Tuesday, August 30, 2011

An ode to bloggers + Giveaway Winner

I was thinking the other day on how my running has become more enriched through the wonderful world of blogging:
  • #1 purpose of starting the blog was to hold myself accountable, which it has. Not only do I feel pressure to do what I say I am, but also to keep up with my fellow peers, so THANK YOU for unknowingly helping me to not only check in with my progress, but also to push myself! 
  • In the process of meeting some of you! Its so fun to go to a race and know you are either going to finally put a live body to a blog, or see a familiar face! I've met a TON of Half Fanatics / 50 staters for group photos, AND finally am meeting some of my fellow bloggers.
  • Right now I've met up with Rebecca from 50 half marathons 50 states and her sister L at a few races. I had the pleasure of running alongside her at the  Disney Princess 1/2 (which helped me tremendously from walking due to IT band pain), and am planning on staying with her and her sister for the lovely grand state of RI in October.
Bs & Ls @ Kansas - Wickedly Fast 1/2- I swear I'm not a GIANT, they are all just short haha
Me and B w/ Pocahontas 

A bunch of Disney Princes?

Pirates of Carribean
  • After the princess 1/2 I randomly met Jill from Run for the Hills at the baggage claim waiting for my luggage- we chatted for a bit and she is in the process of potentially joining my Ragnar Relay TN team *fingers crossed*
  • Over the next 3 weeks I have a blogger meet up potentially planned each week to meet more 'virtual friends!'
    • Ashley from Redonkulous Runner and I are FINALLY meeting up for a run. We probably live maybe 15 min from one another and agreed we'd do a "fun run" together next week. 
    • Julia from Pain Pride Perseverance lives in Utah, but will be back home in Louisville Ky (my home away from home) and wants to do a meet up next weekend with us "southerners": Kelsey @ Go Girl, Ashley again from Redonkulous Runner, Vanessa @ Gourmet Runner, and Stephanie (don't know her blog..... yet!)
    • Lastly the following weekend (9/16-9/18) I will be traveling home to pace my brother for the Air Force 1/2 marathon, his FIRST HALF MARATHON!!! Either at the expo, or before the race start, which i hear is breath taking, I'll have the opportunity to meet Jill from Life... as I see it! I'd also like to point out that every Friday Jill hosts a "Fitness Friday Blog Hop"- doing this is how I came across Julia's, Kelsey's, and Vanessa's blog- i.e. you find a lot of great blogs that way! 
So I'd LOVE to hear how has blogging impacted your running, or social well being?!?'

Lastly, the winner from my pay-it-forward book giveaway is....

email me your address or I can bring to you at race, let me know what works best! 

Randomly enough, I was one of the lucky winners of her Moeben Arm Sleeves last week, guess i really am 'paying it forward' haha. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Last day for giveaway

Just a reminder:
Tomorrow is the last chance for my Pay It Forward Book giveaway!

I'll choose a winner Monday evening :) 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fitness Friday- Shoe rotation

Rotating you shoes during training??!?! 
I've been told its beneficial if you do an evening run followed by a morning run, or 2 runs in 1 day due to the foam in your shoe not having enough time to bounce back to absorb all the shock. HOWEVER, if you have more than 24 hours between runs, that its not necessary. Some people like to have a few shoes so their foot can learn to adapt to different designs as well (or some I'm told)

What are your thoughts?!?!
I have 3 pairs of shoes:
I've had these since March, however due to poor training on my part, they only have 250 miles on them. They're a stability shoe and until recently I did everything but speedwork in them. Lately I've been noticing they were a little heavier than I would have liked, so I went to Fleet Feet and asked if they had a lighter stability shoe which brings me to. 

I've only ran about 5 runs in these. Although its offers some stability with the lightweight feel of a minimalist shoe, my knee has been bothering me (coincidence??) so I haven't done longer than a 5.5 mile run in them- tomorrow morning will be the test. If they work out, I'm looking forward to racing in them, if not, I can always go back to the trusty Guide 4,5,6,7 etc 

Got these for Christmas, but since it forces you to midstrike, I can't run over 6-7 miles in them without my calves hating me the next day. I save these shoes for speedwork or a quick 3-4 miles. These are perfect for when the weather cools down and I can go on a 3 miler during my lunch break. I'm amazed at how much faster I am in them. I'll be sad when they wear down, because @ $175 a pop, I will not be buying these again. 

So coming full circle: Even though I have 3 pairs of shoes, none of them are rotation shoes... yet. I love how I can trust my guides, I just wish they were lighter. I Love love love how lightweight the mirages are, but since they are for slight pronators, I'm scared they don't offer enough support and I'll revisit ITBS all over again. This brings me to my ultimate question I'm curious from you all:
If you do rotate shoes, do you buy 2 of the same pair to keep it consistent, or do you just buy two different shoes but with the same structure, i.e. in my case, stability shoes?!?!

New to Fitness Friday?!?!?
Link up from Jill @ Life.... As I see it

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tangent Thursday (bc sometimes, 3 isn't enough)

1. My new Triathalon skirt came in the mail on Monday and I went on my first run in it yesterday
Aside from it creeping up a little in the caboose (i wear compression shorts under so no flashing) it worked out great. The main difference b/n a triathalon skirt and a regular running skirt is that it doesn't have built in bloomers and there is a pocket on just one side of skirt vs. both. Considering I always wear shorts under skirts anyway+ the amount of money you save $42 tri skirt vs. $58 running makes it well worth only having 1 pocket. For races I use a spi belt anyway!

2. Yesterday's run was also the first "relaxed" run I've done since my Sunday Funday run with B back in January where time wasn't an issue and we just had fun taking pictures. Since joining a 'non competitive' Ragnar team for Tennessee Ragnar in November, I decided I need to start learning to relax and have fun. My first mile of my 5 mile run was 8:08... clearly I have a hard time relaxing, so I turned off my Garmin and broke out my camera to keep me occupied. I realized there isn't much excitement on my route to capture, but I did get these little guys
I tried to get my foot in the photo to show how close I was, but I failed. 
3. This week I've been experimenting with smoothies for breakfast as an easy way to get in protein  and keep me full.
Tuesday: Strawberry Smoothie (frozen strawberries, vanilla soymilk, banana, vanilla designer whey, ice)- failed to keep me full for very long
Wedenday: Green Smoothie (spinach, vanilla soymilk, vanilla designer whey, pineapple, banana) the recipe also called for mangos, but I didn't have a random mango around, plus- YIKES with all that sugar- super sweet, was hungry 1.5 hrs later. 
Thursday: Chocolate Peanut butter Smoothie
Vegan chocolate protein (hemp basically- high in omegas and I don't eat seafood, so thought I'd try it), chocolate soy milk, natural peanut butter, little bit of vanilla designer whey since the hemp protein was only 11g. I was determined to make this one good, so I ended up also adding some natural cocoa and cinnamon for flavor. The taste- excellent at first, but after taste of cereal?!?!? It might be the hemp protein, + natural peanut butter- I'll try it with another chocolate protein soon. The good news is that it kept me FULL. I sipped this from 9:30-10:30.... its 12:45 and I'm still satisfied- ding ding ding we may have a winner. 
what are some healthy smoothies that taste good and keep you full?!?!

4.  I'm working on how to be crafty. The other day I said I wanted to make my own bottle cap magnets similar to this:

So far I have 4- trial and error to learn how much polyurethane to use... so now I know for future. Excited to decorate my desk with my photos using my magnets!
Also this morning I decided to see if I could somehow figure out how to wear a $3 thrift store dress find while in Pennsylvania mom bought me. I should have take a 'before' photo of what it looked like but since I didn't I'll just say that it had sleeves to elbows and the neckline went literally to the base of the neck. Since the fabric was hard to work with, my cutting straight ability failed, but I think the end product (turning it into a skirt) ended up alright
fashionista in training. 

5. Yesterday I awoke with a comment from Jill @ Life...As I see it that I was one of the winners of her Moeben are sleeves giveaway. Yay!
Which brings me to closing up...
Have you entered my Pay It Forward giveaway yet? You can leave a comment HERE which automatically enters you. Deadline Mon 8/29! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Team Honey Badger!!!

I cannot express to you how excited I am right now. Last year I ran the TN Ragnar Relay, which was my first Ragnar / relay experience. Although this was before I got knee deep into running, I LOVE IT. You can read about it HERE and HERE (these were some of my FIRST blog posts, so apologize if its poorly written) 

I signed up a few months ago for the Vegas Ragnar Relay so I could run another relay with one of my best friends Scott and a few of the other guys that were on our team

The company I work for, Healthways, started and sponsors the TN Ragnar, so there is constant reminders that its coming up. I told myself that while I'm trying to complete a 1/2 in every state, I would limit my races to not do repeat races to save money.... and my legs. 

Well today at work is "Workout Wednesday" which means you can wear workout gear to work, in hopes you'll take advantage of walking outside, renting a bike out to go riding, or take advantage of some of the pilates or yoga classes offered. (Personally I don't do much during the day in summer, but it makes it convenient for running immediately following work)
Yay for new triathalon skirt!!! 
While in my Dave Ramsey class, one of the facilitators commented on 'Fleet Feet' and how the Nashville branch endorses the Financial Peace Program and makes all their employees go through it---thought that was kind of neat. Knowing that Healthways sponsors Ragnar, he started asking everyone who was participating. 

 A few weeks back I wrote about how one of the guys, Chris, told me there might be an opening on his team and asked if I was interested- originally I told him I had a back to back that weekend (Oklahoma and Texas- which has now fallen through) So the point of the story..... there are 3 of them on the same team in my class and they were discussing how they needed one more person- guess i'm that lucky person

So I said yes! 
  • No race entry since they won a free one
  • Being in Van 2 again means that we can drive to Chattanooga early Friday morning so we save on hotel! 
  • We have weekly meet ups after work to go running with one another- new friends to be made!
  • I don't know if this is a plus or minus, BUT right now our team average is 11 min / miles (what??) so this will be more of taking photos and really enjoying the run vs. racing the clock

Our team name.... Bad A** Honey Badgers
For those who may not have seen the you tube video- I took the liberty of including it below. 

I love making new running friends...( what blogger doesnt???) So I'm looking forward to meet people outside my department who all share the love of running!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Who moved my cheese?!?!

Its my rotation to work this upcoming Saturday which meant I had yesterday off. Since the weather was lovely I decided to be pool side for a few hours....
Yes those are super handy flamingo clips to keep your towel in place
The only thing that could make this setup complete was a good book. I just finished reading then watching "The Last Song", so I went through my roommates collection to see what I could find....

Earlier this month when I went to visit the Dave Ramsey Show HERE I remembered seeing this book in his gift shop, so I figured, why not?!?!

As the front of the book states, it basically teaches you how to recognize, adapt to, and enjoy change whenever it happens. Simple I know, but hard to do.  It uses 4 characters- Sniff, Scurry, Hem, and Haw to describe the 4 ways most people react to change. Change for them being that the cheese they hunt down everyday was always in the same spot, then it got moved in the maze and they have to track it down again. 'Cheese' being a metaphor for what it is you want in life.

The whole purpose of me sharing this with you, is its a HIGHLY effective tool that hundreds of companies have passed down to their employees so everyone is on the same page when dealing with change as it arises (which we all know the most constant thing in life is change)

So although I took some of these principles to heart with my current job, I started looking at it in terms of exercise- more importantly running.

I know there are a bunch of us in the running blog world that were once competitive athletes, myself included. Regardless of if your competitions ended after high school or if your 'career' finished when you graduated college, we've all changed since those days- mentally, physically, physiologically (i'm about 20lbs heavier than in hs 135lbs vs. 155lbs, others have had children etc)

Although majority of us recognize we can't compete at the same level of performance that we were once capable, we still beat ourselves down knowing we could probably do better.

For me, I ran cross country and track in highschool. Running a 20-22 min 5k, 60 sec 400, 2:25 800, or a 6 min mile were all times that came easy to me. The thought of reaching any of those times now is frankly laughable as I am not intensely training and my body is much different than when I was 14-18. Although its frustrating, rather than being a "HEM" and moping, complaining, and doing nothing about it but hoping things will change, I decided to train for a different distance- the half marathon. There was ZERO expectations going into my quest since I had no prior experience, and there is PLENTY of room for improvement with this distance.

This was my favorite quote in the book because I can admit I'm afraid of change. When it comes to my running, I'm almost afraid to pick a training plan to stick to in fear that I won't get better. So what I've been doing is just working out / running when its convenient or when I feel like it. If my times aren't improving than I just tell myself "well its not like I put a lot of effort into it" sad to admit but its true. 

With the decrease in humidity, its getting much more favorable to do outdoor runs. Starting in September I WILL choose or create an actual weekly plan to STICK TO so I can get better. 

Is there anything with your training that you're afraid of?

This story reminded me that although I'll probably never be able to be the runner I once was, I can turn myself into a different type of runner- more long distance- and be the type of runner I always thought I could never become----a marathon runner (eventually) 

* Don't forget about my Pay it Forward Giveaway. You have till 8/29 to enter!*

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pay it Forward giveaway!

Back in March I won the Pay  it Forward giveaway started by Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race via Stephanies blog @ Run to health.

Both stories, as expected, were extremely inspirational and made me feel that I have a lot to be thankful for by being healthy and not having to overcome some great obstacles that not only Matt Long had to face, but many of the athletes featured in 17 hours to glory. I like to find motivation in many areas, including books, and these 2 combos definitely helped me break down a lot of my own mental barriers that keep getting in the way of my training. 

Now that I'm FINALLY finished with both, its my turn to pass it along to one of my lucky readers!
All you have to do is let me know in one comment that you agree to do follow the rules (4th one won't apply to anyone just yet as I'm only the 3rd person in this giveaway)

1. Agree to pay it forward. When you're finished with both, send off to another blogger.
2. Before sending them off, write something motivating in each book
3. Email Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race when you post the giveaway so he can follow where it goes.
4. Once the book fills up with quotes, agree to mail it back to Jason. 

I'll announce winner 8/29!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fitness Friday- Finding your why?

Welcome to my first Fitness Friday Blog Hop!

A topic that I deal with often when it comes to fitness, or ANY type of health really, is finding your why. In other words what TRULY motivates you to be 'fit', to run races, lose weight etc etc. For those who don't know my background, I work as a health coach focusing on behavior change to allow people to accomplish their health goals. Although it is rewarding when you finally get through to someone, it gets old REAL quick when you deal with excuse after excuse on why something didn't get done. Generally it can all be summed up with one simple sentence- "You haven't found a good enough reason for you to continue to reach for your goals"

So what do I mean by the above statement?

99% of the time (statistic just made up but sounds pretty accurate to me) if I ask someone what motivates them to be consistent with exercise they answer the generic response 'to be healthy.' What I have found to be true most of the time is that your  first answer you give is never the real answer, its just what is normally accepted as a good reason to exercise. Also you can't measure 'to be healthy', it is an ambiguous statement because health in your eyes can be anything you want it to be, not clearly defined.

This is when I challenge someone- below is a summarized actual convo with an individual who gave the response that she wanted to exercise 'to be healthy' - it seems ridiculous to have to break it down like this, but I've found generally it takes a few tries to get the real answer- convo is condensed to get the point across...

Me: Why do you want to be healthy?
I: To feel better about myself
M: Why do you want to feel better about yourself
I: To increase my own self-confidence.
M: What do you think you would do differently with increased self-confidence?
I: I think once I'm comfortable with myself and my confidence is increased, then I would be able to attract a guy, I'm 30 years old, single, and I still do want to get married....
M: Ah, so exercise isn't necessarily about 'being healthy' to you, its more about getting to that point where you feel good about YOU and  once you're there, hoping that the opposite sex will notice your confidence as well and then finally land yourself a boyfriend / husband?
I: Never realized it, but yes, ultimately I guess thats why
(not every convo is as easy as this- normally it takes MUCH longer to get a reason, just used this one for a quick example)

So using this technique on myself on why I care about trying to do a 1/2 marathon in every state:
The reason I started is different from what keeps me going, which seems to be consistent with other people as well. 
The easy reasoning I would first tell people was "I'm young, single, no family started so might as well do something to make me healthy while getting to travel at the same time." 

The real reason I actually started which took me a long time to come forward and tell people:
I was at a point in my life where I felt like I don't have much to my name, I had no identity. I felt there was nothing 'great' about me that I could offer to someone. I would compare myself to others and get frustrated because yes I'm single- MAJORITY my good friends are either in a committed long term relationship, already married, and some starting a family. I felt behind in life and frankly I was jealous because they all had something I so desperately wanted. I needed to find something that I had that others would want, and eventually be jealous of me. I had already ran 4 1/2 mary's and 3 of the 4 were in a different state- I was slowly learning with each race how to run it smarter and faster- thus the idea was born to try to do one in every state. 

Shallow as it may seem- it was a REALLY good motivator for me- happy to report that it did work too. Now I was starting to get the "I wish I could do that..." speech from friends. 

Although it still motivates me to keep going, I've found that I've also transformed in the process- mentally, physically, emotionally.  I'm much more confident in my ability to see things through, to watch improvement in my body and my ability, and the best of all- I don't let things get to me as much. Running is a GREAT stress reliever! 

So I wanted to pose this question to all of you- by asking yourself 'why' a few times... what is your true motivation when it comes to working out? 

Maybe it really is to just be healthy, or maybe its something more, but I would love to hear what makes you tick. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chicago Rock n Roll 1/2 (Race Report)

State #19- Illinois

B and I decided to do this one since it was flat, a way to see the city, and a way to get another Rock n' Roll series under our belt to earn more bling with the Heavy Medals offered through RnR.

As with a lot of our larger races, we had a half fanatic meet up in front of the infamous 'bean' at 6am to allow time for people to get to gear check in and in their corral before the first corral start at 6:30 am.

B and I stayed at the Red Roof Inn downtown- it was by far the cheapest out of the other options, but we had to walk a mile to get to the bean and race start. I was really looking forward to getting my photo opp with the over-sized Marilyn Monroe, unfortunately its almost too big so its hard to get a descent picture.
B & I with Marilyn
Was debating on trying to 'look up her dress' but decided against it.

We left Marilyn and on our venture to the bean we ran into HF Jeff from Indy- he ran w/ us in Cinci, Kzoo, and then I had one extra race with him in Indy- luckily he knew where he was going and led us straight into Millenium park where we finally set our eyes upon the glorious landmark...

Half Fanatic photo- I hate being in the back 

Kissing the bean 

Dave Mari Sandwich! 

Everyone said their goodbyes and we head off with Nicole F and her cousin to point us toward the start (our photo was 1/4 mile from start) Part ways and make our LONG trek to find the bag check. There were zero signs as to where to go, so we kept trying to following people with bags and they all lead to a dead end. Surprisingly this was B and Is first time bag checking (I know crazy right?) so we had no idea what to expect. 

Since this is a larger race, they had it divided up by last name. Drop off was quick, but it was back tracking from the start line (drop off was near finish line) On our way making it to our respective corrals, we ran into Dave again...
This is our first attempt at being 'matchy matchy'
B and I part ways, she into corral 13, and me 11. I was surprised that putting 2 hrs put me all the way back at 11, but I told myself I was really going to attempt to take it easy. 
Start line from my corral
So as we're waiting for them to count down for the first corral, I"m situating my ipod and head phones.... MY IPOD IS DEAD- SeRiOuSlY?!?! It charged all night on my laptop! This is literally the 3rd race it happened. Luckily I have music on my phone and my iron man yur buds have an EXTREMELY long cord so I was able to have my phone nestled in my Spibelt while still being able to comfortably run and hear music.

Although the race announcers did count down for first corral, that was it, no other count down for other corrals which is different from the standard. I crossed start line about 4 min into the clock- crucial piece to pay attention to for this race....

Miles 1-3
Since I don't have a music playlist on my phone, I just started it on the first song and it went in sequential order- first few songs were slower which allowed me to go out at an even pace- UNFORTUNATELY within the first 1/2 mile we go through a tunnel, the first of many, and I lost my satellite reception, i.e. my splits were WAY off. At one point it said I ran a 7:15 mile- although I know I'm fully capable of running that fast for a mile or 2, I also know when I' AM  running that fast and I was no where near exerting that much energy. Great another race where my garmin is completely useless. 
stupid tunnels

Aside from this mishap, my body felt great. I was so nervous going into this race since earlier in the week my IT band started acting up, but so far, no signs of any pain or discomfort. Aside from the cool temps, 70s and low humidity, I was BURNING UP. I realized that the neckline of my shirt was higher than what I normally race in, so lesson learned for future- the more my neck is covered, the quicker I overheat. Once mile 3 hit I must have run out of fuel because suddenly I was STARVING. I was smart to pack along 2 gus this time around, so I told myself I would take it at a water stop b/n 4-5 miles. 

Miles 4-7
Only 2 notable things happened during this time frame- 1. around mile 5 my quads started spasming- it wasn't painful, just weird and uncomfortable... sometimes I just don't understand my body. Miles 6-7 a lot of time was spent running in parts where the streets were LINED with spectators. To me this is a love/hate relationship. I love it because it motivates me to really focus on form which naturally makes me go faster. I hate it because I end up going too fast, always sub 8, thus winded and have to walk. Right after mile 7 that is what i had to, walk.
I'd also like to point out that there were several spots, not just in between miles 4-7, that the stench of sewage permeated throughout the streets- gross.

Mile 8
Oh mile 8! This is where my IT Band decided to make its presence well known and my knee gave in. Its hard to describe the pain- it wasn't as sharp as before this past winter, it was more of a "my knee is too weak to handle this pressure and at any point I may tear some cartilage or ligaments" type of feeling. Its easy to push through the pain, but the fear of further injury forced me to take repeated walk breaks.

Mile 9-12
Not much to note here- my mind was focused on finishing the race sub 2, but without pushing myself too hard. My watch was finally synching with being 4 min behind the total time, and I was cutting it quite close to 2 hour mark.
Right before mile 10 I decided to text my mom about my IT band- she was tracking me and I didn't want her to freak out by seeing my pace getting slower and slower. At this point I realized during these miles that this race kind of sucks.

  • The scenery is NOTHING spectacular- you'd think running in this city would be cool, but frankly I don't want to stare at dingy buildings. 
  • its completely flat so there were no challenging parts to break up the monotomy- everyone I talked to that has done the course before me said "oh you' ll love it! its such a great easy course!" Ya it was easy, but at the same time, I don't do well when races are EXTREMELY flat- my body aches since uphills take pressure off joints and living in Nashville... lets just say unless you are at a park, it is IMPOSSIBLE to run 1 mile without hitting a big hill. 
  • race support was great on a few streets, but otherwise disappointing for a RnR- all other RnR races I've been to there was support the whole way... not that I need it, its just something I expect for the series. 
  • and to top it all of the stench was overpowering. No one should have to smell sewage when running. 

Around mile 11-12, they were handing out sponges- I've heard other races doing it, but yet to experience it... it.was.glorious! I poured it all over my back- that mixed with the spitting rain off and on since mile 5 caused me to be DRENCHED.
photo courtesy of Dave M

Mile 13-
A little before mile 13, I  pulled out my phone and put on the song right before my 'power song', Through the fire and flames, so that way by the time I was into mile 13 it would come on and I could pick up the last mile. Unfortunately, Sisqo's "Thong Song" is much longer than I anticipated, so it was several minutes into mile 13 before my song came on. I swear its gotten to the point where its like Pavlos Dog- instantly when my song comes on, my stride opens up and I go faster. The faster I go, the less my knee hurts.... strange but oh so grateful!

I'm literally racing the clock trying to get sub 2, however the finish line is one where you can see it in the distance for what seems like FOREVER before you actually reach it. Unlike your car side mirrors- the object is NOT closer than it appears.

Literally the entire last mile I was secretly hoping to beat this girl in front of me wearing a red and zebra striped skirt- it was awesome and I wish I would have found out where she bought it. Several other girls were dressed similar... all working for Dodge, one of the race sponsors
Thanks Nicole for taking this photo. You can see zebra print girl in far right. 

I wish I could say that I was victorious in passing Zebra girl, but sadly I was not. The whole last mile was a constant fast pace, so I had no juice left in me to kick it in. I did however run a 7:43 last mile, which allowed me to break 2 hours-
Official time 1:58:41- yay for finally making it back under the 2 hour mark!

Generally I like to get my photo after the race, but the lines were ridiculous so I just got my wet towel, my medal, and made way for the food.
Popsicles, oranges, granola bars, pretzels, water, cytomax (the tropical, not the gross lemon lime) were all that was offered. Severely disappointed in no bananas or bread.

Gear check was extremely disorganized and took forever, but once I got my bag I immediately stripped off my shirt and put on a dry one. I haven't been this sore after a race in a L-O-N-G time so I went off to stretch and call my mom. Within a few minutes the sky opened up and it started pouring and cooled off. Seriously its August, I shouldn't be cold in August! 

B called when she was finished and I got in line for gear check so she could get in and out faster than I did. Got some ice from the med tent for my knee, and on my way back to meet up with B I ran into Erin- a fellow Miamian who lived next door to me in the dorms sophomore year of college- small world
She lives in Cincy, and since everyone from Miami moves  to Chicago, she runs this every year and visits friends. 
Caught up with Erin for a few minutes and then met B back in front of the infamous fountain

Apparently B had similar views on the race as well- nothing spectacular, kind of boring, smelly, and equally as sore. We sound like a bunch of old bitter ladies haha.
Originally we had planned on having a beer and staying for musical guest Brett Michaels (who actually ended up cancelling his appearance) but the rain caused us to just call it a day and walk the mile home.

Rock on P.F. Changs dude
I believe this is my 3rd gecko photo
free massages using foam rollers- OUCH! 
On the trek home we did see a set of 2 stone walls with water flowing from them and pictures....

you're never too old to play with water!

it feels soooo good on your feet! 
We finally make it back to hotel and just lay in bed watching trashy tv for a few hours before we decide to shower and eat. 
All in all I'm glad we came, however if there were another race in Chicago I would probably have chosen that one. This didn't live up the RnR standards and since these are larger races, there NEEDS to be better organization. 

State #19 DONE!
Official Time- 1:58:41
Overall Place 3817/15259
Division 459/2488
Gender 1476/9480

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chicago RnR Pre-Race and Expo

B and I decided to play it smart as far as timing our drive so we wouldn't  have to do the 8.5 hour trip all in one chunk.
I have family in Indianapolis (4.5-5 hour drive from Nashville), so we decided to leave work early on Friday and stay with my aunt & uncle so we could arrive in Chicago on Saturday with room to spare before the expo closes at 5.
Friday night I decided to meet up with an old friend / co-worker / roommate, Heather, who I haven't seen in 3 years. I LOVE how traveling for runs has allowed me to reconnect with people from my past, who otherwise, I would have never had the opportunity to see / talk to.

B and I met Heather and her hubby up at an Irish pub for drinks, light dinner, and a LOT of catching up on the past few years.
Me, Heather, her husband Matt. 

After a few hours we parted ways and headed to the fam's house for some quality shut eye.

Showered, breakfast ate, packed and on the road by 8:30am CST to make the rest of the 3 hour trip to Chicago!

Pros and Cons of the Expo:

We'll start with Cons so we can end on a positive note:


  • the website didn't give detailed instructions on where to park, so we circled the building, McCormick place, about 3 times before we settled on an overpriced $19 parking garage. For those who may be doing this race, or another Chicago one in the future, park on the street and walk- no one should ever have to pay that much for 1 hour parking! 
  • McCormick place was HUGE, so it was quite a bit of walking before getting to the expo itself, but we finally did see the signs.

Theme of the race. 

  • Only one 'non slip' head band company- normally there are 2 or 3 to give you options. I was looking forward to buying a few, but alas, they were overpriced and decided to just forgo this round. 
  • Pretty standard same companies that are there, nothing too exciting- guess thats a sign you've been to a lot of expos. 

  • Quick packet pick up immediately upon entering the expo. I guess they could tell it wasn't my first rodeo because my guy didn't go through all the shoe tag info and emergency contact bib like normal (yay)
  • Once you got your race shirt, they allowed you to go to another table to exchange it if it was the wrong size... I forgot it was unisex, so mine was way too big and I was able to swap out!
  • not that many strollers! I normally stress out with large crowds little fun fact about me: my biggest pet peeve is slow walkers, however this expo it was well managed. 
  • I didn't let my spending go crazy-  I bought one bottle cap  running magnet, $3.50, from Lift your sole because I adore them and they are handy at work. I really need to learn how to make these so I can go crazy and decorate my whole desk area with them!
  • They had something new that I haven't seen at other RnR expos- the ability to take your photo with props and a green screen. Once they take the photo, you enter in your email address and they are supposed to email it to you. Although I got the email, it was just a link to their facebook page, and unfortunately B and I's combo pic isn't up yet.... instead you get a pic of 2 random girls with similar poses that B and I did - just visualize different faces...

  • Lastly, the amount of free swag was RIDICULOUSLY awesome: you can click on photo for larger view. 

Overall the expo was okay. Its rare I see something new, which isn't the expos fault. B and I had no agenda so we just browsed and stopped by every booth. Afterward we took the scenic route down Michigan Ave to our hotel- an extremely old Red Roof Inn. 

At check in the lady at the front desk asked if we had a preference on being on a lower level or higher level floor ****note for future- always saw LOWER and NOT near an elevator***** We were on the 15th floor and had to use the stairs up the 15 flights after our half mary when the elevators weren't working. As an added bonus our door was right next to the elevators and we could hear people all night long- yaaaaaaay. 

Our first night in Chicago we had our pre race dinner at an Irish Pub, Timothy O'Tooles- forgot how big Chicago portions were and over ordered- thus resulting in not being able to finish my food.
decided to share 'irish nachos' aka fries, melted cheese, bacon, scallions. We didn't realize how huge it was and barely put a dent in it. 

Grilled bbq chicken wrap w/ steamed broccoli- it was delicious 

Walked off my fullness by doing some shopping! Checked out Nike Town

It was absolutely HUGE inside- 3 stories

However it was ridiculously overpriced, so it was more browsing than anything. Afterward we went to TJ Maxx Home Goods and Marshalls- got a nifty glass turquoise lantern @ Marshalls on clearance for $3. NO IDEA what I'm going to do with it, but it was cute and cheap so it was a must. 

Afterward we decided to call it a night and were in bed by 7:30- it just so happened that Life as we Know it came on, and I watched the whole thing. Attempted to sleep by 10 but due to being next to elevator there was so much racket in the hall. I finally turned on our air conditioner, and although I was freezing, it buffered hall noise and I was able to get some shut eye around midnight or so!