Under Pressure

Hey party people!

So believe it or not, this is my last day of the work week!  Crazy, right?  I just recently realized that for myself.  It doesn’t seem like I’m heading to DC tomorrow for vacation- I feel that I’ve been so busy thinking about all the crazy going on that I haven’t had time to think about the span of days that I have off to relax and hang with the family.  That’s not to say I’m not looking forward to it.  I totally am.  It just snuck up on me!  Nothing like getting my act together last minute, right?

So maybe this will be a good Tuesday and not the regular crappy one???  Possibly?  A girl can dream…

Anyways, a few random things to mention one last time about the Rock n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon:

Pham put up an awesome video over on his blog.  Can you believe this was his 7th half marathon?  The kid’s just nuts.  (Dude- totally mean that in the nicest way possible… and let me catch up!!!)  Anyhoo, yours truly makes a quick appearance after 5:30ish in the video.  Excuse me and my tendency to be a Sweaty. Hot. Mess.  Either way, check it out- he shows you what goes on when you’re not running a little late for a half marathon (oops) and also reinforces how great of a course it is.  Holla’.

And the soreness kicked my butt more than I thought it would!  I typed and published my blog post yesterday before I left my place.  Which means I did all that before I went down the stairs in my apartment.  Um.  OW.  I made sure to do plenty of stretching last night because I have every desire to go to the gym today for a light workout.  I’m one of those gym rats (have you noticed?) who tends to panic when I take a lot of time off.  Working out is like a nervous tick or something.  It just has to happen.  Sure, I’ll be walking around and still getting plenty of exercise in over the week on vacation, but I have the need and desire to wear my tennis shoes and use weights and all that great stuff.  So yeah.  A light workout still counts.

Is it allowed to use the half marathon from Sunday as an excuse to continuously eat for two days straight?  If not, I have issues that should probably be addressed…

Out of curiosity, is anyone out there running the Chicago Marathon in October???  Hell no, I’m not running it.  But I do plan to volunteer.  And want to know who I should be cheering on…  :)

But in other running news, I do believe I’ll be running a 15k in November.  I’m taking the race mileage down a notch and instead trying to focus a little more on my speed.  If I decide to do it, training resumes in September… here we go again…

In order to make sure I have enough energy for the day, I made myself one of these:Oats in a Jar!  I’ve really been going for the sunflower seed butter a lot more as of late (compared to others).  I think I like it because it’s not as sweet- like the almond butter that I adore so much.  It’s a sad excuse in saying I’m “mixing it up”, but at this point, I’ll take what I can get.

Anyways, have a good day.  Mine will be spent working, working out and packing.  I may or may not have even started packing yet(don’t freak out, mom) for tomorrow.  Nothing like doing everything last minute- I thrive under pressure. 

And yes… that’s actually a Queen and David Bowie reference.  Did anyone catch that?  I have the urge to go “dun dun dun da da dun dun” for the rest of the day…

Anyhoo… have a good one…

Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon

I did it!!!  I finished the Rock n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon!  Oh happy day…

Thank you to all that wished me luck!  I really appreciate it!  And just so you know, I had such a GREAT time!I may be somewhat biased, but Chicago is one of the most beautiful cities!  Even when you’re sleep deprived and it’s not even 6:00 in the morning…

My wakeup call was at 4:15. I actually drove in from the ‘burbs that morning for it (Not highly recommended I’m sure, but it really wasn’t too bad).  Because I traveled with my own personal cheering section:I have such great friends.  These girls were ready and willing to go watch.  And were up and at it at 5:00 with a smile on their faces.  Thank you so much, Annie and Mon.  I love you guys!

We traveled down to the start area, and passed by the stage and press tent and got a good look at these kids:Guiliana Rancic and Maria Menounos chatting it up.Jake the Bachelor getting ready to run…  And just so you know, he’s just as, if not shorter, than he appears on tv.  Which is nuts. Even a certain Real Housewife from New York came out for a stroll in the park…

Excuse me while I openly admit that I get starstruck easily.

Back to the race…  so I was a little late getting into my corral, but I made it in time for the start.  No worries!

The start reminded me a lot of the Shamrock Shuffle- crowded and bit hectic.  But unlike the Shuffle, it thinned out much quicker.  And by mile 2 or 3, I was in my “happy pace”- somewhere around 8:40 and 8:45.  I am yet to buy the thing to put my Nike+ chip in since I bought my Sauconys, so I relied completely on the clock at every mile marker.  I got through the Start Line around 9:00, so it wasn’t hard to estimate how I was doing the entire time.

I honestly can’t tell you too much specifically about what was going through my head during the race.  I got to a certain point where I completely zoned out.  I didn’t even see my friends at Mile 6 until they were practically right in front of my face.  But I looked up and there they were- so I shouted a happy shout of some decibel and it made me smile for a bit. :)

Here are a few things I do remember:

– People start to smell bad at around four or five miles.  This really bugged me.  Then I realized I probably smell just as bad.  So I was ok with it.  Because I’m no hypocrite.

– Watch where you run while going past water stops.  Most people were really considerate about throwing cups to the side.  But when you’re on the side, those cups are coming straight at you.

– I wonder where Guiliana Rancic is right now?  What if she passes me?  Would it be weird to try and strike up a conversation?  Maybe they’re taping it and I could be on E!.

– I studied quite a few tattoos on the backs/arms of people I was behind.  And wondered the story behind them.

– Ahhhh… once we were on the lakefront, the breeze was seriously CLUTCH.

– Ahhhh Gu.  I hope they have Vanilla.  I can’t do the fruity stuff… I can see myself hurling right then and there.  Oh good- they have vanilla. 

– Annie and Mon…  Annie and Mon… I know they’re gonna be here around Mile 12… oh!  There they are!  (Seriously, at Mile 12 I was starting to drag, so seeing them jumping up and down and screaming got me to pick it up a lot for the last mile.  For this I thank them!)

– My favorite sign along the race sidelines ended with “that’s what she said”.  Yessssss.

– I have never been so excited to see a finish line in all my life (or the year and a half I’ve been doing official races- same thing).

My final stats? I couldn’t be happier.  It was a great first time at this distance.  And I beat my goal of finishing under 2 hours.

I think before I was done running, I had already started thinking about ways I could improve for next time.

Yes, I already knew there should be a next time.  As excited as I was going into the race, I wasn’t sure how I was going to like the distance.  I’m very happy with my 5 and 10k’s.  But this was fun and I think the training was an overall helpful thing for me.  And as long as I’m comfortable with a distance, I’ll keep doing it. 

It’s safe to say, I liked this one.  Granted, I will most likely wait until next year sometime for my next half marathon, but I can’t wait to start searching for whatever race that’ll end up being!

After the race, we traveled to The Bongo Room for proper post-race eats.  Granted, I may have enjoyed it a wee bit more had my stomach not been completely revolting against me because of the run.  I still ate, but didn’t finish my plate like I had anticpated…Oh bacon, feta, and mushroom omelette… I’ll beat you next time!

And when I say stomach issues… I wasn’t kidding.  Holy cow… it had me down and out for a bit once I got home.  But no worries, I’m good now!

Happy Monday everyone!  I’m a bit sore today (to be expected), but I’m looking forward to this week.  It’s a short week of work because I’m flying out to DC on Wednesday to have some hang time and a little vacay with the fam- which I’m looking forward to!  Can you believe I’ve never been to Washington DC?!?!  I guess there’s a first time for everything…

Carb Loading

Hey kids!  So this is going to be a random post.  As you can see in the name of my blog, that’s kinda how I roll.  So I’m just going to ramble for a bit.

(By the way, that’s whole wheat pasta, peas, sweet potatoes, and feta with a simple olive oil and garlic sauce over spinach.  mmm… I love carbs.)

It’s the day before my half marathon and I could not be more excited.  My training is done.  I’m carb loaded.  I’ve got everything ready.  This is by far the longest distance I’ve ever raced. I’m not that nervous, just anxious. 

I’ve always been a runner.  And have enjoyed it since high school when I risked my life by running on the side of some crazy curvy roads past my house (praying I wouldn’t get hit by the idiot out-of-towners whipping around the corner to get to the camp site past my house). Usually, my running would just consist of a couple miles here and there during my workout.  It didn’t become the main focus until 2009 when my cousin and I decided to go all-out with a 5k in April for our new years resolution.  Only 29 1/2 minutes later and I was hooked.  I wanted to do another one.  Immediately.  I’ve done 6 since last April and improved my time by over 5 1/2 minutes!  (one of my prouder accomplishments)

I also dealt with my fair share of leg issues.  Including a little stint on crutches I’m still not too happy about, undiagnosed leg pain before the Shamrock Shuffle, and some pains that I suspected would turn into shin splints if I wasn’t careful.  Clearly, runners are all crazy.  Yeah, I said it. 

Either way, I persisted and started half marathon training in May.  Partially because I made a stupid bet, partially because I really wanted to do it.  Last year this time, if you asked if I’d consider a half marathon, I would have laughed.  And said, “well maybe I’ll do a 10k or something next year.”  I did two 10k’s in July.  Seems to be that I underestimated myself.

A lot of my friends also don’t get the “sport” of running.  Or how I enjoy it.  I could try to argue it’s all about conditioning and there is actually strategy involved, but there’s no point.  Probably why I enjoy talking about it on here with you fine folks so much…  And so what if they don’t understand?  I finally found something I like to do that is mine and mine alone.  My biggest competitor in running is myself.  And I like the challenge.   Which is another factor in why I’m running 13.1 miles tomorrow.  Because the me from four or five years ago (or even one year ago) didn’t think it was possible.  The me from four or five years ago would have woken up at 6:30 in the morning and said “I’ve only been asleep for three hours?  Damn… I need to get up and take some advil.  I am going to be soooo worthless today.  The boyfriend better take me to a drive thru.” 

Who knew all I needed was a little kick in the butt?

“People can’t understand why a man runs. They don’t see any sport in it. Argue it lacks the sight and thrill of body contact. Yet, the conflict is there, more raw and challenging than any man versus man competition. For in running it is man against himself, the cruelest of opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. His adversary lies within him, in his ability, with brain and heart to master himself and his emotions.” – Glenn Cunningham

Let me just say on a final note, thank you to all the peeps out there who have been so supportive and helpful as I cried my way through injury, cluelessly started training, and every crappy/good run experience I’ve had.  I appreciate it.  You kids are pretty awesome.  :) 

“There are no tricks. Run because you have to. Run because you love it. Run because you want to be fast. Run because you want to be skinny. Run to find some quiet time. Run to sweat. Run to eat. Run hear your heart pound in your ears. Run because you’re a runner. Run because you gotta keep the streak. Run because you don’t know why the hell you’re running. Run because you fought with your partner. Run because your job is crappy. Run because you got no money. Run for the sunrise. Run for a race. Run because it’s impossible. Run because it’s easy. Run instead of doing the laundry. Run instead of watching TV. Run because no one else understands. Run because the cool kids do it. Run because you’re tired of talking. run for numbers. Run for feel. Run to prove something. Run because it fucking hurts. Or don’t run. If you got something better to do.” – Jeff Edmonds

Enough mushy talk.  I’ve got work to do.  Peace out.

Worth The Wait

Thanks for making me feel better about sometimes being so dull… It’s somewhat ironic.  When I get to a week or two (ok let’s not lie- I’m in the middle of an all-out packed month) that are crazy busy, there seems to be other parts of my life that just go into autopilot.  Eats and workouts fall into this category often.

But not last night.  No way…

Well… the workout did.  But that’s because I’m just following the training plan like a good little runner.  :)  This week is clearly my taper week and I’m starting to slow it down in order to rest up before the Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon this coming Sunday!  The plan was to do 4 miles.  And that’s what I did.  Two miles at about an 8:30 pace, one mile at 8:15ish, and the last mile was a real push at 8:00.  I was a sweaty betty afterwards.

So yeah- run, sweat, rehydrate.  The workout was typical.  But some of the eats were not… look at me getting all CRAZY on a Tuesday night… watch out now!

I rarely buy sweet potatoes.  Not sure why.  I heart them.  And being as how I’m not a fan of fruit, it’s actually a good source of Vitamin C (your random tidbit for the day- thank me later).  My fav thing ever is a plate of sweet potato fries (and if you ever want your guy friends to not eat off your plate, these would be the way to do it).  So I really should eat them more often.  I was just feeling spunky on my late night grocery shopping trip the other night and picked one up.  (And am I the only one who prefers late night trips?  There is seriously NO ONE in the store.)

Random but true fact about me- I can make a decent sweet potato.  However, I generally tend to fail miserably at regular potatoes.  Yes, even in the microwave.  It’s just a hard fact of life for me.  I’m dealing.

Do you have anything that you should be able to make easily but fail miserably every time?  Make me feel better… please!

Anyhoo, I prepped them as soon as I walked into my apartment with olive oil and oregano (after washing my hands of course- no avatar germs in my food!!) and threw them in the oven before jumping in the shower to de-grossify.  Maybe one of the reasons I don’t pick them up often is that my stomach demands food in a somewhat speedy fashion and potatoes are not quite that?  Either way, it was worth the wait.Now let’s make fun of my sandwich for a minute.  I seriously do much better with wraps, but can’t pass up a sale on 12-grain wheat bread.  It’s just an overall delicious thing.  So I tried my best to construct a half veggie sandwich with asparagus and zucchini to go along with the SPs.  But it’s very clear the sweet potato is the star of the show.  If you’ll notice, the half sandwich is not the most stable looking thing in the world.  Not even the mozzarella could keep the asparagus from toppling out after the first bite.  Whatev.  I managed.

This morning I was much better about not sleeping in and getting up to do The Shred.  I only did Level 1, but Jillian definitely reminded me that I probably shouldn’t take over a week off from shredding unless I’m asking for an early morning beating.  Sorry Jillian.  I promise to do better.  Or at least I’ll try…  ;)

Tonight I have either a 3-mile run or cross training.  I think I’m going to do the cross, though, because it seems my body responds well to the only running every other day thing.  Nice to know now… only took two injuries to figure it out.  Geez… 

Now here’s a question… After you’ve finished a race like a half marathon or a similar distance, how much time do you take off before you start up your regular exercise routine again?

Murphy’s Law

Hey kids.  Sorry I’ve been missing for a few days.  I promise I’ll be back to normal soon!  :)

I had a great weekend with my college girls and friends downtown in Chicago this last weekend.  Pretty much everything that could go wrong did.  But that’s ok- it still turned out to be one of the best birthday weekends!

Here’s a quick rundown of what happened.  Feel free to laugh a bit, I know we did…

– My friends hit every single traffic jam in the state of Illinois to get here.  This put them over two hours behind schedule.

– We missed our first train into the city because of said traffic.  The train we did catch was a half hour late. Original plans were to get checked in at the hotel around 6:00.  We got to the room by 10:30.

– It rained like CRAZY all Friday night.  Any time spent on hair and makeup was pretty much wasted.  But we still had a great time.

– We ended up staying at Allerton Hotel after doing name your price on Priceline.  It was a GREAT location on North Michigan Avenue.  Although us three girls did get stuck  with one bed (when we requested doubles).  Good thing we really like each other.  And no one has horrible morning breath.

– We didn’t go watch the Cards/Cubs game in Wrigleyville.  But I did hit a sale on some  killer boots at Zara

– It was country night at Rockwood Place (our planned destination) on Saturday night.  If you know me, you’ll know how much I dislike country music.  We relocated quickly to Red Ivy before my guy friends also got there.

– My friend Mary’s toe was smashed and she may lose the toenail. 

– Do NOT open the mini refrigerator at the hotel without reading the sign.  You will get charged for doing so.

– Do NOT carelessly keep your clutch under your arm unzipped.  It will fall onto the dance floor and you will almost lose all of your prized possessions without even realizing it.  Thank goodness my friends are good at dance floor scavenger hunts.

– My car wouldn’t start once we got back to the burbs.  One of the reasons why I’ve been MIA- AAA coming to jumpstart it and tell you that you need to replace the battery does take more time than you’d prefer.

– I dropped my phone and a piece popped off again.  But I did find it back.  Phone still works (whew).

– My cable and internet weren’t working when I got home.  This leads to a very long phone call and arguing with the customer service rep that I can’t update my info on my account online because I can’t actually get online.  Idiot…

– Random weekends lead to random eating.  Stuffing five mini cupcakes into my face at 3:00 in the morning should be mentioned here… along with an unaccounted for number of Kit Kat fun size bars.  I’m trying to figure out how I can justify this as carb loading.

– Do not say “I don’t care, whatever shot you want to buy.”  It will lead to chugging an Irish Car Bomb.  Disgusting.

Anyways, that was my weekend in less than 500 words.  Trust me, it was exhausting.  But I loved every minute.  I have wonderful friends.  And I love them all very very much.  They are too good to me.  And kept me from diving into the birthday blues or a quarter life crisis.  Thank you all!

And here are a few pics for your viewing pleasure to sum up the weekend properly.  :) 

Anyways, Happy Monday!  This is a pretty easy week (training-wise) because we are in the HOME STRETCH!  The Rock n’ Roll half is less than a week away!!!

Any tips for the routine I’ll be going through the week before?  Training/eating/etc?

And then I ran 10 Miles…

A little over 10 miles actually.  But who’s really counting?  :) 

This was my long run for the week.  And the last one before the Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon!!!!  I can’t believe it’s next week.  But yeah, back to the story…  I was more nervous about this one than next week if I’m being completely honest.  Because race day is exciting.  Adrenaline kicks in and gets you a loooong way.  I really am not nervous about next week at all.  Just excited. 

I was, however, nervous about this run.  I kept it inside.  The forecast was looking a bit scary with all the dark clouds and bolts of lightning in it.  Of course the sun ending up shining all morning after a light rain.  Figures.  I’m pretty sure WGN’s weather team is messing with me for kicks.  Either way, I got myself to the gym and fired up the treadmill.  I had no idea how it was going to go because I had never spent that much time on a treadmill.  I have a hard time understanding how much someone would want to.  It’s a lot of time spent in one place.

Overall, I ended up having a great run.  Which was nice because some of my 5-milers on that thing were pretty miserable.  I zoned out until about mile 5 when someone came in and started to use the loud and annoying treadmill next to me.  I feel kind of bad.  I’m sure they wanted the treadmill I was  on.  But I wasn’t stopping- yes, I was THAT girl at the gym.  Considering I was a bit sweaty (ok a lot), they probably thought I was close to done.  And wanted my treadmill.  Because I saw her craning her neck to see my stats.  So nosey!  Good thing I had set the screen to only show the incline.  I like to keep myself guessing and, in this case, her too. 

Did you know if you just do a quickstart, the treadmill shuts off at an hour?  No?  Well it does.  I guess at that point it thinks I fell off and am dead on the side somewhere of exhaustion.  I reset it as quickly as possible and got back to my comfortable stride.  And that’s where I stayed.  I honestly am so surprised that I didn’t struggle through it at any point.  I felt good literally the.entire.time.  Which totally blows my mind.  Because I’ve struggled through 4 and 5 milers.  Recently.  Yet I cranked this one out.  Endorphins?  A full night of sleep?  Whatever.  I’ll take it!

Since the treadmill decided I had enough at an hour and I had to start over, I don’t have exact stats.  I was so flustered trying to get the machine going again, I just quickly looked at the workout summary.  So I know I ended up doing over 10- but definitely not more than 10.5.  And I kept the pace the entire time around 8:40-8:48.  It was a good pace- and I think I’ll be shooting for keeping it under 8:45 for the majority of the race next week.  Fingers crossed…

Afterwards, I ran errands and picked up this bad boy from the grocery store:It was called California Lovin’.  Basically I saw the avocado and turkey and bacon and called it a day.  That’s what I wanted and all I needed.  Well, with the McDonald’s unsweetened iced tea.  Seriously- you can’t beat a large tea for $1. 

All of this while catching up on my old soap opera- Days of Our Lives.  Apparently Beau and Hope are no more and it’s quite the situation.  I’m actually completely lost.  And with how slow the plot lines go, that’s hard to do!  Anyone still follow the soaps?  I did alot in college- but have definitely fallen out of the loop now that I work all week.

As I type this, I’m sitting around waiting for my friends to get here.  They hit pretty much every traffic jam in the state of Illinois.  So we’re crossing fingers that we make the 6:30 train into the city.  This is scheduled to post on Saturday, so as you read this, we’re hopefully chillin’ in Wrigleyville, watching the Cards/Cubs series, or rocking it out somewhere in the Chicago nightlife… ;)

Have a good weekend!

Fleet Feet Women’s 10k

So after my long weekend of fun and debauchery with my hometown girls, I did the unthinkable.  And got up at 5:00 on Sunday morning for a 10k at Montrose Harbor.

But I wasn’t the only one who got up that early.  Oh no.  My girls, Beth and Sarah, are just awesome and said they wanted to go with me to watch. Aren’t they fantastic?  Such troopers!  Sarah said they were filling in for my ‘rents.  I think mom and pops would be proud- they cheered for me very loudly.  Even before we started and people were standing around.  Yep… it was awesome.

This race was really up in the air for me.  I had no idea how I was going to do because we had been out and didn’t get back to my apartment until midnight because we had seen these kids:Rod Tuffcurls and the Benchpress.  They opened for Rock Candy at Durty Nellies on Saturday night.  And they were awesome.  Just their stage presence was entertaining.  But they could play- and sing- like none other!  We ended up groovin’ to everything from Third Eye Blind to Miley Cyrus, to The Little Mermaid Soundtrack to a song off of Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  Although I’m not sure how Aerial would appreciate their suggestive nature when it came to the line “down where it’s wetter”.  Pervs.  But I still loved them!  A few of my girlfriends from the suburbs had come out to play and we were all in agreement that we might have to become their newest groupies.  Good times…

Wait… what?  Where was I?  Oh yeah… the race!  So needless to say, after getting less than 5 consecutive hours of sleep for 3 nights in a row, I was exhausted to say the least.  And the Lou Malnati’s pizza and Goose Island draft is probably not the best thing to be sitting like a brick in my stomach.  I’m very competitive with myself and usually am such a baby about my pre-race routine.  But this was different.  I really just wanted one more solid race before the Rock n’ Roll Half in two weeks (oh my god…).  And I had friends in town and wasn’t about to not enjoy myself on Saturday night.  I figured I’d just treat it like I do any other 6-mile run.  Just take it as it comes.I put myself at the back of the 8:30 pace area.  If anything, I can just find someone with a solid stride and latch on.  We started and you can imagine my surprise when I got through the first mile in under 8 minutes.  Oh crap!  I’m screwing myself over waaaayyyy too early!  No good…  And then my second mile was at about 9 minutes and that was just waaaaayyyyy too fast.  I really am like Goldilocks.  Mile 3 was approximate 8:20 and that was just about right… ;)

I kept the stride up and pushed pretty hard on the last mile.  When I came up towards the finish, I realized I was actually going to beat my last 10k time.Hence the goofy grin.

I finished in 50:40- an 8:10 pace.  This is amazing to me.  I’ll give my new shoes most of the credit, because I have no idea where I would have pulled the energy from.  ;)

After I got through the finish and grabbed a couple waters (hey- free water is free water), I turned to find where I had seen Sarah and Beth as I ran through.  I couldn’t find them right away, so I just collapsed in the grass and figured they’d find me.  I was spent and could not go any further!I ended up placing 129/1460 overall and 9/110 in my age division- which I was more than happy about.  I don’t normally place as much importance on it, but this is my last race in the easier age category.  So I’m going to enjoy it while I still can.  Deal with it!

When I decided my legs were good to go again, we got up and got moving.  Breakfast was necessary.  A guy friend who shares the same interest in good food/restaurants suggested going to Over Easy Cafe.  So we raced there and got in without any wait- which was clutch in this case because my hunger had started to quickly attack and Beth and Sarah were yet to eat that morning.I got one of the Specials- The Sweet & Savory.  You can’t tell, but bacon was mixed into the pancake batter.  Oh yes.  A sinful idea for sure- even though I wouldn’t have complained if there was more bacon because you could barely even notice the extra flavor.  Everything was delicious and I am not ashamed to say I got through almost all of this before I gave up on the eggs.  Starvin’ Marvin… 

While at the restaurant, Beth and Sarah gave me a little birthday present. Like I said- sweethearts.  :)  They even marked their favorite quotes for me.  :)  What a way to start my birthday week!

Even though a nap was inserted into my day yesterday, I’m still a little behind.  This week’s going to be another crazy one in preperation for more visitors coming on Friday, but I’m going to do my best to insert a few more hours in a night.  I’m not as young as I used to be!  Aaaaahhhh!

Happy Monday!


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