Month of Gratefulness

I read somewhere at my yoga studio that they are doing a ‘Month of Gratefulness’ board.  I didn’t see too much more but it reminded me about the importance of being thankful for all of the good things in my life.  Obviously, there are the big things…I am healthy,surrounded by family, about to marry my best friend, and happy!  But there are also the little things from day to day that I am grateful for.  An email from a friend, that first bite of expensive dark chocolate, a cuddle from Cooper, or a beautiful sunrise.

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I started my month Saturday with our kids yoga class.  It’s a great group of kids and we had tons of fun playing in the leaves, celebrating fall, and stretching tight hamstrings before hibernating during our relaxation.

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Afterwards, I met two of my close high school friends for lunch before uncorking a delicious Napa wine with the BOY for a quiet dinner in.  Sunday began with an intense and exhausting hot yoga class.  Then, I was off to the St. Jude Fashion Show with my Mom and a group of ladies.  If you remember, my mom and I volunteered here last year and decided that we wanted to participate this year.  We recruited 8 other people to share our table and celebrate the efforts of this magnificent hospital.

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One of the most exciting parts (especially since nobody at our table won a raffle) was getting a bright red hair streak for donating to St. Jude.  I’m not gonna lie, it’s super fun and matched my red dress perfectly!

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This morning was a busy one (exercising and cleaning) and then I worked a half day.  I’m taking Thursday off to watch the BOY get sworn into the Illinois State Bar Association (can you say super grateful for this?!), so I caught up on a few patients today.  I should add that I am grateful for generous and kind coworkers as well.  My month is off to a fantastic start (even though one person in this household isn’t handling Daylight Savings time so well).

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This would be Cooper singing for his dinner 90 minutes early last night.  The BOY and I were both trying to study and couldn’t stop laughing at his emotional attempts to elicit an early dinner.  I am so grateful for laughter!  Speaking of dinner…here is the game plan this week!

Meal Planning 11/03/14

Monday: Crockpot Chicken Curry

Tuesday: Grilled Shrimp and Veggies

Wednesday: Parmesan Chicken with Roasted Romaine

Thursday: TBD (we both have the day off!)

 

With so much to be grateful this month, I’m going to try my best to appreciate the little things and celebrate the big things.

What are you grateful for?

{Chicago+Wedding} Weekend Recap

This past week, I found my way back into the groove.  After being sick, I was able to get back to eating on a normal schedule and worked out a whole bunch.  Saturday morning, I set my alarm for a 5 mile run.  The weather was PERFECT!  Then I quickly packed up a weekend bag and the BOY and I drove into the city to meet with a photographer (who we loved!).  Afterwards, I met my mom at the yoga studio in Lakeview for a Heart and Hip Opener Workshop.

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The teacher was knowledgeable and incredible!  The class flowed smoothly as we were gently encouraged into positions our bodies weren’t meant to attain and I’m not sure that my hips and shoulders have ever felt so alive!  After the class, we got dressed and ready for dinner and the theater.

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A big group of us went to see Avenue Q…which is absolutely hilarious by the way!  As long as you’re not offended by the puppet nudity that is!

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I went to bed immediately after we got back to our friends because my mom and I were up bright and early (actually it was still dark) to volunteer at the St. Jude tent for the Chicago Marathon.

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It was a chilly start to the day but it ended up being ideal running weather.  After we sent the St. Jude runners on their way, my mom and I grabbed signs and a cow bell and made our way along the course cheering on all the St. Jude heroes and thousands of other people tackling 26.2.

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We continued to walk along the course and by the time we realized we were close to where we were staying, we’d walked close to 8 miles.  In the end, we walked over 10 miles along the course and I was ready for lunch and a nap.  When I woke up, our city fun still had a few more stops in the form of white dresses!

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We had a successful trip to BHLDN (It might be my new favorite store and it’s not just because they serve bubbles)!

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I finally made my way back home a little before 8pm exhausted and exhilarated after our crazy weekend!

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I was greeted enthusiastically by Cooper and these still blooming gorgeous flowers!

I’m super excited to have made so much progress on our wedding (no…I didn’t buy a dress yet but I think I’m close) and loved spending the weekend with the BOY, my family, and our close friends laughing, eating, and cheering!

How was your weekend?  Are you still recovering?

How was your Weekend?

Mine was too short!

But I sure packed in A TON!

 

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Saturday morning, I woke up and went for a 5 mile run.  Then, showered quickly and drove down to the city.  I met up with my brother and future SIL.  We grabbed a new Potbelly flatbread breakfast sandwich and an Uber down to Soldier Field.  (Confused about Uber, join the club, but here is their website).

 

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The beer fest was pretty empty as the venders were just starting to set up.

 

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We found the St. Jude tent and started throwing around a football.  Apparently, throwing a football is frowned upon at Soldier Field : )

 

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We ended up in charge of the photo booth and did a quick test run before everyone arrived.

 

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The filed filled up quickly and it turned out to be a beautiful day!

 

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Volunteering was a BLAST!  There is great people watching at a beer fest and it’s always special to volunteer for St. Jude.

 

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I spent Saturday night in (well half on the deck drinking prosecco and eating Mediterranean food) and the rest of the night in with more prosecco, dark chocolate, and the Lifetime Movie Network.  That might sound pathetic, but I had company, so it was really quite perfect.

 

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I was up early Sunday morning and easily convinced my brother and future SIL to go for a walk.  They live in a great location with access to tons of cute city neighborhoods.  We walked for at least 90 minutes talking, watching the arrival of spring in the city, and shaking off this legendary winter.

 

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By the time we got back from our walk, my mom was downtown and we spent the rest of the day with her and some friends celebrating mother’s day.  It couldn’t be more special!

 

Wondering why it took me until Wednesday to tell you about my weekend?  That is coming in my next post : )

 

Is it too late to ask…how was your weekend?

#ThanksandGiving

Yesterday was my third time volunteering for St. Jude this year and every experience has been so different and fun.  Yesterday, the volunteers were the support behind the St. Jude Dream a Little Dream fashion show and raffle.  The event hosted around 1500 guests and raised money and awareness for the children of St. Jude…perfect timing to kick off the Thanks and Giving Campaign.

 

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View from my first apartment in Memphis 2006

 

I remember when I learned about the campaign about 7 years ago as a St. Jude employee.  Since then, the support for the campaign has grown (who hasn’t seen the logo at your local Target or sporting store?) and today is the 10 year anniversary of its start.  The video’s on this website are priceless and well worth checking out this week!

 

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This time of year, and this week in particular, when many of us have off of work, are traveling, and planning for the holiday season ahead, there is plenty of time to reflect on the joys and gifts in our lives and give back to those in our community in need of financial, emotional, and physical support.  Starting off the week by donating my time and energy to this local event in support of a wonderful cause was the BEST way to kick off my Thanksgiving week.

 

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Last week on the job 2008

 

And remind me how lucky I am to have a strong partner, an adorable kitten, a healthy family, generous friends, a job that I love and challenges me, four walls and a roof, heat in the winter, strength to run 26.2 miles, amazing cousins, an active 101 year old grandfather, trips to Israel, a bookshelf full of books, opportunities for growth, clean water from my faucets, laughter and love!

 

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I will be taking all of this appreciation with me as my family hits the road (yup we’re driving) to New York tomorrow night.  I know Thanksgiving is all about the food, but for me, I’m more excited to spend this quality time with my family and our close friends on the east coast!  But before I go, I want to wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thank You and Keep on Giving!

 

 

What does #ThanksandGiving mean to you?

Pain is Temporary-Internet results are Forever!

This title was stolen from one of my favorite signs during today’s marathon!  It was one of the best along with some of the funnier ones comparing the government to a marathon and a huge knock on Jay Cutler.

 

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Despite being in pain from head to toe, I wanted to pop in quickly and say a HUGE thank you to all of my blog readers, friends, and family who cheered me on through 26.2 miles (and then celebrated with me afterwards!).  It was your support and encouragement that pushed me through a challenging last 4 miles to an unofficial time of 3:54:17.  A 6 minute PR!

 

Expect a full marathon recap later in the week when I’ve caught up on sleep!

T Minus 36 Hours

I’ve only been to a few race expos in my day, but the Chicago Marathon is by far one of the best.  Two years ago, my Mom and I had a BLAST at the expo.  She left with some snazzy new shoes!  It did not take any help to convince her to come with me to volunteer at the St. Jude booth at the expo this morning.

 

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The expo started at 9 and because of some added security, we needed to be there early enough to get checked in.  The BOY and I commuted downtown together on the train.  Definitely a change for him to have someone so chatty early Friday morning!  I met up with my mom outside the train station and bid the BOY goodbye as he walked over to work.

 

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We had a little trouble with our shuttle situation, but found the St. Jude booth easily, just after 9am.  We got all set up and started passing out signs, stickers, and meeting all of the runners and their families.

 

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After a few hours on our feet talking with everyone we saw, I was exhausted!  I definitely got busted by some of the runners taking a break to sit down with my feet up and eat an almond butter sandwich.

 

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Then it was our turn to go exploring!

 

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We packed up plenty of SWAG in our new SWAG bags.  And of course my Mom found some awesome shoes to try, while I picked up an overpriced (but totally awesome) bright yellow Chicago Marathon 2013 long sleeved Nike top.

 

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After the expo, and probably more time on my feet than prescribed, I taxied back towards the train station where my Mom and I grabbed some food, a cold drink, and then I walked over to meet the BOY on the train, where I crashed into him for the ride home.

 

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The expo today got me psyched for the race…I’m still in shock that it is finally here…especially speaking with all of the other runners.  It also got the butterflies fluttering about in my stomach.  With T minus 36 hours to go…here are my last minute thoughts about race day:

My feet are a bit sore.  Probably not the best idea to spend all day on my feet but it was totally worth it to support St. Jude and all of the other runners before the race.

I keep finding other sore areas which make me really nervous for aches and pains on race day.

I feel like I trained well, but I don’t know how I will feel on race day.  I’ve run 26 miles before, so I know that I can do this.  But I remember saying that it was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done.  Will my mind be strong enough on Sunday to push through?  Or will aches and pains get the best of me?  I fear as sophomore slump.

I keep thinking about my strategy for Sunday and I’m hoping that this mental prep will help me PR.

Thanks to Hal Higdon’s book for the tips on mental prep that I read on the train down to the city today.

It is okay if I don’t PR.  I am still a good and strong person, but man, I really want to break 4 hours and PR.

I’m so excited and honored to be running the Chicago Marathon this weekend!  I am lucky to have so much support from my family, friends, and patients.  I can’t wait to celebrate with them after the race no matter what happens Sunday morning!

 

Keeping my fingers crossed for the 60 degree partly cloudy weather that the weather.com told me would be here on Sunday!  Until then…it is just a waiting game.  Waiting and hoping that I have trained well enough to be prepped mentally and physically for 26.2.

 

 

Do you like race expo’s?

What do you do the day before a big race?

Running for St. Jude

Dear Friends and Family,

 

I did it again! I signed up to run the Chicago Marathon and on October 13, I will be sporting my St. Jude Heroes jersey and taking on 26.2 miles in support of this incredible hospital!

 

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When I completed my first marathon in 2011, it was the children of St. Jude and you guys that inspired me through those last 10 miles. It is true when they say that the marathon starts at mile 20. Those were the toughest physical and mental miles I have ever completed. But the streets were filled with spectators cheering me on and shouting ‘Way to go Hero!’ It brought tears to my eyes. And when I crossed the finish line, my feet on fire, I found my way back to the St. Jude tent where I was surrounded by my family and volunteers, I was full of pride and joy!

 

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This is the same feeling that that children of St. Jude get when they stand for the first time after surgery, take steps in their new prosthesis, and celebrate their No Mo’ Chemo Party with the nurses that have become their friends. I know this first hand as I was the physical therapist pushing them towards these moments. Even though I am no longer working at St. Jude, I’d love to continue to provide these opportunities for health and healing, which is why I am raising money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital!

 

Not only does St. Jude do so many incredible things for its patients and families, it continues to be a source of hope and inspiration for me. I appreciate all of the support you have already given me, and if you’d like to donate to St. Jude, please check out my Heroes Page!

www.heroes.stjude.org/JenniferSue

 

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And don’t forget to follow me online or trek out to the marathon to cheer me and the thousands of other charity runners through the neighborhoods of Chicago on October 13th.

 

 

Love and Thanks,

Jennifer