Friday Five: Fall Preview

It’s time for Friday Five, folks! Once again, I’m joining the Friday Five link up with the ladies of Eat Pray Run, DC, You Signed Up For What and Mar on the Run.  Earlier this week I had been thinking about making a fall bucket list, but decided it could wait. I’m working on getting excited for fall, but I also feel like summer just got here! I’ve still got one thing to check off my summer bucket list… I want to make it to one more baseball game! But when the Friday Five theme was announced, “Fall Preview,” I decided it was time to think about fall!

But quickly before fall… head over HERE to see what I was up to during summer! (I am going to miss summer…)

Fall Bucket List
1) Finish my half marathon training and run the race! After an extraordinarily humid Chicago weekend, it will be nice to run in slightly cooler weather! (But not yet! I’m not done with summer yet!) I blame this pace on the heat and humidity!

Holy Humidity!

Holy Humidity!

2) Take a hike in crunchy leaves. I love walking through the woods with perfect fall sun with crunch leaves underfoot. The company doesn’t hurt either.

3) Make chai teas lattes and pumpkin lattes at home! Last year I started making chai lattes at home with instruction from Cassie over at Back to Her Roots, and they are delicious! Two years ago I had attempted a pumpkin latte (also from Back to Her Roots), and it was a bit of a failure, but I want to master it this year.

4) One other shorter race. I love fall, and fall mornings are even better. I love the crisp air. There’s no better way to enjoy mornings than with a race! I’ve been trying to find one for boyfriend and I to run that fits around my half training, his crazy work travel schedules, and other various commitments like a cousin’s wedding. So far… I haven’t had much luck. But I’m working on it!

5) Trip to the farm! My family has a farm in the boonies, and it’s a pretty great place to go. One weekend last year I went and hung out with my family to pick apples and grapes. We made our goodies into grape jelly, grape juice and apple cider. Boyfriend and I took some of the grape juice and are making it into wine!


That’s it, guys!  Top 5 for fall! Now I am even more excited about fall!

What about you?  What’s on your schedule for fall?

Have a great (3-day!) weekend!

Friday Five: 5 Things to Love About…

Once again, I’m joining the Friday Five link up with the ladies of Eat Pray Run, DC, You Signed Up For What and Mar on the Run.  This weeks theme… Five Things to Love About *Blank.*  My choice?

Five Things to Love About Running!

1) Fun race locations. Last year there was a new runway opening at Chicago’s O’Hare airport with a race to celebrate. I LOVE all things air travel… planes, air ports and my traditional in-flight tomato juice. I love seeing planes taking off and landing. Dorky? Maybe. But I just had to run that race. Other awesome places I’ve run… Lambeau Field (GO GREEN BAY PACKERS) and US Cellular Field (the Chicago White Sox). There is a race a Miller Park (The Milwaukee Brewers) that is on my future list of races.

This disaster of a picture was taken while running through the player's tunnel at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI.

This disaster of a picture was taken while running through the player’s tunnel at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI.

2) New distances = automatic PR. On the 4th of July, they boyfriend and I met up with a friend to run a 4 mile race, “4 on the 4th.” Totally new distance, so anything is a PR! Boyfriend says, “wouldn’t that make it more of a base time?” Hush, you. It’s a PR. No goal going in, but after a while I noticed I was pretty much on pace for 40 minutes. 10:00/mile is pretty good for me, but I knew I’d have to keep at it during the last mile to make it. No slow last mile like I normally end up with. I went around the last corner and… hill. Ha! I had forgotten about the downhill in the beginning. I had to haul a$$ up that mountain, but I made it! 39:47.


3) Pretty scenery and adventures. New running routes put some new adventure in training, and they can be so pretty! Running on the trails behind my office and I found this adorable little spot.


4) New friends. In preparation for half number two, I joined a training group! Last time I did most of the training by myself. 12 miles solo? Long! Last night was the first night and my new running buddies and I pounded out just over four miles while chatting and getting to know each other. It’s so fun to know that I get to hang with these lovely ladies for the next three months leading up to our big day.

Running Group #1 

5) Satisfaction and accomplishment. It’s a great feeling watching yourself (and all your running buddies!) improve, finish races, succeed at goals. You get out of running what you put into it and a little hard work can go a long way in making progress. You can do ANYTHING with the right mind set.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

What’s your favorite thing about running?

Half Training, Month 1

The first month of my half marathon training has come and gone. Unfortunately, this month of training only held three weeks of running.  Whoops.  More on that later.

My training plan starts out slow.  I mean really slow.  But that’s just how I like it.  I’m using the same training plan I used for my last half; I liked it and it worked well.  By that I mean, I crossed the finish line.

The first week of the plan calls for a total of 3.5 miles in the week.  Woo!  Got that in the bag, plus a day of weight training and two yoga classes.  Two yoga classes in a week almost never happens, and it was a treat.


Week two called for weekly mileage of 4.5, and I snuck in 6.85, plus one day of weights and a day at the driving range (that’s cross-training, right?).  What put me over mileage goal was a run with a friend.  There are some trails near my work’s office, so  she met me there after work and we took off.  We were chatting and running and ended up with a nice round 5k.  Saturday night was a friend’s wedding… dancing is cross training too, right?

Week three the plan says 6 miles, and put in 6.1.  For cross-training I had, a day at the gym with rowing and weights, a day with a yoga class and then the softball game I subbed for.  I also ran the Watermelon Virtual 5k hosted by Jess of Run With Jess.

Week four… I fell off the train.  Plan said 7 miles…. I ran a whopping zero.  Yes,  zero miles.  One should not run zero miles during half training, but I did.  I did do a spin class on that Monday, though.  Then I left for vacation immediately after work on Wednesday.  I hauled all of my workout gear up to the north woods of Wisconsin with the best intentions.  Alas, I never used it.  We did some hiking and lots of fishing, so I didn’t have zero physical movement on vacation, but no runs.  When I ran on vacation last year, I got up before everyone else and got my runs in.  However, this time when we were fishing we were getting up early.  It was all I could do to drag my butt out of bed to go fish, let alone up earlier to run and then go fish.  Excuses, excuses, I know.

So there’s month one! 3 months to go!

Beach Running Memories

Happy Friday, folks!

I’m off on a family vacation, ‘cabin-ing’ as I’ve been calling it.  I’ve been told I can’t call it camping, if we’re not staying in a tent. But there will be family, fishing and relaxation.  And laughing, lots of laughing.

This has inspired flashbacks to last year’s summer vacation, the same week.  Last year we went to Gulf Shores, Alabama.  This year we’re in middle-of-nowhere Northern Wisconsin.  Vastly different, equally as awesome.

We rented a house on the beach last year, woke up to the sound of ocean waves, and had a ton of fun (and sunburns).  To a Midwestern girl, the waves sounded like magic.  This was the view; beach chair, the sound of waves and a cup of coffee.  Perfection.

Beach View


But what is vacation with out some running with a view?  I had never run on the beach before, and I went twice while we were there.

Observation number 1: HOT.  And by hot I mean humid. So humid.  Even if I went at 7 am each time.  Clearly I needed to go earlier.


Observation number 2: It’s hard! I didn’t know where to run on the sand.  Up too far on the sand, and it’s too soft to not fall over.  Down farther towards the water, where the sand was firmer, my shoes got attacked with water if I wasn’t paying attention to extra large waves.  Which I often wasn’t, considering I was trying not to fall over in the sand.



Even through the heat, humidity, and hard work.  It was a lot of fun.  Hopefully I’m getting in some good vacation work outs this year too!


What about you?  Do you work out on vacation?  Do you run on the beach?

Softball and Spinning – Treat Yourself Tuesday!

One of my revised 2014 Goals was to keep varying my work outs and learning new things. When a friend texted and said her co-ed softball team was short some ladies and could I help out, I jumped at the chance! I showed up to their pre-game warmups and tried to remember how to catch a ball. It’s only been a good 10 years since I’ve tried to play softball or baseball. It took me a while before I remembered some of my skills, and was perfectly mediocre. Ha! I swung the bat a few times, and actually hit it most of the time! A few hits down the 3rd base line, too. Of course that was only during practice. I did manage to hit the ball every time I was up to bat, but as I learned, 1st base is far away, and they managed to throw me out at first every time. Boooo. I did score a run though! You have to bat boy-girl-boy-girl (which makes me think of this totally unrelated, spectacular movie), and if a guy walks, the girl behind gets to walk too. Woo! I got on base! And then with another walk, I got to 3rd. Aaaand with one more walk I got all the way home to scoooooore! Is it totally fun? Yes. Was it because of anything I did? Absolutely not. Anyway, it was a lot of fun. But I certainly found some softball-throwing muscles in my arm and some bat-swinging muscles in my back that are apparently never used. The next day at work, whenever I moved my hand from my mouse to my keyboard, my whole arm sure felt heavy!

My next new fitness adventure was a return to a cycle class! I have now officially gone to a cycle class three entire times. Ha! I went twice about a year and a half ago, but the class was at kind of an inconvenient time with my work schedule. I now have a new job and some of the classes align better with my new schedule. I was also in the market for bike shorts. I finally found some inexpensive ones to give a try. I just couldn’t rationalize the $50+ price tag for something I didn’t know if I would stick with. Once they came in the mail, I made plans to go to the next class I could (and drug the boyfriend along for his first class!) It was just as good of a workout as I remembered! I will admit though, I could have pushed myself harder. Don’t get me wrong, I was sweating and my legs were tired! But I didn’t want to hurt myself. I haven’t been in so long, I’m mid-training for another half… yeah yeah, excuses excuses. But now that I know how my body responds, I know I can push a little more next time!



Because these workouts were such a treat, I think I’ll link up with Becky over at Olives n’ Wine for Treat Yourself Tuesday!

Thanks for stopping by!

Do you play any rec league sports?
I just might have to find my own team to join. That was fun!

2014 Goals, Part 2

My 2014 goals are 50% complete, and 50% forgotten.  Time for a redo!

1) I’m going to stick with the idea of meal planning.  I just don’t think that any time soon I will be a person who sits down with a pen and paper, decides on recipes and makes shopping lists, etc.  Now, if you are that person, you are amazing, and I envy you.  But I’ve tried that in the past and it turned out to be a lot of pressure! I felt like I was failing at meal planning.  If I can start off the week with food in my fridge to make a few meals, I’m doing great and I’ll feel good about it.  Those Sunday evenings where I go to the fridge to pack Monday’s lunch and I find ketchup and barely anything that ever grew in the ground are terrible and need to end.

2) Vary my work outs! If you had asked me January 1st what kind of exercise I’d be doing this year I would have said running. Period.  Maaaaybe with a few elliptical sessions and strength training thrown in there.  Since then, I have discovered weight training (is there anything more empowering than bench pressing?!), the rowing machine at the gym and… yoga.  Love yoga.  I have really seen improvements in how much I can lift and in my yoga classes.  I now only topple over once or twice a class, as opposed to before when I’d topple over multiples times a pose.  Baby steps, folks.  So I want to keep going with my new discoveries, and maybe I’ll even find something new and exciting!

3) Half marathon.  But wait, you say, she said she completed this goal?!  Yeah, I did! Finished my first back in May.  When I wrote out those goals in January I was terrified of a half marathon, couldn’t figure out what I got myself into.  Little did I know that 2014 would contain TWO half marathons! I’m registered for another in November.  While I completed my goal of simply finishing the race, there were a ton of things on that day that were a mess.  Some were rookie mistakes (and I knew it as I was making them! But I told myself, “aaahh… it will be fiiiiine.” Famous last words) and some were completely out of my control, like the necessary addition of cough drops and day quil to my running belt.  So with the second half, I’m taking another shot; no more rookie mistakes, and hopefully I won’t be so dang ill!

So that’s it!  Kind of broad, but I’m excited.  They’ll be ways to incorporate more well-rounded healthy habits, rather than just focusing on one specific item at a time, which is a life goal anyway!

How are your 2014 goals going?  Did you have a mid-year re-do, re-group of your goals?


Running Group Re-Group

I haven’t spent a weekend at home in over a month. I love summer, but WOW. This has been crazy. First was a road trip to help a darling friend craft centerpieces for her wedding. Then I took a trip to Iowa to see family. The following weekend was another road trip to visit family in Wisconsin aaaand back home for a bachelorette party. Next, which was last weekend, was the big wedding day for this bride we’ve been celebrating. Crazy fun, crazy exhausting. This weekend? Home.

And I got to meet up with some running buddies Saturday morning! Fantastic time to chat about life, catch up, and get in a run on a local trail.

Saturday Run


One quick week back though, and then I’m outie from the Saturday morning runs with these guys for quite a while.  I’m on vacation next week (more on that soon!), and following that my half marathon training group starts up, and they meet at basically the same time.  It’s a bummer, but I’m excited for the new training group! I trained for the last one all by my lonesome, so I’m excited for comrades.

Hope you’re all having fabulous weekends!

Friday Five! Race Memories

My main fitness activity is running. There’s no better way to tell you about my journey thus far than to tell you about some races.  I’m going the Friday Five link up with the ladies of Eat Pray Run, DC, You Signed Up For What and Mar on the Run.

1) We’ll go way back, all the way back to my first 5K.  I started running again after I graduated from college and started working full time.  My first 5K was a race supporting a local community college, College of DuPage.  It was a disaster.  Not the race itself, just me.  It was an evening run and I didn’t know what to do for the many hours of the day before hand.  I forgot to eat, then ate at the last minute and had side stitches the whole time.  Hot mess, but I finished.

2) One of my favorite races was the Firefly Run 5K in Chicago. It was pretty warm out, but dark. We ran along the Lake front down town, and it was really cool to see thousands of people running through the dark. The race had given out two red LED arm/leg bands, and then most people also had some glow sticks. Seeing the masses of people boucing through the dark, along Lake Michigan with the Chicago Skyline lit up in the back ground? Gorgeous. The race organization left a little to be desired (come on strollers, to the back!), but over all a highlight.

3) I keep returning to the COD 5k, the race that was my first. So far I have ran it three times. The second year I ran it in 2012 is still my standing PR. I was really tired right off the bat, then I run past the person calling the first mile split, hear thed sub-9 mile time and though, “ah yes… that would make me tired.” But I kept on and kept on. The end of the race runs around about 3/4 of the track at the college.  As I neared the track, I remember thinking, “once you get to the track, pick it up for the end!”  I got around the final turn and could see the clock ticking… 28:50. What?! That got my butt moving and I sailed across the finish line. I knew it was close, but it was a few minutes before I found record of my time. 28:59! Up until then, my goal was “Run a 5K in less than 30.”  Smashed that out of the park, AND got third place in my age group!

4) The start of 2013 was a mess of injuries, more training and impromptu vacations that left my training plans in shambles. My foot injury was mostly cured with new shoes, but I was left with a hurting hip. I was already signed up for a 10K though, and I wasn’t going to DNS on account of “a little pain.” I did what little training I could, and then on that oh so VERY HOT July Chicago morning, we drove into the city for the race. 6:30 am and already about 90 degrees. First three miles? OK. But it just kept getting hotter, and hotter. By about 4-5 it was getting bad. I was in pain, and it was hot. The race finished on the warning track of US Cellular field (Go White Sox!) and even though I thought my hip was going to fall off, I had done it. I came towards the finish line and could hear my boyfriend cheering for me. So hot, so much pain, but that was definitely a race I earned. And even if those types of races hurt physically, there’s something great about knowing that you worked SO hard and succeeded.

5) Saving the big one for last! This past May I ran my first half marathon. It was the First Midwest Bank Half Marathon in Palos Heights, IL. I wouldn’t say I rocked this race, a million things could have gone differently (come back soon for the recap and what I learned!), but I finished. What more can you ask for during your first half? I rocked that medal all day. I do believe I continued to rock the bling even during my post-race nap!


Finish line of my half!

That’s it for my first Friday Five link up! Thanks, ladies, for hosting!

2014 Goals – The Originals

As I mentioned last time, I made some New Years goals for 2014.  I still can’t find the notebook I put them in, but I did manage to dig them up from the depths of my iPhone notes app.

1) Plan my meals.  When I do, I eat better and feel better.  And it’s so much less stressful.
2) Eat at the table. Come on, you’re an adult.  And stop eating when you’re full.
3) Find a new job.
4) Half Marathon. Ice, stretch, repeat. Follow the plan.
I vaguely remember these 🙂

So how’s it going?

1) Meal planning… some days are better than others.  Sometimes I plan on the weekend for a week full of delicious meals.  Other days, like last night, consist of crackers and cream cheese with an egg on the side.
2) Eating at the table… This is harder than it should be.  I live with a roommate, and sometimes after work I need to be by myself.  If she’s already at the table or watching TV I head into my room.  And, sometimes an episode of West Wing during dinner is perfect.
3) Find a new job… done!  That was a long time coming, but I did it! And I love it!
4) Half marathon… done! And it was so exciting (sarcasm) that I signed up for another! Icing and stretching got a little questionable during training.  As did following the training plan.  I got all my long runs in, but some of the week day runs fell by the wayside.

Considering 2014 is over half over (whaaaaat?), I’m going to have to re-work these, both to reevaluate the ones that need help, and work on the ones that are completed! Come back soon!

Focusing on Goals

I like to set goals. The idea of coming up with a list of ideas to begin to change who I am into the person I want to be is very freeing. Even if I’m not there yet, it’s ok, because I have a plan. And I like to be a woman with a plan. Some of these goals are achieved, whether it’s by determination or luck. Others are long forgotten, written in lost note books (I’m looking at you, New Years 2014) or typed in a notes app in a smashed phone.   The point is, I seem to like to plan out the goals, more than I like to pursue the goals.  I want to change that, and now is as good of a time as any.

Sometimes I feel discouraged by the lack of change I see, both in my behavior and in fitness.  I know that there is change, but I can’t always immediately recognize it, so it can be hard to feel good about the progress I’ve made.  I’m hoping to use this blog to chronicle the progress I make.

So welcome! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ll stay a while and go on a new journey with me!