Tag Archives: running

Cupcake Overload

For my birthday this year, I decided to run the Chicago Half Marathon. I finished, and it was fun. Those were my two goals. Running down Lake Shore Drive with about 20,000 other people on my birthday, which also happened to be the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, was quite an experience.

I was unsure of vegan cupcake availability on a Sunday in Chicago. We also detest city driving, even if it’s for cupcakes. So I brought along some cupcakes from Strawberry Fields here in Urbana, and took them on the road to share with the rest of the family.

These were serious cupcakes – enormous, jumbo-sized, and loaded with enough sweet frosting to send anyone into a sugar coma. They were delicious, but I’m surely not going to order as many of them next year! One half of a giant cupcake per person would be plenty!

Carrot Cake Cupcake

 Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

German Chocolate Cupcake

German Chocolate – we detected a hint of coffee flavor in this one

Hazelnut Cupcakes

Hazelnut – my favorite. Very hazelnutty, throughout the cake and frosting.

Lemon Citrus Cupcake

Lemon Citrus

Illinois Half Marathon 2011

at the finish line of the Illinois Half MarathonWhat a great day! Even with a cold, missing GUs, forgetting my special playlist, nearly missing the start due to traffic and porta-potty lines, and 25 mph winds… I did it!

Official time: 2:34:44, an improvement of about 25 minutes over last year. Yay!

I started out slow, on a slight downhill. The spectators were great and I felt very relaxed. My conservative pace was rewarded, as I was far enough back to see the leader of the full marathon, Jose Muñoz, loop around back to Green Street behind the pace car. He looked amazing, and he won the race. Anywhere from mid-pack back is a big, fun, sweaty party.

Favorite signs/cheers:

  • You do the running, we’ll do the drinking!
  • Run, Bitches!
  • Girl’s sign: “Don’t stop.” Guy’s sign: “That’s what she said.”
  • “It’s all downhill from here!”
  • 6.5 miles to beer

A guy just ahead of me stole Elvis’ sunglasses near the local strip joint, then taunted him to come after him. Ha! (Yes, the course goes past a strip club, yay.) I was passed a lot in the first miles, but at least I could read the back of their shirts. It seemed like many of the people with super-tough stuff written on their shirts were walking later in the race, or being passed. I didn’t have a witty shirt, but I did have a good strategy.

However, despite planning, the unexpected happens. I still have trouble drinking from cups on the run, so I walked some of the later aid stations. I felt good even on “hills” around Stone Creek (with headwind!), but I was really looking forward to the GU at mile 6.5… and then I missed it! I think I was too busy waving at my parents on the other side of the road. (Note to self: bad parent placement.) I looked down to see… empty packets. Ugh! Thanks to passing some friends, I made it through the next mile, but then started feeling “wobbly” as I approached the sunny park trail section of the course. I was running out of fuel, and felt weird enough to contemplate picking up half-finished GU packets, jelly bean packets, etc. When my legs started feeling wobbly, I knew I needed something right away. Thankfully, a volunteer at the medical tent handed me a bottle of Gatorade, and it brought me back. The take-home lesson: always carry an extra GU or something else for energy!

From the park, I just kept going. I remembered how sunny, hot and humid it was last year, how difficult it felt, and how much I walked. I felt good, and wanted to enjoy the experience. I ran up “hills” to get through them quickly, played the “just run until insert point here” game, and ended up running it to the end. My faster miles were toward the end, which is how I usually run. I even kicked it up around the stadium in the last half mile and finished strong.

Feel it, fight it, finish it! I can’t wait for next year. Oh wait, I won’t have to, because I signed up for the Chicago Half Marathon on the day I turn 35. Take that, mid-thirties!

Brooks Haiku Contest: I Won!

I can’t believe I won a GRAND PRIZE in the Brooks Running Haiku Contest – my choice of any pair of Brooks shoes! My poem was one of the top 5 out of more than 600 entries! Here it is:

soft flakes morning breaks
footfalls grace the sea of white
cold run warms the soul

I love winter running. I wanted to capture the feeling of heading out into fresh snow. I find the quietness comforting as the snow absorbs much of the resonant sound. I love the feeling of knowing that. despite what many would consider inclement weather, I was out. I got it done. The rest of my day is set.

I expect to receive this spiffy new pair of Adrenaline GTS 11s in shiny RED sometime soon.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11

I’m running in the GTS 10s right now, and they are definitely my favorite shoes. I did 8 miles in them on the first day without any problems.

In other running news, it’s go time again! We’re just a few days from the 2011 Illinois Marathon, where I will run my second half marathon. It’s actually my first time running this distance, since last year I walked part of it. The humidity was oppressive and temps were warmer than expected in 2010, and I had just had an egg-sized cyst surgically removed from my neck about 6 weeks before the race. Despite this, I had a lot of fun. Although I walked, I completed it.

This year, I’m looking forward to running the entire race. If the weather is favorable (as in NOT 90+% humidity like my last 3 runs!), I would like to finish under 2:20. That’s pushing it, but is is a race.

I had a really fantastic 11+ mile training run a week ago on the course, where I was able to remember how I felt along the way last year, and process how much better I feel this year leading up to the event. Let’s see what unfolds!