Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tuesday's Tricky Tempo Situation

Tempo Run: A sustained effort in the range of a persons lactate threshold which serves to increase the speed a runner can maintain for prolonged periods of time.

My legs seem to be a bit confused lately. After last weeks messy tempo run, I really wanted to nail down a consistent tempo this week. I haven't been doing many of these runs lately and have instead been opting for hard effort fartlek speed sessions. While I think that there isn't a specific number one needs to hit for their tempo, I do think that it should be a challenging (but not a race paced) effort where the runner aims for fairly consistent splits while running controlled.

A tempo run:
  • shouldn't be an all out balls-to-the-walls run
  • shouldn't leave the runner feeling completely spent and out of gas upon completion
  • should help a runner to increase lactate threshold and gain speed
  • should help a runner learn consistency in pace and how to control speed
  • should teach a runner to learn to adapt

Gave my ever-loved tempo run another go yesterday where again I just couldn't get into my groove for the first mile. Maybe it was because I was running into a strong head wind coming off of the lake or the fact that my legs still were working out some kinks that they had left over from Monday, either way the entire first mile I felt like I was pressing a lot harder then a 6:50 pace and wasn't sure I'd be able to finish the workout. 

This workout turned out to be a mess.

Once I turned out of the wind in mile two, my blood begun to churn heat through my body that left me feeling like I was really cooking with fire. The pace suddenly became easier and I felt the right amount of discomfort for the remaining four miles and begun to settle into my pace. My body and mind felt in control of this tempo where I was almost positive that those last four miles were 6:40's even though I didn't check my watch once during the workout. Then I plugged the good ole garmin into my computer a few hours later and felt confused. 

How the heck did a 6:29 mile sneak in there?
Shouldn't this have felt a bit more trying?
Am I getting faster or am I just pushing too hard?

For me speed workouts aren't about pressing myself until exhaustion. There is little to no benefit for me to hammer it out as fast as I can for any type of workout. As I was telling Nicole last week, I just cannot recover from those types of workouts and I think this a good way to burn myself out. Trying to squeeze every ounce of speed from my legs in every workout is plain crazy, and making the mistake of running medium-hard all of the time will not produce the maximum outcome I'm looking for from my training this time around. Believe me, I've been there and learned this the hard way on several different occasions.

But what happens when the months of hard work all begin to slowly show signs of improvement and your old norm just doesn't cut it like it used to? 
Do you hold back? 
Do you press harder? 
Do you just ignore the garmin and run solely based on feel?

Even though I'm training intuitively this time around, I'm still trying to learn consistency and control over my paces so that I don't peak too early, burn out, or run myself into the ground causing some crazy unwanted injury. I do believe that I have somehow managed to pick up some speed in the past few months and credit most of that to rest, the maniac circuits I've been doing at the gym (some of which you can find under this tab), and listening to my body. But I'm still 3 weeks out from my 8k, 11 weeks from my 1/2 marathon, and 12 weeks from my 10 miler...meaning that there is still a long road ahead where slow progression needs to be made.

I think that I just need to incorporate a few more tempos in my training and reconsider my goal pace to get the maximum benefit from this workout, seems like the legs are a bit more eager to move then I thought they would be at this point in time.

Tempo runs, how do you determine your pacing?

Monday, February 27, 2012

CHM Training Week 4 Recap

Hosted a cutback week for myself for week 4, and strangely it has made me feel more tired to do less. Odd how that works out. Took a cross training day and only covered about 55ish miles in 5 days with 2 strength sessions. Moving on this week to mileage in the high 60's, 2 speed sessions, 1 long run, 3 strength sessions, and possibly a yoga class.

Living out my last few days as a 27 year old this week, hopefully 28 has great things in store for me. If you couldn't guess already, life has been throwing me for a loop lately leaving me tired and restless. I'm ready to say goodbye to 27 and will be greeting 28 with a big smile on Sunday.

10.02 miles total
4 mile tempo 
 6:54, 6:37, 6:39, 6:35
6 uphill strides

Took me forever to get in the groove for this workout. I think that tempo runs provide the most bang for their buck when training for half marathons, but this was my first solid tempo in ages and it wasn't the smoothest workout ever.

Tuesday: 75 minutes on the elliptical. Strength circuit.

12.01 miles total
6 mile warm up followed by 12x400's @goal 8k pace (1:35) with 2 minute recovery
1:34, 1:34, 1:35, 1:29, 1:34, 1:34, 1:35, 1:35, 1:35, 1:29, 1:32, 1:34

Trying to squeeze some speed out of these legs and felt pretty decent about this workout. Doing speed work on the back end of a longer run is quite a challenge, but these are the kind of workouts my body needs to gain speed and strength for my upcoming races. Honestly I didn't feel the load of the workout until about the 9th 400, then things got really challenging for me. Learning to keep the pace strong shooting for consistent splits on tired legs is my goal with any type of speed workout. Running as fast as I can like a mad woman for these types of workouts I have found to be of little use and instead my concentration during this cycle is relyant on race paced workouts.

Thursday: 9 miles easy recovery run. Legs felt like crud this day.

Friday: 9 miles easy. Strength circuit, just another crazy day at the gym where I jump around like a fool sweating all over the group exercise studio.

Loved this workout

Saturday: 13.12 miles total in 1:45, 7:51 pace.

Moving on the week 5.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rejuvenation for the weary

Yesterday somehow became one of those crazy unorganized days for me where everything seemed to be mismatched together leaving even the most simplest of tasks absorbing more of my precious time to complete then they should have. For most of the day this left me feeling as if I was stuck on an endless roller coaster and time seemed to slip right through my hands like sand leaving behind a trail of only dust. By 4 pm the residue of the murky day had somehow permeated into my skin, leaving a hazardous cloudy funk radiating off me. A sudden moment of extreme anxiety submerged every fiber of my being where I thought the only answer for afternoon rejuvenation would be to become a refugee to the shower putting a little soap and water to my stink.

As I mustered up the courage to scrub days of staleness out of my hair and watched the filth I'd been carry around all day dissipate down the drain, I suddenly realized that it was lent. 

How could this be?

How could the day have whizzed by filled with mile-high heaps of laundry, Iron Chef escapades occurring in my kitchen which remnants where still awaiting my attention, and the fact that I've been chasing one of my dogs down all day trying to trim his nails so that he stops trying to do it had all of this happened in the 16 hours leading up to that point and lent hadn't once trickled into my mind?

After I was able to draw myself away from what seemed like the most exposing shower of my life, I found myself standing with sopping wet hair looking around my home. The TV was on to provide a bit of background noise, heaps of dirty dishes waiting for me to scrub stood strewn about my kitchen, the funky laundry that needed tending to overflowing from the basket onto the messy floor, and the 10 to-do lists scattered between books and important papers on my desk that I continually add to all begun to form eyes with a fixating stare directed towards me when suddenly I is all filler. Filler that I add to my day to make me feel like I'm accomplishing something important, fluff and earthly duties I hold with such high regard to show progress and keeps me from thinking about the other more important things in my life.

The to-do's and what not to-do's, why had this all become so important in my life? Where has my faith trailed off to and how have I allowed myself to become so consumed by me? How on earth did I miss this day?

There have been very few moments in my life where I've been able to check myself without external intervention, moments where I was able to actually stop and realize the err of my ways. This was one of those moments.

Mentally I had already settled into the idea that instead of giving up something for this Lenten season that I was going to challenge myself to take something on, something that never felt more convicted of then in that moment as my barely clothed body stood soaking wet in my objectified living room.


My mind had already acknowledged that I'm a selfish human, always thinking about myself, especially within my marriage. 

MY thoughts
MY feelings
MY energy levels
MY priorities
MY career

But it wasn't until this moment amongst the silent solitude of my messy home and cluttered mind where I begun to feel the weight of my conviction from constantly putting myself before others.

Whether you are a Christian or not, lent offers the same promise to you as it does for me. It gives hope that there are greater things to come and we are all faint of heart, but rejuvenation exists for the restless and weary. Today for me it means that the world is less about me and more about my higher purpose, that learning a bit of humility every now and then is good for the soul, and a bit of objectivity never hurts.


This is the time for me to hush all the white noise I use as filler though out my day for praise and confession to my Lord.

Time to make my husband a pot of coffee in the morning without giving him a hard time about how inconvenient it is for me.


Time to be present and still.

Monday, February 20, 2012

My take on Vega Sport

Let me begin this post by noting that I do not take any type supplements whatsoever. 

I do not prepare or refuel for my workouts with special powders that are sold in containers and need to be mixed with water, I do not take any vitamins, and I do not replace meals with protein shakes, I just simply do not venture into the faux-nutrient realm often. Instead, I prefer to fuel my body with real foods. This is my choice because this is what makes my body feel strong and energized and in my opinion what humans should be eating.

Recently I was extended an opportunity to test out and review some Vega Sport products. If you haven't already read the multitude of reviews circling the healthy-living blogosphere, Vega Sport is a Canadian based company that produces natural plant-based fueling for endurance athletes.

Their fueling system consists of a 3-step process: 

"Designed to take your workout to the next level by significantly enhancing physical and mental performance"

Pre-Workout Energizer

"Provide immediate and sustained energy, hydration, and electrolyte replenishment"

Electrolyte Hydrator
Endurance Bar
Endurance Gel

"Replenishes your system, repairs muscle tissue, and reduce inflammation to assist in recovery"

Performance Protein
Protein Bar
Recovery Accelerator

My take on the products:

While I have a great appreciation that these are all plant-based items, I do not have the same appreciation for most of the flavoring of the items. I love food, and I feel like if I'm going to consume calories of any kind that I want the taste to knock my socks off. That goes for beverages too. 

Products I liked:

Mocha Endurance Bar
It had nice flavor but the chia seeds freak me out. I don't know why people like these so much, they have no flavor and just get stuck in the deep crevices of my teeth.

Chocolate Coconut Protein Bar
This tasted almost like a candy bar, and as a matter of fact I think it practically was. Held off my post-run hunger long enough for me to run an hour of errands after a speed workout. But I generally tend to avoid these types of chocolate filled bars because they are high in fat, have lots of calories, and aren't real chocolate. Quite frankly I would rather have had a milky way if solely comparing nutritional data and this isn't usually how I would fuel up post workout.

Recovery Accelerator Appleberry
This was a powder mix that dissolved in 12 oz of water and had a very light flavoring. I don't generally drink any beverages other then water and coffee, so even though I liked the flavoring the 12 oz of this was too much for me.

Endurance Gels
Taste wise these weren't too bad, and they tasted like dates. However, texture wise I didn't care for this. Unlike a Clif Gel or Gu that is a smooth consistency, this was actually chunky which was a bit of a surprise mid long run. But it kept me from crashing in the late miles. The portion size of this was a bit large as well.

Products I didn't care for:

Electrolyte Hydrator
Had a weird flavor that made me feel nauseated to drink while working out. I feel like it had little effect on my energy levels and I just couldn't get it down.

Pre-Workout Energizer
The only positive thing that I can say about this was that it dissolved well in water. My stomach hated both the lemon lime and acai berry flavors and I couldn't get the taste out of my mouth during my workout which weirded me out a bit.

Performance Protein
Hate protein drinks and sadly Vega's spin on the traditional protein different was no different for me. Had high hopes for the chocolate flavor, but it unfortunately did not taste at all like chocolate to me and I just did not enjoy drinking it post run. I also thought that for some reason that it smelled like berries, which is strange.

Overall I would say that Vega Sport has some great products available for those looking for plant-based fueling options, but sadly I don't think that I'm one of those athletes. I really wanted to like this stuff, but I am very particular about the things I eat and most of these items just didn't float my boat. Being a person who doesn't use these types of products often, I don't know if my opinion really has much weight in this matter because I honestly prefer to take in my fuels from whole food sources.

For me the biggest draw back to Vega Sport is just that there are simply too many steps to their fueling. The thought about figuring out when to take each of these products and balance them with the whole foods in my diet was rather overwhelming for me. So, thank you Vega for the opportunity to try out your products but I'm going to stick with the whole foods in my diet that I already love so much.

Vega Sport products were given to me free of charge, however the opinions expressed here are all my own. All photos of Vega's products were taken from their website.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

CHM Training Week 3 & a Special Day

My legs covered 65 miles this week with 3 strength sessions and 1 yoga class. 

No exceptional experiences this week, only this moment:

Wish he would have stopped by my blog several days ago to give his input regarding racing footwear. Can't say that I'm not curious what the benefits of sporting moon boots while running are.

am: 8.25 miles easy
pm: 4 miles easy with the husband

Tuesday: 11.79 miles total with 6x5 minutes hard with 2 minutes recovery. Strength session.

The footing was nasty, but the legs felt pretty darn strong. Trying to wake the speed that has been sleeping within my legs for months is hard work, but I'm enjoying every second of it. Pushing myself beyond expectation is a choice that I make. Worthy accomplishments and commendable achievements blossom from hard work and a positive outlook and do not happen solely by chance.

Ventured to the gym looking like this. I'm a classy lady.

6x5 minutes splits
6:25, 6:22, 6:15, 6:23, 6:16, 6:18

Want to really challenge yourself? Go out and run an endurance speed workout and follow it up with a strength session filled with lots of jumping...that will really #makeitcount.

Wednesday: 8.5 miles, slow recovery run. The legs really needed this.

Thursday: 9 miles easy. Strength session.

Friday: 14.75 miles in 1:56, 7:51 pace.

Last year I was taking the majority of my long runs as a progressive run but have decided to take these runs differently this year. Instead of letting myself hammer it out on the pavement for the last 6 or so miles where I often times would allow myself to get a bit carried away, now I'm just cruising along comfortably. While I love progressive runs, I was often times taking them way too aggressive and they would suck the life out of me so I've decided instead to just bag them for now and to instead just enjoy my time being unplugged from the world.

Saturday: 8.25 easy recovery miles. Strength session. Yoga.

Today is a big day in my household.
Today is the day that these cute little faces turn 5.

My babies are growing up into little pupmen and like to celebrate in style.

Happy Sunday.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Living Recklessly Bold is a Choice

Running these days has taken on an entirely new meaning for my life. It has made way for challenges and opportunity that had never seemed possible in earlier years and has enabled my once self-conscious mind to feel empowered and capable of things I would never have dreamed of as my younger more cautious and doubtful self.

It wasn’t always this way for me. At first running was a way for my heart to feel free and unchained from the mediocrity of the world, but somehow over the years transformed into a pressure filled hobby where satisfaction would only come from great forward momentum and accomplishment. Crumbling under a state of self-sabotage was something that became a new norm in my life and led me into a scary downhill spiral that took time to defeat and overcome. I let the hobby that once brought my less then exceptional soul new found merriment and unbelievable moments filled with extraordinary inspiration take hold of me. This was no fault but my own, and came along when I lost sight of the things that meant most to me in life. 

Running became my idol, where I only felt as great about myself as my running allowed. 

Self value was define by the speed of my feet, which often times left a sticky residue on my achy heart from short comings of what I felt my running destiny was. Suddenly the freedom that came from my hobby begun to suck the life out of me, plaguing me with one injury after another where the tiny amount of self-confidence my heart carried at that point in time became tarnished and null.

That was my roughest patch in life where I let myself become a victim of my situation. I didn’t like my job, life was hard, my running wasn’t progressing the way I wanted it to, and I felt like my life begun to lack any sense of direction or purpose. There was no responsibility taken on my part, instead I just felt like the world was against me and I had somehow just stumbled onto a string of bad luck that would eventually work itself out. Soon this attitude led me into a quarter life crisis that took every bit of my strength to crawl out of. 

Here through my relentless stubbornness was where I learned to embrace life for what it is; taking hold of the things life has blessed me with where trusting that the Lord knows my heart became my saving grace. I lost my vision and purpose for life and somehow wrapped up all of my worth in the hobby that once made my heart sing and soul dance instead of embracing this crazy adventure called life. Learning that good fortune doesn't happen by chance and life will never give back more then you put in nearly broke me until the moment where my heart was no longer blinded by my ignorance set my soul free.

When your situation begins to take hold of you, bringing your heart down a dark and lonely road leaving you will feelings of confusion and frustration, whether you believe it or do have the choice of how you want to forge on ahead. Each day the sun rises illuminating new beginnings and creating life for the seen and unseen possibilities of the future.

You can look to your idols to fill your heart with worthiness and meaning, or live reckless and bold forging ahead to brave the storm making the most of the adventure that each day holds.

Years ago I consciously made the choice to let go of expectation and embrace my life for what it is. There is no promise that my situation will lack complexity or that there won’t be days filled with heart-breaking challenges, instead acknowledgment flows like raging waters through my soul that short comings and set backs are a part of this crazy journey.

Karma isn’t real and luck is defined only by perspective. Knowing this I run bravely into the wind taking life for what it is making a conscious choice to hold my head high embracing it all.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Shoe Journey

I don't think that the shoe makes the runner, but I do think that foot comfort is extremely important to the success of any athlete. In my almost 16 years as a runner I have sported nearly every brand of shoe in every model ever made for runners, minus minimalist brands.

My feet have pounded the pavement in Asics, Brooks, Nike, Adidas, Newtons, New Balance, Saucony, Mizuno, and countless other brands that didn't leave much of an impression. 

Last summer I bought Newtons in an attempt to stop overstriding and learn to run with a bit of a smoother cadence where I have been doing most of my runs in these shoes post Chicago marathon. Rockin these bright kicks always sparks the interest of other runners and often leads to a Q&A session.

During that time period there was a failed attempt to transition into the Mizuno Wave Rider 15's that left my ankles bruised and sore.

These are not the shoes for me as there isn't sufficient room for my ankle bone

And most recently I've been testing out the Nike LunarEclipse+ 2's which I won from a twitter contest.

At first I wasn't too sure about these, but as soon as I put them on my feet and headed out the door for a run I felt like I was drifting on little clouds. Obviously these shoes are much more cushioned then the Newton's I'm used to, but my feet seem do be enjoying their time in these bad boys.

As my spring races are closing in, I am considering buying a pair of racers. The last time I wore racing flats I was a high school senior, which was a decade ago. A lot has changed in running in those 10 years where I haven't been keeping myself up to date on what racers are best for my foot and the distances I want to cover in them. 

Some of the models I'm interested in:

New Balance WR1400

My first race this year is in just under 6 weeks so I want to get a pair ASAP to give my foot a little time feeling them out before I hit the race scene, but I can't seem to make a decision and would love some input and feedback from you guys.

Do you run in racers?
Any brand or model recommendations?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

CHM Training Week 2

Goals for week 2 were to get in 60+ miles, which included 1 long run and a speed session. Lots of thoughts going on lately about my training. With an 8k coming up in 6 weeks, I'm feeling really curious as to where my fitness level will be by then. Thinking ahead to what workouts are best for me for an 8k, 10 miler, and half marathon have me dreaming up some fairly creative runs. Trying to ease myself slowly back into focused workouts here while keeping my training fun. 

My goals during this cycle are to:
  • Have fun
  • Push beyond my comfort zone during focused workouts, #makeitcount
  • Rest and recover when appropriate
  • Make adjustments when necessary
  • Sport a smile, even when every muscle in my body is screaming
Nothing more, nothing less.

Monday: 10.77 miles. 
Speed work day 
10 minute tempo followed by 2x5 minutes hard/2 minutes recovery/4 minutes hard/2 minute recovery

At first thought wasn't sure that I would be able to power through a speed workout on this day, but with the encouragement and support of wonderfully pleasant company I pushed through. Gaining speed isn't easy and requires quite a bit of hard work, but having someone by your side as your breath deepens, your muscles begin to ache, and your tireless efforts begin to take hold of you makes it 100% more gratifying.

Tuesday: Slow 8.3 mile recovery run on the treadmill. Strength circuit.

Wednesday: Easy 8.55 miles

am: 8 miles easy. Did a bit of off-roading here in the city. Strength circuit.

Testing out a new pair of Nike Lunar Eclipse +2's

pm: 4 miles easy with the husband.

Seems the only way I can get my heart rate up these days during strength sessions is to be in either a prone, decline, or jumping position. This means I'm going to have to get really creative here shortly.

Friday: 15.02 miles in 1:58. Big fluffy wet snow flakes begun to come down rather fiercely on my way home. I was wet, my hamstrings were extremely tight, and I just wanted to get home to have a nice hot cup of coffee.

Then this happened...

The good news was that Saucony swooped in to save the day sending me DM with a discount code to buy a new pair of gloves. The bad news is I have to buy a new pair of gloves and nurse my decomposing ego yet again after another tumble while running.

Saturday: Slow 7.5 mile recovery run. Yoga, strength circuit.

Week 2 hosted 62 miles, 3 strength sessions, and 1 yoga class. Hamstrings have been awfully tight this week and I haven't had a decent nights sleep in about 10 days. Moving ahead to week 3 my intuition is telling me that if these hammie's don't work out their kinks in the next few days that most likely I'm going to need to take an extra day off or possibly trade up a few runs for some cross-training.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Today's Activity

This Saturday's afternoon activity...


Via Josh Ross Photography
Ready, Set, Go!

A photographer that can look at a pair of running shoes as a work of ART is the kind of person I heed to for inspiration in moment where my soul seeks as bit of independence.

Some people are just that cool where they can turn what might be considered as an after thought to some into beautiful masterpieces. Check out his other works of art.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

More about me then you've ever wanted to know

I was tagged by several lovely bloggers awhile back for the "11 things" blog chain letter. Chain letters have always been a mystery to me where I've never quite understood the appeal. I'm always the one who kills the letter, and the "11 things" chain unfortunately will be no different. 

So thank you to:

I'm touched that you all wanted to know more about me, but I do still like to keep myself as somewhat of a mystery since this is the internet and who knows what kind of creepos are lurking around this neck of the woods. Because I'm not a fan of chain letters, of course I changed the rules and will instead just be feeding you random factoids about myself. So enjoy or not...

I'm one of those people takes their dental hygiene very seriously. I always carry a toothbrush and toothpaste with me wherever I go and I drink my coffee through a straw.

I have two dogs, Miles and Chase. They are brothers and have more personality then any dog I have ever met in my life. They are brothers and we think that they are a dachshund westie mix. My husband and I are super lame, Miles and Chase do have running themed names. Their favorite food is banana and their favorite pastime is snuggling under a snuggie.

Chase is in the foreground and Miles in the background
Miles and Chase celebrating their 4th birthday last February

I met my husband when we were in 7th grade. We started dating our freshman year in high school, were engaged when we were 21, married at 23, and now live happily ever after. Most days.

Our wedding in August 2007

Bustin a groove at a wedding

My favorite food is parmesan cheese. I know that sounds weird but I feel like you could put it on anything and it will taste divine. Coming in a close second would be white peaches and haribou watermelon gummi bears.

While I do have a blog where I talk about myself, I am extremely introverted. Outside of this blog I rarely divulge the gritty details about things going on in my life and don't openly spill the gritty details of my life. Believe it or not I don't really like to bring attention to myself and don't open up about the things going on in life unless asked. And truth be told, I do think that blogs are kind of silly.

I like to think that I'm funny, but I have an extremely odd sense of humor that others don't seem to follow at times. But as long as I amuse myself that's all that counts.

My humor is most popular with the kiddos

The most embarrassing moment of my life would probably be the day that I flipped over the handle bars of my bicycle on Michigan Avenue. I don't really know how it happened but the back wheel somehow flew through the air launching me into oncoming traffic where I ate major pavement. When I stood up there was gravel etched into the entire front half of my body and blood running down my legs. People were gathering to peel me off the street and traffic came to a stop, I was so embarrassed that I got on my bike as fast as I could and rode off with blood streaming down my legs. Must have been quite a site to see.

I am the shortest one in my family measuring in at 5'3, yet my feet are ginormous. They seem to float back between size 8.5 and 9. I am the 2nd of 5 children in my family where my sister is 10 years younger then me and about 5 inches taller, I look like a midget standing next to them and sometimes wonder if I was switched at birth.

This was almost 5 years ago when my sister was 13, even then she was slightly taller then me.
I was wearing 5 in heels this day.

Believe it or not, I have a tattoo. When I was 18 I drove to Indiana with some of my girlfriends to get a tat on my foot of a star. The purpose of the star is to be a reminder of one of my favorite bible verses:

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like start in the universe as you hold out the word of life-in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing." 
2 Philippians 2:14-16

Tats on the foot hurt.

I've always lived in the Chicagoland area. I grew up in the western suburbs, went to college in Chicago, and now currently reside in the city. There was a period of time where I felt trapped here and wanted nothing more but to pack up my car and drive across the country to start a new life in a new city. Yet the past 2 years I've grown attached to my city and couldn't imagine myself setting up a life anywhere else. Chicago is a truly beautiful place that took me some time to fully appreciate and I'm glad that I am stationed here.

Clutter gives me anxiety so I don't hang on to too many tangible items. But I do have an apron collection that I will never part ways with.

This apron is just one of many

I didn't get my wisdom teeth pulled until I was 26. I had 4 impacted teeth and it was a terrible experience where the orthopedic surgeon gave me too much anesthesia that took 3 days to exit my body. I had an allergic reaction to the medicine they gave me which made me break out in a full body rash, I couldn't eat anything solid for almost 6 weeks, and the holes took forever to heal. For some crazy reason I thought having this surgery 8 weeks before a half marathon would be a good wasn't and I nearly died on that course.

I learned to walk by the time I was 6 months old. I've always been an eager learner.

Lastly, I'm a karaoke rockstar.

So there you have it folks, random facts that you never wanted to know about me.