Friday, August 15, 2014

Five Things Friday

Sorry for being MIA, folks. I've been reading all of your blogs but need to catch up on posting comments!

Here's a rundown of some things that I've been up to:

1. New Balance Girls Night Out
This past Wednesday, I attended a "Girls Night Out" event hosted by New Balance. The festivities included a bootcamp-style workout by the lake followed by post-workout refreshments, shopping, music, and photobooths.

Here's the crowd getting their planks on. We look pretty intense, eh?

Check out the view of the skyline and lake in the backdrop!

Here's a photo of some of the Chicago Running Bloggers clan in attendance:

From L to R: Erica, me, Natali, Jennifer, Agnes, and Maggie

On a related note - I have never tried New Balance running shoes. I'll have to give them a whirl one of these days. (As if I needed an excuse to buy more running shoes, haha.)

I attended two Chicago Bears events in the past two weekends: the Bears Family Fest, and Bears Training Camp. Both events involved getting to watch the Bears practice.

Here are photos from Bears Family Fest:

Upper left: Player introductions
Left middle: Player warm-up stretches
Left bottom: Fans outside of Soldier Field
Top right: Rose and me in front of an enormous Bears tailgate tent
Bottom right: Some fabulous samples being handed out to fans. (Bethany, this is for you! =) )
Side note: If all events gave out free ice cream like this, I think we would make significant strides towards world peace.

Here are photos from Bears Training Camp in Bourbonnais, Illinois:

Upper left: Player drills
Upper right: Fans lined up down the street to enter the premises
Bottom left: Rose and me in line
Bottom middle: Ladies and gentlemen, your starting quarterback... Jay Cutler!
Bottom right: Remember this photo from Packers training camp which I posted about here? Apparently the use of giant fitness balls by 300-lb football players is more common than I realized. This is the Bears version.

3. Lung Run
The latest addition to my race calendar is the Lung Run 5K and 10K on September 13. I signed up to support Anne and her fundraising team.

I am opting to run the 5K and this will be another PR attempt.

Back story: My goal in 2014 was to PR the half marathon, 10K, and 5K. The 5K is the only one I haven't been able to crack yet. (It's driving me nuts.) I'm starting to run out of targetable races and free weekends in 2014. Therefore, the Lung Run may be my best remaining shot this year to do it.

Over the next four weeks, I am upping the ante on doing speedwork. I know that I can't expect speedwork to create miracles that quickly, but hey - it's better than nothing!

4. Recruiting
One work-related extracurricular that I've always enjoyed very much is recruiting. I like meeting with employment candidates and doing interviews. I also enjoy going to college campuses to do career fairs or any other career development events. It's a really nice change of pace from sitting at my desk all day long in the office!

While I relish any opportunity to recruit on campus, I especially enjoy doing so at my alma mater, of course.

Unfortunately, my last two employers did not afford me the opportunity to do any campus recruiting. However, my current employer has an entire task force set up to recruit at the dear old University of Illinois! I am already planning on heading there next month to help conduct a Mock Interview workshop.

On that note, my nephew, Reid, will soon be starting his freshman year at UIllinois. Adam and I had joked about all the excuses that we would find to mysteriously show up at Reid's doorstep over the next four years. And so it begins... =D

5. Divvying it up
In Chicago, we have a bike-share system called Divvy.

Initially I didn't consider joining because I already have a bike at home. (Although, my bike has flat tires and I've procrastinated fixing them for much longer than I care to admit.) Lately, though, I've had too many instances where I was stuck agonizingly waiting for a bus or train so I could travel two miles. Each time, it always seemed that there were nearby racks of Divvy bikes staring me in the face, plus thousands of Divvy riders gleefully breezing by. Case in point:

Even Mayor Rahm Emanuel Divvys like there is no tomorrow!
I exaggerate, of course. But in short, I've grown tired of having to rely on public transit for short trips. Therefore, I am finally taking the plunge on joining Divvy.

(Maggie, you should be a Divvy spokeswoman since both Erin and I joined after talking to you! =) )

I submitted my membership form and am eagerly anticipating the arrival of my bike key in my mailbox. It's too bad that summer is almost over because I think Divvy is going to change my whole outlook on tooling around the city. I can't wait to try it!

Happy Friday, everyone!


  1. You're alive! HA!

    I even eyed up the Divvy racks when I was there last... you'll have to keep us updated on how it goes. :-)

    1. Yes, I am alive! I have been so bad about commenting on blogs these days. I really need to get back on track with that!

      I used Divvy for the first time yesterday and so far I am a HUGE fan! It's opened up a whole new world of options for me. E.g. this Wednesday I've got a noon appointment at a location which I would previously not have had enough time to get to/from. But with Divvy, now I can do it. =)

  2. EMILY! You do NOT need more shoes! Ha ha ha. JK... try them out!

    That plank picture is killing the trainer side of me.

    You would make SUCH a fantastic recruiter!!!

    I am excited you are joining Anne's team! I did last year and really enjoyed it! It's such a great cause and a good event! What is your 4-week crash plan? How close have you been to a PR this year? Can you think of someone to pace you?

    1. It's killing you because so many people are doing them incorrectly, isn't it?? I HATE when trainers are like "Okay, now hold a plank" and then don't correct my form. I don't want to be cheating just so I can hold it as long as they say.

      Okay, rant in Emily's comments over :-)

    2. Yes. I felt that way when I saw the pic on Maggie's blog, too. WHY ARE THOSE BUTTS UP IN THE AIR?! But, I bet there were not enough people to help with form.

    3. Hahahaha, glad I'm not the only one that saw that. :-)

    4. Kim - I was going to mention to you that I'm thinking about giving the Nimbus shoe a whirl soon. My current pair of Cumulus shoes is showing pretty significant wear and I've got less than 200 miles on them! =( Thank you for the kind words on me as a recruiter! I am glad to hear that you had a great time at the Lung Run, too! We'll talk more about the crash training in person but my 5K PR is 25:55 and I hit 26:28 at the Strike Out ALS a few weeks ago.

      Kim, Erin, and Natalie - You are right, form is SO important and it bothers me when trainers look the other way, too! Similarly, I also dislike when folks in the gym use pure momentum to lift weight that is obviously too heavy for them. At that point, why bother, right?

    5. Ooo! Yes! I like the Nimbus. I can tell it has more support. I do notice that part of the shoe (where it has more support) wearing down more quickly though. Weird!

      So you just gotta take 35 seconds off for a PR! :) You can go eet!

      Some moves do use momentum, like kettlebell swings, but yeah, don't jerk your body to do a bicep curl, lol.

    6. YEAH! I hate the momentum game. When I see students doing that in class, I make them change to a double count - up, up, down, down. Forcing them to slow down makes them engage the muscle and cut the momentum. It's a mean trick. :-)

  3. So far (as, in, the three days I've used it) I LOVE Divvy. The only downside is I cram too much stuff into my gym backpack and can't get it to fit in the front "basket". I wear it on my back but then my back gets all sweaty. But, it gets me to and from work faster than waiting for the train!

    1. I got my Divvy card this past Saturday (less than 36 hours after submitting my membership form) and used it for the first time yesterday! I am a huge fan, too! It's opened up a whole new world of options for me that I never thought existed. =) I'm suddenly much more conscious now of the bikers I see on the streets next to traffic, to bike lanes, and to bikers with or without helmets!

  4. Looks like a great turnout for the NB event. I had one pair of NB's way back in the day and they were not for me. BUT I'm sure they've changed and are fab. The Caveman would be SO jealous to hear you made it to Bears training camp. He planned to take a day off so we could all go down and it was already over!
    Yay for recruiting!

    1. Ah yes, I remember our discussion on how you are a Mizuno fan, and how you don't like Brooks (similar to me)! The Caveman sounds like a very devoted Bears fan - going to games in subzero temps, taking days off to go to training camp, etc. He probably can't wait for the season to start, am I right? No more of this preseason stuff, get to the real games!

  5. Welcome back to blog land! I've been relatively MIA too.. :)

    The NB girls night out looked like fun! I have some NB 980 foam shoes and are currently run/walking all the time in then. I like them a lot.

    Da bears camp looked like a good time :) are you going to any games this year?

    You would be the best recruiter ever!! You are so positive and would get everyone fired up to join your company.

    I've been Divvying for 2+ months now and find it useful - especially for quicker trips to PT and the pool :)

    We should brunch again soon!

    1. Xaar! I read all the details about your tri and I am SO happy for you! You are a ROCKSTAR!!!

      I remember your NB foam shoes - you were wearing them at the USA soccer game and during the 13.1 with Adele and me. =) Those look really sweet!

      No Bears games this year, unfortunately. Tickets are too expensive! (It must be nice to be a season ticket holder because those tickets are like gold in this city!) How about you?!?!?

      Thank you for the kind words on me as a recruiter! =)

      I got my Divvy card in the mail on Saturday and used it for the first time yesterday! I am a huge fan! I'm already thinking about how I can use it for quick trips to the library, to different yoga classes, grocery stores, etc. Wish I had signed up earlier!!!

      YES! Let's brunch again ASAP. =) Or lunch. I know you already checked out Chinatown recently but I'd love to take you there again!

  6. Divvy looks so cool! I've never lived anywhere urban enough to require public transit, but I wouldn't mind giving it a shot one day. It sure seems better for the wallet and better for the environment. I can't help but cringe at the pic of the mayor not wearing a helmet, though!

    1. Amy, Divvy seems like something that would be right up your alley! I think you would really love being able to bike around town!

      You know, it's funny, I never used to notice bikers that didn't wear helmets. But after just one day of using Divvy, now I notice it big-time! The helmet thing is probably the one big thing that Divvy is missing from a program standpoint. Too bad there aren't portable, foldable helmets on the market!

  7. Yay, hope you enjoy the Divvy!! I don't know if they have ambassadors or whatever, I would totally be one! But it's in my own best interest to recruit new members ... more members = more bikes, stations, more money for the program, etc.

    1. Maggie, after just one day of using Divvy, I am hooked! I was going to tell you that I went back and read all of your previous blog posts about your Divvy bag, road tips, etc. They are all super helpful! Now I understand. =)

  8. Woooo Hudsonville Ice Cream! The best! Glad you got a chance to have some :)

    1. OMG, Bethany - the Hudsonville Ice Cream is AWESOME. Now I need to go to a grocery store and buy an entire cartoon of it to devour at home. =)