Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Two Rivers Meet 10k Race Recap

Over Memorial Day weekend last year, my husband lost one of his cousins, David, due to a tragic accident. David was only 18 and last week would have been his 19th birthday. I only knew David for a short period of time, but he had a lasting effect on his entire family. We all really feel the love. On Mothers Day, in memory of David, Toph's family members wrote messages on balloons and we sent them up to heaven. In writing my message, I couldn't help but have tears in my eyes.

Over Memorial Day Weekend this year, we completed the Two Rivers Meet 5k/10k race as a family with some people doing the 5k race, the 5k walk, and I did the 10k race. I thought this would be a great way for the family to come together and celebrate David's life. As I am a newer member to my husband's family, I'm happy to be able to give back a little bit though something that I love so much and help out a family that always does so much for other people.

The race had a several different distance options like I mentioned earlier: 5k walk, 5k, 10k, or 15k run. They also offered menu pricing. Race, timing chip, and shirt were all separate so if you didn't want the shirt, or if you didn't want a time, you didn't have to pay for it. I think a lot of folks liked that there was an option. We got our own shirts made that we wore the day of the race. They turned out really nice.
The whole crew

Before the race, there seemed to be some confusion for packet pickup. We received a few different emails with different instructions each time about where packet pickup was. We had one family member go to a location only to have no one there and no sign letting you know if the location or time had changed. It was frustrating and putting a bad taste in some folks mouths before the race even started.


The 10k and 15k started first and our course was out and back through a residential area. They had lots of signs and volunteers telling you where to go when out on the course. Considering there wasn't a lot of us at this distance, that was quite helpful.

The "Kelly" pose

Hello calf muscles. Nice to meet you!

This was only my 2nd 10k ever, and I gotta say that I'm not a fan of this distance. I've done an 8k multiple times but that extra mile seemed to take a lot out of me. There are a few other reasons that could have lead to my disappointing feeling, including a poor dinner the night before and a bad nights sleep the night before. Maybe I need to do another 10k later this year as a redemption race. Maybe... :)

Despite feeling like I could have done better, I blew my previous PR out of the water by about 4 minutes. Official finish time: 50:41... and I snagged a 1st place award in my age group. :)

A few of Toph's cousins also got age group awards. Out of the 5 people that ran (most of our crew walked), 4 of us got age group awards (at both the 5k and 10k). Not too shabby, I must say!

There were definitely some communication issues with packet pickup, and I ended up emailing the race company several times with questions about the race. But overall, I thought they did a nice job with the race. I'm not sure if we'll do it again next year, but I'd like to keep the tradition going.

In David's memory, Hazelden Foundation's 'David's Gift - A Legacy of Hope', was created to help teens in need find education, hope and healing through Hazelden's Teen Intervene Program. If you are interested in finding out more about the program or would like to make a donation, information can be found here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Spicy Sunday Run

Over the weekend I was at Toph's family cottage in Michigan. We spend a lot of time there in the summer and we kicked things off with a great Memorial Day weekend. I ran a race on Saturday, but that recap will be coming tomorrow.

The temps on Saturday were absolutely beautiful. Not too hot, slightly cool with a breeze. Overcast but still pretty humid. It was a nice day for a race. 24 hours later on Sunday, temps were in the mid-high 90s for most of the day, well into the evening. I had a 6 mile run on the schedule and I kept delaying it on Sunday in hopes that things would cool down. Wanting to be done in time for dinner, I headed out around 4:00 and the temp was at 97 degrees.

I knew my body wouldn't like the temps so I decided to take it slow and easy. The first 2 miles weren't so bad, but those miles were mostly in the shade. Miles 4 and 5 were mostly in the sun so I was happy when mile 6 was mostly shade again. My body is definitely not yet used to the heat, but I don't want to be afraid of it this summer. I let the heat get the best of me last year because I was afraid of it. I hid from it, ran on the treadmill, ran as much as I could to get away from it. On race day, it could be warm, and I need to be ready. Get ready summer! I'm coming for you! What are your thoughts on running in the heat? Mag Mile Runner did a great post about this last week here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Follow Friday, The Blog Version

I don't really have much to report this week as work has kept me very busy. So, I'm going to make a post regarding the searches that have led folks to my blog in the month of May!

  • swass: Nice to know folks with a sweat problem have ended up here. Although, I don't talk about swass often, I did talk about it once.

  • 2008 southwest half marathon photos: sorry but I only have photos from the 2012 event.

  • my calves run: I do run with my calves

  • capri tights and running capris: I do love running in capris!  

  • caramel caribou: Oh man, Caribou Coffee is my favorite! Apparently I must have talked about it at some point on this blog. FYI, if you're in the mood for a giant treat, might I suggest the Dark Chocolate Turtle Mocha from Caribou. I don't like milk chocolate and all of Caribou's drinks are available in milk, dark, or white chocolate. It really is nice to know I have chocolate options, considering I always only go with dark. What is your favorite type of chocolate? milk, dark, or white? 

  • asics2170: They are my current kicks and also an old favorite!
Pretty uneventful if you ask me.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! I'll be running a 10k tomorrow, so let's hope it isn't cancelled due to storms (as they are expected). Although I guess that is one of the positives of signing up for so many races. If one is cancelled, NBD. There are plenty more to come! Best of luck to all those running and racing this weekend, including the Ridge Run and the Soldier Field 10 Mile!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Nostalgic About Races

I have been running on empty the past few days. I didn't get enough sleep on the bachelorette party weekend, I worked crazy hours on Monday, and I had a day trip to Memphis on Tuesday. By yesterday, I was dying and having trouble keeping my head up at my desk come 3pm. I had speedwork on the schedule for later in the evening and I talked to my coach and we made some adjustments. The workout was mile repeats which I hadn't done before. I love a challenge and I'm surprised what I can do in workouts when I aim for a loftier pace goal than I would have even tried without the help of my coach. And then when I try it, it isn't as hard as I thought it would be. I'm getting excited for some of the upcoming goal races to REALLY see what I can do when I have the confidence and training to push my body farther than it has ever gone before. Get ready PR! I'm coming for you!

I officially signed up for the Jim Gibbons 5k today. It is the first 5k I ever did, back in 2006. Here is a small excerpt from my embarrassing old college LiveJournal (to anyone interested in reading that pile of garbage, it is "friends only," sorry... not really).
June 15, 2006
i am running a 5k today for lukemia research. its the first 5k i've done in years, if ever. i am running it with amanda so it should be fun. if this works out, i might do these more often. 
Who knew I'd become so addicted only a few short years later? I think of what my life was then and what it is now and so much has changed! As kind of a trip down memory lane, I've made this race one of my goal races for the year. I'm excited to push the pace and aim for that 5k PR that I know I can achieve! It is on Thursday, June 14 at 6:30 in the city and quite a few of my fellow blogger friends are doing it too. I know there is an Active Advantage discount if you're a member, so you should sign up too! We are going to probably do a meetup too before and after the race. If you're looking for a reason to signup, last time I did it, there was free beer post-race. Just saying....!!!

Do you often think about your first race (outside of high school athletics)? What distance was it and how long ago? I don't have any photos from back then, otherwise I would post it! Instead, I'll leave you with a photo from my first Shamrock Shuffle 8k, 9 months after my first ever 5k. I think this race was kind of a door-opener to other races for me. I had friends that were running it, I had graduated college, I was ready to start my life as an adult.

I'm the one in the middle, bib #19463, giving the camera the stink eye

Now... Let's talk about some things about this photo that make me giggle. I don't even know what shorts those are. Those gym shoes are totally from high school and 4+ years old (and the sports bra is probably from high school too--yikes). I love that I'm wearing my bib over my boobs. Why wear a sweet UIC shirt if no one can see the logo? Also, I think that MP3 play I'm using can only hold about 15 songs on it. (Thankfully it was a short race.) Despite all these things, I still ran a 47:34 (9:34) with no pain. Ah to be young again. Haha. Do you have photos from an early race? How have you changed since then?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Restaurant Post -- Nashville Edition

Whenever I go on vacation with Chris I like to keep track if the restaurants we go to (although I don't write many Yelp reviews anymore). On our trip to Nashville for the big bachelorette party, we went to some places that I wouldn't have normally gone. As we stayed close to the hotel, most of the places are within walking distance of Broadway.

We ate here our first night and it was a great start. It is pub fare but a slightly upscale atmosphere. The prices were average for pub affair, nothing too fancy. I had a burger and a Yuengling lager. Since we don't have Yuengling back in Chicago, I was excited with this special treat. Others in our group for the tuna and a wrap. I think the burger was the winner entree and it came with delicious seasoned fries as well. This place was off the main path and they don't take reservations, but I would recommend it if you're in the area.
with my precious Yuengling Lager!

After our first night on Broadway, we wanted to grab lunch on a rooftop patio where we could just hang out and enjoy the sun. (I opted for shade for my pale skin but majority rules...) they had a really good food photographer as we were all really excited about our food while having a cocktail. I think you might know where this is going, but the food did not live up to our expectations. Some folks ordered mojitos but they were "dragonberry" and tasted like fruit punch. Lots of people were disappointed with their food and the service was very slow. This place is right on the main street and that is probably how they snag most of their business, not based on the quality of their food.

As one of the meals on the trip, we wanted some typical southern food. We headed to Puckett's for dinner with a country band playing. We got a table right up front. The band was really great and even had a saxophone player. They invited some of the folks from the crowd to play the tambourine for a song, including my cousin (the bachelorette). The atmosphere was really fun and lively while also being family friendly. A few folks got barbecue platters while others got pulled pork sandwiches. I ordered the portabella mushroom sandwich and it was amazing (I was trying to get some sort of vegetable while on the trip). We all had a fun time here and it was a perfect taste of the southern food and band that we were looking for.

Based on our location, I tried to look up some suggestions for breakfast and came across Past Perfect. The reviews gave this place 3.5 stars so I figured it was worth a shot. While walking in, we saw a sign regarding their $5 bloody Mary bar and the group was excited. They also had infused vodkas with lots of different flavors so that was a hit for the bloody Mary group. They had a brunch menu special for Saturdays and Sundays separate from their normal lunch menu. Lots of folks tried the hash brown casserole that looked delish. I had a veggie/hummus wrap (again, trying to get some veggies) and it was really good. They put their wraps on what looked like a panini press so they were crisp and warm but not burned. The food was great but the service was terrible. Some people had things missing from their order, others had to wait a long time for their first drink. I could understand the 3.5 star review and would agree.

For the last dinner of the trip, the maid of honor wanted to do something fancy and special. Sambuca had good reviews online and seemed like a hip spot to eat. This was by far the best meal on the entire trip, hands down. I split the lobster enchiladas with poblano peppers. And yes, it was delicious as it sounds. I also got the gorgonzola salad which is arguably one of the best salads I've ever eaten. Everyone at our table was raving about their food and everyone had a great meal. They also had a selection of "skinny" cocktails which was a nice change. The waiter was also very attentive and some of the best service on the trip. A band came on partway through our meal, but they were a chill band that played soft music that wasn't boring. They were really good also so it added a little something.
A bunch of us in front of the patio at Sambuca

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pre-Work Workout

Thursday afternoon I left on a flight to Nashville and didn't get home until last night. It was a fun time with lots of great stories, good restaurants, and too much alcohol. Lol. I wasn't able to fit in my long run because we had so many activities during the day, everyday. I was going to go last night but I was so exhausted from the long weekend that I thought what's the difference between Sunday night and Monday morning? So I got up this morning at 4:30 and got in 6 miles. I haven't done a pre-work run in MONTHS and I have to say that it felt good. I'm happy to be done with my workout for the day. When do you like to run? Before work? On your lunch break? After work? Before bed? Am I missing another time frame?

Today my train ride into the loop was quiet with much less passengers than usual. Due to the NATO Summit, lot of people were encouraged to work from home. Also, it turns out that no one is enforcing the Metra restrictions on this train. I wish I would have known that beforehand. I would have grabbed a coffee. First world problem.

I'm still recovering from the weekend so I'll leave you with this pic.... :)
Yee hawwww

Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Worst Race

This week, the MagMileRunner photo challenge is an interesting one.
Your worst race. Not necessarily your worst race photo, but a photo or representation of your worst race to date. It can be a photo of you before, during or after the race, or if you don’t have one, something that represents the race (maybe your bib, shirt, medal). And an explanation of why it was your worst race. 

Well, the answer to this one was easy! The Chicago Marathon 2011.

I wasn't properly prepared hydration-wise. I didn't have a proper fueling plan. I let the my mind overwhelm my body while trying to prepare. I didn't have a plan b. Anything other than my time goal was failure. I didn't adjust when things needed adjusting. BUT, I learned so much from the experience. Not only about myself, but about running and life in general. I think I am a different person and a different runner because of it. It is okay to not meet your goals sometimes. It is okay to fall short of everyone and your own expectations. If you finish a marathon, you are not a failure. It took me a long time to realize this and I'm glad I did. :)

To find out more about my marathon experience as a whole, click here. It is also one of my favorite posts, fully discussing all of my lessons learned from my marathon!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fashion Friday - A First

Maggie at has been putting together some Fashion Friday posts lately. And Erin has her own fashion blog (Loop Looks) where she offers closet consultations as well! I haven't participated in a Fashion Friday post as I has been very lazy with my winter wardrobe an kept things overly blah and simplistic. This week I decided to spice things up and fully embrace spring.

Shirt: Banana Republic Outlet
Cardigan: JC Penny
Jeans: J Crew Outlet
Necklace: American Eagle
Dog: Schnoodle (schnauzer/poodle mix) named Wrigley

Shirt: American Eagle
Pants: Old Navy
Belt: Forever 21
Shoes: Nine West via Zappos

Shirt: Forever 21
Cardigan: JC Penny
Pants: Express
Shoes: Nine West

Belted Shirt Dress: Ann Taylor Loft Outlet
Cardigan: Delia's (from about 2004)
Shoes: Blowfish via Delia's
Earrings: Francesca's Collections

 Sweater: Gap
Khaki Capris: Forever 21
Flats: Target
Necklace: American Eagle

So what did y'all think of my outfits this week? I liked the idea of doing this post because it forced me to think outside the box of my normal drab attire. I just might do this again next week... (?)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

FWP - NATO Summit Version

As some of you may know, Chicago will be hosting the NATO summit this weekend. For those of us that commute to the city from the suburbs, we are all being hugely inconvenienced in so many ways.

1) Many of my friends' offices are closed or they are encouraged to work from home. Since my office is located on the complete opposite end of the loop of the summit, my office will be open with business as usual. It is our busy season so I have plenty to do in the office, but I don't think I'd turn down the chance of a free day off. Just sayin...

First World Problem

2) I ride the Metra train into the city every morning. I usually come with a bag for my lunch, a gym bag, and my giant purse that fits my iPad and sunglasses case, amongst other garbage. Also, some days, I have a cup of coffee on the train to help wake me up. For the 3 days of the summit, there are very strict restrictions on what is and is not allowed on the train. A small excerpt is below:
  1. Riders may be subject to search and/or screening before boarding or while en route.
  2. Riders may carry only one bag not exceeding 15 inches square and 4 inches deep. Boxes, parcels, luggage, backpacks and bicycles will not be allowed on trains. Banned items cannot be stored at Metra stations. They must be removed or they will be disposed of.
  3. Riders may not carry any food or liquids on the trains. This includes coffee and other beverages.
  4. Riders may not carry any type of tools, pipes, stakes, wood or weapons, including pocket knives and pepper spray, on the trains.
  5. Law enforcement personnel must identify themselves and present their credentials and any weapons. Security guards will not be allowed to carry any weapons onboard. 
Do we think this is a little extreme? No morning coffee? No bag lunches? No Lean Cuisines? What about those with a laptop bag? One would have to carry the laptop, cord, and mouse in their hands because they're not allowed to carry a bag of that size? What about those that work construction and need tools for their job? What about students that use their backpacks for all of their books? Also, apparently no one can workout on those days either. Only little purses and clutches allowed. I think all of us everyday commuters are lucky that these restrictions are only in effect for 1 business day. Still, that doesn't mean that one business day isn't going to be a huge inconvenience.

First World Problem

3) NATO Summit protesters are upset with the security restrictions as they will not be able to protest in view of the summit. I'm really hoping that these protestors don't harass us everyday commuters that are just trying to get to work. If that happens, I'm turning around and going back home. I don't expect this to happen, but I'm preparing for the worst. It is probably an extreme scenario, but something to consider anyways.

First World Problem

Do you live in Chicago? Is your life inconvenienced by this event? Let's vent our frustrations together.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Last night I went out for a 5 miler with the pup and she was pretty pumped about it. We haven't gone on a run together in weeks and with Toph back at work full time, she has extra energy to burn.
This is Pepper's "How much longer do we have to wait for your Garmin?" face

The plan was 5 miles at an easy pace. Everything was going great until I went to check my Garmin peep at mile 3 and I tripped on the uneven sidewalk and went down. I caught my fall with my hands, and scraped up my palms, knee, leg, and lower butt. I'm just a big scraped up mess, right before my cousin's bachelorette party vacation to Nashville. As I posted on my Facebook page last night, seconds after falling down I made sure to pause my Garmin and take some photos for the blog before fully evaluating that I was okay.

Thankfully all of the wounds are simply scrapes and no real bruises or breaks. I'm still going to do some foam rolling and stretching just to get out the kinks of anything that might have tightened up in the fall.

Thankfully Pepper was a saint and just waited patiently as I took my breath for a minute. The cut on my hand hurts the most. I just have to remember not to give anyone a high five for awhile. But I don't think that would be too difficult. Have you ever wiped out on a run? How wicked were your wounds? Those dang sidewalk squares and their uneven-ness! I know I'm not the only one to have felt the wrath of their fury! (right...??)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quarryman Challenge "Race Report"


Today was the day of the Quarryman Challenge in Lemont. Maggie came by my house and we carpooled to the race. It was drizzling, raining, and lightening on our way there. It looked like we were heading into clear skies so we were hopeful things would clear up by the time of the race. We met up with Amanda, Susan, and Nicole of the FNRC while we were waiting for the race to start.
L to R: Me, Maggie, Susan, Nicole, and Amanda

Announcements were made about the race being delayed, and then delayed again. Until finally it was announced that the race was canceled. I was pretty bummed out considering I was looking forward to the challenge of the hills. We saw a few groups go ahead and do the course anyways, but I had my bag with me and so we watched them run off with sad faces all around. Not to let the rain get us down, we went to a nearby forest preserve and ran anyways.
Out of spite, we wore our shirts for the run.
L to R: Maggie, Amanda, Nicole, Susan, me

We were already up, we were already a little wet, so why not get our run on? The trail we went to was crushed limestone and just under 3 miles for a loop. Maggie and I ran a total of 9 miles at a 9:38 average pace. I felt comfortable and we tried to turn a crappy day into a productive one. This was my first time ever having a race be canceled. Have you had this happen before? What did you do?

Friday, May 11, 2012


Yesterday I met up with my usual Thursday night running crew. I ran in a running skirt for the first time in a long time (I need to do laundry and I am towards the bottom of my "running bottoms" section). I don't know if it was this particular brand, or all running skirts, but I was not a fan. Once I was wearing it, I was like "Oh yea, THIS is why I never wear this."
L to R: Don, Julie, Susan M, me, Amanda
This may be TMI, but the shorts under the skirt were riding up my butt the whole run. That = not fun or comfortable. Maggie and I were talking about planning a running swap for folks to exchange clothes, accessories, etc. after one of our weeknight or weekend runs. This running skirt may end up in that exchange. TBD.

I did my speed workout with Julie this week and it worked out great. We weren't the same pace for the speed intervals, but I had my timer and would put my hand in the air signalling when we were slowing down. Props to Kim for the idea to use the timer app on my phone to help moderate the workout as my Garmin battery was dead. It is definitely different to do a speed workout by "feel" rather than "time." I'm always up for a new challenge to keep things interesting!

After our workout was over, I ran into my friend Kate S. and her little pup Bo. To help keep Bo hydrated while they run, she picks her up so she can have a quick drink.

Um, she can give Pepper a run for the money as cutest dog award. Maybe... Just look at that face!! (Pepper and Bo are friends IRL, in case you were wondering.) Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Random Thoughts Thursday

What will I be doing this weekend, you might be wondering. Surprise surprise, I signed up for another race! Not just any race, the Quarryman Challenge 10 Mile (this race offers a 5k too but I decided it was a "go big or go home" kind of situation when I signed up). The course appears to be pretty intense. There are a lot of turns and some pretty big hills. Living in the super flat state of Illinois, "hill" is a term we use loosely. A highway overpass is a "hill" according to our standards. The slight elevation on Roosevelt Rd. is also known as "Roosevelt Hill" as it comes in the last quarter mile of many large Chicago races (Chicago Marathon elevation map here). Some towns have more hills than others and Lemont is one of those towns. I've heard this course is quite challenging so I'm looking forward to completing it.

I guess the big question is: Will I be racing this? The answer is easy: No. I'm going to run this nice and easy, using it as a training run. Not even a progression run (I did one of those last week). I'm going to wear my compression socks for the first time on an actual run.
I think my calves will appreciate it with the hills I'll be tackling. Do you wear compression? If so, do you prefer to wear it during or after a run?

Last night I did 25 minutes on the rowing machine. I recently realized (after watching Biggest Loser) that I had been incorrectly using the machine. Once I changed the way I was using it, the workouts seemed to have more umph and be more of a challenge. (Which I think is a good thing for obvious reasons.)
I <3 my rowing machine

Tonight will be a speedwork session out on the trail, possibly with a few FN Runners. I don't know the state of my Garmin because I left it in my gym bag in the car. I have a feeling the battery is low/dead. I've debated buying the pro version of Endomondo ($3.99) just for the interval option. I know I can still complete the workout without my Garmin with regular Endomondo, I just won't know my interval splits, only overall miles and time. Talk about a First World Runner Problem! Do you have any alternative suggestions or phone apps on what to do if my Garmin is in fact dead? Ahhh

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sweaty Elbows and Sweet Potato Chips

I woke up today thinking it was Thursday. I hate when that happens! Things at work are picking up so I'm spending more time at work and riding the non-express train home (which adds and additional 30-40 minutes to my commute). This is also the time when fitting in runs becomes more difficult yet important at the same time. Difficult because I have to plan ahead and keep my gym bag with me (including multiple outfit options) on most days. Important because I need time to relieve stress and clear my head.

Yesterday I only had a short amount of time to get in some miles so I chose the treadmill (plus, I was able to watch old episodes of Parks and Recreation). The plan was 4 miles but once I was only able to squeeze in 3 before I had to rush out the door to make my train. I was disappointed but if I missed my train, the next one wasn't for an hour (changing my eta home from 9pm to 10pm). Sooo I did 3 miles easy and laughed out loud at P&R while folks around me probably looked at me weird. That show is so funny that it was totally worth it. Have you had to cut workouts short because life got in the way? Please tell me you've seen Parks and Recreation?

As I may have mentioned before, I'm kind of a big sweater. I sweat a lot. Recently I noticed a new sweat problem when on the treadmill--my elbows. Strange, I know. I feel it dripping off my elbows and I try to wipe it on my shirt, knowing I look like a spaz when I do it. Do you have strange sweat problems when running on the treadmill too? Please don't tell me I'm the only one...

I got home and decided to munch on some sweet potato chips as a snack while deciding on dinner. Mistake! I finished off the rest of the bag too easily. Those things are just so good! Now I have to stop at the grocery store to pick up more on my way home. (Yes, "have" to...)

Yesterday my dog had a play date at my MIL's house with her two best friends.

As you can tell, she is gigantic compared to them. She decided to take a nap yesterday and my MIL sent me this series of photos. I thought it was completely hysterical. I don't think she realizes how big she is and she thinks she's a lap dog.
At 60 lbs, she is most definitely not a lap dog, but still totally adorable.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Southwest Half Marathon Race Recap

As I mentioned earlier this week, I planned to run the Palos Half Marathon as a training run. When race day arrived, I met up with the FN Runners beforehand and also saw a few Yankee Runners before heading to the starting line.

I've struggled with progression runs in the past, and my coach had offered up the option to run this race as such. The plan was to run the first mile at 10:00 pace and increase the mile splits by 10 seconds. The hardest part about this plan was starting out slow. Everyone was blazing past me in the first mile. It was so, so difficult to keep a steady pace because I wanted to go faster! But I stuck to the plan!

Mile 1 9:52
Mile 2 9:47
Mile 3 9:46

I saw the FN Runner cheering squad at mile 3.5-4 and they gave me a boost!  (Thanks for the pics guys!!!)
Mile 4 9:36
Mile 5 9:16
Mile 6 9:04
Because I was so focused on my splits (and obsessively checking my Garmin), these first few miles felt easy. It was hard to keep a steady pace, but once I found it, it was easy to maintain. The sun was starting to come out but it wasn't bothering me. Who is this new runner who is doing well in humid weather? I like her! Once we got closer to the turnaround, I saw lots of other runner friends and cheered all of them on with a wave and a smile!

My new favorite race photo!

I saw the FN Runners again at mile 9 which was very much needed. My splits were getting tougher and I really appreciated the support our group gave us! My aunt also surprised me and gave me a high five on the course. It was a great surprise and I was feeling great!

Mile 7 8:55
Mile 8 8:50
Mile 9 8:40
Mile 10 8:29 

Right after all this talk and feeling so well, it started to hit me like a ton of bricks. That sun that wasn't bothering me now seemed blistery.  My legs were tired. I could feel my heart about to beat out of my chest. My breathing was super heavy. All warning signs that I was pushing hard in this heat--too hard. As I wanted to run this as a training run, I decided to slow it down and take it easy. If I was running this as a race, I would have kept pushing it. However, this was a training run and I shouldn't be spent on a training run. That last mile almost killed me though. I wanted to be done so bad.
Mile 11 9:03
Mile 12 9:07
Mile 13 9:43
0.1 7:56
This is my "Please let this be over" face

After it was over, I couldn't help but smile. I met my goal for most of the race and kicked up to some pretty speedy miles. Overall time: 2:01:49. Not too far off from my PR (1:59:32) and I felt like I could have kicked up much more, if I had been racing it. I am really looking forward to my goal half marathon in July. I'm ready to get acclimated to this heat and have a great race. After crossing the finish line, I met up with more running friends! I knew so many people doing this race so there were lots of post-race celebrations to attend!
With some of my FN Runner friends (L to R: Susan D, me, Aurelia)
More FN Runners! (L to R: Wayne, Susan M, Brian, me, Kevin)
Thanks Maggie for the great sign and for coming out to cheer for us!
After hanging out with the FN Runners for awhile, it was time to head over to another grassy knoll and celebrate with the Yankee Runners!
With my friendly 10:00 marathon pacers!

The Yankee Runner crew!

This was such a FUN race, not only for the out and back course, great support, but the many local runners that all came out to run this race! I am still on the runners high just from hanging with so many running friends all in the same place! It was easy to find people (as it was a small local race) and easy to hang out and celebrate afterwards! If you live in Chicago, I highly recommend this race! It was such a great time and I can't wait to run it again next year!

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Little Behind Schedule

Last week things started to pick up at work and that will continue into this week and next. I'm mentally preparing for long hours and late night runs. Oh joy! :)

We were busy celebrating Cinco de Mayo at the office on Friday so I didn't have time to talk about my runs! First things first, Kim and I went out to lunch on Wednesday to a delicious vegan restaurant in the loop called Native Foods Cafe. We've been there before but I loved it so much I wanted to go back! As always, it was great to talk to Kim about life and running (shocking that we would talk about running, right?).
Purple cardi twinsies!!

Wednesday night my husband and I had some fun with the dog. I mean, how can you not love that face??

Thursday night I met up with the usual group and due to the thought of impending rain, it was a small group. Maggie and I did a fartlek workout together which was fun (and successful). Mostly because I enjoy the work fartlek. The plan was to do 4x2:00 difficult/2:00 recovery... The 2:00 minutes were supposed to be faster than tempo but slower than 5k pace. As this is a new type of workout for me, I definitely had fun with it. After our run, we headed to a local ice cream shop (The Creamery) for a tasty treat. Of course it was delicious and worth it.
L to R: Maggie, Kate S, me

Friday and Saturday I took rest days in preparation for my half marathon on Sunday. More to come on that tomorrow. (Spoiler alert: I finished!) There seemed to have been a ton of races this weekend. What race did you run? How did you do?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Photo Challenge -- Favorite Running Thing

This week Mag Mile Runner's photo challenge is to name your favorite running thing.

What is your favorite running “thing”? Something that you either HAVE to have for every run or race, or something you don’t always have or use, but look forward to eating/using/wearing before, during or after a run. Maybe it completely changed your running, or is something you just really like. It can be something you wear, something you eat, something you use (in reality or digitally), etc, but it has to be a thing.

At first, I wanted to name my Garmin. But I know I depend too much on technology sometimes so I wanted to think of something else I use all the time that I really enjoy. The winner: Nike Running Cyclone Jacket! This is something I saw one of my fellow Yankee Runners wearing on a misty summer day during marathon training. She told me she had gotten it at Marshall's so I rushed over there and purchased one.
Best. Purchase. Ever. It only cost about $30-$35 (because it was at Marshall's) and I wear it all the time. It is really light so perfect for the outermost layer when it is cold and/or snowing. (I purchased a size up than I normally would have and that was a great decision for layering.)

But also light enough to wear when it is warmer and rainy. It is even comfortable enough to wear during a half marathon...
Or running with a friend while she completes a full marathon!
I keep finding new ways to make this photo relevant enough to post.
Even my bestie Kara thinks so too! So many people have asked me where I got this jacket so here are some of the details in case you are interested in purchasing one too. I really wish I would have bought more (and I plan on buying another one if I see it again at Marshall's). I know Maggie found hers on eBay and I've seen them on the clearance rack at the Nike Outlet as well. Gingerfoxxx picked one up too, but I'm not sure where she got hers. It really is the perfect running jacket and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a jacket to wear in the rain or snow.