Category Archives: Sunday Funday

Moonrise Kingdom


Happy Sunday y’all!  Today was my last double digit run in preparation for the Rock n Roll Chicago Half Marathon (just two weeks away!)  I was looking forward to this morning because a cold front has been on the radar for today all week (read: temps in the 90s instead of 100s).  The prep for this morning started with a girls’ night last night.

Matching mom and daughter

Momsie and I met our neighbors (another mom and daughter pair) for dinner and a movie.  Everyone was very accommodating to my demands for a place with pizza (it’s become my go-to long-run fuel).  Our experience at the Italian restaurant Bravo was a little rough (it was our only our waiter’s second night).  Luckily we had plenty to chat about, the other girls had just returned from a Greece vacation and had lots of stories to tell, and so weren’t too upset by the slow service.  For night’s before runs 10 miles or longer, I put my own twist on the pasta tradition, and like to have thin crust pizza.  I always start with a colorful salad though, and last night it was a delicious greek salad with grilled chicken.

Veggie Load

Everyone’s salads came out together (including Allie’s entree salad) and my entree pizza came out with the appetizer salads – so I had all my food at once.  But again, none of us too upset as we chatted away and sipped on wine and cocktails ( I had a cucumber gimlet – so refreshing!  And apparently I like gin now…..).  Allie and I both went ahead and dug into our entrees while the mamas finished their salads.  We didn’t see our waiter again for quite a while.

Flatbread pizza fuel

The pizza was perfect.  Thin crispy crust, melty mozzarella cheese and fresh tomatoes.  YUM!  Our waiter returned with our bill and said “No rush, you can pay me whenever you want.”  And now we were all alarmed.  “Excuse me!” from the mamas in unison, “We don’t have our pasta dishes yet.”  “You’re kidding me,” he said.  Well not exactly.  So Allie and I continued eating while our mamas waited for their main dishes.  Eventually they came out, along with the Italian speaking manager who was sincerely apologetic and kind to us, explaining that it was our waiter’s second night on the main floor.  Don’t worry, we didn’t cause a scene and gladly accepted the discount we received on the bill.  It’s a good thing we’re so healthy and didn’t want refills on our drinks, or any of the decadent desserts…..because they were never offered to us.  (Instead I nabbed a handful of their delicious chocolatey mints to enjoy during the movie.)  Our poor waiter better get his act together, he’s not gonna make it very long in that business.

After dinner we headed off to see Moonrise Kingdom.

Moonrise Kingdom


I don’t think this movie is showing in all the big theaters because we had to go see it at our little artsy theater in the mall.  We had all heard good things about it from friends and I was looking forward to it, but not sure what to expect.  It’s an artsy film, set in the 60s, with a few A-listers (Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Frances McDormand). But it’s the no-list kids that really steal the show.

Show stealers


If you can get over the artsiness of the film (some women sitting behind us could not), it’s definitely a feel-good, laugh-out-loud, restore-your-faith-in-(alternative)-love-stories kind of movie.

The Long Run

This morning’s long run wasn’t quite as perfect as Friday’s run but it was productive none the less.  But the cold front was nowhere in sight.  I was on the trail before 7:30 (trying to train as close to 6:30 Chicago time as possible) but the temps were already mid-70s.  I ran almost 7 miles before stopping for my first water break (wish there were more fountains on the trail) and 8 miles before more water and a Gu pack at my car.  The last 5 were tough because I mostly ran up .5 miles and back .5 miles in various directions from the car so I could stay close to water.  I didn’t have any pain but sweat was dripping from everywhere – brows, elbows, watch, fingertips, shorts, chin, nose.  It took me 2:02, which is 2 minutes slower than I would like but I’m pretty sure it’s because my shoes were waterlogged.  I’m feeling good about Chicago though – if I can survive 13.1 on a dirt path surrounded by trees (sometimes the same trees 6 times…..) then surely I can survive 13.1 through an exciting and bustling city!

Refueling at Starbucks!

I met Momsie at Starbucks (we’ve had quite a weekend together) to refuel.  She had just completed her morning walk and wanted her Sunday Starbucks treat too.  In keeping with the refueling within 30-60 minutes of finishing a tough workout, I ordered accordingly.  Today’s run qualified as tough because of the distance and the heat!  I sipped on a Grande Iced 2% Sugar-Free Mocha.  Carbs – milk and syrup Protein – milk  Fats – milk.   When we got home a little bit later, I added to my drink a breakfast of: a bowl of Kashi Cinnamon Harvest cereal (more carbs since the milk didn’t provide a lot)  with unsweetened almond milk (more fats)  and blueberries.

What a start to a Sunday!  I’m about to head off to LA Fitness to hop in their steam room and stretch out these muscles while mom plays on the weight machines.  Have a great day!

Have you ever had a questionable dining experience?  Have you seen Moonrise Kingdom?


Happy Father’s Day!


Of course I ran today.  Because of the summer run streak.  Because it’s a Sunday and long runs happen on Sundays.  Because I had pizza last night.  Because the Chicago RNR Half Marathon is 5 weeks away.

Long run fuel – pizza and beer.

But most importantly because it’s Dad’s day and running is something we have done together (and apart) for more than 13 years now  (whoa, that’s a long time!)  Our running relationship has evolved over time and I’d say currently rests in a spirit of healthy and supportive competition (who has run the most half marathons?  Dad.  who has the fastest 5k time?  Me.  who has run the most days in a row? Me.  who has the fastest half marathon time?  Dad.  who has the most miles for the year?  Too close to tell.)  We’re constantly sharing stories of mishaps, personal bests and worsts (both of us recently in the 5k and half), accidents and new training plans.  We don’t always have the same training approach but we do love being out there.

After enjoying a Saturday night of family pizza at Greek’s Pizzeria in downtown Zionsville followed by a screening of The Avengers, we woke up with plans to run 8 miles on the Monon Trail.


The Monon is kind of like Indy’s version of the Memphis Greenline (or maybe the Greenline is Memphis’ version of the Monon).  I hope someday that the Greenline is as fantastic as the trail here.  It’s 16.7 miles long and connects downtown Indianapolis to several smaller towns north of the city (Broadripple, Carmel and Westfield).  There are bathrooms, parking lots, water fountains and shops throughout the length of the trail (something I hope happens eventually in Memphis).

Part of the Monon

The actual trail continues 6.7 miles further  north than shown in the map above.  We started at 96th Street and ran south into Broadripple for 4 miles.

Run 110/165

Location: Monon Trail – 96th street to 56th street

Distance: 8 miles


Weather Notes: Low 70s, moderate humidity (I wasn’t too uncomfortable – Dad was soaked by the end)

Other Notes:  I’m still working on my fast-out-of-the-gates problem so Dad helped to “slow my roll” at the beginning.  We started around 9:30 and slowly moved up in pace to 8:30 over the 8 miles.  I’m glad he did, we were able to push the last mile a little bit and I would rather feel like I have a push at the end than like I’m crawling to the finish line.  We swapped stories on what music we were listening to (Dad: Jimmy Buffet first, followed by the Eagles. Jess: Mix of chart-toppers and country – duh, good “bouncey” music and long haul music) and what we think about when we run (Dad: the music, calculating pace and miles, work, the kiddos, photography.  Me: my lactate threshold, VO2 max, why the same intensity feels harder by the end of the run, respiratory rate if you can’t tell, my summer classes are messing with my ability to zone-out on runs my music, Austin, Memphis and second-guessing big decisions).

Day 21

We enjoyed Mochas from Starbucks on the back deck after the run.  I feel great after that 8-miler.  I can’t remember the last time I ran that far without a break in between and it felt pretty good!

Father’s Day Froyo

We are all about treats on special holidays and so of course a trip for frozen yogurt happened this afternoon.  I’ve been working on school work and my Chicago race plan for most of the afternoon while dad and Nathan went golfing.  Mom even got in on the exercise and went for a walk and weights at LA Fitness!  We were all feeling like we deserved some cold froyo.

Dad and kids

We went to Yo Joy on Michigan Road (not the same as my beloved YoLo, but close!) and it was a first for all of us except Nathan.  Summer has me on some sort of a fruity kick so I chose the Lemon Ice Pie and Strawberry flavors of yogurt.  I’m also going through a phase where I think it’s vitally important to have toppings that match.  So today I put strawberries on my strawberry yogurt and coconut, graham crackers and Oreos on my lemon flavor (sort of like a graham cracker/Oreo crust for a pie).  Heavenly.  Yo Joy was also giving away Father’s Day treats – beef jerkey for dad and roses for the girls, sorry Nathan, nothing for you!

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!

State #8: Mississippi, Viking Half Marathon


March 31 – Run 58/71

Location: Greenwood, MS

Weather Notes: Sunny, low 60s to start.  High 70s to finish.

Distance: 13.1

Time: 2:46:06

Pace: 12:40

Place: 529

Gender Place: 165

Age Place: 21

Greenwood, MS

The weekend started Friday after work when Princess and the girls (Lucy and Hazel) picked me up from the gym for the drive to Greenwood. The drive was pretty uneventful, we had country on the radio and the dogs in the backseat.  Elizabeth entertained with stories of growin’ up in the Delta – playing in bundles of freshly picked cotton, floating the river (takes 5 and a half hours) – Southern country life at its finest, all while Hazy and Lucy napped in the backseat.

They slept the entire way.....

We went straight to the Alluvian Hotel to pick up our packets (which ended up just being our race number, safety pins and shirt) and ran into Becca.  Pickup was relatively quick and easy except that Princess knows everyone in this town  – seriously, we couldn’t turn a corner or change rooms without her sayin’ “Hi, how are you” (don’t forget the southern accent on there) to someone new.

T-shirt print

Our trip continued on to her house where we were greeted by the Queen herself.  She went above and beyond the call of hospitality and had the pizza-making works set up for us.

Cheese station

Dough station - I had a lot of trouble here....

Pizza-making royalty

I had to have special assistance from the Queen with my dough – not the first impression I wanted to make.  I put ham, pineapple and green peppers on my pie.

Race Fuel

We loaded our plates onto bamboo trays and took them outside to a beautiful outdoor kitchen overlooking the river (that same one that takes 5.5 hours to float).

The Floatin' River

Outdoor kitchen

Queenie couldn’t stop talking about how excited Greenwood was to host us and that all the homeowners along the course had been receiving letters in the mail, asking them to please make sure their lawns were properly manicured for all the racers.  After dinner and playtime with the puppies, Princess and I set out to drive the course.  We made it about 4 miles before boredom kicked in, along with some intense dizziness.  The course was flat, as promised but I think we turned about every 5 steps.  And serious turns, right angle turns.  Guess you have to with a town that’s so small to get all 13.1 miles in.

Race Day

We met up with Becca on race morning and lined up at the start.  Princess, Abby and Anna were all goin’ in the 5k while Becca and I chose the half.  All the racers started out together.  The announcer made the call to the start line, asking the elite runners to come to the front.  “How do you know if you’re an elite runner?” he asked.   “If you have to ask yourself that question, or if no one’s ever told you that you are, you’re not.”  By that definition, we are not classified as elite and stepped to the back of the very small pack.

Ready to Run Greenwood

You’ll remember I decided I would help pace Becca to a PR.  We started off great, she said she felt pain-free and strong.  There weren’t many runners around us but we weren’t alone.

Start line (the night before)

We started slowin’ down and the sun started to get to us.  I could tell we might have some trouble when Becca said “Remind me why I do this again” – somewhere in between mile 2 and 3.  I laughed and gave her her reasons and we trudged on.  I could tell she was havin’ a hard time so I tried to stay encouraging, pulling out tricks I use for myself.  We started dedicating each mile to someone important she could think about to help pull her through.  And then, shortly after mile 3, the race became less about the PR and more about survival.  I’ve said it before in some of my posts, but it’s tough to learn first-hand as a young runner.  You’re going to have some bad races.  It doesn’t matter how much preparation you put in – it all comes down to that single day – the weather, your body, your mind, can all work against you.  So we walked and talked it out for a bit – I told her we had to run, walk or crawl to the finish but giving up was not an option.  We were on our first significantly straight stretch for a while, and passing beautiful homes – including one seen in The Help!

Recognize it?!

Grand Boulevard was named one of the ten most beautiful streets in the country and it certainly was!  We weaved through some more neighborhoods and soon were passing in front of the Queen’s house (a pristine yard, too!).  Princess and Abby were there and we ran over for high fives – they had finished their races and I asked for their times.  I was blown away by their twenty-something responses!  Both girls were shooting for just below 30:00 and beat that goal by minutes (must be TNT).  We continued on at a run/walk pace just chattin’ and talking about whatever.  By now it was plenty hot and we were focused only on finishing (and not further injuring her knee).  Well that all went along fine until somewhere in the last 4 miles.  We were approaching a house with a man playing a piano in his driveway (course support along the entire race was INCREDIBLE!).  I was distracted by the clear glasses of orange juice lined up along the top of the piano.  Really I was deep in thought wondering if they had champagne in them, and if they were for runners.  Becca was distracted by a giant cooler full of ice with water bottles.  We both went for the cooler and I managed to take her down football style – ducked in front of her to reach for the water, she didn’t see me and kept running, tripping over me and hitting the ground.  As if the day could have gotten any worse….we laughed and trudged onward.  It was tough but soon we were back in town, crossing the bridge to the finish.

So close!

We made it – running to the finish, all smiles.  We got our medals, I checked off another state and most importantly we didn’t give up.  I was so happy to have been able to help Becca get there, I had that favor provided to me in my second marathon – the tears came and I had no idea how I could run 9 more miles.  We walked, I cried, and dad just said, “We’ll get there”.  We made it and I’m glad I sucked it up and finished.  Sometimes you just need that push.  Your mind can be a big enemy and if you’ve got someone else there with you, it can be fought.  The most important thing is that she’s feeling good mentally again, we have a new plan for her running (heal the knee first!) and we turned a potential disaster into a beautiful morning run past some houses with families in front that seriously looked like they were pulled form a Lily Pulitzer magazine.  And after some food in our bellies, first aid for the wipeout, the pain and doubt is behind us and we’re ready to run again.  I’d say put that one in the W column.

Yep, that's my fault.

My post-race meal un-did every single worth it!

Overall a delightful stay in the delta, a very charming town with friendly and positive support and a tough mental race that every runner must experience at some point.

Happy Sunday 🙂