Wow...all I can say is that I love Chicago. LOVE. What an amazingly beautiful city...full of life and so vibrant! I don't know why I have this vision of all cities in the US looking the same, but I honestly can't wait to go back and next time take Hubs with me. There was so much to look at and do, and luckily we were staying pretty much in the heart of downtown so things were very accessible. We did a few architectural tours...one walking, one on the river, which was so interesting as I never really knew just how much work and thought went into creating a beautiful building. Seriously cool.
And the food...sigh, the food. We tried Chicago style deep dish pizza (yum!), delish fresh seafood, and on the way out of town at the airport I hunted myself down a Chicago style hot dog and had it for breakfast. Yep, you read that right, breakfast...it had to be done, folks.
I also managed to fit in a few runs as well...thanks to Meg's suggestions, I ventured out to the lake for my long run which was incredible. Now the not so incredible thing was that it was freaking 85 degrees out at 7am (which means it felt like 95 degrees since I was running), and foolish little old me didn't think to pack a water belt with me so had to rely on water fountains. As I would come across one, I'd drink like I'd never drunk before and splash water all over myself which would inevitably dissipate within seconds. So hot. I did manage to squeeze in an 11K run though so happy with that and glad to say that I ran along Lake Michigan!
After the run, I ran through Millenium Park and took a photo of myself at the bean:
First running clinic done this past Sunday and it was awesome. Everyone was so incredibly friendly! One of the girls in my office has signed up as well but couldn't make it, so I was a little apprehensive about going on my own...but that fear was for naught. Within seconds of walking in, I was chatting with a couple who were also new, and got a few friendly smiles as I stood waiting for the clinic to start. The run was fairly short...7K for the half group (me!) and 13K for the full group. As we started out, I chatted with a few really nice people...there was one portion where there were a couple of girls running ahead of me and one of them turned around, smiled and asked how I was doing. Again, this is the joy of the running community...so inclusive and friendly...I can't say often enough how runners are not elitist. Anyways, I ended up running next to a really nice guy who I discovered goes to my bootcamp...and we chatted about his wife who used to be a 2 hour-ish runner and is now in the 1:40 range due to these very clinics. Totally gave me hope for myself that one day I could reach those speeds! Close to the end of the run, he looked at me with a sideways glance and a sly smile and said "wanna go for it?" Never one to turn down a challenge, I laughed and said "you're on!" and off we went as we raced each other back to the Peninsula Runners store! We high fived as we finished and thanked each other for the push. I think I'm gonna like this clinic business!
And tonight...our first class of the advance session of the Mindful Strides clinics. I'm looking forward to being under Marilyn's tutelage once again, and I'm hoping this session there'll be even more "a-ha!" moments that we seem to have at each level. Hubs is considering really cutting back his mileage so he can concentrate on his form/technique, which might fit OK if I end up running with my clinics...we'll see! Thankfully Marilyn was pretty happy with how we did tonight...it's been about two months since our last session but we did pretty well which leads us to believe that we might really be getting it and our muscles are actually remembering proper body positioning. Marilyn has group Mindful Strides runs every Saturday, so Hubs and I have decided that we're going to fit in a few so we can get a chance to run rather than just working on drills.
3. Scotiabank Vancouver Half
Eeeek! Second half mary of the year this weekend. I'm feeling ready, and hoping for a sub 2 hour finish. Wish me luck guys...I'll be out running between UBC and Stanley Park on Sunday between 7:30 - 9:30am...looking forward to seeing the course!
4. Back on the Wagon
Yup, back on the wagon this week - eating really well and exercising a ton! June 17th was my first clinic day so I thought what better day than to put all the debauchery behind me now that Maui and Chicago are done and get down to business. Absolutely not feeling very lean or light, so I'm committing to getting myself back into being a lean, mean, running machine. So far in my mind I'm envisioning this schedule:
Sunday: Pen Run clinic long run/off depending on Saturday run
Wednesday: Double day - bootcamp in morning,
Pen Run hills/speedwork/temp in evening
Thursday: Rest/Mindful Strides clinic (only six weeks)
Saturday: Long run with Hubs/Mindful Strides run/off depending on Sunday run
Whew, gonna be busy! But I'm feeling ready to get back into things and gear up for the Fall race.