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Beat the Heat – Race Recap

Beat the Heat – Race Recap

Race weekend recap woohoo! Let me tell you, I’ve never had to push through a half marathon so hard like I did on Sunday. Chicago has set record-high temps for the past week – in the mid-90’s – and it’s September!! It’s supposed to be cool, fall temps!! Agh! That kind of heat this time of year is unheard of. Everyone knew it was going to be rough on race day. Race officials were letting the half marathoners drop down to the 5k race even. But hell if I was going to admit defeat! I didn’t train for weeks just to run a few miles and call it a day. I was going to finish the Chicago Half Challenge! But I was secretly hoping that I wasn’t going to die.

Packet pick-up was on Saturday afternoon so I met up with my running bestie to pick up our swag and packets. That day gave us a taste of what we were going to face for race day. But scorching heat aside, I was getting pumped!!!

For anyone questioning doing this half or not, DO IT. The whole experience is amazing and it’s so well-organized from the expo to the post-race fest at the end. We got our swag and samples (new stuff not to be tried until AFTER the race) and then headed out!

After we left the expo it was time to carb-load! We continued our tradition by snagging some Noodle & Co. pasta with a rice krispie treat. NOMS. This is essential leading up to every long distance run. Carbs. So many carbs. Give them all to me.

After we were full of carbs, we queued up some Netflix movies and I spruced up my playlist for race day (another must). Those training days really make you start to hate some songs. I knew that with the tough weather conditions ahead, this was a job for a lot of Metallica, ACDC, etc. Once we had everything set for the night, we prepped our race day gear and set our alarms for the early morning wake-up call!

Getting there is always a nightmare since they close off streets so damn early, but it’s worth it! By the time we lined up in our corrals, it was 90% humidity and temps were close to 85 degrees already. Challenge accepted.

By miles 7 and 8 my head started to stray and my pace started to waiver. The internal battle started already because of the humidity. I even started the race slower than usual because let’s get real here, I knew that if I wanted to finish the race and not injure myself, it just needed to happen. Many people didn’t listen to their bodies and didn’t properly hydrate and they were carted off of the course or on the sidelines at the emergency tents getting oxygen. It was no joke. That’s what happens when you push yourself beyond your limits. And is it really worth it? No. Now, I’m not an elite runner. I don’t expect to actually WIN the whole damn thing so it’s easy for me to say. BUT really. The body can only take so much. Although I sacrificed a PR, I felt a lot better at the finish. I accidentally took this picture stopping my music literally right after crossing the finish. Priority #1…locate ice towel THEN get my medal.

I really have to hand it to the race officials and volunteers. They were so prepared. There were plenty of hydration stations armed with Gatorade, water and cups of ice cubes. And about halfway through, they had misters and some stations even broke out hoses and were spraying people down. At mile 10 a woman (bless her heart) dumped half a gallon of water on me. It’s moves like this that kept me going. That and the “punch here for more horse power” signs. The crowd support was amaze-balls as usual. This was the standard feeling of every runner after the race.

After I snagged my first medal, they also handed out the most delicious popsicles in addition to the traditional bananas and other salty snacks. BEST DECISION EVER.

After getting my shit together and realizing that yes, I did cross that finish line and survived that brutal race, I got my third medal for finishing the Chicago Marathon Half Series Challenge. HOLLLAAA more bling!

And although the last thing I want to do is eat after a half, I have to force myself to do it otherwise I feel like I want to puke up my insides. I mean, I DID burn 2,200 calories. That pretty much means I can justify eating any damn thing. Including the pizza they were serving at the post-race fest. Shortly after, I reunited with the bestie and we of course took several celebratory selfies. WE DIDN’T DIE! YAASSS!

Although the runner’s high was real for this race, I’m looking forward to chilling out for quite awhile and not training for another half anytime soon. I think I had to wash off three layers of salt off of my body once I peeled myself off of the train. The best was connecting all three medals that formed the Chicago skyline. How epic is that for a medal Monday?

This race definitely tested me mentally and physically. While I didn’t PR on time, I really pushed through and my training pulled off in the end. Here’s to another successful race day and yay for being sore AF today!

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

Run Chicago

Run Chicago

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!! Last weekend I ran the second leg of the Chicago half marathon series and man was it epic. Two things can totally make a race. 1.) Perfect weather 2.) Epic swag/bling. This race had both. Granted, it was really hot and humid halfway through, but it was much better than the rain they had predicted! Although my time was one of my worst (thanks whiny hamstring tendon), it’s officially one of my favorite races. I mean, it’s not everyday where you can run down the middle of Lakeshore Drive for miles.

It all started with the race expo being at Soldier Field. Helllloooo free samples galore. I met up with my fav running buddy after I picked up my packet and we went from booth to booth picking things up and buying matching “Run Chicago” bracelets…because…obviously. You can find them here!

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Once we stocked up on our samples and race gear, we headed out to carb-load. Hellloooo Noodles & Co. We had to uphold tradition. Although races are always early, this one is particularly early. Brutal. Both of us were already envisioning that finish line and those HUGE medals.

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We started in different corrals so after waiting in line for a last bathroom break, we split up and braced for the race to start! Luckily I remembered to switch up my playlist because as a runner, you eventually just want to claw your eyes out once you hear certain songs over and over again. Can anyone else relate? A playlist can definitely make or break my run. This time, I was totally spot on. Complete with The Weeknd’s new hit, some Katy Perry, Beyonce, Van Halen and others to mix up my run nicely…and you know…have that one super motivational song play right when you see the one guy loop around already and you’re only halfway through the course. #ImnotKenyan.

The last 5k was rough. I’ve been running a half marathon pretty much every other weekend for a little over a month now so my legs were just like, “girl…we’re about done.” Going around that last corner though only to see the finish line…oh it brought a tear to my eye…or maybe it was just more salty sweat stinging my eye…

There’s also so many perks spotting the camera dude right at the finish line. Flying race pic, HOLLLLLA.

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Then…the medals….this race has the biggest medals by far. You can eat your dinner off of them. And this time, since I finished the challenge, I got to snag a second kick-ass medal.

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I mean really, my neck was even starting to get sore. Epic and totally worth it. Both of us totally rocked that race and we vowed that we would enjoy every second on non-training in our near future.

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The soreness didn’t even fully settle in before we could say that we were signing up for the 2017 half marathon series. I highly recommend this series. Registering right away also means getting early bird pricing. WIN. The only thing I don’t look foward to is the ride home. At least I got a seat all to myself on the train….I’m sure it wasn’t because I smelled like roses post-half marathon. I always feel so accomplished after these races too – not just because of the massive Flav-a-flav bling, but because my Garmin clocked me in at burning over 2,600 calories. Yes, that means I can justify consuming all the things that night. Give me pumpkin spice lattes, pizza, chocolate chip cookies.

Annnnnd one more medal selfie to close. By design, I’d say these are my favorite medals aside from my Chicago marathon medal….because well #marathon. Duh.

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What’s your most coveted race medal or medal in general? Is there particular bling that shines above the rest?

Cheers!

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Racing Chicago

Racing Chicago

This weekend was an epic weekend of awesomeness that was full of meeting up with thousands of fellow runners for the Chicago Half Marathon. While I have quite a few half marathons and long distance runs under my belt thanks to marathon training, the anxiety was building just realizing that the next time I will be running a race in this city…it will be for the FULL Chicago Marathon. EEK. Shit just got real guys. This was my fav running buddy’s first half marathon so we prepped accordingly.

The first thing in order was packet pick-up at the epic expo they had. It was swag galore and one can never have enough swag. We got mugs, tech shirts, free samples etc. It’s the best way to get the hype built up until race day.

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After we snagged our stuff and scoped out all of the different sponsors and vendors there, we carb-loaded. Obviously. We went to Noodles & Co. for some penne pasta with chicken and feta. I shoveled it all into my mouth. #noregrets.

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Once we filled our stomachs with all the yummy things, we snagged ourselves some lattes, headed home and started to wind down so we could actually have a chance at getting up at the ass-crack of dawn. Seriously, the things runners go through….Netflix, lattes and tea in our badass mugs happened.

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Once it hit our bedtime…we had to set our alarms so we’d be out of the door by 3:30am…yes you ready that right…being a runner pretty much forces you to become a morning person. We were up and munching on energy chews right when people our age are just getting home from bars. #runnerlife

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Unfortunately we were split up when we had to get into our corrals, but we were both pumped to finish this race so we could get that bling and umm…nap. Over 13,000 runners united for this run and it was awesome. One thing I have to say though was that the volunteers and spectators cheering us all on throughout the WHOLE course were the best. I loved reading all of the signs and hearing all of the cheering. I even stopped my playlist for a bit so I could get amped up just by their support alone! Some of my favorite signs were as follows:

  • Run faster, I just farted.
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, you’re a 13.1
  • Touch here to Power up (points to a shirtless photo of Adam Levine)
  • Run faster so the zombies won’t catch you!

I happened to be right in front of a lot of the photographers too throughout the course so I can’t wait to look at those disaster photos. Especially at mile 12. I lose all realization as to what kind of facial expressions I’m making by then. I haven’t even attempted to look at the photos from the CARA 20-Miler from last week. Because why? I’m sure I look like Courtney Love on her worst day, although at mile 18 I could only wish for an excessive amount of drugs to numb the soreness in the lower half of my body.

Once I hit the finish line though, it was a MADHO– USE. There were so many people finishing at the same time, the only way to know where to pick up your medal was to listen to the huge things clink and clank together. It was all so worth it though. Ignite the runner’s high.

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I was bummed that I couldn’t see my friend finish since it was just so crowded, but once she did, I was SO proud of her. Finishing your first half marathon is no joke. However, the size of these medals definitely was.

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Once we separated ways, I couldn’t wait to shower and relax for the rest of the day….even though I kept on thinking about how the marathon was so close and analyzing what or how I should change my routine for marathon day. I PRed for this race which was way faster than my goal pace for the marathon. I need to add on at least another minute and a half to my time so I conserve enough energy for the marathon. It’s pretty much the hardest thing for me.

My mom like I’ve said before is one of my biggest cheerleaders and got me this awesome medal rack. Once I got it home I couldn’t wait to hang it up in my office.

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This week will be the very last full week until marathon week and I’m sure everyone around me wants to strangle me talking about it so much.  What if i injure myself just halfway into the race? What if I miss my alarm? What if I eat something bad the night before? What if I forget to pack something? What if my playlist is just all off? What if I die?

I know this is highly unlikely, but hey I love to be dramatic in times like these. I officially got my participant packet/ticket in the mail…it’s go time. No turning back. My fundraiser goal is just about met and I’m tapering like a pro….it’s happening.IMG_2464

 

Cheers!!

 

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