Chicago Women’s Half Marathon Recap

Well..I did it!  I finished the Chicago Women’s Half Marathon!



Good Morning, Sunshine!

The day began with a 4 a.m. wake-up call.  And it was Pride Week in Chicago so when we were getting up some lovely men were coming back to my friend’s apartment building.  She lives in Boystown and the streets were rolling with fabulous men!  And huge shout out for marriage equality!!!

We got ready, I ate a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and then later ate a Power Bar.  Then we got on the bus to head to Grant Park!



Someone wasn’t exactly happy about getting on a bus at 4:50….but the sun never sets on a badass.

We arrived at Grant Park and I drank a couple bottles of Smart Water, went to the bathroom and stretched it out getting ready for the race!  It was already 70 degrees and the race was on high alert due to humidity and temperature.  I knew I was in a bad spot.  I do not do well with heat, as we all know.

The race was set to start at 6:30 and it started promptly.  The owner of Fleet Feet Chicago gave a wonderful speech on how important heart health is for women – it was the charity for the race – and that she was a healthy woman who suffered a heart attack in December.  And she was running the race with us!!  It was a very moving story and truly inspiring that you can bounce back from anything.

And we’re off!!





I started out great!  I kept up with the 2:20 pace team for the first 5 miles, which I was very pleased with!  At mile 2, I ran into the man and said to him, “Wedding Dress!  Wedding Dress! Wedding Dress!”  Is there a better reason to run then that?  I gotta look hot! 🙂

But then…it got hot!!  Really hot!  The race did a great job of having a water station every mile, some misting stations with fans and water and some Gu at mile 7.7.

I didn’t want to walk the entire time and I kept that going through until mile 8.  At that point, I just didn’t want to go to a medical tent!  Girls were dropping like flies, I saw 3 girls pass out.  As someone who has fainted 3 times from being overheated, it was more important to me that I finish and not faint then run the whole time but get sick.

So, after mile 8, I took my time – walking up hills and getting passed by women in their 60’s.  BUT I had time to snap these amazing pictures!





I went around the corner of mile 12, saw the sign for Grant Park, and picked up the pace!  I was able to sprint to the end.  That was very important to me: Start Strong, Finish Strong.

The man told me afterwards that when he looked at his phone and he saw 83 degrees, he knew I was in trouble.  He kept looking at his phone because someone was going to call him saying that I had passed out.  But then he saw me running around the corner and breathed a sigh of relief.

So, it wasn’t exactly the best run, but I got a medal!  I finished!  I learned that it is more important to listen to your body then to push yourself and regret it later.




I’m glad it’s over – and I’m glad I survived.  And was able to eat a huge burger and a McFlurry on the way home!

Here’s to running races in March only!!  Happy 4th of July!


Wow – is Tuesday already over?  It’s crazy that I haven’t blogged in a few days and I must say, I miss it!

Blogging gives me such a creative outlet that I crave.  I must have this outlet.  It not only keeps me (mostly) on track with my (mostly) healthy habits, it gives me the creativity that I don’t have in my work environment.

Let’s jump to what’s been happening recently!

FRIDAY – Doesn’t Friday seem like it was so long ago?  I did the normal Friday activities – go to work, come home, hang out with man!  Let’s see, what I ate: a chocolate granola bar and banana for breakfast (sorry for the blurry picture).  And a lovely co-worker brought in Starbucks for everyone!  I ordered a grande skinny carmel maachiato.  Oh how it makes me feel like summer!  Speaking of summer, every other Friday during summer, my office has ‘hot dog Friday.’  It’s definitely not on the healthy list, but I ate some pasta salad, fruit, a hot dog with ketchup and a cookie!  It was pretty good.

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Then it was time to come home and r-e-l-a-x!  Bravo was playing a TON of Real Housewives of New Jersey re-runs and I recorded a bunch of them.  I watched an old reunion (like season 2, see Danielle Staub?!) as an ate a banana. And then I had some carrots.  (I guess my lunch wasn’t exactly nutritious).  And then I did about 30 minutes of yoga.  It was wonderful to stretch out all my running muscles.  I can definitely feel a difference when I am stretched and when I’m not.  I need to do this more often!





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Then it was time to make dinner.  On the menu: our favorite caprese pasta.  It’s basically a caprese salad over pasta.  I cut up mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes and basil, mix with pasta and garnish with olive oil, salt and pepper.   We could eat this every day.  We enjoyed dinner and prosecco (a lovely celebratory gift from the man!  I’ll explain why we were celebrating at a more appropriate time) while watching Invictus.  

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Also on the menu was a side salad of romaine lettuce with some Bolthouse Farms bleu cheese yogurt dressing.  Oh man, is that stuff good!!



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SATURDAY – A lovely relaxing weekend should always begin with pancakes.  I made quick pancakes, covered 2 with butter and syrup, with a side of strawberries and bananas.  Oh so delicious.  Then for lunch, I had the remainder of the taco beef for a salad which I topped with cheese, sour cream and cherry tomatoes.  I love taco salads!  We went over to a friend’s apartment for her birthday and dinner consisted of fruit, fruit dip, pretzel crisps and some dip.  It was oh so delicious.  I know I had some other snacks, probably some Cheez-It’s, but I didn’t snap a picture.

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Before lunch I went to the gym and did 30 minutes on the arc trainer on hills and then did some arm weights.  It was a really good work out!!

We also did a bad thing and went shopping!  I got a new dress at LOFT and the man splurged and got 2 new suits.  It was an expensive day.  And at the mall there is a pet store that lets you go into a little room and play with puppies….so…..we played with this little guy for a few minutes!  He was so cute and I really, really want a puppy, but it’s just not the right time for us.  But look at how cute!?



SUNDAY – A glorious running day!!  It was perfect weather and I went with 2 friends for a 6 mile run that was quick and included lots of hills and sprints.  I felt great afterwards and really excited for the race in a few days.

Before the run, I ate 2 pieces of whole wheat toast with a banana, peanut butter and chia seeds.  Oh so filling and perfect for a pre-run meal.  And as a reward, we all got Starbucks.  This time, I ordered a skinny hazelnut maachiato.  OH MY GOSH!  This gave the carmel a run for it’s money.  I think I will be drinking this all summer!  After I got home, I showered and ate a granola bar.

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Pretty much the rest of the afternoon was spent in front of the TV watching re-runs of Real Housewives of New Jersey.  I don’t care, it was perfect!  We ate dinner pretty early because I was starving and dinner consisted of pizza fries and marinara sauce.  It reminded me of college when my roommate and I would go to the hall store, order pizza fries and watch Project Runway.  Oh how college rocked!!  It’s not healthy, but, hey, 6 miles completed!  And then an apple while watching re-runs.  #juicyjoeisnotjuicy

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It was a wonderful weekend!!!  I’ll recap Monday and Tuesday tomorrow.  Holy cow!!!  How was your weekend?

Toasty Tuesday



As I was watching the Real Housewives of Orange County today, Tamra gave an emotional speech at a women’s expo.  It was really heartfelt about her life.  She closed her speech with a great motivational quote, “Strong is the new skinny.”



Since I’m in full blown training for the Chicago Women’s Half Marathon, I am definitely noticing a difference in my body and it’s strength.  I used to look at my legs as a nice body part, but now I look at them as the vehicles to allow me to finish my 13.1 miles on June 23rd!

I’m starting to transition my mind speak from negative to positive.  It’s about being strong and pushing your body to limits you never thought possible.

See, Tamra Barney and the Real Housewives can be a positive experience.


Long Weekends are the Best

Happy Memorial Day!  First and foremost, I would like to give a huge THANK YOU to all the men and women who have served or are currently serving in our armed forces.  America’s people are free because of you.

This Memorial Day weekend was spent in Chicago, IL for my cousin’s high school graduation.  No one loves the actual graduation ceremony, but it is so special to celebrate one of the greatest accomplishments!  I was 7 when my cousin was born and I have seen him grow up into a wonderful young man.  Boy, how time flies!!

FRIDAY – Working from home is a large perk of my current job.  I am taking a few online training courses and it’s so much nicer to do that from the couch then at a desk.

The other positives, Keurig for breakfasts!


And for eats, some vanilla Chobani and chocolate granola.


When lunch rolled around, I heated up some baked ziti.  It was quite delicious.


And then I had my favorite snack of all time – peanut butter and apples.



Another snack – some kettle chips.  I watched Real Housewives of New Jersey re-runs on Bravo.  (In case you were wondering, the new season starts June 2!)



When dinner time rolled around, neither of us wanted to cook.  So, we got into the car and headed to Smash Burger.

I ordered a grilled chicken cobb sandwich, which was supposed to have avocado on it!  It didn’t.  And, I’m still upset about it!  But the sandwich was actually really, really good.  I did have a few fries, too.  The night was spent lounging on the couch and hanging out.  We had an early morning the next day.


SATURDAY – I woke up early for a Saturday (like 7:15) to run 10 miles.

Before the run, I snacked on 2 graham crackers and some peanut butter.


This pre-run snack actually held me over for the entire 2 hours of running.  #impressive

The run was great!  It was only about 45 degrees and the sun was coming up, it was great.  Once I hit mile 4.5, I was cruisin’.  It’s definitely getting me excited for the race!!

Then it was time to hit the road to Chicago….But first, a stop to Panera.


I ordered a hazelnut coffee and a cinnamon scone.  I only had a few bites of the scone but it was delicious!  I ate my scone while reading the latest issue of Marie Clare.  I love that magazine because it’s not just about fashion, it also reports on world issues.


And then, 5 hours later, we arrived in Chicago!!  When we got to my aunt and uncle’s house, we chowed down one appetizers, including hummus and corn dip.  I also made myself 2 vodka tonics.  Gotta love a full bar!

Dinner was delicious, except I didn’t eat the main course.  It was pulled pork sandwiches and BBQ sauce and my stomach just do not agree.  So, I had some Portillo’s salad, some potato salad and 2 deviled eggs.  Of course, chocolate cake was devoured!


SUNDAY – Graduation Day!!  We awoke early in the morning and chowed down on some yummy breakfast!  I had some egg bake, fruit, a little bit of monkey bread and a chocolate-covered peanut butter bar, with a side of orange juice.  So yummy!


Then we headed off to graduation, which was pretty long with 600+ kids in the class.  With a last name towards the end of the alphabet, we made sure to bring snacks!!!


This picture shows the gushers wrapper under our seats…there were also some granola bar wrappers. Hey, we had to sit for a long time!

My family and I went back to our hotel for some appetizers before heading over to my cousin’s graduation dinner.  My mom, sister and I split a bottle of Prosecco and we ordered a cheese board and some hummus dips.

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Then over to Maggiano’s!


I had a little bit of everything.  It was amazing.  It was great to sit around with family, tell funny stories about Corey and my uncle gave a heartfelt speech.  It was relaxing and perfect!

How was your Memorial Day weekend?

Is it the long weekend yet?

TGIF!  Happy Friday to everyone!  I’m so looking forward to spending the long weekend with my family in Chicago to watch my cousin graduate from high school.  I remember when my cousin was born – I was 7!  He’s now a 6’5″ young man who is one of the funniest people I know.  I’m so excited for his adventures.

Let’s jump into yesterday’s eats!  I have to say, yesterday wasn’t great.  Having a morning long meeting is never easy and it kinda throws off my whole day.

BREAKFAST – Apple.  Why am I so obsessed with apples?!  I don’t know, but they are delicious.  I also guess I have a big obsession with taking a picture after I take my first bite.  #weirdo



LUNCH – love a free lunch.  It is safe to say that I would sit through anything if lunch is being offered.  So, while a morning long meeting isn’t too enticing, but knowing that a free lunch is at the end of the tunnel, I can power through!



Usually, Panera is catered, but this lunch came from some deli I didn’t know.  I at a turkey sandwich with cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo on whole grain bread.  On the side, I had some fruit salad and an insanely soft chocolate chip cookie.  Seriously, that chocolate chip cookie was amazing!!

SNACK – Cheez-It’s.  I snacked on some Cheez-It’s when I got home before I headed out to the gym.

EXERCISE – I went to the gym and completed a 2 mile run on the treadmill.  I haven’t been that great on my training schedule during the week, but I’ve done pretty well on the long run front.


This is exactly how I feel when I work out.  It’s also exactly how I look….yeah, right!

After my run, I did the slut machine at 90 pounds, 12 times, 3 reps.  Then, I did some tricep pull downs and then some abs.  I did a lot of superman flys because I need to work on my back.

I wasn’t hungry at all for dinner last night.  I was insanely tired, so I just went to bed.  Sometimes, sleep wins all.  Here’s to a wonderful Memorial Day!

Weekend Recap

I would have assumed that a nice weekend at home would be pretty relaxing.  Boy was I wrong!

Even though we were home (ie in Michigan), we were pretty much go, go, go all weekend.  Let’s recap the weekend:



Breakfast was 2 pieces of toast, 1 banana and chia seeds, with a side of hazelnut coffee.  {I just love my Chicago mug!}

Snacks included some Cheez-It’s and an apple.

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There’s nothing like a lunchtime work out!  I did a quick 3 mile run at a 10:30 pace.  It was nice to actually do something active during the day.  It kept my spirit up for the rest of the afternoon.


And dinner was enjoyed on the balcony with a bottle of Chianti.  Oh so good!!  Dinner included: shrimp sauteed in olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and orzo with basil, cherry tomatoes and parmesan cheese.  I also enjoyed a side salad of arugula/spinach blend and ranch dressing.  For dessert, a super old chocolate covered Oreo.  It was a great dinner with great conversation!

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SATURDAY – The weekend began bright and early as we had to complete the natural family planning portion of our marriage prep.  It was pretty awful and I’ll write a whole recap on marriage prep in the Catholic church for those who are interested.

We ran to get some coffee before our day.  I ordered a cappuccino, which was perfect!!


After our meeting, we definitely needed some alcohol.  So, off to Buddy’s Pizza we went and enjoyed some Stella, a side salad and pizza with pepperoni and green peppers.  It was perfect!

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After lunch, we ran some errands and even finalized our tux rentals for the wedding!!  It was unexpected but really necessary.  It feels so good to have that checked off the list!

We came home and I snacked on some cantaloupe.  Then, we watched This is 40 on demand, which was actually a good movie.  I drank a glass of Chianti and ate popcorn for dinner!  It was the perfect Saturday night spent snuggling on the couch and drinking vino.

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SUNDAY – On the agenda, a run!  It was incredibly hot, like 80 degrees hot.  I wasn’t really looking forward to running in that hot heat, but I ran with 2 co-workers, which made it fun.  We completed 6 miles {we started wanting to do 9, but it was just too hot} and I’m not even going to tell you the time.  It wasn’t good.  TOO HOT!

I ate 2 pieces of toast with peanut butter and the remaining Cheez-It’s before the run, drank an entire Gatorade on the run and then starved for a few hours.

After my run, we ran to Macy’s to start our registry.  It was so much fun!  And we actually agreed on everything.  It was a nice surprise.  I’ll also be recapping our registry experiences.

Then, we went to Chipotle – I had 3 chicken tacos with chicken, lettuce, guac and cheese.  Of course, chips and guac were consumed.



I’m pretty exhausted just writing this post.   All in all, I’m pretty pleased with the way this weekend turned out – from all angles: food, exercise and quality time spent with the man!


Running During the Week?

This Friday has been absolutely gorgeous.  The weather is great, I’m working from home and the man and I are actually in the state of MI this weekend for the only weekend in May!  It’s been crazy.

Let’s just jump right into what I ate/how I exercised this week, shall we?

WEDNESDAY – Hump day was pretty good day.  The weather was great, work was good and I ate ice cream.  What else can you want for a Wednesday?

BREAKFAST – The day started off with a banana.  Have you seen this video?  It is hilarious.



LUNCH – LEFTOVERS!  I must say that these enchiladas are super good.   


I am lucky enough to have the option to work out of different offices or from home with my current job.  I go into the office where my boss is located mostly on Mondays (because I have a meeting with him) and then tend to work from another office that is closer to my apartment (literally 6 minutes) most other days.  The great thing is, I got to go home for lunch!  I watched some Watch What Happens Live as I ate these babies!

SNACK – I mentioned this cake on my What I’m Loving Wednesday post, but it’s worth mentioning again.  It was someone’s birthday in the office, so that meant, CAKE.  The cake I chose was a Sander’s Bumpy Cake.  I’ve never heard of it, which is apparently a crime for anyone living in Michigan, but I’m new here!!  But, it was definitely worth the wait.  The bumpy cake is basically a Devil’s food cake with butter cream bumps and fudge frosting.  #amazeballs I also had a side of mint chocolate chip ice cream!



And when I came home, I snacked on some strawberries on the balcony.


EXERCISE – I ran 5 miles outside and it was wonderful.  The weather was gorgeous and I kept an 11 minute mile pace.  Job well done!

DINNER – A quick meal in the form of whole wheat rontini, broccoli and my mom’s spaghetti sauce.  SO DELICIOUS!



THURSDAY – Yesterday was great because it ended with a wonderful happy hour with co-workers at a sushi bar, Ronin.  But first.

BREAKFAST – Another banana.  I just love these!


SNACK – A lunchtime trip to Whole Foods.  I love this place with my whole heart……did you catch that?


Pretty flowers!!




I enjoyed an iced coffee outside.  Their iced coffee is actually delicious!



LUNCH – Leftovers from dinner.  Quite yummy.



And a cookie.



DINNER – I am a sucker for sushi.  The man doesn’t love it, so when co-workers want to go, I’m more than game

It started with a glass of pinot grigio (I had 2 glasses) and edammae.  Both delicious.


I shared some rolls, but I mostly stuck with my roll – a Shinto roll, which consisted of lettuce, carrots, avocado, mango and shrimp.  Amazing!!


And since someone else wanted dessert…I obliged.  Fried Oreo’s and some ice cream!  Sign me up!


So that was my past 2 days.  I know I had ice cream twice and a cookie, but, I need some chocolate in my life.  I just can’t get rid of it.  I’d rather give up salt than chocolate.  EVERY TIME.  And I ran 5 miles.  This is why I run.  It’s all about balance, I must say.

What do you think?!