Saturday, September 23, 2017

chicago half marathon updates

Hey guys! The weekend is already flying by. Tomorrow is the Chicago Half Marathon and it looks like it's gonna be pretty rough weather-wise. Hot and humid and sunny. Woof.



Lucky for us, Chicago Half is preparing for the day and will have misting stations, along with ordering extra ice and water for us all to keep us safe. Race Guards will be on site (and racing) checking on all of the runners. They are always so awesome, and though I've never had to use them (knock on wood), I appreciate them being out there looking out for us all.

Chicago Half as updated the EAS (event alert system) and we are currently starting with a yellow flag. It's likely to jump to red, but hopefully we'll stay within the yellow/red and never jump to black (which means race cancelled). Keep an eye out at aid stations for the EAS flags so you know what's going on. You'll want to slow your pace a bit as well, so your body can cope with the higher temps and humidity. I've heard it's about 30 seconds slower per mile for every 5 degree temperature increase above 60F. So that can be 1–2 minutes tomorrow depending on what we are starting out/ending with. 

Play it smart. Play it safe. Listen to your body. Drink that water (and electrolytes! Gotta replenish what we are losing through sweat). I personally am brining my own hydration pack so I can drink as much as I want/need. I'll stop at the aid stations for water to dump on my head.

I made it through Disneyland Half in 100 degrees, so I know I can finish, it just won't be my original game plan. With how training has been, I thought I might be able to PR without pushing myself too hard. I do have Chicago Marathon in two weeks, after all. Now I know there'll be no PR, and I'll just run how my body is feeling. It'll be slower, and I might have to walk more than I want, but it's about finishing upright and not exhausting myself too much.

I'm excited to see my Oiselle Volée teammates at Cowbell Corner around mile 8 or 9, and am hoping to meet up with fellow BibRave Pros Frank and Zenaida beforehand. Frank is doing the half as well, and 

Tips for running in this heat:

  • Slow down your pace; about 30 seconds/mile for every 5 degrees above 60F.
  • Don't wear a hat. You lose a lot of body heat off the top of your head and covering it up will prevent this. I recommend a visor (and sunglasses to protect your eyes)
  • Dump water on your head. The evaporation helps cool you down, and it feels really good.
  • Wear light colored and loose fitting clothing. Tech material is a must in my opinion. 
  • Does it look like a runner nearby you is having some issues? Give a helping hand. Ask if they are ok and if they need assistance from a Race Guard. Look out for one another.


This is a great race. I've been running it for the past... five or six years (I really need to look back and keep a record of when I did races haha). Running on Lake Shore Drive is really cool (though not very shaded... you've been warned) and since you are on wide streets, congestion with other runners is minimal. Though I am on the slow side, so maybe there is more crowding in the faster corrals, I wouldn't know haha.

During hot races, my mantra is to live to run another day. I won't go balls out and I'll be listening to my body. If it feels tired and overheated, which can happen quickly for me, or feel nauseous, I'll take it even slower. Hopefully not so slow I get put on the SAG wagon. The nice thing about this race is they keep the finish line open a little longer. You are supposed to keep a 16 minute mile pace, but if you go below it, they can push you over to the Lakefront Path and you can still finish if it's before 11:30. The party afterwards finishes at 12. They have pizza and beer at the finish line, but I know usually after this race I'm pretty hot and tired and can't stomach eating anything.

Good luck + some reminders from Chicago Half Marathon (via their Facebook page):



Be safe out there and I hope you have a great race! Remember to say hi if you see me – I'm nice, so don't be shy ;)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

run mag mile 10k recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry for Run Mag Mile 10k to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!



You can read my more succinct review here.

The Run Mag Mile 10k was held on Saturday, September 9 in Grant Park at 7am. I had attempted to pre-pay for parking at the Millenium Garages, but for whatever reason, SpotHero was saying all of the spots were gone. So we ended up at Soldier Field. A little bit of a walk, but that was fine. At the start, temps were about 58 with 76% humidity and when I finished it was in the mid-60s. Sunny most of the way.



I wasn't able to make packet pickup, so my mom grabbed our stuff on Friday morning at Fleet Feet Old Town. She said it was easy, though for some reason they didn't give her the right goodie bag. I guess if you registered before a certain date you got the sweatshirt and then after a certain date you received the same long-sleeve as last year, but branded with this years info. We found this out later. She had been excited for the sweatshirt, so I told her to email them to find out what happened. That's when we found out about some people getting something while the others got something else. Anywho - she had registered early enough that she was supposed to get the sweatshirt and they emailed her back quickly saying it was a mistake and they would have the sweatshirt waiting for her at the info tent at the race. That was cool of them (not only to fix the problem, but also how quickly they responded – some folks don't even respond to their emails). She returned her other shirt in the morning when we got there and then gear checked her new sweatshirt.

We got to the race around 6:15, I met up with my friend Angela (a fellow Oiselle Volée) and Zenaida (fellow Volée and BibRave Pro), and then we got into our corral (which was E, it went up to F). They released corrals every 5 minutes or so. I ran on my own rather than with my mom, because getting close to marathon day, I needed to work on my own run/walk intervals (especially after being in Disneyland and running wacky intervals for photos, the heat, etc). Since we were pretty familiar with the route, I knew she'd be ok on her own. 5k and 10 runners all started together.




The course started on Columbus heading south (if you were corral maybe C–F you lined up facing east on Jackson), then it sort of bottle necked on the east side while then curving west to go down Congress Parkway, around the curve to go north on Michigan, turn around right before Chicago, east on Randolph, south on the lower LFP, down to the end before it goes around Shedd where you turned to go on the middle path until Balbo, which you then went to the upper path next to LSD, back down to Randolph to head west, then south on Columbus to the finish line. Here's the map if you're a visual person:



Thanks to being on the streets the first few miles, runners have some time and space to spread out before getting on the LFP where it can get a bit crowded (especially since it's still open to the public – so beware of cyclists and other runners; maintain etiquette by running or walking only 2 across and let people know when you are going from a run to a walk). I enjoyed the course – it's nice not having the entire thing on the LFP and getting some different sights made it more interesting. 






There were four aid stations along the course with water and Nuun. I decided not to run with my own hydration since it wasn't going to be TOO hot out and it was a shorter distance. There ended up not being quite enough volunteers to meet the demand of the high volume of runners. I felt bad for them as they were trying to pour and hand out as quick as they could, but couldn't quite keep up. I ended up grabbing off a table most of the time since luckily they had poured a lot of cups and that seemed better than having to stop and wait to be handed a cup.







I also love the few out and backs where you have a chance to cheer on other runners. As I was going down Randolph, I caught Angela heading towards mile 6 and cheered for her as she ran past (and she actually heard/saw me and waved - yay!). 




I ran 75 seconds and walked 15 seconds and felt pretty good the whole way. The course was clearly marked and plenty of volunteers to warn the 5k to split and head to the finish line while the 10k was to keep heading east to the LFP. 




I finished with a good for me time, not a PR, but pretty close I think. 12:34 pace, which I was happy to see. I wasn't happy that I forgot to put my watch on Manual Laps, and my watch was off by about a mile. Once it got to be a full mile ahead, it helped to know my pace, but generally I was just going by feel, because I can't do math when running to decipher my pace per mile in correlation with my time elapsed haha. It's why pace bands or tattoos are something I like. So I really had no idea if I was going too hard or not, but just listened to my body and that seemed to work out well for me.







When I finished I grabbed my medal, bottled water, Luna bars, and then I met up with a new friend (and another volée member) Nora. She was such a sweetheart to hang around at the finish area waiting for me to finish. We then chatted a bit, met up with my mom, and then grabbed our brunch. She's a vegan, and she said they were very nice when she asked not to have eggs or sausage in her container (and offered her an extra bagel, which she declined). The post-race brunch consisted of Parm Crisps, Dole mixed fruit cup, Piroucrisps, plain bagel, grape jelly, ketchup packet, sausage, and eggs, along with a packet of utensils, napkin and a wet nap. Pretty awesome. Beverage options were some Revolution Brewing brews (I think Oktoberfest and Cross of Gold) or a Moscow Mule. I've never had a Moscow Mule and was intrigued, so grabbed one of those, while my mom grabbed a CoG. Very much appreciate the race partnering with a local craft brewery. Thank you! Tickets for drinks and brunch were on your bib.




The race kept everyone up to date on race details with frequent (but not annoying) emails, and afterwards they sent out a post-race survey, link to results, and photos. Photos were FREE and I actually had more than one. Hooray! Not to mention they were ready about two hours after the race. Super quick.



I enjoyed this race and would recommend it for anyone looking for a September 5 or 10k. RAM just about always comes through with unique swag and medal designs. Registration is already open for next year if you're interested.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

bucktown 5k this sunday


Disclaimer: I received an entry for Bucktown 5k to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Another weekend, another race! Join me at the Bucktown 5k on Sunday, September 17. Some great news? Race start is at 8:30am. A little extra sleep never hurt anyone, plus, since it's a 5k, still plenty of time to grab some breakfast afterwards. There's some great places to grab food nearby, or at least some coffee. I ran last year and had a great time. You can read my recap here.

Registration is winding down, and from what I hear it's almost sold out, so register now if you're interested. You get an AMAZING, soft, snuggly Chicago flag blanket and if you use code BibRaveBT17, you'll also get a free water bottle.


You can grab your packet at Fleet Feet Old Town on Friday, September 15 from 10am – 8pm and on Saturday, September 16 from 10am – 6pm. There is no race day pickup.

Here is the course:


Get this free using code BibRaveBT17 during registration.

You can register here and then let me know that you did so we can meet up :)

Friday, September 8, 2017

run mag mile 5/10k

Disclaimer: I received an entry for Run Mag Mile 10k to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Hey guys! Tomorrow is the Run Mag Mile 5/10k already. I can't believe it. This week has been fast paced and BUSY as all get out. I got home from California at about 1am on Wednesday (and by home I mean landed, I wasn't home, showered, in bed until after 2am. And then I had work in the morning. Woof.

Anyway, I had my days all mixed up, and I thought the race was on Sunday! Oops. I'm just using the day as a training run, though if that also means feeling good in the cool temps and setting a PR, I wouldn't hate it ;) I'll have my long run on Sunday now, so don't want to push the legs TOO much when they still need to last another 18 miles the next day ;)

Looking forward to earning this:



California was in the triple digits most days, so coming home to 60s feels so amazing. I love this weather, and if it goes into the 50s and never gets warmer till next summer, I'd be a happy camper. However, I am realistic, and know that this IS Chicago after all, and in a few days time I'm sure we'll be back up in the 80s.

Can't wait for cooler temps to wear the sweatshirt they gave out this year! Cute color, too.



Some last minute info for the race tomorrow.

Start Times:
7am for both the 10k and 5k

Where:
Grant Park - the start is on Columbus and Jackson and heads south.

Parking:
I'd recommend hitting up Spot Hero to find reasonably priced parking during the race. Usually you can get something at one of the Millenium or Grant Park garages for $20 (which, to be honest, is reasonable in this city haha - certainly better than the $35+ you'd likely pay if you don't reserve a spot first).

Finish:
The finish line is just north of Jackson and Columbus.

Course Map:



Hydration:
According to the map, there'll be water and Nuun at 4 stops for the 10k. 5k has 2.

So, who all will I be seeing there?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

under armour horizon rtt trail shoe review


Disclaimer: I received the UA Horizon RTT Trail Shoes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!


Finding the right shoe for you can be hard, let alone finding a trail shoe that works not only for your running style and foot, but also to the trails you run. I generally run some tame trails, but sometimes I head over to more technical trails to run with my trail loving friends (and on the rare occasion, by myself).

I had the opportunity to try a pair of Under Armour Horizon RTT Trail shoes. Choosing a color was tough, but in true Heather fashion, I went with one of my favorite colors — the teal ones (official color is Marlin Blue / Neptune). Picking a shoe size can always be iffy too, but I took the 'what size fits me best test', which resulted in the same size I usually wear. 


When I got the shoe, I was intrigued by the traction on the bottom. They looked like they would be great for the really technical trails where you would need good traction to get up some of the trickier hills or to stay on your feet in a muddy situation. I never got to test the latter, as the trails in the area aren't supposed to be run on when they are muddy (to preserve them, and I do my best to follow the rules), but they did work great on getting up hills where I needed a good foothold (better than my usual road shoes).


I am in full marathon training mode, so I was weary of trying them on my long runs, but I did wear them for short/medium runs up to 6 miles. I didn't have any issues with blisters and the fit was great. I'm glad I went with the size that was recommended. I found it was true to size, but sometimes size can be relative, so I'll say the shoes I usually wear for running in the two brands I wear are both the same size, and the Under Armour RTT Trail Shoes are the same.


They were a little heavier than the shoes I'm used to, but I feel like that is standard for a trail shoe – I think they are made a little more sturdy and durable. It didn't bother me, it's just something I initially noticed, but quickly got used to. I felt they moved well with my foot when running and didn't notice any heel or knee pain (something I've been dealing with lately, which I think has to do with running in shoes that aren't a great fit for me, so I am usually pretty weary of new shoe models I haven't worn before for running).


There were a few instances where I was running on rocks that I noticed my ankle rolling a bit, but I honestly think that's just me and my lack of gracefulness and being a bit on the clumsy side. This didn't happen when it was the dirt, tree roots, grass, etc. Just when on the rocks. Nothing got stuck in the bottoms. I felt the cushion wasn't over the top, but there was enough that my heels weren't bothered in them.


I love getting out to the trails; though they are more difficult, which means I'm even slower than usual, I always feel accomplished and I enjoy my time out in nature. Having a shoe that fits the terrain better gives me the excitement and energy to make the trek out rather than just running around the neighborhood (which gets pretty boring).


I would have liked to get out to the trails more, and I did try, but sometimes life gets in the way. I was able to get out there 5 times to test these shoes out for 5–6 miles each time. I tried another day – I got everything ready to go so I could go straight from work and I was so proud and later in the day at work I realized I didn't pack a sports bra... that's not really negotiable, and by the time I got home from work I didn't have the time to get out to the trails before making it to BibChat at 8pm CT that night. I did go the next day, but it just wasn't the same haha. 


Some info on the UA Horizon RTT Shoe from the website:

These were made for the runner who makes the trail their second home. With superior cushioning & incredible durability, they‘re are ready to put in some serious miles.

Product DNA

  • Durable PU & textile upper for breathability & reliable protection
  • Reinforced welded synthetic material in critical areas for increased durability
  • Mesh heel with dual protective welds
  • Molded collar foam package for added comfort
  • Charged Cushioning® foam puck placed under the heel for responsive comfort
  • Lightweight, full-length EVA midsole for optimal cushioning
  • High traction rubber lug outsole for dependable traction on a variety of conditions
  • Offset: 7mm
  • Weight: 9.2 oz.
  • Imported
  • Colors: 

    • Marlin Blue (300) / Neptune

    • Black (001) / Steel
    • 
Raisin Red (916) / Black Currant

    • Midnight Navy (410) / Mediterranean
    • Pomegranate (693) / Gray Matter
  • Cost: $109.99

I would recommend these for anyone looking for a trail shoe that is sturdy and durable. I heard a few of the other BibRave Pros even ran through streams and puddles in them and had no issues. Everyone is different, but for me, they were comfortable and worked well for the trails that I was running. 


Under Armour has also started up a running series and you can join one of my best running friends Amy at Copper Mountain. They have a ton of distance options: 50k, marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, vertical challenge, 10k, and 5k. I love when a race has so many options to choose from; just about something for everyone. It looks really challenging, but that's what we love, right? It takes place September 9 and 10 and you can save 40% on any distance using code BIBRAVE40.


Connect with Under Armour:
website | facebook | twitter | instagram

Read what the other BibRave Pros had to say about the UA Horizon RTT Trail Shoe:
Mel | Tedrick | Lindsey | Jessica | Fallon | Casey | Vanessa | Angie | Frank | Amy

Friday, August 18, 2017

pack run cap review

Disclaimer: I received a BUFF® Pack Run Cap to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I wore the BUFF® Pack Run Cap for the Chicago 10k.

Are you one of my amazing follower on Instagram or Twitter? If you are, then you’ll notice that almost all of my running photos feature a hat or visor. Even on a cloudy day, I usually wear one, because I have sensitive eyes and need to block the sun (along with being pale and I like to protect my face when I can from the sun. If there isn't a hat or visor being featured, it's mostly likely because I took it off after my run before I took the photo (and if you look closely enough, you'll see the line on my forehead haha).


In the summer (and really, anything over 50 degrees), I’m usually in a visor. My head heats up pretty quickly, so I like to have that top vent haha. In the winter, I can wear a hat… though even sometimes I’ll take that off to cool down.



Anyway, I often add new hats and visors to the collection so I have more variety. Most recently, I was able to test the BUFF® Pack Run Cap. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but when I received it, I noticed how super lightweight it was, along with being super bendy. I use really technical terms here. I hope you can keep up 😂


I can’t say exactly what color mine is, as it isn’t available on the website at the moment, but it’s a fun pink and orange combination (based off of the UV Arm Sleeves, I believe the color/design is called Akira). Nice and bright, which you’ll also notice is something I love. I don’t feel the need to match, just be bright. Not only do I feel that being in bright colors gives me more visibility out on the streets, but also it makes me happy to be in bright, fun colors.



The BUFF® Pack Run Cap is easily adjustable with an elastic cord at the back so you can get a secure fit. I love how easy it is to adjust and that it can actually fit my smaller head. I often have trouble with hats, feeling sometimes foolish in trucker hats because they make my head look super small haha. This adjusts to my head shape and then I can tighten it to a good spot and not have to adjust it again. I wore it on some windy days. I have some caps that a windy day means it's blowing off, or I'm constantly grabbing at it, patting it down, to make sure it doesn't go flying. The BUFF® Pack Run Cap stayed on, no problems.

Another great feature is that since the fabric is so movable, I can rinse it with water after each run to get all of the sweat out, wring it out, and not have to worry about its shape. The brim always snaps back into place and doesn’t bend weird or get jacked up from doing this. Even after a 4-miler. I am dripping sweat. So that hat needs to get washed out and hung to dry haha. Another bonus: doesn’t take long to dry.



The BUFF® Pack Run Cap includes a low profile sweatband that helps to keep perspiration out of the eyes and the side panels wick away moisture. Obviously, I still had some sweat dripping down my face towards m eyes, because I don't wear hats at my eyebrow level haha – so there was still some face wiping on my end. I’m also someone that has to constantly wipe my face anyway (my eyes burn so bad if sweat gets in there – is that just me? Does it have to do with wearing contacts? Or maybe what I eat makes the sweat burn? ha). Just something I like to note, in case you sweat a lot like me... a hat can only absorb so much 😂



Another bonus of the fabric being so streamlined and compressible is that you can easily fold it up and tow it in a pocket during a run if you don’t want to wear it anymore. It’s also great for travel. Trying to only pack a carry on? This is the hat to bring as it’ll barely take up any space and only weighs one ounce. Awesome sauce.

Here’s some information from the website:

Ultralight and ultra smart, the BUFF® Pack Run Cap is built to go the distance. Super streamlined, exceptionally light and highly compressible, it’s comfortable for the long-haul, but can easily be folded and rolled to stash in a pocket. The four panel design and stretch materials hug the head for a secure fit that doesn’t bind, while a low profile sweatband provides moisture control without added bulk, and the polyester materials wick away perspiration. The crushable polyurethane brim snaps back to shape and combines with the UPF protective materials for sun protection on long races and extended training days.
  • Exceptionally lightweight, weighs only one ounce
  • Packable design with crushable brim that regains its shape for reliable sun protection
  • 4-way stretch fabric for comfort
  • Upper panel provides UPF 50 protection
  • Fastwick fabric side panels wicks away moisture and improves breathability
  • Low profile sweatband keeps perspiration out of eyes
  • Adjustable elastic cord at back for a secure fit
  • Reflective tab on back, logo on front add low-light visibility

I think this hat will be great for me in the fall/winter months more so than summer. While it is lightweight and breathable, I still like to have that air vent up top that a visor can provide when it’s 70+ degrees and high humidity. It works fine for the shorter runs, but once I’m at 8+, I need as little fabric on me while still wearing clothes that are supportive and protect my eyes and skin. I struggle in the summer, so I need all the help I can get haha.

The cost of the BUFF® Pack Run Cap is $32, which I believe to be very reasonable, and comes in 4 colors at the moment. BUFF® usually has some pretty good sales, too, so I'd sign up for their email list so you know when those are happening. They make a lot of great, quality products. You'll see me in the summer sporting a BUFF® half on my wrist to wipe away all the sweat on my face and in the winter, I love the Merino Wool BUFF® around my ears or I use it on my face when it's super cold or windy. 



Join #BibChat over on Twitter Tuesday night (August 22, 2017) at 8pm CT for a chance to win one of your own! It's a great piece of gear to add to your collection. Honestly, I really like it. In order to win the chat, you must follow both BibRave and BUFF® on Twitter and answer the 6 questions during the hour. It's also a great chance to chat with other runners and get some new training, nutritional, or recovery tips. Hope to see you there!




Connect with BUFF®:

website | twitter | instgram | facebook | pinterest | youtube

What the other BibRave Pros had to say:
Meredith | Janelle | Angie

Sunday, July 30, 2017

btn big 10k recap

Disclaimer: I received entry for BTN Big 10k to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!


The BTN Big 10k was on Sunday, July 23, 2017 with a 7am start for the 10k and an 8am start for the 5k. I registered for the 10k and this was my second year racing this event. You can read my shorter review here.

I was unable to get my packet during the week (it started on Wednesday and went through Saturday at Fleet Feet Old Town), so I was heading into the city on Saturday after my dentist appointment. My friends Angie and Josh were coming into town for the race, so we decided to coordinate a run on the Lakefront Path together with a planned meet up of around noon.

It took me a while to get into the city on Saturday. I left around 10am and got there around 11 or so. Pickup was a breeze – I had my QR codes ready to go and after going into Fleet Feet and going to the back where the pickups are held, I waited maybe a minute or two for a volunteer to be available and it was another minute to get both packets. Turns out, my mom and I had registered early enough we were also getting cookies. I expected it to be one, but it was five or six in a bag held in a plastic RAM Racing cup. Awesome, and as later I found out, delicious. They were from a place called Carol’s I believe.

I had a little time to kill, so I looked around the store and found a Momentum Jewelry wrap I had wanted that said runCHI on it, so I bought that. My friend Mike was working the register, so we chatted a bit about running and shoes while he checked me out. 

It's nice to have someone with you to take a photo.

I headed over to Montrose Harbor to meet Angie and Josh. I had 8 miles scheduled for the day, and so Angie ran with me. Josh ran 11, but we met up with him a time or two on the LFP while he was getting a snack/drink. It was a warm one, and the path was very crowded, but we had a lot of fun. Afterwards, we ate at the Montrose Docks. I got a BLT and fries and it was delicious.

These two are the best.

Anyway - back to the race details :)

My mom and I parked at Millenium Garages (pre-paid for a spot using SpotHero) and arrived at the race site around 6am. I had a planned meeting with the three other BibRave Pros racing at 6:30, so we hit up the porta-potty lines which were starting to get long.

The Start Line.

I ran into my Oiselle teammate Jen while waiting for the other pros and we chatted a bit. She was out there to cheer and we talked about how humid it was – it was going to be a tough race if it was that bad already in the morning and we felt it just standing there. Temps were already at 75 degrees with 86% humidity and 70 dew point.

Eventually, the four BRPs were able to find each other and we high-fived, hugged, took photos, and wished each other luck. It was time to get into the corrals.

The BibRave Pros.

I was in the last one, so didn’t matter so much for me, but the rest had to get up closer to the start. There were about 2 minutes between corrals and the line-ups were along Columbus with the start line (going north) at Monroe. Soon enough, we were off. I was attempting to race on my own, using my own intervals, which for that day I was trying 70/15.


Mascots at the start line.

I was doing ok the first few miles, though the very high humidity had me struggling. By mile 3.5 or so, it hit hard. I couldn’t keep up with my intervals any more, and I had to walk a lot more than I wanted. I tried bringing them down to 60/15, and then 60/30, but I still struggled. I decided that day was just going to be about finishing, and I assumed my mom would catch up to me before the finish. 

Great views of the city. This was right after aid station 1.

The first aid station was pretty packed, so I kept going (I brought my own hydration for situations like these – and I get to drink the electrolytes I prefer), but I stopped at the second and third for some water (to both drink and to dump on my head). 

Shedd Aquarium.

I really like the course (minus the bad cracks and holes in the lower path near the lake, but that can’t be helped. One of these days the city will fix that area, right?). We had some beautiful views of the city, and the lake looked really enticing on such a hot day – I wanted to just jump in.

When you aren't having a good race, might as well stop for some photos.

There were clocks and mile markers for each mile, and three aid stations, and 2 slip and slide blow-up things. I passed on those, assuming I wouldn’t have the energy to slide the whole way haha. I think there was a timing mat around mile 3.1 too, but not completely sure. I get runners brain and forget a lot of things about on course happenings ha.


Around mile 5 mom caught up and so we ran the last mile together, keeping each other going when I know all we both wanted to do was walk. We did 30 secs running and 60 secs walking I think. Eventually we crossed the finish line. Summer running in Chicago isn’t my favorite, and so I know to have lower expectations of my finish times. This one was far from a PR.


At the finish line you got your medal, which was the same for everyone this year (10k finishers only), bottled water, a banana, and Clif Protein Bars. I saw towels laying around, so they must have been giving those out, but I couldn’t find any and assumed they were all gone. I did grab a bag of ice to help cool me down (wrapped it in my BUFF® and then held it to my neck, face, and put it on top of my head).

Trying to cool off using ice in my BUFF®

After leaving the finishers chute, we headed to get our magnetic coins. This is where you would go to your alumni tent for the school you chose when registering. You tore off the claim ticket on your bib and exchanged it for the coin, which then stuck to your medal. Mom got the generic BTN Big 10 Fan shirt at pickup (liked the colors a lot), and so we headed over to that tent first to grab her coin. Then it was to Illinois for mine. Luckily, Iowa Hawkeyes was right next to it, which made it easy to find Angie, Josh, and Kelly. I also met up with another Oiselle teammate from WI, Allison, who was super sweet.





A ton of people hang out for quite some time at this race. There are games, photo opportunities at your alumni tent (if there weren’t trophies or mascots, there was at least the school backdrop). The Illinois tent gave out coupons for Chipotle (free guac and chips). Food was Amylou sausage and pretzels – I didn’t get any, as after being super hot, the thought of eating something hot just wasn’t doing it for me. They also had Revolution beer. I was SO happy to see that the race partnered up with them, a local brewery, instead of one of the big guys. Thank you RAM! I didn’t have any, but I’m always in favor of supporting and promoting local. 




We hung out behind the tents in a tree shaded area for a while, then decided it was less crowded so we could get our photos taken at our tents with props and things. On our way out, we had a small dance party (I believe Angie posted a video on her twitter or instagram) and then some more photos by the blow up football. We went to Buckingham Fountain for some photos, then Dunkin’ Donuts for some drinks (I was very disappointed that they didn’t have the iced teas they had on the menu, but the Strawberry Banana smoothie was good… and the hashbrowns), and then over to The Cloud Gate. Lots of great photos and conversation. Lucky for us, my mom doesn't love to be in photos, so she took all of the group ones for us. She's awesome. Eventually will sat down by the fountains where the wind would bring over some cooling water spurts that felt awesome. Kelly headed out and we talked with Josh and Angie a bit longer. Around 11 I think it was, we all said our final goodbyes until hopefully Marathon weekend. 

I'm a good sport.





Exhausted. Early wake-up. Hot. Humid. Sunny.


Though I’m not a super fan of college sports, I enjoy this race. It is well-managed, packet pickup is easy (and you can have it mailed if you wanted up to 3 weeks before the race for $15 and packet usually arrives about a week before race day), the course is a little different, great scenery, and great vibe from the runners. Though there’s school rivalry, it’s all in good fun. I’d recommend this to anyone that’s looking for a fun race, there is an Elite start so it’s great for the fast runners too. I love that so many people are still there when I finish. A lot of races, most people are gone by the time I finish, so I think it’s cool that there’s enough going on at this post-race tailgate that entices people to hang around.

Closing out a fun weekend with fun friends.