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!

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!)

DSC_0008
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.
DSC_0012
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.
DSC_0024
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!

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!

Half1

Finish line of my half!

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