From Polaroid to PR: Week One
  • February 28, 2014
  • For the next five weeks, I’m working with NTC Chicago to achieve my New Year’s resolution of running a sub-1:50:00 half marathon with the help of Nike Master Trainer Kate Hiipakka and our crew. The date is set for May 18th, and I’m using Fab Fit Chicago to keep me accountable during my training. Check out my first post here. Let’s run!

    Saturday: 7.35 mile run at 9:27 pace.

    You may recall that in my post last week, I aspired to run 3 miles at 8:23 pace Saturday. Welp, I changed my mind. When I went to bed Friday night, I was fully prepared to hit the treadmill for three miles at my exact desired pace (#controlfreak), but for some reason I woke up ambitious on Saturday morning. I threw caution to the win and attended my first group run with the Crew.

    This group run was something that has been on my to-do list for an embarrassingly long amount of time, and I’ve always put it off for various reasons:  too much ice, too cold, too early. Will I know anyone? Will I be awkward if I run with/without headphones? What if I’m too slow? I had a lot of mental blocks, to be honest. But Saturday morning was bright and sunny, I had a great breakfast, and I decided that the time for excuses was over. So, I got dressed in my cold-weather running gear and jogged over to Road Runner Sports, the meeting place for Saturday runs.

    When I walked in, I immediately felt silly for having been nervous to show up as a new girl in the group- I recognized at least half of the faces there from NTC events. After some chitchat, we set out east on Division to the lakefront. The run itself was super casual – run at your own pace, on your own path, meet back at Road Runner if you want to, or don’t, it’s whatever – and I was pleasantly surprised at how fun and easy it was to keep a conversation going while going north on the lakefront path. Our loop took us across Fullerton and south on Halsted, and I turned around at Road Runner to add in one more mile that got me to my apartment. Overall, despite the fact that the run was nowhere near my goal pace (although I know that pace was affected by icy sidewalks, stoplights and running with a group), I’m really pleased that I made it out and actually did the damn thing. The distance felt great and it was lovely to stretch my legs after a winter of cycling. I’m definitely hyped now for more group runs with Kate and our PR Crew.

    (Check out the Crew’s website and Facebook page for more info on group runs!)

    Sunday: 90 minute Spin class at DePaul’s Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center

    Weekends are for endurance workouts, y’all. As a recent graduate of DePaul, I get a sweet and cheap gym membership, and I use it mostly for swimming and group fitness classes. The Sunday morning Spin class gives riders the option to go for 60 or 90 minutes, and I usually stay for the full 90 minutes because I like having enough time to truly warm up and get going. Also, since we have so much time, the instructor gives us longer hill series punctuated by sprint intervals. It’s my favorite Sunday morning routine… and the 90 minute ride was made even better by knowing that I was going to have a Homeslice Bloody Mary on the other end of it.

    Monday: NTC Barre at the Ray

    NTC Barre is not your typical 45-minute barre class with lots of “pulse, pulse, pulse… and hold…” to exhaustion. Not the way Gina teachers it, anyway. The class uses partners and we alternated between Tabata-style cardio and strength exercises, using core work in-between rounds. This class was a killer and something that was a nice shock to my system after a couple of days of endurance workouts.

    Tuesday: 3.45 miles at 8:59 pace

    I got a great night’s sleep, woke up in a good mood despite the cold, and was ready to run when I walked out my front door, and then… oof. I was suddenly very aware that my glutes and quads existed. Today was one of the rare times I was thankful for stoplights in Chicago to give me a chance to rest quickly and then bounce back to my run. My legs never really loosened up (the cold and short distance of my run probably didn’t help, though). I spent the whole 30ish minutes racking my brain trying to remember what I had done yesterday that would make me so sore, and then it hit me … three minutes of wall sits holding two 7 lb weights at NTC Barre. Yup, that’ll do it.

    Wednesday: NTC with Kate at NTC Chicago

    Kate emailed our PR Crew our workout schedule early in the week, and we were all invited to her evening NTC class at the new NTC studio on Michigan Avenue, so this took the place of my originally planned Spin class. The 45 minute workout was a typical body weight and plyometric workout similar to what you would find on the NTC App, but my favorite part of the night was being beside two guys who walked in obviously thinking they were way too ripped to be working out with girls. By the end of the second round of squat jumps, they were laughing in disbelief at the girls around them still hitting each jump with intensity instead of bending over struggling for breath. Who runs the world? GIRLS.

    Thursday: 3 mile run at 8:30/mile

    You know that saying “you’ll never regret a workout”? Well, I was repeating that to myself over and over again on my way to the gym this afternoon. I’d had a frustrating couple of days and had already had to miss a scheduled workout earlier that day, and I just was not feeling the treadmill. Twenty-five minutes later, I definitely didn’t regret the workout, but I also just didn’t have the same sweaty satisfaction I usually get. So, to compensate, I came home and wrote a “March Madness” basketball themed workout, to be debuted later this week on Fab Fit Chicago. When life hands you lemons…

    Next week’s plan:

    Friday: Total Body at Crosstown Fitness

    Saturday: Group run with PR Crew (5 miles)

    Sunday: Cross-training (spin or Crosstown Fitness)

    Monday: Barre Brawl

    Tuesday: Short run (3-4 miles)

    Wednesday: NTC with Kate

    Thursday: Cross training with PR Crew (and speak with a nutritionist after! I’m assuming there will be snacks and if not… I will be very disappointed)

    About Kristen Geil

    A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Kristen moved to Chicago in 2011 and received her MA in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse from DePaul while trying to maintain her southern accent. Kristen grew up playing sports, and since moving to Chicago, she’s fallen in love with the lakefront running path and the lively group fitness scene. Now, as a currently retired marathoner and sweat junkie, you can usually find her trying new workouts around the city and meticulously crafting Instagram-friendly smoothie bowls. Kristen came on to A Sweat Life full-time in 2018 as Editor-in-Chief, and she spends her days managing writers, building content strategy, and fighting for the Oxford comma.

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