A Bit Out of My Comfort Zone

I recently asked a stranger if I could take his photo, an act outside my comfort zone. I gave myself a mental pep talk before mustering up the courage to ask - I knew if I didn't ask, I would regret it later.

Meet Robert, our highly animated, funny and super knowledgeable server at a local BBQ establishment, The Black Dog Smoke and Ale House.

We Had a Great Lunch Thanks to Robert

It was my first visit to this restaurant, known for its burnt ends, double baked potato casserole and long wait times. Case in point - the restaurant opens for lunch at 11, we arrived at 11:05 and found all the seats taken. The facility is indeed tiny, which, of course, adds to the experience. We ended up waiting 25 minutes, but the food was worth it.

Robert made our experience even more special and he graciously agreed to have his photo taken a couple times - yup, his grin says it all.

That Grin

If you are ever in the Champaign - Urbana, IL area (home to the University of Illinois), be sure to check out the Black Dog for a great BBQ meal.

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Along My Run | 13 - Cold, Snowy February

Even though I really enjoy running in the snow, I've officially had enough after last month. I thought the 2014 winter season was pretty challenging from a running standpoint, and 2015 has come very close to at least matching it, cold for cold, snow for snow. Since this winter started off mild and snowless, I was lulled into a false sense that an early Spring was eminent.

At the end of January, I thought, if we received some snow, that would be nice - it would be fun to get some more snow runs in.

It snowed on February 1, and as I ran in the falling snow, it was bliss.
Then the relentless, bone chilling winds came one Saturday, during an 18 miler and I thought I was going to die.
The last two weeks of the month were a challenge - I ran in four snowstorms, negative windchills and had to re-route most of my running routes as my normally traveled sidewalks are ice / snow covered.

I think I'm ready for spring.

Captured While Running - Cold and Snowy February
1. Today's Run Brought to You By the Letter S. Sunday snow, and yes, it was lovely out there., 2. On the Backside of the First Eight Miles , 3. A New Perspective, 4. Rain off the Roof, 5. Their Idea of Hanging Out on The Sandy Beach?, 6. Unexpected Snow And It Was Hill Day, 7. Frosted Selfie , 8. Our Group Run Was Officially Cancelled but We Ran it Anyways. 5" of snow on the ground when we started and big, soft flakes fell throughout our 13 miler. It was amazing., 9. Making Our Way Down Peabody, 10. Unspoiled Stillness, 11. The Post run running group Selfie - Couldn't have gotten through today's 13.1 miles without them!!, 12. Over the River, 13. Pretty Much Done With The Snow. Spring can come any time now!, 14. More Snow Fell Last Night so I Ran in It, 15. Ended Up Going Back to Get the Shot Of The Path We Ran This Morning

And here we are, over a week into March and there's plenty of the white stuff on the ground. A big warm up is expected later this week, with temperatures into the 50s and hopefully it will stay that way.

My monthly running stats:
Total Miles - 116
Average Pace - 9:30 minute / mile

Marathon updates: I entered the lottery for the NYC marathon, but my entry wasn't selected. There was an 18% acceptance rate through the general lottery, so I'm not too surprised. This means I will enter the Chicago Marathon Lottery which opens on March 10. I am currently training for the Illinois Marathon, a mere 8 weeks away! That weekend will be fun - my daughter signed up for the event's 5K and my husband signed up for the half marathon (his first!).

This month's running quotes:
It's about staying fit and pushing yourself to achieve and surpass goals, sure; but it's also about personal and spiritual growth, creativity, mental clarity, and emotional stability. I find these things in running.
– Jamie Quatro

At first, I liked running because it got me into a routine and gave me a chance to think. Eventually, I realized this is my therapy, my time to make sense out of life.
– Alan Peterson

Simply by not quitting, you'll succeed.

– Stephanie Rothstein Bruce

It's important to know that, at the end of the day, it's not the medals you remember. What you remember is the process - what you learn about yourself by challenging yourself, the experiences you share with other people, the honesty the training demands - those are things nobody can take away from you whether you finish twelfth or you're an Olympic champion.

– Silken Laumann

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