2017 Chicago Marathon Recap

This past weekend, I ran my 8th marathon in Chicago. It was a terrific day but not a great race (or even run). It was super hard out on the course and I walked away disappointed and upset. I went in hopeful after a good training season with high mileage, fast speed runs, and a strong mental set….but for whatever reason, Sunday wasn’t my day and I didn’t do well. Without making any excuses, one thing after another happened — I had a side ache from the get go (and still have it!), my Nike App was totally off (it said I ran 27.5 miles so therefore was off the whole time, making me super confused…), I lost my caffeine gum, the top of my water bottle with my nutrition in it fell off, I sweat uncontrollably (it was 77 degrees), yada yada yada….nothing went well. And so I started to derail mentally, and thought I should quit because each step was hard on my side and nothing felt great – …..all of that to say, it was my hardest marathon to date, both mentally and physically. I clocked in a 3:33, but know I can do much better.

 

The trip was quick — I left Saturday morning at 9, and came back Sunday night at 930. Quick turn around, but happy to make it short and the marathon the focus of the weekend. Before I left for Chicago, I did lots of legs up the wall to help relax my body…

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September 2017 Running Playlist

Since my next marathon is 11 days away (but who is counting?), I am compiling motivational songs to help my runs and overall energy. Here is my latest running playlist. Enjoy!

 

Me running, or pretending to run. Looks like I am on Mars, but I am in Utah. We just returned from a short belated 10th Anniversary celebration.  Stay tuned for full details!

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Generation UCan

A good friend of mine who happens to be a kick ass triathelete, ultra-maranother, and marathoner (slacker), turned me on to Generation UCan for fuel during my training runs and marathons. This friend is so fast and knowledgeable that whenever *she* tells you to do something, you do it.

 

This friend gave me a care package for one of my recent marathons, and it had everything a marathoner would want or need; water bottles, sleeves, gu blocks, and lots of UCan packages. As always, such a sweet and loving friend, thank you!

This friend gave me a care package for one of my recent marathons, and it had everything a marathoner would want or need; water bottles, sleeves, gu blocks, and lots of UCan packages. As always, such a sweet and loving friend, thank you!

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Superhero Muffins

As I mentioned last week, my new favorite cookbook is “Run Fast Eat Slow” by Olympian Shalane Flanagan — I literally can’t get enough of it.  My most recent obsession is the “Superhero muffins,” as I have made four batches in the past two weeks (no joke). They are moist, filling, sweet, delicious, and healthy. And refined-sugar and gluten free.  And they make you feel like a superhero.

 

Run Fast. Eat Slow. (Not Run Slow, Eat Fast).

Run Fast. Eat Slow. (Not Run Slow, Eat Fast). Basically, all you need in life is a stick of butter and some veggies.

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September 2016 Work Out Playlist

One of Ken’s pet peeves is listening to me LISTEN to music to add to my playlists. Yes, it is a lot of stops and starts, but I need to in order to find good workout music! Since I am yet again running the NYC marathon and doing lots of long training runs, I am fired up for my newest running playlist.  Sorry, Babers! And yes, a reminder on why I run.

 

Hiking this summer. Yes, hiking is not running, and there is no ipod or music involved in hiking, but it is the closest photo I have of running.

Hiking this summer. Yes, hiking is not running, and there is no ipod or music involved in hiking, but it is the closest thing I have to a recent running photo

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More / Shape Women’s Half Marathon

This past weekend, I laced up my running shoes and ran my first half marathon in two years. Yes, I have run a lot of marathons since 2014, but a half marathon is totally different….and it hasn’t helped that I’ve been nursing an injury for the last 6 months (GROAN). But I did it. And in a fast time for me! And it was all part of a great event celebrating women. Enjoy the pics!

 

Post race, the little girl deserves the medal.

Post race, the little girl deserves the medal.

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Chicago Marathon 2015: The Race

Not that any of you asked, but for the 0.5% of the people that are interested in the running aspect of my recent marathon, here it goes! (I am an over-sharer, not an under-sharer). Marathons are HARD MOTHERS, like flipping H-A-R-D. Not only is it a physical exercise, but it is also a mental / emotional / spiritual challenge. Somehow, you have to dig down into your body and make it happen — and like I said before, it is only you yourself that can make it happen….so the race recap, begins!

 

I am SOOOO beyond heinous in this picture, but I think it is a good image of what a marathon feels like. My eye is half closed, my body hurts, I am trying to smile but I can't. I AM A HOT MESS. But proud of it.

I am SOOOO beyond heinous in this picture ( I AM A ONE EYED MONSTER!), but I think it is a good image of what a marathon feels like (this is post marathon — notice my medal). My eye is half closed, my body hurts, I am trying to smile but I can’t. I AM A HOT MESS. But proud of it.

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Chicago Marathon 2015

I was fortunate enough to run the Chicago Marathon  this past Sunday, and man oh man, what a rush, joy, privilege and honor it was! Sorry for so many marathon posts (YUP, fully addicted #cantstopwontstop), but here is the recap from my weekend. First and foremost, huge shout out to two special people that made this weekend possible: Michelle, my dear friend I met on the course at the Paris Marathon this past April, who hosted me and was so generous and giving; and my bestie in the whole wide world, Amy, who flew across the country to support me and my crazy habit. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. I love you! And of course, also another thank you to my running-widow-husband who allows me to disappear and do what I love… thank you!

 

My bib. And a ticket for a free beer after the race (didn't use it). Notice, I was in the slowest wave and it mentally handicapped me for a little bit. That said, I managed (I dug deep) to get through it and overcome that setback.

My bib. And a ticket for a free beer after the race (didn’t use it). Notice, I was in the slowest wave which  mentally handicapped me for a little bit. That said, I managed to get through it and overcome.

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Why I Run

To be completely honest, not too many people are supportive of my running habit. My parents think I am bonkers; my husband, although supportive, bears the brunt of the time commitment on the weekends; strangers tell me to ‘rest my body’; my kids think every time I run I am gone for half the day; my joints here and there scream STOP; my quads are ginormous and horse-like; and my nerves pre-race / pre-long run bring insomnia and anxiety. But I can’t stop. I love it. There is something about running that brings me a sense of freedom, escape, meditation, nature, beauty, relaxation and peace. Every time I step outside to run and I look out at the sky, I just release a sigh of relief and think, “Thank goodness! Here I am again!”

 

Yesterday!

Yesterday during an 18m race in Central Park! I am the one with the crazy face in the middle. I can’t even tell you how excited I was to see my family!

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Tracksmith

I am always on the lookout for new workout gear as I spend a large portion of my existence schlepping around / working out / thinking about running. Bandier has mastered most of my workout closet, but I was still searching for the perfect short (vs legging). I have found that many things are wrong with workout shorts: too short, too tight, cotton inside (vs mesh), not flattering, generic, the list goes on and on. Until I came across Tracksmith. And now I am in love. They are expensive ($60) but worth every single cent. Seriously, they are the perfect short.

 

This past Saturday, at a 10K in Central Park, rocking it out in my tracksmith shorts and my proud Paris marathon finisher shirt.

This past Saturday, at a 10K in Central Park, rocking it out in my Tracksmith shorts and my proud Paris marathon finisher shirt.

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More 2015 Paris Marathon…

Last Paris marathon post — Promise! I just have to write one little more blurb to not have post-wedding-depression…and then back to Fashion, Fun, Family, Food, Funky! But now…fitness (get it, things that start with “F”) OK. Some more pictures!

 

I am the farthest thing from a cool cucumber when I start a run. Hello anxiety, hello nerves. I couldn't stomach much the morning of -- I only ate half as much as I normally do pre-run, but somehow it didn't matter. I also ate 5 GU energy packets throughout the run (miles 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 22).

I am the farthest thing from a cool cucumber when I start a run. Hello anxiety, hello nerves. I couldn’t stomach much the morning of — I only ate half as much as I normally do pre-run, but somehow it didn’t matter. I also ate 5 GU energy packets throughout the run (miles 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 22). And yes, I am a geek with TWO fanny packs. Each had their own purpose, so I rocked two of them, making myself double cool.

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2015 Paris Marathon

Thank you so much to friends and family far and near who supported me along the way to complete my 3rd Paris Marathon (4th overall) on Sunday morning. Over the weekend, every other minute I received an email, text, or phone call to say “Good Luck” and it truly meant so much to me (and still warms my heart). So thank you. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without all of you, so huge hug, kisses, air kisses and high fives!

 

Post race

 

This time around, instead of doing a recap of the whole marathon (it is the same kind of emotions — success, heartache, determination, etc…), I am going to tell you what worked and what didn’t work. If you are considering running a marathon, pay attention!

 

What worked:

 

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NYC Marathon Expo

After another night of no sleep (hello, jet-lag), I managed to pop in to the TCS New York Marathon Expo. I know, I know, I know….we had no choice to attend (we had to personally be the ones to pick up our number, no task rabbit messenger service for the marathon), but in addition to being a check off on my to-do-list, it also sparked some energy and fireworks into my veins. WE ARE RUNNING THE NEW YORK CITY MARATHON IN TWO HOLY CRAP DAYS!

 

Big grin (better than sore muscles)

Big grin (better than sore muscles)

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NYC Marathon- Here We Come!

Big announcement from the Natori Family — Ken and I are running the 2014 New York City Marathon! November 2nd — just a little over one month away! We are both excited, nervous, energized, inspired, and motivated to run. After a full summer of runs out in the Pacific Northwest, we agreed that this was the year to do it. And…. the couples that run together, stay together! Inspired by Joanna, and her fight for life, we are running on behalf of Team In Training, a charity benefiting research for Leukemia and Lymphoma. We both feel moved and committed to run to raise money on behalf of the life and memory of our dear friend and family member. Joanna gave it all she got, enduring chemo, radiation, hospital life, isolation, pain, and discomfort. Running 26.2 miles is nothing in comparison. So we are doing this for Joanna.

photo-(8)

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to run the NY Marathon 18 mile Tune Up Race. It was exhilarating. Great race! It helped that I made a friend on the course, Stephanie. STEPHANIE — where are you? Who are you? I don’t know your last name and want to find you!

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Eugene Half Marathon 2014

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As Ken told me at the Butte to Butte, “Going to a road race in Eugene is like attending a hedge fund conference in NYC.  Everyone feels at home.” And he is so right! Eugene, Oregon is “Track Town USA.” Most everyone is sporty and either bikes, runs, or does both. Eugene frequently hosts the Track and Field Olympic Trials (in 1972, 1976, 1980, 2008 and 2012, and will host again in 2016). Additionally, it is the birthplace of Nike, Steve Prefontaine, and the historic Hayward Field.

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2014 Paris Marathon

I did it, again! Thank you to everyone in my life who supported, encouraged, motivated, inspired, cheered, and helped me through my journey of running the Paris Marathon. The run was an unbelievably challenging and rewarding gift, and would not have been possible without everyone in my life. An incredibly huge shout out to my fabulous mother-in-law who traveled from Japan be there for me, as well as my beloved father who traveled from Sweden. Would not have been the same without them (Ken was in NYC taking care of the kids — thank you!), and I am forever grateful of their love and support (and how amazing is it that my parents and inlaws get along so well? Makes me want to cry, I am that lucky of a girl).

 

The start.

The start

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Running Essentials

In preparation for The Paris Marathon, I completed my first 20 mile run / hobble last Friday. It went remarkably well and now the reality is setting in that Paris is actually happening. GULP.

Friday

After my run on Friday, I needed to eat pizza and stretch immediately. So here I am, the minute after I got home, with my legs up the wall (or stove).  While I look ridiculous, stretching like this helps release toxins.  And the pizza is self explanatory!

OMG

O.M.G. It is really happening. And I cannot wait. LOOK AT THIS DREAM! My GOAL!

The following items are things that I cannot live without on my long distance training runs.

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