Enjoying every second of life and running.


Da Bears

Sunday Rob and I went to our first Bears game! I got us tickets as a part of Rob’s birthday present. I like to get Rob presents that are something he wants and something we do. I think it’s fun to make memories, especially new events like this.

Me in my Bears hat with baby bump, ready to go!

The stadium

We had seats in Section 113, Row 18, Seats 1 and 2. I got tickets on an aisle on purpose since I pregnant and need to get up to go to the bathroom a 100 times an hour. 🙂 The seats were covered by the seats above, which would have been good had it been raining. We had perfect weather though. It was upper 30s, sunny with a light breeze. Plus being row 18 allows us to have two TVs to view the broadcast and in stadium cameras.

Us in our seats. Game day they gave out Bears scarves.

The sweet potato fries were really good in my opinion. Plus we had hot chocolate to keep warm. 🙂

The Bears did amazing against the Minnesota Vikings and won! The game was so exciting that we were jumping, shouting and cheering throughout the whole game. Afterward on the way home I was so exhausted. I felt like I had partied for three days straight I was so worn out. 🙂

Go Bears!



2012 Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon – 1:54:07

Race take away: I have no gas pedal, I have no go. This is not starting at square one, this feels really off.

Rob and I didn’t have great sleep the night before the race, too many people out late partying and making noise that kept us up. 4am came early and we got ourselves ready without rushing. One thing that was off, my stomach. I wasn’t in pain, but just suffice it to say that I think stress and business is taking its toll again. I resign myself to the likelihood that I will have to make a stop along the course, based on other past races.

It was in the 70s and humid, but at least the start of the race was 6:30am and it was expected to be cooler than the record 100 degree temps that we’ve had lately. Rob and I walked just over a mile to the race start and chilled in our corral. Before we knew it we were off. Rob was swallowed up in the crowd and gone before we even got to .25 mile. I took lots of water at every water stop because I felt thirsty already. I knew I was in for a long day when by mile 2 I just didn’t feel it. I wasn’t in pain or anything like that. My legs were dead heavy either. I was just not there. I had no gas pedal, no go, in no way race ready. I had set a realistic goal. I wasn’t trying to break my PR of 1:35, I was trying to improve upon my 1:51 hilly course half marathon in June that was the race where I knew I had an injury and got Graston’s treatments. Surely recovered from my injury, on a flat Chicago race course I can at least do better than my 1:51. Something in the 1:40s would make me feel like I’m whittling away at progress on getting race ready again.

Alas, every mile was just a slow and painful reminder of how out of shape I am. I had to mentally just call it a workout to keep any momentum. I mentally had to focus on each mile than getting into that meditative happy state that I’m used to. I actually can’t remember feeling like this other than when I’m frought with stomach issues and just wishing for the race to be over.

I would tell myself things like “the last 2 miles will feel so good, when we are running back to the finish”. 2 miles on the way back and it was not the case. I never felt a spring in my step. I just existed through it.

I’m tired of hearing myself talking about something being wrong at each race lately. What is most troublesome is my stomach held together for the race (not long after though), I am recovered from my injury, so there is no reason to feel this miserable and out of shape.

I was hoping for small progress to see I’m on the right path again. I am not a patient person so it’s hard to manage through a bad run when I want to build back my fitness. I have to buck up and just keep moving forward. Hopefully the contiued training and racing will eventually bring about some of the old good feelings again. I’m considering setting some running milestone goals that work from where I am today. Hopefully having milestones will help me focus on smaller goals for a while.

Rob had a strong race of 1:36 and I’m so proud of him balancing work, the basement project and still fitting in workouts to keep his fitness intact.

The medal.



8:43 Pace

2011 Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon – 1:39:54

2010 Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon – 1:36:16

2009 Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon – 1:55:44


2012 Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8K – 37:01

I gotta start somewhere.

That was the post-race motto assessment on my part. Of course I would wanted for a faster race, but my legs just wouldn’t have it. I’ve lost fitness and I have to work to get it back, so I have to start somewhere, but let’s start at the beginning.

Rob and I did not stay in Chicago the night before the race. Instead we choose to stay home and make the drive up in the morning, which without any traffic is just over 2hrs. We got up at 3:30am and got ready and were on the road by 4:45am.

I added some green to my running outfit to be festive. I had my green gummy ring that lights up, Zensah green compression calf sleeves and green adidas adios.

My stomach as been rock solid normal now for coming on two weeks. It has been crazy good. I really hope that my stomach troubles are behind me. My doctor did advise me to try taking an Imodium on race day just to see if that ensures that things stay good during the race. This was just under a 5 mile race, so it wasn’t a big test, but things did go well in that department.

The drive was relaxing and easy with the traffic being so light. We got parked in Millennium Garage off of lower Randolph Street with no issue. We then made our way over to Starbucks on Michigan Avenue that is between Monroe and Randolph. We got a couple tall soy mistos and took a seat at the window and chilled for 45 minutes before making our way to the car one final time and then to the start corral. Something funny that happens it seems every time we go to a big Chicago race is we run into our friends without even planning it. I don’t think we could plan it better if we tried. Ryan and Melisa were there to race, Ryan as an elite no less and Mike and Erin (also runners) were there for race support for them. Such a rockstar group and so good to see them before getting into the race.

Rob and I didn’t get into much of a warm up before we were lined up and ready to go. The weather was outstanding for the race. Overcast, mild temps (50s) and the lightest breeze. Ryan gave us the great advice of making sure to start slow for this race. He warned that even more than other Chicago races like Chicago Marathon people take off super fast and drop off after mile 2 or 3. He warned that it’s a tricky distance and many people go all out like it’s a 5K. Rob and I took the advice to heart. In my case, I’m out of shape so I would just start off easy and then try to add speed if I could find it.

The race did move quickly and with 8 turns durning less than 5 miles the time flew by quickly. Here are my mile splits to show that I have a lot of work to do.

Mile 1 – 7:35 pace (this is in the range that I planned)

Mile 2 – 7:23 pace (okay at least I picked it up, hope I can the next mile)

Mile 3 – 7:20 pace (okay, faster, but not I felt like my effort was harder so I was hoping for better)

Mile 4 – 7:39 pace(uh oh, I feel like I’m adding more effort, but clearly I am not)

.97 – 7:03 pace (I tried to force myself forward and it worked, even with the incline that’s before the finish. Just need to keep working at it)


7:27 Pace

Rob had a great race and ran exactly as he had planned. He finished with 33:50. PRs for both of us, since this was our first 8K! I’ll take it! 🙂

Only wish for this race would be a finisher medal. It wouldn’t need to be anything major, but for the price of the race a little something is nice. I like having a medal to wear around the city to explain why changing clothes and wiping my face is about the only cleaning up I will do before heading out to have a breakfast or lunch. It seems like people are more forgiving of a runner’s appearance when you have a medal draped around your neck, plus I love me some running bling. 🙂

I would recommend this race to those who plan to run Chicago Marathon or other Chicago races. It gives you an idea of the logistics for the morning. Since this race has two waves make sure to have a meet up location selected ahead of time with any friends or family. The barricades are different than other Chicago races we’ve done because of the multiple wave start. We never saw a “family meet up area” with the letters on pillars (A-Z) for people to find each other so I’m glad we had a meet up plan ahead of time and we had no trouble finding each other.


Everyday I’m Shufflin’

Friday I left work and met up with my girlfriend Lisa to take her to lunch for her birthday and then I went home to bust out my long run on the treadmill with the Boston marathon in my new kicks, the adidas adios 2.

I have to say it’s always daunting when your favorite shoe model gets revamped. Why change such an awesome thing? The adios has been serving me so well for over a year that I wasn’t pleased to see updates to the best shoe I’ve ever had. Even the tread was updated.

They look sweet with the 2012 Boston Marathon jacket.

I didn’t just jump into this new model with my 20 miler. I did get in 4 easy the day before in them. They do feel different, but not in a bad way, just different. The heel area and the overall shoe feels stiffer, which feels unnecessary. The fit in the arch and the fore foot does feel comfortable. I wish the heel wasn’t stark white and had the gold color like the new adidas Boston or just black would be good too.

Anyways, the shoes worked fine for my long run and caused no issues. AND my stomach as good too!! 😀

This morning Rob and I headed outside for 8 Miles before driving to Chicago for the Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8K Expo. The expo was at Navy Pier and was crazy busy by that afternoon so we parked a few blocks away and enjoyed lunch at Yolk before getting our race packet. This place is a must visit and I think they have three locations in the Chicago area. The service is really good and everything on the menu is outstanding. I had the smoked salmon scrambler, it was so good!

After an amazing lunch we took the long walk down to the end of the pier to get our packets.

The expo was medium sized and easy to navigate.

The expo shirt was nice and should go with my new shoes nicely for a future race.

Now we are back home to get a good night’s sleep before the early morning to get ready to race.



You know the best thing about trying a new race distance? Instant PR! Yeah it’s dodgey when the race is a unique distance so you don’t get a chance to race them as often, but I’ll take it anyway I can these days.

This weekend Rob and I will be running Chicago Shamrock Shuffle 8K for the first time. Nothing like squeezing 40,000 runners into major city streets with approximately 8 turns in a mere 4.971 miles. I know what you may be thinking. Why bother, won’t that be more mayhem than actual racing? Well yeah, but it’s Chicago! That’s reason enough in my book. And the insta-PR doesn’t hurt either. 😉

But I have to ask, ‘Why is the Shamrock Shuffle an 8K, and not just a 5 mile race?‘ I went through the participant guide online and found no answers. I googled….nothing….no wikipedia entry….grrr! It is interesting that googling 8K brings a lot of St. Patrick’s Day related results….coincidence? Hmm…

I hate searching out data, so I just bit the bullet and emailed the race organizers directly. With as much logistics they have going on preparing for this weekend’s race I’m sure they are thrilled to see someone bothering them with the history of the race. I will update this post if I get a response. 

I’m not expecting any clock-busting pace, but I’m still racing. I need to wake my legs up and this is a great opportunity to work on that.

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I’ve been out of the blog and social world because we’ve been doing a lot of celebrating. First it was Rob’s happy hour for his promotion, then our wedding anniversary, and then Rob’s birthday. Now I’m getting ready for hosting Thanksgiving.

So I need to give you a status on my Graston’s Therapy and share some blurry pictures from our week….here it goes.

Tuesday I had my Graston’s session and it went well. It was my second time there and they upped the tool intensity. I was also given permission to try running slowly to check my progress, score! That night we went out for our wedding anniversary to the restaurant where we had our wedding reception, Station 220. The restaurant has changed ownership since our wedding reception, but the food is still amazing. What makes it even better is the produce now mostly comes from a local farm.

The cheese plate from the local farm.

Salmon with bok choy, yum!

The next morning I got in 2 miles easy before soreness set in so I ended there before I did any damage.

Thursday was 3 miles easy and the first 2 miles were completely pain free!

Friday 3.25 miles in the AM, soreness set in at mile 3. I had my third Graston’s session afterward and the scar tissue seems to be less, but she still found the sore spot in my piriformis. It was the most significant treatment yet, I was so swollen and sore afterward that I had to stand at work for a couple hours and then went home to lie down on my stomach.

Saturday I woke up to no bruising and the swelling was gone. I was able to do 4 miles easy with pain only being a 3 on a scale of 1-10. That’s a lot of progress from where I started at an 8-9!

After my run we went up to Chicago to celebrate Rob’s birthday. Our first stop was Glenn’s Diner. It was our first time there and it was AMAZING!! They have sixteen types of fresh fish, flown in every day. I didn’t have a gluten free option. Shrimp Po’ Boy with the potato pancake. It was outstanding, but my tummy did get upset and reminded me that gluten is not my friend.

Then we went to the Field Museum, I had never been and Rob hadn’t been since he was a kid. I enjoyed the day with Rob, but I have to say the Field Museum is a bit disappointing. There is way too much reading and not enough interaction. I would expect some augmented reality application to use with a smart phone to hold up and have information come up about the display or something. I expected more dinasours too.

The gem display was worthwhile! I had to refrain from steaming up the glass cases swooning at all of the sparkly displays.

Sunday I ran over 5 miles…in a hilly race no less! Not really on the doctor’s orders, but more on that in my next post.


2011 Chicago Marathon – 3:45:26

The race didn’t go as I had hoped, but I will start from the beginning.

We awoke at 3am and I felt fully rested. Other than lingering tightness in my hamstrings I was feeling really good. My stomach was also feeling good, but no magic happened in the AM which is a sign I will likely need to stop mid-race at some point.

For fuel I had one Hammer Bar and one serving of Perpetum.

My race day outfit. No throw away clothes needed, it was 50ish degrees with temps around 67 when we finished, high for the day was in the 80s.

Coco is all race ready too.

We had no problem getting down to the start and meeting up with Drew. We parked in millenium parking garage at 5am before it gets crazy and then we wait it out at a local coffee shop. If you buy a small coffee you can chill and use their bathrooms.

Around 6am we made our way toward the corral area. By 6:30am we made it our respective corrals and waited in line at the porta potties one last time. Always good to go a 100 times if you have the opportunity. By 7:20 we are in the corrals and the 10 minutes fly by and we are off.

The weather felt perfect and my legs felt good. I was executing my pace as I had hoped. I hit 5K at 24 mins, 10K 48 mins, 15K 1:12 mins….like clock work the miles click by as planned and I feel really good.

By Mile 11 I know I will need to make a pit stop. At least my stomach isn’t rumbling with violence and it’s a normal gotta go feeling. I make my pit stop, putting my half marathon at 1:43. I wanted to be at 1:39-1:40, but I still feel good about a potential PR or at least being in the vicinity of my previous time since I had a pit stop last year as well. I see our friends cheering which was a fun surprise. By around mile 15 I get the gotta go feeling again, now I’m frustrated. On the positive it wasn’t the gut wrenching feeling, but another just gotta go. I’m annoyed to have to stop again, but I know it’s something I won’t be able to ignore. Now my pace is really off. I set back out to get in the zone and things get worse from here. The stopping doesn’t help my hamstrings. They feel REALLy tight. It’s mile 16 and I already feel a limited range of motion, shooting pain and I know that the next 10 miles are going to take forever.

Each mile the passes from this point forward the pain increases, my range of motion limits and I’m completely frustrated. My movement is more a shuffle than a run and I feel soreness in my feet and other locations and my body is compensating with my awkward stride. I’m now enduring this race. Around mile 19 or 20 a man comes up to me saying “Fly Runner” and introduces himself. I’m sorry I now can’t remember his name, so if you are reading this please comment! It was so nice to chat with someone at this moment since my body feels completely broken. I had become so disappointed in myself. It definitely helped to have someone take my mind off of it for a bit. He spots a loved one and goes to the side to get a moment with them and I shuffle onward. I hope his race went well and he enjoyed the moment. I was ready to be done, ready to say today was not my day and move on to the next.

I finish and am absolutely unhappy with how things went, but there is nothing more I can do. I make my way to the family meet up area and find Rob. I burst into tears hugging him saying how long the 10-11 miles feels when all I wanted to do was to go home because I was hurting so much. He comforted me and told me it’s another one done and that there are no promises that the marathon will go well, it’s a long amount of time for many things to happen. He reminds me that it’s another one done and there are many more ahead. Rob finished 3:33 and is feeling pretty good, just the usual soreness that comes with a marathon.

We meet up with our friends, clean up and have some lunch at Palmer House while we await news of Drew’s finish. Drew had a tough race as well, but finishes in 5:21 and adds his second marathon (two in the same year) under his belt. We meet up with Drew, Carrie and his family to hear about his experience. His family was able to see him multiple times on the course which had to be so awesome!

Drew’s mom gave us a little gift, gummy candies in the shape of sneakers, too cute! 😀

I’m not the best at putting these types of races in perspective. I know that running means getting disappointed sometimes and facing issues. Maybe I won’t ever PR again, who knows, but that won’t stop me from trying. I love running and I want to do this forever. So I have to just focus on recovering from my soreness and keep working on my strength and flexibility as I set my sights on the next set of races.



Before I get into how the Chicago Marathon didn’t go as I hoped. Let me start with Saturday. The day before the race was a great day. I ran my 4 Easy around the neighborhood. My hamstring was still tight and I know that there will be some miles that I will have to fight for, the question would be how many. I feel ready to face it and actually still hopeful for a PR. Sometimes magic can happen and the pain or soreness can go away after some warm up miles or the hype from the race makes the pain feel more tolerable. I am still positive that things will go well.

We head up to Chicago and make time for a little shopping! Rob and I go into Tiffany’s and we see their line call Sparklers. Rob had wanted to get me one for a while and now we had a chance to see it in person. It truly earns its name. We couldn’t resist and Rob got me the 8.5 carat lavender amethyst in 18K rose gold. It has just such a light color and still a warmth with the rose gold band. I love the color!

I try to convince Rob that I will run a faster Chicago Marathon if I get to wear it during the race, he didn’t go for it. So I feel really hopeful that I will have fast legs race day to get me back to my Sparkler. 🙂

After shopping Rob and I met up with Drew and Carrie for a relaxing dinner. Up next the race…..

Updated September 23,2012 with more photos that have been requested.

The “Tiffany & Co.” engraving is on the two sides of the basket. It is very subtle and shows up in this picture because we took pictures in macro mode.

The stone measures just under a half of an inch.


2011 Chicago Marathon Expo

Friday Rob and I went to yoga, had lunch and then went up to the 2011 Chicago Marathon Expo. The expo like past years did not disappoint. It was easy to get around, there were lots of merchandise options, and the vibe was all marathon. Rob and I got our bibs and made our way to the Nike store to get some official gear. We both went for the track suit top in black and Rob also got a very soft bright blue long sleeved 3/4 zip running shirt.

Afterward we got the Chicago Marathon shirt that comes with the bag and I have to say it was a bit of a let down. White? And the design wasn’t stellar. Nothing I would go out of my way to wear so good thing we bought some gear.

While walking around we happened upon one of our running idols and legends, Dean Karnazes signing autographs and taking pictures at the VW booth. The VW booth was strict about not taking personal photos and instead had a professional photographer on site. They said they will upload a professional photo to a site that you could then download/share/print, score! 

Dean is seriously so kind and gracious. He seemed genuinely interested in chatting with us and signed each of our bibs. Then we had our picture taken.

Here is a picture of our bibs signed by Dean.

After we left Dean we were figuring out what to do next when a man came up saying “Fly Runner”. It was Omar! He was super nice and I got a quick picture with him, it may be a bit blurry. Omar thanks for reading my blog and for saying hi! I hope you had a good race and weekend!

Up next Rob and I found our names on the Nike wall.

On our way out we noticed the Chicago Marathon trophy on display, it is quite impressive!

After the expo we went out for a nice 5 mile run by the lake. My hamstrings have been tight for over a week and this run I could still feel it. I’ve been doing yoga, foam rolling, biofreeze, and massage. Sometimes these things just take time and I’m out of time. It was at least improving. So I just hope for the best that another day of rest will bring enough relief to make through the race in one piece.

We cleaned up and went to dinner at P. F. Chang’s, dessert at Pinkberry, and grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. It was a perfect day!


Out and Back

Ugh…I wrote this post out once already and it looks like only the pics saved and not the post. I hate when the technology gods eat my post.

So here it goes, attempt #2.
It was a busy Labor Day weekend for us. The weekend included a long run of 21 miles with Rob. We did an out and back from our house, meaning we ran through town on our trail until we hit 10.5 miles and then turned around for home. Time flew by as we chatted about running, cycling, travel, airplane and house projects.

Before we got to our chores we did squeeze in some fun shopping which included this sweet Louis Vuitton. I felt like pretty woman as they served us champaign and personalized my purchase. Definitely a fun little Saturday!

Sunday we got our new pedals installed.

A blurry picture of the cleat.

Speed Plays are very easy to clip in and out of it seems. I dunno, I have no other comparison. I had one foot on the curb in front of our house and practiced getting the feel. Then Rob and I went for a mini-ride and practiced slowing down and clipping in and out. So far, no falling clipped in. We will keep practicing with small routes.

Monday we spent the day polishing the plane. I updated he Flights Page with a few pics too. We will have news in the airplane dept to share soon! Hope you all had a relaxing Lanor Day!