Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My First Marathon

My first 26.2 mile race was the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon in Louisville. And it was in the rain.

Despite the weather, I loved the experience.

I awoke at 4:30 a.m. after about three hours of sleep. My heart was racing already. I made myself two packets of oatmeal and forced myself to eat. I also ate part of a banana and half a bagel with peanut butter. The anxiety made chewing difficult.

I put on shorts and a long-sleeve top, but after a few minutes I changed into running tights. I wasn't sure whether to wear them because they are a bit tight on me, but I needed to wear something with a pocket for my energy gels. Tights it was. I also wore my tags from Perfectley Peared that say "Never Give Up" and "26.2 on 4.25.15." My race packet included a white Asics cap, which came in handy. It occurred to me on the drive to Louisville that I would need a hat, but I hadn't packed one. The cap was a lifesaver.

I made my way to Corral D just before 7:30 a.m. I could not believe the time had come. As I approached the 4:45 pacer, I saw one of Graham's good friends. I felt comforted seeing a familiar face among the crowd. On my right was a woman who told me it was also her first marathon. She and I bonded over that for a few minutes before it was time to start walking toward the start line.

I waved to Graham as I walked by, put my earbuds in and turned on my running app. The first few miles of the marathon breezed by. The rain was a mist that kept me cool. I was grateful for the cap, which blocked the rain from getting into my eyes. We passed a line of 20-somethings with signs that said, "If you're still running, we're still drinking." We high-fived them as we passed. The Central High School drum line provided a beat for us to run to. All along the route, residents waited outside their homes waving and cheering us on. Some had cowbells, drums, triangles, or stereos blasting music for us. Near UofL we ran under a bridge, at which point a group of racers chanted "C-A-R-D-S." I noticed a runner with a Ragnar shirt on and wanted to say hello, but it didn't seem like the right time.

Before the race, I read a funny post about what happens when you run a marathon. It said you get emotional about things that actually aren't sad. When people encouraged me and yelled out "You're doing great," that exact thing happened. I felt tears welling up about five times during the race, for various reasons. In the first part of the race, I saw Graham and our family watching on the left. That was one of those emotional moments.

The route took us to Churchill Downs around Mile 8. Running through asphalt on the infield was a highlight of the race for me. A digital sign said "Go Baby Go" and we could see the racetrack being prepped for the Derby. I knew what was coming after Churchill Downs. We were headed to Iroquois Park, where we had to climb the dreaded hills. The rain intensified as we approached the park. The 4:45 pace group passed me on the first climb. I decided to try to keep up with them, but my app told me after one mile that the pace was 9:15, which was much to fast for me. I decided there to just try to finish between the 4:45 and 5:00 pacers. The park was gorgeous, yet brutal. The scenery at least distracted me from what was happening with my quads.

I was relieved to descend from the park back to the surface streets heading toward downtown Louisville. I took another energy packet and keep trekking along. As I neared Mile 19, I noticed my running app was a mile off. I thought I was a mile farther along than I actually was. This was discouraging. I stopped to walk through the water stations from then on and to do some forward bends. For about half a mile, I ran behind the writer behind the Kentucky Gent blog. I considered catching up to him to say hello, but I didn't want to disturb him. He stopped to stretch and I passed him, missing another opportunity to introduce myself.

I took my one bathroom break near Mile 19 or 20. I stopped mostly to give my legs a break, not because I needed to use the restroom. This is when I hit mental roadblocks. I felt discouraged that I was running slower than I wanted and that the rain would not let up. I took more energy gels for a boost. We approached a smaller incline that I walked. At the top, I started chanting "I can do it, I can do it, I can do it. ..." in my head. As we turned right near Mile 21, I felt better. It's funny how when the rain intensified it actually helped me keep going.

The last 5 miles were the hardest. My shoulders were tight, I felt pain in my lower back and I was cold and wet. I turned a corner around Mile 24 to step in a deep puddle with my right foot. I felt my socks soak up the frigid water. I started to walk a little more. When I ran, I was just shuffling my feet. I turned onto Brook Street around Mile 25. The 5:00 pacers passed and me and I thought, "No! I can't let them beat me!" Somehow I found the energy to pick up speed, thinking, it's only about a mile longer. It was the longest 1.2 miles of my life. We approached the turn toward the finish, where I saw my in-laws. Hearing them say "You did it!" gave me the boost I needed. I looked to my right to see Graham and his brother and sister-in-law. Yes! Finally. I ran through the finish line to collect my medal. My sweet, sweet medal.

I finished in 5:02:10.

I was overwhelmed with pride and gratitude. Thank you to my husband for doing all the driving to and from Louisville, for waking up at 4:30 a.m. to help me get ready and cheering me on. Thanks to all my friends and family who sent me encouraging messages before, during and after the race. Thanks to my Louisville family and Graham's friends for coming out to dinner and drinks to celebrate.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

First Month in Chicago

It's now been four weeks since we drove into Chicago with our dogs to begin our new life. I remember looking up at the skyscrapers and being mesmerized by the city lights. Snow blanketed the ground and the city had an eerie feel. It was 20-something degrees.

I'm learning a lot about the city and myself in a short time. Each day brings a small victory. 

Over the past couple of days I've ventured farther than I have since we've been here. I took the train downtown for the first time by myself. I have had to rely on Google maps on my phone, but I never seem to get the directions correct when I'm walking. Google maps has difficulty locating where I am, so I end up just walking in any direction until it finds me and I can be rerouted. I'm not used to being so lost, to not knowing whether I'm walking east, west, north or south. Luckily I was among crowds of tourists who didn't know where they were going. I met up with a friend's mom and a friend at LuxBar, where I devoured a veggie burger and fries -- my carbo-loading has begun early. The next day, I went to Argo Tea Cafe with a friend who is in town for work. Afterward we checked out the Tribune Tower and the pool at the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile. We unsuccessfully tried to get a tour of the Tribune newsroom; we didn't know any names to drop in order to get it. It was fun to explore a slice of downtown with a familiar face.

In the limited time we have together, Graham and I like to explore our neighborhood and take the dogs to the beach. Windy and 40 degrees: perfect beach weather, if you want the place to yourself.

We've also had takeout from BopNGrill, which was featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." I got the only vegetarian option on the menu. 

It's too soon to say how I feel about Chicago, but so far I like what I've seen. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Marathon Training, Week 17

I can't believe it's almost time for my first marathon. I hope I am ready!

Tuesday: I had to do laundry in the morning, so I didn't have time to run before work. But I managed to squeeze in 1.35 miles by taking the dogs for a run around the block. They needed the exercise, and so did I. Later that night, I did 60 minutes of yoga.

Wednesday: I logged 1.11 miles while running with the dogs. I did some core work throughout the workday, as well as some yoga poses and pushups while I watched the Cubs game on TV.

Thursday: I awoke after snoozing seven times for a quick 2-mile run before grabbing Starbucks with a new friend in Edgewater. I loved seeing a new neighborhood and getting tips on places to eat in Chicago. When Graham got home from work we took the dogs on a 1.26-mile run/walk. Taylor could only manage .8 mile before we had to walk. Girl needs to build some stamina!

Friday: Not much exercise.

Saturday: 7.32 miserable, windy miles. I thought it would be warm like it was Friday, so I was unprepared. I wore shorts and a T-shirt with arm sleeves. The wind was unrelenting. I decided to turn around early, abandoning my plan to run 12 miles.  I made my way to Whole Foods Edgewater for its pre-opening celebration. I braved the cold to get my free meatless barbecue sandwich, a reusable bag and samples. Then I ran/walked home as fast as possible to warm up.

I'm excited to have a Whole Foods so close to our apartment!

Sunday: I didn't do any exercise. I spent the rainy day taking care of errands, doing laundry and cleaning.

Monday: Yoga at the studio. I found the Level 1-2 class challenging because we spent more time than usual in the poses. I liked that the teacher let us work on pincha mayurasana and scorpion; I was able to do both! It's been a couple of months since I have worked on them.

Week's goal: 19 miles.

Actual mileage: 13.04.

April mileage so far: 53.82.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Marathon Packing List

This post is more for my own benefit so that I (hopefully) don't forget anything I need on race day. The Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon is my first 26.2-mile race, and it's the first race I've signed up for that requires travel.

Photo credit: Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon

Here's what I'm packing:

Race-day outfit: I'm still deciding between shorts and tights, so I'll pack both. I'll wear my Phoenix marathon tank, which is comfortable to run in, if it's warm or a long-sleeve top if it's cold.

Energy gels.

Massage stick.

Foam roller.

Armband and earbuds.

Shoe tags.

Icy Hot for after the race.

Ibuprofen and first-aid kit.

Extra safety pins.

Extra hair tie and bobby pins.

Flip-flops for after the race.

KT tape.

Snacks and sports drinks/water for before the race and the road trip.

GoPro for Graham to take photos and video of me with.



Wet wipes and/or towel.

What am I forgetting? What do you pack when traveling for a marathon?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Chicago Foodie Wish List

In addition to my Chicago tourist to-do list, I'm putting together a roundup of restaurants I'd like to try out this year. Here's what I'm craving so far:

Lady Gregory's: There's a macaroni and cheese calling my name.
Rocks Lakeview: Bagel and lox or a breakfast burrito sound like good brunch options.
Big Star: Tacos de papas and horchata sound so good right now.
Big and Little's: The beer-battered portobello sandwich sounds interesting.
BopNGrill: We've heard rave reviews, but the menu doesn't appear to have many vegetarian options. I think Graham would enjoy this place though. Done
Derby: I would probably order a veggie omelet and potatoes for brunch. The sweet corn tamale cakes sound like a delicious appetizer, and for lunch I would like a black bean burger, please.
Moody's Pub: The veggie burger and Jaker's Mark drink would be my choices.
Yolk: Santa Fe frittata minus the bacon.
Twisted Tapas: Twisted eggplant, mini crab cakes, lobster ravioli, stuffed zucchini, baked goat cheese, spicy potatoes, oh my. I want it all.
LuxBar: Truffle fries and mac and cheese because I love carbs. I want to try one of the ciders.

What else should I be eating?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Routine: Working From Home

I've wanted to work from home for years now, and I'm finally there.

I quickly learned that I no longer have any incentive to NOT wear yoga pants. I've only done my makeup five times since I've been in Chicago: to look at apartments, when we had visitors for a day, to meet friends for coffee and to go out to eat with Graham.

My day starts when my alarm goes off at 7 a.m. Most days I dismiss the alarm and go back to sleep, especially if it's raining. If I have the motivation, I run. Sometimes I have errands to take care of before work, or I may try to go to a yoga class at a studio.

Once my workday starts, I join meetings via conference calls. I usually check in with my manager at least once throughout the day. But before I can do any of this I walk over to Starbucks. I used to balk at spending money there, but my visits have become how I get myself out of the house sometimes. I often show up in yoga pants, boots and whatever jacket is nearest to me; it never matches. I order the usual and walk back to my building.

I try to break up my day by taking the dogs for a run around the neighborhood. This is a new development. If I don't take them out I've found that they'll end up wrestling, begging for attention or taking too many naps.

If I have any lulls in my workday, I'll stop to do some yoga, pushups or core work. It's not usual for me to finish reading a report and then practice handstand against the wall for 10 seconds. It's also common for me to walk into the kitchen for whatever snacks we have in stock: chips and salsa, mac and cheese, an apple, cheese and crackers, etc.

As the day winds down, I'll start cooking dinner as I log off my computer. I might rush off to yoga class before taking the dogs out again and then spending time with Graham if he's home.

Goals for my new work routine:

Work from a coffee shop at least once a week. This doesn't have to be an entire day; even an hour would do me some good.

Yoga in the studio twice.

Take the dogs for a run at least twice.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Marathon Playlist

Do you ever wonder what runners are listening to? I do.

My first marathon, the Kentucky Derby Festival race, is in less than two weeks, so I'm now finalizing my playlist for the big day. I'm estimating it could take me up to five hours, which means I'll need plenty of songs on my list.

Here's what I've been listening to on my training runs lately:

  • "See You Again," Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth. It's known as the song from the most recent "Fast and Furious" movie that also honors Paul Walker. It's so touching, and I included it because I like a mix of slow and fast songs on my playlist.
  • "Dear Future Husband," Meghan Trainor. It's a fun song that gets me in the mood to move and sing along.
  • "Want to Want Me," Jason Derulo. This is another song that I like for its upbeat tempo. 
  • "All Day," Kanye West, Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom, Paul McCartney. This song just feels perfect for running in Chicago. Or running in general.
  • "G.D.F.R.," Flo Rida. I don't have an explanation really; I like the beat, but not so much all of the lyrics besides "It's going down for real." Because it really is going down, on April 25.
  • "Budapest," George Erza. This song makes me so happy, especially when I'm running in nice weather.
  • "Beach in Hawaii," Ziggy Marley. Hearing this song makes me remember our wedding trip to Maui and the good times associated with it. I like to pretend I am running in Hawaii rather than wherever I am.
  • "Sunshine," Matisyahu. This tune is inspiring because it both reminds me of our first trip to Maui and because it's about reaching for the sky and keeping your eye on the prize. That's what I need to hear during the marathon.
  • "Roar," Katy Perry. I remember being inspired by this song during yoga teacher training, and when it comes on, I remember that I can do anything I try to do. 
What's on your running playlist? Any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Marathon Training, Week 16

The tapering has begun! My 20-mile run is complete, and now I will focus on recovery and maintaining my fitness until the marathon.

Monday and Tuesday: I did some yoga at home when I could squeeze it in. I wanted to do yoga at a neighborhood studio on Tuesday but it was closed. I did pushups and other exercises throughout the day.

Wednesday: I did a few rounds of sun salutations and warrior sequences throughout the day. I added some pushups for good measure. That evening I joined my first MeetUp group for the Adventure Run at Road Runner Sports Chicago. I had wanted to try an Adventure Run in Tempe but never did it. I now know I was missing out! Before the run we talked to sponsors about races and were given raffle tickets. I was also given raffle tickets for wearing compression socks during the run. We followed one of the Adventure Run leaders to the various stops around the neighborhood. The stops included Moody's Pub, Eddie Bauer, Vitamin Shoppe, Derby, Massage Envy, Buffalo Wild Wings and My Fit Foods. A couple of the places had us do pushups for extra raffle tickets. SmashBurger asked people to dance for more tickets. It's a fun way to meet people and be part of the running community. Sadly, I didn't win any prizes in the raffle. Maybe next time! The total mileage, according to my running app, was 2.65 miles, though I am not sure if that's correct.

Thursday: It was a stormy day in Chicago. I decided to skip my run for at-home yoga. I didn't do as much as I wanted. I was sore from the exercises the day before (during the Adventure Run and my pushups beforehand). I was also engrossed in the coverage of the storms in Illinois.

Friday: 1 mile. I can't get used to this weather. One day it's 70 degrees and the next it's in the 40s with wind. I started a run thinking I would go 3-5 miles, but I instead realized I didn't have it in me in the cold. I recorded at least 20 minutes of yoga at home.

Saturday: No exercise. I drove to Jeffersonville, Indiana, for a bridal shower.

Sunday: Drive back to Chicago. I pushed my run back to Monday.

Monday: 4.01 miles. It was a gorgeous, sunny run, partly on the Lakeshore Trail. I even had to take my jacket off mid-run. I wish it could always be this way. Apparently the nice weather meant that I could record a 9:10 pace for my first mile. My average ended up being 9:50, but that's still better than I have been doing.

Week's goal: Run at least three times. No mileage goal this week.

Week's mileage: 7.66.

April mileage so far: 41.89.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Sunday Morning in Louisville

This weekend I drove down to Jeffersonville, Indiana, for my future sister-in-law's beach-themed bridal shower. Everything was so lovely, and I was grateful to spend time with my mother-in-law. On Sunday, my brother- and sister-in-law took me to the "NuLu" part of Louisville, which had all sorts of trendy, unique shops and restaurants.

My sister-in-law added her wish to the wall that asks what you'd want to do before you die. I couldn't think of just one thing to write down. Maybe, "Live in Hawaii"?

We checked out a couple of the stores, including Why Louisville, and had brunch at Harvest. I ordered the hummus sandwich, which was served with chips.

The sandwich was delicious and filling, but I had trouble cutting into the bread, even with the knife I was brought. I ended up scraping off some hummus with the chips.

Next on my list for places to go in Louisville are Please and Thank You and Garage Bar. See you in two weeks, Louisville!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

My Experience with Airbnb

I've heard nothing but good things about Airbnb, so when we needed a place to stay until we found an apartment in Chicago, I chose the site over my usual favorites, HomeAway and FlipKey. I now wish I hadn't.

Finding a dog-friendly rental was a challenge with two dogs (one of them being 100 pounds), but I thought I lucked out with a place in Logan Square. It was only 4 miles from Graham's new workplace, so it seemed like the right fit.

We arrived to find a large apartment on a quiet street. We walked upstairs and into the library to find stuff strewn everywhere. Art supplies were on a table in front of the window and more supplies filled a dog kennel on the ground. A pile of mail was waiting on the stairs. The owner had offered to let us use the kennel, but when we saw we would have to clear it of its contents we were glad we still brought our own. It still looked like a nice loft, so we just cleared a space for our things and made the best of it.

It was cold inside the apartment. We turned on the heat, but it never rose above 61 or 62. Upstairs, the master bedroom did not have a functioning light, only a night light on a desk. The bathroom lights didn't work either, and there was a desk lamp on the sink for lighting. The guest room had a lamp, but we didn't sleep in there because the bed was too small for two people. Free Wi-Fi was listed as an amenity, but it wasn't working. We were told to unplug the router in the library via a text message from the owner, but I couldn't find the router in the middle of the pile of stuff in there. The next day, the owner called Comcast and had the Wi-Fi reset. It worked from then on. I was glad it was fixed because I was supposed to work from home on some days. (Though, it was terribly slow when it did work.) Also, there was no toilet paper in one of the bathrooms, and the other only had a little bit. The toilet in the downstairs bathroom did not appear to have been cleaned. One of the chairs at the dining table was on its last legs. And there was no TV. (A TV was not listed as an amenity, so I wasn't surprised, but it seems odd to not have one.)

While the owner was quick to reply to our messages and tried to help, I felt that the rental was not what we were expecting. I should have taken photos, but I was kind of embarrassed. When we booked the place, we were told we would need to pay a $150 pet deposit. It was not handled in the proper way, according to Airbnb. It was my first time using the service, so I did not know that. I should have done more research. The owner simply added the amount to the rental and agreed to refund the deposit at the end of our stay as long as the place was clean.

When we checked out, Graham and I cleaned up after ourselves and threw out our own trash. We received $100 back, after I sent several emails over many days to both Airbnb and the owners.  Our review from the owner said we left the place clean, but apparently the remaining $50 was for a cleaning fee. (I confirmed the fee was in the listing.)

I won't say it was all bad. We did stay warm by bringing our own space heater and keeping the doors to the bedroom closed. We liked being able to cook our own meals instead of spending money at restaurants every night. And it was dog friendly, our top priority. We had a home base to start our apartment search, and I guess that is all that matters. But after this experience, I'm not sure if I'll rent from the site again. I learned that you can't really trust photos on rental sites. The place had mostly positive reviews, but there was one negative one that stood out. I wish I had chosen another property.

Have you had a positive or negative experience with a property on Airbnb? Would you use it again?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My First Cubs Game at Wrigley Field: Opening Night 2015

My introduction to Wrigley Field happened on Opening Night 2015. I rode the Red Line down to the ballpark, and as soon as I exited the CTA station I began to witness the madness.

I walked into Wrigley. I was given a No. 14 pin commemorating Mr. Cub, along with a schedule magnet. Fans were cheering, drinking, taking photos. I snaked my way through the crowds inside, stopping to pick up a pretzel with cheese on the way to my seat. As I walked away from the snack bar, I noticed the menu had a black bean burger. I'll be ordering that at some point, I thought.

My seat was in Aisle 213, which is under an overhang. Directly above the seat were the suites, and I watched people go in and out all night. The seats quickly filled up as I waited for the pre-game Fall Out Boy concert. The temperatures were dropping and there was a cold wind hitting my face. I made the rookie mistake of not dressing in appropriate clothing for the game, because it had been much warmer just hours before. People around me were draped in Cubs blankets, and I was jealous.

Fans were on their feet for most of the pre-game happenings, which included a tribute to Ernie Banks. Some chanted "Ernie! Ernie!" and other tributes. It was touching to see people so proud of their team and its history. The fans also cheered loudly for Jerry and Joey Banks, who threw the first pitch. The new video board made its debut that night. Videos of Ernie Banks were shown between innings, and the bleachers, which are still being renovated, were covered in Mr. Cub tarps. Also, I've never heard a crowd as into singing the national anthem. Fall Out Boy performed three songs before the game, including "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark/Light Em Up" and "Centuries," which is on my running playlist. The team's lineup included a familiar name: Miguel Montero, who was one of my favorite Diamondbacks players in recent years.

The entire experience was surreal. There's something special about watching a baseball game at Wrigley. I wished I had remembered to bring the GoPro for higher-quality photos. I look forward to attending more games this season.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Our Phoenix to Chicago Road Trip

I wish I could say we had an epic drive from Phoenix to Chicago, but it was a quick, tiring drive. In the week before we left, we packed up our entire place, cleaned it up, and made last-minute fixes while attending goodbye dinners and celebrating my sister's baby shower. Oh, and we worked. I didn't want to miss the shower, so we only gave ourselves two days for the drive instead of the three we originally wanted to take. It was worth the less-exciting drive though for the memory with my family.

Two days before we left, our shipping containers were picked up from our Phoenix home. We loaded the top of our Jeep with more belongings.

I'm going to miss our townhome.

We traveled north on Interstate 17 to the I-40 heading east. Graham and I took turns driving.

New Mexico seemed to go on forever. It seemed that we spent most of the first day driving through the Land of Enchantment. It was easily the most scenic of the states we drove through, though.

I don't remember much about Texas, except that the state had the largest rest area facilities I have ever seen. I guess everything really is bigger in Texas. We're fairly certain we got caught in a speed trap near the border with Oklahoma.

We stopped in Oklahoma City for several hours to sleep before eating breakfast and getting back on the road. I took the wheel until we approached St. Louis. I wanted to stop at least once on the drive, so I forced Graham to take a detour to see the arch. We turned onto cobblestone streets and construction zones before deciding to abandon our plan. We drove across the MLK bridge, where I captured some photos of the arch.

I took another nap through most of Illinois. I awoke when Graham told me we were approaching Chicago. It was surreal. I was excited and scared at the same time. "Are we doing it?" I kept asking Graham the same question.

The temperature was in the 20s. It had snowed that morning, and it was still on the ground when we arrived at our airbnb rental in Logan Square. Welcome to spring in Chicago!

We made it! Thus began our apartment hunt and new life in Chicago.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Marathon Training, Week 15

After missing two long runs during our move to Chicago, I was finally able to return to my training schedule. And I love my new running path!

Monday: 5.12 miles. It was finally sunny, and the run felt amazing. The wind still pushed me back a bit, but I loved the views. My pace ranged from 10:05 to 11:11, though I didn't stop my timer during stoplights.

Tuesday: I did some at-home yoga between work tasks.

Wednesday: 8.32 miles. After this workout I had already run twice as much as the previous week. I was myself again. I was filled with excitement about our new city. The sunny, 40-something degree day was perfect for running.

Thursday: I made it to a yoga class at a studio in our neighborhood. It was an hour-long Level 1-2 Vinyasa class. It's eye opening to see how yoga is taught in different places. An example: From a tabletop pose, we extended one leg behind us, brought the foot down to the ground, tucked our back toes in and pushed our heels back for a calf stretch. It's was a simple move but it felt amazing. It's something I need to be doing more often, especially between runs. And instead of child's pose we did devotional pose. The teacher smiled often and seemed to enjoy leading the class. She didn't do any adjustments, though. She played traditional music but it remained at a low volume. I forgot it was even on during class. I'm looking forward to trying new classes at this studio.

Friday: 5.85 miles. It was cold and windy again. Funny, because the days before were beautiful. I had more miles in mind but turned around when the wind became unbearable.

Saturday: No exercise. That afternoon I had a coffee date with a potential new friend at Intelligentsia on Broadway. The neighborhood was bustling on a lovely day.

Sunday: 20.06 miles on a 66-degree day. I had to take my running jacket off and run with it tied to my waist. So many Chicagoans and tourists were on the trail and at the parks to take advantage of the gorgeous spring weather. The people watching was riveting. My pace ranged from mid-10 minute miles to mid-12s at the end, when I stopped to walk a few times or to get water. I felt like I could have gone a little bit longer had I not run out of gels, so that's promising. This will be my last long run before my marathon. I now know that I can at least run 20 and run/walk the last 6.2 if needed (but let's hope that I don't need to!).

Week's goal: 34 miles.

Actual mileage: 39.29.

March mileage total: 58.82.

April mileage so far: 34.23 miles.

#1800MinuteChallenge total (until March 31): 2,355.