The Forgotten Weekend

Did you have plans this weekend?

Most of the people I spoke with didn’t, and I think it’s because this was a hidden weekend tucked between Memorial Day and June.  So rare!

The BOY and I started our weekend Friday with date night at Cooper’s Hawk followed by an uneventful game of Monopoly.

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We slept in Saturday morning and woke to a cool, stormy day.  I planned to go for a run and figured that I’d wait for the sun to come out in the afternoon.  The day progressed slowly with a trip to the grocery store, lunch at home, LOTS of wedding talk and decisions, baking a beautiful banana bread (recipe below), and a trip to Kohl’s for more outfit options for engagement photos.  It is so hard to figure out what to wear so that we don’t match but don’t clash for a 52 degree spring day. Ugh!

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By the time we left Kohl’s after 4pm, my stress levels were elevated.  Sadly, the sun never showed up and the rain was still pouring so an outdoor walk was out of the question.  I decided that the best thing to do would be to head to the gym to burn off some negative energy.  The combination of a long and exhausting work week with wedding plans and lack of exercise/yoga had be feeling edgy.  I knew I’d feel so much better after some laps around the indoor track!

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And I was right!  I did a track ‘Tabata’ workout consisting of 6 minute runs and 3 minute intervals (10 seconds on/20 second recovery x6 times).  Each sprint got faster and faster as I felt better and more energized.  When I got back home, the BOY was making beer can chicken for dinner, which turned out fantastic!  We had a quiet night at home watching the Blackhawk’s game (which they won…woo hoo!).

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Sunday morning, I was excited to go to yoga. I haven’t been in a few weeks due to illness and scheduling, and I knew I needed a tough physical and emotionally cleansing class.  For breakfast, I used the leftover sweet potato from last night’s dinner to whip up some 2 Ingredient Pancakes (+ flax). 

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I was winging the portions a bit but they turned out absolutely delicious!

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My yoga class was positively fantastic!  The teacher talked a bunch about giving to ourselves so that we can give to others and slowing down to connect with our breath.  It was exactly what I needed to feel more grounded and ready for the day ahead.

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When I got back home, the BOY and I made breakfast for lunch (brunch?), and then I tried on no less than 23 outfits for our engagement pictures.  I ran out of time to make a decision because I needed to run out the door for my scheduled mani/pedi.  When I got home, it was time to finish my hair and get my make up done.

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Man, I wish I had someone to do this every weekend!  The BOY and I took our pictures at the park near our house where we play tennis. We took a few fun ones on the swings and tennis courts and then the more ‘serious’ ones near the prairie at sunset.

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After freaking out about these pics all week, I ended up in jeans and a white shirt I’ve had for years.  Go figure!  Although it was freezing, we had a lot of fun!  Afterwards, we grabbed a late dinner of beer and pizza.  I couldn’t let that awesome make up go to waste : )  It was another wonderful weekend, and I can’t wait to see ALL of our engagement photos!  And…I can’t believe that our wedding is just 131 days away!

 

What did you end up doing with your forgotten weekend?

 

Chocolate and Walnut Banana Bread

From Hoosier Homemade

Ingredients

  • 2 cups MINUS 2 tablespoons Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ cup Oil (I like Safflower oil)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 very ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • ½ cup Walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup Chocolate Chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a bread pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients; flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Add oil and eggs, one at a time. Beat after each addition. Add mashed banana and vanilla, beat well.  Fold in nuts and chocolate chips.

Pour into pan.  Bake at 350 degrees – regular loaf 50-60 minutes or mini loaves 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

2 Ingredient Sweet Potato Pancakes (with flax)

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 1/2 medium sweet potato (about 100g)
  • 15g ground flax seed

Directions

Place all ingredients in a blender/food processor or blend in bowl with hand mixer (this is what I did) until mixed well.

Pour onto preheated skillet with coconut oil or cooking spray.  Cook about 5-6 minutes.  Then flip for 3-4 minutes.

Top with nut butters, syrup, or fruit!

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What Do May Flowers Bring?

In some ways, May was a bit of a wash. I was sick for over two weeks and didn’t get my usual energy and zest back.  I didn’t do much exercise, cooking, or blogging and overall felt a little (not a lot, just a little) bit blah. 

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But, in other ways, May was super fun and exciting!  I finished up a successful spring yoga session, I got out on my bike and then biked 30 miles on Lake Shore Drive, the BOY and I have been playing way more tennis, we did a weekend escape to Wisconsin, and on the last day of the month, we are scheduled to take our engagement pictures.

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May is also an exciting month because it is clear that after the long, hard winter, summer is truly on it’s way. And with summer comes green veggies at farmer’s markets, outdoor BBQs, trips to Wisconsin and Michigan, and tons of fun and excitement!

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May Goals

Get into a tri training routine– Although I was initially stressed about the decision, I feel much better having decided not to do a tri this year.  I also appreciate everyone’s support and encouragement about the decision!

Eat whole foods (and lots of greens)-I have cleaned up my diet and will continue to work on this.  Unfortunately, when I don’t feel well, greens are the last thing on my mind.  I’m hoping to hit up more markets and incorporate more greens into each meal this next month.

Get outside…play tennis, go hiking!-We have played a lot more tennis.  The BOY is excited to get more active and we have enjoyed exercising together.

Keep up with my 10 minute daily mind break-Other than one or two times when my foot was its worst, I have been taking my walk breaks (even just 5 minutes in the parking lot when I have to).  It is my way to get in my Vitamin N(ature) and take a little mental break from my work day.

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June Goals

Eat Clean, Train Dirtythis means whole foods, extra greens, lots of exercise, bike rides, and strength training.

Cook and Bake

Drink More Wateryou might be surprised to hear me say this because I drink a lot of water.  But I also drink a lot of black (caffeinated) tea and have not been drinking enough water during my work day, where it is tough sometimes to steal sips from my water bottle.

Slow Down and Enjoy Every Moment!

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What are your June/Summer goals?

Five for Friday XXXIV {Cooper’s Antics Edition}

By reader demand…a day devoted to my favorite furry friend!

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1. Cooper loves ice cubes! He has since he was a kitten and the second you start filling your glass, there is an eager kitty at your toes.  If you happen to lose a cube, it is gone for good as Cooper bats it around the kitchen.  Earlier this week, as I was getting ready for work, he was paying some special attention to my shoes.  Why you ask?  Because he lost his ice cube INSIDE my shoe.

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Busted!

 

2.  Cooper knocked down our plant in front of the TV during the Hawk’s game Wednesday night. 

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He had so much fun hunting from ‘the jungle’ that he did it again on Thursday night, and then proceeded to hide in the jungle and stalk his mouse from the leaves. 

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3. On a non Cooper note, the BOY and I had the most wonderful Friday date night.  Dinner at Cooper’s Hawk (yes…that is where Cooper’s name came from, so I guess this is related to our kitten).  They have a new burrata appetizer…yum!  And the wine and service are always on point.

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4. Afterwards, we started a game of Monopoly.  Look who got jealous that he wasn’t include? 

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5. Despite all of his antics, at the end of the day, all he really wants is a cuddle and a belly scratch

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Does your pet have ‘antics’?

An Award…For Me?

A huge THANK YOU to my fellow Chicago blogger Sara at Lake Shore Runner for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger award. I feel like my blogging has been a little bit more blah lately and was pleasantly surprised to see my name on her list of nominees.  I even double checked it to make sure that I hadn’t misread it.  I love a survey and awards…they always bring a little zeal to the blog!

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So what is this wonderful award?

The Versatile Blogger Award is for those blogs that bring something special to your life.  In picking your nominees, you are to consider the quality of the writing, the uniqueness of the subjects covered, the level of love displayed in the words on the virtual page. Or, of course, the quality of the photographs and the level of love displayed in the taking of them.

Who me?

Why, Thank You!  The rules are that I answer Sara’s 10 questions and then nominate 10 other bloggers with a new set of questions.  Easy enough…right?  And something to start thinking about in between Blackhawks periods Monday night, when I probably should have been getting ready for bed, and finish tonight when I should have been doing paperwork but instead decided to drink some wine.

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And here we go…

1. What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?

Hmm…this one was really tough because I feel I’m pretty real and upfront about me.  But, most people who know me are surprised to learn that I was super shy as a kid.  Like seriously afraid to arrive to a group party, clung to my mom, kind of shy (Mom, feel free to add something).  How I got over it…no idea!  I went to kindergarten and haven’t stopped talking since.

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2. Have you ever met someone famous?

I don’t think so…I did see Joakim Noah from the Bulls at LaGuardia last year, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually met someone famous.

3. What’s something you hope will never come back in style?

Perms and feathered bangs…need I saw more?!

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4. What is one place on your travel must-see bucket list?

There are so many to choose from!  I’d love to sun bathe in the Polynesian Islands and eat my way through Europe (I’m thinking Greece and Italy).  Plus, I dream of following the Tour De France through France one year and doing yoga in Bali.  So the answer is…all of the above!  I have been to a few bucket list places.  I was so lucky to visit Israel a few years back and travel Australia with my brother.

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Bondi Beach

5. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

Emma Stone…plus I think we’d totally be friends IRL.  (No I don’t think we look alike, but we are both super awesome and cool!)

6. Who is your favorite Disney Princess?

Funny because I actually answer this question more often then most professionals my age.  The joys of working with kids, singing Frozen songs at work, and having to be totally up to date on EVERYTHING Disney.  My number one favorite is Cinderella.  My aunt had cable and used to record movies and mail them to us from New York.  I remember that Cinderella was on a tape with a few other movies and it was by far my favorite.

7. What would you sing at karaoke night?

You would be very unlucky to find yourself at a bar where I was singing karaoke.  It would most likely mean that I had been over-served and need to go home. Because…I am tone deaf and a terrible singer!  I was in choir in junior high and they told me I could stay in choir but I just couldn’t sing.  That being said, I ironically sing almost daily at my job.  I do a mean rendition of ‘5 Little Speckled Frogs’ and always love ‘Old MacDonald’ with the animal sounds. 

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So if you made me sing karaoke and I couldn’t go to my favorite childhood work songs, it would most likely be ‘I will Survive’ or Paramore’s ‘Misery Business’.  And when I’m done, please call me a cab!

8. Who would you want to be stranded with on a deserted island?

As cheesy as it sounds, it’s totally my fiancé.  The two of us always have a BLAST together, whether we are exploring San Francisco or playing games during a Wisconsin Staycation.  I know that he will always make me laugh and that we’d be able to make coconut water out of coconuts.  It’d be okay if Cooper came too!

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9. What is your biggest pet peeve?

Bad drivers!!!  Ugh, I hate getting stuck behind a slow person in the left lane.  My heart starts racing just thinking about it!

10. What clothing item/accessory/shoes do you have way too many of in your closet?

Scarves! 

 

Your Turn!

Just Fuffy

Babeta Runs

Well Plated by Erin

I had a Big Lunch

Triathlete Treats

Sweet Sweat Life

Running with the Sunrise

Bendiful Blog

Blissful Britt

The Healthy Maven

 

To answer these questions…

1. What is your favorite characteristic about yourself?

2. What are you most excited to do this summer?

3. What advise would you give your 10 year old self?

4. Favorite ice cream flavor?

5. What sports team do you cheer for?

6. What movie/book do you wish had a sequel?

7. What non-typical house pet would you own?

8. Desktop, tablet, phone, or laptop?

9. Do you have any superstitions?

10. What was your first blog post about?

 

Answer any question on this page!

Car-Free and Carefree

WARNING: this is a LONG post for a LONG weekend!

The BOY and I have had two fantastic weekends!

Last weekend, we did our weekend getaway to Wisconsin and this weekend, we went down to Chicago.  But first, we decided to sleep in and play Saturday morning by ear.  Since I wasn’t running the race, we had tons of possibilities.  I didn’t set an alarm and took my time drinking my morning tea and enjoying a breakfast stirfry.

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Then, the BOY and I went out to play tennis in the sunshine.  Our usual outdoor court was full, but we were able to find another available court near by.

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It took us a little bit of time to get into our groove, but once we did, it was really fun.  That might be because I won almost half the games!

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After tennis, we picked up a light lunch at Panera and then swung by DSW for new shoes to support my foot during tennis.  We went back home to pack up our stuff for the city and then hit the road.  We got downtown around 4pm and decided to walk up and down Southport doing a bit of shopping.  Then we ordered Thai food for dinner, planning to bring it in to watch the Hawks game (just like last year).

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While we waited for dinner, we grabbed a beer at The Green Lady, which has tons of local Chicago and Illinois beers on tap.  We both tried something new that we really liked!

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We picked up our dinner and walked back to my brother’s where we were staying.  One of my favorite things about staying in Lakeview is all of the walking that we do.  And what little time I spend in my car!  We cracked open a bottle of Napa wine and sucked down our amazing Thai dinner during the exciting game.

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Unfortunately, I was not able to stay awake for the two over times, but was happy to see that the Hawks pulled off the win.  My alarm went off at 6am Sunday morning and it took me some time to get organized.  By 6:30, I had some (but not enough) air in my tires and was heading east to Lake Shore Drive.

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My goal was to get down to Grant Park where I knew there were a few different bike shops offering free support to the riders.  The weather was a bit unpredictable and a few miles in, it was clear that I would need my jacket to keep me warm and dry.

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I made it down to the park, and was lucky to find some friendly guys to put air in my tires.  Then, I was back on the drive heading south towards the museum.  There were bouts of rain throughout, but the roads were still packed with riders.

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At the south end, I stopped for a quick snack, chatting with some other riders before hopping back on the drive north towards Soldier Field.

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I rode 15 miles up north to the Bryn Mar turnaround, stopping to take a few photos along the way. 

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At the north end, I stopped again to stretch my legs.  It seemed that maybe the rain was going to stop, but as I headed back to where I began, it picked back up.  It was clear that after a chilly (but totally awesome) 30+ mile morning on my bike, a latte was needed : )

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When I arrived back home, the BOY was awake and ready for breakfast.  We walked over to Wishbone, where I had the most delicious breakfast sandwich and potatoes!  I didn’t realize how hungry I was until the food came out and I scarfed it down.

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We walked back and packed up our car to head back to the suburbs.  It continued to rain on and off, which was perfect to crash on the couch and watch a Lifetime movie.  Around 2pm, it looked like the sun was starting to creep out, so the BOY suggested tennis.  I was excited to try out my new shoes, so I agreed.  I was also excited that after my longest bike ride of the year, my legs felt good enough to play tennis.

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40 minutes in, the rain returned and sent us back to our car.  We had a fun birthday party for the BOY’s aunt Sunday night.  We decided to have a little more fun when we got home, so we opened up a bottle of wine and played Yahtzee (a new game we picked up in Wisconsin). 

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It was funny to watch Cooper chase after the dice!  We slept in again this morning and then I ran off to the store to pick up mimosas and fruit for Memorial Day brunch with my friends and their kids.

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We had so much fun and then the rest of Monday just flew by…next thing I knew it was dinner time and the BOY was marinating ribs.  YUM!

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It was definitely a carefree weekend, and I was happy to pack so much in.  But now I am exhausted and ready to crash on my couch.  I wish I had just one more day of weekend…then I would be able to stay up late enough to watch tonight’s Hawks game!

 

What did you do this weekend?

The Verdict

THE FOOT:

It appears that it is my plantar fascia that has flared up in my right foot. Thankfully, I work with the most amazing people, one of whom took the time to work through my foot, ankle, and calf with the ‘fascia scrapper’ this week.  Although it was a bit brutal, it was totally worth it when I woke up the next morning feeling so much better!

On my own, I have been doing some soft tissue work and using the frozen golf ball.  Tonight while rolling out my foot, I felt a tickle on my toes…

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And then my golf ball was gone!

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FRIDAY NIGHT:

We brought in dinner from a new BBQ place that just opened along my ride home from work.  It was fantastic!  Especially with one of the Wisconsin beers we brought back from last weekend.  I was wiped out after the work week, and spent the rest of my evening looking for cute tops to wear for our engagement photos at the end of the month.

 

THE WEEKEND:

Slightly undecided…we are going into the city tomorrow but not sure what time.  There is some thought to sleep in and play tennis and another thought to head into the city early to check out the Green City Market.  I guess future Jen and BOY will have to decide : )

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What is decided is that I will not be running the Soldier Field 10 Miler tomorrow, and I am planning (weather permitting) to Bike the Drive on Sunday.

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#tbt Bike the Drive 2010

Hope everyone has a fun and exciting LONG weekend!

Monday Matters and Tuesday Troubles

So…with my 2 week long sickness and our weekend getaway in Wisconsin, I’ve had a lot of time to think!

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While I was sick, I was mostly thinking about all of the things I would rather be doing than laying on my couch watching reality TV.  I found myself desperately missing my biweekly yoga classes.  In Wisconsin, I was thinking about how much fun it is to spend time with the BOY, reading, fishing and playing games.  And I appreciated not feeling the stress of having to fit in a 90 minute BRICK during out weekend away.

By Monday, I had a few decisions to make…

Monday Matters

Number 1- I have decided that I am not going to participate in a triathlon this summer.  Last summer, I wasn’t able to fit in a tri and knew that but promised myself I’d make up for it this summer.  Between my big test and wedding planning, spring has flown by.  And after 2+ weeks of sickness, May has kind of been a workout wash : (  It is clear that I would be pushing and stressing to fit in a big race.  I have always made the decision to only train for a race if I know that I have the time to train safely and have fun while doing it.  Throughout the past few years, I have made numerous decisions about this, choosing to pursue professional goals over running a marathon and then choosing to do a race when life is less busy (or when the BOY moved into the library at the start of law school).  I’m not sure if this is the right way to do things…I know plenty of people who seem to be able to do it all, but so far it has worked for me.  I have run a few marathons, tri’s, and half marathons remaining relatively injury free and always finishing with a smile across my face.  I hate to take two summers off in a row (I’ll feel like a newbie at my next race), but all of this just confirms that not doing a tri is the right decision for me…for right now. 

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Which leads me to Number 2– I need to quit the gym again!  It’s true that I just joined this gym a year ago and I really like it.  It has an indoor pool, awesome track, friendly staff, good classes, and a rock climbing wall that I still haven’t climbed.  But it is not cheap and to be honest, I’m not going consistently.  I am exercising most days a week, but it’s with my trainer, at the yoga studio, or outside on my bike or on the tennis courts.  And I would much rather do that than run around the indoor track or sit on a spin bike.  So it’s just not worth the money.  Gym…I leave you with fond memories but may be back for your indoor tennis courts next winter : )

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Speaking of tennis…Number 3 involves the fact that I blew off my trainer yesterday to go play tennis with the BOY.  I had my yearly physical in the morning (my cholesterol rocks!) and then did a grocery store run. I was supposed to meet my trainer later in the day, but the BOY and I had a lot of returns to do so after our trip to the mall, we decided to play tennis.  We showed up to find busy courts (apparently it was a meet up group).  We were able to nab a court and attempted to play in the strong winds.  We aren’t great players, so the wind just adds another element of fun and frustration.  By our second game, I found my groove and ran my butt all over that court.  We are a funny duo to watch attempt the sport because the BOY is an ex-volleyball middle hitter (who loves to charge the net and smash the ball down) and I am an endurance queen who runs all over the court (and can get to the ball most of the time surprising the BOY).  Even with that, we had a blast playing for 90 minutes last night enjoying some sunshine and exercise before picking up PotBelly for dinner.

Tuesday Troubles

I planned to go for a run this morning, my first one since being sick, in order to test the running waters and make sure these new running shoes were a go.  When my alarm went off, all I wanted to do was go back to bed and so I did…until Cooper stuck his nose in my ear and crawled into my arms for love.  When I finally dragged myself out of bed, I reminded myself how happy I would be that I got out this morning while I spent the rest of the day indoors at work.  My first step revealed an achy right foot, but I didn’t think about it, got dressed and headed for the path.  I had time to do about 4 miles.  I immediately felt my lack of recent activity. I was slow (averaging around 9:30 miles) and struggled a bit, still congested and coughing with an overall feeling of fatigue.  But my shoes seemed to be working and I LOVED being outside in the cool morning, and was even more excited to see a baby deer.

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I returned home, pet Cooper (again), and got myself ready to go to work.  Where my right foot continued to hurt and ache, getting worse throughout the day.  Often, I take my shoes off at work padding around the mats and equipment in socks, but I was not able to tolerate it today.  By the time, I returned home my foot was hurting REAL bad and continues to bother me.  I am not sure if this is from playing a lateral sport like tennis in the wind in my running shoes, or running this morning, or because I don’t have the best feet.  But no matter what the reason, it sucks.

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So finishing up with my Number 4 thought is that I might not be able to run the Soldier Field 10 Miler this weekend.  Even though I am back to work and getting back to exercise, I am somehow still not over this illness and this morning’s 4 mile run confirmed that I am not ready to rock out 10 miles.  Very few times have I not participated in a race that I signed up for and I’ve done this race the past, like 5 years, and love it, but is it really worth it to push myself?  What do I have to gain?  And although my thought is that I will wake up pain free tomorrow and this sore foot thing will be a distant memory by Saturday…that just might not be the case.  I think that the BOY and I will still spend some time downtown (maybe hit up the Green City Market?!), and I am still planning to ride Lake Shore Drive for Bike the Drive on Sunday, but I have warned my running buddy that I may not make our 10 Mile Coffee date on Saturday.

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For now the only thing to do is to head to bed and see where tomorrow finds me, putting off decisions about this weekend until Thursday and crossing my fingers that my foot feels better (or that one of my coworkers can fix it)!  And of course cheer for the hawks…go Blackhawks!

 

Anyone else got Tuesday Troubles?

How do you decide what races to do?  Do you struggle to say no to races?