Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Midwestern Pride

I've now been a midwesterner for 9 months! I'm having so much fun exploring the new scenery around me.

On Sunday, I joined Kristine and Mark in Chicago for the Chicago Marathon. Unlike Kristine and Mark, though, I turned the Chicago Marathon into a Chicago (Half) Marathon. A half marathon was more in line with my training level at this time. I decided to run the first half of the course because my Chicago-based friends told me it was the more scenic half. And boy was it! The crowds were so enthusiastic and there were a lot of interesting performers along the course keeping us runners entertained.

I ran my 13 miles with my friend Katie. Katie and I were co-coaches at Girls on the Run Manhattan. Like me, Katie moved across the country for a new job this year and also decided to turn the Marathon into a Half due to constraints on her training while starting a new job in a new city. But we're GOTR coaches at heart and wanted to exemplify the lessons we taught our girls - keep active and reach your goal as best you can. At the end of our run, we had gotten in a 13.1 mile workout and had a great time catching up on our lives (we hadn't seen each other in almost a year!) and taking in the scenes of downtown Chicago. We're each looking forward to our next fitness goal!

And speaking of GOTR, I've added a new link to the Charities section of this website. In addition to supporting GOTR through my SoleMates fundraising page, I've added a link to the GOTR Twin Cities general fundraising page. For two cities as cosmopolitan and fitness-friendly as Minneapolis and St. Paul, it's about time GOTR had a presence here! I've joined a committe to start up a chapter of GOTR that will serve girls in the Twin Cities. If you'd like to help with the start up effort, please consider making a donation to the start up funds or email if you'd like to volunteer to help out. I think we can make a big difference in the lives of many girls here in the Twin Cities and I'm excited to be a part of that effort!

Finally, I've temporarily removed the American Cancer Society funraising page link. When I have a new page link, I'll repost it. In the meantime, if you'd like to support ACS, leave a comment here and I'd be happy to connect you with some amazing people who are working hard to raise funds for this amazing organization. This month is Pink Month (National Cancer Awareness Month) so it's a great time to support organizations that fund resarch and patient support projects.

If you're in the Twin Cities at any time, join me for a run!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bigger IS Better!

So I finally did Chicago's marathon after living here for 12 years. And I have to say that it was by far the most fun I've had running a marathon. It was also the largest marathon I've run with nearly 40,000 participants. I went into the race not having trained as well as I would have liked thanks to some knee issues (and maybe some laziness); plus I was also coming off of a week long cold, so I decided I would just run it easy and at a comfortable pace. And that's exactly what I did with my second slowest finishing time yet. But I totally don't care because I had a blast!

I did have the perk of starting in a seeded corral thanks to my time running in Arizona. However, the downfall of being in the last of the seeded corrals is that the front of the open corral with people running an 8 min mile is directly behind you. So out of the gate, I was getting passed quite a bit. But still, I was having fun!

The energy was apparent throughout the city. I've never done a race where there is so much spectator support along the entire course. People were cheering nearly the entire 26.2 miles. I always love reading the signs they have out there, they keep me entertained. Of course, I then can't remember what they said when I'm finished, but I know I laughed at many of them. "Worst Parade Ever" must have been one of my favorites since it is the only one I can remember right now. I also enjoyed the ones that just had a giant head of the person running on a stick, usually with a picture that they would probably untag themselves in on facebook.

But my favorite part I think was seeing so many of my friends and family along the course. My roommate saved the day by bringing me some energy gels (which I stupidly forgot) at mile 8. Thank you Genevieve! I also saw lots of Honey Badgers from the Hood to Coast relay along the course. And my adorable niece gave me a last little boost of motivation at mile 23 where my sisters, dad and grandma were also waiting. I don't think your family and friends truly understand how awesome it is to see them out there cheering you on unless they've done it before. And no matter how many marathons I do, it still helps me tremendously to know they're out there supporting me. Sadly, I missed my boyfriend on the course (he was there, but I didn't see him and he didn't see me) but he was waiting for me at the finish with his photographer press pass. A great perk of the job! I think you can tell which of the photos here he took.

All I can say about Chicago's marathon is.... it was awesome. And I can now check Illinois off my list. 10 down...40 to go.