Tag Archives: races

Race Recap: Sarasota Music Half Marathon

It’s been a while since I did a race recap for you guys. Probably because it’s been a while since I’ve run a race. If you care to read back as to why I took a little hiatus from running you can do so here. Now it wasn’t entirely because I briefly crippled myself as a result of my own stubbornness, but that may have had a little something to do with it.

The truth is I was really excited to be able to run year-round when we moved to Florida until I quickly realized that you really can’t do anything outside in Florida from the months of May-October. Let’s just say I have a new respect for air conditioning professionals and if I could I would purchase stock in cinder blocks and tile.

After boredom set in with my gym routine, I signed up for the inaugural Sarasota Music Half Marathon in February and was excited to have something to focus on after the holiday season. And then I realized that this race would require me to train THROUGH the holiday season. And then I realized that people who live in Florida don’t hibernate over the holidays. Instead, they rock their spandex and swimsuits right on through those holidays and into the New Year. As a Midwesterner I was thoroughly offended by this concept.

But I sheepishly got outside and ran with the rest of the spandex-clad Floridians, feeling every sugar cookie and piece of fudge along the way. And I will say, if you want to avoid the New Year’s resolutioners, just come down to Florida where no one takes any time off.

It’s pretty amazing how much more enjoyable races are when you run them healthy. I was a little nervous because I got hit with the plague a few weeks ago and really didn’t get my long training runs in, but when you combine perfect running weather, palm trees, gulf breezes, girl scout cookies and a solid brunch, it’s hard to find anything to complain about.

So here’s my mile by mile recap.

IMG_9271.JPGMile 0

Highs-giggling at runners with ear warmers and gloves to protect them from the frigid 55 degree with a high of 78 weather we were in for, watching the sun rise over the start shadowed only by palm trees and walking to the front of the starting line because apparently no one wanted to start by the 5:00 mile marker.

Lows-so only providing 20 Porta Potties for 2,000 runners may have been a little aggressive but no harm done.

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Mile 1

Highs-The Ringling Bridge. Literally. I was nervous about running a race with elevation but the marching band at the top of the Ringling Bridge helped to distract me from the crazy first-timers who were pacing at 6:30 1 mile in.

Lows-dead rat on the running path and no one in front of me raising a hand.

IMG_9289.JPGMile 5

Highs-This view. And knowing I didn’t have to climb that stupid beautiful bridge again for the rest of the race.

Lows-none. Feeling alive at five.

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Miles 7-9

Highs-Getting sprinkled with holy water (do you genuflect during a race?), exploring the bayfront and seeing a part of Sarasota I’d never traveled by foot before.

Lows-fewer spectators and forcing myself to run past the bloody mary bar because I was still feeling good with my pace.

IMG_9273.JPGMile 10

Highs-Girl Scout Cookie Station. Enough said.

Lows-Winding through a very pretty, albeit very twisted Selby Garden path on legs that only wanted to go in a straight line.

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Miles 11-13.1

Highs-Feeling familiar IT band pain and realizing I only had two miles to go.

Lows-Feeling familiar IT band pain and realizing I still had two miles to go. And not realizing how much more excited the lady in front of me was in the chute.

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IMG_9276.JPGPost Race

Highs-Best post-race party I’ve experienced in 10 or so races. Beer. Bagels. Bands and the Sarasota Bay. Doesn’t get much better.

IMG_9280.JPGIMG_9281.JPGLows-none.

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Remind me to tell you about our decision to finalize our wedding registry that afternoon and then stop by the greek festival on the way home instead of taking a nap or stretching like a normal human. Greek food makes everything better.

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Moving Day

Hey there. Me again. Back after a brief hiatus with more photos and fewer words. I promise I’ll be back on a regular schedule once we are all moved in but until then I hope you’ll settle for a photo update of the last few days.

Friday was spent down in Champaign celebrating with family and friends before the 5th running of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon. Technically this year marks the 6th annual race but this was the 5th year of our family running let’s just go with that.

christie clinic illinois marathon, racing, half marathon, champaign, family,

It was so nice to see my Champaign family and to squeeze the little ones before we leave. We were blessed (and cursed) with nice weather throughout the weekend as well, making for a very hot race the next day.

christie clinic illinois marathon, racing, half marathon, champaign, family,

Jake and Owen came over for the youth run on Saturday well-prepared with their under armor superhero shirts. I missed the run but highlights included Jake getting a side stitch approximately 30 seconds into a 1K distance, Owen blazing to the finish and Jake asking the volunteer why he was getting a medal if he didn’t win.

Saturday evening we celebrated our move with some of our closest Chicago friends. I feel very blessed to have had these girls (and guys) in my life over the last 6 years and will miss them so much. It’s so nice to have a bunch of people to look forward to visiting each time we come back though.

chicago going away party, haymarket pub, friends, Chicago

Approximately 4 hours of sleep later we were onto Sunday where we celebrated the upcoming arrival of the first grandchild on Matt’s side. If you can’t tell by the shower colors, it’s a girl.

girls baby shower, tassel garland, candy bar, sweets table, diaper cake, pink baby shower,

5 or so hours of sleep later it was moving day. Chicago sent us off just about the same way it treated us all winter long with gray skies and wet conditions but we made the most of it. We had a bit of a fiasco with our movers last-minute so we called in some family to help us make the trip. Once the truck was packed, Matt and his brother started the trip down and I headed to Springfield to pick up my dad and Finn.

spring weather, chicago moving day, moving truck

I’m not typically one to consider signs but I am now convinced that Bloomington hates me. You may recall I ran into a big winter storm coming through Bloomington a few months back so I guess it’s only fitting to get hit with a tornado warning on my last trip home.

So dad and I hit the road early this morning with the hope of making it to our new home in a day or so. Matt and his brother are of course already nearly there thanks to a few naps and a lot of caffeine.

Next stop, Florida.

florida_home

This is not a joyful marathon recap

I had visions of what this post might say when I shared my goal of running my first full marathon with you back in January. Would I be joyful and happy, still reeling from the runner’s high I got as I crossed the finish line? Or would I be able to write it at all, fearful that I might get injured or not be strong enough to finish?

For those of you who read my posts like this one and this one, you probably know that my fear came true just weeks before the gun went off for the 36th annual Chicago Marathon. I got injured.

So I rested, I rehabbed, I prayed, I got sick with the same damn cold everyone else has and then I ran. If you hadn’t gathered by now, I tend to err on the side of competition. Throw in a good cause and familial support and there was little left to do than to push through and finish the goal I had set so many months before.

chicago marathon finisher medal and bib simply social blog

And so I did. And it was miserable. I want to tell you it was awesome and believe me there were several points it was oh-so-very awesome, but I also want to be honest with you. And the pain I put my body through was anything but awesome. I do take complete credit for it however, because it was none other than me, myself and I that continued to inflict 26.43 (thanks Garmin) miles worth of pain on Sunday.

I was going to post this yesterday but between the napping and the anti-inflammatory doses, I was of neither sound mind nor body to share my experience with you. I’d like to believe that had I not run injured I might be feeling a little better today, but at least I have a small sense of appreciation for those crazies who run marathons without training at all. 

The day after my first marathon went a little something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-hCuYjvw2I

And for once I’m not exaggerating. Getting out of bed yesterday took literally minutes. I could hardly bend my left leg and my calves felt like little monsters with tiny knives issued an assault from underneath my bed at each of them. A delivery driver stopped short of an intersection for me last night. Big mistake. My apologies to whomever got a cold pizza. My bad.

But let’s backtrack a few hours, shall we?

Saturday evening

My family arrived. I was overjoyed. I wasn’t sure if they would be able to make it up for the race so to have them in town made all the difference in the world. We discussed plans for the race day, had some dinner and ice cream and then Jake showcased the t-shirts they had planned to surprise me with the next day. 3-year-olds and surprises do not mix.

chicago marathon team shirts simply social blog

Race day: 5:05 a.m.

I woke up before my alarm and ate my normal pre-run breakfast before hailing a cab downtown. I had planned on walking as a sort of warm up but my mother had something to say about her daughter walking in the city alone in the dark. Not like I’ve ever done that in my 5 years here before. Anywho, I took a cab, mom.

7:05 a.m.

I stopped by the CARA event at the Hilton and then met up with a few friends from high school who were also running and in my corral. It was nice to catch up as we waited for the start. Considering there was 40-some thousand runners in this thing, the volunteers did an excellent job of getting us all through security and packed nicely in our corral in plenty of time to take in the sights and sounds of race day, including a runner-led national anthem, jet flyover and a nauseating odor of biofreeze and bengay. Race day, yay!

chicago marathon starting line simply social blog

7:40 a.m.

My wave crosses the start line. I’m a little stiff from standing in the cold for 20 or so minutes but I just try to let the crazies fly past me and settle into my run.

No way! they carpeted the Columbus bridge for us. This is going to be awesome! 

And then it hit me. That oh-so-familiar sharp stab into the outside of my left knee. Between mile 1 and 2 no less.

chicago marathon course map simply social blog

Seriously IT band? You’re already pissed off? You couldn’t even give me 8 miles? Not 5 even? We’ve got 25 more miles together you better lock it up!

Ask and you will receive. The son-of-a locked up and screamed at me for the next 5 miles. Things like ‘haha you thought I would just go away, silly runner’ and ‘nope, still here and getting angrier by the minute.’ At mile 6 the other one joined in. I was actually relieved. At least then the pain was even on both sides. I considered how long I had pushed through the IT band pain before without relief and wondered if perhaps mile 9 or 10 was the magic number in which the IT band eventually let’s go and let’s you run.

chicago marathon course map simply social blog

But it wasn’t all bad. I had a few smiling moments the first half of the race as well. The frontrunners in boystown were fun to see and the lululemon cheering section was explosively loud as usual. I started taking mental notes of my favorite signs (‘smile if you peed a little’ and ‘chuck norris would never run a marathon’) Some of my best friends came to watch me at miles 4 and 11. It was upon seeing them that 1) I realized I wasn’t going to win this thing (har har har) and 2) that I might as well make the most of the time and energy others were putting into watching this race. After all, it’s tough to run a marathon, but volunteering or watching one is no easy feat.

chicago marathon team paws babies

shout out to the Benkos and Bialarucki’s for letting your pretty girls distract me from my demon legs

So I decided to start walking through every water station. To thank the volunteers whenever I had a chance to. To smile and wave to those who shouted my name along the route (tip: put your name on your shirt if you run a marathon. Strangers will become your best friends). And to be grateful for each mile I was able to push through as I got closer and closer to my family.

chicago marathon course map simply social blog

I wouldn’t say I cruised through the halfway point but by mile 14 I still had a slightly decent pace. Believe it or not my legs hurt less when I ran faster for the first half. Normally, I would start to get emotional at this point and I did nearly cry at the 13.1 mark when I passed the bagpipers but that was mostly because I knew I still had 13 more to go.

chicago marathon course map simply social blog

my sister was behind the camera but she should get credit for the coordination, attire and enthusiasm for team Murphy

Miles 14-16 were nothing but happy because I had these bright smiling (and model-ready) faces to feed me ibuprofen and hug me. Running through charity village and my friends Trista, Paul and their cute baby girl also made for happy moments as we entered into the second half of the race.

chicago marathon course map simply social blog

So here’s where it gets fun. I often run through Little Italy. I really enjoy it actually. The smells of Italian food, the friendly faces. I had just passed an aid station and was coming up on mile 18 when my nose started running like crazy.

Oh great my cold is back. Wait a second. What’s with all this blood? Oh isn’t this just lovely. I can add first bloody nose to the laundry list of firsts today. Just great.  Oh well at least my face will match my limp now. 

That’s right. I had the privilege of running another mile and a half with a bloody nose. A bystander gave me a wad of Starbucks napkins, bless his heart. The race guide told me the next aid station was just a few yards away. The nurses at distant aid station swore I didn’t have blood all over my face. I’m convinced they lied to me. Just like the race guide and the people who told me I had “great form” and “looked strong” at miles 22 and 24.

Liars! Very kind liars but liars, all of you!

But there were happy points along the way. Like the time I nearly bear-hugged the man who was handing out orange slices in China Town as he was my only hope for getting this blood taste out of my mouth and stomach. Or when I literally broke down in laughter after realizing we had to run all the way to US Cellular field before making our way back North to the finish.

chicago marathon course map simply social blog

From mile 23 on I secretly reveled in the fact that everyone else was starting to feel the level of pain I had been feeling since the first 5K. I know it’s mean but that’s what happens in survival mode. It was every man or woman for herself time as runners were pulling up with cramps left and right. For once I felt like my fueling strategy was paying off. My IT bands had stopped working miles ago, but my calves were barely hanging on, scooting along like an old lady on her way to a high-stakes bridge game.

By mile 24 I couldn’t make to the next water station without alternating running and walking. Only problem was walking felt just about as bad as running at that point. I had just about given up near mile 25 when I determined that 800 meters meant TWO LAPS around a track and I surely only had enough gas for a 200. It was at that moment that I heard my name from an area pretty sparse with spectators. A friend and frequent marathoner was there like a little marathon angel and gave me some very encouraging words when I needed them most.

Unlike my other races, there was no final kick. No overwhelming feeling of elation when I saw the big screen or the stupid Mount Roosevelt that stood between me and the finish line. Just sheer determination and knowing that as soon as I got there the pain would start to fade from my body.

chicago marathon finish simply social blog

But I finished. With a watch time of 4:36 and a chip time of 4:53. Knowing that those 17 minutes I stopped to hug my family and friends and thank volunteers (plus go to the bathroom and clot a bloody nose) were completely worth the extra time.

I shared this on Facebook shortly after the race and I think it’s worth another view. Because even though I didn’t have the most joyous and happy marathon experience, the experience itself left a lasting impact.

Today I ran a marathon. Strangers told me I looked strong when I clearly looked anything but. Volunteers kept me hydrated when I longed for something to drink. Family and friends told me to keep going when all I wanted to do was stop. If you want to see the good in humanity go out and run a marathon. Today I may have run a marathon, but this overwhelming sense of pride is a result of what I saw along the way.

Running, Rock n’ Roll and Rap

Do you ever have those weekends so jam-packed with fun activities that you wish you could spread them out over the entire month so you wouldn’t have to shove them all into one blog post? Yeah me too.

You may be wondering why I am referencing this past weekend on a Wednesday and not my usual Sunday post. If you are, kudos to you. You are following my blogging schedule more closely than I expected. Please accept my apologies for the delay. If you aren’t (clearly anyone who is actually reading this) get ready for a completely random weekend recap.

I’ll fast forward through Friday and most of Saturday which were spent eating. Pasta, protein bar samples, chomps, electrolyte drinks. You name it, we indulged. If you’ve ever been to a race expo you can probably relate. It’s like hitting up Costco for sample Sunday, only for runners.

Saturday evening I got to spend some time with my lady friend Grayson while her parents had a date night. It was on our walk that I realized the reverse button on my iphone works not only for dog photos in the car, but for making sure the child you are responsible for is surviving your first attempt at wearing a baby bjorn. I got a lot of double-takes from the neighbors but Grayson seemed to enjoy herself. For that length of time anyway.

grayson

Sunday morning was the Rock n’ Roll half marathon here in Chicago. It also happened to be Matt’s birthday. I know what you’re thinking. Could there possibly be a better way to spend your birthday than waking up at 4:45 and running 13.1 miles in 80 degree heat? Of course not!

Matt and I decided to run separately this year because 1) he was planning on running super fast and 2) he was planning on running super fast. I took a lesson from last year’s race and didn’t throw a surprise party two nights before so any muscle cramping that would soon follow would be from his own doing. Thoughtful, I know.

rock n roll half marathon chicago team paws

Here’s how it went down.

6:00 a.m.-Decided to ride our bikes over to the race to save time. We would regret this decision in less than 3 hours.

6:15- Drop off gear at the TEAM PAWS tent. I am currently fundraising for TEAM PAWS for the Chicago Marathon so they were very nice to accommodate us. As for Matt, he just looks good in the singlet. 

6:30 a.m.-National Anthem begins. We hop into 6th corral (see reference to running speed for early corral placement)

6:38 a.m.-And we’re off. I forget to look at the clock to see how far behind the start we were. Like the biking, I’ll regret that later. 

6:48 a.m.-My Garmin woke up on the wrong side of the bed and is doing crazy dances all over the place. Either that or my oatmeal had some 2:42 second mile special sauce in it.

7:00 a.m.- I turn off my watch and decide I’ll just run it the old fashioned way. I spend the next 8 miles making casual small talk with runners until I feel comfortable enough to ask what pace they are running. None of them know either.

Miles 3-4- I consider jumping off the route on Adams and just going home. After all, I’m less than a block away and have worked up a sweat already. 

Miles 5-6- I knew those ridges on the Madison street bridge hurt my butt when I rode across them on my bike, but that has nothing on the wobbliness it causes a toe-runner like myself. 

just like Kevin

Miles 7,8,9- Oh I remember you 3 mile straightaway. You’re boring. And no one wants to come cheer along your roads. It’s hot. I take a diagonal towards a man misting people with a hose. The mist turns to full pour just as I pass through. Every piece of clothing I wear is now stuck to my skin.

Miles 10-11- Sponge Station! You better believe I squeezed the most out of that stop this year. And just as I took a deep breath to prepare for the dark tunnel of doom that is McCormick Place, a wheelchair racer pulled up next to me. I felt humbled to say the least. 

Mile 12- Is that a marriage proposal? Yep, those two just got engaged. At least she said yes. I’m too tired to take a picture and slightly jealous that he has an excuse not to run the last mile.

Mile 13- That whole kick it in the last tenth thing I can usually swing? Not happening today. Don’t trip. Don’t fall. Don’t make eye contact or you might melt down. 

And if you don’t believe me, my cousin’s girlfriend was kind enough to provide photo evidence.

finish photo courtesy of Caitlin Lisa Photography

finish photo courtesy of Caitlin Lisa Photography

And so wraps half marathon #6. Anyone who tells you they get easier each time 1) Probably ran one more than 4 days ago or 2) likes running in hot weather like crazy man Matt. Speaking of Matt, he crushed his PR. As for careful Sarah who always makes sure to make a perfect loop and properly secure her D-Tag to her shoe? Well, this is what she saw when she checked to see if she too broke her PR:

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Yep. No tracking tracked. Good day to turn off your watch Sarah. Argh.

But there was no time to dwell. We had a birthday to celebrate. And so we did. With cookie cake.

birthday

On Monday night, we joined 60,000 others for the Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z concert. I was looking forward to Justin and he didn’t disappoint, but the man of the night in my opinion was Jay Z. Beautiful Night. Great Friends. Awesome Show.

justin timberlake jay z legends of summer concert soldier field chicago

Believe it or not there were a few more activities jammed into the weekend but I’ll save those for another day. I need a nap.

Have a great week!

Weekend Wrap Up: 10 milers, Vintage Markets, Gnocchi and Pigs

I had grand intentions of using the long weekend to casually browse new recipes in my Bon Appetite, write down a detailed grocery list, take my time walking through the store and then spend a quiet morning in my kitchen creating a dish appealing enough to share with you on the blog today.

But then life got in the way. So instead, I will offer you a brief rundown of my weekend observations. Because let’s face it. Everything is better in list form.

1) 10-milers are tough. Maybe not not for you trained 10-miler runners out there, but if you thought you were in shape based on a recently-completed half marathon and then decided last minute to run the soldier field 10-miler in place of a friend who had to work then there’s a good chance the next day your hips will feel worse than your grandmother’s before a rainstorm. And so will your ego when you realize that your watch lost signal under McCormick Place, making your official time is 2 minutes over the 1:28 you thought you ran. Trust that.

soldier field race running

2) You can find awesome stuff at vintage markets. And I just so happen to live very close to the very popular Randolph Street Market. A place where, if you’re lucky, you lock your eyes on a beaut like this Wagon wheel serving tray with coordinating wooden-handled mason jar mugs stenciled with spurs, horseshoes and saddles. I know what you’re thinking. It’s amazing. And you’re right. My seasoned-thrifter Chrissy and I were able to put it the set to use later in the weekend. Awesome.

wagon wheel drink set

Rock me momma like a wagon wheel

3) Gnocchi is not as difficult to make as originally assumed. Especially when you have mimosas, a gigantic kitchen, your choice of high-end cookware, laughter and good friends. Thank you to my good friend Trista for being born. And kudos to the Chopping Block for providing us with some Sunday morning fun. Gnocchi rules.

4) Pig roasts don’t just happen on the farm. City folk can roast pigs too. And they do. Well, at least my friends do. Every year for Memorial Day. The annual roasting is usually followed by various acts of Patriotism, binge eating and drinking. Oh, and a Clay Matthews fathead. ‘Merica.

pig_roast

Random, yes. Jam-packed, you betcha. But fortunately by Monday, I was able to dedicate some time to the remembering the meaning behind Memorial Day. I was reminded earlier this week of a wonderful woman I was fortunate enough to call my Nana. She, along with many others served in the Marines so that we could enjoy the freedom we are now accustomed to. And while weekend wrap-ups are fun, it’s moments like that in which you are reminded that life is much bigger than small social engagements. So today, and nearly every other day, I’m thankful for her.

nana

Have a wonderful week!

Off to the Races

This weekend I traveled down to Indianapolis to run the mini marathon with one of my best friends. She and her husband live in nearby Carmel and were gracious enough to host us and another couple for the weekend. Oh and two babies. Remember the days when the only person you had to coordinate before an early morning race was yourself? I’m still in that boat but she gets extra credit for baby duty the night prior. 

It was a weekend filled with baby coos, coronas and checkered flags.

I can’t express how proud I am of my friend for what she accomplished this weekend. Not only did she push through the entire 13 plus miles with me, but she did so just a few short months after having a beautiful baby girl. The calf strain I was fighting after my race last weekend felt obsolete compared to the physical fete she put on with minimal training. We had decided last year to do the race together and it was so nice to follow through on the commitment.

I love driving through the country on the way to their house, past expansive horse farms and ridiculous mansions with lots the size of the entire streeterville neighborhood here in Chicago. Don’t get me wrong I love the city, but there’s just something about driving the through the country that makes me feel home. We arrived Friday evening and had a nice dinner, played with the babies, ate cupcakes and chatted by the fire pit.

Meanwhile the boys drank beer and talked about shooting guns.

After seeing the forecast for Saturday earlier in the week, I began doing anti-rain dances and praying. In hindsight, maybe the dancing is what caused my calf to flare-up. Whatever the method, come Saturday morning the percent chance of rain had dropped from 80 to zero and it was off to the races we went.

indianapolis half marathon race

clearly my eyes weren’t ready for an eastern time start. Not sure the folks behind us were either.

The entertainment on the course was more frequent than any I had seen before. From belly dancers to renaissance actors, rappers to country singers, the race coordinators did a great job at keeping you entertained. And if the bands weren’t enough, with 35,000 runners there were plenty of ponies to choose from. If you’re not familiar with pony picking, you should be. It’s a little game I learned back in the middle school ice deli days and has expanded into trade expos and long runs. Some people like to focus on their bodies when they run, I prefer to distract myself by making new friends, counting ponies (tutus or lululemon tanks are always top picks) and playing would you rather. Fortunately Kel has known me long enough to just crank her headphones and nod her head when she didn’t feel like chatting about the elephants when we passed the zoo or whether the bands were working off generators or plugging into nearby establishments to get juice. I never said the conversations had to be two-way.

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One cool feature of the mini marathon was that miles 6-8 were run on the Indianapolis motor speedway. And while I don’t know we set any course records compared to those Indy cars, it was pretty cool to take a lap on the track where the Indy 500 will run at the end of the month. You could smell the sweat patriotism in the air.

speedway_collage

We followed the checkered flags to the finish just in time for the sun to come out and were greeted by the next generation smiling from their baby Bjorn perches.

indianapolis half marathon

What a day for sports Saturday turned out to be. After breakfast we headed back to get cleaned up and watch the derby, a surprisingly exciting sprint cup race and the bulls game.

Meanwhile, the boys double fisted with mint juleps and coronas.

That evening, we celebrated an early cinco de mayo with a full fiesta of chicken tacos, salsas and cupcakes. It was so nice to spend some quality time with some of my oldest friends and just relax after a long race.

medal_collage

I’m a wee bit obsessed with a little french bistro in Indy called Petite Chou. My friends introduced me when I first visited and we typically make a stop each time I’m in town. My aunt also lives in Indy so it’s not unusual for us to frequent it on family visits as well. So it’s no surprise that come Sunday morning we stopped in for an early breakfast before heading back to the city, medal in hand lap.

I was looking forward to seeing Finn as he had spent the weekend playing with some of his buddies, but about 3 minutes into the door he had no interest in playing anymore. They must have served mint juleps and coronas at tucker pups as well.

greater swiss mountain dog puppy simply social blog

I was pretty fiesta’d out by Sunday evening but my managed to throw together a little Cinco De Mayo meal to round out the weekend. Mangoes are finally back so we grilled shrimp and tilapia and served it with one of my favorite mango salsas.

mango salsa simply social blog

Mango Salsa

  • 2-3 large mangoes 
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 2 TBL red onion, diced
  • 3 TBL grape tomatoes, diced
  • Juice of 2-3 limes
  • Cilantro
  • Salt

Find flat part of mango and use knife to slice horizontally just above the top of the pit. If you haven’t seen a mango pit before and you don’t want to mutilate your mango into mush, be cognizant of where it is located. You can see an easy tutorial here.

Chop cilantro, jalapeno, tomato and red onion. In a small bowl mix mango with other ingredients. Add lime juice and salt to taste. Try not to eat the whole bowl as I may or may not have done.

cinco de mayo mango salsa

 Hope everyone had a great cinco de derby weekend. Here’s to a great week! 

Faith and Marathons

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I read this blog post shortly after the tragedy in Boston and it really resonated with me. The author references this quote from first woman to run Boston, Kathrine Switzer.

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon”

It wasn’t until I ran my first race that I realized the amount of love and support races bring out in people. And not just the runners themselves. Granted, you feel the support from your fellow runners in that you’ve all trained hard over X amount of weeks to get to this point and you have a long (or short) distance ahead to get through together, but it was the support of complete strangers that amazed me most.

Strangers turned friends who wake up at the crack of dawn to call out your name along the race route. Those who make signs, dress up in costumes or play music to keep you entertained as you push through the middle miles. The hundreds of volunteers it takes to secure the route, distribute water and administer aid to those who need it.

If you want to see the good in people, go out and watch a marathon. If you want to see people encouraging others and donating their time to help people they don’t even know, stand on the side of the road during a marathon.

running race group

The first year I ran Champaign it was hot. Really hot for April. Residents pulled their hoses into their front yards and made makeshift water stations in between the sanctioned ones. Some even sprayed runners who asked them to. Runners who fell ill to the heat were caught (literally) by spectators and taken care of until emergency crews could arrive. If you want to see the compassion in people, go watch a marathon.

Last year it was cold. Really cold and rainy. Cheerleaders still lined the park shivering through their chants to motivate the runners. Kids handed out tissues and paper towels so you could keep your face dry. If you want to see the generosity in people, go watch a marathon.

And even this year in what were nearly ideal conditions for a race, the support was overwhelming. As we waited in the stadium for the youth run to begin some 7.5 hours after the start of the marathon, they announced that the final marathoner was heading towards the finish. Hundreds of children cheered and their parents clapped as the woman entered the end zone behind a police escort. If you want to see dedication in people, stay until the end of a marathon.

I don’t know if it was the aftermath of Boston or the fact that I was running 7 less miles than normal so I was actually aware of my surroundings, but I really noticed all of the support that goes into a race this year. It’s amazing what a community can do when everyone is working for the same goal. And at the same time, what something like a race can do for a community.

I had a lot of fun this weekend. Spending time with family, celebrating birthdays, cuddling Baby Aaron, seeing intoxicated college co-eds at 7 a.m. and eating way too much food. But perhaps my favorite part was getting to accompany Owen in his very first race for the Youth run.

race running youth run champaign illinois
Wind, rain and an untied shoe couldn’t stop this little athlete from sprinting to a honorable time of 3:30 for his first 1K. Perhaps the lactic acid had something to do with it but I had to sprint to keep up at the end. Regardless, I was thoroughly impressed.

As for this weekend, I’m excited to head down to Indy to visit with some of my best friends and experience a new race. Help me in praying for good weather so perhaps some new people can go out and experience a marathon.

Have a great week!