Chicago Marathon Rewind

36 hours ago, I was just over an hour into marathon #4 that was the Chicago Marathon. Now that the dust has settled and I’ve had a chance to digest the weekend, here’s the race that was!

Friday
I left for Chicago Friday morning. This month, I could make my own schedule for work, so I decided to to take Friday off. I changed my flight and flew out Friday morning. I landed in Chicago around 10 am and headed out to the race expo at McCormick Place, luggage and all. Once you get to the expo, it’s officially race weekend! I picked up my bib (#13957), and my shirt, I checked in with ACS at the DetermiNation tent. Not hard when you have an ACS arch to look for. They were impressed I came right from the airport! I ended up staying to volunteer at packet pick up for a few hours. At 4:10, I left and was to my friend’s house. The nice thing about having friends in Chicago means I have a couch to sleep on while in town. Later that night, we headed to Lake Forest for a bonfire and some fun.

Saturday
Woke up and headed back to the expo for some retail therapy. A pair of shoes, a long sleeved shirt, a pint glass, a sweatshirt, a bibfolio to hold my bibs and a few other things. I was a happy camper. Any good runner grabs carbs for lunch, so I headed to The Italian Village. Good food right there! I stopped in Nike after lunch and met the one and only Paula Radcliffe. She was giving a talk about marathon day and what to expect. She reflected on setting the world record at Chicago 10 years ago. Shortly after, she signed my bib for me, a touch of good luck! After stopping at my friend’s apartment, I got my bib on my ACS shirt, pinned on my in memory of and in honor of ribbons. Later that night, I headed to dinner with my friend and his girlfriend. Of course, there was some OSU football watching as well (of all nights for them to have a night game). With all my stuff laid out, I hit the sack around 10pm.

Marathon Morning
Only crazy people run marathons, that’s for sure. I woke up at 4:30 am. I felt like I was on a surgery rotation! I changed into my white base running shirt with my ACS shirt on top and red capris with some black mixed in. After getting my stuff together, I grabbed my luggage and headed to a downtown hotel where family friends were staying. They were kind enough to let me leave my stuff at their place and shower there afterwards. A group of 8 ish of us headed towards Grant Park. Once we got there, the group of 7 went to the CARA meet up while I hustled around to find the ACS tent. I dropped my stuff off around 7 and used the bathroom (no lines!), grabbed an orange and dashed to the start. At 7:30 the gun went off and the Kenyans and Ethiopians took off. About 9 minutes after the gun went off, I crossed the start. It reminds me of the scene of the start of the Marathon in The Spirit of the Marathon. The temperatures were cool, perfect of running at 42*, an indication of good things to come. People were hanging over bridges cheering us on and waiting for us under underpasses. Mile 1 and all cylinders were working well. I found a good pace and went with it.

Come mile 3, I detoured for a quick bathroom break. Oh hydration. The crowds were out in full force and that is always a plus. Come mile 7, I had hit the 10K mark in just under an hour and was looking for my friend N who let me crash at his place, but we missed each other. Running through Old Town, Boystown, Lincolnwood reminds me of my undergrad days. At the halfway point, I was running about 9:57 miles and was at 2:08:12. Less then a mile later a saw my friend K’s husband. He recognized me because of my crazy pants and was impressed how well I was doing. Just after that around mile 14, I saw my boss from undergrad. A quick hug and a ‘go go go’ of encouragement and I was off again. I had been chilly the whole race and after mile 14 I threw on my arm warmers. I then hit the charity cheer section and was greeted by a group of DetermiNation cheerers who cheered loudly for me! Mile 14-16 and I was still under 3 hours. I had the Just keep running montra in my head. Through Little Italy, Chinatown, passed UIC and their marching band. The don’t stop was in full effect. 10 miles left and I was beginning to think if I could PR and by how much.

Mile 18, 19 and 20 came and went and I was in the mindset of just a 10k left. I also realized I was still under 4 hours and by a good amount. I started thinking this was going to a decent PR. However, my hip flexors, quads and feet were aching. I had to walk a few times just to work the issues out. At mile 23, I was at 4 hours and that kept me going because there was going to be a PR.

Mile 24 brought more cheers stations. I saw a DetermiNation coach and then passes Mister DetermiNation himself DPTurtle. 1.2 miles later, we hit one mile to go. The point of where you’re almost done is welcome. After the 800m sign, we turned a corner and had to deal with Mount Roosevelt. After getting through it, I ended up with a bout of dry heaves. After making the last turn, we hit the last straight away and there was the hallelujah, we’re there phase. After 4:32:53, I crossed the finish line. I PRed by TWENTY MINUTES. My goal was for 4:45 and I went well below that. My friend N called me right in the chute. After collecting my medal and some food and headed to the exit.

I headed back to the ACS tent and got a much needed massage. 2 pieces I pizza, a hot dog and cake later, I began hobbling back to the hotel for a shower. Once i got a good pace, I just went with it. A warm shower does wonders, let me tell ya! Before my weekend came to a close, I got lazy and took the bus 3 stops to Nike to get a finisher’s shirt and my medal engraved. It was a good weekend all and all with a wonderful ending and PR!

Chicago Marathon Check List

5 Days until the Chicago Marathon! Not that anyone’s counting or anything.  Or that me and 44,999 other people are in taper mode. or that some of us have already been checking Chicago weather since Sunday.  What do you need to know for this weekend?

Confirmation Packets

  1. You should have them. They were mailed out a week ago
  2. Can’t find it?  Check your email.  the Chicago Marathon sent out emails where you can pull up a mobile link that’ll scan at packet pick up.  You need the confirmation packet or the mobile link
  3. Curious to read the runner’s packet? Head over here

The Expo

  1. Takes place at McCormick Place Convention Center (North Building, Hall B1 2301 S. Martin Luther King Dr)
  2. Friday, October 5 from 9 am-8 pm and Saturday, October 6 from 9 am to 6 pm
  3. Bring your confirmation packet with you!
  4. Yes, someone can pick up your packet for you if you can’t make it to the expo. They need a note from you, you’re confirmation packet/email and they need to show their ID
  5. Free Transporation: 
    • Downtown: Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave. (8th St. entrance)
    • South Loop: CTA Red Line Stop serving Red, Orange and Green lines, State St. and Roosevelt Rd.
    • Magnificent Mile: Nike Chicago, 669 N. Michigan Ave. behind the store to the east on St. Clair St. at Erie St.
    • Millennium Park: Fairmont Chicago, 200 N. Columbus Dr., Columbus Dr. 1 block south of Wacker Dr.

Volunteering

  1. We love volunteers!!!  I try and volunteer at least one race a year
  2. Head over to the Volunteer webpage to sign up or to see what’s available

Fans and Spectators

  1. You are needed and loved! I’m looking forward to the DNation fan areas this year (hey, I’m partial)
  2. Yes, the Chicago Marathon has a go to guide of places to go and how to get there
  3. Print me out!

Runner Tracking

  1. We all know that parents, grandma/grandpa, husband/wife, sister/ brother, friends, aunts, uncles and your best friend’s dog will want to know how you’re doing
  2. Track up to 3 runners with runner tracking this year!
  3. Head on over here to track yourself, your mom, your friend and your friend’s dog!

The Chicago Marathon

I have a date with the Chicago Marathon in 10 days….WendyCityProductions did a highlights video of the 2010 marathon.  Here’s to hoping I’ll have just as much fun as I did 2 yrs ago!

Chicago Marathon or Bust…for The American Cancer Society!

In 44 days, the gun goes off for the Chicago and yours truly is making her second appearance!!  I made the decision after a friend of mine dropped the seed in my head (thanks Jay!!) to run for the American Cancer Society. My goal is $950 and I’m currently up to $250. Chugging a long and doing well!!  I’m hear to ask for a little help.  My challenge for the week: donate $10 on my page and forward my blog to 10 of your friends.  In return, I promise hand written thank you’s, regular updates on training and various race discounts as I come up on them!

If everyone who reads my blog donates $10, that would put me past my goal.  $10!  That’s 2-3 days of starbucks, 1 day out to lunch or something of the like.  For every DetermiNation runner who raises $1,000, cancer patients are helped out in a variety of ways:

  • assisting 25 patients to and from treatments
  • 22 wigs, free of charge, to female cancer patients
  • Personalized, cancer specific info to 85 newly diagnosed cancer patients
  • Help medical students provide 3 parties/yr for 20 pediatric patients

I’ve personally come back as a bone marrow match for an individual and am waiting to see if I’ll be the final donor, so as I train and fundraise, I’m trying to control the one thing I can and raise money to put an end to cancer.  I’m running in memory of my grandfather and a family friend who lost their 7 yr old daughter earlier this week.  Know someone who you’d like me to run for?  Let me know!!!  Here’s to beating cancer, because let’s face it. Cancer Sucks!

It’s Marathon Time, DNation Style!

I seem to have forgotten the 95 degree temperatures that met me at the finish of the Chicago Marathon in 2010.  October in Chicago is pretty unpredictable- in 2006, we had snow October 12, 2006 (ish) and in October, 2007, we hit the 90s and the marathon was stopped around 1130 AM because of the heat.  Thus, for whatever reason (I just want the weather to cooperate with me, it’s a flat course and Chicago is my second home), I’m coming back!!  Chicago Marathon, I’m preparing to tear you apart on October 7.  You’ve been warned!  I’ve seen part of your course as of last weekend.  This year, I’m doing it with a chip on my shoulder, because, let’s face it, I have some beef with the 95 degree finishing heat from 2010.

This year, I’m running for the American Cancer Society.  It’s one of the larger teams that runs the marathon, with the goal of raising money for cancer research and to put an end to cancer.  As they say, they want more birthdays and quite frankly, I agree.  How did running for ACS and team DetermiNation?  I blame my friend Jay.  I met Jay when I ran Chicago back in 2010.  At the time, he was working for Ryan and Sara Hall’s Step Foundation.  Since then, he’s taken a job with ACS and begged me to join the team.  What can I say, for Jay yes, yes I will.

This year, however, will be special.  Yes, running the marathon in general gives you a small piece of immortality as Katherine Switzer puts it.  However, at the end of June I received an email saying that I was a potential match as a bone marrow donor for an individual needing a transplant.  So, while training, I’m going through blood work and waiting to see if I’m helping someone out with a bone marrow transplant.  Who woulda thunk…helping someone with cancer while running for ACS.  Want to read more of my story?  Head over to my DetermiNation page and help me out.  I’m trying to raise $1000 for ACS and again am not asking for any physical birthday presents.  Peace out and help out a runner!!

It Took HOW Long?

Early this afternoon, I got an email from the Chicago Marathon.  In the subject line, it said something to the effect of “Registration Has Closed in Record Time for the BOA Chicago Marathon”.  It took all of 6 days for the Chicago Marathon to sell out 45,000 slots.  6 DAYS! Last year, it sold out in a month.  In 2003, it sold out in 35 weeks.  Crazy what less than 1o years can do, huh?  That and the effects of social media like Facebook and Twitter.  You can like the Chicago Marathon or follow them to see all the craziness that has ensued since registration opened on February 1st.

Obviously, some people are bummed that they didn’t have the chance to register.  Or that they didn’t have the $150 registration fee to get in this year.  Or that they’re unsure if current injuries will keep them out of the early October race and there’s no way to transfer in with someone who down the line can no longer run.  However, one of the nice things about runners is that we like to do things for others.  So while we put ridiculous amounts of miles on our legs training (I ran 1500+ miles last year) in any weather (or at the gym like me to watch sportscenter, basketball and football), there’s always the idea of running for charity.  I’ve blogged about my experience with Jack’s Fund for whom I ran the NYC Marathon for in November and The Steps Foundation, for whom I ran the Chicago Marathon for in 2010.  This year, I’m returning to Chicago for the American Cancer Society, however, there’s a whole list of charities offering slots into the marathon as long as you fundraise a certain amount of money.  If you want to run Chicago this year, consider doing it for something better, like to support Girls on the Run, Children’s Oncology Services, The Pat Tillman Foundation or any of the other Charities offering entries into this years race.  To those in, congrats!!

Side note, to anyone interested in running the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia, registration opens Wednesday, February 15.  It sold out in a week last year!

Chicago Marathon- Runaway Registration!

I love Chicago- it’s a little known fact, but I really do. I ran my second marathon there in 2010 and finished in 93 degree weather while running for The Steps Foundation. Registration for the 2012 Marathon opened up February 1st. In 2 days, 30000+ people have registered for the race. THIRTY THOUSAND! The Chicago Marathon has been selling out quicker and quicker every year. Last year it sold out in a month. This year, it’s looking like it’ll go quicker. So, if you have the desire to run a flat, fast course with 45,000 of your closest friends, pull the trigger soon! Go here to register.

Don’t believe me with how quickly registration is going? Take a look at this release from the higher ups.

A few people I know (including me) are running for Charity. Interested? Surf the Charity Page and see if there’s one you like. I’m doing this race for ACS and DetermiNation.

Happy Running!

Discount Friday! Who Loves Free Shipping??

I admit it, I’m cheap. I hate paying full price if I don’t have to, especially for things that should be less than what the full price is.  Needless to say, I was happy the other day when mycokerewards.com said that the $50 nike gift cards were 1000 points instead of 2000 points.  Want to guess who had just over 1000 points?  This girl!  Anyways, I always find good deals so here you go!

  1. Nike: Free shipping for a limited time.  code: SWOOSH and it saves you $8! If you ran the Chicago or the NYC Marathon, they have some clothing that’s going for at least $10 off to boot.
  2. Rock n Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon: Save $10 with the code AZRETREAT. You would think that Rock n Roll would just decrease their prices all together with the amount of promotional stuff they’ve been having recently.  Found this one through the one and only Bart Yasso!
  3. Rock n Roll has invaded Dublin, Ireland for a half marathon.  Currently, price is 33 euros ($44.61) through November 19th, 11:59 PST
  4. Gone For a Run: 20% off Rockbands (headbands) for runners with the code ROK11.  They’re also offering 50% off their portable water bottles for athletes.  Ends November 21 11:59 EST
  5. Schwaggle: The Ultimate Mud Run *Night Ops* which is April 21-22, 2012 in Millville, NJ.  Typically, $99- the schwaggle deal will get you the race for $54 for a 5-7 mile course with 20-25 obstacles and free beer at the end if you’re 21+.  Starts at 6 pm.  Have an active.com membership? Take another 15% off and pay $45.90.

ENJOY!

Run Baby Run!!

Many people think if you run marathons, you’re crazy for wanting to embark on such a feat. Months of training, the odds of getting hurt, you’re sore for a week and your feet hate you after the fact.  Every once and awhile, you hear of people who run who are a few months pregnant who didn’t know they were pregnant.  Take Amber Miller.  Amber ran the Chicago Marathon on October 9th pregnant.  If by ran you mean finished in 6.5 hrs with an average of pace of a 14 minute mile.  She was also 39 weeks pregnant and went on to deliver her child 7 hrs after she finished the marathon.  She originally only planned to complete only half and then skip out to the end.  Her husband never thought she would make it to the marathon still pregnant (he expected the baby to be born first).  And, her OB apparently gave her the OK.

Personally?  I think it was a stupid move.  People were pulling out of race due to heat related issues and having issues with fluids.  I’m not doubting that exercise is encouraged during pregnancy, but what if something would have happened to her or the child while on course and not near a medical tent?  Sure, she’s done 8 marathons in the past, but at 39 weeks pregnant, there should be other things to be thinking about.  Even though you have Paula Radcliff and Kara Goucher who both ran while pregnant, they modified they’re running routines towards the end of their pregnancies.

What are your thoughts about this?

Running for Charity- The Nun Run (literally!)

As I’ve written before, I’ve run the 2010 Chicago Marathon for Charity (The Steps Foundation) and am currently training for the NYC Marathon for which I’m running for Jack’s Fund.  Currently, I have $750 in online donations with another $386 in the bank collecting interest (I’ve donated some of my saved money since I last posted about Jack’s Fund!).  To this, I have to say THANK YOU and ask that you keep me in your prayers and pass along my story of running for melanoma research and education to your friends.  If you haven’t donated yet, that’s OK! You still have time and if you donate, you get and hand written thank you note AND you don’t have to get me a birthday present!!!  I also figured I would write of a friend of mine.

Sr Alicia Torres

During my time at Loyola University Chicago, I became friends with Alicia Torres, LUC Class of 2007.  My freshman year, she lived on my floor in Simpson Hall as an over night host for prospective students.  On occasion, when we both had students staying with us and would do things as a group.  We stayed in contact through out undergrad and after she graduate, she went on to work in the Diocese of Chicago.  Over the course of a good 1 yr plus, she ran the Chicago Marathon in order to help pay off her student loans so she could enter the convent.  Last year, she ran Chicago on 10/10/10, shortly before which she had completely paid off student loans and entered the convent at Our Mission of Angels of Chicago (which is a Franciscan community).  She blogged about her experience and titled it The Nun Run.  This year, Alicia is again running the Chicago Marathon, while wearing her habit mind you, in order to raise money to rebuild her church, Our Lady of Angels.  Since she is allowed only limited communication (as are most who are undergoing studies to be a religious sister), communication is few and far between.  As of late July, the Church was $50,000 away from being able to complete Phase 1 of their remodel and $120,000 total from being able to complete their entire project.  Their goal is to be able to have full services by December.

I had the chance to stay at the Mission last August when I ran the Chicago Half Marathon in preparation for the Chicago Marathon and know that Father Bob (their priest) as well as the postulant and those in training for the religious life at Our Lady of Angels could use a hand with their project.  Their Charity team will take on Chicago on October 9,2011 and they have some fundraising events set up for the upcoming months.  For information on how to donate, head over here (The Nun Run site) and take a look at Our Lady of Angels to learn about their mission and projects.

On behalf of me (running for Jack’s Fund) and Alicia/ Our Lady of Angels, we appreciate any support you can give us, no matter how big or small!

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