Race Recap: CARA Lakefront 10 Miler

Saturday 4.28: Chicago Area Runner’s Association Lakefront 10 Miler

Time: 2:00:35 ~ 10 miles.  12:04/mile pace.  Chilly-willy!

Lonely Starting Line

On Friday the 13th, CARA had a contest on their Facebook page for free entry in to the Lakefront 10 miler.  Because this was a taper week for 1/2 marathon training, I wasn’t planning on running it but… surprise!  I won the contest!  🙂

The fact that this was a “free” race really tested my runner’s resolve when I was lying in my warm cozy bed at 6:30 on Saturday morning listening to the pouring rain and wind.  It was barely above 40 degrees.  Free race…   warm bed…  free race…  hot coffee…  But, I got up and got ready.  I really wanted to use this as a test run (pun intended) for the Half Marathon, and that’s what really motivated me.  Especially because I wanted to try out my new fanny pack AirFlow WaistPack to see how it felt running with my phone/keys/tissues/tampons/gels/hand sanitizer.

I stayed at home a little too long, trying to decide what to wear.  It was chilly, windy and rainy so I ended up wearing a slicker that I bought at the thrift store.  Not the most technical piece of clothing I own, but it had to do.  Pros: Waterproof/windproof.  Cons: Too big, hood does not fit right, not breathable or wicking, so I felt pretty swampy.

Got to the race site JUST as the race was about to start.  Note to self…  allow extra time on race day.  DUH.  I frantically asked the first person I saw (a very sweet MC) where gear check was.  It was closed.  Wah wah.  But he let me stow my stuff with him.  Thank you, Mr. Announcer!

The course went North to Foster Beach then South along the Lakefront.  Before getting to Mile 1, I noticed some folks from my weekend running group.  I ended up catching up with them and it was great to have them to talk to!  I had missed a few weeks of our meetings because I was sick, then overslept last week after Memphis, so it was nice to be able to see them again!  It really does make a difference when you have someone to talk to.

Around the 5k point is where things started to get interesting for me.  The course curves around, and then goes up Cricket Hill, near Montrose Harbor.  Here is a pic from a few weeks back when we ended a 9 mile run up the hill:

Cricket Hill

On this course, the hill came at about 3.5 miles, so relatively early in the race.  Before we even started up it, my tummy started rumbling.  Not in an “I’m hungry and need fuel” kind of way.  More in a “where is the port-a-potty??” way.  I will spare you all the details, my faithful readers, but I did not feel very well.  So then I got distracted.  (Oh, if you’d like to read up on some fun female running issues, a handful of which I was experiencing on Saturday, read the “Girl Talk” article from Active.com.)

Around mile 4, we started seeing the finishers coming back.  Yup.  The first runner finished all 10 miles in 53:42.  UNREAL!  It was great to see all of them coming back, they were so focused and determined.  It took awhile before we saw the first woman, and we cheered for her the loudest!

I tried to do all water for this one, I read somewhere that a good strategy is water only for the first 4 miles, then Gatorade at mile 4 or 5 if available, and for 1/2s, try the supplements (gels/GU/beans) at the halfway mark.  As we were coming back from the harbor, our group split up a little bit.  When we went past some park restrooms, there was a line for the ladies’ room, so I decided I would go on the way back.  Then on the way back, even though I *knew* where the bathrooms were… I ended up heading for the wrong building.  At that point, I lost my group entirely!  And the bathrooms were locked.  So I had to go a little further on.  This potty break ended up taking at least 5 minutes, but I felt SO much better afterwards.

I tend to be hard on myself when it comes to times, and had to keep reminding myself that next week is truly the “big dance.”  This race, and really ALL races, should be FUN.  The last 2.5 miles went by rather quickly, and I was pleased with my finishing time.  Clock said 2:02:35ish when I crossed, and my official time was just over 2 hours. The one thing I noticed, and this probably has something to do with the weather (it was still windy, cold and rainy at the end of the race) was the lack of enthusiasm for those finishers crossing the line when I did.  The end is where runners (new runners, slow runners, seasoned runners, older runners) need the most encouragement.  So when you cross the finish line to lackluster volunteers dangling a medal at you, it’s sort of a letdown.  At one point, a park employee was driving a truck through the course… and towards the very end, volunteers were standing on the sidewalk (yards from the finish line) with boxes on a dolly to be carted away, just chatting.  This sense that you are arriving too late or that it took you too long to be worth the party, that can get frustrating.  I’m saying this more for myself than for the race organizers, because next time I am going to cheer those late finishers on like CRAZY!

I grabbed some water at the finish and headed straight to the NovaCare folks.  Physical Therapists were there to help runners stretch.  It was GREAT.  Really really really great.

Post-race, I had a moment of panic where I couldn’t find my bag.  I got my race shirt and talked so some incredibly helpful volunteers, and eventually found my bag.  Again, note to self, get to the race site early!  Gear check!  Don’t just drop your stuff with strangers!  I put on my jacket and shivered my way home and in to a large Dunkin Donuts coffee.


Breakfast Week: Sunday Breakfast

Saturday’s Pre-Race Breakfast was really enough food to keep me fueled for all 10 miles. Only problem was that I had to use the bathroom while on the race course! NO FUN. My post-race breakfast was not all that spectacular. I had been craving some wonderful baked good, and got a coffee cake muffin at Dunkin Donuts on my way home. (Along with a GIANT COFFEE because I never thought I would be warm again! 14PPs for that muffin… plus 1 extra for the butter I put on it. This was incredibly indulgent and just what I wanted.

Sunday’s pre-race breakfast was similar (just one slice of toast though… 5k = less toast 🙂 )

Breakfast Week: Breakfast + Lunch = Leakfast.


1/2 Black bean patty: 2PPs
1 slice white bread: 2PPs
1 tsp mayo: 1PPs
Side of fresh fruit: OPPs

For whatever reason, I was overwhelmed with invites to go out to breakfast or dinner events last week. And after my running buddies finished up the Ravenswood 5k on Sunday, they asked me to brunch with them. Even though I was leary of spending the money, I’m hardpressed to turn down brunch with friends.
One thing that is a key to successful weight loss is how you handle going out for meals. Because planning every bite you take, and preparing all your food at home is just… unrealistic. For me, the key to success (which I am still learning) is to SPEAK UP! Ask how dishes are prepared. Ask what things come with. Alternate steamed veggies for fries. And remember, even though this is a meal that is not being prepared from your own kitchen, dining out is not an excuse to over-indulge. Make the special events SPECIAL! (My mantra for this is “celebrate every day…. but remember, every day is not a ‘celebration’!”.)

At the charming caffe DeLuca in Bucktown, I decided to skip breakfast all together and order off the lunch menu. I got a black bean burger, no cheese and had them add some red onion. What I forgot to do was ask for the mayo (oh, I’m sorry… the herb aioli) on the side. Honestly, “on the side” should be my catch phrase. Anyway, sammie came with mayo. No biggie. I skipped the fries on the side and had a great fruit cup. Had 1/2 of the burger and was completely happy with my meal. The other half came with me to work for dinner tonight. Portion control and asking for what you want… these are my tools of the trade.

How do you handle meals out?


Capital City Half Marathon Training: Week 11


Monday = I was really sore today after my 11 mile long run over the weekend.  I had been planning on a run, but opted for a long, brisk walk instead.  A great walk through my new favorite area of Chicago, Budlong Woods.
Tuesday = 30 minutes on the elliptical.  I stopped in to the gym before work today.  I am rarely at the gym at 10:30 on a Tuesday, and it was PACKED.  A brief weigh in told me I was not going to see a loss this week….  Went out to a really cute restaurant for dinner though (think old school supper club):  L. Woods and I planned out what I was going to order before hand, so I felt pretty good!
Wednesday = Made it back to Chick’s Night at Fleet Feet.  It had been AGES.  When I signed in when I got there, I realized I hadn’t been there since March 28th.  TOO LONG!  I really want to get there as much as possible, so this is my Wednesday priority now!
Weigh-In Wednesday = +1.2.  Better than expected but….  still frustrating.
Thursday = 30 minutes on the elliptical.  Tapering, so less running but trying to stay active!
Saturday= Lakefront 10 Miler! 2:00:13 finish! Race recap to follow.
Sunday= Ravenswood 5k! 32:17! A new PR! Race recap to follow.

I am getting SO excited for the Capital City Half Marathon! Driving from Chicago on Thursday. Here’s a little (hilarious) preview of what’s to come, courtesy of Jen! (Visit her at http://therunninggal.wordpress.com/!)


Breakfast Week: Friday (part two: breakfast out)

Breakfast out did not go quite as planned, but to make this program live-able, that will happen sometimes.

Went to Svea, a local Swedish diner in my neighborhood. This place is great, and their breakfast potatoes are WONDERFUL.


I was planning on potatoes, but undecided about the rest. Usually they have grapefruit on the menu too, but yesterday they were out. This is a small spot with a limited menu, so I got 2 eggs scrambled, English muffin and potatoes.

This is where meal regret began! I started thinking, I should have ordered an omelette…. They are out of fruit, so I should have had veggies instead, this will be an OFF PLAN BREAKFAST. And then the neighboring table got egg white omelettes and fresh tomato slices while my greasy plate came with extra buttery English muffin! (I even forgot to say no butter!)

The point of all this anxiety is that… These things happen. I adjusted, I ate less because my “Pre-breakfast” had me filled up, I left food on my plate, and really enjoyed the potatoes because that’s what I wanted!

How do you handle bumps in the road?


Breakfast Week: Friday (Part One: The jewel in the crown)


Breakfast Week: Friday Fruit Salad


2 sliced strawberries: 0PPs
5 blackberries: 0PPs
1/2 medium mango, chopped: 0PPs
1/2 medium banana, sliced: 0PPs
1/8 cup low fat granola: 1PPs
1 cup skim milk: 2PPs

Occasionally I get Fridays off of my job. I try to use these days to catch up with my theater friends who have more free daytimes, and today is no exception! I am going out for breakfast at one of my favorite Andersonville spots… But we’re not going out until 10:30. I was wide awake at 7:30 with a growling stomach!

I was thinking of what low Points Plus “Pre-breakfast” I could have, and also of what fruit I had left in the house. I knew I would have coffee, so I always measure out a cup of milk, pour what I want in to the coffee and drink the rest. Or, like today, I will pour it over cereal, fruit, or oatmeal.

There is this concept that a fellow WW-er swears by, and I have been making a conscious effort to follow up on it. It’s this notion of finding the “jewel in the crown” of your meal. It’s that thing, that treat, that tasty bit, that fattening indulgent bite that is SO GOOD. A perfect example of this would be the granola in this mix. Granola, sadly, is not a very point friendly food. It is usually high in fat and sugar (which is why it’s so tasty!), and one half cup can run 5 points or more. This jewel in the crown could be 1/4 cup of that special, tasty, awesome granola over fresh fruit! Or what about a couple fried shrimp over a large green salad? Or some fresh grated parmesan cheese sprinkled over a baked sweet potato? It’s taking something you LOVE, enjoying it in moderation, and pairing it with foods that will leave you filled and satisfied! Because if you’re not happy… What’s it all worth?

I will report back with Part Two… Friday Breakfast: Eating Out!

What’s your “jewel in the crown”?


Breakfast Week: Thursday

Prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner last night before bed.  Thursday = Smoothie day!

Breakfast Week: Thursday

1 packet Weight Watchers Chocolate Smoothie mix: 2PPs
4 large strawberries: 0PPs
1/2 large banana: 0PPs
1 slice Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin bread: 2PPs
1 wedge Laughing Cow cinnamon cream cheese: 1PPs

A few weeks ago, I decided to try out Weight Watchers’ coconut smoothies. Holy cow, they are GOOD. They are made with powdered milk, and count for one dairy when blended with water. Of course, you can make them with milk for additional creaminess, which also ups the Points Plus, and gets you two dairy servings in one yummy smoothie.

The other exciting thing about smoothies is that you can combine your favorite fruits (and veg!) in as many combinations as you can imagine.  Strawberries, bananas and chocolate?  Coconut and pineapple?  Mango, vanilla and raspberry?  YES!  At the beginning of my smoothie kick, I also stopped in and picked up some samples of Tera’s Whey protein powder at my local health food store.  I have yet to try them, but I can’t wait!

The additional exciting part of this breakfast was the cream cheese.  I am usually a butter and jam girl when it comes to toast, but had to try these from Laughing Cow.  SO GOOD!

What do YOU add to your smoothies?