Friday, September 13, 2013

Food, drink, orange/blue, and Vegas?

Happy Friday (the 13th), everyone!

I'm usually fairly even-keel when it comes to the days of the week. I.e. I'm not usually one who spends the entire workweek counting down to Friday. But this week, I have to admit I have been looking forward to having the weekend to really relax.

Here are some things going on in my neck of the woods:

Save the earth - it's the only planet that has chocolate
I am going on a Chocolate Tour of Chicago this weekend! There is a great Groupon deal for it right now.

As luck and timing would have it, I've built great momentum over the past few weeks on a very healthy eating streak. I'm actually a bit reluctant to quell that momentum with an afternoon spent sampling chocolate (what the heck has happened to me?) Ah well.

The reviews for this tour have been mixed, so we will see how it goes. (But how bad could any tour be when chocolate is involved, right?)

Fermenting away
I've been hearing a lot about kombucha and all of its health benefits. A quick google search yielded the following description:

"Kombucha is a lightly effervescent fermented drink of sweetened black tea that is used as a functional food. It is produced by fermenting the tea using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, or "SCOBY."

Hmm. In all honesty, the word "fermented" is not one of my favorite words when it comes to food or drink. But then there are all the marketing signs touting kombucha, e.g.:

Interesting. I was at the Chicago French Market with a friend earlier this week, and one of the vendors was selling kombucha. I decided to try it.

The verdict? Not my favorite. It was sour and zingy and to me it tasted like something that was in the beginning stages of getting spoiled. Personally, I will not be going out of my way to drink more kombucha in the future. My apologies to those that love kombucha.

Many Sundays I pass by Soldier Field and smell the glorious aroma of food on the grill. Then I see the hordes of people dressed to the nines in NFL team attire, enjoying the great (parking lot) outdoors. Ahhh, tailgating. What better way to enjoy a beautiful autumn day?

I think I've only ever tailgated at a football game once in my life. This was when I was just out of college and attending an Illinois football game in Champaign-Urbana. It might have been Homecoming weekend? I can't remember.

Tailgaters in front of Memorial Stadium at my beloved alma mater

In any event, I have definitely never tailgated at an NFL game and have always wanted to do so. In addition to observing tailgating aficionados live and in person, I've watched a lot of Foot Network TV, have seen how some folks have tailgating down to a science, and have strategically plotted ways to acutely emulate their techniques!

I have also been bugging Adam about trying to tailgate when we go to Pittsburgh in October for the Steelers game. Unfortunately, it is apparently difficult/very expensive to get a spot in the "tailgate-able" parking lot.

However, my tailgating wish is about to be granted! One of Adam's friends invited us to a Bears tailgate party this Sunday. I am really excited (to the point of ridiculousness)!

Orange and Blue
Speaking of Da Bears, I just heard about the inaugural Ditka Dash 5K which is being held on November 30. So awesome! Here is a funny article about the race that mentions a $5 discount code (DITKA).

I would have so loved to participate in a race honoring DA COACH! Unfortunately I'm out of town that weekend. =(

But on another side note, and speaking of my alma mater, I am very proud of the origin of the Bears' team colors. DA BEARS and the University of Illinois both use orange and blue for their colors because Bears' founder George "Papa Bear" Halas was an Illinois alum! I-L-L...

Discount Double Check!
Lots of Bears talk today, I know. One last thing about Da Bears and Da Superfans. This is one of my new favorite commercials:

And finally...

Vegas, baby?
I just found out that the Rock N Roll racing series is offering a TourPass 3-Pack for $249. The 3-pack allows you to run three North American Rock N Roll races of your choice (plus a $7.99 initiation fee and $7.99 processing fee per race).

I've been wanting to do the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon for quite some time, but it is expensive ($145 for early registration, and the price keeps going up from there). However, the TourPass 3-Pack apparently has no restrictions on usage for Las Vegas. Therefore, it would be a very good deal to get the 3-Pack if used for Las Vegas because you'd basically get to run two additional half marathons at about $50 (or less) per race (not including the $7.99 processing fee).

So if I were to get the 3-pack, Rock N Roll Las Vegas would be a gimmee, and I could definitely see running Rock N Roll Chicago again for the second race. But, I'd still need to pick one more race...

You think we need one more?
You think we need one more.
Allright, we'll get one more.


  1. Good to know about that RnR 3 pack. I hear the Vegas Race is pretty cool. They only close down that main drag in Vegas twice a year. Once for New Year's Eve and once for the RnR. Would be quite an experience!

    1. Oh wow, I didn't realize it was such a big deal to close down the Las Vegas Strip! Now I am even more excited about the prospects. Can you imagine the crazy costumes people must wear to run a race in Vegas? Lots of Elvis impersonators, I am sure!

  2. RnR Denver is great, plus you get some altitude training. I've always wanted to do RnR Savannah. But flights there are $$$ and last year the medal was hideous. How's that for superficial? Ha!

    1. Ahhh, I read your post early this morning about how to run at high altitudes but haven't commented yet. You had some really great tips!

      Not superficial at all regarding the medal! When there are thousands and thousands of races to pick from, these things really do make a difference!!! I have definitely started to give races consideration based on how much I like the medal, myself. (By the way, I've started noticing, as you once pointed out, that RnR race medals have surprisingly plain ribbons!)

  3. OOO, I can't wait to hear what RnR race you pick. Dublin?! :) Aww, North American, boo. (jk)

    WTG on your healthy eating kick! I bet you will be mindful when you sample the chocolate and enjoy it without going overboard. Have fun! :)

    1. Yeah, boo to the 3-pack being applicable only to North American races, indeed! San Diego and Montreal are probably at the top of the list for #3, but we shall see. =D

      Thank you, I was pretty well-behaved on the chocolate tour and brought home a bunch of leftovers instead of eating them all on the spot! Only bad thing is, SOMEONE'S gotta eat the leftovers now. ;)

  4. I am going to Las Vegas for the race! Do it. Get the TourPass. I am going to Philadelphia, Denver, Providence, St. Louis and Cleveland. Oh and Arizona is a really nice race. After I am done with Las Vegas I am boycotting RnR races. They're ridiculously expensive. I don't think I can make it to their expo to pick up my packet and they're charging me $40 to pick it up on race day. I was hoping to go to New Orleans in February for their race but now I need to find another one.

    As for the Chocolate Tour, I did that too. My sister an 10 year old nephew LOVED it! Our favorite place was a Glazed. Their donuts are the best.

    I saw the email about the 5K. I should be done with my half marathons by then so I think I should be OK to run it.

    1. Unfortunately the 3-Pack only applies to 2014 races, otherwise I would have SO LOVED to meet up with you in Vegas this November! But I am leaning very strongly towards doing it next year if you change your mind on RnR races in the future (they ARE very expensive - $40 for day-of packet pickup? OUCH!). But it sounds like you really, really got your money's worth with your TourPass. That is awesome!!!

      Those Glazed doughnuts were indeed awesome and I loved the triple-chocolate cookies at the Goddess and the Grocer, too. =)

      Yay for the Ditka 5K. Incidentally - any chance you are running the Carrera de los Muertos? I just signed up for it today!!!

  5. We need to meet for lunch at the French Market! And then eat it outside on the river by the Boeing building.

    1. YES! Let's meet for a French Market lunch and enjoy it outside while the weather is still nice!!! I am available most days for lunch so let me know what days work best for you. =)

      Btw - I just tweeted you that I signed up for the Carrera de los Muertos!!! Can't wait to meet up there, too!!!

  6. I'm doing RnR Vegas this year. My friends ran it before and I went for moral support (my pre-running days). It is quite the experience and I just love Vegas as it is. I'm considering the 3 stop pass as well. I'd be in the same boat... Chicago, Vegas, and where? Don't forget that you get Heavy Medals for completing multiple RnR races the same year!

    1. OOoooh, yay for running Las Vegas! I can't wait to hear what you think of the race! Will you be staying on the Strip? I just love Vegas, too, and look for any excuse to go there. =)

      Too bad that 3-pack TourPass can't be used for 2013 races otherwise I would have loved to run Vegas this year, too. But I am fairly certain that I will get the 3-Pack for next year, pending the actual date of RnR Vegas in 2014.

      And YES to the Heavy Medals! You better believe that I started ogling those extra medals as soon as I started thinking about running more than RnR Chicago in one year. =D

  7. Hope the chocolate your was delicious!

    I like RnR races and the tour pack seems like a great deal. I did RnR Vegas the first year and won't do it again for various reasons. But it was quite an experience running down the strip :) I've done RnR Arizona, St Pete (cancelled now) along with my all time favorite San Jose California- the one in France looks amazing. Ooh and the New Orleans one is definitely on my list. The medal is awesome! (And I'm not usually into bling) I wonder which one you'll choose :)

    1. And try the "synergy" brand Kombucha with chia seeds in it. I get them from whole foods and they are flavored with raspberry or cherry and are actually quite good :)

    2. The chocolate tour was fun although it definitely did break my streak of healthy eating... and now I am craving more and more chocolate! =D You are lucky that you don't like chocolate because chocolate is such a weakness for me, sigh.

      I want to hear more about your experience at RnR Vegas and why you wouldn't do it again. I have heard great things about RnR Arizona and San Jose from many folks, and agree on the one in France looking incredible. San Diego and Montreal are probably on the top of the list, followed by New Orleans (only because New Orleans would be expensive around Mardi Gras when it takes place).

      Thanks for the tip on Synergy Kombucha with chia seeds!!! Based on your recommendation maybe I'll give it another chance. =)

  8. A tour with chocolate, what's not to love? So glad you are doing well sweet girl! I don't think I would be a fan of Kombucha either...I'll pass! Oh I am doing my half next excited...the pain is so much better! Blessings girlie.

    1. Shannon!!! So good to hear from you and I am so thankful to hear that you've been feeling much better!!! You are absolutely going to ROCK your first half marathon next Sunday. I really can't wait to hear how it goes for you!!!

  9. So, how was tailgating? You'll have to tell me all about it. Too bad you didn't get nice fall weather and instead got that rainy crap. But from what I understand that does not deter tailgaters!

    I also ran Vegas (the full) in 2011 and although it is my marathon PR I don't think I'll do it again. From what I understand they've gotten their act together and I didn't hear nearly as much outrage after the 2012 race so hopefully it's better now! It is an experience, though. Not so much for people in costume as the feeling that you are running through a tunnel of drunken frat boys :-)

    1. Thanks for asking, tailgating was a BLAST (even though you have to love how the festivities fell on the one rainy day we've had in months!) Will tell you more about it tonight but in short, I can definitely see why people love tailgating. Although I probably won't be one of those REALLY die-hard tailgaters that still party it up in sub-zero temps. =)

      A tunnel of drunken frat boys at RnR Las Vegas, eh? I definitely expected to see lots of folks in Elvis costumes and such, but admittedly drunken frat boys are not what I pictured. This is good to know!!!