Chicago Love Recap: Running

Thank you all for being so understanding on my mini hiatus from blogging this weekend.  It killed me to not be able to talk about how excited I was for WEEKS leading up to it, but I couldn’t ruin the big surprise so I’m actually proud I kept my little mouth shut!

There is SO much I want to share with you all, but I figured since I kind of try and call this a healthy living blog, that I’d start with the healthy aspect of my weekend away: Running.

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You all know me.  I have a tendency SOMETIMES to be a fair weather runner.   It’s something I am constantly working on, but my weather sensitive little body makes it tough.

Well this weekend I toughed through it.  Twice.  In rain and tornado threatening weather.  Yup.  I sure did.

Saturday Morning’s Run

Some of you probably know I lived in Chicago off-and-on for 8 years.  From 18 to 26.  As you could probably guess, there were some HUGE life events that happened during that time.

  • I moved on my own for the first time
  • I graduated college
  • I moved BACK home for grad school
  • I met the love of my life
  • I moved in with the love of my life
  • I got engaged with the love of my life

Just to name a few.  Zach and I have such amazing memories in this city, and I know that a piece of my heart will always remain there.

Well — Saturday morning on my solo run, I decided I needed to take my run down memory lane.  And that’s exactly what I did.

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I started out my run heading straight to Zach and I’s old home.  A very cute, refinished apartment in Wicker Park that was perfect for our first home together.

Once I ran past our old home, I turned past the old high school I worked at (Roberto Clemente High School), and ran down Division to check out our old stomping grounds.

It was SO great to see that most of our favorite spots were still up and doing well.

  • Laticia’s Bakery, where we used to get our Saturday morning coffee and muffins
  • Division Street Pub, where we went OFTEN after work, and after we got engaged 🙂
  • Jerry’s Sandwiches, our favorite sammie stop and where we got dinner the night before my first half 🙂
  • Violet Hour on Damen, where we celebrated our engagement
  • Big Star on Damen, hello tacos
  • And of course small bars, Milk and Honey cafe, Alliance Bakery…all of our favorites.

It meant so much to me to be running in the old neighborhood, to see all these old favorites and retrace the steps that I took SO many times training for my first half.

I’m also glad I spent this run solo.  Talk about making a run fly by.  I was so stuck reliving so many amazing memories that I had no idea I had finished well over 4 miles in under 9 minute pace.

Thank you altitude boost!

Sunday’s Run

Sunday’s run was a bit of a different story.

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The boys wanted to get a little sweat on after an indulgent weekend, and of course I’m never one to turn down a run…so we headed out, per my request, to one of my favorite runner friendly areas in our old neighborhood.

Humbolt Park.

I was a little anxious about this run, knowing that I was running with some speedy boys and this was my 6th day in a row of running…but I actually found myself surprisingly comfortable most of the run.

The park is full of beautiful bodies of water, old buildings, and tons of runner friendly terrain.  3.75-4 miles FLEW by…but that could have been because I was literally flying (for me) with these boys.  We guessed that our pace was about 830…and with HUGE wind gusts and tornado threatening weather, I’d say that’s pretty darn good.

This was a very humbling (pun intended) run for me.  I started it SUPER anxious that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the boys…but I actually ended up kicking it into gear and speeding up for the last 1/4-1/3 mile and knocked out some SPEEDY negative splits.  It got me thinking that maybe I should push my speed a little more while I’m not working on distance and see what I can do.

So…

Two very different, very enjoyable runs that reminded me of why I love this city, and why I never travel without my running shoes.  Never.

Question of the Afternoon: Where’s your favorite place that you have EVER run?

Homemade Tortilla Soup

The time change and cold weather inspired me to break out the crock pot this week.

In all honesty, the crock pot is one of my favorite kitchen items.  It makes slow cooked meals, with minimal work by me, that taste amazing and make the house smell even better.

Win.win

This season’s first crock pot dish was nothing other than a soup, thanks to the cruddy weather we’re having here in Denver.  So, if you guys are looking for a flavorful, easy soup…look no further!  I literally spent 5 minutes preparing, 30 seconds in the morning to bring it out of the fridge, add the chicken, and turn it on.  Then when I got home, I had an AMAZING soup ready to go.  Nothin better.

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Homemade Tortilla Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 large chicken breasts, cut in halves
  • 2 cans of black beans undrained (15 oz)
  • 1 can of diced green chilies (4 oz)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (14.5 oz)
  • 1 cup of pico de gallo
  • 1 large carrot, cut into slices
  • 1/4 large white onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of fajita seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Tortillas or tortilla chips

Directions

  • Put everything in a crock put, on low for 8 hours (or high for 4-5) and you’re good to go.
  • Before you serve it, remove the chicken breasts and shred them with a fork.
  • Serve over tortilla chips, or if you’re like us, crisp up tortillas and dip them in the soup.
  • (Zach says top with cheese)
  • Enjoy! So simple!

Perfect meal for Zach to come home to after 4 weeks of traveling.  And perfect for me:  makes it SEEM like you did a lot of work, for next to nothing! 🙂

Enjoy!

Question of the Night:  Your favorite crock pot meal — I need inspiration!

It’s Official. . . and My Kinda Panera

I watched a Lifetime movie today.

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Yes…it’s official.  Zach needs to get his butt home.  I’m resorting to drastic measures here around the house.

I enjoyed an apple fritter with my Lifetime movie

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(that one’s a blueberry one, but you get the picture).

It’s a beautiful day here in Denver so I enjoyed a relaxing afternoon with the doors and windows open . . . until the early sunset.

As an early riser I really appreciated the sunrise by 7AM today . . . but I am still deciding whether or not it’s worth the shortened afternoons.  I think I’m leaning towards not worth it.  I already go to bed early, I don’t need the sun convincing me I should go to bed earlier!

My kinda Panera

I mentioned earlier in the week how I had been craving Panera.  Zach and I have gift cards, and for whatever reason I have been wanting it all week.  Well today, I finally fulfilled my Panera craving.

I ordered a you pick two with a Caesar salad and broccoli and cheddar soup, and whole grain baugette side.

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Unfortunately, I’m a hungry lady, and the measly proportions weren’t doing it for me today (come on Panera!)

So. . . I bulked up my salad with a few extra greens and the left over chicken I had from the week.

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Much better.

THAT is my kind of Panera.  I think mine looks better than what you get in the store, personally.

🙂

November Challenges

Pile on the Miles

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4.33 miles between my 5k and afternoon walk with Gus 🙂 If were keeping track, thats

16.46 miles.  Not too shabby, but I’ve gotta stay on the move if I want to reach 100 🙂

Piper’s  Challenge

And I also completed day three of Piper’s 30 day thigh challenge.  Today included:

  • 10 lateral lunges
  • 20 scissors
  • 10 fire hydrants
  • 10 pile squat pulses

This challenge is alright so far…but as Piper and I talked about today, it’s going to get intense.

And just like that yall, another weekend in the books.

Thank goodness I have a delicious treat to soften the blow of the looming Monday! 🙂

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Question of the Evening: Do you like the time change?