Thursday, October 12, 2017

Chicago Marathon Recap

That was the word I chose at the end of 2016 to motivate me towards a better marathon in 2017.
If you are friends with me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, maybe you already know how my race went.

Race morning started off like any other, meeting friends in the corral and huddling for warmth. It was really cold at 7:30 and I was wearing a tank and thin arms sleeves. The race finally started for us at 8:45, 15 minutes late. I would stick with Kelly and Erica for almost the entire first half of the race. Kelly sped off first and Erica and I parted after mile 16 or so. 

But I digress. The three of us started off, mostly doing a 1:30 run, :30 walk and sometimes doing a 1:1 depending on the circumstances. There were some crazy grated bridges and photo ops that changed our pace from time to time.

By mile 3 I had already abandoned my arm sleeves, it got very warm very quickly. This look on my face pretty much describes my emotions for the entire race. At no point was I ever discouraged really, or in any pain that would take me out of the race.

We didn't start slowing down until the second half of the race, really. We got a much needed ice pop from a lovely little girl and her parents in the first half as well, and we slowed down a bit to eat them. This is when we started losing our 6:30 goal. The heat was slowing us down just enough.

At mile 12ish, we stopped to see the hubs, who had pretzels and Swedish fish. I was still feeling amazing, but my toe was starting to rub in my shoe and I felt like a blister was starting. I had to run in less than desirable shoes because my old ones were too old. I had purchased new ones with plenty of time to break them in, but they had a rough spot. By the time I figured this out, it was too late to get new ones so I wrapped my toe in a blister band aid. What I didn't realize was that the bandage pushed the bottom of my toe forward and it was rubbing. At this point I was still pretty ok, just a hot spot.

At mile 13, I got my first messages. They were both from my friend Nicky, who lives in Florida. I knew that there were more, but I only received those 2 at the time. I was looking forward to the rest at mile 20 or so. This was never to be, however, by the time I reached it, the sign had been removed and no messages were waiting for me. I got them in an email yesterday, though.

At mile16, the hubs met us again, this time with some Coke for Erica. We both drank some and continued on. I was starting suffer a lot more, and Erica soldiered on ahead of me shortly after. She wasn't feeling well, so she stuck to a badass power walk that I couldn't keep up with.

At mile 18, they began to open  roads. They were telling us to get up on the sidewalks, but there was no room. There were still crazy amounts of spectators at this point. I was still running a bit at this point, but soon that would become too much. My gait was suffering and my calf was starting to cramp up.

At no point did I ever consider quitting, but it definitely got ugly at this point. I was so worried about being swept, I definitely shed a few tears. 

I reached China Town, which I knew mean that I was almost done. All of the spectators and dancers were gone.

They were basically taking down the course ahead of me at this point. I was seriously worried! Would they let us get to the end and not finish? My calf had loosened but I was now walking only, and there were no more mile markers to gauge the distance by.  Because of the high building, gps at Chicago is a hot mess, and I hit 26.2 on my watch with over a mile to go.

They finally diverted us to a sidewalk to finish out the race. I was full on bawling now, I was so worried. Plus, I really wanted to take off my freaking shoes and hit a medical tent.

We finally turn a corner and there is the Finish! Look closely, though. It's fenced off! I was ok with this. I was finishing way past the cutoff, I just wanted my medal! We were diverted to the left, and given medals and a bottle of warm water. No mylar, no food. NO FOOD. It took me almost 8 hours and there was no food.
The volunteers were behind the finish line, loading grocery bags with the leftover food to take home.
We were diverted about a half mile (at least that's how it felt, might have been a quarter mile) away from the finish line, and our families. 
I was finally able to see a street sign to tell the hubs where to find me, and to cry about not having any food. He found an official who seemed shocked about the food, and got me a couple granola bars. Please note, we were also diverted away from any medical tents. 

The hubs brought me some chocolate milk, my Oofos, and a bandaid for my blister. This held me over until we got back to the hotel. The blister covers the entire bottom of my little toe, and extends under the nail. I am wondering if I will lose my first toenail over this!

So let's talk about the whole redemption thing. 
I did not get the time I wanted on the clock at the finish, that's for sure. 
I did not give up, I stayed strong, and finished with my head held high.
I trained my butt off, and was in far better shape after the race than last year. Well, besides this pesky blister, that is. 
Oh, and I've already committed to Marine Corps next year with MDA.
I raised $3400 for MDA.
I can walk without limping, and have been since Monday. 

I feel good about the race, and look forward to training for the 50K in May. 
Obviously, I need a new word for 2018, since I choose one every winter for the new year. 
Believe, Persevere, I Can, Redemption......

What should I use for 2018?
I am leaning towards determined, but I am definitely open to suggestions!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Chicago Marathon Flat Mama

I know I should probably be in bed, but I just got back from my MDA Team Momentum dinner (where I may have just committed to join their team for MCM 2018) and I had to get organized!

So without further ado....

Did I forget anything? I sure hope not! I do have a Mylar blanket for before the race, in case it's chilly or windy!

Here is the sherpa's bag of tricks..

Post race outfit....

I am attending a BibRave post race party.... can you tell? I have access to showers post race, thanks to MDA, but I packed some Shower Pills just in case!
I'll wear my race tee on Monday so that people can see why I'm soooooo slow!

Stay tuned for some awesome race pics tomorrow night or Monday morning!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Chicago Marathon Expo

Today I got to hang out with my buddies from I Run 4 Michael. It was legit one
of the best days ever. They were running late though, and the hubs had work calls to make, so I got me an Uber and hit the expo early.

Their system is amazing, y'all. When you enter, you give your booklet to a volunteer and they scan it. This tells them what table you need to go to. By the time you get to that table, another volunteer gives you the bib packet.
It was ridiculously easy.
You need to walk to the back of the expo to get your shirt.

A lovely runner took this pic for me!
I didn't really have time to do the whole expo. I'm going back tomorrow for that. I did stop at a few key places though...

I got my shirt, a free poster that I gave to my buddy (I'll get mine tomorrow), and my swag...

Stopped at the gear store real fast...

And then hit the Aquarium with my buddies...

A great day that isn't over yet. Tonight we take a crime tour with my friends that should be a great experience!

What is your favorite part of Chicago?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Touring Chicago Before the Marathon

I made it!

The hubs and I wanted to experience some of Chicago today, after being stuck on a plane and train all morning, so we walked to Navy Pier.

We went on the Ferris Wheel, had some treats, and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

I got the steps I needed for my Step Bet and got to see some of this amazing city before I have to hunker down and rest for the marathon!

What is your favorite part of Chicago?

Monday, October 2, 2017

Help Me Pick my Socks for the Chicago Marathon

This is important y'all. A girl has to look good when there are photographers present!
My shirt is from my charity, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and my skirt is one of the newest from Skirt Sports. It's hard to pick just the right socks!
I chose 4 that match the best. I have one that I like the best, but I'm curious what everyone else thinks!

Which one would you wear?

Friday, September 29, 2017

Prepping for Chicago with Oofos Project Pink OoCloogs

I received a pair of Oofos Project Pink OoCloogs as part of being a Bib Rave Pro (Ambassador) . Check out to read and write race reviews!

Oh my heck y'all, the Chicago Marathon is 9 days away! I am starting to prep for the big day, and will be getting my suitcase down later today! It's getting so real!

We have marked the map of the route so we know where our hotel is, I have printed out my 2 pace bands so I don't have to do math in my head, and my participant guide is ready to go.

So many important things go into planning for race day that it's easy to forget about *after* the race. That moment when you cross that finish line and get your medal is epic, but within minutes you start to notice every.single.ache.

That's why I'm packing my Oofos clogs in my carry on bag, along with my race gear. These puppies are not getting lost in transit.

I have had a lot of Oofos over the last few years, mostly the flip flops, but these are my absolute favorite so far! The Oofoam technology absorbs impact, softens your aches and pains, while allowing you to move like you normally do. Plus it has little breathy holes so that your feet don't sweat.


I have been wearing them after my long runs, and they are glorious.
Even better, $10 of every pair they sell will go to breast cancer research.

If you are not a clog person, although everyone totally should be, the Project Pink Collection also includes sandals and flip flops in both men and women's styles.

Which style is your favorite? Do you own Oofos already? If not, you seriously need to get some so you can Feel the Oo!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Tapering for the Chicago Marathon

Tapering for a marathon can be a glorious thing. No more crazy long runs, weekday runs are shorter, and race day is finally in sight.

My packet arrived today for the race, and it's getting super real.
When I was training for NYC, I hated tapering. Running less made me a little bit crazy. This time, though, I'm kind of enjoying the taper.
I have felt much better after my long runs this time as well, which was unexpected. It could be from running a bit slower for some of the miles, but I'm not sure.

I used my last long run as a chance to race, and this weekend is only 8 miles! I have run weekday runs that long so this is a nice change.
Who would have thought I would ever use the word "just" to describe an 8 mile run!

13 days to go, and I'm enjoying this taper!

Have you ever tapered? Did it drive you crazy or did you bask in the glow?