Running week of May 2-8

This just happened to be another week of less mileage than I anticipated.  I’ve been promising myself to increase my mileage over the last couple of weeks but life gets in the way.  I think it definitely affected my race on Saturday as my endurance just seemed off.  I still beat my goal for the race but could have shaved a couple of minutes without doubt if I took the running more serious during the week.  It doesn’t help that the weather here has been so erratic with its ups and downs.  No more excuses this upcoming week and I have 20 days until the Battlefrog Chicago!

Monday 5/2
5 miles at 8 minutes 30 seconds average
Treadmill run
Nike Air Zoom

Tuesday 5/3
4.26 miles at 9 minutes 19 seconds average
Neighborhood trail run
Reebok All Terrain Super 2.0 Shoes

Wednesday 5/4
No run

Thursday 5/5
5 miles at 8 minutes 23 seconds
Treadmill run on duty
Nike Air Zoom

Friday 5/6
No run

Saturday 5/7
Cinco de Miler Chicago
5 miles at 8 minutes 47 seconds average
43:53 finish time

Sunday 5/8
No run

Weekly Mileage
19.26 miles




Cinco de Miler

“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Cinco de Miler as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!”

The Cinco de Miler is a must-do race for the whole ambience and fun race atmosphere. This was my first time running this race but I’ve always been a huge fan of the RAM Racing series and now that Fleet Feet has partnered with them, it can only get better! This was a 5 mile race (if you didn’t translate!) and I overheard a few people saying that they thought it was a 5k. Surprise – two more miles for you! Every time I run one of the races downtown with such a beautiful backdrop I swear I’m moving here. This was such a well run race and the crowds seemed to have a great time even though the weather took a turn for the worse.  I also had the pleasure of meeting fellow BibRave Pro Eric!


When I arrived, the weather was sunny and mid 60’s and I thought “Perfect running weather!” As we looked north above the skyline, we saw dark clouds making a quick entrance and a few lightning strikes took center stage. The race organizers took immediate action and guided everyone to take some shelter under the Waldron Deck. Everyone herded across the street and waited out the quick storm. We were probably under shelter for about 10-15 minutes before if passed over us. As we made our entry back over to the starting area, the winds had changed and it was definitely a little cooler out. No one seemed to be bothered as everyone made the best of it and still enjoy a fun race.

The Packet Pickup/Swag – I love when there are multiple dates and locations for the packet pickups and since the Deerfield location was closest to me, I opted to pick up here. I was pretty darn early for my pickup and that didn’t even matter. They were well prepared and already handing out the race bags for a super quick process. The RAM Racing bag came with the bib and pins and a super colorful shirt.


The Starting Line – The starting corrals were well labeled with big signs until the heavy winds knocked them down. They were big enough for the groups and each corral was let out every 3 minutes. Before heading out on the course, we were greeted with the anthems from Mexico and the Star Spangled Banner. The announcer really got everyone excited to be out there. He was followed up by some grateful words by the Fleet Feet Owner David Zimmer. After that, the CEO of the 100 Club also thanked everyone for begin out there and a little about the charity.



The Course – After running off the starting gun, you head out south under the McCormick tunnel through a bit of darkness and then south for about 2.5 miles before turning around and heading north along the lakefront. How can you go wrong with the Chicago skyline and running along Lake Michigan? The volunteers did a great job with the water/Nuun stations and seeing all of the excited kids handing out the drinks was pretty cool. I like the mile markers with digital clocks to give me an idea of how I was doing without having to look at my watch.

The Finish Line – To be honest, I’ve never seen a bad finish line! You don’t see it until the last 1/4 mile and once it comes into sight, that last bit of energy kicks in and the crowds lined up a few hundred feet before the end. It’s always nice to hear the announcer saying your name as you finish and congratulate you!


The Post Race Area – After you get your medal (Cool pinata!) and you round the corner, you are greeted by more beverages before you go back to the starting area for the post race goodies. This year, the food included a warm tamale, Tostitos and salsa, and Coronas! You get one free beer with your bib ticket but can purchase more tickets nearby. I didn’t get a chance to ride the mechanical bull but it sure did look fun.

When all was said and done, I was happy with this race aside from the imperfect weather. Everyone seemed to have a great time. They truly did a great job with the course and entertainment.










(Not so much) Running week of April 25-May 1

I’m actually disgusted in this week for my running and fitness.  It started with a mild sore throat on Monday night which really wasn’t that bad.  Tuesday morning, my body just let me know that things weren’t right.  I don’t get sick often but when I do, I’m a big baby and it’s debilitating.  The rest of the week had it’s ups and downs and the late mornings and afternoons were pretty good.  Then I obviously overdo it and the evenings are rough.  I feel drained and know that I push things to hard out of guilt.  Friday, I seemed to feel pretty good and went for a short run but just could not catch my breath at all.  I know first runs are tough after an illness but this one sucked.  I decided to take a couple more days off this weekend and start fresh Monday morning.  I plan on running some muddy trails before shift begins at the firehouse and get in some much needed legwork in preparation for Battlefrog in 27 days!

Monday 4/25
Bike ride for 4 miles until another flat tire

Tuesday 4/26
No run – sore throat

Wednesday 4/27
No run – sick

Thursday 4/28
No run – sick

Friday 4/29
3.62 miles at 10 minutes 55 seconds average
Neighborhood trail run
Nike Air Zoom

Saturday 4/30
No run

Sunday 5/1
No run

Weekly Mileage


Promise to myself – more Runcations

Now that I’m getting to a ripe age and always said I’d travel more, I actually plan on doing it.  I’m in a situation where I can actually go out and see the country while enjoying my love of running.  There are so many beautiful areas of the U.S. that I’m really excited to get away and see.  I’ve taken a couple of short trips as of late and ran in such beauty that I made that promise to myself to see it all before I perish!

Running last year in Monterey, California has changed my mind about the west coast.  Taking those steps along the Pacific Coast Highway and smelling the ocean has me drawn to coming back out there – hopefully soon.  There are so many places to enjoy the outdoors across this country that it’s hard for me to plan it all out!  I do however, plan a couple more before year end and am in the process of figuring out where I want to go next year.

I’ll be partaking in the mountainous trails of Aspen, Colorado this fall and then immediately back out west for the Big Sur Half Marathon in California.  Look at this scenery and tell me that we are surrounded by such incredible beauty!


Big Sur 1.jpg

Running Scenery 2.jpg

Running Scenery.jpg

So where else do I have on my Runcation Bucket List?

  • Boston – maybe running the Freedom Trail because it’s been years since my last trip there
  • Coastal North Carolina
  • Mountains of Vermont – haven’t been there since I used to mountain bike race there
  • Arizona – for the beautiful desert scenery
  • Montana – I’ve always wanted to run the Yellowstone tour but can do without a possible Grizzly attack
  • New York – I just want to run the boroughs and maybe do a pizza tour
  • Oregon – I’ve heard such great things about the trails out there
  • Texas – not sure where but I have friends in the Austin area that swear by it

These are just the continental U.S. spots I plan in the upcoming years.  I haven’t even begun to think about the rest of the world…

Orange Mud Single Barrel HydraQuiver

Disclaimer: I received a free Orange Mud Single Barrel HydraQuiver as part of being a BibRave Pro. All opinions are my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

So I received one of the Orange Mud Single Barrel HydraQuivers to test out and have found myself running a lot more trails and mountain biking because of it.  I never thought I’d run with a hydration pack because the ones I’ve seen are usually too bulky, too flimsy, or just don’t seem to be functional for my needs.  That’s where the HydraQuiver comes in.

Right away, you could see the quality of work when you unpack it.  It comes in four colors and I opted for the gray but you can get black, orange, or pink as well.  The features that put this over the top are the low profile so it doesn’t cover the whole back and make you sweat, an easy access deep pocket for valuables, adjustable velcro strap for various sized water bottles, and a good amount of padding that ensures comfort while wearing.

For running: The Single Barrel HydraQuiver was extremely easy to put on.  I put some items (camera tripod, ID, keys) in the pocket that I would normally put in my shorts pocket but am so glad to free myself of that burden.  Putting the vest on is best when you release the straps to the longest point and then slip it on over the head.  I have a Youtube video below that shows how I put mine on.  Right away, I could feel how comfortable it was and how it sits high enough on the shoulders and back to be practical.  Tightening the shoulder straps was easy with a direct pull downwards to your liking.  The shoulder straps have two easy to use velcro straps for energy gels and open downwards so be careful when you go to pull them open.  I really like how padded the pack is and it doesn’t bounce around when running.  The vest was tested thoroughly through some heavy duty singletrack trails and it didn’t disappoint.  Many times I’ve run the trails and hills without water much to my detriment and have found myself running longer and harder now that I can carry a hydration vest that doesn’t burden me with uncomfortable chafing and weight.

For mountain biking: I do not have water bottle mounts on my mountain bike and really never carried water with me on my bike rides.  I like the option of having a hydration vest during my long bike rides.  The one thing I had to adjust when using the HydraQuiver during biking as opposed to running was lowering the water bottle with the velcro strap as it hit my the back of my head a few times.  That’s why I think it’s great to have that adjustable option.  A quick velcro pull to make the pocket deeper fixed that issue.

All in all, I am extremely happy with the HydraQuiver for the many features that I was looking for in a hydration vest.  It’s a well designed vest that takes comfort and practicality in mind.  I don’t mind carrying water now that I’ve found a good way of carrying it.

Orange Mud had a lot of other great products that you can see HERE

Join us on Twitter for the Orange Mud sponsored #BibChat on May 3rd at 8pm CST!

Check out what my fellow BibRave Pros think about it too JenniferMarkGinaEmilyRachelKatieSamanthaShannonJanelleJenJessica, Laura, Sarah, …

Running week of April 18-24

So this week my intended goal was to get away from the 5 miler runs and get in some speedwork and long runs but again, life happened.  It was birthday week and eager anticipation to get into the Golden Leaf Half Marathon in Aspen as well as finding out about getting into the Chicago Marathon.  I’m following a Nike+ training plan for the marathon so I know my daily mileage and training will be different.  I plan on following this closely and do it right for my first marathon.  Fingers crossed…

Monday 4/18
5.25 miles at 8 minutes 36 seconds average
Neighborhood run
82 degrees and sunny
Nike Air Zoom

Tuesday 4/19
5 miles at 9 minutes 31 seconds average
Savannah trail run
52 degrees and drizzling
Nike Air Zoom
4-19-16 (8)

Wednesday 4/20
4 miles at 8 minutes 27 seconds average
Treadmill run
Nike Air Zoom

Thursday 4/21
No run

Friday 4/22
5 miles at 8 minutes 51 seconds average
Baseball fields run
60 degrees and sunny
Nike Air Zoom

Saturday 4/23
5 miles at 9 minutes 38 seconds average
Savannah trail run
75 degrees and sunny
Nike Air Zoom
4-24-16 (2)

Sunday 4/24
No run

Weekly Mileage
24.25 miles


My thoughts on getting into the Chicago Marathon

So after getting my acceptance email for my lottery entry into the Chicago Marathon, a lot of things have gone through my mind.  I got my notice around 6 am and obviously couldn’t go back to sleep.  Yes at first I was elated and wide awake.  Not more than 10 seconds later, I found myself asking if I was really ready and able to do this.  I’m not one for doubting my abilities both on the job and in my personal life.  Honestly, I’m not young anymore and hitting a milestone birthday on Saturday (To me at least).  I’ve been pretty darn consistent at running and have achieved a lot in my 4 years of running.  I still remember being winded at my first 5K race and yet, 2 years later I took second in my age group.

I know that I’ll dedicate myself to proper training for this as I don’t want to just wing my first marathon.  I want to do my best and bring home a respectable time.  Shooting for 4:30 is my realistic goal and I just can’t fathom running for 4 1/2 hours straight.  Now that I know a bunch of people who also got in, I plan to run and do some training with them as this has got to be the most supportive sport I’ve played or participated in.  The Chicago CARA group always has a fun looking 20-mile training run that I’ve always been envious of and I plan to be a part of it this year.

I’m running a beautiful 1/2 marathon in Aspen, Colorado 2 weeks before the Chicago Marathon and since most of the terrain is high altitude and narrow single track, I’m getting nervous about hurting myself right before my first marathon.  I’m sure I’ll be fine and just enjoy the 1/2 scenery instead of going fierce for a PR.

I guess it really hasn’t hit me yet but after realizing that the training plan I’m using starts in 4 days I’ll wake up and smell the challenge…

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