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The Runner High

The Runner High

Today is Sunday Runday! Also, RACE DAY. It’s been way too long since I posted (sorry…life happens and I don’t have time to write about it.) BUT I’m trying to get back into the swing of things and why not start with a post after my first half marathon of the year?! HOORAY! Although, it was a rough month of training and it led to a ton of pre-race day anxiety. For whatever reason, I’ve had this really odd stomach bug that made my stomach spasm randomly and made me not want to eat ANYTHING. So odd. My energy level was totally fine, no other symptoms. So needless to say, between traveling for work and dealing with this stomach issue, training was rough. That’s the last thing you want to have happen the last few weeks leading up to the race.

That being said, Saturday was packet pick-up and it heightened my anxiety to an all-time high. I couldn’t even eat normally so how the hell was I going to get through 13.1 miles? Challenge accepted. It helped that the hubs had my back for this one. He actually got up at 4:30am with me. He’s definitely not a morning person, so major hubs points were earned.

Stomach issues aside, at least the weather was absolutely perfect. Overcast, slightly cool with a light breeze…and of course…an epic playlist queued up. Everything from Beyonce to Metallica.

Even though I was battling some pretty bad stomach issues, I didn’t stray from my race day routine. This includes:

  • Carb-load with pasta enriched with protein topped with turkey meatballs for dinner (yum).
  • Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more.
  • Mix up that playlist for some fresh tunes.
  • Charge the Garmin and wireless earbuds. (I’ve had to run a half in silence…no…it’s not fun.)
  • Prep the peanut butter and toast for race morning.
  • Hit that bathroom before heading to the corral!! (You’ll be sorry).
  • Stash toilet paper in your gear check bag (again if you don’t, you will definitely be sorry).
  • STRETCH.
  • Have a hydration plan throughout the race. (map out water stops or have it on you).

As everyone got into their corral, it looked like it was about to rain, luckily for us…it didn’t. Phew.

Once we got started, I have to say those first couple of miles felt like they took FOREVER. And if you’re a runner, you know that those beginner miles are always lying little bitches. Stay focused, it will get better.

At least it did get better for a little bit. I mean, while you have Bruno Mars blasting through your ear buds and you’re enjoying the view of Chicago’s beautiful skyline…how can it not? Well at around mile 8, my stomach started to spasm again like it had been for the past week. (Queue internal scream). I slowed the pace a little and luckily, it started to settle. This race was a challenge and with each mile marker, I knew I was that much closer to victory…and that damn medal.

Although my stomach was acting up, I never stopped once. I hydrated with water and Gatorade…and crossed that finish line strong. Hollllaaa!!! VICTORY.

Crossing that finish line is something that all runners crave. The line that separates them from meeting their goals. When it’s crossed, it’s that euphoric feeling of “holy shit I was in so much pain and now…this feeling of finishing 13.1 miles and this shiny medal makes it all worth it.”

I met up with my running bestie afterward and of course took several, mandatory post-race pics.

Another awesome thing about finishing a half marathon is that you can eat whatever the helllll you want for the rest of the day. I mean come on, when my Garmin says I burned 2,005 calories….you better believe this girl is not going to turn down some yummy food.

NOM.

Also, I look forward to secretly wearing my OOFOS sandals at work tomorrow. #dontcare #tryandstopme.

Recovery mode, engage.

 

Cheers!!

 

 

Weekending Like A Boss

Weekending Like A Boss

You know how sometimes you feel like your life is ending? Like when your phone smashes on a hard marble floor? Not only that, but you’re also trying to network with people at a work event and your whole body warms over and you feel like you’re going to puke after eating something that REALLY didn’t agree with you? Yes, I had quite the week. Luckily, the Genius Bar at the Apple store saved my life (I might have hugged them profusely) and I will forever stay away from gamble salads that have a bunch of god knows what in them. I’ve come to find out that I’ve developed quite a few food allergies over the years. Needless to say, I was THRILLED by the time Friday rolled around. Let the weekend begin!!

Not only that, but Chicagoland was teased with a little bit of summer weather. This girl even got a sunburn one morning!! But let’s back up, last weekend was my daddio’s birthday and in true runner’s fashion, I just ran to my parents’ house to 1. get my run in and 2. wish him a happy birthday asap. Sorry for the sweaty, smelly greeting Dad haha at least your other daughter isn’t a crazy runner. :p

 

Also, I got him a Fitbit Charge 2 and I have to say, I’m a bit jealous. I have a Garmin I only wear when I run, but I think it would be pretty nifty to see how many steps I’m getting in and connect with my other Fitbitters (because I’m competitive like that). Because of family health scares, I felt like not only would this fit the bill for his interest in techy stuff, it’ll really help guide him  and motivate him to move around more since he works mostly from home now. I love him a whole heck of a lot.

Half marathon training has officially started as well which is another reason why I wanted to test myself and pack on the miles that weekend. On average, my mileage has been somewhat on the low side (5-6 miles per run). Time to ramp it up! The race is mid-late May so the weather should cooperate for the most part when it comes to training. It’s just a matter of being good with cross training and stretching properly so I don’t injure my hamstring tendon again (knock on every solid surface). I tend to run based on how I feel which doesn’t always coincide with my training schedule…that’s when I get in trouble. Going too hard too much is just a recipe for disaster.

My survival guide to half marathon training includes:

  • Training in the morning on the weekends (hell if I’m going to get a long run in past noon).
  • Keeping race day in mind. (No one likes this day to come and feeling completely unprepared).
  • Staying focused on my race day goals. I would like to beat last year’s time, so that means no slacking and keeping my nutrition in check!
  • Taking care of my body. This means avoiding that extra vodka drink and empty calories that will just slow me down the following morning.
  • There’s no time for excuses. Really, everyone has at least 1 hour in the day to get some training in so make it count and get it done.
  • Maintain a realistic schedule. If I know I have a long work day ahead, I’ll get my workout in before then because God knows my head won’t be in the game post-multiple meetings later.
  • Train smart. Again, this goes back to me stretching properly, incorporating more crosstraining during the week and building more muscle and flexibility to avoid injury.

And really on weekends like this one, I’m more than happy to slap on those running shoes and go out for a long run. It’s a great way to reset the body too after indulging a little too much during the week. So many birthday celebrations, so much good food. Not to mention, my playlist was ON POINT. Has anyone else jammed out to the new Chainsmokers album? So much YASSSSS.

I also made sure to get a good, leisurely walk in with the hubs. Basically, I took advantage of this damn good weather every chance I got. Give me sun. Give me fresh air to just inhale all day long.

Training aside, I got some quality big sis time in this weekend. We did some major damage shopping and caught up on the latest with each other. Why Free People? Why must you have all the cute things? I picked this tunic up because…obviously.

 

Not only that, but I got my puppy fix in. How can you have a bad day with this silly face staring back at you? #cutenessoverload

 

 

I would totally be fine with having another day off with this weather. Lazy Sundays just can’t be a thing when you haven’t seen amazing weather like this in MONTHS. It’s instant happy. I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!

Cheers!

Just Do It.

Just Do It.

No, I’m not talking about Nike. So many times, we talk and talk and talk about what we’re going to do, what we want to do, yet we stay in the same place. Because well…we’re either lazy or just complacent. For me, other things just get in the way of my goals and I lose sight of my priorities. HELLO this needs to stop. After my annual review at work (which went amazingly well) it really turns on that light of self-reflection. What do I really want? What am I really working toward? Where do I want to be in five years personally and professionally? Do I really want to binge on Netflix and drink that fourth glass of wine? All important questions. It might also have to do with the fact that I’m approaching 30. (Inhale….exhale….).

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So far, 2017 is going pretty well. (Knock on every piece of wood). We’re only a few months in, but I’ve had quite a few accomplishments:

  • I made the conscious decision to not register for as many races this year. Not because I don’t love running anymore (let’s not get crazy) but really, it’s insane how much I’ve spent on race registrations. Even more importantly, I wanted to stop training so much. I want to get up and say “hey yeah let’s run 4 miles today” or “hmmm I really want to run 8 today since it’s so damn nice out.” Abiding by a training schedule is just really damn annoying sometimes. It’s about time I start running for me again and not for a T-shirt and bling. Did I just say that? Don’t tell anyone…
  • I’ve been getting great feedback from the big bosses at work. My job continues to challenge me and push my limits and that’s what really makes me thrive. I love it there and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. Sometimes I feel like I might have a mental break because of everything I’m working on, but…whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right? Haha.
  • Cutting carbs. Yes, this is an accomplishment. I’ve been avoiding bread, rice, pasta like the plague. Does this mean I don’t want to constantly go to my local bakery and stuff a giant loaf of french bread in my face? Absolutely not. And celebrating birthdays make it especially difficult. Can I get a high-five for only taking a bite out of this red velvet cupcake and not devouring the whole thing?

  • I’ve been more aware of my needs over my wants. This has to do with a lot including everything from my diet to avoiding overspending on things. And HOLLLLAAAA for finishing paying off medical bills from before you had awesome health insurance! #adultingproblems.
  • It’s a work in progress, but I’ve downsized my closet. Of course the hubs doesn’t notice since he’s always only had just a sliver of our huge walk-in closet….BUT there’s progress. I’ve reinstated rules like if I haven’t worn something in over a year, it gets donated or if I bring in a new piece of clothing, that means something else needs to move on out! The struggle is real. I feel like a hoarder when it comes to clothes. Someone please help. I have more sports bras than Serena Williams.

This weekend was prime outdoorsy weather though. This girl is ready for SPRING. Bring it!! On Saturday I went to my favorite boxing class and Sunday morning was spent running around the neighborhood and racking up those miles. It felt amaze-balls. However, what did not feel so amaze-balls was how it went from coldgear weather to tank weather by the time I ended my run. #runnerproblems.

Other exciting things that happened include me needing new glasses because…well when you get old, you slowly go blind. I of course took a million years picking out the perfect frames. I knew that I wanted to go bold and yet that didn’t seem to trim down the selection by too much. One of the receptionists there was a huge help and I walked away with some new frames whenever I want to opt out of wearing contacts.  I ended up with these Coach frames:

Now that we’ve established that I should never quit my day job and become a model, let’s move on to some goals. I’ve started to write up some ideas for what might be a series of short stories or a book. I’ve gotten the little push/motivation I need to start and I’m excited. I’ve also decided that whenever I wonder if I’m ready for kids, I should remind myself how I feel going to Costco on a weekend. How’s that for a lane change? But really, Costco turns into a zoo come Saturday/Sunday afternoon. Can’t I just get my army-sized pack of apples and chicken in peace?

Now that I’ve meal prepped for the week, and caught up on some much-needed reading, I’m set to start this week! I’ve been reading The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do. I’m pretty excited to dive even deeper into this book. A review will come soon enough!

As for Sunday night…well…this is as productive as it got.

 

Cheers to a new week!

Confessions of a Runner

Confessions of a Runner

As a runner, someone who attempts to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle, sometimes you fall off of that wagon. Don’t lie, it happens to the best of us right? So I feel the need to post some confessions, especially since it’s been so long since I’ve updated!

I confess I ate cold pizza for breakfast and then ran 7 miles. See? Balance. Rock it, own it. We’re all human and living means pizza for breakfast sometimes. It’s also called shark week.

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I confess I’ve been so consumed and stressed with this huge project for work, I thank my lucky stars that I don’t stress eat. My stress has now turned against my fat stores and I’ve randomly lost 5lbs. I’m now one bad stomach flu away from my goal weight. #silverlining

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I confess it looks like a bomb went off in my closet. Sports bras and moisture wicking clothing are everywhere. #runnerproblems. Since I HAVE been way too stressed out, I’ve been forcing myself to find the time to workout and get a run in. Sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day, but after just one hour of sweating it out, I feel a million times better. Now if only my laundry could just….do itself.

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I confess that I didn’t really freak out when I turned 29 on the 8th. I feel like I’m really satisfied with where I am in my life right now. I feel like just within this past year, I’ve accomplished so much – especially with my career. There’s no question I know the perfect balance of living my adult life and staying in touch with my childhood. See Exhibit A.

I confess that with said birthday gift cards, I only added to my ridiculous collection of running/workout clothes. It’s the best when you can super coupon your birthday promo codes with President’s Day promos. Hollllaaa.

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I confess I use the “oh it’s okay I’ll just run it off” excuse so many times. I got a box of gamble chocolates, a Starbucks giftcard and beautiful roses from the hubs. Can anyone guess which of the three lasted the longest?

I confess I doubled up on cardio each day this weekend because of how nice it was outside. I was running around in a tank on my runs in FEBRUARY. WHAT?! Unheard of in Chicagoland. My bod is just soaking up ALL of that sunshine. Everyone was out walking around, riding their bikes, it was great. Winter, sorry but you can just stay away.

This weekend really was the best. I went out every chance I got and spent time with family. Life is good when you make it a point to stop the chaos and take care of yourself physically and mentally.

Cheers!

Fit Focused

Fit Focused

Week two has officially gone by of my master plan to tone up and I’m actually 4lbs down. My strategy is to be very mentally aware of my goals. That’s it. Everything I do, I think about whether or not it’s conducive to my goals. Is skipping a workout going to get me one step closer to my goal? Nope. Is stuffing my face rather than eating until I’m satisfied going to work in my favor? Not a chance in hell….although it’s been hard leaving delicious food on my plate. Things that HAVE been working are things like:

  • Logging my food/water intake on MyFitnessPal (and no I’m not a fan of keeping track of every single calorie, but it really helps you make smarter decisions based on your food intake throughout the day.
  • Not snacking after dinner. Who knew this would be so hard? I workout later at night sometimes so I don’t know about you, but after an intense strength training session I could eat the whole fridge.
  • Don’t compromise. This is when the whole “mental toughness” thing comes in right? Sure, you can tell yourself that you can always workout tomorrow…but you should ALSO workout today. The common myth is that it takes about 21 days to form a habit, so why break the healthy habit of getting your workout and not working on your goals? You should never compromise what you want most.
  • Build your mental toughness with some reading material. I’ve stocked my Kindle app full of some good reads that got some great reviews including: Un*fuck Yourself: Get out of your head and into your life, The Universe Has Your Back: Transform fear to faith, Better Than Before, and You Are a Badass.
  • Focus on the journey, not the destination. This is really important. It’s a bit stressful to think about how your overall goal is to lose 20-25lbs by the end of May. Working on losing 1-2lbs each week and being mindful of how I’m going to keep myself in check week by week is a lot easier to handle.

I’m even more ecstatic that my boxing classes have been moved to a later time during the week so I have a better chance of making it after work. Can we get a heck yes? I can already feel the results of my increased strength training. Overall, I just feel like my energy is cranked throughout my whole workout rather than burning out hard toward the end. Saturday morning I was amped for my boxing class and then since it was SO nice out, I really didn’t have any choice but to go for a run around the neighborhood #shitrunnersdo. I swear, Chicagoland hasn’t seen some sunshine in weeks AND it almost reached 60 degrees in JANUARY. It had to be done. Feeling strong and the sunshine is definitely giving me that extra kick in the pants! Err…leggings. 😉

Sunday was another run-derful morning! It ended up being a morning every runner dreams of. I felt like I could have kept running at top speed for another 7 miles. It’s days like these that REALLY keep me going. Not to mention that since I’ve been amping up my strength training, I’ve been noticing that I’ve been burning more cals per running or workout sesh. Although let me tell ya, saying no to stuffing my face with pizza on several occasions has been SO HARD.

This weekend as a whole was a very empowering one. Over 1 million women came together in every major city across the country to unite and rally for women’s rights. I’m so proud and my heart and soul is filled with so much pride. It was the best demonstration of uniting peacefully and for such an important cause.

This week I’m going to continue to be on my A game. Sunday I’ll be flying out to Vegas for a work conference so those liquid calories will be EVERYWHERE….and tempting. I mean…who goes to Vegas and skips out on fancy martinis and wine? Unfortunately I can’t fly out a day earlier to catch Britney’s show. I mean, if Britney can get her shit back together after 2007, then I can certainly hit my goals. And remember, everyone has bad days, but know that you’ll get through them. Do the robot in your car if you have to. Happy Monday!!!

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Cheers!!

Goal Digger

Goal Digger

Hello blog world! We’re almost one month into 2017! How are you doing with those resolutions? Goals? I’d like to take some time out to say that I’ve been more determined than ever to achieve my fitness goals and to categorize my needs over what are just wants. Like I said in my previous post, one huge goal I have for myself is to stop spending ruthlessly and be more mindful of my spending no matter how small the amount is. I’ve noticed even just a month in, that I now have more to spend on things that I NEED and to lead the healthier lifestyle that I want. I live for my boxing classes and if my budget didn’t allow for it anymore….well…just no.

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We all have those things that keep us on our A game, keep us sane, totally relieve us of all the stress that the world causes us…working out is totally the answer to ALL of that. It’s my time to think about NOTHING else but me. It’s actually when I think of my best ideas, my next step forward etc. However, although I know that working out does all of this for me mentally and physically…sometimes it’s really really hard to workout after a long day at work if I didn’t get up early enough to workout that morning. So here are some things I do/say to myself to get me motivated:

1. Why am I doing this?
2. I’m letting myself down if I don’t go.
3. I know that I’m going to regret not going, not if I do.
4. If I go, I’m one step closer to achieving my goals.
5. Working out will make me stronger.
6. If I don’t go, I’m only hurting myself.
7. Going will make me feel good. Period.
8. If I go, all of this stress will melt right off of me.
9. I’m robbing myself of a better lifestyle.
10. Just go! You have 24 hours in a day. You can spend one on yourself.

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Or some other things that I do is put on a goal dress/ piece of clothing that I might have in the closet. That’ll always make me slap my Nikes on faster than anything else. Also, I have way too much activewear in my closet to NOT workout. Also I love Jimmy Johns way too much not workout. And wine. One 6oz glass of wine is about 120 cals.

Even Luigi is a carbovore. But really though, it’s been a work in progress cutting down the carbs and amping up the protein. I’ve been adding more strength training days each week and my diet really needs to reflect that.

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The hardest part is telling that little voice in your head to shut the fuck up when it says, “yes you are really hungry and sure you can have a piece of pizza…or three. YES do have a chip…A CHIP? Yeah that won’t happen. How about half the bag? This little voice is the main reason why I need to be mentally aware of my goals 24/7. Being a part of a great running group (RunJunKeEs), subscribing to health and fitness magazines to constantly be conscious of leading a healthy lifestyle, going to fitness classes, and talking to like-minded people who are fitness-focused are all ways that I’ve set myself up to lose another 25lbs by this summer.

I’m totally in this….and Luigi has my back.

And trolling my selfies for life.

Cheers!!

Running tips to avoid injury – don’t be stupid

Running tips to avoid injury – don’t be stupid

So today was pretty significant. Why? Well, I officially hit my goal of running 1,000 miles for 2016. I’m excited. Stoked. Proud. Teary-eyed. Although something even more important to note, I am still INJURY-FREE. I didn’t start off the year too well. I fucked up my hamstring tendon in ways that will make you scream in pain even when I sat down for an extended period of time. After months of physical therapy and finally listening to my body so I could heal properly, I did. I got back on that saddle (slowly) and got back to my normal running pace. It took more patience than I thought I had in me, but I did it and I have sworn that I would never let myself be in that position again. Now I can say that I’ve hit my 2016 fitness goal.

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Here are some tips that I’ve followed to help keep my body healthy and injury-free. Keep in mind, I’m not a doctor and these tips are just things that have helped me.

  1. Don’t run every single day. I’ve found that if I pack on the miles every single day without rest or a cross training day, that’s a fast recipe to getting fucked up (queue IT band issues, tightness in my hamstring tendon). As a fellow runner, yes I can see you rolling your eyes from here. Just promise to fit in some non-running days here and there. Your legs will thank you.
  2. Add strength training to your routine. Doing this will not only help prevent injuries, but it will really amp up your speed. It certainly helped me shave off minutes per mile, especially when I was recovering from my injury and was working my way up to my normal speed again. Also, workout your muscles evenly. Don’t just focus on one muscle group.
  3. Rest. No, I don’t mean resting bitch face like the one you’re giving right now reading this. I mean really letting yourself recover, especially if you feel like something is off. Believe it or not, rest days are just as important as the days you kick your ass at the gym.
  4. Stretch. I’ve known some runners to not stretch at all and they swear that they’re fine…yeah well I said the same thing until I fucked up my hamstring. Just give it some time. Now that I’m more prone to injuring that tendon again, that does require me to do more stretching than others. Slacking off in this area is absolutely nonnegotiable whether you’re still healing or fully recovered from an injury. My physical therapist gave me a set of dynamic stretches to do before I run. Check them out here.
  5. Listen to your body. When your stuck seeing your physical therapist for at least an hour, you tend to engage in a lot of conversation. One thing she mentioned was that if more runners just listened to their bodies more, she’d probably be out of a job. Why? Because runners tend to literally run themselves into the ground until they really injure themselves and get stuck going to PT. The key is to fix what might be wrong before a major problem occurs. Feel some tightness during a run? Stomach upset? Slow down a little! Or really, just stop running altogether. Pay attention to your form, breathing, and make sure you’re hydrated.

Sure as a runner, you just want to get up and go for a run, but if you want to stay healthy and keep up with training then you need to run smart. By learning to run smart, I was able to still log 1,000 miles for this year. Had I ignored my doctor, skipped PT sessions, and didn’t take their advice to heart, my running shoes would be collecting dust in the closet right now. Instead, I get to wake up, STRETCH, run, STRETCH AGAIN, and then enjoy taking post-run selfies. 😀

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(This is my it’s really cold out, and my face is still thawing out face.)

And really these tips can benefit a runner at any age. I’m a 20-something and no, stretching doesn’t make you weak, it actually makes you stronger. Again, don’t be dumb. Listen to your body, and run happy!

Cheers!

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Life Happenings – We Are the Champions!

Life Happenings – We Are the Champions!

There comes a time when this thing called life happens and documenting it from day to day just isn’t feasible. Especially when exciting things that haven’t happened in over 100 years HAPPEN. Yes, I’m going to start this October/November roundup with THE CUBS. It was a surreal game to watch. We blew the lead twice…and WON THE WORLD SERIES. Heart palpitations, high blood pressure, high anxiety, almost feeling like I just might throw up all over the hundred other Cubs fans that were around me at the bar we were at. BUT WE WON. Absolutely nothing could match the joy of waking up to this that morning.

 

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Feelings of holy shit it happened, extreme happiness, jumping up and down, screaming the lyrics to the Cubs anthem….and flying that W! It was a night I’ll never forget. It was so emotional watching all of the older Cubs fans who have been waiting for this moment for so long. Just a couple days after their historic win, I also was cleared to attend the parade that reported to be the 7th largest human gathering in the world. I opted to go to Wrigley where the parade started. I needed to see this…

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This made it so real.

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While some bosses and HR departments were saying not to skip work for this day, mine was right beside me. Although it was nothing short of crazy dealing with all of the people on the train and getting a primo viewing spot, I have zero regrets. Seeing these guys bring that trophy home was priceless.

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It was a perfect day all around. The only thing that did piss me off were the countless teens just looking to see where the “most epic party” was. Go back to school kids. The hubs has even rewatched the final game numerous times and all of the highlights. It’s just something a dedicated Cubs fan can’t get enough of. We did it. WE FINALLY DID IT. Oh and don’t even get me started on the cray-sauce people in line at Dick’s Sporting Goods after the win. The hubs and I went to see how bad the line would be…we couldn’t even see the end of the line it was so long. INSANE. Online shopping, you ridiculously convenient, sexy monster you. My heart will be full because of this Cubs win for quite some time. GO CUBS GOOOOO.

That Sunday I had a half marathon to run – the Milwaukee Running Festival. I just HAD to represent my Cubs with my race day apparel. Obviously. Although it was FREEZING out in the morning, it warmed up pretty fast. This sunrise was a precursor to how epic of a race this ended up to be.

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Little did I know that Milwaukee is FULL of steady inclines and hills. The first half of the course was either up steep hills or a steady incline. My. Lord.  The hubs and my in-laws came to cheer me on and man did I ever need them! Their cheers definitely helped me pull through each mile. Little did I know that I would end up with a PR by 8 MINUTES. I haven’t PRed since my injury late last year so I felt like I could cry. In fact, I probably did just because my glutes just took a horrific beating from those hills. I definitely worked hard for this medal.

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This time of the year is my favorite. The holidays are right around the corner and the wedding is absolutely perfect for running around the neighborhood. With tensions so high about the election, I’m going to just leave that out and say that we need to love and come together as a nation. This roundup was short and quick and I’m leaving a lot out, but I hope everyone starts this week out right and make it amazing!

Cheers!

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Hello Fall Fitness!

Hello Fall Fitness!

OCTOBER. I don’t know about anyone else, but fall is my favorite for several reasons…especially as a runner.

  1. You don’t feel like a sizzling piece of bacon after your long run
  2. All of the hard summer training FINALLY pays off as the fall running season kicks off
  3. Pumpkin everything. No, this has nothing to do with being a runner…just being human.
  4. The running gear I binge bought during the off-season at a steal, I can now wear. Holla!
  5. Runs are much more scenic. Give me all the pretty, falling leaves!
  6. You don’t have to worry about melting into a pile of sweat because you didn’t get up before the sun did
  7. Heat exhaustion after running a half marathon, not so much.
  8. If you stopped to catch your breath…you can actually catch it rather than being choked by the million percent humidity.
  9. New season, new playlists!
  10. Any time is a great time to run!! Early weekend wake-up calls? BYE, FELICIA.

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I’m also super excited about joining a boxing gym again. Running is great for stress, but sometimes you just really need to smack the hell out of something am I right?! I’m so excited to support a local, non-franchise gym too. One of my old trainers decided to go for it and open up his own gym and I can’t sign up fast enough! My abs hurt even when I giggle just a little bit. Dude knows how to work his classes! I’m still recovering from our awards events my company hosted. It’s top-notch food, but also top-notch calories….and that’s not even counting the calories I drank. As they always say, you can’t outrun your fork…and fortunately these events don’t come around TOO often, but when the holiday season comes up and we’re hosting holiday parties or preparing dishes to bring, finding ways to cut out those extra calories is key. Instead of chips and dip, opt for a veggie tray or my favorite, cold veggie pizza for an appetizer.

Recipe:

Produce

  • 1 cup Broccoli, fresh
  • 4 Green onions
  • green/red peppers

Condiments

  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise, light

Baking & Spices

  • 1 cup Red pepper, fresh

Bread & Baked Goods

  • 2 Pillsbury (8 ounces/226g) cans reduced-fat pillsbury crescent rolls, reduced-fat

Dairy

  • 8 oz Cream cheese, reduced-fat
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plain

I’ve also teamed up with Chobani to feature some of their favorite ways to switch up party platter dishes so they’re a bit healthier.

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If you haven’t tried Chobani Meze Dips, I have to say, they’re delicious. They have a variety of flavors to pair with your favorite veggies you have to snack on. Back away from those chips and eat fresh! The roasted red pepper and the three pepper salsa are my favorites. My usual go-to before trying these out was hummus. The very sad, unfortunate thing about hummus is that it’s fat content is RIDICULOUS. So naturally, I avoided looking at the label. #ignoranceisbliss. Not really…SO I feel like this is a great option.

You want to know who else is a great supporter of Chobani products? Apollo. So…you know they’re good right? #Apolloing

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Overall, if you snack healthy, you feel healthy. Just my opinion. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like slipping into a pair of skinny jeans after eating my weight in chips and salsa. Healthy snack options are always good to have in your back packet whether you want a little something for yourself or if you’re throwing a party. Don’t ask Apollo for any ideas though…he’ll just stare at you in his box.

 

Or….try to steal said healthy snack (not pictured). #Rude.

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Cheers to eating fresh and getting your sweat on!

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Run Chicago

Run Chicago

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!! Last weekend I ran the second leg of the Chicago half marathon series and man was it epic. Two things can totally make a race. 1.) Perfect weather 2.) Epic swag/bling. This race had both. Granted, it was really hot and humid halfway through, but it was much better than the rain they had predicted! Although my time was one of my worst (thanks whiny hamstring tendon), it’s officially one of my favorite races. I mean, it’s not everyday where you can run down the middle of Lakeshore Drive for miles.

It all started with the race expo being at Soldier Field. Helllloooo free samples galore. I met up with my fav running buddy after I picked up my packet and we went from booth to booth picking things up and buying matching “Run Chicago” bracelets…because…obviously. You can find them here!

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Once we stocked up on our samples and race gear, we headed out to carb-load. Hellloooo Noodles & Co. We had to uphold tradition. Although races are always early, this one is particularly early. Brutal. Both of us were already envisioning that finish line and those HUGE medals.

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We started in different corrals so after waiting in line for a last bathroom break, we split up and braced for the race to start! Luckily I remembered to switch up my playlist because as a runner, you eventually just want to claw your eyes out once you hear certain songs over and over again. Can anyone else relate? A playlist can definitely make or break my run. This time, I was totally spot on. Complete with The Weeknd’s new hit, some Katy Perry, Beyonce, Van Halen and others to mix up my run nicely…and you know…have that one super motivational song play right when you see the one guy loop around already and you’re only halfway through the course. #ImnotKenyan.

The last 5k was rough. I’ve been running a half marathon pretty much every other weekend for a little over a month now so my legs were just like, “girl…we’re about done.” Going around that last corner though only to see the finish line…oh it brought a tear to my eye…or maybe it was just more salty sweat stinging my eye…

There’s also so many perks spotting the camera dude right at the finish line. Flying race pic, HOLLLLLA.

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Then…the medals….this race has the biggest medals by far. You can eat your dinner off of them. And this time, since I finished the challenge, I got to snag a second kick-ass medal.

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I mean really, my neck was even starting to get sore. Epic and totally worth it. Both of us totally rocked that race and we vowed that we would enjoy every second on non-training in our near future.

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The soreness didn’t even fully settle in before we could say that we were signing up for the 2017 half marathon series. I highly recommend this series. Registering right away also means getting early bird pricing. WIN. The only thing I don’t look foward to is the ride home. At least I got a seat all to myself on the train….I’m sure it wasn’t because I smelled like roses post-half marathon. I always feel so accomplished after these races too – not just because of the massive Flav-a-flav bling, but because my Garmin clocked me in at burning over 2,600 calories. Yes, that means I can justify consuming all the things that night. Give me pumpkin spice lattes, pizza, chocolate chip cookies.

Annnnnd one more medal selfie to close. By design, I’d say these are my favorite medals aside from my Chicago marathon medal….because well #marathon. Duh.

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What’s your most coveted race medal or medal in general? Is there particular bling that shines above the rest?

Cheers!

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