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! 😀

Stop, Start

I kicked off this beautiful Tuesday with a five mile run with Sadie.

5 Mile Run + Walking at the End

Our run was more of a stop-start-stop-start run than a steady paced run due to my running buddy who likes to potty all the time.

Now that I’m not training for a half marathon I care a lot less about running continuously and I try to embrace Sadie’s potty breaks and use the time to stretch and catch my breath.

We finished five miles in under 50 minutes and cooled down with a short walk back to our apartment. I always have to take some time to cool down after a run before hopping in the shower, otherwise I’ll keep sweating and that makes getting ready a truly miserable experience.


Post-run, I was in the mood for a cold and filling breakfast.

I also wanted to use the brand new Cuisinart immersion blender I got from my aunt as a bridal shower gift (my shower isn’t until next weekend, but she cannot come and sent her gift ahead of time).

I decided to make myself a pumpkin pie cheesecake breakfast bowl by blending the following:

  • 3/4 c. cottage cheese
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • Sweetener, to taste
  • Pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon, to taste


After blending away, I had a thick, pumpkiny breakfast bowl, perfectly appropriate for fall. (The immersion blender worked perfectly and was really powerful, just in case you were wondering.)

I topped the bowl with a sprinkle of nutmeg for some added flavor.

Sprinkle O' Nutmeg


I like to use no salt added cottage cheese when creating breakfast bowls because regular cottage cheese actually has quite a bit of salt!

Friendship Cottage Cheese

I use Friendship All Natural 1% No Salt Added cottage cheese, which works really well.

However, I must warn you: This stuff tastes absolutely terrible on its own, but when mixed with yogurt, pumpkin or a more dominant ingredient, it’s delicious!

Date Night

For those of you who asked me to report on the movie last night, both Ryan and I really enjoyed Date Night. I think Tina Fey and Steve Carell are absolutely hysterical and they definitely made the movie. Though I wouldn’t care to own it, the movie is definitely worth a watch!

What was the last movie you saw in the theaters? Would you recommend it?

The last movie I saw in the theaters was Eclipse. If you’re curious, you may see my thoughts on the movie (and the Twilight books in general) here.

I hope you all have a wonderful day! 😀

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?

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?

Strawberry Oatty Yogurt Bowl

This week is my final week of training before I tackle the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon on Sunday.


This morning I checked my second-to-last five mile run off my training plan list.

Second-to-Last Running Blast

One five mile run down, one to go… Then it’s race day!

I think it’s interesting that my pace during my 10 mile run on Saturday was actually faster than the run I did with Sadie this morning that was half the distance. My quads felt a little sore and I kind of zoned out on this run and actually told myself to slow down and enjoy the run, so maybe that had something to do with it?

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, because pace-wise my 5k times are often a bit slower than my 10k times. I think that once I get in the running groove, I can keep going, but I struggle to get into a comfortable stride until about 3 miles in. Funky monkey.

On to breakfast!


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…

I love cold oatmeal!

I prepped a good portion of my breakfast last night when I cooked up some oatmeal to refrigerate overnight. When the oatmeal was still hot, I added a handful of frozen strawberries to the oats so they could thaw and disperse their glorious flavor into the oats as they cooled.

This morning, I added a cup of Greek yogurt to the chilled strawberry oats and dusted the oatty yogurt bowl with ground flax seeds for some omega-3s.

Strawberry Oatty Yogurt Bowl

So Check Me Out, Hey!

I loved how the strawberry flavor really infused into the oats and made this whole bowl taste summery and sweet.

Pink is Always Pretty

Stir, Stir, Stir

I know many of you out there swear by overnight oats, but this combo takes the cake for me. The texture of this breakfast bowl rocks my socks, while overnight oats kinda start to gross me out as I get toward the end of the bowl. With this concoction, I want the bowl to automatically refill as I approach the end. 😀

Question of the Morning

Are you better at running short or long distances… Or no distances at all? 😉