Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yes, I Know

The photo is too big but since this is the 18th time (no exaggeration) I've changed the style/color/template of my blog today, we'll all just have to deal with it.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Promise to Myself

2009 will be the year . . .

. . .I finish the Chicago Marathon. (I can't change the blog title to "My Fourth First Marathon." Besides a tongue twister, it's pathetic.)

. . .I will lose the "baby" weight. (My youngest "baby" turns 5 in April)

. . .I will properly cross train (Taking steps toward this already, meeting with personal trainer)

As a result . . .

. . .I will meet my goal of finishing the Marathon before I'm 40 (Oct 2010)

. . .I will not cringe at the sight of me in family photos that will be taken during our June vacation

. . .I will be able to buy a dress for our niece's summer wedding because I like it, versus buying one because it hides and covers the best.

I know reading this you may think that New Year's resolutions are often broken. Not this time. I'm too fed up with myself.

Now if I can just get building maintenance to move that vending machine further away from my office . . .

Monday, December 29, 2008

Race Schedule Revisions

Updated my race schedule on the left. New Year's Day Run? Yeah, not going to happen. I think I'm finally, FINALLY! coming out of my months-long running funk. Signed up for a new Half in Chicago, the 13.1 Chicago in June. A few days before we leave for vacation, so that should be interesting, given everything that comes along with vacation prep, finisheverythingatworkbeforeI'mgoneforaweek prep.

Hmmm, I have three halfs on the schedule. That might be a little much. I have to think about that.

Conference call coming up at work, gotta go.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Butt Hurts

Went to my first-ever spinning class tonight. The instructor told me that my butt will hurt tomorrow. Well, it hurts now. I liked it, even if I was a little uncoordinated in the beginning. I can see how it can be addicting. During "sprints" the guy next to me was going so fast! I've never seen anyone's legs move that fast. To quote Chandler from "Friends": "His legs flail about as if independent from his body!"

I've been keeping a fairly regular workout schedule the last couple of weeks, between my personal trainer visits, other sessions at the gym and the treadmill at home. (No running outside for me, I live in Chicago! Yes, land of Blagojevich.) Goal is to get in shape, lose the extra pounds and get strong for Chicago Marathon '09.

While he doesn't need to lose weight, I've been getting on Mike's case to work out because if he works out, I'm more likely to work out. If he's not, I'm likely to make excuses.

Special note to my blogging friends: I know I've been terrible about posting AND commenting on your blogs lately. I will get back to it soon. Between the holidays and spending more time at the gym I haven't been on the computer much. When I have been on the computer, I've been researching info for a summer Disney trip. (If anyone's been to the Grand Floridian, would love to hear your reviews.)

Ok, gotta go address some holiday cards. In the spirit of the holidays, I leave you with this. Thanks to Mary Ellen for sending it my way. (Be sure to pause my playlist on the bottom left.)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Random Thanksgiving Post

I need to be at Mike's mom's house in a couple of hours (Mike's at work, meeting him there) so even though I need to find clean pajamas for the kids, find clean clothes for the kids, get myself showered/dressed, supervise son's shower, give daughter a bath, walk the dog, do the dishes, fold the laundry and stop the kids from fighting, I'm going to post this random list I found at Unfocused's blog. Oh, and I have about 7 minutes left on the laptop battery. I do not procrastinate.

Items in bold, I’ve done; items in plain text, I haven’t.
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (Going to DisneyWorld in June, does that count?)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo (Unless screaming Skid Row songs while drunk on the way home from a party in collegecounts . . .then no)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon (I've run IN a Marathon)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason (Ahem, Mike?)
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day.

Clearly I need to travel more.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

O iPod Where Art Thou?

I can't find my iPod. I need my iPod to run. Yes, I'm one of those runners. Especially on the treadmill. Looked everywhere last night and today and came up empty. Mike may have it easy Christmas shopping for me this year, I may need a new one. (I'm a little scared it was on top of the newspaper pile that was tossed out. If that's the case, then someone picking up the recycling bin has a new iPod Nano that says "Love, Mike" on the back. Oh, and a Nike + sensor)

Mike offered to let me use his iPod Shuffle and while I'm not looking forward to it, I just might need to. Why don't I want to use his Shuffle? Well, here's a couple examples.

My iPod has music like this:

Mike's has music like this:

My missing iPod has music like this:

Mike's Shuffle includes music like this:

Ok, truth be told I don't know that he has King Diamond on his Shuffle, but he has some King Diamond Cds and I'm just trying to prove the point that we really don't like the same music. Truth be told twice I do have some of "Mike's music" on my iPod . . .Rush, a little Metallica, Spock's Beard and some others. But the vast majority is not for me.

Where is that iPod?!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A New Record

I think I set a new record for the longest time I've ignored my blog . . .or those of my blogger friends. It's been awhile, I know. Nothing specific, just busy days, busy nights, a lot of stuff . . .and a little laziness here and there.

To all of my blogging friends, I know I haven't commented lately, it's not that I didn't find your posts interesting, I just didn't um . . .read your posts. Or any posts for that matter. Hope to get caught up over the next few days. To get you caught up on me, here's some quick updates:

  • I took one step closer to becoming a svelte and fit runner for the Chicago '09 starting line and had my first workout with a personal trainer. My trainer is great, very sweet and patient. She was particulary sweet and patient when I let the weights slam back down during the first exercise.
  • I took very few steps the next couple of days after the workout - - which focused on weight training exercises -- because I've never really lifted weights before and was sore as hell. My limp around the office and my struggles getting in and out of the car was a constant reminder of how unfit I am. Ninety year olds move around easier that I was.
  • Haven't signed up for any 5ks because schedules (what race is nearby, if Mike is off of work to stay home with the kids, if we don't have anything conflicting) haven't worked out.
  • We started a Biggest Loser contest at work several weeks ago. So far I've lost weight, gained weight, lost weight and gained weight. So I'm hoping the next weigh-in - -the last one - - that I at least lose enough to meet my original starting weight. Sad, I know.
  • I kicked my Red Bull habit! Went cold turkey and so far, doing pretty good. (I may have been a tad crabby for a couple of days.)

Ok, gotta get back to work. Can't get to the gym tonight because of other stuff we have going on, but planning to run on Friday and do weights the gym on Saturday. Next personal training session on Monday.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


My dreams of quitting my job and spending my days working with a trainer to get me ready for Chicago Marathon '09 are shattered.

2008 Halloween Millionaire Raffle Winner
Draw date: October 31, 2008
We are sorry, Millionaire Raffle ticket number 413797 is not a winner.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Step Away From The Play Doh, Ma'am, Step Away

First let me say that this post has absolutely nothing about running, except that I should have gone to the gym when I got home after the Play-Doh incident but . . .I didn't.

I wasn't going to post this but it's just so ridiculous and surreal that I have to share it. Plus Mike said he was surprised I didn't post about it yet, considering how aghast I was last week, so here it is.

The scene . . .

Last week we went to our 4-year-old daughter (let's call her "T") "Trunk-n-Treat" event at school. The pre-schoolers dress in their costumes, we eat hot dogs, we play games and they trick-or-treat with parents handing out candy and treats from trunks of the cars. (I would have liked to post a picture of our daughter as she looked very cute in her HSM* cheerleading costume but Mike and I agreed when we entered the blogosphere not to post pictures of our kids. No offense to my blog friends, this isn't directed at you, but there are some sickos out there.)

Of course, in our typical "I only pretend to be organized" fashion, I had to run out during lunch from work to get candy for the kids. In my mad dash across Target (because I was also trying to stop home to let the dog out for a walk) I grabbed a bag of candy and bags of the mini Play-Doh containers because I figured, hey, how much candy can a 4-year- old eat? I also grabbed two inexpensive greeen Halloween-themed bowls. (Remember the bowls, these will be important.)

It rained at the event so when it was time for the kids to "trunk 'n treat" so we moved everything into the gym. I stayed with T in line outside the gym while Mike set up ourPlay-Doh and candy stash inside the gym with some of the other parents. While I'm in the "parents waiting with kids" section outside the gym Mike calls on my cell reminding me that he has to go pick up our 6-year-old, A, from a birthday party. So Mike leaves the candy and the Play-Doh in the bowls on a chair. A nice older woman tells Mike no problem, I'll keep an eye on it. Mike leaves the school.

Mike leaves to get A; T and I enter the gym in line with other parents and kids to do some trick or treating. Chairs were set up in a "U" shape with parents passing out candy. As T and I make our way down the line, I notice the green bowls I brought, the candy and the Play-Doh. A woman is standing over the chair, as other parents are complementing her on the great idea to bring Play-Doh. The woman, in all her Play-Doh-basking glory, says - - Thank you.

What - Wait. Thank you? It's not your Play-Doh lady. Wait I tell myself, don't overreact, others probably brought Play-Doh. I do a quick scan of the gym and no, no Play-Doh stations, only candy. And those are my green Target bowls! T and I get closer to the Play-Doh Imposter and I hear her tell another mom, "Oh thank you! Yes, I thought the kids might like it." She's talking about my Play-Doh! My Play-Doh! WTF? Who lies about Play-Doh?

So T and I get up there and I look at her straight in the eye and say, "T, pick out some of the Play-Doh WE brought." The woman, who doesn't know that I'm the true bearer of the Play-Doh says nothing. I say, "That looks like the Play-Doh I brought." No response. I say again, "Yes, WE brought that Play-Doh." Again no response. But she's clearly uncomfortable. "That's the Play-Doh I BROUGHT in MY green bowls." No response.

Now it's clearly time for either 1) T and I to move on or 2) Continue to hold up the line while I'm confronting the Play-Doh imposter, resulting in a scene in the school gym. The people in line behind me didn't know who really brought the Play-Doh (and likely didn't give a damn either) so I thought that while it was so odd and crazy and strange for someone to lie and claim to bring someone else's Play-Doh to a school event, I had to move on before I was forever branded the "Crazy Play-Doh Lady" at my kids' school. We have nine more years until both kids are out of this school so I couldn't risk the humiliation for my kids . . . I could just picture A getting in a fight at school defending his mom, the Crazy Play-Doh Lady.

I'm not bitter, we are only talking about Play-Doh here and I am well aware that there are more important things going on in the world.

But seriously, WTF? Who steals Play-Doh?

*If you don't know what HSM stands for, you clearly do not have pre-teens or young kids in your house.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Six Weeks

Went to the gym Tuesday night and ran. Yep, you read that right. I ran. For the first time in 6 weeks.

It sucked.

Funny thing about not running for 6 weeks (and eating crap the entire time I might add). You pretty much lose any fitness you had. So I struggled through 2 miles, the entire time wondering, where is that girl that got up at 3:45 a.m. one morning to run 10 miles -- and enjoyed it?

She clearly wasn't at the gym with me on Tuesday night.

Back to the gym Friday night. 350-odd days until Chicago '09.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Coming Out of Hibernation

Karin is dragging me out of blogging hibernation by tagging me. Thanks Karin!

Rules: Each player answers the question themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blog and leaves them a comment letting them know that they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve answered the questions on your blog.

10 Years Ago (1998):
1. Been married to Mike for 3 years
2. Was still able to sleep past 7 a.m. on the weekends (No kids yet.)
3. Getting itchy to leave my corporate communications job (ended up leaving in March '99)
4. If I have the years right, Mike was still back in school which meant I was hanging out at Applebee's a lot while Mike was bartending.
5. Was the weight I want to be at now (sigh).

5 Things on Today's "To Do" List:
(Taking Karin's cue, we'll make this tomorrow since it's almost 9 p.m.)
1. In 65 minutes, get up, shower, dressed, get kids up, fed, dressed and drop them off at school.
2. Work (send out a press release, work on '09 budget)
3. Meet former boss for lunch (incidentally, the boss from my job in 1998!)
4. Call and schedule next appointment for dog trainer.
5. Drumroll please . . . GO TO GYM AND RUN ON TRACK!

5 Things that I would do if I were a millionaire:
1. Quit my job.
2. Vacation in Hawaii.
3. Remodel house.
4. Go to gym everyday (ok nearly every day) while kids were in school.
5. Volunteer by doing PR/media relations work for nonprofits.

5 Places I have lived:
1. Chicago, IL
2. DeKalb, IL
3. Chicago, IL
4. Schaumburg, IL
5. Schaumburg, IL
(Different places in Chicago and Schaumburg)

Jobs I have had:
1. Retail - Madigan's
2. Concession stand worker at NIU football game (I lasted one football game)
2. Retail - Kohl's
3. NIU Dept. of Journalism office aide
4. Various (ok three) PR jobs before my current job . . .
5. Media Relations Director for a division of a well-known, global company

Now, I'm tagging....
1. Mike
2. Kitzzy
3. Stephanie
4. Terri
5. Jill

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I'm Still Alive . . .

. . .Just working a lot, stressing a lot and therefore not blogging much or running much (if at all).

I've also been obsessed with the Election coverage.

Base mileage build up for Chicago '09 starts October 15!

Don't laugh, I'm just glad to have a semi-desire to run again.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Running Through My Head All Day

Not sure why, I haven't been watching '80s videos, haven't seen Footloose recently, but it popped in my head and hasn't left.

(Pause my playlist on the bottom left to hear.)

Now it's in your head. You're welcome.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Not a Running Meme . . .

. . .but a food meme. Because let's face it, I've been doing a helluva lot more eating than running lately. (well, always. Which is why I started running to begin with . . to lose the weight from my pregnancies . . . okay, from my eating. Whatever, shut up and read.)

Saw this on Mike's blog who found it at Unfocused Me's blog.

1. How do you like your eggs?
Until my first pregnancy, not at all. Now, poached.

2. How do you take your coffee/tea?
I don't. And neither does Mike, which is why we annoy the hell out of our family guests at the kids' birthday parties because when you don't drink coffee, you rarely think of buying/making coffee. We started catching on when some family members started stopping at Dunkin' Donuts for coffee on the way to our house.

3. Favorite breakfast food.
Eggs Benedict

4. Peanut butter.
Not sure what I'm supposed to say about this. Do I eat it? Yes, only on toast before a run. (Ha! I've worked running into this post on my running blog!)

5. What kind of dressing on your salad?
Italian or French or Thousand Island or Ranch or Garlic. I'm not picky. (No Mike, I'm not.)

6. Coke or Pepsi?
Until baby #2, Pepsi. Now, ick. Diet Coke, or if I really feel like I need a caffeine boost, regular Coke. (I know that there isn't more caffeine in regular Coke, but psychologically, it helps me. Don't judge.)

7. You're feeling lazy. What do you make?
Nothing. I ask Mike what he's making us. (What do I make ever? I'm not the cook, Mike is.)

8. You're feeling really lazy. What kind of pizza do you order?
If it were up to me alone, just about everything except anchovies and sausage.

9. You feel like cooking. What do you make?
That's funny.

10. Do any foods bring back good memories?
Hmmm. Beer nuggets from NIU. I really enjoyed college.
What are beer nuggets? It's a DeKalb, IL thing. Deep fried pizza dough served with warm pizza sauce (or cheese sauce). Perfect at 3 a.m.

11. Do any foods bring back bad memories?
The chili my husband makes. Wait, I'm not trying to be mean. He knows where this is going. I actually used to love his chili but I ate it when I was two months pregnant - - and sick daily - - with our daughter. I couldn't keep much down, including the chili. The bathroom episode from the chili was the sickest (most sick?) I was during the whole pregnancy.

12. Do any foods remind you of someone?
Cranberry juice. My grandmother drank it every day and she was always scared of running out of it.

13. Is there a food you refuse to eat?
Unfortunately, no. Wait, Italian Sausage. Just not a fan.

14. What was your favorite food as a child? Chocolate.

15. Is there a food that you hated as a child but now like? Meatloaf. Didn't like my mom's, like Mike's (sorry mom)

16. Is there a food that you liked as a child but now hate? Peanut butter and jelly

17. Favorite fruits and vegetables. Grapes, tomatoes, asparagus (but only very cold with salt)

18. Favorite junk food. Ding dong's. Which is why I never buy them. Because I would eat them.

19. Favorite between meal snack. Pretzels . . .or lately, Hersey's Pumpkin Spice kisses. They are awesome.

20. Do you have any weird food habits?
Not sure about now but as a kid I couldn't switch between foods on my plate. I had to eat all of the mashed potatoes before moving on to the turkey, all of the turkey before moving on to the corn, etc.

21. You're on a diet. What food(s) do you fill up on?
Unfortunately everything I'm not supposed to be eating while I'm on the diet.

22. You're off your diet. Now what would you like?
Lou Malnati's pizza or Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Brownie ice cream. Wait, both.

23. How spicy do you order Indian/Thai? Very

24. Can I get you a drink? A glass of Riesling.

25. Red or White Wine? See above.

26. Favorite dessert? Chocolate ice cream or Portillo's Chocolate Cake. No Portillo's in your area? You're missing out.

I swear I'll start blogging about running (and start running) again once I get over this damn cold. Now I have to go check and see if we have any Pumpkin kisses left in the house.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My New Winter Home

The track that I will be running on a lot this winter. In beautiful Wasilla, Alaska*
(It's 1/9 of a mile. Not great, but better than the treadmill.)
Question: What is the proper gym etiquette when another runner is running the wrong direction? On certain days you go left, on certain days you go right based on the schedule posted at the entrance. Last time I was here I ran the way according to the posted schedule, but there were two other runners (running together) who were running and walking opposite. So, every time we met up, I would have to switch lanes to avoid running into them.
Am I supposed to call them out on it?
Run the direction they are running in even though it is not the "posted" way?
Or just do what I'm doing and give them dirty looks as I pass?
*Actually, it's in Illinois. That was an attempt to cheer up my sister. She made the mistake of getting into a political "discussion" with my parents today.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Change of Plans

Hey blogging friends, remember me? I know, I've been MIA for awhile. Such a bad blogger I've been . . .no posts, no Virtual Run Club posts, very few visits to the blogs I usually frequent.

Why? I've been in an "I hate running" funk for some time. And finally, I think I realize why.

I am in no way, shape or form prepared for the Chicago Marathon. This isn't just anxiety talking. I truly am not ready. (Kinda like how a certain Alaskan is not prepared or ready to hold one of the highest offices in the land, but I digress.)

Back to running . . . This has not been a good training year. As I look back at my race reports, all of them are pretty negative. And I really don't consider myself to be a negative person. Sarcastic at times, maybe, but not overally negative. Between my plantar fasciitis (ah, finally I know how to spell it!) issues in both feet, my recurring ankle pain from last year's Marathon effort and a simply subpar effort to keep my training schedule, I've realized that this is not my year.

Despite good intentions, I've trained like an asshole.

So, here's the plan: I'll be at the starting line this year, but my intent is to stop at the halfway point . . .I'm making it my own little half marathon. I figure this way I get to experience some of the excitement of the Marathon, still put in a fairly significant amount of miles . . .and have time to get to the Finish Line to cheer for Chipper Kim, my other cousins, Keith, John and Lauren - - and Karin of course! (Jeanine has also trained like an asshole so we're going to train for Chicag0 '09 together.)

I've thought about this a lot and don't get me wrong, I am really, really, really ticked and disappointed. I'm mad at myself, mad at my feet, and wish I could turn the clock back four or five months. I really feel bad too, about how wonderful and supportive my friends, family and co-workers have been and here I go and (kinda) drop out.

So I'm trying to focus on the positive:
- Thanks to the generosity of my family, friends and co-workers, I've raised $1,475 for the American Cancer Society.
- I've learned A LOT about what works for me and what doesn't.
- Training this year has been a great way to stay in contact with Chipper Kim, Jeanine, Lauren and John.
- I've met some great virtual friends through this year's training efforts . . .Karin, Lisa, Terri, Kai, Unfocused Life, Jill, e, Tamara, Chris, Kitzzy, Razz and all the runners at Virtual Run Club.

Now I know you may be wondering, what have I been doing since I haven't been blogging? A few things:
- I visited the new gym we've joined a few times. Would have been more, except for . . .
- This sore throat/cold that I've been trying to get rid of for two weeks now.
- Certainly have not been doing enough laundry. (Where do these clothes come from?)
- Researching ideas for Mike's 40th birthday gift. I still have time, but I really would like to surprise him one year (no Mike, not a surprise party)
- Been driving Mike nuts as I've become absolutely obsessed with the Presidential Election. I was obsessed before Palin entered the picture, now I'm just fired up. And not in a good way. I'd love to see a woman vice president or president some day, but she is not the candidate for me. I am a CNN,, Chicago Tribune and NY Times groupie (Horrors, I'm reading stuff from that liberal media.) I could go on and on but won't . . .instead I leave you with this. I mean, does the McCain campaign really think people are that stupid? Wait, I've seen the comments on Nevermind.

(Click pause on my music playlist on the left to hear video.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Race Report: Nike + Human Race

The Nike + Human Race (10k) was in Chicago last night, here's a quick recap because I have something bigger weighing on my mind . . .

  • Lots and lots and lots of people in the red Nike + shirts
  • 14,000 people and 17 porta potties. Seriously, I counted.
  • 14,000 people makes baggage check a bitch.
  • 14,000 people and having to pee while waiting in line to check bags is a bitch and a half. (I have no idea what that means, I think I just made it up.)
  • Liked starting off at Soldier Field, a Chicago landmark.
  • Despite this race being half the size of Chicago's Shamrock Shuffle, it felt like it was twice the size when we were squeezed in the corrals like sardines.
  • Chipper Kim had three beers and some garlic pretzel cracker combo. Chipper Kim, my nutrition idol, I expected better from you. :)
  • My ankle (same ankle as last year's stress fracture) started bothering me about 0.01 miles into the race.
  • My feet started bothering me (yeah, plantar fasciitis in both feet now) about 0.05 miles into the race.
  • The Chicago 2016 crew cheering before the first (and only) incline was fantastic, very motivating when runners needed it.
  • Struggled to get through 6.2 miles with ankles and feet issues. Ran/walked the whole thing. I'm sure I pulled the Chicago average time down. (But hey, Chicago's average was better than New York and L.A.!)
  • Running on Chicago's lakefront with the Chicago skyline in view was a very pretty sight.
  • Caught a few songs from Fall Out Boy after the finish before I decided to head home, take as shower, ice my feet and have some wine. (I decided to do that, but in reality, I headed home, picked up some Taco Bell, took a shower and had some Gatorade.)

What's been weighing on my mind? Too much to get into right now, will update soon.

Happy running!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Yep, That's Me

Klutz (kluhts) - noun Slang.
1. a clumsy, awkward person.
2. a stupid or foolish person; blockhead.
3. Jenn.

Let me set the scene for you. (This is slightly running related, I promise.)

Work meeting in NY this morning with people I am meeting for first time, so good impression is important. Because I want to be punctual and not risk any delays I take an earlier flight (even if it means getting up at 3:30 a.m.).

No flight issues and I have some time to kill after I arrive in NY so I park myself at a Starbucks across the street from the building and take time to go over my meeting materials. Starbucks' bathroom is out of order so I leave a few minutes early to use the restroom in the building where my meeting is taking place. I'm feeling pretty good at this point. I'm punctual, I'm prepared, I'm dressed nicely, I'm confident.

(The following passage is likely to contain some cursing, so if you think you might be offended, you may want to visit another blog.)

I open the door to exit Starbucks, my leg moves forward and SPLAT!

Being the klutz that I am, I do not notice the huge stoop down to the sidewalk and completely miss it and am now sprawled on the ground in front of Starbucks on Broadway.

My first thought is Oh. Shit.

I slammed down on my knees and did a weird twisty motion with my feet so in the first two seconds I am worried about any potential knee, feet, ankle injuries that could potentially impact my marathon training.

In the next two seconds I become incredibly embarrassed because here I am, sprawled out in front of a busy Starbucks on Broadway and something, not sure, but suffice to say it is a busy corner in Manhatten.

And the next two seconds I realize the truly dreadful consequence of my klutziness. Here I am about 22 minutes before my important work meeting and I've ripped my pants in the knee (pretty bad, no way to hide it) and I'm sitting in some Godknowswhatisonthecement puddle. Is it spilled coffee, is it pee, what the hell is this sticky gross goop that is now on my butt and suit jacket?!

Oh. F.U.C.K.

I am very panicked and flustered and trying to hold back tears at this point because even though my meeting is now in about 19 minutes and I cannot possibly show up like this I'm supposed to be a calm, cool, collected, professionial media relations executive.

I run/limp the next block hoping to find something, a mall, a Macys, a vendor selling an "I heart NY" shirt, SOMETHING!!

And then my faith in all that is good was restored. All at once the clouds parted, the sun shone down, the angels sang and there it was. Ann Taylor Loft. And it was open.

I was so happy if I was pregnant I would be naming my child "Ann Taylor."

I've also never shopped so fast in my life. I grabbed some pants and a suit jacket off the rack, tried them on, ripped off the tags and told the salesperson, I'll be wearing these out.

I paid, threw out the clothes I left Chicago in and was twirling around in a circle asking the salesperson, "Did I miss any tags? Did I?" (I think she was frightened by me, she probably thought I was a fugitive.)

I am shocked that I made the meeting on time, with a couple minutes to spare, and that was even after I stopped in a restroom to make sure I didn't have bloody scrapes visible anywhere. Meeting went well too, although throughout the meeting I kept wondering if a clothing tag was going to pop out of somewhere.

My foot and knee is pretty sore, I think I'm going to have some nasty bruises.

So am I a runner now if my first thought was about my feet/knees/ankles and not about my ripped pants?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

&*$# Blogger

Blogger and I are not cooperating with each other, so if you're interested in reading my Chicago Distance Classic Race Report please scroll down to the post under "Half Highlights and Lowlights" (both say posted on Sunday Aug 10).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Half Highlights and Lowlights

Thanks to Lisa, Karin, Tamara and Terri for the good wishes for my Half Marathon. Will post a full race report, likely tomorrow, but really tired, so for now I leave you with:

- I finished.
- I did not come in last.
- The weather was beautiful.
- The Race was extremely well-organized.
- The volunteers were fantastic.
- No new injuries.
- My kids greeted me at home with two homemade medals, which I treasure more than any P.R.

- While I didn't think it was remotely possible to achieve a worse time than 2007's Half Marathon, I came pretty damn close.
- Tummy issues turned my Half into Porta Potty Tour 2008.
- While the plan was to be fully rested, I started the Half with about 4 hours of sleep.

More to come. . .

Race Report: Chicago Distance Classic

Get comfy, because this may turn out to be a long one . . .or maybe not, I'm pretty tired.

Night Before Race

Mike went to a concert downtown but because I lost my house key at some point during the day, I had his key, meaning he would have to call me so I could let him in the house. By the time I got the kids to bed, got all my stuff together and watched Michael Phelps' race, it was 10:30, meaning at best I had 5 hours of sleep. I kept waking up knowing Mike would call, and then would have a hard time falling asleep, so only slept continuously from about 1:15 - 3:30 a.m.

Lesson Learned #1: Get more sleep.


Alarm goes off at 3:30 a.m. and I curse myself for signing myself for this effin' running nonsense. (I don't know about you, but I am generally cranky when I have to get up at 3:30 a.m., so yes, it was in my state of mind, effin' nonense.)

Shower, get dressed, double check that I have the disposable timing chip and go. In the car, I drink sugar-free Red Bull, G2 and eat peanut butter on 2 slices of toast and a Special K protein bar. Leave around 4:20 a.m.

Traffic is a breeze and driving into the city, I see the Chicago skyline at night for the first time in a long while. Ah, pretty.

Park and head over to the Race site to meet my cousin Kim, or as she is now known, Chipper Kim. At 5:15 a.m., my sister Jeanine, who is training for the Marathon with us but not signed up for the Half, calls. Amazed when I see the caller ID, I ask why she is up already. "Already? I haven't gone to sleep yet." (She's not a party girl, worked all night on a presentation she will be giving at a conference next week.) She wishes me good luck. Overall, I am feeling pretty good physically and mentally, despite the lack of sleep.

Visit the Porta Potty; tummy a little upset, I think it is just a bit of nerves. Meet up with Chipper Kim, despite it still being dark out and leaving my glasses in the car. Check in at American Cancer Society tent, and Kim and I get organized with headphones, headband, water bottles, Shot Bloks, etc. and head toward the Start. It's really starting to fill up with people (I think I heard there were 14,000 runners) by now, and before I realized it, the sun is up.

Start of Race

The Chicago Distance Classic employs a wave start, which the novice runner in me wasn't quite sure what that meant. It worked out well though and what I liked about it was that there were several "starts" . . . a start for each wave. So even though I was with the last wave (I started between the 11.5 minute/mile and the 12.5 minute/mile pacers) we still were up front for the "Runners Take Your Marks" and the horn. Kinda cool because as a back-of-the-pack runner I don't usually hear the start.

Miles 1 - 3

I'm feeling pretty good as we start but know that I'm going too fast (for me) and try to slow it down. As much as I hate to admit enjoying another one of my husband's bands, I start out with Spock's Beard's "Devil's Got My Throat" on the iPod. (For the life of me I cannot find a video or audio clip to link to, so if you want to hear it, it's on my playlist down on the left. It is a good song for running.)

The first bit of incline is near McCormick Place and I remember Terri's post about imagining a balloon tied to my wrist and saying "floating, floating, floating" over and over. It helps.

As we come up to the first aid station, I kindasortamaybe feel like I might have to go to the bathroom but feel like it's just nerves and I'll be ok so I run past it. A mile later I'm wishing I didn't pass it up because I really need a porta potty.

Miles 4 - 7

Basically, I run these miles (and walk some too because my tummy hurts) as simply miles between porta potties. The lines are long but the volunteers are so nice because they are bringing water and Gatorade to us as we wait in line. I realize I am eating up A LOT of time waiting in lines for the porta potties and using the porta potties. Great, I think, my entire race report is going to be about porta potties.

While we're talking about porta potties, can I just say how very odd and strange it is to be um, sitting in a porta potty on Lake Shore Drive? You see, Lake Shore Drive (LSD) is a very, very, very busy street/expressway in Chicago. Karin and Kai know what I mean. Runners had the two right lanes of Lake Shore Drive but the left lane was open to traffic. So I'm in a porta potty basically two lanes away from traffic. Hearing the close roar of traffic and feeling the porta potty shake slightly was a little disconcerting.

Lesson Learned #2 - Figure out what upsets tummy and avoid it before race.

Miles 7 - 9

I am so glad to be at the halfway point (which we find out later was slightly more than halfway due to a course certification error) and calculating the time, I realize I am moving a lot slower than planned. I'm running/walking a lot because of my tummy issues (and of course, visiting the porta potties) I'm also repeating the Spock's Beard song and Carolina Liar's "I'm Not Over" (a recommendation from Flo) a lot because I'm finding it hard to focus. Is it because of tummy issues or is it because I'm getting flustered because even the really slow runners are passing me up? Not sure.

Lesson Learned #3 - Learn to forget about the other runners. I'm not trying to beat them, just trying to finish.

Miles 9 - 13.1

My feet hurt. Really hurt. I find myself looking on the ground hoping to come across a machete on the ground so I can chop my feet off at my ankles. While I know this violent image wasn't the time of visualization technique Terri had in mind, it (in a creepy way) still works.

Still running/walking. Still visiting porta potties.

On my way to the finish with (imagined) painless stumps instead OMGithurts feet, I do take time to admire the Chicago skyline and the lakefront because it is a beautiful day for a run.

So I finish (an embarrassingly slow time but I take solace that there were still 400 or so people behind me) and meet up with Chipper Kim, who was waiting around for 45 minutes, maybe longer.

Lesson Learned #4 - Having family and friends on the course really helps me mentally and breaks up the miles. (Family, friends, don't worry about getting me a birthday gift in October, just come down to the Marathon. It will help me A LOT!)

Speaking of embarrassed, I haven't run since the Half. A whole week. Not sure what my problem is really. It started off with a couple days rest and turned into a whole week. I just haven't looked forward to running (not good with the Marathon is less than two months away.) I was more "in the grove" and motivated last year . . .you'd think I'd be more motivated now after getting a taste of the Marathon last year. Not sure if this will make any sense but I think that because I do have a better sense of what's in front of me with the Marathon, I'm more terrified than last year and in a way, overwhelmed I guess. So instead of training like a madwoman I'm avoiding it? Not sure if that's what Freud would say. In any case, I'm going to try to change that tonight and get back on the treadmill.

I also signed up for the other Chicago Half Marathon (in September.) I really need to practice focusing while there are other runners around.

55 days and counting . . .

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Thank You Tommy Skilling

I think the weather gods are trying to make up for the inferno that was Chicago Marathon '07. Here's the forecast for tomorrow's Half Marathon from Chicago weather god Tom Skilling:

76 57
Mainly sunny, breezy and cooler. High temperatures range from the lower-70s along the lakeshore to the upper-70s well inland. Light north-to-northeast winds.

Alarm is going off at 3:30 a.m to get ready and get downtown in corral in plenty of time for 6:30 a.m. start.

Wish me luck!

Monday, August 4, 2008


Walked around the office today like Frankenstein as a result of Sunday's 10 miler. Everyone in my department knows that 1) I ran 10 miles on Sunday 2) I got up earlier than dawn to do it and 3) I hurt. They know this because I talked/complained about it all day.

If I'm like this at 10 miles, wonder what I'm going to feel like after the Half on Sunday. Or the Marathon in October.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

10 Miles - Check!

Got up as planned and finished 10 miles before 6:30 a.m. this morning. Okay, more like 6:40 a.m. . . .Mike was pacing in the driveway waiting for me to get home so he could get to work on time. (A little tummy issue with the Cliff Bar made me a little late.)

Will post more later, but gotta clean up the house because my mother-in-law will be coming back here with Mike after he gets off of work. She already knows I'm domestically-challenged (She is already well aware that I don't/can't cook and my son asking her what her ironing board was just sealed my fate.) so I don't want to look like I can't keep the house clean either (I can't, but we're just talking about impressions here. If she ever needs a press release though, I can write that like nobody's business. :)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Pepper Spray, Check!

Preparing for my long run of 10 miles on Sunday morning. Will be my earliest run ever (and my longest run this training season) as I have to get the miles in before Mike leaves for work at 6:30. In the morning.

Really need to do it outside so I'm better prepared for next week's half marathon, plus this way I beat some of the humidity. Have things going on in afternoon, so running at dusk isn't an option for me.

So . . .
- New songs on iPod - Check!
- Balega socks - Check!
- CARA reflective running tank - Check!
- Favorite sports bra washed - Check!
- Shoes - Check!
- Pepper spray - Check!
(It will be dark out when I start out, no one tell my parents. Yes, I know I'm 37 years old. Really, no one tell my parents.)
- Sports beans/Clif bar - Check!
(This will be a test to see how my tummy gets along)
- Headphones - Check!
- Amphipod armband for iPod - Check!
- Cell phone - Check!
- Runners' ID - Check!
- Amphipod belt - Check!
- Gatorade - Check!
- Protein Water - Check!

I hope I don't attack myself in the face with the pepper spray.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Runners' Dinner (or You're Training Like An A#%Hole)

Went to dinner with my sister Jeanine, cousin Kim (Chipper Kim for those of you who've read Dawn Dais' The NonRunners' Guide to Marathon Training for Women) and my cousins' cousin Lauren. (Let's just call her a cousin.) Jeanine, Kim and Lauren are training for Chicago '08 . . .we all participated in (and were pulled away from) the debacle that was Chicago '07. Jeanine's boyfriend Sunil joined us too . . .he isn't training for the Marathon (and therefore the sanest of the dinner bunch) but has done some other races with us.

It was good to see everyone and I thoroughly enjoyed dinner. Maybe it was because I love Mexican, maybe it was because the food was good, maybe it was because I didn't have to pick up crayons off the floor, get up to take someone to the bathroom right when the food arrived (twice) or repeatedly answer "Mommy, when is our food cominnnnnnnnnnnng?"

I didn't bring my camera so alas I cannot share a photo of the Marathoners-to-be or photos of our food like Kai does so well. Kai, next time you're in Wicker Park maybe you can visit and post photos on your blog :)

Anyway, while eating my ranchero beef tacos with corn shells served on a hot cast iron skillet, it became very clear that despite the best intentions, Jeanine and I have been training like a#$holes. Chipper Kim and Lauren have not.

(Kim, you know I love ya, but I'm sorry, when you run 7/8 miles with your group and then come home and run 3 more . . . AND text me about it, you are Chipper Kim)

Protein powders, deep tissue massages, trainers, therapists, magnesium supplements . . .Chipper Kim and Lauren are doing it right. They're training right, they're stretching right, they're eating right. Jeanine and I are not (although Jeanine was quick to point out that I'm the worst at nutrition, she's only the second worst. She may be right.)

Case in point:

Chipper Kim: ". . . so I take a protein powder and I notice a real difference . . .Jenn, what did you eat for your recovery meal after your eight mile?"

Me: "Recovery meal? (gulp) Oh! You know they have these mini ice cream Milky Ways now? They're only 90 calories! I had two. Oh, and potato chips."

Chipper Kim: Are you taking your glucosimine?

Me: Yes. I am. (Silently to myself, Did I?)

So what I've been slowly realizing and avoided admitting to myself came to full blown acceptance Sunday night. I've been training like an a#$hole. I'm working to improve that though, and asked Kim to type out everything that she's doing and email it to me so I can copy it exactly.

Hot and humid in Chicagoland this week, so running tonight, Wednesday and Friday night on treadmill, getting up earlier than early on Sunday to run my long run of 10 before Mike has to leave for work at 6:30 a.m.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Sound of Silence

Got out of bed at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday (I know, miracle of all miracles) and after some peanut butter on toast, headed out to do eight miles. Muggier than I would have liked, but was pretty pleased with myself for being out early in the morning. Noticed early on in the run that my legs felt a lot better than usual, probably because I've been running later in the afternoon and evening after a day of activity, I forgot what rested legs felt like.

Was moving along pretty well and was getting into a groove around mile 3 when I skipped past a few songs on the iPod and heard. . .nothing. Horror of all horrors. Fiddled with the headphones and could still hear the Nike + lady "Pausing Workout" so knew headphones were okay . . . was trying to go back and forth on playlist to see if that would help and inadvertently ended my workout (Dammit! I really like hearing "956 Calories" at the end of the run.) Tried to reset it, turn it off/on, the thing was locked up. Kept running with the headphones on thinking that maybe it would unlock itself and suddenly I would hear Fall Out Boy in my ears. Nothing. Except my breathing for five torturous miles. It's not a pretty sound.

Finished the eight miles but not really a satisfying run. Did more run/walk than I planned because mentally the sound of my breathing was messing up my focus. I had a hard time relaxing into the run. So instead I just made repeated deals with myself. "Just run until the fire hydrant. Ok, now you can walk until Fruitful Yield entrance. Ok, now run until you reach the funeral home entrance. Ok, lie down and die."

I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't worried about the Marathon. Really worried. I'm only one week behind my training at this point last year, but much more worried about it. I need to get in check mentally or I'm going to be toast by mile 10 at the Marathon.

Going out to the "Runners' Dinner" tonight. My sister and three cousins - - all training for Chicago '08 - - get together to eat, drink and talk about running/training. Expect that will help my motivation.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Calories Schmalories

Browsing blogs tonight as I wait for my daughter to fall asleep (again, please don't judge) and came across a comment on Runner Susan's blog about The Daily Plate. It's basically a calorie counter; that's what I need because I'm still stuck gaining and losing - - and gaining again - - the same five pounds. Running should help, but not when I run five miles and eat like I've run 10.

Speaking of running, I have been - - 3 miles on Tuesday, 5 miles on Saturday and 8 miles tonight (as soon as my daughter falls asleep). Not hitting 4 runs this week, but still getting the long run in (even if it is on the treadmill).

I went ahead and joined The Daily Plate; it's free and worth a try. Heck, if it works I might even be able to cancel that Weight Watchers Online membership I haven't been using.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ice, Ice, Baby

Went to the doctor today. I officially have Plantar Faciitis. Seriously, how do you spell this thing?! Plantar Fasciitis.

"What's wrong?" Doctor asks as he walks in.

"I think I have plantar fasciitis." (I practiced how to say it before he came in so I wouldn't sound like an idiot.)

"I one hundred percent agree with your diagnosis." (Ok, that was easy.)

No heel spurs on the X-ray. I need to ice, ice, ice and stretch, stretch, stretch and continue wearing the Strassburg Sock. But I can keep training as planned.

The physician's assistant showing me the stretches mentioned that she participated in Chicago '07 too. I asked if she was going to run it again this year.

"No, I can't because I lose too much weight running. I eat like a horse, but can't keep weight on."

Oh, so sorry. Bitch.

Alright, maybe that's a little harsh but if you read the previous post you probably surmised I'm a little cranky this week. Ok, a lot cranky.

No need to confirm that via comment section, Mike.

Back to running on Tuesday.

(Pause my playlist on the left to hear video sound)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dreaded Realization (or Oh S#*t)

I've been debating whether or not to post this dreaded realization as it is personal in nature, but since it will impact my Marathon Day in a big way and I've already told the blogosphere that I got hit in the head with a bowling ball in high school, here goes:

Warning before you read any further: Male readers, especially co-workers, former co-workers, friends, family members, including brothers-in-law, cousins and dear God . . .my Dad, please leave and go read another blog. I recommend several blogs on the list down on the left. Mike, you can keep reading because you already know the good, bad and the ugly and still stick around. You already know this anyway.

Special Note: Male readers who have ever had the guts to stand in line (alone) to purchase feminine products for their wife or significant other have a special pass to continue reading. (Mike has done this several times over the course of the last 19 years and that is one of the many reasons he is a good husband.)

Given that last comment you probably know where this is going. Yes, that's right. If current biorhythm stays the same, I will have IT on Marathon Day. In fact, I will likely GET IT on Marathon Day. GETTING IT on Marathon Day is worse (at least for me) than simply having IT on Marathon Day. This is what I get for begging God for me not to get IT on my honeymoon 13 years ago.

Is IT what I think IT is you say? Yes, that time of the month, Eve's curse, Aunt Flow visit, Monthly Curse, whatever you prefer to call IT, all signs point to me having IT on Marathon Day. (Important: I appreciate comments, but really don't need to read comments about your favorite slang terms for IT, thank you.)

Just lovely.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Calling Nate Berkus . . .

What do you do with your race bibs? Mike and I have been acccumulting race bibs from our various 5ks, 8ks and my road to Chicago' 07, and between the two of us, we have a good amount. We've been keeping them in a file folder until we figure out what to do with them.

We're redoing the office (yes, Mike, really we are) and figured that's the best place for them. So what do we do with them? Display them like a wallpaper border? Frame them in a poster-size frame? Give them to the puppy to chew instead of our shoes . . .and toilet paper . . .and the last roll of paper towels?

Oh, I did run the 7 miles the sushi/ice cream night. On the treadmill. Let's just say I'm never running that far on the treadmill again if I can help it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Why do I sabotage myself? No really, I'm asking, why? Consider the facts:

- The Marathon is less than 100 days away.

- I've known for awhile that I'm scheduled to run seven miles today.
(Note: Mike worked today starting at 6 a.m. so unless I wanted to leave a 6 year old in charge, morning run wasn't in the cards for me.)

- I've been drinking sugar-free Red Bull (not water) pretty much all day.

- I wore the crappiest, no support shoes today, despite my PF issues.
(In my defense, I did insert arch supports.)

- Even with a long run on the agenda for tonight, I had sushi for dinner. Sushi. With a lot of soy sauce that is making me extra thirsty. Oh, did I mention that I had the Tornado Sunrise? Yes, it's very spicy. And it feels like a tornado in my stomach right now.

- Yelling at myself via this blogpost won't do much for the mental stability needed for seven miles. On the freakin' treadmill.

- After sushi, I had ice cream. Chocolate chip cookie dough. Ben & Jerry's. It was the tiny three ounce version, but still.

- I didn't do one bit of laundry this weekend so the only running shorts I have clean are the ones I wore for Chicago '07. Yeah, they don't fit so well right now.

- No clean laundry means a snowball chance in hell of finding a matching pair of clean running socks in the massive Pile-O-Socks. I came close to wearing my son's Spiderman socks before I got lucky and found a pair.

So I'm drinking water like I'm cramming for a college exam right now and working to psych myself up for the treadmill.

Stupid, stupid girl.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Not Much To Report . . .

. . . Other than I ran a sucky run yesterday. Planned to run three and barely made it through two. Not a run that produces a confident Marathon runner.

Been using the oh so sexy Strassburg Sock for my plantar fasciitis (I still don't know if I'm spelling that right; too lazy right now to google it) and think I might have to spring for another one because the arch in my left foot is bothering me now too. I have a doctor appointment on July 14.

Still debating if I'm going to hop on the treadmill tonight or not. Scheduled for 7 miles tomorrow.

On a separate note, Mike and I took the kids to the zoo for a couple hours when he got home from work. I used the Nike + just because I was curious to see how far we'd walk. Guesses?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Tagged: Six Things About Me

I've been tagged by Chris so I'm going to take a break from cleaning my office (What? It's the day before the holiday.) Here are six things about me. I may regret sharing some of these.

1. My left pinkie toe is a "double toe." Picture two pinkie toes together in one toe. And, it's webbed to my fourth toe. My dad tells the story that right after I was born, the doctors said they would whisk me into surgery to correct the toe. My parents said, it's okay, she'll live with it. Maybe she'll become a great swimmer. I did not live up to that dream.

2. I hate popcorn. Love the smell, hate the taste.

3. I've never been out of the U.S. It's not that I don't want to leave the country; opportunity just hasn't presented itself. Would love to go to Europe. And Japan. And Australia.

4. I have a fear of going down escalators. I go down, but I have to pause at the top and get my bearings for a couple of seconds. This ticks people off.

5. Senior year of high school. First date. We went candlelight bowling (Only my husband, my sister and my friend Suzanne know where this is going.) In candlelight bowling you do things like holding hands while you let the ball go, or hop on one foot. In this particular instance, I had to get on the floor on my hands and knees, facing opposite the lane. First date boyfriend had to sit on my back, facing the lane. (It sounds bad but it really wasn't so get your head out of the gutter.) For some inexplicable reason, when first date boyfriend's arm came back with the bowling ball, I turned my head. CLUNK. Emergency room, minor concussion, black eye and a golf size bump on my forehead. Two weeks before prom. The bump still appears from time to time. First date boyfriend was last date boyfriend. (His choice)

6. Fast forward to college. First date with new guy. Guy I was friends with and had a crush on for a very long time. We were walking from the dorm to a restaurant and I fell flat on my face. Talking, walking, then BAM. Very embarrassed as I was trying to make a good impression. Guy was very helpful and sweet about it, didn't laugh. Fast forward 13 married years and two kids later, guy (Mike) and I are very much together :)

God, I sound like a real klutz.

Ok, I have to tag 6 people: Mike, Karin, Lisa, Kai, E and Tamara.

Here are the rules:

- Link to the person who tagged you.
- Post the rules on your blog.
- Write six random things about yourself.
- Tag six people at the end of your post.
- Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
- Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I Heart Shopping

I stopped at one of my local running stores after work today to pick up The Strassburg Sock (very sexy, no?) in an attempt to improve my plantar fasciitis. One hundred and three dollars later, I walked out of the store, downright giddy with my new purchases. (I think it was the great philosopher Razzdoodle who once said "In theory running is cheap. In theory, communism is a great idea, too.")

My other purchases included:

New tube of Body Glide, because isn't it so annoying when it's near the end and breaks off during application? (Hopefully only runners/people who know what Body Glide are reading this because that might sound bad out of context.)

My first Chicago Marathon 2008 Training Shirt. It's pretty cool actually. Nike tech shirt, shows a girl running on the front by a skyline (not discernable as Chicago's skyline however) and it says "What Happens on the Lakefront Stays on the Lakefront. Marathon Training 2008." Back of shirt says "RUN CHI 10.12.08." I am very excited about it as I haven't seen any Chicago 08 shirts yet. Of course when I got home Mike pointed out that I'm really not training on the Lakefront (My training is pretty much down Golf Road in the NW suburbs). Whatever. (Note to VRC members: I'm trying to convince Mike to join . . .)

I think I let out an audible "What's this?!" though when I spied the Amphipod ArmPod. I love the Amphipod Handheld so I was thrilled to see this (Do I love it as much as Topher loves his fake Crocs? Still to be seen.) I hate the Armband (don't know offhand who makes it) I have now. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. Probably as much as I hate that weasel Spencer and his fake Barbie doll on that stupid MTV show. I don't watch the show but I can't seem to escape this "we're going to stop world hunger" couple. Please.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

To Run or Not to Run

That is the question.

Run: I'm in week three of Marathon Training.

Not Run: I'm really lazy and tired today.

Run: I'm not going to lose weight sitting on the couch.

Not Run: The house is a pigsty. I could clean instead.

Run: I will catch hell from the Virtual Run Club if I don't make my 4 runs this week.

Not Run: I'm pretty certain I have plantar faciitis. (That doesn't look right, but I'm too lazy to check spelling right now.) I should rest.

Run: I will probably feel less lazy after I run.

Not Run: It looks like something blew up in the laundry room. I should organize and fold laundry.

Run: About the only thing clean laundry-wise are my running clothes.

Not Run: Didn't Shakespeare say something about sleep in his Hamlet soliloquoy?

Run: Maybe it was death by sleep.

Not Run: I could run in the morning.

Run: Who am I kidding?

Not Run: Blogging takes a lot of time you know!

Run: I will really catch hell in the VRC. Especially after I called Chris a geek for all the Battlestar Galactica talk.


Monday, June 30, 2008

My Crappy Run Was Something Like This . . .

I know this clip has been around for awhile, but I still like it . . .

(You'll have to pause my playlist on the left so you can hear)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Better Run Today

Ran six miles today, 3 miles in the rain. (Why does it always rain when I run down Roselle Road?) Longest distance I've run this year, so I expect to be sore tomorrow.

Had to stop and pee twice, once in Caribou Coffee, once in McDonald's. Not sure what is up with that. When I came out of McDonald's I hit "end" instead of "unpause" on the Nike +. Very frustrating.

I replayed Queensryche's "Spreading the Disease" about 5 times once I was in a good grove. Good song for running, lyrics not for the kiddies.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Crappy Crapola of a Run (aka Wee Little 5k Race Report)

This isn't going to be a long race report because I don't want to dwell on it, but I had a crappy run today. I wasn't pelted with hail like Chris, but it was a crappy run nonetheless. Here's why:

- Arches in both feet start bothering me at .26 mile point. I'm not even out of my subdivision yet and both feet hurt? What the hell?

- Windy day in the Windy City. So much so that my hair keeps blowing out of my ponytail and it's bugging me.

- My pace and breathing is all over the place. I have no focus whatsoever. I hate the first mile so much that I wonder how on earth am I going to do 26.2? Hell, how am I going to do 6 miles tomorrow?

- My knee hurts. My mom had knee replacement surgery on Wednesday so I'm thinking this is mental.

- I realize that even though I had complete control of the course route for this Virtual 5k, I picked a street with absolutely no shade.

- Halfway point. Finally. Head back and the wind that was swirling my hair like a wild banshee is facing me and slowing me way down.

- My ankles are tired. Really tired.

- I stop a couple of times. A few times. I shake my foot out a bit a couple of times in front of drivers stuck in traffic (why did I pick a busy street with an audience?) as if to say, hey, I'm injured, I don't always run this crappy.

- Struggle with pace and focus all the way back. Keep playing Veruca Salt's "Volcano Girls" to try to focus and keep me going.

3.1 miles, 36.49 minutes

Chipper Kim

My cousin (and fellow marathon trainee) Kim just texted me to check in; she just finished 9 miles with her training group. I haven't even had my morning Red Bull yet.

(Instead, I am surveying the mess in our house. It looks like a teenager had a party while the parents were away. And instead of beer, the teenagers opened every toy in the back room of Toys 'R Us. Except, there are no teenagers in the house and no party. I will start cleaning the house after I finish my donut . . a great breakfast by the way for my virtual 5k later today.)

For anyone who's read Dawn Dais' The Non Runners Guide to Marathon Training for Women, Kim is my Chipper Jen. I say that with love, but that's the first thing I thought of when I got her text message today. Congrats on your 9 miler Kim!

Need to go reassure my four year old that the toilet is not going to flood the house. We had a problem last week and she still thinks the toilet will overflow every time she goes to the bathroom.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wee Little 5k

I had planned on doing the Fleet Feet Women's 10k in Chicago in mid-July, but turns out Mike has to work that day and it's not worth getting the kids (and their grandparents to watch them) up so early so I can run at 7 a.m.

I signed up for another race though - - the Wee Little Virtual 5k. I joined a Virtual Running Club this week, so seems only fitting that I enter a virtual 5k. Thanks to fellow VRC member Kitzzy for leading me to it.

Little by Little, our host for the event, is asking Virtual 5k participants to complete a questionnaire, so here goes:

1. When did you start running?
March 2007. The instigator? Dinner with my sister Jeanine and cousin John in December 2006. I left the table for a few minutes to pee and came back to find out I was signing up for the 2007 Chicago Marathon. Sure it seemed a little crazy, (you say crazy, you say stupid, I say spontaneous) but I thought it might get me on to a consistent path to lose the weight I gained since having kids. (Did I mention dinner was at The Cheesecake Factory? Yes, I was doing really well with losing weight. No exercise and dinners out with cheesecake.) With more cousins on board (cocktails on Christmas Eve were involved) we got serious about it. Naive, so naive.

2. Did you follow a plan (C25K etc.) to get you started running? If so, what plan did you use? If not, how did you go about getting started?
While training for the 2007 Chicago Marathon, (if you're curious about what transpired, click here) I followed The Non-Runners' Guide to Marathon Training. It's a great book, based on the Marathon Class at the University of Iowa. It was also the only piece of material I could find that supported a non-runner like me starting out from couch potato and going to Marathon in the same year.

3. Why did you start running?
Peer pressure (see Q#1). Actually, completing a marathon before I hit 40 (2010) had been a goal; I only had a few years left to do it.

4. Now that you are running regularly, what do you find to be the biggest benefits?
Weight loss, stress relief and looking back, I think I needed a hobby besides work, laundry and taking care of the kids. Oh, and eating. That wasn't a good hobby. My husband has taken up running again so it's nice to have a common hobby with him. With my sister and cousins running/marathon training too, it's brought us closer together. Although we live in the same metro area, we all lead different lives and it was easy for work/family/life to get in the way. We connect a lot to support each other's training and complete races together. Also, I think it's a good example for my kids - - it's good for them to see my husband and I exercising regularly and once I complete a marathon, I want them to understand that if you make a goal and work toward it, you can achieve anything you want to.

5. What are your future plans for running? Short-term and Long-range.
Short-term: Complete a Marathon before I'm 40 (I turn 38 in October) Preferably, the Chicago Marathon since that's where I'm from. Long-term: I've thought about some of those wacky marathon goals like completing races that start with every letter of the alphabet or maybe run a marathon in the Midwest, East Coast, West Coast and South. I also thought (I have a lot of time to think on these runs you know) about setting a goal to qualify for Boston by the time I'm 45 but that's probably crazy talk.

6. What are your personal goals for the Virtual 5K?
Hmmm. I've always been slow so completing in under 35 minutes would be fine by me.

7. Do you have a music “theme song” that you will use for this race?
I've been stuck in a rut lately playing the same songs on my iPod, but then again, those are the songs that keep me moving. Maybe I can be patriotic for this pre Fourth of July race and have Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" as my theme song.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Joined The Club . . .

. . .the Virtual Run Club that is. Kudos to Chris for starting it; I know he and the other members - - *jen*, Jillian, Topher, jlou, Amy, EmLit and Ama - - will get on my ass if I slack off. All in the name of accountability. It's already working too. I'm scheduled to run tonight, it's getting late and I don't really feel like it but I'm feeling guilty (I'm Catholic, guilt is big with me) as slacking off on my premiere showing at the VRC would not be good.

I also joined Run Your City, a site Ryan started to unite running bloggers. Good information on the site, so check it out if you fancy . . .you can search running blogs by city, see where to run when you're in a particular city, good videos (I have to watch the one about stretching later) and a runners' book club. (First up, Dean Karnazes' UltraMarathon Man).

Just a reminder that I'm still on my quest to collect names of 262 Heroes (a cancer survivor, someone currently battling the disease or someone we've lost to cancer) to carry with me for 26.2 miles during the Chicago Marathon this year so please help me fill up my list and leave the names of the Heroes you know in the comments section.

Mike put this song on my iPod when I was training for the Marathon last year; I think I'll need to listen to it on the treadmill tonight to keep me going!

Ugh, treadmill here I come.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

First Training Week Down . . .

. . . 15 more to go! Trained consistently this week but damn, I wish I started earlier. Ran, er struggled through 5 miles outside today. Twenty-six seems pretty impossible right now.

I don't remember being this scared the first time around. Naive. Didn't Yoda say something about that?

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Got out of work early on Friday, changed into running clothes and . . .thunder. So I ran four miles on the treadmill (and considerably slower than my last two runs). I blame my four year old daughter. She kept coming into the laundry room (where our treadmill is) throwing me off focus with MOMMY, IS THAT YOUR EXERCISE? MOMMY, ARE YOU RUNNING? WHY MOMMY? MOMMY, IS THAT THE TREDDYMILL? MOMMY, HOW DO YOU TURN THAT ON? WHY CAN'T YOU HEAR ME MOMMY? ARE YOU LISTENING TO MUUUSIC?

Five miles on deck for Sunday. My foot is bothering me. One week into training and my foot is bothering me. Same foot where I had an ankle stress fracture last year. A bit worried.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

11:15 p.m . . .Time for a Run!

I DID run last night, although it was a bit later than planned. By the time I got the kids to bed, some laundry done, checked some email and calmed down the you're-home-so-I'm-ready-to-play puppy, it was after 11 p.m. Now I know you might think I'm crazy to run so late at night, but I can't let myself slide on my schedule too much because with me one night off becomes two nights and two nights off becomes three nights and so on and so on and so on.

Mike got home from work at 11:30 and was a little surprised to see me on the treadmill. "LOOK WHAT I GOT FROM CARA!" I yelled, with headphones still blasting. (Like Karin, I do really like the CARA Marathon Training shirts.)

This run (again 3 miles, I'm in first week of marathon training) went surprisingly well for a post 11 p.m. run. I was a little wired before bed and regretting it a bit at my early morning meeting today, but glad I'm stuck to the schedule.

Tomorrow's run of 4 miles won't be so late. And I should be able to do it outside.

Today's Favorite Running Song:
I feel like I should say "Na Na Na Na, Hey, Hey, Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" in honor of the Chicago White Sox/Chicago Cubs Crosstown Classic this weekend (I grew up on the South Side) but it was actually The Von Bondies' "C'mon C'mon" that got me through the late night run.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I AM Going to Run Tonight

It is 9:20 p.m. I am laying on my daughter's bedroom floor, in my just-arrived CARA Marathon training t-shirt with my laptop, waiting for her to go to sleep ( Please don't judge, Mike and I know we screwed up bedtime with her long ago. We're working on it.)

At approximately 3 p.m. today I commented at work that I really want to try to run tonight. My colleague couldn't really understand why it would be an issue . . .you run and that's that. I didn't explain in detail to my colleague why it will be a small victory to get me on the treadmill tonight so I will explain it to you. (Note: The following passage is not intended as commentary that I am busier than anyone else, or that I'm busier than runners without kids, or that I'm busier than runners who are stay-at-home moms, or that I'm busier than runners who are work-at-home moms, or that I am even remotely as busy as single parents. In other words, if you take offense, please lighten up.)

5 p.m. Conference call ends, I grab my stuff and rush out the door, down the looong walkway to parking garage. Forget I came later and not in my usual spot 9 (s#*t!), have to run up flight of stairs to car.

5:15 p.m. Arrive at 6-year-old's school. Sign him out and get back in car. Plead with son to stop doing the chicken dance and get in the car because we have to pick his sister up.

5:25 p.m. Zip down Higgins Road past Busse Woods on way to 4-year-old's preschool. See several runners on Busse Wood path. Remind myself I have to run tonight.

5:30 p.m. Waiting at stop light. Where is my cell phone?

5:35 p.m. Hit every godforsaken light on Arlington Heights Road. Crap. Still can't find cell phone. Hoping I didn't leave it at son's school.

5:45 p.m. Arrive at daughter's preschool. Sign her out and use phone at school. Call Mike, ask him to give me a couple minutes and call my cell phone. Tell him that if someone else answers, ask where it is. Silently hope that I still don't have the phone on "silent" from when I was on conference call at work.

5:47 p.m. Buckle kids in car; hear the familiar Flock of Seagulls "I Ran" ringtone. Phew!

5:55 p.m. Hit every godforsaken light going the other direction on Arlington Heights Road.

6:00 p.m. McDonald's drive-thru. Happy Meals for kids, two cheeseburgers for me. And just like that, I blow a day of otherwise decent eating habits.

6:05 p.m. Try to decide if I can get to swimming lessons faster by taking Golf Road or Higgins Road.

6:10 p.m. Start down Golf Road. See fast, fit runners. I am eating the second cheeseburger.

6:15 p.m. Tell kids to take shoes and socks off and put flip flops on in the car to save time. Swimming lessons start in 20 minutes.

6:20 p.m. WTF, why are we so backed up? Golf Road an obvious mistake as light out in front of Woodfield Mall, making a congested area even more congested.

6:3o p.m. Son warns me to slow down or police will pull me over. (One time it happened while he was in the car and he hasn't forgotten.)

6:31 p.m. Resign myself to the fact that we will be late for swimming. Tell son to take shirt off at stoplight to save time.

6:35 p.m. Kids should be in pool. We are pulling in to lot.

6:40 p.m. Pretending they are superheroes, kids put swimsuits on remarkably quickly.

7:05 p.m. Swimming over. Head home.

7:20 p.m. See that my CARA Marathon Training goody bag/packet/shirt has arrived. Very excited.

7:30 p.m. Kids and I take Quincy for walk.

7:45 p.m. Quincy steals potato chips out of daughter's hand. Meltdown.

8 p.m. Supervise son taking shower to make sure he is actually bathing and not just playing in water.

8:30 p.m. Pick out kids' clothes for Summer Camp/PreSchool tomorrow. Mentally calculate what time I can run and still get to bed before needing to get in office at 7 a.m.

8:31 p.m. Wonder if I can get to office at 7:30 a.m. and still be ready for first meeting.

8:32 - 8:50 p.m. Nightly battle of potty, pajamas, tooth brushing and sibling fights ensues - - without reinforcement, since Mike is at work.

It's 9:35 p.m. Daughter has stopped singing soundtrack from High School Musical and is asleep. Going to run now!

Guess What? I Ran!

Okay, so it was only 3 miles on the treadmill last night, but still, I ran.

The run actually went much better than I expected (Sorry Chris and Terri) but again, it was on the treadmill, so I didn't have hills or pavement pounding to deal with.

Even though I had to force myself to get on the treadmill last night with tired legs, I felt good and realized I missed running. I was able to keep my breathing and mind focused and daydream about how I wished I could sing like a Wilson sister (or sing at all for that matter).

My schedule for the remainder of the week: 3 miles tonight, 4 miles on Friday, 5 miles on Sunday.

I do need to learn not to hop on the scale the morning after one little run and expect to be down 5 pounds.

Thank you to my brother and sister-in-law Mark and Nancie for their donation to the American Cancer Society!

Favorite Running Song of the Day:
"Hot N Cold" Katy Perry

Friday, June 13, 2008


I'm supposed to be running a Half-Marathon in Hoffman Estates tomorrow.

Mike is supposed to be running a 5k in Mt. Prospect tomorrow.

It's not happening. This is what happens when neither of us run. Races come up and we're not at all prepared for them. (Actually I decided awhile ago to play it safe and revise my overzealous race schedule but still.)

It's too bad too, because it looks like it's going to be excellent running weather in Chicago tomorrow. (Figures, because if I was running 13 miles it would be very hot and humid.)

So do we go and pick up our goodie bags/t-shirts anyway? Is that bad running etiquette since we're not running the race? I thought about putting on some running clothes and going to pick up my packet/bag/shirt and then while pretending to put the stuff in the car, actually get in the car and go home. Mike suggested that I put on my ankle brace from last year's stress fracture, pretending that I can't run due to injury and pick up my shirt/bag.

I'm probably being banned from the Chicago running community and Runners World message boards as I write this with the crime of even considering picking up a shirt for a race I'm not running, hosting a running blog when I haven't been running and . . .not running. Oh yeah, when I do run, I wear headphones. Even in organized races. Sorry, I have to. (I'm sure I just lost some readers for that.)

So tomorrow, we are starting fresh. No more I'm sick, work is crazy, I have to go on a business trip excuses. The Marathon is four months away. Training is underway.

Doubting me? I'll be back with a post tomorrow about my 3 mile run. Just you wait and see.

I may even wear the Hoffman Half Marathon shirt.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Nike + Human Race

I'm signed up for Chicago . . .anyone else? Nike is hosting a 10k in umpteen cities around the world on the same day in August. . . a long day so I'm really too (yawn) tired to explain it, you can go to the site and check it out for yourself.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Why do I have two titles on my blog? It wasn't always there . . .blogger won't let me delete so I'm going to have to ask Mike to work on it.

My brother-in-law sent me a text message while I was at the often-mentioned work conference in Phoenix that made no sense so my response back was "WTF* did that mean?" (I swear a lot when I'm stressed). He didn't know what I meant by WTF and I didn't want to tell him over the phone while in a crowd of people. (It would harm by professional image :) )

This is the same brother-in-law who installed crown molding in his closet.

Now there's a WTF.

*This is not the Battlestar Galactica version.

Where Have I Been?

My blogging friend Karin (and fellow "they called Chicago '07 on me the first time so I'm back for unfinished business in Chicago '08" runner and American Cancer Society Charity Runner . . .Karin, we do have a bit in common) asked via the comment section . . ."Jenn, where have you been?"

Would you believe running miles and miles every day while I was at a work conference in Phoenix?

Nah, didn't think so.

I wish I did. I packed my running shoes, socks, shorts, sports bra, shirts, headphones, iPod . . .even the damn BodyGlide.

And I didn't run once.

Was crazed with work during the conference, then hit the social functions at night, drank some wine, ate some really fattening food, got up and worked again.

No more work excuses though! That's it! I'm serious! I'm yelling at myself!

Ok, gotta go redo my training schedule since I blew another week. Then off to read the new Runners' World.

I really got to start running more if I'm going to keep up with this running blog, don't I? :)