Half Marathon Playlist

I woke up this morning in the mood to run. Luckily Sadie is always in the mood to run, so I had an enthusiastic running buddy just waiting for me to lace up my shoes and hit the pavement.

While changing into my running clothes, I made a special selection when it came to my sports bra!

run 001

My Bride to Be sports bra! Perfect for the morning of my bridal shower, no?

I love this sports bra because it takes me back to running the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon at the tail end of my first bachelorette party. My girlfriends made it for me to wear during the race and it makes me smile just looking at it!

Since I was wearing my special half marathon sports bra, I decided to rock out to the playlist I created on my iPod for the big race during our morning run.

I know I am always on the lookout for quality music to run or workout to, so I figured some of you guys might be interested in checkin’ out the songs I selected for the big race last August.

Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Playlist

  • La Bouche – Where Do You Go
  • La Roux – Bulletproof
  • TLC – Waterfalls
  • Carrie Underwood – Undo It
  • Starship – Wild Again
  • Mary Poppins – Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
  • Shania Twain – Honey, I’m Home
  • Hairspray – You Can’t Stop the Beat
  • Sugarland – It Happens
  • No Doubt – Spiderwebs
  • The Chordials (Cornell University) – Use Somebody
  • Amanda Marshall – Ride
  • TuPac – Keep Ya Head Up
  • Straight No Chaser – Fix You
  • Basshunter – Now You’re Gone
  • Zac Brown Band – Whatever It Is
  • Jimmy Buffett – He Went to Paris
  • Oceania – Kotahitanga
  • Carrie Underwood – The More Boys I Meet

As you can see my music tastes are all of the board. This list includes hip hop, country and a cappella music and even songs from Disney movies and musicals. I love it all! 😀

My run with Sadie absolutely flew by this morning.

I had a lot on my mind and when the song “Fix You” by Straight No Chaser (originally by Coldplay) came on, I felt really emotional. I think it could actually be a great father/daughter dance song for our wedding because of these lyrics:

When you try your best but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse
And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

The part about lights guiding you home is 100 percent how I feel about my dad and our home. I feel that no matter how bad things get, I can always go home and feel the love of my family. He’ll always try to “fix” things and make everything better.

I was nearly in tears as this song was blasting on my iPod, but I think it actually made me run faster.

The burning feeling in my stomach had me bust out an 8 minute mile in the middle of my run! 🙂

run 004 

My Garmin was being funky today though and the satellite didn’t start working until I was a good .6 miles into my run.  The above stats are not 100 percent accurate as I ended up covering closer to five miles since I did my usual 5-mile loop.

And now I am a sweaty beast and must hop in the showaaaa!

I gotta get pretty for my bridal shower! 😀

Post Half Marathon Reflections

I have so many different thoughts relating to my experience training for and running the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon!

Me & My Medal!

I’ve received a lot of questions about the race, ranging from what I thought about my training plan to whether or not I noticed any changes in my body or appetite while I prepared for the race.

I figured I would break up my thoughts into segments, since I have a lot to say! Hopefully this will allow you guys to read whatever aspect you’re interested in, or just scroll down, ignore everything and enjoy some pictures. To each their own!

I. My Training Plan: I comprised my training plan using a hybrid of many plans and intended to follow the long run distances recommended by Hal Higdon’s plan. (For those of you unfamiliar with half marathon training plans, most recommend doing one “long run” a week where the runner gradually adds one mile to the long run each week.)

I created the plan I did because I didn’t want to run more than three days a week. I love strength training and wanted to keep up my normal weights routine which included BodyPump classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I found that the plan I created worked really well for me! I didn’t feel too burnt out on running by the time the race rolled around, and on race day I felt adequately prepared.

After Running the Final Run of My Training Plan

My training got sidelined a little bit when a bruised heel set me back three weeks. I intended to tackle a 12-mile run before the race, but only managed to cover 10 miles. Going into the race this definitely concerned me. Fortunately as I was running the half, I felt powerful and I didn’t feel too fatigued after the race.

Overall thoughts: I loved my training plan and would follow it again.

II. Training as a Whole: While I didn’t feel overwhelmed by all the running, I didn’t enjoy feeling like I had to run. That was probably my biggest complaint throughout training. If I woke up in the mood to take a spinning class on a day I planned to run, I didn’t like forgoing my exercise desires to stick to a plan. I really missed including a variety of different cardio exercises in my day-to-day workouts.

Overall thoughts: Feeling like you have to run is kind of a bummer, but eventually I learned to just suck it up and get out there. I always felt great once a run was over!

III. My Appetite and Body Changes: It may seem odd to some, but I actually gained weight while training for the half marathon. My weight gain wasn’t crazy and wasn’t something I worried about at all. I attribute my small weight gain to the increase in my appetite I experienced during training.

More Fo Yo Puh-Lease!

After I began running distances longer than eight miles, I noticed that I felt hungry more often.  On long run days once my appetite returned (I’m never hungry within an hour of running), it almost seemed like I couldn’t eat enough and all my body wanted was carbs. Of course I listened and made sure to refuel properly, but overall I definitely felt hungrier during my training. After talking to many runners, I found that I’m not the only one who wanted to eat everything in sight after a long run! Apparently running for more than 90 minutes will make some of us out there want to eat our hands!

Overall thoughts: I felt hungrier during my training and noticed some body changes, but nothing dramatic in the least.

IV. The Race Expo: The only other half marathon I completed was a small one in Orlando (the OUC half in 2007), so this was my very first race expo! I thought it was great and enjoyed learning a lot from the running-expert vendors. I also loaded up on free samples which always makes me happy.

At the Race Expo

Overall thoughts: Super fun and lots of good free samples!

V. The Race: I cannot say enough wonderful things about the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon. I enjoyed this race more than I ever could have imagined. The race had bands playing energetic and lively music every 1.5 miles or so and spectators lined the entire course.

Ready to Ruuuun

The course itself was wonderful and meandered through downtown Chicago so runners were able to really take in the feel of the city. The last four miles of the course took runners along Lake Michigan. It was great to feel a slight breeze and run toward the city skyline. Talk about motivational!

There were also water and Cytomax stations located frequently along the course, so hydration was never an issue.

After the race it was easy to get my belongings from the gear check station and people really seemed to enjoy the post-race beer garden and concert, though my friends and I opted for some deep dish pizza. 😀

Overall thoughts: I loooooved this race!

Question of the Afternoon

  • Have  you ever run a half marathon or a full marathon?
  • If you haven’t run one, not do you have a desire to one day?

First Run After the Half

Nine days after running the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon, I finally felt the itch to run again.

I woke up to an extra-chipper dog who also seemed to have the running itch.

Sadie and I tackled our typical 5-mile loop and it felt wonderful. I ran for fun, didn’t push myself at all and enjoyed the music on my iPod. I must admit it felt pretty good to run because I wanted to, not because my training plan said I had to. 😀


After our sweaty run, I was ready for breakfast.

Peanut butter sounded great this morning (but then again doesn’t it always?), so I made myself a peanut butter and peach sandwich, which I dusted with nutmeg before inhaling.

PB + Nutmeg

Peach + Nutmeg

PB & P Sandwich

My breakfast also included a small bowl of fresh blueberries.


A Good Way to Start the Day

If all of my breakfasts contained peanut butter and fruit, I think I’d be a happy girl.

Question of the Morning

Do you prefer working out when you’re training for a race or event or do you prefer exercising simply for the health of it?

I like having a goal in mind, but I definitely prefer simply working out for my health rather than to prepare for a race. I like doing whatever workout I feel like doing on a particular day rather than feeling like I have to do a certain workout to stick to a training plan.

Half Marathon Game Plan

The final run of my half marathon training plan is D-O-N-E!


5 Mile Stats

I must say it feels so good to be completely finished with training.

I am not a naturally good runner. I don’t just fall into a comfortable stride immediately and breathe effortlessly as I run. Running, for me, is work. Though it is tough for me, I do enjoy the way my body feels after a good run and the clarity of my thoughts during a run. (You may read my running story here.)

That being said, it sure will be nice not to feel like I have to run on certain days after this race on Sunday!

I like working out in the morning, but I also like doing what I want to do to get my heart rate up. Without a half marathon looming over my head, I’ll feel much more free to take a spinning class, swim or complete a challenging interval workout.

Clearly I’ve missed the variety in my cardio workouts! Variety, after all, is the spice of life! 😀

Half Marathon Game Plan

As I was running this morning, I started to think about my game plan for Sunday’s race.

Initially my training plan had me completing a 12 mile run last Saturday, but since my training was derailed for a couple of weeks due to some serious pain in my heel, my long run only ended up being 10 miles. I actually felt pretty wiped out after the 10 mile run, so I am going to be sure to listen to my body during the half and take breaks when I need to.

Though I was never planning to run for time, I did have a little goal in the back of my head to run the entire race without stopping like I did during my first (and only) half marathon back in 2007.

Well, I’m officially scratching that goal. I am going to embrace breaks if I need them. In fact, I am planning to stop at the five and 10 mile mark for at least a full minute to refuel and stretch.

My new goal is to seriously enjoy the race. I will be running it with four of my girlfriends and want to have a great time before, during and after the race.

Of course I will put forth serious effort to get to the finish line because I can’t just breeze through 13.1 miles, but I am excited to run a race for fun and not worry about anything other than enjoying the race and the people I’m running it with.

And that, my friends, is my new game plan. 😀

I really wrote all of the above content to sort through my own thoughts, so I apologize for those of you who are drooling and falling asleep at your computer screens now. How about we move swiftly into breakfast to tantalize your senses and bring you back to life?


Why is peanut butter so good? I mean seriously. Why?

Why can’t broccoli taste like peanut butter so I could eat buckets and buckets of it every day?

Obviously peanut butter made a stellar appearance in my breakfast this morning in the form of a peanut butter and peach sandwich.

PB + Nutmeg

After spreading a copious amount of peanut butter onto half of a whole wheat sandwich thin (and eating a peanut butter finger in the process), I placed peach slices on the other half and dusted the sandwich with nutmeg for a little extra flava-flav.

Life's a Peach

The Goods

It's Not Okay to Look That Delicious

I was still a little hungry after this sandwich (running will do that to ya!), so I also enjoyed a creamy cup of Chobani plain Greek yogurt with a squirt of honey.


Breakfast is easily my favorite meal of the day!

Questions of the Day

  • Are you a competitive person? Were you competitive growing up?
  • If you’re a runner, do you run races for time or run them for fun… or a mix of the two?

10 Mile Run –> Hot Fudge Sundae

Good news! 

My heel injury coupled with three weeks off from the long runs on my half marathon training plan didn’t get me down. 

I tackled a 10 mile run this morning and it felt amazing! 

10 Mile Run Stats

 I did a large six-mile loop and realized I forgot my Stretch Island Fruit Co. fruit strip, which I planned on eating halfway through the run to give my body some sugar and carbs. 


I made a quick pit-stop at our apartment to eat a fruit strip, down some water and leash Sadie up so she could join me on the final four miles of my run. 

I was feeling quite fatigued before I ate the fruit strip and was amazed how much better a simple snack and some brief stretching made me feel. The last four miles of my run felt better than the first six. 

During my run I had two main thoughts in my head to keep me going: 

  • I am so grateful for the ability to run.
  • It’s okay to feel uncomfortable.

When I got home, I immediately drank a lot of water, ate another fruit strip and several large handfuls of pretzels. 

I then stretched for about 10 minutes until Ryan arrived home from the gym. We took Sadie on a slow one-mile walk, which I figured would be good for my muscles. About halfway through the walk, I felt a pretty intense cramp on my right side. 

When we got home, I curled up on the couch and started to feel a little nauseous. I closed my eyes for about an hour and watched an episode of Bethenny Getting Married? that I DVRed. Ryan headed out to run an errand and I stayed on the couch, sipping water and munching on a few more pretzels. 

Then, Ryan arrived back home and reminded me, yet again, why I am marrying him. 

Check out what he brought me: 

Hot Fudge Sundae

A McDonald’s hot fudge sundae! 

The Patient and the Cure

My eyes lit up when he walked in the door carrying that bad boy. 

It tasted like heaven and I literally used my fingers to eat every last bite. 

Oddly enough, the ice cream sundae made me feel a million times better! 

I’m not sure why I felt so icky, but I’m glad the feeling passed and I’m back to feelin’ normal. 

We have plans to go to a pool party today, so I gotta get movin’! 

Hope you weekend is off to a great start! 😀