Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Oh, hello.

Oh, hello blog.  I suppose it's been awhile.  We have a few things to catch up on.

A couple months ago I had a conversation with a recruiter.  I wasn't actively looking for a new job, but she'd contacted me and I thought it would be a good idea to at least explore the role, since it sounded pretty fantastic.  We went through the basic interview questions, and one jumped out at me.

"What one hard skill would you most like to improve?"

I was stumped for a moment, in full interview mode, trying to showcase my best selling points.  I can't remember exactly what I said, but the question stayed with me, nagging the edge of my memory, until I knew what the answer was.


I want to improve my writing.  Now, to be honest, I think I'm a fairly good writer.  I can tell you the difference between an adjective and an adverb and construct a fairly good sentence, and perhaps even put together some compelling stories.

But, I'd really like to be better than just fairly good.  And I think in order to do that, I'll have to write a bit more often.

So, welcome to the new molliken on the move.  Expect more frequent updates, more running stories (fingers crossed we actually get to run NYC this year), a few recipes, some house pics and a few cute baby pics.  Maybe we have more than a few things to catch up on.

Monday, November 5, 2012

So thankful! + Searching for a Silver Lining

So, remember that time we trained for a year and then didn't run a marathon?  Mmmm, that was fun.

Evan and I didn't really know what to do with ourselves this weekend.  We'd made the call early Friday morning to stay in Chicago, and we thought at first we would look and see if there was a race here we could get into.  I remembered a bunch of friends were planning to run in the Hot Chocolate 15K, so we tried to get in:

I guess I need to work on my convincing sob stories.  We didn't hear anything else, and they missed out on a great PR story from letting displaced NYC runners participate. Bummer.

Apparently we were not meant to run in a race this weekend, so we just did a long run along the lake.  We went up to Hollywood and back, which is 13 miles, but we ended up walking the last mile, from the zoo to home.  Neither Evan nor I really had our heart in it. 

That run made me realize the power of having a goal.  Obviously we did not run the NYC marathon this year, but having that as a goal and following a training program was motivational.  We're wrestling a bit with the next step - should we find another marathon to run in the next few weeks, or put our efforts into training for next year? 

There are still a couple of marathons this year that could be fun, and we are currently considering heading to Vegas for the Strip at Night marathon.  Neither of us has ever been to Vegas, and that happens to be my birthday weekend, so it could be a fun way to celebrate.  Though we aren't totally sure we want our first marathon to be an afternoon marathon - we've discovered the later in the day you start a long run, the harder it is to fuel your body.  A friend is planning to run San Francisco in June, so we could join for that...

Though we had to give up our marathon goal this weekend, we are cognizant of how trivial that is in relation to what so many people have lost this week. We have so much to be thankful for. Especially that our friends and family are okay in the wake of the storm and that we're both healthy and looking forward to finding our next big physical challenge.

We are so grateful for what we have, and are sending thoughts and prayers to those affected by hurricane Sandy.  Instead of spending money in NYC this weekend, we made a donation through NYRR's crowdrise platform.  We would have liked to help out in person, but with the logistics of being so far away felt like a donation was the best we could do for now.

Stay tuned for our next goal... to be announced soon!

Friday, November 2, 2012

NYC or Bust!!! ...or bust.

A year ago, when Evan and I decided to run the NYC marathon in honor of our 30th birthdays this fall,  our lives were totally different.  We lived on the Upper East Side, so getting to the marathon involved a subway ride to the ferry.  Hurricane Irene had come and gone without really hitting NYC, so the idea of a hurricane causing this sort of damage was kind of unthinkable.

It is with great sadness that I write this post announcing our deferral to the 2013 marathon.  We are still very excited to run NYC and to be a part of the action, but as this week has gone on and more information has come to light about the situation in the city right now, it seemed a little selfish to show up and draw on the resources in the city for a sporting event.  

We are so lucky - though we've lost the opportunity to conquer a big goal, it is nothing in comparison to the losses that many New Yorkers are facing.  We've put our hotel room back into the pool for someone who needs it, we will not have our trusty NYC dogwalker taking hours of busses to get in to take Teddy around on marathon day, and we're sending donations through the NYRR page.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those working on the recovery efforts.

And we'll see you at the finish line... next year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Tale of Two Runs

Two weeks ago I got really, really nervous about this whole marathon thing.  We had 22 miles, our longest training run, on the calendar, and woke up to this:

Though we'd been running in the rain a few times, we had never had a rainy day on a long run.  I think the longest we'd done in the rain was 10 miles or so with a very light drizzle.  The Team for Kids coaches have encouraged us to run in all kinds of weather so we will be prepared for anything on the day of the marathon.  The sky was cloudy, but the forecast only called for scattered showers, so we stalled a little before heading out.

Since we were heading out late, I rummaged around the kitchen for a little snack before we left, not wanting to be hungry too early in the run.  We had some leftover tiramisu from the night before, and I thought: perfect, a little sugar for me to burn as fuel.  I did not think about how much dairy is in tiramisu, and how mad my stomach might be with dairy as fuel.  Lesson learned.

It was a lovely run until mile 3.  That's right - with 19 miles still to go, we got caught in a squall just as we were running by the planetarium, which is on a peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan.  We got completely drenched.  And my stomach hurt.  Not fun.

After about 5 minutes, the rain passed.  A few miles later, my stomach calmed down, and though we were a little chilly, we kept at it, following our usual route north along the lake to Hollywood and back home.

By the time we were at mile 13 I was ready to quit.  It wasn't until later that I learned from a friend that the biggest challenge of running in the rain is not that you are wet or cold, it is that once your feet are soaked, they slip around a little bit in your shoes.  So, with every step you are putting stress on micro-muscles in your legs that you use for balance.  Little tiny muscles that you don't normally notice, unless you've been in heels for an entire day, or running in wet shoes for 10 miles.

By mile 18 my entire body hurt.  I was questioning whether I could really run a marathon, I was cold and whining.  I've never been so grateful for Evan being my running partner next to me, literally taking my arm and pulling me back into a run when I wanted to quit and walk a mile from home.

We made it to 21-point-something miles and called it good.  I've never been so sore in my life, but, once I got over being totally defeated and sore, I feel better prepared for the marathon with that experience behind me.

And luckily, last week's long run was a MILLION times better.

We'd heard about the Monster Dash half marathon on Friday, and discovered we could sign up at the expo on Saturday.  With 13 miles on the calendar for our last long run, this was a perfect solution to get the miles in, practice running in a crowd (something we've missed since leaving NYC), and, did I mention this was a costume race?  What a great excuse to go running wearing my tiara.

With one afternoon to come up with costumes, I decided to go with something I already had on hand - Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's.  Evan decided to wear a fedora and we created a skinny tie and "pocket" detail on his shirt with electrical and duct tape.  These were actually great costumes, because we were both wearing mostly running clothes.

It was a great race.  We ran the first half together, though I was trailing Evan a little bit because I did not want to go out too fast and fade too early.  We both had the idea that we would like to finish under 2 hours, so we were running a little over a 9-minute pace during the first half.  I was pretty confident in running a negative split, but Evan was roaring to go, so he took off after mile 7.  I stayed behind him for a while, but I'm just not as fast as he is.

In the end, we both came in with new PRs.  Evan finished in 1:55 and I finished in 1:58.  What a great boost going into our taper for the marathon!  We were on such a high, we walked home wearing our costumes, and enjoyed the lovely day and the Chicago sites.

Like the bean!  People probably thought we were a little crazy walking along Michigan Avenue at 10:30am on a Sunday morning wearing costumes and race medals, but we had a great time.  We couldn't resist one last cute pic - how many opportunities will I ever have to have breakfast at Tiffany's, especially dressed like this?!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Four paws and two feet

Though Evan is a good training buddy, there are definitely days when he is working when I want to run, and I don't exactly want to run by myself.  Luckily, there's another resident of our apartment whose usually happy to tag along.
He doesn't always wear shoes, or run on pace, and sometimes he quits in the middle, but Teddy sure is a good sport about tagging along!

What a good excuse for a fun run!

Monday, September 24, 2012

New Milestones!

Hi Marathon Fans!  We hit some big milestones this week!  First, Evan turned 30 on Thursday.  To celebrate, we went on an early morning run through the zoo.

Ok, so this photo was not from our run, but it does show the sun bear, which is Evan's favorite, other than the gibbons.  The bears were out on Thursday, the gibbons were not.  It was a lovely 5 miles to start off our day.

Friday we hosted a group of friends for apps & drinks and went to dinner at Salpicon to round out the birthday celebrations.

Saturday was a rest day, because we were not keen on attempting 20 miles after having been out late celebrating the night before.

Our second big milestone of the week was completing TWENTY miles for the first time ever yesterday!

Sunday morning was beautiful!  We fueled up with steel cut oats with peanut butter, banana, cinnamon and chia seeds before we headed out.

We also packed some fuel to eat along the way.  We started out with these choices, of which Evan took the Espresso Power Shots (he loves that stuff!) and I took chomps, the shot block and sport beans.  We split everything, and I've decided that I like having the variety of the bitter espresso shots with the sweet/gummy snacks.  The texture of the shots/Gu is still a bit much for me, so it definitely helps that we share. We also ended up stopping for a Gatorade each around mile 12.  We've decided not to underestimate the power of good old Gatorade, because at that point we needed it!

How do you fuel up for a long run?  We're still learning what we like and what works best, but with only six weeks to go until the marathon we don't have a lot of time left to come up with our race-day fuel strategy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Lake is the Place (for long runs)

So after my last running update, I think the actual jetlag kicked in.  I did not exactly hit my mileage as scheduled last week, but I did get there with a Friday medium run (~7 miles) and pushing our long run to Sunday.  I'm catching up!

This week I even hit a new high mileage: Evan and I ran 17 or 18 miles on Sunday.  We were glad for a break from the hot, humid weather, and it even seems that fall has arrived in Chicago this week.

I'll need to remember to take pictures a little earlier in our runs.  This was after approximately 15 miles, and we probably look it.

We miss trotting around the bridle path in central park, but this view of lake and sailboats isn't half bad.

We have discovered the fuel and mindset are important to this kind of distance.  Evan likes Gu, but I'm having trouble getting used to the consistency.  I like the Gu chomps though.

We ran with my Runkeeper app on this time, and it clocked our first section realistically, but it got screwed up on the way back, saying we covered a total of 25 miles at an average 7:13 pace.  So we are guessing that the run was 17-18 miles total.

Maybe something to strive for.