Month: June 2015

Friday Randomness – June 26, 2015

1.  Friday again?  The days definitely go by much faster when you are on vacation.  I know that during the school year I am always aware of each day and get so excited on Fridays.  On vacation I sometimes lose track and have no idea when a day is Monday, Tuesday, etc.


2.  On Monday, my sister and nephews went to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children.  It is a great place to volunteer and you end up leaving really good about yourself.  The last time I was there was almost two years ago.  Yikes!  I need to make it a priority to go there more often.


We were there from 2:30-4:30 pm.  My nephews LOVE Home Run Inn and we stopped there for dinner.  We got home in time to watch “The Bachelorette” and before the bad weather began rolling into the Chicago area.  Luckily, it was just wind and lots of rain but I know other places had it even worse.


3.  I bought a new running gear, the Garmin Forerunner 220.  So far I’ve run with it twice and like it.  The only problem I have is that I cannot get it to sync with my heart monitor.  I have to run 8 miles on Saturday with the CES group so hopefully one of the coaches there can help me.

Garmin 220

4.  I know we all have good and bad runs.  I love it when I have a good run but I love it even more when it is on a day that I had no desire to run.  I did not run yesterday morning because I was planning to run in the evening with the ladies from Fleet Feet.  Well, I did a few errands with my mom and got home after 6pm.  I was tired and decided to rest and then go running.  Everything hurt so I took an ibuprofen.  Then I decided not to go.  I guess I must have been feeling guilty and I reminded myself that I would not skip any of my marathon training runs planned by my coach (I’ve missed one) so I got dressed and went out for my run.  You know what?  It was AWESOME and I felt great.  I ran better than I expected and that made me happy.


5.  I received my grade for my Spring class.  I am disappointed that I got a “B”.  I know it is still a great grade but the class was so easy and pretty much an easy “A”.  For nine weeks I listened to the lectures and took notes.  I also did all of my homework and pretty much got all of the problems correct.  The deal breaker was the final presentation on the last day of class.  It was worth 50 percent of my grade.  I know I did not rock it but I didn’t think I did that bad.  I get really nervous speaking in front of a group (definitely not a problem with little kids) so I am just mad at myself because I messed up on the presentation.  My next (and final class) starts in August.

What has been your best volunteer experience?  Do you get nervous speaking in front of a group?  


Friday Randomness – June 19, 2015

1.  On Monday I went to a live taping of Windy City Live.  There were no prizes/gifts for audience members but it was still fun to be there.  We heard from Brian Grazer, watched a performance by Muntu Dance Theatre, and listened to a discussion lead by Dr. E. Patrick Johnson on the NAACP leader, Rachel Dolezal.



2. This past weekend I got a kitten.  Her name is Lola and she is very playful and FUNNY!  I will post pictures of her (not too many) on the blog and on Instagram.  I hope you don’t unfollow me.  For now here are a few.

3. I love coffee.  But I also love flavored coffee creamer.  I’ve been loving this Mexican chocolate style.  Delicious.  Try it.  You will not be disappointed.


4. Just the other day I found my Birkenstocks in the back of my car.  I think they’ve been there since last summer.  Ha, definitely ugly shoes but very comfortable.  I remember one time I was in NY and walked for a couple of hours in them and my feet did not hurt one bit.  Will definitely be wearing them this summer.


5.  This afternoon my nephew and I did a Slice of Chicago Pizza Tour.  We are both HUGE fans of Home Run Inn but wanted to try something different.  We had pizza from Pizzeria Uno, Quartino, and Giordano’s.  I must have read incorrectly the description because I could have sworn it said that we were supposed to go to 5-6 different pizza places.  Overall, it was fun to make a trip downtown (even though it was very windy and kind of cold) and have a few slices from two places we’ve never been to, Quartino and Pizzeria Uno.  The verdict?  Pizzeria Uno is the best one.

Are you a fan of pizza?  Favorite pizza place?  What is your favorite topping(s)?

2015 Chicago Marathon Training

I am not quite sure what week this is of marathon training.  I have been working with a coach for the past few months so I guess that was my pre-marathon training.  I am now in official marathon training mode.

Anyway, so far most of my runs have been easy runs between 3 to 6 miles.  I’ve run a half marathon and felt really good throughout the race.  Also, I’m happy with my paces and get really excited when I have negative splits.  I told my coach that I don’t plan to negative split but that it just happens.


Since my runs are easy runs, I’ve been doing those outside.  On Thursdays I run with a group out of Fleet Feet South Loop as part of FF Chicks’ Night.  It is very casual and laid back.  We start at 6:30 pm and run between 3-6 miles.  I like going there because I get to run along the lakefront and run with some amazing girls. There are some incentives (shirt, jacket, gift certificate) when you run with the group and log your miles.   Come check it out!




When I was in school I would stay there till 5:45, change into my running clothes and then head out to the store.  It worked out perfect because I was able to work on my lesson plans (I would normally do them on Friday) and grade some papers.  Now that school is over, well, I need to get used to this change and make sure I head out there in the evening.

I’ve been taking a spinning class twice a week and doing yoga once a week.  Spinning is Monday and Friday at 5:45 am.  I know, very early.  The plus side is that I would shower at the gym and then drive to school.  Very convenient.  Well, school is over so I get to come home and shower here.



I’ve been doing my long runs with Chicago Endurance Sports.  This past week I did my second long run with them.  I missed the week before because I was in VT running the Covered Bridges Half Marathon.  They’re a great group of runners and I love my running group (11:30s).  We meet at 6:30am at Fleet Feet South Loop.  The location is perfect, 10-15 minutes from my house, free parking, and afterwards I can shop for any running necessities.


I don’t want to jinx it but I am very excited about my marathon training.  I am definitely liking my runs so much more and get excited when I am done with a run knowing that I am getting closer to my goal of crossing the finish line of the Chicago Marathon.

What are you training for this summer?  How is it going?  I may be a slow runner but I would love to join you.  Then we can head out to eat.

Covered Bridges Half Marathon

Almost two weeks ago I went to Vermont to run in state #33.  Jaime and I had registered for this race back in December and it sold out in a few hours.

My flight left at 7am with a layover in Baltimore and that is where Jaime boarded the plane.  I had not seen her since November for the Tulsa Route 66 Half Marathon.  An hour later we were in Manchester, NH picking up the rental car and on our way to get something to eat cause we were starving.  We found  a cute and delicious sushi place not too far from the airport.



Then it was time to head out to Vermont.  Beautiful drive!


The race directors did a good job of sending emails on a regular basis with helpful race information.  Somehow we missed the part letting us know that bib pickup was only available on race day.  Jaime and I arrived in Woodstock (cute little town) only to find out that we were to pick up our bibs the next day.  We’ve both run a lot of races and have never heard of such a ridiculous thing.  We know some races offer bib pickup the day before AND on race day but never only on race day.  Well, since we were there already we walked around for a bit.  Jaime found a magnet for her collection.  We went inside another store and they were offering complimentary drinks for the customers.



For dinner we went to a Mediterranean place and ate hummus, falafel, zucchini pancakes and a bunch of other things.  I had woken up really early that day for my flight and was asleep by 9:30.

My body likes messing with me and I was awake at 4:30 but really it was 3:30 since I was still on central time.  An hour later I got up, got ready, and went downstairs to see what was available for us at the breakfast buffet.  There was fruit, bagels, cereal, oatmeal and other stuff.  My favorite was the pancake maker.  I made two of them for me and went back upstairs.

The race began at 8:15 so why the heck were we leaving our hotel at 6am?!  Well, we had to drive to Quechee Village Lot, leave our car, and then get on a shuttle bus to take us to the start line at Suicide Six Ski Area.  The whole trip from the hotel to the start line took 45 minutes.  That meant we had to wait 1 1/2 for the race to start.  It was cold.  I took a long sleeve shirt and was still cold. I used the port-a-potties after I got my bib and once again before the start of the race.  We were both annoyed that we had to wait so long for the race.




Finally it was time to run.  I took off my long sleeve shirt and wrapped it around my waist.  I knew I was going to be hot once I began running.  I had clear instructions from my coach.  She told me to run miles 1-5 @11:30; miles 5-10 @10:45-11:00; and miles 10-13 to go as hard as I felt comfortable.  I had every intention of doing what she planned for me.  Did not follow her plan.  I finished my first mile in 9:15.  I couldn’t believe it because I did not realize I was going that fast.  I did try to slow down and my next two miles were done in 10:07 and 10:28.  At mile 4 (10:24) I stopped to take a picture.  At mile 5 (10:46) I walked a little bit while I ate my energy gel.  My watch lost connection at mile 6.24 and was working again 2 miles later.  It was still way off based on the mile markers.


There was this massive hill around mile 8 and I just simply cursed.  And I walked too.



At mile 12 there was this woman yelling that we were almost done and I seriously wanted to tell her to shut up.  It really bugs me when people are yelling and screaming at the runners telling us we were almost done when we really were not almost done.  You can say that to me when I am .25 miles from the finish line but not 1 mile away.  I had taken an ibuprofen after mile 6 so my legs weren’t sore.  Ha, once that wrote off I was sore for two days.  Once I knew I was close to the finish line, I ran as quickly as I could and finished in 2:19:51 @10:41 average pace.  I heard the announcer call out my name and said something about Chicago Cubs tickets.




I am very pleased with my finish time.  It is my second best half marathon finish time.  My PR (2:17:01) is still from the Hartford Half Marathon in 2013.


Then came the tricky part.  My cell phone was not working so there was no way to get a hold of Jaime.  I sent her two texts but they were taking a long time to get through.  I also called her several times but got disconnected.  Finally, by some miracle I got her text letting me know that she was next to the stage.  I turned around to look for her and saw her walking towards me.  In my text I told her that I would meet her by the car.  I saw some cars up ahead and assumed that was where we left our car that morning.  Wrong.  We still had to hike almost a mile to get to the parking lot.  Why make the runners walk almost a mile after running 13.1 miles on a hilly course? Plus, we still had to shower, check out of the hotel, drive to Manchester, and eat before Jaime’s 2:50 flight back to Baltimore.



Overall, I thought it was a very pretty course.  The weather was perfect during the race.  The shaded areas were wonderful.  The volunteers were great.  Great tshirt color too.  However, the logistics were horrible.  I am somewhat OK with the flight to Manchester and the 1 1/2 drive to the race location.  I did not like the early wake up call (still better than Disney races), the long wait prior to the race, and definitely not the walk back to our car.  Jaime and I had talked about doing again some of the races we’re run before such as the Little Rock and RnR New Orleans. The Vermont race is definitely not on that list.  I guess maybe I am spoiled and like it when I can walk and it is easy to get to the start line and then back to the hotel after the race.  I remember that for the Little Rock Half Marathon the start line was literally outside the hotel.  I am NOT saying not to do this race but just giving you a little heads up on what to expect.

What has been your “most challenging race to get go?”  Next race is Elmhurst 4 on the 4th.  This will be my 3rd year running it and I am looking forward to it.

Fleet Feet Sports Soldier Field 10 Mile

A few weeks ago I ran my 4th race for this year.  The last time I ran this race was in 2012 and I set a PR.  In 2013 I went to Boston for the Run to Remember Half Marathon but cannot remember why I did not run it last year.

I was excited and looking forward to the race this year.  It was my 3rd 10 mile race and I was hoping that it would be a much better race experience that the last two, Live Grit 10 Miler and Quarryman Challenge 10 Mile.

I was up at 5am on race day.  I arrived at Soldier Field around 5:45, parked my car, used the bathroom (twice) and waited for the race to start.  It was cool in the morning and I debated wearing a thin jacket.  I didn’t and am so glad because the sun came out and it was HOT.



Finally it was time to run.  I tried not to start off too fast.  I think I did OK based on my splits. There were two runners that were talking nonstop and it was driving me crazy.  One of my running pet peeves is runners that talk nonstop throughout the race.  Anyway, I would pass them up and then they would catch up to me.  Well, towards the end I “lost” them.

The course was flat and part of the route going south was on Lake Shore Drive.  The turnaround was before mile 5.  I felt great till mile 7 and then my legs began to hurt.  I wished I had an ibuprofen to take for the pain.  Instead, I sucked it up and kept running.

I looked at my watch after mile 9 and realized that I could probably PR.  I wasn’t sure by how much but I just knew it would be a PR.  That last mile was difficult for me.  I remember I stopped for a few seconds right before entering the stadium for the finish line.  Finish time is 1:41:56 for an almost two minutes PR (Finish time in 2012 was 1:43:49).  Definitely a happy moment!


Afterwards, I got a bottle of Muscle Milk, my goodie bag and sat down to rest, enjoy my beer, and wait for friends.  I couldn’t stop smiling.



I hung out with two other friends and then we went to The Weather Mark to eat.  It was delicious! I was tired but also very hungry.  The service wasn’t that great since we waited almost an hour for our food.  It wasn’t busy so Icouldn’t  understand why it took so long.  But I ate, it was delicious, and I was happy.

Once at home I took a shower and a long nap.  Then I ate again.