Sunday, November 19, 2017

pumpkins in the park 5k recap

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

RAM Racing Pumpkins in the Park 5k took place on Saturday, October 21 with a race start of 4pm (2:30pm for the Kids Spooky Sprint). I love afternoon/evening races, so this is ideal for me (though traffic around/in the city on a Saturday afternoon is not ideal. 

We got to the race site around 3pm (parked in the Lincoln Park Zoo lot) and grabbed our packets. The line was pretty long, but went quickly. We stopped back at the car to get race ready and then wandered the zoo a bit before heading back to the race. They also had packet pickup on Friday at Fleet Feet Old Town, but I wasn't able to make that, so I was very glad they did race day and I didn't have to pay $15 for shipping.

I met up with fellow BibRave Pro Bree for a quick chat and photo, and then it was time to line up. We were in corral C, which started a few minutes after 4pm.  The course is below, but it basically wound around the park, went north, turned around and came back south till the finish.

The course was a bit narrow at times, and you had to be careful of your footing because it wasn't always a smooth surface (cracks and bumps, sometimes pavement, sometimes dirt). It didn't seem as congested as the year before, or maybe it was, but being prepared for it had my expectations on the same level.

It was fun to see all of the families and different costumes. At the finish line, we received a cup of Nuun, bottled water, a taffy apple covered in sprinkles, mini Clif bar, and individually wrapped mini pumpkin pies (two in a package). Yum. I found Bree again and we talked about our race, then she had to get going. We initially were going to grab beers, but then saw the very long line (as they were checking IDs and doing wristbands), and since we were hungry for dinner, decided to leave. They were also making popcorn and handing that out.

For dinner we went to Burger Antics in Brookfield, which has some amazing food and beer. I couldn't decide on a burger, so I got the three slider option where you can choose different ones. It was awesome. We then had some pumpkin pie cheesecake for dessert. Great way to celebrate my birthday - running, burgers, fries, beer, and pie.

Favorite burger? The one on top with FOUR different cheeses.
Get in my belly!

If you're looking for a fun Halloween race, you should give this one a go in 2018. They also have a costume contest, so bring your A game and win some prizes. I think there were also awards for the top 3 women and men, but don't quote me on that.

Friday, November 17, 2017

buff® thermonet™ multifunctional headwear and hat review

Disclaimer: I received BUFF® ThermoNet™ Multifunctional Headwear and hat to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Winter is coming (or here for some people). Despite the fact that it's still fall as far as dates go, plenty of us have been getting those sub 20 degree temps already. Granted, here in Chicagoland, it didn't seem to get away from summer until the end of October. I was hoping that when the BUFF® goodies came in early October, I'd be able to use them right away. Unfortunately, it didn't cool down enough for me to test them until Hot Chocolate 15k came around.

I love BUFF® products. I use the half BUFF® all summer long to wipe away sweat from my face (and to prevent that unpleasant eye burn) and it's great in the winter as a headband to keep the ears warm or as a face mask to keep the face warm and to warm up the air a bit before breathing it in. It's been an essential piece of gear no matter the weather, so of course I wanted to try out their new ThermoNet™ line.

I love the color options – I went with crash berry, which is a mix of purples, but also really liked the arrowhead option. The hats come in four options: crash berry, black, arrowhead, or Banff Film Festival. The multifunctional headwear has a few more: black, crash berry, soft hills turquoise, damask purple, hunter military, and tip logo.

I was glad I brought both the hat and multifunctional headwear for Hot Chocolate 15k on Sunday, October 29 as it was pretty cold standing around waiting to start, especially in the shade. I think it was around upper 20s. Once we started going, I was able to warm up and eventually take off the hat and then the BUFF® that was being used as a gaiter.

They came in handy again for Hot Cider Hustle 8k last weekend when it was windy and the temp was 19 degrees during the race. Snow and ice on the ground, BUFF ® ThermoNet™ at and multifunctional headwear around the face kept me warm. Of course, I eventually got hot and took off the hat haha, but it's always needed the first mile or two (and all that pre-race standing around). You know me, I always get hot fast, which is why I'm still in shorts when it's in the 40s ;)

They are both super soft and comfortable and can be worn together, or separate. I like that the hat is able to fit my headphones underneath a little better than some of the other hats I've tried. These items will definitely be a staple this winter along with the Merino Wool BUFF® (also super soft and necessary to add to your collection!).

Here are more technical details about the products from the website:

When weather conditions require high-thermal insulation, the new ThermoNet™ multifunctional headwear provides maximum protection from the cold. This comfortable, thin multifunctional headwear is made with breathable, durable PrimaLoft® yarn that is four times warmer than regular microfiber. The result of years of research and testing, ThermoNet™ multifunctional headwear wicks moisture away from your skin while trapping heat inside, keeping you comfortable and dry in even the most frigid winter weather.
  • Featuring PrimaLoft® yarn
  • High-thermal insulation: mimics the warmth of down
  • 4 times warmer than microfiber
  • High warmth-to-weight ratio means you don’t need bulk to stay warm
  • Moisture management
  • Seamless

Complete the look with a matching ThermoNet™ Hat:

When the temperature dips, keeping your head warm is the key to whole-body temperature regulation. Our new ThermoNet™ Hat provides maximum protection from the cold with a breathable, durable PrimaLoft® yarn that is four times warmer than regular microfiber. The result of years of research and testing, the ThermoNet™ Hat wicks moisture away from your skin while trapping heat inside, keeping your head comfortable and dry in even the most frigid winter weather.
  • Featuring PrimaLoft® yarn
  • High-thermal insulation: mimics the warmth of down
  • 4 times warmer than microfiber
  • High warmth-to-weight ratio means you don’t need bulk to stay warm
  • Moisture management

BONUS: Receive 20% off your entire order at when you purchase at least one product from the ThermoNet™ collection. Includes ThermoNet™ Multifunctional Headwear, Hats, or Balaclavas. Enter code: *BIBRAVETHERMONET20* at checkout. Expires: 11/17/2017

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

rundisney wine and dine half marathon weekend

You guys! It's here! One of my favorite race weekends of the year. The 2017 Wine and Dine Half Marathon will be my sixth year here, AND, it's the race that got me into running and runDisney (and honestly, Disney too – yes, I loved the movies when I was a kid, but I was too busy traveling for Irish Dancing to go to Disney as a kid, so now I'm feeling like a kid when I'm here to make up for it haha).

While I'm still sad it isn't a 5k and half marathon all in one day, with the half marathon at night (I LOVE night running. It's my favorite.), I do enjoy that there is a challenge and I can earn an extra two medals now. Now that I'm older, I really need my naps post-races with those super early morning wake up calls, so having to do that three days in a row really eats into my park time. It used to be just one day 'wasted'  – wake up early, run the 5k, nap and rest all day, run half marathon, party, sleep in Sunday, and rock out the rest of the days. Now it's wake up early, run, nap, park time, bed early. Repeat. Repeat. So I feel like I spend too much time napping rather than having fun at the parks. I'm just so tired these days haha.

Anyway, the expo starts tomorrow and I'm excited to see what all of the merchandise is; runDisney just revealed the race shirts. I really want the kids one with Figment on it! How cute. I like Mickey and all, but I wish the 5k, 10k, and half marathon shirts had just a little more variety to them. I'll make my final decision on them when I see them in person. I'm really hoping that orange is more neon than it seems, but I really like the other colors.

Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (remember to print, sign, and bring your waivers):
Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Friday, November 3, 2017 - 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, November 4, 2017 - 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Check out the event guide here for all the information you need.

The courses look interesting too. Different than last year. I'm a little nervous about the 10k and half you don't get to anything good until mile 4 or so. Plus, starting so close to Magic Kingdom, but not actually running through it kind of stinks. I know this race never has, but with the course changes, and starting in a MK parking lot, it's like why not? haha. I'm really glad the 5k is back at Animal Kingdom and that the half goes through AK, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot like the good old days (though I'll be missing the dancing lights!). 

Regardless of good course or bad course, runDisney races are always a ton of fun, and I'm sure this year will be no different. Who else will be here? Any fun costumes? What are you most excited for? Any social meet ups happening that I'm unaware of and should go to?

Sunday, October 22, 2017

oofos project pink

Disclaimer: I received a pair of OOcloog Project Pink Clog to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

I am a big fan of OOFOS products. I have their OOmg Low Shoe (which they just came out with a full black color that I need for work stat), the OOriginal Sport Sandal, and I picked up a pair of the limited/special edition Chicago Marathon OOsport Slide Sandal. 

Obviously I'm trying to get a full collection of their products and was in need of adding the OOcloog Clog. When BibRave gave the Pros the change to be involved with OOFOS Project Pink, I wanted to be a part of the promotion and was thankfully picked to receive the clog. Yahoo!

During Chicago Marathon training, I was having a lot of heel issues (believed by me to be a symptom of tight calves/PF flare ups). This meant if I sat down to long, or after sleeping, I had a lot of trouble walking without pain when I got up again. Keeping OOFOS by my bed so I could slip them on when I woke up helped immensely. I also wore them around the house, as I read being barefoot would make PF worse.

I love to toss them in my car for post-race. I will note that they are warm, so for most of the past month I haven't been able to wear them outside the house because it's been too hot for them (needed the sandals), but it's starting to cool down, so they've been useful for running errands. So, if your feet are always cold, these will work for you year round. If you are like me, and your feet got hot quick, then they'll be more of a fall and winter shoe and I'll rotate in my sandals during warmer temps.

What makes them different? OOFOS are made with OOFoam, which absorbs 37% more shock than traditional footwear foam. They reduce stress on your feet, knees, and back. They cradle your arches. More information regarding why your feet have earned this.

Now onto the Project Pink portion (information from the OOFOS website). 

This extends beyond footwear to a cause that strikes way too close to home: the fight against breast cancer.
Duncan Finigan is a long time member of the OOFOS family and was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in October 2014. After Duncan’s diagnosis, it was an easy decision for us to choose breast cancer research as the cause that OOFOS would stand behind. 

$10 of every pair of the Project Pink collection sold is donated to breast cancer treatment research at Dana-Farber. As one of the world’s leading cancer care centers, the Dana-Farber team works tirelessly to find a cure to help the millions around the world that are affected. 

Read more about Duncan's Story here.

Perfect to wear to Yoga and Beer - slip on and off easy peasy.

Connect with OOfos:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

pumpkins in the park 5k this saturday!

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

I can't believe we are coming to my birthday weekend! This year has been flying by. We are already past mid-October. Say what?

Anyway, my next race is on Saturday and it's my pre-race birthday fun. I ran it last year on my birthday and had a good time, so decided to come back again for 2017. I generally don't do many 5k these day unless there's a cool medal, but what draws me to this race is that it's in the afternoon (4pm start time), so I don't have to get up at 4am to get into the city for only 3.1 miles. In the afternoon, you can walk around Lincoln Park Zoo pre-race if you get there early, which I intend to do.

Some other fun things about this race:
  • Costume contest (Bring out your best costumes for this year's costume contest! This year, prizes will be awarded for the Best Original Costume and Best Group Costume. The sky's the limit, so let's see what you've got!)Individual mini pumpkin pie
  • Revolution Brewing Cross of Gold Pale Ale (for our 21 and over participants)
  • Post-race snacks
  • Multiple options for packet pickup (including race site from 1:30–3:30)
  • Kids Spooky Sprint at 2:30pm
Packet pickup information:
Fleet Feet Sports Old Town
1620 N Wells St.
Chicago, Illinois 60614
Friday, October 20, 2017: 10am to 8pm

Lincoln Park – South Fieldhouse
1650 N Stockton Drive
Chicago, Illinois
Saturday, October 21, 2017: 1:30pm to 3:30pm

Looking for plans on Saturday? Come join the fun. Use code BibRavePP17 to score a free RAM Racing branded water bottle at packet pickup.

This year's goodie bag includes a long-sleeved technical tee (purple with a bat on the front and gender specific sizes). All participants in the CLIF Kids Spooky Sprints will receive a youth t-shirt, sure to brighten up those spooky fall nights! They're pretty cute.

Are you headed there this Saturday? Dressing in costume? Let me know in the comments :)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

upcoming october races

Disclaimer: I received an entry for Pumpkins in the Park 5k and Hot Chocolate 15k to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Now that the Chicago Marathon is over, I can think about a few more fun races on the schedule - no pressure of time goals, just fun.

On deck I have Pumpkins in the Park 5k on Saturday, October 21 and Hot Chocolate 15k Chicago on Sunday, October 29.

What I like about Pumpkins in the Park 5k, other than that it’s a fun way to celebrate a birthday, is that it’s a later afternoon race, starting at 4pm. Sleeping in for the win! I’m much more of a night runner, so this makes me happy. They also have race day packet pickup, which is essential for those of us that don’t work in the city and can’t make it in there easily on the weekdays.

The race takes place near Lincoln Park Zoo and goody bag includes a long sleeve tech shirt (these were super soft last year, and looks like it’s the same material this year) + individual pumpkin pies at the finish line! Taffy Apples! Popcorn! Costume contest! lots of fun stuff haha.

Hot Chocolate 15k always has sweet sweatshirts and delicious treats awaiting you at the finish line. This will be my third year, but unfortunately not in consecutive, or I’d be able to score that legacy title and get some extra perks. I ran a few years ago, but then the race weekend was always when I was doing runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon down in Florida, so I was happy when they switched to October in 2016. 

Join me for the fun at these races and use the following codes for extra SWAG:
Saturday, October 21 – RAM Racing Pumpkins in the Park 5k. Use code BibRavePP17 for a free RAM racing water bottle

Sunday, October 29 – RAM Racing Hot Chocolate 5/15k. Use code BRHCCHI17 for a free Hot Chocolate branded hat

Are you running either of these events?

Saturday, October 7, 2017

bucktown 5k recap

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 to review find and write race reviews!

At the start line.
If you prefer a short version, check out my BibRave review here.

RAM Racing Bucktown 5k was held on Sunday, September 17. This was my second year running it (2016 was my first; recap here). Though I have been trying to mostly run 10k or longer distance races, I couldn't help but register for this Bucktown 5k. Why? Because of the goodie bag. This year's included a super soft, Chicago flag blanket, and when I saw it in person at an expo/felt it, well, it was just too good to pass up.

At the finish line.

My mom picked up my bib for me on Friday afternoon at Fleet Feet Sports in Old Town. She said pickup was easy and no problems. We left the house around 7 and got to the race around 7:30. I went to where I parked last year, and both sides of the street were full. This put me in panic mode, even though we had a lot of time still. Parking in the city isn't easy, and since the course was a no parking zone, it meant all of the cars that normally were parked there were displaced, which means there was going to be limited parking in the area.

The photographer told us to do it haha.

In our search, we came across a policeman on the course. We asked if he knew where some parking might be and he said he had no idea. So, we just drove around. Eventually we found some metered parking on the street maybe mile from the race. A lot of other runners parked here as well, and in the end, though it cost us $4 rather than being free, it was closer to Starbucks and Stan's Donuts, so worked out better haha. I tried to get my mom to get out of the car near the race so she would have time for the bathroom in case we were cutting it close, but she refused.

Free race photos for the win. And there were actually a good amount.

Anyway, we were parked before 8, got our gear ready, and walked over to the race site. Plenty of time to use the portapotties, which didn't have very long lines, and all was fine. There was a DJ and an announcer letting people know when to go line up in the corrals. The race start was different than last year, moved up just a little bit so all of the corrals were on one street rather than being 'L' shaped, turning down a different street.

There were 6 corrals released every 3 minutes or so. We were in the second to last, and I ran with my mom the whole way with her intervals (45/45). The congestion seemed a bit better to me than last year, not running into as many people. I'd say the course was pretty wide in most cases, and MOST cars had parked elsewhere (there was an occasional car you had to weave around). Two sections you ran on half the street, as the other half was for another portion of the course, but it wasn't long or bad, and it was cool to watch the other runners go by.

There were plenty of volunteers and police out to keep the runners on course, safe, and keep traffic off course. There was one water stop (there might have also been Nuun, but I couldn't tell for sure - I skipped it). 

The course.

There were so many families out cheering for all of the runners, it made the race seem very special and local. 

At the finish line, we were given a cup of Nuun, bottled water, a banana, and a bag of snacks which included Soy chocolate milk, a plain bagel, Clif mini bar, Rice Krispy treat, and a piroucrisp. Post-race site had a DJ, games, and a photo backdrop. 

We didn't stick around too long. We headed back to the car to drop off the extra stuff and then headed over to Stan's to grab some amazing donuts. Then we got some iced beverages from Starbucks next door. It was a delicious morning haha.

I shared, I promise.

Definitely looking at running again in 2018 – looks like they are voting between a chicago flag blue long sleeve tech shirt with the 4 stars on the sleeve or a duffel bag. They both looked pretty cool. 

Have you ever run this race? Did anything I mention make you want to register? :)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

5k crate subscription box review

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

I love trying new things, so when the change to try a subscription box came up within the BibRave Ambassador Program, I decided to opt in. There's a lot of products out there, and can cost a lot of money to try them all out, and the choices are overwhelming. Getting a subscription box with handpicked items from 5k Crate can make that a little easier. Plus, it's not just the snacks, gels, or whatever. It's gear and accessories. Yes, please. October boxes start shipping on 10/16.

What is 5k Crate? Let's go into more details before I talk about what I got. 5k Crate is a curated quarterly box for runners of all levels. It costs $59.99 (free shipping within the US), and every 3 months you'll get a box filled with 4–6 handpicked items. The 5k Crate is about offering subscribers a premium subscription that provides the best apparel and accessories on the market today. They promise not to be another subscription box filled with just snacks and gels, but rather deliver to you a box filled with products that you will happily be able to use over and over again.

Each quarter you will receive quality apparel, gear, and accessories from well known brands like Nathan, HydraKlick, Mission, Nike, Zensah, Kunckle Lights, Nike and others that are sure to motivate you but more importantly, that you are sure to use over and over again. You choose men or women, then your shoe, top, and bottom sizes. 

When I opened my box, I noticed how nicely packed it was. There was a card (with a short handwritten note on it) that described the products inside and what the costs of each product was. So what came in my box (July–September box)?
  • Mission VaporActive Alpha Running Shirt (hot pink) $35.95
  • Mission VaporActive Cooling Towel (blue) $19.99
  • Spigen Wireless Bluetooth Headphones (black) $45.00
  • Zensah No-Show Compression Socks (white, grey, and bright pink) $19.99
  • Epic Full-Size Body Wipes (x2) $2.50 each
  • La Fresh Travel Sunscreen Samples (x3... except mine only had 2, but that's ok) $1.00 each

The box arrived the day before I left for Disneyland, so I packed the Zensah socks and the travel sunscreen samples since I knew I could get some use out of those on my trip. Let's go down the line and discuss a little about each product.

Mission VaporActive Alpha Running Shirt
I'm not gonna lie. I didn't love this shirt. While the VaporActive and the color were great, it just wasn't a great cut for me. I'm very picky about what I wear for running, because if there's any seams rubbing, that can be uncomfortable (and lead to chaffing). The shirt was just a snug on my muffin top, and I could tell it would bother me while running, so I didn't wear it for that. It's fine for walking or just to wear for errands/around the house (because I wear tech shirts all day if I can), but not great for me personally to run in. I think maybe if I went a size up on that one it would work... but you know how tricky sizing can be. For whatever reason, sizes are different and fit different depending on brand and style. 

Mission VaporActive Cooling Towel
This came in HANDY. It has been hot here in Chicago, and while training for the Chicago Marathon, some of these long runs have been brutal. Like, 90s and sunny. That is not my cup of tea at all. If you know me or follow me, you'll know that I prefer 30s over summer temps. I tossed this towel in my bag and would use it after my long runs. It helped to cool me down and feel more comfortable post-run. Just yesterday I ran at noon in the city when it was another hot day (95 and sunny, ick). I actually folded up the towel and put it in the pocket of my hydration pack. I only had to run 3 miles, but they were tough. At mile 2, I took out the towel, wet it at the water fountain on the lake front path, and wore it around my neck for the last mile. It's getting a lot of use and I would highly recommend it for anyone that overheats like I do in the summer. I say overheat like I do, because I get crazy hot running even in the 50s and 60s haha.

Spigen Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
So, I already have a pair of wireless bluetooth headphones I love for running. They are open ear so they are awesome for safety when outside. And they fit nicely. I have a really hard time getting most earbuds to stay in my ear, especially when running. So I'm not going to mess with what already works so well. Instead of wearing these for running, I decided to bring them to work. They're nice headphones, and it's nice not to be constantly dropping my phone because I turned and pulled the cord of wired headphones, landing my phone on the floor.  

Zensah No-Show Compression Socks
I'm a big fan of Zensah, and wear their compressions sleeves and socks a lot. I've never actually tried their low socks, though. Don't ask me why. I was excited to give these a try. They are thin and lightweight and come up to your ankles. They fit nicely and were very comfortable. I wore them for running and all day for work and for when I was Disneyland walking around in the parks all day. No blisters or problems. Very comfy.

Epic Full-Size Body Wipes
These body wipes are no joke. They say full-size and they mean it (dubbed the Massive Wet Wipe. Yep, it's massive alright). I tossed one in my bag for a post-race wipe down. Obviously in the heat of summer, we get sweatier than normal, and here's some real talk: I've been dealing with some body acne which I think has to do with being so sweaty, but not being able to shower for another hour because I have to drive home. Being able to wipe all the sweat off and clean the pores has helped reduce this body acne. I've never dealt with this before, so it was new to me and confusing, but I think I pinpointed the problem, and these wipes have helped to fix it. They work great and smelled nice. I'm not sure I always need such a large sized wipe, but I bet they'd be awesome for ultras, camping, and other travel. What's really great about these wipes is that they are made with bamboo, which is a wildly renewable resource, which makes the wipes 100% biodegradable. Score.

La Fresh Travel Sunscreen 
These travel packs came in handy for traveling. Much easier to put in your purse than a full container of sunscreen (and light-weight!). It was easy to apply, and you don't get all that sunscreen lotion all over your hands. I really liked having these, and might stock up. It certainly makes applying sunscreen more convenient, and we all know how important it is to sunscreen up! I know as an Irish, blonde-haired girl I need it bad. I burn very easily.

5k Crate was a pleasant surprise. You never really know what to expect from these things, and I was really happy with the selection of gear and accessories. I've found some new staples that'll get a lot of use (or something I know is worth buying more of). Give it a shot. You might find some of your new favorite products!

Connect with 5k Crate:

What the other BibRave Pros had to say:

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 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.