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.

DSC07916 DSC07915 
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.

DSC07781 DSC07783 

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

DSC07772 DSC07773 DSC07775 DSC07780

…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! 

taper madness

This week has truly flown by.  Hands down this was the fastest first week of work I’ve ever experienced.   I am extremely overwhelmed but in a good way.  No dress code, free drinks, meetings with beer, and walking to work with BMB were definitely some of the perks of the week.   I didn’t cook a single thing all week long, and only ran once – hence my lack of posting.   Also, with the conclusion of last Sunday’s 20 miler we have officially entered taper time until the marathon.  


Our group leader sent out an e-mail last night that I thought was incredibly helpful while entertaining at the same time.   Yet another bonus to the CARA training.   This is what she said:

‘Now that the hard work is over, the goal is to get to the marathon starting line healthy.

Do not do anything crazy. You may feel that you are not ready. You are! Nothing you do now will improve your fitness level. Trying to squeeze in a few extra runs or workouts will not help, but will hurt… literally, if you get injured.

As we cut back on the mileage, you will notice strange things happening. Nervous energy will start to take the place of running.   Have you heard the term “Taper Madness”? It is about to take over your life.

My taper obsession is with the Weather Channel. Will it rain? Will it be windy? Will it be too hot? Will it be too cold? Will it be just right? For some reason, I was convinced the Weather Channel gave instantaneous updates and the forecast at this minute is more accurate than the forecast 10 minutes before.
My sister cleans and cleans and cleans.

We will laugh about all our little quirks after the marathon. Right now, this is SERIOUS and do not try to tell me otherwise…

I am sure you will each have your own stories about the adventures of tapering. We will have 12 miles on Saturday to compare stories.’

I can tell you that I have been extremely hungry, all the time.   Though this seems to be the norm so I’m not sure if it’s amplified because of the taper or not.  Thanks to Donna  for the helpful information!

Last night I once again spent time packing my suitcase for a trip home.


Only the necessities.

We are heading home for a wedding and I’m looking forward to it.   We are attempting to get a training run in tomorrow morning, so we’ll see how it goes.

Happy Friday,


still a belieber

After one day at the new job I am already loving the new commute.

Road rage and filling the tank up twice a week are a thing of the past.   Sadly, I have already fallen out of touch with the top 20 pop songs. 

It’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make.

After Sunday’s 20 miler we were all feeling a bit stiff.  I think Kate M. said it best in the text I received Sunday evening stating, “I think this is what dying feels like.”   Hurts so good.   In Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an all-night runner, Dean Karnazes sums it up:

”People think I’m crazy to put myself through such torture, though I would argue otherwise. Somewhere along the line we seem to have confused comfort with happiness. I’ve now come to believe that quite the opposite is the case. Never are my senses more engaged than when the pain sets in. There is magic in misery. Just ask any runner.”

You are not just any runner Dean, but I hear what you’re saying.

My senses sure were engaged when the pain set in around mile 18 on Sunday, though at the time it sure didn’t feel magical.   More like torture.   But we do it for the sense of accomplishment you get from crossing the finish line, whether it be a 5K or a 20 miler. 

Also for the post race pizza. 

Last night BMB and I gave our sore bodies a rest and I kidnapped him for our first happy hour while both working in the city.   I love a good reason for happy hour.   Afterwards we headed over to Bob & Megan’s to check on Gypsy cat.

Gypsy is like a long haired Waffles, how can you not love her?

This morning I woke up and enjoyed a leisurely green monster before work.

1 banana, spinach, Amazing Food Chocolate, flax seeds, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, and cocoa powder, blended with a handful of ice.

I was able to give up coffee by drinking these guys last year and would love to give it another shot.   We’ll see.   I used the last of my K-cups yesterday and the coffee machine downstairs is broken, so that helps. 

Off to another day at work.   Have a good one!


CARA Ready to Run 20 Miler

This weekend we didn’t have a Saturday training run for good reason – the CARA Ready to Run 20 Miler.

In my head this race was the big salami before the actual marathon, but always seemed so far away in the summer months.   Run the entire lakefront?  Madness.  The race started at 6:30 AM up north, but left in waves as there were 4,000 participants.   We were in wave 46 which left at 6:52.

At approximately 6:47 I had a bit of a bathroom emergency, but came out of that port-o-potty like a race horse and made it to the start line just in time to join our training group.   In our weekly pep talk e-mail our leader emphasized that this was just a training run, however to treat it as a practice run for the marathon.   We wore our race shirts to make sure of no chafage or discomfort.    It was really nice to not have an out and back training run today as the course was a point to point, ending at the cultural center.

Miles 1-7 flew by, and the light drizzle and cool temps were a welcome distraction. 

Around mile 8 we passed our apartment which is always so tempting but we gave it a wave and carried on.  

Mile 11 is where BMB had to use the facilities, and Sara, Ella, and I kept moving at a slower pace waiting for him to catch up.   Somehow he flew by us while we were collecting as many free GU’s at the mile 12 aid station and we never saw him again. 

I felt like I lost my child.   I was so worried – didn’t know if he was behind and something had happened or up ahead.   We waited a few minutes and then went on our way.   Miles 12-18 were uneventful and our chatter helped to move them along.   

After the mile 18 aid station we started running and I felt like my feet were on crooked.   Nothing seemed to be working properly, but we put one foot in front of the other and eventually the 19 mile sign was in sight. 

After this I put my head down and eventually the cultural center was in sight, signaling the end of the race.   I crossed the finish line and immediately saw BMB, who had finished about 4 minutes ahead of us.   I was so proud of him for running those last 8 miles on his own.

We stood in line for our shirts, where it started to downpour.   We also ran into Kate M., another team member of Team Hoagie, who also killed the 20 miler after a couple weeks off due to a back injury.

After a blue lipped, shivering wait for the shuttles we headed back to the city.

BMB & I stopped for ice and came home for the dreaded ice bath.

I dread the bath tub more than the ice.   Ugh.   Works miracles, however.   

Besides some soreness, we are relatively unscathed.  Thank goodness for Body Glide, especially on my feet.   The ultimate blister protector.  

I still find it kind of hard to believe we ran 20 miles.  I never ever in my life thought I would be able to do something like that, and I’m so proud of BMB, Sara, and Kate for making Team Hoagie proud.   Sara and Kate both wore their Team Hoagie shirts and got so many cheers.   

DSC07738 DSC07739 
Welp, gotta go eat some pizza and take a nap.   First day at the new job tomorrow, I’m excited!!!

Who else ran the 20 miler today??? I know there are some fellow CARA runners out there!


chicken sausage chili

After the chilly run this morning I never could seem to warm up today.   Pair that with the beginnings of a sore throat and I knew I wanted something warm for dinner.   As my crock pot was still sitting on the counter from some sweet n’ sour chicken I made the other night, I decided to make a pot of chili.

I slightly improvised and basically threw a bunch of things into the pot, including:

2 cans of pinto/kidney beans
1 can of Rotel
1 jar of tomato sauce
1 can of corn

Next I added in 3 sliced roasted garlic chicken sausages.

A few shakes of the spices below, set to high, and off it went.

I let this cook on high for around 3.5 hours.   The smell actually woke me up from a nap, so I had a feeling it was going to be good. 

I served the chili over a bowl of fusilli with some cheddar on top. 

Just what I had in mind.   BMB’s reflux can’t handle the spiciness right now, so I made him a variation of the classic Campbell’s Chicken & Rice casserole.

The plan for the evening is sweatpants, a movie, Nyquil, and early to bed.   We’ll try and calm down, I know we’re getting out of hand. 

Have a lovely evening,