Udderly Amazing

Well, well well. Hello again! Somehow, we find ourselves already one week into June! I don’t know how that happens! On that same note, here I am 74 days into my restriction of refined and added sugar, WHAT! At this point, there’s less than 20 days left in my own little challenge, less than 3 weeks until the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon, less than 2 weeks left in the Lurong Summertime Living Challenge, and most importantly, a few days until my little sister Jenny returns from South Africa. As you may recall (or may not know) this whole “let’s give up added sugar” challenge began on Easter, the day before Jenny left for SA, when I was sitting with her as she packed, pondering if in the 10 weeks she was gone, I could try to better myself by eliminating my refined sugar intake. After I began my own challenge, I learned my crossfit gym would also be partaking in the Lurong Summertime Living Challenge, which began in mid-May and extended into mid-June. This would extend my “challenge” another week, bringing me to June 19, but as I looked at my calendar, I realized that I was registered for the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon on June 26th, which would make an even 90 days of no refined sugar. 74 days in, I am still going strong, and remarkably happy I decided to make this change in my life. I am also training for Ironman 70.3 Steelhead, and race day is QUICKLY approaching. I’ve been testing my body and asking it to work really hard for me, so giving my body the right foods both for recovery and in preparation for the next workout, without adding any crap in there, is the best practice for me. Sure, sometimes it seems as though I am no fun (especially since I made one of my goals for Lurong to be alcohol free), but by this point, I don’t really care, because I know what’s best for me.

IMG_5476 someone is enjoying S.A.

So that’s a brief recap on the last 70ish days, and now to update with more specifics. Though it sometimes feel like we never stop moving, Kevin and I have done A LOT of different things over the past couple weeks! Of course, we’ve been swimming, running, and biking, but in the process, we’ve also been able to try a couple new and exciting things! And because I like lists, I’ll pick my top 3 and go from there.

#3 Hydrostatic Body Fat Testing

A few weeks back, our crossfit gym hosted a company that comes in to various gyms to do hydrostatic body fat tests. How this works is you are weighed once on dry land and then a few times on an underwater scale. Since body fat is less dense than water, it floats, as opposed to your bone density, muscle mass, connective tissue, things of that nature, which is more dense than water. Comparing you dry land weight, to your underwater weight, your percentage of body fat can be measured! I’ve never undergone this before and jumped at the chance to try. It was pretty cool, getting in this tub, submerging myself, and trying to exhale as much as possible (in order to get the most accurate reading). My results weren’t too surprising, as I know I have things to work on, and they were definitely motivating. However, the test provided more information than just “this is how fat you are.” It also provided my metabolic rate, indicating based on the amount of weight I have for my muscles, bones, and tissues, how many calories I need on a daily basis just for basic function alone. So, if I were to lie in bed and do nothing all day long I would still burn 1633 calories! What a fun fact! Based on this number, it also provided information about the amount of calories I should aim for on a daily basis. The test also indicated how much weight in pounds of fat I would need to lose to get to various body fat percentages. Overall, it was a pretty interesting experience. I learned a lot of useful information that took a lot of guess work out of figuring out caloric needs, along with caloric expenditure. Helpful in terms of meal planning, especially on hard training days when I know I’m burning a couple thousand calories from long workouts! This information, along with my recent purchase of an AMAZING food scale has definitely made life substantially easier for me, which is an all around A+.

#2 Memorial Day: The Murph

Not to make this post all about Crossfit, but the Murph definitely was a force to be reckoned with, and therefore earns a spot on the list. For those who are unfamiliar, the Murph is a workout done on (or around) Memorial Day in remembrance of Lieutenant Michael Murphy, a Navy SEAL who was killed in June 2005, in Afghanistan, after exposing himself to enemy fire in order to get a clear signal to communicate with his headquarters to provide his unit’s location and request support. He died from the wounds he received, and post humorously was awarded the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart.

The workout, said to be one of his favorite workout, is: a one mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats, and a one mile run, for time. It is also to be completed with an 8-20lb body weight vest, but that’s not required.

In celebration of Memorial Day, our box hosted the workout followed by a BBQ the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. As soon as I received the invite I was all in for this! It sounded super rough, but at the very least I knew I could handle the mile before and after. It was the in between that was going to be tough, and oh man, it was. After finishing the first mile in about 7:30 (2nd person in) I got to work, breaking up the workout into 20 sets of 5 ring rows (because, sadly, I STILL cannot do push ups, grr), 10 push ups, and 15 air squats. Woof. The push ups were the worst. I tried to do strict pushups the entire time, but after about 10 or so sets started breaking them up with knee push ups. FINALLY, after like FOREVER, I finished the 20 sets and started on my mile. As predicted, the run was where I was strongest. Even though I was 2nd in on the first mile, a bunch of people completed the 100-200-300 portion of the workout and left for their last mile before me. This was helpful because I just kept my sights on the next person and kept my pace strong enough to reach them, picking people off until finally I came to the end of the final mile, back at the gym, with those that had already finished cheering us on! My finishing time was 42:23. THANK GOD I finished with a Coach who was paying attention to time, because I finished and didn’t pay any attention to the clock. Instead, went outside to gasp for air. My goal is to continue doing crossfit so that next year I do the Murph with actual pull ups and NO knee push ups. In all, it was tough, but great to do it with everyone from my box, and fun to watch everyone else come in and finish. There was a palpable sense of community and support in the air. It was a great day at Crossfit 88. Plus, did I mention the BBQ after?!?! Never have I ever been to such a healthy BBQ, it was amazing. And LET ME TELL YOU, my arms were sore until Tuesday. It was those damn push-ups, woof.

FullSizeRender (1) finishing the Murph, the face of pain.

FullSizeRender Crossfit 88 ❤

#1 Udder Century

I’ll start out being upfront – we didn’t actually do the FULL century ride. In fact, we never even intended to. We actually signed up for the 75 mile ride. Alas, didn’t even end up completing that much. But let’s back up for a second. The Udder Century is put on by the McHenry County Bicycle Club, starting in Union, Illinois which is about an hour outside of Chicago (without traffic). Now what does one hour outside of Chicago get you? Farms, cows, horses, farmland, and LOTS of it. We heard about the ride from our pseudo-coach, Tommy, who recommended we try it, being a past participant for many years. He spoke highly of the event, promising beautiful scenery, a well organized event, yummy treats at the rest areas, and a great lunch after the event.  With such high accolades we gave it a shot, and were not disappointed. As soon as we arrived we ran into quite a few people we knew, including a couple from our racing team that encouraged us to start with their group. We did, though we were nervous because Kevin and I almost exclusively ride only with each other and so really have no idea how that relates to other riders in terms of speed, except that we KNOW aren’t fast. In any event, we rode with them for a few miles, but eventually it got really challenging to talk and ride at the same time because it was pretty windy. I couldn’t hear anything beside the wind rushing past my ears. So, we parted and Kevin and I took off at a comfortable speed, nothing too crazy since it was only the beginning, and that wind, ugh. As we continued to ride, the wind definitely picked up and the sun, which had initially started to break through the clouds, was nowhere to be seen. We hadn’t even made it to the first rest stop, less than 20 miles in and I was starting to get that, ‘this is miserable’, feeling. Flashbacks of the Wisconsin Half Marathon were rolling through my head, and I was getting pretty crabby. That said, I also reminded myself that on race day, YOU CANNOT CONTROL THE WEATHER CONDITIONS, so suck it up. This slightly worked. As we continued to ride, we started changing directions a lot more, so we weren’t solely riding into the wind all the time. The clouds also broke apart and the sun came out, which helped a lot. Finally, there was no denying it, the scenery was absolutely gorgeous.  Rolling pastures, beautiful barns, old farm houses, and even though we were on roads, there were very few cars. It was truly ideal.

IMG_5468COW SPOTTING!

Once we reached the 2nd rest stop at mile 42, we had a decision to make, 75 or 62. Normally I’m the one who is gung-ho to do more and push the limit, but I was hesitant. That wind got to me, and while 20 more miles seemed like no big deal, 35 seemed…rough. We timidly decided on 62 as we left the rest stop, and then when we came to the fork in the road where the volunteer was ushering the 100 & 75 mile riders to the left, and the 62 mile riders to the right, we once again stopped. The man volunteering offered the final solidifying statement, in saying, “If you go left, once you turn around the wind will be at your back!” Ha, yea sir, and if we go right the wind IS at our backs. So, we went right and took the 62 mile option. Yes, it would have been a much cooler story if we had gone 75 (which would have been our longest ride to date!) but it was much better to finish just over an hour later, smiling until the end. Who knows what could have happened over those last 13 miles had we rode them, but we finished happy and content with our ride. As if that wasn’t enough, we were greeted post ride by a catered lunch! Kevin filled up on pasta and fresh donuts while I inhaled a (couple) plates of salad. Man, when you are hungry, even the simplest of things taste AMAZING. Bellies full, we headed back to Park Ridge, where we lounged the rest of the day.

IMG_5465 End of ride SELFIE

June has definitely been off to a fun start! With my sister’s return from Study Abroad, and Kevin’s sister’s final days of pregnancy upon us, and our first triathlon for the season (or for Kevin EVER) coming up, the remainder of the month promises to be just as busy!

Stay tuned for more details!

Jackie

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Walking in Memphis

HELLO! We meet again, after another solid two weeks of crazy busyness and non-stop movement. This is how life passes so quickly! Anywhoo, what a PACKED last two weeks it was! It was filled with racing, long rides, time trials, travel, food, fun (WHAT, FUN?!? What is that?), and of course, work (LAME, but such is life). Alas, here I am not in the mid 50s of my “no added/refined sugar” challenge and still standing! As I highlighted previously, this has been working quite well, and now have at least one race to prove it, kind of. Let me explain….

So as I mentioned in my previous post, I was all ready to run the Wisconsin ½ Marathon, on May 7th. Unlike the week prior, when I missed the Illinois ½ Marathon due to illness, I was all set and ready to run that Saturday morning. Kevin and I woke up at our normal 4:30am time (which kind of sucked because usually on Saturday we get like ONE extra hour of sleep), I got all my gear together, and we took off for the great city of Kenosha Wisconsin.  An hour or so later, after arriving at our destination, the skies to the west looked pretty stormy. In fact, as I was completing my quick warm up, about 7 minutes before the start time, I could see lightning in the distance. However, as soon as the race started, it was evident that lightning and potential storms would be the least of my concerns. Instead, it was the STRONG headwind that would be the absolute vain of every racer’s existence. It was truly awful. I’ve run in some nasty conditions before, but this was undoubtedly the worst, and without a doubt the most unpleasant racing experience. Make no mistake, when the wind was at your back, life was great. However, the moment you turned around and started running north with a 25+mph headwind coming at you, life was just miserable. Add some beachfront to that and you had sand coming at you like little knives pelting you! As the course for both the ½ and the full marathon are completely North/South, you can’t even imagine the pain. I literally went from running splits of 7:23-7:30 to a 8:26 mile at mile 6. Mile 6! I wasn’t even halfway done at that point, but that really sunk my spirits, and if there was EVER a time when I truly started to question whether it was worth it to finish a race, it was then. I feel as though in every race there gets to be one point when the voice in my head will say, “why are you pushing so hard, this is not comfortable, and you are not enjoying this.” Normally, I hush that voice. This time though it was tough. I had just passed Kevin, who was sitting outside a bar, and all I was doing was questioning why I was even running. I started to reflect on a couple of blogs I had recently read written by amateur triathletes that specifically discussed points in their Ironman races when the conditions got tough, and their response was to buckle down and just focus on forward progress.  I reminded myself that I was only running a half marathon, and that within a mile or so, I would hit the turn around and the wind would be at my back. I focused, and accepted that this was one of those times where my only option was to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. After what seemed like an eternity, I hit the turnaround and started running south again. My mile times once again picked up, which was reassuring, but it was rough because (1) I was just tired by that point and (2) because I knew at mile 12 there was another turn around which meant the last mile would be right into the wind…again. Inevitably the turn around came, and it was as awful as expected. However, I hunkered down and just counted down the meters until the finish. I saw Kevin with about 400 meters to go, and he was standing in the same exact spot where my Dad stood two years ago as I finished the marathon, which was hilarious, and sort of took my mind off the pain for a few moments. I then kicked it with all I had, passing two women I had been trailing for the last few miles, and finished in 1:42:15. Not quite the 1:41 I was hoping for, but it was good enough for 6th in my age group, and quite honestly, though it wasn’t a great time, it was a time I was proud of given the conditions. WOOOF.

99b64295-a22f-44b7-9e4d-58c0f4c656fc DONE

The next day, Kevin and I woke up bright and early to get our long ride in. As the weather was beautiful, we took our ride outside, heading up the Northshore to Fort Sheridan. OHMYGOODNESS what a gorgeous ride! Between riding up Sheridan Road and St. John’s Road, and the view of Lake Michigan from Fort Sheridan, I was in awe. I was in awe of the natural beauty of my surroundings, and I was in awe that though I had lived in this area my entire life, I had NEVER been up there. This is one thing I am starting to realize going on these long bike rides, is how much potential there is to explore new places, all starting from my doorstep! I’m pretty in love with it.

600fa280-8a1b-47f9-afdc-7011bf8db8af trailblazers

After a solid weekend of racing and training I was definitely ready for a bit of a break. Luckily we also had this planned, in the form of a little 3 day weekend get away to Memphis Tennessee. Now, I can say that when you tell anyone you’re going to Memphis, they will undoubtedly ask why. Honestly, I booked this get away because Kevin and I had some flight vouchers to use, it was pretty cheap to fly to Memphis, and I wanted to go somewhere, anywhere really. Little did I know when I booked the trip, that all throughout the month of May, Memphis hosts a different festival every weekend. The weekend we happened to pick was their Barbecue Fest. Now, this barbecue fest is the exact opposite of everything that makes sense. It’s actually a fest where you go as a spectator to watch other people cook, but unless you know the right people, don’t actually get to taste or eat any of the BBQ. It’s likely perfectly normal for anyone accustomed to this, however for me that was weird. Irregardless, that did not stop Kevin and I from having an AWESOME weekend.

abb52d18-6fa5-449d-b0ea-2956283ca787 pig from BBQ fest

We landed in Memphis shortly after 9:00pm on Friday night, and were at our hotel by 10. On arrival there was clearly one of two options we had: (1) go to sleep or (2) go explore! I know I surprised Kevin when I chose the “explore” option, but the city is KNOWN for it’s nightlife on Beale Street. With that, we headed out and wandered over to Beale Street…and just…WHOA. The line to get onto the street was LONG, because in order to enter the street (which was blocked off to traffic with a ton of cops at every corner) one had to be wanded and patted down. Like this was serious business. We waited in line for probably 10-15 minutes, but on entering it was like another world. There were neon lights everywhere, live music coming from every bar, literally ALL kinds of people walking and stumbling around. I couldn’t even feel out of place because there were so many DIFFERENT kinds of people! It was craziness! As to be expected, as soon as we walked through security, Kevin made a beeline for the beer line, and then we just wandered up and down the street in a complete stupor of the commotion. Since we really weren’t in any condition or mood to party, after wandering back to where we entered we continued on with our journey, wandering towards the river. After a few wrong turns, we made it to the Riverwalk, and took a nice stroll along the Mississippi. The Riverwalk was located right next to the Landing where the Barbeque Fest was going on, which was also CRAZY loud, so it was kind of eerie walking along the silent MASSIVE river, while a huge party was occurring just a quarter or so mile away. From there, we wandered back to our hotel, and fell quickly asleep.

6ab4fb34-79da-445d-8d60-865ef63e396c Beale Street

The next morning after sleeping in past 8 for the first time in weeks, we arose and dressed into our running gear. The plan was to do a bit of “run-xploring” along the Riverwalk in the daylight, and then journey out to Mud Island to view the miniature replica of the lower Mississippi that is housed there. Our plan was a success, with a few additional streets added here and there, to get a better feel for the area. Although Kevin complained that we passed too much, and didn’t get to fully take in enough, I thought it was a really great way to get accommodated to the area, and check a few things off the “must see” list. After a quick shower, we headed out to brunch at The Majestic Grille, an old movie theater, turned restaurant, which still plays silent black and white films on a screen while you dine. Not only was it really cool, but our waiter, Michael, was AWESOME and gave us tons of recommendations on different things to do and areas to explore. After brunch, we headed over to Midtown Bike Shop, where I had set up rentals for a couple of cruiser bikes for the afternoon. While we didn’t have too much time to bike around (since we were kind of slow moving and didn’t get onto our bikes until like 2pm) we had enough time to take them out to Overton Park. This park was a few miles outside the downtown area and plays host to the Memphis Zoo, a golf course, a HUGE patch of grassy area called “Greensward”, and some forested trails. The park was beautiful, and after spending about an hour cruising around, it was nice to lie in the grass and doze off for a bit.  From there, we had a failed attempt to bike over to Midtown, and settled on going back to the downtown area, returning our bikes, and getting some cocktails. After returning our bikes, we found a cute little wine bar just down the street from the bike shop and posted up. Since my Lurong Summertime Challenge was going to start on May 16, this was my last opportunity to really enjoy some cocktails. And let me tell you, I DID.

f90da204-125c-4296-9a95-b6127fb376e8 biking around

A couple hours later, we peeled ourselves off the patio chairs, and started making our way to Barbeque Fest. I will note, that right before leaving the wine bar, I checked Facebook and noticed one of the women at our Crossfit Gym had “checked in” to the BBQ Fest earlier that day, while walking over to the Fest, I mentioned this to Kevin, stating it would be crazy to run into her in Memphis. Alas, maybe 10 minutes later as we were walking into the fest we heard, “Kevin and Jackie?!!?” It was this other couple from Crossfit! What were the chances! Apparently we are very recognizable from behind. As Kevin is 6’9 and I’m 5’4, it makes sense. It was great running into them, and we ended up spending the evening with them, wandering around BBQ fest, securing a little bit of BBQ, and with the guys getting lots of free beer. Once it was apparent that most of the barbequers were packing up their tents for the weekend, we opted to go find dinner elsewhere, and found this cool little place called SOB (or South of Beale) which had delicious and different food options! I must say, I was a bit worried about the food option for me in Memphis, since I don’t eat greasy, diner food, but everywhere we went to eat had very delicious food with menus that even I approved of! After dinner, we parted ways with our Crossfitting friends, and Kevin and I popped into a smoky little speakeasy for a couple of nightcaps.

48ffbaa8-e3a6-4dd2-adfb-5ec9f3a1a3b5 some of our many cocktails

My initial plan for Sunday was to wake up at a decent time and get a long run in. Let me tell you, that did not happen. In fact, Saturday was the only time I ran in Memphis, because Memphis is a fun city with great cocktails. Instead, on Sunday I slept until about 9:30, which basically hasn’t happened since like…2015, and very slowly we made our way to brunch. For brunch, we went to a restaurant called Eighty3, which is located in the Madison Hotel. I am SO HAPPY we went here, not only because it was delicious (their gumbo is amazing) but also because we learned there that the Madison Hotel has a rooftop, open to the public, which boasts that it has the best views in Memphis. And it did! After brunch we went up and fell in love with the view! We decided that since we had other plans for the day, we would come back later that evening and watch the sunset.

8323e6b6-b8a7-4e99-b66c-314143b4acbc rooftop views

Our day plans included venturing over to Cooper-Young, the “Historically Hip” area in Midtown Memphis, which hosts a bunch of little shops, bars, restaurants, and home to Memphis Made Brewery. Kevin and I spent the afternoon hopping from the Java Cabana Coffee Shop, to the brewery (for Kevin), to Alchemy  (for cocktails for me), and then ended our adventure with A LOT of barbecue from Central Barbecue (finally, right, we were in Memphis WAY TOO LONG before we ate ourselves some BBQ). But oh man, it was worth it. We both got combo platters of ribs + two other meats (Kevin got brisket and pork, and I got pulled chicken and turkey) and we ate it all. Literally all of it. SO MUCH MEAT, but it was SO GOOD.

2ecbd608-4364-41d9-b09a-ae0618b99d8b BBQ, NOMS!

After our BBQ feast, we ventured back to Downtown, and took a walk along the Riverwalk again (in an attempt to you know, burn off some BBQ), and then headed over to the Madison Hotel for some evening rooftop views. We arrived at the perfect time, as we were able to snag a table right near the edge. We ordered a bottle of wine and just enjoyed the view until the sunset and it was all dark. It was the perfect end to the day, and the most enjoyable experience from the trip. We even managed to get a photographer from LA to take a VERY artsy picture of us, after he watched us struggle to take a selfie for a couple minutes. With the end of the evening soon approaching, we decided to head to one more bar before going back to the hotel (since you know, Lurong Challenge). Our bellies filled with delicious BBQ, wine, and cocktails, we headed back to the hotel, and dozed off into blissful slumber.

f3102297-d1b4-4823-833d-7d1e6069d855basically models

Waking up Monday was nowhere near as painful as I thought it was going to be, save for the fact that it was about time for our weekend to come to an end. After packing up and checking out, we headed over to Lyfe Kitchen for breakfast/lunch (it was basically lunch time but this was our breakfast) where I knew I could find Paleo friendly options, as May 16 meant Day 1 of my 35 day Lurong Summertime Challenge. It was actually really yummy. I’d never heard of this place, but apparently they have locations in Chicago/Evanston too, so that was good news! From there, we were off to the airport, and back in Chicago and reality before we knew it.

This past week was definitely rough, between my body detoxing itself from all the delicious drinks I had over the weekend (which YES, I’m sure had SOME added sugar in them) and also getting re-acclimated to the 4:30 alarm. However, somehow I survived, and just in time for another weekend! This one however, will hopefully be filled with long runs, long bikes, some golf, and grilling. I think this one will be much better for my physical health.

Until next time,

Jackie

Bleeding Blue and Orange

So I’ve gotten really good lately at getting about 90% through a draft post, and then not completing it….hence it’s now been over 2 weeks since my last post. LAME. Anyway, now it’s officially May and I’m well into my 3 month challenge! Actually, I’m 38 days in and still chugging along! I’m definitely feeling the effects of it and LOVING how its making me feel. For the most part, I’m finding that my energy levels are way up, and remarkably stable throughout the day. Additionally, I’m definitely dropping weight and starting to see those muscles that I knew were hiding in there somewhere! I must say though, the best part is I’m finally seeing improvements in my swimming. Which likely isn’t related to cutting out sugar, but improved stroke technique, but I really don’t care. I am such a slow swimmer, that any improvement, for whatever reason, makes me happy 🙂 .

In my latest “draft” post from last week that never got published, I remarked that last week I was actually feeling more tired than usual. This I attributed to coming off two weeks of hard training, and having a cut back week. While this likely continues to remain true, it also turns out I was also fighting off a little bug!  Thankfully, it was nothing major, but was just enough to keep me in bed for all race weekend festivities. This past weekend was the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon Weekend, down at U of I in Champaign, Illinois. Kevin is originally from Champaign, and Marathon weekend is a BIG thing for him, his family, and also the city of Champaign. His sister throws a party (as her house is on the marathon course) and his aunts and cousins come in from out of town to run the various distances that the race offers. It’s actually pretty awesome many different distances are offered over the course of the weekend, giving a lot of people, serious runners or not, the opportunity to participate. Friday night hosts a 5k, and then Saturday morning hosts a 10k, 10 mile, ½ marathon, and full marathon. There is literally something for everyone! I was excited to experience this and was particularly excited to take part in my first runner challenge event, specifically the “Half I-Challenge” which consisted of a 5k on Friday night, followed by the half marathon on Saturday morning.

I had taken Friday off work, so Kevin and I could make it down to Champaign in time without worrying about traffic, so was able to avoid my 4:30am alarm on Friday. However when I did wake up on Friday I just felt kind of…off. As the day continued, I progressively felt worse, and ended up sleeping the entire drive down to Champaign (which I’ve never done before, and generally don’t like to do since I like to have two sets of eyes on the road). I was certain that would help. After arriving, I chatted with Kevin’s parents and aunt for a bit, hoping I would perk up, but after awhile realized what I wanted was to lie down. By this point, I was super nauseous and freezing, despite wearing two sweatshirts.  I was also radiating so much heat that Kevin told me, “I could cook a hot dog on your face.” Yeah, I was sick. So, armed with two blankets and a space heater I went to bed. And slept, and slept, and slept. I slept through the 5k, I slept through the night, and then I slept through the half marathon. Sure it wasn’t one long block from 5pm Friday to 10am Saturday, as I woke up when Kevin came back from the 5k on Friday night, and actually got up with him at 5am on Saturday morning for a bit in the hopes I could run. But given how I felt, and also given that it was raining and cold outside, I knew better, and so just went right back to sleep. I was bummed for sure that I literally just slept through BOTH races. However, if two injuries taught me nothing, I knew it was just a race, there will always be more, and there’s always next year. Plus, my goal for the weekend was not to race the half marathon, but rather pace Kevin in the hopes of attaining a PR for him, as I was already registered for the Wisconsin Marathon, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, this upcoming weekend.

As it turns out, Kevin didn’t even need me! That ROCK STAR ended up PRing BOTH the 5k and the Half Marathon! Obviously, when he told me this I cried a little, because I wasn’t even there to cheer for him, but I was (and still am) so stinking proud of him for getting a PR in gross weather. He also reassured me that even though I wasn’t with him physically, I was still in his head pushing him along. Obviously, that also made me cry a little also because it was so sweet, also VERY messed up, but so sweet. To say the least, when your training partner is also your significant other, things get a little weird.

IMG_3667 (1)       this rockstar

In any event, MIRACULOUSLY after sleeping for like 16 hours, I felt a lot better. RIGHT, I KNOW!! WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT!?! I guess I just needed a little sleep…eek. By the afternoon I was going stir crazy having not left the house in a full 24 hours, and so Kevin and I went to run some errands for his mother, who was partially hosting his sister’s baby shower the next day. After running errands we stopped by a cute little winery in Champaign, Alto Winery, for a quick tasting, and a glass of wine on the porch. It was a lovely and relaxing way to spend the afternoon before heading to his sister’s house for a BBQ that evening.

IMG_5298 mmm 🙂

After another good nights sleep I woke up feeling great on Sunday, and got in a nice 12.5 mile run down a longggggg country road. One reason I’ve really come to enjoy going down to Champaign is that Kevin’s parents live outside the city in the country. This means they are surrounded by country roads, that go on, and on, and on, for miles. It’s so easy to get a long run and a long bike in down there, surrounded by only cornfields and farms. It’s so different from what I am used to, and it’s so peaceful. Even though it wasn’t what I had originally planned, it was wonderful to get that run in on Sunday. Just a straight shot down the road, past a few stop signs, turned around at a barn, and came back. For the entire hour and forty minutes I was running I saw only a handful of cars, and everyone waves at you. It was wonderful. After the baby shower, we packed our bags and headed back to Chicago. Like all others, the weekend went way too fast, however here we are halfway through this week, and the promise of another weekend of racing in store. While I am nowhere near PR shape for the Wisconsin Half this weekend, I’ve been feeling stronger in my runs, and am aiming for a time around 1:41-1:42ish. But who really knows, we can only plan so much.

Either way, fingers crossed!!

Jackie

The Sweet Life

Well, for the past two weeks or so, I’ve been debating whether or not to start my blog up again. I don’t think my life is ANWHERE near exciting enough to tell the world about it, but Kevin seemed to think otherwise (read: he didn’t want me bothering him with my silly thoughts. Too bad for him he will always be on the receiving end of those.).

Short story is that since my last post my life changed a bit. I’ve switched law firms, moved out to the suburbs and in with Kevin, and over the summer subsequently dealt with another running injury. It was a nasty case of ITB, which left me not running for 6 weeks and in physical therapy for 8 weeks, blah. After my doctor diagnosed my pain, he suggested instead of only running I try adding biking and swimming to my training regime. Not one to scoff at medical advice, I took it to heart. Along with some urging by Kevin that I might want to start working towards my “I want to complete an Ironman goal,” here we are April 2016, four SOLID months into base training for our first Ironman 70.3, Steelhead, in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Admittedly, Kevin has never done a triathlon and the last triathlon I completed was in August 2010. I was 21 years old and it was an Olympic distance. Undoubtedly, this would be an interesting endeavor for the both of us. As if relationships aren’t challenge enough, let’s add training for a multi-sport endurance event that neither of us have much experience in, with a training program designed mainly by your truly, and did I mention my alarm goes off religiously every morning at 4:30 am…? Let’s just say 4 months into training we have definitely learned A LOT (hanger is a deadly thing, long runs and trainer rides are good times to be quiet and not have serious discussions, and no matter what ALWAYS WAIT for the other person before starting strides in the pool). But hey, we are still kickin’

So perhaps your next question is…okay but now 4 months in…why start now?

Well let me tell you, as if doing 3 swim/bike/run PLUS 2-3 Crossfit workouts per week wasn’t challenging enough for my body, I decided to make it even tougher. Exactly 15 days ago, my little sister, Jenny, left for Study Abroad in South Africa! The day before she left (aka Easter) her and I were sitting in her room while she finished packing, in a food coma due to the toxic combination of Easter Brunch and Easter candy sugar high. I felt like death, and offhandedly said to her, “Jenny, while you’re away, I’m going to stop eating anything with added sugar.” Her response was “Me too! Haha, no, no I’m not.” When I said it, I wasn’t all that serious, but the more I thought about it, I realized I should be! At that point I was just shy of 4 months of twice a days, 3-4 times a week. While my body was developing new muscles, something just wasn’t right. Being a person who tends to think they are eating “clean” almost all of the time, because I generally am Paleo, I started to think about it more and realized that those extra workouts were really just making me extra hungry, and while I generally ate well, I generally was being way too liberal with the “treats” I was letting myself indulge in. So an extra challenge came – 9 weeks no refined, added sugar: no chocolate, no “vegan no sugar added” cookies (sorry Whole Foods), nothing of the sort. For 78 days, or until Jenny was back stateside…

12376842_10154058217354289_2162092530424530704_n lucky girl hiking in South Africa

Or that was the plan for about a week until girls at my Crossfit gym started discussing participating in the Lurong Living Summertime Challenge. It is a 5 week basically “strict Paleo” Challenge beginning May 16, 2016, through June 20, 2016. In addition to the nutritional aspect of the Challenge, there is also a WOD that each participant completes every week, to gauge athletic development and performance. I signed up almost immediately (1) because I’m a sucker for such challenges (2) because a few of the girls had completed one before and said it was a fun way to encourage each other and (3)because I felt it would be a good way to keep me focused and working towards my own goal. The only catch was the Challenge extended 1 week beyond Jenny’s return, meaning my original 78 day journey turned into an 85 day personal journey. I mean at 78 days, what’s another 7 anyway?!!?

I’m happy to report that I am 15 days in and still strong. I mean YES, the temptation is there, and YES perhaps I’ve dreamed of cupcakes once or twice, but I’m confident, and I’m aware that at the end of the day this is realistically what is best for me. I’m putting a ton of effort into training, so my nutrition should be dialed in as well! Alas, the ups and downs will be inevitable. As of this week, we are almost 16 weeks out until Race Day, meaning training is ramping up. I’m just making sure I’m all in and ready to gear up for this ride!

Never fear, posts won’t be entirely about our training, because how boring would that be?!!? More or less about the adventures, accomplishments, struggles, and inevitable challenges encountered along the way!

Enjoy!

Jackie

For more info on the Lurong Living Summertime Challenge visit: https://challengeseries.lurongliving.com/summertime16/

For more info on Steelhead 70.3 visit:http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman-70.3/steelhead.aspx#/axzz45cbERDO0

Civility

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.” – Abraham Lincoln

November 6, 2014: a new class of attorneys sworn in, licensed, and let loose in the state of Illinois. Most gratefully, I was present as one of these newly sworn in and licensed attorneys. To commemorate this event, there were many speeches from various justices and attorneys.  Most of the speakers quoted Abraham Lincoln at some point, being Illinois’ most famous  (and NOT infamous) attorney. The above quote was by far my favorite, because it is applicable to so many aspects of life.

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I decided that I wanted to be an attorney when I was a sophomore in high school. That was 10 years ago. It was appealing to me because it was a way to help people, but in a way different then the traditional sense I had grown up with, as in becoming a doctor or a nurse. I’ll admit it, it was also appealing to me because I LOVE the movie Legally Blonde. It remains one of my favorite movies. Nevertheless, it was at that point I started to pursue this dream. I went to college with the idea of law school upon graduating. In college I was provided the opportunity to work at my uncle’s law firm. This gave me the perspective to see what the profession entailed, a far cry from anything seen on TV. I stayed the course, beginning law school straight out of undergrad. When I started law school, I had no idea what to expect, but it was without a doubt, at that point in my life, the most challenging thing I had ever encountered. Graduating this past May was exciting, but unfulfilling because I knew there was a BEAST to overcome yet. Aka, THE BAR. Studying for that became, without a doubt, the hardest thing I had ever encountered in my life. Waiting 2 months for the results was equally as challenging. However, it was worth it all because the moment I learned I passed the bar was the greatest feeling I have ever felt, EVER. An indescribable feeling, but the weight of 1 millions pounds, mixed with the anxiety, sweat, nightmares, stress, and just pure awful that the past 4 months had been, lifted off my shoulders, comes as close as words can, as to how it felt. Oh, that PLUS knowing what I’d worked for, what I’d dreamed of, was going to be able to come true.

unnamed-1  WE DID IT!

So that leads me to today. The culmination of lots of hard work, rests in a piece of paper which announces that I am now authorized to practice law in the state of Illinois. SCARY, I know! But here’s what else I know: it’s only the beginning.

Everything I’ve thought was challenging in life, WILL be blown away by something WAY more challenging and more difficult. I don’t know what form this challenge will come in, nor do I know when it will come. But this I do know; I know that when it comes, I WILL take it on, embrace it, and tackle it, keeping Ol’ Honest Abe’s words in mind and close to heart.

I also know that this isn’t about me anymore. As one of the speakers said today, “Check your ego at the door.” I went into this profession because I wanted to help people. That’s what being an attorney is, it is being an advocate. Being the BEST and GREATEST advocate for your client that you can be. No matter which side you’re on. If law school taught me nothing else, it taught me there are two sides to everything, and there are valid arguments that can be made on both sides. Valid arguments that must be respected and listened to. Part of being an advocate is not only fighting for the best interest of a client, but also doing the RIGHT thing on a whole. Acting with CIVILITY, towards the court, towards opposing counsel, towards co-counsel, to everyone. Being civil and acting civil. This is an old and honored profession, I’m here to keep it that way.

Finally, I know that no person is an island. There is absolutely no way I could have gotten to the point where I was raising my right hand and taking an oath today, had it not been for my family, my friends, and everyone else that I’ve encountered in life. Our experiences shape who we become and what we become, no matter however minuscule. Without the love and support I’ve been unconditionally provided with in my life, I would be nowhere. Others are in our lives for a reason, no one can do everything alone, and frankly, how boring would that be?!!? I know I am blessed to have an amazing support system in my life, through the greatest family God could give me, and the best friends a girl could ask for. It would be selfish to think a fulfillment of a dream was something I accomplished alone, because it belongs to those who helped and supported me along the way.

unnamed proud parents

So with these things in mind, I am very excited to start the next chapter of my life, truly I have no idea what it has in store for me, but I know that it starts with an iron-clad will, a will to succeed, a will to fight, a will to help, and a will to advocate.

WISH ME LUCK!!!

xoxo,

Jackie

Witnessing Glory

One of the reasons I’ve come to loving running is because I find it to be a metaphor for life. Some days are hard, some days are easy. Some days it breaks you down and makes you cry, but then some days it reminds you how absolutely beautiful life can be. It’s a sport where there is always a choice, to either stay comfortable and content OR to push yourself and CHALLENGE yourself.

5-900x597 on your marks….

 

If you’re looking for proof of this, go out and spectate a marathon. How do I know this? Because that is what I did today. One of my favorite days of the year, today was the Chicago Marathon. Due to my recent stress fracture, I exchanged my role of runner to that of spectator. It was an eye-opening perspective. I was out spectating a bunch of runners from my various pace group and racing team, so I tried to go to as many mile markers as possible, mainly on the back half of the course. It was amazing. The amount of runners was endless. Some looked so strong, some looked wrecked, some were jubilant, and some looked tired (for good reason). No matter their outward appearance ALL the runners were inspiring, because ALL the runners were proving not only to themselves, but everyone else around them, that they were people who DO NOT GIVE UP.

Kathrine Switzer once said, “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” I completely agree. Watching a marathon, is watching a parade of 45,000 runners who have poured sweat, and put countless hours of time and effort into their training. Yes, some have put in more than others, but that does not matter. What matters is these people prove that these virtues still exist in the world. That there are still people who PUSH themselves to be UNCOMFORTABLE, who DESIRE to test their LIMITS, who understand there may be RISK of failure, but go out and KICK ASS ANYWAY. For all those who ran today, maybe today went well. If it did CONGRATULATIONS! I know with the perfect weather today, there were many PR’s achieved. For those who ran today, and maybe you thought it did not go so well, CONGRATULATIONS because you still ACHIEVED more than 99% of people today. You went out and you ran a MARATHON. A marathoner is a marathoner no matter the time, because it’s not just about race day itself, it is about everything that lead up to getting to the starting line.

I couldn’t be more proud of everyone that I knew out there running today. It was such an AWESOME day for me. I was able to see many friends kick some serious marathon ass. I was even able to jump in and run/walk a little under a mile with my bf (all while I was wearing jeans, sperry’s and a fleece Patagonia, I DEFINITELY looked like a runner, ha not.)  What made this day so amazing though, was being able to see so many people fulfill the goals they have spent so many weeks working towards. There is no sight more beautiful than that.

1902807_3583825311703_7612881162514349460_n PR for this champ!

I thought come race day, I’d be ever so slightly saddened by the fact that I couldn’t run it this year, but I truly wasn’t. This was in large part thanks to something a girl I met last year during the marathon recently said to me. She was congratulating me on passing the bar (side note: I DID IT! I PASSED THE BAR!!!) and she said, “Wow it’s been a big 365 for you.” I gave that statement some thought, and she was so right. I had my race last year at Chicago, I got my BQ; I graduated from law school; I took and passed the bar; I offered and accepted an associate position; and yes, I was even able to find a guy to put up with my crazy (and haven’t scared him off yet). All this in addition to the continuous support I receive from my awesome family and friends, I’d be so selfish and self-centered to pity myself for even ONE SECOND about not being able to run today.

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content” Instead of wallowing in missed perfection, today was a day to celebrate  accomplishment. In whatever form that accomplishment came in, good, bad or ugly, CHEERS TO YOU! You’ve worked hard for it, so no matter the result BE PROUD! Kick those tired legs up, have a drink, and bask in your glory! You deserve it!

xoxo,

Jackie

 

The Waiting Game

Anyone that knows me, knows I am NOT a patient person. Patience is a virtue, but it is a virtue I lack. By this point, I’ve accepted this, and moved on. However, the past month has REALLY tested me. First, there is the wait to get bar results back. I understand WHY it takes so long. There was about 3,000 applicants in Illinois, and they hand grade those suckers.  I took that test at the end of July (literally two months ago from today’s date) and so for the past 2 weeks I have truly been on pins and needles about getting these results back. The month of September has felt like the longest month ever.  Of course, this wait has been exacerbated by the fact that I’ve been waiting for my stress fracture to heal. I’ve never been one that enjoys sitting on the sidelines, and being sidelined from running for the past 5 weeks has been an additional test of my patience.

Long story short, I’m ready to be done with September. I’ve been able to keep myself occupied trying out tons of classes on ClassPass, baked up a storm with ALL THINGS PUMPKIN, and mastering the art of sleeping in. However, I’ve definitely hit my wits end for figuring out ways to occupy my day. That said, I am TERRIFIED for the beginning of October.

At the conclusion of the bar exam, the man who I referred to as the head GameMaker (Hunger Games anyone!??!) informed us that we should expect results within the first two weeks of October. However, the results for Illinois have traditionally come out on October 1. The stress I experienced the weeks leading up to the bar exam was horrific, but little did I know the stress leading up to finding out the results would ALSO be awful. I won’t say it is worse, or even just as bad, BUT it is definitely horrible. Horrible enough to be nightmare inducing. I think it is so bad because there is NOTHING to do but wait. There’s no way to change the results, it’s based on answers on a test I took months ago. I remember some of the topics, but I don’t remember any of the questions. Just UGH! Cue, the World’s Smallest Violin.

On a positive note, it’s now officially fall! I LOVE FALL!! And, as mentioned above, I have been baking up a storm! Fall is the best time for baking, and have been thoroughly taking advantage of this. I’ve been embracing the season with pumpkin, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and apple. Thus far I’ve made some delicious pumpkin cookies, pumpkin granola (both of which were paleo), pumpkin bars, pumpkin spice blondies, and apple pie (made from apples that were apple picking apples!)

unnamed (paleo pumpkin cookies)

I found these cookies on pinterest, and they were termed breakfast cookies, which I could totally understand, because as long as there’s no enjoy chips in them, they aren’t super desserty. I am a HUGE FAN of these, plus they are super easy to make! The ingredients involve 1/2 cup pumpkin, 1 cup almond flour, 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp pumpkin spice, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp baking soda, and then I threw in some raisins and walnuts, but you could throw in any additional ingredients that strike your fancy. Put them in a 350 oven for like 10 min, and enjoy!  Also, I def added WAY MORE pumpkin, pumpkin spice, and cinnamon then the recipe called for and was not disappointed!

unnamed-1 (paleo pumpkin granola)

So I’m just going to add the link to where I found this recipe because there are TONS of ingredients to this, BUT its totally worth it. I’ve made this twice now, the first time I brought some to my track team to try and they LOVED IT. The second time I brought it along on a Girls Weekend trip to Wisconsin, and it also went over well. http://www.ziplist.com/recipes/pumpkin-granola/bac49a30-5ba0-0130-5c85-1231391b4209

I did make some alterations to the original recipe (because I love putting my own twist on things) in that I added raisins, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and probably tripled the amount of dates the recipe called for. I’m such a fan of this! It’s sooo good!

I just LOVE fall!

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Until next time, pretty please pray for me and for positive results 🙂

xoxo,

Jackie

 

Living the Sweaty Life

Hey all!

If you live in Chicago (or really anywhere in the Midwest), my favorite time of year arrived over the weekend…FALL! I truly couldn’t be any more excited! Well, that’s not quite true. I could be more excited if I could actually RUN in this gorgeous, amazing weather. However, a doctors visit last week confirmed my suspicion, stress fracture…so I’m out for a couple more weeks. Does it suck? Yes, BUT when life gives you lemons, grab some vodka!

My vodka has come from the awesome people at ClassPass, who provided me with a month trial membership. Thanks to them, I’ve been keeping active and having a BLAST trying out various new classes and have a report on the ones that I’ve tried thus far.

As I mentioned in my original post on ClassPass, I would be heading back to FlyWheel because I absolutely LOVED it. A woman of my word, I’ve since returned to FlyWheel twice, loving it just as much as the first time. Furthermore, over the weekend their studio got all new bikes so now its even MORE awesome and updated 🙂

But now for the other studios I’ve tried on my ClassPass:

CrossTown Fitness: 1031 W Madison St., Chicago, IL

I tried out a Total Body class at CrossTown fitness. The class started with a warm up jog around the block (which I didn’t partake in) but then moved onto a list of 15 exercises (like squats, push ups, bicep curls, sit-ups, planks, etc) that were performed for one minute, before moving onto the next. After completing the 15, then the class took another lap around the block before repeating the list again, but this time in reverse. After completing this, there was a cool down and some stretching.

While the class was a good workout, I felt like it wasn’t AS CHALLENGING as I would have liked. I understand that my effort has a large effect on what I get out of a class, and perhaps I could have/should have worked harder, but even giving a solid effort, I was yearning for more. That said, I still felt it the next day, I was definitely sore, which I always take as a sign of a solid workout. I’m not sure if I’ll try another class at CrossTown Fitness on my ClassPass, but I in no way regret trying it out. Good workout studio in the West Loop!

http://crosstownfitness.com

Atlas Performance: 1030 N Larrabee St, Chicago, IL

One thing that should have clued me in that I was in for a HARD workout before my Total Body CircuitFit class started at Atlas Performance, this being that I was one of two girls there. A minority to the class filled with guys, and BOY, did we work. The CircuitFit class follows a  2 minute regiment. The class was divided in half, and we switched every 2 minutes, meaning 2 minutes of strength followed by 2 minutes of cardio. Cardio included rowing/biking/running on a treadmill/ flipping a tire/jumping rope/or throwing battle ropes. The strength session was a list of various exercises which all started off with 4 weighted pushups and then squat thrusts, before moving onto the listed exercise. Some of these exercises included burpees, high/lo planks, frog jumps, lunge jumps, jump squats, and other muscle searing exercises. The class lasted 45 minutes, which at first made me think, Oh no problem, but after switching between strength and cardio just a few times let me tell you I was FEELING IT. I was POURING sweat about 20 minutes in. 45 minutes was a perfect length, I honestly don’t think I could have gone another 15 minutes. AND I LOVED IT! I plan on going to another class at Atlas Performance on my ClassPass, and could see myself continuing to frequent this studio! It was an AMAZING workout, all the staff there were SO FRIENDLY, and did I mention it was a KILLER workout. 5 stars by me!! I truly could not more highly recommend Atlas Performance.

http://www.atlasperformancechicago.com

Barre Code (River North): 435 N. LaSalle, Chicago, IL

I’ll be perfectly honest, I was skeptical to sign up for a barre class because it seems like a new, trendy workout movement. I am just more of a fan of the old school standard cardio/strength training regime. I’m also the kind of person that will admit when she is wrong (albeit unwillingly). During this ass-kicking workout, the burn in my legs (and ass) COMPLETELY proved me wrong. These barre classes are INTENSE. Not intense like pouring sweat, heart pounding, chest about to explode intense (for this kind of workout, I’d suggest Atlas CircuitFit). Instead it was the BURNING intense, my core was burning, my arms were burning (even though I was only using 3 lb weights), and MAN were my legs burning, shaking, and immediately feeling it. Those women who were next to me on the bar doing all the plie squats while on point are truly wonder women, because I was STRUGGLING to do the same squats, with my feet flat on the ground! Not only was it a GREAT workout, it was FUN! With remixed Taylor Swift blaring through the speakers, and a pink-clad instructor, it was VERY different from what I’m generally used to, but overall I had a great time and would happily return for another class!

http://www.thebarrecode.com/studios/illinois/chicago/river-north/

Fit Results: 620 S. Dearborn, Chicago, IL

So, I haven’t technically gone here on my ClassPass, I have a 10 pass for this studio, but it’s on the ClassPass list of fitness studios! I have now gone to 7 of the Triple 20 classes here and absolutely LOVE it! Triple 20 is an endurance/circuit based workout, regimented in 4 minute intervals. There are 3 circuits: spinning, rowing, and strength. In the class, the circuits rotate every 4 minutes, and in the “strength” circuit, every minute the strength exercise changes. About halfway through the class, the strength exercises change. My favorite thing about this class, is that even though the general plan is the same for every class, the workouts are always different! As mentioned, I’ve been to 7 classes, and I’ve done completely different strength exercises every time! This is definitely one of those heart-pounding, sweat dripping kind of classes, BUT if you’re a workout newbie, it’s also great because it allows you to go your own pace on the bike and rower, and since most of the strength exercises include weights or kettle bells, you can choose whatever weight works for you. Furthermore, the class sizes are kept pretty small, with no more than 9-10 people per class. With music BLARING for this hour long cardio, lung-searing session, with the studio owner (Luis) yelling out phrases like “VAMANOS” or “It’s Cap and Gown Friday!” I’d highly recommend not only Fit Results, but also this Triple 20 class! It’s FUN, it’s FRESH, and it’s WORK!!!

http://www.fitresults.net

As you can see, I’ve definitely been keeping busy and SWEATY, during this time off from running. I’m hoping that once I’m able to run again, all these classes will enable me to make a quick comeback to my normal pace and endurance levels. I’ll need this because come December I’ll need to start training for the BOSTON MARATHON! That’s right, I’m officially registered for the 2015 Boston Marathon. While deferring Chicago, and finding out I had a stress fracture was frustrating, registering for Boston last week REALLY softened the blow. With that to look forward to on the horizon, gotta keep that strength and endurance up. Meaning, I’ll need to make the most of my ClassPass 🙂

Until next time, stay happy, healthy, and well everyone!!

xoxo,

Jackie

 

Taking A Load Off

Happy Tuesday!! Let’s all take a moment to be thankful that Monday is behind us, and today is a BRAND NEW DAY!

While I really have no right to complain, because my responsibilities these days are relatively nonexistent, but there were two things I had to do yesterday that I had been avoiding…but couldn’t put off any longer. The first was an email and the second was submitting a form.

Before I get too ahead of myself, I’ll rewind for a second. So, as I VERY BRIEFLY alluded to in a previous post I’ve been battling a recent running injury. I don’t think it’s a stress fracture, but it’s most definitely a bone pain on my right shin. I’ve taken about 2 weeks off running at this point, but even before I officially took time off, I’d decreased my milage and was cross training more than running, mainly because I could not run. When I tried to run, I would do this weird limp-run thing, and then would normally just end up walking because it felt so painful. Eventually it got to a point where Coach told me plain and simple if it wasn’t a stress fracture, it was sure to become one. I had two choices: keep running on it and further injure myself or shut it down for a couple weeks. I chose the latter, and that’s where I’m at now.

A weird thing happens when you stop running, all the running your body ISN’T doing, your mind IS. My mind hasn’t stopped to rest and I feel like I’ve been fighting a mental battle the past two weeks: all of which is aimed purely at myself. I was mad at myself for letting a nagging pain go on for so long, mad at myself for ignoring it, mad at myself for pushing so hard when I knew I shouldn’t be, mad for not taking more rest days, mad for blowing my promise of clean eating to myself during bar study…which resulted in bar weight gain…which resulted in some of the reason for injury…which has since forth led to even more weight gain because not running has truly made me depressed. Long story short, I am just mad at myself.

At the very least, I’ve been self aware of downward spiral I’ve been sending myself into.  I needed to take some time to think. For me, this usually means a nice, long run. Great, right? Like, how do I do that when I CANNOT RUN?!!? As a result, Saturday morning I donned my bike shorts and went out on a long ride. I evaluated my options: by that point I knew I wasn’t going to be running Chicago. At 5 weeks out, not running, and not having put in good milage over 3 weeks….just no. Last year I had an AMAZING experience running Chicago. It was beautiful. I’ll never forget how I felt after I finished…walking down Columbus, looking at the skyline, tears just streaming down my face, thanking God for the day, and feeling just awesome. I didn’t want to compromise that Chicago experience by following it up with a less than stellar one.  I’d planned running the Indianapolis Marathon if for some reason I didn’t run Chicago. But even now, that didn’t seem like a great idea. There wasn’t the same motivation in me to want to run. Mainly because even with a couple extra weeks of training, I still doubted my ability to bounce back and run the race I wanted to run.

So there were my options: run Chicago and potentially ruin that race for me, run Indy and maybe do okay, or run neither. I chose the third. It WAS hard. It IS hard. I feel like I gave up. I HATE that feeling. I PRIDE myself on my motivation, my perseverance, and my determination. At the same time, it felt like the best option of the three. Once I entertained the option in my mind, there was stress relief in that option. No timetable to have to adhere to, no schedule to adhere to, just let myself get myself back where I want to be, without race pressure pushing me to do things before I should.

Before I could officially make this decision I had to run it past the person I trusted most in regarding this situation: my running partner, Greg. He’d been checking in on me the past couple weeks, so he was aware of the situation and how down I’d been feeling. He was supportive of the decision to just call it for the fall, but understood at the same time how worried I was that come Oct 12 I would regret my decision. However, mentally venting with him wasn’t the hard part.

The hard part came when I had to email Coach to tell him everything I had told Greg. As expected, his reply was filled with understanding, trace disappointment, and a call for speedy return. The harder part came when I then had to submit my deferment form on the Chicago Marathon website. Sign here to QUIT, is what I felt like I was doing, but I tried to talk myself through all my reasoning over and over again, hoping it would stick. The only saving grace is that the Chicago Marathon does not send you an email confirmation when you defer, less evidence for us crazy runners I suppose.

Just like that I was no longer registered for Chicago 2014. When I told my family they could now free their calendar for Oct 12, my brother’s response best captured my feelings, “Bummer.” YUP that sums it up.

However, I know what I need to do now. I need to get back in it, head, heart, and body, even if I can’t run just yet. Time to get that (more jiggly) ass of mine (back) in tip-top shape. Which means I’m drawn to do what works for me when I need to cut off some lbs. It’s clean eating, Whole30 time! I let myself feel depressed, but that’s over now. Now that the marathon load is off, the extra load I’ve been carrying has GOT TO GO! The past is behind me, it cannot be changed, and the only thing to do is move on and move forward. Relentless forward progress.

I know Oct 12 I’ll be sad I’m not running, and I’ll feel left out, I’ll still be out there cheering on every runner. And until then I have 33 days to work on MY health and my body to get my mind and body back where it needs to be…which is a healthy place, a place it hasn’t been for awhile now.

I’ll of course be updating progress and PLEASE wish me luck 🙂

xoxoxo,

Jackie