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The Runner High

The Runner High

Today is Sunday Runday! Also, RACE DAY. It’s been way too long since I posted (sorry…life happens and I don’t have time to write about it.) BUT I’m trying to get back into the swing of things and why not start with a post after my first half marathon of the year?! HOORAY! Although, it was a rough month of training and it led to a ton of pre-race day anxiety. For whatever reason, I’ve had this really odd stomach bug that made my stomach spasm randomly and made me not want to eat ANYTHING. So odd. My energy level was totally fine, no other symptoms. So needless to say, between traveling for work and dealing with this stomach issue, training was rough. That’s the last thing you want to have happen the last few weeks leading up to the race.

That being said, Saturday was packet pick-up and it heightened my anxiety to an all-time high. I couldn’t even eat normally so how the hell was I going to get through 13.1 miles? Challenge accepted. It helped that the hubs had my back for this one. He actually got up at 4:30am with me. He’s definitely not a morning person, so major hubs points were earned.

Stomach issues aside, at least the weather was absolutely perfect. Overcast, slightly cool with a light breeze…and of course…an epic playlist queued up. Everything from Beyonce to Metallica.

Even though I was battling some pretty bad stomach issues, I didn’t stray from my race day routine. This includes:

  • Carb-load with pasta enriched with protein topped with turkey meatballs for dinner (yum).
  • Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more.
  • Mix up that playlist for some fresh tunes.
  • Charge the Garmin and wireless earbuds. (I’ve had to run a half in silence…no…it’s not fun.)
  • Prep the peanut butter and toast for race morning.
  • Hit that bathroom before heading to the corral!! (You’ll be sorry).
  • Stash toilet paper in your gear check bag (again if you don’t, you will definitely be sorry).
  • STRETCH.
  • Have a hydration plan throughout the race. (map out water stops or have it on you).

As everyone got into their corral, it looked like it was about to rain, luckily for us…it didn’t. Phew.

Once we got started, I have to say those first couple of miles felt like they took FOREVER. And if you’re a runner, you know that those beginner miles are always lying little bitches. Stay focused, it will get better.

At least it did get better for a little bit. I mean, while you have Bruno Mars blasting through your ear buds and you’re enjoying the view of Chicago’s beautiful skyline…how can it not? Well at around mile 8, my stomach started to spasm again like it had been for the past week. (Queue internal scream). I slowed the pace a little and luckily, it started to settle. This race was a challenge and with each mile marker, I knew I was that much closer to victory…and that damn medal.

Although my stomach was acting up, I never stopped once. I hydrated with water and Gatorade…and crossed that finish line strong. Hollllaaa!!! VICTORY.

Crossing that finish line is something that all runners crave. The line that separates them from meeting their goals. When it’s crossed, it’s that euphoric feeling of “holy shit I was in so much pain and now…this feeling of finishing 13.1 miles and this shiny medal makes it all worth it.”

I met up with my running bestie afterward and of course took several, mandatory post-race pics.

Another awesome thing about finishing a half marathon is that you can eat whatever the helllll you want for the rest of the day. I mean come on, when my Garmin says I burned 2,005 calories….you better believe this girl is not going to turn down some yummy food.

NOM.

Also, I look forward to secretly wearing my OOFOS sandals at work tomorrow. #dontcare #tryandstopme.

Recovery mode, engage.

 

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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Run to Remember – Race Day with Volition America

Run to Remember – Race Day with Volition America

Another start to another week! Let’s recap yet another race weekend shall we?! This one was really special and dear to my heart. #wearblue

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Yesterday I had the honor of running the second leg of my half marathon challenge with Volition America. This second half was even more special because of remembering 9/11.

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It’s always a reminder that freedom is certainly not free and it was a REALLY emotional race. By the second mile, an amazing organization, Wear Blue: run to remember, setup photos along the course of those who have lost their lives serving our country. I don’t know what came over me, but I was crying my eyes out looking at these photos. Then participants of the organization held American flags as we ran by. I felt like hugging each and every one of them. It was such a powerful few minutes to reflect…and understand that these men and women have sacrificed everything for our country. Also, running and crying…not so easy.

To rewind at the start line, my wireless earbuds decided to not work. So…that meant running 13.1 miles WITHOUT music. And while it was brutal, I took it as a sign that I needed to really pay attention and reflect on what this day meant…ESPECIALLY after taking in that line of photos. It made me attention to things that I normally wouldn’t down to each breath! The weather was perfect, but by the end of the race that sun was SO unforgiving. I was so happy to see that finish line! Give me ALL the salty things and electrolytes. My hamstring is definitely not happy with me so I’ll be taping it up and stretching it err’day so I don’t really injure it again. Another half is in two weeks! I know, I’m all sorts of cray.

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The worst part about races is the long drive home. I feel like I need a hip replacement each time. #runnerproblems. But hey, medal Monday! Bling-a-bling-bling! I can’t wait to run with Volition America again. They stand for such a great cause.

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I hope everyone else had a great weekend and Monday! As for me…helllooo recovery day, also I tend to justify eating like crap the day after because well…I DID burn over 2,000 cals….don’t judge. Give me all the carbs.

 

Cheers!

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Weekend Recap: Fort 2 Base Race…I survived Hero Hill

Weekend Recap: Fort 2 Base Race…I survived Hero Hill

This weekend was nothing short of jam packed full of festivities. I feel like this will be the race that keeps on giving thanks to the hilly course. Sore everything. Can’t I just have a recovery day and work from my bed? Linking up with Biana today!

On Saturday the hubs and I went to a preseason game and while our Bears lost, we still enjoyed the sunshine and overpriced beer. Carbloading like a champ on game day.

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It was supposed to be storming all day…but ummm…well the sunshine was out and I even got a sunburn to prove it. I really think if I were to have a career change, I would choose to be a meteorologist. You don’t have to be right. Ever. This was the “storm” we had to suffer through. LOL.

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I can’t wait until the regular season starts! Although I’ll enjoy the warmer games while I can. December games in Chicago? YEESH. Frozen beer, frozen fingers. The Bears aren’t looking so great this year, but I still have faith!!

 

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The only thing that got on my nerves were a bunch of other 20-somethings seat-hopping. The hubs and I got up during halftime to get some food and by the time we got back to our seats, some other dudes were in them. Zero time for that shenanigans. This happened at least four other times to people in front of us too. #annoying. We didn’t let it ruin our fun though. We didn’t even let the Bears losing ruin our fun. We scored ONE touchdown. That’s all I wanted bahaha.

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After the game I realized how awfully dehydrated I was which is no bueno the day before an 11.5 mile race. The messed up thing was that pop was just as expensive as a medium pop….$5 for a bottle. Insanity.

Once we got home I followed tradition with a pasta dinner, polished my playlist, and went to bed super early for my 3:30 a.m. wake-up call. Why do I keep on doing this to myself? (I always end up asking myself this, and yes I keep on doing it). I don’t know about any other runners out there, but I tend to sleep like crap the night before a big race.

What was even more amazing though was my sister agreeing to tag along to cheer me on! I love my big sis. She’s the best. Really. The Fort 2 Base race is such a great experience though. Those who were running the 10NM race (equates to 11.5 land miles) started at Fort Sheridan and ran to the Great Lakes Naval Base. My granddad was a Marine so I OORAHED throughout that whole race, especially when I saw active or veteran Marines on the course. It was such an honor. They were even along the sidelines cheering us on throughout the whole race and especially when we got closer to the base. At the very end, they have what is called “Hero Hill” and let me tell you…it took EVERYTHING I had left in me. It was the steepest hill I ever ran up and after running through 10 miles of 100 million percent humidity…man it was brutal. But with the help and cheers of active service men and women….I pushed my hardest and crossed that finish line. Hallelujah!!!

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Give me water, give me electrolytes, give me all the salty things. Seeing my sister there at the finish was the best. She’s my biggest supporter hands down. She ran up to me armed with my peanut-butter filled pretzels and water.

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After I salted and hydrated up, a selfie session ensued (of course). I pushed my body SO hard during this race and I have zero regrets. The perfect way to end a race. WINNING.

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I ended up burning 1,800 calories during this race so I equate that to me being able to eat/drink whatever the hell I want for the remainder of the day. Starbucks here I come!

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Needless to say, the latte did not interfere with me totally passing out on the couch when I got home. Perfect way to end a Sunday right? One race down and a few more to go!! My next half marathon will be on September 11th honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in addition to those who are still active and veterans. It’ll be an emotional race, but again, I’m so honored to take some out of my day to stop and appreciate those who put their lives on the line for our freedom. Now it’s time to prep for the work week ahead. I can’t even believe Labor Day is right around the corner!! Let me tell you, I can’t wait for big sweaters, jackets and boots. Yep I said it. I’m still debating when it would be socially accessible to wear my new boots….tomorrow? Please say yes. πŸ˜€

Cheers!!

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