Rained Out



I know that I should be grateful that not one of my runs has been rained out since I started marathon training this summer, and don’t get me wrong, I am.  But a 12 miler scheduled on a stormy Sunday, with no wiggle room to push later into the week, means only one thing.



The treadmill!

Oh treadmill, we have not seen each other in a very long time and although we parted on good terms, I can’t say that I am pleased to see you today.




I have a rocky relationship with the treadmill. There have been times when I have run for miles on end without even flinching, and others when I can tolerate about 30 minutes before going batty.  Recently, it has been the later.  Which makes sense when you see the beautiful path I typically run on.  Needless to say, it took a lot of motivation (and supplies) to get me out the door and to the gym…where the treadmill was waiting.


In true Jen style (insert comment from Mom now), I found a friend on the treadmill to my left, who is also training for the Chicago marathon and chatting with her made my first 6 miles fly by.  Before going to the gym, I had decided that I would do a shorter workout and this was confirmed when I realized I didn’t bring any nutrition.  The new game plan was 10 miles.  I kept a steady 7.0mph pace for most of my run, but with 1.5 miles to go, I started getting a little knee pain.  Not wanting to irritate anything too much, I slowed down for a few minutes before spiking back up for a sprint to the finish.  I didn’t keep track of my time, but was proud of accomplishing 10 miles on a day when it would have been much easier to stay attached to my couch.




I have never done 10 miles on a treadmill before, and I’m hoping I never have to again : )  I made sure to stretch when I was done, as I am heading into my last big week of running before my official taper begins. 



Do prefer to run inside or outside?

What do you do when your run is rained out?



Weekly Mileage

28 miles


Marathon Countdown

4 weeks!!!

Under the Grey Clouds

We’ve hit the ultimate low with lack of food in our house.  I’m not exactly sure how this happened because I did go to the grocery store (two I think) this past weekend but we are basically out of veggies and protein.  We do have plenty of fresh fruit though.  As I took a quick break from the Hawk’s game last night to prepare today’s food, trying to keep my eyes open from exhaustion, this was blatantly clear!


I typically use the the week night’s to prep for the day ahead.  This means picking out my clothes and making breakfast (if needed) in order to be as quick as possible getting out the door in the morning.  Last night as I thought about what to eat for my pre run breakfast, running through my typical list, I realized that I didn’t have many options.  No oatmeal, oats, bread, cooked quinoa etc.  I do have eggs, but Thursday mornings are early up and out the door so no time for eggs.  What I did have was a cooked sweet potato and a love of this Chia and Flax Bowl.  Well…I figured I’d give it a try.  And then packed up a LaraBar as a back up!




First step, I mashed up my sweet potato and added in some banana.




Then measured out the rest of my ingredients.  For Overnight Oats and Chia Bowls, I tend to use the scale for easy clean up.




Breakfast went into the fridge and I went back to the couch to watch the Hawk’s overtime.  Thank you Hawks for scoring (again) because I was definitely ready for bed!  Bright and early (ok, maybe just early because it’s not really bright at 5:45am), I was downstairs curious about my breakfast.




I was meeting a friend for an indoor interval run at the track.  We both ran the Soldier Field 10 Miler this weekend but were eager to get back to our weekly workouts.


IMAG2625 IMAG2623


I ate half of my surprisingly tasty breakfast in the car on the way to the track.  No LaraBar needed!!!  I’m a huge fan of the texture common in chia seed bowls and anything with sweet potatoes makes me happy.  I got to the gym late and found my friend running along the track.  We started a 90 second push/90 second recovery interval workout which lasted about 15 minutes before my coworker needed to head off to work.  I had an extra 15 minutes before I needed to shower, so I ran at an easy pace.  Although 30 minutes was a little shorter of a workout than I had planned, after my busy weekend and Tuesday swim, it was enough.


I worked my second 11-12 hour work day in a row.  At one point today, we had a quick and crazy rain shower, but the skies cleared by the time I left work at  7:45pm.




The clouds were incredible (they looked like fireworks) when I walked out of my office.  As I was sitting in intense construction traffic, there was another dense cloud off to the side.  I was feeling silly for taking pictures at the stop light until I realized that the person behind me was also taking pictures and the people to my left were pointing at the cloud.




I don’t think the picture does the depth and size justice!  There were blue skies ahead and unique clouds at every stop light.




I drove home with the windows down listening to the Lumineers CD trying to unwind after a LONG day.  About 3 miles before my exit on the highway, the skies ahead were jet black and you could see the line where the clouds changed from light to dark.




We had a huge grey cloud hanging over our city!




I walked in the door just as the first drops began to fall.




The sky this evening was astonishing!  And I just added this last picture because I thought it turned out pretty cool.  The symbolism of the grey cloud was not lost on me.  Despite seeing the darkness under tonight’s cloud, I knew that the clouds would soon move on over another city and when I wake up tomorrow there will be blue skies ahead…followed by an amazing weekend.  Hooray for my girls only slumber party!  And maybe a trip to the grocery store for more food : )  Luckily, I have another half of sweet potato to remake this breakfast again for tomorrow!



Sweet Potato Chia Bowl



1/2 sweet potato, baked and mashed

1/2-1 banana, mashed

2 tbsp ground flax

2 tbsp chia seeds

1-2 tsp cinnamon

dash of vanilla

1/2 cup almond milk



Combine all ingredients and stir well.  Place in refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, stir, top with your favorite flavors, fruits, and nuts, and enjoy!



Do you run out of food by the end of the week?

Do you ever contemplate the clouds?

Five for Friday III

1. Yes it’s been raining again.  No I don’t want to talk about it!





2. I was in a continuing ed class today (and will be again tomorrow), so I decided to take the train into the city.  The only thing worse than driving in the snow is driving through Chicago traffic in the rain, so I was happy to be sitting quietly with my new book.





3. Due to some crazy city traffic, I missed my first train this afternoon.  I ran up just as it was pulling away and got a nasty blister on my left heel.  It wouldn’t be a big deal if I wasn’t running a half marathon on Sunday. Yikes!  Luckily, I had my book to keep me company while I waited for the next train.





4.  I picked up my packet for Sunday’s half marathon tonight.  I am excited for my new yellow race shirt, but a little nervous for Sunday’s race.  Between fatigue, my new blister, and a knot it my back, I’m not quite sure how it will go.



5.  After a long week, I thought I’d end this post with an inspirational quote for race weekend…


“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."

-John Bingham, running speaker and writer




How was your Friday?

What book are you reading right now?

Five for Friday II

1. I arrived home to a hail storm tonight.  Seriously?  I am done with this weather!




2. The BOY and I finally started watching Downton Abbey.  We are only a few episodes in, and I LOVE it!



3. Per my training schedule, I’m supposed to run 12 miles this weekend.  Unfortunately, I am in a continuing ed class all day tomorrow and Sunday, so I have no idea when I will get it in.  With this awful weather, it doesn’t seem likely and there is no way that I am running 2 hours around an indoor track.




4.  I am still deeply saddened by  Monday’s marathon, but my heart warms every time I read about the support for Boston runners and residents!   This is my favorite quote…


Real RunnersReal Runners@RunningQuotes

"If you’re trying to defeat the human spirit, marathon runners are the wrong group to target."

-David & Kelvin Bright #runforboston


Are you participating in Chicago Runs For Boston?



5. These cookie dough balls are even more delicious than I remember.  I love having a stash in the freezer!

High Waters

How was your day?  If you answered wet, then I feel your pain!


We got hit BIG TIME with rain and flooding, making for quite the eventful morning!  I had planned on meeting a friend at the track for a run this morning.  When I woke up super early, rain was pouring and our house was shaking with thunder.  I decided I should hit the road anyways because the longer I waited, the worst traffic would be.  All was going well until I got close to the track/work and hit a flooded road.  My detour yielded similar results, but I did get to the track.  I arrived late, but met my friend.  We abandoned the interval idea and chose to run and chat instead.




Ps I did still eat my overnight oats on the go but ultimately decided that I needed two hands on the wheel, so didn’t finish them until I got to work.  About halfway through my run, the skies got REALLY dark, like pitch black dark, and a storm rolled in.  Because there are so many windows, you could definitely sense the strength of the storm.




I finished up my run, showered, and headed off to see my first patient.  However, my car was buried under one of the biggest puddles I’ve ever seen.




I sloshed through the puddle to climb into my car, sadly discovering that my rain boots have hole.  Total bummer!




Despite my best efforts, I hit a few more flooded roads.  I texted this picture to the BOY as I was trying to decide whether or not to forge ahead.




I decided NO…everyone on the radio said not to head into standing water, but the minute I turned around, an 80 year old lady came racing by making it through the flood unharmed.  I had to smile at that!  It was definitely a crazy start to the day…I haven’t seen that much rain and flooding since I lived in Memphis!  I hope that everyone is back in their warm houses safe and sound…rumor has it that sunshine is around the corner!


Edited to Add…

My coworker took the best picture today of people canoeing through a soccer field…yea…there was that much rain!

Dealing with Dreary

The weather might be dark and dreary, but that didn’t keep the BOY and I indoors.  Sunday Funday was SUPER fun yesterday because we went into the city to hang with my family!




And had lunch at Revolution Brewery, where the BOY and I have never been, and my Mom has now declared her favorite place to go.




Historically, spring day light savings can be rough, but not this year.  This could be because after losing 3 hours coming home from Las Vegas last year, one hour doesn’t seem so bad.  The good food, brew, and company didn’t hurt either.




We had an awesome day and I was in bed early Sunday night with my book after an eventful weekend.  I had no difficulty falling asleep and only woke up this morning when my alarm started beeping 10 hours later.  This morning’s breakfast was a variation of this recipe smothered in almond butter before CrossFit.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from this morning’s workout, but the Harlem shake picture definitely had me laughing.  And I was excited to wear the new headband that I picked up at Athleta yesterday!




This morning’s workout was 7 reps max weight of snatches with rest in between.  We started off by breaking down the motion and then practicing on some light bars.  I wasn’t sure what to expect or what I would be able to do, but I ended up in a group of three girls lifting weight, giving feedback on form, and working together to safely add more weight. I was able to lift 55-65-75-75-75-75-75.  Not to shabby for my first attempt at snatches.


After CrossFit, I picked up the BOY for this week’s grocery store run and meal planning.  I was starving and actually craving some protein with lunch on the brain.  Let me tell you…if you are ever shopping at Mariano’s and hungry for lunch, swing by the meat counter and have them grill you up a chicken breast.  I finished my shopping and on the way to check out, scooped up my lunch.  The BOY did the same with a white arugula pizza.




On the way home, I remembered that I had leftover salad from Saturday night (that my friend made and sent home with me).  You can’t see it in the picture, but this salad also has goat cheese, cranberries, pine nuts, and I added chopped chicken and avocado.




The BOY was right when he said that this is a restaurant quality lunch.  I totally agree!  Thanks to Mariano’s and Dana this is one of the best salads I’ve had in awhile!  I only had a short amount of time to eat lunch before it was time to leave again.  Although I didn’t know when I made the appointment that today would be rainy, a massage really is the BEST thing to do on a day like today.  I had a $20 off coupon to use before the end of the month, and I basked in the 60 minutes of relaxation while hands firmly worked out the tension and knots in my back and neck.  It was pure bliss and only afterwards did I return home to camp out indoors for the rest of the day.  With such a busy weekend, I had a lot to do.




Some of which included getting my food prepared for the week ahead.  Nothing says rainy days like chili.  One of the things that I love about this new slow cooker book is that it has separate chapters on soup, stew, and chili.  They are plenty of recipes to choose from!




I used the Mushroom Chili recipe but added in some eggplant since the beautiful purple veggies was on sale.  I ended up with a thick batch of chili, so I decided to stir in a cup of vegetable broth before cooking.




I’m looking forward to digging into this thick and hearty chili soon!



This Week’s Meal Plan…


Monday: Breakfast for Dinner (the BOY’s request)

Featuring Challah French Toast, Eggs, and Potatoes


Tuesday: BBQ Turkey Meatballs


Wednesday: Chicken or Salmon with Veggies


Thursday: Leftovers


Friday: Trip to St. Louis!!!


Lunch: Portobello and Eggplant Chili (recipe below)




Portobello and Eggplant Chili

Adapted from The Big Book of Slow Cooker Recipes



3 Portobello mushrooms, cleaned well and cubed

1 small eggplant, cubed

1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1 28 ounce and 1 15 ounce canned tomatoes, drained lightly (or you can use chopped fresh tomatoes)

1 jalapeno, seeded, deveined, and minced

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup low sodium vegetable broth



Place all ingredients into a slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray.

Stir well and cook on low for 8 hours.



How do you deal with dreary?

Me? I dream of SPRING!


{Almost} Spring Training

It has been too long since I got up early for a Saturday morning run!  Not that I haven’t been running (I’ve been a consistent visitor to the indoor track), but my long weekend runs tend to taper off in the winter.  Back in the day, winter Saturdays were all about spin class but now I don’t have a gym.  Recently, I have been slow to get out the door Saturday mornings.  With my first half marathon 8 weeks away, I am behind on my miles.




So, I made a running date this morning with my trainer.  Last night, I was wiped out!  It was a pretty exhausting week and once my bottom sunk into that couch, I thought I’d never leave again.  But I made my way up the stairs for an early bed time dedicated to this morning’s run.  For early Saturday workouts, bed time is half the battle!




Morning came quickly and breakfast was my new favorite breakfast bowl.  I wish that I could show some beautiful sunrise photos, but when I stepped onto the driveway, I was greeted with cold, heavy, rain.  I ran back inside to swap out my shoes and grab an extra water proof layer.




The rain slowed some but the drizzle continued throughout our 55 minute run.  We initially tried to find a path, but it was covered in snow and slush.  Instead, we wound our way through the neighborhood….the hilly neighborhood.  My indoor track is expectantly flat, so the hills were a welcome challenge!  I will spare you the post run photos, but I finished with bright red cheeks and wet matted down hair.




Post run snack was a pear with almond butter.  I was way too cold and wet for a smoothie.  I changed into warm, dry clothes and sunk back into my couch with some tea and The Biggest Loser (tearing up every few minutes during the makeover episode).  Please tell me that all of the family reunions get you choked up too!  It feels fantastic to have my Saturday morning run behind me before 9am.  With an 8k 4 weeks away and a 13.1 8 weeks away, I am excited for running season to begin.  Bring on the SPRING and the training!


Whose running a spring race?

How did you start your Saturday morning?