.. happy 92nd birthday Poppy ..

Happy 92nd Birthday to my sweet Poppy!! 92 years young (or is it 29? see the candles). I hope you have a wonderful birthday & enjoy lots of cake. You deserve all the happiness in the world.

We love you! We miss you.

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Party time! Birthday boy.

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xo, laura & lu

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a very polish wedding

One of my work friends got hitched! Lu and I had the pleasure to help them celebrate last night… Polish style. But before we get to the wedding, let’s talk about my long run yesterday. It was a nice 60-something degrees on the lake front and sunny as all get out. I think the whole city emerged from their winter hibernation and found their way to the lake front. It was crowded and I loved it.

Yesterday’s Long Run: 17 miles in 02:33:20 aka exactly a 9 min/mile pace.

It. Was. Brutal. I was cruising alright until the 14/15th mile where I felt a tremendous desire to quit. I had hit the wall and was so over the run. I refueled with a few dried apricot slices I carried with me and hit up the water fountain. That pit stop got my head back in the game & I was determined to finish the last 3 miles but take it slower. I like to tell myself that those final miles when I’m so exhausted are the ones that really count. The ones that make the next long run a tad bit easier. However, I’m aware that if I push it too hard when I’m too tired I can get hurt. (Remember when I was exhausted but kept running & fell & had to go to the ER and get stitches? Yeah, I’m trying to avoid that situation again.) I finished. Hello tight calves and hamstrings. Stretching never felt so good. Fortunately, I’m not overly sore this morning. I’m going to do a leisurely 5 mile run with the bean today. I find that doing short, slower runs on the day after a long run helps my recovery for whatever reason. It’s like it stretches out my legs. Monday will be a rest day (…and a work day. And my sweet grandpa, Poppy’s birthday!)

Surprise, surprise I saw my big bro around mile 10 yesterday (in case you missed: this post). And I saw one of our neighbors rocket past me at about 6 miles. Anyone else do a long run this weekend?

Now to the WEDDING!! Anna, my old work pal, looked stunning and very happy. Congrats to her and the man! It was a lovely evening in a room filled with lots of love. Lu and I were more focused on eating way too much Polish food and drinking champagne to take great pictures so unfortunately this is all I got:

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Neon lights and a bottle of Kettle One Vodka on every table. The Poles know how to get down. Has anybody ever heard someone speak Polish? Holy foreign language. It sounds crazy and also looks crazy. Exhibit A: Oto przykład język. Szalony ciężko. Thanks Google translate… in English that says “Here is an example the language. Crazy hard.” Lots of Polish being spoken last night. Not by us. Also, I got to see my old bosses. That is always fun.

On our Sunday schedule:

-5mile recovery run & weight lifting
-Visit our kitten niece Sof-a-loaf
-Just a little bit of shopping (Sir Lu needs a new suit & I need nothing but want things)
-Sushi at my most favorite place in the city

What’s on your Sunday schedule? Whatever it is, hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.

xo, lw

the plant with 9 lives + new running crops

Let’s not pretend that I have a green thumb. I’m known for struggling to keep even a simple house plant alive. What’s that? I need to water the plants? So that’s the secret.

Don’t get me wrong, I love plants. Fresh flowers in the home are heavenly. I just have a hard time keeping plants around these days because life is busy. I lose track of when I water things. Is that a good excuse?

Say hello to the little plant that could. The plant that I’ve been trying to kill since 2009. Ok, I’m not purposefully trying to kill it. I have just gone periods of time without watering it or rotating it in the sun…. The lil guy sits in the corner of our apartment and it’s easy to forget about him. Over the past couple of weeks I stepped up my game when I noticed the leaves were turning brown and breaking off. I’ve been telling Lu that I’ve lost the battle. I was ready to compost the thing and move on. When….

Little buds!! The little green sprouts put a smile on my face!!

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There are three little sprouts poking their pretty leaves through. Spring is in the air. This plant is a serious fighter!

Now on to something very important. I need new running capris. I’ve been running in the same Lululemon yoga pants (yes, the ones designed for yoga and not running) for the past five years. Yesterday I got the urge to buy new pants and now I can’t shake it. I’m getting some today. But first… I need to do some online research to figure out what my next purchase will be.

Naturally, I turn to Lululemon. I’ve been lusting over the Run: Proceed with Speed crop… Until I read the customer reviews, that is. Within the past week several people have complained that the Lululemon pants are still see through. With all of the negative press Lulu got, I assumed that ship had sailed and they corrected the problem. But no, many customers are warning people not to buy these pants and that makes me sad. I’ll heed the warning. But I’ll also go into the store and try them on for myself.

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After I go into Lulu and realize that the pants are in fact still see through, I will turn to the reliable Nike. Lu and I were talking about brands last night. We were wondering why Lululemon doesn’t sponsor any pro athletes. Maybe that’s the proof that their stuff is more cute & trendy than functional. I still love you Lululemon. Anyway, the Nike Relay pant caught my eye. Guess what a couple reviewers say? They’re see through. What gives people. Again, I’ll try them on and hope that they aren’t.

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My question for you guys — what are your very favorite running tights? I need good ones! The NYC Marathon lottery registration opens today at noon. That race is on my bucket list. Anybody registering for the lottary this year?

I’ll leave you all with a picture of Uncle Lu and his niece Soph-a-loaf. They’re a feisty duo.

photo-28Have a great day everybody. Can you believe we’re approaching the end of April?! Time is flying. It’s a good day to make today a good day.

xo, lw

Do something. It’s better than nothing

Dear Strength Training,

It’s not me, it’s you. As hard as I try, I just don’t like you. We’ve had our time together over the years — body pump, Shred415, brief stints with a trainer — but I’ve never been able to fully and consistently commit to you. So maybe it is me and not you. Hmm.

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I am always talking the talk and saying “I need to do more strength training.” The problem is, I just don’t like it. It’s hard for me to find the motivation to strength train especially when I love running so much. I’d rather hit the pavement than the gym any day.

Today I’ve been doing some soul searching. What is it that turns me off about weight training? I like being healthy and active so shouldn’t I enjoy (or at least tolerate) weight lifting? Plus, toned arms look pretty. I want some. What’s the problem? I’ve determined that my lack of weight lifting is really a three-part situation.

1) I try to be a hero. I feel like I have to work every single muscle group or else it’s a failure and a waste of time.
2) Working every muscle group is nearly impossible unless I have a lot of energy and spend all day at the gym.
3) All day at the gym is daunting. Instead, I skip weights all together.

Logical. Anybody with me?

Today, I had an epiphany. I was too sore to run after that brutal 15 miler yesterday but I still wanted to workout. It made complete sense that I pump iron… So I did. But I was too drained to even consider a total-body workout. I worked out my arms, shoulders and abs. While I was lifting, I realized that doing something is better than doing nothing. Even working out just one muscle group a day is far better than nothing.

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There you have one of my new fitness goals: Exercise at least one muscle group after each run. Feeling good? Do a couple muscle groups. But do something. Something will always be better than nothing. Plus, this small change seems very manageable. It’s not like I’m trying to move mountains.

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Who knows… maybe I’ll begin to love weight lifting and crave the muscle burn. Let’s not hold our breath, though. What are your fitness goals? Do you enjoy weight lifting?

On this dreary and cold Chicago night, Lu and I are having a chicken/sweet potato/apple skillet recipe courtesy of my friend OliveToRun. I’m so excited to try these tasty & healthy flavors. What’s on your dinner menu tonight? I hope everybody is having a lovely day and making it good.

xo, lw

not your average monday

One of the perks of working weekends is that Monday is basically my Saturday. When folks are heading into the office on Monday morning, I’m sleeping in and doing whatever my little heart desires. Not too shabby.

On this lovely Saturday Monday I did a long run on the lake front. We actually made it into the 60s today (hallelujah) so I was forced to take advantage of this day and log 15 miles. The outbound 7.5 miles were amazing and a breeze. The return trip was freakishly hard and shook me to the core. The wind was crazy strong and it was rattling my whole body. I’m sore ALL OVER. I can’t stand the wind. It was a mental battle getting through that. Ugh.

15 miles in 02:11:20 average 8:45 min/mile pace.

A Runner’s World article about refueling after a long run popped up on my twitter feed this afternoon. Very fitting.

My post long-run snack:
Chicken breast with avocado
Banana
Almonds
Gatorade G2

Then I proceeded to graze all day long. Oops.

What did you guys do today?

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It kind of bums me out that nobody told me what they visualize during the hard parts of a run!! Maybe you guys don’t visualize. Maybe I’m a freak.

With marathons being in the national spotlight this week, I want to remind folks that running isn’t always an entirely selfish sport. Sure we go out and we log long hours running solo to reach our goals. But many runners participating in these races are supporting a higher cause and running for charity, which is one more reason why marathons are awesome. 

This fall, I am running with team Imerman Angels in the Chicago Marathon.

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Who are the Imerman Angels? From their website- Imerman Angels carefully matches a person touched by cancer with someone who has fought and survived the same type of cancer (a Mentor Angel). Additionally, personalized matches are provided for cancer caregivers (family and friends of fighters) to benefit from other experienced caregivers. These relationships provide hope and comfort from someone who is uniquely familiar with the experience. This personalized matching service is absolutely free and is available to anyone touched by any type of cancer, at any cancer stage level, at any age, living anywhere in the world.

Their mission is to provide personalized connections that enable 1-on-1 support among cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers so that no one faces cancer alone.

Jonny Imerman, the founder, was diagnosed with cancer when he was 26. His experience lit a fire in him to help others and create the Imerman Angels organization. He was recognized as a CNN hero in 2012. Take a look at the video: here.

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Imerman Angels is a Chicago-based organization. If anybody in the area is looking to get involved — or run the Chicago Marathon — they still have a couple spots left in the sold out race. Come run with us! The money that each participant raises to run the Chicago Marathon will fund three 1-on-1 personalized connections. That’s pretty great.

Anybody reading this running for charity? I’d love to hear about it!

Chicagoland is having horrific rain and flood warnings today. Back to the treadmill I go. Sad face. I hope you all are having a lovely Thursday. It’s a good day to make today a good day.

xo, lw

 

Running into the wind… Both ways

Who strongly dislikes wind? Say it with me now. Running into the wind is the worst. Ok, it’s not as bad as rain. But it’s bad. I was jogging on the lake front yesterday. Side note- It was freezing but I ran anyway. I don’t even know who I am anymore. I’ve just got the itch for outdoor running.

I started my run jogging into the wind. I was frustrated because it’s so dang hard but I was ok with it. I’d prefer to run into the wind on the way out and then cruise on the way back. So I’m five miles out and I turn around. What do I encounter? I stronger wind. Excuse me? Don’t. Don’t do that, wind. For the last mile outbound I was dreaming about turning around and getting some relief. What a cruel joke. How does that even work? How can the wind be blowing in opposite directions simultaneously? Oh Chicago.

For the remaining five miles I fought the urge to stop or slow down. Instead, I used my favorite visualization to keep me going. I like to visualize a rope tied around my waist that is attached to a team of horses who are pulling me. For whatever weird reason that image energizes me and makes the task at hand seem a tad bit easier. Horses are gorgeous and powerful. Do you visualize anything when you run? What helps you get through the tough moments?

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Yesterday’s run was 10 miles in 01:24:31 (8:27 min/mile). Today is a work day aka a rest day. I really need to do some cross training/weight lifting/yoga. Something other than running. Maybe tomorrow. ; )

Last night we had one of my favorite side dishes, sweet potato fries. If you haven’t yet jumped on the sweet po fry bandwagon, you need to. Cut them up, drizzle olive oil, cracked black pepper, paprika & cajun seasoning. Stick them in a 425 degree oven for thirty-ish minutes. You won’t be able to stop eating them. I apologize in advance.

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And here is a picture of my niece Sophie just because she is cute. Her momma sent me these yesterday. She was entertaining herself with an old toilet paper roll. What a cutie.

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Happy hump day. Enjoy your day and make it a good one.

xo, lw

Look for the helpers + Congratulate the winners

521693_645199098842880_1528049914_nMr Rogers, you are always right. Let’s look for the helpers. Let’s all be helpers. Some running bloggers are suggesting wearing a race shirt to come together as a running community and support Boston (HRG, Tri Balance Girl). Donate blood. Volunteer at a local race. Pray for those affected.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

I also want to take a moment to congratulate the winners and the finishers of the Boston Marathon. Even qualifying for that marathon is a big deal. I am personally proud of everybody who ran it. It would be a dream to one day run Boston.

#1 Male: Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia) finished in 02:10:22

#1 Female: Rita Jeptoo (Kenya) finished in 02:26:25

I have a girl crush on Kara Goucher, who ran for my alma mater University of Colorado. Kara finished sixth in 02:28:11. Another favorite American, Shalane Flanagan, finished fourth in 02:27:08.

Today I’ll run, and I’ll be thinking about Boston. What are you doing? I’m also getting my hairs cut for the first time since early December. Hello ratty ends. I’m ready for a fresh look.

Hug your loved ones today. Life is too short and unpredictable. Let’s all make today a good day.

xo, lw

This is a sad world.

This is a sad world. There is too much hate here. Too much violence. Too much war.
My heart breaks for everyone affected by today’s Boston Marathon bombing.
Who do you think you are? How dare you feel that you have the right to attack us… To hurt the innocent. How dare you.
We are all people. We have families. We have dreams. We have lives to live.

Don’t bring your hatred here.

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what a small big city this is

Chicago. 2.7 million people. 234 square miles.That’s pretty big.

Yet I always run into my big bro when I’m out jogging. It’s never planned. I don’t know his running schedule. But for whatever reason we always see each other. And in different places, mind you. It cracks me up. It makes sense that on my first outdoor run of the season (aside from the shamrock shuffle) I see my big bro. This afternoon I logged 7 miles on the lake front. It was a bit too chilly for my liking but I had to jump at any opportunity to jog outside with the rainy weather we’ve been getting these days. I was about five miles in when I saw the big bro. We stopped and talked. While we were chatting we ran into some other friends. Oh Chicago.

It’s amazing what a small big city this is.

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Chicago’s small feel is one of the things that I love about this city. It’s big enough to have everything you could ever need yet it’s small enough to run into familiar faces regularly. Now that’s a win-win.

There were so many people enjoying the crisp, sunny day yesterday. Of course, I was bundled like it was still winter and all of the dudes were in shorts. It was only like 50 degrees + lots of wind. Shorts weather that is not.

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I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Happy Monday & Happy Tax Day to all of you US peeps out there. What do you do with your refund? Spend or save? I hope you’re not one of those *lucky* people who actually have to pay more taxes. That’s gross.

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Also, Happy Boston Marathon Day! I’ll be anxious to read about the recap tonight.

Now I’m enjoying my morning oatmeal and coffee before work. Breakfast is my favorite meal.  Let’s all make today a good day!

xo, lw