Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Part One - Chicago Style

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

Today the show I have been working at here in Chicago is only a 1/2 day show...yippee!!!! So later this afternoon we'll be homeward bound.  It's been a great trip - I picked up some new clients and was able to build some relationships that I think have real potential for a new venture.  The working days are long here, so it's always nice to feel like you accomplished what you came here for. "Non"-work related - it's also been a great trip. Mike and I love coming to Chicago, it's such a great city with so much to do; so it's been extra great that he was able to come with me on this trip. We couldn't have asked for better weather - it's been beautifully warm (with the exception of last night). I'm just about to finish packing up and then heading to the Bridal Market to finish up the show this morning - so I thought today I would share some of my trip in pics with ya'll.


Unlike when I do bridal shows at home for actual brides, where the booth and setup take 4+ hours, at this one it's a 1/2 hour and we're done! Which then means we've got a little time to tour around the city...which always includes some shopping. While we were looking for some shoes for Mike at the Nordstrom Rack, I was cruising the racks and came across the men's size 17+ rack


They were crazy big...I was actually able to fit both my feet in this one shoe.
On the way back to the hotel before dinner - we stopped into one if our favourite places to grab drinks - Cantina Laredo. Mike loves their margaritas there...as they make them with Patron...cheers


Mike and I actually ventured back there after dinner on both Friday and Saturday night for drinks before calling it a night - it was nice to get some one on one time together!

We love to try new-to-us restaurants when we come, and so we had decided that on Friday night we would try Ditka's. I had pre-picked all my meals before we even arrived in Chicago...and it certainly did not disappoint


This meal was phenomenal!!!! It was a base of jalapeƱo cornbread, topped with 2 layers/pieces of meatloaf, topped then with smashed potatoes, topped with crispy onion curls - all drizzled in their own BBQ sauce. This is definitely going to be a place that will make it into our regular rotation of must-eat-at joints when we visit Chicago again!

Saturday night was another new restaurant...I loved my meal, but the rest of the gang wasn't crazy about theirs


I had the lobster tail risotto....so yummy!!!! Whenever there is risotto on the menu, I always HAVE to order it...so I lucked out that this one was topped with lobster!

When we got back to the hotel, there was a surprise awaiting me


Mike made an agreement with me quite some time ago, as a weight-loss incentive for me - that when I reached my goal # he would buy me a Louis Vuitton bag...although I'm not there yet, he was proud of me for all the hard work I've been doing, and the goals I've been accomplishing so far - so he bought me a little treat to keep me motivated and working hard for my end goal. Let's all just go ahead and agree that I have the BEST husband ever!!!

I didn't realize that I had so much to share...so I think I'll wrap it up for today...and share some more with you on Thursday in a Part Deux of my trip experience!

Do you like trying new restaurants? Or do you just prefer your old stand by faithfuls?

What size shoe do you wear?
6.5 for me...and Mike is always telling me that I have such little feet.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Scenes From Some Chicago Runs

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

Hey folks, we are still down in Chicago and it has been just a great time so far!  The weather has been perfect…sunny skies and temperatures hovering around 80 during the day.  Michelle has been busy working her show (and I'm actually working today as well, the benefits of VPN), but I was able to get out and enjoy the city on the weekend.

I got in some shopping and found some good deals, but most importantly I was able to get in awesome runs both Saturday and Sunday.  I love the Lakefront Trail, so I ran it both days…11 miles on Saturday and another 13+ miles on Sunday…and bot were there some sights to see.

[#Beginning of Shooting Data Section]<br />Nikon D100 <br />Focal Length: 12mm<br />Optimize Image: <br />Color Mode: Mode II (Adobe RGB)<br />Noise Reduction: OFF<br />2005/06/21 16:01:24<br />Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority<br />White Balance: Auto<br />Tone Comp: Auto<br />RAW (12-bit) <br />Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern<br />AF Mode: AF-S<br />Hue Adjustment: 0°<br />Image Size:  Large (3008 x 2000)<br />1/750 sec - F/9.5<br />Flash Sync Mode: Not Attached<br />Saturation: <br />Exposure Comp.: 0 EV<br />Sharpening: Auto<br />Lens: 12-24mm F/4 G<br />Sensitivity: ISO 400<br />Image Comment:                                     <br />[#End of Shooting Data Section]<br />

Both days I left the hotel and took off north to the Lincoln Park Zoo.  The Zoo is right on the Lake and literally in the middle of the city…and it's free!  We've taken the kids here before and it is a great spot.  I jumped onto the Lakefront Trail up there and made my way back towards downtown and all the tall buildings…my view looked a little something like this


There were tonnes of people out and the path was packed…runners, cyclists, walkers, unicyclists, dog-walkers, eliptigoers…you name it they were out there.  n Sunday I even saw a bunch of guys in the lake getting in some open-water swimming (in their wetsuits of course).

As I continued on my way south I hit Navy Pier and saw these all over the place…


Lots of construction going on around there, and it is a confusing enough area to run in as it is.  Turns out there is a big project underway that will be a massive improvement to the trail, and they are calling it the Navy Pier Flyover.  Sounds like you'll just be able to keep running/cycling/whatevering right on by the Pier and bypass the craziness below if that's what you want to do…sounds great and looks cool too…here's what it should look like once it's done


Once I was through the construction chaos it was down through Grant Park and past Buckingham Fountain, then making the turn around Shedd Aquarium and on down to Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears.


On Saturday there was a race going on and the finish was set up by the stadium.  It looked like it would have been a lot of fun and the race shirts were some of the best I have ever seen…it was the Ditka Dash!


The scene was even busier on my Sunday run as the Bears were hosting the Packers.  There was all kinds of tailgating going on, so the smells of BBQ filled the air.  The stadium is right beside the lake and there is a harbour right there as well…the tailgaters were out on their boats and lining neighbouring slips, parks and parking lots…it looked like everyone was having a great time (until the Bears got thumped later that afternoon at least).


After Soldier Field I turned around (well, I went a bit further on Sunday down to McCormick Place) and made my way back to the hotel…two days, two great runs.  I love running in this city!  I think that the next time I come down I will need to find out if there are any local races going on…there is no way I'm missing out on a Ditka Dash shirt!!

Do you enjoy running while you're out of town?

Ever signed up for a race because you were going to be there on holidays?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Fav's

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

Well friends we were off bright and early this morning (and are probably still enroute) to Chicago. And it's.....Friday....so we all know what that means....right?!?

1. I have been searching EVERYWHERE for a dt.coke with my name of it...and I have had zero luck so far...and then low and bef old yesterday a co-worker was out on her lunch break - and look what she brought back for me

2. Luv, luv, luv my new jammies I picked up at Target last week

3. I've been working really hard, and it's nice to see all that hard work, paying off on the scale (looking forward to a "little" break this weekend...but then back at it next Wednesday)

4. On Tuesday night, Mike and I were able to get out for a little date night at Starbucks. It's been waaaay to long since we've been able to do this - so it was certainly a nice treat!


5. I think this one speaks for itself #truestory

Have a great weekend...and enjoy this summer weather we're having right now!

What's a fav of yours this week?

Anyone else heading out of town this weekend?



Thursday, September 25, 2014

Running the Windy City

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

It may now be Fall, but we are getting some beautiful weather this week!  It has been cool in the mornings, but the sun has come out every day to get us up into the low 20's (mid-70's) and it is supposed to continue right through the weekend.  Of course I have been out taking advantage of the great weather and getting my runs in…every day so far this week and I'll be out again at lunch.

I mentioned the other week that my pace has been quicker than ever this month and it hasn't slowed at all…in fact, I think I'm getting quicker as the month goes on.  Today's run will put me over 200K for the month and my average pace is 4:15/km (6:48/mile).    I really don't know where this prolonged speed period has come from as I 'm honestly not going out and trying to run super hard or anything…maybe it has something to do with the triathlon training I've been doing all summer and it saved some wear and tear on my legs, who knows?  If I figure it out I'll let you know!


I would love to be running the Chicago Marathon again in a few weeks, but that certainly isn't happening…so I'll do the next best thing and just get some running in in Chicago this weekend.  Michelle has a show there this weekend and I'll be tagging along, meaning there will be some Lakefront Trail in my future!

IMG_8931 2-BikeWalkLincolnPark
Lake Front Trail Sign

I'll need to get some solid runs in as Chicago is full of amazing food and I don't usually go easy on it while I'm there.  I'm sure to have some Giordano's…


It almost hurts just looking at it Smile

I haven't been back to Chicago since I ran the marathon last year and I can't wait to visit one of my favourite cities in the world again this weekend.


Hope you have a great weekend folks!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Workout Wednesday

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

I came across something over the weekend that is just so #truestory these days...so I just had to share it with ya'll


Lol...well...happy hump day friends...not only does today mark the middle of the week, it also just so happens to be my day off work this week!!! BUT I didn't use that as an excuse to slack...I was still up (not quite so bright) and early and out the door to get my workouts in before taking the kids to school.


So let's just jump right in...here's my workouts for the last week:
Wednesday - 6am spin class, 8:30pm Aqua-fit class
Thursday - rest day
Friday - 6am spin class, 7am aqua-fit class (yes it's a hustle to make it to aqua-fit...since the classes are at 2 different gyms)
Saturday - rest day


Sunday - 4:30pm Aqua-fit class
Monday - 6am spin class, 8:30pm Aqua-fit class
Tuesday - rest day
Wednesday - 6am spin class, 7am aqua-fit class

...I know it seems weird that I double up on classes quite a bit, and have "more" rest days...but honestly I can only do what I can fit in my schedule every day, so, so far it's working for me!...9 workouts in 7 days...I'll take it!!!

Last week Mike started talking to me about after all the swim work he did over the course of last winter - how much he saw improvement in his Tri's that he did this year, and how he might like to start going to a spin class here and there with me to start working on that discipline...I haven't quite convinced him to get up with me at 5:28am...but he says that after we get back from Chicago next week - he'll come out one morning with me! (I just hope he's not this guy in class)



Have a great hump day...I'm off to grab some breakfast!

What's your fav. bfast?

Anyone else going to watch Survivor tonight?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

CheapRunnerMike's MEC Race Four 15K Recap

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

Another weekend another race, right?  This is my third straight weekend racing and I had the MEC Race Series on tap.


I woke up on Sunday morning and it was POURING.  Serious downfall…great.  I had just come off a crappy weather race at last weekend's Lakeside Triathlon and it was shaping up to be more of the same.  I got myself ready to go though and set off across town to Fanshawe Conservation Area.

The rain ended up clearing on the drive over and the sun even made an attempt to peek out from the clouds…maybe it wouldn't be such a bad day after all.  I parked my truck and headed over to the start area to get ready to run.

I always rave about the MEC Race Series…$15 gets you a timed event as well as a bit of swag and goodies at the end (including my favourite, Fireroasted Coffee).  You really can't beat it.  They are also getting better organized with each race they put on.  Today there was a bit of a wrinkle though, as the rain delayed them a bit in getting the races started.  There was a 5/10/15K road race as well as a 6/12K trail race, and the rain made it difficult to get out to have the trail properly marked, so the start was pushed back about 20 minutes to allow for that.  The trail runners went off first followed by the road racers about 10 minutes afterwards.

I was running the 15K race and it would be three loops of the 5K course.  I've taken on the MEC 15K twice already and I was shooting for a new PR on the day…my previous best was 1:01:59 from almost a year and a half ago.  My running has been better than ever right now, so I knew I had a shot.

We set off and I quickly realized that the course had been changed slightly since the last time I ran it…we ended up doing a longer stretch on one of the roads just outside the park as there was construction on the dam we normally run across.  Adding an extra kilometre out on the road allowed us to avoid the construction hazard on the dam…good call by the organizers.  The new stretch of road took us past a Buddhist Temple and there was a big crowd gathered there for Sunday services.  Lots of music and stuff…kind of neat to see.  I didn't even know we had a Buddhist Temple in London, this place is really out of the way.

I was cruising along really well the first few kilometres and there were only a few people ahead of me; one 15K runner, two 10K's and one 5K.  The gap was growing between me and the 15K runner out front, which was to be expected.  I see this guy at many races and he is seriously fast…he usually wins these 15K MEC races with times under 55 minutes!  As we came around to finish the first 5K loop I checked the clock and I was at 20:07


I was keeping the pace fairly consistent through the first 5K and the plan was to just maintain the pace as best I could.  I was running just slightly slower than my 10K pace so I was hoping I would be able to hang on through 15.  As I came through the start/finish I knew there was a guy right on my heels.  He was too close behind to see which bib he was wearing, so I didn't know if he was running the same distance as me.  By the time we made the turn out onto the road for the second loop, the wind had really picked up.  It was a stiff headwind on the 750m stretch and I commented on it to the guy behind me.  He laughed and said he was fine drafting me.  I asked what distance he was running and he replied "15", so I said "Cool, me too"…then I asked him if he wanted to take a turn running up front and doing the hard work Smile  I don't know if that comment messed with his head or something (I didn't mean anything by it), but I almost immediately dropped him.  By the time we hit the turnaround 750m up the road I had already opened up a 400m gap on him.  Once we hit the dam turnaround about 2K later, the gap was nearly a half mile.  So long as I didn't blow up, second place was mine.  40:39 through 10K.


I caught a glimpse of the leader as I came through the start/finish to begin my last loop…he was waaaay out in front.  That meant I just had my own goal to race for…I wanted to beat 1:01:59.  I was on a good pace to beat it, I just had to keep it up.  My first 5K was at a 4'01"/km pace (6'26"/mile), but I had dropped a bit for the second 5K to 4'06"/km (6'34"/mile)…I had to maintain my pace and not let it drop any more.

There wasn't really anyone else around me for the last loop, I was running solo.  All I had to challenge me was my watch.  It was motivation enough though as I dug deep and gave a strong finishing kick.  I covered the last 5K in 20:09, finishing the race with a time of 1:00:48


I finished in second place and had beat my previous best by over a minute…it was a good day!

photo 1

I hung out at the finish for a bit cheering runners on and chatting with a few people I knew…I also snacked on some bananas and had a Fireroasted coffee.  I stuck around for the awards ceremony to collect my medal and then said my goodbyes before heading home.  The weather cooperated and we ended up with a great day to race…plus I placed and PR'd…what more could I ask for??

Thanks for another great race MEC!  I'm sure I'll be there in November for your last race of the year (and I may even try the trail!)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Time for new TV!!!

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

And here we are into the 4th week of September already...wowzers...where does the time go?!? They say that it takes 21 days of doing something to actually make it a habit...well...I have officially passed that mark with all of my food tracking and workouts...so that makes me super stoked that I have made the commitment I made into a habit for my life!!!....with that being said....I certainly don't "love" the times of my current alarms


...what I do love though, is knowing that I have started my day off right, and it keeps me motivated throughout the day to make healthy food choices for myself. I worked super hard last week and reached my 1st mini weight loss goal that I set for myself a bit early, so I got to enjoy a few treats over the weekend...including my fav


Mike's homemade pizza...and trust me...it was worth each and every calorie!!! But it was back at it...and I was off to a 6am spin class this morning, to start my week right!

Not only is today (later tonight) the first official day of Fall - it's kind of un-officially kicks off the new seasons of shows on TV. So I thought today I would share a few that I am really looking forward to....


Ok...ok...yes...I know that this show actually started 2 weeks ago now. This was a show that I never started watching season 1...it was probably only about 4 seasons ago that I really started getting into it. I enjoy how they mix it up each season, with trainers, teams etc. This season is sure to not disappoint...as all former athletes...I am sure we are in for some serious competition as the season progresses.


Not sure if this is a show I'll be able to get into or not...I'm not really into super hero's or anything...but with all the hype that's been leading up to the series premiere and the cast...(hello day's of the OC and Ryan Atwood)...I am certainly willing to give the series a try


Love. Love. Love. this show. I can't wait to see what we are in store for this season!


Now this show is one that I have been a faithful viewer right from the very start. It's such an interesting social experience...not sure that it would be my 1st choice to actually participate in...but I certainly love watching it!


Although this show returns to tv tonight (and we will be PVR'ing it)...it'll be a while before we start watching it. This is actually a fairly "new-to-us" show...one of Mike's friends at work had been talking to him about it, so we decided last weekend to start watching season 1 on Netflix...and right from the 1st episode, we were hooked...only a few more episodes and we'll be 1/2 way through the first season...so by the time we finish, we should have quite a few episodes from season 2 ready to watch....why...why...why did he pick her?!? DON'T tell me....

There are a lot more "staple" shows in our fall line-up that we will certainly be watching...ol faithfuls like Criminal Minds, Blue Bloods, CSI etc.

...any other shows we should be PVR'ing?!?

We'll need another new series to start watching soon on Netflix...any recommendations?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Yes I Am A Pirate, 200 Years Too Late

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day me harty's  Yes, it is September 19th, meaning it is once again that day of the year where we all get to talk like pirates.


The kids get into the spirit, dressing up for school…

photo 1

We are a pirate lovin' family…Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney is one of our favoutites, and Kennedy is crazy about all of the Pirates movies as well.  We're also big Jimmy Buffett fans and my favourite Jimmy song is A Pirate Looks At Forty.


Last year we even witnessed an amazing coming together of all our pirate obsessions…a pirate band at the Magic Kingdom singing a Jimmy Buffett Christmas song outside of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride…you can't top that!

Enjoy your weekend mateys!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Are We Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids?

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

I have a lot of early morning appointments today - so this is just a quick check-in from me. I read an article earlier this week...and it really resonated with me...not because I feel like it's how we treat our children, but that Mike and I see parents acting like this ALL the time, and in business, I deal with this type of attitude from "young" new staff I hire/interview. So I really just felt that it was too good not to share...I hope you enjoy.

Article by Mickey Goodman, and the original post can be found here

When a college freshman received a C- on her first test, she literally had a meltdown in class. Sobbing, she texted her mother who called back, demanding to talk to the professor immediately (he, of course, declined). Another mother accompanied her child on a job interview, then wondered why he didn't get the job.

A major employer reported that during a job interview, a potential employee told him that she would have his job within 18 months. It didn't even cross her mind that he had worked 20 years to achieve his goal.

Sound crazy?

Sadly, the stories are all true, says Tim Elmore, founder and president of a non-profit, Growing Leaders, and author of the "Habitudes®" series of books, teacher guides, DVD kits and survey courses. "Gen Y (and iY) kids born between 1984 and 2002 have grown up in an age of instant gratification. iPhones, iPads, instant messaging and immediate access to data is at their fingertips," he says. "Their grades in school are often negotiated by parents rather than earned and they are praised for accomplishing little. They have hundreds of Facebook and Twitter 'friends,' but often few real connections."

To turn the tide, Growing Leaders is working with 5,000 public schools, universities, civic organizations, sports teams and corporations across the country and internationally to help turn young people -- particularly those 16 to 24 -- into leaders. "We want to give them the tools they lack before they've gone through three marriages and several failed business ventures," he says.

But why have parents shifted from teaching self-reliance to becoming hovering helicopter parents who want to protect their children at all costs?

"I think it began in the fall of 1982, when seven people died after taking extra-strength Tylenol laced with poison after it left the factory," he says. Halloween was just around the corner, and parents began checking every item in the loot bags. Homemade brownies and cookies (usually the most coveted items) hit the garbage; unwrapped candy followed close behind.

That led to an obsession with their children's safety in every aspect of their lives. Instead of letting them go outside to play, parents filled their kid's spare time with organized activities, did their homework for them, resolved their conflicts at school with both friends and teachers, and handed out trophies for just showing up.

"These well-intentioned messages of 'you're special' have come back to haunt us," Elmore says. "We are consumed with protecting them instead of preparing them for the future. We haven't let them fall, fail and fear. The problem is that if they don't take risks early on like climbing the monkey bars and possibly falling off, they are fearful of every new endeavor at age 29."

Psychologists and psychiatrists are seeing more and more young people having a quarter-life crisis and more cases of clinical depression. The reason? Young people tell them it's because they haven't yet made their first million or found the perfect mate.

Teachers, coaches and executives complain that Gen Y kids have short attention spans and rely on external, instead of internal motivation. The goal of Growing Leaders is to reverse the trend and help young people become more creative and self-motivated so they can rely on themselves and don't need external motivation.

Family psychologist John Rosemond agrees. In a February 2 article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, he points out that new research finds that rewards often backfire, producing the opposite effect of that intended. When an aggressive child is rewarded for not being aggressive for a short period of time, he is likely to repeat the bad behavior to keep the rewards coming.

Where did we go wrong?

•    We've told our kids to dream big - and now any small act seems insignificant. In the great scheme of things, kids can't instantly change the world. They have to take small, first steps - which seem like no progress at all to them. Nothing short of instant fame is good enough. "It's time we tell them that doing great things starts with accomplishing small goals," he says.

•    We've told our kids that they are special - for no reason, even though they didn't display excellent character or skill, and now they demand special treatment. The problem is that kids assumed they didn't have to do anything special in order to be special.

•    We gave our kids every comfort - and now they can't delay gratification. And we heard the message loud and clear. We, too, pace in front of the microwave, become angry when things don't go our way at work, rage at traffic. "Now it's time to relay the importance of waiting for the things we want, deferring to the wishes of others and surrendering personal desires in the pursuit of something bigger than 'me,'" Elmore says.

•    We made our kid's happiness a central goal - and now it's difficult for them to generate happiness -- the by-product of living a meaningful life. "It's time we tell them that our goal is to enable them to discover their gifts, passions and purposes in life so they can help others. Happiness comes as a result."

The uncomfortable solutions:

"We need to let our kids fail at 12 - which is far better than at 42," he says. "We need to tell them the truth (with grace) that the notion of 'you can do anything you want' is not necessarily true."

Kids need to align their dreams with their gifts. Every girl with a lovely voice won't sing at the Met; every Little League baseball star won't play for the major leagues.

•    Allow them to get into trouble and accept the consequences. It's okay to make a "C-." Next time, they'll try harder to make an "A".

•    Balance autonomy with responsibility. If your son borrows the car, he also has to re-fill the tank.

•    Collaborate with the teacher, but don't do the work for your child. If he fails a test, let him take the consequences.

"We need to become velvet bricks," Elmore says, "soft on the outside and hard on the inside and allow children to fail while they are young in order to succeed when they are adults."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Running All The Races

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

We are just over halfway through September, pretty unbelievable.  The weather around here, as Michelle pointed out yesterday, has turned fall-like.  We have some pretty crisp mornings but it generally warms up nicely throughout the day so long as the sun is shining.  In other words, perfect running (and racing) weather!

I made a confession to Michelle a couple days ago…I told her that I really felt like going down to Disney in a few weeks so that I could run the Tower of Terror 10-Miler again.  She understood, as that race was a lot of fun.  She didn't understand when I told her I also really wanted to run the Chicago Marathon again, and it is less than a month away.  Now of course I'm not running either race, and I would be woefully undertrained to run a marathon any time soon, but the desire to run is indicative of how well my running has been going lately.

photo 1

I have ran 11 times this month (through 16 days) and amazingly, every run has been great.  My average pace for the month is 4'18"/km (6'53"/mile), which just blows me away…I'm usually in the high 4'30"s to mid-4'40"s, so this is way faster than I'm used to.  I even did a 10K training run on my lunch break Monday in 40:21…that's my second fastest 10K EVER, and I did it on a training run.  I really don't know what has gotten into my legs lately, but I like it!

photo 2

I don't want to miss out on the strong running right now, so I decided to sign up for another race this weekend…I'll be doing another MEC Race out at Fanshawe Park, because as I always say, you can't beat the MEC Race Series.  They are the guys that put on a great no-frills race for just $15.  I'll be running the 15K and will see if I can break my current 1:01:59 PR for that race.  It will be tough, but the way I'm running right now I think I have a shot!

Photo 2013-05-02 11-48 AM

Do you ever feel like running every race you can find?