Monthly Archives: July 2013

Running through Chicago + Reebok Spartan winner!
Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Health and Fitness Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

First of all, congratulations to Seth, for winning the FREE race entry to a Reeboc Spartan race!


OK, onto the SUPER long recap.


We got into Midway around 2:40 and took the Orange line to our hotel. We checked in, changed and got back on the train to go pick up our race packets.




After packet pickup, we ran to catch a train to make it in time for our 5:45 reservations at Frontera Grill. I made these reservation over two months ago and the hostess was very impressed that I scored prime time reservations! Let’s just say that I get what all the fuss is about.

These might be the best chips and salsa ever. I had them at Xoco before and was blown away then too.

These might be the best chips and salsa ever. I had them at Xoco before and was blown away then too.


Fried Sweet Plantains: Homemade sour cream, fresh cheese.

Tacos Arabes: Black pepper pork shoulder, chipotle salsa, yogurt jocoque sauce, cucumber.

Tacos Arabes: Black pepper pork shoulder, chipotle salsa, yogurt jocoque sauce, cucumber.

After we got back from dinner we relaxed awhile before heading to bed early since the alarm was set for 4:45 a.m.


Big Ten 10K race recap

After the race, we grabbed some Dunkin’ Donuts (again, my obsession is because we don’t have them in MN):

I love when post-race recovery involves donuts, coffee and legs up the wall

I love when post-race recovery involves donuts, coffee and legs up the wall

And then we made an obligatory stop for a photo (or two or three) at the Bean:


Bean selfie!

Bean selfie!

Then we walked the couple of blocks from Millenium Park to our hotel where we showered, checked out, checked our luggage and headed down Michigan Ave. to see if we could get in to eat lunch at (my fave) The Purple Pig.

They said it was only going to be a 45-minute wait so we gave the hostess my phone number and then continued down Michigan Avenue for some power shopping at Zara.

We had just made our purchases when the Purple Pig called us only about 25 minutes later, so we hurried back as quickly as we could.


The fava beans, pork secreto and chicken kebabs

After lunch, Andrea and I took the Red Line to Wrigleyville. It brought back a lot of memories of  all of the time I spent in Chicago when I was in college.


We walked to Wrigley Field and got some amazing froyo at Forever Yogurt (which I later found out is a Chicago-based frozen yogurt company). And after doing some research, I discovered that a Forever Yogurt is coming to MINNEAPOLIS!!!!! (St. Louis Park to be exact) No word on when exactly it’s opening though.

Once we got back from Wrigleyville it was time to switch hotels. I had points to use at the Radisson Blu but they only had rooms available for Friday night so we re-located to the Holiday Inn for Saturday night. We collected our luggage and then it was just a quick cab ride to the new hotel. Once we got to our room, we decided that a quick 15-minute nap was exactly what we needed.

Andrea and I woke up feeling a bit more refreshed and then grabbed a quick drink at the Cityscape Bar in our hotel — great view!


Once we were finished with our drinks, we walked to RPM for dinner.




Grilled asparagus, truffle garlic bread and the carbonara

I can’t say enough about how pleasantly surprised I was with how good RPM was. The service was FAN-tastic and the food was outstanding.

PHEW — check out my Fitbit step totals from Saturday alone! I finally got my 35,000 step badge.



After a restless nights sleep, we got up, showered and packed up so we’d be ready to check out right after the boat tour. Andrea and I swung by Einstein Bros for a bagel and coffee before making our way over to get on the boat for the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s tour.



The tour was really interesting and we got a nice snapshot of the rich architectural history Chicago has to offer. Andrea’s friend Priscilla and Hillary joined us on the tour. So much fun to finally meet Hillary!



After a quick brunch at the Corner Cafe, we checked out of the hotel and took the train back to the airport. It was a whirlwind trip (and I think I’m still exhausted from it!) but soooooo much fun!

Side note: Since I got so much better phone service in Chicago with my Verizon Droid than with my iPhone, I used it quite a bit during the weekend. Comparing my photos side-by-side makes me appreciate the camera even more on the Droid now!


FAB Fitness: weekly workouts 7/22 – 7/28
Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Health and Fitness Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

Monday: rest day

It was a super nice night out, so the husband and I grilled some delicious Chicken Caesar Burgers and relaxed for the evening.

Tuesday: 2 miles. 8:34, 8:27

I was supposed to run four miles in the morning before work but a Benadryl coma forced me to run over my lunch break instead. (The night before, I took two Benadryl when I started itching and bug bits mysteriously appeared on my feet. Even though I took them at 8 p.m., Benadryl always hits me really hard and there was no way I was getting up before 5 a.m.)

Wednesday: I ate wings instead of running. It happens.

Thursday: 4 miles. 9:17, 9:21, 9:37, 9:06

I ran sans Garmin and just tried to run at a comfortable pace. I did an out-and-back, grabbing a few sips of water at the fountain that’s at the halfway mark.

I noticed that when I ran on the part of the path that was shaded, I didn’t feel as tired and my pace definitely picked up as compared to when I was running in the direct sunlight. I know this is “duh” but I was surprised at just how big of a difference this made.

After my run, I met Mandy at one of my favorite places on Earth — the Midtown Global Market!

Bok Bok from Left Handed Cook and eggplant fries from Sonara Grill

Bok Bok from Left Handed Cook and eggplant fries from Sonara Grill

We did some Ragnar planning and then I headed back home to finish packing for Chicago.

Friday: Over 15,000 steps from traveling and walking around Chicago! I had Subway at the airport and this delicious snack we found:

Andrea can't eat nuts, so this was a perfect snack to share!

Andrea can’t eat nuts, so this was a perfect snack to share!


Saturday: Big Ten 10K


A great, confidence-building race! Hope to run this again next year.

Sunday: Rest day, but got plenty of steps walking around Chicago and both Midway and MSP airports.


I miss you already, Chicago.

I miss you already, Chicago.

Lots of steps overall this week! (Except for Wednesday because eating wings requires very few steps.)


This was a dial back week, in terms of mileage. Hoping that after a doctor’s appointment on Monday, I can be back where I need to be very soon!

How were your workouts last week? Run any races?

Race recap: Big Ten 10K


Alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. and Andrea and I got up, ate the bananas we bought at CVS the night before. I also made myself a cup of coffee and had a Picky Bar. We were out the door by 5:45  and took a cab to get dropped off by the parking area. As we walked to the start, I realized just how perfect the weather was (overcast and low 60s with light wind) and how happy I was with my outfit choice (Lululemon Run for Your Money tank, Oiselle stride shorts, sunglasses and my Minnesota knee high socks! Then we got in line for the porta potties and took a few photos of the lake:


Andrea and I parted ways to get to our corrals before they closed at 6:45 (race started at 7). It was a pretty smooth start, with each corral starting one minute or so after the previous one. So just a few minutes after 7, (I was in Corral D) we were off!

Mile 1: 9:09

This mile was was pretty much right where I wanted it to be. I wanted to start out slow, and was forced to because of all of the people at the beginning.  My calves were also super tight even though I rolled the s*** out of them the night before.

Mile 2: 8:46

The longest mile of my life. I alternated between thinking about tight calves and my sore left shin and how I could take it easy because I wasn’t going for any PR’s. Plus, there was a tunnel where I lost all GPS signal so I had no idea how fast I was running. But when my Garmin read 8:46 for mile 2, I was pretty happy.

The tunnel.

The tunnel.

Miles 3-5: 8:43, 8:33, 8:31

After the halfway point, my legs started to loosen up,  I grabbed some water at the aid station and I started to enjoy the race. It was near perfect racing weather and it was fun seeing all of the different schools represented. Also, I loved hearing the debate that was going on behind me about how long a 10K actually is. (the debate was 6.4 miles vs 6.2). On our way back to towards the finish, we also were running along the lakefront which was lovely.

Mile 6: 8:02

For the last mile I focused on a group of guys that were just in front of me and make it my mission to stay with them (this worked — I stayed with them all the way until the finish line). I knew by now that a PR was possible and I didn’t want to regret not going for it and missing it by just a few seconds. A part of me was worried about kicking it in too early, but I felt good right up until I had about .2 left to go and was definitely ready for the race to be over. For the last .2 I scrounged up every ounce of energy I had left and picked up the pace as much as I could.

Official time – 53:38. 1 minute 18 second PR off of my previous PR of 54:56 at the 2013 Get in Gear 10K.

I collected my medal….


…and then headed over to the U of M alumni booth to meet back up with Andrea. She ran a fantastic race, too! And congrats to Hillary who raced her way to a big, fat PR!


We walked back to the hotel, grabbing Dunkin’ Donuts and swinging by the Bean on the way. Full Chicago trip recap to come!



A change in plans.

Up until yesterday, the rest of my 2013 racing season was pretty much set. It looked like this:

  • This weekend: Big Ten 10K
  • August 10: Gopher to Badger Half
  • August 16-17: Ragnar
  • September 28: Building Strength 5K (will be walking this)
  • October 6: Twin Cities Marathon

Well yesterday I officially switched my registration from the half marathon to the 5K distance for the upcoming Gopher to Badger race I was planning to run. I had been contemplating making this switch for awhile now — I was getting worried about the course (hilly), the fact that I had Ragnar the following weekend, and my foot issues. And I have an appointment with an orthopedic doc on Monday because I figured it was time to get it taken care of. I would’ve waiting to switch race distances until after the appointment, but couldn’t because of the deadline to do so.

Anyways, I leave for Chicago TOMORROW! And as far as the race goes, I’ve decided not to try for any PR’s but not necessarily just run it for fun, either. I think “racing” the 6.2 miles will be good for my marathon training.

Besides racing, we plan to do some shopping, lots of eating and some sight-seeing. We’re really excited about doing the Chicago Architecture Boat Tour.

Speaking of boats…my hometown recently made the NBC Nightly News! Check it out.

Finally, if you want to enter for a chance to win a FREE race entry to a Reebok Spartan Race, my giveaway closes later today!

Have you ever switched race distances after already being registered?


Ragnar: less than one month to go!

Ohhh boy, Ragnar Great River is less than a month away and I’m getting exciiiiiited! We have all of our volunteers, both vans secured, team shirts ordered and I just sent out an email to my team to find a time for our last meeting before the race.

I decided that it was probably a good time to actually take a look at my legs and start to prepare for what I’ll have to run. The only thing I’m having a hard time gauging is what time of day I’ll likely be running. We have an 8 a.m. start time. I’m pretty sure my first leg will be sometime around noon maybe? But beyond that, have no idea.

1st leg — Leg 4 | 6.6 miles | hard



What worries me about this one is that the elevation doesn’t look too bad but yet it’s considered “hard.” I’m not sure if that’s because of the mileage or if it’s because there is no van support allowed for this leg. Or is it something else?

2nd leg — Leg 16 | 3.5 miles | moderate



This one shouldn’t be too bad. There’s some serious elevation gain, but at least it’s only 3.5 miles total.

3rd leg –  Leg 28 | 5.1 Miles | Very Hard



This one is the one that worries me. There’s some serious elevation change and it’s my last leg. Just hoping for good weather for this one!

Other loose ends:

  • Finish making sure we have all of our required safety equipment
  • Start a list of what to pack
  • Buy noisemakers/van paint/other fun stuff
  • I’ll need to attend a captain’s meeting about a week before the race

The first day of the race will be my 28th birthday. I kind of forgot about this part — maybe I should make a shirt or something?!

Have you ever run a race on your birthday?


FAB Fitness: weekly workouts 7/15 – 7/21

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Health and Fitness Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

Monday: Planned rest day

Took the hubs and pup to try the restaurant where I’m working for the summer. J loved it!

American Indian fry bread, wings, the Dog Flicker (hot dog with kimchee, cilantro and a fried egg) and ceviche (duh)

American Indian fry bread, wings, the Dog Flicker (hot dog with kimchee, cilantro and a fried egg) and ceviche (duh)

Tuesday: Forced rest day

Work got out of control and I ended up going in really early and then coming home that evening and having to work all night on some urgent projects. Then I was in bed early to get up to run the next morning.

Wednesday: 4 mile run – 10:15, 10:21, 10:16, 10:27

Up at 4:45 a.m. and at Mandy’s house by 5:30. We did an out and back along side part of the lake and down the Parkway. It was nice and quiet that early in the morning.

Thursday: Another forced rest day because of work and then worked second job that evening.

Friday: One hour personal training session

I slept terribly the night before. I’m sure it had something to do with coming home from work close to 10 p.m., having not eaten anything since noon that day. So I scarfed down my staff meal and went to bed not too long after. Then, I proceeded to dream about *N Sync and John Stamos.


I had no idea that Jesse and The Rippers were getting back together.



Anyways, I was pretty tired during my session today, but woke up quickly after our warmup. We did some leg work on the Pilates Reformer and also single leg lunges with weights…ouch. Upper body and core was done with TRX and dumbbells. I’m definitely starting to see some progress in my arms!

Friday night I was supposed to go to a Twins game with the hubs and our friend but opted for a night in instead. And it was lovely. It started with a nap and ended with Nuun hydrating, Marie Claire and Runner’s World and catching up on blogs.

Saturday: 4 mile run. 10:03, 9:48, 9:45, 10:23

The humidty finally broke in the Twin Cities so this run felt glorious. The only downside was it was one of those runs where it felt like I was running faster than I actually was.

Ran with my friend Stef who is also training for TCM. And I broke in my new Sauconys.


The rest of the day was spent exploring St. Paul (or eating our way through St. Paul) with the hubs and mother-in-law. It was a lot of fun!

Sunday: 13 miles in 2:05. 9:23 pace.

Oh man. This is the run I needed. I got up at 6 a.m. and had two slices of Ezekiel sprouted grain toast with almond butter and a cup of coffee. KK and I took off around 7:30 at which time it was lightly sprinkling but the air temperature was amazing (60 degrees and not humid at all). The forecast said 0% chance of precipitation, so we thought we’d be safe — but I grabbed a hat just in case. Not two miles in and the rain started coming down…hard. Despite the rain and the fact that my legs were dead tired with some tight glutes happening, I felt pretty strong and KK and I were maintaining a pretty good pace — right where my training plan was calling for:

Miles 1-6: 9:34, 9:28, 9:22, 9:48, 9:16, 9:23

Side note: I think running with friends again is what’s slowly getting me out of my running funk. My past couple of runs have been with a running buddy and they’ve been much more enjoyable.

We had decided on an out-and-back route, so at 6.5 miles we turned around and headed back. Sometime around mile 11 I realized I hadn’t taken in any nutrition (I had a few sips of water at the fountain at mile 3.5) but I felt fine. I wasn’t able to sprint at the end but I also didn’t feel like I was going to die either.

Miles 7-13: 9:17, 9:00, 8:56, 9:18, 9:11, 9:53, 9:28

pretty much drenched.

pretty much drenched.

I could really get used to running in these cooler temperatures (it was nice to not have to carry water with me) and running in the rain was probably good practice.

Rested for a couple of hours and then headed to work — remember those days where I’d lay around for most of the day after my long runs? Yeah, that doesn’t happen anymore.

I got home around 9:30 p.m., exhausted from work and checked my FitBit app. Over 32,000 steps for the day!


I’m moving my runs up in the week this week because I’ll be in Chicago this weekend for the Big Ten 10K! Getting excited for this one and it’s perfect timing because it’s a dial back week next week with no long run to sacrifice for the race.

How’d your workouts go last week?


Friday Fives

Thanks for tagging me, Danielle! Here’s my list of five things about me, right now…

5 Things I have a passion for:

1. Running

2. Food (cooking, eating, dreaming about it…)

mmmm, give me all the cupcakes...

mmmm, give me all the cupcakes…

3. Travel

4. Inspiring others to be healthy

5. Writing


 5 Things I would like to do before I die:

1. Travel to Korea

2. Own a cabin/vacation home (nothing fancy!)

3. Camp out west somewhere with the hubs


4. Run at least one of the following races: Big Sur, NYC, Chicago or London Marathons, Nike Women’s Half/Full

5. Write and publish a book


5 Things I say a lot:

1. I need a nap

2. Oooo, I’ll have to look that up

3. I’m hungry

Again, with the food.

Again, with the food.

4. That’s funny

5. So…


5 books or magazines I’ve read lately:

1. Divergent (guilty pleasure cabin read!)

2. Friday night “me” night reads — Marie Claire, Runner’s World

3. Currently reading — Insurgent and The Psychopathology of Everyday Life

4. The five love languages

5. 11-22-63


5 Favorite Movies:

1. Juno

2. Pulp Fiction

3.  Almost Famous

4. Donnie Darko

5. Kill Bill (both)


5 places I would love to travel to:

1. Ireland

2. Vietnam

3. Korea

4. New Zealand

5.  The BVI


5 people I invite to do this list: