Tuesday, 10 October 2017

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon!!!!! 2017 Version

All marathoners need to run the Chicago Marathon.

Each year that Matt and I have run it we have had amazing experiences! We love the food, the course, the atmosphere, the smooth organization and the proximity of the start/finish area to the downtown section where many hotels and restaurants are. It is a must-run in my opinion. :)

Here's a bit of how this amazing race went:

Hello Chicago!!!!

We had a super early morning flight to Toronto and then connected to Chicago from there. Check in at Chicago was smooth and the Nike store once again had free shuttles taking us to the expo. The Nike store is across the street from our hotel which is super convenient!
On our way to the expo!
 We picked up our bibs and had our traditional slice of Connie's pizza....this stuff is so good!

Ready to roll!

Same day, different pizza lol.


It was suggested that runners arrive at their gate at 5:30 a.m. but we headed down around 5:45 or so. There were many runners heading in that direction with us. As we approached the gates it was very crowded and Matt and I headed to our different entrances. Later we saw each other again near the corrals unexpectedly!

This is inside Corral C where I had to start. Very sparse in this photo and moments later was quite snug and cozy with thousands of runners! 45 000 in all corrals total to be exact!

It was 13 degrees Celsius at the start and I was shivering! I knew it would be a good temperature for running but I shivered as I waited. The marathon organizers had issued a yellow alert with the advice of slowing down and drinking at each station and then I worried a bit about how hot it would eventually get. And it would get very hot and humid!

At 7:30 the gun went off and six minutes later I finally got to cross the chip mat. ;)

I wasn't sure what type of shape I was in and I was battling some broncho spasms....super annoying! Since I got sick last winter my lungs are very reactive to cold air so my doctor suggested I run with my puffer AGAIN! It was a little easier to accept this time around than my first experience with it at Boston. During the Chicago marathon the warm and humid air actually felt good on my lungs for that reason, but that was the only part of my body that was reacting positively from the increasing heat!

When I started running I felt really good and really strong! This surprised me.

GPS---> Epic fail once again. Okay, so right from the get go several beeps and vibrations on my wrist reminded me that this race would not be dictated by my watch. It was body listening and pace bunny hunting all the way! For instance I KNOW that I did NOT run my first mile in 5:52 or my 14th mile in 2 minutes 40 seconds! LOL!!!!!! Oh! And after the halfway point my Garmin became possessed and played the most evil trick on me: At 13.1 miles I checked my splits and it was showing 1:38 because of my 2 minute bathroom break and then like 2 strides later it beeped again showing me 14 miles?!?!? So each time I checked my Garmin it was showing me that I was 1.3 miles ahead of where I was ACTUALLY was. In a marathon that's just cruel. We are still not on speaking terms.

Let's get back to the bathroom break: When Matt and I were in the corrals we both got in the line up for the port-a-potties. I went twice but I continued hydrating...you see where this is going? Well the corrals close at 7:20 and if you are not in there, too bad so sad. You must start at the back of your wave! No thank you! So even when I thought maybe I needed to pee a little, I couldn't leave.  I held it for 5.1 miles and saw the huge sign saying, "Toilets <---" so I took a fast turn left off course and up a grassy field. Two officers were standing there with MACHINE GUNS  and I was like "whoa, can I go in there?" Neither smiled or said anything so I just ran in. Security was high priority! In the past my competitive self would have gotten down or defeated by stopping ON COURSE but I actually grinned at the fact that this was happening again! LOL. My Garmin paused here but let's face it, we were definitely not on the same page so I just ignored it basically for most of the race.

Back on course I stayed mostly to the left. I do that at Boston also and I don't know why but I did notice that when I ran on the right side at one point it was much harder for me to grab my hydration cups. Weird since I'm right-handed??? I drank at every hydration station a water and a gatorade because once the race got going early on I could feel the heat rising. Thankfully for at least half of the marathon there was plenty of shade from the tall buildings. That however did not last.

Once the sun got high enough and the course moved to the more open areas staying on pace (or what I was estimating was a good pace) became tough. I was becoming increasingly more cautious with each person I was seeing being escorted off course from heat exhaustion! That is just scary and no race is worth that to me so I'm always aware of my body.

So many spectators!!! I'm always smiling during this marathon. There were so many amazing groups out cheering on the runners again this year! We ran through twenty something neighbourhoods and there was music, signs, food, oranges, hoses, bananas, confetti, gummies and beer! It was absolutely amazing and so fun!

And I got virtual cheers!!!!!!!!!! I REALLY wish I saw them during the race. :( Thanks guys! <3

I took a Gu at each 5 mile mark and I was thankful for the awesome signage from the Marathon. They had km markings and mile markers with huge digital clocks so you could see your time. That was my only idea to know roughly how fast and far I had been running. No big deal. I was enjoying it so much I started not to care about the time and then my belly was getting nauseous. :( I know that's not a good sign on the run so I had a rough patch between 35-40k ish. I slowed to a crawl, but did not stop. "Keep moving forward," became my mantra.
30 something kms and fighting to get to the finish.
For much of the marathon I had Tom Petty on. I heard "Runnin' Down a Dream," and that song really got me back in the mode late in the game. I loved when he said, "there's something good waiting down this road. I'm picking up whatever is mine." It was just what I needed to hear.

Chicago notifies you when you are 800m away from the finish, 500m 300m, and on and on....lol. There is that one teeny tiny hill as you hit the last couple hundred metres and it feels like Mount Everest!!!! But the finish is so glorious!!!!!!
I was soaked when I finished. I ran under as many misting stations as possible and the sweat was just everywhere. Goose Island gave free beer to the runners again and it was so refreshing! 

I saw Matt in our designated meeting area and he was getting attacked by hornets!!!! I think his sub 3 marathon made him feel better. ;) 2:59:39!!!
Happy Finishers! 

Some of the stat stuff:
It's easy to see where the heat got to me and clearly I had no idea I ran my first 5k so fast...oops!
I have to show you my crazy strava stats!

overall place: 3887
gender place: 635
division place: 136
That afternoon was spent refuelling. :D
 With ice cream........

And Pizza!
We waited a whole year for this!

So I have to say with the eventful marathon I had I am very pleased with my run! I had big doubts, as I typically do when my training concludes. But I worked hard and I finished!

Thank you to all my amazing supporters and a HUGE THANK YOU to Mizuno and TIUX!

Happy running,
Heather :)

Friday, 6 October 2017

Chicago Bound!!!!

I have just finished adding the last of "must pack" necessities into my suitcase and we are headed to the airport bound for Chicago!

This will be our third time running the Chicago Marathon and each year has presented a new adventure. I vividly remember the 2015 marathon where I had to pee for the first 16 miles and the 2016 race where I was heavily medicated for a sinus infection! Both events have still been amazing and I'm excited to head back to the windy city to see what 2017 has in store.

I only ran a couple of times this week and I took an extra rest day because I was super tired from a busy week at work. I figure that at this point not a lot I do will enhance my performance, but any extra miles I squeeze in might make me more tired...so rest it is!

Don't forget to download the chimarathon app to track us!!!! My bib is 6766 and Matt has 1121!

This is the race shirt!!! 

And here's the bling!!!!!!

I am such a baby and I was super sad to leave Lola. :( I am forever grateful to Monique for taking care of our princess!

Also!!!!!! My LED vest from Nox Gear came!!!!!!!! I can't wait to try it out!

Lastly, check out my new winter swag from Mizuno!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, this is awesome!

So PLEASE wish us luck and Good Luck to all my local friends running the Valley this weekend!!!!!!!!

Thanks for stopping by!!!!!!!!!

Happy Running,
Heather :)

Sunday, 1 October 2017

A GGR RUNdown That Involves 2 Races!

Oh my goodness!!!!!!!! My last RUNdown before the Chicago Marathon! (wide-eyed and having a mini panic attack as I type this sentence).

I really do not know how time zooms by so quickly when I'm marathon training....seriously, where does it go???

This week was a little interesting with training and racing. I usually don't 'race' in the week leading up to my marathon so I can't say I full on gave it my all. But I did participate in two races this weekend.

Here's how the week looked:

Monday: A lot of resting! Lola 'rested' ON me as I watched tv.

Tuesday: 7 easy miles along the trail and the main road. It was so HUMID! We were all wishing the fall air would arrive soon at work and other running friends of mine said the same thing.

 Wednesday: It was like a tapering miracle when I checked my training plan and it said "Rest or easy cross train," !!!!!!!!! I was so so so happy. :D I did lift some weights for an easy short upper body workout but that was it!

Thursday: Well, Thursday was like a rain storm that just would not quit. It poured from the heavens all day. When I left for my run that evening it had finally cleared and the sky had an amazing rainbow....still humid, but pretty rainbow. You get the drift. Usually on Thursdays I do my speed workout but I had plans on running fast at the Rum Runner's Relay so I just ran slow instead.

I also had leg/foot work done at Nova Physiotherapy with Jillian and it was AMAZING!

Friday: Friday was a PD day at school AND a rest day so I was thrilled! I prepped for an early morning run at Rum Runner's and hit the sack early.

Saturday: This year I was filling in for someone on Christine's team "It Seemed Like A Good Idea," and I was covering the second leg of the relay. It was a pretty easy leg that ran along the Lakeside/Timberlea area (where I live) so I knew it well. 8.3 km and the air was actually chilly!!!! Runners were so happy!

I left home around 7:00 and headed to Lakeside where the start was for a easy warm up run of 5km.

I saw so many running friends and everyone was race-chatty. :) 

Dave (fellow BLT'er) and I were going head to head on our neighbourhood leg. ;)

What I love about Rum Runner's:

Everyone cheers everyone. No matter what team you are on you are all supporting each other. The atmosphere is so positive and you can totally feel the buzz. For many, this is also an opportunity to showcase all the hard summer training you've put in in the heat and humidity. But not me-Chicago is in one week!

My plan after chatting with Ian was to run around 10k pace. Unfortunately I don't know what that is these days. I haven't raced a ten k race in FOREVER. I decided anywhere from 7-7:15 per mile would be okay without hurting myself too bad before the marathon???

Well as it turns out the race buzz made me run my first two miles waaaaaaay too fast...like sub 7 minute pace. I also knew the last half of my flat leg did have some climbing...not significant at all but I knew it was there from my weekly Sunday long runs. So I pulled in a bit on the reigns.

Jennie cheering and Stacey/Tom snapping pics. :)

Heading into the finish!
 I ran the 5.1 miles at 7:08 pace/ 8.3km at 4:23. No runners or feet were puked on during this race. You're welcome. :D

Shots of our team! We were actually the second place all female team!!!!!!! Thanks so much to my team captain Christine, the organizers and volunteers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing event!
I really wish I stayed the entire day but I knew it would exhaust me and being out in the chilly air would definitely make this cold a lot worse!

After the leg I jogged home along the trail alone without music and it was quite nice. I had to rest up for the next morning's gig as a Pace Bunny!

But not before I checked the September mileage stats of course:
201 miles 
321 km

Sunday: 25 minute pace bunny for the all women's 5k race at Sole Sisters! 

Sam, Marg and I headed over to Dartmouth where the race was held on yet another actual Fall feel morning. There was FROST on my car!!!

The chill was welcomed among the runners and White Rabbit Pacing was ready to roll!

I've raced Sole Sisters before but have never paced the event. It was AWESOME! I really liked it! I sat my watch to km because a 25 minute 5k is easy to calculate...except when your Garmin randomly pauses!!! But why though?! Anyway I still finished the race at 25:16 chip time and my runners all ran ahead of me.

Bruce takes the best photos! I'm hoping he'll show up in Chicago...you know, to be my own race photographer. ;)

Sherry was an awesome Bunny Support! Her and Durwin came out bright and early after relaying all day the day before to make sure us Bunnies had all our gear AND she got personal finish photos of us. Thanks!
I HIGHLY recommend this race! You have the option to be timed or not in the 5, quarter and half marathon, and they have excellent swag! Oh, and hello bling:
Weekly miles: 29.6!!!! Adios high mileage and Hello Taper!

Well thanks so much for being a part of my Chicago marathon training journey! This week there will be a lot of resting and prepping for the trip...and not a lot of running. ;)

Happy Running,
Heather :)

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Another Week Another RUNdown!!!!

Sundays have such a different feel now that the school year is back in full swing! I find myself scrambling post long run to get all the things done that I need before the work week begins. Anyone else feel that way?

After racing/running all last weekend I found myself feeling exhausted all week. But I accepted it as a sacrifice for my shiny new 5k PB. ;)

Here's how it went:

Monday: REST day! And nothing eventful to report lol.

Tuesday: Tuesdays are for Tacos and 9 mile runs, apparently.

9 miles at 8:46 pace. Look how dark it gets now at 8:00!!!!

Wednesday: Hehehehe....Lola hates the raincoat and the rain but I managed to snap this quick photo on our morning walk.

I was delighted to see only 4 miles on the plan for Wednesday!!!!!!! It was like a tapering present!

Thursday: On Thursday my school had curriculum night so I switched Thursday's training run with Friday. I know I know...the last time I did this it sucked but I had no choice!
 Sorry it's sideways!

P.S. I now teach dangerously close to the Bike and Bean!!!!!! Hence the Thursday lunch scone...

Who doesn't love Fridays?!

Friday's run: 3 miles easy, 3 miles at tempo-ish pace (7:13) and 2 miles warming down for 8 miles total. Yep-tired.

Saturday: On Saturday morning this popped up on my facebook memories!!! It's my acceptance for the FIRST ever Boston Marathon I ran. I thought that was so cool!

Lola had a haircut on Saturday so I headed out for my easy HUMID 10k run after I picked her up. I got spooked by Tom and Marg on their bikes lol and ran with them for a few minutes. After the 5k turn around point on the trail I headed home.
Don't worry, those stairs to the left are stained now! LOL

Haircuts are exhausting.

Sunday: 15 mile long run and I LOVE that 15 was the distance as opposed to 20-22 miles today!!! My goodness, it's Fall and the air feels like Summer.

This is a deer that I saw at the 10 mile mark!!!! Him and I had a bit of a stare down before a group of cyclists scared him into the woods. This was the best photo I could get with my phone. It was so cool!

Weekly total: 42.3 miles
68.1 km

Thanks again for following along in my training journey as I attempt another marathon! 2 weeks will fly by I just know it!!!
Do you get exhausted the days following a race???
Are you or someone you know running Chicago?

Happy Running,
Heather :)