Friday, July 29, 2016

staying hydrated with ultima replenisher

Disclaimer: I received Ultima Replenisher 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!*

The opportunity to test out Ultima Replenisher couldn't have come at a better time for me. My old favorite had changed their formula, and I was in the market for a new electrolyte drink. I was a little weary at first of trying Ultima, as it has stevia – an ingredient I am very sensitive too (and not a fan of) and seems like I taste it (or maybe just more bothered by it) more than others – which means I was afraid I wouldn't like it. I spoke with some others that use Ultima, and are also stevia sensitive, and after hearing their thoughts and recommendations, I decided to opt in (and thankfully was chosen, because now I know how awesome it is).

Lucky for me, the stevia didn't bother me at all, and I do believe I've found my new favorite. Ultima sent me a box of Raspberry sticks (20 come in a box) as well as a small canister of 30 servings of Lemonade (so nicely packaged, too). I love that from the small canister you can get 30 servings. Plenty of bang for your buck, plus, doesn't take up much space in the cabinets. The sticks are awesome to put in your purse/bag and for on the go. I can easily store one in my Orange Mud pack when I'm out on a run if I need to re-fill my bottle, or for post-race water bottles. That's what I did for Rock 'n' Roll Chicago. I had the 5k Saturday and the 10k on Sunday, and of course it's always crazy hot and humid that weekend, so I wanted to make sure I was hydrating properly Saturday so be ready for Sunday's race. I tossed in the Raspberry powder into a bottle of water post-race, and it was delightful.

After a trail run, I mixed up the raspberry for my first test of Ultima.
It was very refreshing and I was pleased that I didn't notice too much stevia :)

I'm not one of those ladies that just glistens a little when working out. I'll step outside in humidity and start dripping in a minute. You'll find me wearing tanks, t-shirts, and shorts in temps as low as the mid-40s. I heat up quickly when I start to run, and so in the summer, my clothes are usually pretty drenched a few miles in. Super attractive, right? Whatever - I like to keep it real with you all ;)

See that small patch of light color? Yeah, my shirt was almost completely drenched.

See what I mean? Uber sweaty.

Obviously with all the sweating I do, I'm losing electrolytes, so it's important to drink something other than water. I've found that I enjoy drinking Ultima before my run, but it is crazy refreshing as a post-run drink, too. A great way to replace what you've lost during the run. I mix it up, toss in some ice, and chug away. It's so yummy and tastes amazing after a run in this crazy summer weather (so hot and humid! Seems like all of my runs have been done in 80 degrees + with about 80% humidity or more. Woof.). Electrolytes will help avoid cramping, which is a sign that your body is low on them. It's important to consume electrolytes in a consistent manner so you can go into your workout or training session adequately hydrated. Start out with everything your body needs rather than try to add them in during the workout, which is usually too late. 

Symptoms of dehydration include: headaches, fatigue, leg cramps, sluggishness, and even hunger (what often appears as hunger is the body signaling for hydration; another reason why people say to drink water if you're feeling hungry, because you might just be thirsty instead.)

After hiking Mt. Abraham it was time to rehydrate and get ready for race day.
Always fun when it matches your nails.

Side note - it's important to get these electrolytes year round, not just in the summer. Even in winter, when you might not sweat AS much (I still sweat plenty haha, just not as much as in the summer heat and humidity), you'll still need these vital minerals.

Some tips from me to you:

  • Use a shaker bottle. That whisk ball thing helps mix the powder into the water really well
  • Mix and then add ice (doing so beforehand will cause the powder to clump and not mix as well)
  • No blender bottle? No problem. I also stirred with a spoon, let it sit a minute or two, and then stirred again. Sometimes one stir works – just depends on how cold the water is. The colder it is, the more likely you'll get clumps (very small balls of powder), but if you let it sit for a minute, they usually dissolve without any issue.
  • You can also just use a water bottle and shake it up. This worked well too, and I noticed a lot of the other BibRave Pros used this method.

What are the 6 electrolytes you're looking to help replace in your body after all the sweating?
  1. Calcium
  2. Chloride
  3. Magnesium
  4. Phosphorous
  5. Potassium
  6. Sodium
You can read more about these electrolytes and why you need them here.

Ready to go for Mad Half! Ultima is in my gear check list.

Ultima's new formulation includes MORE of these electrolytes. They increased the amount of magnesium, potassium, and sodium. You can see the comparison in the below image. They've also reduced package size by 45%, so more environmentally friendly. Scoop size has decreased and it's made to mix with 16oz rather than 8oz. I never had the old formula, but I like what they've done with the new one.

What's in Ultima
"Ultima contains a perfect balance of all 6 electrolytes plus support minerals that work together to provide complete hydration without stomach upset so you can feel and perform your best. Ultima is sweetened with stevia leaf and made with real fruit flavors that taste delicious. This formulation contains Vitamin C (Calcium Ascorbate) which supports a healthy immune system, protects the cells from oxidative stress and contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Calcium to support muscle contraction and nerve function. Phosphorus to deliver oxygen to muscles, Selenium as an antioxidant support, Zinc for recovery and neuron support, Magnesium for preventing muscle cramps, Potassium for cardiac muscle support, Sodium for muscle contraction and nerve function and Chloride for osmotic pressure support."

Ultima Replenisher is Non-GMO, Vegan & Gluten-Free. Zero Sugar, Zero Artificial Flavors, Zero Calories, 100% Awesome!

Ultima recently changed their formula. Here's some info from the website about it:
"Each serving of Ultima now has increased magnesium, potassium, and sodium — all very important electrolytes — and zero calories. By removing virtually all of the maltodextrin (except for the tiny amount that the natural flavors use as a carrier) we were able to create a formula that will hydrate without added calories. We care about what you put into your body as much as you do. With all 6 electrolytes plus support minerals, real fruit flavors and plant-based colors, vegan, nonGMO, no caffeine and gluten-free — we’re happy to be your go-to choice for healthy replenishment so you can feel and perform your best."

Rock 'n' Roll Chicago 5k.

"Our News is Good For Your...

  • 12 X more Magnesium
  • 3 X more Potassium
  • Zero Calories / Carbs
  • Removed most Maltodextrin
  • Non-GMO, Gluten-free, and vegan certifications pending
  • 100% bigger drink size!
  • Same price
  • Same number of servings
  • 40% less waste due to smaller packaging"

All the fun colors! Ultima uses natural flavors and fruit/vegetable extract for coloring.
The bright colors in raspberry, cherry pomegranate, and orange comes from beet juice!
Top: Lemonade, Raspberry
Bottom: Cherry Pomegranate, Orange, Grape

I loved the raspberry and lemonade so much, but I wanted to try the other flavors to find my favorite (and then order a 90 serving canister!). I ordered myself two of the variety stick packs, which come with all 5 flavors: orange, lemonade, cherry pomegranate (a new flavor), grape, and raspberry. While they are all delightful, cherry pomegranate is my favorite. Since it's a new flavor, it's been selling out quickly, so I am patiently waiting for the 90 serving canister to come back in stock. I think just about everyone can find a flavor out of the bunch that they would enjoy, if not all of them.

Love drinking Ultima after these hot, humid summer runs.

Do yourself a flavor (haha) and order yourself some! I have a 35% off + free shipping code for you to use = BIBRAVE2016. Ultima is already very reasonably priced, but it's always nice to save some extra cash, isn't it?

Ultima Variety Pack.

Cost of different products (before 35% discount):
20 count stick packs - $19.99 (about $1 per serving)
30 serving canister - $19.99 (about $.67 per serving)
90 serving canister - $39.99 (about $.45 per serving)

Obviously, going with the 90 canister is your best option price wise, but for traveling and on the go purposes, I really do enjoy having some sticks on hand too. Whatever you choose, I'd say the price is pretty comparable to other electrolyte drinks/supplements on the market.

You'll want to buy online for as long as the discount code is valid, because hello, free shipping and save some dough (no expiration date as of now, but if there is one, I'll update the blog), but just so you know, you can also find Ultima Replenisher at local stores such as Whole Foods Market,  Natural Grocers, Earth Fare, Sprouts Farmers Market, and more. You can go to the store locator on the website, input your address or zip code to find locations near you. I found some stores or workout studios that I wouldn't have thought to look at. Pretty cool.

The person (people) running their twitter and instagram account are very interacrive and helpful. I've bothered them with questions, such as when certain flavors will be back in stock, and they always get back to me quickly. Super helpful. 

Speaking of out of stock, they've had a few things come and go out of stock quickly, especially the Cherry Pomegranate flavor, which is their newest one. It has been super popular, and so goes out of stock just as quickly as it comes back. Snatch it up if you see if in stock! They currently have the individual packets, but not the 90 serving canister. Just a heads up if there are certain flavors/sizes you want, but they aren't available at the moment - they'll be back! Just keep an eye out on the website.

Enjoy cooking, baking, or finding new fun recipes? Check out the recipes using Ultima:

Ultima Replenisher will be sponsoring #BibChat over on Twitter on Tuesday, August 2 at 8pm CT. Join us for some fun chatter along with a chance to win some Ultima for yourself!

Connect with Ultima:

*All thoughts and opinions are my own, and I am always honest with you! Have a question? Just ask :)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

chicago marathon training 2016: week 10

Week 10 of Chicago Marathon Training
Monday, July 18: Burgers and Beer 5k
Tuesday, July 19: 8 miles; 45/30;
Wednesday, July 20: Strength Train
Thursday, July 21: 8 miles; 45/30; 
Friday, July 22: Strength Train
Saturday, July 23: Rest Day / Stretch / Roll
Sunday, July 24: 10 miles; 30/30

Week Total Mileage: 29.12 
Marathon Training Mileage: 279.28
YTD: 705.6

Great night for a race... and great food and beer!

After a weekend of racing, I capped it off with a Monday night run at Soldier Field/Lakefront Path for Burgers and Beer 5k. I believe this was my third or fourth time running this race – always a blast. I love burgers and beer and running, so why wouldn't I enjoy it? Haha.

The weather was warm and humid, but not too unpleasant. I ran with my mom and thoroughly enjoyed the food and beer after the race. They do awards and lots of giveaways at the end of the race party, which is awesome (even though I didn't win anything).

Tuesday I ran 8 miles. I would have pushed it to Wednesday after running the previous 3 days, but storms prevented that from happening. I was pretty wiped and it was about 88 degrees when I went out for my runch. I drank about 50oz of water haha. I had some troubles with the last 2 miles, and did more walking than I would have liked mile 7–8, but overall I'm seeing improvements and that makes me happy.

Sweat in the eyes! Can't be controlled during selfies haha.

Thursday was another crazy hot one at 95–100 degrees. I managed to stay outside for 5 miles before going inside on the treadmill at the gym for 3 more to finish the 8 for the day. I was feeling ok, but could feel myself crashing from the heat and humidity around mile 4, so at 5 I ran by the gym and popped on the treadmill – so very little time between the two runs. I had created a workout for the treadmill, so did 40/30 intervals on that so I didn't have to manually adjust the whole time. After finishing up at the gym, I walked home as a cool down.

Notice that small piece of lighter fabric? The only place not soaked haha.

So. Dang. Hot.

Sunday was meant to be 12 miles, but that just wasn't in the cards. I got 6.5 miles done outside in high heat and humidity, and couldn't get anymore outside. Being so sweaty, I stopped home to grab a bite to eat, shower, and then went to the gym. Again, I was hoping to finish up the 12 miles there, but my knee was hurting, so I called it quits at 3.5 more on the treadmill to be 10 miles total. I'm always disappointed when I don't get in all of my miles, but I didn't think messing up my knee was worth the 2 miles I missed. Luckily, it felt better the next week – so not sure if it was just some random thing, possibly going from pavement to treadmill, or maybe shoes I normally don't wear on there. I can't say for sure what the problem was, just happy that it didn't last long.

This summer I just can't finish any distance run without a soaked shirt or tank top
with minimal dry spots haha.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

chicago marathon training 2016: week 9

Week 9 of Chicago Marathon Training
Monday, July 11: Rest/Stretch/Roll (travel day)
Tuesday, July 12Rest/Stretch/Roll
Wednesday, July 13: 8 miles; 40/30 intervals; 1:54:28; 14:18 average pace
Thursday, July 145 miles; 40/30 intervals; 1:09:42; 13:56 average pace
Friday, July 15Rest/Stretch/Roll
Saturday, July 16: Rock 'n' Roll Chicago 5k (Garmin - 3 miles); 40/30 intervals; 38:54; 12:47 average pace
Sunday, July 17: Rock 'n' Roll Chicago 10k (Garmin - 6.3 miles); 40/30 intervals; 1:17:01; 12:18 average pace

Week Total Mileage: 22.3 

Marathon Training Mileage: 250.16
YTD: 676.48

Tough 8 miles after coming home from racecation.

This week was a bit tough – getting back to reality after a tiring vacation is not always fun. I ended up skipping strength training all together as I tried to get back into the swing of working, cleaning, unpacking, laundry, etc.

8 miles was supposed to be Tuesday, but pushed it to Wednesday as Tuesday was spent catching up on work/life. Those 8 miles were toooooough. My legs weren't having it – whether it be the heat and humidity or a bit of exhaustion post-vacation, or most likely both. Either way, I got through all of it outside, even though I was so very tempted to go on a treadmill at the gym to get out of the heat.

5 miles on Thursday on another brutal weather day. I was thankful for any breeze that blew threw and any bit of shade I could get into while running. 

5 miles in more heat and humidity. Sweaty!

Rock 'n' Roll expo was on Friday and then the 5k on Saturday morning. Weather wasn't too awful (actually in the mid-70s, sunny, 80% humidity)l, and I was pretty happy with our time. It was a new course this year, and I think it helped with some congestion issues (it used to be all on the path – this year started on the streets and eventually went onto the path). I ran this one with my mom.

RnR Chicago 5k!

Sunday I stuck with the 10k, as it cost WAY too much to upgrade to the half. The weather was actually ok - cloudy, which I like, and not nearly as hot as it's been the past two years (which was why I registered for the 10k instead of the half - it's usually 90 degrees and sunny with high humidity which meant by the end of the race I was miserable). I decided to run this on my own, doing the intervals I felt would work best for me. I ended up getting a new PR, which was really exciting. It was still warm and humid, and I got a side stitch around mile 5 that slowed me down some that last mile, but I pushed pretty hard and was very pleased with my results. It's nice to see the hard work paying off. 

After the race I met up with my friend Tom for some photos and chit chat, and then shortly after saying goodbye to him, it started to pour, so we walked back to the car parked at Soldier Field. Of course we were drenched with squishy shoes by then, but it felt kind of nice to get a mini-shower in haha.

RnR Chicago 10k. Received the Remix Challenge medal for running 5k and 10k.

I was planning on getting in more miles when I got home after eating some lunch and digesting, but a family issue came up that I had to deal with (nothing bad, just something time consuming and exhausting), so ended up with just the 6.2. Womp womp.

I'd like to point out that the plan I'm using is specifically tailored for me – my abilities, preferences, and goals. Each and everyone of us is different and trains differently, so I wouldn't suggest trying to copy my plan, but tailoring one to your own needs/goals. Or even better, using a coach like I do because they know what they are doing... I don't haha. 

I love Sweat Tracker and would recommend them to anyone interested in using a coach. And don't go thinking that coaches are only for the elite or fast. As you can see by my pace, I am anything but, and at first was intimidated by the thought of using a coach, but I really have benefited from it and lost all self consciousness. They are there to help improve YOU, not anyone else. No judgements, only encouragement. It's honestly one of the best decisions I've made in my running 'career' so to speak — using a coach. I wouldn't be where I am now if it weren't for them.

Monday, July 18, 2016

mad half recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Mad Half Marathon 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 the more brief review on BibRave here.

Celebrating the Mad Half Finish with beer and pizza.

My husband has wanted to visit Vermont for quite some time, for a special brewery that has very limited distribution, and nothing in the Midwest, but couldn't justify making the trip for only that. After he mentioned it to me recently, a few weeks later BibRave had the opportunity to race in Vermont at the Mad Marathon/Mad Half. He was actually off the weekend of the race, so I brought it up to him and he was pumped. It was super exciting when I was chosen as one of the three Pros that were able to run the race.

Mad Half Course Map.


I had debated between the marathon and half for a while, and ended up going with the half because I'm not a great summer runner and I wanted to make sure that I was able to finish the race and get the full experience (rather than attempt the full and be taken off course for being too slow). Typical summer weather there, I saw on the website, was a 'cool and breezy Vermont summer, in the 80s'. No thanks. I was glad I decided on the half, as someone mentioned to me later that there were a ton of hills on course. Of course I could have seen that if I looked at the course map/elevation, but I hadn't. Living in the Midwest where it's pretty flat, and a course elevation of 300 ft gained is a lot to me, I knew I made the right choice.

We arrived at our B&B (West Hill House) in Warren on Thursday later afternoon. It was about 15 minutes from the race events. The festivities began on Friday, with packet pickup from 4–7pm behind the Waitsfield Inn and then a concert on the Mad River Green at 7pm. We ran out of time, so didn't make it on Friday.

Mad Marathon Packet Pickup.

Saturday, packet pickup was from 9am – 6pm behind Waitsfield Inn. We got there around 10 I think. Pickup was very laid back, which was a telling of what the race weekend would be like. You looked up your number on the board – half marathoners on one side, marathoners on the other, with runners listed alphabetically. You then went to the proper bib side (again, marathon and half split), went to the 'line' (there wasn't one) with your number in it (ie 1–100, 101–200, etc). I received my bib, safety pins, race booklet with race information, and a blue drawstring bag with the Mad Marathon logo in white. It even had zippered front pocket on it - fancy. 

Farmers Market.

I was ready to leave when my husband was wondering about shirts. I saw them lined up by size on the other side of the tent, but it wasn't mentioned, so I asked the guy at the table and he said to go over and grab one. Whoa. I'm so used to it being given to you with your bib, or at another station, but it being very particular, as in: this is the size you ordered, if it doesn't fit, go over to the exchange table. Again - super laid back atmosphere and it was very refreshing. The size I had requested was the proper size, too, so that worked out well. The ladies were a mint green and the men's were a dark green (a little lighter than forest, I would say). They were also selling shirts from 2015 for $5, so we each bought one of those too. How do you pass up a tech shirt for that price?!

I also asked about parking, as it seemed there were about 1,000 registrants, but not a ton of parking in the area. They looked at me like I was crazy when I asked if there would be someone directing traffic. I guess I'm just so used to the big city races, and either having to pay $20 to park in a lot, or being worried about being ticketed or towed for parking where I shouldn't be. Here, you were allowed to park just about anywhere but the grass and the Inns lot (for guests only). Other stores don't mind if you park in their lot for 5 hours here... how strange and different ;) The one volunteer mentioned getting there early to get parking, and I asked if 6am was early enough. The other volunteer laughed and said she was running and planned on getting there at 6:45... so I guess early is all relative.

The race director Dori was in a meeting when we were there, so we crossed the street to the Mad River Green for the farmers market. We bought some honey and maple syrup to bring home. We also bought a soda made from syrup. It was really good, and we taste tested some cheeses. Yum. I wanted a photo by the Mad Marathon sign over where we had driven in, so we did that, and then went back over hoping Dori was out of her meeting. She was, and I got my post-race hug early (from what I heard, she hugs all runners when they cross the finish line). She was very nice and introduced me to a Mad Marathon 'hall of famer', who had also ran across the US last year. How cool! She obviously was busy with race things, so I didn't want to take up too much of her time, so we parted ways. 

I overheard her say that the parents of the kids' race participants were worried about the weather and wanted the kids race cancelled, so it was early one, even though she had wanted to wait to see what weather was at 'race' time. I believe the band was cancelled too, due to storms, but I wasn't there at that time so can't say for sure.

It started raining right when we were getting ready to leave, so good timing. We went back to the B&B, played some board games outside on the covered porch while it rained, watched Indiana Jones, took a relaxing jacuzzi bath, and then it was time for Mad Carbo! Our B&B made us a pasta dinner at 6 — angel hair pasta and marinara sauce, along with a salad with lots of veggie options. A lot of the guests staying there were doing the race – two with the full, and then four of us doing the half. I felt a little bad for our hosts, as all of the other couples seemed to have some time of special dietary needs... so every morning she had to prepare different types of food to fit them. It was really cool getting to meet other runners and hear their experiences. Luckily, they were all staying Sunday night too, so we saw them Monday morning to hear how their races went. It was fun knowing a few more people running that I could look for and cheer on. 

Pasta dinner & a note Susan gave us the morning of the race —
giving us more sleep.  How cute.

After a filling meal, we all headed to our rooms to prepare for race day and get to bed. I showered, laid out all my gear for my flat runner, and packed my bag of running gear and a shirt to change into post-race. I don't sleep well race nights. I was in bed around 9, was watching a movie on my iPad, and tried to go to sleep at 10. I was up constantly to go to the bathroom and was tossing and turning. 5 am came too soon, as usual.

Flat Heather

Our B&B had an early breakfast for us (again, I felt bad they had to be up so early with us for a 5am breakfast) - bananas, plain bagels, cream cheese, juices, veggies, meats, etc. I assumed it was buffet style, and since I don't eat much anyway, I stayed upstairs to get ready before heading down around 5:30. Everyone was sitting at the table chatting and eating, and then I felt bad I wasn't there on time. I forced down a plain bagel and split a banana with my husband, and drank some water. We all wished each other luck and went back to our rooms to finish preparing. We left around 6ish and arrived about 6:15. We were able to get one of the last spots in the same parking lot we had used the day before, phew. It was raining when we left, and so we both debated if we should wear our long sleeves/rain coats to stay warm before the race while we were standing outside.

Fun to see Kathleen and Tom – both Chicagoland pals.

Around 6:30 we went to the portapotty line. One long line for about 10–15 bathrooms. It moved quickly. While in line I was able to quickly chat with fellow Pro Brenda, but then she also had to get in the line. I also found my friend Kathleen and chatted with her pre-race. She was there with Chelsea, who I had interacted with online, but hadn't met in person yet. We walked over to the start line around 6:55 or so. Took some photos, then they moved up a bit. I like to start more towards the end, so I can take my walk breaks sooner (when it's super crowded, I try to run longer until I feel like there's enough space to take walk breaks and it's easy enough for others to pass). Crazily enough, I ended up next to Jennifer, a social media friend. She recognized me and said hello, and we talked for a quick minute. I also found BibRave Pro Tom briefly before the race. We had a quick chat and photo, and then it was race time. It was great to see so many familiar faces so far from home!

The race started at 7am (maybe I should mention it was Sunday, July 10). No corrals or waves, as it was a small enough race it didn't need one. The streets were wide enough to allow the crowding to dissipate around the half mile mark. It started with a small downhill, a right turn, over a bridge, and then hills. Lots and lots of hills. I had talked through a strategy with my Sweat Tracker coach, and the plan was to walk up and run down, rather than attempt intervals on the hills. That worked out well, even though it sometimes meant walking for 5 minutes. We were able to make up time on the downhills, at least.

Towards the start of the race.

There were plenty of aid stations, with both water and gatorade, as well as a portapotty with each one. Some of the community came out to cheer, which was really sweet. I think even one or two of the aid stations weren't official aid stations, but sweet families from the area. I received a lot of compliments on my Sparkle Athletic skirt, too :) A few kids cheering made my day when they told me they liked it. Super cute.

The husband drank too much coffee in the morning and stopped at just about every bathroom along the way. Luckily, he's quick (he was nice enough to run with me for the race), so I would keep going and he'd catch up. There were a few out and backs where you got to cheer on other runners, and it was cool to high-five Kathleen as she ran by, and to see Tom and the runners from the B&B. It made time go by quickly, too. 

The course was clearly marked with signs and mile markers.

Some funny signs. The one on the bottom is blurry,
but said 'Secret Shortcut' with an arrow.

More signs marking where to go. Also plenty of volunteers/course marshals
on course to help point runners in the right direction.

At one point we were coming up to what looked like a massive hill, and as I pointed it out to the husband, a guy behind me said, 'you don't see a hill. It's not really there.' That made me laugh. It ended up not feeling as bad as what it looked like from afar, so that was good.

I mean, that looks like a massive hill coming up, right?! EEKS.

Having a great time!

I took a ton of photos, as it was so beautiful. There were only two spots that were super smelly - one farm with manure, and one spot that smelled of dead fish. I used my BUFF to cover my noes so I could breathe through those spots. The one time I asked my husband if it was gone and he said yes, so I took it off my face, but he was lying. Ugh. Haha.

There was the option for a beer or water stop around mile 11 (14th Star Brewing Co Wheat Beer). We chose beer. The two guys there were awesome and told us that we just had to stay within their taped area. We split one – I took a few sips out of the cup and then gave the rest to the husband, took off while telling him to catch up. I didn't want to waste toooo much time. Haha. As if stopping for other photos didn't, anyway.

If you know me at at all, you know I went to the right.
I would only have passed it up if it wasn't good beer ;)

It was around this time that I noticed we might be able to make a 3 hour finish time. I decided to try and give it all I could to meet that new goal. Instead of run/walking, I ran as much as I could. I took 3 breaks to catch my breath (1 was to walk up the final hill on course). It started downpouring at mile 12, but it felt so good I didn't mind. I was pretty much drenched in sweat anyway, so it's not like my clothes weren't already wet. The last part was running back the way it hard started, so it was over the bridge, turning the corner, and up the hill. At the corner, the street was only blocked off by cones at the shoulder so cars could drive normally in the lanes. Instead of running in the small area, I just hopped up on the sidewalk until the area near the finish where it was blocked off again to traffic. 

Tom and I at the finish

We ended up just over 3 hours, so in a small way I was disappointed, but also seeing as my main goal in my head was 3:15, I was very happy. I never expected to do that well with the hills. I'll be honest, I had talked those hills up in my head so much, that I was expecting the worst. And so, they weren't nearly as bad as I had imagined, which made the course even better. My problem is when I don't know there are hills, then I'm surprised and I find the race to be so difficult, but expecting to have a really hard time with huge a$$ hills, I managed to do better than I thought I would. Funny how that can work sometimes. Obviously, still a very challenging course with the half having a little over 1200 feet of elevation gain, but for me, 'easier' than expected.

The finish area.

Enjoying my post-race beer.

A photo with Dori the RD.

At the finish, I got my Dori hug, a medal, and then went to grab some food. They had cider, donuts, chips, bananas, bagels, and water. They also had a blow up pool with rubber duckies for runners to cool down in, though it didn't really seem needed this year. Weather was in the 50–60s, overcast, sometimes drizzly until the end where it poured, and overcast (loved that) with 95% humidity. Being soaked, I was then cold, so grabbed a heat sheet. Eventually, we found out the beer was across the street where pickup was. They had 14th Star Brewing Co Valor (a hoppy beer), and then some other options if you wanted to pay $5. There were also some pretzels, chips, and salsa. AND an adorable, sweet 2-year old boxer.

The finish line. They did a great job of making sure it wasn't too muddy or slippy.


After drinking the beer, we headed to the car to change into some dry clothes, then back to the finish line to cheer on the other runners. I got a photo with Dori, and a little while later I was starving so we left to get some food. We went to Bluestone Pizza, had some beer, and a delicious pizza. Then went back to the B&B to shower and warm up. We began the packing process, then went to dinner at Mad Taco. More beers were consumed along with more delicious food (seriously, I want to move there - amazing craft beer scene and such great food everywhere!). We walked across the street to grab beers to bring home, but what the hubs wanted wasn't in stock. Womp womp. Walking back over, we saw a Creemee place open, so grabbed some sundae cones. They were amazing! One of them had 'maple floss' on it - not even knowing what it was. Turned out, it was similar to cotton candy, but made with maple. Yum. Mine had brownies, chocolate creemee, spiced chocolate dip, and salted caramel in a waffle cone. Oh yeah.

Wearing my BibRave sweatshirt to keep me warm.
Usually post-race photo with my medal.

This race was so fantastic. I really hope I can fit it in the budget and schedule next year. I'd love to try and challenge myself even more with the full marathon next time.

chicago marathon training 2016: week 8

Week 8 of Chicago Marathon Training
Monday, July 4: 6 miles at CP, 40/30, 1:19:00, 13:10 average pace, and Strength Training (week 3, workout 1)
Tuesday, July 5Rest/Stretch/Roll (travel day)
Wednesday, July 6: 8 miles at CP, 40/30, 1:51:34, 13:56 average pace (I stopped a few times to take photos, and it was hot, so we took our time and enjoyed the sights)
Thursday, July 7: Rest/Stretch/Roll (travel day)
Friday, July 8: 4.77 miles Hiking Mt Abraham
Saturday, July 9: Rest/Stretch/Roll
Sunday, July 10: Mad Half Marathon (13.19 miles), 3:01:34, 13:46 average pace

Week Total Mileage: 27.19 (running miles only)
Marathon Training Mileage: 227.86
YTD: 654.18

I was traveling this week and so I rearranged a bit to fit things in. Originally, it should have been 6 on Tuesday, 8 on Thursday, 4 on Saturday and then the half on Sunday. I knew with traveling Tuesday I wouldn't have time to run, so I ran on the 6 on Monday. I thought I could manage without any water for 6 miles, but by mile 3 I was cursing myself for not brining anything. I get so thirsty in this heat! I went home and chugged down some Ultima. It was so refreshing.

6 miles on Monday went pretty well.
Rehydrated with Ultima Replenisher Raspberry when I was done.

Thursday, while in Portland, Maine, my husband and I woke up a little earlier so we could go for an 8 miler around the town. The husband, being so wonderful, had looked up some (mostly paved) trails to run. I'd like to point out that while he does run, he is not one that likes to do races, or generally would use vacation time to go running. He was very nice in allowing me to go for my training run, and even nicer that he wanted to do it together. This was the first time I ever ran on vacation that didn't include a race. I've never done training on vacation – I gave myself permission to just enjoy time with whoever I was with, but it was so great to be able to stick with my schedule (for the most part) and still spend time with the hubs. It's a great way to explore a new city. 

It was so pretty running by the bay. Very calming.

We ran one that then connected to another that went around a lake for 3 miles. We had about .25 miles left at the end, so we ran to the Starbucks that was a little farther away to hit the full 8. There, we ordered some Trenta Refreshers and some water, since we only brought the one 16oz bottle with us on the run, and that needed to be preserved in order to last. He usually doesn't drink a lot of water when he runs, so I figured the one bottle would be plenty... but he ended up drinking more than I anticipated haha. Oh well, we survived.

The rest of the day we checked out breweries, Mead Works, and ate some delicious food. Thursday we left Portland (but first had stopped at Starbucks for coffee and Holy Donuts for the best donuts ever!) and traveled to Hill Farmstead Brewery, then Alchemist, and then checked in at our B&B. We settled in, went out for dinner, and had an early night.

Some photos from our hike.

I ended up skipping the 4 mile run on Saturday because it was storming most of the day. Also, we had done a 4.77 mile hike up and down Mt Abraham on Friday. To get to summit was about 2.6 miles, and about .25 miles away we saw storm clouds rolling in. Since the last part was mostly scrambling up some rocks, and we both only had gym shoes on, we figured it be best to just head back down early so as not to have to deal with slippy rocks. Mind you, we still had some slippy parts to deal with, and I might have fell once or twice, tripped a ton, and got pretty frustrated by the end at how tired my quads were, but we both made it back down (one of us with a few more bruises than when we started). 

We went back to shower and relax a bit, then headed to Ben and Jerry's Factory Tour where we had some ice cream cones, saw the factory, and got a free sample of Americone Dreams. Yum. We then had some beers at Blackback Pub and dinner at Prohibition Pig. Great food and beer in Vermont!

There were hills, rain, beer, and a fun medal. Great time!

Saturday was a rainy day, and we didn't have many plans. We picked up our packets, checked out the farmers market, and then spent the rest of the day at the B&B. We played some Scattegories out on the covered porch while the rain came down and then watched Indiana Jones. Pasta dinner that night and an early bedtime (or at least an attempt at one).

The Mad Half on Sunday was amazing. After hearing about the killer hills, I honestly was just hoping to finish in 3:30. I did much better than that, and was so pleased. At mile 11 I saw we were close to hitting 3 hours or maybe even under, so I ran way more than I ever do without taking a walk break. I think the last two miles I took maybe three walk breaks to catch my breath, but ran the rest of it. I was very proud of myself for pushing so hard. 

I'll have a recap up on the blog later today. As you can see, I'm busy trying to catch up on real world life now that I'm back from vacation, and over this past weekend it's been races galore, so I'm quite behind ;)