Category Archives: Fitness

Chicago Half Marathon Race Recap

I always love reading the race recaps on the blogs I follow and I think it is a wonderful idea for writing down how you felt during the race and after then use it to remember that race. Whew… that was a long sentence and probably a run-on but oh well. Anyways. My race day started nice and early at about 4:50 AM. Alex and I decided that we would drive to the race instead of take public transport because it would have taken over an hour and a half to get there by bus/train. Driving=30 minutes=more sleep. I woke up about 10 minutes before we left as I had packed the night before. I drank some coffee while I made my typical pre-run breakfast of 2 whole wheat waffles with cream cheese and chia seeds. My plan was to eat the on the way. Once I was ready, Alex got woken up and we climbed into the car. We picked up my sister on our way since she lives so close. The whole way to the race my stomach was a mess. I was so worried about not being able to finish or getting picked up by the slagging wagon. I had not prepared very well for this race which didn’t help matters. I picked at my breakfast as I drove and once we got there before giving up on it half way through. Once we reached the park where the race started, Alex switched places with me to go park while Amanda and I headed to the port a potties.

After using the bathroom we walked around to warm up my legs a little bit before finding my parents and little brother. . We met up with my Aunt Cathy (who did the half) and Uncle Mike (he did the 5k). After the national anthem my Aunt and I headed to our pacing groups. The weather was a little warmer than I would have liked at the start and the air in the park was thick and heavy


It took a while before we were moving and the 5K start line was before the Half-Marathon one so everyone started running about a quarter mile early. Once we were off I was feeling good. I knew I would see my family around mile 4 so I just focused on the runners ahead of me to help keep my pace.

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My legs felt really good right off the bat which helped ease some of my nerves. The water/aid stations were well spaced and it seemed that every time I felt thirsty or thought I could use a shot of Gatorade I would see a sign for aid station ahead. My only real complaint with this race is that the drinks are one sided which caused a huge bottle neck at each and every aid station. I tried my best to keep moving but when I wanted to Gatorade I knew I would be walking really slowly before I could grab them. I took a gatorade only at the first three stops then started taking one each of water and Gatorade around mile 6. By mile 10 I was only taking water because the sugar from the gatorade was making my stomach hurt but I am getting a head of myself.

As soon as we turned onto Lake Shore Drive from the park there was a collective sigh. The air cleared, the wind picked up slightly, and we all cooled off significantly. The race from miles 2.5-13 were all along LSD which runs next to the Lake. That lake effect has never felt better. At this point in the race there was great cloud coverage too which helped regulate the temperature. I found my family standing on the median right about 4 miles and gave them a cheesy grin and thumbs up before continuing on. I knew I wouldn’t see them again until the end of my race. Luckily there was awesome crowd support throughout the entire race. Many funny signs to pass the time, people on overpasses yelling down to cheer us all on, and the kids working the aid stations were wonderful! They cheered everyone on as they passed out water and Gatorade trying to say the names of people if they could read the bibs.


I stayed feeling good until about mile 8-9 when I realized I needed to use the bathroom. I think I had over-hydrated with all of that double drinks at the aid stations! There were lines at all the aid stations so I kept on going until it became too distracting. I found a port a potty spot with no line and was able to get in and out in about 30 seconds which I thought was pretty awesome. I was able to pick my pace up for a little bit until mile 11 hit. Mile 11 was rough to say the least. At this point I could feel my legs getting tired and I struggled to hold my goal pace. I let myself take a longer walking break at the next water station before doing a walk/run combo. I would walk for 1 minute then run the remainder of whatever song was on my Ipod. I found a last wind for the final 3/4 of a mile and was even able to sprint to the finish for the last 0.1 mile.


The feeling of crossing that finish line was awesome and I felt even better when I realized that I made my goal time! I really enjoyed this race and want to do it again next year. I’m hoping to talk some friends into running it with me!

What was your first half marathon? If you asked me back 5-6 years ago if I would ever run 13.1 miles, I would have laughed in your face and walked away. I cannot see myself running a full marathon but I may just be in love with half marathons now!

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Zumbathon Sunday

Happy Sunday everyone! It has been a crazy busy week/weekend! I spent most of my Saturday at zumba and making treats for Dance 4 Disney today. I made some gluten-free treats for the bake sale. I’ll be writing a post on the brownies I made later this week.

My Aunt, Uncle and cousin were in from Iowa for the weekend so we all tried to spend as much time as possible together. The times I get to see them are few and far between, usually only holidays. But, we are planning a trip out there soon. So good stuff there!

I want to say a quick thank you to anyone who donated to Dance 4 Disney since I first posted about the event a few weeks ago. Between money from Pay Pal, donations that Bridgett received and the event today over $15,000 were raised to send Micah and his family of 8 to Disney for 10 days! Any money left over after their trip will go towards their huge hospital bills accrued over the past 5 years from his treatments, surgeries and doctors appointments.


That is my only picture from the event. That is Bridgett talking and thanking everyone for coming and starting us off. I meant to take more pictures but got too caught up in the dancing.

The event was amazing. Hundreds of people came and we danced for almost 2 hours straight with only a couple of 5 minutes breaks to grab water or check out raffles. Amanda (my big sister) came with me and about half of my Zumba class from my gym was there. We took over a little corner of the gym and knew most of the songs, the perks of knowing the person throwing an event. Such a blast and so happy enough money was raised so that this family can have a wonderful vacation together one last time.

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I Put My New Shoes On

On Sunday I made my first real runner’s purchase. I bought running shoes. Yes, shoes for only running. I went to a store downtown called Universal Sole with my sister. There, I was fitted for my shoes.

To start out my fitting the man (who’s name I’ve forgotten) had me stand and he assessed my posture and my foot positioning. I then stood on one foot only. At this point, he was looking to see how my arches sit when standing. Then I walked down a catwalk of sorts where he looked for weaknesses in my stride.

Then it was the fun part! Trying on shoes. He told me I need a neutral shoe which means tons of choices. I started out with a very basic neutral shoe and ran for a few moments on a treadmill. Once he had seen what he needed, he went into the back store room and brought out a couple different types of shoes and brands. I ended up trying on four other pairs then got stuck between Brooks Ghosts and Saucony Ride 5s. The weirdest part of my fitting was when I wore one of each and ran. Talk about an awkward stride! I ended up buying the Saucony’s because they felt awesome and I was a lot lighter than in the Brooks. Look how awesome they are. The bottoms have some neon because I’m obsessed. 20130228_165147

I finally took these shoes on my first run yesterday. I did a quick 5K on my favorite treadmill at my gym for a tester. I wasn’t sure how many miles you should do the first time in new shoes and didn’t want anything crazy or too short. I think 3 miles is just right. These shoes definitely passed my 5k test. No hip pain, feet felt great, and I felt comfortable. I can’t wait to keep running in these shoes!

Have you ever been fitted by a running specialist or had your gait analyzed? I found it quite fun.


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Exercising for a Cause

As you know, I love my Zumba classes and teacher. I typically attend at least one, usually two, classes a week  at my gym with my totally awesome teacher Bridgett. Recently, Bridgett told us of an event she is hosting. One of her old students, Micah Steele, was diagnosed with bone cancer when he was 6 years old and in her class. He went through numerous rounds of treatment and a couple years ago received his wish from Make a Wish Foundation to go to Disney.

A few weeks ago his family found out the cancer has spread to his hips, pelvic bones, lungs and heart. Because he has already had a wish granted, he cannot receive another one. His wish is to return to Disney with his family one last time. The only problem? His family cannot afford the trip. His mom has not worked since he was diagnosed and there are 8 people in this family. This boy, who is now 11, cannot fulfill his wish to return to his happy place and enjoy one last trip with his family.

Bridgett is throwing a zumbathon on Sunday March 10th. If you are in the Chicagoland area and interested in going or donating or doing something to help this family,  the Zumbathon will be from 2-4 pm on March 10th at Memorial Junior High School. The address is 2721 Ridge Road Lansing, IL. There is a donation request of $20 for entrance. There will be raffles.  Multiple certified Zumba instructors will lead the attendees in fun Zumba songs and dances.

I know its a reach to get strangers or people far away to join in on a Zumbathon in Illinois but if you want to help this little boy’s possibly last dream come true or want to learn more about his story: visit At the least, help me spread the word about this young boy and his family. If you have any ideas on how to help, contact Bridgett Anderson Annicks at




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Hello everyone! It’s been awhile since my last fitness post. My fitness has been pretty standard lately. Lots of treadmill running between 3-6 miles, zumba, tap and a little yoga and weight training thrown around in there too. But, my biggest fitness event the past month has been signing up for the Chicago Half Marathon! I started talking about doing this last September when my little cousin Caitlin ran for the first time. My cousin Sara and Aunt Cathy also ran it. Watching them cross the finish line made me envious. I could do that too. So why shouldn’t I? For my birthday I asked for the entrance fee money which my parents gave me. Best birthday present ever!20130114_094250

Filling out that application form was nerve-wracking. Could I really do this? I have 9  months to build up twice my distance to what I have gone so far. I have researched some training plans through Pinterest. I can do this! So here we go! I will do my best to track my distance and give updates on my training, especially as the race gets closer. I will also do a race recap afterwards to tell you how it went.

Anyone have any good half marathon training plans that I could adapt for my race? I plan on keeping zumba and tap going throughout and plan on trying to keep up with weight training. My Sundays will probably become long run days because I usually have the least going on with Sundays.  Chicago Half here I come!

Have you done a half marathon?

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Starting the Weekend Off Right

Last night Dad and I headed to the gym before dinner. My plan included a 30 minutes run on the treadmill and some weights focusing on my arms. I ended up doing a 31 minutes run. Why? Sounded like a good number. Finished it off with a 5 minute walk because my legs were killing me. I did a total of 3.71 mi in 36 minutes. Not too shabby. I am slowly trying to increase my speed. I started the summer not able to run a full mile at 6.0 without walking and last night I ran between 6.3-6.5 for the entire 31 minutes, which I think averages out to right about a 9:31 pace. Feels good to make progress.

After my run, I headed down to the women’s weight room. I think I mentioned it before but I love that we have this at my gym. The men’s pit creeps me out a bit and I feel like I’m being judged. The women’s room was empty except for one woman using the machines. I grabbed some 7 lb weights and got to work. In all my workout looked something like this:

12 bicep curls straight into 12 standing overhead shoulder presses into 10 tricep kickbacks. Repeated for 3 rounds total

10 tricep overhead extensions x3

10 chest presses x3

10 seated rows with 37.5 pounds x3

10 Lat pulldowns with 37.5 pounds x2

20 tricep dips

When I finished I felt tired but good probably why my arms feel sore today. I still feel uncertain about what I am doing but I feel like this was a good start. I like to look at other bloggers fitness plans for ideas to make them fit my workout style. Anyone have a good arm workout that I should try? I’d love to get some input.


Im no good at selfies but this is my tired face after finishing that workout! Whew

Today, I started off with my exercises for the 2012 Closeout Workout Challenge hosted by Courtney of Sweet Tooth Sweet Life. The goal is to complete 2012 reps of any 2-5 exercises of your choice. I chose crunches, push-ups and squats for my three. I did 60 crunches (3 sets of 20) and 5 push-ups. This is where I realized how sore I was from last night! I could not move after 5 push-ups! So sad in a good way. During Zumba this morning I got in 60 squats bringing my total reps for the challenge today to 125.  Boy was Zumba hard this morning! My instructor added 3 new songs last week and they are hard and leave me breathing hard. Love it! My face was bright red and covered in sweat by the end of class. Great way to start my weekend off right!

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Back on Track

I don’t know about all of you but I definitely went the typical route this long Thanksgiving break and was lazy. I made it out on a run on Thursday morning and then proceeded to skip all planned workouts until today. It felt odd to not be active but it was hard to motivate myself to get to yoga today.

It felt good to get back into yoga. This is the first time I have been able to make the Monday morning class at my gym since I started work. We had a sub and, though class started off very slowly, it ended up being a good strength and stretch day. My arms are already feeling sore from those yogi push-ups and down dogs.

(picture courtesy of google and the website yoga journal) I have no pictures of me from yoga  and I feel bad leaving you with a post with no pictures.

I set a goal for myself this week of exercising 5 days this week. I am one day down, at least 4 to go. The rest of my week will hopefully look like this:

Tuesday-Zumba, Wednesday-Tap, Thursday- 3 mi run + restorative yoga, Friday-rest or maybe 5 miles if I am feeling good and Saturday-Zumba.

I still need to start incorporating strength into my rotation. I will admit that lifting intimidates me even with a women’s weight room in my gym. I am thinking of looking into the book “New Rules of Lifting for Women” for inspiration. Anyone used this book and think it is worth the money? I’d love to hear advice if any one has some about getting into lifting/strength training and liking it.

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This Weeks Workouts

Hey all,

I figured I would give you a quick preview of my week in workouts this week.

Today Alex and I went on an almost 3 mi run (the trail was 1.48 mi and we did two loops) with a quick little session of sit-ups, planks and a few goofy squats. When we got back we gave the puppies a nice half hour walk. Its great. The pups start the walk by “walking” themselves while holding their leashes in the mouths. So cute how excited they are to go on walks. The tan one is Leo, the black/gray one is Scott. Such good puppies and I miss them dearly when I am not in KC.

For the rest of the week here is my plan:
Monday-Off or maybe a short run/weights

Tuesday: Zumba! Sadly my usual teacher will be away for the night but Im hoping our sub is good.

Wednesday: Tap

Thursday: Yoga. I’m in need of a good stretch and restorative session

Friday: Arms/Abs + walk/run warmup/cooldown. I like to sandwich my sessions with a ten min walk/run. Usually run the warm up and walk the cooldown.

Saturday: Back to Zumba again

Well there it is. My week’s workout lineup

What’s your week look like in workouts?

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My Life in Exercise

Hello again. So I mentioned that this will be a blog about finding my balance between food, fitness and fun. Today I am focusing on the exercise portion of the blog. I should mention that as a recent graduate from college I’m a little low on cash and my parents, being the wonderful people they are, let me live back at home. While I job searched and waited for my license for Illinois to come through, I had a lot of time to focus on my fitness. I am hoping that as I start work I am able to keep up my exercise as it is now. A perk of living at home, other than cooking on mom and dad’s food budget, is having access to our fitness club that we have been members at since 1999! They have a wide variety of fitness classes every day of the week. They also have plenty of cardio machines for me to utilize along with two weight rooms, one of which is for women only! No grunting men to freak me out and keep me from doing my own workouts.

Anyways current my fitness schedule looks like this:

Monday- Flow Yoga at 11:25. This is the one class I am sure I will have to drop due to work because it is in the morning and I will be working. Super sad about stopping this class, but I know I won’t be working every Monday and will fit it in when I can.

Tuesday- Zumba! This is my favorite right now. My instructor is amazing and has so much energy. There are about 8 regulars. It’s so great to have a constant in life and this group class is mine. Love love love it.

Wednesday- Tap! This is my fun and different class. I am in an intermediate/advanced class at my dance studio. I used to take the advanced class at this studio back in high school but my skill and technique slipped in my 5 years off. My sister takes this class with me and makes it so much better because all the rest of the girls in the class are at least 8 years younger than me! My teacher, Jay, loves to point out how old we are. Don’t worry we don’t mind too much because it’s Jay and he is the BEST tap teacher out there. Seriously, I would not have restarted tap if Jay wasn’t still there teaching.

Thursday- I consider Thursday my active rest days. I do a mile warm-up then take a 1 hour restorative yoga class. It is a great grounding experience that helps me settle down from me week and gives me some well “me” time.

Fridays- I usually use Fridays as a running day. This will probably change some due to work and may turn into strength days with either a body pump/power class or weight day.

Saturday- Another Zumba class! I don’t always make this one like I do with my Tuesday class but it’s the same teacher. She just recently took over this class so its relatively new to my schedule. It’s fun to get this awesome type of exercise in twice a week.

Sundays-Off or a short run. This really depends on how I am feeling. Some Sundays I just want to sit and watch my Bears play while other Sundays I just need to run and move around.

There it is. My week in fitness. I try to get a variety of different types in and am hoping to add a spin class in one of the days. Switching it up is important for me because I can get bored doing the same routine over and over. But, right now I am happy with what I do. Also, sorry for the lack of photos. I tend to not bring my phone with me to my gym and therefore don’t have many pictures. Something I can work on.

Whats your typical week look like for fitness? Do you have a schedule filled with classes or are you more of a work alone kind of person?

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