Tag Archives: recap

Chicago Marathon

So, a year ago I ran my first (and only, so far) marathon in Chicago.

Somehow I never managed to finish my recap post. Maybe because I wasn’t entirely happy with the way the race went. Maybe because I needed some time to wrap my head around it. Maybe because I didn’t want to remember the struggles.

I’m a little bitter watching this years marathon, because they have absolutely perfect temperatures. Last year was, shall we say, absolutely imperfect. By the time I was finished temps were in the low 80s. Today? They’ll top out at about half that.

Watching this years marathon, broadcast live on NBC Chicago, has brought back a lot of memories.

Lakeview, Old Town, Little Italy, Near West Side, Pilsen, Chinatown, Bridgeport, Bronzeville, South Loop. Just a few of the 29 neighborhoods that the marathon course runs though and the most memorable for me.

Lakeview is one of the first neighborhoods you enter, and is possibly the most exciting. The streets are lined with spectators and roadside entertainment abounds.

Old Town is another exciting neighborhood to run through. The view is pretty darn beautiful as well, tons of historic homes and trees lining the streets. (This was pretty nice last year, as trees = shade!)

Little Italy smelled so delicious! The crowds here were awesome and brought the excitement.

The Near West Side is the halfway point, as you pass by Chicago’s Union Station. I was still feeling really good at this point in the race last year. I also got to see my mom (again), husband, and mom-in-law here. That was definitely a huge boost.


I was feeling pretty good up until about mile 15 or so, until the heat started to really get to me. My legs started cramping like crazy and I was just feeling totally depleted. I took a lot of walking breaks and pulled off to the side to stretch a few times as well. At that point in the course the runners are kind of alone as well, not too many (if any at all) spectators at this stretch, until mile 18ish.

Right around mile 18 you turn in the Pilsen neighborhood and things start feeling so much more exciting. It seems like everyone comes out of their homes to cheer on the runners. Pilsen is a Hispanic neighborhood, so imagine mariachi, colorful decorations, and delicious smells of cooking food.

Chinatown is after Pilsen, and is another amazing neighborhood to run through. You can hear it coming before you finally pass under the iconic sign welcoming visitors. I saw my cheering squad again as I ran though Chinatown. This was also where I realized I was actually going to run farther than I ever had before.



After Chinatown you head into the Bridgeport neighborhood, passing by U.S.Cellular Field, home of the White Sox.

After this the course goes across the Dan Ryan Expressway (via an overpass) into Bronzeville. My little bro happens to attend school in this neighborhood so he came out to cheer me on. He took it up a notch by not only cheering but actually jumping in to run with me for a bit. He had a nice, fresh, cold water bottle and fresh legs to keep me going for about a mile or so. He also made sure to tell me that he was officially scared of his big sister, since I was running a marathon.

After Bronzeville the course heads back into the city, eventually winding into the South Loop. When Grant Park is faintly visible in the distance, you know that you can make it. I started run/walking at this point, trying to run 3-4 minutes before walking for 1.

Coming back into Grant Park, there are a few crazy turns, including a hilly bridge which most people hate. Thankfully I ran most of my training runs on hills so I was able to power through and dominate it. Seeing my cheering squad again right before this bridge gave me the last little boost I needed.

Turning onto the final stretch your heart totally takes over. The finish line is visible, there are thousands of people cheering, and there is no turning back.

Crossing the finish line was probably the most emotional experience of my life. I’m not too proud to say that I cried after crossing and getting my medal. My sister happened to be volunteering at the finish line, so she found me and “assisted” me off the course.


I felt pretty good right after finishing. Sore & tired, but good. And there really is no better place to run than in the beautiful city of Chicago!

Resolution Conclusion

Way back in January of 2011 I set some pretty lofty goals for the upcoming 365 days. I kicked some in the butt, sorta accomplished a few, and threw one or two completely off the bus.

  • get a full-time job kind of. I am teaching part-time, and subbing most every other day, so I’m getting much bigger paychecks from school than last year.
  • take a multivitamin most days yes! I didn’t actually track the whole year, but I know that I forget a lot less than I used to.
  • get to my goal weight ugh. I feel most regret about this one. I’m actually heavier now than I was on January 1st. I suppose 2012 will have to be the year of the healthy weight!
  • read more, at least 1 book per month yup! I read a ton of books this year, helped by my library card and goodreads obsession. I’ve got so many more on my to-read list and I hope I can cross a lot off next year!
  • journal/blog more quality posts and with more regularity hmm. I blogged less this year, I think, but usually only when I actually had something to write about.
  • try one new recipe a week Maybe? I stopped keeping track after a few weeks, but I did cook several new recipes as well as add a few “standards” to my repertoire.
  • get more organized Uhh…I kinda sorta got the apartment organized – until we packed it all up and moved in July. Having the extra space means that things are stuffed in the extra closets and stay as unorganized as they were before the move. It’s driving me nuts.
  • run a full marathon – hopefully Chicago in October Yup! I still haven’t finished my recap post (is it too late?) but I finished in one piece. I’m torn about doing another one – maybe in 2013?

Wedding Wednesday, Vol. 16

Would you believe it if I told you there are only 43 more Wednesdays until the big day?!? Crazy, I know. Especially since we’ve been engaged for almost a year already.

So, two weeks ago I got to cross off a BIG item from the wedding to-do list. What was it, you ask?

I asked my bridesmaids to be in our wedding!

Wedding Chicks

We’ll be having four bridesmaids and four groomsmen in our wedding party. This seemed like the perfect number of people to help us celebrate and prepare for our big day.

I didn’t have any fancy cards made up to ask my girls. Between a tight budget and a recent move, I didn’t want to start a (possibly unsuccessful) craft project.

First up is MOH Sister. I didn’t have to ask her to be my Maid of Honor. It was a role she called dibs on years ago, and I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d want for this important post.

Next up is Bmaid A – Matt’s sister. I asked her while in Colorado, and of course she said yes.

Bmaid S is Matt’s SIL – his brother’s (also the Best Man) wife and mama to our ring bearer.

Last but certainly not least is Bmaid K. She’s the newest girl in my life, my brothers girlfriend, fellow runner, and feels like a long-time family member.

Wedding Chicks

So, now that I’ve got my ‘maids picked out, I guess the next step is getting them something to wear for the big day! But, that’ll have to wait for another day.

So far:

he asked and I said yes!

we picked our reception space

I said yes to the dress

we met with our photographer

Now there’s just 1,001 things left to do!

There’s No Place Like Home

Hey everybody! I’m alive!

We finally made it back home after 10 days of traveling all over the place. There was driving, flying, biking, hiking, running (just a little), dancing, celebrating, and lots of eating.

Comcast is being super-duper awesome and can’t (won’t?) be out until Friday to hook up our cable and internet. If you’re keeping count, that’s just over 3 weeks since we moved that we’ll be without it. Awesome.

I have a grand master plan of uploading/organizing my vacation pics tonight and writing up recaps of all our adventures, as well as getting back to a regular blogging schedule. Oh, and Wedding Wednesday will be back this week! Now that we’re about 10 short months away from our big day the fervor to plan, plan, plan has hit in full force, and I need to start narrowing down the inspiration!

Marathon training has been kind of lackluster the last couple weeks. What with working 8 – 11 hours a day, moving, cleaning, packing for vacation, and trying to unpack moving boxes there wasn’t much free time for things like exercise, blogging, cooking, and sleeping. I swear, there hasn’t been a day in the last two weeks I didn’t eat out at least once – until today.

I did manage to get in a little exercise on vacation, but running at nearly 10,000 feet altitude is not easy. Just walking around was plenty for me most days, and we did get in a lot of walking.

My plan of attack for this week is to get back on track – eating right, running my scheduled miles, fitting in at least 2 days of strength training, getting enough sleep, and unpacking a few boxes.

Today’s running plan: hoping for 4 miles, but I’d be happy with 3.

Sorry to ramble on like that (and with no pictures!) but I just wanted to pop in with a quick update. Check back tomorrow for some vacation stuff and a run recap!

Busy Busy Bee


Whew, it has been quite a busy week! I am definitely glad for the long holiday weekend.

Part of the reason I’ve been so busy is that I started (another) temp job. It’s actually at the same company I temped for before, just in a different department. It’s only supposed to last a few weeks but, hey, money’s money right?

In other news, I updated/organized the races page! Yay me! A while back when I first overhauled the blog I intended to make everything really organized, easy to navigate, and nice-looking. Then life got busy and I never got around to it. I’m starting with the race page, because it was probably missing the most stuff – lost of new races/recaps, times, and all the races I did before blogging. Go check it out and see how pretty it looks!

So, Wednesday I started a (temporary) full-time job. Thursday night, after work, I drove to Hannibal to watch the mud volleyball game Matt was playing in. Don’t worry, I have pictures and a post coming soon.

Friday I worked both jobs, so didn’t get home until 7. I got to bed pretty early, because I had a 10k Saturday morning.

Saturday I woke up at 5am and  hit the road at 5:30. The race was 30 minutes away in Hannibal and I still needed to get my packet before the 7am start. (I also ran a 10k last weekend, and am working on both recaps; they should be up later this week.)

After the race I came home, showered, and got ready to go to work at 11. I actually ended up taking a nap in the late afternoon because I was so wiped out.

Today Matt and I were pretty productive. We have a 4th 3rd of July party tonight and were asked to bring a side dish. We went to the grocery store to get the necessary ingredients (Him: bacon horseradish dip, Her: broccoli slaw salad). As we were prepping the food, I got an important text message.

You see, Matt and I live in a teeny tiny apartment. Seriously, it’s small. We knew it would be a one-year apartment when we signed the lease, and for the last few months have been looking for something larger, yet still affordable. Our landlord let us know that she had another apartment opening up soon and if we’d be interested. Of course! We finally got over to look at it today (the current tenant is moving out this month) and we’re taking it. It’s got 2 bedrooms, the kitchen and bathroom are about twice as large as our apartment now, and there’s just more space overall. I’m super-duper excited. Like, I wish we could move right away. The best part is, it’s not a huge rent increase and we’ll only have to pay the difference in the security deposit.

I promise to do a new home tour when we move in, as well as a tour of our current place so you can see what we’ve been dealing with the last 13 months.

Hmm..what else? Oh yeah – only a few more weeks until we leave for vacation! Matt and I are heading to Breckenridge, CO for a week for a family reunion (on his side) and I’m almost as excited about that as I am for our new apartment!

Now it’s time to get ready for the BBQ and clean a little before we head out. Hope you’re all having a fabulous Independence Day weekend!