The Time Is NOW …..

I’m about 18 hours out from my only goal race of the year.  I fully acknowledge that I haven’t been at my best this year.  I acknowledge that I’ve taken the easy way out and ran “for fun” a lot this year …. Never trying to push the pace to avoid disappointment.   It has taken me a lot longer to recover from last summer’s injury than I anticipated, whether that was mental or physical, I know not.  Probably a little bit of both if I’m 100% honest.

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So needless to say I’m anxious.  I ran speed and tempos to prepare for this but the last two weeks I’ve done nothing other than “just run” & CrossFit.  I’m 5-6 lbs heavier than normal and am super thankful for having lost a few lbs this week.  I can’t decide what to wear.  I don’t really have a plan other than to try to focus my brain on “pushing” and not being intimidated by a pace that I am fully capable of managing.  I am visualizing a time on the clock that I can only hope is MY finish time.  I am not stressing about my stiff/sore back or my seemingly tired legs.  I’m not thinking about the 9th mile where I tend to fall off pace.  I’m not thinking about the weather which is going to be much warmer than I like.

What I am focused upon is giving the best that I have tomorrow, regardless of what the clock says at the end.  I’m focused on effort.  The time is NOW to push the pace and see what the last 5-6 months have given me in the name of strength and speed.   Historically speaking, the Fort4Fitness race brings out my best because it shows up on the calendar just as I start my taper for the Chicago Marathon.  It also helps that temps in the Midwest by late September are generally falling to the mid to low 40s at night.   Historically, I have ran fast in Fort Wayne, even when I’m injured and end up limping away from the race.  Today I am healthy.  I am strong.  I am ready.  The time is NOW to run fast and reap the benefits of months of hard work.  The time is NOW.

I’m excited.  I’m anxious.  I’m scared.  Not scared that I will fail.  I don’t believe anyone who has the courage to toe the line will ever fail but rather scared that I won’t have the courage to TRY to push a pace of which I know I am capable.  Tomorrow at this time, the results will be written.  Good, bad or otherwise, the ink will already be dry.  Can’t wait to see how this plays out. 

** The Time Is Now ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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CrossFit Day 22, 23 & 24

This will cover three different Crossfit sessions but since most of the moves are pretty standard at this point, this will be quick and painless at least to read.

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Day 22 

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10

  • Ball Slams (10#)
  • Pistols

CrossFit_Pistols_Train with Heidi

  • Ring Rows
  • Weighted Sit-Ups
  • Push Press (Bar Only – 45#)

This sequence was a bit different than any other that we have done previously.     Remember, my class (5am TUE/THUR) is for lightweights with the run club and we are more focused on increasing strength to look good for endurance so it’s a little different than the average CrossFit class. 

The number sequence added a twist.  The workout was completed in list order BUT each round the number of reps changed.  First round, we did each item on the list 1x, second round 2x, third round 3x, etc. up to 10 reps for each move for the last round.

This workout taught me is that we can’t count.  I know I can’t count and apparently my box-mates aren’t great at it either.  We rely on SOMEONE to know where they are and that totally backfired on us this time.  I ended up doing round #8 twice and I added some reps on the other rounds too.  My brain wasn’t working!

Day 23

  • 25 Pull-Ups
  • 15 Wall Climbs/HSPU – Hand Stand Push-ups ( I did HSPUs x 30)
  • 5 Recline Rope Climbs (I did 15)

Reverse Rope Climb_Me  Reverse Rope Climb_Me2  Reverse Rope Climb_Me3

This was more of a strength workout and I really enjoyed it.  I’m not great at pull-ups, even with the bands but managed to knock them out.  Then I opted for the HSPUs instead of the Wall Climbs cuz they are cool my elbow has been sore and I thought it would be less stressful. 

Handstand Pushup

We finished up with Death By Push-Ups.  Awesome.  Okay, not really.  They aren’t fun.  I made it thru 12 rounds (78 push-ups in all).  Death by anything uses the clock, in one minute intervals.   One minute per round, go as many rounds as possible.  First round started with 1 push-up.  Do the 1, then rest til the minute ends.  Then 2 push-ups in the next minute.  Then 3, etc. until you can’t go any longer.  OUCH!

Day 24

3 Rounds – 1 minute each station

  • Wall Balls (10#)
  • Ball Slams (10#)
  • Box Jumps (18” box – I did step-ups)
  • Burpees
  • Rowing

Good workout but I was low on energy today.  We stayed at each station and did as many reps as possible in one minute then moved to the next station.  After we completed one round of all the stations, one minute rest.  Repeat x3. 

** I Still Hate Burpees ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

F’N 20 Miler ….

Every marathoner gets to the point in “the plan” where they are facing down a 20 mile run.  For some it’s just another day, another run.  For others it’s a daunting undertaking which stirs up a lot of nerves.  I personally have used training plans in the past which schedule anywhere from one to five 20 mile runs throughout the entire program.  I can honestly say I have yet to feel a benefit by cramming several 20 milers into a training plan.  Marathons are hard for me.   At some point during the race, it’s gonna hurt.  Some people are going to process “the hurt” better than others and have a better experience.  The reason most training plans go all the way up to the magic “20 miler” is to help us get a bit of an idea of how to process those longer miles.  How to manage “the hurt”, if you will.  The 20 miler is on the plan to boost YOUR confidence level and help you to realize that you will be crossing that finish line in the very near future.  It’s really as much of mental exercise as a physical one because let’s be honest, if you can run 16 or 18 miles {and your healthy} then there is nothing that will stop you on race day from completing the full 26.2.  You have had the ability to run and finish the marathon long before the 20 mile training run but it’s that “magic 20” that brings the confidence, the knowledge that you CAN and WILL run a marathon.

I can I will

Now that running is “cool” we have lots of options for a 20 miler.  I’ve done 20 mile training runs a lot of different ways (alone, with someone riding a bike, on the treadmill, with friends, at a large organized event) but for me, it’s easiest to do it on my normal trail with my normal run friends and just knock it out.  I don’t want to go too far for a training run.  I certainly don’t want to pay $$ for a training run.  I don’t need a t-shirt or medal commemorating something I’ve already done at least 25x a couple times.  I just want to knock it out and then go home and take nap with Mr. Michael

I’m lucky because I now have a local run club that likes to keep things simple.  Thank you Frankfort-New Lenox Running Club (FNRC or F’N Running Club)!  No fee to join.  No hoopla.  Just show up and run or don’t.  Our 20 miler was much of the same but we invited others who wanted a no frills training run too.  We had about 70 runners who came out in the dark to join us for a 6am start.  Great turnout because many of our club members were marathoning in other parts of the state.

group

We were fortunate enough to have a two generous sponsors to support us during the run.  Huge shout out of thanks to Berkots Super Foods and Running For Kicks for supplying apples, bananas, oranges, water, Gatorade, and GU gel!!  We also had a crew of AHHHHMAZING volunteers to cycle the route with us and staff 3 aid stations along our 10.25 mile out and back route.  

Aid Station #1 – Mile 2.89 & 17.61

Bluestone_aid station2

Aid Station #2 – Mile 6.25 & 14.25

Grainery_aid station

Aid Station #3 – Mile 9.25 & 11.25

Harlem_aid station

Finish Line Aid Station

Finish_aid station

I personally had a great time at our 20 miler although I “might” be biased.  Smile  I loved seeing all people who came to run with us!  I tried to talk to as many groups as I could and really just enjoy the day.  We had perfect 45 degree weather that held on during most of the run.  I loved the out and back route on Old Plank Trail that allowed me to cheer on our fasties and those behind me too.  It was just a great day that came together perfectly thanks to the generosity of so many who donated goods and/or time.  We even had a local CERT team out patrolling the trail and helping with road crossings.  A lot of people got out of bed early to make sure that we had a safe & supported 20 mile training run.  I’m so proud to be a part of this run club and community.  I have met so many amazing people thru running and for that I am super thankful!

I was also thankful to finish up my weekend double (Women Rock Chicago Half on SAT & the F’N 20 Miler on SUN).  Good times.   Me, Aby (who worked aid station #3) & John B at the finish.  Thanks Aby & John for waiting for me and running me in!  

Finish_me Aby John

I’d also like to send a huge shout out of thanks to my girl Lara (see her behind me in the grass in a blue top?) and her hubby Nels who I’m sure will never see this always get out of bed before dawn to help me with my really long miles.  Sunday was no different.  Nels showed up at the start and ran the first half (and then some) and Lara showed up mid run to help me thru the last 11.25 miles.   Like I said, I’ve met some amazing people thru the running community and I am not only grateful but feel very blessed.  Love you all!!

** 20 Miles Is No Big Deal When Surrounded By Friends **  Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Women Rock Chicago Half Marathon

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Today was the inaugural Women Rock Chicago race series presented by Team Ortho.  The series offered a half marathon, 10K and 5K so basically you and ALL your girlfriends could go and enjoy one of the distances.  The event had a fun theme and provided  AHHHHMAZING swag so that drew in a lot of ladies for the inaugural event!  Since I ran specifically for the swag, I’ll just put that up now and get it out of the way.  Women Rock Tech full zip jacket, sliver finishers pendant with a small ruby & large “W” (valued at $110), and a champagne glass.

Womens Rock Chicago_SWAG   Womens Rock Chicago_necklace

The race was a women’s themed event so my girlfriends and I used that as an excuse to dust off our sparkle skirts!!  Michelle, Nicki, Dawn, April & I showing off our “sparkle”.  🙂

Womens Rock Chicago_group

The half marathoner started at 8am with the 10K and 5K participants following at 8:30 am.  The course was the typical Chicago Lakefront Trail run so I fully anticipated it to be 1) crowded, 2)  slow and 3) have lots of newbie runners that are “all in” for theme more so than the running.  I was not disappointed.  I was not running for time, in fact needed to keep myself in check and run a controlled, focused race that didn’t push my endurance or stir up too much lactic acid so that I can run our F’N 20 miler tomorrow with my run club.  I managed to do that and to be honest the crowds helped.  I did find myself in the outside lane all most of the time passing a lot of other runners but when I looked at my watch, I was in a comfortable range, felt good and was definitely controlled so just kept moving forward and passing.  In fact, I kinda chuckled once the half marathoners ran up on the back of the 10K participants.  I knew they had joined us and that did in fact add to the congestion but they were staying to the right so I just kept moving past them.  I passed a couple ladies and one said to the other, “Wow, they are running fast!”.  Her friend said, “Yes, THEY are running the half”.  Made me chuckle cuz the runners I know have a much faster 10K than half marathon pace.  However, the new people on the trail were refreshing and I enjoyed interacting with them and LOVED, LOVED, LOVED seeing all the sparkle skirts, tutus & my F’N run club friends who came out to run!!

The aid stations were plentiful, every 2-3 miles.  They offered water and a blue electrolyte drink.  As much as I like blue ANYTHING, I passed due to my sensitive tummy.  Lots of potties too.  Volunteers were plentiful but some of the aid stations were short.  I had to backtrack one time to get water.

Typical Lakefront Trail view.  Beautiful.  Some shade and a breeze once we headed back north.    A course that was a bit of a maze for the half marathoners:   One sidewalk loop around Grant Park to get onto the Lakefront Trail heading north, turnaround at the Riverwalk (just south of Navy Pier), run south to 31st Street Harbor, then back north to the Riverwalk, then return to Grant Park to run the sidewalk loop again to the finish.  No my favorite course by far.  A bit of confusion at the end once we hit Grant Park, especially toward the end when the crowds thinned out for the half.  However, overall it was a decent race. 

Bottom line, I’m a ROAD RUNNER for a reason.  I prefer a fast street route where we bust thru the CHI like the pros.  Most of the themed races are designed for the masses, not for running fast.  I wouldn’t run this race if my objective was to run fast (between the race participants, the bikers, the normal runners, dog walkers and rollerbladers it was VERY busy).  This is a race designed for FUN so just enjoy it!

Best part, hanging with my friends at the finish!

Womens Rock Chicago_me & nicki_champagne  Womens Rock Chicago_champagne

** Women Rock ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Running, “What’s the Plan?”

I haven’t talked much about running as of late but if you know me, then there probably wasn’t any doubt about whether I’ve been logging miles.  The run is my first fitness love and to be honest, if I gave up everything else, I probably wouldn’t be able to give up the run. 

That being said, there is a reason as to why I haven’t been talking about it much.  I’m currently running a “do as I say, not as I do” training plan so haven’t wanted to say too much about it.   I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.  No need to tell me it won’t work.  I’ve done this all my life in some shape or form long enough that I’m okay with trial and error since I don’t get paid no matter how fast I run.  If doesn’t work out, then there are a billion races down the road for which I can revise a plan and try something different.  No worries! 

When I returned to running last fall after rehabbing the tendon in my foot, I had a lot of disappointing races.  I had somewhere along the way either lost my speed or my guts drive to run as fast as I could when I toed the line.  So I backed off.  What’s the point of going to a race and being disappointed?  I mean really, I pay to race, so it should be fun.  I want to walk away happy.  So I backed off and kept things social and fun for the last six months.  I focused on biking and triathlon and not so much running hard.  I had a lot of races hit my calendar on which I hadn’t originally planned.  I knew if I attempt to “race” them all then I truly would end up racing none.  So I picked a goal race, which just so happens to be where I’ve ran my fastest half to date, the Fort4Fitness Half Marathon in Fort Wayne, IN.  This is my “hometown” race, if there is such a thing.  I get to go home, spend time with my family, see lots of high school run friends and it just generally makes me happy to be there.  The race is always at the end of September and I haven’t been able to go for the last couple of years because of conflicts with Aby’s Cross Country schedule.  No conflicts this year!  We are heading to “The Fort” next weekend to race!!

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When I realized we could go this year, I immediately started to think about the fact that I’m ten pounds over race weight running fast .  I fully acknowledged to myself that my full race/training schedule, along with Aby’s schedule, life/home, work/commuting created a bit of a conflict with my goal to run a fast half marathon.  I needed a race plan and I needed one fast.  I was TRI training and eventually had to give in and start marathon training but still needed to focus on some speed.  So I improvised.  I’ve been using the FIRST (Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training) Run Less Run Faster app on my iPhone since the dog ate the actual book.  I was using the app for a marathon training plan but quickly revised it to a half plan and tweaked the numbers to hit my goal pace.  Not the way it’s supposed to work.  The app (or book if you own it) spits out a plan tailored to your CURRENT fitness level based on recent race times.  I knew my recent race times were not truly indicative of my fitness or ability level.  So I improvised.  And I kept it quiet.

Once a week I’ve been working on speed, from the training app.  Once a week I’ve been running a fast tempo, from the training app.  Once a week, I deviate from the plan and run long and slow to ensure that I’ll be ready to tackle 26.2 miles at the Chicago Marathon on October 13th. 

It’s almost time to see if this little experiment will work.  I’ve got nothing to lose.  I know that nobody will be disappointed if I don’t “run fast” but I’m ready to run with my heart on my sleeve and TRY to push the pace for 13.1 miles.  As insurance, I went out on a really long and shaky limb and contacted someone who will be running and gunning for the same goal pace (1:50:xx) as myself.  This will keep me honest and hopefully if I start to cry slack, I’ll get a reality check and sharp “suck it up, cupcake” to kick my ass back into gear. 

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I haven’t ran fast for a long time.  I’m scared.  Yet I’m also excited.  The fast tempo runs have given me just enough confidence to believe that I might, just might be able to do this  ….  but only time will tell.  8 days and the results will be written in black and white.

First I have to get thru this weekend!  I have a crazy double, which I’m mentally telling myself will be good prep for the Dopey Challenge in January!  Women Rock Chicago Half on Saturday.  F’N 20 Mile Run on Sunday.  I plan to run both slow and relaxed.  Then it will be mostly R&R next week so I will be rested and  READY TO RUN my ass off at Fort4Fitness.

** Don’t Let Fear of Failure Paralyze YOU  **  Amanda – TooTallFritz  **

CrossFit Day 21–Tabatas

The WOD for the 5am TUE class was Tabatas.  A Tabata workout always focuses on a group of exercises, normally 5 to 6 different moves.  Each exercise is set up at a particular station.  You are assigned to a station and perform 8 sets of the particular exercise before moving on to the next station.  Each set is timed and you do as many reps as possible in the allotted time.  The time frame for Tabatas is 20 seconds “on” for the movement, 10 seconds rest = 1 set.  Repeat x8, then rotate to the next station.

TUE 5am Tabatas:  Rowing, Hand Release Push-ups, Kettlebell Swings (25 lbs), Reverse Rope Climb & Squats.

Remember, each move requires 8 sets before moving to the next item on the list.   Most of these are things we do a lot.  However, the Hand Release Push-ups were new as well as the Reverse Rope Climbs.

Hand Release Push-Up – Just a drill to get us down and dirty all the way to our bellies before “pushing up”.  Normal push-up stance, go down to belly, lift hands  up (release hands from floor), then push back up.  Great photo of a lady from SnoRidge CrossFit doing the release here:

Hand Release Pushup_snoridge crossfit

Reverse Rope Climb – Way harder than it looks.  I was so relieved to realize that we didn’t have to climb UP the rope that I didn’t think about how difficult it would be to go backwards, or in reverse!  We leaned back holding the rope til it was taunt, then slowly moved down the rope.  In theory, we would get all the way down to the ground where our backs would be touching, then climb back up.  Super hard.  These ladies from CrossFit Camden are really rocking it below.  Let’s just say that I didn’t look as graceful.  “Smile

Reverse Rope Climb

Then we finished the CrossFit session with 25 Knees to Chest.  This is obviously our newest and most favorite move.  We will be rockin’ some serious “abs of steel” by spring so watch out!  I may even get out that pull-up bar that I wasted money on purchased earlier this year and do a few of these at home, on my own.  Maybe.  Or maybe not.

knees to chest

** Working Hard to Get Stronger ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

TRI Smart 101: Ride to Support Breast Cancer Research

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On Sunday, I awoke early to head to the TRI Smart 101 ride in New Lenox.  The ride was a supported event which featured routes for 38, 61, 77 and 101 miles.  The event was reasonably priced at $40 ($50 for last minute registrations) which included a nice hooded sweatshirt, SAG support and aid stations loaded with volunteers who had great personalities, PB&J, soft chewy cookies, bananas, water & Gatorade.  

Hoodie – Navy in color (the version below in black from the TRI Smart Facebook page)

TRI Smart hoodie

I initially signed up to tackle the 101 mile ride but revamped that and my 2014 plan goal after my 70.3 in Mattoon didn’t go as I had hoped.  So I showed up on Sunday planning to ride whatever distance Suzanne did the 61 or 77 mile option.  As soon as I pulled in the parking lot, I realized that my partner was sick and we would be going the 38 mile route.  I can’t say that I was happy that she was sick but I had no qualms about cutting the distance even further.  My September calendar is FULL between running races, marathon training and Aby’s Cross Country schedule so I really just wanted to be at home with the family.

Packet pick up was smooth.  They gave us our bib, hoodie and a map of our desired distance.  There were also muffins, coffee, etc. for snacking.  Then everyone left when they were ready without any production, “official” start or hoopla.  It was nice but I must admit I was a bit concerned about getting lost; however, the route was marked VERY well.  There was never a question as to if we were going the right way cuz about the time I was wondering, I would see an arrow on the road for direction.  Then as we approached a turn, the road was marked twice, once as we approached the intersection, at the intersection and as a third source of direction, there was a sign with an arrow.  I can’t imagine anyone having gotten lost unless they were just not paying attention at all.

The ride was on my home turf so I was very familiar with the roads, the wind, and the hills.  Traffic was light but for the most part we still stayed single file and just rode, taking turns at the front to break the wind for the other person.  It was good.  Fun.  And since we were riding short, we didn’t have to worry about going too fast so we pretty much pounded the entire way, short of the 20 minutes we camped at the rest stop.  Then the way back was super fast because the wind was at our back and the rain in our face.  That sped things up a lot!

38 miles done!  Next year, I would definitely like to try one of the longer distances and I even have hopes of riding a bit of the other routes this year before the weather turns too bad since the route will stay marked for quite some time.

A few of my F’N Runner friends who also did the 38 mile route, from left:  me, Julie B, Susan D, Lynn & Suzanne (my ride buddy).  Thanks for coming even though you weren’t feeling good, Suzanne!  It would have been lonely without you!!

TRISmart Ride

I highly recommend the TRI Smart 101 ride!  Low cost, amazing cause, great support, multiple distance options, low traffic roads which are very well marked and aid stations stocked with lots of yummies!  See you next year on September 14 for the 2014 installment!

** Riding For A Cause **  Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Birthday WOD …… CrossFit Day 20

We learned the hard way this morning at CrossFit that if it’s your birthday, or someone else’s, shut up about it OR lie about your age. 

21 again

If you’ve just started following, I’m a newbie CrossFitter.  I go to CrossFit 2x a week at 5am with my gal pals from the run club.  Although what we “do” does not have a special designation, I’d like to think we are more on the CrossFit endurance path than the hardcore CrossFitters like Jared these ladies:

CrossFit_women

You will never catch us at CrossFit in our undies, in fact most of us don’t wear undies cuz well, we are runners.  And we look way more like this guy below than the awesome women above.  Source:  StudentLive

weight lifter_studentlive

So today it was Michelle’s birthday.  Happy Fucking Birthday, Michelle!!  She was 38 so our workout surrounded her age.  Yay!  Sounds like fun, right? 

Michelle’s #38 Birthday WOD

  • 38 Box Jumps (18’” Box) – I did 19 jumps & 19 step-ups so that I didn’t die
  • 38 Ring Rows
  • 38 Kettlebell Swings (36# I think)
  • 38 Walking Lunges
  • 38 Hanging Knee Raises (Knees to Chest or Knees to waist in my world)
  • 38 Push Presses – Bar only (45# I think)
  • 38 Supermans
  • 38 Wall Balls (10#)
  • 38 Burpees
  • 400 meter Run

This was a rough one for me and my weak arms.  I almost didn’t make it.  But I did so I’m happy on that front.  And no, I’m not really mad at Michelle I’m actually mad at Aunt Julie because she’s the one who brought up the birthday.  A WOD is a WOD in my book.  I’m always glad that I went, even when it’s hard.  So whether is YOUR birthday or not, I’ll still be there.  

** Trying my damdest To Get Stronger ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

CrossFit Day 19 ….

I’m a bit tardy on this post but wanted to record it before hitting class tomorrow.   Day #19 was last Thursday, I’ve just been busy! 

We are still working on form for proper lifting, getting used to “real” weights verses the machine variety that most runners use when they hit the gym.  So we spent a bit of time on front squats, technique – bar only, then 7 x 3 of bar + two 10# plates = 65 #s.

Front Squats – 7 “rounds” of 3 – Demo from CrossFit the Rack.  No way that I got as low as the chick in the photo but I gave it my best effort.  Kinda fun.  Different.  I’m still not all up on “weight lifting” but do see the benefits and don’t mind it in short burst like this. 

Front Squat

WOD

  • 20 T2B (Toes to Bar)
  • 20 Squats
  • 20 Sit-Ups
  • 15 T2B (Toes to Bar)
  • 15 Squats
  • 15 Sit-Ups
  • 10 T2B (Toes to Bar)
  • 10 Squats
  • 10 Sit-Ups
  • 5 T2B (Toes to Bar)
  • 5 Squats
  • 5 Sit-Ups

Another simple workout.  If you’re tired of used to focusing on workouts with times/paces, then this is a welcome and refreshing change.  The most difficult move, by far, for this WOD was the “toes to the bar”.  Of course, I couldn’t do it and we had to modify it to “toes to chest”, which was still a big “not happening” so for my own purposes, I’ll call it “knees to chest” but that too would be generous. 

Here is a perfect demo from Folsom City CrossFit:

toestobar

Knees to chest  example (source unknown b/c someone pinned the photo):

knees to chest

It was amazing to me, how much wear/tear this put on my hands.  This is a very hard move when you are a large frame person with wimpy muscles!!!  I know, I’m working on that but it was very difficult to even keep hold of the bar, let alone crunch my knees to my chest.  Super tough.

More CrossFit tomorrow!!

Amanda – TooTallFritz

Chicago Half Marathon in Photos ….

I’m finally starting to feel better, the soreness in my quads is dissipating and I’m starting to feel fresh again.  I’ll try not to ruin that with speed work tonight!  In the mean time, here are some additional photos from Sunday’s Chicago Half Marathon.

Chicago Running Blogger Meetup – the LATE edition, most had already left by the time I arrived cuz I missed my super secret parking area and had to park with the masses.

Sara, Eric, Jennifer, Me, Jess

Chicago Half_2013_chicago run bloggers

Jess & I looking fresh pre-race.  Yes, she might be standing on a curb to try to be tall like me.  No, I have no idea why my shirt is flipped up and looking crazy. 

Chicago Half 2013_jess & i

The crowd waiting to start the race.  If you look REALLY close, you will see TWO start banners.  This was  bit confusing, we crossed the 5K start banner first (and timing mat), some people started running, some people were confused, and a few of us knew that we still had a ways to go before our real race began.  Jess and I were standing close to the 2 hour pacer but felt like we were all the way at the back.  It took us 6 minutes to get to that far away start banner.

Chicago Half_2013_start

The crowd thinned considerably when we hit Lake Shore Drive.  As one blogger previously mentioned, the “out” part of this race is fun, lively and you can see the fasties coming back at you on this mostly out and back course; however, by the time YOU hit the other side, it seems like the “back” is FOREVER long.  It’s boring.  And everyone is hot, tired and just wants to be done.

Chicago Half_2013_LSD

Views are amazing!  Photo credit – Derek Taylor (F’N Runner!!!!)

Chicago Half_2013_water

Then things just got hot and ugly on the way back to the finish.  Derek managed to catch this keeper on film.  No, I didn’t even have enough energy to lift my eyebrow to acknowledge him.  Dead on my feet. 

Chicago Half 2013_melted

Last quarter mile, finishing with Jess.  At least she had a smile for the camera!  Source – MarathonFoto

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Finally, done; Jess and I wrung out our skirts headed to meet up with some run bloggers in the VIP tent.  Lindsay, Maggie, Jess, Me & Emily.Chicago Half 2013_vip bloggers

Then over to the CARA tent for one more blogger meet up.  Karen, Penny, Jeannette, Mike, Melissa (Mike’s wife & my HS gal pal), Me & Jess

Chicago Half_2013_bloggers

II was so happy to meet so many people.  I always look forward to this event because it really draws a lot of amazing runners and bloggers.  Can’t wait til next year!

One last set of photos, my Chicago Half history via MarathoFoto:  2007, 2008, 2012 (5K) & 2013.  I think we can agree that I just don’t photograph well during a race.  I’m not in pain in any of these photos, this just must be how I look when I run. 

image image image image

Running is rarely pretty, no matter how cute the outfit.  Smile

Amanda – TooTallFritz