Weekend Rewind: Fall Fun

It’s pretty amazing what you can accomplish in a weekend when you don’t have to fit in a 15-mile or so run—and all the preparations that go into that. I’m still adjusting to life post-marathon, but I did go for my first jog and caught a beautiful fall sunrise over Montrose Harbor. IMG_2851

I’m REALLY liking that I have more time for projects around the apartment. Much more on this later, but here’s a sneak peek…

Once I’d scrubbed all the stray paint off (I somehow managed to get it on the strangest things, like my work bag in the next room!), I had to quickly get ready for my first Halloween party of the season at a friend’s apartment. He’s a great host, so the party was a blast! I can only hope my Friendsgiving in a couple weeks is as successful. (Speaking of, it’ll be my first dinner party so I welcome all tips and tricks! Send ’em over!)

And that still wasn’t the end. We decided to go for a scenic drive… and ended up in Milwaukee. Whoops!  We picked up some cheese and meats and enjoyed a nice view from the lakefront near the art musuem. It was very Wisconsin.

I hope everyone is getting out there and enjoying these beautiful fall days!

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Bucket List Update: Marathon. Check.

I’m a little late here but… I’m officially a finisher of the Chicago Marathon!

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Pardon my language, but I made that 26.2 miles my bitch! It’s not like I posted a record time or anything, but I ran every step of it (OK, maybe you could argue that I had to walk through some of the hydration stations, but whatever) and came in 10 minutes faster than my goal time. And most people say for your first marathon, your goal should really just be to finish. Well, done and done.

I guess those four-plus months of training paid off because I also wasn’t very sore in the days after. (I swear by ice baths!) The marathon was last Sunday, I took Monday off (though really I didn’t need to) and by Wednesday, I felt ready to workout again. But I didn’t. Instead, I let myself eat and drink whatever I wanted for an entire week, and now today, I desperately need to get back on the bandwagon. After feeding your body a bunch of quality food and working out about five days a week, straying from that kind of makes you feel like crap.

I don’t really know how to work out now though. I had definitely plateaued because I noticed toward the end that even if I was running  like 30 miles a week, I was gaining a little weight. (Though apparently at some point, I “lost” my boobs, as a male friend so rudely pointed out to me last weekend! WTF?!) I guess I’ll have to try something different, but it makes me a little sad only because I already really miss the mental aspect of a long run. As much as I sound like a cheesy workout shirt, running really did became my therapy.

It’s also kind of a weird feeling to devote your life to something for months, have everyone ask you about it, finally accomplish that thing—and then really not having anything to show for it. Sure, I can say I ran a marathon, which is a feat in and of itself, but I somehow feel like my life should be different… but it’s not. It’s the same as it was in April. No wonder professional athletes are terrible with their money—I bet they try to use it to feel the void! Am I just getting sentimental? Any other runners out there feel the same way?

On a more upbeat note, I have to thank everyone who encouraged me in this endeavor. There were so many sweet Facebook messages and texts, and I’m sorry I didn’t respond to every one. I was telling my parents afterward that I’m not sure I could do a marathon where I didn’t have any fans out on the course—it really did mean the world to see my friends and family, if only a fleeting glimpse! xoxo

Weekend Rewind: Ice Bath Challenge

I finally did the ice bucket challenge! Well, in a sense…

IMG_2484OK, there was no charity involved here. No, this ice bath was just a necessity after running 18 friggin’ miles. Who am I?! #chicagomarathon #orbust

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For those of you familiar with Chicago, 18 miles is essentially from the Montrose Brown Line stop, out to the Lakefront Trail, down to the Shedd Aquarium… and back. This was the halfway point, about 7:30 Saturday morning. I was slow, but steady. I’d say it went better than expected.IMG_2491

My plan was to go out to the suburbs for a flea market (something that’s been on my bucket list for a year!), but I couldn’t muster the energy to be on my feet all day at a fairground. Hell, I didn’t even want to put on shoes. I guess I’m single-handedly bringing back the slide sandal. Who needs Birkenstocks when you’ve held onto these beauties since 8th grade soccer? That was 1999… they’re practically vintage!

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Luckily, by Sunday I had recovered enough to make it to the bar for the Bears game—and more importantly, to kick ass at Jenga!

On My Mind: August Edition

1. OMG there’s only two super long runs left until the marathon! Where did August go? Granted, I have to run 12 miles today (because that’s not long at all… who am I?) and then 18 and 20 the next two weekends, but after that I begin tapering for the BIG DAY (Oct. 12). How can that be? I feel like I’m getting there physically, but I’m not sure I’m mentally ready for this!

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2. After the marathon, I’m hoping to take some time off and travel somewhere warm. I don’t want to sight see; I just want to lay on the beach, eat/drink whatever my heart desires and not set an alarm for an entire week! I’m lucky enough to have a job with a decent PTO allotment and a boss that encourages me to take it, but I feel like there’s been a lot of chatter lately about how Americans don’t use their vacation time, which is just plain stupid. I especially liked Gawker’s take:

That job don’t love you. That job is not your friend. That job is not looking out for you. That job is a machine in which you are a cog. That job has no human feelings. That job is interested only in sucking you for every last ounce of labor that you are physically capable of producing before you pass out. It is not the job’s fault; it is in the job’s nature. Therefore it is up to you to look out for yourself. You gotta love yourself in this world. Take that time off. Nobody else is going to take it for you. Take it. Take it all.

Touché, Gawker. Touché. Now where should I go? Suggestions?

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3. Um, so I woke up today and decided that I hate my bathroom. I hate the stupid black and white checkered floor, I REALLY hate the old-school mirror/light combo, I hate the cheap over-the-toliet storage cabinet, I hate the color of the green accents. OK, I can really only do something about that last one (maybe two), but I’ve decided it’s time to revisit this space. It’s pretty much been the same since I moved in two years ago so… Here. we. go.

Opening Ceremony And 'Birdman' - Premiere - 71st Venice Film Festival

4. I’m really excited to get my hair cut tonight. I have not had many good hair days lately. The truth is I was on a medication for awhile that started to make my hair fall out! It was awful. And it still kind of is because now I have all these new hairs sticking out like a baby bird. But I’m hoping my stylist can work some magic. I’m thinking I should cut a couple inches off to help the little hairs “catch up” to the longer ones faster, and I think I’m going to use Emma Stone’s new do as inspiration. I kind of have a girl crush on Emma. She was hilarious in the Lip Sync Battle with Jimmy Fallon.

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5. I’ve totally been slacking in the cooking department. I got the new stove/oven weeks ago, and I think I’ve only used it once—to warm up leftover pizza. That’s just sad. But now that my grad class is over (and I’m taking the fall off), I might be able to get back in the kitchen. First recipe I want to tackle? Spicy beer shrimp sounds pretty damn good. Or maybe jalapeño cheddar scones. Guess I’m all about the heat right now!

(Images: 1. National Geographic, 3. The Gloss, 4. Chocolate Moosey)

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(Long) Weekend Rewind: Pure Michigan

Vacations are hard to come by when you’re training for a marathon—building in a couple hours a day for runs and watching your diet isn’t exactly fun while traveling. But you can find a sweet spot if you combine the two…

On Sunday, I did the Vineyard to Bay 25K (roughly 15.5 miles) in Traverse City, Michigan. This was the first time the race has ever been held, and there are definitely some kinks to be worked out, but I was just happy to use it as an excuse to get out of town for a few days. I’m getting tired of pounding out miles on the Lakefront Path!

We rented a house in Sutton Bay (more on that next week). It was a overcast most of the trip, so we didn’t spend much time sitting on the beach. Instead, we drove out to Sleeping Bear Dunes, shopped in Charlevoix, ate LOTS of ice cream and even kissed a moose. Don’t ask…

There’s no way this trip would’ve been possible without my parents. Thanks, Mom and Dad! They are pretty great travel companions. We already have another trip in the works, too—Scottsdale for Spring Training!

Weekend Rewind: I Keep Runnin’, Runnin’

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Breakfast of champions.

I’ve hit the half way point of marathon training! Or at least that’s what I assume because this past weekend I was scheduled to run 13 miles, half of a marathon. I’m too scary/lazy to actually count the weeks—I’d be so disappointed if there’s still more than half the plan left to complete!

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The lakefront is pretty picturesque at 6 am.

So anyway, in lieu of another long run by myself, I snagged a Groupon for the ZOOMA Women’s Half on Chicago’s South Side on Saturday. I appreciated the change of scenery, but I wasn’t crazy about the route. It was a half marathon and also a 10K, so the half people had to go by the start/finish line again at about the 6-mile mark, and that was a real mental beat down. Not to mention, they only had two water stations between miles 6 and 13. WTF?! Or maybe I was just dillusional by that point.

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Ready… Set…

The good news is that I made it down there (quite a hike from my apartment, and it was Lollapalooza weekend), the weather was beautiful, and I finished. OK, I’m going to toot my own horn here for a minute: Not only did I finish, but I cut about 8 minutes off my half marathon time from last year! Woot! I was right on pace for what I’m hoping to run the full marathon at (9:30 per mile), though I can definitely tell I’m not ready for that yet.

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20th in my age group? I’ll take it!

Now things get real serious: This weekend, I drop back to 10 miles, but then I up it to 15 the following Saturday. Anything above a half marathon just seems  insane…

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Oh hey, Chicago.

But there’s no turning back now. Wish me luck—I’m a gonna need it!

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Best thing about running? Breakfast No. 2!

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I Want That Wednesday: FlipBelt

It’s (almost) August! Can you believe it? The weather surely doesn’t indicate that is, but, hey, I’m not complaining. The mild temps are making marathon training (almost) bearable.

What’s (almost) not bearable? My stupid iPhone armband. Has no one figured out a better design for these things? The face gets all fogged up, the band scratches my skin if I’m not wearing sleeves, and I’ve washed it but it still has a funk.

I’d say I just have a particularly bad model, but I polled a few other friends/runners, and they dislike theirs, too. I would order a bunch of the tops from Gracie’s Gear, but every time I go to the website there’s only a pre-ordering option. I need a solution now, people!

So I’m thinking about trying a FlipBelt:

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I’d want the hot pink one, of course. Though the conservative in me would probably go with plain black.

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I’d worry about it bouncing around during a run, but the reviews seem to indicate that it stays snug. I’ve been limiting myself to buying only running tights that have a little pocket for my keys, gels, ID, etc., but it’d be awesome to be able to select from all styles. And, of course, the big plus would be no more arm irritation!

Fellow runners, what do you think? A perfect solution or just additional bulk?

(Images: FlipBelt)