In Her Shoes

Tackling my bucket list, one half marathon at a time.


Love Wins in this Love/Hate Relationship

This past weekend was the Madison Half Marathon. It was full of gloriousness and lots of…not gloriousness.

The running fun started on Friday at the race expo, where Krista (and the Rock ‘n’ Sole people) convinced me to sign up for yet ANOTHER half in 3 weeks in Milwaukee. I mean…why not, right?Rock 'n' Sole lured us in

The fun continued Saturday night when a chunk of our Saturday morning running group got together for a pre-race meal at Mel and Tim’s house. We ate delicious food, listened to funny stories from Mel’s English “mum”, Irene, and talked about our goals for the following morning.

Left to right: Krista, Mel, myself and Tim

Pre-race group shot: Krista, Mel, myself and Tim

Mel, Tim, Krista and I woke up bright and early Sunday morning to meet near the start line. The four of us started together, but Krista and Tim quickly pulled away. Mel is my running twin. We always (freakishly) have similar races and we mesh so well on our training runs. We’ve both been dying to run sub-2 hour halves for as long as we can remember. I finally did it a few weeks ago in Iowa City and this was Mel’s race to do it. We stayed together for the first 6.5 miles until I started dragging. I just wasn’t feeling it so I told her to go ahead without me. I’m so glad she did…she ran a 1:58:07!! I’m still so happy for her.

As for me, it wasn’t my best race…it wasn’t my worst. I finished at 2:05:03. As awesome as it was to run another race in my hometown, it wasn’t awesome that we had to run the largest hills in Madison. To make matters worse, I’m pretty sure I had a strand of strep throat, but there was no way I was throwing my medal and $75 registration fee in the trash. I was running that race no matter what. I was hoping to break 2 hours again, which is where my frustration comes from.

When I take a step back and think about this race, I am so torn. I absolutely hate running. It’s stupid. It’s frustrating. It’s hard. I hate paying for races (they can get so freaking expensive). I hate stressing out over the weather the days leading up to the race.  I hate waking up at the crack of dawn to go for a run. And I absolutely hate the feeling at miles 11 and 12 where I just want to break down, give up and walk the rest of the way.

But then again…running is the best. I love the feeling of standing in the race corral, listening to the countdown. I love the extra boost of energy you get when you see friends along the course cheering you on.

**Pause for a hot minute: I had the best cheering section ever for the Madison Half: Lauren, Jeremy, Emily & Bennet. I saw them 4 times on the course and each time they were screaming bloody murder at me. I’m a lucky girl.

Bennet, myself, and Emily. Jeremy and Lauren dipped out before we could take a group shot.

Bennet, myself, and Emily. Jeremy and Lauren dipped out before we could take a group shot.


I love when you’re struggling and a stranger pats you on the back as they pass you. Or vice versa. No words need to be exchanged…you know what that pat meant. I love crossing the finish line–regardless of time. And I love the medals. But the best part? Running friends. There is nothing better than waking up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning for a training run…and realizing you don’t have to do it alone. And then you spend the next 2 hours chatting the miles away to the point that you don’t even realize you’ve cruised through 10 miles.

I have been fortunate to meet the best people in the Madison running community. These strangers became running mates who have become friends. The pros of this sport definitely outweigh the cons.

Post race group shot



Nothing But Goodness Comes Out of Iowa

I’m going to tell you a little story. Last weekend I went to Iowa City to hang out with friends. The weather wasn’t great, but we Hawkeyes make the most with what we’re given. We don’t let rain ruin our cookouts.This is what we do when it rains in Iowa

I normally only go back to Iowa City during football season, so it was nice to have more time to peruse around town this time.

Iowa City

The main reason we were in Iowa City? I convinced 4 of my best friends from college to do a half marathon with me! And how did we prepare for this little jog?Half Marathon Preperation

After 3 months of grueling training runs…Sunday finally came!start of race

And I’ll tell you what…this route was ridiculously hilly. I absolutely hate hills.

Hills are my enemy

But on the bright side, this beautiful structure came into sight at mile 12.

Beauty called Kinnick

And then this at mile 12.5…which gave me a huge kick at the end.

Iowa Football, nothin better

So I finished another half marathon and crossed my 5th state off my half marathon list. Iowa–check.

Shortly after, the girls all finished!

Half marathon finishers

Left to right: Jamie, Nicole, Torri, Kristin

So proud of these ladies on finishing their first half marathon!

We did it


Oh…and I finally completed one major running goal: Run a sub 2-hour half marathon. And I did it by ONE second might I add.

Sub 2

The end.


I’ve Developed an Addiction

I’ve neglected my blog. That can only mean one thing…summer is (almost) here. I promised an update on the Iowa runners weeks ago, so I think it’s time I lived up to that.

Our Iowa City half marathon is this Sunday! The girls have been training hard and I am so, so proud of them. Here are individual updates:

Gretchen: is out, unfortunately. She developed a wicked little thing called Peroneal Tendinitis, which I experienced last October. Injury plus the fact that she’s getting married in 2 weeks really took a toll on her training. But she’s still coming to Iowa City to hang out with us!

Nicole: this girl ran 11 miles last week! She got a late start to training but has really kicked it in gear the last few weeks. She’s learning the joys of running: chaffing, shin splints and inconvenient potty breaks. But nonetheless, she stuck with it and is ready for Sunday!

Torri: she’s been rocking it throughout the whole training program. She’s followed the program pretty religiously and even went out for a run with me when we were in Florida a few weeks ago! She had to cut it short because she got new shoes, which were killing her toes. She did most of her training on the treadmill so running outside also hit her hard. I believe she’s spent the last few weeks outside??

Kristin: ohhh Kristin. This girl did the 2010 Chicago Marathon with minimal training. She went out for her first run…eh maybe 2 weeks ago? She called me Sunday in a panic that she’s unprepared. But anyone that knows Kristin knows that she doesn’t give up. The girl will do this half, no matter how long it takes her and she’ll still have a smile on her face when she’s done. The first words out of her mouth at the finish? Give me a beer.

Jamie: she’s one person I’ve never worried about through this process. Jamie has been a runner for a couple years (but low mileage) and has done 10-mile runs in the past. Yes, she’s struggled a bit through training, but who doesn’t?

Megan: this is the best I’ve felt about training in a long time. The last few halves I’ve done, I   didn’t commit much time to my long runs because of busy schedules and winter weather. I went for a Lake Monona Loop (12 miles) last Saturday with my sister and friend Krista. It hurt, but I felt good about it overall. My goal this half marathon: have fun with my friends and no walking!! We run by Kinnick Stadium at mile 12.5 so I think that will give me a great push where I normally struggle.

Beautiful, isn't it??

Beautiful, isn’t it??

In other news, I’ve become obsessed with running signing up for races. Here is my calendar:

  • May 5th: Iowa City Half Marathon
  • May 26th: Madison Half Marathon
  • July 21st: possibly the Chicago Half Marathon??
  • August 11: Milwaukee Color Run
  • September 8th: volunteer for Ironman Wisconsin
  • September 28th: Brewers Half Marathon in Milwaukee
  • October 20th: Denver Half Marathon
  • November 10th: Madison Full Marathon

Help…do I have an addiction to medals? 🙂

And lastly, on a whim last night I bought tickets to Ed Sheeran in Milwaukee next Friday. I’m so excited! I’ve recently developed an obsession with his music. Which brings me to today’s beat:


Auntie Megan

It’s been 2 weeks since my last post so I figure I’m due for an update.

Pretty Pregnant Mamma

I do have some exciting news! I don’t think I’ve mentioned that my sister-in-law (Lauren) is preggers and due on June 13th. I’m ecstatic. We had her first baby shower last Saturday and now I’m even more excited than I already was. I just want this little nugget to get here already! Lauren and Jeremy aren’t finding out the sex so the suspense is killing me.

I think I’ve gone over our family ties before but if not…

Lauren’s younger sister is Emily. Emily is my best friend in the whole wide world, who unfortunately lives in Denver. When Emily and I were in high school, we hooked her sister up with my brother. They started dating…Jeremy moved from AZ to Wisco to be with her…he FINALLY popped the question…they got married in Mehico last year (NYE 2012)…and now they’re poppin’ babies.

Aunt Megan, Lauren (and Baby C) and Aunt Emily

Aunt Megan, Lauren (and Baby C) and Aunt Emily

Other than fun baby news…there isn’t much new, which is why I haven’t posted. I’ve been running. The girls doing the half in Iowa City in May with me have been running. This is our latest motivation and maybe our race-day outfits:

Ryan Gosling motivation

And lastly…weddings. Weddings, weddings, weddings. Weddings galore. Am I the only one on this planet that is not getting married this year? Anyway, I got my invitation to Gretchen’s wedding yesterday. I LITerally got giddy. This wedding is going to be a big ‘ol college reunion and I can’t wait.

Gretch gets hitched

That’s all for now. Enjoy this new beat…different than the indie loveliness that I usually post but still wonderful. Meet Timeflies:


Iowans Out Running Around

You know how I’m running a half marathon with 5 of my best friends in May? Well I interviewed each of them!

A little background info about these girls:

We went to college together (University of Iowa), none have ever run a half before and none are really runners. I forced convinced them to travel back to our U of Iowa stomping grounds and do the Iowa City Ronald McDonald House Half Marathon with me!

I don’t expect you to read this whole post, but it’s mostly for the girls to read each others struggles, triumphs, etc. for motivation during their training. We all live in different cities so we’re training on our own. That can be a struggle for anyone, let alone novice runners! I’m so proud of each of them and can’t wait to accomplish this goal with some of the best people in the world.


GretchenMeet Gretchen. Gretchen is my sidekick. My traveling sidekick, my music sidekick, my partying sidekick, my life sidekick. She is from the fine city of Minneapolis (Minnetonka to be exact) but now lives in Des Moines, Iowa. I’m in her wedding this May and I couldn’t be more excited to celebrate her big day. I have known Gretch since the first week of college…the rest is history. She’s muh girl. In some respects, we are so completely opposite and people would be shocked we’re friends. But I think that’s why we work so well. We’re ying and yang. I’m currently planning her bachelorette party down in Clearwater, FL in April…let’s just say she’s going to regret that.

1. Have you ever run in a race before (5k, 10k, half, marathon, etc)

I’ve participated in Race For The Cure and The Color Run.

2. How is training going?

Better than expected, but it is still early.

3. What is the hardest part about training?

Finding the time, which sometimes means getting up at 4:40 a.m.

4. What do you like about training?

The foreignness of it. I have never challenged myself like this before and I like accomplishing the longer ones, because each is a new milestone.

5. Why are you running?

To get out of my comfort zone… and because Megan Cabalka is a bully.

^^^ME?? Nooo…

6. If you normally do a different physical activity, what is it?

Elliptical, biking, interval training, and yoga.

7. Any injuries?

In my life? Yes. From running, no (fingers crossed, don’t fail me now, knees!)

8. What are you looking forward to most?

The end, even though everyone is like, “ooooh, it’s about the journey, not the destination.” I’m all like,”I’m done, get me a chair and a beer.”

9. Do you have a time you’d like to do the half in?

Ha. As long as I finish the race, I’ll be happy.

10. Tell me your best joke.

Iowa State Football.



NicoleMeet Nicole. This girl is a gem…and half mermaid.  She and I are identical when it comes to our careers. We both went to college aspiring to be the next Erin Andrews. We double majored in Mass Comm & Journalism and Health & Sports Studies. We took the same classes, did the same internships and worked for the same student TV station (Daily Iowan TV). We really pushed each other to be successful, sometimes in a competitive way ;). Nicole is goofy and carefree but the thing I’ve always admired most is that she knows what she wants and she goes out and gets it. She’s persistent and successful. Nicole lives with her husband Marty (Matt..I just call him Marty) right outside Iowa City.

1. Have you ever run in a race before (5k, 10k, half, marathon, etc)

A 5K is the most I have run in a race.

2. How is training going?

It’s going alright, but I definitely think it would be easier to run outside if the weather was better. I get so bored on a treadmill even when I have a TV to watch! I’m constantly looking at the time.

3. What is the hardest part about training?

Finding enough time to dedicate to the longer distance days and still do other workouts.

4. What do you like about training?

How good I feel after it’s over, and it makes me make better eating decisions.

5. Why are you running?

Because I want to develop this hobby more, so that I keep running as I get older. And it’s always for fun to do things with a group of friends rather than alone.

6. If you normally do a different physical activity, what is it?

I also do bodypump at the gym and occasional a combat class…as well as volleyball 2 nights a week.

7. Any injuries?

None so far 🙂

8. What are you looking forward to most?

Being in good enough running shape after this is over, to be able to do these more often rather than needing to gear up like this. At least be able to do a 5K or 10K race on a whim when I feel like it!

9. Do you have a time you’d like to do the half in?

Absolutely not…just to not have to walk at all.

10. Tell me your best joke.

Ah jeez…k I’ll go the “running” theme route…and I always love a good blonde joke!

Q: Why was the blonde jogging backwards?

A: She wanted to gain weight!


TorriMeet Torri. Ahh, Victoria. She’s one of a kind. A Disney princess at heart. Probably Cinderella? Maybe Rapunzel? Let’s just say when we roomed together junior year, we had a doll posted up on our TV stand that said, “A face without freckles is a night without stars.” I don’t know why that still sticks out to me. Torri has a heart of gold. She always gives the best advice and cares deeply for absolutely everyone. She just graduated from grad school and moved from St. Paul, MN back home to Souix City, Iowa.

1. Have you ever run in a race before (5k, 10k, half, marathon, etc)?

No! This is my first time ever doing any race-related activities and it’s completely scary and overwhelming. I feel like it’s crazy to have my first race be a half marathon, but I’m pumped for it anyway!

2. How is training going?

I’d say so far, so good for training. Thanks to the miscalculations of our “trainer”, I started training a week early. This was probably a good thing since I got Influenza last week and only did one day of training :/ Whoops! I felt so guilty everyday that I missed! But I’m back on track for this week and it definitely seems like it’s getting easier…(If I was answering this after our run on Saturday, I might be saying different)…

3. What is the hardest part about training?

I have never liked running. EVER. I am noticing that I do alright for a little bit and then my head starts telling me how bad I want to stop running, even when my body isn’t tired. I think controlling the “I can’t” thoughts is the hardest part. I talk to myself a lot in my head while I’m running and I’m really trying to convince myself that I can stick with it! It’s a constant battle.

4. What do you like about training?

I like having an end goal and something to work towards. It’s really motivating me to stay on track and to push myself. Having a schedule is awesome and this is a great way to feel like I’m doing something with my friends even though were hundreds of miles apart!

5. Why are you running?

When this idea was proposed, I thought “no way”. But after thinking about it, I KNOW it’s going to be an awesome memory for all of us and there’s no better people than to share that memory with. I want to be able to say I’ve run a half marathon because that’s something to be extremely proud of. It was also really helpful that I read the email about this while I was watching The Biggest Loser. I was feeling inspired when I agreed to running 🙂 Hahaha

6. If you normally do a different physical activity, what is it?

Hahahaha…Um…Not a whole lot. Turbo Jam every now and then (I know all you girls miss Turbo Jam)..Chasing around my adorable little cousin…That’s really about it. Training has really kicked my butt in gear!

7. Any injuries?

No! (Knock on wood) My hip hurts every now and then when I’m running and I’m noticing my toes go numb sometimes. Nothing too extreme, thankfully.

8. What are you looking forward to most?

I am really excited to see what the environment is going to be like. I think it’s going to be so fun, especially since it’s in our old stomping grounds. I am also looking forward to the finish line. Is that bad?

9. Do you have a time you’d like to do the half in?

I just want to survive. However long it takes me to finish, that’s the time I want to do the half in. Obviously I’m hoping to not take all day, but all I care about is finishing.

10. Tell me your best joke.

This is throwing me for a loop! Thank God for Ellen’s “Classic Joke Tuesday”…In the spirit of one of our last reunions where the Little Mermaid shenanigans occurred (and we got the pleasure of viewing Nicole’s BEAUTIFUL dress), I remembered this one:

Why did the Little Mermaid wear seashells?

-Because D shells were too big!


KristinMeet Kristin. Oh HBK (her nickname). Kristin is my twin. We are literally the same person. It’s quite weird. Her family is my second family and I text with her parents on a regular basis. Heck, I could have a career as a professional karaoke singer with her brother-in-law. She’s a space cadet but incredibly intelligent. She could quite possibly be the biggest people-person I know. She has a great personality and an even better sense of humor. No matter the situation, she knows how to make light of it. Kristin is from a small town in Iowa called Tripoli (pronounced Trip-o-la) and now lives in Cedar Rapids, IA with her boyfriend.

1. Have you ever run in a race before?

Generally do 5k fundraiser runs…have never done a half marathon though.  I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2009.  Coolest thing ever and I would absolutely do it again….if I was in shape.

2. How is training going?

It’s going well because it’s such short miles right now.  Once it starts really picking up I get more out of my comfort zone.

3. What is the hardest part about training?

Time commitment!!!  I feel like Jessie Spano on Saved By The Bell…..”there’s never any time!  there’s never enough time!”

4. What do you like about training? 

It’s a huge stress reliever for me and it’s the one time a day that I’m alone and not talking 🙂

5. Why are you running?  

Because Cabalka told me to….

6. If you normally do a different physical activity, what is it? 

Walking the trash cans to the end of the drive way every Tuesday because that’s garbage day.  Kidding…I do a lot of different stuff but not on a regular basis.

7. Any injuries?

None, knock on wood.

8. What are you looking forward to most? 

Seeing my best fraaaaands!!!!

9. Do you have a time you’d like to do the half in?  

Nope, just wanna party.

10. Tell me your best joke.

What do you call a cow with no legs?  GROUND BEEF


JamieMeet Jamie. I call her Hi-May. Jamie is LITERALLY the most hilarious person you’d ever have the chance to meet. And I don’t mean funny in a way that she tells great jokes. Her mannerisms and attitude is just great. Jamie is a spitting image of my mother. Elementary school teacher, optimist, enthusiast, worrier and cheerleader (not the sport). Jamie is the epitome of a believer in Karma, an 11:11 wisher, and dream catcher user and knocker on wood. I’m just giggling at her writing this. I love my Hi-May. I was in her wedding last July and she is one of my favorite people on this planet. Jamie lives outside of Chicago with her husband Joey, whom Grechen and I had a minor crush on freshman year of college. So technically, I love Joey more than Jamie. I kid, Hi-May.

1. Have you ever run in a race before (5k, 10k, half, marathon, etc)

I have ran in a few 5K’s and the Soldier Field 10 mile race in 2010.

2. How is training going?

Training is going great!

3. What is the hardest part about training?

The hardest part is not the stamina it is pain that running causes. My
knees and ankles feel sore and my right hip thigh area gets extremely
tight. I have started to use a rolling pin to loosen up my muscle.

4. What do you like about training?

I like that I am not training all by myself. Even though I run alone,
when it gets hard I think about all of my friends pushing through and
it gives me motivation to keep going. It’s a good feeling knowing that
we are all in it together.

5. Why are you running?

I am running because Cabalka convinced me.

6. If you normally do a different physical activity, what is it?

I usually don’t run for exercise, typically I use the elliptical
trainer, bike, and do yoga, but now it’s running, running, and MORE

7. Any injuries?

Hopefully nothing major but at this point I am dealing with a really
tight right thigh/hip.

8. What are you looking forward to most?

Running with my friends and feeling like we accomplished something
challenging together.

 9. Do you have a time you’d like to do the half in?

My goal is just to finish!

10. Tell me your best joke.

Knock Knock
Who’s There?
Cockadoodle Who?
Not cockadoodle who, cockadoodledoo!

^^^of course this is PG…she’s a 3rd grade teacher.

Wahlah. There you have ’em. My frens.


Paleo: Day One

I’m officially on the Paleo bandwagon. A few weeks ago I blogged about wanting to try it …so wahlah, I’m doin’ it. And my roommate is joining me! Today is day one. But we’re starting out slow and just doing it Monday through Friday.

My first ever cup of black coffee

My biggest fear? Drinking black coffee. I’m the queen of cream and sugar. Of course there are alternatives to cream, but I was too lazy to go to the grocery store yesterday and that’s my own fault. And of course I can’t go without my coffee. So I manned up and drank it black this morning…not too shabby!

Lunch: I made egg cupcakes over the weekend and I had these for leftovers.

Dinner: Taco veggie lettuce cups. FYI these do NOT say in the cups. So I turned it into taco salad.

Almond flour breaks the bank

And boom. Just like that day one is in the books.

But this will not be easy. I’m realizing I have to plan my meals ahead of time. And I’ll have to make more frequent trips to the grocery store. And I have to give up my love for condiments. Ketchup is seriously my jam. Oh…and did you know a small package of almond flour is TEN DOLLARS? $10! What?! That’s just cray. I’m going to have to order this in bulk from Amazon.

My next struggle: It’s my brother’s birthday tomorrow and we’re going to a pizzeria for dinner and dessert. What am I supposed to eat at a pizzeria? And how do I say no to cake? Oh man.

Changing directions. Tomorrow is day one of my next half marathon training. I convinced a few of my best friends from college to do a half in Iowa City (our college town) on May 5th. They are all half marathon virgins (except Kristin ran the Chicago Marathon in ’09) so this is going to be F-U-N!

Out of our group of 9 girls, I convinced 4 others to run the Iowa City Half with me! Left to right: Me, Gretchen, Kristin, Torri, and Nicole

Out of our group of 9 girlfriends in college, I convinced 5 others to run the Iowa City Half with me! Left to right: Me, Gretchen, Kristin, Torri, and Nicole

The above picture is missing the 6th runner, Miss Hi-May (Jamie) Wager Petersen. She'll kill me for using this pic.

The above picture is missing the 6th runner, Hi-May (Jamie). She’ll kill me for using this pic.

And lastly …In honor of Alabama Shakes getting rigged of the Best New Artist Grammy last night, enjoy: