running with Olympians!

I’ve been ramping up my training for the half marathon here in Champaign.  I wanted to sign up for the full marathon race…but I’m kind of glad that I didn’t.  There are now only 2 months left of training and the cold is only just subsiding.  Needless to say that I have trouble getting myself out the door (even to go run at the gym!) when it is cold outside.

When I ran last week at the Y, I was pleasantly surprised by the Olympics on the tv!  I was able to complete my entire run “along side” the cross country skiers 🙂  Go NORWAY!  🙂


TJ’s 1969 Schwinn Varsity version 2.0

Last spring, Brett decided that it was time to revamp his dad’s 1969 Schwinn Varsity.  The bike was in moderately good repair but desperately needed a new paint job and some rust removal.  🙂


Brett started by taking all components off of the frame of the bike.  The metallic components were then soaked in oxalic acid to remove the rust that had built up over 30 years of use.  In order to make upkeep easier, Brett put new 700c wheels on the bike (new wheels = easier to find new tires).  The wheels were a slightly different size than the originals though so he had to bend the frame of the bike a little to install them.  🙂  Before installing everything else, Brett painted the schwinn white and added some great orange details.  After the components were all reinstalled, Brett wrapped new orange handlebar tape on the bike and put on a new orange seat (only detail not shown below).  Voila!  The 1969 Schwinn Varisty version 2.0 🙂


I wish I had step by step pictures but maybe just the before and after shots are enough 🙂


Girly Wednesday ~ xxix ~ Carrying 3 Women

Choosing one’s apparel for a race day is crucial…everything must be chosen for maximum function and comfort.  Even one’s accessories 🙂

This year at the Chicago Marathon, I ran with 3 rings on the middle finger of my right hand.  I love wearing rings that are meaningful.  I like buying rings with someone in mind with whom I can share the sentiment.  I also though, don’t like the way it feels to have rings on adjacent fingers on my hand…this proves to be quite limiting sometimes so I have learned the method of stacking rings.


The ring with the widest and most decorative band is my mother’s wedding band.  The silver, infinity loop ring I share with a dear and close sister friend (love you!).  The wrapped ring I bought from an artist in Huntsville with my mother in mind.  It looks really nice when paired with her wedding band and also just by itself.  I think she would like it 🙂

So, to the race I carried these strong women with me in spirit.  I think we had a pretty good run 🙂


the secret to post long runs

Brett and I are asked fairly frequently how we go about doing those long runs.  I’ll give Brett most of the credit…I usually get us out the door but Brett definitely keeps us on the road 🙂  The key to a successful long run is the food 🙂  I guess the leg muscles are important too but fueling during and after the run is really crucial.  For a run over 12 miles, I know that I need to block off a lot of the rest of the day to stretch, shower, eat, and relax a little while my blood sugar levels return to normal.  This means having food ready for during the run and after 🙂  Cooking while really really hungry isn’t much fun 🙂


Brett and I learned during a run last season that snickers bars are a great during run snack.  They have the sugar, the fat, the protein, and they are easy to carry and eat while running.  Ever since then, Snickers bars are my favorite long run treat 🙂  I carried them on the marathon too!  And you just can’t beat a frozen pizza when you need a carb-y meal post run.  🙂

Any athletes out there with some other favorite during or after run meals/snacks?  We are always looking for suggestions!  🙂

#WeRunChicago – Chicago Marathon 2013!

Brett and I completed another Chicago Marathon!  The race went really well!  🙂  Our first half was great…we were super trained and ready for that first 15 miles.  From there the race was a little more interesting but we had a great time, we ran it together, we finished, and I took off another few minutes from my time 🙂  5 hours….I will run faster than you next time! (maybe I should learn to train for an entire 18 weeks…for an entire 26.2 miles? hehe)  🙂  Until then, Brett and I will continue to love training together and work on making enough room for all of that training in our busy lives 🙂

We dutifully started our carbo loading on Friday…ok not really…I just love Mac n Cheese 🙂 (and caffeine)  hehe!


The marathon weekend is a bit crazy and quite stressful for a number of reasons.  For starters, the logistics of racing for an entire day in another city requires some food and clothing preparation ahead of time.  The biggest thing though, is that over 40,000 other runners are needing to get into the city, pick up their race packets the day before, and then get to the starting line the day of, all at the same time 🙂  It results in some traffic jams and just a general feeling of chaos 🙂  The day before the race we drove up to Chicago, dropped the pups off, and then headed into the city to pick up our race packets


along with a whole bunch of other people!






After finally escaping the Expo Center we headed to a nearby coffee shop to meet a friend of mine, Sara, and her soon-to-be husband for some coffee/tea/smoothies/hot chocolate.


Then we grabbed some take out, and while we were waiting for it to be ready we walked around the city just a bit.  We were near Grant Park where the start and finish line for the race were so we walked past the 26 mile marker…can you see it?  🙂


We also took some impromptu photos…and Brett spun us around a little for an action shot 🙂



Then we headed back to the pups for our last minute race preparations.  While the pups relaxed…



…we pinned our bibs on our shirts, I wrote on the back of mine (last year my shirt said Chemo Warrior Princess on it hehe, and I always include the phrase, Running 4 Mom), and we prepared our Go area.  That spot includes food for during the race and after (can you spot the doughnuts that we stashed in the car for the ride home? hehe), some water and Gatorade ready to go, and all the clothes that we’ll need.  The Chicago Marathon teams up with a homeless shelter and all of the clothes dropped before the start line are donated!  We buy new sweat shirts and sweat pants just for the occasion.  With a race that takes this long to complete, it is important to know what the temperature will be both before and during the race.  It was about 45 degrees on race day morning and about 60 by the time we finished 🙂




Did you also spot the giant bottle of Ibuprofen?  🙂

The next morning we woke up just a little after 4 am and got ready.  We headed into the city and to the Spertus Center where the American Brain Tumor Association was stationed for the day.  Usually all of the charity teams are in the same area in outdoor tents.  This year though, for whatever reason, the ABTA teamed up with another organization and had a spot in a building across the street from Grant Park and the start/finish.  This meant real bathrooms for before and after the race…this was fabulous 🙂  (Porta-potties can get pretty gross when you throw a bunch of slightly out of it runners into them!)



After the ABTA took a group picture, Brett and I headed to the start line.  It was a little bit chilly so I was equipped with my favorite pair of cold-ish weather running gloves (aka Gardening gloves)!  🙂  I have another pair of gloves for when it is sub freezing outside..bbrrrrr!!!


It is amazing to think about all of the people who are present at the Chicago Marathon each year.  With over 40,000 runners and all of the spectators, there are sooo many people around at all times!




We didn’t take many during the race photos this year…let’s just say that we were fully focused on the race 🙂  Brett and I will post a pretty funny video though in the next few weeks so stay tuned!  We were also pretty focused on all of the awesome posters that spectators had…they are more and more clever each year and have some great one liners on them.  (Maybe we’ll post about this more specifically in the future?….Eeep!  Teasers!!!)  After 5 hours and about 11 minutes we finished the race!  Brett got his post race beer and we both received the awesome metals! (you would have had to pay me to drink that beer haha!)



Thank you for everyone who donated to our race on behalf of the American Brain Tumor Association and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  If you would still like to donate it’s not too late!  Click here to donate to Mallory’s race and here to donate to Brett’s race!  🙂

P.S.  You can hear about last year’s race here, about some of our training here and here, and about our fundraising efforts here 🙂