Chicago Part 2: Race Day 

The Chicago Marathon was almost a month ago, but it seems like just yesterday. I want to start with the finish of this race. This picture sums up EVERYTHING I loved about this race: I ran for an amazing team, the city and course are beautiful and the volunteers & the ENTIRE Chicago community was amazing. Just amazing. I mean, are they more happy or am I in this picture?!

Chicago was my 7th marathon, and a marathon I didn’t even think was going to happen. I have been recovering from injuries (and stress) all year so it was kind of a toss up if I’d even finish this race. I don’t really get nervous at races anymore, but I was getting sad as we were lining up at the start because I really didn’t want to let my team down. I ran for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Team Momentum and I coached their San Diego team to run this race, so I have to admit I felt a little nervous about not finishing. Here I am with my fake “I’ll be alright” smile. Cory couldn’t go any further than here so we stopped to take a quick picture and he was off to go find a place to cheer. I went to line up and act like everything was fine.

At the start of the race I met up with a friend from Sacramento! At a race with 40,000 plus runners I couldn’t believe we found each other. We started together, but she left me within the first couple of miles. I wanted to run very conservatively so I was keeping around a 9:50-10 minute pace. I was already hungry by mile 3 where I first saw Cory (which made me nervous). Here I am reaching for a bar he had for me. Don’t I take such great race pics?

Now, I wanted to take a lot of pictures during the race, but I didn’t. I was too busy looking at the city, taking it all in and falling more in love with Chicago with every step I ran. Seriously you guys. Sign up for the Chicago Marathon. We all know that CIM has a special place in my heart but Chicago is my new favorite marathon. There is a feeling in the air that I can’t even describe – just know as I type this I have a huge smile on my face as I remember how I happy I was there.

Mile 13. I was telling Cory how great I felt but that I needed my electrolyte tabs…but I forgot them. I always forget something! It was at this point that I knew I was going to finish this race, and that made me happy as fuck. As a member of Team MDA we had our names on our shirts and everyone was yelling my name and cheering for me. They were giving me high fives and telling me thank you for running…ahhh! Chicagoans are so supportive of us runners. Having 2 million (YES! 2 million!) people cheering you on really helps to keep you going.

Another thing I loved was that you were always with a ton of other runners. This was about mile 16(??) and I was still with a large group of runners. Ps – check out the trees. Oh, how I miss seeing tree lined streets! Another reason I love Chicago.

Around mile 18 or 19 I met up with my teammate, Andrew. Unfortunately, his back was painful and he wasn’t running the race he had planned. Which sucks, but it happens to all of us at some point. Since I was there for fun, and he is my teammate I stuck with him and we finished the race together. We ran and walked and talked about running…I was trying to do what I could to keep his mind off the pain and to keep him going. His brother has Muscular Dystrophy and he kept telling me no matter what he was going to finish the race; he had to for his brother. This is why I loved running for MDA. Having a team to run with, having them come up and hug you or pat you on the back as they ran by, or stop to make sure you’re doing okay – that is something I have never experienced and it made this race so much more special.

Andrew and I finished the race together and I couldn’t have been more happy to finish with a friend and fellow MDA Team member!

Post race. We took pictures, ate food, stretched…all the things you do post race. You know I am stinky AF post race, but Cory is such a good boyfriend that he still takes pictures with his arms around me. That’s love.

Chicago is a beautiful city. I loved the people, the food, the art, the buildings, the history…I loved it all. I may have mentioned this in the first post but as soon as we stepped off the plane I thought, I could live here. I told Cory we should move there and he basically told me to calm down – we had only been there for 4 days and I probably wouldn’t survive a Chicago Winter. I still say I’d love to live there. Chicago has soul and I connected with it.

I will definitley be back to visit and do everything I didn’t get a chance to do while we were there. There is a good chance I will run this race again, but I am also hesitant to sign up again because this race was so special that I kinda don’t want to remember the Chicago Marathon any other way. We’ll see.






Is it too early to start planning for 2017?

It is NEVER too early to start planning your race schedule! In my opinion. While I currently don’t have a traditional plan, and I am focusing on running for fun I am already getting quite a full “race” schedule for 2017 ( race in quotations because as of right now I don’t plan on racing any of these races). Let’s go through the races I have coming up so far for next year.

First, I have the Carlsbad Half Marathon . This race is January 15th. There is a full and half option. I’m going with the half because I just ran Chicago, I have the CIM in December and another full in March (details below). I’m still a newbie to the SoCal racing scene but apparently this is a popular race because it is part of the Triple Crown – which also includes La Jolla Half Marathon & America’s Finest City Half Marathon. If you want to run Carlsbad with me use discount code BIBRAVE10 to save $10 off the full or half marathon (thank BibRave!).

Next, is the Palm Desert Half Marathon on February 19th. I’ve never run a race in the desert and I hear this one has amazing mountain views. I also have a discount code for this race (Thanks again BibRave!). Use code BRPD2017 to save 10% off registration for 1/2 marathon, 5k, relays and kids race – valid until the close of online registration (February 15, 2017 at 11:50PM PST).

After those half marathons I have my first marathon of 2017. The LA Marathon on March 19th. I have not run this race before, and I will be running it for charity (post to come soon…I am SOOOO excited to tell you about it!). This will be my last race in SoCal before I move back home to Sacramento. LA is a race I have considered in the past and I really love the city – I swear I do. You hear lots of negative things about LA but it is a place I connect with, so I am really looking forward to running this marathon.

Finally, at the end of 2017 I have the California International Marathon. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, as I have run this race every year since 2012. 2017 will by my 6th CIM! And no, registration is NOT open yet but this marathon has a standing place on my race calendar.

How much in advance do you start planning for your races? If you still have room on your calendar for this year, check out my Discount Page! I have discounts for races all over the country from this year into next. Happy running!

Chicago Part 1: The City

Chicago. Wow. I have never been until this past weekend (to run the Chicago Marathon, duh) and I did not realize how quickly I would fall in love with the city. As soon as we landed I felt a connection. Chicago has soul and character that I connect with. I’ve been telling everyone that I would move there in a second over San Diego, where I currently live. Some people said I was crazy, but some Chicagoans I talked to totally got it. The community, diversity, food, art, parks, history…I can’t say enough great things about my experience there. I will be back for sure. This first post will be about my experience in the city, and my next post will be about the race. So let’s get started!

Once we settled into our Airbnb (that had 4 cats, a dog, 2 birds, 2 turtles and a lizzard – I made LOTS of friends) we headed over to packet pick up. I never stay at expos for very long so we got my bib, shirt and headed out. But not before getting some cool shots of the Chicago skyline and the building where the expo was. The architecture in Chi-Town is AMAZING.

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After packet pick up we headed out to dinner then back to where we were staying. It wasn’t too eventful of a night, but I did make a few new cat friends.

 The next morning we were up early for our shake out run with the peeps from Fleet Feet, Runner’s World and Bart Yasso!  My bf, who is not a runner, saw him come in and a ton of people start getting pictures with him and he said, “Is that old guy famous or something?” – haha. Um, yes. This was my first time running in Chicago and while it was only 3ish miles I was LOVING every second of it.

We had to stop to get a view with the city in the back ground.

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After the shake out run Cory and I had breakfast then played tourist.

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I knew Chicago was famous for its architecture, but I had no idea how much art was around the city. It is truly a beautiful city. Our first stop was Millennium and Grant Parks. We had to go to The Bean – which is really called Cloud Gate. I learned that on the bus tour we took. I used to think tourist things were lame, but you learn so much and they are actually really fun. Perhaps this is what happens when you get old. All I know is, I had a great time touring Chicago.

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Most of our exploring was on Monday, after the race. I won’t say too much about the race until the next post, but I will say I was worried that exploring the city on Monday, after 26.2 miles of running on Sunday would be a bad idea. Luckily it wasn’t. Post race we took a river/architecture tour, which was a good way to rest my legies. On Monday we took a bus tour; I highly recommend the bus tour because it is a great way to see the city and you can hop on and off at any of the stops.

When I asked for suggestions of what to do in Chicago, everyone said I had to take the architecture tour. They were right! I found a tour that took us along the river and Lake Michigan, both were beautiful. I know I live by the ocean, but rivers and lakes are where it’s at! We had a great time seeing the city from the boat.

Views from the lake.

Monday was our bus tour and waking around the city time. As I said before, the parks and art around the city are beautiful and you can find something interesting/beautiful every where you look. We started out going to a local coffee shop and walking over to Wrigley Field. As you probably know, the Cubs are doing quite well so Chicago was ALL about it. I kept seeing “W” flags and signs all over the city and found out it is because their Cubs are winning. This city loves their team, and I loved seeing how excited everyone was. There was even talk of adding a 5th star on the flag if the Cubs win the World Series.

Monday ended with exploring more of the parks. We wanted to check out the local brewery scene but the ones we really wanted to go to were closed. I guess I didn’t take into account that it was Monday and Columbus Day – stupid Columbus ruining my plans. But we still enjoyed our time being tourists and I can’t wait to be back.

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My next post will be about race day!!! Chicago is now my favorite marathon I have run (sorry CIM, but you still have a special place in my heart). I can’t wait to share with you about race day. I learned a lot about myself at this race; running and finishing when I highly doubted I would be able to finish. Again, I don’t want to say too much just yet, but I was once again reminded how strong I am – much stronger than I give myself credit for.

This Body Can – Trinity

October’s This Body Can contribution is from Trinity. I met Trinity back in 2014 through a mutual friend (Stephanie).  We all met up to work out and she had SO much energy – and fruit and veggie tattoos that I love – that it was contagious. I think our first workout was stair repeats, which I have never been great at, but those two made that morning stair workout fun. I learned Trinity was in roller derby (now retired), which I thought was awesome. Another strong lady friend finding fun ways to stay active and loving it. As you will read in Trinity’s story there are so many things you can do to get off your ass and be active. You don’t have to trick yourself into thinking you’re having fun, you don’t need an app that makes exercising tolerable (something I heard on the radio recently that REALLY bothered me). Look for things, try things and find what you love. Thank you Trinity for sharing your story.

If you would have asked me 2 years ago what I loved to do to be active I would have said “roller derby is my life.” I practiced 3 times a week for at least 2-3 hours each session as well as cross-training 2-3 times a week. My schedule was packed trying to fit this sport in to my full time job and life itself. Retired for 2 years now after 9 seasons, I am still looking for a regular activity to fill this void. I jumped right into cycling and road racing specifically; criterium. It reminded me of roller derby; a pack of women, all fighting for a position and yelling, lots of it. I raced for a full season and really enjoyed it. Now that was over what was next? I was introduced to cyclocross and fell in love.

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The way I describe cyclocross is that it’s on a “road like bike” but with tread on the tires and the racing environment consists of riding through lots of different obstacles; sand, mud, dirt, road, barriers, etc. as well as having to jump off your bike and carry it over some of those obstacles. The sport was created long ago for road racers in the off season. This type of bike and sport offers so much. You can take this bike anywhere and ride most everything; it is a sense of freedom that I love so much. The scene is also admirable; lots of friendly people, crazy fashion (kits) and multiple courses within the Sacramento area. The main series I participated in was Sacramento Cyclocross . It consisted of 8 races from September through December. This timeframe warrants all kind of weather; rain, wind, cold and hot…it was different each race along with the course. One season under my belt and I am hooked. I found an awesome shop, Kinetic Cycles that offers weekly rides and a team atmosphere that I was looking for. I had found the same sense of “community” that I had in roller derby. NO ONE will replace my derby family but I have certainly found something that makes me happy, racing my bike.

Now, I can’t talk about what physical activity I love to do without the nutrition side which I believe allows me to continue to be competitive, recover and if I’m not always faithful to workouts; allows me to maintain a body shape I am ok with. I have come to learn that eating plant based/vegan not only made me the feel the best I ever have (and in the best shape); it opened my mind to compassion and awareness of environmental impacts the food system has on us.

Part of this blog series is talking about body image. My whole life I have been an athlete and I guess since I always had something going on/being involved in a team sport and being competitive, what I looked like wasn’t always on the top of my mind. I was concerned with how to beat the competition. I am also that person that doesn’t mind going to the mainstream gym where it is dominated by males fighting for equipment. I usually make a game of it and love seeing people using machines in a way that I would have never guessed! It is certainly based on personal perspective and if that type of gym is your only option I would encourage anyone to still go and create your own space.

One of the most important things I have learned over the years and in multiple sports is to GO FOR IT and be prepared that you may fail, break an ankle, get knocked out, etc…injuries WILL happen but just as they may slow you down for a period of time they can be overcome, just like any of life’s obstacles.

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