Friday, May 31, 2013

Two Rivers Meet 5k Race Recap

In 2011, my husband lost one of his cousins in a tragic accident over Memorial Day weekend. The holiday now has new meaning in his family. Last year I organized a memorial walk/run at a 5k near my husband's family cottage. The entire family participated in memory of David. I thought things worked out well last year and I was asked to organize the event again.

The thing I love about the Two Rivers Meet event is that they offer menu pricing. There is a general cost of the event, and then you pay an additional cost for chip timing and a shirt. If you don't want one or the other, you don't have to pay for it. This event also has 4 different distances: 5k run, 5k walk, 10k run, 15k run. (The local running clubs are out in full force in the 15k.) For a small town race, this really is a fantastic event. 
The hubs and I pre-race, squinting into the bright sun

We arrived at the start (where there was plenty of parking) about 30 minutes before the start of the race. I was able to pick up our bibs and drop off the swag in my car with plenty of time to spare. The 10k and 15k runners had an earlier start time to help avoid overcrowding on the course.

I lined up with some other of my husband's family members for the 5k run, but definitely near the back. My plan was to run a half mile, walk a half mile, etc. until the finish. Pepper was going to keep me company, but to my surprise, the hubs came up to me at the start of the race and hung with me. He hates running so I thought it was sweet that he stuck it out with me. Pepper couldn't have been happier and made new friends out on the course (always). She really is the life of the party. After about 2 miles of the race, when I was ready to start my next half mile of running, I just couldn't do it. I had to go to the bathroom extremely bad, I was no longer having any fun, and I was just over it. I knew this would be my last run of the pregnancy and how I felt at the race really solidified my decision. After a quick pit stop at the restrooms at the park the course went through, I was beyond over it.
Action shot of me being passed by a 10k runner
Pepper looks like the happiest dog in the world

Finish line photo

After I was done, I was ready to smile and have some fun for the weekend.

Family photo, post-race

Pepper and I after the race
The race had a great amount of post-race snacks and bottles of water to take away. We didn't stick around for awards for obvious reasons, but we did stick around to get some nice photos of the group. Flags adorn the town square in memory of fallen soldiers for Memorial Day. It really is a beautiful scene and a nice reminder.

Can you spot Pepper?

I really love this race and we will probably do it again next year. If you are in the Michigan/Indiana area over your holiday weekend, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Favorite Summer Gear

Now that summer is around the corner, the temps are heating up, and there are weekends full of races! I enjoyed putting together my list of favorite winter and spring gear... so why not keep the tradition going with summer, eh?

1. Visor/Baseball hat
This is a carryover from spring but oh so crucial for summer also. When you're running a race in the morning on some closed streets, you may not have the luxury of shade. Therefore, the only shade you've got, is the one you produce on your head. I like hats better than visors because they keep my hair out of my face and out of the way. Plus, I'm just more of a hat person versus a visor person.

2. (sweat proof) Sunscreen 
Yeah, sunscreen is something I CANNOT live without in the summer. My skin has two shades, pasty white or lobster red. There is no in between. It has been that way since I was a kid and I have learned my lesson over the years. Going out there without sunscreen isn't worth it. Unless, of course, it is sunnier than you thought and you completely forgot. Like my runner sunburn? Tank top and bra marks... keeping it classy as always. My preferred brand is Up & Up (available exclusively at Target) and I think they have a really great continuous spray sunscreen that has kept my skin pasty white the past few years. :)

3. Sports Bra (you don't mind everyone else seeing)
Last year I invested in some nice sports bras (of course, the year before I get pregnant and my boobs change forever). I knew I needed an upgrade and I needed to do a better job of keeping "the girls" in place. It took me awhile to find some that I liked, but when I did, it stuck. I won't name brands here, but I will say that a good sports bra is worth the investment.

4. Comfortable Shorts
This seems like something important yet time and time again I've gone out for runs and regretted my shorts decision only a few miles in. Having your favorite brand and type of shorts will really make those longer runs in the heat of the summer (especially if you're marathon training) more enjoyable (if that's at all possible). I have a few brands and types that are my go-tos that are worth doing laundry for. A good pair of shorts really does make a big difference.

5. Handheld water bottle
During my marathon training way back in 2011, my pace leader taught us that you shouldn't depend on the water stops for all of your water during a race. What if they run out? What if you get cut-off and can't easily get across? I started running with a handheld that summer on the solo mid-week long runs. It got me used to running with something in my hand. During one of the hottest summers on record last year, I wasn't shy to carry that water bottle with me. It came in handy more than a few times. I have had problems with water bottles leaking so I suggest you ask around at your local running group or running store to find out what would work for you. Most are available online through Running Warehouse or your local running or sporting goods store.

6. Death stare for race photographers who try to take a photo of you when you're throwing a huge run tantrum mid-race.

Caption: This is what self-destruction looks like.
This reason is more about what you SHOULDN'T do during a summer race. Talk about one sad runner. And that sports bra is AWFUL (see #3, I'm speaking from experience)... I just wanted an excuse to show this horrible photo from the RNR Half Marathon last year. I was in probably the best shape of my life (having hired a coach to help train me for this race) and completely self destructed when the temps were too hot and things weren't going my way. (Um, who plans a goal race in the middle of the summer when their body historically has not done well in the heat?!) HOWEVER, that training cycle taught me a lot about what I'm capable of doing and pushed me outside my comfort zone. When I'm ready to run another marathon, I know Coach Britt will help me get there. :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Baby Wilson: 23 Weeks

How far along? 23 weeks
Baby’s size/development this week: weighs over 1 pound and measures 11 inches long; about the size of a large mango (or an ear of corn)
Maternity clothes: wearing them? Yes. We are on a bit of a budget squeeze this week so I haven’t made any purchases, although I know I’m going to need to get some shorts soon with the rising temps.
Miss anything? Is it bad if I say beer?
Food cravings? I've been loving fruit lately. I love to keep a variety on hand.
Anything making you queasy or sick? The same old Starbucks coffee and cigarette smoke. Nothing new here.
Sleep: I was pretty tired this past week as it was fairly busy (looking forward to taking it easy this week). I've been sleeping like a log so I’m enjoying this time while I can still get comfortable.
Best moment of the week: Running (or hobbling) my last time during this pregnancy and my husband keeping me company while I was doing it (despite how much he dislikes running)
Nursery: My brother took back all of his furniture that we were using. So now, all the things that were previously in the dressers and under the bed are just now in piles on the floor. It is definitely in shambles, but we are taking some baby steps!
Wedding rings on or off? on
Movement? I felt hiccups for the first time this past week. My husband asked me to describe it. I’d say it is as if you swallowed a cell phone and you keep getting text messages. It is like a minute vibration. The kicks are still coming strong (in fact, Baby is kicking as I type this). They have yet to get old, although when Baby is kicking my bladder, that isn't really fun… but still pretty cool.
Weird pregnancy thing of the week: The skin dryness is finally starting to subdue a little bit as the humidity is returning. The other night I sneezed when I had my legs crossed and my back hurt for the next few hours. I never used to have back pain and now I get it once every few weeks.
Daddy is feeling: Like this is more and more real.
Mommy is feeling: good! I need to remember my limits and that I can’t do the same things I did before. I need to remember to get my sleep and allow others to help me when they offer. I’m pregnant; I need to take it easy.
Workouts this week: I did a ton of walking on Thursday (probably about 4-5 miles) as my company participated in the Corporate Challenge. I was the gear check so I was hung out in the cold and watched everyone’s gear. I also ran (well mostly hobbled and walked) a 5k on Saturday. (Full race recap to come later this week). I also took the pups out for a walk to the park with our friends yesterday. The dogs had a fantastic time.
Looking forward to: finishing up my registries this week! I’m going with my cousin on Wednesday and we’re going to pick out the last few things. Then, I’m not going to look at my registries until after the baby shower. I want to be surprised! :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

RUNway Fashion Fun

Mag Mile Runner's photo challenge this week is running fashion. Having been on the running scene for a few years now, the gear has begun to accumulate. Just grabbing a whatever is clean and heading out the door is no longer what I really do. I love to coordinate my running outfits. Weird? Maybe. But I have so much gear, why not try and match it up? There are a couple things that make running fashion a lot of fun.

1) Wearing my favorite gear (Oiselle, duh)

2) Looking fashionable in all temperatures and weather conditions

3) Color coordinating with friends (whether on purpose or by accident)

4) Dressing up with the theme of the day/race
The Hunger Games movie came out that weekend.
This counts as dressing as the theme, totally.

Why have an extensive running wardrobe if you can't have a little fun with it? At least, that's how I justify the continual purchasing of new running gear.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Hustle Up The Hancock

After my first 5k back in 2006, I had a lot of fun. There weren't really as many races as there are right now so I wasn't quite sure what my next step should be. My roommate at the time convinced me that we should sign up for Hustle Up the Hancock. The event sold out quickly, you needed to raise money for charity, and climb a crapload of stairs. But it would be fun, I figured, so I committed to doing it.

The event was in February but I had absolutely no clue how to prepare for this type of event. Being the competitor I am, I signed up for a free trial at a local gym, laced up some old gym shoes leftover from probably high school, and hit the stair master. I figured out how many flights of stairs it would be to reach the top so I trained and I trained on the boring stair machine 3-4 times a week until "race day" came.

When it came to race day fashion, I am happy to report that I didn't wear the race shirt. I wore the shirt from my first 5k completed the previous year. (That 5k is the Jim Gibbons 5k in case you're curious. I ran it last year and it is still a great event!)

Before they had fancy non-slip glitter headbands, I wore non-slip headband from Goodys.
They were terrible but a 3 pack was less than $5.

My roommate and I pre-race.

My roommate and I had the same start time so we started the event together. Turns out she hasn't been hitting the stair machine as diligently as me and has historically had knee issues so she wasn't having too much fun when we got started. Since we had signed up together, I thought it was appropriate that we finish together. We kept each other motivated as we aimed to reach the top, which we did.
The start
The finish

I have no idea of our time or what a time even signifies on a stair climb. Either way, I had fun and earned my first race medal (outside of HS track and field stuff). 

Finisher Photo
And then we took some cheesy shots at the Hancock Observatory, pretending to wash the windows.
Because it looks believable

I really had a fun time at this race and it got me ready for my first Shamrock Shuffle the following month. The downfall? I don't think my knees have been the same since then. I have no desire to do another stair climb event for that reason, but I proudly wear my long-sleeved cotton tee from that event (even if the arms are too short). This event still takes place every year if you're interested in participating! (Check out their website here.)

Have you ever done a stair climbing event? Did you have fun? Did your knees suffer like mine did??

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Baby Wilson: 22 Weeks

How far along? 22 weeks
Baby’s size/development this week: weighs about 1 pound and measures 11 inches long; about the size of a spaghetti squash
Maternity clothes: wearing them? Yes. I made a few Loft purchases last week. Once I’m more towards the end of my pregnancy, I’ll give my thoughts on maternity clothes.
Miss anything? Sushi, it really is refreshing in the summer.
Food cravings? Nothing really. Lemonade has been my preferred drink of choice so we have it at home and now I have some at work.
Anything making you queasy or sick? The same old Starbucks coffee and cigarette smoke. Nothing new here.
Sleep: Baby’s kicks have been getting stronger and Baby is usually active right as I’m about to fall asleep. The hubs will ask me what I’m giggling about; Baby’s kicks sometimes tickle!
Best moment of the week: Having the hubs finally get to feel some strong kicks. My MIL even got to feel a few too. Some kicks are stronger than others but it is not yet getting old! (I don’t know if it ever will)
Nursery: Nothing yet. The dresser that the hubs bought is still in its box from Ikea. With Memorial Day coming up, I imagine we’ll get started on it after the holiday weekend.
Wedding rings on or off? on
Movement? As mentioned before, Baby’s kicks are getting stronger and stronger. I feel them several times a day and it is still pretty cool. At some point between this week and next, Baby learns how to swallow and hiccups come soon after. I can only imagine what that will feel like.
Weird pregnancy thing of the week: Nothing really new or strange here. Skin is still awfully dry (as if we are in the dead of winter). I still fit into all my normal shoes so that is still a good sign (this is usually a point in the pregnancy when the feet start to swell).
Daddy is feeling: happy about getting to feel the kicks. This whole baby thing is starting to seem more real.
Mommy is feeling: good! I do have to get a bathing suit for this summer as there is no way I’m fitting into my old one. When I went to try them on, I had no idea of my size which led to some pretty sad images in the dressing room. Lol. I’m still undecided if I want to go with a maternity tankini or flaunt the bump in a two piece. TBD
Workouts this week: I did 1.5 mile run on Tuesday and did lots of walking the rest of the week. It was a fairly busy week where I didn't make much time for workouts. That seems to be the general theme so far so hopefully that changes!
Looking forward to: a nice long holiday weekend! It will be nice to relax and be around the hubs’ family. Although, not being able to have a beer or two will be a different kind of Memorial Day Weekend experience.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Running While Pregnant: My Thoughts and Feelings

I know I've talked a bit about this here and there, but I thought I would be fitting to put together a summary post on how I've been feeling about running since this whole "being pregnant" thing started.

Being a blogger, it is very easy to compare yourself to other bloggers. I read lots of blogs where women ran throughout their entire pregnancy. I figured that if they can do it, I can too. Why not, right? Well when it actually came to it, my body and my mind weren't really on the same page. During the first trimester (the first 13 weeks of pregnancy), I was EXHAUSTED ALL. THE. TIME. I could get 8-9 hours of sleep and still be ready for a nap at any time. I felt like garbage and was really nauseous for about 5 weeks. Then, to top it all off, I was working long hours at the office including a few business trips along the way (all while keeping my big secret). Honestly, I don't know how some women can run despite all of that going on. I know I had to choose my priorities wisely. Running or sleep? Sleep won every time.

Then, when I was feeling a bit better and starting to run again (during that same first trimester period), I would get an occasional cramp in my stomach. Being so early in my first pregnancy, these small cramps completely freaked me out, and I would stop running immediately. Turns out, when I got to that section of the baby book, minor cramping that early in pregnancy is totally normal. Your body is adjusting and stretching, making room for the baby to grow. This is not a seamless process after all.

When I got to the later part of my first trimester and started my second trimester, I was feeling good, wasn't really showing, got my energy back and running became easier again. There was no small cramping, I could maneuver around comfortably, and things were going great.
At the gym with my mini bump at 18.5 weeks

Not to mention, all my running clothes still fit. :)

Quarryman 5k with Pepper

Now that I'm in the middle/end of my second trimester (wow, time is flying by), the bump is starting to grow more. I'm starting to feel sore after too much activity (not pain, just general tiredness). The temps are starting to warm up... I can't go as far as I once could and I can't go as fast as I once could. That is something I've come to the realization on. However, these things can make it really unmotivating to get my butt out the door. I'm not training for anything, group runs are fun but not always convenient, I have lots of run envy out there on the internets, and sitting on the couch just sounds like more fun.

After a Tuesday night run with the FNRC at 21 weeks

I'm thinking that my days of running while pregnant are numbered and I'm okay with that!

Like I said before, I had all these ideas of how I would be this awesome pregnant mother runner! Well, I came, I saw, I did what worked for me, and its time to call it a night. I have a 5k that I plan on run/walking over Memorial Day weekend, and that will probably be my last run that I complete while pregnant. Which is a decision I'm completely happy with. I know this is right decision for me and Baby Wilson. It was fun while it lasted and maybe during my next pregnancy, things will be different.

I'll still be doing physical activity, don't get me wrong, just more cross training type stuff and lots of walking.

I feel like there is lots of info out there on women who breezed through running while pregnant. It is really hard! And during those early weeks, very nerve-wracking (maybe just for me). Either way, I'm glad I did it for as long as I did, but I wanted to share my honest experience with all of you!

AND, I registered for a jogging stroller and plan to be back out there as soon as my doctor gives me approval post-birth. Perhaps I'll be ready to race for Turkey Trot season? Only time will tell.

P.S. If anyone would like to join me for prenatal yoga or prenatal pilates, I'm game any time! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Run for Boston 5k

When the events in Boston in April 2013 took place, I don't think a single runner in the U.S. could peel their eyes away from social media. We all know people that ran the race, we ran the race, and/or we aspire to run the race some day. When I heard what happened, I couldn't believe it. The question I kept asking myself was why? Why would someone do this? There really is no answer.

But, the CRB community wanted to do something about it. Katie at Live Half Full spear headed the initiative and the Run For Boston 5k was born. From the race website:

Together, our goal is to raise funds from our generous sponsors so that 100 percent of race entries benefits the Who Says I Can’t Foundation and directly to support the rehabilitation of those who lost limbs as a result of the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon.

For those of you in the local Chicago area, the run will take place on Saturday, June 15 at the Independence Grove forest preserve in Libertyville, IL. For more information on the actual event, check out the race website here

If you don't feel like running but still want to help, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer! Please fill out this form if you're interested.

If you don't live in the Chicago area and still want to participate, never fear! CRB has also orchestrated a virtual race with some pretty cool giveaways for virtual participants. For more details on the virtual event, check out the race website and Marcia's Healthy Slice for more details on the prize lineup.

I'm lucky to be a part of such a wonderful running community that is doing what we can for the victims from the senseless violence during the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Run for Boston 5K

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Another Chicago Blogger Visits Girl & The Goat

Many months ago, I made reservations for dinner at Girl & The Goat (like, back in February). I wanted to go before Baby Wilson arrived and I figured it wouldn't be a very fun culinary experience for my vegetarian husband. So, Maggie agreed to go with me and I made our 5:15pm dinner reservations. We had talked about it often, leading up to the day and we were super pumped about going. Unfortunately, Maggie came down with a nasty stomach bug a few days before our reservations so she decided it would be best if she didn't go. :( I was able to snag my friend Steph to go with me at the last minute and we had a nice time.

We were seated right away which was nice, considering we were right on time for our reservations. When ordering, I told my waitress I was pregnant and she offered up a drink called "Happy Juice" that is ginger ale and fruit juice. Naturally, I obliged and it was amazing.

We started off with the Fat Bread. Anything with the word "fat" in the title is destined to be amazing. And it was... A fresh mini loaf of bread with caramelized onions and goat cheese to spread on top. I could have eaten just that, seriously.

Next, based on Katie's recommendation, we ordered the chickpea fritters. They appeared different than I envisioned, but oh so tasty!! We also ordered tempura fish (I forgot its fancy French actual name), scallops, and the pork belly. I forgot to take a photo of the pork belly, but it was my least favorite of the dishes so I'm not too upset.

Left: Happy Juice; Right: fat bread, chickpea fritters, tempura fish, scallops

Thanks to my pregnancy dietary restrictions, we needed all sauces on the side (since they are made with raw egg) and we couldn't get any raw fish dishes. Our waitress was very knowledgeable on the different ingredients and where they came from so she was really helpful! She answered all my pregnancy questions before I even had the chance to ask them. (Is the cheese pasteurized? Can you cook the scallops all the way through? Can we have the raw egg aiolis on the side?) It was really nice to be accommodated and I imagine they would be the same way with anyone else with any food allergies or aversions.

We cleared all of our delicious plates and thought "When in Rome..." when it was time for desserts. We couldn't decide between two so we ordered them both. I liked one more (the grapefruit one) and she liked the other more (the date cake), so it was a perfect combination.
Left: sticky date cake with ice cream; Right: something grapefruit

All in all, this was a wonderful culinary experience that I would highly recommend. It is on the pricier side, and the portions are good for sharing. The wait staff was super helpful and the food was delicious so you definitely get what you pay for! It was really fun to go there with one of my gal pals, but I don't think I would have had very much fun there with the hubs. (It was kind of tapas style-ish, without the Spanish influenced food.)

This wannabe foodie gives Girl and the Goat a big smile and a thumbs up (these are technical rating techniques). Have you been to this restaurant before? What was your favorite dish? I think mine was the bread and the chickpea fritters.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Baby Wilson: 21 Weeks

How far along? 21 weeks
Baby’s size/development this week: weighs about 12 1/2 ounces and measures 10 1/2 inches long; about the size of a pomegranate or a carrot
Maternity clothes: wearing them? Yes. I made a few impulse baby clothing purchases. But, that just means I have one less thing to register for!
Miss anything? My long runs. I miss being able to easily log 6-9 miles on any random weekend, depending what my heart felt like doing. Now, I’m lucky if I have the energy for 2 miles. I know it’s alright and I’ll be back to my long runs soon enough (with a jogging stroller in tow)
Food cravings? I forgot to get some fresh fruit at the grocery store last weekend so I’ve really wanted some apples. Thankfully I remedied that by going to the store this weekend.
Anything making you queasy or sick? The same old Starbucks coffee and cigarette smoke. Nothing new here.
Sleep: Baby’s kicks have been getting stronger but they have yet to wake me up in the middle of the night. I’d like to think that Baby and I are on the same sleep schedule, but I’m sure that is just in my head.
Best moment of the week: Hearing the baby’s heartbeat at the doctor’s appointment. We got the results from the ultrasound and everything is developing well and as expected. Baby Wilson is in the 50th percentile with all of the things they were able to check. Things are looking good!  Also, I got to celebrate my first Mother's Day (well, mother-to-be) where the hubs made me breakfast and we went on a nature hike. It was a really fun day.
Nursery: I received a pregnancy book as a Mother’s Day gift and they have a spot to take a before and after photo of the nursery. Right now, things are in shambles in there. Pretty perfect for a “before” photo, I must say.
Wedding rings on or off? on
Movement? Some days Baby is more active than others. I was nervous when I didn’t feel a lot of kicks on Sunday, but I felt lots of kicks throughout the day on Monday. I love being able to feel Baby after waiting so long to do so. It really is comforting to know that there really is something in there! I don’t think it will ever stop being surreal. Maybe once the baby is delivered?
Weird pregnancy thing of the week: It is humid outside and my skin is still SO DRY. You’d think it was winter! They itch and hurt on a regular basis. I keep putting lots of lotion on but it is still annoying
Daddy is feeling: “happy pappy”
Mommy is feeling: good and wants to get rolling on lots of things while I still have the energy to do so!
Workouts this week: I did 1 run this week and rode the bike once this week. Daily Mile is not impressed with my workouts. I haven’t gotten one of those “Kelly, what an epic week!” (insert other adjective instead of epic) emails in a while. Instead they are just like “Here is your workout summary.” I want to tell those emails “Lay off me, I’m pregnant! Give me some encouragement you jerks!”
Looking forward to: Finish registering. I had no idea that registering for baby stuff would be such hard work! I’ve been going over these lists for over a month and I’m still not done! Baby registries are way more complicated than wedding registries… And the decisions lead to a much bigger impact. What happens if I don’t pick a good toaster? I get frustrated on a Saturday morning when making breakfast. What happens if I don’t pick a good car seat? I don’t want to know.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Taco Bell Copy Cat Recipe: Homemade Mexican Pizzas

Yes, you read the title of this post correct. I channeled the spirit of Kelly the Culinarian and her love for Taco Bell when I was thinking of a something fun to make for dinner. I know Cinco de Mayo was a few days ago, but I've been craving Mexican food and I thought I'd give these a try. I knew I had all the ingredients lying around so why not be creative?

Mexican Pizza
4 whole wheat tortillas
1 can of refried beans (I used refried black beans)
1 can of enchilada sauce
1 tomato, diced
1 can of olives, sliced in half
2 cups finely shredded Mexican/taco cheese (or to taste)
chives (I always get my Mexican pizza without chives, so I didn't include these)
a little olive oil
toppings: diced avocado, sour cream or Greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 375. Put a little bit of olive oil spread throughout the top and bottom of each tortilla. Put them directly on the oven rack and bake them until lightly crisp (be sure not to over cook). This honestly takes a few minutes on each side. Once the tortillas are crisp I removed them from the oven and set them aside. Then, I spread some of the black beans on a paper plate and microwaved them. (I didn't want to put it on the stove because of dirtying the extra dish. Lazy? Yes.) While the black beans were warming in the microwave, I diced up the tomatoes, olives, and avocado.

I then spread the black beans over the tortilla and placed the other tortilla on top, like a sandwich. I did this for both "pizzas". I then spread enchilada sauce on top of the tortilla, along with a sprinkle of tomatoes and olives. Then, I topped it off with a bunch of cheese. Like, way more than Taco Bell would give you. Folks, there is no need to be stingy with the cheese!

I then set the oven to broil and put the pizzas back in, directly on the rack. Although, when I make these again, I may try it on a baking sheet. Either way, they only need to be in there long enough for the cheese to melt. Be careful not to step away, because there is just a couple seconds between well done and burnt. 

Next, remove, top accordingly and serve immediately. My husband raved about these but his only complaint was that they were hard to eat. Anyone that has eaten a Mexican pizza at Taco Bell knows the secret is to cut it into 4ths and eat like a pizza. I did this and found it just as easy to eat as any other Mexican pizza, it just tasted much better, if I do say so myself... :) 

I highly recommend making these any night when you're craving Mexican but are looking for something a little outside of the traditional comfort zone. 

Enjoy! (Sorry I don't have a photo of the finished product. I was too hungry and it looked too delicious to wait. Oh, and I forgot.)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Palos Half Marathon 2013: Spectating Race Recap

I had originally planned on volunteering for the Palos Half. I sent in my information and never heard anything from anyone. I was never given a time to appear, a prep email, nothing. I sent some requests via the Facebook page that weren't responded to. So, the day before the race (when I still hadn't heard anything), I decided to spectate instead. With the out-and-back course, I met up with the FNRC and we stayed in 1 spot but were able to see the runners twice. I ran this race last year and had a fun time with all my local pals, so I didn't want to miss this race even though I wouldn't be running it this year.

As a surprise to my fellow running club members, I brought along the pup. I mean, I know she's totally adorable, but the entire club seems to embrace her. And, not to mention, Pepper absolutely LOVES all the attention she gets whenever she is out with the group. I met up with our crowd of FNRC folks and we took a group pic before the runners started coming by.
The FNRC Crew at miles 4 & 9
Thanks for the photo Diane!

Then, I got out my phone and tried to take pics of all my friends going by. Thankfully my pals were easy to spot in our bright FNRC shirts!

While we were waiting for our pals to turn around, Diane snapped this gem of me and my buddy. Pepper was really well behaved all day. She kissed the hands of the little kids that came up and wanted to pet her. She sat and listened when I needed her to. She didn't jump up and scare any runners. I know she's great with kids, but it was really great to see little ones all around her. It made me feel some warm fuzzies for Baby Wilson and Pepper's future relationship. I just know they're going to become best friends.
Pepper wore a special shirt to support her pals.

All of my friends did really well and had a fun time on race day. Spectating, this made me want to run this race again next year! It really is a fun one and the support by the local running clubs is unmached by any other race! If you haven't done it before, I highly, highly recommend it. Have you done this race before? If so, is it one of your favorites too? If not, why the heck not? Just kidding (kind of).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Baby Wilson: 20 Weeks

How far along? 20 weeks
Baby’s size/development this week: weighs about 10 1/2 ounces and measures 6 1/2 inches long; about the size of a banana (I didn't have any bananas to hold up for comparisons sake. FWP.)
Maternity clothes: wearing them? Yes. I didn't make any maternity purchases this weekend. Gotta start saving money for the wee babe!
Miss anything? Coffee. I know I can have it, my stomach just doesn't like it. I've bought it a few times, end up having a few sips and throwing the rest away. My pregnant body just doesn't want its coffee. I really could use the pick-me-up some mornings. LAME!
Food cravings? Nothing all that strange. I have zero desire to eat vegetables, unless they are in fried form, so I've been trying to eat a lot of fruit. That way, I’m still getting nutrients without wanting to hurl.
Anything making you queasy or sick? The smell of any Starbucks. That strong coffee scent makes me cringe.
Sleep: In the past few months I've had a few zombie apocalypse dreams, and now apparently my mind has moved on to vampire dreams. Although, now that I've got the body pillow, I’m at least comfortably sleeping through the night. :)
Best moment of the week: Our 20 week ultrasound!
Nursery: Nothing yet, but hopefully this week we can get rolling now that we have a 2nd dresser in the master bedroom.
Wedding rings on or off? on
Movement? The flutters and mini kicks come and go throughout the day.
Weird pregnancy thing of the week: I’m still getting over that cold and my skin is seriously still so dry! I don’t know what is up with that! So weird!
Daddy is feeling: excited to start feeling kicks soon.
Mommy is feeling: good and excited to be enjoying the 2nd trimester! :) The worrying has dropped down significantly with each week as Baby continues to grow, my belly expands, and I continue to feel more and more movement.
Workouts this week: I did 1 run this week with plans to do a second that never materialized. My pace is slow and I’m keeping the distance low. But I’m out there having fun which is what counts!
Looking forward to: Dad being able to feel the kicks next!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Shamrock Shuffle Edition

As I've mentioned many, many times before, the Shamrock Shuffle is my favorite race in the city of Chicago. (I'm not the only one. Too Tall Fritz agrees with me too.) This past year was my 7th Shamrock Shuffle and I thought it might be fun to share some old photos from years' past.

The year was 2007. I was a born again runner and my first race ever had been in the previous summer. My roommate at the time convinced me to sign up and I thought it would be a fun time. I started training in whatever old tees and shorts I had lying around. I didn't know what dryfit was and the sports bras I owned were probably too old to be wearing during physical activity. I laced up my old high school running shoes and got on the treadmill with my newly acquired gym membership. I was an adult now; college was over.

This race was kind of a big stepping stone in my life. I made a lot of big decisions on the day of this race and it turned my life around for the better. Perhaps this is why the Shamrock Shuffle always holds a special place in my heart? :)

I was going through some old photos last week and I found some shots that I was really excited about. They were from my 2nd ever Shuffle in 2008. I ran it with my friend Kate and it was her first race ever. I was still living in the city at the time, and she had come down to spend the night at my place before heading to the start. I remember these photos being taken, but I couldn't remember what I did with them. After finding them in a photo album (instead of in a Facebook album), it was fun to look back and reflect.

We look so young! I was wondering why I didn't have any professional photos from this race. It is because I covered up my bib like a noob! Haha. Things to note: I still wear this headband all the time in the winter. I also still have this jacket that I keep around specifically for the Shamrock Shuffle. This race also started the tradition of us (me, Kate S. and Kate LF.) doing the race together  Some years we don't see each other, some years we've crossed the finish line together, and some years we've met up afterwards for the post-race beverage. Either way, this race is something we always make time to do. I really do hope to continue this tradition in the years to come, even if I need to leave Baby Wilson at home with Dad. :)

This year was a year in which I debated whether or not to run the race. The night before, I traveled from the city to the suburbs to hang with my friends (the Kates) so we could carpool to the race together. If I hadn't been with them, I probably would have stayed in my nice warm bed instead of lacing up my shoes to head out into the snow. BUT, we got out there, and we did it!
This year, the Shamrock Shuffle only had about 13,000 finishers (compared to 40,000 registrants and usually 38,000-40,000 finishers). My friends and I were some of the crazy few that got out there and ran, despite the snow. Also, you may note that this headband may look familiar. :) The shirt I'm wearing says "Everyone Loves an Irish Girl." I still own this shirt specifically to wear to the Shamrock Shuffle. I don't think its weird that I keep around specific pieces of clothing to wear just to 1 race per year.

For more old race photos of me, check out the "Previous Races" link at the top of my blog. There are definitely some gems in there. Lol.

Is there a race that you love so much that you've done it multiple years in a row? Do you have certain clothing items that you keep in your running wardrobe specifically for a particular race?