TYT: Save the Date!


Happy Tuesday, Friends!

During the holidays, is it not remotely hard to treat yourself, and from the looks of my weekend, I have not been holding back.

Friday my fiancé and I mailed out save the dates. This was partly stressful, and partly really exciting! Many thoughts were flying through my head as we were getting them ready, such as “What if no one comes!?” and “There’s no possible way I have spelled everyone’s name and address right” aaaand “Who have we forgotten?” But off they went on Friday! So what’s done is done, and hopefully those people who have spelling errors forgive me!

save the dates

After mailing them off we went to the mall and did some Christmas shopping. We must have accomplished something considering by the end we were hauling around 436,000 bags. With only one gift to myself.

Saturday I laid in bed until about 10. I was awake for a few hours, but ddidn’tget out of bed. It was glorious. It’s be a loooong time since I could take a Saturday morning to watch TV. I was leisurely working on some wedding decorations. I love crafting! My bridesmaids (3 out of 4 girls could make it) arrived at my house around lunch time, and after grabbing some Portillo’s for lunch we went to an appointment to try on some bridesmaid dresses. After changing my mind about 50 times, I decided on one! I think. I changed my mind about the dress. Then I changed my mind about the material, thus changing my mind about the dress again. Then I changed my mind about the color. Why do they come in so many shades? We rewarded ourselves with Starbucks, and then we went back and I got them in on the wedding crafting games. I’m not sure they were as excited as I was, but we all still had a good time chatting. It doesn’t happen nearly as often as we’d like!

flowers

Sunday after church, fiance and I took a trip into Chicago.  We had a jam-packed day!  First we went to the Christkindlmarket.  We went to the one at a local mall a few weeks ago, but had to be sure we hit up the real deal.  We walked over to Eatly, and did some shopping with a glass of wine.  That’s my kind of shopping!  We went over to the new Maggie Daley Park to watch the ice skaters.

One of the places we walked past was part of the route for the Shamrock Shuffle.  Which brings back memories from my first Shamrock Shuffle.  We were about half a mile from the starting line, so there were still a tone of people very close together.  We were running over one of the lift bridges which are very uneven, and next thing I know… BOOM.  I tripped and fell on my hands and knees.  I was a little embarrassed, but I would have been SO much more embarrassed if I had caused a pile up.  There ended up only being one person behind me who managed to lurch out of the way, and then helped me up.  Which I can’t say for my friend who was  laughing hysterically!  Which I probably would have done to her, so I suppose it’s fine.  I’ll link up with Jessica Joy and Jill Conyers for the Fit Dish, because they’re talking about fitness mishaps today! Go on and check it out, but don’t laugh too hard at them 😉

We grabbed some Jimmy Johns for dinner, and then head over to the Chicago Theater for the days main event!

theater

A few weeks ago I managed to win a contest from a Chicago radio station for tickets to Straight No Chaser.  They’re an a cappella group and they’re fantastic.

Here’s a their version of The 12 Days of Christmas.

They did some Christmas songs as well as some non Chirstmas, like Let It Go, and a mash up of 2014 hits like Taylor Swift and Iggy Azalea.  I would highly recommend seeing them if you have the chance!

I’ll also link up with Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday!  Go check out how other people are treating themselves around the holidays!

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Friday Five: Favorite Winter Activities

This week for the Friday Five link up with the DC Trifecta we are talking about Winter Activities!   Thanks to Eat Pray Run, DC, You Signed Up For What and Mar on the Run for hosting!

1) Football!  I’m a big Green Bay Packers fan, and this is a good year for us.  We are having a good season, and the Bears are having a bad one.  Does it get any better?

GB

2) Hot drinks.  This is Illinois I’m living in.  It gets COLD.  Sometimes I feel like I’m cold from November through March.  Non-stop, never warm, which isn’t that fun.  How to combat this?  Warm delicious beverages.  Hot tea, coffee, Gluhwein, chai tea.  (In moments of desperation, there has even been just hot water, but that certainly isn’t my favorite.)

3) Food!  Should I be listing this as a favorite winter activity?  Probably not.  Would I be lying if I said it wasn’t true? Yes.  In addition to all of the delicious cookies and other various unhealthy items I partake in, there are always ways to lighten up comfort foods.  Cooking soups are some of my all time favorite winter foods.  Luckily fiance also loves soups, though when I made him “Bean Soup,” one of my childhood favorites, he was a little concerned.  Beans ain’t his thing.  But he ended up enjoying it!  Either that or he was just being nice.  Either way, I’ll take it.
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I made a homemade cranberry salad (yum!) and then had some treats a work (which I luckily did not finish…)

 

4) New workouts!  I like running, but I don’t do snow running (See point 2 for my dislike of being cold) and I’m not a fan of treadmills.  However, because of point three (mmmm… foooooood), I shouldn’t take a 5 month hiatus from working out.  So I try to find new things to do inside.  I’ve been doing yoga at home, and yesterday I tried a new class at the gym.  (In other news… I hurt… everywhere. But a good hurt! Just don’t laugh if you see me trying to walk down stairs.)

5) Family.  I love the time time you get to spend with family.  Between the extra time off around Christmas, and the fact no one wants to go anywhere through the ice and snow, it’s nice to hang out with family and friends inside a nice, warm house.
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From an event at church with my future in laws.

 

What are your favorite parts about winter?

Friday Five: Favorites

This week has been one of a kind. No really, I hope this week only happens once in my life.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s no big deal, but it has sure made for a long week.  Let me tell you a little story.
Monday work was a little dumb come 5pm, I was more than a little grouchy.  I had plans go to go an event at church with the future in-laws, and had some time to kill before hand so the fiance and I took my car to get an oil change and hang out for a little while in an attempt to cheer me up.  We got to the oil change place and they informed me that over Thanksgiving weekend there had been a run on oil changes, and they didn’t have any of my filter in stock.  We said no big deal and went on our way.
Anyway after a half an hour with the fiance, he had me laughing and smiling which was really the point (oil change, hot date, I know), so off to church I went.  And it was a very nice evening with a big group of ladies at church to kick off the Advent season. Afterwards I went to head home, and my car gave an odd lurch.  Whatever, it’s cold.  I don’t move so well either when it’s 15 degrees outside.  I made it a few miles down the road… another odd non-car-like move.  OK call fiance.  Of course as soon as I called him, it stopped acting weird (isn’t that how it always goes).  And it didn’t do anything odd for a while so we concluded it was just cold.
Then all went wrong at once… the car was NOT working right.   And it all clicked in my mind.  They must not have put the oil cap back on.  My first car back in the day had many oil issues, so I am well acquianed with oil-related car problems… it just took a while for my mind to catch up.  I started screaming on the phone (classy moment), pulled over, and popped the hood to confirm my suspicions. Thank goodness for those iPhone flashlights.  They rock.  Of course in the light I could confirm that there was no oil cap, and what must have been all of the oil that used to be inside the engine was now spewed all over the outside of the engine and every other thing underneath the hood.  BAH.
Driving it any more was simply not an option…. soooo…. called a tow truck, police came (just to ensure no one ran into me as a sitting duck), dragging fiance out of bed to chauffeur me, tow truck took my beautiful blue baby to the dealership to be fixed and cleaned up.  All in all, it worked out fine.  I got my car back after a few days, the oil change place has been really cool about it.  It’s all fixed, so no harm, no foul.  But MAN, was that an adventure I could have done with out.  However, it makes for a hilarious story (now that it’s over).
So moving on.  It’s FRIDAY.  Thank GOODNESS.  This week’s Friday Five link up with the DC Trifecta is Friday Favorites.   Thanks to Eat Pray Run, DC, You Signed Up For What and Mar on the Run for hosting!
1) My CAR. I do love my car, and I’m so glad she’s back and good as new. I had two cars before this one that both had a lot of problems. I worked hard to buy it so I could escape constant maintenance (and fear of not ever arriving at my destination!). And she is blue and adorable, those don’t hurt either 😉
car

Christmas jams in the car!

2) This week brought to you by… Coffee. Sleep was a little sparse this week, starting with Monday when it should have taken 30 minutes to drive home but instead took a few hours and then involvement of two trucks. Luckily I had a free drink from Starbucks that I fully took advantage of. My normal drink at Starbucks is pretty tame, grande skim latte. But when I have free ones? Treat yo’ self! Venti! Extra shots of espresso! Feeling wild? Add some vanilla!
3) Thanksgiving, part deux. Fiance was on doctor ordered liquid diet over Thanksgiving weekend. Ummm? Worst Thanksgiving ever! So on Tuesday we re-made Thanksgiving. It was good, but I have some work to do in the homemaker department. Thanksgiving at Grandma’s is infinitely better. Good thing he already agreed to marry me.
thanksgiving
4) Treats!  Thursday after work we went to an outdoor mall close by.  They have a mini outdoor German Christmas market.  Some shopping, some potato pancakes, a brat and a cake pop treat.  Yum!
food
5)  And lastly, this guy.  He’s pretty great.
us
Hope you all have a great weekend planned!  I’m hoping to find some time to relax! What about you?  What do you have planned?

Naperville Half Marathon Recap

Time is running away from me! I’m behind on writing up this race recap for my most recent half marathon!

I talked some about it here, mostly just the day and night before the race.  I have now learned that you should not go wedding dress shopping the night before a big race… when you try to sleep your mind is thinking about pretty white dresses rather than letting you to go to bed!

start

I did manage to get some sleep, but morning still came to early. I piled on a bunch of clothes, grabbed my gear and my overnight oats and climbed into the car. I got dropped off near the race and went to finding my running group. One by one we found each other as we hung out in the nearby high school gym AKA warming room for the runners. After one last trip through the port-a-potty line, we got into a start corral.

start2

After the national anthem, we were off! There was music playing around the start area, and the song was Fireball by Pitbull. Love. That. Song. And all other Pitbull.  It caused me to run-dance for quite a while in the beginning, and then random moments throughout the rest of the race. #noshame

After about a mile or so, I shed my outer layer.  During my first half I learned the wonder of throw away clothes.  Prior to that I thought it was silly, and then I was stuck running the last 8 miles with a zip up tied around my waist. Live and learn.  Before long, we passed the first water stop… two miles down!  We decided against stopping; we weren’t thirsty yet.  By mile three I decided that the first two miles went faster than the third.  It must have been the inital dancing session to Pitbull that distracted me. 😉

race

We started winding through some neighborhoods, and there were people everywhere!  It was a lot of fun to see all the support.  We were checking off miles at a pretty good pace!  Before I knew it, we were almost to mile 7.  I was excited for mile seven because I knew I had some spectators there 🙂 After a quick hug, I continued on.

Then mile 8 happened.  Yikes.  The tired began to happen just before mile 8.  Just enough to know it was there, and that feeling of dread knowing that more tired is coming. Ha!  We had been walking through water stops, but this was the first one where my legs were giving a little resistance to starting again.  About half a mile or so after the water stop we ran on the road that runs next to the prairie path where we had been training!  It felt good to be on home turf (well, next to it), and I got a a burst of energy.

However then there was a hill.  And it just kept going up! And my happiness was going down.  Then someone shouted my name! A fellow runner I know!  Spirits lifted!  If it it isn’t apparent, just before mile 8 to just after mile 10 was a bit of an emotional roller coaster!

We slurpped up some water at the mile 10 water stop and got back to running.  “Just a 5K to go!”  If this makes you feel better, I am happy for you.  This makes me want to go all interrupting starfish on the speaker of this sentence.  5Ks can be hard, too! And generally I don’t do 10 miles as my warm up!

However it was right around here I realized just how fast we were going.  As a side note, if you ever see me running with a scrunched up thinking face, I’m probably trying to do pace math. This was probably happening at this point.

Our group of 4 runners ended up splitting into 2 groups of 2.  The two fasties split off as I continued to try to focus on math and not hwo much my knees and hips were hurting.

Everything after mile 10 blends together a little.  Somewhere in there was a man grilling on the side of the road.  Grilling bacon for runners.  Heck yes I had some bacon!  Was greasy bacon the most effective mid-race fuel?  Um… perhaps not.  But mental fuel? Heck, yes!  It’s bacon!  I think I nibbled on it for at least half a mile, making sure I wasn’t totally going to ruin my stomach with it.

I do remember a glorious downhill.  I was so very excited to run down.  Around said downhill, I realized that a 2:10 MAY be in my grasp and I tried to push it.  I ditched my water belt when I saw my family in an attempted to lighten my load.  (I ruined all of the pictures my mom tried to take – I felt SO BAD.  I’m taking off my belt in all of them!)

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I caught up to my two fasties that took off earlier as we were nearing the finish line.  Then there was an uphill. From maybe 12.8 miles to about 13.0 we had to run up.  Evil.  But I made it up the hill!  And could see the finish!  And I ran as fast as I could, which wasn’t very fast at this point! Haha! I flew across the finish line! YAY I’m done!
finish
Then my legs nearly collapsed.  That’s the sign of a good race, right? I got my medal, and found my family who saw me finish.  And who were all standing there thouroughly impressed that I managed to cut off SIXTEEN MINUTES from my time!  Craziness.
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I found my running mates, we all gloated together, took some pictures and found some food.  I won’t plaster their faces all over the internet though 🙂
At this point, it got pretty cold!  The wind picked up a lot, and I was shivering as I was drinking my post race beer.  But I earned that beer! It was from a local brewery and I knew it was going to be good.
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I still cannot believe I managed to finish this race in 2:11:36.  My previous time was 2:27 and change!  I went from an 11:14/mile pace to a 10:02!  If I wasn’t so excited about that pace, I might be upset I missed 10 minutes by OH TWO!  Guess I’ll have to find another race and try again! 🙂
I’m going to link up with Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday (racing is always a treat!) as well as Jessica Joy and Jill for the Fit Dish.  The Fit Dish topic for the week is fitness accomplishments, and this PR was a HUGE accomplishment!