Friday, April 12, 2013

Health & Fitness Friday: My First Race of the Season

It's Friday peeps...which means it's time to talk Health & Fitness!

There was a time when the Shamrock Shuffle almost made me give up running. 

It was 2011, I was just getting back into running after the laziest winter ever, and I decided on a whim to sign up for the 8K in hopes of motivating myself to get back on track. Even though I was barely making it through 3 miles at the time...I was somehow convinced that the adrenaline of race day would push me an extra 2 miles.


The race was just awful. I remember thinking (or saying) at the 3 mile mark, "I have to go TWO MORE F*&%ING MILES?!!!"

Those two miles were ugly. Lots of heaving breathing, a beat red face, f-bombs flying everywhere...I hated running. I hated it the flam- flames. Flames, on the side of my face, breathing-breath-heaving breaths. Heaving breaths...

I'll send you a pair of shamrock socks if you can guess the movie that quote is from.

Anyway, it was a crappy race and I left feeling really frustrated. It took me 1 hour and 5 minutes to run 5 miles. NOT the time I was hoping for and NOT the experience I was dreaming about. I was bummed (and clearly being too hard on myself) and for a while I thought about just giving up this whole running thing. But that is just not who I am. Some say I'm bullheaded, some say I'm determined and others just say I'm a pain in the ass. But whatever it is...I decided that instead of crying in my cocoa, I would just get back to running for fun again and come back to the shuffle the next year more prepared.

And I did.

I worked harder over the winter that year and made sure to run 5 miles before the race just to make sure I could do it. I ended up coming in at 55 minutes in 2012...TEN MINUTES FASTER.

So this year, after a very productive winter of running and working out, I set a new goal to come in under 50 minutes.

It was a GORGEOUS day in Chicago and Carol, Tommers and I were all decked out in our Irish best.

This race is so freaking massive...this year 33,000 people crossed the finish line!!!

The energy from the crowd was awesome and we were fired up!

I don't know if it was the crowd or the fabulous buddies I ran with, but we kicked the shuffle's ass this year coming in at 48 minutes!!!!!! WOOHOO!!! We were jumping for joy...literally.

Worst "jump" faces ever. Ha! But we were having fun in our tutus (compliments of my mama of course).

On the drive home from the race, Carol and I talked about some of the other races we want to do together this year. We weren't just talking about 5Ks either...we were throwing out 15Ks, 10-milers, another half marathon and in Carol's case, THE Chicago Marathon!! That's right friends...Carol is all signed up for the Chicago marathon this year and even though I won't be running all 26.2 miles with her, I will be there to run along side her for 10 of those miles. I can't wait to be there to support her and cheer her on!!

And this just goes to show you friends, NEVER give up on your dreams.

I finally took some time to update my See Jen Run tab on the blog this week (I was about a year overdue) and reading through my running journey makes me so proud :-) I am so glad that I never let crappy races like my first Shamrock Shuffle discourage me or keep me from achieving my goals. There was a 90-year-old man running the shuffle this year and all I can hope is that I will still have the same energy and drive when I am his age :-)

So...enough about running. Let's talk HEALTH for a bit.

I am sad to say...I don't have a meal plan ready for this week. Eric has been working crazy hours and all the meals I have been planning are not really working out. It's really hard to plan a meal when you don't know if you will be eating at 5:00 or 8:30. Well...unless you use a crockpot, so that's probably what I will be using a lot this week. 

Does anyone have a favorite crockpot recipe that they would love to share? I could use some new inspiration in that department.

One thing I have worked REALLY hard on this week is drinking more water. I don't think I have ever really paid attention to how much water I drink in a day but I tried to write it all down this week and it was SAD. 

I think my biggest problem with drinking water is boredom. So, I bought a box of these Starbucks refreshers to spice things up and OMG...I am addicted!!!!

The package says to mix with 16oz of water but I mixed it with 24oz and it still tasted great, especially if you add a slice of lime. After my drink was gone, I used the same glass and lime to refill a few more times with plain old water and before I knew it, I had finished 58oz. I know that is probably still not enough, but it's a HUGE improvement from the only 8oz I drank the day before.

So that's where I am at this week, friends! I hope you all had a productive week too!!


  1. Awesome! You killed that race!! And you all look so cute in your get ups! I don't do nearly enough with my crockpot. And I've told you before my water consumption sucks. I'll have to check out those refreshers.

  2. Great job on the race! Your outfits were soooo cute! It is my not-so-secret dream to someday run the Chicago marathon. We are about 5 hours from Chicago but I've never been there - my son just went on a school trip there and he LOVED it and wants to go back. I really feel your pain about the season is in full swing for us which means the guys sometimes won't get home until 9 pm. I'm never sure what to do either becuase I can't eat that late and I have a toddler to feed too, so like you said I used the crock pot a LOT. Or make something I can just keep warm in the oven on like 200 degrees until they get there. But I can't stand doing kitchen clean up at 10 pm and there's not really a good solution for that. Some nights we end up just eating at the ballpark. I love to add the Crystal Light stuff to my water so I'll definitely check out those refreshers! Thanks!

  3. Awesome job on the race! I'd love to run that some day, I think running in huge groups like that is super fun. I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2011, so many parts of that city (along the course) hold a special place in my heart.

  4. Awesome job! The longest I've run for in the past year is...wait for it...11 minutes.

    Our family loves this salsa chicken! We add in 1/4 of a block of the low fat cream cheese and I use 2-3 chicken breasts. I shred all the chicken before putting the cream cheese in - I can't remember if that's in the directions or something that I just do. One hint, if I'm eating salsa, I like it to be on the milder side but found that for this dish, it should have a little more kick so I go "one step up".

  5. What an inspiring post! Congrats on a super race time and love the tutu. It's too too cute! Okay, sorry about that, I just couldn't resist! LOL!
    Have a great weekend!

  6. Awesome job!! That is incredible!!!!!!!! You've been working so hard!

    Here is a crockpot recipe that I love!!!

    You are such an inspiration!! Happy Friday

  7. You. Are. Adorable. :-)
    Your jump faces are hilarious.
    And the hippo/unicorn makes me laugh every time I see it!
    I remembered to link up this week, on catch is I'm super annoyed so I may or may not been a little But all that matters is I linked up before Sunday! Happy Friday Girlfriend! :-)

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  9. You are just awesome! I know that someday I will run a half marathon, but not anytime in the near future. I know I can do the 5K.

  10. Wait! Are there people who don't know that's from
    Clue?! :) Love checking out your blog. No shamrock socks necessary. ;)


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