running

The Big 2-0 + Taco Fest 2.0

What the heck is up you guys?

Don’t mind me, I’m just riding the high from running a casual 20 MILER yesterday!

I know this kind of mileage is chump change to many marathoners but man…never in a million years did I think I would run three and a half hours straight and not want to die.

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Since the CARA 20 Miler is designed to simulate the actual race, the event didn’t start at 6:30 like it usually does. We were placed in waves and mine didn’t end up starting until 7:00 on the dot. Unfortunately my pre-race stretching occurred on Lake Shore Drive after being involved in a fender bender — but luckily everyone was okay, my friend driving was not at fault, and we still made it to the race on time. It definitely made for an entertaining beginning to the morning.

The run was a point-to-point route, so we started very far north and ran along the lake for 20 miles with little diversion from the path. I haven’t even driven that far along the lake.

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As you can see, we started in a huge pack — the 10:30 pace group — but by mile 17 (above) it was every man for himself. The weather was absolutely perfect for a run which is probably why I was flying until mile 16. Besides two 2-minute walking breaks + one trip to the bathroom, I crushed that 20 miler! I did find out that at mile 16 I become mean and cranky though. My friend was trying to make jokes to push me to the finish line and I was not having it haha. Sorry Jaeson!

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The thing I’m most proud of is how far I’ve come since my post a few weeks ago. Remember, the one where I was a blubbering idiot because I couldn’t overcome that wall at 13 miles? Well I made that wall my….well, you know.

Don’t think it was EASY though. I definitely wanted to collapse at the end. Which is exactly what I did.unnamed (23)unnamed (34)

Thank goodness the kind folks at NovaCare were there to stretch us out. I definitely took advantage of that treat — and Bethany found me! Sorry if I wasn’t forming full sentences at that point, lady 🙂unnamed (24)

It was almost 1pm by the time I got home and all I had eaten that day was half a banana pre-race and two Gus during, so I was cranky, grumpy, and in need of some serious food. Enter: the Chipotle burrito. I haven’t had an actual burrito from there since high school but I was not messing around with any burrito bowl nonsense. I needed that tortilla like a bee needs pollen.

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That thing was gone in five minutes.

I spent the next three hours jumping between icing my knees, showering, and sleeping. I honestly felt drunk for a few hours until Megan called me and reminded me that it was the last day of Taco Fest on the main street right by my apartment so even though I felt like a zombie, I threw on a decent outfit and was out the door.

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I remember going to Taco Fest last year like it was yesterday. Such a crazy thing to think about how far I’ve come. I was volunteering at last year’s CARA 20-miler before I met up Megan for the festival and now here I am, 365 days later, having run it. Can you say goal-crushing?

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I had a Grapefruit shandy (because I couldn’t find my beloved cider), a crispy chicken taco (definite favorite), and of course tried the lobster taco. They had so many cool creations there — fries topped with pulled pork and cheese was tempting me like whoa — but I wasn’t sure how my stomach would handle any craziness. So I stuck to the delicious basics.

And just because I wanted to end the night on a really nutritious note, we walked to Dairy Queen and got blizzards before watching the Keeping Up With The Kardashians season premiere. What a full day.

Question:

  • What’s the farthest you’ve ever run?
  • Do you have any street festivals near where you live?
  • Tacos: fish, chicken, beef?
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What to do about failure: a heavy dose of self-compassion + a sprinkle of commiseration

This weekend I had a setback.

Between a fitness project I’m working on (that I’ll share more about soon) in addition to marathon training, I haven’t been running as much as I could be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely running a lot, but I could have another short run day added in the mix if I really tried. It hasn’t been affecting me terribly, and even though it’s been tough as hell I figured that since I already ran 16 miles I was clearly on the right track. Fast forward to this past Saturday morning for our 18-miler and I was a wreck. An absolutely wreck.

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I felt like the Tin Man, in need of oil at my “hinges.” My hip flexors felt so tight that I was barely bending my legs with every step, and with each additional mile it felt worse and worse. I wasn’t sure whether I was just tired, going through typical running pains, hitting a wall, or if I was actually hurt, so I kept pushing. I could tell after the first four miles that it was going to be horrible. When we hit mile six I wanted to vomit thinking that we were only 1/3 of the way through. I even thought about stopping at mile 10 and running with a slower pace group, but I kept pushing. We finally hit a point where I was close to lululemon and I just knew I had to stop. I awkwardly slipped out of line with my running group at Oak Street Beach, ran under the bridge, and came up to my store. I had completed 13 miles instead of 18 and I felt like a complete and total failure. I knocked on the door of lululemon (the store wasn’t open yet) and the second my manager opened the door I just started crying. I was more frustrated than I’d been in years. I’m in the home stretch of training and I can’t even hit the marks? 18 miles shouldn’t be impossible. I know that 13 miles is where I hit my wall. WHY didn’t I push through it? Where was my discipline?

My coworker was quick to reframe my thinking: where was my compassion? Compassion for myself? Marathon training is hard. My body probably has no idea what I’m doing to it and what the end goal is. And while I could definitely take the short runs more seriously instead of pounding through the long ones and using those as my markers for success, I have to just move forward and not wallow in the fact that I ended my run a few miles early. So I didn’t spend another minute mad at myself this weekend. I got over it and celebrated the fact that 13 miles, a HALF MARATHON, is pretty common in my life these days. And that’s incredible.

So I spent the rest of the weekend doing what I do best: EATING.

Tuna melts with Mom at our favorite spot:

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A family BBQ in the suburbs complete with Billy Joel radio, pineapple margaritas, and every grilled vegetable on the planet:

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Late morning Sunday wake-up call with peach french toast on our deck:

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Roasted tomatoes from my mom’s garden:

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And a bit of quiet reflection on my porch swing as I enjoyed the 80+ temps we got this weekend:

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The verdict? There is nothing wrong with my life, even though I didn’t run 18 miles this weekend.

20 miler, I’m coming for ya. Just have to work on these Tin Man hinges first.

Question:

  • Did you struggle during training with your first marathon?
  • How do you stay disciplined with running with everything else you have going on?
  • How are you spending your Labor Day weekend?

#100milemarch update

Well, it’s halfway through the month! I’m slowly but surely working on my personal goal to run 100 miles this month, and have even recruited some unexpected suckers to join me (how’s it coming for you, Salt?)

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So with 50% down and 50% to go, where am I?

40 miles.

“Oy vey, Lauren, you’re 10 miles behind!”

Fear not, doubters! I started out only being able to run 4-5 miles at a time comfortably, and now I’m at 7-8 each run. So the miles will keep chipping away even faster now. Plus, I was only able to run 10 my first week thanks to a new medication kicking the crap out of me, so I’m building momentum each day. For someone who probably ran 40 miles from the months of December-February, this is big stuff. I have no doubt that I’ll be able to hit it!

So, what have I learned so far?

  1. Sometimes you don’t want to run. Run anyway. You’ll be happier for it.
  2. A bag of mixed vegetables is better than any store-bought ice pack.
  3. Hot power yoga is my best friend.
  4. My ears sweat.
  5. When I run, I crave ice cream. Gotta work on that..
  6. I am blessed to live in such a vibrant running city.

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Goal-crushing.

How are you doing on your March goals?

thinking out loud – why is my hair falling out, who do I tip, and what do women want?

Happy #thinkingoutloud thursday!

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It’s haaaaappennnning!

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I usually hate stopping while I run (it makes my legs automatically feel like tree trunks the minute I start to run again) but I just couldn’t miss capturing the beautiful scenery during my five miles yesterday. There’s nothing better than a pullover sweatshirt, laced-up sneakers, music and that crisp autumn air.

I followed this lady’s recipe a few days ago and ended up with the world’s most perfect muffins (minus the craisins, plus millet = perfection). Never used millet before? Try it. It makes everything perfectly crunchy, exactly what fluffy baked goods need 🙂

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I’m pretty sure my hair is falling out. I know that most women think that’s true, but I’m starting to worry, as I think I pull out a good clump or two of hair every time I blow dry it. What’s happening?! Is there a food I can eat or vitamin I can take to fix this? I also have very brittle nails…are these two things connected? I know I could easily Google it but every time I Google health symptoms it’s usually followed with a hysterical email to my doctor paranoid that I’m dying of some kind of incurable disease. Halp!

Help

I am unprepared to be an adult. There are so many unanswered questions. For instance, what does “writing something off” on your tax form mean? I understand the words, I understand the idea, I just really DON’T UNDERSTAND IT. If you hire men to deliver a couch from Crate and Barrel and pay a $50 shipping fee, do you still have to throw the guys a $20 or something when they deliver it? What’s kosher? If you get your hair cut and styled do you have to tip the person who shampoos you and then tip your stylist too? Who gets what, and how much?! Do I ever REALLY need a credit card?  It’s so stressful. Not a fan of these questions. I’m going to stay 23 forever, okay?

Did you hear about the latest “WTF were you thinking” story? It has to do with everyone’s favorite show (okay, everyone’s “I’m sick on the couch and there’s nothing on at 3pm in the afternoon, favorite) Jeopardy!

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Right away you know it’s going to be bad when this is the category title. Well, that, and the average viewer’s age is 65. Here are some of the answers:

xxfciaryzcgn3kjzk1ig…..What is, a crossword puzzle.

wgkxrnrox5kjjxkegssh

…..what is, a vacuum.

For the love of almighty god.

What Women Want: not equal pay, not power over my own body, not equal access to education, not freedom to walk down the street in whatever I want to wear without fear, not an engineering degree OR a spot on the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad (because it’s my choice).

Nope. Women want a few moments of peace and quiet (from, I’m assuming, our bumbling, overweight and unappreciative husband and two kids) for a crossword puzzle and some help with the freaking vacuum cleaner.

Ok rant over. But seriously – this would’ve turned heads in 1995. It’s 2014. What in the world were those producers thinking? (And if they WERE thinking, touche, PR team, touche. Way to get some free press).

I’m seeing Gone Girl tonight!!! Is anyone else going this weekend? I used Fandango for the first time in my life, out of fear that the Thursday night showings would sell out and I’d be forced to wait until Friday night (unfathomable). I’m going to try my best not to post spoilers but I seriously can’t wait. They rewrote the entire third part of the novel for the film so I have no idea how it’s going to end. Which is crazy considering I spent much of the third part literally yelling at my book, it was that good. So, so good.

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SPOOKY, right? I can’t wait 🙂

Oh, finally,

There’s a 99% chance I’m going to this lady’s concert by myself in a few weeks.

I bought two tickets at the beginning of summer, back when I thought I knew everything and exactly where I’d be on a Tuesday night in October. Nowadays I’m letting the tides flow where they may, so as of now I’m either putting out an ad on Craigslist or you can prepare yourselves for pics of me riding solo at the House of Blues. But in all seriousness if any local ladies have some Betty Who love hit me up and we can make an evening out of it 😉

What’s on your mind this Thursday? What’s the best workout you’ve had this week? When was the last time you saw a movie in theaters, and what was it? Got any answers for my “losing hair/brittle nails” debacle? What do you think women want?

almost wordless week(end)

What’s new, crew! Sorry I disappeared for a few days – the rest of the week was a bit of a blur thanks to some unforeseen family stuff and I usually don’t have time to write on the weekends (too busy eating to write about eating, yaknowwhatimean?)

But while it’s been eventful to say the least, I did manage to have some great moments of fun out and about. If I took the time to explain each and every moment this post would be a decade long so let’s do an (almost) wordless weekend.

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Just a little pumpkin-crazy

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Early morning run in my favorite tech top from lululemon.

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…Followed by a heavy dose of veggie icing and the Today show

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Got some Skoop in the mail! So excited to review this next week for you guys!

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And just like that it’s fall in Chicago! On the walk to work

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Avocado-tomato grilled cheese + pumpkin beer.

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Slowly (but surely) building up the muscles again. Yoga Sculpt

Homeslice Wheelhouse patio - my new favorite happy hour spot. I didn't take my own pic because the travel channel was filming there!

Homeslice Wheelhouse patio – my new favorite happy hour spot. I didn’t take my own pic because the travel channel was filming there!

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Eating allll the pizza

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Moscow Mule + pizza with olive oil, garlic (so much!), basil, feta and tomatoes. I died.

Been listening to a lot of John Mayer lately. It's the perfect writing music! You either love him or you hate him...

Been listening to a lot of John Mayer lately. It’s the perfect writing music! You either love him or you hate him…

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BYOO – Bring Your Own Oatmeal to Starbucks. 9 out of 10 times the baristas will help a sister out 🙂

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Bad mood killer. Best snack in the history of snacks. Candy corn + super salty peanuts

I’m also trying to create a pumpkin chili recipe today so I’ll be sharing that as soon as I’m sure it tastes great 😉

Can’t wait to read all about your weekends! Have a fabulous Monday!

Questions:

  • What’s your favorite day of the week and why?
  • Love or hate John Mayer?
  • Best part of your weekend…go!

scenes from the weekend

Hi folks! I can’t wait to read about all your weekends. Mine was filled with tons of activity, sunshine, furniture shopping and, of course food. Is anyone else blown away that it’s June? March, April and May flew by but I’m hoping that June will slow its roll so we can enjoy the nice weather that we all deserve so much.

As you saw yesterday, Zain and I started out the weekend by biking to the farmers market early Saturday morning. We didn’t buy anything but it was just nice to walk around and see the options for the future. Next time I’ll be sure to go around lunch time – there were tons of awesome food options! Tacos, fancy grilled cheese, crepes…I was pretty mad I had just eaten breakfast haha. I never like to miss out on food like that.

Breakfast before the market was peanut butter and bananas on a sandwich thin + coffee

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Zain finally learned what it takes to date a blogger so he likes to take “spontaneous” pictures of our adventures.IMG_7804

I also noticed that everyone at the farmers market was in athletic gear. These are my people.IMG_7856

After the market I met up my friend Megan for a bootcamp class. It was the last class in my two week pass at Yoga Loft and I really can’t tell you how much I’m going to miss it. Once I have to stop paying all those beginning fees and additional costs of moving I’ll for sure get a 10-pass there to use over the span of a few weeks. That place kicked my butt and I loved every second of it.

IMG_7850The rest of the day was spent furniture shopping. Zain is all about the deals so we ended up biking + walking about five miles or so to a furniture outlet in the middle of nowhere. We felt like we were on a pilgrimage across the Sahara (it was 95 on Saturday) so when we saw 7-Eleven and were sure it wasn’t a mirage, we picked up some Slurpees.

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Saturday night I hung out on Megan’s roof watching the sunset and drinking wine, so it was basically the perfect day.

Sunday was spent church-going, grocery shopping and Blackhawks-watching. The weekend was full and fabulous – but don’t think I’d leave you without showing you all the food I ate!

For some random reason I was all about the salads this weekend:

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Mixed greens with hard boiled egg, tomato, blue cheese, avocado and balsamic vinaigrette.

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Arugula with mozzarella and baby tomatoes (dressed with the oil that the mozzarella was soaking in plus TJ’s balsamic glaze)

But don’t think I just ate salads all weekend – that would just be nonsense.

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Mahi mahi with herbes de provence and lemon, breadcrumb and herbes de provence-stuffed tomatoes and roasted brussel sprouts

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Spinach-egg white breakfast wrap from Starbucks (plus it looks like the barista was cursing me out haha)

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Veggie burger topped with cheddar, bbq sauce and onion straws

It was a blast of a weekend – I even started off Monday right with a 6:00am 4 mile run. Now that summer is here morning runs are going to be a lot more common. Everything is on the up and up!

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Happy Monday!

Questions:

  • What was the best thing you ate this weekend?
  • What’s your favorite homemade salad combo? I need some new inspiration!
  • Did you try anything new this weekend?

keep calm and run like simba

Hey all!

I hope you had a kickass weekend.  Mine was….busy to say the least, but I like it that way! I ate great food and even got to run outside, so I can’t complain.  The fact that it was warm enough to get outside and pound the pavement got me way too excited for spring, a pretty premature feeling here in Chicagoland according to the weatherman.

But hey, I’ll take what I can get. The only downside was I couldn’t find a headband for the life of me so I looked like Simba by mile four.

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One of the most important things I did this weekend was sign up for the Shamrock Shuffle downtown this upcoming Sunday! I was going back and forth about actually running this…call it fear, call it laziness, call it tight-wallet syndrome but I just couldn’t commit. Well I finally bit the bullet yesterday and registered. I’ll be running with my friend Jordan, and with a new playlist and visions of our post-race brunch, I’m confident that I’m going to kick butt.  Here’s to hoping it hits 40 degrees!

In terms of food I’ve been trying to incorporate more veggies and pure sources of protein into my diet in preparation of summer, and I’ve definitely been making some progress! Like we talked about last week, it’s hard to crave veggies in cold weather (unless they’re covered in cheese, of course) but I’ve done a decent job. Not to mention I’m still balancing those healthy choices with things like cheesy chicken quesadillas the size of my head and chocolate. It’s a work in progress.

I have a crazy amount of work to do over the next few days so I’ll be back on Wednesday! But until then, here are a few pictures of my weekend happenings. Have a great Monday! Can you believe it’s almost April? Good lord.

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shrimp, jicama, avocado, black beans, queso fresco, corn, peppers, tomatoes and onions

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Protein Box from Starbucks

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Pounded chicken with a panko/red pepper flake/garlic crust, baked at 400 for 45 minutes. Served with “hot pasta” aka pasta, finger hot peppers, parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic and salt. Also the smallest glass of wine you’ll ever see

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Homemade bran muffins

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This was the best thing I saw all weekend. I don’t understand if there’s a cake in there or if m&ms just spill out, but either way, sign me up

Questions:

  • What was the best thing you did this weekend?
  • What’s your favorite part of spring that you’re looking forward to?

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