Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia & 5k Run

Because some causes are worth mentioning...

Chicago Making Strides to Raise Awareness of
Local Promise Walk and 5K Run for Preeclampsia™ calls attention to serious pregnancy disorder affecting mothers and babies

The Preeclampsia Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing maternal and infant illness and death due to preeclampsia, is proud to launch the fourth annual Chicago Promise Walk and 5K Run for Preeclampsia™ on Sunday, May 19, 2013 at the Busse Woods in Elk Grove Village/Schaumburg, Illinois. This annual event is part of a nationwide effort to support innovative research and raise public awareness about the warning signs of preeclampsia, a life-threatening disorder of pregnancy. 

This year, up to one in 12 pregnant women in the United States will be diagnosed with preeclampsia. Worldwide, nearly 76,000 mothers and half a million babies die each year because of preeclampsia, and rates of preeclampsia, maternal deaths and prematurity are all rising. The Preeclampsia Foundation is committed to reducing maternal and infant illness and death due to preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy by providing patient support and education, raising public awareness, catalyzing research and improving health care practices.

The Chicago Promise Walk and 5K Run for Preeclampsiais an opportunity for Chicagoans to show their support for the urgent need to find better outcomes for those whose lives have been or will be touched by preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. That “promise” includes finding a cure, supporting families, and ensuring education and awareness for all pregnant women.

“With the support of our local volunteer team, we are confident that we are going to build on the success of the Chicago Promise Walk and 5K Runin previous years and bring even more awareness to this important issue,” said Preeclampsia Foundation Director of Community Relations Laney Poye. “Greater awareness and knowledge will result in healthier birth outcomes for mothers and their babies.”

“We truly appreciate the support of everyone who participates in this family event -- from our teams of dedicated walkers to those who make a donation to support the cause,” says Chicago Promise Walk Coordinator Elizabeth Pebelske. “We are also grateful to our generous sponsors Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Evanston Subaru for making the Chicago Promise Walk and 5K Runpossible.”

Visit for more details and to register for the Chicago Promise Walk and 5K Run. Those interested in forming teams or participating individually are urged to register at the Promise Walk website, though walk-up registrations will be accepted on the day of the event. Non-walkers are encouraged to support other individuals or teams to help meet Chicago’s fundraising goal of over $36,000.


About Preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs during pregnancy and the immediate postpartum period, and affects both the mother and the fetus. It is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by elevated blood pressure and protein in the urine; other symptoms may include swelling in the hands and face, headaches, and visual disturbances. Preeclampsia affects the mother's kidneys, liver and other vital organs and, if undetected or untreated, can lead to seizures (eclampsia), cerebral hemorrhage, failure in vital organs and death. The cause of preeclampsia is still not fully understood, and the only cure for the condition begins with delivery. Approximately five to eight percent of pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia, which, in the United States, translates to approximately 300,000
pregnancies. It is a leading cause of preterm birth, and is responsible for approximately 76,000 maternal deaths and half a million infant deaths worldwide annually. There are several types of preeclampsia, including HELLP syndrome, a particularly dangerous variant.


About the Preeclampsia Foundation
The Preeclampsia Foundation is the only national nonprofit patient advocacy organization for the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Through their national fundraising events the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia™ and Saving Grace - A Night of Hope™, the Preeclampsia Foundation works to achieve its mission to provide patient support and education, raise public awareness, catalyze research and improve health care practices. We envision a world where preeclampsia no longer threatens the lives of mothers and babies. Knowing the warning signs can lead to more timely diagnosis and better outcomes. For more information on the Foundation’s ongoing mission and resources, please visit

To find out more info about this race, feel free to visit their website and Facebook page for more details.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Runners For Boston

If you are located in the western suburbs, all Dick Pond Athletics locations will be hosting a fun run tomorrow evening in support of Boston. All proceeds from the fun run will go to benefit the One Fund Boston

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Speechless, but faithful

Speechless still.

In all of us exists a bit of evil because that is simply the downfall to being human.
But in life, love always trumps hate. 

So, continue to pray.

Pray for those who have been wounded and emotionally branded,
the awesome spectators that seem to line the streets of every. single. race.,
people across the globe who constantly question their safety,
those who's lives have been forever changed by this event,
for all evil to find light,
and for the sick mastermind behind this.

There comes a day when we all will receive the justice of our lives works, and we will no longer be able to hid behind the shadows of our doings.

Have faith.

Live your life and don't let the tragic events of what will most likely be a very broken and disturbed soul dictate your path. Life's short, keep marching on.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pics that make my day

Via Pete
Looks like those legs need some sun. 
So translucent that I feel like I can almost see through them.
Think the Irish skin was in full force that morning to help me get in the Shamrock character.

Pete also took a pretty cool video and some classic photos of Sunday's race. He managed to capture everything I love about the day. BTW, he is toeing Boston this Monday so go on over and send him some well wishes!

So many awesome things going on in this pic that I don't even know what to say other than team "Shalane and Kara" kicked major booty for the day. Just out chickin' like it's no big deal.

Stay tuned for part 2 of that saga...

For the first time ever in my race history, I was snapped multiple times on the course with both feet off the ground. I didn't even know that was possible for my body. I've actually be working on smoothing out some of the rough edges with my cadence and gait for awhile now, and it looks like it may be catching up with me a bit. Maybe my legs can turnover better than I thought.

I was on a roll, two strides in a row!

And of course, my outfit choice for the day has got to be the best part of these photos. Looks like I'm going bottomless, which almost would have been a better idea than wearing the shorts I chose for the day. Felt like I was giving everyone a free show as they rode up my bum the entire race and I didn't bother fishing them out.

Thank you Marathonfoto, you made my day.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

2013 Shamrock Shuffle 8k

And the PR streak unexpectedly continues.
Looks like Sunday I had the luck of the Irish on my side.

"Any idiot can train himself into the ground; the trick is doing the training that makes you gradually stronger."
Keith Brantly 
 PR's have become synonymously interchangeable in the running world where the term more often than not seems to leave an underlying assumption that the miles were some awesome experience that made a runner feel like they were on top of the world and felt unstoppable.

That was not how Sunday's PR went  down for me.

Going into the Shamrock Shuffle, I had really no expectation. It was going to be just another race for me where my goal was to run by feel instead of relying on a watch to dictate my pacing. At this point in my life, this shouldn't be such a difficult thing for me to execute yet it somehow has become my hearts latest ambitiously laborious pursuit.

Coming back from burn-out has been very challenging for me mentally. Physically my body has repaired, recharged, and recovered, but mentally I'm still a hot mess. Learning my limit has left me cautious and questionable about racing and training just all around, so I've been playing it safe. Keeping to mainly fartlek style workouts, taking extra days off, and not making any mileage goals.  The most important thing for me right now is staying healthy and balanced where PR's are no where close to being on my radar.

My head is still doubtful about pressing it, and speed feels foreign to my body where even at my quickest paces it seems like I'm moving in slow motion at times. 

Race morning I met up with a very speedy girlfriend of mine that I planned on racing with. She's a former rockstar collegiate athlete and has some amazing natural speed in her legs. Before the race even started, I had my doubts that I'd be toe-to-toe with her since workouts have been lacking in my neck of the woods and in my mind I'm not exactly in race shape.

Blue top, shades, and pink shoes in middle of frame. My speedy friend was in the blue top ahead.
Having gotten the luxury treatment the past two years of this race, I had no idea how chaotic getting into corral A would be. With about 15 minutes to spare until the corrals closed, we figured we had plenty of time to scoot off into our respective start areas. But as we stood like a herd of cattle marching off for slaughter, the clock ticked by quickly and we weren't making much progress towards the gates. As 8:15 neared and the volunteers starting to slowly close the corral gates, the runners behind us begun to panic. I'm not great in crowds, and I had a mild panic attack as I feared being tramped by crazed runners.

this gal has a bit funnier account of the pre-race mania

That was basically my worst nightmare as people were infringing on my personal space as I begun to sweat profusely and have shortness of breath.

Not exactly my ideal pre-race situation.

I had a hard time getting my head together after that and just never really mentally checked in for the day before I crossed the finish line. Thinking back now, I have no idea how my legs were moving because I felt like it was all going by in slow-mo where it felt kind of like a dream. My thoughts were racing, I let my running partner get ahead a few strides, and my stomach begun to hate what was happening...again. The only vivid recall I have of the race was when I saw my girlfriend round the corner of Roosevelt after feeling as if she was light-years ahead of me and counted just about 7 seconds until I passed that exact point.

At that point I remember thinking "7 seconds is nothing...why did I let her get so far ahead?".

But, by then it was too late and the race was pretty much over.

Unexpectedly I worked my way to a 13 second PR and finished just a 5 measly seconds behind my girlfriend, who crossed the line in 30:58.
5. Measly. Seconds.

It's funny how I ran without a watch, did substantially lower mileage, got in just a handful of workouts, and took more days off as a build up for this race over any other year that I've ran it yet I still hit a PR. Curiously odd...but pretty much confirms things for me about how I should be training.

My #1 fan, Mr. Chicago Runner Girl
The Shamrock Shuffle is still my favorite race, despite the fact that the PR streak continues and that I felt like Mufasa being stampeded beforehand. After all, it's tradition.

Update as of 4/17/13...finish time may have been 31:01. Looks like they've updated some stats, which would have put me 4 measly seconds behind my girlfriend and only 2 seconds away from breaking 31. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

A shamrock tradition

This Sunday I'll be toeing the line of my 7th Shamrock Shuffle 8k. This race has become an unintentional spring tradition for me where I anticipate the start all winter long. In this dreary grey place, it seems to be the glimmer of hope for me that sunshine and warm weather is just around the corner.

The first year I ran this race was in 2007.

I didn't train and didn't have any clue what kind of split I would put up because those were the days when I would run and run with out any sense. The night before I even worked an overnight shift where I didn't get home from work until about 7:30 am. Going on 24+ hours of no sleep, I have no idea how I crossed that finish line. But I did, then passed out for about 14 hours later that afternoon.

The only pic I have from this race. Terrible quality, but apparently I ran it was the Mr. before he was officially the Mr. Had no idea until I found this pic.


Then in 2008, I thought that I could finish faster.

Even though I was injured and hadn't done much of any activity, I assumed that a good nights rest would be enough to finish just a wee bit quicker. And it was.


This race is HUGE, and that's why I love it. You are running on the streets of Chicago with thousands of runners all around you. It's pretty awesome.

In 2009 I was finally healthy.

My knee had finally healed and for the first time in my adult life I decided to make attempts to actually train for a race with my eyes on the Shamrock Shuffle. This is when I begun to log my training and actually started following some type of logical progressions with my workouts. Race morning it was cold, windy, wet, snowy, and there was several inches of slushy snow covering the streets of the course. It took just over 4 miles for me to gain feeling in my feet on the course, and my husband sat inside a Dunkin Donuts to keep warm while I was racing.

Poor conditions and all, I somehow still managed to work my way to a pretty sweet PR.


2010 brought new momentum.

I was getting fitter, faster, and smarter with my training. Suddenly I begun to become more motivated to gain speed and challenge myself with my running goals. After hitting an 8k PR the previous fall, I knew that I wanted to set my sights high and go for a sub 33 split finish. I didn't rest the day before and instead did a long run because I was ramping up for a half a few weeks later...because it makes total sense to burn all your fuel stores before a goal race...

That was the race that taught me the importance of rest days on race eve. Ah, what a valuable lesson that has served me well.

2011. The year of Elite.

Ah yes, elite...such a funny word that brings such funny feelings for me. I'm no elite. I'm average where there will always be plenty of peeps ahead and behind me. Still think that this was some type of typo or clerical erro, but I was the elite corral with the real elites. Excited but feeling very out of place, I lined up at the very back of the corral and went out way too fast.

This race was the turning point for me with my running and set me up for some pretty sweet PR's later in the year. I ran hard and fast (for me) and had fun while doing it, finally realizing that running can be a hoot if you just go out there to have fun.

2012. Elite, part 2.

And then there was last year...

I put up a pretty decent split for myself and raced like a weirdo on very unrested legs.

6:16, 5:42, 6:11, 6:32, 5:56.
I raced. It hurt. I had a blast. And earned myself a pretty sweet PR.


2 days out from race day, I've decided that the plan once again is that there is no plan and instead to just enjoy tradition. No watch. No goal time. Nada. Just my favorite Pam Beasley way to race...

Start fast.
Run fast in the middle.
And end fast.

Sometimes traditions change, and my PR streak for this race was bound to hit an end eventually. But PR or no PR on Sunday, I'm still going to head out there and run the best race my body allows and have a blast while doing it. And if that means my body is somehow able to magically produce a faster split, than that's great. And if not, the Shamrock tradition will still continue for many years to come.