Trust Your Training

It’s hard to believe that it’s been one year since my life changed at the Chicago Marathon. My journey brought laughter, tears, puking, and pain, but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. As the city prepares for the marathon this weekend, I sit here a little depressed about it. All summer I’ve watched Chicago’s amazing runners train, and I accepted that I wouldn’t be able to toe the start line. But now it’s real. Now the barricades are going up, the runners are flocking the streets, and I’m trying not to be jealous. Don’t get me wrong runners, I am so excited for you, but I’m ready for this marathon to be over, so I can focus on next year’s!

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Chicago marathoners, I pray that you toe the start line with confidence. Your nerves will be high, but take a deep breath and remember what brought you to that start line in the first place. For some it’s a charity, for others a personal goal. Continue to fall back on that reason when the run gets tough.

Embrace the fans. 1.7 million people are waking up early on a Sunday morning to cheer you on! Most will never dream of running a marathon, but they play such an important role in your marathon journey. Read their signs, high five them, acknowledge them, and most of all thank them for sharing this journey with you. At mile 20 when  you want to be done, those fans will carry you through. Turn the music down, and listen to them. They are the voice of Chicago.

Finally, my friends, whether this is your first, last, or tenth marathon never take a single stride for granted. So many people wish they could do what you are doing, so run for those who can’t. Be strong! Stride through the pain! Smile when you want to cry! And enjoy your journey.

Most of all…. TRUST YOUR TRAINING. YOU ARE PREPARED TO OWN CHICAGO!

 

 

Welcome CorePower Old Town

I had the pleasure of joining CorePower Yoga on their opening of the Old Town studio last Thursday night. When I was first invited, I assumed there would be 20 people taking a typical yoga class, but I was so wrong! I arrived 20 minutes early only to find the class was already packed with passionate yogis.

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We moved our mats 1 inch from the other, and filled the studio wall to wall. At first I was annoyed because every chatarunga had me peering right into someones feet an inch in front of me, but I quickly got over that feeling and started to embrace the yoga community around me.

In a city so large, it is so humbling to see so many people align to support an organization. For those 60 minutes it didn’t matter where we came from, our careers, or how much we practice yoga. All the mattered was our support for CPY Old Town.

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My friends, I encourage you to embrace CorePower Yoga as they bring yoga to the community of Old Town. They continue to spread the movement in Chicago offering convenient locations, various class times, and classes for all levels. You will for sure be welcomed with a smiling face upon entering this studio, and will leave feeling refreshed, sweaty, and encouraged to return.

Disclaimer: I was invited to this class as a blogger, and was given a month of yoga in return for my post. All words are my own, and inspired by a beautiful experience at Core Power. Also, all pictures were provided from CorePower.

ClassPass Chicago Launch Party

Have you heard of ClassPass?

ClassPass is a monthly service where for $99/month you can visit a number of boutique fitness studios in designated cities. As you may know, boutique studios are very pricey. Most cost between $25-$40 for one class! Now you can see why ClassPass is so awesome because it lets you try a lot of studios for a flat fee. Why didn’t I think of this?!

There is a small catch, you can only attend 10 classes  a month and you cannot visit a studio more than three times a month. For most this isn’t a big deal though. They also aren’t in every studio, but they are in most of the big ones!

For a long time, I have avoided fitness studios because I already pay $80 a month for my gym membership that I use every day. To add an additional $100 a month for classes just seems a little extreme when the gym has always been my happy place. But when ClassPass asked me to attend their Chicago Launch Party I was excited to try a new class, a new challenge, and to get outside of my comfort zone.

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I chose to attend the Dailey Method for a Barre class. For those of you who know me, you know Barre is far from anything I do. I don’t dance, I don’t plie, and I sure as heck don’t associate myself with ballet. But hey ClassPass was offering me a complimentary class to do something I’ve never done, and I never turn down a challenge. I went on a run in the morning because I didn’t know how good of a workout I was going to get at the class. Little did I know I was going to get my butt kicked. Seriously, my legs were shaking like crazy! Who would think that isometric body weight movements would work so well.

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Well, I can tell you that I love Barre! It was indeed a good workout, and that morning run wasn’t necessary. That right there is why ClassPass is awesome! You have the opportunity to try new classes, exercises, and studios that you normally wouldn’t invest in. ClassPass was generous enough to give me one complimentary month. In the next month I will exploring the fitness classes in Chicago, and reporting back to you on successes, failures, and down right crazy workouts!

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Stay tuned for a full review on ClassPass after the month is over along with reviews on other studios. For those of you interested in ClassPass check out www.classpass.com and see if they are in a city near you!

Disclaimer: I was given a free month of ClassPass, but all thoughts are my own. 

I Miss Waking Up at 4AM

Well, it’s been over 2 months since my last blog post and I can’t say that I’m too sorry. For a while writing started to feel like a job rather than a hobby, so I knew I needed to take some time away. At one point I had planned on hanging up the blog for good, but I had 2 wonderful partners reach out asking where I’ve been, so I decided there are some people who miss listening to my randomness.

These past couple months have been challenging for me as a runner. I’ve been watching the marathon groups train every Saturday morning, and I have pure jealously. I want to just lace up and run 15+ miles, but my injury set me back from that. Right now getting to 6 miles pain free is a victory.

I just miss that feeling of accomplishment on a Saturday morning. I miss waking up at 4AM (yes, I oddly miss this). I miss getting back home knowing that I just hit my longest distance with a group of likeminded people. I miss talking about random running problems with people who understand. And most of all I just miss the freedom of running with no limitations.

My running now is only allowed to happen 3 days a week. Oh and did I mention that I broke my pinky toe doing yoga (dumbest thing ever), so it’s throwing my whole foot off aka even more limited running. I went into Fleet Feet last week for some new shoes to hopefully rejuvenate myself, but just felt myself feeling like a fraud. Everyone else was ranting over their 16 mile run, and all I could do was hide behind my past accomplishments.

My time will come. I will train for another marathon, and I will once again feel like a runner.

Strong and Fit – Not Skinny and Weak

I’ve have always loved being an athlete. I love being competitive, pushing my body beyond its comfort zone, and being strong. While I love being strong, I hate how our society views “strong girls” as masculine. Why can’t they just see us as fit and dedicated?

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Someday’s I find myself letting society take a hold of my vision as I look at myself in the mirror. Instead of embracing my strength, I often think… “do I have feminine muscles or am I becoming a meat head?” I know the answer to this question, but dang society does a good job of making me question myself.

Then, God brings people into my life that remind me that “there’s nothing wrong with being strong.” This weekend I wore a strapless dress for my best friend’s wedding, and I instantly wanted to hide my shoulders with my hair, but I was convinced otherwise by my mom. I sent her a picture showing off my hair and dress, and her first comment was, you look beautiful… and no, your shoulders don’t look too buff. I didn’t even have to ask she just knew what my mind was thinking.

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Then today I was taking another Aerial Fitness class with my friend and colleague, and at the end she ranted about how she envied my strength. I just laughed because she has an amazing yoga figure, why would she envy my strength? I had to take a step back and thank God for giving me this body, this strength, and this dedication. I’m done spending so much time criticizing my muscles, and rather embracing what they allow me to do.Let’s all make an effort to redefine beauty. It’s about being strong and fit… not skinny and weak.

Summer Fitness Bucket List

Well, it’s been a while my friends. I’ve been taking a little break on the blog to focus on life, but hoping this is the end of the break. I’ve been venturing into trying new workouts lately. Don’t worry, I will never ditch running and lifting, but I created a summer bucket list of different workouts I want to try so I am making my way through that list.

The first one on my list was Aerial Fitness at AIR in Lincoln Park. Aerial Fitness is a combination of yoga, pilates, barre, and cardio done in a hammock. I won’t lie, I underestimated this class. I thought I would leave wishing I had just gone on a run, but AIR shocked me. Fifteen minutes into the class I was sweating, my heart rate was up, and my arms were burning.

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My friend Halsey and I went to Cat’s class, and she’s the real deal. She had us doing tuck jump pull-ups with our hammocks for 1 minute (4x), lunges, and a bunch of fun tricks on the hammocks. At one point Halsey (a crossfitter) and I looked at each other with one of those what the heck did you get me into faces. Needless to say, I was so sore Thursday.

I also have been venturing into yoga more lately. I spend a lot of time with yogis at work, so I guess you can say they inspired me. I am so close to mastering a forearm stand (handstand on your forearms).

Everyday I practice against a wall, and Saturday I got brave after my 9 mile run and tried it without the wall. It went well for 5 seconds… then I got so excited because I held it and fell straight on my face. Best part is I wasn’t using my mat, so I now have carpet burn on my nose and forehead.

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Yep, laugh it up… I’m embracing it because I am one step closer to holding the difficult pose. It’s back to wall practicing for me this week though, so my face can heal up for my best friend’s wedding.

For those of you looking for a change up in your workout, I highly recommend visiting AIR in Lincoln Park or River North. You won’t be disappoint. In the mean time, stay tuned as I continue to explore all of the fitness classes Chicago has to offer.

Clean Plate Club

If you were to eat breakfast with my husband and I you would notice a difference between our oatmeal bowls. Mine looks like I nearly licked it clean and his has a few oats stuck to the side. I’m sure your first thought is, who cares? I didn’t care at all until I started to think about why our “clean plate club” statuses are on different levels.

I guess it all started 6 years ago when I faced eating problems. I’ve talked about it a few times on the blog, but in a nut shell I counted every single morsel that went into my body. I freaked out about every calorie, and I did the opposite of fueling strong. During those times I would make a bowl of oatmeal and eat every last drop, literally using my fingers to get the last remaining oats on the side of the bowl. It’s not like those spare oats even filled me up or offered my body energy, but in my mind those oats were 2 calories that I had allowed myself so of course I was going to eat them.

The same goes for sharing my food. If Kyle were to ask for a bite of something on my plate, I would literally feel my mood deflate thinking that he was “stealing” calories from me. Little did he know, that I had carefully planned that meal out to equal exactly 300 calories. Sometimes, I have still have a hard time sharing my food because my mind still thinks that I’m sacrificing calories, but I’m working on it and growing every day.

So why do I bring this up? No real reason, it was just an observation and trip down memory lane to figure out why I still eat every morsel of food on my plate for the meals I prepare. Even though I have recovered from those evil days of eating problems there are still parts of it that continue to sneak up from time to time. That darn devil always comes a knockin’.

Basil Frittata

Happy Friday! Why not kick the weekend off with a healthy breakfast? It’s a known fact that if you start your day with a healthy breakfast you are more likely to continue to eat healthier throughout the day.

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Today I have a recipe for a healthy frittata that will rock your world. It looks more like an egg pie, but I’m trying to get fancy with naming it, so frittata it is. I originally tried Cooking Light’s version of this dish, but altered a bit to fit my taste. You’re going to love this healthy breakfast packed with kale, basil, and red potatoes. Enjoy!!

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Basil Frittata
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove, Minced
  • 1 C Kale, Chopped (Spinach can also be used)
  • ⅓ C Skim Milk
  • 2 T Fresh Basil, Finely Chopped
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 4 Large Egg Whites
  • 2 C Cooked Red Potatoes, chopped
  • 1½ T Panko Bread Crumbs
  • ½ C Mozzarella Cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a Dutch Oven or skillet heat up the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sauté the onion and garlic for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the kale and cook until the kale is tender. Use a colander to drain off any liquid and let cool.
  4. In a large bowl combine the eggs, egg whites, milk, basil. Whisk together.
  5. Add the vegetable mixture and potatoes.
  6. Spray a 10 inch pie pan with cooking spray, and pour the egg mixture in it.
  7. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheese.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes or until the middle is set.
  9. Preheat Broiler and broil for 2-3 minutes.

 

Pause to See the Effect

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As many of you know, this journey back to running post injury has been difficult. It’s been a slow progress. I went from running 7:30 miles to 10 minute miles. It’s discouraging, but I’m finally starting to feel like myself again.

Last Thursday while I was out on my run some random men invited me to run with them. I’m not one to join strangers, but I knew I had to turn around in 5 minutes, so I said what the heck, why not? Little did I know they were booking it. They had us running around a 7:45 minute mile, something I had not done since November. Amazingly I kept up with them effortlessly. Of course once I turned around I went back to my 8:50 pace to ensure that my foot would make it home, but I spent the rest of my run thanking God for bringing those men along. I am confident it was God’s way of showing me that I will get back to where I was, and I still have a little speed in me despite recovering from injury.

Two days later I hit 8:36 and 8:14 miles at miles 4 and 5. Five months ago this would have been normal, but today it’s a huge step! I ran with no doubts, and just let my feet guide me. It’s clear that my patience and hard work is paying off.

It’s all about patience in the game of running. As my dear friend Andy told me, “Running is like a great speech. Sometime you need to pause for the effect.”  My pause was a lot longer than I ever intended, but it helped me to learn more about myself as a runner.

The Start of Living Healthy

Have you looked at Abe’s Market Instagram account this week? They have been posting highlights of their employee’s moms  and how they helped them explore a healthy lifestyle.  I love the idea, and decided to copy it for my mom.

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Growing up my mom took us apple and blueberry picking every year. Little did she know, that by doing this she helped me learn the importance of fueling with fruits and vegetables. She made fruit an exciting experience by picking it ourselves, and to this day I swear nothing tastes better than hand picked Michigan apples or blueberries for the Blueberry Ranch.

My mom also introduced me to whole grains before they were popular, and she always made sure that sweets were a treat not a regular option in the house.

Mom, thank you for introducing me to healthy foods and fine wine. You set us all up for a path of success both in our active lifestyles and for life in general. I love you!