Sunday, November 29, 2015

Schaumburg Half Marathon Race Recap

This race was not on my radar at all this year. After I ran the Chicago Marathon, I made a promise to myself (and my coach) that I was going to devote the rest of the year to recovery.


Full disclosure: I have been very diligent about my recovery. I've kept my mileage low. Two weeks ago, I started throwing a long run back into the mix, running a 10 miler. Weekly mileage has been around 20-22 miles. I've been doing yoga at least twice/week. One thing I haven't been doing is working with Becky. We were supposed to start up again 2 weeks ago, but she got sick and then Thanksgiving happened. I'm going back to see her on Thursday this week. It's been 6 weeks since I've lifted a thing.

I've started to get antsy. I've never been good at behaving myself. Knowing that this last half marathon of the year was coming up, I started to entertain the idea of running it. I've run it before, and so I knew what to expect. I started stalking the weather. On Tuesday, the forecast for the race showed 40 degrees and no rain. I decided to sign up.

Even this morning, as I prepared to head out to the race, I was having runner's remorse. What was I thinking? I had done one longish run in the last 6 weeks! I was out of Tailwind, but I decided to fuel with Clif Gel, which is what I used in the past. Since it was supposed to be cold, I knew hydration wouldn't be an issue. The night before the race, I had my usual pizza and wine. My husband, knowing that I was running in the morning asked me, "no sausage, right?"

Yep, race prep at it's finest.

As I got ready to line up for the race, I passed a familiar face. It was Pete B from The Lakefront Trail! I knew he was going to be at the race, but we had never met before, and I wasn't sure exactly if it was him. He recognized me right away, and we chatted for a few minutes. He promised to meet me at the finish, and we got ready to run.

Pete and me prior to the race. My "new" throwaway sweatshirt, which only made it to this one race.
I had to crawl through the fence to get into the race corral. I lined up with the 8:45 minute milers. At the last minute, I took off my throwaway sweatshirt, and was immediately chilled. I was wearing the new shirt that I picked up at Dick's Sporting Goods the night before. Once we got moving, I felt a little less chilled but wow, it was cold!

The race course took us through the Busse Woods forest preserve. I've run and biked there in the past, and I was pretty familiar with the trails. Part of the preserve was under construction, so we were doing a lot of out and backs. The first out and back was right away, and I saw Pete with the front of the pack. I started out at an 8:30 pace and I could not believe how many people were passing me. I didn't let myself get caught up in the rush, though, telling myself to fall into my pace. I kept a close eye on my Garmin the entire race. My legs felt light. They felt really good. I was a little scared of that. Cautiously optimistic, I thought to myself that this could be a good race if I played my cards right.

I continued to run at this 8:30-8:40 pace for most of the race. A couple of hiccups though: at mile 3, I started to feel a little off, and stopped at the water station to take a gel and drink. This was was before I had planned on stopping to fuel, but after about a half mile, I felt much better so I knew I did the right thing. Then at mile 6 I started to get a side stitch. WTH? I've been plagued with those all year. I breathed through it, making sure to exhale on the opposite side. After about 2 miles, it finally went away. I took another gel and water at mile 8.5. It was hard to get the water down because it was so cold!

At that point, I knew I could push my pace. My legs continued to feel good. My PF was quiet. And my tummy? Nothing happening there either. This was crazy. I have never felt this good during a race. Ever. There were no thoughts of "how much longer" or "I hate this". I smiled at the few spectators along the course. High fived a few kids. Waved to the photographers.

Still cautiously optimistic, at mile 9, I picked up the pace to something about 8:00 min/mile. And felt fine. Seriously. Who am I?

I paced a couple of miles with a girl wearing shorts. Her legs were red from the cold. I chased her all the way to the finish line. There was an incline at mile 13, and I felt a little ragged, running that fast up the hill. Once I got to the top, I could see the finish line. I got my breathing under control, and flew towards the finish. I saw Pete at the finish and he had his phone up to take pictures.

Flying to the finish line! Thanks Pete!
I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face--I saw the finish line clock and it said 1:52:32. Negative splits too! I was thrilled! And I felt great. Prior to the race, I didn't know what I had in the tank, but it looks like I did my post-marathon recovery right. Throughout the race, my legs felt amazing. No hamstring tugging, at all. My foot didn't bother me. I'm also happy that I had no tummy issues, since there weren't a lot of portapotties along the trails. This was my strongest half marathon that I have ever run. It was #15 for me. This was my 2d fastest half ever, and only 24 seconds slower than my best. Wow. Just wow.

BTW, I came in 6/54 for my AG, 118/771 women
Looks like spontaneity is the way to go...

Pete came and found me and we compared notes. He did great, winning his age group, and coming in 16th overall! We waited for him to get his award, and then we left. It was so cold.

This is one of those races that gets little attention, but really should be on everyone's radar. Since it is the last half marathon in the Chicago area, the race attracts some really fast runners, the course is mostly flat and run on paved paths, and the cost is pretty cheap. There were about 1400 runners total, but since they don't cap the number of participants, this is a race you can decide on at the last minute. Parking is a breeze, and they have shuttle buses to the starting line. This race is a favorite of mine--it probably won't be the last time I run it!

Have you ever signed up for a race at the last minute? How did it go? Ever totally surprise yourself at a race? What was your best race ever? Why?

I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap! I can't wait to read about everyone else's weekends!

And with Julie's Best of the Blogs linkup!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Runfessions for November

And once again, it's time for Runfessions--the monthly clear the conscience air it all link up hosted by Marcia at Marcia's Healthy Slice. I can hardly believe it's the end of November! Where has the time gone? Seems like we were all complaining about how hot it is, and then boom, we got hit by a snowstorm...

Speaking of snow, that leads to my first runfession...I love running in the snow. But I hate winter. How can this even be a thing?  Thankfully, Mother Nature made this snow event a brief one. After only a few days, we warmed up and melted that white stuff.

Actually, I'm fine with snow until January, and then I'm ready for spring to come. I have to admit that a white Christmas is a good thing. The snow does help a little bit, to get me in the mood for Christmas. But runfess that I'm a bit of a scrooge. It just seems to me that Christmas is so over the top these days. A few weeks ago, the mall near my house had Santa's arrival, and it was a major BFD. And no, Santa didn't come in a sleigh. He arrived in a helicopter. Complete with fireworks. Man, do I feel like I was deprived as a kid. We just went to see him at the local park shelter, fixed up to look like Santa's workshop. And we were so excited to see him. Kids today don't know how good they have it.

I runfess that my dog goes to bed with me at night and cuddles next to me. It's pretty sweet. She sleeps on my husband's pillow, and when he comes to bed, she reluctantly moves to the middle of the bed. The other night, I woke up and reached over to stroke her soft fur. It's so soothing. I was half asleep, and as I petted her, I started to realize that her fur felt a little coarse. I thought maybe I was petting her stomach. I realized I was petting my husband's leg! He was like, "what are you doing?" and I told him I thought he was the dog. I'm still chuckling about it, although I don't think he thought it was funny at all. He left to sleep on the couch.

Looks just like my Cleo!
I'm embarrassed to admit--I know this, is runfessions, but still...last weekend, I was not nice, ok I was--I'll just say it--I was rude to a customer service representative on the phone.

Ok. There it is. I was trying to upload pictures to Shutterfly. They had a free calendar offer, and I wanted in. I've used Shutterfly a million times in the past, but for some reason, I could not upload pictures to the website. Apparently, Shutterfly no longer supports Mac iOs. But they decided not tell us Mac owners, even posting an "easy extension" to help upload pictures from iPhoto directly to their website. I wasted several hours trying to get this to work. I should have just walked away. But no. I had to have my calendar. So I finally sucked it up and called customer service. I was on hold for an eternity. When my turn came, I patiently answered all the CSR's questions. But when she told me to "clear my cache and my cookies", I kind of lost it. I mean, really lost it. Why do they always ask you to clear your cache and cookies? REALLY? I asked to be transferred to someone in IT, and she sent me into purgatory. I'm sure I deserved it. After about 10 minutes on hold, I finally hung up and went back to working on my project. Eventually, I figured out a work around and got my pictures uploaded. The calendar is in the mail. And I'll feel guilty every time I look at it. Not really.

Finally, I have a huge runfession. Remember, how I was not going to run any races until next spring? I was taking it easy? I'm in recovery mode, right? Well...the last local half marathon of the year is this Saturday and I signed up. I had been considering running this one, even though I'm not in half marathon shape. But it wasn't until Tuesday night on my way home from work that I had this text exchange with Sara...

I was hoping she would tell me she was running it. That would have sealed the deal for me. But as I drove home from work and thought about it more, I realized that I really wanted to run this thing. No, I'm not in half marathon shape. Could I even sub-2? Who knows. My PF is still there, improving but still bothering me. And yet, my next race isn't until March. Oh, and then there's my coach. I haven't seen her for 6 weeks...maybe she won't even know. This race brings me to an even 15 halfs, and you know what? My OCD likes that. 

And so there it is. I signed up, and I'll be lining up at 9:15 am on Saturday. The last time I ran this one, it was a spur of the moment decision as well. I hope that the good karma I brought to that race follows me here. Regardless, it's a pretty course through a forest preserve that I'm familiar with and the weather forecast looks good. Don't judge me. The guy at packet pickup asked me how my training was going and I was like, "training? What training?". 

Oh, and I'm out of Tailwind...

Don't forget about my giveaway! I'm participating in a Holiday Blog Hop with about 15 other bloggers and everyone is giving away something good. And that's my final runfession--I've gotten no holiday shopping done, but plenty of packages are arriving...for me! Ayyy...and that's the struggle! Anyways don't forget to check it out! The post is here and there are 25+ other bloggers all giving something away.

Have you ever gone off on a customer service rep? Signed up for a race at the last minute? Do you let your dog in your bed? How do you feel about running in the snow? Have you entered my giveaway? Checked out the blog hop?

Sure, I'm linking up with Marcia, but I'm also linking up with the Friday Five aka Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia! Because, yep, 5 Runfessions right here...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Beautiful bounty

This past weekend, the Chicago area was hit with an abundance of snow. This may, in fact, have been our largest snowfall this early in the season ever. Interestingly, our neighbors to the north in Wisconsin and Minnesota were spared.

Official total? 11.5 inches. Thankfully, the temperatures are warming back up, and we are going to see the ground again very soon.

But in the meantime, what did I do with our bounty of snow?

I ran during the storm. It was beautiful. It was peaceful. But very slushy and wet. When I got home, my feet were soaked. My hands were soaked. I was chilled to the bone. That post run shower felt heavenly.

The day after the storm was sunny. But it was really cold. Winter-like cold. January-like cold. I put on my cold weather gear and my running shoes and took it to the trails where I do so much of my training. The park district plows these trails. While they were somewhat clear, the trails were a little bit slippery. I took it slow. And managed to stay upright for the entire run. For my efforts, I was rewarded with a feast for my senses.

Snow. Sun. Blue skies. Crisp, clean air. Solitude.

I felt almost euphoric when I finished. There's just something special about running in those conditions. When so many runners throw up their hands and head to the treadmill, there are a few of us who take it outside, no matter what Mother Nature throws our way.

Instead of cursing the weather, I looked at this bounty of snow as a gift.

Transformed by the bounty of snow, my very familiar world took on a whole new look.

It's been at least 9 months since I ran in snowy conditions. We're still in between seasons, and the leaves haven't entirely left the trees.

I felt pretty lucky. Sure, I complain about the cold. I say that I'd love to live where the winters are mild. But every winter, I'm reminded about how beautiful the change of seasons can be.

Remind me to read this in March...

Do you like running in the snow? What are your favorite running conditions? What's your weather deal breaker?

I'm linking this post with DebRuns for her Wednesday Word link up. Today's word is bountiful! Be sure to check out the other posts!

Monday, November 23, 2015

This or that? Gift guide for runners

It's that time of year! Time to go overboard and buy all the gifts. If you're like me, you struggle with buying gifts for your family and friends, but don't seem to have any issues buying gifts for yourself. Why is that?

Now you all know another one of my secrets. And it's not even Runfessions time...that's next week.

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite finds for the runner on your list! Maybe that someone is me! Some of these are products I have featured on the blog...and some are just things I like. I've reached out to some of the companies and have a few discount codes for you as well. And if you're really patient, like a kid waiting for Santa, there's something special for you at the end of this post....

So let's get started...

Because I'm so high maintenance, I have to head out on my long runs looking like a pack mule.

I could run with this:
Or you could run with one of my favorite products that I was able to put to the test this year. Earlier this year, SLS3 reached out to me to trial the HiP ZiPP. Throughout the summer and my marathon training, I became well acquainted with the HiP ZiPP, and I have to say that I really, really like it. For the Chicago Marathon, I ran with 4 packages of Tailwind, a package of wipes, my iPhone 6, and lip balm. All these items fit nicely into the HiP ZiPP.

SLS3 is offering my readers a $10 off code HZ10 on the HiP ZiPP!
 There is also Free Shipping on any order over $10.

Even Mrs. Kravitz runs outside in the winter. When it's really cold out, I wear my balaclava, which allows me to run incognito. I'm sure no one knows it's me, right? I could run like this:

Or I could use this face mask that I won last spring from another blogger. While I didn't get a chance to use the BeFreeGear Ninja Face Mask last year, I already put it to use this past weekend. Who knew that I'd have an opportunity to look like a Ninja Warrior in November? After one use, I can say thumbs up! It's nice and light and it kept me warm. The fleece gator is an extra bonus.

Think of all the snooping I can do in this! 
This item can be ordered on for $16.47!

You could give fruitcake.

Or you could give FLYJOY bars to your friends and family. Recently I had a review and a very successful giveaway from FLYJOY! FLYJOY makes energy bars that are vegan, paleo-friendly, and gluten free. I was able to sample 6 of the 7 flavors they offer, and every flavor was really tasty. My meat eating, Clif bar loving husband liked the bars as well. I'm pretty excited about these bars!

So many readers wanted to try these bars that I reached out to FLYJOY to ask about a discount code. FLYJOY is offering a 50% discount for first-time orders using the code TLWH50OFF.

Speaking of food, I'm still eating ALL THE THINGS since I ran Chicago. Good thing I have another marathon to train for! Since I am always hungry, I'm always on the lookout for healthy, tasty meals. It would be so tempting just to go to the drive through, wouldn't it?

The Runner's World Meals on the Run Cookbook will be on my Christmas list! There are 150 meals that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. I'm all about that kind of fast food--the healthy kind. I've made my share of recipes from Runner's World in the past, and they're usually pretty good.

I found the cookbook on Amazon for $20.33.

All that yoga I've been doing this year has taken a toll on my yoga mat. Seriously, I have skid marks on it from all those planks and jump backs I've been doing.

I've been looking at yoga mats, and I'm putting one on my list this year. My studio likes Manduka, but I iccha this Lululemon yoga mat. 5mm thick and with polka dots to boot. Warrior 2 never looked so good.

No discount ever on these mats. But...polka dots...

We can't run all the time, right? Cycling has always been my favorite way to cross train, but ice and snow are not a cyclist's best friends. I don't belong to a club, so I have to workout at home. Too bad.

My big ticket item on my list is a bike trainer. I asked my 3 of favorite cyclists, Karen from Trading in My Heels, Phaedra from Blisters and Black Toenails and Kelli from Destination Awesome to make some recommendations about bike trainers. Lucky me to have people to steer me in the right direction. Both Phaedra and Kelli recommended trainers by Kurt Kinetic for value and reliability. Karen and Kelli recommended Cycleops as well. Cycleops has the Fluid2 indoor trainerel="nofollow" href="">Road Machine for my wish list.

The Kurt Kinetic Road Machine is $295.20. There's a 20% off special running now until November 28!

Finally, my big news. I'm participating in a holiday blog hop! Each of the blogs listed below are hosting a holiday giveaway to thank our loyal readers for sticking with us all year long. I've never participated in a blog hop before, but this seems like a lot of fun and a great excuse to thank all of you! Oh, and there's the whole winning prizes thing.

But what to do? What should I give away?

After Diatta from Femme Fitale Fit Club posted a review of fitness trackers, the light bulb went off. I thought it would be fun to give away the UP MOVE by Jawbone activity and sleep tracker! This is a clip on fitness tracker that syncs easily with either your android or iOS device. Even Mrs. Kravitz can't track you like this thing does. The UP MOVE pretty much tracks your every move. You can connect with friends and family. And it's really cute.

I wonder if it would work for my teenagers. Hmmm....

a Rafflecopter giveaway

****giveaway only open to US residents. Sorry to my Canadian friends!****

I'm also linking this post with Tuesdays on the Run, aka MarciaErika, and Patti for their runners' gift guide! Check out all the ideas that everyone else has for the runner on your list. Or for yourself...

There's a ton of gift ideas via blog posts on Amanda's blog, Run to the Finish!

And you can #winalltheprizes with Erica and Smitha on their Wednesday Giveaway Roundup!

Linking up with Katie at TalkLessSayMore where there are a TON of holiday gift ideas!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Road therapy

I did not want to go for a run this morning.

A really bad day at work yesterday led to a sleepless night. I did finally fall asleep, but I woke up early with a headache. After getting the boys off to school and couple of cups of coffee, I put on my running shoes and forced myself out the door.

I always run on my day off, and I had to keep telling myself that I needed this one. In fact, it was a beautiful morning, albeit a little windy and chilly, and I knew that the run would do me good. I needed to work some things out.

I don't normally write about my job. This is, after all, a running blog. One bad day at work does not normally require any kind of deep thought. We all have bad days. Unfortunately, lately there have been a lot of bad days at my work, and not just for me. It's the norm for those of us who work in healthcare. The system has become overburdened by high cost and diminishing resources while we providers continue to try to meet increasing demands of the patients we see. It's become overwhelming.

Yesterday, I cried at work. I cried because I was asked to do something that I felt ill prepared to do, in a very limited time slot. I cried because I was told "you had an opening" (an appointment). I cried because I felt like a warm body. I cried because I felt like I didn't matter. And that the patient didn't matter.

This is not a good place for me to be. This isn't the first time I've been asked to stretch outside of my comfort zone. It's not that I couldn't manage the patient's problems. I just didn't see how I could do a good job, given the situation.

Maybe it's me. Maybe I shouldn't care so much. Maybe I should just do what I can when I can. Except I don't know that I'm capable of pulling back like that. Or that I want to. This is my struggle.

The road has been a reliable therapist for me in the past. Today was no different. While I basked in the sunshine, when I turned into that strong wind, I had to push hard to maintain a steady pace. The wind pushed back. I wanted to give up and go home. It was chilly. It was hard.

But then I turned a corner, and the wind was at my back! The run was fluid and easy! It felt great!

And so went my run. As is life. Yesterday at work, I hit the wall. I didn't quit and I didn't go home. But it didn't feel good. Today, I reflected on that.

When I ran, I didn't get any answers. But I didn't expect to.

What I did get is some calm and peace. Clarity. A reminder that I can persevere. I've trained for and run 3 marathons. I've pushed through the wall. While my job isn't a marathon and I don't know what I'll find on the other side of this wall, I'm not willing to DNF yet.

Until then, I keep on running.

Linking up with Jill Conyers this morning for Fitness Fridays.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Even though this is a running blog, I can't start a post on the word cherish,
 which happens to be today's Wednesday Word, without addressing the tragedy in Paris. 

I have one question:

Why did this happen?

In a word, freedom
Something that so many of us take it for granted. 
Freedom to say what we want. 
To dress how we want. 
To run. 
To go to school. 
To believe what we want. 
To disagree with others who hold differing opinions than ours. 
To do all this without being censored or worse.
 In the clinic where I work, I am fortunate to work with families from all different backgrounds. Many of them are from the very nations where citizens are not allowed these freedoms. These people tell me how grateful they are to be here. 

Where they are free.

Never take it for granted.  

Cherish your freedom.
I do.
Jean Julien
"Peace for Paris"
What else do I cherish?

The list is long for me. 

I cherish my family.

-My husband, who has a love-hate relationship with my running, but always supports me as I chase another goal. 
-My parents, who think my every accomplishment is an achievement. 
-My sons, who have brought me so much joy over the years, and so much challenge more recently. The teenage years are tough. Yet we remain close. 
-My sisters, because you always have your sisters, right?

She's part of my family, and yes, I cherish my dog

She loves me, and that's all I care about. When you have teenagers, you need to have a dog. Sometimes, she's the only person who's happy to see me when I get home. She's always happy to see me after a long day at work. Or when I come back from a run. Or when I step outside to get the mail. She's 12 1/2 and I know my time with her is limited.

I cherish my health and my fitness. 

If you follow me at all here on the blog, you know that I'm chasing the fountain of youth. I'm so grateful for my continued growth as a runner and an athlete. This year has been phenomenal for me. I hope to continue to stay active the rest of my life.

I cherish this lovely fall weather we've been having. 

It sounds so trite, to cherish the weather, but the winters really get me down. Last year, it felt like winter came so early. The fall weather this year has been amazing. I know the weather is going to change, but until it does, I'm going to run happy!

I cherish my friends, old and new. 

I am so lucky! I've got friends whom I've known for almost all my life.  We don't talk often, but when we do, it's like we saw each other yesterday. There are the neighborhood friends, most of whom have drifted away as the kids grew older, but the few remaining are still good friends. I've got work friends--we've been through it all together, and that is the bond that ties us. And my running friends, who get me! They let me talk ad nausea about the sport we have in common.

Finally, I cherish who I am today
I cherish my sense of humor, my compassionate soul, and my passion for being the best at everything I do. 
Except housework. I'm not so great at that. But does it really matter?

What do you cherish? 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Rock and Run

I love listening to music when I run. Choosing the right songs is always a challenge, and sometimes a song that I think will be great on the run turns out to be a turd. The reverse is true as well, which is why my playlist is full of guilty pleasures. Nickelback, anyone? The Beastie Boys? Or that heavy metal song that got me moving when I was struggling at Chicago this year, No Giving Up by Crossfade?

Hey, whatever it takes. Don't judge.

I can honestly say that it's pretty rare for me to put pop or dance songs on my playlists. That's just not my style. Those songs get on my nerves, and no one likes that feeling when they're running. Music should motivate you, but it should also relax you. I look to music to take my mind off my effort on the road.

This old rocker likes her music loud and fast. That's probably why rap also appeals to me. I should qualify that because some rap is just too raunchy for me. If there's a plethora of the n-word, singing about hos and bitches, well, that just isn't motivating to me. But otherwise, I'm pretty open minded. If it has a strong beat and is good to run to, that's all that matters. I have some Eminem on my playlist (what runner doesn't?) because his songs about overcoming adversity get me moving and have helped me push through many a tough run.

By the way, did you know Eminem has taken up running? This article in Men's Journal says that the rapper took up working out and running to help overcome his addictions to alcohol and prescription drugs. He lost 80 pounds in the process. Maybe he figured with all of us out there grooving to his poetry, he may as well join us, right?

Anyhoo, this past year, I've been adding some of the classics from my high school days to my running playlists. You know you're old when the songs you used to listen to in high school populate the oldies station playlist! One of the local radio stations still plays the same music it used to play in the 1970s. when I worked at Fotomat. Only the DJs have changed.

So for today's Tuesdays' on the Run linkup, I decided to share my Classic Rock Run playlist. As you will see, some of these songs sound as fresh as they did back in the day. And some others probably were never very good, but like all the songs on my playlists, those songs qualify because they're good to run to. While songs from the 1980s and even 1990s are heard on the oldies station, I decided to make this playlist only about the 1970s.

Funny how hearing a lot of these songs on the run takes me back to some memory from my younger years.  For example, both the songs by Aerosmith, from the album Toys in the Attic, remind me of the party room in my parents barn. While my parents were inside the house, oblivious to what was going on in the barn, quite often I'd entertain friends up there. We always behaved ourselves--to a certain extent!

The pictures are fading but the memories I'll cherish! You may recognize some of these ladies from my kayaking posts!
My first concert ever was Boston at the long gone Chicago Stadium. I was 16 years old, and I went with my boyfriend and some other kids I knew. When I look back (even though the song tells me not to), I can't believe my parents let me go all the way from the small town where I grew up to Chicago, which was 60 miles away. In a car full of long haired questionable teenagers. Plus the area around the Stadium was pretty dicey. Don't Look Back isn't a great running song, but "Smokin" is, altho I don't think they were singing about running fast.

Van Halen takes me back to driving north across the Illinois-Wisconsin border where the drinking age was 18. We lived about 15 minutes from the border and spent a lot of time at bars in those small Wisconsin border towns. What can I say? We had a lot of fun. My sister and I listened to "Running with the Devil" when we got behind the wheel, but it doesn't have a great bpm for running. Instead, for this playlist, I included "Panama".  I also have listened to "Hot for Teacher" ("I've got my pencil..."), "Right Now", and "Jump" for running in the past.

The boys that we were friends with listened to southern rock. Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, the Outlaws--those were the songs they played in their cars and at parties. Lynyrd Skynyrd had a lot of good songs that you could sing to, but what better song to run to than "They Call Me the Breeze...I keep blowin' down the road..."

And then there's Led Zeppelin. The winter of 1978-79 still holds the record for the most snow for this area. I was driving a 1973 Firebird, complete with the bird on the hood. Yep, I was the coolest. Although I do wish I had that car now! Imagine what it would be worth. That winter, I listened to Led Zeppelin IV until I think I wore out the needle on my turntable. "Rock and Roll" never gets old. Another Zeppelin song, "Livin' Lovin' Maid" is another rocker that I rotate through my playlists.

Pull out the air guitar. We're gonna rock!


Are you on Spotify? You can check out my other playlists:
Let's follow each other! I'm always looking for new tunes to run to.

What do you listen to when you run? Pop? Rock? Rap? A mix? Any classic rock songs you think I should add to this list?

I'm adding this post to Tuesdays on the Run! That would be with Marcia, Erica, and Patti! Be sure to chase the links and check out what everyone else is listening to.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Book club review and linkup: My Life on the Road: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon by Bart Yasso

After meeting Bart Yasso at the Chicago Marathon expo, I was anxious to dive into his book. After all, he's a running icon, right? I didn't know much about him before I read his book, and I wanted to know what made him so special!

I had no idea. But I was soon to learn. 

This guy is a living legend. Have you read my interview? Check it out here.

Bart starts off the book sharing his trip to Mount Kilimanjaro, and his medical escapade that followed. And yet, like any one of us would do, he ran a race-- actually, he paced a marathon--while still battling the sequelae of Lyme disease. And he didn't back down. Finished that thing in--well, you'll have to read the book, but let's just say he led his pace group to their goal finish time. Then ended up in the hospital...

That story sets the tone for his book. As you will read, Bart doesn't back down from a challenge or an adventure.

Like so many of us, Bart didn't start off as a runner. He was a troubled teen with a love for mind-altering substances and an antagonistic relationship with his father. After a brush with the law, Bart cleaned up his act and began running. His brother, who was a star athlete, challenged him, supported him, and pushed him to greatness. With his continued success at road races, his dad stopped calling him Alice (after Alice Cooper) and started coming to his races. 

Bart's running skills caught the attention of upstart magazine Runner's World. The editors approached him to sign up runners for subscriptions. He started attending race expos, meeting runners...and the rest is history.

Badwater Bart
As part of his job for Runner's World, he traveled all over the world. Bart didn't just run marathons, he ran Badwater, the infamous 146 mile run across Death Valley. He ran the Antarctica Marathon as well as the Arctic Marathon. He also rode a bike across the country and participated in a burro race. The stories behind these adventures are funny and entertaining.

He also ran a nude marathon. This chapter is filled with hilarity and double-entendres. I'm still trying to get my head around this one. First of all no. I don't want to see all that stuff standing still, and I sure as hell don't want to see it jiggling down the road. Second of all, I can't stand running if my sports bra is less than supportive. Let's just say the girls start crying out for mercy. So while I have zero desire to run a nude marathon, much less spectate one, I was able to experience it through Bart's very vivid race report. 

Seems like Bart was up for anything that came his way. As he wrote in my book when I met him at the expo: 
"Never limit where running can take you"
Bart is a living example of that. He participated in events that we runners could only dream of and he did things that we don't want to do, but might be curious about. 

We all have that one friend who is up for anything. Runners have Bart.

Bart is also the brainchild of the Yasso 800s. Most of us who train for distance races do some kind of speedwork. Luckily my coach is not a runner, so I've never done Yasso 800s. But plenty of my running friends have done them, and most likely have taken Bart's name in vain. Bart discusses how he developed his iconic workout, and why it is so effective. There's no science to it. 
"It's so simple. The time it takes you to run 800 meters in minutes and seconds works out to be your marathon time in hours and minutes. I tested it and it's true..." said by a runner to Bart Yasso regarding the Yasso 800s.
"I never put the numbers to a Fibonacci test, like in The DaVinci Code, but they worked for me, and that was good enough."-Bart Yasso regarding the Yasso 800s.
"They should be called 'asshole 800s'" one red-faced runner told Bart after he did the workout incorrectly.
While most of the book chronicles so many of Bart's adventures on and off the road, the book finishes up with training plans for a variety of distances. Bart also lists must-do races, including one I have coming up in April, The Big Sur International Marathon. As he says, "I always tell people this is the one race they have to do once in their lives." I can't wait.

Plus I'll get to see Bart again!

The iconic mile marker at mile 24
Throughout the book, Bart talks about how lucky he has been to be able to mingle with so many runners, from amateurs to elites.  He says that it's been an "honor" to meet every single one of them and that he loves hearing their stories. No doubt.  That was my experience meeting him. In the book, he says everyone's stories have an impact on him, and shares the stories of several runners who have truly been inspirational, calling them his "personal heroes". He also shares his reflections as he was inducted into the Running USA Hall of Champions in 2007. No doubt, there are very few runners who come to mind who have had such an impact on the sport for the everyday runner as much as that of Bart Yasso. No wonder he's called "The Mayor of Running".
"That's the beauty of the sport. Everyone is welcome to participate. All you have to do is put on a pair of running shoes. At some races, you don't even have to wear running clothes." -Bart Yasso
If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it. It's a fun, quick read, and makes me want to push myself to do more. Except for nude races.

You only get one trip around this life, and you may as well make the most of it! I love that Bart did all these things. And he still stays involved by encouraging others to do the same.

I received so many "barties" that I wanted to share a few more in this post! Thanks to everyone who sent me one. 
Bart and Colleen
Michelle Schwartz and friends with Bart
Shannon and Bart

Bart and Sue
Debbie and Bart
Presley, friend, and Bart
Tina, friends, and Bart
Don't forget to linkup or post your comments below! If you haven't read the book, it's not too late! And if you want to link up another running related book, feel free! The linkup stays open for 2 weeks, but the comments stay open forever. Thanks so much to everyone who shared their pictures with me, and to everyone who read the book!

Remember the rules: sharing is caring! Grab the photo above. Don't forget to link back to this post. Be sure to comment on any of the other reviews. And don't miss out on next month's book: 

Runner's World The Runner's Brain: How to think Smarter to Run Better
I'm really looking forward to reading this one! I've chronicled my struggles with mental training here on the blog. This book is loaded with race strategies and sports psychology to help you run your best race ever. And who doesn't want to do that? After all, the experts say running is 90% mental....

Review and linkup will go live Monday, December 14.