Eating my way through Chicago

Chicago did not disappoint me in the food department. Here is a run down of my favorite meals and snacks in Chicago.

It all started with a trip to a very beloved and missed place Dunkin Donuts!


I had asked Andrea for suggestions, and she was spot on. Friday night we went to Pequod’s for pan pizza and it was awesome!

Pequod's Pizza thanks Andrea!

Pequod’s Pizza thanks Andrea!

Pepperoni pan pizza

Pepperoni pan pizza






The next morning Jamie and I went to Yoke for breakfast. We also went on Monday. The food was great. The pancakes had a slight sweet flavor and the fruit was fresh and delicious.




Saturday Jamie and I went to D’amato’s an Italian Deli and Bakery. Jamie was super happy with the meats and cheeses and I loved the cookies and biscotti. The cannoli was not that great.

Our bounty from D'amato's

Our bounty from D’Amato’s

For dinner on Saturday we went to Pranzi. It is a small Italian restaurant and the food was great. My go to for pre race dinner is pasta with meatballs and these meatballs were very good.


Pre race pasta & meatballs

Pre race pasta & meatballs

After the race on Sunday Jamie and I went to Portillo’s (another suggestion from Andrea)for a wet beef sandwich. It is like a French dip, but the whole sandwich is dipped in au jus. I always crave beef after a long run and this was perfect.

Skip the fries, but the chocolate cake was great.

Skip the fries, but the chocolate cake was great.

On Monday Pam, Manami and I when to Sprinkle’ cupcake shop. And one of the last things I had in Chicago was Garrett’s popcorn and yes it is everything you have heard it will be.

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Loved, loved, loved Chicago! We need more good food like these in Seattle.









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Chicago Marathon Race Report

I arrived in Chicago Friday about noon. I met Jamie and Eddie, a Green Lake runner, and we headed to the Expo. We met my sister, Pam and niece Manami at the Expo. It’s always great to see family, when you live so far away.


Packet pick up was quick and easy. I’m disappointed in the shirt, they ran very small and I don’t love the gray. The Expo was large and had plenty of room to move around. All the big vendors were there. Not as many freebies as Boston and NYC. I was not thrilled with the official merch, but bought one sweatshirt that I have already worn 3 times, money well spent.

Meeting Bart Yasso for the second time, the first was in NYC.

Meeting Bart Yasso for the second time, the first was in NYC

On Sunday Jamie and I got up at 5:30 walked to Dunkies for coffee. After getting ready we took a taxi to the start. We met a few of her friends, used the porta potties and gear checked, wished each other luck and she was off to her corral. I had a little time to wait. I had a granola bar and water, and walked over to the corral.





My wave started at 8 and I crossed to start at 8:08. It was sunny and about 50. I do not like running in the sun. It was very crowded the first few miles. It was fun to run through the same areas that we had been walking through the past few days. There were lots of crowd support along the way. I had put my name on my shirt and really appreciate the shout outs. I saw my niece, Manami about mile 12 and that was awesome! The water stops were long and on both side of the street. Gatorade then water at each stop. The volunteers were great. I tried to thank a few at each stop.

This was the smartest marathon I have run. I kept a pretty even 10 minute pace for 22 miles. I did not go out too fast. This was not easy. my Garmin was all over the place for most of the race. I did use a pace band and that help, but I knew 4:20 was not happening pretty early. I fueled well and had fun. I tried to hug the shade as much as I could. I could not escape the sun the last 4 miles and my time slowed. My legs were tired. I finished 4:28. The race was long 26.66 on my Garmin and most others were in that range.

I was a little disappointed at first, but then I realized I had just run my 6th marathon. No PR but I had a great time.


I found Jamie (she had a PR and her second BQ!) and her friends. We stayed at the finish for about and hour then walked back to the condo.

I loved Chicago and if you have not run it you should. It is super flat. And the city is great.

I am not registered for any races. What should I run next?




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Chicago Goal

The Chicago Marathon is 5 days away! This is the week. When you register for these big races it seems so far away. But after 18 weeks of training and over 600 miles I think I’m ready.

I started stalking the weather last week and it is looking near perfect. I know it could still change and I can’t control it, but so far it looks great, partly cloudy 58.

My friend Marilyn did a very brave thing and let everyone know her goal for Portland last weekend. Marathons are a tough, long race. Anything can happen. You may start out feeling amazing, and at mile 20 your legs feel like lead.

Here goes My A goal is 4:20, My B goal is a PR which would be anything under 4:25:58, my NYC finish.

Wow it’s hard to see that in writing. We’ll see what the day brings.

Good luck to all the racers this weekend. Any must do, see, eat in Chicago?

He's getting big.

He’s getting big.



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Beat the Blerch Race Recap

On Saturday, September 20th I ran my 19th Half Marathon, Beat the Blerch in Carnation. Carnation is the boonies, with cows, horses and farms.

The website made it sound like parking was going to be crazy, so I got there at 8:10 for a 9:30 start time. I parked at the middle school which I didn’t realize was about a half mile from the start. There was no line at packet pick up or at the huge row of porta potties. I met the Half Fanatics for my first group picture then walked my stuff back to the car.

I met up with Lindsey at the start line. We chatted a few minutes wished each other luck then it was time to race.

Many people have raved about this race. I knew at the beginning I would not run this race again. 12 of the 13 miles were on a gravel trail. When you are used to running on pavement, gravel is not fun. I slowed my pace and tried to stay in the packed grooves. There would be no sub 2 today. Yes, there was cake and nutella sandwiches, which I did not have. I did take advantage of all 4 water stops. About 3 miles to the finish was the 10 K turn around and there were many people walking 3 and 4 wide. I was weaving in and out of many people for the last 3 miles, again not fun.

Awesome free race pictures!

Awesome free race pictures!



I finished in 2:03. At the finish they gave you got your medal, no water. My biggest pet peeve about races in the PNW, give me a bottle of water with my medal. Do not make me stand in line for a cup of water. The line for the food was massive. I got some water and began walking to my car.




This was just not the race for me. I do think the organizer’s had a fun atmosphere. I loved the number of porta potties, the shirt, medal and free races pictures. Not a fan of the gravel, 10k walkers the last 3 miles, cups of water and massive line for a banana.

Great half zip shirt.

Great half zip shirt.



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Our new pup, Cognac.

Everyone deals with their dog passing differently. For us our house felt empty and we wanted to get a new dog soon. I did not want a puppy, they are cute but a lot of work. We looked online and went to the Seattle Humane Society 3 times, a Rescue home and 3 adoption events. Although many of the dogs were great, they were not a good fit for us, then we saw Cognac online, last Sunday morning. Hannah and Emily left to wait in line at the Seattle Humane Society. They had 3 puppies and they were 2nd in line so we knew we would get one if we wanted him.

The 3 pups came from Hawaii. My friend Rebecca had posted that she was transporting 4 puppies from Hawaii to Seattle on Alaska Airlines. The puppies fly free if they have an escort otherwise it is $400. Here is the link if you are interested:

Cognac is a 4 month old lab mix. He’s active when he wants to be. He is almost house trained, when we pay attention to his cues. He’s crate trained and I only spent a few nights on the couch. He is getting better on the leash and did great at puppy playtime at Petco.

Can’t wait to take him on a run!

Playing ball

Playing ball

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Chicago Marathon countdown!

The Chicago Marathon is three weeks away! I can’t believe that it’s almost here. My training has gone very well. With one small issue last week with my sciatic nerve. I have had an issue in the past with this, not from running. I made my desk a make shift stand up desk and it got better in a couple of days. I took one extra rest day last week also. It’s the first miles I have missed in 3 training cycles. It was the right thing for me to do. I had no problems on my 8 or 16 mile runs this past weekend.

For this marathon I stuck with my old standby, Hal Higdon Intermediate 1 plan. I have used this plan for my last 4 marathons. I did add the speed work from his advance plan for the first 12 weeks of the cycle which I have never done. I have also been consistently doing cross training and planks/crunches to build my core.

I’m getting excited. I purchased my favorite travel book, Top Ten Chicago. I cancelled my hotel reservation and I’m staying with Jamie in a studio she reserved months ago. It seemed silly to spend so much on a hotel just for me. My sister is running and my niece volunteering in the medical tent. It will be a great weekend.

I have Beat the Blerch Half on Saturday. If I had thought about it I would not have registered for this race, it is too close to my marathon. I will not be racing this. It will be an easy 13 miles. I will be running my last long run, 20 miles on the 27th. Then taper!

In other news we got a puppy last weekend! Cognac is great. I will do a post about him this weekend.



Any must do’s in Chicago? Anyone know a good Italian bakery?

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Labor Day Half Marathon Race Report

On Sunday I ran the Labor Day Half Marathon in Redmond. This was a last-minute decision. I had 13 miles on my training plan, and it was either a solo run at Cedar River or this race. The weather was near perfect for a race, cloudy and about 60. There was a little mist in the morning, but by the time I got to Marymoor Park is was dry.

I quickly parked, registered and waited for a running friend. We got in line for the porta potties and then it was time to get to the start. The race started right on time. Most of this race is on the Lake Sammamish Trail but some of it was on the roads. Everything was well-marked. I think there were 8 water stops which was plenty for me. Many of the volunteers were from my running club, Eastside Runners. It was great to see familiar races on the road.

I always want a sub 2 half. The last 2 half’s I ran in July and August were hot and humid and I did not meet that goal. I was thinking, maybe I can’t run a sub 2 half anymore. My plan was to run 9 minute miles for the whole race. It is a very flat course. And that is pretty much what I did. There were a couple of 8:45 and 9:12 miles but I finished in 1:58:20 and 12th in my age group.

At the finish they had bottles of water, bagels, bananas and Kind bars. There were a few vendors at the finish and I did snag a few chap sticks.

Overall this was a great race. Plenty of porta potties at the start, on time start, enough water stops, flat course, great volunteers. Long sleeve tech shirt and a nice medal.

Labor Day Half






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