Monday, August 19, 2013


Sorry to disappear again!  It's been a hectic few weeks but here is a mishmosh of recent updates:

NAAAP National Convention
I was in Toronto the weekend before last for the NAAAP Convention, my 11th consecutive year attending the convention.  As per usual, it was great to see old and new friends and to enjoy all that the host city has to offer.  Toronto reminds me a lot of Chicago - both are large financial cities with unique architecture and stunning lakefronts - so I always feel very at home whenever I visit.

During my free time in Toronto, I made a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame to see my old friend again:

I also went for a run along Toronto's lakefront.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous and I wanted to take full advantage.  Here are a few pictures:

I was disappointed that the Toronto 10-Miler had been cancelled that weekend, but it was nice to be able to run just to explore and observe the locals enjoying their weekend.  I can't wait to run a race in Toronto or elsewhere in Canada whenever the opportunity next permits!

New Fitness Pursuits
My workplace just started offering free fitness classes for all employees.  I've been trying to attend a cross-section of the offerings to get a feel for how I like them.  So far I've tried Zumba, a yoga sculpt class (yoga with some light hand-weights), and pilates.

I am proud to say that all three classes left me feeling the burn for days afterwards. Wow. You would think that running would translate into increased ease when it comes to some of these other fitness pursuits, but it was so not the case.  

The Zumba class was especially humbling.  The classroom has a floor-to-ceiling mirror where you can see your own form (or lack there-of, in my case).  There are certain (many) moves that I just can't pull off gracefully, no matter how hard I try.  A lot of practice is definitely in order for me when it comes to Zumba.

Race Talk
  • After taking a multi-week hiatus from running, it hit me that my next half marathon is in less than three weeks.  Better get cracking on my training!  I had planned to run 8 this past weekend.  After a slow and very painful start to the run, a GU got me back on track.  I ended up feeling so good that I did 9 and could have kept going.  This was a great confidence booster!  The plan for this weekend is to run 11 or 12 this coming weekend, then give myself one stepback week.  Nothing like trying to undergo emergency half-marathon training yet again.  But I am happy with how things went yesterday so at least my 3-week training plan is off to a good start.

  • I signed up for a new 5K called the 5K9 Walk/Run, which takes place on September 22.  I've mentioned many times that animal shelters are a cause that I support from the bottom of my heart, so I was thrilled to find another race that goes towards them.  There's actually a Groupon available for this race, but since I wanted to donate directly to the cause I opted to register on the race website.
  • I just heard about the Pittsburgh Penguins 6.6K Run, which takes place on October 6.  I would have loved to run this race for the cause and for the instant PR (I've never seen a 6.6K race anywhere else).  They even give out medals to the finishers!  But unfortunately the timing does not work out for Adam and I to go to Pittsburgh that particular weekend.  Hopefully next year.
  • I am really trying to hold myself back from registering right now for the Prairie State Half Marathon. This is all pending how the body holds up as well as some family potentially coming into town that weekend.  If I do end up registering, I am eyeing this race as a "current" PR attempt (my all-time half marathon PR, which is from about 10 years ago, is probably out of reach this year).  The appeal of an uncrowded race with easy logistics amidst gorgeous fall foliage is getting harder and harder to deny. As much as I love summer, I love fall even more.
Non-Race Talk
  • Speaking of fall, Blackhawks tickets for the 2013-14 regular season went on sale this morning at 10:00 AM sharp.  After much advance planning, strategizing, and testing of the tangled web that is Ticketmaster (and its exorbitant fees), Adam and I managed to snag tickets to a total of six Hawks games for the season.  Score!!!
  • Cubs games for the non-baseball fan!  My company is having a Cubs game outing this Thursday, plus had some extra tickets available to other games last week and this week.  Adam and I took advantage and went to last Friday's game.  I hadn't been to Wrigley Field in probably five years, so it was fun to check it out (plus the Cubs won!)  Here's the view from our seats:

  • Other neat stuff in the works: 
    • Anne is hosting a fun run/BBQ to raise funds for the Chicago Lung Run!  What a great way to celebrate the last few weeks of summer.  Should be a great time.
    • I will be taking an Introduction to Sailing class!  I've always gawked at the folks sailing along the Lake Michigan coastline.  It looks like a blast (although I've heard it is a lot of work).  I've never been on a real sailboat so this will be quite an experience for me.
    • I am considering a trip to Six Flags Great America one of these weekends.  Adam has never been there and I haven't been there since high school.  Only question is whether or not I can still handle rollercoasters.  As I've gotten older, my propensity for motion sickness has increased a lot (I get queasy these days just riding the CTA bus or trains).  TBD, TBD...
That's all, folks!

Medal Talk
On a final random note, I was looking at all of the race medals I've accumulated in the past few years.  Two things:
  1. I've actually got several duplicative medals from doing the same races in multiple years.  It would be nice to diversify the medals somewhat.  Any suggestions on good (preferably local) races with cool, unique medals?
  2. I am utilizing a very unorthodox method right now to display my medals.  If you can picture it, I am hanging my medals from the stand portion of an upright ironing board stored in my closet.  (Not very glamorous.)  The lowest-priced medal holder that I've ever seen was $60, which is a bit more than I'd like to pay.  For those of us who are DIY project-challenged, anyone have suggestions on affordable alternatives to medal holders?


  1. I love the pics, especially the one of the beach in Toronto. I guess I forget they are on a Great Lake just like us. Do they have a trail along the Lake Ontario? See you on Thursday!

    1. The Toronto beach is what I would call the equivalent of North Avenue Beach in Chicago. =) The area I was in did have somewhat of a lakefront path, although it was a lot of different surfaces (boardwalk, sidewalk, road) and it wasn't continuous. There were areas where the path got cut off by shoreline so you would have to go back inland to keep following the water. It was fun to check out. =)

      See you Thursday!!!!!!! Can't wait!!!!!

  2. Heh, my medals (all 4 of them!) are hanging from a hook on my closet door right now. I'm going to buy a medal rack for me and Bob (to share - aww!) sometime after Grand Rapids in October, but it does feel super unofficial to just have them hanging next to my necklaces.

    The 5K9 sounds like so much fun! But I'm going to be out of town that weekend :( And glad to hear you're trying out even more non-running things! I love classes because I usually get a really good workout and really don't have to think too hard about what I'm doing, since the teacher does all the work in planning stuff out. I'd love to hear more about them (on Thursday - YAY!). And I think I wrote a post talking about the awkwardness of working out with full-body mirrors sometime last year - I'm pretty comfortable with seeing that now, but jumping jacks still kill me. And probably always will.

    1. I remember you saying in a recent post that once you start getting medals, it's hard to run any races where they don't give out medals. I couldn't agree more!!! I love the medal from your Women's Half. I am considering trying to run that race next year just for the medal. =) Yay for a shared medal rack for you and Bob!!! That's great motivation for both of you to add to the collection!!!

      That is a bummer that you'll be out of town the weekend of the 5K9! And I have been inspired by your weekly workout posts with the diversity of fitness pursuits that you always list. Running does get old after awhile, so it really is nice to mix things up whenever possible. Full-body mirrors are KILLER. I don't know whose idea they are, LOL.

      Can't wait to see you on Thursday!!! YAY!!!!!

  3. I too have an uneasy stomach, even with a big bump in a bridge on the bus! I don't handle amusement parks too well haha

    Good luck with your training and stay healthy!

    1. Ugh, big bumps on a bridge in a bus are the worst, especially when you literally go flying out of your seat. =( I'm also pretty bad when it comes to roads that wind back and forth, like mountain roads. Ugh.

      I wish you a speedy recovery with your recent injury issues, too!!!!!!!!

  4. Some of my running friends buy tie racks and belt racks that hang on the wall to put their medals on. I'm sure if you went to The Container Store they would have SOMETHING!

    We still need to use our classes at Crosstown Fitness!

    1. Tie and belt racks, eh? I will have to make a sojourn over to the Container Store to see what they might have. =) I think the biggest issue would be whether or not the tie rack substitute can hold the weight of medals, yes?

      Ah yes, we still need to use our Crosstown Fitness classes!!! I'll email you under separate cover - but how about this Wednesday night?!?

  5. I have heard that fancier curtain rods work well as diy medal racks :)

    Totally jealous of your hawks tix score AND that you got to see the cup AGAIN!

    1. A fancy curtain rod, eh?!? That's a fantastic, low-cost, low-maintenance idea! I would just need to find a place to hang a fancy curtain rod other than the bathroom. =D

      Can't wait for hockey season!!! I bet you are super excited, too!!!!!!! =)

  6. Yay! So I get to see you this week!

    Awesome that the run had a turn around and you are feeling good for your next half. Let me know if you want me to pace you if I am around, at Prairie state. That is right next to my house. (Hmm, just realized I have a race at 2:00 pm that day but it should all be cool)

    That is so cool that your work has all those classes and you are trying them out! Zumba did not come naturally to me, the one time I tried it, but I did still enjoy it! :)

    1. So glad I get to see you this week, too!!! WOO HOO!!!

      Would love to run with you at Prairie State if you are available! You were an awesome pacer for the Chicago Half last year and my time from that race is the one I'm aiming to beat this time around. =D But if you are doing another race at 2:00 PM that day, it seems like a lot for you. So it's totally your call - would love to see you but would totaly understand if it's too much!

      Ah yes, I am on the fence on whether or not I'll every do Zumba ever again, LOL.

  7. Replies
    1. It scares me too! Even more so now that I've actually tried it! It was harder than I thought it would be!!!

  8. Great to catch up with you (i.e. reading this post :) ). Life sometimes gets super busy (I'm the worst at disappearing) but I'm glad to see all is well with you! To answer your question on how to keep medals, I actually built my own medal holder board! I took photos and all, and wrote up a draft post a long time ago but haven't posted it yet :/ Seriously, you inspired me to finish it up and post it - it's so easy to create your own!


    1. Irina! I think you and I are both in the same boat where we've had a ton going on, so it's challenging to keep up with the blogging these days. I am loving reading your posts when you do have the time - it looks like you are enjoying yourself so much in NYC!!!

      Oooh, please do post on your own medal holder board as soon as you can!!! I am dying to see your pictures! Whenever time permits, I would also love to get your tips on how you made your own sparkly headbands, too. =)