Posted by: Liz | January 24, 2009

Winter Training, Week #4

Ugh..for the second week in a row, the CARA Winter Training had to be canceled due to the blistery cold weather.  Bah humbug!  Oh well, it is Chicago and it is winter–so these things happen.  Unfortunately, the weather had been quite fine all week and took a turn for the worst last night.

I headed back to the YMCA and did the 11 miles on the treadmill.  It was not half as fun as being outside, but at least I worked it in the heat of the workout room.  I went really early so as to beat the crowds–I didn’t want to be a hog while spending 1.5 hours on a treadmill.

The cold weather didn’t stop my husband from heading out to Lake Michigan for a surf session.  A friend reported that winds had moved the ice shelves south to Indiana creating an opening for them to catch some waves in Chicago.

I’m spending my afternoon petting beagles lazily paging through a stack of healthy food cookbooks given to me from a friend this morning.  Yum…  I’m headed off to make some delicious white chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for a birthday party this evening.  Everyone loves these cookies!

Hopefully, we’ll back on the lakefront next week.

Posted by: Liz | January 22, 2009

Ask the Dietitian Blog on Runner’s World

I love Leslie Bonci, Sports Dietitian. I got hooked on her nutrition video tips in the Runner’s World video series ‘Fast Nutrition’. Well, now I have another reason to frequent the RW web site where she now hosts a blog.

Ask the Sports Dietitian

Leslie J. Bonci, M.P.H., R.D, CSSD, LDN is a runner and registered dietitian with a master’s degree in public health from the University of Pittsburgh, where she is now an adjunct assistant professor of nutrition. She is also a Board certified Specialist in Sports Nutrition. She has expertise in nutrition therapy for weight management, digestive disorders, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and eating disorders.

Leslie also has a series of helpful videos; watch them here.

Posted by: Liz | January 18, 2009

It’s fun to go to the YMCA

Our CARA Winter Training Run #3 was canceled due to the freeze we’ve been having here in Chicago. Saturday wasn’t as bad as 17 below like Friday, but wind chills were still sub-zip. Good call, and it was only a6 an easy one to make up on the treadmill.

So, I headed to my YMCA in Elmhurst. I live in Oak Park, but was not excited about its Y. Laura, my ‘boot camp’ coach, is fitness director at Elmhurst-and it seemed cool.

Treadmill workouts and weights have added some great variety to my training. Intervals, inclines and pacing have been added to my repertoire.

On Saturday, I did 7 miles and Sunday did 5 with rolling inclines. I also did some upper body work.


Posted by: Liz | January 15, 2009

2009 Initial Race Plan, yea!

Here, in the dead of the Chicago winter where it’s too cold to take a comfortable walk to the neighborhood cafe, I suppose I’m dreaming about an active race season to keep me motivated. Fleet Feet Chicago just released its race series for 2009. I get all my shoes from Fleet Feet Elmhurst, since they helped me out before I was a runner. They are so nice there–stop by and shop!

So, it got me thinking about my plan…here’s what I’m may be too ambitious. I may cut some out so as not to get bored with racing, we’ll see how I feel when the season gets closer.

May 2, Palos Bank Half Marathon South West
June 7, 131 Chicago Half Marathon (Washington Park)
July 19, Women’s 5K, 10K festival
July 26, San Francisco Marathon
August 29, Chicago Triathalon Relay (Run)
September 13, Chicago Half Marathon
End of September, Nike 20 mile ‘Ready to Run’
October 11, Chicago Marathon

The most important ones are the two marathons, of course!

Posted by: Liz | January 14, 2009

Winter Training, Long Run #2

This week, we braved the snow for our second CARA Marathon Winter Training session. It wasn’t very cold, likely around 30 degrees, but portions of the trail were about a foot deep in snow. I changed to the 9:00 pace group and even with the pelting snow and wind, I enjoyed and was very comfortable at the faster pace. The 9:00 group split in two, and our group of all women seemed to really enjoy all the puppies braving the weather–so I was in like company. CARA did not officially run the intermediate mileage since the path north wasn’t plowed, but a few of us went on to do the 9 mile anyway. Good times with good people!

Gathering for the run

Gathering for the run

I want to send a giant THANK YOU to the group of people who pushed my little stuck Jetta out of the parking lot. Boy, the weather we’ll endure to get in a run.

We are getting more snow and tomorrow is a high of ZERO degrees.. so we’ll see about this weekend. I may want to ‘treadmill it’.

Taking a water break at the CARA N. Av station

Taking a water break at the CARA N. Av station

Posted by: Liz | January 7, 2009

Chicago Lakefront Path

This post serves as the first of what will surely be many entries describing the Chicago Lakefront Path. The 18 mile lakefront path is the crown jewel of Chicago’s trails. If you are a runner in Chicago, you likely are familiar with its beautiful views of both Lake Michigan and the urban skyline, the almost constant summer sporting events, the plentiful water fountains. I have seen the Chicago skyline thousands of times, but I still get a proud Chicagoan feeling when I’m running north around the Shedd Aquarium where the downtown comes in view.

Because it’s such a great path, it can be VERY BUSY with runners, bikers, strollers, rollerbladers, etc. in some segments, especially immediately north of downtown and into Lincoln Park. But, don’t let it scare you off–camaraderie can be your motivating friend. Do beware of the wind! One day I ran 10 miles south easily unrecognizing that I had the helping hand of the wind at my back. On turnaround at the 31st street beach, the gusty wind attached at my face and pace for the 10 miles back to my car….ouch! If it’s windy, start against the wind.

For a map of the path go to the Chicago Park District Beaches Page, and scroll down the long page to the ‘Lakefront Maps’.

Chicago's icy wintery beach is still great to run near.

Chicago's icy wintery beach is still great to run near.

Posted by: Liz | January 7, 2009

Funny Movie: Run, Fat Boy, Run

My husband picked out 2 marathon movies for me from Netflix. We just watched “Run, Fat Boy, Run” and it made me laugh out loud. Maybe I was just in the mood for a chuckle–but I found it pretty darn funny. A kinda uninspired loser tries to compete with the new boyfriend of a hot chick the loser left at the altar (when she was pregnant). So, he tries to take on the marathon–like his rival, the new boyfriend. That’s a horrible description, sorry! Check it out!

Posted by: Liz | January 4, 2009

Winter Training, Long Run #1

We couldn’t have had a nicer winter day for our first long run of CARA winter marathon training. Though the wind kept my lips numb, the bright sunshine inspired a spring in my step. I feel like I could have run forever. Colors were hyper-saturated and shadows over-pronounced. We were in a kodachrome high-contrast movie scene. Unfortunately, I had an internal soundtrack that kept playing the same annoying 80’s songs…??? I’m not sure why.

No one in my pace group was interested in the intermediate mileage (8m as opposed to 5m). So, I just went for an additional 5 miles on my own (for a total of 10 m). Next week I’ll look for a different pace group with people doing the intermediate distances.


Look at that sunshine and those shadows!

Icy winter lakefront

Icy winter lakefront

Posted by: Liz | January 2, 2009

CARA Winter Training starts tomorrow!

I’m starting off the new year with my first CARA (Chicago Area Runner’s Association) group training. I signed up for the Winter Marathon Training program that meets the next 18 weeks for long runs along the lakefront path. CARA provides hydration and the cost was very reasonable ($100 or something). We meet near the totem pole and divide into pace groups. Since this is my first group run, I’m not sure how it will go–but I’m pretty excited about it.

With the winter weather, I thought it safer (and more motivating) to sign up with an organized group. The training is set up to get trainees ready for a spring marathon–especially the Wisconsin Marathon in Kenosha and the new Illinois Marathon at Champaign/Urbana. I don’t plan to do a spring marathon, but rather am just trying to get stronger for a the San Francisco Marathon at the end of July–my sister and I are already signed up! I’ll probably fit in a 1/2 marathon in May (either the new Magellan Chicago Spring Half or the Palos Bank Southwest.)

Training schedules are in two levels, novice and intermediate. I like the intermediate distances, but I want to see how convenient it is with the group.

Week …… Novice …….. Intermediate ……..What I did..
1/3 ………. 5 miles ……… 8 miles …………. 10 miles
1/10 …….. 7 miles ……… 9 miles …………… 9 miles
1/17 …….. 6 miles ……… 6 miles…………… 7 miles (on treadmill–canceled due to weather..brrr…)
1/24 …….. 9 miles …….. 11 miles…………… 11 miles (on treadmill..brr..)
1/31 ……. 10 miles ……. 12 miles
2/7 ……… 7 miles ……… 9 miles
2/14 ……. 11 miles ……. 13 miles
2/21 ……. 13 miles ……. 15 miles
2/28 …… 10 miles ……. 11 miles
3/7 …….. 15 miles ……. 16 miles
3/14 …… 16 miles ……. 18 miles
3/21 …… 12 miles ……. 13 miles
3/28 ….. 18 miles ……. 20 miles
4/4 ……. 14 miles ……. 12 miles
4/11 …… 20 miles …… 20 miles
4/18 ….. 12 miles ……. 12 mile
4/25 …… 8 miles …….. 8 miles


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Posted by: Liz | January 1, 2009

Eat to Run, Run to Eat

With the new year and all of the talk of resolutions, I thought I’d make a quick post focused on eating. I love food and equally love eating and drinking. From what I’ve read, running burns more energy than almost any other workout. To run at my best, I need to eat enough to be well fueled. On the other side of that coin, when I want to indulge a bit–I just have to make time to sneak in a little extra run time. This eat to run/run to eat relationship works well for me!

That said, anyone who has eaten with me lately might laugh at my use of word ‘indulge’. Along with taking on running as a hobby, I have also focused on the basics of food nutrition and eating healthy foods. Honestly, I didn’t lose a pound from exercising until my exercise boot camp instructor skillfully guided my eating decisions.

A couple good resources for nutrition information are:

Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 4th editionNancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook
Hal Higdon and other running books quote this guidebook extensively, so I decided to check out the source. The first section of this book is a great guide to a healthy diet–regardless of your participation in sports. Get the 4th edition! Earlier editions do not refer to vegetarian options as frequently.

Runner’s World – Nutrition and Weight Loss
The Runner’s World web site has fun, readable and informative articles to keep you motivated. I especially like the short topical ‘Fast Nutrition’ videos usually featuring nutritionist Lesli Bonci. Check them out!

Some healthy eating blogs:

Running with Food: Adventures in Cooking and Healthy Living

Hungry Girl: Tips & Tricks…for Hungry Chicks

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