Super Saturday!

It’s been a fantastic day! If you’re like me (aka in Chicago) then you’ll have been hearing the Air and Water Show all morning. Did anyone go? I’ve got plans tonight, so I won’t have a chance to.

Here’s an update of the long runs I’ve been doing!
Last week it was 10 solo, with a great view

And a longer-than-usual plank


This week I ran with my CARA group because it was a very daunting 15 miles with another plank and and even better view.

20140816-152025.jpgMy good friend E also ran in my pace group so we could catch up. It’s been ages since we’ve seen each other and I’m glad he was there for support. My legs started turning into lead the last few miles and miles 12-15 are a blur. Thankfully we played games to pass the time! Does anyone remember the game “I’m going on a picnic?” You go through the alphabet and each person adds an object, but you have to remember what everyone else said too? E and I played that for the last 5 miles and it got weird, as things usually do with me.

Speaking of weird, I was surprisingly energetic to get up and run today. Maybe it was the 8 hours sleep I got the night before (note to self Natalia: it’s good for you)

20140816-152522.jpg. This is right before doing jumping jacks at the bus stop at 5:30AM. And also before I learned I put my capris on inside out…

20140816-153109.jpg Whoops!

After the 15, I got home, stretched, and had the 2nd breakfast of champions.

20140816-153210.jpg Carbs+eggs+Sriracha=perfection.

I spent most of the rest of my morning/early afternoon “recovering.” Or, better put, laying on the couch watching Netflix.

I noticed my left IT band was swollen and a little tender when I foam rolled, so I’m giving it extra love. Thankfully it hasn’t been hurting me though; I’m taking that as a good sign!

Now it’s off to a friend’s fundraiser for the evening. More on that soon, and it might involve a celebrity! (The real kind, not just one in my mind)

What’s your favorite breakfast?
How many miles did you run today?

An Ish Long Run

Good morning everyone! Today’s run was a total -ish run. Not because it was crap, but because nothing was exact. I forgot to charge my Garmin last night (oops!) so it was completely dead when I woke up this morning. My phone’s running app has been wildly inaccurate so I took to the Google and plotted/memorized a run route and just turned on the stopwatch on my phone.

The results? A 13.1-ish mile run in 2:24:29-ish, average pace 11:02/mile-ish. That’s including a bathroom break, 4 stops for water, and a photo opp or two.

Like this:
And this:20140802-123802.jpg
And me clearly missing the neon yellow/grey/black memo for the day:
20140802-123838.jpgI wore orange. Womp womp.

The great part about this run? I didn’t have a silly watch beeping at me every mile reminding me about how terrible I am at keeping a consistent pace. It was an effort based run so I kept in time with what my body allowed. It was actually pretty low key and not too hard to maintain a conversational pace. And I think I maybe had a negative split because I pushed it the last few miles.
The other great thing? I loved this run so much even though it was super hot (I started late) and I sweat a ton. I could not stop smiling the last 2 miles. Got to love those endorphins.

Now it’s off to shower and prepare for another busy weekend! Have a happy Saturday!

How long did you run today?
Do you every run based on effort or always with a set pace?

Where my runs have been taking me

This is clearly going to be one of those summers where life runs the show and not me. Was it just yesterday (the day before maybe?) that I was sitting here thinking about all the awesome things I was looking forward to? Nope, that was June, and now it’s practically August and so many fantastic things have already happened this summer. Here’s a bunch of pictures to bring you up to speed on all the places I’ve been running.

I did some running in Nashville. (Read: just a few miles in the most humid and hot weather I’ve ever run in and I pretty much crashed and burned, then decided not to do that again. It did prep me for humidity in Chicago though.)20140729-181216.jpg

We really were not pleased with the run. It was a miserable experience.


But we made up for it by doing a bunch of strength training outside. Yay side plank selfless!


I’ve run a ton on the Lakefront Trail with my CARA group. We ran past a bunch of people (cadets maybe?) carrying a gigantic log down the path. We all decided we’d rather run our 10 miles than carry that thing for 1.


Most of the CARA group runs have involved meeting up/eating/traveling with this guy!20140729-181635.jpg

I may be the one responsible for him signing up for the marathon this year. Not sorry in the least because now I have a training partner!

Like I said, lots of lake front runs. (PSA: always remember your sunscreen, especially when there is little cloud cover!)20140729-181726.jpg

Spent one of the most fantastic weekends of July celebrating the marriage of these two beautiful people!


Seriously, best wedding I’ve been to ever. They are just the most awesome couple and everything about their reception was totally and unapologetically¬†them.¬†I loved every minute and every detail! (Shout out to my table 9 3/4!!)

And once the wedding was done I got to have this guy as my new running buddy! We did 3 miles and 5 miles together. Look at that nose!


I was pet sitting for the above couple while they honeymooned and loved having a week to be a pet parent. It put a wrench in my training schedule but it was worth it to get my dog and cat fix!20140729-181814.jpg

And that brings us to today, where I found myself in a familiar place!


The weather has been really mild but I really needed to change up my regular runs during the week. My usual paths are getting really boring, so I did about a third of my run around the neighborhood and then the rest on the treadmill. I’m helping prepare myself for the potential mind-numbing boredom that may occur with parts of the 26.2. I cannot believe it’s just 2 months away! How insane!

And a yummy food picture to round things out. I read about this quick dessert of microwaved fruit and almond butter on Carrots ‘N’ Cake and I snuck a little extra in with chia seeds and a sprinkle of chopped pecans for crunch. It tasted decadent!
Where have you been running?

On Wednesdays We Eat Mussels

I’m a serious fan of my lunchtime runs with Joanne. It’s so easy to just throw my workout gear in my bag and do these first weeks of shorter runs with her. Today we did exactly 3 miles, averaging 10:22/mile. We took a few walk breaks. We came back with tons of time to eat our lunches (which, I need to make again and share with you…it was so good!)

After that lunch, I had a slice of cake leftover from a student’s birthday.

Just casually doing eating cake while doing a wall-sit. It’s all about balance, right?

It’s off to dinner now. Have a great Wednesday!

How do you maintain balance?

Good decisions lead to more good decisions

Good evening! What does everyone think of the new blog design? I was bored and needed a little change; hope you enjoy it!

Today is super special for so many reasons, and already at lunchtime it’s been pretty fantastic! I had a weekend jam packed with work and play, so I’m ready to get back into the grind. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do because today marks the official start of MARATHON TRAINING!

marathon logo
Image source

I am beyond excited to start training, especially since I’ll be running to raise money for Autism Speaks. I’ll have a tab up soon linking anyone interested in donating to my Team Up for Autism Speaks page.

Training started (unofficially) last night and this morning with me keeping up my favorite tradition.
Spirit of the Marathon
I love to watch Spirit of the Marathon whenever I need inspiration to run. Not only is it incredible to watch all the runners on their journeys but its based around the Chicago Marathon so I get that hometown pride from it. No better way to get amped to run Chicago than to watch other people doing it!

Training is off to a great start too, what with having lots of running/workout buddies now. My coworker Joanne and I went for a slow run at lunch. She’s newer to long distance running but we managed to get 2.5 miles and some core work in! It seriously beat sitting in our break room and eating unnecessary food.

Our mid run foot selfie. Finished up with another 3/4 mile at the gym after work to total 3.25. I left work late so by the time I got home I was starving! I’ve made myself a fantastic salad and plan on eating it while foam rolling my quads.

Lentils don’t photograph well. I apologize for that.

I made my own croutons out of these guys and it’s magic.

20140609-201831.jpgOh yeah, yum!

Who’s started their Chicago marathon training?

What good decisions have you made recently?

Meliora K Detergent Review!

Disclaimer: Kate at Meliora K reached out to me to do a product review. I was compensated with free product; however, all opinions in this post are my own.

Have you ever thought about what is in your laundry detergent? If you’re like me, the answer is probably not. I really had never thought about that question until Kate from Meliora K reached out to me asking me to review their laundry detergent.

Meliora K is a Chicago based cleaning product company that aims at having simple, honest products. Not only do they list all the ingredients on each of their products, they also share the recipes on how to make each one with anyone interested! I was completely unaware that there is no regulation on cleaning product companies to share their ingredients with the consumer; it makes me wonder what exactly they’re putting in there!

In addition to their ingredient transparency, Meliora K focuses on using non-toxic, environmentally sound ingredients in all their products. When I looked at their products, I noticed that coconut oil was often a main ingredient, and nothing had more than a half dozen ingredients! All the ingredients seemed simple enough and that really made me feel better knowing exactly what I was using. You can find out more on their story and philosophy here.

Like I said, Kate, the company’s founder, gave me a bag of the Right Hand Laundry Soap to test out. The bag seems small but it’s deceiving. One bag can clean about 60 loads! I’ve been using it over the course of a month and I feel like I’ve hardly made a dent in it.

I tested out the Laundry Soap 3 ways; on my regular clothing, on my workout clothing, and as a spot treatment (which I noticed on the bag there were directions for). The first major difference that struck me was that it was completely unscented. Nothing at all. This goes back to their philosophy of being free of all dyes and fragrances, which is great, but it took some getting used to when I washed my clothes. I had to remember that, though my clothes didn’t smell like detergent, they were still getting cleaned. I used it on a few loads of regular laundry and it seems fine! Besides scent, I didn’t notice a difference in my clothes between Meliora K and my usual detergent. It seemed to rinse really clean from my clothes (something that Kate mentioned–the water from laundry is much less toxic than from traditional detergent). The only downside that I noticed was that some of the stains in my clothes did not come out completely with one wash. As a preschool teacher, I’m always getting into messes with my students and my clothes tend to get stains on them more than the average human. In particular, I had some pants with dirt stains on the knees that I got during our outdoor time. After washing them per the brand and Meliora K’s directions, there were still stains.

Those pants are actually what inspired me to do a spot treatment. I used a paste made of the laundry soap and some water to treat the stains, then let them sit overnight and washed them again the next day. Still nothing significant. So for stained clothing (aka whatever I wear to work everyday), I’ll still be sticking to my regular detergent.

However, I have to say I have loved using the Meliora K Laundry Soap on my athletic gear! My workout gear usually does not get very dirty, but it does get veryyyy smelly. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for some very well-scented detergent. The Meliora K soap, surprisingly to me, got all the smells out of an entire load of workout clothes. Including my horrendous smelling socks! (Anybody else get really sweaty feet? Just me? Okay.) I really like that I didn’t need a scent to mask the sweat smell of my clothes; I’m confident my workout clothes are clean when they come out of the wash smelling like nothing. This laundry soap is definitely something I would recommend to anyone who has trouble with smelly work out clothes.

On an interesting note, Kate also mentioned that, because of the purity of the ingredients, this laundry soap does not interfere with the moisture-wicking properties of workout clothing. Since using this on my clothes, I haven’t noticed a difference in my clothing. No news is good news there!

Overall, it may not be as great as other detergents in stain fighting, but Meliora K’s Right Hand Laundry Soap is a great idea for anyone who had problems with laundry odor, or anyone who is looking to incorporate greener products into their homes.

Check out Meliora K and their other products if you’re interested.