moving forward, Races, running

Racing well wishes!

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend. It’s been a year since I’ve done a half marathon and 5 years since I’ve done a full…but this quote was always something that hit home with me so I wanted to share it! Cheers and good luck!!

What’s your favorite distance to run? Are you racing this weekend?



Races, Recipes, Sunday Supper

Great Western Trail half marathon race recap with a recipe

I preface this post with the fact that I have only been working on speed every so slightly, once or twice each week on short runs in the last few months, and that I am an idiot for not being completely thrilled with my PR. 

I’ve done this race now three times, and was excited to possibly break my course record of 2:01, as well as maybe crush that good ole sub 2 goal I’ve had for the last several years.  The weather was nearly perfect at the start, with the temps in the low 60’s and a nice breeze. I was giddy as I got to hang out with Wendy from Taking the long way home, as well as the fact that this was my first race of 2015.

With that, I took off too fast, and only was able to hang with Wendy momentarily.  But I felt GREAT so heck, I was going to give it my all. “The faster you run, the faster you are done” rang sweetly in my head along with “Slow down you idiot or you’ll burn out!!”  I honestly could picture my PR/Sub 2 the entire race, and gave it my ALL.  I tried my best to keep my pace at or below 9:09, only faltering on that goal for a couple separate miles.  But as the temperature rose, and the sun came out in full force I could feel my head throb and hands swell by mile 11.  The spectators and volunteers were amazing, and after a couple high fives from some VERY cute little dudes I picked it back up.

But then, there’s that last mile of the Great Western trail half marathon that isn’t for the faint of heart or weak of mind.  It will take everything you have, and more to get through the winding hills, and never ending trail that seemingly is about to end…but then it doesn’t.  I pushed, feeling as if I was going to pass out, and then pushed some more.  I crossed the line with an official time of 2:00:11.  And I cried.  Sobbed nearly as big sweaty, salty tears stung my eyes.

And then I got mad, for not being happy that I got a PR, and that I finished strong WITHOUT passing out.  My awesome friends were there to hold me up, and celebrate with me all I had accomplished and I am so very thankful I didn’t feel sad for very long.

A huge shout out to the Fox River trail runners, the race organizers, volunteers and spectators.  I love this race! (Minus that last mile, lol)

Teri from Reinventitude, Wendy from Taking the long way home, and Karen from Trading in my Heels ❤

This pic, truly says it all.  Thanks to Dave Sheble from the Fox Valley Marathon for capturing it!
This pic, truly says it all. Thanks to Dave Sheble from the Fox Valley Marathon for capturing it! What AM I doing with my hand, though?

I finished my day by prepping/cooking Sunday Supper.  Tonight’s theme was Asian inspired. I even got my mandolin out, and if you recall from my Christmas post the mandolin and I got in a fight.  I decided to tackle my fears.  Heck, if I could PR in this heat, I can use a mandolin right? Mandolin 1-Michelle 1!

My husband is just hilarious, right?  LOL
My husband is just hilarious, right? LOL

Asian inspired short ribs

What you’ll need:

Short ribs (we used beef, but pork is fine too)-season with kosher salt and pepper and set aside


1 cup of low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup of chili garlic sauce

2 cloves of garlic-grated

Fresh ginger-grated

Juice of 2 limes

Fresh cilantro, finely chopped

5-6 green onions, chopped-use all of white, and some of the green

Drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil and mix well.  Pour over your ribs and let refrigerate for a couple hours.

Bake the ribs for about an hour (covered) at 325 degrees.  I might try lowering the temp next time, but they were amazing.  I served with ginger infused mashed sweet potatoes and a fennel, green apple and baby bok choy salad.  YUM!


Did you race or run this weekend?  Any new recipes in your rotation? How do you handle missing your goals?

Have a great week, y’all!!  It’s time to retire to the couch!


marathon training

Grandma’s Marathon training, week 10, DONE!

Gosh, it’s been such a busy week that I haven’t had time to sit down to unwind and write.  Honestly, I’ve been battling writers block terribly this week, so rather than just babble I decided to give myself a few days and see if I could come up with something…

Well, it’s been almost a week and still, I got nothin’ really all that witty or wonderful to say.


I did however manage to almost keep up with my marathon training this week, and have successfully completed my 17 miler.  I ran on Friday as its my weekend to pull supervisory duty at the hospital.  I met up with a couple of my running friends, and had a blast catching up with both of them during our miles.  Melissa stuck with us for 12 miles, and Janel stayed with me until 15.5 miles where she decided it best to call it at 16 so I took off to finish the last mile and a half alone.  All in all, my run felt great despite having to stretch several times.  My ITB just doesn’t want to loosen up, so I am being ginger with it as to prevent injury the best I can.  I foam roll every night now, and ice my knee after long runs.  I also did yoga once this week, and weight training twice.

Next weekend I’ll be doing my first half marathon/race of 2015 and I am really looking forward to it.  It’s my PR race (2:01), and although I don’t plan on racing it as I’ll have another 5 miles to tack on after the race, I do look forward to running it for the 3rd year in a row.  It’s literally almost in my back yard, and these trails and I have had many a memory made on them.  They’ve listened to me when I didn’t want to listen to myself, and they’ve given me back my wings so to speak more times than I can count.  If you remember, I did my 15 miler a few weeks ago on the very trails where this race will take place, and I learned a lot about myself that day.

I’m also looking forward to seeing Wendy from Taking the Long Way home (do you read her blog?  If not, head over now!) at the finish line as she’ll be toeing the line of this race too, but is much faster than me so will finish before I do.  Bonus for me, as it will be a huge welcome to see her smiling face at the finish line.

Lessons learned this week are:

-I’ve got more fuel in my tank than I realized.  After my long run Friday, I honestly felt like I could’ve kept going for several more miles.  YAY!

-People will support you, or they won’t.  Does it matter?  NO…as long as you believe in yourself.  I need to remind myself of this far too often, so I’m saying it out loud.
-Respect the distance you are running, always.  ‘Nuff said.

What’s your favorite distance to run? Do you repeat races you’ve previously ran?

Have a great week, y’all!  Keep Movin’ Forward!!!

❤ Michelle

depression, moving forward

Fear and frustration = FUEL for marathon motivation

In 2013 I ran my second FULL marathon. I swore I’d never run a second full, but got the bug after the first training run.  I PR’d by nearly an hour (58 minutes to be exact, I SHOULD know the seconds, but don’t, lol) and I SWORE I’d never run another full marathon.  I ran a couple half marathon races in 2014, to include my husband’s first half…did you read about it?  You can read about it HERE!

I love this guy...
I love this guy…

So today while on my break I decided to catch up on blog posts.  My friend Kim asked when training for the Grandma’s Marathon started, and after scratching my head and thumbing through my calendar I realized official training starts in TWO weeks.  WHA????  Here. WE. GOOOO!  In two weeks I need to be back up to a steady 6 mile run. Easy peasy, right?  I’m a marathoner for goodness sake…Ack…I haven’t ran more than 13.1 miles in 4 months…but I’m ready.  And a little scared, too…<3


Have you heard of this race?  If not, read here!  For those that don’t know, this is my hometown race, where I grew up watching marathoners crossing the finish line, thus my  dream of being a marathoner began.


And a marathoner I am…to me, this is one of the hugest mental and physical accomplishments of my life.  I have loved, I have lost, and I have ran 26.2 freakin’ miles.  yeah…quote THAT.  🙂

But the last 2 days I fought with some mental demons, past hurts, and irrevocable YUCK that just can’t be forgiven forgotten.  I ALMOST let it get to me….but NOPE.  Sorry y’all, I’ve got a marathon to train for…#movinforward

So I thank you all for your positive feedback in regards to my last post.  I know we all struggle, we are all human, and we all have those negative forces that try to creep in…BUT…I also know, only some of us decide to move forward…and not let that crap in.  (Yes, I was literally shaking my head today)!!!!


At the end of the day, I managed to finish my plank challenge (Day 2) and added an additional 10 seconds, as well as did the push up challenge I am participating in this month.  Tomorrow is mill day, and I hope to get in at least 3 miles.  I’ll be taking all of my fear and frustration and ‘running it out’ tomorrow…who’s with me? Let’s leave the crap behind us, right?


What are your plans for the week?  Do you have any upcoming races?


Naperville Half Marathon 2014 race recap

I went into this race with few expectations.  I got lazy (too busy more so) with my training and just prayed I had enough left in the tank to get this race done, and done strong.

I woke up at 4 am, got ready and hit the road to Naperville to meet up with the gang.  I texted Andrea, letting her know I pooped…LOL.  On going joke…sorry haha!

I got to Naperville at 5:45 and waited in the warmth of my car for everyone to arrive. Everyone arrived safely at around 6:15, and we had plenty of time to get settled.  I ate my cereal bar, chugged my 5 hr energy and we were off!

What a beautiful sunrise…and I am NOT a morning person!

These amazing people…I can’t say enough about these girls.


The starting line was lined with flags, and I was truly moved by the beauty of it all!

We lined up at the start, getting in to our respective corrals and bid each other high fives, hugs, and good luck.  I turned and saw Claudia, a woman I met during the Fox Valley training runs I paced, so we agreed to start together.  YAY!  The national anthem was beautifully sung, (sang?) and the race kicked off…it only took about 10 minutes to cross the starting line.  (They could’ve spaced this a little farther apart, as the course was slightly crowded the first few miles).

We stayed together the first couple miles, and she caught me at mile 9 walking-thankfully her motivation got me running up that terrible hill!
We stayed together the first couple miles, and she caught me at mile 9 walking-thankfully her motivation got me running up that terrible hill!

The first several miles felt great.  I thought to myself, HEY…I can DO this…but my excitement got the best of me and I went out too fast.  Rookie mistake.  Beginning mile splits: 9:33, 9:03, 8:58, 8:58, 9:02, 8:51, 9:11, 9:53 (took a walk break to fuel during the 8th mile. I saw Karen at mile 8.5 and nearly sobbed!  A friendly face, YAY!  We hugged quickly and I kept moving.

And then came mile 9…the hill from hell where it felt we were out in the middle of no where.  I walked briefly and then saw Claudia…I tried to stick with her, but it just wasn’t happening.  But I kept her in my sights, along with her awesome hubby who was on his bike throughout several spots on the course.  Seeing him helped me keep going…

I decided the sub 2 just wasn’t going to happen…I had a stitch in my side that refused to go away.

So I high fived all the kids.  I thanked all the volunteers and spectators.  I dug deep and searched for my smile. And I ate a piece of bacon from some amazing dude grilling at around mile 11…and I kept running as fast as I could.

Miles 10 and 11 were 9:51 (another walk/stretch break), 9:20 and my right ITB was SCREAMING at me, making my right knee, and foot feel like they were on fire.  I was done.  I lost sight of Claudia, and I sincerely just wanted to stop.  But I saw her husband at mile 12 and he reminded me “You are doing this for fun,” to which I forced a smile and kept going.

And then…I saw THIS.  (Thanks, Andrea for the picture).

No "Oh I wish I was running the full" feelings here.  AT ALL.
No “Oh I wish I was running the full” feelings here. AT ALL.

The stitch in my side was almost unbearable…but as I hit mile 13 and barreled up the .1 hill to the finish line (having a hill at the finish is just MEAN), I was satisfied.  Slight disappointment for yet another NOT sub 2 half briefly hit me, and the tears brimmed in my eyes. But I reminded myself I wasn’t properly trained, having only run ONE 9 miler since the Fox Valley half marathon in September.  So instead I celebrated all of my awesome friends finish times, and PR’s.  Final miles were 9:30, 9:13, 3:18 for the last .1.  I was blessed to have received my medal from Bob Miller, marathon maniac, and after a hug and smiles, I felt better.

Oh…and all the massages….all the food…and all the beer.

Two Brothers pale ale? You betcha!

AHHHHMAZING perk to this race. Stretching AND massage tents.

I may have eaten two of these…don’t judge.

At the end of the day I did what I set out to do.  Complete this race in under 2:10.  And of course, spend time with some pretty cool people.

Yes...I had about 57 layers on and STILL was cold, while Andrea was in shorts, LOL
Yes…I had about 57 layers on and STILL was cold, while Andrea was in shorts, LOL

I also got to see Carolyn finish her race, PR, AND qualify for Half Fanatics!  YAY!!!!

So proud of this girl!
So proud of this girl!

Pros of the race:

Plenty of port a johns at the start.

Lots of aid stations.

The spectators were amazing

Stretching AND massage tents.  SCORE!

The food/beer was warm/cold respectively

Having the gym open for the runners/spectators

Volunteers!  I can’t say enough about these amazing people

Cons of the race:

Disorganized gear check causing lengthy waits after the race

Not enough signage telling discombobulated runners where to go after the race

Mean security cops/guards.  Cut us some slack fellas…we just ran our butts off!


All in all I had a WONDERFUL time despite some self inflicted pain.  I would definitely do this face again!

Also, I was successful in my November goals by 99% only having missed out on doing yoga.  Score!

Did you race this weekend?  What is your favorite perk of the after race events?

❤ Michelle


Naperville Half marathon preparation and packet pick up

Today is a new day.  My daughter, the tough little cookie she is, is doing fine…I think Mom took it harder than daughter when reality slapped us in the face.

But today, after not a lot of sleep, I rolled out of bed and hopped in the shower.  It was time to pick up my race packet and hit the expo for a race I haven’t trained too terribly hard for, but that I know I can complete.  My #doepicshit friend Andrea was working the expo until 1 o’clock, so I wanted to make sure I got to see her.

And see her I did!  She graciously handed me my packet, and I shopped around while I waited for her to finish her volunteer shift.

Free chair massage?  yespleaseandthankyou!

Meet massage dude that was stuck in the 80's sporting his spray tan and gold chains.  But hey, he worked the knot in my back like a mad man.  WIN.
Meet Rico…my massage dude that was stuck in the 80’s sporting his spray tan and gold chains. But hey, he worked the knot in my back like a mad man. WIN.

Afterwards, we decided to grab a bite to eat to celebrate having some time together.  Living an hour apart, and both working crazy hours we don’t get to see each nearly enough.

Blue moon beer counts as carb loading, yes?
Blue moon beer counts as carb loading, yes?

After talking race strategy (run..walk…move…don’t die, and finish), we parted ways and I headed home to get my flat runner ready.

Flat runner ready!
Flat runner ready!

Upon my arrival home, my hubby asked what our dinner plans were?  What?  I am running a half marathon tomorrow…I’m. not. cooking.  LOL!  So he prepared some yummy pasta for us…DELISH!

True carb loading, LOL
True carb loading, LOL

And now, with my gear set out, my Garmin and IPod charging, I am relaxing in an almost too quiet house.  Wait…is that possible?  LOL…

My plan for tomorrow is quite simple…take all the stressors I’ve been dealing with the last few weeks, and let that energy fuel me for 2+ hours.  Leave the yuck on the road, and run with my heart.  I nearly tried to wimp out and either 1. not run the race or 2. just finish it half assed…But my friends know me far too well, and I just don’t work that way.

So I’ll meet up with my amazing friends before the race…shiver, hug, and embrace all that is right in the world by surrounding myself with these people.  Will the race lead to a PR?  Doubtful…realistically I am just a little rusty from the last few weeks.  But I’ll finish, and give it my all!

Thanks to you all, for your amazing support these last 2 days!

Cheers to my last major race of 2014!


I’ve lost it…

In the past several weeks, going on just over a month actually, I have lost my motivation to run.  Between the MasterChef gig, and ITB issues, running has been on the back burner in my life since my last half marathon in late September. 

So looking at the calendar with my last half marathon for 2014 steadily approaching NEXT weekend, I find myself terrified.

For the first time I am toying with a DNS (did not start) because I just have no motivation/desire to run this race.  I can’t believe I am saying those words but they couldn’t be more true.  My longest long run was last weekend with 9 miles ran at a super slow pace.

Pretty sure I will look a lot like this next Sunday...
Pretty sure I will look a lot like this next Sunday…


I paid for this race.  I committed to run this race.  So…I’ll run this race.  Lord willing at least…

The forecast is terrible, with cold temps and rain/ice on deck.

Someone…help me find my motivation, QUICK.  :-/

Help!  I lost it!
Help! I lost it!

How do you tackle lack of motivation in regards to running/racing?

❤ Michelle