Hot Chocolate 15k 2011

Hello there!

Enjoying daylight savings? I’m not. My internal clock is all up in a tizzy.

However, I did find out TBS plays Saved by the Bell SUPER early on Sunday mornings. So there’s a win.

Another win? Finishing the Hot Chocolate 15k with a new PR!

Obviously, that makes me feel like this:Yay!

There were doubts. Because even after listing out all the things I knew to do better from last year’s disasterous run, there’s a pretty good chance I did not learn anything.

For example, there was only one long run done outside. And none in the colder(ish) weather. My bad…

That was ok, though. Going into the race, I really just wanted to have a good run with my friend. And it was a gorgeous day to do it:Not a cloud in the sky. And even though it was low to mid-40′s, the sun made the temps feel so much better.

Already better than last year.

What also made the race better? The bigger race course- it was ALL on the streets (unlike the narrow lake path last year). I only felt a little claustrophobic from race congestion for the first mile or two. As did the two girls who collided and ate serious asphalt around the second turn. It was a cringeworthy fall to watch.

My friend and I stayed together and kept a pretty good pace up until entering the 5th mile. That’s where he started to slow down and shooed me along. Little did he know, I was feeling the fatigue, too, but slowly crept ahead anyway.

The 6th mile is where I hit a major wall. The entire mile SUCKED. I wanted to walk. I was tired. My body was starting to ache.

It cannot be stressed enough- the 6th mile was AWFUL.

My stride came back in the 7th. My legs knew the end was near and picked up the pace to get this business over with.

From there on out, it was a breeze.

Wait, I take that back.

What genius makes the last .3 uphill?

And what genius lined that stretch with event photographers? There were 3. And I imagine those 3 pictures will look like this:

1. A pained expression because the hill started. Not realizing a picture of me is being taken.

2. An annoyed expression because the hill sucks and I cannot believe they are documenting this hot mess.

3. Me laughing at the ridiculousness of what is going down. This may also look like slight delusion.

Final stats:

1:19:08.
8:30 pace.
1133/9067 out of the females.
311/2324 out of my division.
2860/13430 overall.

Oh, and about a pound of chocolate was consumed after…Yes, I do run for chocolate.

Once again, I traded the apple and banana slices for extra pretzel rods. Fruit should not be allowed anywhere near my plate…

In summary, this race ended up being way better than my experience last year. The course was better, there was better overall organization, and I was much more prepared.

Oh happy day…Enjoy your Sunday! I shall be lounging. And after looking at the race pictures, I think I’ll also be repainting my nails. Word.

Because I’m a Glutton

… for punishment.

And cookies. But that’s way off topic. And a discussion for another day… like maybe tomorrow or something…

Yes. Finally. A race has been discussed. The weekend is available. My friend wants to do it with me.

Looks like it’s GO TIME!Oh wait… I almost forgot about how much I whined about the Hot Chocolate 15k one the first time I ran it. And then swore to myself I’d never do it again.

Well I’m back.

Because you know how I am when it comes to committing to something

I don’t.

And my reasoning is this:

- The race I really wanted to do is still very likely to be conflicting with a wedding I am trying to make it out to St. Louis for. Poor planning.

- Last year, my main issue was being improperly dressed. I hope a few more long runs outside (considering last year I did none) will help me be smarter about it.

- It was crowded. Everything from race to post party. But mostly the race. However, RAM, the organizer, seems to recognize this. As evidence by me being on their email list and getting multiple emails about their new race course. So that’s a big “yay” for them.

- I need a longer race in my life. Bad. This particular weekend is open. This is the race happening on this particular weekend. My friend can do it and promises to make it an epic Saturday of running, football and silliness.

And dude- there’s chocolate at the end.

It’s on like Donkey Kong.

So what’s gonna go down before then?

All I can say is I’ll be doing my best.

There’s not time for a standard 10 or 12-week plan, but that’s ok. I just want to progressively lengthen my longer runs over the weekends and hopefully 9.3 miles will seem like no big thang. :)

And hopefully, the mindset that a race is “right around the corner” will keep me going in my mid-week gym stupor. I’ve been guilty of starting a workout with specific goals in mind and then cutting out early (oops!).

So last night, I went with 5 miles in my head. And started. Then thought maybe I’d just end at 4 instead.

4 wouldn’t be so bad. I’d be ok with that…

Then, as I approached 4 miles, I realized once again what was going on. Plus, my male “friend” often attempts to one-up me every night from his own gym. Back to the original plan. It was actually pretty easy at an 8:30 pace.

He said he couldn’t beat my 5 miles.

This morning I was greeted with a picture of a treadmill screen.

5.2 miles.

This is war.

Meet Me In St. Louis

Why hello strangers!

I sort of did the disappearing act yesterday, but it was for the best.  My brain was a bit mushy from not getting home until a little before midnight on Sunday night and then turning around to get to work by 7:30 the next morning.  Any written words would have been a jumbled mess.  :)

Anyhoo, I had a great 24 hours in St. Louis with my blondies (Mary and Laura).  Like I may have mentioned, it was sort of a last-minute thing, but I’m glad it  happened.  I miss some of my college girls, so the chance to see them was jumped on!  I got in late on Saturday, but it didn’t take long for us to freshen up and hit the town for a bit…We had a great time running around with a group of their friends and then retreating back to Mary’s house.  Because of their football party earlier, there was plenty of leftover food around. 

I tried White Castle for the first time.  (yeah- FIRST time)

I really have no idea what the big deal is.  I’m positive they should have made a movie about Jack in the Box instead.

Laura and I shared a room and stayed up whispering and giggling.  Then, when Mary’s fiance left for his tee time the next morning (how grown-up do we sound???), we hightailed it into Mary’s room and jumped into bed to make a Mary sandwich and giggle and gossip some more (ok, just cancelled out the grown-up thing).

“Giggle” was the word of the weekend. 

The three of us didn’t really do too much other than chat it up all Sunday.  Since we don’t see each other nearly as often as we used to (ie everyday), that’s all I need to call it a good weekend.

Well.  That and food.  Turns out we still have similar tastes.Fiesta salad with chicken and added avocado. For all three of us.  How obnoxious is this??? The waitress looked at our table funny as we ordered our round of iced teas and the same exact salads.  I’d be embarrassed but we have good taste in food.  What are we supposed to do? 

Although Laura just HAD to be difficult by getting the sour cream on the side.  GEEZ!  It was something about trying to make the salad healthier…  whatever… ;)

We also have similar tastes in sweets:Oh buddy.

On a separate note, after discussing it in detail and a trip to Target for the dvd and weights, Mary decided to try out The Shred.  So far I haven’t received any hate texts from her.  Then again, she also hasn’t hit Level 2 yet.  ;)

I really should get paid for this, Jillian.

After the lovely lazy day, Annie and I roadtripped our way back to Chicago.  We had fun on both drives (to and from), but were horribly tuckered out on the way home.  We tried to remedy the situation by digging up some of her old cds and listeing to some of Top 40′s greatest of 2000 – 2002.  Yessss….  You can’t help but love the smooth sounds of Savage Garden and Mandy Moore when she was still blond.  Classic stuff.

All this traveling left me without much physical activity for the rest of the weekend.  And that was OK.  I seemed to forget the importance of stretching after a race and adding 10 hours in a car didn’t help.  So last night was just walkin’ it out a little on the ‘mill.  I’m not pushing myself back into a serious workout routine at the moment.  I’ve been saying for a while I want to take a break from the consistent running.

Not that I’m going to stop (seriously- that would be tragic), but adding a little more to the mix isn’t going to hurt anyone.  Plus, now I’ve got the Hustle Up the Hancock to train for!

Oh and by the way, here are my final stats from the Hot Chocolate 15k.  They were no surprise- I knew it wasn’t the best race. But we’re ok with that.  Promise!*Sigh.  Even though I wasn’t planning it, I may have to sign up for maybe one more race this winter just to redeem myself.  Maybe… :)

Ever had a crappy race?  What caused it?  Let’s discuss…

Hot Chocolate 15k- Overdressed and Undertrained

*First, I want to have a disclaimer- I am very happy to have finished the race.  I ran the whole thing and it was a pretty course.  And I got to hang out with some super cool blogging peeps.  I am not angry.  Just a wee bit frustrated.

You are now allowed to continue reading…

I made it downtown to the Grant Park area by about 7:30.  Perfect timing to meet up with Pham.

It was chilly.  Very chilly.  Which made it a real struggle for me to figure out what my layering of clothes would consist of.  This was the coldest race I’ve done- I’m a newbie when it comes to cold weather gear.  When I was walking towards the race, everything felt ok.  I had a big jacket to get rid of at gear check, but thought I had done well with the dressing.  If I had only known…

On the walk there, I saw a ton of workers out putting up Christmas decor outside of the buildings:This is the big renowned tree that sits in front of Daley Plaza for the holiday season.  Still looks like it could use a lot of work if you ask me.  But I trust it will look fabulous very soon.

Anyhoo, I got to gear check (a madhouse), met up with Pham, and we made out way to Corral B with a couple minutes to spare.

By the way, at this point I could smell all the chocolate.  It was like heaven.

So the race starts…  Pham and I had a really good pace going.  Almost too good.  Once we hit the first mile marker and I saw that we were hitting an 8-minute pace, I got a little nervous.  I felt fine, but still- it messes with you when you know what your regular pace is.  We kept going at that speed for a couple more.

The sun started to beat down on us, and that’s when I realized I was getting heated.  I really did not expect this to happen.  Or at least this early.  Yes folks, I overdressed.  A big “F” for Amy when it comes to my layering skills.

I told Pham to keep going, I was going to have to stop and strip a little.  I had no idea how crazy this process would become.  Take off the ipod, undo the bib number, take off jacket, tie jacket around waste, fumble with bib number again, put back on ipod.

Clearly I have to work on this.  Because this is where I lost an incredible amount of time.  Such an amateur move.  :p

Although it’s for the best it happened- otherwise I would have been struggling sooner than later. 

The rest of the race was decent.  I got a little tired around miles 7 and 8- averaging about 9-minute miles.  This also didn’t make me happy, but whatever, at that point time wasn’t important and I was just going to chill out and enjoy the rest of the race.  I picked it up at the end, but it didn’t matter.  I still finished over my goal time.

(The official results weren’t posted when I wrote this, so I’ll have to get back to you on that one.)

After the race, I found Pham back and met up with Kristen (I’m happy to say both kicked this race’s butt!).This was the first time I’ve met up with Kristen- and it was WAY overdue.  We’ve both been reading each other’s blogs since they were bitty baby blogs… :)

Going with the theme of the Hot Chocolate race, there was also a hot chocolate and a fondue tent.  Now I love me some chocolate just as much as the next gal, but it’s not often my refueling food of choice, but when in Rome…Funny thing was that these plastic trays were set out for us already and included a banana and apple slices.  Being  as how I’m so high maintenance with my “no fruit policy“, I asked if I could have one with a few more other things and no fruit.  The girl looked at me weird, but gave me some extra pretzels and pound cake.  Score…We approved.  :)

All in all, it was an interesting race.  A little disorganized (I blame how out of control HUGE it was), but a good time.  It wasn’t my greatest race (I also blame my lack of following the training plan), but it was still my first 15k- so it’s still technically a PR, right?  :)

I’m currently in St. Louis with a busy day ahead, so I’ll catch you kids tomorrow in the AM!

Always Dress in Layers

Hey everyone!  Good morning!  It’s super early for the weekend, I know, but I’m on my way to the Hot Chocolate 15k and just wanted to pop in really quick to make sure your weekend was going ok… :)

Last night I took a quick trip into the city via metra to pick up my race packet and make sure everything was good to go. Hopefully it is!

Even though it’s below freezing as we speak, I think I’ll be warm enough (a serious concern I’ve been having all week).  There are multiple layers going on right now.  As in, if I fell, I wouldn’t feel a thing! 

I’m sort of kidding.  Sort of.

Jess over at Process of Healing, sent this little survey my way.  And there’s no better way than to start your Saturday by getting to know me a little better, right?  :)

1. What celebrity chef do you want to meet in person?  And what do you want them to make for you?

Paula Deen.  I’d love to cook with her and afterward we would sit with our fried and buttery wonderfulness and eat and chat our way into food coma.  Yessss….

2. Favorite drink of choice?

Tea.  I drink it hot, iced, green, black, morning, afternoon, night…. doesn’t matter.  Gimme…

3. What meal would you never eat ever again?

The 99-cent Tostino’s party pizzas.  We made one after a night out once.  I think it was the combo of not being completely done (my bad) and the sauce is so cheap it tastes sort of like gross ketchup… and I’m not a ketchup person.  So yeah… gag.

4. Baking or cooking?

Baking.  I have a sweet tooth that rules my world.  Which is cool.  Because everyone loves cookies, right?

5. There’s a fire in your kitchen, what would you grab first?

Um. Baking soda.  To put the fire out.  Duh.

6. You’re cooking dinner for Barak Obama; What would you make him?

Since he’s apparently a huge fan of Manny’s Deli here in Chicago, I’d make him a kick ass deli sandwich.  But then really class it up and go all out with dessert.  I’m a huge fan of ganache-filled s’more cupcakes with marshmallow buttercream (yeah, I totally went there).

7. I’m coming to your house to run a race and you have to feed me.  What is one thing from your city/town I must try?

 Well, it’s Chicago- so you have a few choices.  Just a few.  ;)  I don’t know about before the race, but after, I’m totally taking you for either a burger at Kuma’s Corner or deep dish at Lou Malnati’s.  You can thank me later…

8. How do you take your ice cream?

Plain vanilla with any chocolate-y toppings you can find.  The more, the better.

So what I really want to know is, what food is your city/town popular for?  We’ve also got popcorn and hotdogs… clearly us Chicagoans like food!

Ok, I’m out.  Let’s go run 15k, shall we?  :)

Classic Combo

Pizza and beer.  Classic.  It’s such an all-American thing to do.  This is definitely one of my favorite things- there are few combinations that can top it.

And then Holly goes and does something crazy.  She puts beer in her pizza dough.

Clearly all the cool kids are doing it.  I wanted to be cool, too.  So I decided to make pizza last night in a similar fashion.

My beer of choice was Goose Island’s Autumn Ale.And look:This actually worked!  I won’t lie- I was skeptical at first.  But wooooooo hooo!

Because I’m not going to be home much this weekend, I made it a point of holding out on the grocery shopping.  So my options were slim. The only toppings I really had around were mushrooms and onions.  So simple veggie pizza it was.

Make sure to wait until about half way through baking the pizza dough to add your toppings.  If you add them at the very beginning, the middle of your pizza will never bake and you will have a mess.  Live and learn.

The whole baking process takes about 20 minutes.  Easy peasy.  Enjoy finished pizza with the leftover beer.  If you have no leftover beer from making the dough, I suggest pouring some vino.Bad lighting makes my chedda’ cheese look weird.  (insert shrugging of shoulders)

The dough was much thicker than the usual stuff I get at the store.  But that’s cool.  I like it dense.  Sorta like my men.  Remember?  ;)

Let’s review, shall we?  Holly puts beer in her pizza dough.  Beer in pizza dough is genius.  So logically, we can conclude that Holly is a genius.

Neat-o.

What’s one of your favorite combinations?  I also enjoy beer with buffalo wings.  Or coffee with cake. 

Anyways… Happy Friday everyone!!!  I’ve gotta run downtown today to pick up my race packet for the Hot Chocolate 15k after work and going to bed EARLY.  Not only am I running the race tomorrow, I’m also jumping in the car with my friend Annie and heading to St. Louis for the night.  Random?  Yes.  But Annie asked if I wanted to ride along and I haven’t seen a couple of my favorite blondies for a few months, so why not?

Have a good one, kids!

Goodbye Halloween Weekend…

Hey kids!  How are those sugar hangovers from Halloween treating you?

I’m personally sad it’s all over.  We had all been really excited about the Rod Tuffcurls show on Friday- so now I guess I’ll just be looking forward to the next time they’re around for a show again…Sorry- just had to throw in one last picture for good measure. 

At least this week I have the Hot Chocolate 15k to look forward to!  It’s officially sold out at 30,000 runners- how crazy is that?  Since I pretty much abandoned my training plan, I’m nervous that I’m not as prepared for it as I should be.  If anything, it’ll be a nice chilly run downtown followed by rewards in the form of hot chocolate and fondue.  :)  Score!

*Oh and I’ve been following RAM Racing (who puts on the race) on twitter- they posted a pic of the 10,000 pounds of chocolate they’re shipping in for the post-race party.  Swoon…

Speaking of chocolate, I was definitely ready to switch it up after my various sugar highs from the holiday weekend.  When it came time for lunch, I needed salt- chips and salsa are a craving I get from time to time and it hit me hard yesterday. Also, I didn’t hold back and made the tallest turkey sandwich I’ve ever made.Turkey, avocado, red onion, and pepperjack.  The avocado made it slightly more difficult than the guac I used last week, so it’s a good thing I ate it in the privacy of my own home.  No one should be subjected to some of the messes I make with my food.  :)

In other news, I thought this would be a good time to do an update of all the latest and greatest ways to get to my blog via google search.  Because, let’s face it, it’s Monday and we need to keep things chipper up in here.  :)

Great looking girls.  Awwww…. google thinks I’m pretty!  Well that’s nice.  Considering some of the other ways people  have gotten here.

Kathy Griffen whores on crutches.  I really don’t know what to do with this one.  Have I even discussed Kathy on the blog?  I mean, my friend Mon adores  her… but that’s about it.  Hmmm…

and finally…

I’ve made a complete and utter fool of myself.  I couldn’t help but  laugh.  Because this one sounds right.  No worries google user- you’ve come to the right place!  There is no judgement passed in these parts.  Welcome, fool…

Time to grab the coffee.  And cross my fingers that there may be leftover Halloween candy in the breakroom.  We’ve got a long day (and week) ahead of us and it’s time to get it started the right way… 

Good thing I’ve got something planned for tomorrow that will hopefully make your Tuesday a little better!  ;)  Stay tuned…

Pretty Colors

I’m glad you all enjoy the “spectator’s point of view” post.  If you’ve never gone out to watch a race like that, I highly suggest you do it!  Not only does it make you appreciate running a little more, but I’m glad I got to help support everyone.  I know that on some of my longer races, I really appreciated that random stranger on the side of the road cheering me on.

Sometimes I have a hard time getting back into the swing of things after a long weekend.  It’s already Wednesday and I’m just now feeling adequate enough to tackle the week. 

You can tell I’m a few days behind everyone else.

But it’s ok.  I’ve caught up on sleep.  I’ve gotten back into my workout routine.  I’m cooking for myself (after eating every meal this weekend out) again.  To summarize, I’m feeling like a rockstar!

It was high time I get back into my running routine after a few days off.  After watching the marathon, I will have to say I felt like I had gotten a swift kick in the butt for my 15k training.  Clearly I’ve been slacking.  So Monday I said “Um- you just watched thousands of people run 26 miles.  You should be able to handle 5 with no problem.  Get it together!”

So I ran 5 miles- with an 8:28 pace.  Not bad.  I feel like having a few 5-milers like this and then a couple more solid long runs and I should be ok with running 9.3 miles in less than a month.  I say that in all seriousness, but just got a little nervous that the race is closer than I realized! 

Since I’ve learned that alternating my running works best, I friended the elliptical and stairmill last night.  Not much exciting there.  So let’s not talk about it.

AND since I mentioned the 15k, I am just gonna go ahead and give a shout out to all the kids in the area over the first weekend of November!  I know there are a few of you running the Hot Chocolate 15 or 5k’s- wanna meet up afterwards?  Since the post race par-tay sounds SWEET (excuse my awful pun- but come on, there are gonna be chocolate fountains!), feel free to email me if you think you’d want to hang!  Doesn’t sitting around as sweaty messes and sipping hot chocolate with strangers sound like fun?!?!?  I thought so.  ;)

Moving on…

Thanks to my mom’s visit last weekend, I’m full up on eats straight from the garden.  My stash of sweet potatoes alone will prevent the next famine.  Mom also brought up a zucchini that was on it’s last leg, so I knew I’d have to use it fast.  No problemo- I’m all about the roasting and using it all week for salad…Preeettttyyyy colorsssss….

Because I’m indecisive, I decided to put pretty much everything in my refrigerator in it: lettuce, spinach, sweet potatoes, red onion, zucchini, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli.  What?  I was hungry!

And here we are in the middle of the week in the middle of October.  Which reminds me that Halloween is coming up.  I’m a little late in the game, but I might actually be dressing up!  Or at least ideas are floating around. We’ll have to wait and see if anything materializes…  :)

What about you?  Doing anything fun this year? Favorite Halloween costume ever?  Let’s just discuss Halloween in general- I got a little overwhelmed at Target earlier this week when I saw the aisles of Christmas cards and wrapping paper.  What is going on?!?!

*Sigh*

That’s how I felt about yesterday in general.  I really have no idea why I always get into a funk when it comes to Tuesdays.  It’s not like it’s Tuesday’s fault.  Well… maybe it is.  Because it sure can’t be mine, right?

Either way, Tuesday, or so lovingly called the speed bump of suck during the week, came and went without too much excitement.

The highlight of my work day was definitely lunch. Yeah, I get excited over a salad with leftovers from the night before in it.  Clearly it was a slow day.  This one included sweet potato, mushrooms and peas.  I’m a wild and crazy kind of gal over here…  ha ha

I did get further in my Russell Brand book, My Booky Wook.  I do believe I adore him a bit more with each turn of the page.  His humor that you know him for is evident and in every story he tells.  But what I love is his unapologetic honesty.  The dude was a mess.  Remember that one morning in college where you wake up and things from the night before are a wee bit blurry?  He lived a number of years in that blur.  Which I personally would find exhausting.  But he’s still willing to talk about how he got through it.  And find some humor in it.  Which I find intriguing to read about.

Anyhoo… I’ve been doing most of my lunchtime reading over in the building next to me. I like it there.  Fresh faces.  Gets me out of the office for a bit.  And most recently, there’s an attractive boy who runs down to grab lunch at about the same time I’m there.  The only thing I really know about him is he likes ketchup on his fries.  Not sure if I can build a relationship on that info alone, but we’ll see what I can do…  ;)

Because my mom occasionally reads this, I expect to get a call about him at some point today.  No mom, I don’t know anything else.  Ketchup.  That’s all I’ve got.

I don’t even like ketchup.  But I’m willing to look past that.

Moving on quickly…

I busted my butt to get to the gym and stake out my treadmill.  Success!  It was ALL MINE.  And in efforts to improve on my speed for upcoming races, I took it a notch or two out of my comfort zone.  Four miles with an average pace staying between 8:10 and 8:15- a bit faster than I normally do my regular runs in.  Nothing special, but I want to be prepared for when I start doing interval training (yeah- I sort of hate it, but my desire to run faster is outweighing the hatred) in a few weeks for the 15k I’m looking at.

Anyone out there a fan of interval training?  Do you like it better than long runs?

And yes, I know a couple of you asked- I’m pretty set on doing the Hot Chocolate 15k in Chicago on November 6th.  Anyone around here wanna join?  They have a 5k, too… just sayin’… if anyone’s interested…

Ghiradelli is the new sponsor this year (I’m pretty sure Hershey’s used to do it).  Either way, both of those names mean chocolate.  And chocolate and running happen to be two of my favorite things.  So I almost feel like it’s fate that I do this thing!

Now if only I could find a race that was sponsored by a pancake house…

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