Chicago Marathon… Dream is still alive!

Rather than talking about my week in running, which actually went really well (I ran 4 times and I’m feeling really good), I want to share my BIG news!

A few weeks ago, Jenny from RunJennyRun sent me a message on twitter telling me about a second chance opportunity to get into the Chicago Marathon.  She knew how badly I wanted to get in and when I wasn’t selected anyone and everyone who knew I wanted to get in felt horribly for me.  They understood that I didn’t want to go the charity route… it’s a lot of work, which I really don’t have the time or enough friends to help me for.  For this contest, I just needed to write a 1,000 word essay about how I never give up or crack under pressure.

I wrote about the training for my first half marathon when 4 weeks out from the race, I got a horrible IT band injury, but I pushed thru the pain, finished the race, and entered physical therapy the very next day.  I also wrote about that since then I’ve completed the Dopey Challenge as well as my half/full weekend earlier this month.

I really didn’t think much about the contest because I didn’t think my story was good enough to be selected.  On Friday, I was working outside all day getting my pool ready for opening day on May 23.  I checked my phone at the end of the day and saw I had a missed call and voicemail from a 312 number (Chicago area code).

It was the contest organizers telling me I was a finalist for the final spot on the Team Tag Heuer Chicago Marathon team!  The winner will receive a TAG Heuer watch, Nike marathon gear, complimentary entry into the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, complimentary pass into the Balbo hospitality tent, exclusive training from Nike+, one night stay at the Hilton Chicago, and a pre-race carb load dinner.  While I know my story is not as compelling as some of the others there, I made it to the finals, so I deserve my shot to win!  Plus I totally know what I’m getting into with running a marathon and you know me… I won’t give up and I’ll complete all of my training runs!

How do you vote for me?  Well, you need to go to cbschicago.com/marathon and vote for Kathleen from Elgin!  

Voting ends on May 31st and I’ll find out on June 1st if I won or not!  I’ve been going crazy on twitter, facebook, work, friends and family to get the word out!  You can vote from your home computer, your smart phone, your work smart phone, your work computer, your ipad, your boyfriend’s phone, etc… seriously please help me!  This is an incredible opportunity and one that I am trying very hard to win!

Thank you in advance for your support!

Kathleen

Make Tracks for the Zoo 5K Recap

I am really surprised to be writing this recap. Because the night before the race, I was pretty sure there was at least a 90% chance I wouldn’t be running. About 4 days leading up to the race, I was experiencing a lot of pain in my left hamstring. I wasn’t sure if I had strained it or if it was just super sore, all I knew was that every time I attempted to run I would suddenly feel a sharp pain there and I was worried that if I went any harder I would totally pull it.

So the day before the race, I did everything I could think of to try to heal my hamstring. I iced it about 5 separate times for 20 minutes each time, I rolled it out with the stick and foam roller, I elevated it, I wore a compression sleeve, I applied cooling cream to it…anything I could think of!

When I woke up about 5:30 AM on Sunday, I decided to get dressed and take a quick jog to test out my leg. I put on my thigh compression sleeve and headed across the street to the park hoping for the best. To my astonishment, I was not feeling that same sharp pain any more! My hamstring was sore, but it was nothing unbearable! I ran for .5 miles and then stopped and decided I would be running in the 5K!

Once I decided to run, I told myself that I had to make sure to take it easier and not go crazy and try for a PR or anything. My leg had been hurting for the past 4 days and there was still some pain there, so it would not be worth it to go all out and then totally pull my hamstring and be done with running completely for weeks.

I got everything ready, ate my peanut butter bread and banana, and then headed off to Forest Park/ the Zoo for the race. When I left my apartment, there was a total downpour of rain, but luckily this stopped by the time I got to the Zoo.

I found a pretty good spot to park and then walked about .5 miles to the start line. My friend Richelle and one of her friends were also running, so I met them and we chatted for a bit. I then headed for the 9:00 min/mile corral because I thought that would be an appropriate speed for me to go during the race. Like I said earlier, it was important for me to run at a slower pace so that I would not aggravate my hamstring further.

At 7:30AM the race started, and for about the first mile or so I was feeling pretty good. I had decided to wear the compression sleeve on my thigh, and it really seemed to hold everything in place and I didn’t feel any unusual pain. The second two miles were a bit tougher for me not because of my leg, but because the humidity was making me pretty tired. Luckily it was only a 5K though, so I would not have to bear the humid conditions for long.

My awesome lion tank for the race at the Zoo!

My awesome lion tank for the race at the Zoo!

I didn’t feel like I was going too fast, but my Nike+ app was telling me differently. I wanted to go slower and I did, but not as slow as I was planning. I crossed the finish line with a time of 24:01, approximately 7:45/mile. Definitely faster than I was planning, but it really didn’t feel too fast! I ended up getting 4th in my age group over 100 people which I was pretty surprised by!

After the race, there was a breakfast which included a muffin, apple, chocolate milk, and yogurt. There were also popsicles available and you got to eat at the Zoo which was cool. The race itself was pretty fun, but I do wish we were able to run through the Zoo and not just around it. I was wondering why they didn’t have it at the actual zoo, but assume it’s due to staffing reasons or for the security of the Zoo. So if there was anything I would change about the race, it would just be to have it at the actual zoo! It would be so fun to run past the tigers, giraffes, and elephants!

Lauren

Apologies!

Unfortunately, the past two weeks have been crazy at work!  I knew when I made my crazy running schedule back in January for the half-full-half in 7 days that after I got done with that, I would be very busy at work.

I had three special events in a matter of four days and I’m responsible for an outdoor pool that opens on Saturday… so I’ve been busy training lifeguards and pool cashiers multiple days in a row late into the evening.  Now that I’m not marathon training, my running agenda has diminished… therefore I’m not having to run as much as I had to for the past 8 months.  With all of the craziness at work and trying to let my body recover from 52.4 in seven days, I’ve still been able to run and I’m hoping to continue adding more mileage back in.  It’s really nice that I don’t have another half marathon until September.

I’ll try to get better on the blogging, commenting and running front hopefully next week!  Until then, enjoy the Memorial Day weekend :)

Kathleen

Running with the Cows Half Marathon

A little over a week ago, Kathleen and I crossed the border of Missouri and ended up in Bucyrus, Kansas for the Running with the Cows Half Marathon. I love any half marathon that I can do with my sister, and was looking forward to this one for the awesome medal and the endless food waiting for us at the finish line.

I went into the race feeling confident in my running, but not confident I would get a PR. I think part of it was because the whole week while looking at the forecast, all I saw was storms, storms, and more storms for the race. I had a feeling that we wouldn’t even be able to get to run, so I won’t lie it was a little hard for me to actually believe we would even be running!

Kathleen and I got there on Friday after a long drive in the rain, picked up our bibs and race shirt at the packet pickup, and then hit up the Olive Garden to carb load. We got back to the hotel pretty early, hung out for a while and watched some Dateline and then went to bed pretty early since we had to wake up around 5 to be able to make it to the race and park in time. The night before we were alerted that we could no longer park in the grass because of the rain, so we would have to park our car about 20 minutes away from the start, and then get a shuttle to the race.

We woke up early, got ready, and ate some breakfast. To our amazement, storms were no longer in the forecast and now there was only a small chance of rain. We were incredibly lucky! We both decided to wear hats just in case it did rain, but we ended up not even needing those!

Around 5:30 or so, we got in the car and headed to the race.We got off at the exit they told us to and then a sheriff was at the exit and pointed us to go right. We went right FOREVER down a long, winding country road, and the shuttle bus was no where in sight! Some cars in front of us ended up turning around, and after a while of driving into oblivion, we decided to do the same. Good thing we did! Turns out the sheriff had pointed us in the wrong direction, instead of right we should have gone straight! Luckily we were there in plenty of time so it’s not like we would miss the start, we just wasted some gas and warmup time.

So we ended up parking on the side of the road and walked a bit to get to the shuttle bus. A volunteer was on the bus and was really friendly and explained some race information to us. About 20 minutes later, we were at the school and church which was the start for the race.

With a giant cow before the start

With a giant cow before the start

Behind the starting line there were pacers, and I lined up next to the 1:55 pacer. I had run less than that a couple times before, but since I didn’t want to start off too fast, I thought it would be a good place to start.

But at the beginning, I apparently did start too fast because during the first mile I was with the 1:40 pace group (WAY TOO FAST FOR ME!). It felt fine for a couple of miles, but around mile 3 I started to fizzle out and ended up with the 1:45 group and then they were too fast so I settled for being a bit behind them which was a much more comfortable pace.

The course was between farms on two-lane roads, and even though it was the Running with the Cows Half Marathon, I only saw a group of cows ONCE! They must have been too tired to come out and watch.

At around the 6.5 mile mark, we turned around and headed back to the start line where the finish also was located. On the way back, I saw Kathleen on the other side and we were able to wave a quick HI! to each other. At this same time, I had accidentally whacked off my headphones with my arm and then one of the buds from my earbuds fell out, never to return to me again :(. So the second half of the race I only had one earbud which was fine, at least I still got to hear my music!

The second half of the race was tough for me. I was getting tired, it was getting humid, and I was ready for the food at the finish! I tried to keep up with my pace though because I was pretty sure I was headed for a PR and I made sure the 1:50 pacer never passed me because I really wanted to get under 1:50.

laurencows

I think this was towards the finish!

Once I saw the church, I knew the finish was near so I really kicked it up and it ended up being one of my fastest miles (8 minutes)! I crossed the finish and was so happy to get a PR – 1:49:09! I received an awesome medal, and then went inside the school and was AMAZED at all the food! I knew there was going to be tons but there was literally everything – tacos, pizza, cookies, chips, bread, cinnamon rolls, and so much more. It was like a dream!

My first plate of food!

My first plate of food!

I took a plate and then went back to the finish to wait for Kathleen. She crossed a little while later and I was so happy I was there to cheer her on! I was so proud of her, less than a week before she had run a half AND a full and here she was doing another half and crossing another state off her list. What an accomplishment.

Me and Kathleen showing off our medals

Me and Kathleen showing off our medals

This race was really fun. The course was hillier than I thought it would be, but honestly the volunteer support, medals, and food absolutely made it all worth it! I only wish it was closer so I could do it every year, but maybe one day I will be able to come back. I was happy to find out I ended up in the top 10 for my age group (8 out of 109) because usually I don’t do as well place wise for the longer distances. Definitely one of my favorite half marathons and I would recommend it to anyone!

Close up of the super cute medal!

Close up of the super cute medal!

Lauren

Weekly Recap

weeklylauren

Monday, May 11th: Rest Day

Tuesday, May 12th: 3.11 miles running

Wednesday, May 13th: 2.5 miles running

Thursday, May 14th: Rest Day

Friday, May 15th: Rest Day

Saturday, May 16th: Rest Day

Sunday, May 17th: .5 mile warmup + Make Tracks for the Zoo 5K

So this week ended up very different from what I thought it would be. I started off the week a bit sore from the half marathon last Saturday, but it was nothing unusual and I didn’t really think anything of it. I ran a few miles again on Tuesday and felt alright, but on Wednesday the pain started :(. I was supposed to run 5 miles, but after about 2.5 I stopped because I was experiencing sharp pains in my left hamstring. My hamstrings have obviously been sore before, but this was different. I felt a pain and then it felt like if I tried to run through it, something might snap!

I took the day off Thursday and Friday, and tested it again on Saturday. I still had the same feeling, so I was pretty certain there was no way I could run the 5K on Sunday. I wasn’t going to go down easy though, so I iced, compressed, stretched, and rolled practically all day Saturday hoping something would work! I went to bed feeling about 90% that I would NOT be running on Sunday.

But, on Sunday I woke up and went on a quick run to figure out whether or not I should race that day. To my AMAZEMENT, I did NOT feel the sharp pain and while my hamstring was a little tender it was not worrying me as much. So, I decided that I would not be going for a PR at the 5K, but I definitely WOULD be running!

I’ll talk about the race later this week or next, but I am very happy that I ended up running it. Even though it wasn’t my best time, I really was so thrilled that I was able to run and I’m assuming that my hamstring isn’t as awful as I thought it was. I was really at a low point on Saturday, freaked out that I wouldn’t be able to run for a while, but I ended up probably being a little dramatic :)

This week, I am going to continue to ice and stretch my hamstring and maybe not push myself as hard during my training runs. I definitely have learned how important it is to properly warm up before and stretch out after EVERY run, and I will confess that I was definitely NOT doing this which probably led to my sore hamstring.

I hope everyone has a GREAT and HEALTHY week!

Lauren

39.3 Mile Weekend

A few weeks ago, I took on the crazy adventure of running a half marathon on Saturday May 2nd at the Indy Mini in Indiana and a full marathon on Sunday May 3rd at the Flying Pig in Cincinnati.  Instead of sharing two recaps, I thought I would combine them into one post and detail the top 10 about the weekend!

1—The Weather!

— The weather for both events was perfect!  It was a little cooler on Saturday for the half and a little warm on Sunday for the full, but I cannot complain!  It did not rain or thunderstorm and both races happened!

2—Indy Mini Course

— The Indy Mini course was great!  We started downtown, went to the Indy 500 track and then made our way back downtown!  The course was very flat and a perfect half to take super slow J

3—Indy Mini Entertainment

— There was so much entertainment on the race course!  Practically at every half mile there were different musicians, dancers, groups or some other entertainment.

4—Indy Mini Crowds

— The Indy Mini race is one of the largest half marathons in the country with over 22,000 finishers for the half marathon.  There were corrals at the beginning (from A to T!) but I found that they were NOT BEING ENFORCED at all!  I don’t know why you would have corrals if you won’t reinforce them!

5—Post Indy Mini Race

–The medal for the Indy Mini Race was GREAT!

One thing that I really enjoyed about this race was that they gave us a bag to put all of the goodies in afterwards (water, banana, chips, and more).

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6—Flying Pig Pasta Party

— I love it when a race offers a pasta party.  It makes it very easy for me when this is offered because I don’t have to worry about figuring out where to eat ahead of time!

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There was a good selection of pasta, salad, bread, and cookies.

7—Flying Pig Start and Corrals

— The Flying Pig race started at 6:30 am.  While it was early, especially since I had to be at the race site by 5 am with road closures (my hotel was 30 minutes away too), I like starting a marathon early because it just means that I’ll get done sooner and I don’t have to wait around to get started!  The corrals at the Flying Pig were actually enforced which I appreciated!  There were lots of port o potties inside the corrals and I didn’t think the corrals were busy at all.  The crowding on the course was pretty manageable.

8—Deciding to go right onto the full instead of left 

— My only other marathon that I have run was the Disney Marathon where everyone was running the marathon.  This race there was a half marathon, marathon relay and the marathon.  Around mile 9 is where the half marathon turned left to finish the final four miles and the marathon and relay turned right.  Once I turned right, I knew I was on the full marathon course and it was going to be another 2+ hours to the finish swine!

9—Support and hills

— Holy moly… Cincinnati was hilly!  I had heard it was hilly and it lived up to that hype.  I was a little upset I didn’t get under 5 hours (I was at 5:03)… but with the hills, I’m not too disappointed.  But the other thing that was stop on was the crowds and support!  Wow, every mile had TONS of spectators cheering for us.  At mile five down Main St, I felt like I was running on Michigan Avenue in the Chicago Marathon… it was JAM PACKED with people.  After getting rejected for the Chicago Marathon, this was a great way to make up for it J.  Also there was SO MUCH FOOD on the course.  From Swedish fish, beer, chocolates, gummies, graham crackers, bacon, gels, oranges and so much more… it was quite overwhelming at times!  It’s funny how you are taught as a child not to take anything from strangers, but during a marathon, you’re willing to take anything and everything from them.

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10—The Flying Pig BLING

— I had no intention of running another marathon after Disney, especially only 4 months afterwards, but when I figured out the bling was so much better for the full than the half for the Flying Pig, I knew I had to do the full marathon.  The ribbon is so much better than the half ribbon (the half ribbon was just blue and said “flying pig half marathon”) and the medal while it is the same is significantly bigger for the full marathon.

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Will I ever do a Goofy Challenge again?   I’d say heck no.. but if the bling is another factor for me… maybe so someday, but not anytime soon!  I’m planning on a double half weekend in October this year but I’m not planning on anymore marathons for 2015.

Now having a big break until the next half in September :)

Kathleen

Weekly Recap

weeklykathleen

Monday, May 4th: Rest Day

Tuesday, May 5th: Rest Day

Wednesday, May 6th: 3.87 miles on treadmill (11:38 pace)

Thursday, May 7th: Rest Day

Friday, May 8th: Rest Day

Saturday, May 9th:  Running with the Cows Half Marathon (2:23:37 (10:58 pace))

Sunday, May 10th: Rest Day

What a busy week!  I finished my final half marathon of the crazy 3 racing weekends in a row.  It was tough on Saturday for me (I was tired by mile 2)… but I pushed thru and finished State #16!!  I’ll be recapping the race later this week or early next week.

Since I ran a marathon on May 3rd, I knew I didn’t want to run too soon again, so I only ran once this week on Wednesday on the treadmill.  My Nike Plus app decided not to start and I didn’t notice until 3 minutes into the 45 minute run, so I just went with what the treadmill said.

On Thursday, I left work after a half day and headed down to St. Louis.  I wanted to be in St Louis around 5 pmso that I could have dinner with one of my college best friends.  We ate dinner at Sweetie Pies (if you’ve heard of the show on OWN… it’s absolutely great… southern comfort food!) and I got to see her new house.

sweetie

After dinner, I headed to Lauren’s apartment.  Since she was working until 9 pm this worked out great!  After she got home… we chatted for a bit, she showed me her latest running medals (I love some good bling!), and then she packed and we went to bed.

It was supposed to take us around 4 hours to get to Kansas City.  The packet pickup was at 4 pm, so we planned to leave around 10 am, so we could have some time to maybe take in a few sights in the KC area.  Unfortunately, mother nature had a different plan for us.  Right after we got on the highway in STL, it started raining and HARD.  At some points it was raining so bad that I had to look at the lines in the road to make sure that I was driving ok.  Therefore, we were also driving a lot slower than normal, so we didn’t arrive in KC until after 3 pm.  At this point, I was so tired from driving in the rain that we dropped off our stuff at our hotel and 5 minutes later, went to the packet pick up.

The packet pickup was pretty low key… which we expected.  It was in a small room… one section for the half marathon, one section for the 5k and then a merchandise area.  We got an awesome shirt and bib.  I didn’t purchase anything from the official merchandise (shocking, I know!) but Lauren got a cute tank!

With a cow outside the packet pickup!

With a cow outside the packet pickup!

After we left the packet pickup, we headed to Olive Garden to carb load and then back to our hotel to get ready for our race!  The start time the next day was at 7:30 and we needed to leave the hotel at 5:45 to get there on time.

My dinner at the Olive Garden.

My dinner at the Olive Garden.

Lauren with her meal

Lauren with her meal

Kathleen