still a belieber

After one day at the new job I am already loving the new commute.

Road rage and filling the tank up twice a week are a thing of the past.   Sadly, I have already fallen out of touch with the top 20 pop songs. 

It’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make.

After Sunday’s 20 miler we were all feeling a bit stiff.  I think Kate M. said it best in the text I received Sunday evening stating, “I think this is what dying feels like.”   Hurts so good.   In Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an all-night runner, Dean Karnazes sums it up:

”People think I’m crazy to put myself through such torture, though I would argue otherwise. Somewhere along the line we seem to have confused comfort with happiness. I’ve now come to believe that quite the opposite is the case. Never are my senses more engaged than when the pain sets in. There is magic in misery. Just ask any runner.”

You are not just any runner Dean, but I hear what you’re saying.

My senses sure were engaged when the pain set in around mile 18 on Sunday, though at the time it sure didn’t feel magical.   More like torture.   But we do it for the sense of accomplishment you get from crossing the finish line, whether it be a 5K or a 20 miler. 

Also for the post race pizza. 

Last night BMB and I gave our sore bodies a rest and I kidnapped him for our first happy hour while both working in the city.   I love a good reason for happy hour.   Afterwards we headed over to Bob & Megan’s to check on Gypsy cat.

Gypsy is like a long haired Waffles, how can you not love her?

This morning I woke up and enjoyed a leisurely green monster before work.

1 banana, spinach, Amazing Food Chocolate, flax seeds, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, and cocoa powder, blended with a handful of ice.

I was able to give up coffee by drinking these guys last year and would love to give it another shot.   We’ll see.   I used the last of my K-cups yesterday and the coffee machine downstairs is broken, so that helps. 

Off to another day at work.   Have a good one!


CARA Ready to Run 20 Miler

This weekend we didn’t have a Saturday training run for good reason – the CARA Ready to Run 20 Miler.

In my head this race was the big salami before the actual marathon, but always seemed so far away in the summer months.   Run the entire lakefront?  Madness.  The race started at 6:30 AM up north, but left in waves as there were 4,000 participants.   We were in wave 46 which left at 6:52.

At approximately 6:47 I had a bit of a bathroom emergency, but came out of that port-o-potty like a race horse and made it to the start line just in time to join our training group.   In our weekly pep talk e-mail our leader emphasized that this was just a training run, however to treat it as a practice run for the marathon.   We wore our race shirts to make sure of no chafage or discomfort.    It was really nice to not have an out and back training run today as the course was a point to point, ending at the cultural center.

Miles 1-7 flew by, and the light drizzle and cool temps were a welcome distraction. 

Around mile 8 we passed our apartment which is always so tempting but we gave it a wave and carried on.  

Mile 11 is where BMB had to use the facilities, and Sara, Ella, and I kept moving at a slower pace waiting for him to catch up.   Somehow he flew by us while we were collecting as many free GU’s at the mile 12 aid station and we never saw him again. 

I felt like I lost my child.   I was so worried – didn’t know if he was behind and something had happened or up ahead.   We waited a few minutes and then went on our way.   Miles 12-18 were uneventful and our chatter helped to move them along.   

After the mile 18 aid station we started running and I felt like my feet were on crooked.   Nothing seemed to be working properly, but we put one foot in front of the other and eventually the 19 mile sign was in sight. 

After this I put my head down and eventually the cultural center was in sight, signaling the end of the race.   I crossed the finish line and immediately saw BMB, who had finished about 4 minutes ahead of us.   I was so proud of him for running those last 8 miles on his own.

We stood in line for our shirts, where it started to downpour.   We also ran into Kate M., another team member of Team Hoagie, who also killed the 20 miler after a couple weeks off due to a back injury.

After a blue lipped, shivering wait for the shuttles we headed back to the city.

BMB & I stopped for ice and came home for the dreaded ice bath.

I dread the bath tub more than the ice.   Ugh.   Works miracles, however.   

Besides some soreness, we are relatively unscathed.  Thank goodness for Body Glide, especially on my feet.   The ultimate blister protector.  

I still find it kind of hard to believe we ran 20 miles.  I never ever in my life thought I would be able to do something like that, and I’m so proud of BMB, Sara, and Kate for making Team Hoagie proud.   Sara and Kate both wore their Team Hoagie shirts and got so many cheers.   

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Welp, gotta go eat some pizza and take a nap.   First day at the new job tomorrow, I’m excited!!!

Who else ran the 20 miler today??? I know there are some fellow CARA runners out there!


chicken sausage chili

After the chilly run this morning I never could seem to warm up today.   Pair that with the beginnings of a sore throat and I knew I wanted something warm for dinner.   As my crock pot was still sitting on the counter from some sweet n’ sour chicken I made the other night, I decided to make a pot of chili.

I slightly improvised and basically threw a bunch of things into the pot, including:

2 cans of pinto/kidney beans
1 can of Rotel
1 jar of tomato sauce
1 can of corn

Next I added in 3 sliced roasted garlic chicken sausages.

A few shakes of the spices below, set to high, and off it went.

I let this cook on high for around 3.5 hours.   The smell actually woke me up from a nap, so I had a feeling it was going to be good. 

I served the chili over a bowl of fusilli with some cheddar on top. 

Just what I had in mind.   BMB’s reflux can’t handle the spiciness right now, so I made him a variation of the classic Campbell’s Chicken & Rice casserole.

The plan for the evening is sweatpants, a movie, Nyquil, and early to bed.   We’ll try and calm down, I know we’re getting out of hand. 

Have a lovely evening,


an early 10 miler

When my alarm went off this morning at 5:20 I believe a not so nice word came out of my mouth.   As our long run is happening on Sunday this week, BMB and I planned to do our midweek run this morning.   10 miles – a milestone, as it’s the longest we’ll go for a midweek training run.   We started out and it was still completely dark and in the upper 30’s.  

Didn’t think I’d be seeing those running tights quite so soon.  

We headed north along the lake and saw a beautiful sunrise.

It almost made the first 5 miles out bearable. 


The lake was kind of out of control and we almost got splashed a few times.  

Once the sun came up we were pleasantly warm, but I never took off my long sleeved shirt.

10 miles in the bag. 

My legs were feeling quite stiff and achy, but I hobbled over to Fox and Obel for smoothie ingredients.  

We both have sore throats and are trying to head a cold off at the pass, so I crammed as much into our new blender as possible.

1 scoop Amazing Grass Chocolate protein powder, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 banana, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, 1 tbsp flax seeds, 1 cup of frozen mixed berries, and 2 handfuls of spinach.  

That baby was powerful and blended it up in no time.

The triumphant return of the green monster. 

Off to enjoy the day, hope you are doing the same!


food truckin’ along

I guess you could say we sufficiently celebrated BMB’s 30th birthday.  The cats pulled a fast one and got him one of those gifts that’s really for yourself. 

Sneaky critters.

Yesterday I took advantage of “working from home” and took BMB out to a classy food truck lunch. 

I’ve been slightly obsessed with the food truck trend lately and have been stalking the Southern Mac truck on twitter. 

Yesterday it was parked one block from my new work and three from BMB’s so we headed over only to find out that they had sold out 2 minutes before.  Plan b was the Brown Bag truck and we weren’t disappointed.

I ordered the peanut butter chicken while BMB went with the brisket. 

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We also shared garlic rice and corn on the cob.

Everything was delicious and it was so fun to enjoy lunch in the park. We’ll be able to do that a lot more often soon!

Later in the day we enjoyed Prosecco and presents before heading to a birthday dinner at Mastro’s steakhouse. 

We are Keefers regulars but decided to give the new steakhouse a chance. 

We arrived on time for our 8:00 reservation and had to wait a half hour to be seated.  Normally this would bother me but we snagged two prime seats in the bar. The glass of Pinot Grigio the size of my head also helped.

We eventually were seated and perused the menu.   I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mastro’s has the most extensive menu of any steakhouse I’ve been to in Chicago. 

I started with the lobster bisque and a pretzel roll from the bread basket. 

Creamy bowl of deliciousness.  For my entree I ordered the halibut.

Crispy on the outside, flaky on the inside.   In terms of sides the creamed spinach and gorgonzola mac n’ cheese were out of this world good. 

Mastros was definitely a special occasion type of place, but I love that we got a ton of food for our money.  Rolling out with a shopping bag full of leftovers is always a good feeling.

We walked the mile home and were too stuffed for ice cream cake, which is saying a lot.   Guess we’ll have to extend the celebration just one more night.   It was a wonderful 30th birthday (week) celebration.

After a day of lounging around in my pajamas, tonight I started the last class of my MBA.

8 more classes, 24 hours, and I’ll be done.  After class I picked up Soup Box, BMB picked me up, and we cruised home for dinner. 

I went with the broccoli cheddar mixed with tomato basil and BMB had the chicken rice.  Delicious, as always.   Now time for sleepies as we’ve got an early 10 miler on the agenda.


Happy Birthday BMB!

Today a certain someone turns 30.  He told me today that he felt old, but don’t worry BMB, for not much has changed in 30 years.

Still an avid golfer.


Still wearing ridiculous outfits on St. Patrick’s Day.

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Still supporting the best baseball team out there.

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Still agitating your sister, though in the most loving way possible. 

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Still loves animals, though of a slightly smaller variety these days. 

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And most importantly, still a Business Man Barbie. 

Happy Birthday BMB, I love you…

…and your little bunny rabbit too (had to sneak that pic in somewhere).    Smile

life is good.

Yesterday we arrived back in Chicago to an apartment covered in torn up packing peanuts and a couple of needy cats.

It’s good to be home – packing peanuts and all.  Somehow Jackie, the mini cat, has hoarded these packing peanuts around the apartment and strategically brings them out and rips them to shreds. 

So innocent. 

We wrapped up our trip home to PA with a surprise party for BMB at my favorite local bar, the Grid Iron.  

Let it be known that this was the first time in all of his soon to be 30 year life that he was early.  


So many of our friends and family came out to celebrate and it was so great to see everyone.

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I should have a party every time I’m home, much easier to see everyone.  On Friday, after a wonderful visit at home, we flew back to Chicago, emptied our suitcases, repacked our suitcases, hopped in the car, and drove up to Milwaukee.

Our beloved Phillies were in town and we had been planning this weekend for months.  First stop: The Milwaukee Brat House.

If the Brat House had a hotel, we would have stayed there.   Great food….

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Two for one beers and das boots….

Friendly staff willing to play way too many games of dice with your husband…

A free shuttle to drive you to the stadium, AND bring you back…

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Good times. 

Miller Park is an amazing stadium. 

Friendly, beautiful, and food served in helmets. 

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It helped that we got to see the Phillies beat the Brewers both nights we were there.

Milwaukee is a great city, and I can’t wait until our next visit! 

Life is good.  I’m working from home this week and start my new job next Monday, we were able to get  2 BR condo instead of a 1 BR at a phenomenal price, just because the owner liked us, and we received the best news in the world this past week.  I’ll let BMB share that news, but life is good.  

Back later with a Team Hoagie update, as our members have been up to some pretty awesome antics. 


birthday week Barbie

You’ll have to excuse my sporadic posts these next couple of weeks.  New job, new apartment, and a certain someone has a big birthday coming up.  Birthday Man Barbie will never again make fun of my “birthday weeks”.   When I last wrote we had just finished our 18 mile run and were off to look at many, many apartments.   Though we love where we live now, we decided that it would be nice to have a chance of scenery.   We looked at a ton, all with gorgeous views.

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We didn’t end up taking the above apartment, but found a condo being rented by the owner with even better views.

I love the lake views, and even better it’s on a corner so we have river and city views as well.   Pretty excited to move, but dreading the actual process.  

After a long nap we attended a rowdy trolley party around Chicago Saturday night.

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We saw some of Chicago’s main attractions and did a whole lot of yelling.

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Cannot wait for the next trolley event, hilarious times.

Sunday was pretty much spent recovering until BMB birthday event #1: dinner at Smoque. 

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Rated #1 BBQ in Chicago and top 5 in the country (source: BMB) you know it has to be good if you wait in line for an hour to place your order.

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Oh, and this guy has been there too:

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Eventually we placed our orders, paid, and were seated at long communal tables.   Our fellow meat eaters for the evening were Kelly, Ryan, and Dave.

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I ordered the pulled pork platter.  It came with 2 sides and I selected the mac n’ cheese and the baked beans.

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BMB’s impressive dinner of ribs, brisket, and sides:

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Happy birthday to him.   Added bonus: it’s a BYOB. 

We finished off our meat comas with some of the most creative cupcakes, made by Kelly:

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Great time and food with friends.  We continued the celebration last night back in PA with BMB’s family.   Another creative birthday display:

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Presents were preceded by an amazing meal.  I had a crab cake, meatballs, and some of the best lasagna I’ve ever had (prepared by BMB’s sister, Kate). 

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Happy early birthday to BMB!  Writing this post and looking at all the pictures of meat makes me want to go for a run, or maybe eat something green.   Golf cupcakes don’t count, right?


18 miles, i need a nap.

We were up before the sun this morning for our 18 mile training run with CARA. 

Unfortunately it rose shortly after we started running, making for a hot couple of hours.  18 miles – I couldn’t even think about it without getting a nervous feeling in my belly.   9 miles out and 9 miles back is a long way to go, and I was lacking my usual peppy spirit at the turnaround.

My knees hurt and I was just plain tired.   I concentrated on trying to put less impact on my knees with each step and looked forward to the water stops.

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This stop was especially nice as we all cooled off in the outdoor shower before trekking on.

I ended up taking 3 Vanilla Bean GU’s throughout the course of the run and probably could have used one more.   BMB and I stayed with the group until mile 15 when we stopped to stretch and take the 3 miles home nice and easy.

These last 3 miles were hard.   So close yet our legs just wanted to lay down on the grass and take a nap.   We walked a little bit sporadically, but soon found that it hurt more to walk than to run.  Bizarre. 

As you can see, BMB was gesturing that we only had 1 mile to go.  That hat was a lifesaver from the sun, and I totally even forgot I was wearing it.    We made it back 1 painful mile later, where we collapsed in the grass.

He wasn’t even being dramatic.  This might have been the most sore I’ve been after any athletic activity, but we trudged home, making a pit stop at CVS for necessities.

I decided that my phobia of baths was less important than calming the pain shooting through my muscles, so I bit the bullet and took an ice bath.

I did vacuum the tub before filling it up, however.   That crewneck sorority sweatshirt from the 80’s did keep my top warm, but boy were my legs chilly.  It did work, and Ryan Lester I give you permission to say “I told you so”.   Someone was a little apprehensive of the cold water but eventually plopped down.

Might have to get this blown up and framed.

18 miles, done and done. 

All I want to do is sleep, however we have a full day of looking at apartments ahead of us.  Tonight we are cruising around Chicago on a party trolley, better get that nap in somewhere.

Have a wonderful weekend!


a family outing

One aspect of marathon training that has been quite the pleasant surprise is how much we enjoy our low key Friday evenings.  Eat a nice meal, watch some good TV, and get to bed early.   Tonight was slightly more eventful.  We started off with a good old fashioned homemade carbo load – pasta with sauce.  

I had picked up this pasta at World Market a few weeks ago, so cute.  Well, as cute as pasta can get anyhow.  To make the jarred sauce a bit more interesting I added a few things.

  I baked two of the smoked apple chardonnay chicken sausages and cut them into tiny pieces and added them to the sauce along with some fresh basil and garlic powder.  

This simmered on the stove while I cooked up some chicken for BMB and boiled the pasta.

I also served myself some of those leftover dangerous potatoes. 

Still delicious, as was the pasta and sauce.  

After dinner we had a rather unpleasant errand – taking the cats to Petsmart to get their nails clipped. 

I swear it’s just as traumatizing for me as it is for them.   In a rather unfortunate turn of events someone got sick on the car ride over. 

You can imagine the groomer’s excitement. 

Poor Jackie was so pleasant that she earned a cone for her treatment.

And Waffles gave me a nice little love scratch to show her appreciation.

After I gave the carrier a good cleanup in the pet cleaning area we made it home in one piece.  We all handled the stress in our own respective ways.  Kibble for the cats.

Ice cream for the human.

There are a lot of stink eyes being thrown around here tonight, but nothing a new catnip banana won’t fix.