Month: October 2015

MudLOVE Bracelets Giveway

Disclaimer:  This giveaway is not sponsored or affiliated with MudLOVE.  I am simply sharing some of the extra bracelets I have purchased to support a cause I believe in.

A few weeks ago Carlee wrote a review and did a giveaway for MudLOVE.  I had never heard of the company and became very interested in it.  MudLOVE is a company based in Indiana that sells bands and mugs.  They have partnered up with Water for Good and for every product that is purchased, it provides one week of clean water to someone in need.  What’s not to like?

Of course I wanted to win and I made sure to enter numerous times via Twitter and Instagram.  I did not win but I took advantage of a discount code provided by Carlee to purchase several items for me, some of my friends, and to do a giveaway.


I love my bands.  They’re cute and comfortable.  You can adjust the elastic to fit your wrist.  They’re made from clay that is 100% non-hazardous and the glazes they use are lead-free and non-toxic.  Did I mention that for each one that is purchased, it provides one week of clean water to someone in need?

I am giving four readers the option to win one of the bands pictured below.  To enter, click on the image below where you will be directed to Rafflecopter and enter via leaving a blog post comment, following me on Instagram, commenting on any of my Instagram posts, or tweeting about the giveaway. I am loving this fall weather so I’ve included an extra entry for you.  Good luck!



In case you aren’t one of the four winners, you are still in luck!!  Use code “community” to save 10% off your order!

This giveaway runs through Sunday, November 1st at 11:59pm CT.  Four winners will be selected and notified using the email address listed with their Rafflecopter account.  Entries ARE verified, so please make sure to complete the task or a new winner will need to be selected.  U.S. residents only.


2015 Chicago Marathon

Last Sunday I ran my 7th marathon – the Chicago Marathon.  It was also the 4th time I’ve run this race (2006, 2008, 2010, and 2015).

You can read about my trip to the expo on Friday here.

I got my stuff ready and went to bed early.  I woke up around midnight to use the bathroom and had no trouble going back to sleep.  Before I knew it, it was 4am and time to get up and get ready.  I checked the weather and was somewhat pleased with it.  Too many suns in there worried me a little.

Well, nothing to do about it but get on the train and head downtown.  I chose to drive to the train station instead of walking.  I am so glad I did because I chafed really, really bad and could hardly walk.  Well, let me just say that it hurt more to walk from the chafing than from running 26.2 miles.

Anyway, I made it to the CES Race Resort.  Wow!  I am so amazed by it and glad I signed up.  I had a warm place to wait, plenty of real bathrooms to use, water, coffee, bananas, bagels, and other food.  That was just breakfast.  For after the race there was pizza, hummus, vegetables, mostaccioli, and other stuff I cannot remember.

It was finally time to go.  I found my corral and waited about 30 minutes for my official wave (2) to start. Then I waited about 15 more minutes to cross the start line.

It was gorgeous!  A bit sunny but not hot nor cold at all.  I started too fast and ran my first mile in 9:06. Yikes!  I stopped to walk because I knew I would pay for it later.  Mile 2-11:13; Mile 3-10:22; Mile 4-10:54; Mile 5-12:13.  I was feeling great and did not realize I was going faster than I should have.  I wore my watch but chose not to look at it all of the time.

There were areas that were sunny but many more were shaded which felt great.  Before I knew it, I was at the halfway point.  Per my Garmin, I finished 13 miles in 2:24:59.  I did not feel tired(yet) nor sore (could be the two Tylenols I took at the beginning of the race) which isn’t how I felt after finishing the Chicago Half Marathon two weeks ago.  When I finished the half I did not have it in me to run another 13.1 miles.  But I did not feel that way on Sunday.  I felt like I could run another 13.1 miles.


Then I got tired.  And really hot.  I walked.  But I ran too.  The sun simply would not go away.  I tried to listen to music but somehow that just aggravated me.  Plus, there were so many supporters and that helped me block any negative thoughts.

Then the chafing began.  Oh my goodness!  That was painful.  Then my feet hurt.  Not the actual feet but my toes and the sides of my feet.  I could feel so many blisters forming with each step I took.

I love Pilsen!  As a spectator that is the place I like to wait and cheer for the runners.  There were so many people.  I saw my friend Maria and that made me happy.  She hugged me and I hoped she did not notice I was smelling so bad.

I saw another friend at mile 20.  I was still hot and tired.  And my feet?  Just thinking that I still had 6.2 miles almost got me crying.


I don’t think I hit the wall.  I still felt good.  It was just my feet.  The last 6 miles were brutal.  I wonder if I would have felt better if I had taken off my shoes and ran without them.

I love seeing the markers letting me know that I had a mile to go, then half a mile, and finally a quarter of a mile.  I ran and walked up Mt. Roosevelt and was so happy to see the finish line.  Love it!

Finish time is 5:21:17.  Now here is where it gets “complicated”.  I know that no one really runs the tangents and usually ends up running more than the actual race distance.  I remember at one point of the race my watch was showing .40 more than the mile markers.  Well, my Garmin watch states I ran 27.64 miles.  It is a difference of 1.44 miles.  Is it possible?  I remember that for some parts of the race I did follow the blue line. But here we are looking at more than a mile.  The Nike+ app (which syncs with my watch) has me finishing a marathon in 5:01:41. Now I know that is not an official marathon finish time but at least I know that I did run 26.2 miles in that time.  Yes, that make me very happy.

As for my feet?  A few blisters and two nails with blood.  I read online that I can drain the blood using a paper clip but that kind of freaks me out.  But I also do not know what else to do.  Thoughts?

And the chafing?  Much better now.  I ran in the Oiselle Long Roga and have never had problems with them.

Sometime during the past few days I asked myself “What if? questions”  One of my goals was to PR (5:16:53). I know I missed it by about 5 minutes.  I looked back at the race and wondered “What if I hadn’t walked so much on 18th street (Pilsen)?”  What if I had used a run/walk timer to run the last 6 miles?  What if I had run without my shoes since they were giving me so much trouble?  It drove me crazy that finally I had enough.

I know I ran a great race.  I actually had fun running the marathon.  And I don’t remember EVER feeling that way.  My official finish time may not really reflect it but I know ran a marathon in 5 hours.

I think Lola likes the medal.  What do you think?


So bring on Chicago Marathon 2016!!!

What watch/app do you use for your races?  What has been the most difference in distance between your watch and the race?

2015 Chicago Marathon Expo

Last week on Friday I went to the expo to pick up my bib for the Chicago Marathon.  I bought more stuff than I should have.  But it is OK because most of the stuff I needed anyway.  🙂

I love the stairs right before going into the expo.

Come on in!  I do not know who the people are in the right photo.  I just wanted to take it because it shows the World Marathon Majors: Chicago, Boston, Tokyo, Berlin, New York City, and London.

I’ve run the Little Rock Half Marathon and would love to run the marathon just for the medal.  Look at the size of it!!

I saw Joan Benoit Samuelson.


I’ve heard great things about Gasparilla which has races of various race distances–13.1, 15k, 8k, and 5k.  For those that like a challenge, there are 3 that include running the 15k on Saturday and 8k on Sunday (Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus Challenge); running the 15k & 5k on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday (Michelob Ultra Amber Challenge); or running the 15k & 5k on Saturday and the half marathon and 5k on Sunday (Michelob Ultra Challenge).


I love the color of the Newton Kismet.  I also tried on the Fate (not pictured) and I think those are the ones I will get to train for my half marathon in February.


Just felt like taking pictures of these because I really like them and got me pumped up for the race on Sunday.

I thought this was cute too.


None other than Hal Higdon and Bart Yasso.

Everything that I bought.


Love the shirt color.  For sure I will be keeping this one.


What is the most you’ve spent at a race expo?  Are you currently training for a race?

Chicago Marathon Training Recap Week #1


*Week #1, October 5-11


  • PLAN – OFF


  • PLAN – 3 mile warm up (11:00-11:30’s), 1 mile at 10:00, 1 mile at 11:00, 1 mile at 10:00,
    walk 5 mins cool down
  • ACTUAL – 6 miles @10:16 average pace

I don’t remember much about this run except that I did really good.  Splits are:
Mile 1-10:51
Mile 2-10:15
Mile 3-10:12
Mile 4-9:46
Mile 5-10:38
Mile 6-9:52


  • PLAN –25 minutes on spinning bike (10 minutes warm up then alternate 3 minutes fast with 5 easy)
  • ACTUAL – 26 minutes on spinning bike

This seriously was the last thing I wanted to do.  But I went to the gym and before I knew it, it was time to go.


  • PLAN- 3 miles and 10 strides
  • ACTUAL- 3 miles @9:57 average pace

The plan was to make it to a fun run with Bart Yasso hosted by Eddie Bauer.  I stayed too late at school and knew I would not make it on time for the run.  Plus, I did not want to deal with traffic heading to the north side of the city.  I did this run by my house.  It was weird knowing that it was my last run before the marathon.  Splits are below:
Mile 1-10:24
Mile 2-10:05
Mile 3-9:20

Yes, negative splits!!



  • PLAN – OFF



I did make it to a fun run hosted by Runner’s World and Fleet Feet Chicago.  I did not run but went to see Bart Yasso, Sarah Hall, Josh Cox, and Deena Kastor.



The rest of the day was spent relaxing in bed.  I love how Lola loves to hang out with me.



  • PLAN- Chicago Marathon
  • ACTUAL- Chicago Marathon in 5:21:17 finish time

What a race!  Love, love this marathon.


*Runs on treadmill are done on 1% incline.


  • I chafed pretty bad during the race that it hurt more to walk because of it than from the actual race. I am doing much better now but wow it was painful.
  • My goal was to PR (5:16:53) but that didn’t happen.  I know I shouldn’t rely too much on my watch but according to it I ran 27.64 miles.  Now, I know in all of my races it is always a little off but never this much.  Another friend posted his time and distance and his came out to 27.10 miles.  So weird.
  • Yesterday after the race I told myself I would never run another marathon.  I was sore, tired, and hungry.  Can’t wait to sign up for the marathon next year!!  🙂
  • So what now?  For now I am going to take some time off to recover and then start training for RnR NOLA in February.  I’ve never officially trained for a half marathon and am excited about it.

Chicago Marathon Training Recap Week #2


*Week #2, September 28-October 4


  • PLAN – OFF


  • PLAN – 3 miles
  • ACTUAL – 6 miles and 10 strides


I did Wednesday’s workout because I was planning to go downtown for a fun run with City Fit Girls.  The weather was in the low 60s which is ideal running weather.  My legs were tired in the first mile but then felt better and I pushed it a little.  Ran faster than I was supposed to but just ran by feel.  Total 6.02 @10:22 average pace.  Splits are:
Mile 1-11:06
Mile 2-10:10
Mile 3-9:52
Mile 4-10:01
Mile 5-10:39
Mile 6-10:26


  • PLAN –6 miles and 10 strides
  • ACTUAL – 3 miles @10:13 average pace


I did not make it downtown.  Instead, I came home and took a nap.  I know it was only 3 miles but I didn’t even want to do that run.  It always happens that the run that you do not want to do always ends up being a great run.  Must have been the nap.  🙂  Splits are:
Mile 1-10:42
Mile 2-10:16
Mile 3-9:41


  • PLAN- 1 mile warm up, 4 x 400 @ 8:30 with 400 recovery, 1 mile cool down
  • ACTUAL- 4 miles @12:53 pace


I went to the gym to do this run.  I was surprised I had to do a speed workout a week before the marathon. I thought taper week was all about taking it easy.  I did warmup and cooldown at 11:18 pace and 400s at 8:32.  I walked during each recovery.  The 8:32 pace felt hard but manageable and I had to hold on for a few seconds towards the end.  However, I felt much better during the 3rd and 4th one and ran longer until I had to hold on again.


  • PLAN – OFF


  • PLAN- 10 miles with last 3 being at 10:30’s
  • ACTUAL- Total 10 miles @11:43 average pace

I almost went back to bed when I saw the weather.  I had no desire to run in the rain and “cold” weather again.  I woke up late so I decided to run later in the day.  I looked out the window and saw that it had stopped raining so I got ready and went to Fleet Feet.  I had to run alone since the groups had already left for their run.


This was a tough run because it was cold and windy along the lakefront.  I struggled.  I almost gave up after mile 5 but saw another running group and decided to run with them (run 4/walk 2) and then ran the last 3 miles alone.

Splits are:
Mile 1-10:50
Mile 2-1105
Mile 3-14:53<==I stopped to take some pictures and forgot to turn off Garmin.
Mile 4-12:10
Mile 5-11:02
Mile 6-13:02
Mile 7-12:41
Mile 8-10:51
Mile 9-11:02
Mile 10-9:38 <==Pleased with it.  I was annoyed that I could not get 10:30s for miles 8 and 9.

I went back to the store and was pleased to see my name on the list of runners.

The end of the day calls for a nap and/or resting with Lola.



  • PLAN- Yoga
  • ACTUAL- Half an hour of yoga

My coach made it clear that I was not to miss my yoga class.  I was only there for half an hour.  I could not keep up with the moves/positions and got frustrated.  I came home to stretch and foam roll.

*Runs on treadmill are done on 1% incline.


  • My last week of training before the marathon.  Do I feel ready?  Absolutely!  Am I scared and nervous?  Absolutely too!
  • Taper madness?  I am the opposite.  I don’t want to run anymore this week.
  • I am looking forward to shorter runs.  My next big race is RnR NOLA Half Marathon in February.  I’ve run 62 half marathons and have yet to finish one under 2 hours.  My fastest is 2:17:01 at the ING Hartford Half Marathon on 10-12-13.  So my goal for this race is to finish under 2 hours.