Saturday, December 31, 2016

Look Back At Sweet '16

At the start of 2016, strangers continued recognizing me from the Chicago Athlete Magazine cover featuring Wendy and me. Attention and praise make me uncomfortable. This year, I received plenty of both. Instead of discomfort, I found joy.

In February, I joined Keri Serota, Melissa Stockwell, and Levi Kane presenting at a Francis Parker school assembly. 1,000 students and administrators watched in awe as we shared stories of personal triumphs through national and international elite level Paratriathlon and the Dare2Tri Paratriathlon Club. Principal, teachers, and administrators told me how inspiring I was. Keri, whom I have known for seven years, said, “Wow! I had no idea you were such an amazing storyteller.”

In April, Ryan Nord guided me through the BOA Shamrock Shuffle 8K. In June Lindsey Cook was my eyes all weekend at the Dare2Tri triathlon camp. The camp ended with a triathlon where I front crawled the swim finishing in minutes. We hit 26MPH on the bike. A photo of Lindsey and me racing to the finish line appeared in a local newspaper. In August Dan Tun guided me for the Chicago Triathlon super sprint. It was our first race together since Dan guided me to my second straight regional title in 2014. Thanks to Cynthia Shur Petts and Kyna Lenhov for offering me a slot at the August This One Woman variety show. I brought down the house. Having the audience roaring throughout gave me confidence I could do stand up.

September was life changing. Director, Nich Radcliffe, asked me to audition for the role of Greg, a blind character, in a production of the hit classic, Bleacher Bums. Fifteen hours after receiving the sides, I did. I had the great privilege to audition alongside beautiful and talented, Katherine Bellantone, who was part of the cast. I was anxious, but she insisted I did well. Nich offered me the role on the spot. I accepted. The experience was more than I ever dreamed. I was in awe of each actor and crew member on a daily basis. From day one, I felt overwhelmed and out of place. Opening night. Katherine initiated the most significant conversation I have had since Jenna Parker encouraged me to qualify for Paratriathlon Nationals. Katherine inspired me to embrace my greatness and magnificence. She looked into my eyes down into my core and brought me to life. I will forever love and respect Katherine for all she has said and done to change my life in ways she may never realize!

Because of Bleacher Bums, I was interviewed by Janet Davies of ABC7 and Chris DeRosa of WCIU. Doors have been opened for me at Victory Gardens, Prop THTR, Telling Tales Theatre, and 16th Street Theatre to write and perform.

I made my Serving The Sentence debut in September then brought down the house at Is This A Thing Chicago in October. Erica Alansari and Mike Casey guided me for my seventh Chicago Marathon and seventh Boston Marathon qualifier. I inspired grade school children at a assembly and company managers at a corporate gig.

Thanks to Pinnacle Performance Company for sponsoring my marathon and triathlon dreams. Thank you to triathlete, surfer, writer, actress, model, director, Jenna Parker, for being my coach and friend. Thank you for reading this post. Whatever comes my way, in 2017, I hope you will come along for the ride.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Badass Mother Runners

Cynthia Shur Petts and Kyna lenhov created This One Woman, a monthly variety showcase in Chicago. Artists write and perform a piece inspired by a woman which Cynthia and Kyna assigned based on audience suggestions. I performed in August. I tend to evoke, inspire, and connect when I write and perform dramatic pieces. I prepared a dramatic spoken word piece. I had second thoughts. Five hours before call time, I scrapped it. I mentally outlined a stand up comedy routine.

I was nervous that this would be my stand up debut. As Cynthia introduced me. I walked towards the stage. Audience members roared! Standing ovation. I could not start because the crowd kept roaring. Finally, I began. Within five seconds, they laughed. They laughed throughout. I brought down the house. Several including Cynthia and Kyna, are experienced and accomplished stand up comics. They praised my timing, delivery, and originality. I became Facebook friends with Kyna. I posted how several friends have completed Ragnar Relay, the 200 mile overnight relay race. I have raced Warrior Dash, qualified for Boston Marathon seven times, won the USA National Championship in Paratriathlon, and raced for a World Championship. I wish to add Ragnar to that list.

Kyna Lenhov invited me to join her Ragnar team. I asked beautiful, intelligent, inspiring, Samantha McBirney to be my eyes. In June 2017, Sam will guide me as a member of the Badass Mother Runners from Madison to Chicago.

I can not wait to run Ragnar. I can not wait to run alongside Sam. I can not wait to be a Badass Mother Runners. Since losing my sight, I feel most alive when I run. I feel most like my sighted self when I run fast. I will feel alive and run fast at Ragnar.

Monday, December 19, 2016

I Perform At Fillet Of Solo 2017

At the start of 2016, my friend, Cynthia told me she and fellow funny woman, Kyna, would begin a new live lit show in Chicago called This One Woman. Cynthia asked if I wished to perform at one of the events. Each month, performers get to share a piece inspired by or having to do with a famous woman. I said yes. In August of this year, I made my This One Woman debut. I wanted to share a heartwarming dramatic spoken word piece, but several hours before showtime, I scrapped my piece and crafted a stand up comedy routine on the fly. I brought the house down. Two months later, I performed at Is This A Thing Chicago. I chose to share a funny story about the first time I broke four hours in a marathon. I had the mostly female crowd roaring! Having also written and performed a story at Serving The Sentence, the good folks at STS offered me a chance to perform at Fillet Of Solo. I am excited to perform next month as part of this wonderful well known festival.

As the date nears, I will provide updates on my day and time should you wish to buy and ticket and see my performance. I may also do a comedy set that week at an event hosted by the beautiful and talented author, TV personality, radio host, newspaper writer, actress, comedy host, Jenniffer Weigel. More news to come on that front soon.

Here is a link to Fillet Of Solo Festival.

Fillet Of Solo Festival

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Chicago Marathon 2016: Mike, Erica, BQ

I am always anxious on race morning. For triathlons, I fear the swim. For marathons, I fear my greatness. Entering Chicago Marathon, I was scared. After being cast in Open Space Theatre Bleacher Bums the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, my training fell apart. It was difficult to coordinate regular track sessions or long runs. My friends understood my top priority was to Bleacher Bums cast and crew. I did not have the proper training. I had the experience of seven marathons and six Boston Marathon qualifiers. I had all I have learned from triathlete, model, actress, writer, Jenna parker.

3:45a.m. I wished I had been fresh off a Bleacher Bums performance preparing for a Sunday show instead of 26.2 miles. 5:15a.m. I met up with Mike Casey, my guide for the first half. We walked to Athletes with Disability tent where we waited to file into the start coral. I spoke to Amanda McCracken who remembered me from ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in London. I look forward to racing with her in the future.

I stripped to my Pinnacle Performance Company hat, top, and shorts. Mike and I filed in ahead of the pros. Gun sounded. Race on! 26.2 miles to go. Spectators roared. No pressure. No expectations. Mike, “It’s a nice Sunday stroll with your friends.” I did not want the frustration of not being fit or fast ruin my race. There would be time for self doubt during the Come To Jesus moments late in the race. Pro men and women flew by some yelling out, “Go Sexy Isra.” Rest of the elites ran up and by us many yelling out my name. I did not want to know distance or pace. I was sad heading into this race. Getting that information would make me feel worse. More runners ran by. Mike greeted his pals. Women encouraged me. At mile four, Mike asked, “What’s the deal with all these women calling you sexy and screaming your name? There’s no way you know all these women on a first name basis.” I replied, “You’re running with a rock star. Get use to it!” As more female runners called out my name, Mike wondered how they knew me and from where.

Mike did a masterful job the first half. Erica Alansari took over the tether for the second half. In a couple previous marathons, mile nineteen is where I doubted everything. I can not run. I can not pleasure a woman. I would fall apart. Mile nineteen. Erica asked about women in my personal life? By responding, I forgot the misery. “Holy shit! You just ran your fastest mile today.” I felt strong through next several miles. Almost to Michigan Avenue. From there, a three mile sprint to the finish. I come alive. I feel the same joy as when I had sight. Erica, “We’re making the turn on to Michigan.”

I flipped my Pinnacle Performance hat backwards. Time to display my strong sexy legs. Erica encouraged me. Final mile. My quads and hamstrings burned. Final 400 meters. I coasted across the finish with my seventh straight BQ.

Afterwards, Mike and Erica reviewed my splits. Turns out, I ran the first half faster than I thought and second half slower than I thought. Thank you Mike Casey and Erica Alansari for being my eyes for 26.2. Thank you to my sponsor, Pinnacle Performance Company! Thank you lovely Jenna Parker for your friendship, coaching, and support.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Why I Run Why I Bleed

World Champion triathlete and Olympic silver medalist, Hailey Danisewicz once told me I have the sexiest running stride she has ever seen. Hailey has cried watching me run because my stride is so beautiful. Another woman said she is always impressed at how effortless I make it look. My face and body are always so relaxed that she can never tell if I am at mile two or twenty-two.

Growing up, I was never good at sports. I made a little league all star team and had an MVP type performance in one football championship game. I was never the biggest or strongest. I was frequently, the fastest. In baseball, I scored from first base on a bloop single. In football, I caught the ball in stride and galloped for a long touchdown. In basketball, I went basket to basket faster than anyone. I never worked on my running. I just ran.

After losing my sight, I was the only blind/visually impaired runner on the track team running against sighted competition for a while. Not until Paula Radcliffe set the world record for female marathoners in Chicago followed by her breaking of her own world record six months later in London did I ever consider long distance running. I have since completed eight marathons yet I remain a sprinter at heart. My greatest joy comes when I start my final kick in a race. Some times, I start it half mile from the finish. Other times, I will begin one mile or even three miles from the end. It is always my favorite moment. Like Hailey, I cry. I get emotional because I often think of the little boy I was. Running fast because that is all I knew. I never trained. I never worked on form or technique. I just turned my legs and hips faster. I have topped out at 5:55 late in a race. I have topped out at 5:00 in training. My friend, Ryan, once said that he loves looking at my face just as we are about to pick it up because I get the biggest smile, my face lights up, and I come alive. When I run fast, I feel alive. When I run fast, I am the boy I use to be. In that moment, I am sighted again. I have always said I run for that boy I use to be who had big dreams. He is why I run. He is why I bleed! In that moment, I am not an athlete with a disability. I am not a blind runner. I am simply Israel the runner. As I decide what my 2017 races will be, I take this time to reflect on who I am. I need to embrace my running greatness more. I need to appreciate how special of a runner I am. I have achieved so much and have befriended some of the most amazing people through running. I debate if I will run Chicago Marathon for the eighth consecutive year. I hope to be on a team to run 200 mile race known as Ragnar Relay. In some ways, I need to remember why I run. I run for me. I run to live. I run to feel alive. I run to embrace how magnificent I am. I run so beautiful elite female athletes volunteer to be my eyes. I run so beautiful women say I have a beautiful sexy running stride because I do.

Monday, November 14, 2016

In the Loop: Melissa Stockwell

Late in 2010, Keri Serota invited me to join a new club she, Daniel tun, and Melissa Stockwell had launched. Dare2Tri. After reading about the beautiful and inspiring Melissa, I jumped at the chance to be a part of Dare2Tri in order to meet Melissa. I am beyond lucky to say this amazing, accomplished, inspiring person is one of my dearest friends. Melissa even made time out of her busy schedule to attend a performance of Open Space Theatre Bleacher bums in which I was one of the many stars in the talented star filled cast. I can always count on her support and friendship.

Please take the time to watch this segment which aired on Veteran's Day earlier this month.

Melissa Stockwell In The Loop

Friday, October 21, 2016

special $10 Cash Tickets Open Space Theatre Bleacher Bums

The Chicago Cubs lead the National League Championship Series three game to two. The team has two chances to clinch a birth to the World Series at Wrigley Field. If you can not get enough of Cubs related material, you should check out Bleacher Bums now playing at the Pride Arts Center in Chicago. Open Space Theatre presents Bleacher Bums every Thursday to Saturday at 7:30p and Sunday at 3p.m. Open Space Theatre is offering a special deal for anyone who walks up tonight or tomorrow night without reservations. $10 cash tickets at the door.

If you hear people complain that high price tickets prevents them from taking their family to a show, game, or concert, then tell them about this special $10 cash ticket offer. Bleacher Bums at Pride Arts Center presented by Open Space Theatre. 4139 N. Broadway in Chicago.

Here is some information about the show:

Bleacher Bums

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Open Space Theatre Bleacher Bums On WCIU You And Me This Morning

On a Thursday prior to a performance of Open Space Theatre's Bleacher Bums, I had an opportunity to join Amy Sunshine and David Zak in being interviewed by the talented, Chris DeRose of WCIU You And Me This Morning. A few days prior, the Bleacher Bums cast ran through a few scenes giving a camera crew a chance to get some B-role. This footage accompanied the segment which appeared on WCIU.

If you missed it or wish to watch it again, here is a link to the piece on Open Space Theatre's Bleacher Bums now playing at Pride Art Center at 4139 N. Broadway in Chicago. Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 7:30p and Sunday at 3p. Performances run through November 6.

Thank you WCIU. Thank you Chris DeRose.

Bleacher Bums WCIU You And Me This Morning

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Bank Of America Chicago Marathon Honors Me?

A few weeks ago, Abby Best of the Chicago Marathon Social Media Team reached out to me requesting a blog post. Meg Sullivan had contacted her about sharing Israel's story with the marathon running community. Lily Homestead followed up with a short interview then mentioned the social media team would post various items across Chicago Marathon platforms. Yesterday, the Facebook page featured a blurb and photo of me.

Thank you Meg, Abby, and Lily. Thank you to the many people, some of whom I do not know, who have shared the post and who have called me an inspiration. I am grateful to Jenna Parker for her friendship, support, and coaching as well as to Pinnacle Performance Company for always being there as my sponsor. If you missed it, here is the URL to the Bank Of America Chicago Marathon Facebook page. You can scroll down to find yesterday's post about me.

Chicago Marathon Facebook

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Daily Herald On Bleacher Bums

Since Labor Day weekend I have spent stretches where every waking hour was focussed on the play, Bleacher Bums. As one of those starring in the Open Space Theatre production at the Pride Arts Center in Chicago, I have been working to memorize my lines and tap into that which will help bring my character to life.

We have been receiving plenty of press. We opened last weekend. There has been a surge in ticket sales for all performances throughout October. Here is a piece by Burt Constable for the Daily Herald. Please read.

Burt Constable Daily Herald

Sunday, September 4, 2016

I Was Just Cast In Production of Bleacher Bums!

On Saturday evening, my long time dear friend, Rani, contacted me to say her friend, Nich, was looking for me. Nich Radcliffe is an accomplished talented director who is casting his next project. After Rani contacted me, I read Nich’s note and called him immediately.

Nich is casting the role of Greg in the play, Bleacher Bums. It first premiered in the 1970s and was updated in the 1990s. It has had many productions in Chicago and around the country over the last forty years. Just in time for the Cubs 2016 playoffs and World Series push, Bleacher Bums gets another production from September to November.

I auditioned this afternoon. Apparently, I “wowed” Nich and the producers for they offered me the role of Greg on the spot. I accepted! Cast read-through is tonight. Rehearsals begin Tomorrow morning. If it means eight hours in rehearsals on Labor Day in order to learn my lines and get to start building a relationship with my cast mates, then yes, sign me up for that.

Here is a quick blurb from Morgan Green of the Chicago Tribune. I can not wait to get started. I hope you will come to this.

Bleacher Bums Production

Friday, August 26, 2016

Super Sprint Fun With Tun

Two years ago, Ironman triathlete, Dan Tun, guided me for the Mideast Regional Championships in Fort Wayne. He helped me stay calm in the water long enough to finish with my second fastest swim. The only swim time which was faster was my time at USA Nationals when I came out of the water in first place on route to pulling away on the bike and run for my first National title. In Fort Wayne, Dan guided me to a first place finish in my division and the second of back-to-back regional titles.

The 2014 Mideast Regional title was my last triathlon. I did not consider a return to triathlon elite racing until this year. I took part in the Dare2Tri weekend camp in June. Participating in the Dare2Tri Tri It Triathlon along side Lindsey Cook was a blast. The desire to return to elite level triathlon racing grew stronger. After some discussions with Dan Tun, I registered for Chicago Triathlon super sprint. I have raced olympic distance in New York. I have raced at Nationals and Worlds for the sprint distance. I have never done a super sprint. 375 meters swim, 6.2 miles bike, and 1.5 mile run. I especially like the bike and run. I get to go all out for short bursts. Even with qualifying for Boston Marathon six times, I am a sprinter at heart. Friends have noticed that my face lights up and I come alive when I am sprinting.

On August 27, I will race in the Chicago Triathlon Super Sprint along side Dan Tun. Doing this short race may motivate me heading into the fall and winter for return trips to Regionals, Nationals, and Worlds in 2017.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

This One Woman: Gabby Douglas

Each month, Cynthia Shur Petts and Kyna Lenhof present a variety showcase, This One Woman. Performers are selected to give an artistic performance of their choosing inspired by a specific woman. For August, This One Woman will showcase USA Olympian, Gabby Douglas. Each artist will deliver a piece in five to eight minutes.

I am one of the seven who will present. My piece will be a little storytelling a little standup comedy and I hope, plenty of entertainment.

Gabby Douglas
Monday, August 22,
Hopleaf Bar
5148 N. Clark Street

This One Woman Facebook

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Jenna Parker Stars In Syfy Ice Sharks

I have been lucky to know the beautiful and talented model, actress, triathlete, Jenna Parker for many years. When I needed to improve my marathon and triathlon training, I reached out to her to coach me. She turned me into a paratriathlon elite and USA national champion. Jenna helped me run even faster to start qualifying for Boston Marathon each time I run 26.2 miles.

Tonight, Jenna Parker will star in a feature film to air on Syfy called Ice Sharks. 9p.m. eastern/8p.m. central. She will be live tweeting during the airing. You can follow her on Twitter at:

You can also read this piece on the fabulous Jenna Parker which posted a week ago.

Jenna Parker

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Universal Sole Burgers And Beer 5K 2016

It was a beautiful evening for a race as I walked the grounds outside of Soldier Field in Chicago. It was my first time running Universal Sole Burgers And Beer 5K. Lovely, Lindsey Cook volunteered to guide me. Before the race, I spent time by the Universal sole registration tent and the Saucony one. I spent an hour with the Blade runners. I had fun chatting with pals; Eric robb, Levi Kane, and others. I especially enjoyed seeing the beautiful, Melissa Stockwell.

Lindsey and I walked to the start line. She and I get together for weekly evening runs. This would be a fun run under race conditions. Race began. We jogged across the start. We coasted through the opening mile. We worked our way through the second one. Mile two was slower than mile one. With one mile to go, my concern was crossing the finish with Lindsey feeling okay. I did not want her to feel physically spent as a result of guiding me. I did not want the rest of her training week to suffer. She picked up the pace. Half a mile out, she turned it on more. I was not expecting her to push the pace as much as 1:17 per mile faster. We cruised across the finish line at a strong pace as the public address announcer called my name and congratulated me.

Thanks to Lindsey for gutting out a strong run to guide me. Thank you Pinnacle Performance Company for sponsoring me. Thank you Jenna Parker for being my friend and coach. Thank you to Universal sole for another fabulous well organized event. Thank you Shake Shack for the spectacular post race burger. The only thing better was speaking to the wonderful, Kate Bongiovanni after the race.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

4 Mile Classic

After running the Universal Sole 10K in 2015 and having so much fun with wonderful and beautiful, Wendy, I registered for Universal Sole 4 Mile Classic. Lovely, Lindsey would guide me. Days prior to the race, Lindsey said she was ill and insisted I find a replacement. I asked my gal pals. No one was available. This was not a targeted event so I would not be disappointed not setting a personal best.

Race evening was sunny and pleasant. First time Lindsey and I would run together since she and Liz guided me for the Chicago Marathon in October 2013. She was still sick, so the game plan was to have fun. We arrived an hour prior to gun time. We met the good folks at the non profit, Chicago Run, who would receive proceeds from the evening’s race. We enjoyed some free samples, spoke to some nice Live Grit representatives, and met lovely, Heather.

Wearing my Pinnacle Performance racing gear, I jogged across the start line. After a few meters of discomfort, I remembered how fun it is to run next to Lindsey and how much I miss doing so. The opening mile was slow. Just over 11:00. I thought of how much better the weather was compared to when Wendy and I ran the 10K when it was windy and cold. Lindsey and I took turns asking each other, “How are you feeling?” On one hand, I wanted to run fast. On the other hand, this event was about enjoying the moment not about setting a personal best. We costed to mile two. We had picked up the pace slightly. Mile three was consistent. Mile four was tougher. It sounded as though Lindsey was struggling to breathe. she insisted she was fine, but her lungs sounds like they were on fire. Pushing it was not worth it. We took it slow. We ran up Cricket Hill. I remembered how when I ran with Wendy, I almost fell over on Cricket Hill, but this time, it was not as challenging nor as steep. Public address announcer informed the crowd that Israel Antonio was nearing the finish looking strong. We cruised across the finish.

Four miles along side a beautiful woman on a lovely evening. Thank you to Lindsey Cook for guiding me. Thank you Jenna Parker for being my friend and coach. Thank you Pinnacle Performance Company for being my sponsor. Thank you Universal Sole for a great event. Thank you to all the volunteers for a splendid experience.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Not Quite Shamrock Shuffling

As 2015 winter arrived, I planned to sprint my way to the Rio Olympics. While blind women would qualify for the Summer Olympics in the sport of Paratriathlon, blind men would not be afforded the same opportunity. I would try to qualify for Team USA as a Track and Field sprinter. In November, I injured my hamstring for the first time ever. It took months for me to recover during which, I had plenty of frustrating days of walking/jogging. By April this year, I was healthy, but I was not fast. Ryan Nord agreed to guide me for Bank Of America Shamrock Shuffle.

Race day. As Ryan lead me to the elite tent prior to the race, I shivered. It was cold. I waited till the last possible moment to take off my pants. I opted to run in my Pinnacle Performance shorts. Worried I would be cold during the race, I layered up. Dry fit shirt, fleece vest, arm warmers, pinnacle Performance jacket, and Pinnacle racing top over all of it.

Ryan and I waited in the start corral. Two beautiful women, Jen and Wendy, came over to wish us well. Race began. It felt great to be on the race course once again. Five miles. I started slow. I would build to a strong finish. I was swept up by the cheers. I ran faster. Maybe too fast. Before mile marker one, I felt winded. I slowed down. Mile two. I realized I was overdressed.

End of mile three. Time to push. I felt winded. I cursed my winter injuries for preventing me from being in better shape. Nearing mile four, I pushed. Early in the race, I was running 8:50 per mile. I was now moving at 7:41 pace. One final obstacle. A steep hill. My pace slowed to 8:20. Once over the hill, I picked it up again. Final shoot. I topped out at 6:30.

My time was slower than last year’s Shamrock Shuffle. Considering my tough winter, I was happy. This was only the start to the season. Thank you Ryan Nord for guiding me. Thank you Jenna Parker for your friendship, encouragement, and coaching. Thank you Pinnacle Performance Company for sponsoring me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Wanda Cobar At Chicago Made Marketplace

Are you planning on attending this year’s Taste Of Chicago? You can have food and drinks to your heart’s content. You can enjoy Chicago Made Marketplace. A section devoted to hand-crafted art, poster, clothing, jewelery, and other products made by talented Chicago artists

Wanda Cobar of Wanda Cobar Design Studio will be featured at Chicago Made Marketplace. Please stop by her booth, check out her designs, and purchase your favorites.

For more information, visit the city of Chicago at:

Chicago Made marketplace

Sunday, July 3, 2016

6 Reasons To Run Universal Sole Burgers And Beer 5K

I truly enjoy every individual with whom I have been in contact at Universal Sole. Each person has always been welcoming and warm when I have reached out to inquire about a race or event at Universal sole. On July 18, The Burgers And Beer 5K will take place in Chicago. I registered. Here are a few reasons I am excited. I hope you will join me.

I get to run along side lovely, Lindsey Cook.

I will be sporting my Pinnacle Performance Company racing gear.

Shake Shack. Burgers, hot dogs, and wine.

Begyle Brewing. If you love a great selection of beers then I need not write anymore.

Proceeds from the race benefit girls In The Game. It’s tough being a girl. Girls In the Game is a non profit using self esteem, confidence, leadership building to empower girls to get in the game of life. Read more at:
Girls In the Game

The latest selections from Saucony. I love Saucony. I will race in my Cohesion.

Sign up for Burgers and Beer 5K at:

Universal Sole

Friday, May 6, 2016

RAW Artists Presents Wanda Cobar Ziggy Stardust Collection

On Wednesday, May 18, the Metro Chicago will host an artist showcase presented by RAW Artists. One of those artists is the beautiful and talented, Wanda Cobar. I had the privilege to speak to lovely, Wanda about this upcoming event.

Q: What is RAW Artists?
A collective started by fashion designer, Heidi Luerra to showcase independent designers, filmmakers, performance artists, visual artists, musicians, and others.

Q: Who is Wanda Cobar?
Designer of fashion, wearable art, and costumes for fashion forward women, dancers, and anyone wanting to make a unique fashion statement.

Q: How did Wanda get connected with RAW Artists?
Serena, director of RAW Artists Chicago, discovered Wanda’s work on Instagram and invited Wanda to join the collective. Wanda was then selected as one of the artists whose work would be a part of the May showcase.

Q: What Wanda Cobar Design Studio work will be on display at Metro Chicago?
Wanda’s David bowie inspired Ziggy Stardust collection. Nine female models and three male models will wear designs from the Cobar line.

Q: Where can people check out Wanda Cobar Design Studio work?
Wanda’s Instagram
Wanda’s website

Q: Where can people buy tickets for RAW Artists Chicago?

Tickets are $20. To ensure Wanda receives credit from the collective for tickets sold, please purchase your tickets from Wanda’s assigned URL

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Melissa Stockwell Races Towards Rio

In the fall of 2010, Keri Serota, then Program Director for Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association, invited me to join a new organization she, Daniel Tun, and Melissa Stockwell had founded. Dare2Tri. This would be a a groundbreaking nonprofit which works to organize events and assist wounded military veterans, individuals with physical disabilities, and people who are blind/visually impaired. After reading about how Stockwell was the first American woman in history to be wounded in combat when she lost her leg while serving in the Iraq War then worked her way on to the 2008 Paralympics Games, I was inspired to join Dare2Tri just so I could meet Melissa and tell her thank you for serving this country and being an inspiration.

Not only did I meet Melissa Stockwell, I am beyond lucky to call her a friend. This weekend, Stockwell looks to join the beautiful and talented, Hailey Danisewicz on the Team USA Paratriathlon squad which will represent the United States in Rio this year.

Pleas take the time to read how Melissa Stockwell defines herself and life while showing how One Inspires many.

Monday, February 22, 2016

4 Reasons To Run Universal Sole Four Mile Classic

In 2015, I ran in the Universal Sole Twilight 10K. It was a fun experience thanks to race volunteers, store employees, and owner, Joel Feinberg. If the opportunity to run in another Universal Sole event presented itself, I would do it!

On May 19, 2016, Universal Sole presents the Four Mile Classic. Here are four reasons to register.

You run along the Chicago lakefront on a beautiful spring evening.

Proceeds from the event go to Chicago Run, a non profit founded in 2007 to combat childhood obesity through education, nutrition, and exercise.

Something for everyone. You can race it. You can walk it. You can enjoy a post race festival with and amongst your fellow runners.

If you and I have only interacted via social media, this is a great event at which to meet. I registered! I will be wearing my Pinnacle Performance Company “Sexy Isra” orange racing gear.

For more information and to register, please visit:

Universal Sole

Friday, February 19, 2016

Racing Season Begins: Shamrock Shuffle 8K

I do not like running in cold weather. Friends mock me for shivering even in spring-like conditions. For several years friends encouraged me to run the Bank Of America Shamrock Shuffle. The race, in its thirty-seventh year, takes place either in late March or early April. In Chicago, this is viewed as the official start to the running and racing season. Concerned with potential cold temperatures or snow, I always declined to run in this event.

In 2015, I opted to run the Bank Of America Shamrock Shuffle. It was so much fun! I especially loved that Keri Serota, Dare2Tri Executive Director, is in charge of the Athletes With Disabilities Program for the race. Similar to the Chicago marathon, I took advantage of starting just behind the wheelchair participants and just ahead of the elite men and women. Having all the screams and cheers to myself during that opening mile was so much fun.

I registered to race in the Bank Of America Shamrock Shuffle on April 3, 2016. I know the amazing, Jenna Parker will have me ready to run hard and fast. I will proudly wear my “Sexy Isra” Pinnacle Performance Company racing gear. All which remains is to find a guide to take me the 8K distance.

Monday, January 25, 2016

3 Reasons To Give To 6 Year Old Kacey's Fundraiser

A young girl named Kacey is running her first ever 5K as part of the Rock CF Rivers Half Marathon And 5K. Here are three reasons I am hoping you take an interest.

1. Kacey is running the 5K to raise money to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.

2. Kacey's aunt, Emily Schaller, is the founder of Rock CF Foundation and does so much to educate, inspire, and empower those with CF.

3. Kacey is motivated to do what she can as a runner and fundraiser at the tender age of six.

To read more about Kacey or to donate to her efforts, please visit the following site: