Tag Archives: Chicago Marathon

Chicago Marathon Re-Cap

16 Oct

I arrived Friday with Sherrie, MJ, and Ellen. but Met up and stayed with my mom, bro(Jordan), and sister in law(Stevie). We had a nice Mexican dinner with my dads cousin.

Saturday morning: My mom, Stevie, and I headed to the expo.

Everyone said that this is the BEST EXPO ever. I thought it was a regular type expo but you know what made it the BEST. The space. It was in a huge room so everything was spread out. There was plenty of room to walk around. I got my bib and my shirt. Got a new Nuun bottle. Checked out the other booths.

My mom bought me a new jacket. I do not buy merch very often but I really wanted to get something. Thanks Ma!!

The other couple of fun things that the expo had to offer was they had a huge board of magnets. They gave you a sharpie to take a magnet and then sign your name! Super fun.

Then at the Nike booth, you could scan your bib and your name would pop up with a saying. I owned Chicago. YEAHYAAA!

After we left the expo we went up with my brother at Lou Malnati’s had an early carb loading lunch. Pizza and salad. Delicious!!

We checked out the race venue. We headed to “the bean” through the parks. I did not want to walk too much and I already felt like I had!! 😦

We went back to the room to relax then headed out to an architectural boat river/lake tour. It was so much fun. It was a perfect way to see and learn about the city!!
We had a nice Italian dinner. Finally back to the room to relax and watch the winners WIN Kona!!

Sunday morning: 6am: I had a good night sleep. I had everything set out so I would be ready to roll in the am! I was actually glad the race was not starting until 8. It was nice “sleeping in.”

I felt pretty good. I ate breakfast. I got dressed and I was out the door to go meet Sherrie, MJ, and Ellen.

It was going to be an awesome day!!

It was going to be an awesome day!!

It was well organized. They said there was tighter security but it seemed to flow good. Got into our corrals and it was go time. We got into the corral late and tried to get up to the 4:30 pace group. Could not quite make it but thought that was fine I was going to have a great day.

Started out: nice pace. Not to fast. Not to slow. Perfect. Like I trained. There was spectators everywhere!! I.MEAN.EVERYWHERE. It was so awesome. I saw my fam at mile 1.5/3. It was so fun. They had a huge neon green sign so I could see them.

It was crowded but I never felt like I did not have enough room. A couple of the aid stations were a little shotty but overall I thought I had plenty of room. There were so many funny signs:

The classics:
This is the worst parade ever.
If marathons were easy it would be your mom/momma/mommy.
Toenails are for sissies.
Keep going, keep going, that is what she said.

New ones:
Do Epic Shit (I saw this one more than once)!!
Should I be afraid of what all you runners are running from?
The suns out the guns are out.

I saw a couple Punch/push this for power/warp speed/lightening speed.
Lots of government signs. funny!!

The first 10 miles were great. Downtown, Lincoln Park, Boystown, Old Town. The spectators were amazing. I felt good. The temperature was PERFECT.

I saw the fam again about mile 12.

I guess I was excited to see them!

I guess I was excited to see them!

I got to the half way mark at 2:17. Perfect. West loop was pretty good. I was right on track for a 4:30-4:35. I saw MJ right after the half. We exchanged a few words. I don’t think either of us wanted to talk much.

So many spectators. Literally lining the course. I am not quite sure when it happened. I think it started at about mile 16.

Something was off.

I stopped looking at my watch. I didn’t even want to know. I was right on with my nutrition. I had been taking in liquids/electrolytes. I had my gels. It was not hot. I still had my arm warmers on because we would get these gusts of wind and they were cold! I was still thinking positive. It was time for the music. That would make me feel better for sure!!

Not a chance!!

Between 16 and 17 "on the run" Sears Tower (now known as Willis Tower)

Between 16 and 17 “on the run” Sears Tower (now known as Willis Tower)

Mile 18. It was getting worse. My legs were getting really sore really fast. I was still thinking positive. I couldn’t hit “the wall” until mile 23(my longest run) I still had 5 miles to go until then.

Pilsen came up. Lots of spectators there. Mile 21 was hard. I was not going to let myself walk. I could walk a little longer at aid stations but I slowed the pace. My legs hurt so bad. WHY?! They never hurt in training until at least 21.

I saw my fam again right between 21/22. That uplifted me a bit. I wanted to die. Chinatown was great. I had 5 miles. Mile 23 came and I checked my watch. 4:06. (6 minutes slower than my 23 miler). I was sad. I was trying to smile. I was trying to get uplifted by the spectators. I knew at this point there was no way I could hit 4:35 let alone a 4:30. I was trying to stay positive.

At 24 I was trying to speed up a bit and then it happened! The 4:40 pace group passed me. F*** mY lIFE!!

I saw the fam for the last time at 25. I couldn’t even go over and say hi. I just blew kisses from the middle of the road. I just wanted this day to be over!!! Finally finished. 4:43:00! It was done. I wanted to cry. But it was a PR and that has to say something. RIGHT?!

It was such a fun race. It was a perfect day temperature wise. I guess my legs just did not want to cooperate. 😦

I met up with the fam. They headed to lunch and I headed for the ice bath to cry it out!!

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO CHEERED FOR ME. All of the great comments/tweets from all of my friends, supporters, and readers!

Have you seen any funny signs while racing?

(un) Lucky #7

14 Oct

I ran my 7th marathon yesterday! I had big plans for this race. I was going to have a huge PR. A perfect day. I was ready and excited.

I finished in 4:43:00. No where near my goal or what I thought I was capable of. I PR’d by 2 minutes to reach my “C” goal but was very sad about my performance. I will give you all of the dirty details soon. To add to my luck this weekend my phone made its way into the bath with me this morning so I am “rice-ing” it as we speak and I will give you a full re-cap (hopefully) with lots of pictures in the next couple of days!

Here is a finisher pic taken by Mary Jane:

Anyone race this weekend?? How did you do??

The Windy City or BUST!

11 Oct

I packed! I am ready!! I am staying hydrated! I am on a jet plane…on my way to Chicago!!

Ellen, Sherrie, and Mary Jane

Ellen, Sherrie, and Mary Jane

I have my Nuun and my own lunch/snack so I would not have to pay $40 for a snack pack! Ha!!

The weather is looking perfect. I.can.not.wait!!

If you want to track me or anyone else doing Chicago. Check this Link!
You have to do it by Saturday night at 11pm (CST). Don’t Delay!!

I will check back in sometime this weekend! Who else is racing??

Goal Time!!

9 Oct

Chicago is less than 4 days away! I guess it is about time I decide on some goals. I have been stalking the weather channel like it is my job. So who has time to think of goals! 🙂

This is what I came up with:

Now that being said. We are still 4 days out. Things can change. Does everyone notice the 68% humidity? Dang it! The few showers?? Dang it! All I can say is I would rather it be raining than 90 degrees. It is definitely going to suck for me and my spectators but I can handle the precipitation better than the heat!!

1–First and foremost: HAVE FUN!! Everyone says how much they love this course, this race, the spectators.
2–Take in all of the surroundings. The different neighborhoods, the landmarks, all the spectators.
3–Not have to listen to my music until mile 16. I have heard the worst part of the course is miles 16-22! Those are hard miles anyway. Let alone no spectators!
4–KEEP MENTALLY TOUGH! Dig deep when I need too. Keep running!

Go Hard or Go Home!
Dream Big! Run Strong!

Run Smart! Run Strong! Run With Heart! —> This is from an awesome Nuun teammate! Great motivational post going into this weekend! Thanks Kimberly

This is for all of the marbles! —> This is what you have been training for! —> Get it DONE!

Time Goals!
A- 4:30—> Perfect day! Everything goes right. From Breakfast until the finishing chute!
B- 4:35—> Feeling relatively good. Pace of my long runs.
C- Sub 4:45 —> Current PR.

What is your running mantra(s)?

Last Minute Marathon Tips!

3 Oct

I just read a couple of last minute marathon tip articles. I thought I would share some with you!

You have been training for a long time. 12, 16, 20 weeks for the big day. You should know by now what works and what does not work for you. For example: I like to use Energy Gu and Clif Shots. I cannot stomach Power Bar Gels (and that is what is on course). I know that I will need to bring my own. I practiced with the Snickers bar.

This is not just what you are taking in for nutrition but it goes for your clothes as well. Have you tried running LONG in your favorite shorts or pants. What about the top and bra you are going to wear? You should have all of that figured out before race day.


I live in a cooler climate. If you can try to simulate some of the same weather you are going to have during race day you can be a little more prepped.

Now Chicago is notorious for crazy weather. Sometimes it is in the 90s and sometimes in the 30s. I have been stalking the weather channel and the weather is looking to be high 60s low 50s BUT a chance of rain. I have the advantage over that because I live in Portland and run in the rain. It is still 11 days out and it will probably change.

The moral of this story is: just adapt to what you get. If it is going to be rainy wear a garbage bag until you go over the start line and wear lots of body glide!! If it is hot make sure you are taking in more salt the week before. Lower your expectations for finish times unless you are an expert in the hot weather.

I like to start making a check-list a couple of weeks before. Start with the basics: clothes, shoes, nutrition. Write things down as you go and after your last long runs.

I have already thought of more things!

I have already thought of more things!

Writing down notes while I am training is the best for me. I can go back and see what I liked and what I did not like.

I talk a lot about prepping mentally for a race. YOU HAVE TO!! You have to make sure you have a plan if things go awry.

If your head takes over you have to make sure that your body can take back over! Keep the bad thoughts away. You have been training for this for a long time. Your body knows what to do. If your brain is telling your legs they cannot do it they will probably listen. Having a mantra helps!!

You have to have a plan for that. What are you going to do if you get negative thoughts?

I have been working on my mental toughness for almost 2 years. It helps if I do not train with music because then I use it during the race. I get a huge boost from this. I just keep telling myself it is going to hurt but it is better to hurt now because race day is MAGICAL!

I think that it is different for rookies and veterans. If it is your first–making a finish as your only goal is perfect!! If you have done a couple–you know what to expect. Set realistic goals. Having fun is a perfectly good goal to have!! 🙂

This is my 7th marathon. It may be my HARDEST. I hope that it is my BEST. I believe that I can do a 4:30. I am going to keep positive. I know what to do. My body knows what to do!! I will keep mentally happy. I will have more of a “goal” post next week.

I hope that some of these tips help you get to the finish line a little bit better!!

Both of these articles are for 1st timers but I feel like these tips can ALWAYS be used.
Here are the links to the full articles: 4 last minute tips and 13 tips to a strong 1st marathon

This video is hysterical. If you have ever run a marathon—>this has probably happened to you!

Any other tips for getting through your marathon??

First of 2 Experiments this week!

28 Sep

I feel like I am pretty realistic with my goals. I have been wavering what pace group I should join in Chicago. I would love to do a 4:30. I would be happy with a 4:40. After my last 23 miler, I decided that a 4:35 would be in my range. I thought I would start with the 4:40 group and at the half mark I would try to make up the 5 minutes.

I got a tip from a past competitor: You should get with your pace group and stay there. The race is too crowded to just “speed” up. Now I have this dilemma of starting with the 4:40 and having too much juice at the end. OR I could start with the 4:30 and risk the burn up at the end. OR Just starting in the middle of the 2 groups and trying to stay on pace for a 4:35.

I read Kristen’s post the other day and she mentioned the Yasso 800s. She asked if anyone used them to predict their marathon time? I thought well I do 800s and of course I have heard of Bart Yasso but a marathon prediction?

I did some research and found a couple good articles:
McMillian Running–>had 3 great marathon predictors. (which include the 800s)
Bart Yasso–>talked about the Yasso 800s.
I also found a race predictor calculator.

With that information I decided to conduct an experiment. Dan and I hit the track for 10x800s. I was NERVOUS! The last time I did 800s they were not as fast as I would have liked. I thought oh man what if these are slow!??

My only real goal was to do 10 at 4:25 pace because all the research I did the prediction was always +5 minutes. I knew if I would do them all in 4:25 +5 minutes —> 4:30 would probably be pretty realistic! Right where I would LOVE to finish Chicago!

The experiment commenced at 5:45 Thursday night. Dan and I ran to the track for a 1 mile warm up. I did some dynamic stretching while he did some strides. I wanted to start out conservatively but I hit a 4:16. Good but too fast.

I hit a 4:11, 4:10, 4:10, 4:09 to round out the first 5. WTF???? I could not believe it. I thought well I will just keep going hard until I can’t anymore. My second half was even better: 4:08, 4:08, 4:08, 4:11, and 4:08. My average was 4:09:9. WHAT????????

Now lets be realistic here. There is no way I will be able to run a 4:15 marathon(4:10 + 5minutes). I will be shocked but by this information I have decided to go with the 4:30 pace group.

Two more tiny pieces of information here: 1) I wanted chocolate/peanut butter malt balls a snack at about 2 but one of my co-workers wanted a coffee. I went with a black and white mocha. The caffeine. It is a saint!! 2) My normal track day is on Tuesday after I have done a spin class Monday night. My rest day is Wednesday. So I had 2 things going for me!! 🙂

My other predictors:
Based on my 10K: 4:30:06
Based on my half marathon: 4:23:30

This is why the marathon is so MENTAL!! My body can run a (maybe) 4:15 but my mind says hell no!


Here is to the 14 day countdown. I got my participant handbook in the mail. I read it from cover to cover and if you could not already tell: I.AM.SO.EXCITED!!!

My second experiment is happening on tomorrow..Stay tuned!

Who has done the Chicago Marathon? What was your perspective in the way of pace groups or running a negative split?

Survival Mode!

19 Sep

I had my last LONG LONG SUPER LONG run before I go into taper mode this morning. I was ready. I was extra excited. I think because I knew this was it. 23 miles. 4 hours or BUST! This run should really be setting me up for a good race…if I could survive.

I got a little extra fuel under my fire from my friend Eva (who I am going to visit as we speak!)

It was going to be an early morning. Dan was going to do the first 10 miles with me…early in the dark. I needed to start at 5:15ish to ensure I get done with the run with enough time to take an ice bath before my massage. Life is rough right. Run 23 miles. Get a massage.

At 9:45 last night I realized I did not have a sports bra with me. F***! Epic fail #1

Again I was going to eat a breakfast cookie in bed at 4am. I have brought Dan to the dark side and he ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in bed.

I got up at the second alarm. I think I was more anxious than I was last week so I was happy to get up and get going.

We were off and running at 5:20. In the dark. NO headlamp. NO reflective vest. What is wrong with us?

Do you remember when I told you I should never run in the dark, when I am tired, in my Hokas?? Well it happened 1.8 miles I tripped and fell! If someone had been watching from the street it would have looked like I was sliding into first base. NO JOKE! Epic fail #2

Dan was like OMG! Lets just stop and walk for a minute. I collected myself and gave myself a pep talk. This run has to happen RIGHT NOW. There was no turning back. Dan asked if I was ok. I said don’t ask cause I will start crying. He said ok. I proceeded to start crying just for a minute! We started running and he told me some stories about him falling off his bike. I think they were suppose to cheer me up. THEY DID!

About mile 5 a cyclist goes by us and says: You should really get some lights on…its dark out here! I almost screamed NO SHIT! I was just glad I didn’t fall in front of her! 🙂

We saw Ilana at mile 8.6 and she asked if I fell. Oh please do not remind me! She texted me later in the day and said why were you running 23 miles on a Thursday morning? Ha!!

We got back to his place at mile 10. I cleaned off my elbows. Refilled my water and Nuun. Grabbed some more gu’s. I had planned on not taking my music but decided I would use it on this special occasion. I was off to run a half marathon. The sun was out. It was nice and crisp outside.

The miles clicked off. I remembered to look at my watch at 11.5. 2:01:xx. My 2 goals at this point were to negative split this run and still feel like running when I got to mile 23! When I hit the 13.1 mark I was at 2:18:xx <—Same as last week.

I was right on target with my gu and hydration. It always gets hard at 16. I just kept telling myself I could do this. Keep pushing through. I stopped and got water at mile 17. That was my last stop.

6 miles I could do 6 more miles. I was running into a headwind. MISERABLE. I knew when I got to the turn around it would be better because 1) I would be headed back. 2) I would be out of the headwind. I got to 19 to turn around and remember that I felt a lot worse at this point last week. I got to 21. 3:40:xx. Same time as last week. I was right on track. Still feeling relatively good. I still had 2 miles. 20 minutes.


I was almost back. They were shooting an episode of Portlandia in the area. I wanted to go snoop but I was too tired and did not have enough time!! Sad day!

I was done! I ran 23 miles in 4:01:01. NEGATIVE SPLIT. I barely negative split it but none the less I did it. I think we started off a tad slower today than I did last week. It makes a huge difference! 🙂

I got a cute note on the bag of ice again. Took my ice bath and off to my massage I went!

I arrived in Reno and Eva had made Billionaire Bars! HELLO!! Thanks Eva!!! Delicious!!
If you are lucky enough to see me in Tahoe. You will probably definitely get one!!

Who is doing a long run this weekend?

Anyone baking anything good?

Thirsty Thursday!

12 Sep

I drank a lot of water and Nuun this morning. A LOT!! I had a big morning! I banked 21 miles of running in 3 hours and 40 minutes.

I got all of my water bottles full of Nuun, gus, and hydration belt all ready last night. I put out my clothes. I did not want to do anything that I did not have to do this morning! 🙂

It all started at 5am. I woke up to Hunger Strike by Pearl Jam. I ate an Erin Baker breakfast cookie and drank a glass of water in bed. I thought Dan was going to have a stroke last night when I told him my plan.

Me: Try not to be to type A about this but I am going to eat a breakfast cookie in bed at 5am
Dan: WHAT?
Me: You heard me!
Dan: NO!
Me: I will be very very careful!
Dan: There are a lot of crumbs in cookies.
Me: Ha!


I do this so I can go back to sleep for an hour. Also so it can digest before I hit the road.

At 6am Madness by Muse woke me up. 10 more minutes I just needed 10 more minutes!

At 6:10 Hemorrage by Fuel blasted and woke us both up! I was awake and ready to take on 21 miles. I drank a glass of coconut water and ate an orange. I lathered myself in body glide.

6:40 GO TIME! It was supposed to be hot today so I really wanted to get a move on before that happened. It was perfect weather! I could only hope that it would be this nice in Chicago!

I was positive! I was excited! I was nervous! I was going alone! I was going without music! 21 miles!

I had 4 sections planned out.
0-5.3 mile flat on the waterfront.
5.3-11.5 hilly
11.5-17 flat south waterfront loop
17-21 flat north waterfront loop(most of the first section)

I thought it would be easier to wrap my head around this if I broke it up into sections.

I just wanted to start at an easy pace. Ease myself into this madness! 10:30-10:40s?
Mile 3-the slowest “flat mile” 10:42
Mile 4–went over the Hawthorne bridge (where the bike counter is) at 7:20ish 710 bikes had already gone into downtown
Mile 5.3–start of hilly section
Mile 7–the slowest “hilly mile” 11:02 (obviously uphill)
Mile 8–started talking to a lady named Jo. We started talking about Hood To Coast and asked what team I was on. I said I was very fortunate to have been picked by the Nuun squad to represent. I gave her 2 sample packs that I had with me.
Mile 9.6–I could start to feel a start of a blister.
Mile 9.69–Jo peeled off right as I was approaching my office. I put band-aids on my new blister, changed my socks, filled up water bottles, and yaked with Judy and Jana for a few minutes.
Mile 10–the fastest “hilly mile” 10:06 (obviously downhill)
Mile 10.5–forgot to check the time to see if I ended up negative splitting.
Mile 11.5–YES!! Hilly section is over!
Mile 13.1–I was at mile 2:18. I was at 2:16 at mile 13 last 20 miler.
Mile 13-16.5–LONELY. On the Springwater Corridor. There was some cyclists but no runners.
Mile 15–it was starting to get tough. 6 miles! You can do this!
Mile 17–filled up water bottles again. Quick mental break. Start of section 4!
Mile 18.24–saw Gary from Athletes Lounge. He was on his bike and rode with me for a few minutes.
Mile 18.5–I was started to get hungry. I wished I would have asked Gary if he had a candy bar on him! 🙂
Mile 19–back to the Hawthorne Bridge and now 26xx bikes had gone across. Almost 2000 since I went over the bridge a couple of hours before!
Mile 19–the fastest “flat mile” 10:14
Mile 19-21–I really wanted to step it up a notch and I could feel it. 10:14, 10:17, 10:17
Mile 21–OMG! I was really done! I was so excited!! 3:40:30 (average 10:29s)
Mile 21.1–I walked into the coffee shop and ordered an iced coconut mocha and the girls said how far did you run? I said 21 miles and I have been dreaming of this drink for 3 and 1/2 hours! All 3 of their jaws dropped! So funny!
Mile 21.2–Ice bath and cute note from Dan on the bag of ice.

Really the only thing that I would have done differently is have another gu with me. I really could have used one more(or at least a 1/2). Lesson learned!!

30 days!!!! Another 22-23 miler next Thursday and then it is taper time!!

What kind of long run are you doing this weekend?

Who is doing a fall marathon? Which one?

Track + Chicago Marathon

20 Feb

I survived! I survived! I went to track and survived!

Like I said yesterday I was nervous. I really wanted to go out, have a decent run, and run pain-free! SUCCESS! I get to the track and see Amy. She had to do a double take because she was not sure it was me setting foot on the track. She said the work out today was very approachable just starting back. I am pretty sure she always says that but cool! I am just happy to be here!

We do a mile warm-up. She only tells us what is happening next in the work-out. So we do not know what is coming. Probably a good thing!

First up: 1200(3 laps) Progressively faster each lap. After this is when I remembered how much I hated track work-outs. My lungs were on fire! Good time: 6:33. Seemed fast. I hoped that I did not go out too fast!

Secondly: 2×600 with 200 recovery. AGAIN. HARD. Still faster than I remember doing them pre-injury. 3:10; 3:10. We were suppose to do the 2nd one a little “swifter” then the first. But I will take the same time over a slower second one.

Third: 4×400 with 400 recovery. SO HARD! I just kept running as fast as I could. I think it was the 3rd one that I thought my legs were finished. Just kept pushing. 2:07, 2:07, 2:06, 2:04 WHAT? I am still wondering how I pulled those off. I thought about quitting after this set. Then I decided just to finish. I felt good. The sun was shinning. What more could I ask for!

Fourth: 4×200 with 200 recovery. SPRINT! LIKE REALLY A SPRINT! I am not fast but these hurt. The third and fourth one I could feel the bile rising in my throat. GO HARD OR GO HOME! :56, :56, :57, :54

I cannot believe how well I did. I am BACK!!! PAIN-FREE!! I guess all of the hip flexor stretching and glute strengthening has worked. SUPER EXCITED!!

I checked all of my times to a similar work-out in Novemeber. All of my times were faster yesterday! WTF? I am sure REST does a body good. Maybe my body was just telling me to slow it down a bit!! 🙂

While I was sweating it out at the track. Sherrie was signing us up for the Chicago Marathon.

It took a long time to get signed up because of the overwhelming amount of people trying to sign up! Literally hours. But we are all signed up now! My goal was originally sub 4:40 but I might take it down to a sub 4:30. It is going to depend on how my running is going but after today I feel like it is POSSIBLE! THANKS SHERRIE!

What was the last race you signed up for? What is your next race?