My Playlist Needs Some Help

Week 1 of marathon training….check!  I have to say that I am loving being back on a plan and having some structure to my running.  The tired and heavy legs?  Not loving that so much.

In the past when I have trained I used an iPod Shuffle.  But I got sick of them dying on me all of the time and spending a small fortune replacing them.  Now that I have an iPhone, I can connect to my music more easily.  Lately I have been using Pandora and mixing it up with different genres.  But we are headed somewhere this week where I won’t be able to use Pandora.  My playlist could also use some new tunes and a little change up.

That’s where I am hoping you can help me! In return I will help someone else.

Help me find some new tunes for my playlist and for each new song that isn’t already on my list and works for training, I will donate a dollar to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

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As you may (or may not know) I am a coach for MDA’s Team Momentum.  They just announced a very exciting rebranding and I am thrilled with their new look and exciting new mission.  I have met so many wonderful families through the MDA and they have become both friends and family to our family.

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So why not help all of us out?  Send me your favorite running tunes and I will send them a donation for your assistance.

Don’t be shy with the music.  I like it all and have the most embarrassing playlist.  Anything goes as long as it has a nice fast or strong beat.  Here is a sampling of what is on my current playlist: Led Zepplin, Miley Cyrus (yes they are next to each other), 50 Cent, Mackelmore, Johnny Cash, Vienna Boys Choir, Dolly Parton, One Republic….you get the drift.  Anything goes as long as it has a good beat to keep my legs a movin’.

 

Happy Birthday Team Momentum!

I am so excited to say Happy Birthday to Team Momentum today as it turns the big 1 year old!  Woot!

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Less than a year ago I was introduced to Team Momentum through an e-mail looking for a coach in the Chicago market.  I can easily and happily say that my life has changed immensely from that e-mail.

Team Momentum was created by the Muscular Dystrophy Association as a charity program for full and half marathons across the country.  Last year Team Momentum participated in races in Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C. and most recently in Dallas.  This year they are also adding race locations including the Chicago Spring Half Marathon in May, where we are the official charity!  In just the first year alone hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised for people and families affected by muscle disease and hundreds of runners and walkers crossed finish lines of both full and half marathons.

Team Momentum offers a special and personalized experience for all of it’s athletes.  If you don’t live in the city of your race choice you can participate in training virtually or even fundraise and run the event of your own choosing through their Endurance Series. Each participant receives awesome official team gear, their own personal fundraising website and customized training from a certified running coach (like yours truly!).  On race weekend you are treated like absolute royalty with help at the race expo, a very inspirational team dinner and a post race party.

If you have ever considered running or walking a half or full marathon but aren’t sure where to start, joining this team is the way to go.  If you have a local team in your area you will be provided with weekly group runs and clinics.  Even through virtual participation you will gain dozens of friends through their online community as well as the help and support you need to make your training a success from start to finish.  Coaches will be on the course with you on race day to make sure you cross that finish line.

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Your fundraising dollars go towards incredible opportunities for those affected with muscle disease.  You can help send a child to the MDA’s summer camp where kids get the opportunity to spend an extra special week at sleep away camp.  Fundraising money goes towards research to help put an end to muscle disease, clinical trials, and assistance for families in need.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association covers over 40 different muscle diseases including ALS.  This is a charity that can feel really great backing as they put 77 cents of every dollar back into funding and research.  That is huge!

Personally I find this to be a very special organization to be working with.  All of my life I have been blessed with the opportunity to either be competitively playing or coaching a sport.  Using my muscles has been an integral part of my life and career.  What better way for me to give back as a runner than to be able to use my muscles in a way to help fundraise and support those who might not be able to?

If you have ever considered running or walking a half or full marathon this is a great opportunity.  Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.  I would love to see you become a part of the team!

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday!  I am still feeling great from a most amazing weekend.  We have had a “heat wave” roll through Chicago and it made for a fantastic few days.  Over the weekend the weather soared into the 50ºF temps.  Something about unusually warm weather during winter months does wonders for my mood and energy levels, which was perfect because we had an action packed few days planned.

Saturday morning I got up bright and early and did a nice 30 minute workout before I taught a small group training class.  I have mentioned before how much I like starting my day off with a brief workout and these days they have become a bit more interesting.  Louie, our new dog, is a major cuddler.  If you sit on the floor he will run to sit in your lap.  Apparently he will also run to you if you are doing planks.  My morning workout involved him sitting on my back and laying underneath me.  Extra challenge points thanks to Louie.

Blurry I know but not easy to take a pic while doing a plank and having a dog walk on you!

Blurry I know but not easy to take a pic while doing a plank and having a dog walk on you!

After my small group training class I decided to get a quick run in because later that evening we had a pizza party planned.  If I know anything about myself, I have zero self control when it comes to pizza.  I rarely have it; maybe once or twice a year.  So when I get around pizza all bets are off.

When I stepped outside it was so pleasant out.  I had planned on running six but I quickly decided that it was going to be a nice brisk ten miler.  It was so unexpectedly wonderful and my pace was better than it has been in weeks.  Talk about a confidence booster!

After my run I quickly cleaned up and my husband and I joined my sister-in-laws and nieces for an afternoon at the Nutcracker.  I hadn’t been in over ten years and it was the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  Something about the Nutcracker really evokes some of the best feelings of the holiday season.  I also find it just mesmerizing about being at the ballet too!

Keeping with our weekend of nonstop action we went right from the theater to the church next door.  Over the past few months I had been attending classes as part of a process to join the Catholic Church.  I grew up in a Lutheran home but after getting married I really wanted my husband and I to be part of the same church.  So  Saturday evening was my confirmation.  My husband and a lot of his family joined us at the church.  It was a really special evening.

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And then there was pizza!  What better way to celebrate my confirmation than to have everyone back to our place for pizza, a chocolate fountain, and playtime with the puppy?  It was such a fun night with some of our favorite people.

But the fun didn’t stop there.  One of our friends, and a fellow Team Momentum member, was hosting a holiday party in our neighborhood.  So I kicked off my heels and threw on sneakers with my dress and we headed out the door to a killer holiday party.  It was so fun and so festive.  Everyone was wearing awesome holiday sweaters, minus my husband and I still in our clothes from the ballet/church.  By the time we got back home I was beyond ready for bed.

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My husband is a saint and let me sleep in on Sunday.  As I mentioned recently in a post about sleep I try to get to bed early and avoid the late nights to bed and late mornings to wake.  But Sunday was a real treat.  Once I finally dragged myself out of bed we took Louie for a walk to Lincoln Square to grab a cup of coffee and just wander in the moderate temperatures.

When we got back home I spent the rest of the afternoon in the kitchen making holiday gifts.  I can’t reveal here what I made but I have to say that some special people in our lives will be receiving lots of delicious (and healthy) treats.  I absolutely love the holiday season and as I have gotten older my favorite part is being able to share with family and friends.  It doesn’t have to be something big or expensive.  Some of the best gifts are the ones you make that come from the heart.  It is always nice to be remembered.

Last week we even got the chance to go to a cookie baking party with some friends.  Seriously, the holiday fun just doesn’t stop.  Everything about this time of the year is my favorite.  I say that now because it isn’t cold out.  Remind me about what I said when it drops into the 20’s again.

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Look at me trying with all my might not to eat EVERY single one!

Look at me trying with all my might not to eat EVERY single one!

There were a few more walks and a strength training session thrown in but most of the day was spent enjoying heavenly scents in the kitchen.

What is your favorite part of the holiday season?  Do you have something you like to make for gifts?

A HUGE congrats goes out today to Patrick and Steve.  Both are Team Momentum members who completed the Chicago Marathon back in October.  Being the loyal team members that they are they signed up in November to run the Dallas Marathon on December 14th.  They trusted me to coach them for a second marathon and not only did they finish but they finished STRONG!  Steve even beat his PR by almost 20 minutes!  Way to go guys!

Congrats to everyone who ran the Dallas Half and Full Marathons yesterday and a special shout out to Team Momentum!

Why Do You Race?

This post has been sitting in my drafts for quite some time.  I have been meaning to post it but there are so many different facets to this that I just never got around to finishing.  I have been running races since I was a very young girl.  When I was little a neighbor boy got very sick and passed away.  He was a local track star and our town created a 5K in his name.  Several years later his father passed away at a race and now the 5K is named for both of them.  I remember being just a young kid and running around the neighborhood “training” myself for the 5K.  I felt so proud of myself and cherished the medals I would receive for running these races.

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At one of the first races his dad handed out the medals.

In my 20’s I got back into running after a long hiatus.  At first it was a way for me to stay in shape after many years of competitive figure skating.  But over time it has become so much more than that.  It is a lifestyle.  I managed to drag my husband into the sport and together we would run countless miles.

You can be the star of your own race: A few years ago I asked my husband if he would do a race with me.  At the time we ran almost every day and averaged 6-10 miles per run.  But he really didn’t want to race.  He still was hesitant to consider himself a runner.  In high school he was a state champion hockey and lacrosse player and had played years of Division 1 college hockey.  Although not as competitive as I am (lucky for him) he didn’t really want to join a competition that he felt he wasn’t prepared for.  I tried so hard to convince him that road races weren’t anything like that and finally after months of prodding he agreed to try one.

I of course had to pick a 15K distance for his first race.  It also happened to be one of the most challenging courses I have ever done.  Talk about setting the guy up!  We started at the back of the field and plugged our way along the course.  After we hit a gigantic hill at mile two, something happened.  The crowds cheering everyone along got to him and he got into a groove.  Slowly we started passing people and he came into his own out there.  By the end we finished with a very respectable time.

Later that day we were enjoying a post run beer at a bar.  We were still high off of our race together and recapping everything we liked about the race.  He was most excited about how fun it was to be out on the course with other runners of all paces.  Everyone was doing their own thing and most people were having a really great time.  No one was out there worrying about who was in first or who was in 300th place.  So many people were out cheering along the course for others they had never met and there were so many volunteers making sure the runners had a safe and fun time.

My husband looked up at me and said, “Why don’t you look for another race for next weekend?”  Thus began a spring of races in different towns almost every weekend.  It was awesome!  For both of us, former competitive athletes, it was an opportunity for each of us to feel that competitive drive again but on our own terms.  We could push ourselves to the brink of our own abilities and cross the finish line a success, not because we won, but because we were still winners on our own terms.

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We are a community: A few weeks ago we did  the Terry Fox 5K in Central Park.  It was a free race with so many participants and volunteers.  When we arrived and I saw everyone wearing their race shirts and all of the volunteers out working for such a great cause, I got tears in my eyes.  Seeing the camaraderie among the running community is something so very special.  While many of us go to run our best races and we have worked incredibly hard, we are also there to be part of something bigger.  Together we create a very special and caring place that goes beyond running.  It makes me so proud to be a part of this.

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You can run for charity:  This past summer I was given the incredible opportunity to coach the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Team Momentum.  Over 100 runners from Chicago and across the country came together locally and virtually to raise funds and train for the Chicago Marathon.  The vast majority of these people were first time marathoners and some were even first time runners.  Many of them had very personal connections to muscle disease through friends and family.  They committed themselves for months to raise their funds for the MDA and train their bodies for a marathon.

Getting to watch a group of athletes work for a better good and for a charity that meant so much to them and myself was one of the best experiences I have ever had.  They cheered each other on, they joked, they cried, and they pushed themselves to places they had never been and may have never imagined going to.  While running was a big part of this experience, it went beyond just the sport.  This was something much bigger.  Every person who had the opportunity to be a part of the charity program had a fantastic experience.  In return for their hard work they were provided with everything they needed to have a first class marathon experience.  By the end I got to see 135 athletes cross the finish line and become marathoners.

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For many of us running is a huge part of our lives.  We take for granted each day that we can use our muscles in so many ways.  To have the opportunity to fundraise and run for those who might not be able to was a very special experience.  It was a true testament to the fact that most often, it really is about more than just running.

Why do you race?

Chicago Runners Don’t Despair! You Can Still Run and I Will Help You.

So you opened up your e-mail this morning only to find out you were denied entry into the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  That stinks. ChicagMarathon But I have great news.  You can still run Chicago, help a great cause, and I will coach you through to the finish line.  What a deal! I am working with the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Team Momentum this year to help their athletes train for the Chicago Marathon.  By running with us you will receive a personal training plan to suit your marathon needs whether you are a first time marathoner or are looking to set a new PR.  If you are in the Chicago area I will also be meeting with runners on Saturday mornings for group long runs and during the week for a midweek training run.  I will also host a few clinics with Team Momentum on various topics that are aimed to help you reach that finish line.  We will discuss fuel and hydration, proper foot wear, proper running clothes and even mental preparation techniques. Perhaps you weren’t even thinking about Chicago but have the itch to complete your first marathon.  This is the perfect time for you.  Our plan will start out with minimal mileage and over the course of our training we will slowly build both our distances and duration.  By the time race day comes along you will be fully prepared to complete 26.2 miles. Team Momentum Even if you aren’t in the Chicago area I will be available at any time to discuss your training needs via e-mail.  This practically makes this a personal training experience. The Muscular Dystrophy Association and Team Momentum are an incredible cause working towards finding an end towards muscle disease.  As runners and athletes ourselves this is a very special cause to run for.  There is reasonable fundraising required to help this awesome cause and you will also receive assistance with your fundraising along with a personalized website to help you reach your goals. If you really wanted to run and were shut out this is really an incredible opportunity for you to still get out there and help a great cause at the same time!  If you have questions you can contact me here on this blog or through my e-mail address.  I would love to chat with you!

This can still be you!

This can still be you!

Click on this link for more info:  http://www2.mda.org/site/TR?fr_id=8474&pg=entry

I Got In! I’m Not Racing. But You Can!

I got this pretty awesome message in my inbox the other day:

ChicagMarathon

Congratulations! Your guaranteed entry into the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon has been approved. At any time you can view your entry status through the Athlete Center (register.chicagomarathon.com/athletecenter).

Pretty exciting stuff.  But I am even more excited to tell you that I will not be racing in the Chicago Marathon.  Why not you ask?  Because I have been given the most exciting opportunity of being hired as the endurance coach for Team Momentum for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  I am so excited I can barely sleep!  As the endurance coach I will be training charity runners for the Chicago Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, and Boston 13.1 as they raise money for muscular diseases.

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Even better I have some exciting news for all my blogging friends and awesome followers.  From now until Friday April 4th you can skip the lottery to get into the Chicago Marathon and secure a spot right now.  Your spot will be secured at a minimum fundraising amount of $1000.  After that date minimum fundraising increases to $1500.  This is an awesome cause and an easily attainable fundraising opportunity for you.

By joining this awesome team you will receive free in-person or virtual training, Team Momentum gear, fundraising guidance and a webpage, a community of support from teammates, and an opportunity to accomplish one huge goal all while helping impact the lives of MDA families.

If you want to register immediately you can go to: http://www2.mda.org/chicagomarathon.

Talk about a chance of a lifetime!  I am so excited to be helping out both the MDA as well as fellow runners and marathoners.  Whether you are an experienced marathoner or you are just starting to think about doing your first one this is the perfect time.  I will be helping to set up training plans for all levels and if you are in the Chicago area we can hang out on some beautiful long training runs.

Give me a shout if you have any questions.  I hope you will be joining the fun!