Upcoming Races

I thought I’d fill you in on a little secret that Lauren and I have been keeping.  We both put our names in for the New York City Marathon!!  We will find out on Tuesday if we made it in!  We both had luck for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington DC in 2014 but this is a whole different ballgame.  The chances of getting into the NYC Marathon are 1 in 8.  NYC Marathon used to have a rule that if you tried for 3 years in a row to get in, you’d automatically get in on your fourth try, but they took that away starting this year.  Therefore, NYC Marathon is reporting that more people will get in the lottery than before since that rule is gone.  Here is the thing for me though.  I cannot run the race even if I get in for 2015.  My second biggest special event that I run is always on Halloween and this year the NYC Marathon is on November 1st.  So even if I get in, I won’t be able to run it until 2016 (that date is November 7—so no problems!).  But since it is so hard to get in, I figured I needed to at least try this year.  If I get in, I’ll have to cancel and defer to 2016.  Therefore, I’ll have to pay the registration price twice.  But getting the chance to run NYC… priceless!  If Lauren gets in, she can definitely do it this year.

Another lottery that I will be entering is the Chicago Marathon.  If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you know that I live in the suburbs of Chicago—I’m actually about 45 minutes from the city.  I love Chicago, but I’d never live there!  My condo would cost at least triple the price if it had a Chicago zip code.  Last year, I volunteered at the race since a few of my friends were running it and I had extreme runners jealously!  The expo is amazing, crowd support is awesome and the course is pretty flat.  A few of my friends are also going to put their names in for the lottery, so hopefully we will all get in.  Unfortunately Lauren cannot run this race.

A few weeks ago, I drank the Run Disney kool-aid again!  When I signed up for the Dopey Challenge, I knew that if I completed a race at Disneyland as well, I would get a special Coast to Coast medal.  For a girl that loves medals as much as me, I had to have this!  Well, Disneyland has 4 race weekends.  The first one is Star Wars, which happened the weekend after Dopey.  No way was I going to be able to race/afford going to California right after Dopey and I’m not a Star Wars fan, so that was out.  The next race weekend is Tinkerbell.  They switched the date this year putting it on Mother’s Day weekend.  The plan right now is to do Tinkerbell Half Marathon in 2017/2018 combining it with Princess Weekend in Disney World, so we can get the Pink Coast to Coast medal (Lauren and a few other friends will hopefully join us for a girls weekends of doing these races )—so that race was out for 2015.  Avengers Half Marathon is held in November.  While Avengers happens at the best time of year for me, I have zero interest in the Avengers, so it was eliminated as well.  Therefore, the only other option was the Disneyland Half Marathon which is held on Labor Day weekend.  Unfortunately, I run an outdoor pool that is open Labor Day weekend.  Therefore, I had to work my magic with my boss and fellow staff members to get the time approved J.  I have an incredible boss who understands my craziness and wants to support me in my running goals—who can say that?!  So just a few weeks ago, I was at my computer at work at 11 am CST to sign up for the Disneyland Half.  Not only will I be running the Half Marathon on Sunday September 6th, but I will also be running the 5k on Friday and the 10k on Saturday.  I will be coming home with 5 new medals!  One for the 5k, one for the 10k, one for the half (it’s the 10th anniversary, so I cannot wait to see some anniversary bling), one for the dumbo challenge (10k and Half) and then my coast to coast medal!!  

I’m so excited about it all.  I’ll be getting my flight soon—the plan is to fly out late on Wednesday September 2nd (I would like to work a full day), hit up the expo first thing on Thursday September 3rd (I like being able to get all my race merchandise in my sizes with no issues J), run the 5k on Friday September 4th, go to the special Disneyland party the evening of September 4th, run the 10k on Saturday September 5th, run the half marathon on Sunday September 6th, and fly back to Chicago on Sunday September 6th.  This way, I’ll still be able to work and close down my pool on Labor Day.  Since Disneyland is so much more expensive than Disney World and I’m doing this one on my own (my mom and my sister will not be coming), I’m not going to be able to do as many half marathons in the fall… hence why I’m planning on doing the Chicago Marathon.  My plan is to potentially do the Des Moines Half Marathon (I can drive to that one—it’s about 5 hours away) in October and definitely do the Rt 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa, OK in November (it’s the 10th anniversary!).  

If all goes accordingly to my plan, it looks like I’ll be at 19 states at the end of the calendar year.  Looking at that number now, I’d like it to be at 20, but I don’t think that will be possible.  I’ll definitely be more than halfway done by the end of 2016.  Slowly but surely, I’ll get it all done!


Weekly Recap


Monday, February 16th: Rest Day

Tuesday, February 17th:  Rest Day

Wednesday, February 18th: 4.13 miles running (10:55 pace on treadmill)

Thursday, February 19th 4.25 miles running (10:35 pace on treadmill)

Friday, February 20th: Rest Day

Saturday, February 21st: 7 miles run/walk ( 13:11 pace on indoor track)

Sunday, February 22nd: 17 miles running (10:43 pace on treadmill)

Crazy doesn’t even begin to describe this week!  When I got back from Austin late Sunday night, I was pretty sore from the hills of Austin.  I decided a two day break from running would be better for me than running right away on Tuesday. I’m glad I waited until Wednesday!

Then on Thursday, I decided that I was going to kick my 45 minute weekday runs up a notch.  Instead of running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute, I was going to start running 4:15 and walking 45 seconds.  It resulted in a 20 second per mile pace reduction!  If I’m going to PR at Shamrock and hit my goal of under 2:15, I have to push myself a little bit more!

The 19 inches of snow we got during the Superbowl a few weeks ago has still not gone away!  So, I’m reduced to doing all of my training runs inside.  So, on Saturday morning, I headed to my local indoor track and got in the 7 miles using the 2 minute walk, 30 second run, 1:30 minute walk and 1 minute run method.  It works out great for me and that is what I’m going to use for the 8k at Shamrock before my half marathon the next day.  I’ll also be using this method in May in Indy before I run the full marathon the next day in Cincinnati.

Saturday night, I hosted a 200 person Daddy-Daughter Dance at work and this year’s theme was “The Oscars”.  It was a great night and the girls and their fathers seemed to have a ball!

Sunday morning I woke up at 5 am, so that I could get to the gym by 6 am to get in my 17 mile run on the treadmill.  I’m really really hoping that the snow starts to melt so in two weeks when I have to do 20 miles, I can finally go outside!  I’ll run in cold, but I refuse to run in ice and snow which could lead me to fall and injury myself!

After my treadmill run, I drove back to my hometown so that my dad and I could go to the University of Illinois basketball game that evening.  I wish I could say they won, but sadly, they disappointed us.  But we had a great time and got to eat at my favorite pizza place – Papa Del’s!

This week is much more calm for me!  I just have 2 forty-five minute weekday runs and then 5 miles on Saturday.  Lauren is also coming up on Saturday, so I’m glad my run will not interfere with seeing her :)

Have a great running week!


Happy Wednesday! And FINALLY… a post!


I want to say sorry to everyone for this being the first post of the week! Sunday was busy with running, work and then an Oscars party, so I got home really late and could not write a post that night. And then on Monday, our stupid Internet was down so it was a no-go again! Thus, here is a middle of the week weekly recap!

Monday, February 16th: Rest Day

Tuesday, February 17th: 5 miles running, Insanity Max

Wednesday, February 18th: 6 miles running, Insanity Max

Thursday, February 19th: 7.17 miles running, Insanity Max

Friday, February 20th: Rest Day

Saturday, February 21st: Insanity Max

Sunday, February 22nd: 12 miles running

I finally felt back on track this week with my training for my next half marathon! I got all my runs in except for one on Saturday because we had really bad ice/freezing rain, so I didn’t want to risk it driving to the gym. There’s still a lot of snow on the ground and ice on the paths, so all of my runs have been on the treadmill. And while I use to call it the dreadmill and did anything not to go on it- I can’t lie – I have turned into a treadmill LOVER!! I love watching TV (I’m now addicted to the Duggars) and I find it easier to do speedwork on the treadmill. I really wish I had a treadmill of my own, but luckily my gym is only like a 5 minute drive so it isn’t that much of a hassle to get there.

This week I will continue to do some speed and hill workouts on the treadmill and get myself in PR shape for my half marathon at the end of March. I am also still doing Insanity Max 30 and still really enjoying it. The most difficult part is all of the pushups because I have like zero arm strength, but I am getting better at them (with my knees on the ground) and really feel like I am getting stronger in my arms and also my core!

I hope everyone is having a good week. We are almost (half way) to the WEEKEND!


Austin Half Marathon Recap

Sorry for the delay—this week has been absolutely crazy!!

My flight left Chicago at 6:55 am on Saturday morning.  The great thing about leaving this early is that traffic was non-existent so it made my 15 mile drive very easy!  After a quick de-icing of the plane (a crazy snow started falling right as we were boarding in Chicago), it was off to Dallas.  The Dallas airport was pretty small (I think Southwest pretty much is the only carrier there) and my next flight’s gate was right door.  I had a quick hour layover in Dallas where I got a quick milkshake and then boarded my flight to San Antonio!

My flight arrived on time in San Antonio (around 11:45) and after taking a shuttle to the rental car, I was on the road around 12:15.  I was hoping to be in Austin around 1:30ish.  About 6 miles outside of Austin, traffic became stop and go!  I felt like I was in Chicago!  It was awful!!  Plus on top of it all, I had to go to the bathroom really bad!!  Finally, I made it to the expo around 2:15-2:30ish!  Not only was I nervous about the availability of merchandise, running to the bathroom, but I was also starving since I hadn’t really eaten anything since 6 am!

The expo was pretty small—not the smallest I’ve ever seen but not the largest!  The packet pickup was in the back.  I love the participant shirt, but it is pretty big on me.  I registered in June 2014, so I wasn’t my current size back then and when I asked about exchanging, they told me that they barely had enough shirts for the day!  Other than the shirt and the bib, I also got a participant guide with all the information for the race.  I stopped by one of the official vendors and also picked up a t-shirt to remember the weekend by!  I thought about purchasing an Austin necklace but decided against it since this race really doesn’t hold any significance for me (I wasn’t going for a PR, wasn’t running my first half, etc).  I was disappointed that there was no “Run Austin” apparel, but I should be happy that I didn’t spend any more money!  There are lots of expos and more coming up for me that I’ll want to spend money at.  There were some Texas races present as well as the Rt 66 Marathon (definitely going to be doing that one in November!).


austin shirt

One running celebrity, Bart Yasso was also in attendance for this race.  He is an incredible runner and speaker who goes to dozens of races a year.  He announces the Little Rock Marathon every year (I remember listening to him last year) and I know he’ll be at Shamrock this year too.


After I finished at the expo, I went across the street for some bbq.  It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but not the worst either.



When I was finished with my lunch/dinner, I went in search of some Austin souvenirs.  I’m very sad to report that I could not find anything that I just had to have!  I walked all over the place too!!  I didn’t want to move my car around since the traffic was so terrible in Austin so after I went to two different areas, I gave up and just got my car and left.


After I got my rental car, I headed off to my hotel.  I priceline a lot of my hotels and I got a great deal on this one back in November for only $75 including taxes!  It was a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom suite with a living room.  It was only about 7 miles away from downtown and it put my room at Disney World to shame.  I felt bad that I was the only one staying there and I didn’t even really go to the upstairs bedroom at all.

(Here are some pictures of my awesome hotel!)

Finally around 7 pm, I decided that my 3 pm lunch wasn’t going to be helping me out in the morning and I needed to find some food to eat in order to have some food in the stomach for the race.  There was a close by Mediterranean place, so I got a gyro and a piece of cheesecake to go!

The next morning I was up at 4:30!  The race started at 7 am and I had heard that parking might be bad, so I wanted to get there early.  After eating my granola bar, drinking a bit of Gatorade, I grabbed my gear and headed out of the door around 5 am.   I easily found a good parking garage with lots of other runners around 5:30.  The parking garage was about a half a mile from the start, so I was able to take my time.

The race started right at 7 am and I crossed the start line around 7:10.  There were no corrals, but I stationed myself with the 4:40 group (no half pacers).  My goal was to stick with them throughout the race so I could break my 2:20 goal.  The first 3 miles were straight down Congress Ave in downtown Austin.  My first mile was pretty slow at little over 11 minutes and I knew that if I kept up this pace, I won’t break 2:20.  And I had barely encountered any hills yet.  But pretty soon, they started coming.  Most of the hills were rolling hills.. you’d go slightly up in elevation and then come down the hill.  Some of the downhills I thought were worse than the uphills.  I tried to give it all my all during my running periods and espeiclaly when I was running on flat ground.  If I had a hill, I tried my best to keep pace but a few times I had to walk because running was making me move just as fast as walking was.  About halfway thru the race, I thought I might have a chance to be around 2:15.  But I had spoken too soon… because the worst of the hills were in the second part of the race.  The absolute worst one came at mile 12!  Once I figured out that I would be a little higher than 2:15, I knew I wanted to be under 2:20.  The hill at mile 12 did not help that cause!  I ended up having to walk for almost 2 minutes straight!  When that nasty hill was finally done and we hit the mile 13 sign and turned the corner to the finish, I looked at my watch.  I was close to 2:19 and I knew I’d have to book it to be under 2:20.  My watch must have been a bit fast because I officially crossed the finish line at 2:19:26!  I was so happy… it almost felt like a PR in my book.  Especially since I had gained 536 ft of elevation during the race (Disney World Marathon gained 63 ft of elevation and that was 13 more miles!).

After the race, I got a water bottle, some snacks, and my medal.  They had some food trucks but they all were serving breakfast food (it was 9:30 am, but I wanted lunch) and they had “some” official merchandise, but it was so limited in sizes that I didn’t bother.  After I finally found my car, I raced back to the hotel to take a quick shower and drive to San Antonio!


I got to San Antonio close to 1 pm and headed to the Alamo!

alamo1 alamo2

I loved San Antonio!  The Alamo was great and I loved doing the audio tour.  I feel like you learn so much on those tours.  The Alamo is pretty small, so the tour only took me 45 minutes.  I figured out afterwards that I had enough time to take the Riverwalk boat tour!  The tour was absolutely great and just made me wish I had more time in this amazing city!

riverwalk1 riverwalk2

I got back to the airport in plenty of time to drop off my rental and finally eat (I hadn’t eaten since 6 am and now it was 4 pm).  I made my flight in plenty of time, landed in Chicago, picked up my dog and was in my condo around 10 pm.  And then I was back in the office the next day at 9 am!

Overall, it was a great race for me.  I wasn’t expecting to PR, but I am so happy I came in under my goal that I had set for myself.  I had fun running in a new city and I crossed another state off the list!


Weekly Recap


Monday, February 9th: Rest Day

Tuesday, February 10th:  4.17 miles running (10:47 pace on treadmill)

Wednesday, February 11th: Rest Day

Thursday, February 12th 4.21 miles running (10:41 pace on treadmill)

Friday, February 13th: Rest Day

Saturday, February 14th: Rest Day (walking around Austin!)

Sunday, February 15th: Austin Half Marathon 2:19:26 (10:39 pace)

What a great week!!  Training was the usual before the Austin Half Marathon on Sunday!  I was worried I was setting myself up for failure by announcing that I wanted to break 2:20 on the blog on Thursday… but I pushed thru the hills (holy moly—rolling hills!!) and I got 2:19:26.  It seriously felt like a PR.  If I can run like I did on Sunday next month in Virginia Beach, I know I can get under 2:15.

I’ll recap the race including my adventures in Austin (mostly a lack of adventures) and San Antonio (I had a GREAT time there!!) on Thursday.  The warm weather in Texas made it hard to come home on Sunday night and back to the freezing cold of Chicago.

This week is going to be CRAZY!!  I have a Daddy-Daughter Dance on Saturday night at my work.  We are expecting about 200 people… which is really not that horrible but considering it’s my first Daddy-Daughter Dance at my new job, I’m always a bit nervous!  And then the next day, I’m driving to Champaign to watch my beloved Illini basketball team take on Michigan State!  I won the tickets at a raffle last month and I was so thrilled to be able to go!  In terms of training, that doesn’t cool off this week either.  I have my usual 45 minute runs during the week but in preparation for Indy-Cincy in May, I have a 7 mile run/walk on Saturday (which I’ll do in the morning before the dance!) and then a 17 mile run on Sunday.  Life is never dull!

Have a great running week!


Weekly Recap


Monday, February 9th: Insanity Max

Tuesday, February 10th: 3.5 miles running

Wednesday, February 11th: 3.14 miles running, Insanity Max

Thursday, February 12th: Insanity Max

Friday, February 13th: 6.67 miles running (60 minutes)

Saturday, February 14th: Rest Day

Sunday, February 15th: 8 mile tempo run

This was a bit of a down week for me workout wise. I don’t know exactly why, but it seemed like every run (besides my Sunday run) I felt really tired even before I started. I didn’t get all the miles I wanted to get in, but at least I still ran 4 days this week. I had a pretty good interval run on Friday, and then a decent 8 mile tempo run on Sunday so I should still be proud about that.

This week, I want to try to stick to my training plan more closely. I’m hoping I will have more energy going into my runs and to get over this little slump. I’m going to have a positive attitude and try not to get to down on myself for not having the week I wanted to last week. It’s time to move ahead and make this week my best yet!

Last week I did sign up for two new races. In May, I will be doing the Running with the Cows Half Marathon in Kansas with Kathleen. I’m very excited to be doing another race with Kathleen and look forward to all the food this half is known for after the race! If anyone has ever done this race before, please let me know your thoughts about it in the comments! I also signed up for the Missouri Race Series 10 Miler in June. The Missouri Race Series is in its first year and it comprises 8 races throughout Missouri. There is a points system and if you race in multiple events you qualify for an overall champion trophy. I will only be doing the STL race, but it seems like a really cool concept and I am looking forward to this race.

I hope everyone has an awesome week!