Chicago’s Perfect 10 race recap

Yesterday we got back on the racing wagon and ran the inaugural Chicago’s Perfect 10.   There was a 10K option as well, but we went for the 10 miler.   Sounded like a good idea back in August or whenever it was that we registered.  

Chicago's Perfect 10 Mile & 10K at Navy Pier

I was more than a little nervous for the race as running has not been a priority in the past month.   Not only did post marathon laziness kick in, but moving and finishing up school didn’t leave much spare time.  I ran a few miles on the treadmill, BMB did 6 outside this past week, and that was about it.   We figured we’d run it for fun, walk when we had to, and just finish. 

We were up before the sun, something we hadn’t done in awhile. 


We definitely over dressed for the race, and by the time we walked out to Navy Pier I was sweating.   Chicago weather forecast once again foiled my planning. 


The race itself started at 7 AM at the end of Navy Pier.   


Earlier in the week they had to change the start time from 8 AM to 7 AM due to city restrictions.   I’d rather get it out of the way as early as possible, but their Facebook wall blew up with the most dramatic responses ever.   My two personal favorites were something along the lines of “we all know when we run best … i signed up for this race based on the 8 a.m. start time. refund” and “should be called Chicago’s really crappy 10”.   Fabulous material for dramatic readings, I must say.  

We lined up, the national anthem was played, and we were off.


After we ran down Navy Pier and hopped on the trail the course was basically our marathon training route.


South along the lake to the museums and so on. 



The bottle neck was pretty extreme until we reached the 10K turnaround.


Not going to lie – I was tempted to make the turn.   My legs were so tight those first 3 miles, but eventually did loosen up.  


We hit the turnaround at 49:50 , exactly on pace.  


The last 5 miles flew by, and I actually felt pretty good.   My IT band gave me a bit of trouble, but nothing I couldn’t handle.   Before we knew it we were passing Soldier Field, the museums, and heading back to Navy Pier.


I was delighted to not only finish the race strong, but to receive a high five from Forrest Gump as we crossed the finish line.  

Excellent.  We collected our medals and then ran into Keren, a friend we met through marathon training, who rocked the race as well.  


We also had an unexpected 10 miler PR with our 1:40 finish, beating our Soldier Field time by 4 minutes.   Even better, we had fun and enjoyed the beautiful, though warmer than expected, fall weather. 

We are also finally unpacked, and after hosting our first guests over last night the place has been sufficiently broken in.   Pics to come, and also hopefully a return to regularly scheduled blogging.  

Hope everyone had a great weekend,


Zombie paintball

With our big move to a new apartment  approaching on Monday, we have been quite the busy bees.


Though the litter box in the living room, sneakers on the counter, and plastic pumpkin laying willy nilly on the floor leads you to believe that we are in poor shape, there is good reason for the chaos.   We had carpet cleaners scheduled to arrive on Friday afternoon, and spent the early hours of the morning moving all the living room furniture to the kitchen, guest room, our room, and wherever else we could fit it.   We locked the cats along with their bathroom and food in our room and went to work.    Unfortunately the carpet cleaner’s truck broke down, leaving us with random furniture all over the apartment and a couple of extra disgruntled cats. 


The other night we avoided packing and headed out for a lovely Halloween outing with our friends Bob and Megan.


What screams Halloween more than zombie paintball? 

We drove about an hour southwest of the city to Joliet, Illinois to our destination.   Well, it wasn’t really that easy.   After a good 20 minutes spent creeping around pitch black cornfields and back roads thinking to ourselves, what kind of horror story trap are we falling into, we stumbled across CPX Sports.  


After handing in our Groupons for the event we waited in line to get “briefed”.


This entailed sitting in a pitch black room while a guy dressed in camo yelled at us about the area “infected” by zombies and how we could survive.   I thought about raising my hand to ask if I was allowed to take pictures but before I had the chance we were ushered outside to our “guides” for our haunted jaunt through the forest. 

Artistic rendering of our experience.

The ever gracious person that I am, I allowed BMB to use me as a shield to the zombies attacking from all sides.   Sometimes you just have to take one for the team.   I was pretty scared the entire time, but probably screamed the loudest when the guy behind me tripped and I mistakenly took his flailing arms for a zombie attack.   I’m sure my terrified scream didn’t add to his embarrassment at all.   After a stroll through a creepy tunnel complete with innard curtains we approached this deserted town.

At night it looks a lot more creepy.

We could see our paintball bus parked in the distance, so I thought to myself, Oh good, we’re almost finished.  All of a sudden our guide yelled, “ZOMBIE ATTACK, GET TO THE BUUUUS!”  And zombies started chasing us from behind.   I apologize to whoever I may have shoved as I took off as fast as my rain boots would take me yelling, “RUN FAAASTER!”  

I took this pic from the website, as I did with the pic above, but we didn’t have paintball guns at this point, and it was dark out.

It was quite exhilarating, and I’ve never been happier to get on a old creepy bus with no sides and guns lining the outside.  

We were then instructed to put on our goggles, and were told if we removed them that we would be considered infected and would be shot on the spot.    Then the paintballing began, as we shot down zombies as they charged our bus and stumbled around.    I think I just laughed maniacally the whole time, and was probably shooting either straight at the ground or up in the sky. 

Before we knew it our zombie shooting experience came to an end.  It definitely exceeded my expectations, so much fun.  

We topped off the excursion with stuffed burgers at McGrody’s Pub.


BMB took it to a whole new level when he ordered the stuffed grilled cheese.


I definitely ate my weight in sweet potato tots.   The cinnamon dipping sauce was out of this world.    Good times, as always, or, for the first time, in Joliet, Illinois.

Last night we met our new landlord and received the keys to our new apartment.  


We were basically seeing it for the first time and were so excited to explore.   I’ll post pics again once we’re all moved in, if it ever happens.   Today we are packing, working on my final project, attempting to get new phones, and trying to pull together costumes for a party tonight.   I’m being the pregnant lady who ran the Chicago marathon, which is basically the perfect costume.   I get to wear gym clothes, my medal, and order people around all night because I’m pregnant (well that’s my plan). 

Happy Saturday!!


weekend update

I thought I would pop in to say hello as I haven’t written anything in quite awhile.   After the marathon was over I thought we would have tons of free time spent not training, yet this past week I struggled to find time to get on the treadmill.  Isn’t it funny how there’s always something else to fill your time?

This past month at my new job has flown by.   Being that I work for an online company, I’m practically glued to my computer all day long.   At my last company I worked goofy hours to beat traffic patterns, and would get there before 7 but leave by 3.   Those days would crawl by, even though I got to leave so early.   In my current position I arrive between 7:30 and 8 and work until 6 or 6:30, and the days fly by.   It’s a good feeling.  

In terms of running, we had planned to run a half marathon this coming weekend, but have decided not to sign up as it would be more stressful than fun with everything else going on.   ‘Everything else’ would be moving to another apartment  and finishing and presenting my final project for the final class of my MBA.   I guess we should start packing sometime as well.   Instead of the half this weekend we are going to set a mini training schedule for a 10 miler on November 12th.    Throw in a friend’s out of town wedding in the Outer Banks the weekend before and I would say we have more than enough to keep us occupied. 

We celebrated the last weekend in our apartment with some visitors from Pennsylvania, who were in from out of town for the Penn State football game at Northwestern.


It was a beautiful fall day for a tailgate.


There was an awesome turnout for the PSU tailgate, and we took full advantage of our all you can drink and eat wristbands.  




After awhile we hopped on the free shuttle and headed closer to the stadium to another tailgate.



  This one was probably the classiest I’ve ever seen – featuring sushi and martinis.  


Added bonus: Northwestern grad Seth Meyers was in town for the homecoming game and was tailgating with friends right next to us.  

After a long day of tailgating we eventually headed into the game which Penn State would eventually win. 


Such a fun day with friends – and we topped it off with some delivery deep dish.

Talk soon,


BBQ & Marathon video

After the crazy events of last weekend I’ve spent much of this week on the couch when I wasn’t working or at class.   I did run once.  Well, twice, if you count chasing after Jackie when she darted out the door while I was paying the Dominos delivery guy.   It was like she had been planning her escape for months, and if the delivery guy hadn’t yelled HERE KITTY KITTY I may not have even noticed the little blur of fur as she went by.  Waffles remained unperturbed from atop her tower as the events unfolded, of course.


BMB had been in Florida for the week for work, and we celebrated his return on Saturday with a delicious BBQ dinner at Chicago Q

We were lucky to get a last minute 9:30 PM reservation, and figured it had to be good.   We arrived and were immediately impressed by the cozy atmosphere. 

Immediately after we were seated we were presented with homemade bread & butter pickles and spicy potato chips.

Bread and Butter Pickles & Chips @ Chicago Q

Those chips lasted about 4.5 seconds. 

For our second app we ordered the House Bacon Cheddar Hush Puppies, because really, we’d be fools not to.

For our entrée we took our server’s advice and split one of the larger combos, the q3.   We picked pulled pork, brisket, and a half rack of ribs.

With a side of bruleed mac n’ cheese.

It was the perfect amount of food and we were both stuffed but not to the point of discomfort.   We will definitely returning to Chicago Q, if only to try the bourbon flights.   Great Saturday night date night. 

Today we took advantage of the beautiful fall day (where were you LAST Sunday??!!) and set out of a casual run around town.


It was awesome to wander aimlessly without a set distance.


Wonderful weekend.

BMB has promised that his thoughts on the marathon will be coming soon, but in the meantime feel free to check out my video of the experience here.  Be warned: the footage is extremely shaky, but hey, I was running a marathon.   There is also an abundance of official race photos with the large orange “proof” stamped on them.  

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!


Team Hoagie–marathoners

I’ve been struggling to think of the best way to describe yesterday’s marathon in words.   I think that the “hardest (physical) thing I’ve ever done in my life” sums it up. 

Sunday morning I was up early for my usual coffee and water.  I waited to eat a bagel until right before we were leaving as I knew we would have quite the delay before actually crossing the start line. 


Around 6 AM we taxied it over to our fabulous VIP Balbo tent, courtesy of the MMRF.


Private gear check, bathrooms, drinks, food, and a place to sit.   I can’t think of a better way to start a race day.   


We met up with the rest of our team and before we knew it we were heading to Columbus to find the open corral and line up.

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At this point it was starting to warm up but nothing to worry about.   Soon enough the national anthem was playing and we were on our way !!!!!!

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I left my camera in gear check and attempted to film pieces of the race with my new Sony video camera, so we’ll see if I can edit enough to share.   For now I have a few race pics courtesy of marathon foto and some of the after party.

With that statement, you’ve caught on that we finished the marathon.  26.2 miles.   Over $17,000 raised by Team Hoagie for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.   Even better, all 70 members of the MMRF Chicago marathon team, including two patients,  finished the race.   A race that around 12,000 participants were unable to finish because of the unexpected increase in the heat index which would eventually lead to red level course conditions.   

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Going into the race I knew it wouldn’t be easy.  I didn’t think it would be that hard.    At times I doubted myself both physically and mentally, but taking it one mile at a time, stopping to stretch (and use the facilities), and drinking more warm yellow Gatorade and water than I’ve ever seen in my life got me to the finish line.  

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The spectators and aid station workers also played a huge part in getting us through those tough moments.   Thanks to Jenny we had our names on our shirts, and hearing my name called out by countless strangers was so incredibly motivating.   Not to mention the high fives.   I’m not sure I would have made it without the high fives.

Around mile 18 BMB and I knew we were throwing  our time goals out the window and just wanted to cross that finish line strong, and safe.   That last mile is one I may never forget.   After so many miles the end was in sight, and we were going to do it – become marathoners.   We finished around 5:14, much later than we planned on and trained for, but we were together, smiling, and healthy.  

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The feeling of accomplishment we got as we crossed that finish line was amazing.   Having our best friends do the same made it unforgettable. 


The rest of the day was spent in celebration.


Also, ice baths.


Then more celebration.


I’m off to rest after a day spent waddling around the city, and I’ll hopefully have a video to share with you soon, struggles and all. 



ready to run

After months and months of training, preparation, and talking about how much time until we have until October 9th… it’s here.  

It started to feel real when our guests began to arrive last night from PA and New York.   I got the first nervous butterfly in my belly when I was handed my bib at the expo and was wished good luck. 


We headed to the marathon expo with Jenny, Steve, and his family, and later met up with the NY contingent of Team Hoagie: Siobhan and Kaitlin.   It was a flurry of vendors, runners, and more.



Next on our marathon event tour was the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation charity event.

We knew that this was a get together planned by the foundation to meet the other members of the team running Chicago.   We didn’t know how  inspirational those two hours would turn out to be. 

I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room as person after person shared their story.   I will leave it to BMB to give this event the accolade it deserves, but I can truly say that I am proud to be running every step of those 26.2 miles for the MMRF and everyone’s lives they’ve affected past, present, and future.   


It was also great to get Team Hoagie all in one place for the first time.   

Afterwards we headed to Go Roma for a pre-race carbo-load with Team Hoagie and their family and friends.

It was a fun and relaxing way to fuel up before the big day.

Well, the bibs have been pinned, names have been ironed on, and all that’s left to do is get some sleep.  


Good luck to all running tomorrow!


the last few days

My apologies for my leave of absence since we completed our final training run this past Saturday.   I’ve basically been watching a whole lot of playoff baseball…

…eating delicious things such as hibachi, BBQ chicken crockpot meals, and burritos as big as your head

…however the majority of my time this week has been spent with Nyquil, cough drops, Emergen-C’s, and green machines.


I’ve had this stupid hacking cough hanging around for 2 weeks and I am still holding on to the hope that it will go away before Sunday.   I’ve gone to bed every night around 8:30 and slept for 9+ hours, so fingers crossed that it’s working its way out of my system.    I’m sure the people sitting around me at work would appreciate it as well. 

In other news, I am extremely excited for the arrival of our friends tomorrow night.    We have a weekend full of expo, MMRF, and a whole lot of eating ahead of us.    If the weather is anything like it has been these past few days we will be lucky.  


Talk soon,


final training run.

This morning we woke up at an absurd hour for a Saturday for our last CARA marathon training run.  

Week 17, 8 miles.   

We all know what happens at the end of week 18, and I can’t believe it’s here.  

Most of you are probably grateful that the weekly pictures of sweaty people running the same lake front path will be coming to an end, and especially the self photos of BMB and I.   Those will prob continue, not going to lie.   In case you missed it, this is what we’ve been doing the past 17 weeks:

week 1 – marathon training kickoff
week 2 – CARA training run
week 3 – enjoying Caturday
week 4 – a hot 9 miler
week 5-10 miles, back to CHI
week 6- home again
week 7 – 12 miles
week 8 – family week day 1: 13 miles
week 9 – no run for me
week 10 – Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon
week 11 – 16 miles, a new PDR
week 12 – cha cha changes
week 13 – 18 miles, I need a nap
week 14 – an early 10 miler
week 15 – CARA Ready to Run 20 miler
week 16 – busy bee

What an experience.   It wasn’t always pretty, or fun, and definitely not easy, but we made it through it.   We had such a busy summer of travel, and we realized that fitting in whatever miles we could, when we could, was the best we could do.  Looking back, it wouldn’t have been the same without our training group and leaders.  

Today we started out and ran the first few chilly miles in the dark.

We headed out south as we always do on the lakefront path as humongous waves crashed along the shore and the sun came up.

At mile 4 Donna switched it up and we turned right on 31st street.

She was taking us to the final miles of the marathon course.   It’s going to look a lot different one week from now.

We took a practice run on that last pesky little hill leading up to the final turn onto Columbus.

As the street was closed for a race today we were able to run smack down the middle, visualizing that finish line.

With that our final training run came to an end.

But don’t worry, we took some final awkward photos on the way home.

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Thanks to CARA for making our first marathon training experience as painless as possible!

We are off to enjoy the beautiful fall day, starting with a hibachi birthday party!

Happy Caturday,


busy bee

Besides popping in to publish  Ryan’s Guest Post the other day I’ve spent way too many hours at work during the day, and at school working on a group presentation at night to do anything else with a computer.   Hence my lack of blogging.   My Google Reader also suffered, but luckily we were able to catch up on important things like Caturday tonight.

This past weekend was a ridiculously fun blur of good times.  I arrived home in PA late Friday night, and we were up early Saturday to run.   We discussed running 10 miles on the Perkiomen trail, but had extremely loose expectations.

With the burnt out and tapery feeling hanging around I told BMB that if I was not having a good time we weren’t going to push it.

Luckily we didn’t follow this policy exactly or we would have made it about 10 steps to this sign informing us that the trail was closed for flooding.

This would be the paved, flat end of the trail which was closed.   We ended up running in the other direction, which turned into a rollicking trail run.

It was a really pretty morning, though on the humid side.

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We saw some good wildlife.   Cats, roosters, stallions….

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…and a dire wolf.

OK, it was really a white German Shepherd named Stormy.  We met him and his owner shortly after this photo was taken.

We ended up running 8 miles and were perfectly happy with that.   We were on a tight time constraint as we had to cruise up to Hershey, PA for Jeff & Danelle’s wedding!

After all the weddings we’ve had this year I’m not going to elaborate on the details but rest assured, it was lovely.


OH, and there was chocolate butter and chocolate salad dressing, details I feel deserve mentioning. 

Also a candy bar.  

It was a beautiful wedding and we had so much fun with our family.

I will also add that if you know me, you know I love to start a good dance circle.  Though I like to be the creator, I don’t have any good dance moves.   This weekend I introduced the double dutch move to the circle, guaranteed to be a hit wherever you go.   You’re welcome. 

The after party went until the wee hours of the morning, and after spending a lazy day at my parents house our 3:30 AM wakeup call for the airport came early on Monday.  After flying back to Chicago I headed directly to the office, and from the office directly to school.   Today was a repeat with a little more sleep, and after enjoying some more of the BEST gelato outside of Italy I’ve ever consumed I will be crashing into bed. 

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!


Guest Post: Philadelphia Fans Rock!

Kate here,  popping in from PA.  The Chicago branch of Team Hoagie put on an amazing event today, so please enjoy the guest post from Ryan to hear all about it.

Guest blogger and proud Team Hoagie member Ryan Lester here.

Today we held a raffle at Mad River Chicago during the Eagles vs. Giants game. Prizes included a signed Vick jersey, a  DeSean Jackson helmet,  and Eagles/Bears MNF tickets, plus more.  The results on the field were poor but the raffle was a complete success.


When I started to think about how I could get involved in fundraising, I thought back to an advertising campaign the Eagles ran a few years back.  The campaign, “Power of One”, celebrated the unique passion of the team, city and its fans.  When a force of Philadelphia sports fans comes together great things can be accomplished.  Today the Philadelphia Eagles Fan Club Chicago didn’t let us down.  I’m pleased to announce that we raised over $1,000 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, putting us over the 15k mark as a team.  

A very special THANK YOU goes out to Steve, Carol, and Kelly Condon for helping to secure the prizes.  Couldn’t have done it without you guys.  You Rock!


Three of the winners.  The helmet guy was pumped; I think he’ll be sleeping with it on tonight.  Probably see him wearing it again at Mad River soon.

Race day is fast approaching. Can’t wait to meet everyone!


From myself, BMB, and the rest of Team Hoagie, a HUGE thank you goes out to Ryan, his girlfriend Kelly, and her family for putting so much effort into planning and making this fundraiser happen.   As we were home in PA for a wedding we couldn’t be there but were so proud to know that you guys were back in Chicago promoting our cause with an awesome fundraiser.    YOU ROCK!