Enjoying every second of life and running.


Not an Easy Decision

If you are a regular reader of my blog or a friend of ours you know that I’ve been on the Often Running Racing Team for the last two seasons. It’s been an amazing opportunity that I never could have even imagined possible when I started running back in 2007. Because I came from no running background being on the team had extra meaning to me and with that I put pressure on myself to always bring my best to each race.

However, over the last year my health and schedule has made it hard to get in a good training cycle. It’s affected my blogging, I’ve been a slacker in posting to the blog because I hate feeling negative and I like to keep the blog as positive as possible. Then I started to dread some of my training runs, knowing that they feel completely miserable. 

So eventually I realized that I need to recognize that running may not be something I do competitively right now. I need to be able to let my running and racing happen as it fits my schedule and address my health issues. I need to fall back in love with running than it feeling like a “job” that I suck at.  It was so hard to admit that this is something I’m going through and that it wasn’t going to go away with one race or a training cycle.

I respect what the team stands for and I want them to have someone who can fulfill the duties to the fullest. I look forward to seeing them at the races and cheering them on. They continue to improve and amaze me every season. Thank you to ORRT and adidas for supporting me not only in my racing seasons, but also with this difficult decision.


Jingle All The Way

Today was the local Jingle Bell 5K run for arthritis. I’m in no condition to race, but I can’t say I’m heartbroken since we are under a wind advisory with 45 mph gusts. There is no way the strong wind pushing with or against me running would help my injury. So instead I took the role of helping with the Often Running store set up at the event.

Before everyone arrived, getting things organized.

I started working at 9am and we were busy from race registration at 10 am until race start at 1pm. Time passed quickly and I got to sell some great shoes and accessories, plus catch up with people and meet some new customers. In spite of the weather we had a great turn out for the race, including our Often Running Racing Team. Everyone knew to play it conservative out there. Better to be safe in such crazy windy conditions.

I forced Mitch to take a picture with me. Doesn’t he look thrilled? 😉 We are sporting the adidas ORRT sweatshirt, which is one of my faves.

Congrats to all those that raced in the crazy conditions! I’m sure it was a great strength workout as well as increased mental toughness.

I went home to get in my recovery workout of walking, stretching and P90X Ab Ripper.



2011 Canal Connection – 10K – 44:24

Sunday Rob and I went to Utica, IL to run the Canal Connection 10K. On the way we picked up our friend and my fellow ORRT teammate, Mike. Mike and I are both recovering from soreness, although he can still win races even when not at his best. Mike says he’s willing to hang with me and my tight hamstring. I warn him I may not be a pleasant runner to be near because even my easy runs hurt. I’ve had no speedwork because of trying to recover from my injury so I have no clue if my leg will immediately revolt when trying to 10K. I’m not excited for Mike to potentially witness me at my worst, as I’m sure my attitude will demish with my leg. He says it’s fine and agrees to just stay near and keep any comments/advice to a minimum so I don’t turn into a grouchy pants. To at least try and have fun Mike and I both sported 80s Rayban style adidas sunglasses (it wasn’t sunny out) and white adidas sweatbands on our biceps. Perfect for flexing the guns or shooting hoops afterward, you know.

Rob’s ankle has stiffness, but the soreness is almost all gone. He had taken almost the whole week off and was unsure how his race would go since he has also not had any speedwork.

It was 25 mph winds from the south and around 50 degrees. The wind was ridiculous, but most of this race is along a canal that has some sloped land on each side so essentially you are out of the wind.

After a clunky 2 mile warm up, stiff hamstring and all, we were off. I was surprised that I’m able to keep the pace I want and hit mile 1 at 6:44. Mile 2 and 3 also go off okay and I’m in the 6:50s, which would set me up for a PR. After mile 3 my leg was getting so stiff and ready to be done. Mile 4 and 5 were so annoying that I stop looking at my watch, there is no point as I’m very aware that my pace is suffering.

I only mutter a couple cuss words around this point. It’s so frustrating when my left side is ready to race and my right side just can’t make it happen. Mike gives me the advice to just focus only on the person immediately in front of us. This tip helped me stop thinking about the finish and just on getting to the next person. My leg is screaming tight and I muster through the last mile. Mike makes a gentle comment to the effect of “do you want this” and I’m thinking like “freaking yes I want this, I wish my leg would function”! I come in across the line 1 minute off of my PR with a 44:24 and I am very happy about this. I’m injured, no speedwork and I’m close to my PR. I now feel hopeful that if I can get recovered and focused on my training that I can get back to where I was.

Rob also had a good race, only 30 seconds from his PR with similar issues.

Our race times got me 2nd in my Age Group and Rob 4th in his.

Awards up close.



F 35-39: 2/?


Halloween Weekend

It’s been a crazy busy Halloween weekend. Friday after work we got supplies for Halloween and got ready to run the Screaming Pumpkin Marathon. This course is hilly 6.55 mile loop through a cemetery that has rocky, broken up path. The course opened at 6pm and you could start the course anytime and try to finish as close to midnight as possible.

Rob and I arrived at 8pm, figuring an easy pace will bring a 4 hour-ish marathon with some time cushion for the grinding hills on my recovering hamstring.

Dressed and ready to roll. I went with adidas Bostons for more support, capris, long sleeved shirt, Boston jacket, gloves, hat, head lamp, glow stick, glow stick necklace, and headlamp. It was in the 40s when we started, but I get cold easily so I opted to over dress. This turned out to be a good idea because around 11pm the temps dropped into the 30s, a light drizzle and light breeze started.

This race is mostly folks doing a relay so there was a lot of bonfires and tailgating as people waiting for their runner to return. Rob and I got started and immediately noticed that glow stick necklaces and running don’t mix. After they bounced around and hit us in the chin repeatedly we had them off within .25 miles.

The course is unlit and very dark. The direction is marked by glow sticks lining the way, keep the glow sticks on your right and you are heading the correct way. I have to say that running in the pitch black with only glow sticks light the way was a very cool look. Since the course is very hilly you would see handfuls of runner lights bouncing up and down the cemetery at different points in the distance. Such a cool thing to see.

We had no timing devices, but we are familiar with this course from the half marathon and there are some parts of the road spray painted with mile markers. So it was amazing to see how the miles seemed to quickly pass by.

The road was very uneven and rock in parts, which is hard to manage in the dark. They had marked as much of the course as they could with red glow sticks to note places to avoid, but Rob and I found some locations they missed. We each tripped a handful of times pretty hard, luckily neither of us falling to the ground. The bad part was the tripping would cause my leg to pull back funny, upsetting my hamstrings but at least I never face planted.

We were back to the chip mat at 6.55 Miles and time felt like it was flying by because we were so entertained by the course. We were running very easy and were able to just pass the time chatting. On our way back into the cemetery and up to the first hill the coolest/scariest thing was a very large deer passed right in front of us. It was freaky cool to see this large dark mass pass right in front of us because it was scary at first to try and figure out what it was in that split second.

This would be a good time to mention that our headlamps may be decent enough for our street lit neighborhood, they were not match for the complete darkness of this run. The light was just soaked up in the darkness and the headlamps were really more for identifying us to other runners than lighting our path, which made tripping all the more likely. I had no idea that our headlamps weren’t the best until we saw examples of other runners who had heavy duty lights. IF there is ever a true night race that we run again, we will need better headlamps and perhaps little flashlights.

Into the next set of hills around mile 8-ish Rob had a very bad trip that rolled his ankle and made a popping sound. He was stopped instantly and assessed the situation. We walked a bit and it was hurting badly. He wanted to continue, but now his  ankle would be in pain the rest of the way. We slowed our pace and stopped anytime the pain was too much. My hamstrings weren’t loving all of the hills either so taking it easy was fine by me. The second loop, even with the injury stop somehow felt like time went by faster.

Into the third loop of the course and the temperatures drop. Rob feels like his ankle is swelling and he is tolerating the tightness and pain. We are only around mile 15, so much more to go. We start to question if it’s worth it since we were out just for the fun. The fun was quickly fading.

Back for our final lap, time passing slowly since we are taking it super easy. 19.55 miles and back out we go. However Rob’s ankle is hurting even on the flat portion of the course. Around mile 20 or 21-ish and we start weighing if it’s worth tackling the hills again. His ankle is so sore that we could get into the deepest part of the course realize he can’t go on and not make it back in time, are we willing to take that risk. Rob would do it for me, but it just wasn’t worth it. We decided to bag it and walked the mile back to turn in our chips. We made the right call. As we were walking back Rob’s ankle began hurting worse that walking was a challenge, there was no way more hills would have helped.

We are happy that we did get to have a hilly long run at night. However it wasn’t worth Rob’s ankle injury or the risk of falling multiple times. I think we will stick to this course in the daylight. If we ever do another really dark race we will make sure that we have better lights and that the path is more paved than rock.

We headed home to finally have dinner and weren’t in bed until after 2am, what a long day!

Saturday was a lot of Rob icing his ankle and then we joined ORRT to help with a local 5K. Me faux running through the finish chute. Yeah I’m easily distracted from my duties.

The kids run was an obstacle course and we got to pass out candy and prizes. Then for the 5K we managed the finish chute and announced awards. Afterward we headed home so Rob could get back to icing his ankle. The swelling has reduced so I hope a few more days of rest and ice will get him back to new again.


Movie Night


Monday (10/17):

5 Miles Easy (Treadmill, 42:21, 8:29 Pace)

9.2 Bike Easy (Trainer, 40:00, 13.8 mph)

Tuesday (10/18):

4 Miles Easy (Treadmill, 35:14, 8:49 Pace)

Tonight after work Rob and I helped out with Often Running’s movie night. Every year they host a running movie at the historic uptown Normal Theater. This year’s movie was Lady Warriors. ORRT accepts food donations for the mission as admittance. The area school track and cross-country teams attend with their coaches, some of them who are on ORRT. The make up most of the crowd, but the community and the local running club also attend. adidas sponsors the event which means lots of cool freebies for attendees (socks, shirts, headbands, etc.) and drawings for free shoes.

After the movie part of our team walked over to Medici for a drink before heading home.

It was such a nice night, I just wish it was the weekend!


Athletic Supporter


Lots of rest, with 4.1 Miles, 5 Miles, 6 Miles Easy, and Yoga. 

This weekend we had no races. Just time to relax, catch up with friends and get some house chores accomplished. We had the chance to sleep in Saturday, but what’s the fun in that when we have the option to cheer on our friends at their race and be an athletic supporter (hehehehe). ISU Homecoming 5K Town and Gown was Saturday morning. We went to cheer on Lisa. She was set to have a new PR and I wanted to be there to see it.Plus ORRT Ryan and Deb were racing.

The new course had a loop inside the quad so we had an opportunity to cheer on everyone as they went by. Ryan and Deb were both overall winners, plus Ryan also set a new PR! Lisa also had an amazing new PR, taking two minutes off of her time and getting 1st in her age group!

Lisa and me.

Sunday ORRT came out to support a local 5K race by providing the finish line duties. Rob is and awesome husband and came out to lend a hand too.

Me helping set up the finish chute, which means just threading the rope through the cones.

Rob starting the finish line computers.

Hanging out at the finish clock awaiting the runners return.

Carol from ORRT came out to win overall female!

I would recommend as a part of anyone’s training plan to make time to volunteer for a race. Race volunteer opportunities can include packet pick up, water stop, split timer, finish line and more. I’ve done all of these roles at one time or another and they are all great. If you can’t schedule the volunteer time, just come out to cheer on the racers. It’s a way to give back, plus it’s exciting to see others out there racing.


The Race That Wasn’t

This morning Rob and I were up at 4am and out the door by 5am to drive an hour to Decatur to run the Shoreline 15K. It’s a scenic and hilly course that loops around part of Lake Decatur. We went to pick up our packets only to find out that we weren’t registered! Whoops!! In the midst of our race registrations this spring I swore I got this race covered, but apparently not. And this year there was no race day registration. Oh well.

The event is one our team store is involved with so it just meant we would have more time to help sell merchandise. Rob was such a good sport about the whole thing and jumped into help.

A blurry pic of me helping with set up.

After the race kicked off Mike (ORRT member), Rob and I went out to run the course easy. It was nice to still get out catch up with our friend and get some miles in. 🙂


Park to Park – 5M – 36:11

We had a beautiful mild morning (especially for June) for this race. 65ish degrees a bit of cloud cover and a light breeze. When the sun peaked through though it was warm, but still better than our last race.

The course was new this year, starting just outside of Miller Park and then finishing at the Corn Crib over second base. This added some more hill to the course, but I loved the new finish. I think it’s always fun to run into a stadium or arena.

My lack of speed work and hill work showed during the race. My first two miles were on pace, but then I fell off and my body naturally went back to half marathon pace.

Me feeling the pain.

No PR today for me, but another fun race. I got 1st in my Age Group which was a baseball with the Park to Park race imprinted and a ticket to an upcoming game.

Me and my award.

Drew and Rob



7:14 Pace

F 30-34: 1/61

F: 9/280

Overall: 66/604

After grilling out Rob and I dusted off our mountain bikes and went for a ride to uptown Normal and back.


Run for the Roses


Friday (6/17):

12.9 Bike Interval (P2, L5, 45:00, 17.2 mph), Upper Body Weights

Saturday (6/18):

1.77 Easy (Warm up, 18:12, 10:17 Pace)

15K Race (Steamboat Classic, 1:10:21, 7:33 Pace, 18th Female Overall)

Sunday (6/19):

13.1 Med-Long (‘Hood, 1:51:13, 8:30 Pace)

Monday (6/20):

5 Easy (Recovery, Very Windy, 47:20, 9:28 Pace)

Tuesday (6/21):


Wednesday (6/22):

7.2 LT (Treadmill, 2 Warm Up, 3.25 LT, 2 Cool Down, 1:01:33, 8:30 Pace)

Thursday (6/23):


Friday (6/24):

4 Easy (Treadmill, 34:19, 8:35 Pace)

Saturday (6/25):

2.75 Fartlek (Const Trail, 18:14, 6:38 Pace)

1.94 Easy (Warm up, ISU, 18:14, 9:24 Pace)

3.13 Interval (Track, ISU, 6 x 200s w/200 Jog, 4 x 400s w/400 Jog, 27:30, 8:48 Pace)

2 Easy (Cool Down, ISU, 19:10, 9:35 Pace)

Ah where to begin….it was a long, but productive week. During the week Rob and I both happened to be dressed up at the same time and I got to grab a pic of the occasion.

Drew came to visit twice and we had a nice dinner out and another at home. I had tummy pains mid-week, I suspect I ate something with gluten and paid the price.

Friday after a long day we drove over to my girl Abby’s bday bash. I got in a bit of girl time, but knew I had to get home to run a few miles since I had inadvertently had two rest days with my roller coaster week. Plus the next morning (today) we had to be up early to volunteer at a 5K race. The race was for the McLean County AIDS Task Force to raise funds for their program. Rob and I had planned to do a track workout after volunteering for the race. When we arrived our ORRT store owner and team manager says “Christine you should race this one. Get in a workout and win while you are at it.” Umm…okay, except it’s starting to warm up and I’m in adidas warm up pants (that are a size too big) and my adidas Boston shoes, which are my heavier, easy run shoe. I didn’t have clothes for track since we were planning to run back home later. No matter, they all say “just do it” and I laugh at how silly this will be to race in this attire. I make Rob take my picture for evidence.

I tie my pants as tight as I can and warn Rob that in a race I may lose them mid way. Luckily one of the other fast guys there to volunteer had an extra pair of shorts he could loan me, at least that meant I would fry in the sun.

This race was small, like 15 people small. Plus it’s in a park area that is not closed to the public. I wish more people would have come out, these smaller races are a great place for beginners to get in some racing experience without a ton of pressure. The big downside the course wasn’t marked at all. We all looked at the map before hand and tried to memorize the turns we would take. If you know this area you know there are many turn options so it wasn’t like there were street names to remember. It was more like, around the little pond on the outer loop, around the bigger pond, left at the porta potty type directions. And the course wasn’t even chalked or anyone standing at each turn, it would all be from memory. We found out quickly that when you are racing at a 5K pace, it all starts to look the same. This area is known for 5K course flubs because even when there are volunteers, they can get confused as to which way to direct traffic.

Okay so we take off and I assume lead for mile 1 and my watch beeps a 6:15, not too shabby in heavy arse shoes and random course turning. The guy behind me assumes the lead and I try to stay with him. Before mile 2 he juts to the right and makes a turn I’m 100% is wrong and I press forward. Where he turned he was out of sight and I’m just about to say “wrong way” when a friend behind me says, “we should have turned”. He’s trying to help me and I try to convince him it’s straight, not a right turn yet. And he insists to follow the leader, regardless. Bless his heart for trying to help, but I’m ticked at this point cause I’m certain which way to go and I want to do the course correctly. I’m not mad at our friend, I’m mad at myself for giving in when I knew better. I don’t know how to explain my brain’s logic when I’m in 5K race-mode. It’s just different so in that fraction of time I couldn’t debate the directions. 5K race brain for me feels a bit like being tipsy, my mind can’t process as fast as my body chooses the decision. Mile 2, 6:50, ugh logistics and talking mess it up. So the lead guy is further ahead because I’ve doubled back, there is no catching him and I’m chatting with my friend how I’m certain it will be short and then I try to get back to racing, but all I can think about is speculating how short we will all be. I lay off my pace and a young guy goes by me before we finish. 2.75 on my watch leaving me with a 6:38 avg pace. Since we are only 15 people most follow the group and run the course short. The race director suspected this may happen and places awards as we came in and tells us not to even worry about it. I take first female (3rd overall) and receive a nice trophy. I just wish it would have been the right distance. I’ve been in this situation before and I’m sure it won’t be the last time, so I just have to stop my pout-pants dance and get over it.

All of us runners.

This race has very nice food, lots of cold water and fruit, plus really great raffel prizes. I won a $50 gift certificate from a local florist!

I envision a large bouquet of roses and consider who to send them to or if they will look nice in our house. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks when we were at our track workout. I’m going to donate the gift certificate back to the organization to surprise one or two people that are either in the hospital, going through treatment or something serious and need flowers to brighten their day. That idea washed away the frustration I had with myself for not trusting my gut mid-race mode and put the focus back on to what was important. Running for the roses was all worth it.

Rob and I had a great track workout. We had the company of Mitch and some running friends out there too. Even with my mini-race I hit all of my track times spot on!

We had planned to fly out to Indiana for lunch and shopping, but the weather had other plans. Instead of letting it spoil our day we headed up to Chicago area for shopping up there instead. We got Rob some amazing new shave products and I got a special new purse, Louis Vuitton Artsy MM!! Ahhhhh swoon!!!! 🙂 Then we went to dinner at our favorite place in the area, Braxton’s. The food was outstanding as usual and the service was perfect, they always take such good care of us there.

Fuzzy picture at dinner.

Trying them out in the store is essential. Online the size can be deceiving. MM was the perfect size and I love the soft lining, 6 pockets, 1 zipper pocket, the key ring and D-ring detail, and braided handle. I love everything about this purse!

Outside the restaurant.

And one of it with its huge box and bag! Eeeeee! 😀

A very full and truly amazing day!


2010 Steamboat Classic – 15K – 1:10:21

Today was the Steamboat Classic in Peoria, IL. This race offers a world record class 4 Mile and the toughest 15K in the mid-west. We took the longer and more painful option. There are not a ton of 15Ks in this area, so it’s a chance to run the longer distance and get in a great hill workout!

We were off and all felt well, even up and around the steep hills, the first time around. Second lap around the steep hills into the park and my legs were toasted. I definitely need more strength and hill workouts. Still it was a great time to get out and race!

Me with part of ORRT group.

I finished in 1:10:21, not a PR, but 18th place female overall. The top 25 men and women for each race are recognized with an award.

Everyone did great! Rob finished in 1:05:25! This was Drew’s first time doing the 15K with a 1:24:00!

Me and Mike (fellow ORRT) and a girl he coaches.

The 15K finisher’s medal and my award.


7:33 Pace

F: 18/?