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Race Recap: Humboldt Mile (6:18)

Yesterday I ran a brand new race – The Humboldt Mile.  Some co-workers and I have been getting pumped for the Chase Corporate Challenge (which is this Thursday!) and one of them was planning to do the Humboldt Mile with some friends from her gym, so she extended the invitation.  A few of us decided it’d be fun and signed up as well.

And it was well worth the $20 entry fee for a variety of reasons!

Concept: First of all, the concept of a 1-mile race is something unique if not on a track…which you usually only get the chance to race during high school or college.  So that was enough to make me want to do it.  I haven’t raced anything shorter than a 5k since college.  I’ve done some 1-mile or 2-mile repeats as part of longer workouts, but not raced.  So I really just wanted to see how fast I could go if I was trying for an all-out effort.

Shirt: Nike Dri-Fit!  This type of race shirt is my favorite, and I think I’ve only gotten them from any of the Bank of America races. (Chicago Marathon and Shamrock Shuffle)  And actually from the Columbus Marathon way back in 2011 pre-blogging days.  I’ve done races that cost $80+ that come with a crappier, no-name brand race shirt.  So this was definitely a bonus for me.

Humboldt Mile Race Shirt

Cause: The Humboldt Mile was put on in conjunction with Hope For The Day, which supports starting a conversation around suicide prevention.  So that was a cause I could get behind.

Pre-Race Organization: I had never been to Humboldt Park before, but getting there was super easy!  Jenn, Danielle, and I just took the North Ave bus straight over, which dropped us off right at the park.  I checked a bag (no line), used the bathroom (no line), socialized, took some photos, and then made our way over to the starting area when they called us over.

Risers at Humboldt Mile

Race: Another co-worker, Mitch, was in the same heat as me, so I found him at the start line and just chatted while we waited.  There were a little over 500 finishers total of the Humboldt Mile and when we registered, you had to choose 1 of 3 heats – the first being competitive and the other 2 being more for fun or walking.  Mitch and I chose the competitive heat (Jenn and Danielle were in the 2nd one) and each were thinking we could come close to 6 minutes.

I ran the 1st mile of the Shamrock Shuffle a few months ago in 6:36, so I knew I should definitely be under 6:30.  But like I said, I haven’t raced an all-out mile, or even really done mile repeats in a long time.  I had done 2-mile repeats recently, but those were at 6:55 pace at their fastest.  And included 3 sets of 2 mile repeats, so not exactly a way to judge my 1 mile speed.

In Orange Theory, I do my “All Out” pace at a 6:00 pace, but we never hold the all-out pace for more than a minute at a time.  So I wasn’t sure if I could do it for a full 6 minutes.  But yeah, that was my goal, to just get as close to 6:00 as possible.  And I also wanted to race people!  I don’t really get the chance to “race” in the longer races because it’s more just a race against yourself.  But I did get a little bit of that feeling during some of the shorter races I did last fall, like the Hot Chocolate 5k.

So…back to the race.  Right upon starting, I could tell this was going to hurt.  The first 100m or so (there were no markers) felt rough, like I was sooo not used to that speed.  Oh wait, let’s back up a tad to my pre-race.

I did not do any type of warm-up or strides right before the race, that’s probably why it felt so hard to get moving at the beginning.  I did, however, do a 40-minute run in the morning before getting on the bus to head over to the Humboldt Mile.  Basically so I could get in a little warm-up and have more mileage for the day.  Ok, now back to the race…

The Humboldt Mile course was like a horseshoe shape or a “U”- out for about a third of a mile, across for about a third, and then back for a third.  There were no markers, so I wasn’t sure how far in we were because I didn’t run the course beforehand, which maybe I should have done.  I looked at my watch for the first time when I was at 2:30.  Then some guy’s watch beeped at one point and I figured he had set it for half-mile splits so I checked my own watch and was at 3:04.

I looked at my watch again when I was around 4:30 and just did what I could to push it to the end.  These last quarter-ish is where I really started to race people because there were a few girls ahead of me that I could tell were slowing down and I just really wanted to cruise past, so that’s what I did.  It felt fun to feel like I was racing!

Humboldt Mile Results

I crossed the line in 6:18 and was somewhat disappointed I wasn’t closer to 6:00, but given I haven’t exactly done training for this short of a distance, it was as good as I could’ve hoped!

Post-Race: My only complaint about this race was that they did not have water at the finish.  They did have a water station back where all the pre-race stuff was set-up, but that was probably a 200m walk from the finish line, so I would’ve liked to see the water station right by the finish.

Humboldt Mile Post-Race

Other than that though, there was a coffee station sponsored by Dark Matter Coffee giving free mini iced coffees which was super clutch and a few other sponsors like Kind Bars and Revolution Brewery.  Unfortunately I was not in the mood for beer just yet.  I could not stop coughing after this race.  I don’t think my lungs were prepared for that type of intensity over a longer period of time than I’m used to.  Gotta build up that VO2 max!!

And then we followed up the race with brunch at Feast in Wicker Park.

Have you done a race shorter than a 5k since high school or college?

What is your favorite type of race t-shirt to get?

STL Half – 4 Weeks To Go!

I’ve been really struggling to hit my stride the past week and a half.  I’ve just been stressed in all other aspects of life, so my running took a hit.  I wish it was the other way around.  Some people are able to channel their anger or stress or sadness into running.  And sometimes I can do that.  But recently it’s just made me want to do nothing.

That said, if just shy of 27 miles is a “bad week,” then I’m still in a way better place I was 3 months ago.

Monday – 7.4 miles in 59:10 (7:59 avg pace)

My Garmin was being super screwey on this run.  Does that ever happen to you?  It said my first mile was 8:55 and I was like ehhh yeah maybe I’m just getting going.  But I was also a tad further than I normally am heading this direction away from my condo when the Garmin beeps for 1 mile.  And then it eventually beeped for my 2nd mile saying I did a 10-something pace.  And now I was much further than where I know the approximate 2-mile mark would be.  Samesies for the 3rd.  But then it seemed to get it’s act together and tell me I was doing 8 minute miles.  Why was it doing this?  Maybe because it was so cloudy?  I don’t know, man.

Tuesday – 4 miles in 32:40 (8:10 avg pace)

Well this was definitely my shortest run of the training cycle.  Again, just a mentally tough run.  It was finally warm though!  But that meant everyone and their mother and their dog and their best friend was out on the lakefront path at 7pm.  And it was already dark by this time, so it was frustrating trying to navigate through people, while feeling crappy.  So that I ended it prematurely.

But back to the beautiful weather…50-60 degrees is the perfect temperature for this beauty of a jacket:

Boston Jacket

Wednesday – OFF

Thursday – 9.2 miles in 1:11:00 (7:43 avg pace)

I finally got my act together again to do a pretty good run, at least a longer-ish run.  I started the first 4 miles each between 7:58 – 8:20, then brought it down to 7:39, 7:16, 7:39, 7:40, then finished up the last mile in 8:01.  Felt glad I did it afterwards, but still just a meh feeling.  Can’t shake it off!  Teach me your ways, Taylor Swift.

Do you know what helps to put you in a good mood and feel like a real runner again?

New Shoes from Fleet Feet

Getting a package with my new running shoes (to wear in the St. Louis half!) in a package addressed like this.  One of my good running friends from Cincinnati is a manager at the Fleet Feet out there, so I ordered them from him and he sent them my way!

Friday – 6.25 miles (no watch)

I decided to practice the “naked run” without a watch or music or anything.  Then Angela came in town for the weekend! …

Saturday – OFF

And we took St. Patrick’s Day hard.

Chicago St. Patrick's Day

Sunday – OFF

Mobility was hard for the better part of the day.  We did go on a little walk in the rain, which felt refreshing.  And then I walked to Chipotle at one point.  And I had a lot of cleaning to do.  But that was about it.

TOTAL – 26.9 miles

So yeah, not the best week mileage-wise and I took 3 days off, which is the most I have taken off in a week since the new year.  But like I said, three months ago, this would have been an average week…maybe even a “good” week considering I had a 9 mile run in there.  So I’ll try to think about that.

Does your Garmin ever act up?  How often?

How do you overcome a “down” week? (Either in a mileage sense or mental/emotional sense…or both.)

Strides & Pop Culture

Good morning party people.  Are you ready to hear about the first 2 runs of my half marathon training cycle?  Of course you are!

The plan for Monday was 4-5 miles easy w/ 4 strides.  I was made aware by my cousin Erin that not all people who read my blog are runners by trade and therefore don’t know what a stride is.  I described it as a short sprint, basically just to get your legs moving quickly, usually done after a normal run or before a hard work-out.  I just Google’d the situation because that’s the logical thing to do so I can speak with some authority here and I was surprised by my accuracy:


Now that I’ve tooted my own horn there, I’ll keep it up by saying I ran 5.35 miles (7:51 average pace) and then did the 4 strides (of 20 seconds each.)  I didn’t intend to run longer than my prescribed mileage (that’s a very un-Colleen) thing to do, but there was some rain and strong winds this past weekend so a large chunk of the lakefront path was closed.  So when I came to that point and saw I couldn’t go any further, I turned around and went north and underestimated the distance I went.

There were so many people out running!  Well, not “so many” but more than a typical winter morning, likely due to it being just past the 1st of the year.  Hey, that’s what got me out the door too.  And since a portion of the trail was closed, a lot of people were running up and down the same segment of it so I passed the same people a few times and we just smiled at each other.  Everyone was very friendly this morning. #solidarityinthecold

So that was run #1.  Morning #2 did not go according to plan.  I kept snoozing.  So apparently I need to look at more inspirational quotes.  I posted this one to Instagram on Sunday night:


Even though the morning run didn’t happen, I did luck out by not being terribly busy at work so I felt like I could take a slightly longer lunch to go down to the gym and squeeze it in.  Left my desk at 12:05pm and returned to it at 1:20pm…that’s skill.  I even washed my hair, but obviously then just threw it into a bun otherwise that would’ve added like 15 more minutes to my prep time.

I hopped on the mill with my fancy new wireless headphones and ran 5.25 miles.  The plan was 5-6 easy w/ 4 strides.  However, since I was on the treadmill, I decided a fast 400m to conclude the run would be easier than cranking up and pulling down the speed every 20 seconds.

I like to change up my speed based on the number of songs, so I did speeds of 7.2 and 7.3 for 1 song each, then 7.4 – 7.8 for 2 songs each.  Everything felt surprisingly super good and went by quickly.  Then I did .25 miles @ 6:58 pace.  A bit faster than goal race pace, but not a sprint.

In pop culture news:

I started Making A Murderer on Netflix.  However, I was writing this post and doing a few other things while it was on, so I feel like I haven’t been doing it right.  I am lead to believe this is supposed to be like the TV equivalent of Serial?

The Bachelor!!!  Oh man, how I have missed this show.  It’s so “amazing” as anyone on the show would say.  I do miss the group of girls I used to watch with in Cincinnati, but am happy to have a great group of girls from work that I watched with!!  We had a spread of snacks, ordered pizza, and filled out brackets.  I picked 17 of the 22 girls that got roses correctly.

Do you smile or say hi or anything to passing runners?

Can you tell I was in a goofy mood while writing this post?  I don’t know why.  I need to go to bed now.

Who is your favorite Bachelor contestant this season so far??

How Can A “Lazy Saturday” Involve So Much?


Yesterday was my first full Saturday in my new condo!  Speaking of, I took a few more (read: better) pictures because Kristin requested a virtual tour:

I was in the middle of cooking dinner which is why the cabinet is open…

The loft area still needs to be organized a bit more.

I thought it would be a pretty lazy Saturday because I had no plans.  I started off the day with coffee while doing some work and watching Law & Order: SVU.

I used my Alaska mug, because I will get to see my relatives who live in Anchorage today and later this week while they are in town for Christmas.

Then I was going to go for a run, but I had decided yesterday that I really need a massage, so I requested an appointment at Massage Envy and they called around 8:45am saying the only options today would be 10am or 4pm, so I went with 10am.

After the massage and eating some lunch, I let my food digest for a bit and then went for a 5 mile run (about 8:10 avg pace.)  I even brought the Garmin for the first time in awhile, but couldn’t get it to get a signal for the first 5 minutes or so, then was pressing lap instead of stop when I had to stop at a light.  So basically I need to get reacquainted with using the Garmin.


It was about 20 degrees, so my entire outfit was Under Armor.

Then I even had time for a little half hour nap before going to meet up with friend Jocelyn from work.  We decided to go to an architecture exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center and then to a rooftop bar.  Unfortunately, the rooftop bar was too crowded, but fortunately there are other bars in Chicago.  We decided on Pops for Champagne, then headed to dinner in the West Loop at Mas.

I have to say I’m still a bigger fan of Mercadito, but the tacos at Mas were amazing as well!

We headed back to Jocelyn’s place to recharge our phones and split a bottle of wine before heading out to meet up with some other friends for the night!  Which ended with Domino’s pizza/breadsticks…so it was fun.

What did you do yesterday?  Anything similar to my day?

Soul Cycle: That Don’t Impress Me Much

This past Thursday evening I did my first Soul Cycle class ever! I was SO EXCITED going into this and thought I’d fall in love with it and want to shell out hundreds of dollars to keep going.

However, (and luckily for my bank account) I was not that impressed.

There were of course some things I did enjoy, such as the nice staff members who helped me set up my bike, the cool lockers that you don’t have to bring your own lock for, the fact that I didn’t have to pay for this class*. But the actual workout: mehhh. Not bad by any means, but just not what I built the hype up to be I guess.

*I didn’t have to pay for the class because it was a work event. A rep for one of my client teams took a few of us from the agency I work at to the class as an outing. This was such a great idea as opposed to the typical lunch, dinner, or drinks that you’d expect them to suggest :)


So what didn’t impress me?

The music.

Most of the music played, with the exception of “Crazy in Love” by the Queen Bee (I don’t even like her that much, but cool nickname), I didn’t know.  A lot was techno or instrumental type music.  Not like classical instrumental, but like no words at all instrumental.  I’m more a fan of workout classes that use music I know, even if it is remixed.  Unless it’s Katy Perry.  There is absolutely no need to remix Katy Perry because everything about it is perfect as is.

The physical space.

I get it’s all about atmosphere, but these bikes were just a little too close for comfort.  The whole time we were doing the arm weights, I was afraid I was going to hit the girls next to me.  But more noticeable was the proximity of the bikes in front of and behind me.  I had a butt in my face the entire time.  Can’t we implement the cheerleading standard of windows so butts are not in faces?  Since I was in the middle row, not only did I have a butt in my face with nothing else to look at if I were to look forward, but that made me self conscious about my own butt being in someone else’s face.  Luckily, nobody was on the bike behind me during the class, but if there was I would def not be comfortable.

The workout.

It was hard, but I guess I just expected more.  I knew to expect the whole doing push-ups while riding and other choreography, but I don’t particularly like that.  Mainly because I don’t have the coordination to be able to do it and not look like a fool.  There was a lot of just straight riding, without sprints or hills and the command was almost always “2 full turns to the right” …I don’t know about anyone else, but after 2 full turns of the knob, I’m pretty much not moving anymore.  So there just wasn’t the variation of tempo or strength that I’d expect.

The cost.

Like I said, I didn’t pay for this particular class, but it’s outrageously priced for a 45 minute class.  I would need to make a considerably higher salary to do this on the reg.  And you have to pay $3 for shoes each time, or have your own cycling shoes.  So obviously having your own shoes (which I really should consider anyways…) is the way to go if you are going to go regularly.

What did impress me?

The instructor.

Although the music was blah and the workout was quite up the what I was expecting, overall I would say the instructor was good.  He was very motivational and kept encouraging us to push ourselves.  His energy was high and he seemed invested in the class.

The amenities.

The aesthetics of the studio were great and I LOVE these fancy new lockers that you don’t have to have your own lock for.  Whoever invented those is a genius.  However, even though the studio was clean and looked great, even the locker room, like the actual cycling room, was super cramped before and after class.

So overall, I’d give Soul Cycle a 6 out of 10 as a workout.  But for the price… not worth it to me.  Probably a fun outing to do every once in awhile with some friends, but I definitely cannot afford to do it regularly, especially since I wasn’t overly impressed.  Maybe my expectations were just too high going in though.

Have you ever done Soul Cycle?

What are the most important factors to you in a spin class?

I’m Moving Back to Chicago!!

Well, I guess the title says it all – I’m moving back to Chicago!

I’ve been living in Cincinnati for a year and 2 months, but now I’m making some big changes to head back to Chicago.


Obviously one big change is just moving to a new city in general…or back to a city I used to live in.  But the other big change is that I am completely changing careers.  It’s not a huge drastic change like going from a lawyer to a doctor or anything that requires more schooling.  Just taking a new path out of the accounting world.  (I think I’ll write a separate post on the whole career-change thing sometime.)

I LOVE Cincinnati and all the friends I’ve made here, but taking this new job seemed like the right move at the time for my career.  And luckily I still know a few people in Chicago and have the majority of my family there too.

Cincinnati is definitely a much easier, more relaxed lifestyle.  Perhaps also because my job here was of a more relaxed nature than I was used to.  But I really do enjoy not having to fight for parking spots/pay for parking or take public transportation.  So basically, transportation is easier because I can drive wherever I want.

The other great thing about my time in Cincinnati is that basically (with a few exceptions) everyone I know lives within a 2 mile distance of me.  So getting together anytime, even at the last minute is always super easy.  That will be harder in Chicago since the people I do know live all over the place.

I plan to start off living back at home with my parents, and my brother Kyle who is also spending some time living back at home after just graduating college.  But I know I will be wanting to get a place in the city again ASAP.  But for the remainder of the summer, I’ll just have to spend as much time down there as possible – including going down on weekends to do my long runs on the lakefront path!


Also on the fitness front, since I’ve been gone from Chicago I know Class Pass has made its debut there.  We don’t have Class Pass in Cincy yet (I think it’s coming though!) and I am eager to try.  So I’m thinking I will do that AFTER the Chicago Marathon though.  Gotta go allllll the running until then.  Plus the super awesome workout vids I posted a few weeks ago.  Plus the triathlon I told my aunt I ‘d do with her.  But I don’t train for those

But first, I’m going to go on vacation with my family for the next few days to Captiva Island, FL!  Hopefully I won’t turn into a sunburnt lobster before meeting all my new co-workers…

Have you moved cities recently?

Have you been to Sanibel & Captiva Island in Florida?

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