Category Archives: Gary

My very own T.N.T.


Back in Memphis someone nicknamed Tuesday night track workouts – T.N.T. or Tuesday Night Torture Track.  I went several times towards then end of my stay there and while they were tough, the group dynamic forced me to push myself and I know I was getting faster (that is until I stopped going in favor of another version of T.N.T. – Tuesday Night Tequila – hey, I was celebrating my way out of Memphis).

Well today I re-introduced myself to the track workout with some modifications.

  1. I did it in the morning.   I put evening runs right up there with dentist appointments on my least favorite things list.
  2. I did it alone.  No one on the B-team has speedwork in their vocabulary so I broke of from the group for this workout.  It was a blessing and a curse – I didn’t have the group pressure to push myself.  And I didn’t have the group pressure to push myself.
  3. I did it on the trail.  There’s a great, flat, shaded, softer-than-pavement section of the Zionsville Rail Trail and that’s where I headed for the repeats.

    My track.

    The Workout – 10-20 minute warmup, 12×400 (1:40-1:50) with 90 second RI, 10 minute cooldown

    Avg Pace
    Summary 56:51.4 5.41 10:31
    1 9:30.5 1.00 9:30
    2 1:49.8 0.25 7:15
    3 1:41.3 0.05 36:27
    4 1:40.4 0.25 6:42
    5 1:19.9 0.03 43:58
    6 1:38.7 0.25 6:36
    7 1:30.2 0.04 37:18
    8 1:38.1 0.25 6:40
    9 1:42.0 0.04 40:09
    10 1:43.4 0.25 6:54
    11 1:32.4 0.05 32:45
    12 1:47.0 0.25 7:01
    13 1:27.5 0.04 35:12
    14 1:46.4 0.25 7:08
    15 1:28.6 0.05 30:14
    16 1:53.1 0.25 7:28
    17 1:21.9 0.04 35:12
    18 1:58.6 0.25 7:53
    19 1:16.9 0.03 43:03
    20 1:56.9 0.25 7:42
    21 1:35.6 0.07 22:13
    22 1:56.7 0.26 7:36
    23 1:32.5 0.07 21:03
    24 1:51.9 0.23 7:57
    25 1:42.7 0.09 19:04
    26 7:28.4 0.81 9:14

    I put the 400 repeats in bold in Gary’s report above.  I started off pretty strong but can tell that I fatigue by halfway.  It became increasingly harder to maintain the 1:40 goal and even tough to hit the 1:50.  My biggest accomplishment was completing all 12.  There were many times I considered shortening it – especially as the dark clouds rolled in.  I had two repeats to go when the wind picked up and leaves started falling off the trees, across the path.  Since it’s been so dry there were actually quite a bit (can I blame slower times on wind resistance?!)  I even got rained on for the cool down but it felt incredible.  Not too hard and just enough to cool myself off.  Well, only 17 more track workouts to go – eye on the prize!


State # 9: Illinois, Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon


Race Stats:

Time: 2:00:00

Overall place: 2744/14881 (18th%)

Division (F 18-24): 227/1439 (15th%)

Gender (F): 1055/8998 (11th%)


Play by Play

Pops and I decided to run this race a few months ago.  His reasoning fueled by a recent “god-awful racing experience” at the Indy Mini and mine fueled by the need to cram another midwestern state in before I leave the region.  That must have been before the excessive heat hit for the summer.

Pre-Race Carbs

Usually I prefer pizza the night before a race but we had plans to do dinner at RPM Italian Restaurant (Giuliana and Bill’s restaurant -FYI).  I don’t find the need to obsess over Giuliana and Bill but a dear friend of mine does and she asked that I eat here so she could live vicariously through me.  Coincidentally, that’s also where our friends had reservations and they asked us to join them.

Don’t care.

While I don’t care about the couples’ personal lives, their restaurant was delicious.  Popsicle and I were late, and so inappropriately underdressed (can you guess what I was wearing…?) but it had been a busy afternoon of packet pickup and parking debacles (I still love Chicago but the city turned on me – I literally had a panic attack while driving and parking.  That’s a city that needs to be done on foot) and there was no time for a shower or “fancy clothes”.  Luckily our table was right inside the restaurant so I just slinked along the interior wall unnoticed (I’m pretty sure they would have escorted me out).

Dinner spot.

Once we were seated and I had a glass of cab in my hand, I was able to relax a bit.  The entire menu looked phenomenal and I had trouble deciding what to order.  Plus I was ravenously hungry from hiking around the city and expo.  I wanted to stick to my usual pre-race plan of salad and pizza so I chose the spinach and kale salad to start.

Spinach and Kale Salad

The salad was fresh, crispy and wonderful.  I’m sure Giuliana was back there in the kitchen whipping them up herself.  Then I took a leap of faith and deviated from the pizza route.  I ordered the pasta pomodoro instead.  And it was a great decision.

Pasta Pomodoro

The tomato sauce was fresh and flavorful and the herbs added just the perfect seasoning to it.  The portions were much smaller than are normally served at restaurants but it was perfect for me.  I slurped all those noodles down.  Dad ordered the pizza in traditional style and when I saw his plate I knew I made the better decision.  First of all, it was about the size of a CD and second of all didn’t have any spectacular or gourmet toppings like I like.

We were finished up and back to the hotel by 7pm.  I spent the rest of the evening north of the river enjoying the company of an old friend and her new fiancee and stayed out past bedtime but we had lots to catch up on.  (Speaking of weddings, I saw 7 weddings on Saturday and 2 proposals on Sunday….tis the season!)

Race Day

5:15 wake-up call.  5:30 coffee, a bite of granola bar.  5:35 get dressed, check for music, Garmin, beans, and race number.  5:45 drink a bottle of water and out the door.

Good Morning Chicago!

We stepped outside to a beautiful morning in the city.  We were in the shade at first so it didn’t feel too hot but iPhone told me it was 75 degrees – pretty hot for 6 am.  Our hotel was less than .5 miles from the start so we used the walk as our warmup and made it to our corral by 6:03 (the earliest I’ve made it to a corral).  They were pretty empty.

Waiting for the start

We found our friends (Al runs with the boys in the morning, his wife Barb is on the Varisty running squad in town and daughter Kate is my brother’s age.)  and reviewed our strategies.  Al doesn’t run half marathons anymore because of his knees so his plan was to make sure he didn’t miss the turn-off for the 5k.  Barb and Kate had the same plan as us – have fun and survive.

The McLaughlins

And then it was time to go!

Runners at the start

13.1 Miles

The first 5 miles of the race were downtown in the city which was cool.  We were shaded from the sun by the large buildings and I enjoy how small a big city makes me feel.  Plus not having to worry about traffic is always wonderful!  We crossed the Chicago River several times – I always looked forward to that because there was a cool breeze coming up from the water.  I wasn’t a big fan of miles 3-5 that took us through a ‘burb.  I much preferred being in the downtown area but after that 2 mile trot, we were rewarded with fans lining both sides of the streets on our way towards Michigan Avenue and south away from the city.  Spectators truly add energy and make such a difference!

Our Route

At the halfway mark I started to pull away (that energy from the fans got to me!) from Dad and he said, “You can go ahead.”  But instead I slowed my roll (I tend to pick up the pace without considering the miles remaining).  The mile or so down Michigan is where the heat really started to get to us.  We were no longer protected by the shade of the buildings and had been in the 75+ degree temps for more than an hour.  I had been making a point to drink water at every station it was available and was feeling ok – definitely hot but not sick or overheated.  Dad had a different story to tell.  I stuck with him though, encouraging him when I could and just keeping him running when I didn’t know what to say.

Miles 8-10 were tough.  At 8, he asked me again to go ahead and finish at the pace I wanted to.  He knew he wouldn’t be able to beat the prestigious two hour mark at our current pace.   I told him I was gonna stay with him and that I just didn’t want to get a PW (personal worst) and we still had plenty of time to avoid that.  I was in a great place – just boppin’ along to my music, eatin’ jelly beans and drinking water when it was available.

At 10 Dad had to stop to walk.  He was soaking wet in his own sweat and probably overheated. I stopped with him for a moment when again he said “Go ahead of me.”  I wrestled with myself for a second because one of my core beliefs as a runner is that you never leave a training partner behind.  But I could tell in his voice he mostly meant “Please let me be miserable alone!”  because sometimes you just want to suffer by yourself.  So he handed the watch off to me and I was gone.

The Last 5k

When we handed off, I probably had about 28 minutes to hit the 2 hour mark.  I felt good so decided to go for it.  By now I’m heading back north up Lakeshore Drive.  Less than a mile into this solo part of the race there was a cold sponge station.  It was like heaven on earth.  The volunteers were passing out sponges soaked in ice cold water.  I grabbed one and squeezed as much of the refreshing water down my back.  Less than half a mile later I starting getting texts from my Memphis runners letting me know how their 5k race had gone earlier that morning.  I told them I had 2ish miles to go (ninjas can run and text at the same time, and I happen to have some ninja skills) and their encouraging responses helped get me to the last mile.  Approaching the finish, I knew I could make it.  My legs still felt strong and I although I was in pain, I wasn’t exhausted.  I was actually having a really fun time by myself, singing to my music, sayin’ “Thanks y’all” to all the volunteers (a little southern charm 😉 ), and dreaming of cupcakes later.  And then I crossed the finish line at a blistering 7:27 pace in exactly 2:00:00!

I wandered around the finish area looking for Popsicle for a while and managed to see Barb and Kate finish but missed Dad.  I grabbed some free goodies for myself (chocolate milk, YES!) and then knew where to go – the beer tent.  Without fail, there was the entire group sipping on Michelob Ultras.


I asked Dad how he was feeling and his first response was, “Everything is overexposed (really bright).”  The trainer in me scolded him for not drinking water and suggested he sit down.  The five of us hung out in the park for a while telling stories of the race.  Barb and Kate saw a guy propose to his girl right after they crossed the finish line.  And then we all saw another guy propose on stage at the concert at the after-party.  (Note to my future cowboy boyfriend: This is a totally acceptable way to propose to me, just don’t lose the ring on the run.)

Big city!


I’m pleased with my strong finish – you can see the negative splits below in the Garmin report.  Practice really does pay off!

Avg Pace
Summary 2:00:00.7 13.16 9:07
1 9:53.1 1.00 9:53
2 9:29.3 1.00 9:29
3 9:01.2 1.00 9:01
4 9:08.6 1.00 9:09
5 9:19.3 1.00 9:19
6 9:06.8 1.00 9:07
7 8:50.0 1.00 8:50
8 9:33.7 1.00 9:34
9 9:15.6 1.00 9:16
10 9:39.9 1.00 9:40
11 8:43.4 1.00 8:44
12 8:40.9 1.00 8:41
13 8:07.4 1.00 8:07
14 1:11.6 0.16 7:27


Another state down, and despite the ending temperature of 83 degrees, I still love Chicago (and running!).

My 9th state, Dad’s 3rd!





Workout Report


As promised, I went straight to the gym after posting my workout this morning.  One of the things I do like about the mega-size of my new gym is all the people-watching I can do.  In several visits, I’m not sure I’ve seen the same person twice (except a muscle man who looks like he belongs on the Jersey Shore seems to live there).  As planned, I completed my 10 minute jump rope workout – and it kicked my ass.  I can only imagine how hard it would be if I were actually coordinated enough to manage more than 5 jumps in a row……

Next time you hear from me about jumping rope I’ll be able to jump like this guy:

After the jump rope warm-up, I had planned on completing the 30 minute run on the treadmill (shorter runs, targeting the 5k distance for now) but was caught off guard by the pleasantly sunny 65 degree day when I left the house and decided to run outside.  The pattern was 5 minutes of steady running with 1 minute at race pace.  I had hoped my steady running would be in the 8s somewhere but my sore legs had other plans.  Here’s what the miles looked like:

Run 78/129

Location: Zionsville Rail Trail

Weather Notes: sunny and 68

Distance: 3.44 miles

Time: 31:58

Pace: 9:15

Other Notes: My legs were tight and tired as I jump head first back into a full strength-training routine and therefore slow.  I still managed to hit race pace (7:00) for the 5 one-minute intervals.  It was the longer, steady segments that gave me trouble.

Avg Pace
Summary 31:57.8 3.44 9:18
1 5:00.9 0.55 9:08
2 1:00.5 0.14 7:11
3 5:00.1 0.59 8:33
4 1:00.4 0.15 6:55
5 5:01.0 0.45 11:16
6 :58.7 0.14 6:56
7 4:59.5 0.54 9:11
8 1:01.4 0.14 7:09
9 4:59.7 0.52 9:34
10 :59.0 0.14 7:13
11 1:56.6 0.08 23:30

I was so hot from running outside in the middle of the day that I didn’t do the plyometric/core workout immediately following my run.  Instead I waited until later this afternoon and completed the routine twice, just as I outlined in this morning’s post (which means I also realized I gave you 11 exercises instead of 10!  Intentionally for that extra umph! of course).  The plank series at the end (plank jacks, plank hold, mountain climbers and burpees) was especially killer!

After the plyometric workout I was starving so threw together a big salad, partially inspired by the Veggie Delite at Cheffie’s (a favorite Memphis hangout).

Chicken Delite Salad

Mixed greens

1 roasted red pepper, chopped

1/4 cucumber, sliced

1/2 tomato, chunked

1/2 avocado (sometimes I use sunflower seeds instead….both healthy fats)

4 oz. grilled chicken breast

2 tbsp. dressing of choice (I like balsamic vinaigrette)

Chicken delite salad

And now I’m snuggled with my favorite four-legged friend (sorry Peekay, Hazy and Lulu) for a night of reality TV with Popsical.  We’ve already watched the Pacers win (wish the Grizz could do the same), Fashion Star and now on to the Voice!  First day of school tomorrow!


Hoping to get a run in with dad’s group in the morning – we’ll see if coffee happens again instead!  Good night!