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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!

 

 

 

Christmas Time is Here!

Christmas Time is Here!

So many good vibes this weekend. First, the weekend kicked off with a ladies day/night full of Christmas shopping and seeing Hamilton. I’ve been DYING to see this production and it was nothing short of amazing.

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It was unlike any other musical I’ve seen. My sister, mom and I were laughing and crying by the end of the play. I love the city during this time of year too. Everything is lit up and looks so magical. And I must say, the Broadway tracks that I’ve streamed just don’t have the same swagger that this group had, although it’s still amazing. The mix tape version with artists doing covers of these songs has also been on repeat! Ugh can I PLEASE see this play again without spending a million dollars?

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Going to dinner at the Walnut Room at Macy’s is another tradition that we had to fulfill. There’s nothing like dining around a beautiful Christmas tree to get you even more into the Christmas spirit!! I still can’t believe that the holiday season is officially in full swing. Sparkles are everywhere!

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While the holiday season is defined by spending time with your friends and family, going to holiday parties, sharing laughs and making memories, the copious amount of calories that lurk around every corner is dreadful. There is absolutely no room for excuses when it comes to workouts during this time of the year. If I indulge in a fancy-pants holiday cocktail or a couple of homemade Christmas cookies, you bet my ass will be at the gym err’day.

Not to mention that I got my Christmas party dress in already and I have ZERO room for weight gain. It’s beautiful and it just might be motivation enough for me to turn down my mom’s snickerdoodle cookies. Maybe…

Since I’ve been on my A-game with Christmas shopping (celebrate the small victories) I’ve spoiled myself with a few goodies since I’m feeling like these holiday deals this year are just too good to pass up. This is the time of year where I usually stock up on some more pricey items or if I want to try something new (hellloooo Sephora holiday kits). I think I’ve finally found a winner when it comes to dry shampoo too, I’ll let you guys know how it is once it delivers. I decided to tryout Living Proof’s perfect hair day dry shampoo. My hair is always a mess after I workout so this will be a total game changer if it lives up to the hype. No one has time for two showers in one day. Also, those who are unaware of Nike’s rose gold collection…omg. I don’t know about anyone else, but I need rose gold everything. I fell in love with these Nike Free TR 6 trainers.

 

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Although my feet don’t really like Nikes for long distance runs, they’re great for training and speedwork. Sunday marked Chicago’s first snowfall too so I have a feeling I’ll be spending more time at the gym working on weights. I always slack on my weightlifting during the warmer months because well….who wants to stay inside of a stuffy gym when you could be running around outside in the sunshine? The first snowfall also motivated me to finally breakout all of the holiday decorations. Nothing gets me in a better mood than decorating the Christmas tree.

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What kind of fitness gear is on your Christmas list?! 

Cheers!

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Get Healthy, Stay Healthy!

Get Healthy, Stay Healthy!

You know on some days you would think spring is here in Chicagoland, but then you get a week like this one and you’re back running in cold gear! Last week I ran my very first race since I injured my hamstring tendon. To say that this was a HUGE milestone would be an understatement. Up until race day I was hobbling home in pain after just 3 miles. This race was 6.5 miles and while I of course had to compromise my pace a little, I ROCKED it. I was so happy. The only thing that was a little sad was the size of the medal. Bahaha. Hey, runners love their bling.

I was so happy to share the moment with my fave running buddy.

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The day after was an even better reason to celebrate since I didn’t have any post-race pain, just the nice sore feeling of burning so many cals. That being said, half marathon training needs to be kicked into high gear now that it’s April and my first half of the running season is May 22nd. Eep! Balancing training and the new job is definitely proving to be a challenge, but while my workouts have been a little inconsistent, my diet and hydration needs to be on point. Also, the best part about my new gig is that instead of taking the elevator, I take the stairs. Did you know just 10 minutes of walking up stairs can burn around 100 calories for someone who weighs about 160lbs? 10 MINUTES. Even better, my building has its own gym on the first floor.

It’s so easy to get sidetracked when you have such a huge life change like getting a new job, but I’m slowly getting back on track. Some ways I’m making sure my training won’t suffer AND so I won’t injure myself again:

  • Keeping my huge water bottle at my desk and keeping it by my side as I go from meeting to meeting. Staying hydrated while race training is a must!
  • Don’t over train. Just because a day was missed, don’t double up the next day and tear up those muscles beyond repair. Train smarter, not harder.
  • Like I said, take the stairs when you can. If you’re only going up two or three floors…TAKE THE STAIRS. It’s a mini workout that really pays off if you think about going up and down those stairs at least twice a day.
  • Cut small corners when you know you have a really busy day. I.e. take the stairs, skip the dessert for some fruit and get up and walk around during your break. Don’t obsess over every calorie (that’s silly) but these little changes will amount to a big one!
  • STRETCH. After going through so much physical therapy for my hamstring tendon, I’ll definitely never skip another pre-workout or post-workout stretch. Not stretching will definitely bust up my training plan if I don’t stretch properly when I do cardio. Again, train smart!

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Nutrition really is key and I always have an emergency/quick snack on me so I don’t have to go for something that will throw me off track. Some dry roasted almonds or Greek yogurt are my go-tos. I’m constantly out and about so the ability to just throw a healthy snack in my bag and go is a must. I’m teaming up with Chobani in their mission to promote healthy living! In celebration of Chobani’s Simply 100 Crunch line, they’re encouraging everyone to “crunch the numbers” by dedicating themselves to living a healthier life. Here are some great ways to burn 100 calories even during the work day! (Graphic courtesy of Chobani).

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How am I going to stay healthy so I don’t land myself back into physical therapy? I’ll have to keep reminding myself that I just won’t be able to PR for quite some time or else I’ll be back at square one again with my injury. Just try and tell a runner to slow down her normal pace…it’s not easy, but it must be done! The exciting thing is that there are running trails around my new office building and my coworkers are ALSO fellow runners. Although I’m still too busy to leave the office to go for a run in the middle of the day, it’s still an option! I just can’t wait until the warm weather is here to stay so I can…..

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How are you committing to staying fit and healthy? Join the challenge!

Cheers!!

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Fat to Fit: More Gym & Less Tonic

Fat to Fit: More Gym & Less Tonic

So I was reading Kathy’s awesome sauce blog of course at More Coffee, Less Talky, and was inspired to finally do a little update post….you know since this is more of a fitness/lifestyle blog even though a snap of my wine addiction or indulging in too many carbs may sneak in here and there.

I was going through my photos and BOOM exactly from almost one year ago today…I saw a photo that I just could NOT unsee. Now I started a healthier lifestyle back in college as some of you have known and got more into fitness bla bla bla. HOWEVER what I failed to notice after getting married….was that I let some of that weight creep back on. Okay not some, like A LOT. Seeing that was my “oh fuck no” moment. My “no more excuses” moment. My “bitch stop saying this is your cheat day when EVERYDAY has been a cheat day,” moment.

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See that there? That in my hand is some G&T…since then…I incorporated A LOT more GYM and a lot less tonic. See what I did there? Eh??

This is another gem that I found last year a couple of months earlier. HELLO holiday weight gain. You found me….and my gut.

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Now this might seem like a whole lot of bodyshaming, BUT when you’ve worked so hard only to go back to a very unhealthy version of yourself, some harsh reality needs to settle in. It’s a great reminder that it’s so easy to fall back into bad habits and correcting them is the key!

SO since then I jumped back on the wagon and stomped on the last Christmas cookie before my mouth could find it. Fitness is about 80% what you put in your body, folks. Hate to say it.  Ever since then, I’ve made smaller and healthier choices, limited eating out and due to running so much I just naturally ended up drinking more water and avoided alcohol to avoid getting dehydrated during my morning runs. So this happened.

Excuses are so easy too. Believe me, I’ve come up with most of them. “I’m tired. I worked all day. I’m too tired to cook. I’ll kill it at the gym tomorrow. Just one slice of pizza won’t hurt. Just one more glass of wine.”

The excuses slowly came to a stop, I’ve been focused on my goals…and well now this is a body I can be proud of. It’s a work in progress and I’m headed in the right direction.

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I’m proud of it because it says that I’m starting to treat it right, rather than like a trash can. I’ve been up every single morning despite my hamstring injury and working around it. No excuses. No shakes. No special pill. No special diet. No crazy cleanse. Just real food and some hard work at the gym.

Some easy changes I made:

  • Stop eating out (like stop it completely…controlling what is in your food is the most important thing to do) Plus it saves money!
  • Stop rewarding yourself with food…because really, are you a dog? Nope. If you hit a fitness goal, reward yourself with a mani/pedi, a new outfit, etc.
  • Eat on a smaller plate. It tricks the eye into thinking you grabbed more, when really, it’s less.
  • Keep your healthy lifestyle in full gear by staying focused on it every single day. Read a health article in the morning, don’t skip your scheduled workout, get a workout buddy that has similar goals.
  • Accept the fact that not everyday will be perfect. Some days you might slip up, you might not workout as hard as you wanted, but HEY there’s always tomorrow and you got this. It doesn’t mean you failed.
  • Sticking with raw foods is always a safe bet. When grocery shopping avoid the center aisles like the plague…or say…the Kardashians.

Oh and do it for the #@%^ shit you got hot. HA.

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Cheers!

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