Goals for the New Year

Happy New Year! 2015 was a wonderful year. The highlight was welcoming baby #2 into our lives. Little Isla arrived early November and she is the last chapter in the “babies” part of our story.

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I spent the majority of 2015 focused on growing a healthy baby girl and knowing that it was my last pregnancy, I enjoyed every single minute of it.

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Now that she’s here safely, growing and thriving, it’s time to set some new goals for 2016. This year I plan to…

  1. Set a new PR for my half marathon. I would love a sub 2 half marathon. My time to beat is 2:03
  2. Try a tri. This past summer, I spent a lot of time on my bike because running just became too uncomfortable with the growing belly. There were some days, where even walking was a pain in the ass. Literally. Biking always felt great to me and I want to do more biking events in 2016.
  3. Have more date nights. No matter how strong a marriage is, new babies/life changes can put stress on a relationship. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in your new bundle of joy and forget about the person who helped bring her here. This year, I want to have more date nights with my husband, try new places, and spend more time with one another. A new schedule change should help that.
  4. Stay caught up on the girls’ baby books. One of my projects that I wanted to get done while I was on maternity leave was to get caught up on Madelyn’s baby book & photo book as well as start Isla’s book. I’m not 100% caught up, but it’s better than it was before.

I have a few more goals for this year that I’m keeping tight lipped for awhile, but I’m excited to share then once the time is appropriate.

Do you make goals or resolutions for the new year? How did you ring in 2016? What are you looking forward to most about the new year?

 

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2015 Goals Status Update

It’s already April. Four months into the new year. How did that happen? Since we’re about a quarter of the way into 2015, I thought I’d go back and look at the goals I set for the year.
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1. Focus on one thing at a time. I had lots of ideas floating around my head at the beginning of the year, but I knew before I got myself into anything, I needed to finish studying (and pass) a big test (2 parts) for work. I can proudly say that after 16 months of on and off studying, I have passed both tests and I am free to move on with my life. I can now read, catch up on Scandal and blog without feeling guilty about not studying. To say I’m thrilled is an understatement. And  All. The. Home. Projects.
2. Read one Book a Month. Has not happened yet (see above!). If anyone has any good book recommendations, please feel free to send them my way! The last good book I read was ‘Heart of The Matter’ by Emily Giffin. I hear she has a new book out!
3. Get more sleep. This has slightly improved. But needs to get better. I find that tracking my sleep on my activity tracker actually makes it a little bit more fun. I feel like I’m always in competition with myself to get more sleep than the night prior.
garminsleep4. Take a Photography class. I’m all signed up and ready for my 4 week camera course at a local camera store. I can’t wait!
 5. Set a new PR in my half marathon. Last year, I ran a lot. Between training for a few halfs and a full, I think I mentally and physically burnt myself out. This year I decided that I would just run when I wanted to-not when I had to, and to run for the pure joy of it. No goals for myself. Just get out there and run.
6. Stay passionate about cooking, nutrition and fitness. This has been about the same, which I guess was the goal 🙂 I signed up for my first Blue Apron order. I can’t wait to make my first meal and tell you guys about it.
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7. Successfully Complete The 21 Day Sugar Detox. Done! And I felt absolutely wonderful afterward! I think round 2 might be in the near future.
8. Complete one race or try out a new to me workout class each month. I’ve tried out two new classes so far this year so I’m two for two on this goal. I attended my first Pure Barre class and I tried out a new Crossfit gym while I was deployed.
9. Stay more organized (with my Erin Condren Planner!) in my day & spend more quality time with Madelyn. I was really good about tracking my food in my planner while on the 21DSD, but since then I’ve been lacking and keeping track more via myfitnesspal. I don’t really track calories in myfitnesspal but more of the nutrient requirements to make sure I’m getting enough protein, carbs, healthy fats, etc throughout the day. As for spend more time with Madelyn? Done. Have I mentioned how much I love the age of 2? Sure she has her moments and major meltdowns. But there’s nothing better than taking her to go see Disney Princesses at the Domes and having her say “Thank you mama for taking me.” She’s the sweetest, funniest, most loving little girl and every day she does/says something that amazes me. Her little brain is a sponge that doesn’t turn off (especially at nap time). Our days have been spent at the zoo, running around playgrounds and playing puzzles on the living room floor. We even talked about taking her to her first baseball game this summer since she’s currently obsessed with Miller Park. That game should be interesting!
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What goes have you accomplished so far this year? What are you hoping to achieve in 2015? I really want to finish up my collage wall for our living room. I have some pretty cool frames and art pieces and I’m trying to figure out how to tie them all together before I go and hammer nails into our walls!

Goals for 2015

Happy Monday guys! I’m finally settled in from our NYC trip and have some time to sit down and write a blog post.

We had a blast in NYC and I can’t wait to tell you all about it, including the details of how we spent our NYE 🙂 But first, I’d like to chat about my goals for 2015.

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I’m about goals vs. resolutions in the new year. Each year (really DAY) is another chance to get it right and do what you’ve been wanting to do. So here are a few goals I have for 2015:

1. Focus on one thing at a time. Last year, I got in over my head with some things and ended up not doing what I wanted to do. I learned that instead of working on a bunch of things all at once, it’s okay to say no to something while working on something else. You can have it all, just maybe not all at once. I feel like as women, moms especially, we’re made to multi-task but sometimes we can get in over our heads. This year, I have a list, and I’m crossing things off as I go.

2. Read one book a month. I love to read and I’ve acquired some really great books over the past year that I have yet to read. I hate using the excuse that I don’t have the time to read because that’s not true. The hour before I go to bed has now been reserved for reading books as opposed to catching up on social media–which keeps me up way later than my bed time…which brings me to my next goal.

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3. Get more SLEEP!!! I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never get 8 hours of sleep during the week. In order for that to happen, I would have to be in bed at 8:30pm. My new goal is to be in bed no later than 9:30 on “school” nights.

4. Take a photography class. I set this up as a goal last year, but never succeeded. I really want to learn to use my camera properly and all the lenses that came with it.

5. Set a new PR in my half marathon. Last year, I ran a 2:03 half, making it my fastest one yet. Maybe a sub 2 this year? We shall see! I can confidently say that I don’t believe that I have another marathon in me again this year. Chicago 2014 burnt me out. I want to focus on getting faster, learning to fuel with REAL FOOD, and enjoying every mile because I like to run.

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6. Stay passionate about cooking, nutrition and fitness. I’ve been wanting to make my own almond milk and bone broth for a very long time but was never motivated to do so, until I decided to do the 21 Day Sugar Detox. I can confidently say, I will always make my own almond milk from here on out. Amazingly delicious. 21dsdprep

7.Successfully complete the 21 Day Sugar Detox. 21 days of whole, unprocessed foods. No dairy. No gluten. No wine. Wish me luck, day 1 starts today!

8. Complete 1 race or try out a new to me workout class each month. I love trying out new things, so this gives me the opportunity to seek out new races and classes in my local area.

9. Take a cooking class with hubs. This has been on my list for YEARS now. YEARS!! Time to cross it off.

10. Stay more organized (with my Erin Condren Planner!) in my day & spend more quality time with Madelyn. I can’t believe she’s almost 2 1/2. Time goes by so fast it’s not even funny. It almost makes me want to cry.

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What goals do you for 2015? I have lots of little house projects I’d like to complete (a photo wall in our living room and finish decorating our office/guest room just to name a few).

Getting Through The Long Run

Happy Monday guys! We are three weeks away from The Chicago Marathon and that means TAPER TIME! I thought this would be a good time to share what has helped me get through those long build-up runs the past 15 weeks. Here are 10 tips that make running long distance a bit more bearable.

1. Have your route planned before you head out.

18.53It’s so much easier to run long distance if you have a good idea of where you’re going. I’m usually pretty good about this, but I failed on Saturday when I set out for my 20 mile training run. My first loop was 14.9 miles (which was preplanned and routed using MapMyRun). The second loop, I underestimated and by the time I got to my starting, point, saw my watch and then my car, I decided to call it quits. I know that if I had planned that second loop better, 20 miles would’ve happened.

2. Create a killer playlist. Last weekend, I thought I forgot my headphones at home. I was just about to get in my car and drive back and I saw them laying under my seat. I couldn’t fathom running 18 miles in the cold without some sort of distraction. I use Spotify for all my running music and used it to create my Chicago Marathon playlist last year. When I’m not training, I use the free version. I can usually get through a decent run with very little commercials. I found that with some of my training runs, my wireless data would cut out and leave me without music for a little bit. This annoyed me and so I figured if I’m training for a marathon, I might as well treat myself to uninterrupted music. You can download music and play it offline from your mobile device with the premium version. You can also find me *here* if you’re looking for more spotify friends.

3. Run with Friends. Don’t have friends that run? Find new friends! 😉 Or join a running group and make new friends there. I have done most of my build up runs with Badgerland Striders and I have met some fellow Chicago marathoners in the process. Running with people that share a common interest helps pass time and keeps you on track. When you’re running with a friend, no one wants to be the first person to stop and start walking. It’s a great way to challenge yourself and each other.

treatspostrace4. Get inspired. Confession time: some days, running is the last thing I want to do. As much as I LOVE to run, there are days, like Wednesdays after work, where running 10 miles is the last thing I want to be doing. Sometimes those midweek longer runs really take some mental preparation. When I need a little extra inspiration, I will read some of my favorite running blogs (Hungry Runner Girl, Run Eat Repeat, Chic Runner) or scroll through  my Instagram feed for inspirational pics. This usually does the trick and gets me a little bit more excited for my run.

5. Treat yo self! Training for a marathon is no joke. It takes a toll on your body, your mind and your overall well-being. Reward yourself for setting your alarm( on a weekend) to run what some would call a crazy amount of miles.

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6. Find a GU that excites you! Because if you’re not running, when else is it acceptable to eat salted carmel GU?

7. Get some fun toys. I would be lost without my Garmin and now add in my bluetooth headphones to running gear I can’t live without. I love uploading my runs and seeing how I’ve improved from last year, where I struggled in my run etc. It’s definitely  more than just a GPS watch.

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8. Have a support system.  Marathon training & sometimes running in general would not be possible if it weren’t for my wonderful husband, mom and sister who have helped to keep an eye on Madelyn while I’ve spent all morning running. This also involves them waking up early on weekends (or staying up after working all night) when they really didn’t have to. It’s nice to be surrounded by loved ones who understand why you want to be in bed by 9pm on a Friday night…

9. Get properly fitted gear. I cannot stress enough the importance of going to get professionally fitted for every pair of shoes you wear. After I had Madelyn, I got fitted at a local running store and they put me in a very stable Brooks’ shoe. I continued to run in this same version of shoe throughout my first marathon training and after. I couldn’t figure out why, later on, my feet were hurting me so badly. They were a great shoe! Turns out, after a while I didn’t need that much stability and I had been running in the wrong shoe. They were right for me after I had a baby, but as I got more strength back in my core, the shoes were a wrong fit for me. Shorts are also a big one for me. Ill-fitting shorts have the power to break your run. My favorites are my Lululemon tracker short. I haven’t really tried any other brand. When you find one that works for you, you stick with it. And sports bras ladies!!! Definitely find a great fitting sports bra. I know that I will NOT be wearing my black Nike one for the marathon. If ever.

10. Recover. Ice baths and foam rolling is where it’s at if you want to walk like a normal person the next day.

iceicebabyAnd sleep. Allow yourself a nap if needed over the weekend of a long run. It will make you feel better. I promise.

Question of the day:  Tell me! What gets you through a long run or a grueling workout? 

Workouts & Meals for the Week

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone’s weekend was a good one.  I spent my Saturday in Chicago with two of my best girlfriends.  We took the Amtrak from Milwaukee and spent the day shopping, eating and drinking.  It was fabulous.  I even got to check out the New Eataly and can’t wait to make dinner with the pasta sauce I bought from there.  This place was pretty amazing and can’t wait to go back there with hubs.

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So this week, I’m bringing back running as my main form of exercise.  I had lots of fun going to barre as much as possible in December, but I’m running a 1/2 marathon with my mom in March and I need to build my mileage back up.  Here’s what’s on the schedule as far as eats and workouts go:

Monday: Spicy Sausage & Mushroom Soup + run 4 and strength.

Tuesday: Spaghetti & meatballs + Run 4 and abs.

Wednesday: Slow Cooker meal + strength training

Thursday: Fish & Veggies + Barre Bee

Friday: Running, Interval Barre + dinner at my mom’s.

Saturday and Sunday we have drill so workouts are to be determined BUT I saw that we are supposed to be back up into the 30s so I run outside might be in order.

It’s FREEZING here today.  Schools and businesses have closed down.  I was supposed to go to Barre Bee today but they canceled all of their morning classes so I’ll be hitting up the gym today instead, which doesn’t open until 9am (normal time 5am).  Every time I look at my phone, the temperature just keeps falling :-/

What’s the weather like where you live?  Stay warm everyone!

Goals for 2014

It’s that time of year again: to think about 2014 and what I hope to accomplish.  2013 was a year of big events and accomplishments and I think 2014 will be a year of improvement.  Starting with a big one.
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1. Marriage.  I’m not going to lie and say it was all rainbows and smiles over here…2013 was a tough year for us.  I can say that it was our most challenging year and it tested us immensely.  I was so focused on being a good mother to Madelyn while trying to maintain my own self-identity that I completely neglected my marriage and my husband.  We hit a turning point in our marriage in the middle of this year and realized that things needed to change in order for this to work.  So, my goal is to make more time for “us”, have fun, get back to where we were and try to let the little things go.  The last part is definitely not my personality, but I’m a work in progress 😉

308853_10100227533543018_204625537_n2. Mother/Daughter dates.  Madelyn is the coolest little girl I know.  She’s so smart, it amazes me every single day.  She’s growing up WAY TOO FAST.  I wish life had a pause button sometimes.  Now that she’s a bit older and mobile, I want to make more time to do stuff with her besides shopping and grocery store trips.  I have 3 day weekends and I need to start taking more advantage of them.  I also need to get her into some kind of swim class or other sport to burn off some of her energy.  She is constantly on the go!

3. Run my fastest 1/2 marathon.  This year I earned a half-marathon PR without even trying.  Next year, I’d like to focus on getting faster and at try to run it a little bit faster.  I have a time goal in mind, but I’m keeping that to myself 😉

4. Complete my first mud run.  When hubs did tough mudder a few years ago, I said there was absolutely no way that I would ever do one with him.  Now, I’m changing my tune 🙂 They look like a of fun so I’m hoping to either do Tough Mudder or another muddy obstacle course race.

5. Keep better track of what I’m eating.  I love to eat.  When I was marathon training, I didn’t track calories, but I made a more conscious effort to eat well because I noticed a difference in my running the next day if I ate crappy food the day prior.  After the marathon, that kind of fell off so I’m working at it again.  I don’t plan on counting calories, but just writing down what I eat just to make myself more aware.  There might even be a Paleo Diet challenge in the future.

6. Get Strong. Tone up. Get to my happy weight.  During marathon training, I lost 10 pounds.  I’ve since gained some of it back but I’m okay with that.  I’m still about 10 pounds lighter than when I got pregnant with Madelyn.  I’m not so much focused on the number of the scale as much as I am focused on feeling and looking my best.  This year, I want to tone up and get stronger.

7. Take a camera class and learn how to use my camera.  When I found out I was pregnant with Madelyn, we bought a fancy SLR camera.  I know how to point and shoot.  That is it.  Because I know that camera is capable of so much more, I’m planning on taking a camera class this year to learn how to use it to its full potential.

8.  Travel more.  Every year Larry and I travel somewhere for our anniversary.  We do this instead of buying presents.  Our first year was to Door County and last year was to Michigan for wine tasting.  I’d like to get out of the Midwest this next year.  No set plans yet, so we’ll see.  I do know that a trip to Memphis is in the books for my sister in law’s bachelorette party!  Can’t wait for that 🙂

9. NASM personal training certification.  Back in October, I bit the bullet and decided to start studying for my personal training certification.  There are so many out there to choose from but at the end of the day I decided to go with NASM.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it yet.  I have a few grand ideas floating around in my head.  For now, I’d love to teach a fitness class a couple nights a week, but we’ll see what happens.  I’m taking it one step at a time.

Any fun plans for this evening? Tonight we’re going to an early dinner and then heading over to my sister’s house for a NYE party.  Nothing too crazy 🙂

HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!  See you in 2014!

Christmas with the Campbells

IMG_2398Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  I hope you celebrated the holidays surrounded by the people you love and care about most.  I’ve had the past five days off of work and I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone by.  I wish that all companies could shut down between Christmas and New Years.  That would be nice 🙂

Our Christmas started on Sunday with a trip down to Chicago to celebrate with my in-laws.  We were expecting it to just be us, larry’s two sisters and their significant others but when we walked in, we were greeted by 20 other family members.  It was a nice surprise to see all of his cousins, aunts and uncles, since we don’t get to see them too often.

On Tuesday, I started my morning off with a workout at Barre Bee Fit, headed to a doctor’s appointment, did some last minute grocery shopping, came home and got ready for church and Christmas eve at my mom’s house.  Madelyn hung out at daycare until about 1pm.  It just made it easier with the doctor’s appointment and shopping.  I plan on taking off of work New Years’ Eve and spending the day doing something fun with her.  We met my uncle and aunt at my mom’s house, had some drinks and appetizers and headed to church.

After church, we came home, ate dinner and opened up presents.  My mom made a prime rib roast, asparagus, mashed potatoes along side a glass of wine.  Everything was amazing.  Madelyn lucked out in the present department this year, even though she was more interested in playing with her old toys instead of opening her new ones.

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She also was a fan of hiding on us and playing peek-a-boo…

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Santa was good to me as well.  I got this bag from lululemon along with some running socks and some other odds and ends 🙂

We celebrated Christmas Day by opening gifts with Madelyn.  While we were trying to get her to open her duplo blocks, she was more interested in the pen that was on the table 🙂 We still had fun with her this year, but I’m looking forward to when she gets to be a little bit older and gets really excited for Christmas.  While I cooked up brunch for my family, Larry got to work assembling toys and putting batteries in where they needed to go.

I made an egg bake with mushrooms, onions, spinach, garlic, bacon, goat gouda and goat cheddar.  I seasoned it with Thyme, Rosemary, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder and added in 1 cup of soy milk and 3 tbsp on flour.  It turned out really good.  So good in fact that I forgot to snap any food pictures today because I was more concerned about eating 🙂 I served that along side some polish sausage, fruit, Kringles and cinnamon roll french toast bake—AMAZING!  This french toast bake was super easy and was incredibly delicious.  This definitely goes into a Sunday brunch rotation 🙂

Now that Christmas is over, it’s time to focus on getting back on track with healthy eating and setting goals for 2014!  Last year, I posted my 2013 goals.  While I accomplished most of them, there are still a few that are a work in progress 🙂

I’ll be back this week to talk about 2013 highlights, goals and other fun stuff!

I hope Santa was good to you all as well 😉 

 

Chicago Marathon Recap

Brace yourselves people, this will be a long one. So grab some coffee or wine, sit back and enjoy.*
And just like that, it’s over and done with.  After months of preparation, training, sweat and tears, the Chicago Marathon weekend came and went in the blink of an eye, and it could not have been more amazing.
Larry, Madelyn and I met my mom and sister at a park & ride on the way to Chicago on Saturday at 8am and they followed us to our hotel in Rosemont, which is right near O’hare airport.  Months ago, I had looked up hotels in downtown Chicago, including the marathon host hotel, The Hilton, and even with “special” marathon deals, I couldn’t believe how outrageous it was.  It would’ve cost us over $600 for a two night stay.  Luckily, my husband has some  connections in the hotel industry and was able to get us a really great deal at the Aloft Hotel.
aloftAfter we dropped off our bags and got settled into the room, we all piled into one car, headed to Panera for a quick breakfast and drove down to the McCormick Place to brave the race expo.  When we got off the expressway, you could feel the buzz and energy that the marathon created in the city.  There were people everywhere carrying their clear, plastic expo bags.  I was getting even more excited and slightly nervous.  The packet pick up at the expo was very well organized.  The only issue I had with it, was the way they had the BIB pick up and T-Shirt pick up on two completely different ends of the expo.  Since I was planning on walking around, I didn’t mind so much, but for someone who wanted to get in and out, I could see it being a hassle.
IMG_2151The expo wasn’t too insane and Madelyn was being the perfect angel, so we were lucky enough to get through all of the booths.  I wish we would’ve had a little bit more time to spend there because there are some booths that I would’ve liked to have spent more time at but the little one did start to get antsy toward the end.  The main thing is, I was able to give my remaining donations to Team Salute and visit my wonderful friend, Kristine, at the Garmin booth.  I was having a crisis with my foot pod the night before the expo and lucky for me, Kristine and the people at Garmin were able to fix it.  What a lifesaver!
IMG_2170The expo also had a lot of fun & interactive stuff set up:
Take a magnet, write a message
take a magnet & write a message
IMG_2160 IMG_2180After the expo, we headed to the Niketown on Michigan Ave to pick up some Chicago marathon swag.  The Nike clothing exhibit at the expo was INSANE!  Niketown had a much more stress-free atmosphere plus they had a DJ spinning and the employees were all dancing.  It was a lot of fun and it helped pump me up for race day.
When we were done shopping and mom and Melissa were done standing in line for popcorn, we headed to Scoozi! for a pre-marathon dinner.  Before we left for Chicago, I “googled” Chicago marathon pasta dinners and Scoozi! was one of the restaurants that came up as having a special pre-marathon dinner.  I had a couple of Italian restaurants in mind that I would’ve liked to have taken my mom and sister to, but I wanted something that was definitely kid-friendly, as Madelyn’s behavior in restaurants is very unpredictable these days.  And of course, she was on her best behavior.  We even received a compliment from the people next to us about how well behaved she was 🙂 {Proud mommy moment}.
Back to food.  Scoozi! was offering a family style meal.  We picked what kind of salad we wanted (Caeser-soooo good!), two pasta dishes, and tiramisu for dessert.  Everything was phenomenal and the service was excellent.  The only thing missing was a glass of wine, which I wanted so badly, but decided to wait until after the marathon.
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After I carbo-loaded, we headed back to the hotel, organized all of my stuff for race day, and was in bed by 8:45pm.  It was awesome getting to that early.
The next morning, I woke up at 4am.  I got ready, drank some coffee, and we were out the door and in the car by 5am-bagel with peanut butter and banana in hand.  We drove to the CTA blue line stop, parked for $5, and took the blue line all the way to the Monroe stop.  It was super early for everyone (not so much for me, since 4:30 is my usual wake up call), but my cheerleaders were excited and in good spirits!
lpicWe arrived at the Monroe stop at around 6am.  I couldn’t believe how many people were up and around.  It was pretty neat to see Michigan Avenue buzzing with so many people at that time of the day.  We walked to the Hilton Hotel where Team Salute had a room set up for their runners and at about 7am, I said good-bye to my family and I was out the door to my start corral.
startIt was a brisk morning, so I brought a light jacket with me.  Looking back, I wish I would’ve just sucked it up, or better yet, bought a cheap jacket at Goodwill to just toss because I really liked that jacket!  Oh well, I just keep reminding myself that all the tossed clothes went to a good cause and that hubs needs to take me back to San Francisco so that I can buy another one 😉
By the time I got through the gates and past security, I waited in my corral for about a half hour.  It was nice to talk to other people around me and shake off some nervous energy.  At exactly 8 am we were off and running!
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I couldn’t believe how fast the first mile went.  I looked at my watch and realized that I was running a lot faster than what I was planning for.  When I first set out to train for the marathon, my ultimate goal was just to finish.  I had never ran a marathon before so I didn’t know what to expect.  As it got closer to race day, I thought maybe I’d like to try and run it under 5 hours.  In planning for that, at mile 2, I slowed down my pace and kept it up the first half of the race.  Miles 1-13 were a breeze.  The weather was gorgeous, the crowds were AMAZING!  My favorite neighborhoods to run through were Boystown and Old Town.  There was a point in Boystown when the cheering of the crowd completely drowned out the music I had going in my right earbud.  I couldn’t stop smiling!  The crowd was just as amazing in Old Town and the Lululemon cheering squad was so much fun.  I love all of their signs!
When I approached the second half of the race, I had never been so excited to see a 13 mile marker.  I was at the halfway point and well on my way to finishing within my goal time.  At about mile 16, the top of my left foot started to hurt.  I ran through it because the pain wasn’t too bad, but by mile 17 I had stopped to check it out.  I thought maybe I had tied my shoelace too tight, so I retied it to be a little bit looser and continued on my way.  It seemed to have helped until mile 18 when it started to hurt a little bit more and instead of powering through the pain, I stopped to walk.  I alternated walking and running for the rest of the race, but by mile 20 I knew that my goal time was not going to happen and at that point, my main goal was just to finish this thing with all that I had.  I saw my family again (the first time was in Lakeview at around mile 7) at mile 23, and I told them that I wanted to die! A little dramatic I know.  I thought to myself, “okay only 3 more miles to go-you run that all the time!)  I tried my hardest but my legs (and injured foot) could only take so much.  It wasn’t until mile 25 when I got my second wind after a spectator shouted, “You only have one more mile! You can do anything for a mile!!”  With that encouragement and Salt & Pepa’s Push It blasting in my ear, I got my second wind and gave that marathon everything I had left.  For anyone who’s ever ran the Chicago Marathon, you know how awesome the turn is at Roosevelt.  As I was still running on Michigan Avenue, approaching Roosevelt, Ray Charles’ “America the Beautiful” came on my playlist.  I lost it.  To hear that song while making the turn on Roosevelt, up the hill to the finish line is scene that will forever play in my head.  When you make that turn, you know you’re almost there.  The cheering section is out of this world.  You know that when you make that turn, nothing else is standing in your way to the finish line.  I cried when I crossed the finish line.  I had made it!  I set out to accomplish a goal and to fulfill a dream of mine for 4 years and I did it.  I wanted to hug the stranger next me I was so happy, but I refrained.
After I sprinted to the finish, my legs were completely useless.  I could barely walk.  I texted my husband to tell him that I had finished and, because of security, he wanted me to walk to meet them.  I had to sit in the grass and stretch a bit before I could set out to find them.  When I did eventually get to him, I hugged him and with tears in my eyes, I said to him, “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”  Which is exactly what I said to him after 6 hours of natural childbirth 🙂
After a lot of stretching and usage of “the stick”, I was able to muster up the strength to head back to The Hilton to change clothes and freshen up.
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Looks can be deceiving.  I’m smiling on the outside and crying in pain on the inside 🙂 It took me forever to walk to Lou Malnati’s for pizza, but that buttery deep dish and 312 were totally worth it!
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Drooling as we speak.  Later that night, I added a charm to my necklace that my mom had bought for me at the expo the day before.  I earned this runner girl necklace at the Zooma 1/2 marathon where I PR’d and took 15 minutes off of my time.  I waited until I had completed the Chicago Marathon to add the 26.2 charm-I didn’t want to jinx it.
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20 minutes after I completed the marathon, my sister asked me if I’d be signing up for another one.  I laughed.  It’s like asking someone who just went through childbirth if they were ready to have another baby.  I told her I couldn’t answer that in my current state of being 🙂 But that night, I knew the answer.  Looking back at my training, and even race day there are some things that I should’ve done differently (saving those details for a different post).  But yes, I do want to sign up for another one because I know that I can do better.  I remember the first 1/2 marathon I ever ran.  I didn’t train as properly as I should’ve.  My time was not what I was capable of, and my body felt like it had been hit by a truck.  3 half marathons later, I felt just fine after my most recent one in August.
I completed my first marathon in 5:07:41.  The one thing that I learned that day is that the body will do anything you set your mind to.  If you believe you can do it, you can!  If you sit and doubt yourself and you don’t try, then you fail.
Chicago has, once again, stolen my heart.  I’m so happy that I was able to run my first marathon in the city where I truly fell in love with the sport of running.  I miss the city and the lakefront running path a little more every time I have to leave.  Hubs and I talk about how when we retire, we’re going to buy a condo and retire in the city, which is completely opposite of what people do.  Until then, I’m lucky enough to be a 2 hour car ride away.
ChitizzleP.S. Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win the KIND bar giveaway!

26.2 Things that Marathon Training Has Taught Me

Well, today I finished my last long run before the Chicago marathon.  It was a nice and easy 8 miler in the perfect weather-foggy, misty and low 60s.  I would say that I’m looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday mornings, but who am I kidding?  I have a 1 year old.

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I can’t believe that next weekend, my 18 weeks of training will have come to an end. The marathon training will no longer consume me and I will have my freedom back!  Okay, so that might be a little bit dramatic but I never realized what a sacrifice it really was until I started doing it.  There were many Friday nights that I had to pass up wine nights with my sister because of a long run on Saturday.  And Saturday mornings with my little munchkin have been cut short (although this week, we are for sure making up for lost time!).  Even though marathon training has involved some sacrifices, I have learned a lot about myself, running, and life in general.  I wouldn’t give back the last 18 weeks for anything.

1. I am capable of doing anything I put my mind to.  I set a goal and I did whatever I could to accomplish it. I didn’t let the obstacles stand in my way.  For that, it makes this marathon so much sweeter.

2. Never underestimate the importance of a well-fitted sports bra.  Moving comfort so far as been my sports bra brand of choice.  It keeps everything in place.

3. Just buy the shoes.  The most important investment you’ll make during marathon training.  GET FITTED and buy the shoes.

shoes4. Recovery days are just as important as build up runs.  Take advantage of nap times and rainy Sundays.  Household chores can wait.

5. Yoga. Love it. Do it.  

6. Learn from bad experiences.

7. Miles, no matter how many of them are walked, with the jogger count as double.  That thing is a beast.  And if you can push your 22lb baby up a killer hill at the end of a 8 mile run, well it counts as 16.

stroller8. Long runs are done better with friends.  Join a running group, especially for your long runs.  My worst run ever was a 15 miler done all by myself.  I wanted to quit, I questioned my sanity.  I was a hot, sweaty mess.  Run groups usually have water stops along the way and it’s nice to get out and meet some people.

9. Be obsessed with barre workouts.  Not only is it great cross training, it gives you killer-looking quads 😉 p5710. Bad runs happen. They can be humbling. learn from them and move on.

11. It’s okay to adjust your training schedule.  Such is life.

12. Eat like you’re going to run after.  I cannot express the importance of good nutrition during marathon training.  Say yes to whole, unprocessed foods and say NO to hot wings.  Trust me on this one.

13. Don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself.  When I first started getting up there in mileage, I had some guilt about leaving Madelyn.  I tried to bring her with me on as many shorter runs as I could, but I reserved Saturdays for myself and I believe that it helped me become a more patient, attentive mom.  A wise woman once told me, “It’s not about the quantity of time, but the quality”.

14. No matter what place you’ve finished, you’ve won.  Someone asked me once if I thought I was going to win.  I laughed.  They were completely serious.  I will certainly not take 1st place, but I hope to finish, and for me, accomplishing this goal is winning.

15. Recovery can be torturous but totally worth it when you can walk the next day.  Ice baths…we have a love/hate relationship. icebath16. When you run without headphones, you discover that fellow runners are very friendly.  I ran with one earbud out this weekend and I couldn’t believe how many people waved and said “Good morning!” to me as we crossed paths.

17. Be observant.  A new, but kind of “sad that I have to do this” game that I play when I’m running alone on a path is “Can I identify the person that just passed me in the event they turned around and attacked me?”  Sad but true.  It helps time go by.  And makes me think out my escape route in the event that ever happened.

18. Marathon training should NOT be used as a weight-loss tool.  When I started training, I was where I was pre-baby, weight-wise.  Would I have liked to have lost more? Absolutely, but overall I was pretty happy where I was.  Over the course of the 18 weeks, I have lost a solid 10lbs and have lost inches in my waist and my thighs.  Would I recommend marathon training as a weight loss tool? NO WAY! You’ll go crazy.  Especially when you’re running 15-20 miles in one day and you just want to eat everything in sight for that entire day.  Besides, when you do reach your weight-loss goal mid training, what becomes your motivation to keep going?

19. Hills…they never get easier, you just get better and learn to appreciate the flatness of Chicago.

20. You can’t help but talk about your marathon training.  Sorry that I’m not sorry?  It pops up in random conversation (and leads to complimentary Lululemon shorts!)  Other runners and fitness-minded people get it, but I’m sure some of my co-workers can’t wait for me to just run the damn thing already.  Then, I will be that girl who has ran a marathon 🙂

21. Some days, silence really is golden.  This weekend, the waves crashing against the shore was my background music.  I can’t believe I’ve been missing that every time I run along this path.

silentrun22.Yurbuds.  The best earbuds ever.

23. Some nights, you just have to choose the wine, pizza & great conversation. It’s good for your soul.

24. You can do it. You are DOING it.  There were some mornings when I’d wake up and think to myself, “I can’t do this.”  I remember saying this to my doctor when I was in labor with Madelyn and her response was, ” But you are doing it.”  I have way too much invested to let negative thoughts get the best of me.

25. Foam roller. Buy one.  Breath into the pain; it hurts so good.  I believe the foam roller is the next best thing to a deep tissue massage.  And I want this shirt.

26. Watch out for bikers. Of the bicycle variety. They come out of nowhere.

.1. Stride glide. Invest in it and use it where needed.

.2. Be grateful.  Even though some days I complain about doing it, I am grateful for every day that I get to run.  One of the things that “wow” me about the Chicago Marathon are the people out there doing the wheelchair races.  In ways, that seems so much more difficult to me than it would be just to run it.  Those people are amazing.

I’m looking forward to shorter runs this week and I’m going to use my time to venture out a little bit in our new neighborhood.  Most of my week day runs have been done at work with a running buddy, but since I’m home for who knows how long, I’ll be trudging along with Madelyn in the jogger.  And doing yoga.  Lots and lots of yoga.  Namaste my friends 🙂

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