Monthly archives: July, 2012

BTN Big10k Recap

This morning was the inaugural BTN Big 10k. Being a Michigan alum and a HUUUGE fan, I signed up almost two months ago and couldn’t wait for his race! While signing for the race early had its perks (Michigan jersey!) I also kind of forgot about it. Race day seemed to creep up on me and I was under prepared this morning. Whoops!

Packet pick-up was held throughout the week at various Fleet Feet locations and I decided to go yesterday at noon. Everything was well-organized and I was in and out in about 3 minute.. well I would have been had I not gotten side tracked and purchased a handheld water bottle and new socks (on the left).

The 10k started at 7:40 but I wanted to make sure to have plenty of time to walk to Soldier Field, use the porta-potties, and check out the race set-up. I woke up bright and early, drank some protein shake, and got Ian up. We were out the door by 6:15.

I ate the granola bar on the walk over and saved the banana for after the race. This is where I made rookie mistake #1. I tried a new bar before a race, around mile 3 this started to haunt me. I also made mistakes #2 (wore a cotton shirt – it was a Michigan one but made me sooo warm on the course) and #3 (wore my new socks- no trouble there, I loved them).

We arrived right around 7 a.m. and the area was already packed. I used the porta-potties twice and we sat under a tree in some shade Before I knew it, the 5k-ers were off and it was time to line up for the 10k.

I am nowhere near 10k race shape (my PR is detailed here: 42:52) so I decided to treat the Big 10k as a training run. My goal was to push myself a little outside my comfort zone but ultimately to enjoy the race. I ended up lining myself up with the 7:30 min/mile pace group.

The race started near Soldier Field and headed south. We ran under the McCormick Center and along the lake shore path. There was a little entertainment, people dressed in football uniforms, stereos playing fight songs but honestly not as much as I thought there would be. There was also a slip ‘n slide at mile 3 but I didn’t see too many runners using it.

I started out with a 7:10 min/mile and felt really good. I thought that I was moving at a pace that I could maintain for 6 miles and I honestly believe I would have had that fruition bar not threatened to come up around mile 3. The course was warm with little shade (this also could have been a factor) but all of a sudden I got suuper nauseous. It was so bad that I could taste it at times (tmi?). I didn’t want to drop out or walk (and most of all I didn’t want to puke) so I slowed my time to a more manageable pace.

The last mile was hell, I had started to burp up the bar and I was pretty confident that I was going to puke. I told myself that I could do anything for 8 minutes and that I just needed to finish. I crossed the line, grabbed two water bottles and a cold towel, and forgot to stop my Garmin. Whoops.

Pretty obvious when I started to feel sick isn’t it?

I think my final time was 46 minutes and change (I’ll update after it’s posted). It’ drastically different from my PR and a little disappointing considering the drop in pace when I felt sick but overall I’m happy. A 7:30 min/mile is a decent training pace for me.

I have a 10k scheduled in November in the midst of marathon training and I’ll get my redemption there :)

My nausea didn’t go away when I stopped so I sipped water slowly while Ian and I checked out the finish area.

There was a tailgate area set up with games, food, and beer. All runners were given a free hot dog too.

Before Ian and I left, I made sure to meet up with Elyssa!! It’s always nice to see another blogger and to share some Maize & Blue pride :).

Last night
We finally decided to use the giftcard I received for winning the ALS 5k and headed out to Petterino’s for dinner.

I honestly can’t say enough good things about Petterino’s. The food was good, the ambiance was nice, and our server was incredibly nice and helpful. What more can you want?

I started with the Fritzel salad but I asked for a balsamic vinaigrette instead of the bacon and cream dressing and had them bring the deviled egg on the side (given to Ian).

Ian had the iceberg wedge and loved it. It was his first one ever!

For my entrée I ordered the special salmon of the night served with asparagus and no butter sauce.

The coho salmon was super flavorful and I ate every last bite.

Ian ordered the NY Strip Steak that was served with a horse-radish crust and a potato side dish. He loved it!

Petterino’s policy is to give first time diners a chocolate mousse cake on the house but as I can’t eat dairy, out waitress brought out fresh berries with whipped cream on the side for Ian. How thoughtful!

It was the perfect way to end our evening :)




The 12 Million Dog March

According to the Animal Cancer Foundation, approximately 12 million cats and dogs are diagnosed with cancer each year. Cancer in pets is similar to the cancers we see in humans, it is a spontaneous disease that often manifests as non-Hodgkins lymphoma, prostate cancer, head and neck carcinoma, mammary carcinoma, melanoma, soft tissue sarcoma, and osteosarcoma (source). The 12 Million Dog March was created by The Ridel & Cody Foundation, Blue Buffalo, and Petco in order to build awareness and support for these diseases in animals.

The march takes place annually in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Chicago but you can also participate in the virtual march by signing up here online. All proceeds from the program benefit the Ridel & Cody Foundation which provides support, resources, and treatment funding for people whose pets have cancer.

The events include live music and entertainment, dog and family centric games, dog training clinics, arts and crafts, education from veterinarians, as well as the actual march. Plus you get to see all of the pets people bring to the march!

Participating in the march is free (both in person and online) but for every person who registers for the virtual march, Blue Buffalo will donate $1 to the Ridel & Cody Fund. Registering will also sign you up for reminders so you will be one of the first to know the dates of the other marches (say Chicago for example). Pretty cool right?

So think about any pets you or a loved one may have had that has been diagnosed with cancer. My family dog was diagnosed about a year ago and died 6 months after. It was an incredibly heartbreaking and devastating situation. I encourage all of you to look into and sign up for the virtual march. It’s free, takes less than one minute, and as a result Blue Buffalo will donate $1 to a foundation that was established to assist individuals who have pets with cancer.

Thank you and have a wonderful Friday

*I was not contacted by any of the aforementioned foundations or any promoters of the event itself. I found out about The 12 Million Dog March by myself and believe so strongly in its message that I wanted to share it with you.




Midweek Musings

1. The first few days of my staycation were wonderful. I kept thinking that I could get used to having free time, working out whenever I want, watching day time t.v. etc. Yesterday I got bored and started a bake-a-thon. I have two more days + a weekend before work starts, the question is how much more can I bake?

2. Yesterday I had a swimming PDR –> 3,000 m! I actually really enjoyed it and wanted to swim the extra 200 m to hit about 2 miles but some strange man hopped in my lane and started running along one side doing high knees. This bothered me for a lot of reasons (he could have asked – I would have said yes, he wasn’t switching sides of the lane, & he wasn’t even swimming) and I had to get out of the water before I did something drastic like accidentally kick a lot of water at him.

3. Speaking of working out, my abs are burning from the whittle my middle challenge I talked about yesterday. I was hoping to do day 3 of my 5 this morning but I was too sore. Maybe later?

4. My one eye had been bothering me a lot every night when I take out my contacts. I think I must have a small cut on my eye. Either way it’s annoying and I’ve been sleeping with a cold paper towel over my eye at night to soothe the pain. Lucky Ian, his girlfriend is soo attractive. (I have an eye appt today and will ask about it)

5. Last night I made a vegetarian paella. It was really tasty and gave me the opportunity to cook beans from scratch and you know what? It wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be. It just needed a little extra prep work.

6. I haven’t run since last Sunday and I’m going crazy! I know the break was needed and will be worth it but I’m definitely going a little stir-crazy. I actually spent almost two hours last night working on my Goofy Race and a Half training plan. It’s almost finished and starts the second week in August. I’ll be sure to share more details then.

7. Speaking of running, is anyone else doing the Big 10k this Saturday? Originally I was planning on racing it but now I think I’m going to treat it as a training run and take lots of pictures instead :P. The weather looks awesome too, I can’t wait!

8. A month ago, Ian and I bought a Groupon for a cleaning service and they’re coming today. Neither Ian nor myself really enjoy cleaning and we do what we can to “straighten up”, sweep, and vaccum when necessary we don’t really get down and scrub the floors or clean under the fridge like we should. I’m looking forward to having that new apartment feel again.

9. It’s crazy how different cycling classes can be. I’ve been to two this week (same gym) and the one I went to this morning was a lot harder than the one on Tuesday morning. I get that workouts are different but you think they would have a standardized plan of what should be included in each class. Especially at the same gym. The other interesting this is today’s class was much less crowded than Tuesdays. Hmm..

Any ideas on how to keep busy these next two days? Are you running the Big 10k? Which team are you supporting?




GT Fish & Oyster {Date Night}

Yesterday was my last day at my old job. It was sad but exciting at the same time. I’m eager to see what my new job is like. To celebrate the closing of one chapter and the opening of another, Ian offered to take me out to dinner and we decided on GT Fish & Oyster.

We actually went to this restaurant on my birthday with my dad and step-mom and loved everything about it. The service, food, and ambiance were all top quality. The restaurant had also presented me with a $20 gift card for my birthday and we’ve been itching to use it ever since.

We didn’t make a reservation and arrived a little on the late side. We were told there was a 30 minute wait for seating but we could enjoy a drink and our meals at the bar if we would like to. I have no problem eating at a bar but given the shorter wait, we opted to put our name in and then have a drink at the bar. I enjoyed a glass of chardonnay and Ian had a Robert the Bruce (Three Floyds beer) and after about 45 minutes we let someone else take our seats and went over to the hostess to ask about our table. I mean it couldn’t be that much longer right?

Well turns out the hostess now didn’t foresee a table opening up any time soon and we had lost our seats at the bar. I was frustrated and ready to leave, why couldn’t she just tell us that the wait was an hour and a half? But Ian asked that we stay. One of the managers must have sensed we were upset and he came over to talk with us. In about 5 minutes he had us sitting at the communal table. I’m not sure why we weren’t offered that in the first place.

I’m not trying to complain because I love the restaurant but if last night had been my first time there, I’m not sure I’d go back. Lesson learned –> make a reservation if you want a table!

When we were seated we were offered both the regular menu and the oyster menu. We wasted no time in ordering 6 oysters: 2 Kumamoto, 2 Blackberry Point, and 2 Pemaquid.

The Blackberry Point was by far my favorite. The description was perfect, it was both sweet and salty!

Rather than share a bunch of plates, Ian and I opted to keep things simple and each order one main. I had the seared tuna salad without egg. It had red potato, nicoise olives, and green beans and was served with a cider vinaigrette.

I loved it.

Ian ordered the fish and chips which was beer battered cod served with steak fries, malt vinegar, and a dill pickle roumelade.

He also really like his dish. We both agreed that our fish tasted very fresh and everything went well together.

We both were still hungry after finishing out dinners, so we decided to order more oysters. When in Rome right?

We tried two Saltworks Seaside and two Stingray and couldn’t help but order two more Blackberry Point. They were definitely our favorite!

We were almost in the area so after dinner we caught the bus over to Black Dog Gelato. If you’re in Chicago and love gelato or sorbet you absolutely must try Black Dog. The flavor combinations are incredibly creative and tasty. It can’t be beat.

I had a small with cantaloupe and pineapple basil sorbets. I really liked it but it was hard not to order my all time favorite flavor, goat cheese cashew caramel. Stupid food allergies.

Ian ordered a large and tried the blueberry french toast (I was sooo jealous), malt vanilla, and coconut thyme (his favorite).  We were both happy campers!

Have a wonderful Saturday!




Taste of Chicago

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, on Sunday, Ian and I ventured down to Grant Park to participate in the Taste of Chicago.

It was incredibly hot, as it always is the week of the taste, but we decided to go anyway and play Chicago tourist. Plus, Ian was not too keen on missing an opportunity to enjoy one of these babies.

Behold, the original rainbow cone.

To give you a little background on the Taste of Chicago, historically the food festival has offered more than 300 menu items from over 70 restaurants and food vendors (this year was a bit smaller). The food highlights typical Chicago cuisine as well as many of the city’s ethnic influences. The festival also includes concerts (free throughout the day) and cooking demonstrations. Food is purchased by ticket with most “taste” portions averaging between 4 and 6 tickets ($2-$3) and most larger portions around 10-12 tickets ($5-$6) (source).

As usual, Ian and I each made lists of the restaurants we wanted to visit before hand (yeah… we went there). Obviously, my list was quite a bit shorter this year and included the two restaurants that featured a gluten free, vegan dish, Pazzo’s and Chicago Raw.

The first restaurant we stumbled upon that was on one of our lists was Pazzo’s.

I ordered a taste of the chopped salad that came with romaine, corn (I omitted), avocado, and an amazing dressing.

It was really tasty and made me a happy girl.

Next, we went to Harold’s Chicken so Ian could try their chicken nuggets with fries.

Verdict? He liked them and LOVED their barbecue sauce. He couldn’t get over how good it was.

Then it was time for my main. I ordered the lasagna from Chicago Raw, a restaurant that I’ve been meaning to check out for ages!

I loved how the ingredients were presented on the box and were natural, simple foods. Definitely not your typical street food.

I really liked the lasagna. It was fresh and full of flavor but my absolute favorite was the walnut pesto served on the side. Delicious!

While I munched away, Ian tasted the rib tips from Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs as well as an irish egg roll from Abbey Pub. He really liked the ribs but wished the egg roll had come with a sauce. He said it was a little too dry for his liking.

After eating we walked around for a bit and tried our hardest to stay in the shade. We did have to take a fountain picture though. Like I said, we were playing tourist :).

Then it was time for dessert. I had a slice of watermelon from the Dominick’s stand.

It was so refreshing and just what I needed to cool me down!

And Ian finally got his Original Rainbow Cone!

For those who don’t know, the rainbow cone is layered with the following flavors: chocolate, strawberry, palmer house (New York vanilla with cherries and walnuts), pistachio, and orange sherbet. It may sound random and overwhelming but the flavors work together and it really is delicious!

Rainbow cone and watermelon slice in hand, we decided to head home. It was just too hot to stay outside! Until next year Taste of Chicago (fingers crossed it is still in existence!).

Have you ever been to a food festival (or the actual Taste of Chicago)? What did you think? I’ve only been to the Taste of Chicago but I really enjoy going. It’s fun to see everyone out trying new foods!