Sore is the New Black

When I was stretching post-half last Sunday I also felt how sore my chest, biceps and triceps were from my Thursday OrangeTheory workout! My husband laughed at me when I mentioned it. He said, “You just ran a half marathon and you’re complaining about your arms!?” It’s funny because you’d expect me to be moaning and groaning about my legs, and sure they did feel a bit sore and tight (especially on Monday), but yes it’s true my upper body was still sore from my workout a few days prior.

When I first started lifting weights my arms could only handle 5-8 pounds (max) and now I can easily lift over 10 pounds! Sure may not sound like much but for someone who used to be the elliptical-only-girl that’s a big difference! 5 pounds used to be a challenge and now 15 pounds is the challenge just over a matter of a mere few months. The thing is I haven’t allowed my arms to “get used to” the weights. Once the weight feels easy to me I bump it up. Trust me I’m not buff looking (yet) but I can tell that I’m much stronger. One way I know I’m getting stronger is that basically every day I feel sore. Could be annoying for some feeling those tender muscles, but I know they are sore because they are repairing themselves and building more muscle.

Sore today, strong tomorrow.

And how I personally feel, “Sore is the new black.”

Right now my arms, back, glutes, hamstrings, and quads are all sore. But I can see my body getting tighter, fitter, and an improvement in my running endurance and speed.

Work for that soreness and see those big improvements 🙂

Are you feeling sore today?


31 1/2, A Turning Point

The past few days I’ve felt a change of season both literally and figuratively. Right now in the Chicago area all blossoms have full out bloomed, the air feels softer, and the sun feels bright, cheerful, and warm on my skin. I feel spring, literally all around us and it is glorious. In the figurative way I feel a sort of “spring” season in my own life, a sort of renewal.

It reminds me of when I turned 20, which was the “end” of my teen years, and honestly it didn’t feel like my teen years were over until my high school boyfriend and I ended our relationship (for good). At that point I felt like I was no longer a teen. When I turned 25, got married, got pregnant and bought a house I still didn’t feel like a “grown up.” I wasn’t that teen but with all of my hard work in all my school years I felt like I hadn’t lived that young adult life of concerts and nights out with friends. I realized how “serious” my life had been and I was missing a life I didn’t have. Once I gave birth to my daughter at the age of 27 that all sort of changed. I felt much more like the adult I was even though I still get shocked faces when people realized I have a child (apparently I must look young because a lot of strangers think I’m not even old enough to be married! In fact just last month when I was buying a record for David, the guy who worked at the record store I was buying it from asked me about my Van Morrison purchase and I mentioned it was a gift and so he asked, “Oh, so for your boyfriend?”).

Anyway! After having Zooey and especially after having Leo at the age of 29 I felt at peace about not having lived a more adventurous and wild young adulthood. Don’t get me wrong I definitely had my stupid young adult moments but they were usually more random or not lived too long. But after having my kids it became really obvious that I wanted to truly start designing the life that I wanted for them (like living in a safe neighborhood with good schools) and also designing a non-toxic life for me.

So the past two years I have made some slow yet progressive changes, such as moving to our current house (an area that doesn’t have shootings/drug dealings/ within a 1 mile radius and bodies being dumped within a few blocks of our house and the public schools appear to be gang free), attending church again, fine tuning my friendships to the ones who not only uplift my spirit but make me feel like being a better person, talking to professionals about anxieties/issues I have, refocusing on running and yoga, etc. Even though some of it may have been small changes, over time they have grown into a more mature outlook on life.

Now at the age of 31 (and a 1/2), not exactly a monumental time or age, I have started feeling a new season of my life coming on. At the moment I’m not sure exactly how to define it. During spring sometimes a new plant starts randomly growing in your yard and you’re excited and curious to see what it is but know that you’ll just need to wait until it fully blooms to find out, and that is how I feel. I feel that this stage in my life is like a random plant starting to come out of the ground and slowly blooming to show it’s full beauty.

Part of me feels a little sad about this season, and I think that may be because I feel like I’m saying goodbye to that 20-something Katie who was just waiting to figure out where life was taking her, and is being taken over by this 30-something Katie who is designing the life she wants rather than seeing where it takes her. Obviously not everything is within our control, but purposefully moving forward in the right direction is better than leaving it to chance.

So let’s see where spring takes me!

What season do you think you’re in?

Naperville Women’s Half Marathon Review

When I realized I was finally going to do Naperville Women’s Half Marathon and that it wasn’t going to be a cold and rainy April day I got super excited!

The day before I picked up my packet, hung out, relaxed, ate roasted sweet potato and a turkey burger (my favorite go-to meal), set my alarm for 4am, and went to bed super early! (around 8-9pm). When my alarm clock went off at 4am, I hopped out of bed headed to the shower and started the process of waking up, and that means COFFEE! Part of me thought just go back lay down in bed, say that you got sick and had to miss the run, but then I thought JUST DO THE RUN. So I continued on my mission.
While I was getting ready David was in charge of the kiddos. He flipped on the lights in Zooey’s room, and she said “Why’d you turn on the lights?” in a very groggy voice. He told her that even though it was still dark out that it was actually morning and that I had the run today in which she replies, “Are you kidding me?” All week long she had been so excited about this run so it was just funny to hear her future teenage self come out a little bit. Then they went into Leo’s room and flipped on the lights. Leo blinked open his eyes, looked at them, rolled over, stuck his thumb in his mouth and started laughing. Again, I love seeing their future teenage selves come out in the morning!

We headed to the event, found parking right away, made a short walk, quick line to the potty, did my final adjustments, and next thing you know I was headed toward my corral! Luckily I saw a friend of mine just as I was entering my corral and ended up being in hers which was a 2:10 finish (faster than I originally planned considered my 1st half marathon I finished in about 2:30). As we were waiting to start I realized out of all things I forgot to do this morning was put on deodorant! I literally put Glide between each of my toes (just as an example of my fine detail) but deodorant? Apparently not! When we were off I was so glad that I was able to run with a friend. It really kept me feeling positive and happy. Around mile 3 there was a huge decline and I decided to take it. I shot forward and ended up not seeing my friend until the after party (sorry about that! We weren’t originally planning on running together because she was training faster than I was-who would’ve thought I would run faster-plus I thought she’d catch up with me and she had a friend with her too so I think in the long run it’s ok I did that)! ;P

Around mile 6 David and the kiddos were at a park to cheer me on and catch my gloves as I tossed them to him. It was so great to see their smiling faces. At this point I hit another hill, a sharp turn into ANOTHER hill! I know I looked at the elevation map prior to this run, but didn’t realize how basically the majority of the run was on an incline. Usually the incline was gradual but long, however there were a couple doozies that made me get out of breath.

The entire run I was doing great! I had zero pain, tons of energy, my fastest mile was 9:02 (which is a huge difference because my fastest mile in my 1st half marathon was 10:30), and best of all no GI issues!!! When I was training last fall this was a very common and frustrating problem for me and luckily wasn’t an issue this time around. Around mile 11 those hills finally started getting to me and I had to tell my legs to keep moving right left right left. I even told myself that my legs weren’t even pushing it too hard in comparison to some of my faster paces (an 8ish/7ish min mile). It put me in perspective that I got this. Also, dedicating each mile to someone worked fantastic. I refocused my thoughts away from my tired feet or tight calves and focused on that person and how grateful I am for them to be in my life.

Soon enough I started hearing the music and the crowds cheering, I turned a corner, headed onto the track field (where we start and finish), and the moment that beautiful beautiful track surface hit my feet I was able to bring out the last of my energy and sprint!

I was floored that I PR’d by about 25 minutes! As I said earlier my first half marathon I finished in 2:28 and this one… 2:04!!! The best thing about that is that I did that with a lot of incline, hills, my breathing never exhausted, no GI issues, and best of all… I felt great!

Once I crossed the finish line I floated on clouds looking for my husband and kids. I didn’t see them so I picked up a couple snacks and water and floated to the turf. I sat down, settled down, and called David. They found me and it was so refreshing to see their smiles! I gave Zooey and Leo the biggest hugs ever, because let me tell you I focused on kissing those cheeks during tough times!

Post-half I continued to feel great. The following morning I felt a little sore and tight in certain
areas, but overall fantastic. As for today I ventured out and did my first workout post-half (Orange Theory-has become a new favorite and no I’m not being paid to say that, it’s just a good workout). I feel so blissfully satisfied with how it went I’m already planning on my next!

Do you have a favorite half marathon?


13 Reasons, 13 Miles

A couple months ago I decided that for my second half marathon I wanted to dedicate each mile to someone or something who has really moved me. I’m hoping that it’ll help me get through the tough miles and push harder and faster throughout all of them.

So here are my 13 miles:

1.  Boston (To the survivors, those who passed away, those whose lives will be forever impacted, for doctors/nurses/paramedics/etc. who were involved in saving lives, for the police field that acted quickly and tiresomely to keep people safe, to those who revisited painful memories during the trials to provide witness, and to those who do not loose hope and are Boston Strong)

2. Michelle (A friend and runner who a week ago injured her ankle and had to bow out of this run with me, and for her casual way about running… how have you run so many half marathons!?!!)

3. Ella Joy (A sweet girl who used to attend my art and story time programs who is currently battling very aggressive cancer. This is for her, her family and that God heals quickly)

4. Jonah (Knowing him since high school I’ve seen him go through so much, and also he has for me. Almost 4 years ago he was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer and given a 6% 5 year survival rate. This August will be 4 years, and in September he is starting a Social Work Masters program. I couldn’t be more happy that he has defeated the odds, and found a calling that speaks to him)

5. Mandee (I’ve been charmed for almost 10 years by Mandee’s quirky humor and up for anythingness. Mandee is a true and good friend who would drop anything if you were ever in need ❤ )

6. This past year/new friends (This has certainly been a transitional year for me, and I want to dedicate this time to reflect on it)

7. David’s family (It’s so big they could fill up a FULL marathon so I’m going to squish them all into mile 7-heehee)

8. My parents (Obviously if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here!)

9. Mary (My sister who I’m so proud of, gets me, and no matter what is there for me)

10. Leo (My little goofball who is one cuddly teddy bear and I am so grateful to have him in my life)

11. Zooey (My little angel girl who I love so dearly and always is making me laugh)

12. David (The love of my life, my husband, my sweetheart. We have so many precious memories together)

13 (.1). God (Through my last and probably toughest mile I want to be thanking God for giving me a body so strong and capable of doing something I used to think was never imaginable)


If you do know me, and didn’t make it onto my list don’t pout, you’ll probably be on an upcoming race list 😉

Wish me luck and love you all! ❤

Half Marathon Week is Here!

The week of my half marathon is finally here! I’ve been obsessively checking the weather and seeing the rain percentage creep higher and higher, but as of yesterday it changed to 65 degrees, sunny with 0% chance of rain! Holy cow I think that’s the perfect weather for a run! I’ve been trying to remain positive, and visualizing a great run this Sunday.

I had two rest days (on Sunday-Easter-and Monday). At first I thought how can I not go for a short run, but then I just enjoyed it! Yesterday (Tuesday) as I got ready for my Leo-is-napping-while-Zooey-is-at-preschool-run I realized that I had left my running shoes in Davids car! The closest shoes to running shoes I had with me were some semi beaten up Keds! I slid them on, tied the laces, and said let’s just see how the first mile goes. Part of me was nervous that the lack of support would injure me while the other part was thinking about all those fancy expensive barefoot shoes and that I’ll be just fine. The first half mile was just hard, but around mile 1 I was feeling great. I slowly bumped up the pace and finished an awesome 4 miles!

The next three days I’m actually planning on going to Orange Theory. I love those workouts because you get 30 minutes of a challenging run and then 30 more minutes of cardio from the rower and strength from weights. Personally I think it’s the perfect one hour workout. I will fit in one more short run on Thursday, and then of course rest on Saturday (the day before the run).

Right now i’m in that “I’m so nervous but so excited” emotion, and thinking what am I going to wear, what’s the weather going to be like, am I going to get sick, etc.

Seriously though, what am I going to wear!?




Own Worst Critic

I’ve been a bit MIA lately, and I feel like I’m a broken record saying that, but to be real honest here I’ve been my own worst critic as of late. At the end of November I slipped down two steps and broke my toe having to miss two back to back races a 4 mile and 10k. I was beyond bummed having to miss them and cursing myself the same time for being so clutzy (word of advice be really careful walking down wooden stairs wearing cozy socks)!

Once my toe healed I started training again for an April half marathon. However, having two young kids during winter means that you’re going to get sick… a lot! My butt kept getting kicked by colds and even the stomach flu! Then surprisingly on the last mile of a fantastic long run I started getting bad chest pain as in I couldn’t breathe without pain. I ended up seeing the doctor, because that had never happened to me before while running. I ended up having an EKG and an ECHO. 10 years ago I had been diagnosed with Mitral Valve Prolapse which can cause palpitations and chest pain from time to time. We thought that the prolapse could be getting worse. Between my ECHO appointment and finding out the results I was on a “no exercise allowed” regime. During those couple weeks I just got more and more bummed trying to imagine my life if I was given a no cardio diagnosis. Results time came and to my surprise my heart is SUPER healthy and I don’t even have mitral valve prolapse! Either I was misdiagnosed 10 years ago and living my life believing every bit of chest pain or palpitation was caused by that, or somehow my heart was magically healed! Either way it was a shock. I have defined myself the past 10 years with that defect, and now I don’t have it. I do have bouts of anxiety and depression so the doctor believes what I experienced may have been one scary panic attack. Wow, I’m feeling like being super honest today!

Since I was given the clear I went full force into training for the half. I have been running 3-8 miles regularly, getting my butt kicked at Orange Theory, taking yoga classes, and eating fairly clean. I have noticed myself getting stronger, and even my runs have been faster (one of my miles last week was 6:50 pace which was totally surprising since at the time it didn’t feel like I was going that fast and I’ve never ever done that before or believed I could even run that fast)! Despite all of my success with my workouts and runs I have still been beating myself up. Can you guess why? Because the scale hasn’t moved. I weigh about 16 pounds more than I did before having my 2nd kid, and he just turned 2. I’ve been a bit frustrated with myself that I haven’t been able to shake that weight, and when I’m kind to myself I like to think that it’s all muscle weight 😉 The weight thing isn’t meant to be vain, but rather I want to be strong, I want to fit into my old pants, and I want to feel comfortable in my own body (which can be hard to do when you wear a 32G bra-reduction please)! Seriously have I been given a truth serum or something? I guess I have the stomach flu of writing because I’m just vomiting words everywhere!

Anyway, where I’m at is this: It’s Saturday and next Sunday is my (2nd) half marathon. I am so scared to run it. I have a big fear that I can’t do it. With all of these issues that have happened since the end of November I feel like at this point I’m just looking for excuses as to why I can’t run it. I need my ballsy confidence back. I need to stop being my own worst critic.

How do I gain that confidence? How do I defeat my prerace jitters?


A Day in the Life

Tuesdays tend to be my most hectic day, and so I thought it’d be fun to share the craziness with you. Feel free to view it as the easy life or the woah how is she still awake by 9 pm! 😉

3 am-Zooey wakes up asking for food (she’s 4, typically never does this, and my lovely husband gave her a snack)

5:30 am-Zooey wants me to wake up with her, and I somehow manage to get her to fall back asleep for one more hour

6:30 am-We’re up, a real slow go for me while Zooey wonders how I’m not possibly more awake

6:30-6:45 am-basic morning necessities

6:45-7:30 am-Make Zooey’s breakfast, chat and hang

7:30-8:45 am-Wake up Leo (who is almost 2), make Leo’s breakfast, get Zooey changed for dance class, get Leo changed for the day and give him medicated eye drops (and I thought giving him antibiotics by the mouth was bad), get myself changed and presentable for the day

8:45-9 am-Head to Zooey’s dance class

9-9:45 am-Walk around the park district and park with Leo while Zooey takes her class and chat with other moms

9:45-10 am-Go back home

10-11:55 am-Dancing always makes Zooey hungry so breakfast #2 for her (and of course Leo follows suit) and finally breakfast for me (Larabar, an orange and coffee), dishes, pick up the house a little, and play with the kiddos

11:55-12:15 pm-Drop Zooey off at preschool

12:15-12:30 pm-Head to the grocery store with Leo

12:30-1 pm-Shop for the week and the real emergency… diaper wipes (how did we run out!?)

1-1:10 pm-Head home

1:10-1:30 pm-Give Leo food and put him down for a nap

1:30-1:35 pm-Change for a treadmill run

1:35-2:10 pm-Run 4 miles on the treadmill

2:10-2:30 pm-Shower and get dressed for work

2:30-2:45 pm-Wake up Leo from his nap and head to pick up Zooey from preschool

2:45-3 pm- Go back home

3-3:30 pm-Give the kids snacks, eye drops for Leo, lunch for me (black bean soup with bread), and prep my dinner

3:30-3:35 pm-David (my husband gets home) we say our hellos and kiss goodbye

3:35-4 pm-Head into work (I work in the youth services department at a public library)

4-5 pm-Work at my desk

5-6 pm-Work at the public desk

6-7pm-Set up for my program

7-7:45 pm-Family Storytime program and clean up

7:45-8 pm-My 15 min dinner break (steamed vegetables with a veggie burger)

8-9:15 pm-Work at the public desk

9:15-9:30 pm-Head home

9:30-10 pm-Catch up with David while sharing some FroYo and enjoying a small glass of white wine

10-11 pm-Checking facebook and instagram and finally winding down

11 pm-Finally asleep to wake up at 5:30 am to help Zooey start her day and get ready for work (in by 8:45 am)


So there you have it. That is my typical Tuesday, and it tends to be a fun yet exhausting one. My other days aren’t necessarily this jam packed and I get to have more hang time with the kiddos, cleaning the house, laundry, dishes, longer workout, etc. So maybe someday in the future I’ll share one of those days with you too!