Happy Halloween!



Throwback Wednesday – United Run for the Zoo 10K 2012

It was my third year in a row running this race but after the car accident, I was so unbelievably unprepared. I knew it was not going to be pretty… But hey part of the 2012 plan was to sign up for races that I could more easily fudge if training got messed up…

So fudge it I did…

My dad was in town for our annual baseball game. I have taken to making sure our annual baseball game also surrounds a race. I like being able to race when my parents are in town… unfortunately, this sort of backfired on me this year…

Race morning came and Chris and Eric stopped by my place. Since I lived across the street from the start line, it made sense to use my place as gear check. It was a very sunny and warm morning. In fact… it was far warmer than a typical June and most definitely warmer than I like for a race. But regardless, I was doing this race.

Before the Race 6-3-12

I didn’t go into the race with any type of plan. I knew any plan other than finish would be pointless. I hadn’t really done a run over 2.50 miles in about 6 weeks… Nothing better than jumping straight into a 10K…

Now, I know I have talked multiple times about how this is my favorite 10K… and it is… but this year, the course was changed due to the Fullerton construction. In fact, I remember when I found out about the construction and saw all the closures and the time frame for the project that I was instantly angry because it would screw up my favorite 10K… Priorities

I HATED the new course (luckily they reverted back to the old course)… It was horrible… instead of weaving around the zoo first it became the end of the course… therefore making the end of the course more sun exposed than normal. I already a lot working against me… this was NOT going to help.

Despite mile markers along the course, I just felt off the entire time since I was used to the old course… Plus the 5K walkers and strollers ended up being in the way and it was almost impossible to weave around them. I understand wanting races to be family friendly but I really dislike strollers on a course (but that is an entirely different rant).

After the race, I couldn’t find my dad… he was nowhere near the finish line where I told him to meet us… And he had my cell phone and hell if I had HIS cell phone memorized so I was slightly panicked trying to find people… Note to self… do not give father cell phone :-p I also had trouble finding Eric and Chris. I knew they would have been finished already but had no idea where they were…

Finally found everyone and we all took a look at our times… mine was definitely bad and I wasn’t happy about it… But hey… all things considered it could have been worse. We then all went to eat.

Official Time: 1:13:26 Pace 11:51

Run for the Zoo Results 6-3-12

Training: October 21st – 27th

Oct 21 - 27

Monday – Rest

Mom was still in town and it was her last night here so I opted not to run. Plus there was this skillet cookie with ice cream thing…

Tuesday – Rest

The intent was to go for a run… but the weather wasn’t going to cooperate so I thought I would go to the gym. Yea… didn’t happen. Instead, I did laundry and vacuumed.

Wednesday – 3.10 Miles

I wanted a 5K just to get an idea of where I was at before Saturday… Yea… it wasn’t all that pretty. I really wasn’t in the mood for a run, which is odd because I usually WANT to run. Starting to feel burnt out a bit.

Thursday & Friday – Rest

After deciding that maybe I really was burnt out, I decided that I was just going to rest instead. Despite having not run much in the past several weeks, I just felt like I needed it a bit.

Saturday – Pumpkins in the Park 5K

My absolute favorite 5K and it did not disappoint. I was hoping that this race would give me my running mojo back and it did. Granted, I was all over the race with the pacing which was just bad… very bad… but hey, still hit my second goal. You can read the full recap here.

Sunday – Yoga

After the Marathon, my friend, Ann, and I had chatted about doing a Yoga for runners class. Since I was sort of in a running funk, I thought doing something different would be good. She picked up Sunday morning and we found the place (after only one u-turn). The class was good but holy moly am I out of shape… it totally kicked my butt and I am STILL sore. Will probably do a larger review of the class later this week.

Yea – Not so much of a stellar week. Navy Pier is looming over my head and I am just not prepared for it. I still know that I can finish but I am thinking I will have to re-adjust my goals. And of course as soon as I lay out a training plan my running goes to hell… this is why I don’t follow training plans. Since getting sick and having to take the time off to get better, I have just felt overwhelmed with the running plan and I totally ditched it. No I just need to try to get my running back on track…

Race Recap: Pumpkins in the Park 5K

1 Pumpkins 10-26-13

It is no secret that this is my favorite 5K. Not only is it a LP race and therefor a short walk from my home but it is also an afternoon race… so I get to run through an area I normally run in at my normal running time of day. What more could I ask for?

Well – Ok – I could ask for amazing friends to join me and there was no disappointment there. I am starting to gain a nice little racing group.

2 Pumpkins 10-26-13

We got there around 3:30/3:45, did gear check and took a quick picture then lined up with everyone else. This was my 4th year in a row running the race, so I know that the start line tends to be crowded. However, this year I noticed strollers lined up in the 9 and 10 min mile areas… Ummm REALLY?!?!?!?! Look, I get that this is a family friendly event but I think if you choose to run with a stroller then you should line up BEHIND everyone else. Its a rather narrow course at parts and its not easy to get around a double wide.

There were also several kids running the race, which I think is great, but what is not great is when they become a safety hazard darting around in front of people… I nearly crashed into a few because they darted into me so quickly. Plus they are kind of difficult to see because most of them were barely waist high. I really do think it is amazing that they were racing but I think they should have been given a little talk about safety… I heard a few other people mention things along the same lines while running.

Ok – My two rants are over – moving on

I did go into this race with a goal – First goal was to break 31:30 and my second goal as to at least break 32:00. However, given how horrible my running has been over the past three weeks, I was mentally prepared to be disappointed.

I was feeling good to start out but knew I probably went out a tad too fast. Not only that, but I also did some weaving in parts where I would speed up just to get through some crowded areas… which really is not the best race plan. I also ran with water, worried that water wouldn’t be at the half way mark… have had too many races lately with water stations WAY too late on the course and I knew water fountains were already off for the winter in pretty much the entire park.

Luckily water was at the halfway mark. I knew I had slowed down quite a bit because my first mile was too fast. So I was glad to walk through the water to steady my breathing a bit. As much as I love this race… I am not so in love with the hills on course. They are pretty steep and since I had been essentially running intervals for first mile and a portion of the second mile, I was dying. So I decided that I was going to walk up the rest of the hills to save some energy.

It was a good strategy but what wasn’t a good strategy was the sprinting I started to do after reaching the top of the hills… Which caused my to tire further and lets just say I knew I was in trouble. Every time I looked at my watch for the last mile of the race, I was running a 9:00/9:15 pace which is WAY too fast unless its the last tenth of a mile. So I started taking short walk breaks… maybe 10 seconds or so just catch my breath a bit… Plus walking up the hills. I was fairly certain that my goal of 31:30 was done. I saw the 3rd mile marker and took off… Of course as I was running towards the finish line it dawned on me that looking at the clock on the mile marker would have smart so I knew where I was in terms of goals…

Oh well… Not too much I could do now

I was running as fast as I could and I saw the clock at the finish line was over 32:00 but I also knew that I crossed the start line about 45-50 seconds after the race started so I just kept running as fast as I could. I crossed the finish line a bit angry with myself…

I knew that I had not run a smart race… In fact… I was essentially running intervals which was really not smart at all.

I checked my watch and saw that I had missed my goal… But I saw that I hit my second goal… which made me feel a little better.

Pumpkins Results 2013

That sprinting in the third mile killed me… The chase for 31:30 is still there…

However, this 5K time is by far the best 5K time I have had in nearly two years. So definitely happy about that.

I found most of my friends waiting near the finish line, we got some snacks (and holy moly did they have a lot of them) then grabbed our gear. We wandered over to Eric who was at the massage tent and decided to go to Twin Anchors for food… YUM!!!!

Still my favorite 5K and I am looking to another race to hit my 31:30 goal…


Josh Groban Concert

For years… and I am talking over 10 years… Josh Groban has been my absolute favorite artist. In general, my music preferences are not always mainstream. As someone who has always enjoyed singing and was in Choir in HS, my music preferences have always leaned towards great vocals.

For those not familiar, Josh Groban is more classically trained and could probably give an opera singer a run for their money. He has a rich baritone voice (although can definitely hit higher notes) and a majority of his songs are more lyrical than upbeat and peppy. I am in love with his voice and listening to him sing always puts me in a good mood and I never tire of his music. Its probably number one of a short list of “go to” music when I just need a little mood lift or just feel like listening to music.

My senior year of High School the Varsity Winterguard (which I was part of) choose his song “You’re Still You” as our show. Not only did we get bumped up a class at our first contest but we ended up winning state which capped off which was probably a perfect senior of HS. As such, that song will always have a special place in my heart.

Not only is his vocal range incredible, but so are his language skills. He sings in English, Italian and Spanish and has a handful of songs in French and one song in Portuguese (which is an incredible song).

Despite the fact that I love his music and have bought every single one of his albums as soon as it has come out, I had never seen him perform live. When his tour dates where announced for his “In the Round” tour, I was thrilled to see a Chicago date. After some chatting with my mom, we decided to go together.

A bonus that came with each ticket was being able to select one of his albums and have it mailed to you. I already own all of his albums so my album went to my mom,… now she has all of them as well.

The concert was being held at the United Center and though I have been there twice, I have never gone there by taking public transit. Luckily it was a very easy trip and the hardest part was waiting for the bus to the United Center. We had planned to arrive early and after finding our seats which were pretty good, we went and got food… a dinner of Nachos and Pretzels…

The opening act was Judith Hill, whom I had never heard before but was instantly impressed with her vocals. She played for about 30 minutes before the intermission to re-set the stage a bit.

10 JG Concert 10-20-13
Mommy and Me!

Soon some of the orchestra (not a huge one) came to the stage and took their seats. After the lights dimmed, a violinist, trumpet player and guitar player popped up in the audience and started playing. The stage lit up and it was show time!

14 JG Concert 10-20-13

He started off with the first single from his newest album, “Brave” which is definitely up there on my list of favorites.

15 JG Concert 10-20-13

17 JG Concert 10-20-13

The title of the tour is “In the Round” and that matched the shape of the stage so he did walk around quite a bit. In between songs he would tell short stories and OH MY GOSH – He is hilarious! I had no idea he was so funny! And he also does a number of spot on impersonations.

He sang a few of my favorite songs too – “To Where You Are” / “Alla Luce Dal Sole” / “You Raise Me Up”

  “February Song”

24 JG Concert 10-20-13
Where he played the piano as well

When he played “Voce Existe Em Mim” (His one Portuguese song) I learned that he also plays the drums… which I definitely did not know before… although it would make sense that he would play many different instruments.

There were also a few duets with Judith Hill as well. I found it very cool that he did a couple of duets with her. Especially since one of the songs that sort of kick-started his career is a duet, “The Prayer”

54 JG Concert 10-20-13

He performed for about two hours total. The concert did not disappoint at all. It was incredible to FINALLY see him live and to hear some of the stories behind his music. I was bummed that it had to end.

We left and caught the bus to head back downtown and then bus back to my condo. It was really such an awesome show and I am so glad I got to go.

Yesterday when I got home, I was surprised to see that I had a package…

55 JG Concert 10-20-13

I had received an email that we would receive something else after the concert and I expected it to be someone small like a photograph or a poster or something like that… so imagine my surprise to receive a Bag, Hat and little badge thingy. One for me and for mom (which she will get at Thanksgiving)

Now I am anxiously awaiting another tour announcement…



Training: October 14th – 20th

Oct 14-20

Monday – 4.04 Miles

Finally feeling better after the cold, I headed out for an intended 6 miler… Clearly, it did not go well. A little over two miles I started to feel lightheaded and luckily I was near a water fountain. So I stopped and had a few sips of water while I allowed my breathing to slow. I wasn’t feeling right and I debated continuing on north or turning around to head towards home knowing that I could add some loops to get to 6 miles if I felt better. About a mile later I was insanely lightheaded again… but this time I was worried that I might actually pass out along the path. So I stopped and caught my breath and debated. I was about half a mile away from a water fountain and maybe one a half miles from home. I ran to the water fountain and took a few sips. I knew I wasn’t going to make it to 6 miles. But I was only about half a mile away from 4 miles and I still had about a mile to get home too. So I decided that I would run until I hit 4 miles and if I felt ok then I would run the rest of the way home… Clearly the latter did not happen so I walked the last half mileish home.

Tuesday – Rest & Lunges

The weather was all icky and I didn’t feel like heading to the gym. However, I decided to start trying to do lunges in the morning and see how it goes… overall toying with the idea of doing lunges daily… not a huge amount but still undecided if I am going to go with the idea or not.

Wednesday – 3.01 Miles Plus Lunges & Plie’s

Headed out for an intended 3 miles and I just felt horrible the entire time. I had decided to add more protein and cut out some carbs from my diet… clearly this idea did not go well. I just felt weak and had no energy and the blood sugar tanked way too quickly. Ok got it – carbs needed. Did my lunges in the morning along with some plie’s (AKA sumo squats) as well.

Thursday – Rest (Mommy in town!) – Lunges & Plie’s

I knew I wasn’t going to run on Thursday so I sort of planned that ahead of time. But I still did some lunges and plie’s in the morning before I left for work. Mom got into town so when I got home from work, we went for a walk and then had dinner and watched TV.

Friday – Rest

Yea… so I was originally telling myself that I would run in the afternoon. But that clearly didn’t happen. After a morning of breakfast, some shopping and hair cut (for me) we ended up both taking naps while watching TV. We were both starving at 5 so hopped on the bus to head to Calo’s where we ate a ton of yummy (as always) food.

Saturday – Rest

I started this thing this year where I don’t run the day before a race. I used to do it all the time but just stopped this year. Partially think it is because I like the idea of having fresh legs for the race…. not entirely sure how accurate that is but it is what it is this year. Mom and I spent the day down on Michigan Ave spending money and therefore lugging bags around. And I got new Coffee Mugs. FINALLY!!!! PS – Thank you Mike for the housewarming gift (and it only took me a year to spend the gift card…) I also got arm warmers and replaced the pair of running gloves that I lost earlier this year (still sad because they were my favorite pair). After several hours of shopping we went home and took naps and then ordered a pizza. Shopping counts as a workout right?

Sunday – Monster Dash 10K Race

You can read a more detailed re-cap here. But overall this race just did NOT go well. I later checked the website and discovered that the 10K race was supposed to have 4 water/aid stations… there were TWO and they were maybe a mile apart… so rather unhelpful especially since the first water station was well after the 5K mark. Post race, we all grabbed brunch then mom and I headed home where I took a nap. We then went to the Josh Groban Concert that night (I will post about that probably tomorrow).

Really not a good week of training… and really… I haven’t have a good run since before getting sick. Not only am I worried about my goal for Pumpkins on Saturday but I am also very worried about the 10 miler that is fast approaching…

Throwback Wednesday – Two DNS’s and Time Off

In the beginning of May 2012, I had two races within a week of each other. I had been making some decent progress in April and fully intended to keep it up through May… starting the month off with a 4 mile race and then a 10K the following weekend.

But there was another plan in store for me…

I rented a car to go to a very good friends baby shower. But on the way I got into a bad car accident. I am going to leave the details out because to be perfectly frank… I really WANT to forget them. But I will say that buying that slew of car renters insurance is by far the best $20 I have ever spent…

I walked away with a lot of bruises and the knowledge that I was going to be pretty sore for at least a week. But all things considered, I was VERY lucky. Since my 4 mile race was supposed to be the next day, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I held on to hope for a couple of days that I would be able to at least walk the 10K but it quickly became evident that wasn’t going to happen.

I was in a lot of pain… It was all just a lot of soreness in the muscles. My back was sore because my right pectoral muscle hurt so much. I ended up having a muscle strain in that right pectoral muscle and it was VERY painful. Sneezing made me literally scream in pain…

My back was out of whack because I was trying to compensate for the pain in my chest and my foam roller became my absolute best friend in the whole wide world. During this time, I wasn’t really able to go grocery shopping (remember I rented the car) since I was still in quite a bit of pain so I ended up eating out a LOT and none of it was healthy. Looking back, I should have made more of an effort to try to be healthy but I just didn’t.

On the advice of a friend, I took a lot of time off. I limited all physical activity (including walking) so I could heal as quickly as possible. It was a full 17 days off from running and just about all physical activity. It also took about 16 days for sneezing to longer be painful…

Once I was able to run again, I attempted to make up some ground but knew I was never going to be ready for my next race… I briefly considered taking a DNS or bumping down to the 5K but just couldn’t do it. The race was the United Run for the Zoo… My favorite 10K and my dad was in town. I just couldn’t bail on my favorite 10K and I didn’t want to bump down either…

Race Recap: Monster Dash 10K

1 Monster Dash 10-20-13

I had mildly high hopes going into the race. The weather was cold… which is my preferred running weather. But it was just not in the cards for me…

I had done packet pick-up early at the Chicago Half Expo back in September. It was nice to not have to worry about that while my mom was in town. Day before the race, true to form, mom and I ordered pizza for dinner.

I went to bed at a decent time, but didn’t sleep that well… I was too warm and kept waking up to throw the blanket off me only to then get cold and burrow under it again… this was a vicious cycle…

Mom wasn’t feeling the greatest when she woke up so she stayed at home while I headed out to the race. It was a VERY cold morning. Good for racing but not so great for standing around waiting. Eric and I met up on the bus and headed for the Race. Courtney was going to meet us there.

I really have not run much in the past few weeks between getting sick and then having my mom in town. I hoped that  the cooler weather would give me the little edge I might need. I wasn’t shooting for a PR but I was hopeful I could have a decent time. Since having to bail on the last 10K because I was sick, I wanted to put forth a good effort here.

After Courtney and I watched the start of the Half, which Eric was running, I headed over to gear check to ditch my bag and my jacket. Brrrrrr… Definitely glad I pulled out the winter gear the night before. Even more glad I was wearing a pair of running gloves.

We lined up and discussed where to meet after the race, knowing we would have a bit of time to kill before Eric finished the race. With a shout of “go” by the announcer we were off…. which I thought was sort of odd since there was no lead up to the race start.

I have run this course several times and know its a tad hilly. I quickly figured out that my legs weren’t going to like the hills so planned to walk up the hills and run the rest. I also quickly figured out that I was REALLY thirsty. Didn’t do the best job of drinking water the day before… shopping is dehydrating :-p

Around the two mile mark I was starting to get desperate for water and there was no water station in site. So I started to stop at all the water fountains along the course… well this is rather familiar… and thank goodness the water fountains have not been turned off for winter yet.

At the three mile mark, I veered off to another water fountain and a women said, “you’re smart, I cannot believe there hasn’t been water yet.” I agreed with her and went on my way.

It was about another quarter mile before there was FINALLY a water station… we are not more than half way through the race. WTF?!?!?!?!?!?! I don’t care how cold it is, there should be water LONG before the half way mark of a 10K.

I walked as I sipped my very full cup of water downing every drop before I tossed my cup and started running again. By this point I knew my race was done. I had already walked a ton and I was still thirsty damnit! A short while later we reached the turn around point and there is the water station again… Ok… so this means no water for last two miles of the race… great…

By this point every time I run, I start to get lightheaded after running about a tenth of a mile. I keep trying to run a quarter mile and push it but my body is just not letting me. Grrrr. Fine! I give in!

The rest of the race is walk (mostly walk) with short bursts of running. Once I near the finish line, I walk the flat portion leading up to the monster hill that is the finish line and then run the hill through the finish… luckily it was only about a tenth of a mile. I am rather angry about the race and my time. I know that part of it is my fault and I should have had more water the day before but the lack of water before the half way mark was not my fault. Had I known there wasn’t going to be water prior to the half mark, I would have run with water. The course map didn’t have any water stations marked on it… Thank goodness I was only doing the 10K… I feel really bad for those running the half who shared the water stations with the 10K course.

Courtney and I wait for Eric to finish while discussing the course… Not a good race for either of us. And when Eric came hobbling his way towards us, I knew it wasn’t a good race day for him either…. Well at least there was consistency.

We walk to the bus to meet my mom for Brunch. Over brunch we briefly discussed how badly the race went for all of us…

While at brunch, Eric noticed that my medal indicated it was a 10 mile race not a 10K… haha… Whoops… and I probably never would have noticed if he hadn’t pointed it out. Oh well.

4 Monster Dash 10-20-13

My official Results – 1:17:00 for a 12:24 Pace – Grrrrr… really not happy about that…

Monster Dash Results

Onto the next race – Pumpkins in the Park on Saturday – my FAVORITE 5K!


Exciting Weekend Plans

Mommy gets into town today!!!!

As a result, I took of Friday and Monday and am very much looking forward to a long weekend. Few exciting things planned.

First, Hair cut tomorrow… which is hardly exciting but my ends are fried and need some love. Will probably wander around LP and of course, Nookies Breakfast. YUM! Possibly dinner at Calo’s tomorrow night too… Double Yum!

Saturday – Maybe we will head down to MI Ave… Not really sure. We will more than likely order a pizza for dinner though 🙂

Sunday – Race in the morning. Monster Dash 10K. Boy do I hope that run goes better than my attempted 6 miler this past Monday (more on that later). Sunday night we are going to the Josh Groban Concert. He has been my favorite artist for the longest time and I have yet to see him in concert. I am REALLY excited and it should be a fun evening.

Monday – Eye exam… I have come to the realization that I probably need new reading/staring a computer screen all day glasses. I still have pretty excellent vision for distance but I have felt lately, that I need a new prescription for reading… and I haven’t gotten an eye exam in 10 years… yea… WAY overdue.

Don’t be surprised if you don’t see a post from me tomorrow or Monday – I am toying with the idea of writing up a post for tomorrow and saving it as a draft but haven’t decided yet…

If you all don’t hear from me tomorrow then I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Throwback Wednesday – Race to Wrigley 5K 2012

After Eric got hooked on racing and he and I subsequently coerced (errr… invited) Chris to join… this was the first race of the “Usual Suspects”

This is a race that somehow had never made it onto my race radar. Eric found TONS of races for us to sign up for… this being one of them.

We arrived at the race with time to spare and took a few pre-race pictures. Eric headed to the front with the speedier people while Chris and I hung back with the 10:00 pace people.

Pre-Race 4-14-12

It wasn’t really discussed but Chris and I ended up sticking together for the entire race. We started off well and were feeling pretty good… Just sort of enjoying the race atmosphere and the beautiful morning.

We reached the turn around on Irving Park and were headed back to Clark and I noticed that my stomach was cramping… I had no idea why… I was over the days of attempting calories when I have a morning race but it was getting worse and I couldn’t make it go away.

While on Clark heading to Wrigley Field, I had no choice, I had to walk because it was now too painful to breathe. Chris was nice enough to stick with me but I was angry that I had to walk. Even more so… I hated that my stomach was cramping so much that it hurt to breathe… Especially since I hadn’t eaten anything that morning.

Once we approached the stadium I didn’t want to be walking anymore so we took off running. It was crowded in the concourse of the stadium and there was quite a bit of weaving to do. We got back outside and it was a short-ish shot to the finish.

I took off and Chris took off with me.

My Official Time – 36:02 for a pace of 11:38

Race to Wrigley Results 4-14-12

We found Eric, took a post race pic, then headed home to shower and meet up again for lunch and an afternoon of baseball watching… Detroit was in town playing the White Sox

Post Race 4-14-12

I now had a few weeks off before my next race… or so I thought