Chicago Marathon 2016

All the Miles (from what I remember)…

Mile 0: Cool, calm, and collected. Shockingly, I have never felt this relaxed before a race. Just chilling in corral F.

Mile 0.1: Pacer dude ran into me (he did apologize), coming back from port-o-potty. Someone was having issues…(laughing on the inside).

Mile 0.5: Huh, why do my shorts keep falling down? Oh, I forgot to tie them. I better tie them. Seems like too much effort to tuck the drawstring in, I’ll leave it, that’s cool right?

Mile 1-6: Okay nice and easy. Hmm…I am around this pace group.

Mile 3/4: Family!!

Mile: 6-10: Hmmmm….still with the pacing group. Can’t decide if it’s helpful to stay with them to get by other people or just annoying.

Mile 10: Family!!

Mile 10-16: Settling in. Okay, I’ll pick it up a bit…I got this.

Mile 12: Ashley said, she’d be around here… runs to right side…Hmm, I don’t see her. Mile 13: Bummer, I must have missed her (and apparently the best signs ever- see below).

Mile 13.1: Halfway done!! Wait, I just ran a half!

Mile 13.5: SWATI!! I see SWATI! It’s so cool, she’s rogue with all the bananas. Do I want a banana? Nah, its not part of my fueling plan, but it sounds cool. I’ll just say HI!!! (Swati is a BFF and the coolest most supportive lady! She’s also a vegan. 🙂

Mile 15: Hey it’s dude from work! I can’t believe I see him. HEY YOU! (Race mind aka what is his name?) Johnny, it’s Johnny. I call him by his name everyday. lol.

Mile 16: I am getting away from this pace group. I can’t deal with them.

Mile 17: HELLO OISELLE! Only clearly recognized 2 ppl. Kinda wanted to stop and hug everyone, but also wanted to keep running. Was afraid of what might happen if I stopped.

Mile 17.1: Family!!

Mile 18: Best Foot Forward and Oak Park Runners Group!! EMILY FROM TRACK! YAY!! This is where I volunteered last year. Maybe, I should volunteer again. Why am I running?

Miles 20-26: is when things got weird. Right before mile 20, I was getting ready to tear it up. I was in the mindset and felt strong. Mile 20- got more crowded. I didn’t know how to not run into people, I kept running into people, because I refused to slow down.

Mile 20.1: searing neck pain (perhaps more on this later, currently in PT and going to the doctor), and I just wanted to quit. All this training, legs injury free, and I have neck pain, I’m done, I’m out. HELLO MED TENT? Ok, I skipped the med tent. I knew I was okay, but I just wanted the neck pain to go away; I couldn’t fight through it. I decided to walk, stretch my neck, and try to finish.

Miles 20.2-24: Blur miles, I’m doing this, but pain… What mile is it?

Mile 22: November Project!! Oh, it’s so good they are cheering for people and hugging. I don’t wanna be cheered for…I’m sucking at this…bye, I’m hiding. Embarrassed, just feeling embarrassed.

Mile 22.1: I see another Emily from NP. I say Hi. I can deal with 1 person! I also saw her encouraging another NP’er (from LA, I think). Way to go everyone, we’re doing this.

Mile 24: Hey only 2 more miles! Still lots of ppl, let’s finish this. I wonder if I can catch up to the pace group that passed me….lol. Nope, they too far out. All the med tents, should I stop? Nah, I’ll stop at the end.

Mile 26.2: Hey look I finished STRONG and still under 4 hours…Okay, that’s acceptable.

When your best isn’t really your best. I did my best? But really I did. I keep trying to convince myself. Okay, so it was my best effort despite some issues- namely a cold. A giant head cold. When you have to add RICOLA (yes, I always sing it), you know it’s not gonna be the best run.

Also, I’m not a runner…I didn’t run on a HS or college team, so some things are still strange for me:

  1. running with others or in this case I kept literally running into others…
  2. pacing is still difficult for me…(cough, cough I may have accidentally done some speedy miles during taper time).

Focusing on the good!

  1. I RAN A MARATHON- A WHOLE MARATHON! 26.2 Miles in case, you didn’t know. It feels like the first time, because 2 years I did the marathon injured with a run/ walk strategy. I made it through this time around, injury-free!
  2. FUELING- I have really dialed in my nutrition and fueling. I have found what works for me and am so thankful!
  3. COACH SUPPORT- Coach is the best. Everyone get a coach, very beneficial.
  4. CROWD SUPPORT- Oiselle Cowbell Corner was the best. November Project  Also huge shoutout to anyone that was along the course.
  5. FAMILY SUPPORT- My family made it to 3 locations along the course! Very impressive.

What’s next….Another marathon, maybe?  Maybe a smaller race for a BQing purposes? But definitely more running!!

Psss…If you want the full gory story,  look up my finish line photos and laugh with me. Real running….SMH.

Peanut Butter Balls

My favorite recipe from high school. High energy treats perfect for a quick pick me up after an intense workout or run!


  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup local wildflower honey (for the best flavor)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • unsweetened coconut flakes

Mix the first 5 ingredients together! Roll in the coconut flakes. Then boom, you have your balls. So simple, right? But so delicious. Go make your PB balls, now.



Portions, portions, portions….How much to eat?

Portion vs. Serving size: A serving size is what is labeled on the food package, however this may be more or less than what you should be eating at one time. For example, sometimes I eat 2 servings of pasta for dinner and sometimes I eat half a large apple before a run. To figure out what you “should” be eating either try “the plate method” or go to Food Tracker.

The Plate Method (aka the simple method)

In general, I like sticking to plate size of about 10-12 inches in diameter. This tends to be significantly smaller than many plates. Try looking for “salad” plates or medium sized plates. Note: don’t go to small or you’ll be tempted for seconds and end up over eating.

The Basics

  • 10 inch plate
  • 1/2 vegetables and fruit
  • 1/4 protein
  • 1/4 carbohydrate/ starch


P.s. I like these Corelle divided plates. They also keep you foods from touching each other, if you like to keep your foods separate.

What about weighing food?

Do I weigh my food? No. Should you? You can, if you wish, but I think the plate method is a simple way to get portion sizes under control. Weighing food does work. You’ll know exactly how much you are eating, but I think its important to include some balance.

Airport Food= Gross & unhealthy, right?

Wrong! Much to my pleasant surprise, I have recently found some great healthy food at airports. Don’t get me wrong, I still carry my own food (bars, fruit, and veggie snacks). Sometimes its nice to get a warm meal while waiting for your flight.


My biggest tip is to do your research. Look at restaurant choices and menus, before your trip. This will save you time at the airport and make sure you don’t end up with an unhealthy choice. Warning the following options I chose include lots of deliciousness and nutrition (vegetables, fiber, protein and more)!

Meals I’ve enjoyed

  1. PHX: La Grande Orange– Spicy Chickpea Lettuce Wrap (see pic below)
  2. ORD: Frontera Grill– Mushroom Tortas sans bread
  3. BWI: Chipotle– classic options, but don’t forget this is one of the only ones that has Breakfast!


Things to look for:

  1. Vegetables! Maybe chose a salad as a base and start there.
  2. Beans? Are there beans? Beans can fill you up and provide protein and fiber.
  3. Fruit– Maybe you didn’t bring you own fruit. Most cafes/ kiosks have fruit or a fruit salad.

Things to watch out for:

  1. Smoothies- some of those smoothies are large portion sizes and can contain a lot of sugar.
  2. Bars- Not all bars are created equal. Look for bars made with whole foods and a small amount of added sugar.
  3. Drinks- Don’t splurge (calories or your moo-la) on a drink. Most airports have water bottle refilling stations. Bring an empty water in your carry-on to fill up after security.

Peace. See ya in a few East Coasters!



Vitamin D, Vitamin D for Me!

Vitamin D is my number 1 supplement! Another winter in the midwest, where the sun doesn’t shine has left me with suboptimal Vitamin D levels. Yes, I went to my  doctor and got a blood test. My levels were considered to be suboptimal. 😦

Why?!? Living in a northern state is a risk factor for becoming vitamin D deficient. The most common way to get Vitamin D is through the sun. There’s little sun to be found here in Chicago during the winter months.

Fun Fact: The body area that absorbs Vit D (from the sun) the best is the stomach! (Guess its time for a trip to the beach!)

Since, I would like to avoid becoming Vitamin D deficient, I’ve upped my vitamin D intake. I regularly eat foods fortified with Vitamin D such as milk, orange juice, tofu, and cereal; but apparently this was not enough for me. During the winter months, I’ll have to take a Vitamin D supplement. I have found that I like the chewy gummy options; they’re like candy. 🙂

Why is Vitamin D important? Vitamin D is necessary for proper bone growth. It also helps maintain calcium levels and assists in the bone remodeling. Not having enough Vit D3 can increase the risk of autoimmmune diseases, and nonskeletal chronic diseases. More concerning is that Vitamin D can also impact immunity, muscle function, and inflammation status.

How much? Most sources recommend supplementing with around 1,000-2,000 IU, but be sure check with your health care provider.Good food sources of vitamin D include egg yolks (see the omelette), dairy, orange juice, and cereals.


More Vitamin D Reading: NIH and EatRight

References: Dunford M, Coleman EJ. Ergogenic aids, dietary supplements, and exercise. In: Rosenbloom CA, Coleman EJ, eds. Sports Nutrition: A Practice Manual for Professionals. 5th ed. Chicago, IL: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; 2012:128.



Balance? Story of a Recovering Snapchaddict

Balance, I thought I had it. Sure, a few people have recommended that I need some more balance in my life. Work, running, and food are my 3 main things in life. I occasionally added in some yoga and sleep for “balance.” I thought I had balance with my typical day…

A typical day looked like this: Wake up, do yoga, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, snack, workout, dinner, and bedtime.

This is what I left out of the above schedule: my newly found communications habit. 2016 was the year- the year of me connecting with everyone- friends from the past, new friends, etc. So at breakfast- I’d shoot a few texts (or snaps), maybe do some texting on the way to work, answer a few texts at lunch time, and then when I came home- the texting game was really on. If I’m being honest, I spent a few hours texting, Snapchatting, and using other apps for a few hours every evening. I was ok with this- I figured it seemed more beneficial than a Netflix Binge and I was still getting in my fitness (see above schedule for reference of yoga and running!). How could it be so wrong to use for phone to communicating with people? How many Snaps is too many? 10 snaps a day seems reasonable to friends, right?

Well, I’ll share with you how it went wrong…

After about a month of increased phone communications, my neck and shoulder starting hurting. I assumed I slept “funny” so I briefly let the pain linger. After about week, I finally went to the doctor.  What was my diagnosis, you ask? “TEXT NECK!”

Sure, I had heard of “text neck.” It was a disease that plagued teenagers glued to their phone 24/7. Not me, it couldn’t happen to me. I exercise, I stretch, and I eat healthy! I only use my phone moderately for the most part (except for those binge sessions every evening). Clearly, I have a problem and need to fix and prevent text neck from ever occurring again.

My Game Plan is as follows:

  1. Continue to see the doctor and get some trigger point therapy to deal with acute pain/ situation
  2. Continue stretching and doing yoga at home
  3. Limit Snapchat usage to once daily for maximum of 30 mins and delete extraneous apps (p.s. 5 days into Feb and I think I am doing rather well)
  4. Turn the phone off and some enjoy some Netflix bingeing (suggestions welcomed)

Yes, I am embarrassed about my current situation, but I’ll continue to share, because I do not want it to happen to you. Text neck, don’t let it happen to you or your friends! Don’t become a snapchaddict. Just in case, you do get it here are some great stretches.

Happy stretching and powering down! Hope you find your balance,

Emily (Snapchat Username: keannutrition for delicious food and other healthy snaps)