Check In and Check Out


Can a runner that doesn’t run, wake up Saturday morning and crank out an 8 mile training run?!

For sure!  And it feels sooo good to be a runner that runs again.


13.1 here I come!  I put it off last night, but I did want to take a look at my July goals…mostly that’s because I didn’t even remember them.  Oops!


July Goals

1. Get stronger & continue with daily ab work-I am stronger for sure, but since June I’ve totally slacked on the ab work.

2. Start half marathon training (I’m running a race in September)-Although I’ve had my share of Running Woes this month (namely one nasty sinus infection), I am signed up for a half marathon.  This morning’s long, slow run was a success!

3. Cook farmer’s market meals-I have not been making it to the market as often as I want to.  Hoping to get there more often moving forward!

4. Do Yoga-Yes! Taking amazing classes and teaching adorable kids and teens.  Yoga continues to be a special part of my day!


August Goals

1. Go to the farmer’s market and eat more greens

2. Throw a fiesta

3. Progress half marathon training


And now that we’re all caught up, it’s time to check out and head off to the west coast!

See you next week!

What are your August goals?

Guess What Starts Today???

The Tour de France!

I am so excited that I am bouncing on my couch watching the first day of this epic race!




By 9am, I had already been awake for 3 hours, gotten in an intense strength training session with my trainer, picked up pre studying bagels for the BOY, and attempted to go back to sleep.    When that didn’t work, I ate breakfast and then remembered what an exciting day it was and immediately turned the TV on to NBC Sports.  This is Cooper’s first tour in our house and you can see that he was extremely engaged in the action.




After the tour, I drove out to Geneva to do some errands.  I desperately needed to go to the Spice House and am pleased to have a restocked spice cabinet.  After lunch, I found myself napping on the couch with Cooper back on the purple blanket snuggled between my legs.  When I woke up, my brother had called to say that he and his fiancé were in the neighborhood.


IMG_20140705_120834 IMG_20140705_120857


I had stopped by the farmer’s market earlier in the day and invited them to come over for shrimp on the barbie with pineapple and mango salsa.




The BOY had reminded me to use our salsa maker before he left for the library…like I was going to chop everything by hand?!  Ha ha!  I used an online recipe as my guide, but didn’t really measure anything out and added in some mango with my pineapple.  I’ve never made a fruit salsa before and I was pleased with how delicious this one turned out!  This could be a fantastic appetizer, and I know that it will be a beautiful topping to our BBQed shrimp.


IMG_1754 IMG_1756

IMG_1759 IMG_1760


Our game plan is to serve cilantro rice, shrimp, and salsa for tonight’s dinner…with bubbly and beer of course!  I’m looking forward to spending tonight with my bro and future SIL just 1 week before their exciting wedding day!


Ps Just in case you were wondering…dessert is left over Red, White, and Blue Trifle!





Mango and Pineapple Salsa

Based on this recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod



2 cups diced fresh pineapple and mango

1 cup diced red pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

3 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded

1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of 1 large lime



In a medium bowl, combine pineapple, red pepper, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, garlic, and lime juice. Stir until well combined. Season with salt, to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Weekend Ramblings (Including a Trip to Woodman’s)

Since the marathon took over last weekend, the BOY and I didn’t make it to the grocery store (nor did I do any laundry or cleaning…ooops!). We ate dinner out almost every night, except for Wednesday when Chinese came to us.  The BOY loved a week like this!  The last few weeks, I’ve been really careful about what I’ve been eating to fuel my runs and keep my stomach in check.  The BOY has been craving pizza and grease and I’ve been eating non stop.  It was definitely a different week for us. 


After a week of eating out, I was more than ready to get back to my meal planning.  The BOY declared a household state of emergency because we are out of his special green relish that we can only get at Woodman’s.  Yes, he’s that dramatic about his relish.  We made a date to head to Woodman’s Saturday afternoon with my parents, who were also craving a trip to our favorite far away grocery store.


Saturday morning started out like this…it didn’t look like we would be leaving the house at all.




But by lunch, my stomach was growling and I was ready for breakfast food for lunch.  I took this opportunity to order the most decadent breakfast, Banana Bread French Toast at our favorite local pancake place.  I have been eyeing it for years and it was just as good as I could have hoped!






Our next stop was the farmer’s market, but on our way, the BOY thought we should stop at the pumpkin patch to pick up a fresh pie for dinner.  The place was packed with families, and we actually bumped into one of my BFF’s celebrating her daughter’s birthday.  It took us longer to park than to shop, but it was totally worth it when we dug into a taste of that spicy pie.




Then we grabbed some veggies at the farmer’s market. 


IMAG3702 IMAG3703


Then went home to watch some college football.  Around 4pm, my parents arrived and we made our way west to Woodman’s.  We had two full carts by the time we were finished.  Don’t worry…it included 4 container’s of the BOY’s special relish. 


IMAG3708 IMAG3709


We came back to our house where the BOY prepared a beautiful dinner of shrimp and veggie skewers on the grill while my Mom kept Cooper busy and out of our hair and I poured fall mosas.  My new favorite beverage!  For dessert, we had pumpkin pie with whipped cream.  After my parents left, the BOY, Cooper, and I had a quiet Saturday night in.




Cooper was so warn out after yesterday’s excitement that he slept until 8am!  I had some leftover French Toast and herbal tea for breakfast before leaving for the spa.  This morning, I had scheduled a 90 minute full body deep tissue massage followed by a 60 minute facial.  I emerged from the salon 3 hours later feeling like a new person!  I’ve had services with both of these people before, so I knew it would be amazing!  I switched off between catching up on life and totally zoning out.  It was really refreshing!




When I got home, the BOY filled me in on what was going on with the Bears.  Jay Cutler’s injury makes the Jay Cutler signs at the marathon last weekend, even funnier!  Not so funny, was watching the Bears struggle with injuries and bounce back and forth with Washington.  I listened to most of the game from the kitchen where I got started on tonight’s dinner (recipe to come) and whipped up a White Chicken Chili for lunch this week.




I adapted the original recipe a bit because I prefer my chicken shredded, and I left out the zucchini in hopes that the BOY might eat some this week as well.




We spent the late afternoon cleaning closets and switching over to fall clothes.  Since last week, the temperature has dropped significantly, and so it was time to dig out some warmer wear and donate two huge bags of clothes.


Meal Planning 10/20/13

Sunday Funday: Slow Cooker Pot Roast


Monday: Mexican Taco Casserole


Tuesday: Leftovers


Wednesday: Out for Dinner


Thursday: TBD


Lunch: White Chicken Chili (recipe below)



Do you plan your meals for the week ahead?

What’s up this week?



White Chicken Chili

Adapted from Wanna Bite

Not Surprisingly found on Pinterest*



1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 medium onions, diced

1 lb of mushrooms, full or diced

4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

1 tbsp olive oil

6 cloves of garlic

¼ cup chili powder

1 tsp of coriander

2 (16 oz) can diced no salt added tomatoes, fire roasted

1 (4 oz) can green chilies

2 (16 oz) cans of your favorite beans, rinsed and drained (I used kidney and white)

Toppings: cheese, avocado, tortilla chips



Sauté the mushrooms and onions in 1 cup of chicken broth for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cover chicken with coriander, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste.  Heat oil over medium low in separate pan and add chicken.  Cook until no longer pink in the middle.

When the veggies are soft and fragrant,  add in the chilies, tomatoes undrained, and the rest of the chicken broth. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce to medium heat.

When chicken is cooked, shred chicken with two forks and stir into soup pot.   Simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.

Drain and rinse the beans and add to the pot.

Cook for 30 minutes until beans are tender

Top chili with your favorite toppings!

I tried Bikram Yoga…

And Survived!


I can’t thank you guys enough for your suggestions and encouragement after yesterday’s post!

I decided not to run this morning.  The main reason…




I wanted to have a glass two glasses of wine last night.  After work, the BOY and I sat out back with some bubbly chatting about the week.  I just love summer nights like that and wasn’t about to rush in to bed.  Instead, I stayed up late and then slept until 8ish this morning.  Breakfast options were slim, but I was able to throw together a green smoothie with spinach, oats, and whatever fruit I could find for breakfast.




So a Bikram yoga studio opened up a few towns over in December and I have been talking about going since then.  I was re-inspired when two separate people mentioned this studio to me this week.  I was excited to blow off my run this morning and meet a friend at the studio for the 9:30am class.  Although I’ve been doing yoga for 10 years, I had no idea what to expect of Bikram.  I knew that it would be hot and that it was a pre-determined serious of 26 postures…that was about it! 


So when class started with a breathing exercise and the entire class seemed on cue and I was lost, it was even more apparent how little I knew.  Post class, I looked up more information on the yoga studio’s website


Bikram Yoga is a challenging series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises developed by Bikram Choudhury designed to stretch, strengthen and restore health to every part of the body. Bikram’s beginning yoga class is designed for anyone that wants to improve his or her physical health and mental well-being. The Bikram Yoga practice is 90 minutes in duration and practiced in a 105 degree heated room, which helps to warm the body and allows for deeper and safer stretching. The heat also prevents injuries and rids the body of toxins while relieving stress and tension.


What surprised me most was that some of the poses were the same and some were different from my usual yoga class.  I was also surprised during the second half of class by the 20 second shavasanas in between poses.  And that we were encouraged to keep our eyes open.  In the beginning, I felt strong with the balance poses, but by the end, my cheeks were as red as a tomato and sweat was poring out of every pore.  I just wanted to lie on my mat and rest (for longer than 20 seconds).  I really liked the studio and found the people warm and welcoming.  As far as the class goes, I think I am more of a fan of a vinyasa style class that moves through a variety of postures.  This may be because it is what I am used to.  But I’m interested to see if my muscles will be sore tomorrow.  I was able to get a great 30 day introductory deal, so I am planning on trying another class and excited to have a friend to meet me at the studio.


I know that some of you do yoga…

Do you like Bikram?  What did you think after your first class.


I was crazy sweaty after class, but made a stop at Whole Foods on my way back home.  Then the BOY and I went out for a quick bite of lunch.  Good News…




My farmer’s market is BACK!  Today was the first day that they were open in their typical location, and the BOY and I were there as they were still setting up fruits and labeling veggies.


IMAG2878 IMAG2879 IMAG2880


Sooo exciting!

Everything looked so fresh and their prices can’t be beat!


There will be no wine tonight as I am setting an early alarm in hopes of accomplishing a 9 mile run tomorrow before the worst of the heat.  It’s just me, my computer, and 4 stages of the Tour De France on DVR! 

Working for the Weekend

The work week is over, and the weekend is here!!!  As of today, I don’t work Fridays (at least for the next 10 weeks).  And what makes this even more fun is that the BOY has Fridays off this summer too!  I have basically come to the conclusion that this will probably be the last time that we will  have a weekday off, and we should take full advantage of it.  I stayed up a little later last night, but eventually pooped out after dinner, a walk, and some wine and music out back.  The BOY was out back with half the neighborhood hanging out and drinking until 12:30ish.  We had no set plans for today…just a list of fun things to do before our dinner reservation, so we slept in until 9AM.  I made us eggs for breakfast and we relaxed while we ate, waking up slowly with a little TV.  Around 11AM, we figured it was time to get moving.




Last summer, the BOY and I bought tennis rackets at Target one day.  They didn’t see a lot of action, mostly because I was awful and the BOY ended up running all over 2 courts trying to retrieve my balls.  I was eager to give tennis a try again.  I love the idea of any activity outdoors that the BOY and I can do together.  Let’s me honest, he isn’t going to take up running (those size 15 feet weren’t meant for marathons) and as of now, he doesn’t own a bike.


IMG_4983 IMG_4950


I discovered these beautiful tennis courts on one of my bike rides and they are only a few miles from our house.  The entire park was nice and quiet, perfect for us to practice our game.


IMG_4951 IMG_4952


For the record, I was much better this year than last year.  Although I have a LONG way to go before I can play in public, more of my shots landed on or near the court than in the bushes, which is a huge improvement.


IMG_4955 IMG_4975


It made for a fun day for both of us!





I suggested that we make a standing Friday tennis date.  I’ll let you know how that goes : )


IMG_4977 IMG_4978


On the way back to the car, the BOY stopped to play in the park.




Before going home, we had a few stops to make at the outdoor mall around the corner from the tennis courts.  We swung into Cooper’s Hawk to taste and pick up our May and June wine club wines.  I always love their light summer blends, and this white and red did not disappoint.




Then we stopped by the Produce Market, which opened last weekend.  I recognized some familiar faces, and I am so excited to have the market back at our local outdoor mall! 


IMG_4988 IMG_4991


The rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables available was impressive.  The BOY and I easily filled up my basket in just a few minutes.  The prices were unbelievable and the entire load cost us only $9!!!




We brought our food home to unload and then quickly changed into bathing suits.  Our next stop…the park district pool!




As I mentioned, the BOY joined the gym last week.  He has a gym and pool membership and brought home some guest passes.  I have been meaning to get into the pool for like, months.  The pool is only a mile or so away form our house, and as we were walking in, so were all of the summer camp kids.  The pool area was packed with kids, but there are always two lap lanes blocked off.  We considered backing out of the craziness in the water, but went for it, and I am so happy that we did.  I had some initial difficulty getting my cap and goggles situated, so I ditched the cap, stuck my goggles to face, and got swimming.  My stroke felt a little rusty, not as efficient as it should be, but I easily fell into a rhythm and with my head under the water, I forgot all about the screaming children. I swam for 15 minutes despite having some sore arms, and it really did feel good to be back cruising through the water.  The BOY and I spent some time chilling in the hot tub, and then came back home for lunch.  We threw together salads and sandwiches with whatever we could find in the house, and chatted about our fun Friday morning. 




We are taking a few hours to relax before heading out for dinner.  The BOY got a gift certificate to Reza’s one of his favorite restaurants near his old office.  He has been looking forward to using it, and I am always happy to try a new restaurant. It should be an enjoyable end to our action-packed day.  It’s looking like a good start to the summer with a lot more play days to come!

Hello Sunshine!

Finally!!!  A little sunshine around here.

Right Now
Next 36 Hours

Feels Like: 78°

Perfect weather for the BRICK I had planned for today.  I didn’t set an alarm this morning because I haven’t been sleeping much past 7AM anyways. I wasn’t surprised when I woke up around 6:30AM, but was super surprised that I was able to fall back asleep until 8:30AM.  I had a slow start to the morning, enjoying a dough boy smoothie with my homemade Almond Butter and chatted with the BOY’s college roommate who is in town for the weekend.


Eventually the BOY emerged around 9:30 and the two of them went off in search of bacon, while I packed up my car and headed west to the Fox River Trail.  The trail is one of the longest in Illinois and spans from McHenry (in the north) down to Aurora (in the south).  I can pick up the trail in Carpentersville which is only 15 minutes west of us.  It is one of the positives (along with a garage, washer/dryer, and backyard with a grill) of living in suburbia. 

IMG_2573     IMG_2574

Last summer, I rode the trail north and this morning, I was set to go south.  The town was alive with markets and shops and tons of families enjoying the beautiful day on the trail.  I had quite the adventure as I passed an antique market, casino, an entire field of cows, and almost got attached by a flock of geese.  Luckily, I didn’t fall off my bike, but I did almost tumble into someone’s back yard when the aggressive goose lunged at me.  I had lots of opportunities to practice clipping in and out of pedals along the trail!  Unfortunately, I was unable to bring my camera.  It didn’t fit in my back pouch along with everything else and for safety reasons (I was riding alone), I figured I needed my cell phone and a spare tire more!


However, when I dropped off my bike at the adorable old fashioned bike shop along the trail, I picked up my camera for some pictures during my run.  I was exhausted after the 2 hour (28 mile) bike ride, so I was happy to pause and take some shots.  Here are the sights of the Fox River Trail (at least the small section where I ran this morning).

IMG_6925   IMG_6926




IMG_6934   IMG_6935

IMG_6924   IMG_6939   IMG_6940

Who wouldn’t love a trail with a Dairy Queen?   After this LONG workout, I was hot, sweaty, and starving!  I was happy for the apple and protein bar (even if it was a bit melted) that I had stashed in the car.  On my way home, I swung by the market for more tomatoes.  At home I had a late lunch of leftover fish (with my fresh dill) and couscous salads from WF.  I was still hungry so I had some Greek yogurt with fresh berries and my new millet puffs.  Kind of a random combination, but it definitely hit the spot!

IMG_2578   IMG_2582

I hopped in the shower and then packed up a plate of homemade goodies to bring to a get together with friends! 

They were a huge hit!



After this busy day, I am heading out back to enjoy a glass of wine and this gorgeous weather!


Triathlon Countdown

          2 weeks until TREK SPRINT TRI

          7 weeks until BANGS LAKE OLYMPIC TRI

Sunday Father’s Fun Day

This morning began very similar to last Sunday (I thought about calling this post HARD CORE Part II).  I woke up super early, grabbed my bike gear, enjoyed a Pumpkin flavored Dough Boy (regular dough boy with 1/2 cup pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice…delish!), and headed out to Barrington for another BRICK.


Check out our front lawn with all the old carpet!!!


Luckily this time, I didn’t get lost!  We rode 24 miles through Long Grove and Kildeer this morning.  It was a beautiful course and I got some good tips from the Ironmen (and women) about shifting and stretching on the bike.  I had a lot of fun exploring another new area and there were TONS of bikers out of the road.


After the ride, I laced up my gym shoes and hit the track.  It was a warm and overcast morning and the parking lot and track were filled with bikers and runners.  I ran for 30 minutes.  It was nice to know that others were out there training with me…a little community of triathletes on the high school track!


I completed my BRICK, stretched out my legs and back, and was hungry!  As always, I had packed up some snacks (a PB sandwich and an apple) for after this mornings workout.


I skipped Starbucks and headed straight for the Farmer’s Market. I needed more of those tomatoes!  I started chatting with my new friend, who owns the market.  She was drinking a ‘Green’ smoothie with Swiss Chard and some fruit.  She didn’t use milk, so the consistency was different, but it is the same idea as a Green Monster.  I bought some Chard (which I have never eaten, so I was excited to find my new food for the week) along with my tomatoes and a mango and headed home for a shower and a smoothie.


My market friend told me that I could use the whole Chard, stalks and all.  I was a little nervous because I don’t (yet) have a Vitamix.  I washed the Chard well and tore it up into pieces.  Who knew the leaves were so big?!


I piled in the chard, added 1 cup skim milk, and some fresh blueberries.  I was a little worried about how it would taste, so I added some vanilla protein smoothie powder.

IMG_2400  IMG_2401  IMG_2402

I blended everything together and took a hesitant taste…it was good, but definitely needed some ice.  I added the ice and tried again.  The smoothie tasted green, but not ‘I feel like I’m eating grass’ green.  The chard has great flavor and the berries and smoothie powder sweeten it up.  (I’m sure you could add honey or agave if you wanted a sweeter smoothie).  The ice made the smoothie cool and refreshing.  I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked it!


And my Black & Decker performed like a CHAMP!  With 3 weeks to go until my first triathlon of the year, I am starting to get nervous, but feeling good about my training, especially these last two BRICKS. 


Now that my hard work is done for the day, I can have a fun afternoon with my dad and my family!

Happy Father’s Day!

Hard Core!!!

It’s 11:00AM and I have already had a ‘Hard Core’ day!  I know you are asking yourself, what goes into a ‘Hard Core’ day?  Well let me tell you…

Packing up your workout gear the night before (and then heading to bed at 9:30)


Waking up (almost) before the sun and enjoying a Dough Boy Smoothie with extra banana and a glob of PB


Driving 30 minutes to meet the ‘Cycle Club’

(Look there are already riders out…they must be really Hard Core)


Getting lost along the way and finding yourself at a Lake (instead of a high school)


Can you see the deer?  She ran by the time I got my camera!


Biking 20 miles with some nice hills along the way


Then changing into running shoes


For a 30 minute run around the track


Therefore, completing the first BRICK workout of the season!!!


After a challenging workout, there’s really only one stop to make…


For a well-deserved Iced Skinny Latte


Although I added one more stop…the organic market for some fresh produce!

IMG_6918  IMG_6919  IMG_6921

Impressed with all that I had accomplished before 11:00AM, I showered and changed into my new T-shirt that just arrived in the mail this week.


With my ‘Hard Core’ morning behind me, I’m off

to enjoy this gorgeous Sunday!