Month: October 2011

Race Report: Chicago Monster Dash 2012

Posted on Updated on

It was going to be a perfect day for running, sunny and highs slotted to be just around 52 at Chicago’s Lakefront. Since I was driving from Milwaukee, WI I had to get up extra early to make sure I found parking and made it to the start on time so at 5:00am my first alarm went off surprisingly I got up feeling refreshed and ready. I got to Chicago and parked with no problems. The parking garage near Grant Park had offered a prepay option and therefor became race village #1 with runners changing and double,triple checking their gear. To everyones amazement right outside the garage there were FLUSHABLE toilets. With many racers taking advantage of this the line grew long quickly. I was lucky to be one of the first in line and left the garage around 7:50am. The Official Race Village was AWESOME! Everything was clearly marked the volunteers were friendly and helpful and they had a band playing to get us pumped.

I waited for my friend Kyle by gear check and my feet began to become increasingly cold from standing on the wet grass. I hadn’t seen Kyle in 5ish years and our friendship has really blossomed thanks to running. Kyle and I met at a work function and have stayed in touch through Facebook but never so much as since we both started running. It was GREAT to see him again and we were both ready to do this thing!


See. Chicago sure does make a good back drop.
We made plans to meet after the race and lined up together right behind the 11:30 pace group. We weren’t planning on following their pacing just thought it was a good place for us. In the first 3 miles I not only took off all my winter gear but we had carried a 10:20 pace. I couldn’t help thinking “this is NOT good, we are going to pay later” but I was feeling good and so was Kyle so we kept going. During the first 5 miles of the run I was having sharp pains in my right IT Band¬†about every 5 strides. I knew this feeling well because I’ve been dealing with it for some time now and may have just bought myself a month off any hard core running. The views during the run were amazing which made my think less about my pain. Kyle was a SPORT through it all and stopped when I had to and we each had times where one of us went a head and the other caught back up. It was GREAT to race with someone AND catch up on their life at the same time. I truely believe Kyle could’ve finished faster without me so THANK YOU KYLE for being such a good friend and race mate!!!!


About mile 12 everyone in the race seemed to be just DONE! Kyle and I danced to the music in our headphones and checked the mile mark on his Garmin about every 30 seconds. It was rough going the last couple of miles but, in a way, that’s what you sign up for right?!? I feel like I pushed myself harder then I have at a 1/2 and it feels GOOD. Chicago was a great city to run in and I couldn’t have asked for a better “tour guide”. If you live in the Midwest or can travel here I suggest running one of the Team Ortho races that will be put on in 2012. They also have races in Minneapolis if that is closer to you but be warned that area is hilly! They are well organized and give great gear/medals.


2:35:25 was our “official” chip time. My RunKeeper Pro measured that we ran 3.48 and I trust it. Between dodging people and not running the “shortest possible” course it’s possible we ran .34 more then necessary and now I can say 13.48 is the longest distance I have ran! ¬†About an hour and a half after finishing we were driving down Lakefront Drive (where we has just run on the path next to it) and we saw a women just passing Mile 12 looking confident and strong! I wanted to stop and run with her, she is an inspiration. I will think of her often!
I will be back for the Chicago Monster Dash in 2012. Will you join me?!?!


Tighten those laces…LETS RUN
– Rachel

Post race beer Sam Adams Oktoberfest and better look at the awesome medal!

Race Report: Walk/Run Eat 2011

Posted on Updated on

If I thought I loved running before Sunday 10/16/11 I was sorely mistaken. Last Sunday I showed up at the Goodman Community Center to run the GSA for Safe Schools Walk/Run/Eat. Unsure if I would tackle the 5k or 10k I waited for my parents to arrive who were walking the 5k and pushing my kids so I could focus on the run and NOT push ~100lbs over the hills of Madison,WI. At the last second I decided to run the 5k because my hip had been giving me some grief and I had “only” run 15 miles so far that week.
It was around 40 degrees out and there were wind gusts up to 20mph that morning.When the air horn sounded I started in the back of the pack by the walkers so my kids didn’t freak out right away as they saw me disappear (which worked). I started casually and zig-zagged through walkers, runners, other people with strollers and past a HUGE dog! Once I got to the actual “start” I hit start on my watch and assumed I’d think nothing of it the rest of the race, boy was I wrong. I was feeling good and kept it casual for the first 1/4 mile and was passing a few people. Then I saw her, a women in all black including black Vibram FiveFingers. I have always thought, regardless of the claimed benefits, that they look silly. Somehow seeing those shoes lit a fire in me that said “I’m NOT going to get beat by someone in these silly shoes” and I kicked it into high gear. Out of no where, mile 1 (9:30). This is when I thought achieving a sub 30 5K COULD happen today so I kicked it into higher gear. At the top of a block long hill mile 2 (8:40) the fastest mile I’ve run in months! After that hill my legs started to give a little and the beans and rice I had for breakfast threatened to come back up. The wind became a headwind as I continued through lakeside neighborhoods and back on the bike path towards the Community Center. As I reached the finish line I take out my ear buds to hear the timer calling out my time (this is a very low key non-chip timed event). 28:17. Remembering I started at the back of the pack I hit stop on my watch and look down 27:55. I DID IT!! I didn’t come to the race with this goal in mind I have been focusing on distance this year but still doing speed work and hill repeats but not for any time goal. I wanted to cry and almost did. I stretched and got some chocolate milk then ventured back on the course (yeah I was “that” person) to find my family and start celebrating! On top of a PR I also raised $230.00 for GSA for Safe Schools!
For more information on this great race with an even greater cause please check out this story.

Thanks to this accomplishment a new fire has been lit in me to set/keep the following goals.
1) I WILL Sub 25 minute a 5k and I WILL win an age group award, something I never saw within reach.
2) Weigh 140lbs by 1/1/2012(first weight goal EVER!) current weight ~153
To do this: I have begun counting calories (another first) I plan on focusing on building lean muscle and having less jiggle with the sole purpose of running faster/longer.
3) Run the 2012 Ragnar Relay Madison, WI – Chicago, IL (June 2012)
4) Run the 2012 Lakefront Marathon (10/7/12)
5) Raise $2000.00 for the We Run This Shoe Scholarship and provide at least one scholarship per month starting in November 2011.

Thanks for being part of this journey with me and I hope having these goals written down here will help me accomplish them as well as get me blogging more often.

Lace up, let’s RUN!
-Rachel