Friday, January 3, 2014


Time for a new adventure, a new place to write it all down.

[A Life Fortuitous.]

See you there!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


On the morning of July 4th, I woke up early... excited, and nervous.  In only a few hours, I would be running my second 5k, and the first timed race--the Lincolnshire 4th of July 5k.  It was a warm day, humid, but, luckily, not too hot.  After waking up, getting dressed, and eating breakfast, I hopped on my bike and rode the half mile down the road to Spring Lake Park, the location of both the packet pickup booths and the starting line.

I rode home quickly, drank some water, then went back to the park to stretch and get ready for the run.  There were nearly 600 people participating in the 5k and the crowd formed quickly as everyone gathered at the beginning of the course.  I soaked it all in and took in the positive energy of the moment, every runner getting ready in his or her own way.  There were a few pre-race announcements and after the playing of "The Star Spangled Banner" I put in my headphones and flipped to some of my favorite running music--Girl Talk's All Day.  It was the perfect choice to get pumped up and energized to.  I stepped from foot to foot, getting anxious for the starting buzzer.

And then, we were off!  I had a strong start and made my way, fueled with the adrenaline and thrill of the race, of accomplishing something I'd been hoping for--to complete a 5k, to give my best effort and see the result at the end.  I have to admit...  it was tough!  But tough in a gratifying way, of course, and definitely worth it.  Around the halfway point, I reached both the water station and, a little bit down the road, I ran by our house (and the husband, too!)

It was so awesome to run around the neighborhood, which is truly a beautiful locale.  And in July, the greens of the leaves and grass are so vibrant and bright, so it was especially lovely.  I used my surroundings and the music to get through the harder parts of the run, and I was very glad that I had brought my music, too.  Near the end, especially, things started to get quite difficult, but after reminding myself that I had already come so far, compared to what was left--which wasn't much!

Finally, finally, I made it to the park again and rounded the last corner of the course.  Up ahead was the finish line, as well as the official time clock, and I was so relieved to have the end in sight that I had a burst of energy.  When I could finally make out the time clock, I let out a laugh--I had timed myself running it previously anywhere from 38 to 42 minutes, but as I came up to the finish line, the clock turned over to 35 minutes and I crossed the finish line in a time of 35:10.  35:10!  A definite personal best for me.  Still quite slow, but if there's anything I've learned through this whole adventure, it is that it's not how fast you run, but the distance you're able to overcome.

I was quite proud of myself, both for accomplishing a goal I had set for myself and the fact that I'd done it in my best time.  My legs were beyond tired and I felt a little wobbly (both from slight dehydration and the adrenaline rush) but otherwise, things couldn't have been better.  I headed for home feeling triumphant, and more than ready for another race...  more than ready to tackle farther distances.

(all photos courtesy of my husband, the photographer.)

Monday, August 26, 2013


As I mentioned in my most recent post, I've been more than a little busy over the last few months.  And now we're here, getting close to the end of August, the beginning of the fall months--my favorite time of the year.  So now is the time to play catch up, to recall some of my very favorite summer moments... the races, the times with family, the days and nights out and about around Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.

Thomas and I did our best to spend as much time as we could in the great outdoors, even if it just meant hanging out in the backyard.  We're pretty familiar with the forest preserves and natural areas surrounding us, but this summer we checked out a place that was new to us--Illinois Beach State Park.  It's about a 45 minute drive north of our house, almost all the way to the state line.

The first time we went was on one of those rare weekend days I get off of work every once in a while, and we decided to make the most of it.  It was crowded and hot and we decided to just explore, walking up and down the beach.  I thought it was beautiful and unreal that something so lovely could be so close to home, and we resolved to come back sooner rather than later.

Luckily for me, we didn't have to wait too long.  I had a Tuesday off of work and we took advantage of it by packing up all of our beach gear and heading back up to Zion.  I suggested we pick up sandwiches along the way, and it wasn't too long before we were unpacking our stuff and setting up a spot up on the small ridge, right next to the shore.  It was a windy and wavy day, and we only did a little bit of actual swimming.  

After lunch, the husband suggested that we move from the swimming part of the beach to the nature reserve.  We weren't really doing any swimming, anyway, and it would likely be a little less crowded.  I was so glad that he suggested it, because just a little further south, there were hardly any people at all... a few solitary figures walking up and down the shoreline; wind surfers taking advantage of the wicked air and waves.  We found the most perfect grove that was set back from the shore just slightly, under the protection of a few tall trees.  It was here where we enjoyed the rest of our afternoon, feeling like we were the only two people on Earth.

It was such a wonderful and relaxing day.  Afterwards, he and I hopped in the car and went up to Kenosha to pick up some beer.  I've been thinking about Illinois Beach State Park ever since and really hope that I'll be able to do some exploring soon, maybe even into the fall or winter.  If not, we'll definitely have to come back next year, because it's a place too beautiful to miss out on.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


To say this summer has been busy is an understatement.  I have so much to say--I haven't updated since the end of June--and here we are, and it's August.  Truthfully, I have also been suffering from a slight bit of writer's block.  Within the last few days that has lifted, though, and I am feeling much lighter, much freer.

So expect more words here, soon enough.

(Husband and wife, last Saturday.)

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Somehow, we're already halfway through June.  I mean...  the Summer Solstice is tomorrow, which just blows my mind.  I made a promise to myself that I would make the most out of these nice warm months, because from May-October is the best time of the year around here, and summertime is all about having fun and finding adventures everywhere.  We're still pretty early on in the season around here, but I'd say it's been pretty eventful so far, and the knowledge that there's even more fun on the way is the best part!

-Went to the Art Institute with the husband.  We checked out the Picasso exhibit and enjoyed a day in the city.  (This was early May, but I think it still counts!)

-Gone hiking in nearby forest preserves.  (Also, I cut my hair!)

-Attended the wedding ceremony and reception one of my dearest, oldest friends--my roommate from speech camp at NIU in 2005!  She is one of my favorite people on the planet and I am so glad we were there to celebrate with her.

(photos courtesy of the husband.)

-Participated in the Color Run in Chicago!  I wrote all about that experience here.  Rumor has it that they will be coming back to the Windy City sometime in the fall, so...  I'm signing up and doing it again!  

-And then, just yesterday, the husband, my little brother, and I all went to Six Flags Great America!  The park was fun, but I just can't ride roller coasters the way I used to and spent the better part of a few hours nauseous and slightly disoriented.  We made up for it as the day progressed and it was great to hang out with another one of my favorites.

So far, so good!  Keep it up, summer!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Well...  after weeks of training and preparation, the day I had been waiting for finally arrived--The Color Run in Chicago, my very first 5k.  It didn't go according to plan, necessarily, but it definitely ranks up there as one of my most favorite life experiences.

You see, a week prior to the race, I was out on a run when, on the home stretch, I stepped wrong and felt a pain in my right foot.  Being that I was so close to home, I decided to just push through it and keep going (it was a rough run for other reasons, like the 98% humidity, and one of the few times I've ever just wanted it to be over, please let me get home before I pass out).  At first, my foot didn't bother me much at all, but as the week progressed... it wasn't getting better.  It was getting worse.  And that was when I started to get worried.  I work a very physically demanding job, where I'm on my feet for 8+ hours a day, and I was concerned that perhaps I might have landed myself with a stress fracture or something.  Even just standing felt weird.

So... I went to the doctor.  Thankfully, she told me it was just a minor sprain, and that with ice, rest, and the addition of an ankle brace into my life, I would be up and running again in no time--but not in time for the weekend.  Which meant that I would not actually be running for my first 5k.  She told me I could go and walk--the Color Run is all about running, walking, jogging, dancing, having fun, doing whatever--but that I should wait a week or two before I started pounding the pavement again.

I was incredibly sad about this, but...  I knew she was right, and I didn't want to push it.  The knowledge that I would get to do another run in Milwaukee, and that I was signed up for my town's 4th of July 5k, helped me get through being bummed out, and by Saturday night, I was not so much sad anymore, and really, just excited--excited to get the experience, regardless of my speed.

The mister and I got up REALLY early on Sunday (on little sleep), got dressed, and hopped in the car to drive to the city.  Packet pick-up down at Grant Park for the race started at 6, and I got there not long after.  It was really awesome to see the crowds start to grow and swell as it got closer and closer to 8 A.M., the opening of the race chute.  We wandered around the sea of white shirts and soaked up the energy and intensity; everyone was so happy, so excited to be there!

Shortly before 8, I met up with two longtime friends who were participating with me (our fourth team member could not attend at the last minute, sadly) and after finding a place to meet up with the husband afterwards, we joined the crowd and slowly made our way up Monroe to the starting line.  We chatted as we waited, and then, we were off!

It was the PERFECT lakefront day... sunny, clear skies, not too humid, slight breezes here and there.  We went up Columbus, around to Randolph, back down Columbus, over to Congress...  and though I did not run, I split my time between walking and some light jogging.  There were a lot of walking participants, actually, so I didn't feel too bad about not being able to go ful speed.  It was just so amazing to be there, traversing those city streets, laughing and yelling and taking in the sights around us.

At the first kilometer, we ran through the orange color zone--and then pink, yellow, and blue.  You can go all out and get super color-fied, or you can go for more of a light dusting.  I, of course, wanted as much color as I could (though I was not as covered as some people I saw!)  Thought it was a little disorienting to move through the color zones, it was fun and hilarious to see what we looked like on the other side.  

We decided to jog the end, through the finish line--and then we were there!  We made it, 3.1 miles of color and excitement.  I felt exhilarated and happy to have finished, covered from head to toe in a rainbow of joy.  After reconnecting, the three of us made our way into Grant Park again, eventually finding our personal photographer and joining the crowds for the post-run color throws at the finish festival, which were really cool to both watch and participate in!  

Before long, we all decided to go our separate ways and said goodbye--Thomas and I went over to Buckingham Fountain and wandered around downtown for a bit, then went over to the parking garage.  I drew a lot of amused looks on the Kennedy when we were driving home (after all, how often do you see someone who is covered in all sorts of color?) and when we finally got home, I hung up my shirt and headband on a hanger and took one of the most gratifying showers ever.  I felt really accomplished, really happy, and really glad that I decided to do it.  

It was SUCH an incredible experience, and I feel really fortunate to have participated.  I am SO looking forward to the Color Run in Milwaukee in August (which I'm hoping I'll be able to run, full-tilt) and also, the 4th of July 5k, which happens even sooner.  And who knows, maybe I'll be able to get another 5k in here and there before winter arrives in Chicagoland!  One thing is for certain: I am a runner, and I will keep running, keep going, for as long as I can.

I brought my old digital camera with me to capture the colorful goodness... enjoy!

(Color Runners color jumping... this last one courtesy of the husband.)

Saturday, June 1, 2013


(Husband and I, earlier today.)

It was the summer after I turned eighteen years old. Just a few days previously, I had put on a cap and gown in the colors of my alma mater and waited anxiously with my classmates to be awarded my diploma, to make it official that the high school years were complete. I distinctly remember sitting there, listening to the speeches, and feeling like I was on the lift hill of a rollercoaster. There was the rush of crossing that stage and moving the tassel on that cap, and then, celebrations with family and friends. This is it, I remember thinking. This is the beginning of the rest of our lives. It was the very end of May, and I had a few months of summer at home ahead of me before leaving for college.

A few days passed. Through an unexpected set of circumstances and events, on a sunny Thursday in June I found myself on a train to the city to meet a boy from the North Shore, a friend of a friend. It was a question, an inquiry of sorts, that I had answered affirmatively; I went into it with an open mind, hoping that at the very least, I might come out of it with a new friend.

The train pulled to a stop at the station, and we stepped onto the pavement, into the sunshine. They were waiting, and there we were. I knew I was in trouble almost immediately.

It was the way he smiled, reached out his hand to shake mine. I was nervous but trying not to show it; I was certainly shaking in my black low-top Converse sneakers, finding myself attracted to him instantly, unable to help it. (I was not usually so forward, but I was feeling brave that day. I mean, I even ended up wearing a skirt… something that was so unlike me, but so… perfect, really.) And so, it began. It has been seven years since that first day, but I can recall almost everything like it happened last week. It was the day that changed the very course of my life.

I have so many memories of that first summer, and all of the summers that have followed. A date to Reckless Records and the batting cages at Novelty Golf; deep dish pizza at Giordano’s and the hookah lounge; a concert up in Milwaukee, out near the lake, on the perfect hot July night, an utter dream; and since then, so many more adventures and fond recollections… and the difficulties, the heartbreaks, have only made us stronger, have only served to fortify our connection. We have spent the last seven years growing up, falling in love, making a life together.

I wake up today, and every day, completely grateful to have found my best friend, my other half. The one who fills my spaces. I cannot imagine what life would be like without him and I am so glad to have him along for the ride. It’s been seven years (and two since we’ve been married), and I fall more and more head over heels in love every single day; every day I want him more. I will never be able to fully put into words the love I have for him, the happiness and adoration I am overwhelmed with on a constant basis… and yet, I could fill pages and pages with paragraphs and notes and sentences about him, for him, for always.

Our life, while not how we always pictured it, is better than anything I could have ever possibly dreamt up. I still remember the end of that very first day… and standing there in that gravel parking lot beneath that shining sky of stars and moonlight, sharing a kiss of goodbye, I couldn’t begin to fathom what lay ahead for the two of us. As we parted ways, I hoped (oh God, did I hope) we’d see one another again…

 …and now, just seven years later, I sit here and smile, happy to be his wife. I can’t wait to see where the next seven years—hell, the next seventy years—take us. I am the luckiest woman in the entire Universe, overcome with a passion and admiration I am scarcely able to articulate. Completely in love, the happiest I’ve ever been.