "career"....I see that, I am so grateful for it, and I am ready to roll.
So let the taper begin, I have a really important hug waiting at the end of 26.2 miles❤

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Retreating (?!)

If you told me a few years ago I would be writing a blog, I wouldn't have believed you.  If you told me I would be writing a blog about attending a "retreat", I would be concerned you were headed toward the loony bin.  And yet, here I am doing just that - I am not sure where that puts me😉
** This is long so if you want the cliff notes version, skip to the end, otherwise here is the inside scoop!

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Kara Goucher's Podium Retreat, and not only did it blow my expectations away, it was one of the best weekend's of my life💓  A buddy texted me..."you have to blog about it, I'm nosy".....and I thought that's a good idea because I actually scoured Google before I left to see what I was getting myself into; and found a few blogs with an insider look.  So, I am "giving back" to the google search obsession I often take from!
First, full disclosure → I dreaded this.  Wholeheartedly.  Tried to get out of it 3x.
(1)  Kara, is Adam's the 1st year under Adam, I knew it was going on, but I laid low, and typical Adam 😉 the day before he was like... "shoot you should be at this".....oh nuts too late!
(2)  2nd, year, perfect excuse, I was running Chicago the next weekend 👍
(3)  3rd year, he asked way in advance, and to be honest, I was  really sick at the time, and couldn't see my way past Sunday, so I said yes, but never really thought it would come to fruition.  And then 2 weeks prior, I used the, "you know we are 6 weeks out from game day, maybe not the best timing, right?"....he didn't bite 😒
So retreating we go.
Upon arrival, you check in and then there is an opening happy hour/dinner. And while I know most people find it hard to believe, I am a MASSIVE introvert. I have to be extroverted for work, coaching, and running sponsorship responsibilities; but outside of that I am about as introverted as it gets. People, lots of em, new people, introductions, socializing, all makes me want to run 🏃   But, it went smoothly, every single woman seemed so "normal"...just like me...(am I normal?)....and talking and connecting with them seemed so very natural.   There was an opening "get to know you BINGO" game, which is typically bad news for me, games/competition tend to get the best of me, I can't  help myself, but I tried to be on my best behavior and not destroy everyone to win the stupid game.*
*for the record I believe I did win, there was a slight discrepancy as to whether bingo is a full card or a line, I got the whole card, and so technically I think I won, but I mean it's neither here nor there....

The 1st day,  if it was the only day, would have made the retreat worth it - that's how good it was.  I have attended, probably hundreds of conferences, meetings, events for running, work, coaching, etc and no matter how good they were, I ALWAYS at some point find myself looking at my watch, thinking, "okay now when this is over I will go do x, y, z."  This is probably the first 48 hour period in MY LIFE, where I was present.  I loved every minute, was 100% engaged, and just...happy.
We started with a track workout, where you partnered up with someone your speed....400's  - only 4 of them- and was super fun, even in altitude.  The best part, was while a huge part of me of course was in the "must win" camp, there was a better part of me in the, "this is really cool, to be doing this with women of all ages, backgrounds, goals, stories" camp.  The speed felt good, but the feeling felt better.  I ran some extra miles with Adam afterwards to get in my mileage for the day, and magically my bum hamstring just kind of healed.

Absolutely hilarious story, this awesome lady comes up to me and says are you from Phoenix, I was like, YES! How did you know?  Well, we were the only 2 wearing gloves in 65 degrees #suresignyouarefromphx

Because you have to add the picture of you running on the storied Buff Track👊

This was that "feeling" that was way better then "winning"
Then lunch (all the food was AMAZING, I don't think I have ever eaten that well), and talks from Anna Paffel about "living in your fire" and Dr. Amy Oldenberg about strength training.  Both, very engaging, and powerful in their own rights.  One made you think about your life, one made you think about your body.  Probably good to do both.
Then pilates in the park with Tracey Katona, I loved her ❤  her energy and spirit were right up my alley, the kind of person who just tells it like it is, all the time.  One of my life philosophies (from my mentor Jodi), is life is too short to beat around the bush, just shoot straight.  Easy to say, hard to do. But, what I am learning is people who do - are so authentic.  It's refreshing.  Anyways, it was awesome, I love and believe in pilates so I totally dug this.

It looks like fun and games,but it was HARRDDDDDDDDD.
It was a perfect day, and afterwards we walked to the "Made in Nature" store where they showed us their set up and we had a happy hour with more amazing food.  They got a new loyal shopper because of how incredibly friendly and welcoming they were.  Plus, just learning about all their products, it's really good stuff, made with really good stuff.

We had a mini break before dinner, so I and 2 newly found amigos, headed to Pearl Street to check out the local running store, which we never made it too, but managed to drop dollars elsewhere😖  Ashley & Karen, were 2 connections I made that I hope to never lose.  Some people you just automatically connect with.  It's like kindergarten on your 1st day, right?  Somehow you just find your peeps😊

Dinner that night, was probably the best I've ever had, cooked by Lottie Bildirici, or if you're on instagram, @runningonveggies (she specializes in athlete's diets/nutrition) - and is just another bad ass.  I had butternut squash soup, which I would never eat on my own, and it was AWESOME.

this was dessert, an apple crisp concoction that I could eat all day, every day.

...and the butternut squash soup, oh vey, amazzzzzing!
The next day began with another cool connection.  One of my amazing bridesmaids, Kerry Lee, close friends randomly came up to me and said, are you CB, Kerry talks about you!?   Go naturally we planned to go for a run and get to know each other, hearing her story (powerful) and her girl crush on Kara (hysterical).

After that we had a session with Kara's strength coach; which was very cool. Personally, for me it was a huge validation of what I have been doing with my strength coach - - almost all of the same principles and exercises.   This was followed with what for me was probably the most beneficial session; self defense!  Julie Morrill lead this, and it was terrific!  I travel a lot and often find myself running in 'new' places by myself. I used to have a no fear attitude, but after a scary encounter in LA a year ago, I am pretty wussy now when it comes to when/where I run.  Julie showed us how to use our elbows(brilliant!) and scream something very cerebral when being attacked as their act is physical, and they will hear what you are screaming, and think...wait, what? For example,mine will be" WHERE IS MY PEANUT BUTTER!?"  REALLY FRIKKIN LOUD.  Just the time they take to think wha?! could give you the seconds you need to run.  I do still worry that I just wouldn't be strong enough....I mean when Justin pretend tackles me, I go down immediately, and I know it's coming ...maybe next time I'll try the elbows😏 #triptotheemergencyroomforbothofus
The day ended before dinner with Kara talking to us about her journey and future. I think one of the reasons Kara is so adored, is her willingness to be honest.  She wears her emotions on her sleeve; which in a world where a lot seems "fake", she is authentic.  I guess the pinnacle of the whole weekend was my realization that Kara is a "fighter"  - - and I, over the course of the past few years have been in fight mode, in fact for a long time, I always feel like I am fighting.  There is a lot of good to that - - fighters are tough, fighters grind, fighters win, fighters never, ever, ever give up.  But in fighting you put your hands up by your face so you don't get hurt, and it blocks who you are.  And sometimes I think I have been so busy fighting, I never let my guard down, I never let people really know who I am.  Kara, is a fighter, but knows when to take the gloves off.  Maybe, not her entire life, but she grew into it, and that is what I want for myself, and I guess that is why she is my hero  ❤

Saturday night before I went to bed I talked to Adam about the Sunday long run.  That is when he informed me we would be doing a workout.  At first blush I was like, are you kidding me?  Do you not recall the egg I dropped last weekend?  My confidence is at an all time low, and now you want to run 16 miles at altitude, with a workout in it.  Come on dude.  But I took the gloves off and just listened, and decided I could do it.  I barely slept that night, visualizing the run, the paces, the logistics.   I woke up really early to be back in time for the "most important part of camp" at 930.
And in 30 degrees, pitch dark, in altitude I ran....exactly what I wanted to... I nailed it.  Was it some crazy workout, no, but did I execute it flawlessly, yes.  For the first time, in a long time, I felt like myself.  I really needed that.
After showering and playing with all my post run toys, I headed down for the part that probably made me the most queasy about this whole weekend.  The sharing 😓
I'll leave it at this, because I do not feel anything I could write could capture it.  We each had to say one word that described us, and one thing we were going to do in the next year.  And the magic, at least that I observed, was that for almost everyone's one word - their strength, what they are most proud of about themselves, was also their weakness, and what they wanted to change somehow in the year ahead.  I get that.

**I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, and have gone back and forth with some of the women I met there, that weirdly, I miss them?  I'll never forget that weekend or what I learned:

1.  Running, is so much more than running to me.  It just is.  Yes, I love the sport, I love the journey, I love the hard work, there's something magical that it's just my own two legs powering me, I  love the people, the community, the racing scene, the routine, I love it all.  But what I love most about running is that in life we all face battles we DON'T choose, we just get.  We don't choose that pain and suffering.  In running we get to choose that, we opt into that, and that ability to "go there", those moments when we break through and come out on top, those moments are what have made me who I am, learning to choose that pain and run through that pain, has enabled me to persevere and deal with life....anything in life.  Listening to everyone's stories reminded me of that.  It's so much more then a sport for me.
2. You don't have to talk to share.  I didn't really say much all weekend, I'm just not good at sharing.   Sometimes listening to others helps you get it all out.  And just because I didn't share my story doesn't mean I didn't share.  I have said this before, but I ran miles and miles in silence with W during Chicago training, and I felt like I knew her better then most in my life.  It comes out, and if people care, they hear.
3. Be kind, be gentle.  Everyone, EVERYONE, has their own struggles...and someone said it well, you cannot compare crap is worse then yours, it doesn't work that way.  To everyone, the battle they face is their battle, and in their life causing them just as much pain as yours.  The tricky part is you don't know what exactly is going on, so  be kind, be gentle, you could be the straw that breaks the camel's back, or the rainbow they need.  
4.  There are so many good people out there.  All we hear about is the negative, but there is way more positive.  Seeing a group of 60+ women who didn't know each other, get to know each other, and hear their stories reminded me, the power of people.  We can be, we are... really good.
Running brought these 2 together, Running brought these 2 into my life, and somehow Running enabled me to be at their amazing retreat

Monday, October 16, 2017

Ripping it off fast.

Getting this one out fast like ripping off a band-aid, and then it's over, and I am putting it behind me.

Sunday I raced the Denver RNR.  And I bombed it.  BIG TIME.  Hands down my worst race to date.
Everyone on my "team" has  provided me some great excuses to use  (it was cold, I tweaked my hammie Friday, altitude, not tapered, and plenty more good ones😊)....
But the truth? It just was not my day...I sucked.

I ran the 1st mile in 6:26, and looked at my watch thinking it would say 5:55, and I knew it was going to be a long day. It was the longest race of my life, every mile dragged on forever, my head wasn't in it, I could not wait to be finished.  In fact at mile 7, I was 90% decided to drop out and then I looked at my wrist and reminded myself what TOUGH was. Tough is Mrs. Cyr.  And sometimes all you can do is put one foot in front of the other and fight until you are running smoothly again.  Well, smooth never came, but I never gave up.  Kind of praying I would get my legs back, but instead it was just a battle to the end.

The hardest part of yesterday was disappointment.  There are so many people (I don't have to name them because they know exactly who they are, they give so much of themselves) who believe, support, sponsor, and sacrifice for me.  And then to give them Sunday....feels not so good😩  There is no possible way to pay them back...ever...but what I can give them is a whole lot better than that.

When I crossed the finish line Justin hugged me, and he went right to the excuses (God love him❤), but I told him, I just plain sucked.   He switched my shoes for me because my hands were frozen, and I told him I would meet him at the rental car in 30 minutes.  I didn't cry, I didn't think, I was just in a trance.  I got about .5 miles from the car and then I definitely cried and threw up in some fancy bush - sorry Denver Art Museum...I felt so overwhelmed, so tired, so pissed, so angry.  You see, the hardest part of chasing big dreams, is when you reach so high, you fall so far. And. it. hurts.

But that was yesterday.  And no event, no circumstance, no outcome determines who I am. How I respond does. And I know just how to do that.  In fact, I just had a track workout that showed me how to rebound😉 #seelastpost

So, today, I put my shoes on and got right back on the roads.

If you looked up unconditional love in the dictionary, you would see these guys.  I love them more then I could ever out into words.

Aunt Carrie and Uncle Justin being responsible caregivers to E Sr. and Connor👀

There is quite possibly nothing that I love more then putting this on and racing, nothing.  And nothing took that away from  me Sunday.  In fact, it made me love it even more.

Saturday, October 7, 2017


2 weeks ago....
"Workouts" for runners are kind of a big deal.  You plan your week around them. If you know what they are in advance they can create anxiety.  If you are waiting for them the day before, they can create insane anticipation.  Once completed, they always deliver relief.
A runner's mood can hinge on the outcome of the weekly workout.  A training block is built upon not one workout, but consistent performance of one upon another upon another.  You can "feel" your fitness growing, and your confidence right along side of that.
Since running competitively I have completed lots of workouts.  Some better than others, some huge confidence builders, some stinkers, some average, but I have never really bombed one.  I have been with Adam for about 3 years now, and he just knows my ability/capability really well.  The prescribed splits have pretty much always been spot on.  
Thursday night I got the workout for Friday morning, and it was a softball.  The paces were stupid easy, and normally I would push back but I had been traveling, I hadn't been feeling very well, and it hadn't been a great week - not dead legs, but just nothing in the tank.  So I figured this was best, just get the turnover going and use it as a confidence booster.  
I went to bed Thursday night excited to kick it and in a good mood.  Lately, I have been doing my track workouts with my track angel, Bill. He's the head coach at Notre Dame Prep, and a great running mind.  In tandem with Adam, it's been perfect.  But, I didn't want to overuse the welcome mat,  so I figured for this one I would go by myself at 6 am at a community college.
I woke up, happy to be home, happy to be back with Justin, feeling much better, ready to rock:
6 X 800 @ marathon pace with 800's in between @ long run pace (3 warm up/3 cool down), net 12.

Got to the track, warmed up, felt good.  
Rep 1: hmmmm, this feels clunky, this pace feels sick hard, I must be going way too fast, click...3 seconds over, yikes....ok, that felt a lot harder then that pace....totally unacceptable, get it in gear CB.
Rep 2:  Dang without recovery this kinda sucks, why do I feel like I have never run before? Everything hurts.  I'll nail this one b/c I am breathing really seconds over,  NO.
Rep 3:  Ok, well at least the in between paces seem natural, first 2 are just off, no biggie, you've had a really tough week, just grind this out, come on CB, click...8 seconds over....
tears welling up in eyes 😩
Rep 4:   Maybe I should bag it, I've read a lot lately about being smart, and on days when you dont have it, sometimes its smarter to shut it down....yep, I mean I'm tired, I haven't eaten my usual all week, I'm stressed, the travel, yea, I'll just do this one more if I get it, I'll keep going, if not, I'll bag, 1 second over.  Ugh....what is wrong?
Rep 5:  Ok, this is ridiculous, suck it up CB, get these last two, you got this, you are not giving up now, stop saying all the reasons you can't, and say the one reason you can - this is for Mrs. Cyr, dig DEEP...let;s, 2 seconds over.  Something is wrong.  My legs aren't dead, I am.
Rep 6:  Alright, all out sprint, this is stupid, if you were smart you would  have stopped, but you didn't, you're finishing this, so red-line it.  Everything you got, right here.   Click.  Sub 2 seconds.

The rest of Friday, I just went through the motions.  I didn't know what to think.  I know one workout doesn't define you, doesn't make or break a training block, but this was the ultimate softball.    I tried my best to hide my tears when talking to Adam on the phone later that day,   I was pinching my arm NOT to cry.  He ended the conversation with "I like the way you rallied back at the end".  All I could think is was that my last rally?
And I never posted this.
90% of the posts I write I never press publish on.  I write them and then think, no one is going to care to read this.  It's much easier for me to write then to talk, so I guess it's just as helpful for me to write it, regardless of whether I press "publish" or not.  But if I am truly honest, I think I also for the first time in my life didn't know how I would respond, if I could rally.  And for me,  that was scary territory; and putting that in writing was even scarier.

I knew the workout since Monday.  And I dreaded it.  It was a repeat of 10 X 1K that I did about a month ago.  It's brutal.  It's a long workout that demands pretty intense mental and physical focus. Last time I did it, I would actually call it pretty much a success, but it was a big struggle, and I definitely did not nail it by any means.  The back (5) I lost the pace quite a bit, until Bill yelled at me and then I finished strong.
But now, I don't know if I could pull that off.  Perhaps one of the toughest workouts - a week after my debacle.
I thought about it all week. I visualized success....but it never lasted, bad thoughts crept right in.
On Thursday, I finally gave in, I texted Adam and said I was really hope(?)  he would say let's do something else.  That didn't happen.😒  He stoked me like only he knows how to, slightly pissing me off, and finishing with  "Win this workout CB".
Win This Workout.
That would be my rallying cry. Get the "W".  (Fitting for the Cubbies too)

I knew I needed Bill and so had arranged to meet him at the track early....he knew the workout well, and knew the prescribed paces.  He was just as dialed in as I was.
Rep 1:  ok, Just like we reviewed on the phone, hit the 100 in 23, 200 in it, click - right on
Rep 2:  same thing, again CB, come - right on
Rep 3:  ok now you know the milestones...settle in.....losing it a little after the 400 mark, keep on, click, right on
Rep 4:  All I hear is Bill's voice and my breath, I am in the zone, click....nailed it
Rep 5:  Hang on for one, got it
Intermission...THIS.IS.HAPPENING.  Bill tells me to use arms more when I am tired takes the mind of the pain cave.
Rep 6:  Ok, this is where I lost it last time, stay tuned in, click...BOOM.
Rep 7:  These next two are the most important Bill says, stay dialed, nailed it.
Rep 8:  Hardest one, legs starting to feel heavy, entering pain cave, click..nailed it.
Rep 9:  One more to one more, everything else is gone, just Bill's voice,  click, nailed it.
Rep 10:  Do not let this go, this is for Mrs. Cyr, focus.....use your arms, use your arms, click,  "W".

Splits from the workout on 8/23  vs. Yesterday

I debated about posting this; especially because I didn't have the courage to post part one...but the more I thought about it, I thought why not?  This hasn't been the smoothest of training cycles by any means, it's been nothing like my Chicago Build-up, it's been a grind, it's made me question everything...and yet it's moments like this, that give you hope, that keep the lows at bay, that remind me at the core what it means to fight...just like Mrs. Cyr.
And so, we keep fighting👊

That's the post workout Double W -->  W on the shirt for the Cubs, W on the hands for the workout.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Current state of mind & Race Recap #2(Santa Monica Classic)

I have 2 different topics here, but one leads into the other, so hang with me; I'll try and make this work😉
Current State of Mind ⇰All About Trust.  Running, a lot like life is all about Trust.
You have to trust the "boss".  There has to be an inherent faith/confidence/belief in your coach's philosophy, programming, game plan or it will never work.  Any athlete that has not 100% bought in to the bigger picture is wrought for coming up short because you spend way too much mental energy wondering, worrying, second guessing.  The same is true in life, if you don't believe in your leader, boss, parent, doctor, significant other then you are not truly able to be your work, in a relationship, in healing, etc.
You have to trust the Process.  This is painful.  You have to trust that all the steps from A to Z will lead to Z, and that it will all be worth it, and it's not a waste of time.  You have to accept that progress is not linear, there are set backs, jump aheads, and everything in between.  You have to stay the course.   The same as in life: relationships, careers, families, healing, all take time.  Letting it play out, growing through the pains, being in it for the long haul is part of it.
You have to trust your Training.  On Game day you HAVE to believe that the hay is in the barn, you did everything you could, you are ready, your body is ready to roll, whether you feel like it or not. You trained for THIS day, and you are ready.  Same with life, all the hours you put in at work, all the time you invested in your family or relationship, all the treatments for an illness, will deliver when it matters.  You'll nail that presentation,  your kid will shine at school, your marriage will start to blossom, your health progress will improve.
You have to trust that you should be doing This.   No matter how passionate you are about a dream,  there are always moments when you question...WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?  Why? Because you invest so much of yourself, and those you love in it.  Those are the moments when you need to let go and do the impossible --> TRUST this is your path.  In other areas, whether it be questioning if this is the right healing course of action, or the right career path, or the right relationship - it is the same thing, right?  These moments when you just question, is this what am I supposed to be doing? Is this my path? Did I take the right turn back there?
Lately, for me, I have been struggling with trusting my body.  Is it ready to go, is it healthy, can it withstand this effort, that run, these miles?  Am I really back?  And I know that this mental swirl is impeding me from fully healing, fully letting go, fully training.  I question every twinge, ache, fatigue,'s a daily grind I hate.
But, I think I just had an epiphany. In all these instances if I ask myself why am I not trusting?   It's a protection mechanism. I don't want to disappoint, fail, get hurt, or burned.
But, in doing so, I am not really living.  Because life is one big trust, right?  You have to let go to live, and trust that what happens is the path.  But worrying about it, what does that do, but hold you back and prevent you from truly living.  And as someone reminded me, what am I protecting myself from? I, not special to anyone else, have an amazing support system.  I have a coach, a family, co-workers, sponsors, mentors, doctors, friends, and random angels that have wrapped their arms around me throughout this journey.  If I fall, they will catch me,  The good old fashioned trust fall.

So with that in mind I stopped wondering if I should, if I could, and I moved forward into the 2nd race of the Jane Cyr Schedule❤ - The Santa Monica Classic.
Justin and I took a long weekend for a mini-vacation and headed to California.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect (78 degrees is 30 cooler, and felt amazing!) We rented bikes and had plenty of time to adventure - the Strand, Venice, the beach, food, and of course acai bowls😊
Here we are checking in, I made Justin do the selfie camera, he was more than pleased to participate ☺

When you love ice cream, but ice cream doesn't love you back, dairy free is the way to go👌especially pre-race😉

So apparently Venice Beach is like Arnold Schwarzeneggar capital and there are these huge muscle gyms on the beach; here I am at 6 AM showing off my guns, just you know making sure no one is around, so I won't scare em away 😉💪

A little beach time; it's truly amazing that in one country we have such diverse climates - from desert to beach in 5 hours!

And  lastly, my proverbial acai bowl; I have to admit it didn't make it high on my list, which still ranks Fruve (Chicago), Nektar (PHX), Vitality Bowls (Denver), and Verve (Seattle)*  (Newly minted)

The race itself was Sunday and did not start until 830 am, which for me is like dinner time👀  But we actually were easily able to sleep in, lately I have been dragging big time, and so it wasn't a problem.   I feel like I have my pre-race routine down to a science:
1.  Get up on the left side of the bed, which involves crawling over Justin (it's good luck)
2.  My UCAN Lemon Lime Hydrate mix  + coffee bean UCAN bar; while I play with my phone
3.  My 5,245 pre-hab exercises that mostly involve cajoling my pesky ankle to play nice
4.  And then hit the road for usually 3 warm-up miles, prior to my dynamic warm-up/strides

It was an exact 3 miles to the start line from our hotel  - perfect.  Justin got on the rental bike next to me, and surprised me as DJ JP and played Eminem on his phone, which provided some great humor ☺ 
As I alluded to before, I have had a difficult time truly trusting I am "back" and so training has been conservative and we by no means had specifically focused against a 10k race - so the goals for me were two-fold:  Sub 40 and Top 10.
Before I knew it the race was off, Adam had been very adamant mile 1 was to be controlled, it was, but I cannot say that exactly nailed the pace he was thinking....but A+ for effort?   6:07 vs. 6:25 💃  I felt great though, and got RIGHT back on track for miles 2/3, in fact exactly what we had laid out.
Now, critical information.  I chose this race for a few reasons, one being it was my sponsor's Skechers race, two, it fit in logically in my progression, and three, perhaps most importantly, it was FLAT.   I thought.👽
I have never encountered a hill (2 mile hill) quite like that in a race.  So that was a buzz kill.  But, once I got over the fact this was not going to a PR course, I dug deep and that's where I started to really gain ground, I love tough stuff where people whine  - I thrive in heat, hills,'s something about knowing deep down I am 99% heart, grit, grind.  It's where ALL I think about is Mrs. Cyr, and how tough she is, and how this is for her, so tough it out sister.
I was able to salvage 6:30 's for the 2 miles, which on a hill I'll take, and then hit my last mile in 5:55 for 39:05 (6:17 avg pace); which was good for 1st in AG and 5th overall; so both goals accomplished.  Yet of course in my head I had wanted more; which is sick, because what is the point of goals then, but that's how I think.

My Standard Watch picture, at least I'm consistent.

Post race,  I got a cool medal for being 1st AG which I am sending to Mrs. Cyr and then I cooled down with 4 miles, and Justin and I found a local bagel joint that had............amazing peanut butter🙌

Maybe, it's time to trust.

Sunday, August 6, 2017


Heroes.  We all have them. Even though I feel like these days it's hard to have them, especially because they seem to ultimately disappoint us.  I don't think heroes have necessarily changed, but instead perhaps social media has allowed us to follow their every move ....and well we're human.  We make mistakes.  Even so, there ARE those heroes that no matter what, withstand the test of time, they are just perfect, no matter if there are eyes on them....or not.
Heroes.  For me, I have different ones in different aspects of my life.  Without even knowing it, they have a profound impact on who I am, and how I go about doing it.  I have written about a lot of them throughout this blog; personally:  Dr. Z, Dr. Maynard, and my mom...professionally: Jodi Allen, and in running Kara & Adam Goucher.   But sometimes there is just one person that transcends everything, and is just plain a HERO in all aspects of life, for me that is Jane Cyr.
Heroine.  Mrs. Cyr is everything you stereo-typically would say a hero would, tough, kind, genuine, achieved, a fighter....and a survivor. I have known her since I was very very little, she was our neighbor, my mom's close friend, and when I was little, as the youngest among everyone, I felt "my buddy".  As I have grown up, I have gotten to know her beyond the lady who "liked me more then everyone else😜 (which I know is not true, but she always made me feel like I was the most important person). I came to see how accomplished she is with work and raising 3 brilliant children, how tough she is dealing with lots of hard knocks and never whining, how kind she is - absolute salt of the Earth.  She's a tiny lady, but looks are deceiving!  And strong, and humble, and so beautifully kind.
Here she is!  If you looked up "hero" in the dictionary, you might find this picture💚
I have a "thing" against cancer.  It sucks.  It's personal.  It's not fair.  It picks on the wrong people in my humble opinion.  You might recall in 2016 I ran the Chicago Marathon with her on my mind, and on my singlet.  And with every "pain cave" moment, I can honestly say I said to myself - this is nothing compared to her fight, so suck it up buttercup😳
Why cancer is picking on her, I don't quite understand.  So I am doing something, which is the only thing I know how to do...I am running...for her...because I CAN.  This is a tiny thing in the big picture, but it's what I can, and know how to do.  I am going through some healing too, which she has helped me with, so I guess in a way it's our comeback..together.  I believe in positive mental energy.  I know what it's like to fight, to grind, to hang on.  And so I want to channel every footstep to her.  I run faster then my ability would indicate - and so that extra grind and power that most runners don't have that over the course of 5 months will maybe, just maybe contribute to her fight.

Adam & I made our race schedule, it's 3 races leading up to a Marathon, all channeling a ball of healing energy to Jane Cyr.  And god willing - we both are at the line in December -  (mom owning the logistics!)

I'll be wearing this on my wrist not just on race day, but every day - - a constant reminder of her strength , power, and grit.
I know it's a huge picture, but I am in serious need of glasses, and I could barely see it!

July 30th:  5K back at Home (IL)
September 10th:  Santa Monica Classic (CA)**
October 15th:  Denver RNR 1/2 Marathon (CO)
December 3rd:  CIM (CA)
**marketing disclaimer, all races subject to tweaking😜

I am excited and grateful to say that "stop one" on the journey started out strong!  This past weekend I ran the 5K based purely on base mileage and some strength work I have been doing, and felt really good.  Even splits were the goal, and just to have FUN.  And I did both:  I came close 6:09, 6:13, 6:04.  And it felt GREAT.  And a side benefit, it was good for 1st in my hometown, which was kind of fun❤️
Hey! That's me!?  😆 Mom sent me this from the local paper the day after...Justin's 1st comment, "You and the damn watch!"  
From here we've got 5 weeks until "stop two";  and will begin to work the turnover a bit more, and hit some workouts.  As long as I continue to feel good, which I am, I feel my strength coming back by the day...and no hiccups...perhaps I can really let a little anger and inspiration out for Mrs. Cyr and me in Santa Monica😈

Heroes.Always.Win.  It's a rule.  Good guys always come out on top.  I believe in you Mrs. Cyr.  I believe in your healing.  And I believe you will come out on top.  Every single step to CIM is for you...and my hope is somehow, someway that channels healing energy to you.