Monthly archives: November, 2012

Three Aces {Date Night}

After publishing yesterday’s post I realized that while getting back into my normal routine has been tough this week, I really wasn’t doing anything to prevent myself from feeling lethargic and tired in the evenings. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people complain about something that they can change, so I decided to do something to combat my fatigue (besides drinking a gallon of coffee).

One of the reasons I feel so tired after work is the fact that it’s pitch black out when I leave the building. As I run in the morning (dark) and usually don’t have much time to step out for lunch, the only daylight I’m really experiencing is on my commute to work. Then when I get home and it’s dark out, all I want to do is eat dinner, put on my sweats, and curl up on the couch for the night. Sounds pretty anti-social right? Well, this winter I’m challenging myself not to hibernate. Obviously everyone needs a little downtime, but I’m really going to push myself to go out more during the week, see friends, and have date nights with Ian.

Which brings us to last night, after a week of “blah” evenings, Ian and I decided a date night was in order! We decided to go to Three Aces, a fun gastropub in Little Italy. We’ve been there a few times (including once for brunch) and have always had good drinks, good food, and a great time :).

Three Aces is on the “trendy” side so when I got home I changed out of my work clothes into my favorite only hipster clothes.

I almost wore my glasses but decided against it at the last minute :P.

The dinner menu is not exactly food allergy friendly but I was able to make-do with a few substitutions. In addition to a glass of wine for me and a beer for Ian, we split the apple and fennel salad (without cheese) to start.

It was awesome and the smoked almonds were so good! I didn’t even know that people smoked almonds but I liked them :).

For my actual dinner, I ordered the beer steamed mussels. The broth was fabulous and there was even some butternut squash at the bottom of the bowl. So good!

Ian had a risotto that came with ham and black eyed peas. He really liked his meal but couldn’t keep his hands away from the mussels either. I’ve always thought that Hopleaf had the best mussels in Chicago but Three Aces sure gave Hopleaf a run for it’s money!

It was so nice to get out of the apartment on a Thursday night and have a nice meal. I’d highly recommend Three Aces to anyone who likes craft beer (their beer list is super impressive) and farm-to-table food.

This morning I woke up feeling much better. My legs weren’t as stiff (must have been that long foam rolling session yesterday) and I felt ready to run. My workout was on the shorter side (5 miles w/ 6 x 100 m strides) but I felt much stronger and looser than I have all week.

Now I’m off to tackle my last workday of the week. Have a good one!

Detroit Turkey Trot 10k 2012 Recap

Last Thursday morning, I woke up at 5:45 am (4:45 am Chicago-time) and headed into downtown Detroit to run the Detroit Turkey Trot.

Michigan was having a random heat wave and the high for Thanksgiving was 60 degrees (although it was only 40 degrees at race start) so I dressed on the cooler side and wore running crops, a short sleeved shirt, and then a light pullover. I also wore a pair of my mom’s old running gloves that she wouldn’t miss if I decided to toss them during the race.

I also decided to use the race as a fueling test run and had my usual pre-run rice cake with nut butter and almond milk before leaving the house. I’m so used to eating and then going to run 10 minutes later so I wanted to see how if the rice cake held me over until race time (about 2 hours).

Traffic and parking are usually a mess for this race (last year runners were getting out of cars on the highway and running the 1.5 miles to the start line due to the traffic jam) but we went a different way and made it into Detroit in no time. We also found a parking spot relatively easily.

We arrived with well over an hour until race start so my mom and I walked over to Cobo where the Expo and finish line area were set up, looked around, used the restroom, and then kept warm until it was time to head to the start line.

The race start was broken up into three waves based on estimated finish time but like previous years, there were no volunteers monitoring the corrals. When I entered the first corral I saw people from the other two corrals very close to the start line at that point I knew the first few miles were going to be backed up. After the National Anthem (sung by a member of the Detroit Opera House), the race started and we were off.

The first few section of the race is through the old part of downtown. The streets are narrow and the course twists and turns. It’s always slow at this point of the race but this year it was also extremely frustrating due to the poor corral system. I kept running into “walls” of walkers or people running way over the 8:00 min/mile maximum designated by the first corral. I spent most of the first mile weaving and dodging other runners (Mile 1 - 7:03)

We finally broke out into a stretch and I was able to fall into a rhythm. The course was still packed but the street was much wider which alleviated a lot of the congestion. This portion of the race was also on the Thanksgiving Day Parade Route so there were a lot of spectators there to cheer us on (Mile 2 - 6:53).

I spent this mile completely mystified by one of the other runners. He would blaze by me at sub-7 minute miles while pushing a running stroller with two kids but then he would stop for cookies and candy (they were handing them out on the course) for the kids. I was so impressed by his competitive running abilities and by the fact that he would stop for goodies for his kids. How cool. (Mile 3 – 6:56).

The 5k-ers broke off and we had even more room to stretch out across the road. I started to worry that I was running too fast and wouldn’t have time to recover before my runs later in the week but my legs felt good and didn’t feel over worked so I kept right along (Mile 4 – 6:58).

I used this mile to really take everything in. I’ve run the Turkey Trot before but I’m usually so focused on PR-ing that I don’t pay attention to the course. It may not be the prettiest route (the Detroit marathon is a lot nicer) but I tried to take in the people and things around me. It also helped that my music was turned down too low for me to really hear it (Mile 5 – 7:04).

The last mile was mentally tough. I started to get really hot, tossed my gloves, and started to roll up the sleeves of my pullover but it didn’t feel like enough. My legs wanted to pick up the pace and finish strong but I didn’t want to do anything that might slow my recovery so I tried my best to keep a constant pace. It helped that we were running straight into the wind too, definitely kept me at a slower pace (Mile 6 – 6:51).

Everything was going great, I ran by Cobo, saw my mom, and headed down the ramp to the 10k finish only to run into a huge crowd of runners. I slowed down to a walk and was forced to walk the last bit of the course. I’m glad I wasn’t trying to PR, that would have been incredibly annoying (Last .2 – 1:52).

My watch was a little off (I’m sure from all of the weaving) and had me running 6.28 miles in 43:39 for an average of 6:57 min/miles.

After finishing, I received my medal for the 30th anniversary of the Turkey Trot (they actually ran out), found my mom, and headed back home.

Ultimately, I am very happy with how I did last Thursday. I ran a strong race that didn’t tire my legs out and I was able to keep up my training the rest of the weekend. It was also nice to see how much my running has improved. Last year after running just a bit faster, I could barely run the next day, but this year I felt fine. It makes me wonder how fast I could have run had I rested the day before and gone out there ready to race!

I also think that there were some major problems in organization on the Turkey Trots side but I still had a good time. Hopefully these issues will be resolved before next year’s race!

Monday Things {Thankful}

1. Thankful that Ian and I were both able to leave work early on Wednesday so that even though traffic to get out of the city was horrible, we got to Michigan at a decent hour.

2. Thankful that my mom was willing to get up early on one of her days off to drive me downtown to run the Detroit Turkey Trot (recap coming soon!)

3. Thankful that we were able to stand inside until the race started and that my mom has not lost her awesome photography skills (just kidding, love you).

4. Thankful that after a year of battling injuries, I was able to run a lot of miles while I was home, including a strong race.

5. Thankful that when my mom’s “puppy” chased Sonic around the house, Sonic was able to escape safely. Also, thankful that Sonic forgot the traumatizing experience after a trip to Petco and some new toys.

6. Thankful that oats in a jar never goes out of style.

7. Thankful that my mom and Ian were willing to have a gluten-free and vegan Thanksgiving so that I could eat everything on the table. We feasted on lentil loaf (my mom and Ian had stuffed chicken breast), cornbread stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes and parsnips w/ mushroom gravy, and lightened up green bean casserole.

We also had a side salad with pistachios and apples.

8. Thankful that my mom made a gluten free and vegan version of my favorite pineapple dump cake for dessert. She also picked up Almond Dream ice cream for me to have with it. It’s not by any means traditional but I love it.

9. Thankful that even though OSU beat Michigan, I was able to watch the game with my mom in my sweat pants and a baggy sweatshirt.

10. Thankful for Thanksgiving leftover salads- the only time mashed potatoes have a place on top of spinach.

11. Thankful that somebody somewhere gets my peanut butter addiction.

I was tempted but decided against it :P.

12. Thankful that I was able to go to my favorite Thai restaurant and find something that I could eat.

13. Thankful that despite waking up to snow, I was able to run a halfway decent 17 miler on Sunday morning.

14. Thankful that my mom picked up some of my favorites for me to enjoy while I was home.

I used to eat rice chex for breakfast every day when I was in college (way before I knew I had to go gluten free) and I haven’t had them since. So good!

15. Thankful for mindless tv watching, book club reading, and napping on the couch.

16. Thankful for post-run salads and sweet potato fries, the ultimate combination.

17. Thankful that I got to spend some time with Ian’s family and that I was able to visit his mom’s horse at the barn.

18. Thankful that I was able to unplug for four days.

19. Most importantly, thankful that I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my family (and Ian). It’s tough not living in the same state and I miss my family a lot but I am so grateful that I was able to spend the holiday weekend back home with them.

How was your holiday weekend? Do you ever feel like you need to unplug?

Marathon Training Week 16 {Goofy Challenge}

Monday- OFF
Tuesday- Recovery 7 miler with 6 x 100 m strides (avg pace 7:51 min/mile)
Wednesday- General aerobic 11 miler (avg pace 7:49 min/mile)
Thursday- Detroit Turkey Trot 10k (avg pace 7:01 min/mile)
Friday- General aerobic 12 miler (avg pace 7:54 min/mile)
Saturday- Recovery 5 miler (avg pace 8:08 min/mile)
Sunday- Long run 17 miler (avg pace 8:03 min/mile- icy, snowy, and wet)

Total- 58.2 miles

A Tale of a Turkey Trot

Three years ago, Ian and I ran the Detroit Turkey Trot 10k together. We had been dating about two months and somehow I convinced him that we should run it together. I was a few weeks out from my first marathon (Detroit) and Ian hadn’t really trained so I let him set the pace and we ran the entire thing together finishing in 55:39 (8:57 min/mile). We had a blast (at least I did) and I remember thinking that I could use his finishing time to my advantage and try to encourage him to run with me more often (this never happened and I’m okay with that).

I wish I had a picture of us running it but I don’t. The above picture is from the first few months of us dating though.

Two years ago, I signed up for the Turkey Trot 10k with my mom. We weren’t planning on running it together (as far as I remember) but we were going to drive down and have some racing family time. Unfortunately, it was freezing cold and sleeting rain the night before and morning of. Ian and I didn’t get in to Michigan until almost 1 am on Thursday and my mom and I made the decision not to bother running the race. It just didn’t seem worth the nasty weather. A few hours post-race, the weather cleared up and I enjoyed a nice 8 miler.

Last year, I signed up for the 10k solo (:() but I was eager to PR. It had been YEARS since I’d run a 10k and I was coming off a nice race at the Hot Chocolate 15k. My goal was to run under a 7:20 min/mile and I was prepared to leave it all in Detroit. The weather was COLD but I ended up pushing myself to a PR, finishing in 42:42 (6:53 min/mile). This year, I signed up for the 10k again thinking that after marathon training for a few months, I’d be ready to PR by November. I even put the race in my training calendar as a tune up race. Last week, I decided to look at my training calendar and noticed that my PR 10k is nicely sandwiched between an 11 miler and a 12 miler with a 17 mile long run on Sunday. Trying to PR didn’t look so smart anymore.

So I thought about it for a while. I’ve really been feeling the itch to “race” lately but I also am loving my higher mileage weeks and high mileage + lots of speed work sometimes = injury. I’m not a fan of injury. On the other hand, I know that I am pretty incapable of running a fun run by myself. I will get competitive, I will weave between people, and I will not be happy using the solo Turkey Trot as a recovery run.

So what did I decide to do? I made a compromise with myself. Instead of doing tempo miles during my 11 miler on Wednesday, I am going to run the 10k at tempo pace (between 7:15 and 7:25). Hopefully, this will allow me to have fun (yay! running!) and prevent my legs from being too tired on Friday. If they are, I’ll just run the first 6 miles of my 12 miler at recovery pace (over an 8 min/mile) and play the rest by ear. Should be fun right?

So that’s my plan for tomorrow– have fun and run 6.2 miles at tempo speed. I’m super excited about the weather too, the high in Michigan is supposed to be near 60 degrees!

Are you running a turkey trot?
Any tips on how to navigate a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for newly-diagnosed food allergy freaks like myself?
I’m having a food allergy “safe” dinner with my mom on Friday but will be spending Thursday with my dad, step-mom, and some family friends.