Friday, March 28, 2014

Giveaway! - Michelob Ultra Chicago 13.1 Marathon

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm really excited about several things lately.  One was that I was offered a free entry in the 2014 Michelob Ultra Chicago 13.1 Marathon!  And even though I have the Esprit De She Triathlon the next day, I still want to try to do the half marathon the day before.  If I don't think I can manage both, I'll drop it down to the 5k instead. 

But you know how it goes, I want to...

The next thing I'm excited about is to be able to offer a FREE RACE ENTRY to one of my readers!  That's right! The race organizers are providing me with a free entry so that YOU have a chance to run this race also! And if you aren't up for the half marathon distance right now or would just prefer, you can sign up for the 5k!


Date: Saturday, June 7, 2014
Time: 7:00 AM

Location: South Shore Cultural Center (7059 S. Shore Drive, Chicago, IL)
For more information, you can visit their website:

Also like I said in my last post, the race has a nice out and back course which finishes along the beach!  The out and back course provides great opportunities to see your friends running along the course!  It also lets you know how truly far behind the elites you are...which is kind of fun!

Post race beer and pizza is a definite plus (and must)! 

The race benefits the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. You can find out more information here.

2012 5k and Half Marathon finishers!

1.  Leave a comment and tell me what race distance is your favorite to run and why.

2.  For a second entry, share this post on your facebook. Leave a SEPARATE comment providing me with the link to your facebook post. Please make sure it's viewable by everyone.

3.  For a third entry, like my facebook page here. Leave a SEPARATE comment telling me you did this (and provide the name it's listed under if different from your name on here).

Remember to leave separate comments for each entry you do.  I will leave this giveaway open until Friday morning, April 4, 2014.  I will pick a name at 12:00 p.m. noon on Friday, April 4th using


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Michelob Ultra Chicago 13.1

I am excited about so many things lately! I have several blog post ideas in my head, unfortuately work and life have been busy!  So what is one thing I'm excited about?

I was invited to participate in the Michelob Ultra Chicago 13.1 Marathon this year! 

The race is on June 7, 2014 and starts at the South Shore Cultural Center on the southside of Chicago.  I won a free entry to this race in 2012 (race recap here) and with the exception of the heat Chicago had that year, I enjoyed running this race!  So I'm super excited that I get to do it again! 

2012 Finishers! The beach look glorious!
When I was offered the opportunity this year to run the race, I quickly checked my race schedule and found that I had the Espirit De She Triathlon the following day.  What's great about this race is that there is a half marathon option and a 5k option!  I'm planning on doing the half marathon (someone called me crazy to think about doing both races) but if I decide that isn't the best option for me, I was assured I could drop down to the 5k.  Either way, I will be there and I'm looking forward to to it! 

There are so many great things about this race. Let me share a few with you but seriously, there are so many more fun things about this race!

- Great out and back course along the lakefront.  If you've never run from the southside going towards the city, you are missing a great view! 

- The post race party is right on the beach! (See my above finisher photo)!  The post race party includes free Michalob Ultra beer and pizza at the finish!  Trust me, I indulged in both of these after the race I did in 2012! 

- The race benefits the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.  You can find out more information here.

I also may have another very special treat (possibly a giveaway) coming in the near future. 

Are you running the Michelob Ultra Chicago 13.1?  If so, I will see you out there! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Get Lucky Half Marathon Race Recap

Initially, I wasn't going to do the Get Lucky Half Marathon.  It's run by Team Ortho and they have a horrible reputation with their disorganization.  Granted, some of the races go off with few problems but I hear more negative than positive.  Such as, 2 years ago, I emailed them because the fees were wrong when I tried to register for the Get Lucky race.  They never emailed me back.  So I didn't register. It was only a difference of about $5 but I at least wanted a response.  Anyway, that was 2 years ago. 

This year, Derek decided to sign up for the Get Lucky Half.  I wasn't going to.  But, eh... if I'm going to be there, I might as well run it, right?  Plus they have nice sweater jackets every year so that's a bonus.  And it gave me a reason to train for something instead of slacking on my running (that was my number one reason for registering).

Race morning came. I carpooled with Becky, Carol, and Derek.  The race started in Jackson Park on the South side of the City near the Museum of Science and Industry.  For me, trying to park around that area (or get there in general) is a bit of a pain in the butt.  We got premium parking online a few days before and that definitely helped as we got to park right near the start line!

My goal: To finish under the time I had in December for the Santa Hustle Indy, which was 2:18.  My next goal was to finish under 2:15, because I know I should be able to do that.  My final goal was to average a 10:00 per mile pace, which comes to about 2:11.  (I know, I'm setting that bar high! haha!).  My PR is 2:03 from the 2013 F^3 and I know I'm not in shape to get near that!  I was setting my goals realistically. 

Carpool Group before the race (L-R): Carol, Becky, Me, Derek
The temps were going to be around 30 degrees at the start of the race.  I wore arm sleeves and a long sleeve, with a t-shirt over it.  I wanted 2 layers but I know I run hot and wanted to be able to pull the arm sleeves down if I got too hot.  When I got to the race, I felt perfect!  I was a bit chilly but not too bad.  I lined up with Derek at the 10:00 min pace area.  Derek was planning on running much slower due to lack of training but we lined up and waited together. 

The race started and off we went.  I never looked at the course prior to the race.  We started and it was right at the same area that I started my 50k in November and the same 5 miles as we headed north and turned around to go back south.  That was kind of fun to be on the same course that I ran my 50k. 

Derek and I at the start of the Get Lucky Half
Anyway, going North, the wind was VERY strong.  And it lasted the entire 5 miles!  There were some patches of ice and puddles but honestly not as bad as it could have been. I mean, it snowed on Wednesday and was 50 on Friday.  That would cause for some melting and freezing.  Honestly, if I had to slow down for any of this, it wasn't much and really didn't affect my race. 

At the turnaround (about 5 miles in), the wind was at our backs and therefore, not noticeable.  I instantly heated up.  I pulled down my arm sleeves and pulled up my regular sleeves!  I was not used to feeling warm since it's been so cold!  I was sweating and of course, starting to struggle. I don't know what it is about me that about mile 6 in a half marathon, I mentally want to quit. I'm starting to get tired and would just love to stop and walk (the rest). I saw the mile 6 mile marker and realized I never took Gu at mile 5 like I was supposed to.  I took the Gu, but later found out that the mile 5 and 6 mile markers were switched!  I do remember that during mile 5, I thought I was in mile 6, looked at my watch and was only at mile 5.5!  That's why!  Sneaky people screwing with my race!  Originally I was going to take Gu's at mile 5 and mile 10.  But since I thought I missed mile 5 and thought I took the Gu at mile 6 (which was really mile 5)... I ended up taking them at mile 5 and mile 11.  No big deal but in hindsight, was kind of funny.

Also about mile 5.5, I ran into Teresa from my run group.  She started running with me which actually helped take my mind off of my negativity and kept me running. She said I was keeping her going but you know how that is...I'm not walking because of her, she's not walking because of me.  In mile 6, I saw another girl from the run club, Tracy (also from my wine and book club).  She told me she also wanted to hang with me!  Everyone thinks I'm this "super runner" and that I will keep them going, but all I wanted to do was stop and walk (and give up).  So I definitely appreciated the company from these two! 

We walked through a water stop and I turned around and asked if they were ready to start running.  We started running and I noticed a girl look at me.  Then she started talking to me and running with me, complimenting my shirt, and saying she noticed me before the race. She was super positive and I ran about 3/4 of a mile with her before she stopped to walk.  I really enjoyed her positivity. That's when I noticed I had pulled away from Tracy and Teresa.  I just kept running (this was about mile 9) and felt like the energy from my friends and this stranger lit a fire under my butt. I felt a bit rejuvenated.  Obviously that only lasted for about a mile but it's better than nothing! Ha!

About mile 9.5, they made us run past the finish area (but across the street, since we were still on the lakefront).  I thought that was not very cool to have to see the finish line but really still have almost 4 miles left.  We ran a bit down and came back to just past mile 11.  Then they made us run DIRECTLY past the finish line!  This was awful as there were finished racers just walking on the path and spectators wandering around.  Not to mention running right past the finish line but still have about 2 miles left!

Then we just kind of ran around, we ran around the park and the path was uneven and full of puddles and ice.  That was the worst part of the race and course.  Mile 12-13 was my hardest mile for sure.  My legs were heavy but we still had to watch for puddles, ice, and uneven paths (after seeing the finish line twice).  I even walked for a minute at mile 12.5!  I just couldn't hang! lol.

Finally I was finished. Headed to gear check and then went to the car to meet the others, when they were finished.  One thing I did like is that because the course had several out-and-backs, I did get to see my friends several times on the course.  And that's always fun!

Me, Carol, and Becky post-race

Derek and I post race
 Race Results Mishap:  When they initially posted the race results, my results (and a lot of my friends) were incorrect. They had the chip time and the gun time exactly the same. I remember looking at the clock when we started and saw I was 3:00+ mins behind the gun start.  My garmin said I finished in about 2:13 but my initial results said 2:16 since the chip time was incorrect.  Ok, maybe not a huge deal but that means I didn't beat the 2nd goal I had of a sub 2:15, even though I KNOW I did.  Finally, they "fixed" the chip time.  But mine was still incorrect. It showed I started only 2:15 behind the gun start.  Ok, so my time is still wrong but only off by 1 mins and under 2:15 now (2:14+).  But after speaking to some run friends, I decided to email them anyway. After a couple emails (and proof in the photo above at the start of the race which shows I'm just past the start line and the clock reads 3:20), they finally adjusted my time again and put my chip time 3:15 behind the gun time.  So now, my official time reads 2:13:16.  That is definitely better but really not worth the effort to try to get it straight.

I understand that issues happen and maybe there was a problem with the starting mats.  But if that's the case, then Team Ortho should clue everyone in instead of hide it.  I'm not the only one with starting time issues.  In the end, it wasn't a PR race for me (or even close). I hit 2 out of my 3 goals and I'm ok with that. For now.  Some positives about the race, lots of negatives. For me, the race was "ok". I didn't expect much since I knew it was Team Ortho and that's what I got.  Not to mention that the course was short. My watch came up 13.04 but many of my friends came out at 12.9. Team Ortho says 13.1.  The race is actually a 21K which is 13.04 miles.  But Team Ortho lists it as "half marathon" and "13.1". Frankly, it's just probably not a certified course and is a bit short.  Again, doesn't matter to me as I wasn't trying to PR it. Might make a difference to others that wanted it to be accurate.

As I told my run group... Team Ortho strikes again.  If you are doing a Team Ortho race in the future, I would just expect to not expect much.  The races are ok, the courses are ok.  There are usually some issues.  It is what it is. It's a Team Ortho race.  This was my first one.  And it may be my last one. Time will tell.

Friday, March 14, 2014

How To Get Fast(er)


I believe you should do what you love and what makes you happy!  I love running and it makes me happy (trust me, before I became a runner, I would never have believed this would be me).

Running fast doesn't make me happy.  Until I train more and get faster and it become somewhat easier. PR'ing a race does make me happy.  In order to PR a race, I have to run faster.  Well, you see the catch 22 here.

In November 2012, I started doing weekly speed work and weekly hill runs. In a month, I ended up PR'ing a 5k I had been working on for 2 years (with the help of Kelly).  And the following month (in January 2013), I PR'd my half marathon!  I was beginning to be able to hold my speed for longer distances and didn't feel quite so miserable doing it!  In fact, I was quite enjoying it!

I don't like dwelling on the past and the negative aspects but I then dislocated my shoulder 2 times (read about them here and here) in the month of February 2013 and was sidelined for about 1 month. And there went my speed.  And it was a while before I even attempted any again while I tried to rehab my shoulder.

I intermittently did speed work over the summer but you know how summer is! Hot! I never got back to the 1x a week speed work I had been doing.  And I've definitely been struggling with finding my speed again.  Since I don't like running fast and feeling uncomfortable, I don't do it much. With the winter, it's been hard because I'm not going to try to do speed work in the evening, in the dark, watching out for ice, or running on the snow. And if given the opportunity to run outside in those conditions or on the treadmill to do speed work, I mostly opted to run outside at a slower pace.

I did recently try the short interval speed work that I saw on Out and About, which is basically running speed 1 min, recover 1 min (x 10).  Made the treadmill go by really fast!  And I really liked it. Although I was on the treadmill that day.  I hope when the weather gets better (which it is starting too, sort of), I can incorporate weekly speed work into my running again. I want to get faster. I want to feel ok with the slightly uncomfortable feeling of a faster run.  I want to be able to mentally push through when I'm getting tired.

I have a half marathon this weekend (the Get Lucky Half in Chicago).  I'm not even going to try coming near a PR.  I'm just looking at beating my December Half time of 2:18.  Ideally, I'd like to run consistent 10 min miles for the average pace.  But anything under 2:15 would make me feel "ok".  Now this isn't quite the "attitude" I want to have when going into a half marathon. But I know I'm nowhere beating my PR time of 2:03! 

Do you do speed work?  How do you handle your mind if it tells you to stop?  Is there a certain type of speed work you enjoy doing?  How would you help a beginner start up on speed work?

**Have you "liked" my facebook page yet? If not, what are you waiting for??  Help me get to 100 likes!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

These Boots are made for Walkin'

I was cleaning my living room over the weekend. That alone is cause for celebration. And I had about a million shoes laying near my living room door... 2 different winter boots, about 12,000 pair of running shoes, sandals (that makes sense), etc.  I put in the closet everything I didn't need (both pairs of boots, the trail running shoes). And put the rest on the shoe shelf thingy near the door, including the sandals because we should be needing those soon, right?

I should have known not to put the boots away.  After all, the news has been predicting that Chicago was going to get anywhere from 2" to 13,685" of snow last night, with the South and Southwest getting the most (great, that's where I live...although I was still thinking Indiana and further South was going to be much worse).  Everything has been covered in tons of snow for months and it was finally all melting...mostly all gone. Except for last night. Where I live, we got approximately 5-6" of snow. Doable. But not fun. Not fun because it's the middle of March. not fun because it's been snowing consistently since the beginning of December. Not fun because it was 50 degrees on Monday (and Tuesday but it felt colder). Not fun because I have a half marathon to run on Saturday. Although it is supposed to be 47 degrees on Friday so I'm hoping it all melts.

I didn't take any photos of the beautiful, heavy, wet, icy, snow this morning. But my facebook friends did. I'm going to steal a few of their photos (I'm hoping they don't sue me)!  ... Ok I checked with them all before stealing the photos. I'm such a goody-goody...

I know. It IS beautiful. Sigh... Is it spring yet?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

February in Review

I can't believe it's March already!  Especially because we are still dealing with the horrible cold and snow that we have had since December!  We've already taken the record in Chicago for the most days of measurable snow since they started recording and I'm pretty sure we are at least number 2 as the snowiest winters ever recorded.  But alas...after looking at the forecast, there is hope in site. A little bit of hope. I'll believe it when I see it. Everyone is getting grumpy. This winter has taken a toll on everyone!

Let's see how my February stacked up!

February in Review

Running Miles: 55.09
Swim Distance: 1,625 yards (2 swim days)
Crossfit Days: 4
Strength Training/Cross Training Days: 6
# of Workout Days this month: 18 (64%)
I had a few short term February goals.

1.  I worked out in January 65% of the month and wanted to increase that for February.  However, with 64% of February, that didn't quite happen.  I can say it was because some days I had to shovel instead of working out.  Some days, I just needed a rest day.  And when I was going to squeeze one in the last day of the month (Feb 28th), I started feeling a cold coming on and I had an 11 mile run scheduled the next day, so I chose to rest.  Life happens, and I'm ok with that.

2. Swim at least 1 time per week in February.  I only swam twice so I didn't reach that either.  Again, with life, it's hard to squeeze things in and I tried to make it on the weekends when I had more time, but then my day would get away from me.  I did complete the indoor triathlon on February 2nd for 625 yards, and I swam on Feb 23rd for 1,000 yards.  I was happy to squeeze that one in.

3. Do more cross training/strength training:  I did finish using my groupon for my Crossfit and I really enjoyed going.  I'm going to have to see what I want to do because, well, it's expensive.  I also threw in a couple other cross training days.  Now that crossfit is over, I have to try to do this on my own!

4. I wanted to run more mile in February than January but with less days and this brutal winter, it just didn't happen.  55 miles doesn't seem like a lot to me but it is what it is! 

Let's see what March brings me!  It's not starting off good as I've been sidelined with the flu or something.  I've been resting and it seems to be a bit better.  I know I'm not the only one that's been sick!  Here's wishing for a healthy and warmer March!