Fall is HERE.

So… I work in a school.  No, I do not get summers off but it is safe to say that summer in a college admission office is pretty low key and relaxed.  But then out of nowhere, like a thief in the night…fall creeps around and BAM! Your days of being able to actually check your email between 8am and 5pm, open calendar space and sanity are gone.  GONE I TELL YOU!  I have been an admission counselor for 5 years now and every summer I say “I am going to do a lot of planning this summer” to ensure that when Fall comes, I am ready to rock and roll.  I have failed yet again.  August 1st came and I cannot even tell you what happened after that, it has been a whirl wind.  Between planning my high school visits, to last minute panicked phone calls and emails from my incoming students to training all my awesome new Spartan Ambassadors- Fall happened and is happening annnnnd is kicking my royal behind.   It is only Wednesday and I have already been at AU for 40 hours this week, oy vey!  But no complaints here, I love this place.  I love the excitement of a new school year, a fresh start.  I love getting to know all my Spartan Ambassadors and taking them through tour training (even if it means I have to go on a million mock/practice tours a day with them) I love it all.


The cool thing about working in education, is that every year you get the chance to interact with new students.  I will soon start to work with high school seniors through this overwhelming process called the college search and I get to know current students who are my Spartan Ambassador team.  I take these roles very seriously.  To these students I can be role model, somebody who is hard on them, somebody who just listens,  a mentor, a friend, a light at the end of a tunnel or maybe all of the above.  During our opening ceremony last week, our President gave some good advice for going into the new school year, she said:

Put yourself in your students’ shoes and look at the future they are facing.  Prepare them for THEIR world, not yours.”

Don’t pull the old ‘when I was in school, we did this..”  judgement won’t help them.  Students live in a different world than we did at that age, a world with more technology, with different opportunities, different struggles and different mindsets.  We must put our self in their shoes, we must inspire them with our wisdom, not our comparisons of the past.


It doesn’t matter if you are an admission counselor, a teacher, a secretary, a coach, a janitor…maybe you do not even work in a school.  We all have a great opportunity to impact our students today, they are looking to us as role models (even if it may not always seem like it).  I know it can be easy to fall into the trap of getting frustrated with the younger generation.  But we have to accept them as they are, and help them become who they want to be.  I will  be the first to tell you how insane my students make me when they just don’t show up for meetings or appointments or are acting irresponsible.  But just remember, we were all there.  You were not perfect either.  At some point, somebody, whether it be a parent, teacher or a mentor sat us down and said listen, if this is what you want…this is how you go after it.  Somebody or something inspired us to pursue a certain path.  Be that person to your students.  Don’t be turned off if they seem uninterested, trust is earned.  They need our guidance, our ears, our wisdom, or sometimes they just need somebody to tell them it’s going to be okay and to give them a little push.


Students need us now more than ever, I don’t know about you but I am up for the challenge 🙂


Madison 13.1

(Once again, I wrote this on Sunday and forgot to post.  Fall  is kicking my butt! Sorry! )

This past weekend I ran a half marathon in Madison, Wisconsin and it was AWESOME.  The race itself was beautiful and went really well, but it was also some seriously overdue girl time with my besties.  Bridget and I hardly ever get to see each other, so when we do it is just a total debacle.  We have so much fun together and are always on the same page (even if that page means getting lost in an unfamiliar town or making friends with strangers).  So any minute I get to hang out with her pretty much makes my week.  Our other good friends Nicole, Kirk, and Kimmy also came down which made it even more fun!

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It was my first big race all summer and as I have mentioned before, typically I book my whole summer up with races.   But this year my focus is on consistent crossfit workouts and Boston training.  Despite some of them being a struggle, I have been right on pace with my track workouts, pace runs, and mileage, yet I was still nervous going into this race if I was going to see any improvements thus far.  My goal was to be under 1:40 BUT I also did not want to go out and “pace” my race.  I like doing races based on how I feel, not having to stick to a certain pace.  Once I start thinking too much about pace and looking at my watch every 2 minutes, it is a mind game I always lose.  Now, of course during training I DO focus on pace, big time.  So Ideally, I can just show up to a race and run the pace I need comfortably, because I have already put in the work.

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I know it sounds super bizarre, but I know this is the ONLY way I can potentially qualify for Boston and still enjoy it.  Enjoying my marathons is really important to me, I want to push myself of course, but I want to feel good.   Whenever I have tried to stay with somebody in a race or tried to pace each mile, I feel like crap and it is miserable. Being miserable for a few miles is one thing, but being miserable for 10 miles or more is a whole other issue.   When I just go out and run how I feel, I always PR and I always enjoy the experience.  Like I said, ideally by the time I get to a race, the work is done so my body should just flow into the pace.

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So let’s get to the race already right?  I went out and ran my first mile not with any pace in mind, just went out comfortably as if I could hold a conversation.  If you were to ask me in that moment what pace I was running I probably would have guessed like an 8:15. I hit the first mile marker and looked at my watch and it said 7:22.  HOLY CRAP.   So I immediately felt like I should slow down in fear of not having enough left at the end, but then I felt conflicted because I DID feel comfortable so I should just stay at this pace right? AHH!!  I literally fought with myself the first 5 miles over this and eventually just said screw it and ran without looking at my watch until mile 12.  Somewhere in there I was hanging out with a 1:40 pace group for a few miles and felt too slow,  so I ended up just going ahead.  That is when I knew I was going to hit my goal.  When I looked at my watch as I crossed it was at a 1:38:02 but according the the race site I was a 1:37:52.  HOLY COW YOU GUYS.


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I mean, I know I have been hitting my marks on my runs.  I have only missed one workout.  So I know I am doing everything I can, but to actually see it WORKING?  It is seriously surreal.  I think I really can do this.  I think I can qualify for Boston.  I could not get over how comfortable a 720-730 average pace felt.  I would also like to take a moment to give a shout out to my crazy fast friends.  Bridge, Nicole and Kimmy have always been super fast runners.  They all were in the top 7 in high school and Nicole even went on to run at a D1 college.  So my friends who don’t know me well often roll their eyes at me when I say I am NOT a naturally fast runner.  But these girls have left me in the dust since I have known them,  they have also all inspired the heck out of me.   It took me 4 half marathons to break a 1:50….this was Bridge and Kimmy’s second 13.1 and Nicole’s first ever and they ALL hit the 1:40’s.  Total ballers.  Not fair 😉


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So this week it is back to the weights, back to the endless track workouts that I dread, back to the strict diet (I may have had a little too much food fun after the race Saturday).   Less than two months to go, I got this.




Wedding planning, yup still hate it.

So for those of you following the “Jill hates wedding planning and likes to complain about it” saga welllllllllll you are in LUCK!  For the rest of you who could care less, do yourself a favor and stop reading now.  Can’t say I did not warn you.

A couple of awesome things have happened, we found our caterer who we could not be more excited about.   We are going with a low key backyard BBQ theme, so it was only right to have Uncle Bub’s cater as they have “award winning BBQ”!  I don’t actually know what “award winning” means, but in my head it means “good enough to serve at a wedding”.  We are doing our tasting next week, yay!  I was also having the battle with Shain of whether or not to do glassware or disposable plates.  Rightfully so, he thought we should do glassware so that it made things a little fancier and not so “hillbilly”.   BUT it literally adds about $2,000 at least to a catering bill because of clean up, so it was worth it to look into other options.  Per our wonderful caterer, we discovered bamboo plates that you can RECYCLE and they look SO cool!  Environmentally friendly, affordable AND they look awesome.  Winner.


Thanks to my pal, Dave King (whom may sound familiar as I dedicated an entire post to making fun of him) we have a strong lead on a beer truck!  Fingers crossed!

We also found our photographer! She is actually one of my amazingly talented student workers who does family photos, wedding photos etc. on the side and is hoping to start it up as her own business once she graduates this spring.  So, since she is considered “amateur” she is charging us almost nothing (no really, I almost feel guilty about this) because she is still needing to build her portfolio.  I have so much confidence she is going to a great job and of course still keeps us on our lofty goal of keeping this wedding affordable.


Slowly but surely we are starting to ask our special close friends and family to be in the bridal party, be ushers, readers etc. We are both really lucky to have so many amazing people in our life, but it has been proven to be tricky to try and figure out how to involve everybody without having 15 attendants on each side and a million readers (longest ceremony ever anybody?).   So, we have been doing some research on other cool ways to involve people and adhere to their strengths.   This part in particular has been tough because I am pretty sure I have been upsetting some people by not involving them.  I am a people pleaser, which makes the whole wedding planning thing very difficult for me in general and when I know people are not happy with my decisions, it really upsets me.   At the end of the day, the people that matter, shouldn’t care as long as they are there witnessing and sharing this day with us.  At least, that is what supposed to be the case…

I keep saying to Shain, “I just wish this could be smaller”.  In my perfect world, I would love to go to the courthouse and either have a BBQ after or go out for a nice dinner with a small group of people.  Instead we are having a very large BBQ party for 250 people, kind of the same right? Keep in mind that number was after months and months of agonizing and having to cut over 150 people out, not fun at all.  Of course everybody says, “It’s about YOU, do what YOU want!”  But that’s not true and everybody knows it.  I get it, it is a big deal for our families to come together.  It is a day that our parents have dreamed about and waited for so they just want it to be perfect, I totally get it and I want to make them happy, I really truly seriously do.

But man am I struggling.  Everywhere I turn, somebody is not happy with the colors we are  picking,  food we are eating, people we had to cut out, etc.  And again, this is not to bring anybody in our family down at all.  Everybody has been so helpful and supportive, it is more so me just wanting to make everyone happy and being overwhelmed with all the opinions.  I need to get over it, I know.  This is a special day for everybody, not just Shain and I.  But if June 21st would get here already and normal life can resume, that would be great.


Finally, my ploy to convince Shain that we should hike the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu in Peru for our honeymoon has not gone over so well.  I mean come ON, how awesome would that be?  Sure…it is a 4 day hike up a mountain, but what a cool way to start a marriage!?  No?  Okay, maybe I am a little crazy.   As of right now we are leaning toward Costa Rica so that we can have the combination of relaxation and adventure all in one.  So anybody that has been there and has recommendations for things to do there, please send them our way 🙂

Stay blessed in the mess!



Happy Tuesday!

Holy moly, I have been a bad blogger!  Thing is, I usually write up all my blog posts during the weekend over my Saturday or Sunday morning coffee and then just post/edit them through the week for your reading pleasure.  But like many people,  August came a long and I was like OMG SUMMER IS ALMOST OVER!??  So needless to say, Shain and I have been trying to pack in as many things as possible these last few weeks that were on our “summer to do list” before work gets crazy for both of us again.  So my apologies for not sitting in front my computer and actually going out and having fun 😉

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Every summer we make a list and I swear,  we maybe do two things on it and then get super bummed when fall arrives.  This summer though has been different, we really have made an effort to get out and do fun things.  We have been to so many festivals, concerts, etc.  The new Riveredge park has been a favorite place for us too.  You really cannot beat an affordable venue like that, which happens to be ten minutes away.  We went there again on Friday night with my family because they were showing Grease, so awesome!  However, Shain was not too enthused that he was missing one of the first pre-season Bears games to watch a Grease sing-along ( I may have held back the sing along part when I told him about this, whoops).  But he was a trooper, you know minus scowling at all the people dressed up as pink ladies and T-birds dancing all over the place.  I think he was sad about not being in costume like them, yeah that was it.

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I was really excited for this past Saturday though, we had been talking about doing a bike ride to Batavia/Geneva where we can stop at all the farmers markets and flea markets along the way for the past couple summers and have never done it.  We finally did!  It was so fun, we got breakfast in Batavia and stopped at a couple Farmer’s Markets and Flea markets in Aurora.  Logged about 40 miles!

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So far these are the things we still need to cross off our list:

  • Have a glass of wine on the Fox Valley Winery Patio
  • Go to the batting cages
  • Hit up the Geneva French Market
  • Spend a day in Chicago

Hopefully we can squeeze these in the next few weeks!

In the meantime, there are some other super exciting things happening that I am really looking forward to.  One of my best friends just had her first baby and another good friend is going to have her baby ANY day now, so I am just so pumped to spend extra time with both of them.  We also have two weddings coming up that are going to be AWESOME (send some positive thoughts up for Shain to kill his best man speech).

OH! I am also heading to Madison with some friends this weekend to run a half marathon, FINALLY A RACE!  It has been so weird to not have a race every other weekend like I usually do.  I am trying to stay focused on my mileage, but man sometimes that is just plain boring.  My goal for this Saturday is to hit the 1:30’s, fingers crossed! This will be all yoga and no heavy lifting or running to give my legs a quick rest before the race and to really hit it hard the next two months.

More fun stuff coming this week.  Unless me talking about wedding planning, running and food is not fun for you, then in that case you might want to steer clear 😉


Summer FUN.

Soooo…I wrote this blog on Sunday night and totally forgot to post, whoops!  Please forgive me, this week at work has been insane!

Man, I am so not ready for summer to be over yet.  I kind of feel like it just started since I FINALLY finished my summer online course, which was a total BEAST.  So now the weight of reading, doing papers and studying is off my chest and I feel FREE!!!  So to celebrate, I did lots of fun stuff this weekend.

Friday I had the day off so that I could fit in my long run before I went away for the weekend.  I went to my fave running trail and had an awesome 18 mile run.  Yes, you are not mistaken I just used the words “18 mile run” and “awesome” in the same sentence.  The WaterFall Glenn loop is 9.6 miles total, and I had 17 on my schedule for the weekend.  So I had a friend do the first loop with me (thanks Coley!) and then headed out on a second loop.  I was feeling good so I just ran the rest of the second loop until I got to 18 and then walked and stretched the rest of the way.  I cannot believe I am already doing up to 18 miles and feeling this good, this is big.  BRING IT CHICAGO!

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As expected that “awesome” feeling slowly faded away as my running hangover set in and I became enraged with hunger and exhaustion, typical.  I am trying REALLY hard to not indulge on sweets on my long run days, and be super clean but it has been HARD.  The first thing my body craves is sugar after runs like that, but that does not mean I need to devour sour patch kids and brownies- that is not helping my recovery at all.  But if I don’t deserve sweets after running 18 miles….when DO I deserve it??!  Know what I’m saying??

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Anywho, later that night Shain and I went to the drive-in movie theater and saw Two Guns and Wolverine.  Both were really good AND I stayed awake until the end!! BOOM!!!  Even Shain was impressed.   I also would like to point out that he had pizza and Reeses Pieces and did not run 18 miles that day.  How come guys don’t feel bad about stuff like that??!  Not fair, man.

The next day I got a quick upper body workout in and then hit the road to Lake Geneva where a friend of mine was having her Bachlorette party!  Driving down route 47 with my windows down and country music blaring, knowing I am going to go spend a day at the lake makes me SO HAPPY.  We had a great time hanging out on the boat and then hit up downtown Lake Geneva at night. This girl is going to be one beautiful bride, it is kind of ridiculous actually.

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Sunday I spend the day with my brother and grandparents at our family cabin, my favorite place in the world.  Family, friends, and no homework.   Yup, totally successful weekend.


Stay blessed in the mess 🙂