Enjoying every second of life and running.

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A quick wrap up of 2015 – October through December

Once again blogging is literally the last thing I make time for these days. My pregnancy nesting mode is in full effect that I’m cleaning spaces that have nothing to do with our nursery like our workout room and our utility storage. When I finally sit down I usually fall right asleep versus get on my computer. Thank goodness it’s a new year because that forces me to get a post done to wrap up the last three months so I can start 2016 fresh blog-wise. While in the spirit of nesting, it also needs to apply to my blog. I’m going to remove my Facebook page that relates to this blog. It just seems so unnecessary. I never post to it separately so really it’s just re-posting my blog posts and tweets. I appreciate that some of you have liked my FB page and I hope you understand that it just seems like clutter these days.

Okay so onto the wrap up of 2015:

October was a very full including a trip to Hawaii, finding out that we are having a boy, and Chase’s first trick or treating experience. ๐Ÿ˜€

First, pregnancy update pictures:




Some professional photos:




We got the opportunity to travel to Hawaii with our company because Rob completed his Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). It was a gamble to see if our 2 year old would handle a 9 hour direct flight (plus the waiting to get on the plane, off, shuttle, and hotel room) and a 5 hour time delay, but she was a champ! Chase was so excited for the flight that she wouldn’t nap. We don’t give Chase a lot of screen time so we came armed with movies on an iPad for her thinking that would buy a couple hours at a time watching Frozen or something else. However, within like 10 minutes of using it should would put it down and want to go back to imaginary play: dumping goldfish crackers into and out of cups, playing ‘house’ with her seat and mine, coloring, etc. Plus she loved using the potty every 30 minutes – hour because she got to see people as she walked by, dance while we waited in line, and then comment on how bumpy it was to go potty in the tiniest of rooms ever.


Finally we made it and enjoyed 5 days including Chase’s first time seeing the ocean, playing on the beach, swimming in the pool, checking out the hotel animals (fish, ducks, and parrots), our first luau, Chase’s first fireworks from our balcony, and our first submarine dive.














I’m so glad that we decided to take the trip because every day went really well. I’m also glad that we didn’t extend our trip and push our luck though. We stayed on Oahu and next time we plan to visit another island.

Oh and Rob got me a souvenir, my first Chanel handbag.



Halloween – Our Princess




November – full of celebrations of our 12 year anniversary, Rob’s birthday, and Thanksgiving. Plus our first snow and Chase’s first (tiny) snowman.






December – included 3 Santa visits, 2 decorated gingerbread houses, over 70 Christmas cookies, Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch, Chase’s Christmas Pageant, and the Nutcracker ballet.






Our baby boy







And that’s the nutshell recap of 2015. ๐Ÿ™‚ Life will only get busier when our little boy arrives. So I’m not setting any particular goals for running or blogging. I want to take life as it comes this year and savor the time with Rob, Chase, and Baby J. I’ll document things twitter (@MrsCJ2003), instagram (mrscj2003), pinterest (mrscj), and blog here and there. Thanks for dropping by to check in!


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2015 We Care Twin Cities – Kid’s Run, 5K, and 10K

The last weekend of September was the We Care Twin Cities race event in town. Friday night weather was perfect, sunny and upper 60s or low 70s. We got to enjoy some time with friends while we waited for the races to begin. Friday was a kids 1/4 mile run and a family 5K race. The kid’s run was Chase’s furthest distance so far and she ran the whole way. It was so awesome seeing the determination on her face and how much she was loving it at the same time. At the end the kids got medals that were donated from past races by other runners. We Care highlights environmental awareness and information on reuse and recycling.

Up next was the 5K. Rob and I ran together and Rob pushed Chase in the stroller. She spent almost 80% of the time asking where one of her friends was that was watching the race. ๐Ÿ™‚ We ran it easy paced, which for me these days is pretty slow, still it felt good to be out running as a family. ๐Ÿ˜€ 30:03, 10:01 Pace


The next morning Rob and I ran the 10K together. The temperature was perfect, sunny and in the 50s. Again we got time to hang out with friend and even ran with our friend Jon for a few miles. I kept my pace easy and conversational. I felt good the entire race, but I didn’t want to push my pace because I didn’t want to risk feeling bad later. It was like a nice little date getting that much quality 1:1 time with Rob. ๐Ÿ™‚ Turns out after the race we found out that Rob got 3rd in his Age Group! ๐Ÿ™‚ 1:00:50, 9:49 Pace

My ‘Baby on Board’ sign that I put on the back of my shirt because it’s fun to be out racing pregnant. ๐Ÿ™‚ Post race with Rob and Carissa.


I’m not sure what races (if any) we will get in before the baby arrives. It will likely depend on weather, how I’m feeling, and what other things we have going on. If we end up running something I’ll get around to posting about it eventually. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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So Long Summer

So I basically didn’t post all summer so it’s time to catch up.

I have a post of us celebrating Chase’s 2nd birthday. Also that month we got Chase’s birthday present, a play house set up. It took every night from about 6pm-9pm for like 5 days (not including the extra day for Rob to remove the sod for the rubber mulch)ย to get it assembled.


We spent the summer enjoying the Farmer’s Market on the weekends and taking Chase to gymnastics class.


I ran the Steamboat Classic 4 Mile in Peoria, IL – 38:02, 8:02 Pace and Chase and Rob watched me run.


Chase got to join the Lake Run’s Kids Runs for the summer. Every Friday evening they had a run on a track or in a field. At the end of every run the kids get a ribbon and at the end of the summer Chase got her first trophy.


We also checked out a couple Cornbelters baseball games.



Our company has a fair every year and this was our first year attending. She loved the petting zoo the most.


July 2nd we found out we were pregnant with our second baby! So for the 4th of July 5 Miler we ran easy with Chase in the stroller.


We spent time at the park bubblers and also at our company’s pool.




After our 9 week ultrasound we announced our pregnancy by involving Chase as a big sister in training. Chase is so excited for the baby. She changes her answer week to week if she thinks she is getting a baby brother or sister.





We took Chase to the McLean County Fair and she enjoyed seeing all the animals and getting the chance to pet bunnies and a baby goat.


We made trips to the zoo. Chase loved the butterfly garden at Brookfield and the carousel.



Other summer fun included attending birthday parties, the Corn Festival of Normal, IL, and checking out the Hot Air Balloon Festival of Lincoln, IL even though we didn’t get to see the balloons take flight due to weather.

Labor day parade was a huge hit with Chase. It was very hot out, but she loved seeing all the bands and ISU’s Reggie Redbird.


And our tradition to welcome in fall is a trip to Tanner’s Orchard in Speer, IL. Chase enjoyed her first apple cider doughnut, going off the largest slide she’s done so far, visiting lamas and goats, and picking out a pumpkin.


I’m looking forward to fall, cooler weather, and some more adventures. Up this fall I will be posting about baby updates, home improvement projects, a couple of races, vacation, and more.


Chase is 2 Years Old!!!

Time has flown by and Chase is now 2 Years Old! We celebrated her birthday in June with a friends party on Saturday and family that Sunday. Here are a few pictures from the party. It was a Tiffany & Co. themed party, but named “Chase & Co.” ๐Ÿ˜€


Birthday banner, “Chase & Co. Set. 2013” Print, and Tiffany Boxes


The delicious cake and cake pops that were vanilla cake tinted pink. Cake and cake pops from SugarMamaBakery. Light pink peonies from Hy-Vee. Vases from Michael’s.




Belgium waffles with syrup for dipping, yogurt cups with berries and granola


cinnamon rolls and donuts


muffins, pastries, scones, cinnamon rolls


White and chocolate milk, Straws from Easy, Milk Containers from Michael’s



Custom napkins from Etsy


Lemonade, Iced Tea, Mimosa Bar, and Bloody Mary Bar



The roses we got Chase for her birthday. The custom cookies and favor boxes were both from Etsy. The favor boxes had candy bracelets and a candy ring inside.


Pink rose petals from Hy-Vee. Chase’s black dress from Old Navy, black bow from Meijer


My dress is from White House Black Market, pearl necklace (Mommy & Me.) from Etsy





Me, Chase and JuLee



We had pony rides for the kids, but Chase was too scared to ride or even pet the ponies. ๐Ÿ™‚



Thankfully other kids like Kyleigh enjoyed the pony rides. ๐Ÿ™‚


We got Chase a new playhouse for her birthday. Emily and Chase inside. ๐Ÿ™‚



We also got Chase a keepsake jewelry box from Tiffany & Co. that she will get to enjoy when she is older. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Birthday to our sweet daughter!!! We love you Chase!!!

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2014 Lake Run – Half Marathon – 1:58:51

Race Takeaway: Perfect race weather does not equal perfect race experience.

Saturday, May 2nd Rob and I ran the Lake Run Half Marathon at Lake Bloomington, IL. There are three distance options now with this race, the 4.37 Mile, 12K, and the half (which was added last year). Rob had ran the inaugural half last year and Chase and I cheered him on.

This year we weren’t sure what the weather would do so we decided to have Chase stay home with a sitter and we could both run the half distance. The weather turned out to be gorgeous, around 65 degrees and sunny. It was making up for the terrible weather at the IL Half Marathon the week prior.

If you come to this event, I would suggest to get there an hour early for parking reasons. Parking extends along a country road and it’s just easier if you can manage to get there early to find a spot. We waited around hanging with our friends: Jon, Brandi, Kyleigh and others. Brandi was a rock star and pushed her two year old daughter in the stroller for the half marathon – yowza!

The 12K and half start first and the 4.37 mile race starts about 30 minutes later. This race has a chip start/finish, which is a nice bonus for lining up. There are no corrals, just a clump of people so the chip start mat helps you get a better reading for your personal race. I wore both my apple watch and Garmin again, but this time on the same arm (my left) so I could compare during the race if I wanted (which I didn’t end up doing).

The temperature felt amazing and I felt good considering I haven’t been racing back to back weekends is ages. I knew the rolling hills would get to me since I’m not great with hills, but I was still feeling optimistic as my paces were still doing well even 6 miles in. That went away completely when the race course turned to a gravel (loose, big chunky gravel) . This out and back section of a mile (or more?) was so annoying, slippery, and draining that I just felt done afterward. My pace slowed way down and I was trying to remain hopeful that once back on the roads I would again regain some of my stride and get back on pace. That never happened because from mile 9 to the end my stomach was cramping and I felt very sick. I had over a year of terrible stomach issues while running and racing and it appeared it was back. This race is a small town deal so porta potty options are limited, water stops table set ups were small, and no medical that I noticed. This is not a half that I would recommend to a first timer or someone with known stomach issues (aka me). I slogged through the final miles refusing to stop atย a porta potty that I finally saw next to a park area. I just wanted to be done and go home to rest.

I don’t think I’ve felt this bad in a half, that I can recall anyways. I immediately knew I was going to have to get back on my plan of taking a probiotic pill to try and correct my stomach problems in the future. In the past I saw a doctor and that was their recommendation, which did end up helping. I had just stopped when I got pregnant and subsequently started nursing. After that I just hadn’t been running enough to realize any stomach problems, but now it was time to get back into that routine again.

I crossed the finish line in 1:58:51. Rob finished in 1:52 and felt good. There were comments that the course may have been short. It can happen for newer races to potentially be long/short so hopefully if that were the case it gets addressed next year. And hopefully the course could be arranged to not include gravel.

On a side note, since I didn’t have a good race I didn’t spend time looking at my apple watch on the course. It still find the ending a workout clunky and it takes a few times to tap it to get it to stop. I still don’t see this replacing my Garmin, but still trying it out to see how it does. I also need to try out other running apps with it to see how they function.

The medals were unique, a bottle opener.




9:04 Pace

F: 17/55

F 35-39: 6/15

Overall: 58/117

Past Lake Run Performances:

2011 Lake Run – 12K – 54:01

2009 Lake Run – 12K – 1:04:03

2008 Lake Run – 4.37 Mile – 39:58

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2015 IL Marathon Weekend

Race Takeaway: Runners tough it out, rain or shine.

Friday, April 24th started the Illinois Marathon weekend with a packet pickup and 5K.

ILMarathon2015-01Rob, Drew, and I decided to run the 5K together for fun. This race size has grown over the years to around 7,000 people. They implemented corral starts for all races, which is nice. I never look at this event as a true ‘race’, but an excuse to run. Although it seems like they keep moving the start time later and later (or I’m imagining things). The race didn’t start until 7:30pm this year. If it were to get any later I may re-think running this in the future. Afterward we headed home for our early wake up call of 3am.


On a cool side note, my new apple watchย was delivered and waiting for me when we got home. I ran the half marathon with it and my Garmin 910xt to compare the data afterward.


5K Stats:


9:21 Pace

Saturday, April 25th 3am came quickly with the normal groggy wake up and second guessing why I choose to do this to myself, but that usually passes after the first cup of coffee. ๐Ÿ˜€ We were out the door just after 4am and were in the parking lot by 5am. The race start was 7am, but timing of any race road closures or other factors I prefer to be parked early and wait. We all tried to cat nap in the car until it was closer to time to line up. The weather would not be favorable. I was anticipating spitting cold rain off and on and 15-20 mph winds at times making the temperature feel more like upper 30s. I’ve become a weather wuss and would rather feel a little over dress than under, a personal choice really. So while waiting in the car I was able to debate my clothing options. I went with capris and a stocking cap (which I should have brought a running baseball style hat instead), but I was originally planning on just a long sleeved shirt. At the last minute I changed into a short sleeve shirt and then wore a light weight jacket over top. The good thing is that allowed me to carry my phone and key in my pockets versus a belt, but they asked that anyone wearing their bib under layers lift up their shirt or unzip for the chip mat readers. It was a tradeoff, but I’m glad I had the extra layer from the rain.

We waited as long as we could before lining up. Rob had corral A and I had B, but he just ended up staying with me since it really didn’t matter when we started. We also ran into our friend Carissa so we got couple minutes to chat before we took off. I probably looked a little silly holding up my jacket to make sure my bib was exposed at the start line for the chip mat, but wearing two watches probably was also helping with my dork factor. ๐Ÿ˜€

As we headed out the first few miles there was barely a mist, but then it started raining and it continued on and off throughout the rest of the race. It was enough rain that I decided to pull down my jacket sleeve over my watch to protect it. I figured I really only wanted to see the data after my race, it wasn’t needed mid-race. I was able to keep pretty even pacing, except in the ~20+mph winds and downpours, multiple times on the course. I was happy with my choice in having a jacket because I could unzip the front when the weather was better and zip back up when it got worse. I did try to push my pace at the halfway point to the end, but I wasn’t able to pick up my speed. It was just wasn’t my day for that apparently. I felt terrible for those running the marathon in the bad weather conditions, especially for those who had ‘fist marathon’ bibs on their backs. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Also, I felt terrible for the volunteers having to deal with the weather and I tried to thank as many of them as possible along the way. Before I knew it I was at the finish and luckily a volunteer reminded me to unzip my jacket to make sure my bib scanned as I crossed the finish mat. Unzipping my jacket caused it to be clunky with my phone and key in the pockets, but oh well. I was finished (1:56)ย and ready to get dry and warm again. Rob was there waiting for me and finished 1:47. We both improved our times from our last half marathon race. Drew has been dealing with injuries and was able to finish. Hopefully some more rehabilitation time for his hip/leg will help for our summer race plans.

After my race I found out that my wet jacket sleeve must have touched my apple watch and stop my workout. The recording stopped around mile 11. As far as I know there is not a locking feature on the touch screen for workout purposes. Since I don’t see this watch replacing my Garmin, it was annoying, but not critical since it was just extra data. I’m sure there will be a lot of reviews of the apple watch over time, but I may do one just to share my experiences, especially if/how I incorporate it into workouts in the future.

Unfortunately for those running the full marathon the weather got so bad that they had to cancel the race after 3 hours and 15 minutes due to the conditions and lighting. Our hearts goes out to those who were toughing it out on the course and then had to stop. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ IL Marathon has identified those that were not able to finish and are offering them complimentary entry to 2016.


Chase loves running. She insisted on wearing a medal and my running shoes. She then proceeded to try to take off and say ‘running’. Love it!! ๐Ÿ˜€



Half Marathon Stats:


8:52 Pace

Previous performances:

2014 IL Marathon Weekend

2013 IL Marathon Weekend (8.5 Months Pregnant)

2012 IL 5K – 23:32

2009 IL Half Marathon – 1:57:19

What’s the worst race conditions you’ve run in?

Have you ever been in a race that was cancelled while running?

Do you have the apple watch and what do you think about it?

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2015 Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon – 1:57:55

Race Takeaway: Training isn’t required to have a good time.

I’ve written about this race over the years so I’m going to try to focus on aspects of the race that I may not have covered in previous posts in case you are reading this considering the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon in the future.

The weather in the past has ranged from low 30s to mid-50s. Saturday (4/4)ย was low 30s, sunny, very light breeze, a nice day overall.

Similar to last year, we’ve battled the flu in our household for the last month. Therefore my “training” has been minimal. My expectations were to run easy and for as long as possible, hopefully not having to walk the hills. Which worked out great! I had an enjoyable run and while I was sore from not formally training, I was able to run the entire time.

This race will always be a favorite for us for the following reasons:

  • Proximity – this race is about an hour drive away
  • Parking/driving accessibility – Finding the race location and getting parked is very easy. There is on street and parking decks near the Hilton. We’ve never had an issue getting close to the start/finish due to race course closures.
  • Packet pickup available race day – This was the first year that we picked up our packet race day. It was super easy that we will likely do that in the future since it’s an hour drive each way for us to get them the night before.
  • Good/changing scenery – I’m not very familiar with Springfield, but the course takes you through enough neighborhoods and parks to keep it interesting. You run past historic locations related to Lincoln, including the old State Capitol Building. The course has hills starting at 10K and then every couple of miles to the finish.
  • Easy going crowd/start corral – In previous years people casually line up with no corrals. This year they asked for people to line up to the pacers that aligned to their goal, but just an honor system. People seemed to respect that and I like that people don’t get all pushy to get one inch closer to the start corral like other larger races. Everyone is very chill
  • Chip start/finish – sometimes a smaller race doesn’t have a chip start mat, this one does.
  • Instant unofficial results – right after the finish look for a small tent, they will print you your chip results right then and there
  • Penny Medals! Last year they had a $5 bill medal. We always love a unique medal. ๐Ÿ™‚


Things that could be improved:

The race shirt – I’m not a fan of white tech running shirts personally. I just donate running shirts that I don’t use, so it’s no biggie.

The water stops could use more volunteers/tables, but again it’s manageable. They have enough stops for water, but they aren’t very big and can get congested. They consistently offer water on both sides of the street, which is beneficial.

Water and Gatorade bottles were passed out at the end, but I think the only food option was to attend a pub and purchase a meal at a discount. While that’s a nice after party I think they should offer some sort of fruit/bread for people that may have blood sugar or recovery fuel needs. Perhaps they have it and I just didn’t see where it was located. Since our car was so close it wasn’t an issue to bring our own things if we wanted.

Overall we plan to keep attending this race. It’s a fun way to kick off the running year and see a lot of our friends from the area.



9:00 Pace

Past Performances:

2014 Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon – 2:07:07

2012 Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon – 1:41:39

2011 Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon – 1:40:15

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March Madness

I’m not talking the NCAA college bracket ‘March Madness’ per se. It’s also a great way to describe our lives right now – ‘March Madness’. We normally are busy with work, events, and house projects, but we have been battling illnesses around our house and that just affects everything. One of the first things impacted with things likeย illnesses ariseย is my training. Rob, Chase, and I keep passing around different viruses which require rest and taking care of each other. And all of our sleep suffers when a toddler is ill. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ This wave of sickness has caused me to miss two 5K races already this year and we’ve missed out on other activities like an Easter party for Chase. I’ve learned where possible, that I need to register at the last minute because I never know if I will be racing that day. I have two half marathons planned this month and we shall see if I can get to the starting line. I was feeling bummed about my lack of training and I looked back at this time last year only to see that March was no better then either. Perhaps we won’t be illness free in March until Chase gets a little older. Based upon the collapse of my training plan once again, I think I’m going to abandon the idea of having a formal training plan for any race. Instead I’m going into “Mommy Maintenance Mode”, which means getting in workouts every time my schedule allows, but not getting hung up on a specific training/building plan. These days inevitably my training plan falls apart and then the training plan is not of any use because the mileage/workouts can’t easily be jumped back into. Instead I hope to remain healthy enough to run and justย finish a 5K-half marathon any day, with no specific time goals. My posts to this blog have been low because of the lack of formal training and races completed. This change (or acceptance) of my running will then mean less posts because I won’t be accomplishing specific goals. However, I plan to write about races and special events for those considering them for their future running schedules. Andย as Chase gets older we will start to travel more I’ll have more to post about that as well.

Hope your training and 2015 race season is going well!

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8 Years – A look back on all the running versions of myself

This past weekend marks 8 years since I started running. In an attempt to not re-write what’s covered in the ‘About Me‘ section of my blog. I just want to post a few pictures and say that I smiled running my 9 miles outside Saturday thinking about how I’ve been all sorts of running versions of myself over the last 8 years….

The newbie – Circa 2007

My first run – Miller Park 5K

Newbie Half Marathoner – Circa 2008

2008 Go! St. Louis Half Marathon

Newbie Marathoner – Circa 2009

2009 Chicago Marathon

BQer – Circa 2010

Mercedes Marathon 2010 010

2010 Mercedes Marathon

2010 IL Marathon

The injured runner – Circa 2010

Bad fall on a 5 mile run. May 2010

Boston Marathoner – Circa 2011 and 2012

2011 Boston Marathon

2012 Boston Marathon

The Often Running Racing Team Runner – Circa 2010 and 2011

ORRT 2010

2011 Rock and Roll Half Marathon – Chicago

The pregnant runner – Circa 2012 and 2013

2012 Rock and Roll Half Marathon – St. Louis — 7 weeks pregnant

2013 IL Marathon’s 10K – 8.5 Months Pregnant

The mommy runner – Circa 2013 to forever

2014 Canal Connection 10K

Cheers to many more years running and finding more versions of myself along the way.

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2014 Festival of Lights – 4M – 30:45

Race Takeaway: I will run for bloody marys. ๐Ÿ™‚

This post is long overdue….

This race was at the end of 2014, theย Saturday after Thanksgiving (11/29), Rob and I ran the Peoria Festival of Lights River Trail Classic 4 Miler. We had a perfect day for the race it was sunny, light breeze, and the temps were in the mid-30s. This race is typically freezing temps so this was a nice day to get out and run. Chase was recovering from a cold so we kept her home with our sitter.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts about this race, it’s a point to point course with a night downhill grading most of the way. If you get there early enough you could opt to run the course backward and get in a 4 mile warmup to the start. We took the buses and did a shorter .4 mile warm up before it was time to go.

Rob and I started way to far in the back, which meant being slowed down at the beginning while trying to find opportunities to get around people. Rob took off in front of me and easily in the first mile I found my pace and was able to keep things pretty even splits around 7:40s.

I finished in 30:45 and Rob was done in 28:xx. The results for this race are not easily available on the internet.

Afterward we enjoyed some breakfast and Smoking Aces Bloody Mary’s at One World. ๐Ÿ˜€




7:41 Pace

Previous Performances:

2012 Festival of Lights – 4M – 30:16 (11 weeks pregnant)

2011 Festival of Lights – 4M – 27:41

2010 Festival of Lights – 4M – 26:16

2009 Festival of Lights – 4M – 27:39

2008 Festival of Lights – 4M – 35:05