One Big Race Recap & Upcoming Fun

Hello! I’ve been running around like a crazy person the past few months so I’m just going to give you one giant race recap. I’m sure I’ll miss something but here it goes…

Recent Races

This past weekend I ran the ING New York City Marathon! Probably one of the coolest/hardest races I’ve done. Around mile 24 I was questioning my ability to run a marathon but I managed to finish and beat my best marathon time by 2 minutes!

NYC Marathon finish time: 4:02:55 PR!

This race was full of amazing spectators and crazy hills. The course was beautiful and it was so inspiring! So happy I had the opportunity to run this race and I hope that I have the pleasure of doing it again someday.
Thank you NYC and my good friends Crystal and Greg for taking such good care of me this weekend. You’re the best!

NYC marathon 2013Mile 7 (Brooklyn)

A few notes about the race/course:

1. Bring warm clothes to the start! You will be waiting for up to 4 hours until you enter your corral and start running.

2. The race starts on Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and it was super windy and cold. I thought I had frost bite. (source)

3. Mile 15 (which is also a bridge) will make or break you mentally and physically. Make sure to save some of your energy to push yourself at through this part.

4. Look around, take in the crowds, and enjoy yourself! You’re running one of the best marathons in one of the best cities.

5. You walk for about 20 plus minutes after you finish. Once you get to the family reunion area, it’s very crowded. I finished at 2:35pm and didn’t get back to Brooklyn until almost 5pm. Crazy crowded.

Some photos from the weekend:

IMG_3390View from the ferry ride to Staten Island

IMG_3388Pre-race photo
IMG_3402Me and Flat Stanley running the NYC marathon (mile 7)
ING NYC Marathon FinishFinish Line at NYC Marathon

Detroit Half Marathon

Detroit half marathon finish time: 1:49:46 PR!

In between Chicago and New York I ran the Detroit half marathon. This race was so pretty and so well organized. The course starts in downtown Detroit. You run the Ambassador Bridge into Canada (breathtaking views). You proceed to run through Windsor, Canada and then run the tunnel back into downtown Detroit through the city streets. If you live near Michigan and can find a way to run this race you should definitely do it! You can choose from the marathon, International half marathon, US half marathon, or 5k race.

IMG_3328Detroit Start Line

Chicago Marathon

Chicago Marathon finish time: 4:04:59

Chicago was so awesome this year, like every year. It’s the best course because it’s mostly flat and fast. Again, I had a great experience and can’t wait to run it again next year!

Chicago Marathon 2013
Mile 13 (Chicago)

If there’s one thing you should know about runners it’s whether we are having the best race ever or the worst race ever, we will always pose for pictures with huge smiling, happy faces. I’m borderline miserable in at least half of my running pictures.

I’m doing a 10 mile training run this weekend then I’m off to Las Vegas next weekend for the Rock and Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon! I’ll be running this race with a friend so I’m pretty excited!

Upcoming Races:

RnR Las Vegas – November 17, 2013
The Chiller 5k & 10K Trail Run – December 7, 2013
Universal Sole Trail Challenge – December 15, 2013
Frozen Gnome 50k & 10k Trail Run – January 11, 2013
F^3 Lake Half Marathon – January 25, 2013

I may add a turkey trot or jingle bell run in the mix somewhere but for now this is the lineup.

Are you running any races this winter? Are you planning any destination races?!


Chicago runners, there’s a new race in town!

Ditka Dash

Ditka Dash_2013 is offering an exclusive discount. Use code: RUNDITKA for $5 OFF

Check out the goodie bag!

Ditka GoodieBag

Pro Compression Sock of the Month:

SOM Sept

Use Code: CHV for 40% OFF and free shipping!

My upcoming races:

September 22nd: Magellan Ready to Run 20 miler

October 13th: Chicago Marathon

October 20th: Detroit Half Marathon

November 3rd: NYC Marathon

November 17th: RnR Las Vegas Half Marathon

Feel free to bring me snacks during any of these races!

Please help support the CARA Road Scholars Program and donate today!

Are you running any of these races?

marathon training, work, cross train, repeat

Happy Monday!

Monday: Chest/Back

Tuesday: 5 mile run

Wednesday: Legs/Abs

Thursday: 8 mile run

Friday: Arms/Shoulders

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Cara Ready to Run 20 miler!

I’ll be running the NYC Marathon as a charity runner!!! I’m running to raise money for the CARA Road Scholars program. Visit my fundraising page for more details and to donate. Help me meet my $3000 goal! Any amount helps!!

Chicago Marathon training is going much better than past marathon trainings! I’ve managed to complete my 15, 16, and 18 mile runs. All of which have been done on a Wednesday or Thursday night after work. To put this in perspective, I ran from 5:30/5:45pm until 8:30/9pm on those nights. I’m trying  this no-nonsense thing on myself. It seems to be working.

I managed to win an award recently! I placed first in my age group (25-29) in the Zooma women’s 10k. I was actually planning on running the half marathon but just wasn’t feeling it so I cut out and ran the 10k managing to be the first person to finish for my age group. AND I got lost at the end.

ZoomaAwards are neat.

Montrose HarborThis was the view from Montrose beach the day of the race. So pretty!

egg cupsI recently tried a yummy egg cups recipe from another blogger. Super easy, try it!

What are your weekly workout plans? Are you training for any races?

Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon – Race Recap

Wednesday: Legs/Abs workout- 45 min.

Example: Circuit 1 – Three Times
Squats with dumbbells x 10
plank x 1 min
Alternating lateral lunges x 10 each way
penguins x 30

Got my Swirl Gear!

swirl gearCheck out the new race wall that Josh designed.

Race Wall

A couple of Sunday’s ago I ran the Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon. This race is by far the best half marathon in Chicago. The course runs through the city streets which is great for keeping the runners minds occupied during a brutal 80 degree half marathon.


The race expo is held at McCormick place ( the older building by the lake path) and is a hassle to get to if you’re trying to take public transit from the west side. Lucky for me I was able to convince my race expo loving bf to give me a lift. He’s a trooper, that one. Anyway, we drove to McCormick on Saturday early afternoon to grab my race bag. Josh especially loved when I got him lost getting there. We finally found the damn building and I was able to run in and grab my bag pretty quickly. I looked around at some of the vendors and tried my hardest not to stop at every booth and buy or try their products. I love free samples! The expo is a nice size and you can get a lot of freebies. I would suggest checking it out, unless your significant other hates that shit. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from running races it’s that Josh HATES when I don’t get my race bag shipped to the house.


RnR Start1

RnR Start2

The race started at 6:30am on Sunday morning. That’s early but totally good for this time of year since the start time temperature was 80 and humid. Gross. I was in my corral (6) by 6am and ready to poop my pants by 6:15am. This is where my bad eating and drinking habits come into play. It’s probably best to NOT binge on buttered noodles at 10pm the night before the race. I’m sure this doesn’t help either…

Hot DougsUgh, It’s so good.

You would think I know what I’m doing by now. Nope. The race starts and I’m feeling good. Lots of fun music and people along the path. Very motivational things going on around you the entire race. Water stations were spaced perfectly and the volunteers were SO encouraging, as usually. The temp stayed in the low 80’s the entire race with the sun popping out occasionally along the way. This race really makes you appreciate and love the people and city of Chicago. They really know how to make a runner feel good. Maybe that’s just me being bias. Oh well. I really enjoyed the “Ke$ha” style dance party that happened in the McCormick place parking tunnel. SO fun! It’s around mile 11 or 12 and it really pumps you up to finish the race strong. Unless you have to go to the bathroom, which I did at miles 7, 10, and 12. Yes, mile 12. I thought I was going to lose my shit, literally. Disgusting but true.


RnR Chicago time

I thought you were supposed to get faster with practice?!? That time is stupid.

Rough run. BUT I still love this race!

What is your pre-race ritual?

Lifestyle changes are hard

Miles logged last week: 36

Monday: 6.25 miles outside

Tuesday AM: Jackie Warner 30 min. Extreme DVD, PM: Total Body Tabata routine from The Get In Shape Girl

I’ve been training for the Chicago Marathon for almost 8 weeks now. While this isn’t my first marathon, this is the first one that I’ve buckled down and have seriously been training to run. With all this running I’ve noticed a few things about my body’s reaction to running that I decided I need to focus on fixing.

1. I get a stomach ache almost every time I do a long run (anything over 7 miles). The food I’m consuming is not runner friendly, obvi.

2. I need to consume water starting after the first mile or two until the finish. If not, I end up super dehydrated after the 10 mile mark.

Both of these issues occurred during the RnR Chicago Half Marathon a couple weekends ago. I finished in 1:57 and felt gross and defeated.

I looked like a mess.

RnRChi2013 RnRChi2013-2I’ll write a race recap for RnR Chicago soon!

Last Saturday I logged a 15 miler on the treadmill because of stomach problems. Not the most fun but I did get to watch Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Pretty awesome!

My solution, start eating clean and drinking less alcohol. I know, sounds terrible. I’m going to try this for a few months and see if it helps. Should be easy with a wedding and Lollapalooza this weekend.

Here’s a sample menu from my new eating regimen:

eating clean1(Click on the photo to check out the full plan!)

My next race is the Chicago Marathon! This is unless I randomly sign up for another which is totally how I work.

I’ve decided to skip the SeaWheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver because getting there will cost too much. I’m bummed.

How do you stay on track with eating healthy and exercising when your social schedule is hectic?!?

Check out Swirlgear!

Today’s workout: 5 miles this morning. Perfect weather. Felt good!

I’ve become a brand ambassador for a really awesome company!!

SWI_BrandAmbassadorButtonSwirlgear is a Chicago based women’s performance apparel company. Check them out by clicking the above image!

They offer super cute and affordable workout clothing for women.

Use code 995 to receive free shipping on any order!

I’m anxiously waiting for my first order to arrive.

swirl shorts swirl top

Run in Swirl!

Speaking of running…I’m thinking about registering for the Zooma Chicago Half Marathon.

Is anyone running this race? I think the picture on the race website got me. Chicago is so pretty.

Chicago Women’s Half Marathon – Race Recap

Monday: 5 miles on the treadmill

Tuesday: 6 miles on the lake path.

Today: Circuit training with Jillian Michaels, NMTZ (DVD)

Chicago women’s half was a hot and humid mess! At least for me.

Packet Pick Up

This race doesn’t have an expo which is a good and a bad thing. Good because my wallet stays fat, bad because I don’t get to shop. The packet pick up was located at the Fleet Feet Sports store in Old Town. Not my favorite place to go since it’s impossible to find a parking spot.

The packet consisted of a few flyers, some coupons, a nice Brooks race shirt and a neat little SweatyBand! I was in and out of packet pick up fast. Love when that happens!


The race started at 6:30am and I was running by 6:40am (probably sooner). I ended up being pretty close to the start line. It was already 78 degrees when the race started. By the time I hit the 5 mile mark it was in the 80’s! It was hot and I was forced to slow my pace. I was hoping for a new PR but I guess I’ll just be stuck at 1:51 for a little while longer. Boo.
This race was a tough one for me. I started out fast, as usual, and ended up losing momentum around the 6 mile mark. I felt sluggish and top-heavy. I walked through a few of the hydration stations and was trying to find a way to sneak off course and take a cab home. No such luck. I ended up having to stop and go to the bathroom at mile 11.5 and that slowed my down by almost 2 minutes! This was not my best race. I was miserable. I’m just going to blame this bad performance on the pizza and beer binge the night before heat.
The race was along the lake path going south and was mostly shaded, thankfully. There were plenty of hydration stations and spray stations to keep runners cool. The finish line had plenty of water, Gatorade, snacks and wet towels. I particularly enjoyed the jams that were being played at the start line and the volunteers. Many of them were cheering and just plain happy to be helping. It makes you feel good! This was my first time running the Chicago Women’s Half Marathon and other than the heat, I really enjoyed the race!
The race start.
View from behind the finish line.
My walk home from the race. Beautiful Chicago day!

Do you have any tips to prepare for warm weather races?

I need all the help I can get!

Back to business. Warm weather running

Happy Monday! I’m sad the long weekend is over.

I kind of took a blog break but I’m back now!

Last weeks mileage: 41

Sunday: off

Monday: planning for 6 miles in the rain

A few weekends ago I received my 13th medal for a race. By the end of this year I will have run 3 full marathons and at least 13 half marathons in the last two years. This year alone, I’ll have run 9 half marathons. Total races in the last 5 years = roughly 40, by the end of this year = over 50!

I never EVER thought I would be a runner.

I’ll be writing a race recap for the Chicago Women’s Half Marathon in a later post. Other than it being 900 degrees outside at 7am, the race was pretty fun!

How was your July 4th weekend?! Did you run any races? I didn’t but I did manage to log 23 miles.

I spent most of my weekend doing this…

FL Drinks & LakeNeed help preparing for warm weather running?

I know it’s technically been summer for 18 days but it’s just really starting to get humid and gross.

Here are some of my tips:

Run earlier or later: I do a lot of my weekly runs in the morning before work. It’s cooler and the sun isn’t as hot. This also rings true for evening runs. Try a night run!

Slow down: Slow your running pace. I know a lot of people training for a fall marathon want to incorporate speed work and that’s good but if the weather is hot slow your pace! Logging the miles is more important.

Stay hydrated: I hate carrying a water bottle or waist pack so I will either choose a route that has drinking fountains or loop back past my apartment for a water break. I probably don’t drink as much water as I should.

Wear the proper clothing: Wear clothing light in color and weight.

Wear sunblock: Seriously. Even when it’s cloudy.

You can find more summer training tips here.

Race Discount Code:

Chicago Half Code_0708

Do you have any good summer training tips?

Marathon training in a sauna

I keep saying that I’m going to do a race recap for the Solder Field 10 Mile. Well, that’s sort of true. Here it goes. Yay!


Fast and efficient. For the most part, if Fleet Feet is involved in the organization/operation of a race, I’m happy. I have yet to have a bad experience with them as the leader. K and I ran (literally) to get our packets during lunch the week before the race. You grabbed your bib and then your shirt and you were out the door. Easy breezy, unless you have a problem passing up sales racks at your fave running store. Then you’re f-ed. They strategically placed the sales racks by the exit of packet pick up, forcing you to shop.


Super easy to get to the race start using public transit. This was surprising since Soldier Field is such a pain to get to from our hood. It took less than 30 min. and I had enough time to get coffee, potty, and freeze my tits off at the start. Good work. The race was on the lake path and the weather was great. I averaged about 8 min/mile. Not too shabby. Overall, pretty awesome experience.

View from Walk to SF

View from Roosevelt Rd. On my way to Soldier Field.Blackhawks Dina

Blackhawk DinosaurAfter Party 2

After Party After Party 1

More after party

Josh and KrissiJosh and Krissi drinking at the after party.

You should run the Soldier Field 10 Mile next year.

Marathon training started last week. Krissi and I did a miserable run outside during lunch today. If you want to know what hell feels like, go for a run right now.

Today: 5 miles/45 min. HOT SHIT.

I’m using the Bank of America “Set a New PR” training plan. So far, so good.

Nike_Set a new pr

I’ll be running the Chicago Women’s Half Marathon this weekend!

Are you running the Chicago Bank of America Marathon? Do you use a specific training plan?