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!😉


Product review: AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones

“Disclaimer: I received an AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones to review 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’m not going to lie, I was skeptical about the AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones. I thought they looked a little funny and I was confused about how headphones that do not sit inside your actual ears would produce quality sound.🤔 I have never been more thrilled to be proven wrong! 🤗


AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones delivered on every aspect and I was surprised by how much I ended up loving them after testing them on a few workouts and runs both inside and outside. I even ended up using them outside of running (I wore them in my classroom during my planning periods so I could listen to music, but still hear the door incase any of my students stopped by to see me)!


Top 8 reasons why I loved the AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones:

  • No wires (With previous headphones I would get caught in the wires and knock the headphones out of my ears as I ran)
  • Rechargeable battery with a really long battery life
  • Excellent sound quality (You can even feel the bass if you turn the music up loud enough :P)
  • Safe (As a petite and young looking female I don’t always feel comfortable running alone in the city with music, especially at night. These headphones allow me to listen to my music and to be aware of my surroundings)
  • Durable (I’ve dropped the headphones multiple times since I bought them #clutz and they have not broken 😂)
  • Able to listen to music through layers of clothing (On cold runs I can wear a hat, put my AfterShokz OVER my hat, and still hear my music!)
  • A great conversation starter (Because they look unlike any other headphones on the market, I’ve had people ask me about them in person and over social media)
  • Easy to wear under hats (If any of you follow me on social media or know me in real life, you know that I have short hair. For this reason, I almost always wear a hat and the AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones fit and stay on under my hats!)

Have I convinced you to get your own pair yet?! Use the code “TRUCKER” to receive a bonus trucker hat with purchase of the AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones at See for yourself what the hype is about! Let me know in the comments below if you have a pair of AfterShokz and what your favorite song to listen to on them is! 🙂

Finally, don’t just take my word, see what other BibRave Pros have to say about AfterShokz Trekz Air:












F^3 training weeks 3-6 (12/25/17-race day 1/20/18)

Good evening friends!

I know that technically I raced yesterday…BUT I will finally recap all my training or lack thereof that led to the race. In the very near future I will also review the F^3 Half Marathon and 5k here and on BibRave! I will say now that it was fun and very well run! I am pleased with how the race went, but not with my training. You will see what I mean below…I am giving myself some credit, though, because I just started a my first ever teaching job where I am teaching chemistry to high school students who did not have a teacher for almost three months AND finals are in a week!!!! 😱


Things have been crazy, so my sleep and my training has definitely suffered: I get to school by 7 am most days and do not leave until 445-6 pm most nights and often still have work to do when I get home. I’m not making excuses, but rather giving an explanation for the many zeros/low mileage weeks below. I pride myself on being real with all of you! Even though I am a former college runner, I want to remind all of you that now I am just a regular person with a real job, trying to fit in my runs and live my life. Please be kind before commenting on my situation! I know I did not train adequately and that is why I took yesterday at tempo effort, rather than an all out race. As I figure things out and get the students caught up, my hours will be better and so will my training. I am looking forward to better weeks of training for the Shamrock Shuffle and the Illinois Half Marathon. I am forever grateful that I am no longer injured! 🙂

Week 3: Monday December 25th-Sunday December 31st:

-Monday December 25th: 3.6 miles at 7:23 pace with my husband & sister-in-law. Furthest run since my injury! I foam rolled and stretched after the run.IMG_4738

-Tuesday December 26th:  REST

-Wednesday December 27th: 3 miles at 7:25 and it was freezing! It felt like -3 outside!


-Thursday December 28th: Yoga/strength for 60 min

-Friday December 29th: Wintery weather caused me to move this run to the dreadmill and it did not feel good. 3 miles at 7:29 pace followed by stretching and foam rolling.


-Saturday December 30th: Yoga for 30 min

-Sunday December 31st: 4 miles at 7:19 pace with my husband followed by foam rolling and stretching.


WEEKLY TOTAL: 13.6 miles

Week 4: Monday January 1st-Sunday January 7th 

-Monday January 1st:  REST DAY

-Tuesday January 2nd:  5 miles at 7:21 pace (2.5 with my husband and 2.5 alone) followed by foam rolling and stretching.IMG_4834

-Wednesday January 3rd: Cold weather makes it tough to tempo. 1 mi w/u, 1 mi tempo (6:33), & 2 mi c/d followed by stretching and foam rolling.

-Thursday January 4th: 30 minutes of yoga

-Friday January 5th: 3 miles at 7:20 pace followed by stretching a foam rolling.


-Saturday January 6th: REST DAY

-Sunday January 7th: 6.1 very windy miles at 7:31 pace followed by foam rolling and stretching.


WEEKLY TOTAL: 18.1 miles

Week 5: Monday January 8th-Sunday January 14th (WEEK 1 OF TEACHING)

-Monday January 8th: REST

-Tuesday January 9th 4 miles easy (7:40 pace) after a long two days of teaching, followed by foam rolling and stretching.


-Wednesday January 10th: 30 minutes of yoga

-Thursday January 11th: REST

-Friday January 12th: REST

-Saturday January 13th: Tempo workout: 1 mi w/u, 1 mi tempo at 6:46, and 2 mi c/d. Overall pace was 7:12 and I stretched and foam rolled after the workout.


-Sunday January 14th: 7 miles at 7:57 pace. I think the face below says it all…I felt terrible on this run for some reason 🙁


WEEKLY TOTAL: 15 miles

Week 6: Monday January 15th-Sunday January 21st (RACE WEEK)

-Monday January 15thREST

-Tuesday January 16thREST

-Wednesday January 17th: REST

-Thursday January 18th: 2 miles on the dreadmill at 7:30 pace my new AfterShokz headphones!


-Friday January 19th: No run, but lots of foam rolling and stretching.

-Saturday January 20th (RACE DAY!): Due to my lack of training and injury history I decided to treat this 5k race as tempo run. I did my tempo 5k in 21:08 (6:48 pace) and that was good for 1st place… My husband ran the half marathon in 1:15:58! Will do a full recap and review on the blog and BibRave in the very near future with more pictures! It was fun to meet up with the other BibRave Pros who ran the race. Pictured below is the BibRave Pros who ran the 5k.



Today’s questions: Did you race this last weekend? If so, how did it go? Also, has your running ever suffered due to a new job? If so, how did you reestablish a new running routine?

Join me at the Illinois Half Marathon on 04/28/2018!

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’m excited to announce that I am running the Illinois Half Marathon on Saturday April 28, 2018 and I’d love for you to join me! 🙂 I even convinced my husband to run the full marathon, so hopefully I can convince YOU to run something!🤞🏻If you don’t want to run a full or half marathon they also have a 5k, 10k, and  marathon relay!

This is a really awesome race because it is FLAT (i.e. fast and perfect for PRing) and you get to finish in the historic Memorial stadium!  Plus, it is a USATF-certified marathon course and serves qualifying race for those of you looking to Boston-Qualify!😉 Another perk, are the free pacers for the half-marathon and full marathon! I know I will personally utilize the pacers during my half marathon race, so I can reach my goals. Finally, this race boasts some sweet amenities from free digital photos (how else can you immortalize your ugly race pain face?! haha, but seriously…see below for one of my college running gems 😂) to a pre-race bagel bar to a post race Muscle Milk.


(Me circa 2012 as a college runner with the classic race pain face)

So, what are my goals for this race?! Well, I’ve only done one other half-marathon in  and I did not train for it. For that race, I didn’t do speed work, my longest run was 8 miles, and my weekly mileage was maybe around 20 miles. I was feeling burned out from college and college running… I shouldn’t have signed up for one the summer after graduation. :/ During the race,  I ALMOST dropped out because my IT band tightened up around mile ten and I was in a lot of pain…but I’m stubborn and wanted to finish, so i did! I ended up taking a month off after the race and spent almost 8 months barely running without pain before I admitted I was injured…I went to Physical Therapy for 4 months in 2015 to get fixed up.  Considering all those factors I’m fine with my time 1:40, but I know I am capable of more this time around!


(My now husband & I at my last half marathon in 2014)

My goal is to at least get a PR and ideally run a sub 1:30! I’m going to train smarter and am already building my base. I just got over another injury, so I’m taking things real slow. I’m doing the F^3 5k in a few weeks to see where I’m at and then I plan on doing another half marathon in March to gauge my fitness. It will either be a trail half marathon in San Francisco or the Carmel half marathon in Indiana over my spring break (March 30th weekend)….stay tuned!

I’m going to loosely follow the Hal Higdon Intermediate 2 training plan and it peaks around 35-40 miles per week. It is a 12 week program, so I will switch from base building to the training plan the first week of February. I picked the Intermediate 2 plan because I am keeping my mileage modest the first half of this year to make sure I stay injury free. Then, I will ramp my mileage up once I starting training for the Chicago Marathon later this summer! 😱

So, what do you say?! Want to join me at the Illinois Marathon? If so, use the code 2018bibravebonus for $5 off race entry for any of the race distances! 🙂

2018-BibRave-discount-code-usage-instructions.jpgTonight’s question: Are you running the Illinois Marathon (or Marathon relay, half, 10k, or 5k)? What other races are you running this spring?! 🙂

Running into 2018: goals and dreams for the new year

Happy New Year friends!🎉 I hope you all had an amazing night…whether that involved drinking and dancing until dawn or snuggling up on the couch with loved ones and wine or a warm beverage.🥂 I fell into the latter category, but no complaints there! 😛

2017 was definitely a rough year for me, but it had some awesome moments too, especially my wedding!💍I reflected briefly on my run yesterday, so I am not going to reflect here. Rather, I want to leave 2017 behind and run straight into 2018 with a fresh perspective and clean slate.

running into the sunset

Who’s with me?!🙋🏼

I strongly believe that you should set goals year round and not wait until a holiday to start working toward them…BUT, with that being said, New Year’s Day is a perfect time to sit down, write out your new or ongoing goals, and come up with an action plan for accomplishing them!

So where to begin?!

Well, people do not meet their goals without a system of accountability or a way to track their progress toward their goals. Another reason that people do not meet their goals is because they make ones that are TOO ambitious for the given time frame. Although, I do not think that is necessarily a bad thing to set SOME lofty goals. I think it’s good to dream big, but to also have some smaller more attainable goals. 🙂 I have a good mix of both for 2018 and some of them have been a goals of mine for a while, as indicated on my goals page!

BRRRR negative wind chill run.jpg

To hold myself accountable this year, I am going to do a minimum of 4 check-ins on the blog. I will check-in during the spring (March), summer (June), fall (October), and winter (December) and more times if needed. Some of the goals below are specific to certain events in my life (i.e. my first marathon in October), so I will only check in with them when it makes sense. So, without further ado, here are my 2018 goals! 🤗

Black Bean Queen’s fifteen 2018 goals💃

1. A minimum of 5 minutes of stretching/foam rolling after EVERY RUN

2. Strength training a minimum of 2x/ week (particularly glute/hip exercises)

3. Yoga 1x/ week (a class or YouTube video)

4. Finish my first marathon in October (my ultimate goal is 3:30 or faster so I can Boston Qualify)

5. PR in the 5k and the half marathon by increasing my mileage (SLOWLY) and adding in more track/speed workouts (5k goal is sub 18 minutes & half marathon goal is 1:25)

6. Run my first 10k race

7. Run a trail race of any distance

8. Hire a coach in the spring/summer to help me with Chicago marathon training

10. Join a running group or racing team

11. Read 24 books (2 books/month)

12. Connect with more liked minded people by growing Black Bean Queen to 1,000 subscribers. I also want to grow my social media presence on Instagram and Twitter to at least 1,000 followers and my Facebook and Pinterest to at least 500 followers.

13. Be kinder to and less critical of myself by reflecting on the positives in my life at least 1x/week

14. Take my vitamin everyday

15. Cook a new vegetarian/vegan recipe with my husband 1x/month

What are YOUR top 2018 goals, running related or not? I’d love for you to share, so we can support each other! 🙂



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 👇🏻