Archive | May, 2012

Chicagoland Marathon Race Recap

24 May

This post is very difficult to write, and one that I am not excited to be writing. It will most likely be lengthy and filled with emotions. So saddle up, readers…hope you’re ready for this bumpy ride!

Saturday

Saturday morning I was up at 4am, and out the door by 4:45 headed to the airport for my 6:30am flight. I had planned to be in Chicago at 8am, and hang out and wait until Diana and her husband Lee arrived at 10am.

Well, those plans changed. Following a very delayed flight, and changing flights 3 times, I finally made it to Chicago at 4pm in the afternoon (Diana and her husband were there at 10am, in case you were wondering). I arrived at the hotel in Schaumburg, IL just in time to leave for dinner. I was raging, and ready to punch someone (preferably an American Airlines worker). But I made it.

7am at the airport. I am doing a great job of hiding my anger!

Diana, Lee and I had a lovely dinner (they are so sweet to let me play 3rd wheel all weekend), and got plenty of carbs stored up in our body. We visualized the race together, and spoke about how amazing it was going to be when we crossed the finish line under 3:45, and earned Diana a BQ.

Stuffed and happy!

Loving our new shirts!!

We were all so positive, and so upbeat about the race. We KNEW things were going to work out. It wasn’t an option for them not to.

Following dinner we headed back to the hotel and got everything ready for the race. We pinned our numbers on our shirts, planned our GU stops, marked down where Lee would be spectating us, and had one last pep talk.

Ready to run!

Foot is all taped!

I got back to my room, and got in bed. I was happy and excited. I had really good feelings about our race, and the 26.2 miles we faced in the morning. I wasn’t worried about the weather, and the fact that it was supposed to be unseasonably warm. It was all good…and it would all work out. Because as I said earlier – it had to.

Sunday – Pre-Race

I shot out of bed at 5:45am on Sunday. I was ready to run. After getting myself prepared and compiling my gear, I walked down to Diana’s room. Diana was nervous, but excited as well.

The weather was on TV in her room. I saw that it was already 70 degrees at 6:15am. I slightly panicked, and then shut off the TV. I told them there was NO reason to watch. We could not control the weather, but we could control our bodies (so we thought…).

Our next stop was the starting line. We headed outside and got in the car. I sarcastically yelled, “OMG it is so chilly out here!!! Why didn’t I bring my sweater???”. Truth was, it was very warm. But we refused to acknowledge it.

Following a photo shoot, we got to the start. We were so excited and nervous, but we were ready. This race was going to be our race today. No doubt about it.

Staying in the shade for as long as possible.

Heading to the start.

Can you spy Di and I?!? And the bitchy lady in the background that kept making fun of us for our “overly matching outfits”?

Sunday – Race Time

We crossed the starting line, and hit our watches. Mile 1 was a warm up mile to get our bodies ready. We would let people pass us, but we would see them again soon once we were in the groove. The temperature at the start: 76 degrees.

The course was two loops, with multiple out and back sections.

The first few miles went by pretty fast. But one thing was clear: it was HOT. I had sweat dripping down my face 2 miles in. I am not a big sweater (and besides…girls glow), so I knew this wasn’t a good sign for the 24.2 miles to go. But I ignored it.

I kept Diana and I on pace according to our pace bands. We were hitting our miles, and we were on track to run a 3:42.

Staying positive!

oh hey!

Then, it got really hot.

Around mile 10 Diana said to me, “Ali, I am so hot. Why is it so hot today?” I replied, “Di, I know it is hot, but we have to deal with it. We have to fight through. We can beat it”.

Then we saw Lee, who handed us ice cold bandanas to wrap around our necks. These felt amazing and were finally a relief from the warm weather. We continued to take water at every water stop, and tried our hardest to get fluids in our bodies. We were doing everything right. But the heat was quickly getting to us. And there was very little relief from the sun beating down on us.

That bandana around my neck and sports bra was ahhh mazing!

The halfway point in this race was brutal. We had to run next to to the 13.1 finish line, and keep going to do it all over again (A few weeks before the race, the course was changed. Due to the course change, we would be running a two loop marathon. I am going to throw it out there now that two loop marathons should be illegal).

Diana was becoming very overheated, and dizzy. I grabbed us two bottles of water and opened one for her. We stopped, and I ordered her to drink. Between the two of us we drank two bottles of water in about 2 minutes. We started running again, and I was able to grab another bottle of water from Lee. I kept forcing Diana to drink more while we were running, as well as myself. I was worried about her. In all of training runs and hard workouts, I had never seen her in this state.

By mile 15, we faced the realization that a Boston Qualifying time would not be happening today. Realizing this was heartbreaking. And having to admit it out loud was even worse. We had worked so hard, and Diana deserved that BQ so much. It just wasn’t fair.

On another note – this course totally sucked. We had to share this tiny little path with bikers and recreational runners/walker/children. It was ridiculous!!!

We stopped and regrouped (while chugging more water). Then we decided there was a new goal today: finishing.

I never imagined that I would make it a goal of mine to finish a race. I was stupid to think it would never be something I had to solely work towards. I may have a gift and natural ability, but that doesn’t mean a marathon finish will always come easy (and boy did I realize this during the race). No one is entitled to always have a finish. And I will never forget that.

We had no idea that our tall friend wanted to hug!

Around mile 17, Diana was feeling 100 times better, and I was feeling 100 times worse. My legs were cramping with the worst leg cramps I had ever experienced. I was so hot, my asthma was terrible and I felt like my body wouldn’t work anymore. I kept making Diana stop so I could stretch out my calves. I urged her to go on without me, but like a true friend – she stayed by my side.

When my watch beeped mile 18, Diana asked which mile we had completed. I replied with 18, and she responded with, “Shit…the race hasn’t even started yet!!!!”. Every marathoner has it drilled into their head that the race starts at mile 20. And we had nothing to do but laugh when we thought about that phrase. Our race started at mile 1. No doubt about that!!!

Trucking along at mile 19, and kind of hating life.

Mile 23 came, and I started to have a complete meltdown. I made us stop once again, and I started crying. Running is my “thing”. It’s my constant in life. Running is always there for me. Running I can always do. Life might throw me curve balls (and I have received way too many lately), and I deal with it by running. But during this race, running threw me a curve ball too. And I wasn’t handling it well.

Trying with all of my strength to stay positive.

Diana was so supportive, and got me through me through my cry fest. I couldn’t have kept going if it wasn’t for her.

Finally we saw the finish, and it was the most excited I had ever been to see a finish line. We pumped our legs as hard as we could, and got our bodies across. We smiled through the heartbreak of our missed goal, and managed to take a pretty darn good picture to cap off the race.

YAY! And please notice that apparently it was too hot for spectators to come out.

Accountability partners until the end!!! And I also look like a giant in this photo. I am only 5’4…I swear.

Official time: 4:13:43

Sunday – Post Race

Although we were happy to be done with the race, we were very upset. We hobbled over to a curb and sat down. We drank more water (I swear I drank at least two gallons of water in a 4 hour period), and took a moment to just sit and reflect.

Couldn’t have finished without you!

I got out my phone and was floored by all of the sweet messages from friends and family. Everyone is so thoughtful, and I am beyond thankful. I then checked the weather. It was 88 degrees. 88 degrees is hot if you are walking outside. We were running a MARATHON. No wonder we were dying.

It turns out that only 102 women and 154 men finished the marathon. This was significantly lower than the number that signed up. Many runners opted for the half marathon due to the heat.

The biggest surprise of the day was that I somehow managed to get 3rd place in my age group!

Double medals!

The best way to describe the way I was feeling is mad. I was so mad that the weather sucked. I was mad that I watched Diana put months of training into this race and it didn’t work out. I was mad that we lost control of our race due to the heat. And I was mad that I totally blew up the second half and felt like I held Diana back from running faster (Di, I know you are reading this yelling at me right now!).

We headed back to the hotel and got showered and packed up. Then we checked out and went to lunch. Chicago pizza hit the spot, and the huge beer was even tastier. Although we were feeling blue, we were keeping our heads up. Diana was staying so positive, even though she was sad.

Lee was the best cheerleader EVER!!!

We finished off the weekend with more awful traveling. After two cancelled flights, we checked ourselves into a Holiday Inn at 2am, and got about 5 hours of sleep before we had to go back to the airport and try it all again (American Airlines, I HATE YOU!!!!!). By the way, when you are sad, tired and physically feel awful, the airport is the last place you want to spend 8 hours of your life. By Sunday night I was snapping at anyone who looked at me the wrong way.

Post Race Thoughts

After I finally made it home on Monday afternoon, I was still upset, and Diana was too. It made us sick that the Chicago weather on Monday morning was 50’s with overcast skies – near perfect weather for a marathon. In all of our efforts to find good out of the weekend, we simply couldn’t. There was no positive spin to put on the race. Everything about it sucked.

Although I should be celebrating my 2nd marathon finish, I continue to be saddened by the thought of a missed goal. And mostly, I am sad for Diana. She deserves that BQ. She worked so damn hard. It just isn’t fair.

My body is quickly recovering, but my mind and soul are not. After my first marathon, I was on a high for days. Since this one ended, I have been at quite a low.

Each day gets easier, but I still don’t understand why things worked out the way they did. Why did the weather have to be so outrageous? Why did they have to change the course? And why did months of training have to go to waste like that?? If you know the answers to any of these things, please let me know.

I earned you.

This marathon might have sucked, but that doesn’t mean my determination is gone. And I’d be lying if I said plans for our next big race weren’t already in the works 😉

xo,

Ali

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It’s in the Bag! (Literally)

19 May

First of all, I would like everyone to know that I should be in Chicago right now, relaxing in my hotel. But I’m not. I am sitting in the airport in Kansas City waiting for my flight, after my first flight was 8 hours delayed. I might have had a tiny meltdown (ok, like 6 huge meltdowns) already and threatened multiple ticketing agents. They don’t think running a marathon is as big of a deal as I do. How dare them.

6:30am, at MCI airport –

Ali: “You don’t understand. I need to be in Chicago TODAY. THIS MORNING. I have to do stride outs and hydrate and prepare for my MARATHON.”
American Airlines Worker: “Mam (ummm, how dare she “Mam” me), we will do what we can. But right now we don’t have any other options”.
Ali: “I don’t care if you have me ride in the CARGO bin of a sold out flight. I don’t care if I have to sit in the bathroom for 1 hour, GET ME TO CHICAGO ASAP THIS MORNING!!!!!!”
Worker: “Ok, how about a 1:58pm flight?”
Ali: “Fine”.

Ok…now onto the point of this blog post….

Have you ever seen those articles in US Weekly, where they go through a celebrities bag? Well, I thought it would be fun to show you what is in my bag when I travel for a race! Here we go!

Medical Essentials

I hate that I have to run with an inhaler strapped to me, but such is life for a person with asthma.
KT Tape is a lifesaver.
I take 4 ibuprofen before the race starts.

Energy Essentials

I love strawberry lemonade NUUN.
GU is my go-to safe gel.
Gatorade pre-game is so yummy.

Food Essentials

Zone Bars for pre-race.
Chex Mix is my crack.
Arbonne Detox Tea.

Storage Essentials.

Spi Belts to store our GU, will remove after first two GU’s are gone.

Clothing Essentials

Workout clothes galore. I didn’t even pack a pair of jeans!

And the rest!

Laptop to blog.
Cross body bag – a must for traveling!
Make up, hair tools.
And everything else.

…………………………………………………………………………………..

In 12 short hours, I will be on my way to a two time marathon title. And I can’t freaking wait.

xoxoxoxo,

Ali

 

Fashion Fridays: Marathon Attire

18 May

It has been awhile since I wrote a Fashion Friday post. I just couldn’t really think of something great to showcase and write about.

Well, this week I figured out the perfect thing to share with you all….Marathon Attire.

The weather isn’t looking too desirable for the race on Sunday. But I am hoping that it stays cool for us in the morning. The race also moved the start up 30 minutes, which could make a huge difference.

Thank you, Weather.com

Because of this weather situation, I need to stay cool. But I also need to stay cute (umm, hello? Miles with Style here).

I have pondered over this outfit for days, and had a couple dress rehearsals in other outfits. But I finally find “the one”, and I am so happy to share this with you all (at this point you are probably thinking that I am WAY too focused on clothes, whatevs).

The Top

This is my favorite running top. It is the Lululemon Push your Limits tank. I now own it in 4 colors. It is the most supportive tank ever, and an added bonus is that I don’t have to wear an extra sports bra under it like I do with all of my other running tanks.

If you are ever in Lululemon and you see this tank, do yourself a favor and INVEST. It is amazing.

The Bottom

I blogged earlier this week that I purchased a new running skirt for this race. Well good news – the skirt came in time, and it is AMAZING.

This skirt is properly named Run: A Marathon Skirt.

It has tight shorts underneath, and a very lightweight skirt on top. It is so lightweight, I can’t really even tell that I am wearing anything!! Yesterday I was running in this and had to look down a couple times to make sure it was still there!

Best of all, I have nail polish that matches the neon pink in the skirt perfectly.

The Headwear

I now have bangs (little side swoopy ones), which require a sturdy headband to hold them back. Since the rest of my outfit is Lulu, I figured I should complete the look with a Lulu headband.

This is the Slipless Headband. And the name is perfect, because it does not slip at all.

I have completed quite a few training runs in this beauty, and I know it will be the perfect head accessory to complete my marathon look.

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

I am so relieved that this aspect of the race is finalized. I realize that I will look like Lululemon threw up on me, but that is just fine. I will comfortable and happy, and look cute too!

Chicagoland Marathon: BRING IT ON.

xo.

Ali

A Marathon Pre-Party

17 May

Last night, Stacy held a little marathon pre-party for Diana and I.

The party was to include dinner, dessert and some motivational speeches. The attendees were Stacy, Diana and my Mom.

My contribution was super yummy cupcakes!!

When Diana walked through the door, I about died.

hilarious!!!

See that hanging out of her backpack? Yep, it is a pacer stick for me. She actually used a bamboo stick and constructed this lovely thing. Only problem was that the stick says 3:43…apparently she missed the memo that our goal time is actually a 3:42!!

Following an awesome dinner, it was time for gifts. Obviously the best part of the evening.

I gave Stacy and Diana gift cards to beauty brands for post-race pedis. And Diana gave Coach Stacy (she has coached us basically the past year) new sandals, which will look awesome with her pedicure!

Then it was Stacy’s turn…

After reading the sweetest letter to Diana and I (the tears were flowing), she brought out some gifts.

In the gift was a copy of the super sweet letter, which included some pretty awesome quotes,

a pace band for our race,

Get yours at races2remember.com

some seriously kick ass socks that I have been wishing for,

These totally have a double meaning.

and most excitingly, custom made Miles with Style shirts!!!!!!!

“We put the RUN in Runway”
“No Limits, No Regrets, That’s my STYLE”

These shirts are freaking amazing. I was in shock!!! I had NO idea that Stacy, my Mom, and my Aunt Holly had been working on these things. They are exactly what I would have had made, should I had been making myself.

After putting on the shirt and modeling for the group, I got another surprise…..

It was better than Christmas!!!

See all of those shirts?? In total, 35 shirts were made. The shirts have a specific point, which was explained to me. And I love it so much. There will be much more to come with what the plan is for these beauties. So please stay tuned. Perhaps you will receive one someday very soon 🙂

All in all, it was the perfect evening. And just what we needed to lift up our spirits and give us a little boost.

Supporting us through everything we do!

Can you spy my new Lululemon skirt?!? I LOVE IT!

I am so fortunate to have these people in my life. Everyday isn’t easy, but with the help of my family and friends I make it through. Thank you to everyone who loves me, supports me and encourages me. It means more than you even know.

XOXO,

Ali

 

Holy Moly, It’s Marathon Week

14 May

Wow. I cannot believe it is here so soon.

It is officially marathon week. And as of Sunday, before 12 noon (hopefully), I will be a marathoner x 2!

Chicagoland, May 20th

If you have been neglecting my recent blog posts (shame on you), you are unaware that I will be running the Chicagoland Marathon in Schaumburg, IL. The purpose of running this marathon is to get my running buddy Diana a BQ. I will run beside her for 26.2 miles to keep her spirits high, and keep her pace right where it should be. And to be a part of the celebrations after it happens.

Diana needs to run a 3:45 marathon to get her the highly coveted ‘Boston Qualifier’ title. I have NO doubts that she can do this. She has been training like a rock star, and has been nothing but dedicated to this goal over the last few months.

By your side, all the way!!!

Preparations

My pre-marathon preparations are nothing crazy. Basically I try to get as much sleep as possible, eat well, consume no alcohol, and drink tons of water.

I also plan to spend a fair amount of time obsessing over my outfit, as well as the day-of race weather.

Currently status on those two items:

New Lululemon running skirt is in the mail. Top is TBD based on temperature (long tank vs. sports bra).

Hope I love it, seeing that I won’t really get to try it out first…..

Weather looks pretty darn hot.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

How do you prepare for big events (marathons for example)? Any tips for me, and most importantly my dear friend Diana??

Wishing you a great week ahead.

Xoxo,

Ali

Vegas – Through the Photos

11 May

The photos do the best part of explaining my absolutely insane Vegas Vacation. Enjoy!

Friday, April 27 – Sunday, April 29

Drinks were going down by 6:30am

Jump, Jump!!!

I took care of the girls.

My only real pool time of the weekend.

Celebrating Nicole! (Sorority life did wonders for my crafting skills)

Ready to PARTY….easily the two most responsible and well behaving girls of the evening.

10pm, the Bride arrived!!

Partying at pure. We are so chic.

Saturday – 6pm. This was the hardest drink I have ever choked down in my entire life. Notice there were zero photos from Saturday daytime. Why? Because I spent a day of vacation in bed. Yep.

But I bounced back quite nicely!

Found some of Caesar’s friends

This happened. In the lobby of the Excalibur.

Thunder from Down Under. The most entertaining hour and a half of my life. My friend – “Ali, you look like you are going to jump that guy you are sitting on”. Me – Yeah…I was..I asked him if I could rub his chest. He said yes”.

I am so jealous that Kim scored a Thunder’s belt buckle.

Bride and MOH 🙂

Dancing the night away.

Chilling with Englishman…what is with his finger under Nicole’s chin?? This picture kills me.

4am. Can you tell? Complete with dollar signs we stole from Englishman.

Last minute drinks before leaving Sin City (and after a BIG day of shopping). Dollar sign necklaces still on….

 

The perfect weekend. With the perfect group of girlfriends.

And no (sigh), I never went for a run.

XOXO,

Ali

 

#Dedication

10 May

The last couple weeks have been crazy. But crazy in a good way. My travel schedule has taken me to Vegas, and the Kentucky Derby on back to back weekends (actually with only a day in between).

Although I love my busy schedule, it posed an issue in getting in my last 20 mile run before my Marathon on May 20th. After going through all my options, it was determined that the only option for running my 20 miler would be doing it before work. Ouch.

Lucky for me, running buddy Diana was also in the same predicament as I was, and would be running the 20 miler with me. Her too, before work.

Wednesday afternoon I created us a route, as well as a water plan. If the route panned out perfectly, we would have a great 20 m mile course around Lee’s Summit.

Wednesday evening it was early to bed (ok, not as early as it should have been…..), and I set my alarm for well before the crack of dawn.

Thursday morning came much too quickly. And by 4:15 I was out the door to begin our 20 mile adventure.

We planned our run to have two water stops at Quick Trip. This was the perfect plan. We were able to refuel on our GU, and get ice water and Gatorade. I was praying I didn’t run into anyone I knew…seeing that our second water stop was in the middle of the morning rush. Good news – I saw no one!

By 7:40am, our run was over. We rocked it, and most importantly had FUN.

By 8:30am, I was out the door for work.

I got bangs!

 

By 9:00, I was at my desk

By 9:45am, I was ready for a BIG nap 🙂

And all day, I felt like a total bad ass. I mean, how many crazy people run 20 miles before work?!

Have you had a #Dedication moment recently? Or an accomplishment you would like to brag about? If so…let me have it!!

XO,

Ali

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