pizza

Weekend Happenings: 16 miler, Pizza Pizza, and Ready For Fall

Well this weekend was a doozy.

For starters, I ran my longest distance ever. I popped out of bed surprisingly early on Saturday morning and met up with my CARA group to attempt what I thought was an impossible 16 miler along the lake. The first 12 miles weren’t too hard, especially since I ended up running next to an awesome girl named Brigitte and we ended up talking the entire time. But the minute I hit the half marathon mark (my longest distance to date) my body hit a wall and it felt like the next three miles would be insurmountable. I’ll tell you — having Brigitte there saved me. I wouldn’t have even come close to finishing without her. She talked to me the entire time and I even stopped talking back the last two miles but she kept on gabbing, trying to distract me from the pain. And in the end, I was so happy I kept going — I thought the runner’s high after 8 miles was strong…but aside from feeling like I was having a stroke, the high I had the rest of the weekend after the 16 miler was crazy! Such an incredible feeling.

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I ran home and did the typical runner things (including my first ice bath, which I definitely did wrong and didn’t put any water in the tub), hoping that I would be able to function for the rest of the gorgeous weekend instead of hobbling around my apartment like a 90 year old woman.

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Legs up the wall is a true life saver, even when your hip flexors are so tight that you can’t even straighten them. The foam roller is going to be my best friend this week.

The rest of Saturday was spent at the beach, eating pizza, and playing Heads Up with some of my friends who drove in from the suburbs to enjoy the gorgeous weather — it really was the most perfect day of the summer.unnamed (14)

I met Spencer downtown later in the night for some rooftop cocktails which in hindsight wasn’t the greatest idea after a double digit run, but I’ll rarely turn down an invitation from friends.

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Sunday was the definition of exhaustion. I had to work at the store but since I hadn’t really rested since my long run and day/night on the town I was pretty loopy. Luckily the shift flew and I was able to meet Megan out for dinner for her birthday today! Megan and I just realized that we’ve been friends for 10 YEARS now — the fact that I’m old enough to have a decade-long friend is only slightly terrifying but it’s crazy to think how much we’ve been through together. Never in a million years in freshman-year French class did we think we’d be living just across the street from one another in the city.

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Oh, and we ate more pizza and beer. I think that was the theme of my weekend (never an unwelcome one).

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Now that I truly got to enjoy a full summer weekend I’m completely ready for fall to be here. I keep my apartment on the chilly side so I can hang out in a sweatshirt and sip coffee in the morning like it’s going to be a fall day anyway, so I just need nature to get on the same page as me. Let’s just keep winter far, far away, shall we?

Questions:

  • What did you feel like the first time you ran a crazy-long distance?
  • Are you ready for fall or still savoring summer?
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scenes from the weekend

Brace yourselves–it’s going to be a long post!

But isn’t it pictures of food that brings you to blogs like this in the first place? I guess I really shouldn’t be apologizing but instead accepting “thank yous” for posting the following glorious food pictures–try not to drool on your keyboard (I’ve heard that computer warranties tend not to cover food envy-induced drool).

The weekend started with my early Saturday morning ritual: SPIN!

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As usual it was heart-pumping, music-blasting, sweat-dripping fun!

Breakfast was a new cereal–Kashi Vanilla Graham (with a banana and almond milk)

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Verdict: it’s delicious!! I really love it and will definitely be getting this from now on. It’s a happy medium between the regular Kashi GoLean and Kashi GoLean Crunch, and with the banana it was the perfect amount of sweet.

I spent the ENTIRE day researching which type of laptop to get: a Mac or a new PC.  It’s an impossible situation because everyone has such a strong opinion one way or the other. On the one hand, I would like a Mac because it seems like it needs the least amount of maintenance (and as the least “techie” person in the universe, I really need something that doesn’t need “cache cleaning” or “cookie clearing” or whatever the heck good computer maintenance requires). But on the other hand, $1200 is a lot of dough to drop in one purchase. I still haven’t decided for sure but I’m leaning towards finding another PC.  We’ll see what happens.

Unlike many people, looking at technology is incredibly stressful and irritating to me, so as I did this I tried to create a new recipe.

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It was supposed to be a frittata, but the potatoes were a little too overdone so I decided it would make a better side dish. Zucchini, onions, potatoes, and Herbe de Provence, all mixed with one tablespoon of butter and some salt. I wasn’t sure how it would taste (as you can see it’s not the prettiest dish) but man was it yummy! Definitely had a Thanksgiving-feel.

I had to work at the restaurant last night but luckily I was cut early.  I was able to catch a train downtown at a decent hour and met up with Zman and his roommate, who just happens to be my good friend from high school (funny how that all worked out!) We decided that we wanted to have a quiet night in so we went to Walgreens, got some snacks and picked up “Django Unchained” from Redbox. We were all set for a movie night!

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That movie–wow. While pretty cartoonish (thanks Tarantino), it was so eye-opening. It was such a fun night and I went to bed stuffed and on a sugar-high.

PS why has the world been hiding Pirate’s Booty from me? SO GOOD! It tasted like healthy Cheetos!

Today we woke up ready for a lazy Sunday.  After mass we walked to the Hershey Store, Ghirardelli, Whole Foods, and Giordano’s. I think it’s safe to say where my interests lie.

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ImageCupcake truck! Could there be anything better?

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ImageGarlic-parmesean fries

ImageSurprisingly great side salad from Giordano’s with a lemon vinaigrette

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We spent the rest of the afternoon walking along the Chicago River. It was a gorgeous day out and we were so happy to just spend some time together before we go back to spending our work weeks apart.

On my walk back to Union Station to catch a train home, I snapped this pic of the Sears Tower at night. I’m so lucky that I get to spend my weekends in the greatest city in America.

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I start an internship tomorrow which will have me in the city even more often. I’m still going to be waitressing some nights in the suburbs, however, so I’m going to be a busy bee. Good thing that’s the way I like it! Here’s to a new chapter, starting with tomorrow 🙂

Date Night!

Tonight I experienced a whole new neighborhood in the city of Chicago: Wicker Park!

I’ve never been to that neighborhood before so I didn’t know what to expect but thankfully I was blown away by how cool it was.  I might be biased, but Chicago is the best. It has everything!

Before I had date night which, as you may have guessed, did not include healthy eating (I stopped my detox diet last night with a wedding reception…hey 6 days is pretty darn good!) so I made sure to get in a good workout beforehand.

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30 minutes on the stairmaster alternating speeds back and forth every 2 minutes

20 minutes on the elliptical

20 minute upper body workout (3 types of curls, overhead tricep extensions, shoulder raises)

Then I was off to explore the city!

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Wicker Park is a Chicago neighborhood northwest of the Loop.  It was full of young people, (mostly hipsters, let’s be real), outdoor patio bars, eccentric shops, narrow houses, and hidden gardens. I. Loved. It.

The thing about Chicago is that these “neighborhoods” are all connected by the CTA, an above-ground subway system, so you can just jet from one to the next in no time.  Each one has its own flair so every time you get off at a stop you are immersed in a whole new corner of the city.

I have wanted to try Piece Pizza for almost seven years now after a coworker in high school mentioned its deliciousness.  Being that I was 16, barely licensed to drive, and too scared to be out of the suburbs past dark, I never made the trek. But today seemed like the perfect opportunity!

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It was about a half an hour wait, which I was surprised at considering it was a Sunday night at 8pm! Even though I was starving, I knew that a wait like that meant the food had to be something special, so the boy and I took a walk around the neighborhood.  It was a gorgeous summer night in Chicago–those have been few and far between–so it was the perfect way to pass the time.

When we finally got seated, it took just a few minutes of perusing the menu to figure out what we wanted. Piece is cool because you have a few “base” options (red sauce with mozzarella, white, or bbq sauce) and then you can build your pie from there.  They had everything from basil to clams and even mashed potatoes.  After asking the waiter what his favorite pizza was (I always get the opinion of the server at restaurants), we made our choice.  Large red pizza, half spinach/onion/green pepper, half spinach/bacon.

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Ummmm hello, gorgeous.  I think I’m officially the worst kind of sinner–I think I liked this pizza more than deep dish (pause as all of Chicagoland gasps in horror). It was just so flavorful and chewy but crispy at the same time and the toppings were the perfect amount and the cheese was just right and …. I mean come on.  Look at that thing. That pizza definitely excuses that horrible run on sentence that just happened.  Basically, Piece Pizza is my new place.

Finally, I knew I wanted to go all out.  I’ve been hearing whispers about an ice cream place in Wicker Park that uses LIQUID NITROGEN to individually create your ice cream. Being in the area and not going to that delicious laboratory would have been an atrocity to foodies everywhere, so we stopped by.  It was really cool!

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At first I wasn’t sold on my ice cream because it melted so so fast once it hit my tongue, but I started to realize with each bite that it was some of the most flavorful ice cream I had ever had. I had a mix of butter pecan and caramel with pecans folded into it, and it was truly one of the most delicious butter pecans I have ever had.  It was definitely different, but in a great way.  Wayyyy overpriced, but it had to be tried!

Such an amazing Sunday night!  Have a great week, everyone!