Sunday, June 30, 2013

My elite doppelganger

The other day someone pointed out that I look a bit like Olympian Jenny Simpson.

My first thought was...
Shut the front door, not a chance.

I mean she is after all has an insane set of wheels and always looks like she is flying.

She honestly makes running relaxed and fast look incredibly easy as she so delicately glides across the track on her toes. And, of course her abs are insane. Seriously insane.

I suppose neither of us is a stranger to sporting our signature braids while racing, and it's unlikely that you'll spot either of us actually wearing a top while running. But we may, may have a few similar features. So maybe in some type of parallel like world we could be confused with one another. Maybe.

But if there is anyone who I wouldn't mind being compared to, it would have to be Jenny. After all, she pretty much is a New Balance powerhouse.

If only we had identical leg speed.
Now that would be pretty sweet.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chicago Half Marathon Giveaway Winner

Thank you to all who expressed interest in running the Chicago Half on September 8th.

I've enjoyed reading all your comments and stories about your favorite medals. Sounds like there are some pretty cool races out there that have some very unique and interesting hardware.

Without further ado, the winner is...

Congrats beautiful lady!
Very excited for you!

Kelly's comment, and her story, are a true testament to the goodwill that exists in others as well as the robust determination of the human spirit.

Amazing how just when you think there is nothing left and you've reached your breaking point that there is always something hiding inside.

Email me at and I'll get you all set up with your entry. You'll have until July 2nd to claim your entry.

Registration for this race is still open, but a price increase will happen June 27th at midnight. If you're still interested in running, get on over and sign up for this amazingly fun race ASAP!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Chicago Half Marathon Race Entry Giveaway

By now it should come as no surprise that I love half marathons,
even when they don't love me back.

Sharing the half marathon love today by giving away an entry to the Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday September 8th to one lucky Chicago Runner Girl reader.

This half starts in Jackson Park, right around the corner from the Museum of Science & Industry, before heading onto LSD. The course provides some of the most breathtaking views you'll ever have of beautiful Chitown as you are heading north on LSD into the skyline. LSD is closed entirely to the runners, and as you head back south you see all the runners who started after you flooding the opposite side of the road as the air is filled with cheers and footsteps from the other 10,000+ runners hitting the streets that day.

It's pretty dang neat.

On the course in 2012
This race is also part of the Windy City Challenge, where if you raced the Allstate Chicago 13.1 that was held on June 8th you receive an additional medal. 

All you have to do to enter is:

 Leave a comment below telling me below the coolest race medal you've ever received and why it's special to you

For an additional entry:

Tweet "I want to win an entry to the @ChicagoHalf from @ChiRunnerGrl"
(for your entry to count, you will have to leave a separate comment to say that you've tweeted, but you have to actually tweet as well)

***Giveaway is open to all interested parties and anonymous comments will be counted as long as a name is included (first/last/nickname/etc.) somewhere in the comment***

Contest will run until Tuesday June 25th at 12 pm CST where a winner will be chosen shortly after

Friday, June 14, 2013

2013 Allstate 13.1 Chicago

"Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it."
Oprah Winfrey
Never has that been so true for me.
That Auntie O is so smart.

photo courtesy xaarlin

Remember that quest?
The one where my audacious spirit set out to slay that dream dragon lacking all logic and having no remorse?

Well let me refresh.

Last year, my mind was settled on it being THAT year. That year where I put everything I had into my goals, pursue the seemingly impossible, and become the running powerhouse that always danced around in my head. I was going to be unstoppable.
Fast. Fierce. Fired-up.

What I instead got was a beaten and battered body,
a weary and worn soul,
a million miles away from my desired destination,
and in the end a very fresh start.

I put everything into my running in 2012.
Life was handing me some pretty rotten lemons, and my cooping method was to pour myself into the one thing that was consistently mine. It's been no secret where that led me, effects of which I still feel from time to time these days. I let myself become nothing more than a vapid running machine where everything else important in my life took a back seat to my running goals. Faith, family, career, love, health, and happiness.

Not my brightest hour, yet not my darkest.

That gal, the one who consistently puts her head down calmly powering forward in solitude when the road gets a little bumpy will always live inside of me. That's who I am, driven and independently rampant. But that wild-beast needs a bit of taming every now and then.

Even when dreams still lay unfulfilled, I wouldn't change the course of events that have led me to where I am now. I've worked my way through more heartache in the past 18 months of my life than I ever dreamed possible.

photo courtesy xaarlin
what a terribly fake smile, pretending like my stomach isn't seeking revenge on me

Countless career dead ends,
leaving the city I'm madly in love with, 
the not-so-patient wait for a babe,
dreams that I've had to shelf,
the realization that I'm not as together of a lady as I've always thought,
and the fact that running is just a small piece of the life puzzle.

You live, you learn, and you move on.

Running is still very present in my life, but it isn't the center of my happiness and worth. Fulfillment of my running goals no longer trumps my to-do list and instead running is just a piece of my life that brings a bit more beauty to the simpler less important pieces of the life puzzle. It's just there, patiently waiting for my heart to ready itself for big hairy goals once again.

I ran. I had an off day. I got out of the race exactly what I put into it, which sadly wasn't much. And I'm 100% at ease with that.

photo courtesy Nina

There will always be another opportunity to go for a PR when the timing is right.
Maybe then late nights out with irreplaceable friends won't be as important as long runs,
proper fueling prerace will surpass the desire to indulge in a once in a lifetime fatty-fat-fat filled amazing dinner,
and water intake will exceed cider beers, Not Your Father's Root beer, and cold glasses of white wine.

Day before race, taking in Chitown by foot like a tourist with break taking rooftop views

This wasn't that time, but I know that PR is out there when my heart is ready to take it on and all my priorities are right where they should be. 

Until then I'll be celebrating the victories that I have made, small as they maybe.

At the end of the day, I finished in 1:33 and some change, which is by no means anywhere close to a PR for me as I've had workouts better than this in recent months. But that's what the bod was willing to give me on that day with the fragmented "training" I put in leading up to the race. And I'll take it because honestly, I wouldn't change a damn thing I did before the race for a better result. 

Stats are stats and cannot replace some of the sweet romantic life moments I've had in the past few months. I'll take those bliss filled moments with friends, old and new, over another PR notch in my belt of racing any day.

After all, life is only as sweet as the people you hold in it.

Friday, June 7, 2013

A winner and shoes

The randomly selected winner for the Bastille Day 5 & 8k is... 

Congrats Sara
Excited that you are healthy and racing again!
Email me at and I'll get you the registration info.

Thank you everyone for entering.

Race day for the Allstate 13.1 Chicago is less than 24 hours away, and I'm in the midst of a shoe dilemma. Lately, I've been wearing a lot of different shoes running. While the Brooks Ravenna's have been my favorite training shoe for a few years now, I'm trying a lot of different things on the feet lately just because. Honestly, working at a running store has peaked my interest in shoes now more than ever and my closet is having a difficult time keeping up.

The Brooks Cadence and Asics Cumulus 15's have pretty much stolen my heart.

Brooks Cadence, Adidas Adios circa early 2012, and the Asics Cumulus
While I've always loved the way that the Adidas Adios feel on my feet, they don't tend to work for me in distances over an 8k. My feet start to get that hot-burning sensation and sometimes even a bit sore, like after running 13.1 miles on concrete at this race.

Back in March I wore the Cadence in a half on the lakefront, where I think they felt okay. Hard to remember since I was racing extremely distracted and had quite possibly the worst attitude in any race I've ever ran. Been sporting the cadence on several speed workouts and longer runs where I always seem to feel light on my feel and like my turnover is a lot smoother than normal. Could be all in my head, or it could be the lower heel profile and beveled heel.

BUT, those Asics Cumulus are just awesome. Kind of a heavier shoe, and just a standard trainer, not exactly the most ideal shoe for racing. Just can't get over how soft they feel on my feet, and how they just fit "right". Been doing the bulk of my training in this shoe lately and I don't usually want to take it off when I get home. Seriously, if you haven't had the chance to try this model on with the updates they've made this year...RUN, don't walk to your local running store and give them a go. This shoe is seriously awesome.

And thus, the dilemma...

Staying downtown all weekend and don't have space to be taking my entire closets worth of shoes with me. Pretty sure that whatever I pack this morning I'll most likely be regretting by this evening when I can't change anything about it.

Half marathon footwear, what do you wear?

Monday, June 3, 2013

5 days and counting...

until the next half marathon.
If my adding skills and memory are correct, this should be number 11. 
4 of those being post PR.

It's actually quite an interesting thing to mull over, that PR. It's been almost 2 years since and I've never really come close to meeting that same standard, unless you count 2+ minutes slower "close".
I don't, so yea.

At this point it's actually kind of an odd thing that I even still like the distance. I've had more strike outs,  surrenders, and vomit filled mornings trying to cover this distance than I'd care to remember. Maybe that's part of it, and my memory just blacks out the extreme weather conditions and sickness that always seems to come hand and hand with this race. 

When I initially committed to this race, I had hopes that maybe if I could get things together a bit that I could put an end to that "no PR streak". But, things change and really I haven't done the work needed to earn that PR so I've decided to instead just keep the bar low. Maybe I'll come close, and maybe not. 

In the past few weeks, workouts haven't exactly been easy.

It's been a pain trying to figure out how to appropriately fit them into my schedule,
I've been having a hell of a time adjusting to the weather,
and I just haven't had the focus.

The humidity seems to be kicking my butt lately. I'm a rather salty sweater, and it seems as if I loose almost all of my electrolytes on a hot sticky day within the first few minutes I'm out. Maybe I'm just sweating out all the potato chips I eat, or maybe my body just doesn't efficiently hold on to things and operate properly when in extreme conditions. Thinking it's the latter of the two, which would explain a lot. Personally I feel like I do so much better in the winter than the summer months, but that honestly could all be in my head.


Minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. It is important for the balance of electrolytes in your body to be maintained, because they affect the amount of water in your body, blood pH, muscle action, and other important processes. Electrolytes exist in the blood as acids, bases, and salts (such as sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, magnesium, and bicarbonate) and can be measured by laboratory studies of the blood serum.
(via webmd)

Still haven't quite figured out that secret fueling brew for race day and longer workouts as the tummy seems to get a bit upset easily. But, this all kind of makes sense when I really sit down to think about how uncontrolled and erratic my body and mind have felt during my past few half marys. I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually.

Well my heart is beating hard
And I'm off with a shot at the start
And my legs tremble from strain
But by the finish line I am drained

Who knows what #11 will hold, but at least this time I've got the company of a great friend to keep me going and a pressure free attitude.

Time for version 2 of Kara & Shalane.