Breaking news. My sinus infection is G.O.N.E! I’m finally feeling better and so relieved.

Mr. SOTSS and I spent a few days in Chicago to celebrate my birthday.


It was so much fun and jam-packed with activities! Plus, aside from some rain on Saturday morning, the weather was perfectly crisp and Autumn-like with temps in the high 50s and 60s. Have I mentioned how much I love the fall? Have I mentioned how my I love my boyfriend?!!!

We stayed at the Hotel Chicago which is right in the center of the city and so accessible to everything.

Hotel chicago

There was a bottle of wine and some cheese and crackers in the room to welcome us thanks to Mr. SOTSS. He’s so sweet. He did the same thing when we went to Cape Cod last year for my birthday weekend. Hmmm, setting a precedent. Boyfriend, if you’re reading I hope you’re taking note ;).

Wine cheese arrival

I ran on my actual birthday (Sunday) along the Chicago Riverwalk and the lakefront trail (along Lake Michigan) and covered about 7 slow miles but boy was it nice to have some new scenery. Newsflash: Chicago and Garmin = no bueno. I had to transfer my data to Runkeeper and adjust the map. All the tall buildings in the city made the Garmin struggle to locate the satelite and it basically showed that I went berserk in the river. LOL! Actually to be fair, Mr. SOTSS used Runkeeper and it was also just as berserk. But the map is editable so that’s how we got our routes and mileage correct finally.

Riverwalk sign

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday to me!

Skyline chicago

I tried to take a panoramic shot with my phone.

1025-runAnd I also ran about 3.5 miles yesterday before we headed to the airport to catch our flight home.

Shorter run

Hotel room selfie before I set out.

The foliage!

The foliage!

1026-runMr SOTSS ran twice too. I love that we both enjoy going for solo runs while vacationing together.

We ate so much! From stuffed pizza at Giordano’s to filet mignon at Chicago Cut Steakhouse to BBQ Ribs at Weber Grill restaurant. And then there was my birthday hot fudge sundae.


No candles but Mr. SOTSS sang Happy Birthday to me and then I made a wish!



The cook all the food on Weber grills right in the restaurant!


That is pizza perfection right there.


two crusts with the cheese melted in between like a real PIE and then the sauce goes on top of the upper crust.


If you go to Chicago GO HERE!


We walked along the Magnificent Mile and boy was I excited to see they had a Garmin store.

Garmin store

I asked when the Garmin 235 that was announced would be available and they said probably another 2-4 weeks. So now I’m trying to decide if I should just get the 220 before the NYC Marathon on Sunday. I only have the Garmin 10 at the moment and it has a 5 hour battery life and I’m pretty much 100% sure I won’t be crossing that finish line sub 5 this year.

Some other fun things we did in ChiTown…

Took in a Chicago Blackhawks game

Blackhawks selfie

The time it takes me in photoshop to protect Mr. SOTSS’ identity with these smiley faces…..he’s worth it.

Went on an architectural river cruise to see and learn about some of the well known, and not so well known buildings in the city. It poured on us for the first 10 minutes of the cruise but we stayed mostly dry thanks to our well spent $2 for ponchos.

River cruise selfieRiver cruise ponchos

333 ewacker building

my favorite building just for the reflection

Art chitecture

As we were going down the river they had to open this particular bridge for a larger boat. I just loved the compositing. So angular and really cool.

Corncob condos

They call these the Corn Cob Condos. People live on the top half and their cars (and public parking) are on the lower half. So crazy.

We took the train out to the suburbs of Oak Park where we took a tour of some Frank Lloyd Wright homes including the first home he ever designed and lived in.

Pink line train

Different than the NYC subway in that most of their trains travel above ground

Frank lloyd wright home

An odd detail on the roof of one of the homes Frank Lloyd Wright designed

Frank lloyd wright house selfie

Another Frank Lloyd Wright house behind us

Frank Lloyd Wright was known for his lead glass designs.

Frank Lloyd Wright was known for his lead glass designs.

I scored while we were in Oak Park because we found a Fleet Feet store and I bought a new pouch to put my phone in while running the marathon. I needed sommething big enough to fit the iPhone 5 in the Mophie battery case so I’ll be sure to have enough juice for all those hours.

Amiphipod pouch

We also went to Millenium Park and saw the famous Bean sculpture.

Backwards bean selfie

Bean selfie!

Me bean

My feet are so sore because we’ve walked more in the last 3 days than I have in my life a while. About 25,000 steps daily. And that’s not counting the running! We’re both exhausted and will have to rally for sure to get through the rest of the week. 


Airport mrsotss

taking a power nap at gate B8

Another trip in the books with my favorite travel life companion.

Holding hands oak park

happiness is…

I’m hoping to get one or two super short and easy runs in this week. And then it’s Expo time…And then it’s GO time…AHHHHH! Starting to panic.

How was your weekend?

Ever been to Chicago?

Ever eat stuffed pizza?

Interested in architecture at all?

So It’s October 18th. I started feeling sick when I woke up on October 8th but I just assumed it was my allergies and took some decongestant and figured I’d be ok the next morning. Well the next morning came and I felt worse. And then I ran a half marathon the next day and another half marathon the day after that. I went into work that Monday and was just absolutely miserable. In hinesight I probably should have gone to see a doctor first thing on Monday but I went the entire week feeling weak and feverish, coughing uncontrollably blowing my nose so much it was raw. All the mucous made me so nauseas too. I FINALLY caved and went to the doctor on Friday and sure enough she said I had a sinus infection, my lymph nodes were swollen and I’d need antibiotics. I can’t remember the last time I got this sick.


So my running basically took a backseat while I tried to just get through the day without collapsing. I managed a 4 miler on Thursday and another 4 miles today. There was no 10 mile long run.

thurs-sunAnd frankly I’m just going to have to be ok with that. I have 2 more days on the antibiotics and I’m hoping I’ll be feeling 100% by mid-week. But seriously, I’m so exhausted from being sick I feel like I could sleep for 24 hours straight at this point.

I took it fairly easy this weekend. Spent most of it on the couch doing freelance work on my laptop. I did take Duncan out to the park both days though. We both needed the fresh air.

we dodged acorns that were falling from the trees. Those things can hurt!

we dodged acorns that were falling from the trees. Those things can hurt!

Foliage is just starting to change

Foliage is just starting to change

Autumn is my favorite season hands down!

Autumn is my favorite season hands down!



Some of my favorite flowers are still kicking around way past their prime

Some of my favorite flowers are still kicking around way past their prime





2 weeks until the NYC Marathon! Holy sh-t! =)

Are you freaking out about anything? I’m panicked that I have too much work and too little free time for the rest of the year.

Do you get sick a lot?



Happy Friday,

I finally went to the doctor. Sinus infection. Starting on antibiotics. I should be feeling better in a couple of days. I am so stubborn but someday I’ll learn to go to the doctor sooner.

And now on to recap #2 of my double half marathon weekend. Sunday I ran the Staten Island Half Marathon for the 9th year running. (2007-2015). You can read last year’s recap here.

I love this race for so many reasons. It’s almost always a beautiful day weather-wise.
It’s so convenient for me to get to.
It’s my hometown and I am extremely familiar with the route.
It’s always got a large group of runners who are preparing for the NYC Marathon so there’s lots of runners running before and after the race creating this energy and excitement that the big marathon is coming.

This year there were a few changes. Because of a large construction project along the waterfront, the staging area and the parking situation have changed. There is no more parking at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal which is where I’ve been parking for the last 8 years. And the staging area has moved mostly to inside the ballpark of the Staten Island Yankees. I’m not a fan of change but this had to be and actually aside from parking becoming more challenging I think the ballpark staging area is kinda fun.

Mr SOTSS was actually supposed to run with me this year but after losing 6 weeks of running to plantar fascia issues he decided it was smarter not to attempt to run. He’s only up to 4 miles in his training. I asked if he would still come with me in the morning and drive so we could be armed to look for street parking. It worked out! We arrived near the stadium at about 7:15 and spent a good 15 minutes driving up and down all these windy one-way streets to find a spot. Then walked to the stadium to grab bibs/shirts and meet up with my running peeps.

He might not have been able to run the race but I’m sure he’ll get use out of his shirt.

12122912_10153115777157409_8752153912200066482_nI’m always a bit anxious on race mornings so it was nice to have my uber calm boyfriend there to ensure I was there with time to spare. Thanks boyfriend! XO

The start line and corrals were moved this year as well but I actually liked it better.

The gang....all of who ran the day before too

The gang in the corrals….all of who ran the day before too

In addition to all the changes at the start, there were a lot of changes along the course this year too, some good and some not so good which I’ll tell you about in a minute.

Once we walked to the corrals I kissed Mr SOTSS goodbye and apparently he then went on to a local dog park to let his dog Chester have some play time. I guess if you’re gonna miss out on running the next best thing is watch your dog play and be happy.

Text from Mr. SOTSS

Text from Mr. SOTSS. Actually it looks more like Chester made friends over drinks. LOL!


Up until this year, during much of the course, there were lots of out and back portions of the route which I always enjoyed. I used to see the leaders of the pack as I was approaching mile 4 and they were probably close to mile 10 by then. but this year’s course changes removed those out and backs. I was kinda bummed about that. Not to mention since most of my friends are faster than me it would always be a good distraction to look for them as they passed in the opposite direction.


They moved the halfway point a bit so that now you run about 2 miles on the boardwalk. This makes the route more scenic for sure. It’s my stomping ground. It’s where I do so many of my long runs. (Including my 18 mile muscle-cramp run). I bumped into my friend Cindy on the boardwalk (around mile 7) and we stayed together for the remainder of the race.

And so i am back running exactly where I was during my crappy 18 miler

And so i am back running exactly where I was during my crappy 18 miler

The downside to the boardwalk is that it’s not so easy to run on. I usually do my training runs on the bike path that runs parallel to the boardwalk to avoid the wood slats.

There used to be a big hill at mile 9ish. Well, that hill is out but they replaced it with a BIGGER HILL! I knew it was coming since I’ve been along this part of Staten Island many times before. I biked here last year when I was injured.It’s really scenic and takes you directly underneath the Verrazano Bridge and then you can see a view of the NYC skyline but boy is it a killer hill.

Easy to take a pic when you're walking up a hill

Easy to take a pic when you’re walking up a hill

This pic is from the time I tried riding my bike up the hill. But gives you a good idea as to how steep and long it was.


Dirty Old Sneakers has a great video on his recap that shows the hill a bit better. Mind you he’s fast and reached the hill while most runners were still running up the hill. By the time I got there almost EVERYONE was walking =)

And the views!





Cindy and I had both run the Rock n Roll Brooklyn Half the day before. We walked up the big hill and then mostly ran the remainder of the race with a little more walking at the last incline at mile 12. It was really great to have the company. I hardly ever get to share race miles with a friend.

Me and Cindy crossing the finish together!

Me and Cindy crossing the finish together! The guy behind us did Brooklyn the day before too!

We finished in 2:34 just 2 minutes faster than my first ever half marathon back in 2007. Because I’m a numbers person I added up and averaged all my times from the SI half and guess what? I average 2:30. So there ya go.

FullSizeRender 6

i need to get more creative with my watch shots.


You cross the finish line at home plate of the ballpark. It’s definitely a highlight of the course.

There was plenty of fluid stations this year and Gu was being given out at the halfway point. All in all a great race.

I’m probably going to lay low this weekend and try and get healthy again.

What are you doing this weekend?
Ever been to Staten Island?

This past Saturday I ran the inaugural Rock n Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon.

Shirt and race number: CHECK!

Shirt and race number: CHECK!

I had run their 10k in Brooklyn in 2012 and 2013.

2013 and a shiny new PR

2013 and a shiny new PR



Last year they canceled the 10k and let us know they were planning to make it a half for this year, so as soon as registration opened I signed up!

I enjoyed both 10ks and had fast (for me) finish times. My current 10k PR is from the 2013 one. I definitely recall logistical issues each year and also recall saying I was not really too fond of Rock n Roll much anymore but that all went out the window when the half was announced. =)

Here’s a little recap of the day:

I got up super early and got ready pretty quickly despite the fact I was under the weather. I’m still sick as of today. I haven’t been to a doctor but I’m guessing it’s a sinus infection and I might need to get to a doc soon. I was in Brooklyn by 6:00am and 15 minutes later I joined the rest of my running peeps for the 15 minute walk from where I parked to where the start was. Easy peasy.

But then things got ugly. We spent 10 minutes trying to figure out how to get to the corrals. It was now 6:40 and instead of filing into the corrals we were herded in the opposite direction to get on this ridiculously long line that would eventually get us through the security check/metal detectors. Unfortunately since the Boston bombings this has become a norm at many large races and I get that. But what I don’t get is that they had 8 metal detectors for 17,000+ runners. I’m no mathematician but that just seems like a poor ratio.

lots of feet waiting to get thru security

These are our feet waiting to get thru security

Needless to say there was a lot of commotion, crowding and waiting. The 7am start time came and went and we had no idea if the race was starting on time. There wasn’t a single race representative to give us any information.

Eventually we got to the corrals and had to climb through the fence to get to our designated corrals. We then waited and waited until finally 45 minutes after the original start the race had begun. The start was a wave start and we were about the 8th group to go.

Running peeps

Running peeps…mostly the usual suspects but Lisa’s sister Valerie flew in from Texas to join us.

Things did get better. The weather was perfect for starters—a crisp cool autumn morning. And the course was fairly fast (well except for miles 10 and 11 which I’ll get to in a bit).

My plan for this race was to enjoy my updated playlist and new earbuds—and find a nice easy pace and treat this like a long training run. I started out a little too fast. It was hard not to. My first few splits were in the low 10s. But eventually I got closer to 11s. I noticed my hamstring getting tight around mile 5 but it didn’t really become an issue until the later miles. My breathing was perfect. I was so shocked that I never felt winded….especially being sick and all. I had taken a decongestant and some advil before the race. I am not a fan of being medicated during long runs but luckily this all worked out. I’m realizing that while my training is nowhere near as much as I’ve had for other marathons, it’s finally starting to pay off and my lungs are definitely endurance runner lungs again. YAY!

just keep swimming

just keep swimming

Another hiccup….the water stops. I guess I’m spoiled with New York Road Runner events. Gatorade is given in Gatorade cups and water in plain white cups. And Gatorade always comes first followed by water second. You always know where to “fall in” to grab your fluid of choice. This wasn’t the case on Saturday. All fluids were in the same cup and each aid stop was set up differently. You had to make sure to hear what the volunteers were saying. Luckily they were all wonderful. I drank much more Gatorade than I normally do. I was trying to prevent my 18-mile muscle cramp situation again.

Overall the course was crowded but it wasn’t impossible. I never had it prevent me from keeping to my pace. I don’t know if the faster runners had the same experience or not though.

By mile 9 my hamstring was REALLY tight but still manageble. Then came the hills… one at mile 10 and another at mile 11. I slowed/walked a little lot here and also started to become a bit more tentative with my stride so as not to aggravate the hammy any more.

I picked up the pace a little for the last mile and finished in 2:25 with an average pace just over 11 minutes per mile. Perfect! Actually about 20 seconds per mile faster than I had anticipated.


Brooklyn’s course has plenty of spectators and fun signs and there are times where you felt the same energy as the NYC Marathon. That was a huge plus!

I met up with my peeps afterward and we walked the 15 minutes back to where my car was parked. We all parted ways and then it was home to prepare for Sunday’s race. I think the walking post race and the heated seats in my car helped keep my hammy happy. By the time I was home, showered, stretched/foam rolled I was feeling great.


bottle opener race medals seem to be all the rage.


the heat sheet brigade

the heat sheet brigade

So pros of this race:

•Fast course with two out and back stretches and some scenic miles in Prospect Park
•Great time of year for optimal weather.
•Lots of spectators
•Easy to get to by public transport
•Plenty of fluids and fuel at the finish

•Not enough security equipment for 17k runners
•Poor communication with runners to let them know race was starting late
•Inconsistent water/Gatorade placement at fluid stations.

The logistical hiccups are really all easily fixable will hopefully be addressed for next year.

Have you ever run a large race with logistical issues? Ever run a race where they ran out of water?