Yes I’m 1 week late with this post but I just had to share some of the wildness that happened last Wednesday when they won. The last time this happened was back in 1908. Yup, 108 years ago. More than a century. Do you realize just how much has gone down between then and now?!? Titanic, WWII, computers, the list is endless. It’s truly incredible.

Cubs World Series

Chicago is a champion city. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in hockey in 2010, 2013, and 2015. The Bulls snagged the NBA Championship win for basketball in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 1998 (thank youuuu Michael Jordan). The Bears, sigh, they’re struggling in football these days but they won the Super Bowl back in 1985. Even the White Sox, Chicago’s (less loved? sorry) south side baseball team, most recently won the World Series in 2005. Only the Cubs were left chanting “maybe next year”…year after year after year, while hoping that the billy goat curse would be broken.

Despite living in New York, my sports loyalties are to Chicago. I’m not an avid sports fan but I do enjoy watching basketball and hockey. Football is a no-go for me though. I thought I hated baseball too until I actually jumped on the Cubs bandwagon during the National League Championship Series and quickly realized how much I enjoyed it! This is most likely because I played softball in junior high (and loved it), so I actually understood the game. Anyway, I grew up essentially hearing the yearly disappointment with the Cubs for as long as I could remember. This year was different though. They were good. Great actually.

(P.S. – sorry for the huge videos…I couldn’t figure out how to shrink them!)

They won the National League Pennant for the first time since 1945:


And moved on to the World Series! I’ve missed quite a few major sporting events in Chicago while living in NYC, but I immediately knew that this one was not to be missed. I bought a flight home to Chicago last weekend and hoped that I would experience history. I watched most games at home, but when the miracle happened and they won Game 5 and Game 6 (OMG Game 6 was insane), I knew my friends and I had to be in/near Wrigley Field to watch the final Game 7.

Cubs World Series

I have never in my life been more nervous during a sporting event. The Cubs scored a few home runs and the bar exploded each time. I just about died when the Indians tied us at the bottom of the 8th inning. And I basically hid in my hair/behind my hands the next two innings because the stress/anxiety was unbearable. The rain delay didn’t help either (although apparently it was exactly what the Cubs needed to recuperate as a team). That 10th inning though, and waiting for the third out with the score being 8-7…death. But IT HAPPENED.

Confetti flew from the ceiling, napkins were thrown around, the floors shook as people jumped up and screamed, water was sprayed around everywhere. It was epic.

We almost immediately ran out of the bar and set out jogging towards Wrigley Field (we were about half a mile away). Everyone else had the same idea.

We reached one of the main streets and were greeted with a celebratory mob of people. So much happiness!

Cubs World Series

Good thing the roads were closed!

Cubs World Series

The city was exploding with joy and celebratory screams. I’ve never seen anything like it!

We were right in the center of all the action, and I loved every crowded moment of it.

Cubs World Series

History was made. It happened. We did not suck. The curse was broken. And we were part of it all.

I feel so lucky to have been in Wrigleyville when it all happened.

Cubs World Series

How truly incredible. How beautiful!

I flew back to NYC the next morning and sadly had to miss the victory parade on Friday, which ended up attracting 5 million people and being the 7th largest gathering in human history!!! Cheers to the Cubs, I can’t wait to see them rock out next year!

♥ Irina

Well, I ran the NYC Marathon!!! I’m still overwhelmed with the entire experience, mainly because I have no idea what is going to happen with my foot injury. Yup that’s right, I struggled with random foot pain (top of my left foot) the entire race. And I do mean the entire race…from the moment I crossed the start line. I’m still trying to process everything and am waiting on doctor’s orders. I’ll detail everything out in my recap, but for now I’m going to relax a bit and bask in the glory of finishing the NYC Marathon!

Previous weeks:
NYC Marathon Training (week 1)
NYC Marathon Training (week 2)
NYC Marathon Training (week 3)
NYC Marathon Training (week 4)
NYC Marathon Training (week 5)
NYC Marathon Training (week 6)
NYC Marathon Training (week 7)
NYC Marathon Training (week 8)
NYC Marathon Training (week 9)
NYC Marathon Training (week 10)
NYC Marathon Training (week 11)
NYC Marathon Training (week 12)
NYC Marathon Training (week 13)
NYC Marathon Training (week 14)
NYC Marathon Training (week 15)
NYC Marathon Training (week 16)
NYC Marathon Training (week 17)

NYC Marathon medal

(One medal to rule them all)

WEEK 18 (10/31/2016 – 11/6/2016)
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 5 mile run (45:27 min @ 9:05 min/mi)
Wednesday: rest (walked 10.5 miles because the Cubs won the World Series!!!)
Thursday: 2 mile run rest
Friday: rest
Saturday: rest
Sunday: MARATHON DAY!!! (4:26:34 @ 10:10 min/mi)
TOTAL = 31.2 miles

Thoughts: Sigh, what an adventure it’s been. Week 18 did not go as planned. I basically felt like sh*t during my 5 mile run, which was so discouraging. My stomach hurt so badly that I had to stop and let it chill out before I could continue running. I’m pretty sure the issue was that I ate dairy right before bed the night prior. Lesson learned…no dairy the night before a run. I didn’t plan on walking a total of 10.5 miles on Wednesday, but I ended up spending all day (and night) in the city and was almost always on my feet. I went to a local bar near Wrigley Field with my friends that evening to watch Game 7 of the World Series, which meant that I was literally standing on my feet for 6 hours. Yup…I didn’t sit down once from 6pm until the end of the game at midnight. When THE CUBS WON (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) we all ran out towards Wrigley Field and strolled around embracing the craziness around us (post coming this week because it was the coolest experience ever). I was out until 2am and didn’t make it to bed until 4am. So yes, I spent way too many hours on my feet and I think this was the day/night that I messed up my foot (or aggravated an already-existing injury?) without realizing it.

My left foot was bothering me a bit the following day, but I was more concerned about my left shin, which had been achy for a few days. I opted to skip the short 1-2 miler I had scheduled on Thursday and instead gave myself 4 days of rest prior to Sunday’s marathon. I felt so sore after Wednesday, especially my calves and back, so I got a massage on Friday to release the knots. And then Sunday arrived and with it came running 26.2 miles through the 5 glorious boroughs of New York City. I survived, but barely. Stay tuned, recap coming this week!

On a final note, I wanted to give a huge shoutout to everyone who has been following my journey! Thank you for all your advice, encouragement, support, wisdom, reassurement, and kind words…I cannot thank you all enough for staying alongside me these past 18 weeks. THANK YOU!!!

♥ Irina

It’s hard to believe that I wrote a similar post 2 years ago on the eve of my first ever marathon, the Hartford Marathon. And here we are again! Although this time I’m finally running the marathon of my dreams…NYC.

In the spirit of tradition, I’ve decided to answer the same questions I pondered back in October of 2014:

To run with a fuel belt or not to run with a fuel belt?
I still have no idea. My three options are 1.) fuel belt with two water bottles, 2.) iFitness belt to hold my Shot Bloks (but no water bottles), or 3.) nothing – use my sports bra (it has pockets) and short pockets to hold my Shot Bloks / phone / headphones / etc. I trained with both belts and am comfortable either way, but I’ve never trained while keeping my fuel stored in my sports bra or shorts. What do I do?!? The marathon apparently has water stops at every single mile and I know I will want to take sips of water very often, but I’m not sure about how I feel navigating the massive crowds at water stations. Such a waste of energy! Someone please help me.

What to wear?
Ah this one I know! I’m wearing a black & gray striped tank top (bright so my parents can easily spot me) with my name written on it, black Nike shorts, compression sleeves, and arm warmers (maybe) that I might end up removing if it gets too hot. The only debate I have is whether I should wear a headband or not, but I’m thinking I’ll just wear a hat and then dispose of it. Oh and sunglasses are a must.

NYC marathon

What to eat the night before?
I’ve had to deal with so many stomach woes this training cycle! I usually go through a moment of “oh sh*t I need to use the bathroom immediately because my intestines hate me” 1 hour into many runs. The feeling goes away pretty quickly but occassionally comes back in later miles. I can’t imagine dealing with this at mile 20. My last 5 miler this past Tuesday was bad bad bad because my stomach hurt so much that I had to stop. I ate yogurt the night before, so that definitely won’t be happening again. Last time I ate a simple meal of chicken and sweet potatoes with avocado, so I think that’s what I’ll stick to again.

What to eat the day of?
I’ll eat a piece of toast with peanut butter and sliced bananas with coffee when I wake up (aroun 5:30am). Since my start time isn’t until 10:40am (YIKES I know) and I will arrive at the start village between 8:00am – 8:30am (yikes again), I plan to eat a second small breakfast around 9:30am/10:00am. This will most likely be another piece of toast with a banana and water. I’m kind of freaked out by this, so lets hope all will be well. I’m considering bringing a pumpkin pie cookie because I’ve eaten one before longer runs and haven’t had a problem, but they might still be a bit too…complex before 26.2 miles.

pumpkin pie cookies

What shoes should I wear?
Sigh, another unknown! My current Brooks PureCadence 4’s are not near the 400 mile mark (maybe around 200?) but it feels like they might need to be replaced soon. I recently purchased and ran in the new PureCadence 5’s and did not love them. I’m currently 75% sure I will run in the PureCadence 4’s just to be safe, and then toss them after the race.

Will I be able to calmly sleep the night before?
Probably not, especially considering my parents will be staying with me in my tiny studio. My mom snores, sigh. I suspect I’ll need to pop a few valerian pills and hope for a solid…4 or 5 hours of sleep?

What are my goals?
To finish healthy and happy! As much as I would love to get a PR, I’m not holding my breath. The NYC Marathon course is hilly and challenging. I’m just hoping that my knees and shins won’t start acting up with all the elevation changes.

By the numbers:

Total miles = 382

Total weeks = 18

Black toenails = so many this time! 4 and counting 🙁

Bruises = I don’t think I’ve foam rolled as extensively as I used to, so I don’t really have bruises. Although there is a small one on my left shin.

Injuries = hmm I would say ITBS on my left knee and shin splints on my left shin

Fastest run = 10 miles @ 8:39 min/mile pace (week 15)

Slowest run = 3 miles @ 10:35 min/mile pace (week 2)

Longest run = 20 miles (again, I’m wondering if I should’ve peaked at 22 miles instead)

Highest weekly mileage = 36 (week 15)

Lowest weekly mileage = 0 (week 12 b/c #Europe)

I have no idea what will happen on Sunday but I’m staying optimistic and excited. I haven’t run in 4 days, which is kind of freaking me out, but que sera, sera. NYC, let’s do this!!!

♥ Irina

I loved reading Bethany and Emily’s answers to this survey, and I couldn’t resist joining in on the fun!

1. Do you eat blue cheese?
Hell nah! It’s probably the only cheese that I cannot tolerate. I mean…it’s blue! Moldy! Smelly! Disgusting.

2. Can you whistle?
Only by inhaling. It’s a weak whistle, but it’s something!

3. Do you get nervous before a doctor’s appointment?
It depends what I’m going in for and what type of doctor I’m seeing.

4. How many televisions do you have?
I have one T.V in my tiny little studio, no need for a second one. I actually didn’t have cable for 8 months when I first moved to NYC. Then one day my parents came to visit and decided that they wanted to be able to watch T.V. So they “gifted” me cable because I didn’t want to pay for it since I barely watch T.V. haha.

5. What do you think of hot dogs?
Um I generally don’t *think* of hot dogs, but I do enjoy them. I guess in the grand hot dog vs. burger debate I would choose…burgers. But I do love grilled hot dogs with sauerkraut (like what I ate in Vienna).

hot dog

6. Do you do push-ups?
HA yea right, next question.

7. Favorite girl’s and boy’s names?
Hmmm I used to have a list of girl names I liked (no idea why) but my iPhone ate the note and I remember none of them.

8. Do you have ADD?
No. Wait what was the question? Just kidding,

9. What is one thing you dislike about yourself?
I have an obsessive and addictive personality. I go from zero to 100 in seconds and obsess over whatever it is that I decide is my newest hobby. This also means that I tend to lose interest just as quickly. My obsession with running started much like this, but I don’t see that dying down anytime soon. Luckily, my addiction stops there…I do NOT have tendencies to become addicted to substances.


10. What’s in your pocket right now?
Absolutely nothing. I rarely carry anything in my pockets, but I do love sticking my phone into the back pocket of my jeans when walking.

11. Do you own slippers?
I do indeed! But do I ever wear them? Nope.

12. Worst injury you’ve ever had?
I bumped into the corner of a bed or a dresser (no one knows to this day) when I was about 10 years old and had to get stitches. Not too bad but not great either.

13. Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Chocolate chocolate chocolate, with chocolate chunks and swirls

14. How do you ring in the New Year?
Ugh, I’ve had notoriously bad luck with my New Years celebrations. I’ve tried to go all-out in the past and it never ended well, so I’ve just been celebrating with my family these past few years and loving it. My last New Year’s Eve was in India (Goa!) and it was awesome. I suspect I’ll be at home this year.

New Year's Eve

15. Favorite month?
October fo sho. It’s no longer hot but it’s not too cold yet either. Perfection. Plus #fall, enough said.

Your turn! Tell me more about yourself.

♥ Irina