Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Party, party, party!!!

Three simple words to sum up my current state of mind:


Reasons?  Wrapping up a big meeting at work yesterday.  Gorgeous spring-like weather conditions in Chicago right now (which I predicted here).  Wearing some fun fishnet-like tights to the office today.  The end of the NHL lockout.  Adding a new item to my Goals For 2013 - to have as much fun as possible, all the time.

Having fun is such a simple and downright obvious goal and I feel like a dork for even having to mention it.  But I so frequently forget that running is not just about the numbers, it's first and foremost for enjoyment.  Thank you to all of you for reminding me of this, especially in response to this dilemma.

Other reasons for life's goodness:

Vegas, baby!
Tomorrow I'm off to Las Vegas for the weekend to celebrate one of Adam's milestone birthdays!  I am super excited.  Some highlights of our plans: Staying at Mandalay Bay for the first time, going to see O at the Bellagio, and (for all you Food Network fans) reservations at DOCG by Scott Conant and Emeril Lagasse's New Orleans Fish House.  Yay for birthday celebrations!

This would have been the perfect birthday cake for Adam.  Steelers-themed AND Vegas!  Note to self for next year.

Some side commentary: I am not a gambler.  Although, on vacations like this, my usual practice is to bet a single dollar at a slot machine.  After one pull, I walk away.

Depending on the outcome, I will alter the way I recap my bet.  If I win, say, $2, then I tell people that I went to the casino and won TWICE the amount of money that I bet!  But if I lose my $1, then I tell people I went to the casino and only lost $1.

In short, I describe the percentages when I win, but use the actual dollar amounts if I lose.  (Horrible, I know!)

Also - thank you to everyone for providing their thoughts on my Las Vegas race dilemma a few weeks ago.  Ultimately, I have elected not to run the race for various reasons, most notably because of my now-wonky ankle.  But, let it be known that when I contacted the race director to ask about transit options, he offered to send a friend, one who is also running the race, to drive me.  Now that is personalized service!

Wisconsin Half Marathon
I just signed up for the Wisconsin Half Marathon.

This race has been on my radar screen for a few years.  I am very excited to run it, given its lakefront course and its cheese theme (e.g. "We're on a mission from gouda!").  The registration fees are very affordable and I used Kim's $5 discount code (KIMRUNSWI) on top of the already great price.

My friend Katie lives nearby, and is willing to let me stay with her the night before (thanks, Katie!)  It will be awesome to catch up with her that weekend!  She's so considerate that she even asked me about feeding me carbs the night before.  =)

There has also been talk of a Chicago Running Bloggers get-together for that race.  If so, it would be super fun for everyone to hang out together.  I think Katie would really enjoy meeting the running bloggers and vice versa.  No matter what, the weekend is going to be a blast and I can't wait!

Now on to other important details.  The Wisconsin Marathon/Half has the "All Cheese Corral."  Description:

"This is a start area for any registered runner willing to don the dairy that makes Wisconsin famous. There is no time requirement or pre-registration required. If you would like to participate, all you have to do is arrive on race morning wearing some kind of cheese-themed apparel."

I am intrigued.  I love cheese.

Three words:

Out of principle, though, I cannot wear a cheesehead.  It is a Green Bay Packers symbol, and I grew up in Chicago Bears country.  Being seen with a cheesehead would risk getting me kicked out of the Bears Fan Union (sorry, Helen).  Adam would agree with this from a Steelers NATION perspective, too.  Please note the use of the capital letters (Adam).

So, no cheese corral for me.  But, this doesn't mean that I can't load up afterwards on so much local cheese that my car sags and that mice start following me home! (OK, maybe not the mice part.)

Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon
Speaking of the Chicago Running Bloggers, last night the ZOOMA Great Lakes Racing Series tweeted that they thought we would be very excited about their upcoming race announcement.

This immediately set off a tweeting frenzy amongst several folks.  I am so curious to find out what the announcement is!  Maggie joked that we could start some rumors, such as ZOOMA Great Lakes in Gary, Indiana (for those of you who are not familiar - Gary, Indiana held rank for awhile as the Murder Capital of the U.S.)  I said that in all seriousness I was hoping for a race in SW Michigan, which is where I got married.  Then Maggie shared with me that there is a Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon that takes place in Baroda, Michigan.

I got married in St. Joseph, Michigan, and Baroda is just a little southeast of St. Joseph.  How awesome!!!  It's all about any excuse to go visit the area - and if it's running-related, all the better!

A couple of drawbacks, though - the first being that the course is described as "CHALLENGING."  Note that the race's website lists it just the way I have it here - in BOLD CAPS.  This is scary.  I have enough issue dealing with half marathons on flat-as-a-pancake courses.  (If you look in the Funk & Wagnall's dictionary under the words "Midwestern flatlander" you'll see my mugshot.)  But it's all about the experience, right?  I just hope I don't come in last place.

The second drawback is that this race is pricey.  The Facebook page says that 2013 registration will open up at $85.  I am surprised, since this appears to be a relatively small, local race.  Other than headliner races like the Rock N Roll half marathons and the Disney races, I've never seen such a high starting price for a half marathon.  Maybe the high cost is because they are offering a wine-tasting party for post-race?

Regardless, I will be giving this race a lot of thought in the coming months.  I am excited for the prospects!


  1. Having fun is a great goal! I think so many of us get so busy, or even so focused on specific goals, that it's easy to lose sight of that one.

    Aw, you got married in St. Joe's? I was there last summer for my bachelorette party, where we toured wineries :) And I actually did consider the Michigan Wine Trail for my first half, but all the warnings about it being a challenging course, and me being a new, not great runner... it seemed like a bad one to start with. Obviously Gary would be slightly worse.

    Also, wow, a reference to Funk & Wagnall's? I didn't realize anyone else had heard of them! I used their 1978 encyclopedia set, which my mom picked up volume by volume at the grocery store, as a source for pretty much every paper I wrote in grade school.

    1. Anne! I was just about to email you on Facebook. I just found out yesterday that you actually know my friend Katie that I had mentioned here. You and Katie work together! I'll email you on Facebook with more specifics. But I was just telling Katie that I was going to try to get you to come up for the Wisconsin Marathon/Half festivities, whether running or just to hang out! Based on what I've heard, I think the Wisconsin Half would be a great consideration for your first half marathon! (I know Kim would very strongly agree!)

      You had your bachelorette party in St. Joe!?!?!? That is AWESOME - isn't the area incredible? I've only been to a couple of wineries in the area so I'd love to hear about the ones you toured! And I agree - based on the description, it does NOT sound like a good race for a first half marathon at all.

      Oh my gosh! My mom picked up the F&W encyclopedia set from the grocery store, too. HILARIOUS!!!!!

    2. Hmm, I'll wait for Kim to weigh in on that :) And maybe talk to my trainer. May seems really soon! Ahhh!

      My husband's family has a small vacation house near Dowagiac, so we're up in that area a lot in the summer anyway! We went to Tabor Hill, Round Barn and... a couple others that I can't recall off-hand. Tabor Hill had really good wine, but Round Barn was by far my favorite - it's awesome! They make their own beer and whiskey, on top of wine, and they have parties/events all the time. There was a live band and tons of food when we were there, it was so fun!

    3. NO pressure to run the race - the last thing you want to do is train too aggressively! I learned this lesson the hard way with my wonky knee. Definitely feel free just to come up and hang out!!!

      Ahhh, a vacation house near Dowagiac - SO AWESOME. I dream of owning a vacation home in the area. Maybe someday! I've heard such great things about both Round Barn and Tabor Hill, but have never been to either in person. We actually looked at hosting our wedding at Round Barn, but ultimately chose to get married on the beach instead. And at our reception we served wine from Tabor Hill! Local products are the best!

    4. Yeah, it's really nice to be able to get away from teh city for a day or two :) Especially now that every weekend isn't sucked up by wedding planning.

      But definitely check out Round Barn! We want to go back there again sometime, I could spend a whole day there easily. And the tasting comes with these cute stemless wine glasses!

    5. Isn't it amazing how much time and effort goes into wedding planning?!?!? I never understood why it takes a good year to plan a wedding until I went through it myself. And now I have so much more appreciation for the details of others' weddings because I know what goes into them!

      Stemless wine glasses! Very cool! Note to self regarding Round Barn. =D

    6. LOL, to jump in, I know Anne could be half ready by May, but it might be pushing it a bit. She should come spectate for sure!

    7. Agreed that May would be pushing it a bit... but that spectator options are endless. All the fun and cameradarie with much less physical strain. =D

  2. Have fun in Vegas!!! I have never been, but if I did go, I would want to go to all the shows and restaurants and skip the gambling/partying.

    1. Thanks, Maggie! You and I think very much alike. I am not into the gambling at all (hence my single $1 bets) and I have outgrown late-night partying, too. But bring on the food. Hello, Las Vegas buffets! =D

  3. Out and About is totally right today - busy lady! Can I just say that I fully support the idea of a cheese-themed race. Sign me up!

    As for the challenging Michigan Wine Trail race course, it might surprise you. When I ran the Austin half, I thought that I was in over my head with the hills. (Oh, the hills!) But it ended up being a great race for me. Sometimes you surprise yourself. And how cool would it be to run near where you got married?

    And - have fun in Vegas!!!*

    1. Thanks, Amy! It's funny how the schedule gets busy in fits and starts... nothing for weeks at a time, then EVERYTHING all at once!

      I think it would be cool if the Wisconsin Half hosted a cheese-tasting party at the end! But probably most people are not as much into cheese as I am, LOL.

      Thanks for the encouragement regarding hilly races! I went back to reread your race recap of the Austin Half Marathon and you ROCKED it. What an amazing confidence booster that must have been for you!!!!!!!

  4. have fun in vegas!! I am not a gambler either, but i still have such a great time there whenever i go. I do the same thing - spend about a dollar on slot machines, and the rest on booze, haha!

    1. Thanks, Sara! LOL regarding your spending habits in Vegas. Similarly I will be spending all of my non-gambling funds on FOOD (and am going to try to be good when it comes to dessert...)

  5. I would like to do the Wisconsin Half, I could actually take the train (which is about a mile from my house) to almost the starting line (4 blocks away)! However, I think it is too soon after my spring marathon (3 weeks). Maybe next year!

    1. Pete, based on my own experience with recovery period after the Chicago Marathon, I DEFINITELY agree with you that 3 weeks is too short. But if your schedule permits, it would be great if you came up to spectate and hang out! You can't beat your convenient logistics!!! =)

  6. I hope you are having a FAB time in LV!!!!

    I am so excited you are doing the WI half! :) We are all going to have so much fun. The weather has been great the last 4 years *knock on wood.*

    Thanks for the shoutout!

    1. Thanks, Kim! Things are going well in LV although it is actually colder here this weekend than in the Midwest. Go figure, sigh.

      I am super excited to run the WI Half with you and the others! It's going to be so much fun!

      And you are just helping to RAKE in the participants!!! WOO HOO!!!!!

  7. The Zooma Half Marathon is $105!! Your Detroit Wine race sounds cheap in comparison!!!

    1. WOW. Last year I think the ZOOMA Great Lakes Half started out around $70, so that is a HUGE price jump. Unless they are offering something really spectactular this year, I don't think I'll be running ZOOMA. Too expensive!

    2. I ran the Great Lakes one last year I think I paid 85? And it WAS pricey but well run. The course was tough and I wanted to tackle it again, not sure if it's the same course but I was looking at the other locations and they ALL started at $105!! When does the Detroit Wine Race go on sale I'm really thinking about that one now!

    3. You ran ZOOMA Great Lakes in October 2012!?!?!? I was the course marshall around mile 11, right before what I keep hearing as the ridiculous monster hill!

      The Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon isn't open for registration yet. But here's their website:

      and here is their Facebook page:!/pages/Midwest-Elite-Racing-Michigan-Wine-Trail-Half-Marathon/288423577874068?fref=ts

      Just to be clear, too, the race takes place in Baroda, Michigan, which is not in the Detroit area. It's actually about 3.5 hours west of Detroit (much closer to Chicago!)

      Please keep me posted on your thought process for this race!!!

  8. Ahh we are seriously twins! Mandalay Bay is one of my favorite hotels on the strip - it's far enough to be fairly low-key and quiet but it's still on the strip and a fantastic hotel in general. When I was in high school, my parents and I would make our way to Vegas for a few days prior to the start of school and we would always stay at Mandalay Bay because their pool (wave pool with sand!) is fantastic! I'm so excited for you :) And the O Show is absolutely stunning, you're gonna love it!

    I'm not a gambler at all either. This past summer I went to Vegas and barely gambled. Honestly, I think we're some of the lucky ones because we don't find gambling fun! More $$$ saved in our pockets haha. Hope you're having a blast!

    1. Yay for us twinsies!!! Mandalay Bay is awesome indeed for all the reasons that you mentioned. Unfortunately it was FREEZING in Vegas this past weekend (temps in the 20s!) so we weren't able to go to the pool. =( But how awesome that you and your parents would go to Vegas before the school year started, what a great way to end your summer!!! O was amazing, indeed - the performers made all the stunts look so easy that I started thinking that I could do them all myself at home (of course I know better, LOL). It's good not to be a gambler because there are plenty of other great things to spend your money on in Vegas (hello, eating and shopping!!!) =D