Category: Holiday

Fourth of July Things {07-08-2013}

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend, mine was a good mix of having fun, being productive, and relaxing. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a ton of pictures so I’ll do my best at recapping our festivities!

Thursday: My fourth started off with an early tempo run, a patriotic breakfast (vanilla rice chex, banana, blueberries, strawberries, and almond milk), and a slow morning.

After Ian woke up, we walked to Mariano’s to pick up turkey burgers and beer, grabbed lunch at The Twisted Spoke (bbq pulled pork tacos!), and then took a nap. We eventually headed over to Erin‘s to grill out on her rooftop and watch the fireworks with her husband Jason, Kelsey and her boyfriend PartyDog, Katieand Molly, and some of Jason’s friends. It was so much fun and a nice reminder that we need to grill more!

Friday: I ended up taking Friday off from work so I slept in a little, headed out for an easy run, and then spent the morning eating, reading, and lounging on the couch. A little after noon, I headed downtown to Water Tower to meet Kelsey to shop. I needed to exchange a skirt and pick up a dress for a wedding that Ian and I are attending this weekend so having an extra day to run errands was perfect. J Crew was having a super sale so I found a dress there for only $50. Happy day.

After shopping I was wiped so I took a short nap, ate dinner with Ian once he got home from work, and then we went out to iCream for dessert.

sonicKitty sticker on the kitty.

Saturday: I knocked out an easy run first thing, grabbed a quick breakfast, and then headed downtown to meet Bethany, Erin, and Kelsey for free Zumba in Millennium Park. We arrived a little early and found a spot about halfway back from the stage so we could watch all of the people in front of us ;).

zumbaThe class was fun but hard! I’ve never done Zumba before so I had no idea what to expect and I was impressed with how sweaty and tired I felt afterwards. I also really enjoyed that we had three different instructors so we got to try different types of routines and that it was outdoors. So much fun!

zumba1After Zumba, we all went back to Kelsey’s to shower and change before heading out to Taste of Lakeview for some lunch. We arrived before the crowds got too bad and had our pick of places to try. I opted for a chicken kebab and “salad” from some catering restaurant that also served lots of delicious things like plantains, arepas, and empanadas. Katie also joined us which was a nice treat!

tasteoflakeviewI met up with Ian after lunch to do our grocery shopping for the week and then we headed home to watch some Fringe and relax a bit before meeting up with some friends at Lillie’s Q for dinner. I had a hard cider and the most delicious salad ever.

That’s an old picture but it was virtually the same only bigger. After dinner we went home and watched more Fringe… season 4 is so good!

Sunday: Another early morning and another easy run in the books. Afterwards, Ian and I cleaned our apartment, ran some errands, visited our favorite neighborhood fruit stand, and watched more Fringe. We debated going for a bike ride but opted to take a walk instead and picked up some pizza for Ian for dinner (we keep getting coupons for free pizza in the mail). We closed out our night with more Fringe and some Breaking Amish. It was a relaxing way to finish up the weekend.

How was your fourth?

Weekend Things {Memorial Day}

1. Sorry for disappearing last week. I had a few posts due for random things (including a guest post for the Run for Boston 5k) that totally ate up my blogging time. I’m hoping to get back into a blogging groove this week though…. starting with weekend things!

2. My office closed early on Friday afternoon so I was really happy to get home before 6 pm. I was not happy to see that Sonic had climbed back up into the ceiling while we were gone though.

sonic ceiling1

Fortunately, he was able to get himself down but it seems that getting up there is his new thing. Ian and I are brainstorming ways to prevent him from climbing into the ceiling without having to do too much construction to our apartment (i.e. nailing up a board to block him). Any ideas?

3. Ian and I spent Friday night running errands and on Saturday, I headed out for a 6 mile run.


I used to run by the lake every morning but my new apartment is just shy of 3 miles from the lake and with coming back from an injury, I haven’t been running far enough to make it to the lake front. That changed twice this weekend though because I followed up my Saturday run with a nice 7 on Sunday.


4. Saturday was book club and I hosted this month. We discussed Stiff by Mary Roach, a book that a few of us really enjoyed, a few of us found creepy/boring/gross, and a few of us just didn’t have time to read. I actually really liked it, even though at first glance I thought it would be difficult to read. I think the authors humor and honesty really lightened up the subject matter and I learned a lot!

Like always the food was really tasty, the company was fabulous, and I really enjoyed seeing everyone!

5. After book club, a few people stayed around and we played Fruit Ninja on Ian’s Xbox Kinect.

You have no idea how much fun this game is until you try it plus it’s incredibly amusing to watch other people slice their hands through the air to hit the fruit!

6. On Sunday morning, Ian and I met up with Katie, Kelsey, Emily, Erin, and Erin’s husband, Jason, for some tacos and fun at the Maxwell Market. We walked around a bit first and I found a present for my mom:


She loves her toothpicks.

And then we got in line for some tacos! I was really hungry by this point and happily enjoyed two al pastor tacos with cilantro and onion and split a huge horchata with Ian that was bigger than my face.

taco collage

I was quite the happy camper afterwards.

7. Ian and I ran some errands and then relaxed at home before heading out for cuban food for dinner. On our way back from the restaurant, we decided we wanted to figure out how to get on to our roof (we have a deck with grills and seating up there). It did not disappoint!


8. The weather was kinda crappy in Chicago on Monday so besides heading out for a short run and then giving Sonic another bath (he got really dirty in the ceiling), Ian and I just relaxed. I read my book, he played his video game, and I even managed to prep a bunch of food for the week. We’re going out of town on Friday and I know work is going to be extra busy this week + PT so the less time I have to spend thinking about meals and cooking the smoother my week will go!

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun for Memorial Day?

Weekend Things {05-13-2013}

1. I am so so glad that I was able to go to Michigan this weekend, see my family, and spend Mother’s Day with my mama. The last time I was back was December and I didn’t realize just how much I missed it.

2. On Saturday morning, I slept in a little and then relaxed with my mom. She read the newspaper and I finished the book I was reading, The Fault in Our Stars. This was probably the only real downtime I had all weekend and I loved that I was able to hang out with my mom. We also ran a quick errand and went to Westborn Market so I could pick up some maple syrup and pepita butter :).


3. Around noon, Ian and I met up with Brian, my oldest friend, for lunch. We’re all a bit picky but we ended up settling on a good Mexican restaurant. While we caught up on the last five months or so, I enjoyed a chicken fajita salad.


I was bummed that the fried tortilla was flour though. I used to love those!

4. After lunch, Ian and I visited with my Dad and Step-Mom  I hadn’t seen them in a long time so it was nice to spend some time together face-to-face. They also just finished remodeling their lower level and had some things to give us for the new apartment. No complaints about hand-me-downs here!

5. We also quickly made a trip to Macy’s because they had a sale for 40% off all kitchen appliances and I’ve been wanting to buy a juicer. Funnily enough, Ian called his mom as we were walking into the store and she had an extra juicer that she offered to give us. It was so nice of her! I should have turned around and walked out of the store but I didn’t and ended up buying a food processor because I also need one of those AND it was 40% off.

6. My mom and I had big plans Saturday night, so we grabbed an earlyish dinner with Ian at one of my favorite Michigan restaurants, Vinsetta Grill. My go-to has always been the build your own burger (previously with a veggie burger) in a bowl with a side of sweet potato fries (so good!).This past weekend, I went with a turkey burger with grilled onions, sun dried tomatoes, dried cherries, and grilled pineapple with vidalia onion relish. It was really random but so good.


I also had those sweet potato fries. Yum!

7. After dinner, my mom and I headed into downtown Detroit to the opera house. My friend Brian has been working on a show there and was able to get us some great seats. The show was great and we enjoyed it and I was soo happy to finally see one of Brian’s productions!


I also tried to take a photo with my mom at the opera house but she wanted nothing to do with it. Booo!


8. I was up waay too late on Saturday night so when Sunday rolled along I was exhausted. I slept in a bit, had some breakfast, and then my mom and I headed out to the most vacant movie theater ever to see The Great Gatsby.


We liked the movie although we agreed it wasn’t perfect and there was a lot it didn’t do well. I did enjoy seeing the story come to life though and could appreciate the great acting and all of that but I went into the movie with lower expectations so there’s that.

9. After the movie, we grabbed lunch at one of our favorite salad spots in Michigan, Jennifer’s Cafe. Of course, I had to get my favorite salad EVER, the maurice.


It’s huge but totally worth any discomfort you may have after shoveling it all in as fast as possible. We also picked up the world’s largest oatmeal raisin cookie for my mom on our way out (I successfully picked out almost all of the raisins :P).


10. Our next stop on the errand train was Hanson’s Running Shop so I could pick up a new pair of Adrenalines. I didn’t run (or work out) all weekend but I managed to walk a few houses down the street in my new shoes before my mom’s “puppy” got too rowdy with me and I turned around before she re-injured my leg.


Aren’t they pretty?

11. I ended up taking a nap and then before I knew it, Ian was back from his mom’s and we were on the road back to Chicago. We didn’t get home until nearly 11 (stopped for groceries etc) so I ended up skipping the pool this morning so I could enjoy a lazy hour or two before heading to work. Hopefully, I get my butt to the gym to bike tonight!

How was your weekend?

Marathon Training Week 8 {Boston Marathon}


Last week was a very strange training week. I started the week really sore from the combination of running through the snow at Punk the Monk and my first 20 miler. I ended up switching my Tuesday and Thursday runs so that I wouldn’t have to do speed work on tired and sore legs but then ruined my “taper” for a tune-up race I never signed up for. I also felt exhausted and borderline sick all week. I’m not sure if it was a time change thing or if I was actually fighting something. *Sigh*. Even still, I made it through the week and got in some pretty decent runs.

Monday – OFF. I wanted to do a strength/core DVD but decided rest was probably best.

Tuesday (AM) – 7 mile recovery run (8:31 min/mile). My schedule called for a VO2 max workout but when I woke up my hamstrings were really tight and I thought it was best to run some recovery miles. I started slow and increased my pace as my legs loosened up. I felt so much better after this run that I started to wonder if I should be doing shakeout runs the day after my long run. Thoughts? It was also dark and snowing and I missed the morning light!


Tuesday (PM) – Jillian Michaels 6 Week 6 Pack Level 2 (35 mins). Nothing too exciting to say about this besides it was tough!

Wednesday – 11 mile medium long run (8:05 min/mile). My legs were still a little stiff but definitely feeling better than on Tuesday morning. I ran at an easy pace that didn’t tax my legs too much. It was really really cold in the morning and I definitely felt the chill all day!


Thursday (AM) – 8.2 mile VO2 max with 5 x 600 m at 5k race pace (7:41 min/mile). Thursday is the morning I woke up feeling exhausted and pretty lethargic. My body did not want to move. I ran three warm up miles and then 5 x 600 m at about a 6:30 min/mile. I also slowly jogged about 500 m between each interval. My body did not want to do speed work so while I was hitting my pace, I took my sweet time jogging. I finished up with a one mile cool down.


Thursday (PM) – 30 Day Shred Level 1 (20 minutes). I wanted to get in some strength but considering how I’d been feeling all day, I decided to keep it short and sweet and knock out a workout from the 30 Day Shred. I’m always so surprised by how exhausted my arms are after this workout!


Friday – 6 mile recovery run w/ 6 x 100 m strides (8:25 min/mile). I slept a lot on Thursday night so I actually woke up on Friday ready to run. I was supposed to be tapering for a race that I didn’t sign up for, so I kept my recovery short and slow and managed to squeeze in some strides at the end.


Saturday – 11 mile run with 8 miles at marathon pace (7:34 min/mile). I was supposed to be racing 8k-15k while running 9-13 miles total but I didn’t sign up for a race and figured I’d just push myself to run race pace miles. When I woke up still feeling exhausted from the week, I knew that sub-7 min miles would be both really difficult and possibly risky (it’s too close to Boston to get injured!). I decided to run a two mile warm-up, 8 miles at marathon pace, and then one mile cool down. The wind was crazy and the first 3.5 marathon pace miles were around a 7:40 into the wind. When I turned around though I was flying and consistently hitting sub-7:20′s. It was absolutely due to the wind but it was fun! I ended the run with a one mile cool down and some stretching.

A few of Ian’s friends were in Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day so we headed out to meet them. Nothing too crazy for me besides wearing holiday-themed glasses but it was still fun to be out with everyone. Plus, Emily met up with us for a bit!


Sunday – 17 mile long run (8:00 min/mile). If you follow me on twitter or daily mile, you would have seen how I completely entered this run in incorrectly. Whoops. I promise you if I find some secret way to increase my pace to 4:00 min/miles, I’ll let you guys know! I wasn’t really feeling up to running long when I woke up but I had my rice cake with peanut butter and headed out to run at around 7:30. I opted to run south along the lakeshore path which I haven’t done in a while and the change of scenery made the miles fly by. I’m also always in awe of the skyline coming back into the city, even when it’s overcast and foggy. Love it.


Strength kind of slacked last week but considering how I was feeling, I’m not too upset about it. My goal is to get 3 days of strength in this week: Monday (today), Tuesday, and Thursday and have a great final week of higher mileage before taper starts!

How were your workouts last week?

Five Things Friday {02-15-2013}

1. I know, I know I just posted a Three Things Thursday but this week has felt super long and my brain is only able to think in bullets right now. Sorry!

2. Last night, Ian and I celebrated Vday at Mirai, one of our favorite sushi places in the city. Their menu is pretty extensive, the fish is always super fresh, and the restaurant has a great trendy vibe. The one downside? Awful Romantic lighting that made it difficult to take any pictures of food.


See? Totally looks like Ian is just chillin’ in the dark. Rest assured though, while I don’t have photographic evidence, Ian and I made sure to dine on salads, rolls, and lots of nigiri. Sushi is one of those foods that just doesn’t fill me up and we made sure to have quite the feast :).

3. You may have noticed that I’ve been adding some core work into my workout schedule. I know I’m bad and don’t generally strength train so I’ve been trying to find ways to squeeze 30 minutes of core work in 2-3x a week with a goal of completing 2 workout DVDs and taking one strength class (or swimming 1x) at my gym each week. Of course, this isn’t going to be easy. I feel like I already workout a decent amount … even if it’s just running… and I need to balance working out with many other things in my life so we’ll see how it goes. I think doing more strength work will make me a more balanced runner though.


Trust me, I’d love to be able to go for a medium-long run and then take a strength class every day but I do have a kitty mouth to feed at home and unfortunately, I have to work to make the money to buy the kibble :P.

4. Are you guys big coffee drinkers? I go through phases where I’ll drink a lot of coffee and then I’ll cut myself off and only drink tea for a bit. I’m approaching almost a year of full on coffee drinking though and am starting to really explore the different varieties. For example, I used to really like milder coffees but lately I’ve been enjoying Starbucks’ Dark Roast.

What’s your favorite type of coffee? Do you have a go-to order at coffee shops?

5. Is anyone planning on registering for the Chicago Marathon? Well registration for the 2013 Chicago Marathon opens this coming Tuesday, February 19 at 12 pm. Considering how fast the race has sold out in the last few years, I’d highly recommend registering early! I’ve been alluding to the fact that I was thinking of registering but haven’t officially said anything because I wanted to see how I felt jumping back into training after the Goofy Challenge. Well, I’m feeling good *knock on wood* and because the Chicago Marathon will be taking place basically in my backyard, I’m planning on registering for it again this year! I also plan to run it for a charity but there will be more on that in a later post.

Have any fun plans this weekend? Ian and I might go to the auto show and we’re planning on grabbing lunch at the French Market but besides that, my weekend is looking to be pretty chill.