Illinois half marathon training weeks 1 & 2

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Illinois Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!


I can’t believe I’ve made it through the first two weeks of Illinois half marathon training! It has been tough to balance training with my (relatively) new teaching job…Things are going well training wise, though, and I really hope it stays that way! I’m nervous because of my injury history, but I am optimistic, especially after I wrapped up week 2 yesterday! So without further ado, let’s take a look at my last two weeks of training! 🙌🏻

Week 1: Monday February 5th -Sunday February 11th

-Monday February 5th: REST

-Tuesday February 6th:  3 miles @ 7:42 on the treadmill followed by strength work


-Wednesday February 7th: REST/XT

-Thursday February 8th: REST

-Friday February 9th: Unexpected day off work (snow day) resulted in a fun, but snowy/slippery 5 miles @ 7:59 pace


-Saturday February 10th: 4 miles @ 7:31 pace


-Sunday February 11th: REST

WEEKLY TOTAL: 14 miles

Week 2: Monday February 12th -Sunday February 18th:

-Monday February 12th: 3 miles after school at 7:18 pace followed by stretching


-Tuesday February 13th: REST

-Wednesday February 14th: 3 miles @ 7:07 pace. I ran by feel, but ended up with a run that was almost at tempo pace…


-Thursday February 15th: Late and dark 4 miler at 7:49 pace. This run didn’t feel great…



-Friday February 16th: REST

-Saturday February 17th: 1 mile w/u, 3 miles @ goal half marathon pace (6:49, 6:54, 6:48), and 3 mile c/d


-Sunday February 18th: 5 mile recovery run @ 7:39 pace followed by yoga


WEEKLY TOTAL:  21 miles 

Tonight’s question: What races are you training for this spring? Will any of you be joining me at the Illinois half marathon? They also have a 5k, 10k, full marathon, and marathon relay! So there’s a race for everyone!🤗 Use the code “2018bibravebonus” code for $10.00 off your entry if you want to join me!😉


F^3 Lake Half Marathon and 5k race Chicago review

I will start my race review by saying in an ideal situation I would have run the half marathon, not the 5k. I become injured in early November and was unable to run the Madison half  marathon that month, so I knew a January half  wasn’t realistic. My husband signed up for the F^3 Lake Half Marathon and I felt left out, so I signed up for the 5k in the hopes that I would somehow recover and be able to run at least a few weeks before the race. Thankfully, I overcame my injury in a month and half through lots of rest, time in the weight room, yoga, and a little cross training. I started running again a week before Christmas and knew that my goal for this 5k would be to finish and nothing more.


Now I will say that despite my lack of fitness going in, I am so happy I signed up for this race! The weather was unseasonably warm for January (40s) and it was so much fun.

Packet pick up: There were multiple weekends and locations (city and suburbs) to pick up packets and even an option to pick it up race morning for $15.

Parking: Only con about this race. Parking was a slow process and expensive because they made you pay before entering the garage. Most places have you grab a ticket and pay on the way out. I would have preferred that option because my husband and I kept our wallets in the bag in our car truck. So when we got to the front of the parking line I had to jump out of the car and scramble to open the trunk and find one of wallets to pay… I feel like myself (and everyone else) who had to do this held up the parking line significantly.

Waiting for the start: My favorite part of the race (besides running it) was the ability to stay inside the warm United Center until the start of the race and pee in a real toilet instead of a porta potty 😛 I also thought the gear check was easy to find and very well organized. If it had been actually cold on race day, I would have still been comfortable because the start line was right outside the door. I still took advantage of the warmth and since I did not warm up, I reported to the start line 5 min before the race. Had I had lofter goals for this race (i.e. getting a PR rather than just finishing), I would have warmed up, done drills, etc. I also used the wait time to finally meet some of my fellow Bibrave Pros Connie and Ben in real life 😛


Race course: The 5k (and the half) was a flat/fast out and back course. There was one water station on the 5k course than I didn’t use or need, but it was nice that they had one. My husband ran the half and did not take in much water, but was pleased with how many stops were on the course too. There were quite a few people cheering and taking pictures so that was also cool.


I just started running again a month before the race (due to my injury) and recently got a new job as a chemistry teacher, so my training was subpar going in. I only ran twice in the two weeks before the race and decided that with my lack of speed work it would be smartest from a recovery/injury standpoint to treat the race as a tempo run. I ran it in 21:08, which was a tempo effort for me at this point in m training, and unexpectedly 1st place female… Finally, everyone I saw on and off the course was nice, but I feel like this is because only the most dedicated runners are willing to run or volunteer in a Chicago winter race!


Post race/swag: Everyone who ran the 5k or half got a cool medal. The top three overall 5k runners for each gender got a plaque and the top three half marathon runners got prize money, which helped make the half marathon competitive. So, I got a pretty sweet plaque from the 5k! There were also age group prizes for the half marathon, which my husband narrowly missed (4th in his age group with a PR of 1:15). We also all got a cool lightweight hooded top, which is super comfy and soft and I’ve already worn twice since last weekend 😛


I waited around with the other 5k finishers until my husband finished the half marathon. Again, I was grateful that I was able to wait around in the warm United Center instead of outside. We all took some time to stretch and we met up with one more Bibrave Pro Mark! I’m sad I wasn’t able to meet up with/find everyone! :/


Then, we attended the awards ceremony, so I could collect my first place plaque and cheer on all the finishers.



After party: After the awards, we finally decided to mosey on over to the post-race party and get our free beers from Kroll’s. Our entire table ordered Two Brother’s Pinball pale ales. A few of us got food as well: my husband got a veggie burger, I got sweet potato fries, and Mikey got a Chicken Cesar Salad which he enjoyed. Kroll’s had a fun atmosphere, the food was decent, but I feel like they were a bit understaffed. They could have used a few more severs to handle the high volume of hungry and thirsty runners.


Overall, the F^3 Lake Half Marathon and 5k was well organized, fun, and definitely a race I’d do again. 🙂 Although, next time I’d do the half marathon rather than the 5k. Did any of you run F^3 this year or in the past?

P.S. check out my F^3 review on Bibrave. It is a great place to go when you are looking for races to run because you can read about the experiences that other runners had at that race in the past! 🙂


Why I wear whatever I want when I run (and why you should too!)

Happy weekend friends! This is a post I’ve wanted to write for a long time… So, I FINALLY did it! I was inspired after running in “buns” for the first time last weekend. It is a little more personal than I’m used to writing here, but hopefully some of you can relate to it. 🙂


As long as I can remember, I felt self-conscious about my body when working out. Funny, isn’t it? The one activity that was supposed to empower me and help me develop my body confidence made me feel the opposite most of the time. As a kid, I did not think much of clothing worn during workouts, but once I joined cross country as a 14 year old, to train for soccer (HA!), that’s when I noticed those thoughts more often.

I remember coming to summer running as a scared freshmen, who could only run a mile or two, and was in awe of the upperclassman on the team who ran 6 (or more miles) in just a sports bra and spandex. I showed up in my all cotton t-shirt, cotton shorts, and non-supportive running shoes ready to go on a hot summer morning. The run was not memorable, but what stuck out to me was what the other runners wore, especially the faster ones. Soon enough, my coach and I realized I had some natural talent and had me run  varsity with those girls, but I still wore my cotton outfits initially. I was training for soccer, but falling in love with running. I was starting to wonder if/when I would be “fast” and “fit” enough to wear “real” running clothes and asked my mom to go shopping. We bought new shoes, few new tank tops, some shorts, and sports bras, but still no spandex shorts. I was too scared to wear spandex or to run in just a sports bra initially. I did not think I was fast, fit, or thin enough.

The problem was that at the time, I decided I had to look a certain way to wear certain running clothes. Practicality did not matter- for example, when it is 90 degrees a sports bra or tank top and spandex is the comfiest/coolest running outfit. It just mattered to me that I looked the part to wear the outfit. I remember the first time I ran in a sports bra in high school- I was so scared and self-conscious. It was ridiculously hot that day, so I finally caved. I could not focus on my run, though, as I was too worried about how I looked. I spent a lot of high school running worrying if I “looked” like a runner. By junior and senior year I was our team’s top runner, but still felt like a fraud.

(Some high school running throwbacks)

I remember going to a college recruit visit my senior year of high school and running with that team for a long run. It was winter and they all ran in tights-something I was too scared to do. I often wore running sweat pants for winter runs, which are not as comfortable. After that run, though, I realized two things:

a. I must be doing okay if a college is recruiting me

b. It sucks to run in heavy sweatpants, when winter runs are much nicer in leggings. That was the moment I decided to stop caring so much about what I wore when I ran.

No one notices what you wear what you run as much as you do. It’s so liberating to run in what you are comfortable in.  In high school, I wish I had spent more time celebrating how hard I worked, the fact that I was fast enough to run in college, how strong my legs were, and how running clothes could be a fun way to bond with other runners, rather than as a point of comparison. The same running clothes thoughts occasionally occurred in college, but I got over it quickly (for new readers who do not know, I ran XC/track in college too). I got over it quickly because I cared more about reaching my running goals and having a good workout than how I looked.

(Some college running throwbacks)

Your running clothing choices should not be dictated by how you look, but by what is most comfortable to you. All running clothes are meant for you because if you run, you are a runner! Runners come in all shapes, sizes, and paces. 🙂 You don’t have to have a six-pack to run in spandex and a sports bra! You just need to be confident and comfortable in whatever you wear.

These days, I run in whatever the heck I feel like wearing! Tights, spandex, “buns”, sports bras, tank tops, you name it! Nothing is off limits. 😛 Running in an outfit you don’t think you “should” wear can be exhilarating… because screw what everyone else thinks! 😉 I wore “buns” for a training run last week (just to see how they feel if I decide to race in them in a few weeks) and d**n it was liberating! There will always be a runner who is thinner, fitter, and faster, but you only have one life and one body, so it’s much more fun to accept it, nurture it, and wear what is comfortable!

Three questions: What was the first outfit you ran in? Did you ever worry about wearing certain running clothes? What is your favorite running or racing outfit? In college, I had to wear a certain pair of Nike socks and my blue or black Nike sports bra on XC race days.  Unless it’s really cold, I plan to wear my Oiselle “buns” (pictured above haha) and my neon yellow Balega socks for my 5k in a few weeks or half marathon in a month.

Comment your answers or thoughts about the post 👇🏻

Half Marathon Training Weeks 4 and 5 (September 4th-17th)

Good evening friends! I am two weeks behind on my training updates…not sure how that happened, but better late than never, right? 😛


Anyway, before I update, I just wanted to say that I hesitated to post this update because two weeks ago was not a good week and last week was a TERRIBLE week of training for me…lack of sleep, long work days, unplanned events, and motivation made for two very low mileage weeks. I did my not prioritize my health or running, but I pride myself on being honest, so I am posting it anyway.

Sometimes, life gets in the way and I can either wallow in it or move on and promise to do better next time (this week). I want to be real on this blog…despite being a former D1 runner and training at a relatively high level, I acknowledge how hard it can be to balance everything in the real “adult” world. It seems like some many other runners (and running blogs) just show the glamorous side (racing, high mileage weeks, stellar work outs, the perfect life/work/running balance, etc), but I want to show the REAL side. Sometimes you have a sh****y workout or week, you get busy, it’s dark outside, work is stressing you out, you have family stuff, etc. It’s not always fun or easy, but still getting out there (or back to it) is what counts. So without further ado, here’s my last two weekly recaps (with a lot of unplanned rest days). :/

Week #4: Monday September 4th- Sunday September 10th:

Monday September 4th: Day off work, so had a nice afternoon run of 4.1 miles @ 7:46 pace with the hubby


Tuesday September 5th: REST

Wednesday September 6th: 4 miles in the dark after work at 7:47 pace. Did some hip/glute strength exercises after the run

Thursday September 7th: REST

Friday September 8th: REST

Saturday September 9th: 3 miles at 7:28 pace on the cross country course after the races. This run felt terrible and I was dehydrated from being in the sun all afternoon helping my husband coach.

Sunday September 10th (Long run): 6.2 miles at 7:40 pace. I was worried after feeling so terrible on yesterday’s run, but I felt strong. This was my furthest run since I “graduated” physical therapy in July 2015!

WEEKLY TOTAL: 17 miles

Week #5: Mon. September 11th- Sun. September 17th:

Monday September 11th: REST

Tuesday September 12th: REST

Wednesday September 13th: 3 miles with 2 miles at ATTEMPTED tempo pace on the treadmill since it was late. My goal was 6:30-6:45 pace, but I struggled to maintain 6:50-6:55 pace and my heart rate was high. I was tired from lack of sleep and my legs felt like lead. Glad I pushed through, because the terrible workouts are what make us stronger.

Thursday September 14th: REST

Friday September 15th: 3 miles at 7:25 pace in the dark after work. I realized on this run that I need to invest in some lights/ reflective gear because it’s really hard to see on night runs/morning runs and the days are only getting shorter. I ended up ordering knuckle lights and a reflective vest as per recommendations on Instagram.

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Saturday September 16th: 4 miles in between all the races & cheering at the XC meet. It was really hot out and I’m glad all the races were in the morning. I didn’t take any pictures at the meet surprisingly ! 🙁

Sunday September 17th: This was supposed to be my long run day…but in between my in-law’s impromptu visit to our apartment (to pick up a suitcase we borrowed from them on our honeymoon. lol), cleaning, and errands I did not end up running at all and was not happy about it. I did get a lot sleep, though, which helped because during the week I was averaging 5 hours a night.

WEEKLY TOTAL: 10 miles

My takeaways: My mileage totals were low and the old me would have been really upset/disappointed. I was running at least 50 miles per week in college, so this low mileage is a huge change for me…but I’m just happy to be done with physical therapy, out of my 2016 workout funk, and back to running! With time I will be able to better balance work and running and to eventually bring my mileage totals back up.

I’m getting right back on track this week and not sweating the small stuff! I started off the week strong- I had one rest day and one three miler on my schedule. I ran 4 yesterday and knew I was staying late at work today so I rested. It worked out nicely!

Tomorrow I plan to run 3-4 miles at a moderate to easy pace. What do you have planned for tomorrow’s workouts? How do you handle a bad week or two of training? 


What time of day do you run?!

If I were to pick any time of day to run, I would run during the afternoon.🌞 Hands down! Afternoon runs remind me of my high school and college running days…just as the day was getting long, I would have scheduled break around 3-330 pm to look forward to. 🙂 Gosh I miss those days! Before afternoon practice, I was well fueled from breakfast and lunch, and then the run would rev my appetite for dinner. Also, the afternoon practices (unless they were really strenuous) would give me a second burst of energy without another cup of coffee.  After an afternoon practice, I felt ready to tackle my long list of homework, assignments, study sessions, work etc.


Nowadays I do not have the flexibility of afternoon runs except on the occasional weekend day (like above). 🙁 I work full time and commute one hour each way.  I’d give anything to leave my desk for an hour in the middle of the day for an afternoon run. :/  I honestly think I’d return to work much more productive after an afternoon run.

So, what have I been doing lately? Well….I’ve been running in the evening/at night. Unfortunately, the days are getting shorter and the time I leave work is not always predicable- it depends on the day’s projects.  I don’t run in the mornings as often, because of my commute time and I like to ease into the work day with a hearty breakfast. I’m not the kind of girl who can just dash out the door after a workout and quick shower with a granola bar. Your girl here needs to EAT! If I don’t eat eat a good breakfast I feel terrible at work, honestly. Team breakfast all the way! 🍓🍳🥞

Anyway, I’m starting to worry about my options for when to run as the days get shorter. It’s almost that time of year when it is dark when I wake up and when I leave work for the night. Not running is not an option on most days…I tried that lifestyle for a lot of 2016 by choice and part of 2014/2015 due to injury and it was not for me…Plus, I am training for a half marathon in November.💪🏻🏃🏼‍♀️

All I know, is that I am happiest and healthiest (physically and mentally), when I am running and sharing my passion for it with others.  Running and nerding out about running is what makes me, me! I even met my now husband through running in high school, but that is a tale for another day. 😛

When do all of you run?! I only have myself to worry about, but I know some of you out there have families, work full time, AND run! How do you do it? When do you run? What time of day would you run if you could at any time? Comment 👇🏻