I’m back for a reNUUNion!

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So today is my big return to blogging! Woo hoo! I’ve wrestled for a long time with firing the old girl up again or not…or at least posting an explanation of my quick departure…but then the days started passing by so quickly…and life happened…and I was too busy out there living it rather than staying inside and writing about it.

Before I roll right into my next adventure, I’ll say a VERY few words about where I’ve been all this time. In short, the responsibilities at my full-time job swelled tremendously (but I’m okay with it, because I love my job and I find it very fulfilling), my baby turned into a toddler who never stops and never sleeps (no, really, he never sleeps…we’re seeing a specialist), and my husband and I have decided to spend more time out on our community as a family. All of that being said, I probably won’t get back to blogging with the frequency I had before (which was almost daily) but I definitely want to make more of an effort since I really have missed the community and the outlet. I’m sure I’ll talk more about things that happened during my hiatus, but that will get written about over time.

So, what’s happening today?
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Today I am off to Salt Lake City by way off Dallas. I’m headed to UT to run Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back with Nuun Hydration! I was lucky enough to land a spot on one of Nuun’s 2012 Hood to Coast teams and I’m so excited to have a chance to reunite with a couple of my former teammates and meet some ones!

I get to run with these two cool kids again…
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If you’ve been keeping up with me on Instagram or Twitter during my blogging vacay (and I certainly hope you have!), you’ll know that since January of this year I have been working really, really hard to get the baby weight off. YES, I KNOW MY CHILD IS NOW 2 1/2 YEARS OLD…but, hey, it takes some women longer than others to drop that weight. And, for some of us, it takes TWO YEARS. (C’mon, I’m not alone here, right Jen-nai?) Regardless, the extra 25-30 pounds are gone and I’m feeling stronger than ever going into this event. I know that when going into a team event like this that it isn’t all about being the speediest runner on the planet, but I still want to perform well and feel like I’m contributing my best to my team. Honestly, I’ve never hit the paces I’ve been hitting lately…and, honestly, I never thought I could hit those paces. I’m running faster now than I ever did before my kiddo. Old dogs really CAN learn new tricks! WHO KNEW!?

Anyway…back to Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back…

I’m super stoked to get out of dodge for a couple of days for a little runcation. Participating in a Ragnar Relay has been on my bucket list for a while and I’m so excited that my first one is their “home race.” That’s right, the first ever Ragnar Relay was Wasatch Back, so I’m heading to where it all began!

I’m hoping my travel to UT will be smooth and everything will go as planned. Who am I kidding? “Murphy’s Law” might as well be my middle name, so we know it’s not going to be that easy. More on this later… :)

Enough about me…let me introduce you to my fellow…(drum roll, please!) 2014 Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back #NUUNjas!

(I’ve linked to their Twitter accounts — if they have them — so you can follow the action in real-time starting tomorrow at 12:30PM)

RUNNER #1: Meggan Roth
RUNNER #2: Katie Key (Is this a Katie Sandwich or a Meggan/Megan Sandwich?)
RUNNER #3: Megan Fay
RUNNER #4: George Okinaka
RUNNER #5: Cameron Smith
RUNNER #6: Carmen Hui
RUNNER #7: Sanita Ly-Smith
RUNNER #8: Keri Branca Treasure
RUNNER #9: Lisa Roehm-Gensel
RUNNER #10: Steve Beyer
RUNNER #11: Kayla Moothart
RUNNER #12: Tiffany Henness

Respecting the Boston Marathon

6 Jun

Unless you have lived under a rock for the last couple of months, you have heard of the tragic events that occurred on April 15, 2013…the day of the 117th Boston Marathon. Like many of you, I struggled to even find the words to express how I felt about what was unfolding that day. I still have difficulty even wrapping my brain around all of it. I mean, what kind of people would do this? To marathon runners? Why? How?

The Boston Marathon is the one race that, for me, if I were ever able to qualify for it, would basically be the equivalent of making it to the Olympics. Even if I qualified…and ran…and finished dead last…I would be “the world’s greatest” in my own mind. And then April 15th happened. And then the one event that has topped my race bucket list for the last 8 years….seemed scary…and tainted. All of a sudden, staying closer to home and continuing to run “small town” events (though lacking the prestige and fanfare) seemed so much more secure and reliable. I let thoughts that I never thought I would think (Does that make sense?) run through my mind…”I mean, is the Boston Marathon really THAT big of a deal? Do I really want to keep running large events where stuff like this can happen? Should this really be my end-all-be-all pursuit?” For a while, I just let those thoughts marinate.

After the bombings, every news channel and media outlet was clamoring to get the “goods” on the story. Although some efforts were being made to tell the stories of the victims, survivors, runners, first responders, and spectators, a shift was made more quickly into covering these guys (I did not even want to type their names). How did they do it? What was their plan? Were they terrorists? Where were they from? And on, and on, and on…

Upon receiving the June issue, many readers were surprised that it did not cover the Boston Marathon, and, in fact, it made no mention of the race whatsoever. As explained by this post by David Willey, Editor-in-Chief of Runner’s World, much of the editorial content for the June issue had been finalized and the issue was already in production. Runner’s World committed to dedicate their July issue to covering the Boston Marathon. Yesterday, the tablet edition of the July issue was released and I was so pleased with the way the event was covered.

Very few publications have reported the stories from what I would consider “my perspective”, that of a runner. Runner’s World is one of those publications that I feel has handled the media aftermath of the bombings in the very best way. Yes, they reported the details of that day, but they also told the stories of people who were stopped at Mile 25, people who had been out there cheering for a loved one, people who were trying to connect with their friends or family members. I don’t know, maybe I just see so much bad stuff on the news that I have become numb or detached from it, but the way Runner’s World covered the events of April 15th kept the “human element” at the forefront. These people are so relatable. These people they reported on could be my friends, my running buddies, people in my running club.


Runner’s World – July 2013 Cover Art. (Photo courtesty of Runner’s World)

I have been a subscriber to Runner’s World for the last six years and this is the first cover that I can recall without a runner on it. Usually the covers are graced with images of runners (celebrities or not) sporting perfect form, the hippest gear, and a smile on their faces. This cover couldn’t have been more different. The Boston Marathon medal is an icon, and displaying it in this way communicates respect, honor, reverence, and solidarity for this race and our community. Reading about and understanding the creative process that went into achieving this cover image was truly fascinating. I highly encourage to take the time to read about it here. The minimal nature of its design allows the image to fully impact the reader, and I like that.

For the April 1996 issue of Runner’s World, the 100th Boston Marathon medal was prominently highlighted on its cover. For this issue, showing the medal on its own seems like a most appropriate and respectful “hat tip” to a race that has meant so much to the sport of running and to the history of Runner’s World. Though the messages of both covers are different, you cannot deny the power in these images.

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After having some time to let the shock dissipate and reading this issue, I plan on letting the Boston Marathon continue to rest in the #1 spot on my Race Bucket List. Reading the articles of runners who will persevere and make our running community stronger than ever gives me hope. I admire the way so many runners, running clubs, running brands, etc. have banded together to show strength and unity. In the future, I’ll make more of an effort not to take racing for granted and maybe I will be a little more careful and aware at ALL events I run, whether local or national or whether I’m racing with hundreds of runners or with thousands.

(The July issue of Runner’s World was available on tablets yesterday and will hit newsstands on July 11. If you have a subscription, you should be receiving it this week.)

If you would like to support The One Fund in their fundraising efforts to provide financial aid and support to victims of the bombings, please click here.


If you would like to show your support for The One Fund in your local communities, please consider purchasing and wearing a silicone support band from Go Sport ID. 100% of all proceeds from the sale of this bracelet go directly to The One Fund and support their fundraising efforts.


How were YOU affected by the Boston Marathon bombings? Were you there? How did it make you feel?


Happy National Running Day!

5 Jun

I haven’t written a blog in exactly 239 days. I know many of you thought I may have fallen off the face of the Earth, and, for a while, I felt like I had. Much has changed in my life in the last 239 days (which I will go into detail in a later post), but I am feeling like I have my blogging mojo back. So, here I am! I thought National Running Day would be the most appropriate day for me to bust back on the blogging scene. TA-DA! Moving on…

HAPPY NATIONAL RUNNING DAY!

According to the official website, National Running Day is held annually on the first Wednesday in June and is a day when runners everywhere declare their passion for running. Obviously, this is something I can totally get behind. I may never be the fastest or longest distance runner, but I can tell you that I have a passion for this sport, so this is the perfect day for me. I like that the idea behind celebrating is to be inclusive for runners of all speeds and abilities. So often we are drawn to events where we feel like if we are not the fastest, biggest, strongest, best, whatever…then we don’t count. Well, today, we ALL count!

To get your own badge, head over to www.runningday.org/!

I know you are thinking, “How can I get in on this sweet National Running Day action?”, right? That’s easy, there are lots of ways to participate!

  • Head over to the National Running Day website, Facebook, or Twitter and see what they’re all about. While you are there, drop them a line to tell them what running means to you and grab a badge to post on your page.
  • Get social off-line! Find a group run today and make a new running buddy!
  • Can’t find a group run? Start one. Pick a location. Pick a time. Invite your friends. It is that simple!
  • Join a local track club.
  • Sign up for a race. Whether it is a 5k or a marathon (or longer!), a goal race will help keep you motivated!
  • Help or encourage a new runner. Got a friend who is thinking about taking up running? Invite him/her for a casual run/walk around the neighborhood. Don’t worry about speed or pace. Find out what his/her questions are and get them started in the right direction!
  • Get outside and GO FOR A RUN! It’s just that simple. Personally, this is how I will be celebrating this evening. After work, Kiddo will be strapped in the running stroller and we will be hitting the trail!

GET INSPIRED.

Need an extra push to help get you out the door today? Check out this video the Hoyts. If this doesn’t rustle up some motivation and inspiration in your soul, I don’t know what will.


Be sure to check out the #RunFor hashtag on Twitter for more inspirational stories. Let Dick’s Sporting Goods know what you #RunFor!

NATIONAL RUNNING DAY STEALS, DEAL, PRIZES, AND GIVEAWAYS

Some of the best perks about National Running Day are all the great discounts from our favorite brands. I know we all love running, but I am pretty sure we all love saving a little money too! Here is a list of sales, discount codes, etc. that you might want to cash in!

Help Timex donate to One Fund Boston! Send a Tweet or post to Instagram using the hashtag #IMARUNNER. For each hashtag, Timex will donate $5, up to $15,000, to One Fund Boston to help those affected on April 15, 2013. In addition, Timex will be giving away 60 Timex Ironman watches to runners who use the hashtag! Feel free to also submit a story to the Timex Facebook page. (Offcial Rules)

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Join the Brooks Running group run on Facebook! Log your miles today at RUNNOW.COM (or brag on Twitter using the hashtag #RUNNOW) and you could win some awesome gear! Also, while you are over at RunNow.com, check out their super cool bracelets benefitting One Fund Boston.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series is offering $20 off, as well as prizes and giveaways throughout the day!

Women’s Running Series is offering $20 off!

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Sparkly Soul is offering 15% off of their headbands today! Use coupon code RUNNINGDAY during checkout!

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RockMyRun is offering 40% off their annual premium memberships today only! This site offers awesome running mixes for download.

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MyRaceRagz.com creates custom running shirts. Minimum order? One! Save 20% off your order today using the discount code NATIONAL at checkout!

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The NFL Run Series is offering $5 off registration for one of their NFL affiliated 5k races…today only!

If you know of some other great discounts, prizes, or giveaways that are not listed here, please leave a comment below to share it with other readers or drop me an e-mail and I will add it to the site!

UPDATE!
To register for The Louisiana Marathon at last month’s discounted rates, use code STILLMAY at checkout!

Save $13.10 on registration for the Woman’s Half Marathon using code RUNDAY2013!

Save $13.10 on registration for the Gulf Coast Half Marathon using code RUNDAY!

Okay, well, that’s all I have got for you today! Not too shabby for a “comeback blog”, eh?


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Photo Journal: The day before #IMKona!

12 Oct

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Day 2: Media Credentials, Expo, and Parade of Nations!

9 Oct

For all of the action from Day 1, click here.

03:15AM HST
Ugh. Its so early and I am wide awake, thanks to the 6 hour time difference. I tried so hard to fall back asleep, but it just wasn’t happening. In typical form, I decided to get up and do some squats and lunges. Yes, I did strength training at this hour. What else am I supposed to do? I can’t play on Twitter…no one else in the world is awake yet! I also sent a few e-mails and looked over our itinerary for the day! Today is going to be a big day and I can’t wait! I also checked out the list of vendors that will be at the expo. Y’all know how I love me a good expo!

06:00AM HST
Heading out for a run with Jackie Arendt, a Timex triathlete! Yeah, so I know she can run like 5x faster than me sooooo…yeah, not intimidating at all. Pray for me!

07:00AM HST
Run is done! I gave my new Saucony Kinvara’s a try and I like them! I have been running in Brooks Pure Connects and Pure Flows for the last year or so and I had almost forgotten what Kinvaras feel like. I was able to hang with Jackie for a couple of miles, but finally I just told her to go on ahead. I got in 4.75 miles though, so I am pleased with that. Sarah finished her run shortly after I got back and we bonded over planks in the living room of our condo. Good times.

Feet up!

Seen on my run!

I found my strong this morning!


09:15AM HST
We are all piled up in our super fly Chrysler Town and Country and headed to breakfast! Yep, that’s how we roll! First, we are heading to Lava Java for breakfast and then we are heading to a book signing by Chrissie Wellington!!

Chrissie Wellington

Me and Chrissie! She’s so awesome!

10:30AM HST
We are headed over to the expo to find the media check-in and pick up our stuff! So exciting!

Ironman Kona Swag

Swag, baby! Can you guess what is in there?

Our credentials were not ready to be picked up, so we have to return tomorrow at 8:00AM to pick them up. No worries! Just another excuse to visit the athlete check-in area! Now we are off to do some shopping!! Like a complete moron, I managed to get all the way to Hawaii without a freaking bathing suit. Yes, really. Who does that?? Me, that’s who. Oh well, that just means I need to go buy a new one!

12:00PM HST
Bathing suit purchased! Surprisingly, I managed to find a bathing suit that makes me feel almost cute (shocking, I know). On that note, if you are ever in Kona and need a swimsuit, go find Carrol at Mermaids Swimwear and More on Ali’i Drive! She was so helpful and friendly and knew a lot about finding the right cut. The whole group met up and we headed over to the Ironman swim start to hop in the water for a little while! So fun!
Kona Beach
01:00PM HST
We needed grub. BADLY. Chicken quesadilla from a hole-in-the-wall beach restaurant for the win. There may or may not have been deliciously seasoned waffle fries involved. Heading back to the condos to catch up on e-mails and get ready for the Parade of Nations tonight!

05:00PM HST
The Parade of Nations was wonderful! I know this is a world championship event, but I was surprised just how many countries were represented. There were even athletes from Gibraltar! (Should I admit that I don’t even really know where that is?) The Timex jeep rolled through and all of the athletes were handing out cowbells. You know this made me happy. I love me some cowbells.
Timex Jeep

As the Parade of Nations ended, the expo opened and it was buzzing! We spent some time at the Timex booth, where we met Keith Meyer!

I also spotted Scott Rigsby in the Timex tent! If you don’t know who he is, check out his site. His story is AMAZING and you can’t help but be inspired by his level of determination. “Can’t” is not in his vocabulary.

I saw Scott Rigsby!


We didn’t spend a ton of time at the expo, but I did get a chance to visit some of my favorites! I spent some time playing hanging with Rachel at 110% Play Harder, Lacey at Oakley, and Rich at B.o.B. Running Strollers. I also visited blueseventy and LifeProof! I definitely want to spend more time at the expo tomorrow. I didn’t get to see even a quarter of what I wanted to!

Rachel and me!

07:30PM HST
Time for grub…again! The Timex crew headed over to Kona Brewing Company for dinner!

Kona Brewing Company

Highly recommended!

I had the pepperoni rolls and Pipeline Porter (made with Kona Coffee!) and both were DELICIOUS!

Day 1: I am off to Kona for the Ironman World Championships!

8 Oct

Today is the day! I am off to Kona, HI for the Ironman World Championships! I am so excited to be able to share all the action from the Timex tent and beyond with you. We received our itineraries in the mail last week and our days will be jam-packed with activities, time at the expo, conducting interviews, banquets, etc. We will be busy, but I am not complaining! Since the next week will be hectic, and since I don’t want to miss sharing one single thing with you, I plan on live-blogging as much as possible for the whole week. Each day I will start a new post, and chronicle the day’s activities, updating the post as often as I can throughout the day. That being said, if you check my blog first thing in the morning, there probably won’t be much action posted, but later in the day, you can catch up on what’s been happening! And of course, you can always follow along on Twitter or “see” what I’m up to with instagram (@katieRUNSthis)!

So, without further ado…

03:00AM EST
Alarm going off. I am grumbling curse words in my head and hurling myself into the shower. Let me just say, it is just not right to have to be awake and functioning at this hour of the day.

04:00AM EST
Throwing last minute items into my bag, zipping it up, and hitting the road. The Charlotte-Douglasville Airport is about an hour and 45 minutes away, and I want to get there in plenty of time. You never know how long it will take for the shuttle from long term parking, security, etc. The last thing I want to do is miss my flight!

05:45AM EST
Parking at long term parking, catching the shuttle, and heading to the airport. Of the 30 or so people on the shuttle, I notice that I am the only female. I am assuming that most of the people traveling at this hour are doing so for business, but don’t chicks travel for work too? Huh.

06:20AM EST
Made it through security, grabbing a coffee at Starbucks, and finding my gate. Okay, so I am WAY early for my 07:41AM departure, but again, I would rather be early than late. I find myself spending the time at the gate pouring over the latest issue of LAVA and Inside Triathlon. The total geek-out set in! I am really about to get on a plane to go see some my triathlon idols from all over the globe compete in the pinnacle event for the sport of triathlon!!! Say whaaaa!?

I’m on a plane!


09:15AM MST
Landed in Phoenix. The journey to Kona is half-way over…well, almost. I spent the first flight (4 and a half hours) reading every word of my most recent running and triathlon magazines and making a list of all of the athletes I wanted to watch and a few “fast facts” about each. I know that sounds tremendously absurd, but I know that if I have the fortune to meet any of them, I am totally going to lose it. I don’t even really know why I made the list. I know if I meet anyone on my list, I will be doing good just to remember my own name, let alone anything interesting about their careers or any questions I have for them. Ugh. I’m going to look like such a dork, I know it. Seriously, there is no I’m going to be able to maintain my composure if I am able to meet Chrissie Wellington or Mirinda Carfrae. NO WAY. I also spent an hour watching the DVD from last year’s event that Timex sent in our packages. The athletes’ stories…the famous athletes and the regular Joe’s…are all amazing. Some of them even made me teary. The reasons that people race. The sacrifices they make for training. The personal obstacles they are conquering. All of it, nothing short of INSPIRING. Watching the DVD took my “level of PSYCHED” from a 2 to a 10! There is no doubt that the spirit of the Ironman competition is palpable in Kona and I am ready to feel it!

10:05AM MST
Boarding my flight for Kona! It is absolutely insane to me that when I get off of this aircraft, I will be in Kona, Hawaii. I can’t even handle this right now! This is going to be the longest flight of my life! Two of the other Timex social ambassadors, Ryan and Sarah, are also on this flight. I was hoping to give them a quick high-five and hello before boarding, but all of us were cutting it so close from our previous flights that we had to just board and get in our seats. SUCK. I’m in a window seat. For 6 and a half hours. Well, I try my best to stay hydrated when traveling, so if I have to go pee 37 times during this flight, the nice couple to my left is just going to have to be understanding. Ryan and Sarah’s seats ended up being in first class (LUCKY!) so I didn’t even get to see them as they were boarding the plane. Sarah did, however, walk back to wave and say hello!

On a side note, I am super excited to meet Sarah and get to know her better. I am looking to start eating better and I am looking forward to picking her brain on some healthy recipes. She used to work at Diets.com, but now she is a full-time blogger. Plus, I know she will want to work out while in Kona too. I have the Runner’s World Half Marathon coming up in less than two weeks, so I will have to do a couple of long runs. I am glad to know that I won’t be the only one of the ambassadors who will be fitting fitness into the itinerary. Be sure and check out Sarah’s blog, Sarah Fit, and YouTube channel!

I have now made all the small talk I can with the couple next to me. She seems pretty cool. Him, notsomuch. No worries. I am breaking out a book that Timex sent me, called Iron War. It is about the 1989 Ironman World Championship and how the men’s title came down to Dave Scott and Mark Allen. As another side note, Dave Scott has trained Craig Alexander in recent years, so he is definitely going to be one of the competitors I will be watching. He is a seasoned Ironman Kona athlete, and I think he just might win (again) this year!

03:30PM HST
Touch down in Kona! This airport is SO small. Even the baggage claim is outside!

Photo courtesy of Ryan Hudson


We made our way over to the condos! I got paired up with Sarah! Woo hoo! This is the view from our patio…I mean, lanais! This is going to be a very rough week!

05:30PM HST
We are heading out for dinner…FINALLY! Even though it seems like an early dinner, most of us are from the East Coast so it feels like 11:30PM to us! We are starving! We are heading out to Huggo’s On The Rocks for dinner!

Check out this amazing sunset! What a beautiful view for our dinner! After dinner, we watch three adorable girls do some hula dancing! I loved it!
Huggos On The Rocks
07:15PM HST
We hit up our local Wal-Mart…that’s right, I came all the way to Kona, Hawaii and I still went to Wal-Mart…to grab a few snacks for our condo. Water, KIND bars, Clif bars, and unsweetened apple sauce for the win!

Essentials.


09:10PM HST
LIGHTS OUT for this girl. Today has been surreal, to say the least. Sitting over dinner, we talked about the “greats” in the sport of triathlon, many of who we will see compete in just a few short days. We talked about all of the fun stuff Timex has planned for us too! You are going to want to stay tuned! The next few days are going to be PACKED! I’ve now been awake for right about 24 hours and I have hit the wall. Its time to get my beauty rest! After all, tomorrow begins with an early morning run down Ali’i Drive! ‘Night!

Chicago Marathon Expo with Nuun!

7 Oct

The last few days have been a whirlwind! I know I keep saying that, but I feel like I am in this time-space hurricane where the days are all just swirling around me. I flew into Chicago last Thursday afternoon to work the Nuun booth at the Chicago Marathon expo. When I arrived in the Windy City, I immediately noticed how cold it was. I had been so busy in the days before the trip that I had not even thought to check the weather report. Since I would be spending most of my time indoors at the expo, I did not really think to bring heavy layers, but I should have. It was stupid cold. (Note: To me, “stupid cold” is anything below 45 degrees.)

After I grabbed my bag, I hopped in a taxi and headed over to our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Okay, I know this is going to make me sound like a country bumpkin, but all I could do when I arrived was look around with my mouth agape. It was beautiful! And HUGE. The last time I was in a hotel that big was when I was traveling back and forth to Japan for work. (Everything is big in Japan…well, except the people.) Check-in was a breeze and I quickly made my way up to the 16th Floor to meet my friend, Kim, who works for Nuun. She had a fancy-shmancy Chicago Marathon social thing to go to for a little while, so while she went to that, I was in charge of picking a restaurant for dinner.

Chicago Marathon

Pre-marathon prep!


Let me just say, I super suck at picking restaurants. I don’t discriminate much when it comes to food, so I am pretty easy-going when it comes to eating. Since it was cold as you-know-what and raining outside, we decided to go somewhere quickly walkable. We settled on a place called Houlihan’s near our hotel. It wasn’t anything fancy (which was fine by me), but the service was good and the food was tasty. (I had the buffalo blue cheese salad.) After that, we made a bee-line back to the hotel since we knew we had a long day ahead of us.

On Friday morning, we were dressed and ready to head to the Chicago Marathon expo at the McCormick Center around 7:30AM. Working an expo is pretty fun because you get to go in, walk around, and check out all of the booths without having to be shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of other people. Kim had a system down for setting up the booth, so she said I could take some time to check out the expo floor. I walked around and looked at just about every single booth. By the time I was done, the expo was just opening up, so I headed back over to the Brooks booth.

Let me just say this…Brooks Running does it up right. They always have the most fun and interactive set-ups and their marketing TOTALLY works on people like me. If you have ever had the pleasure of seeing their Cavalcade of Curiosities exhibit, you know what I am talking about. Those folks know how to have fun!

Carb Happy! Run Happy!


They were doing free gait analyses and since I had not had one since Baby Key was born, I wanted to make sure my gait/stride had not gotten too wonky since being pregnant. Luckily, the analysis confirmed that I was running in the right shoes for me (neutral, non-stability shoes). For racing, I really like the Brooks Pure Connect. For longer runs, or for when my feet are feeling fatigued, I really like the Brooks Pure Flow. Anyway, I digress…

After the gait analysis, they gave you a scratch off card to win a prize. You could have won a free pair of shoes, a bag of Brooks custom runaroni pasta, or a CD of accordion jams. I won the CD of accordion jams. At first I was like, “Eh. Great. Accordion music.” Then I turned the CD over and realized it was a kick-butt running mix! SCORE! Don’t worry, I’ll make sure all of the songs get added to my running music page.

Coolest pasta EVER!

Brooks Runaroni Pasta!


On my way back to the Nuun booth to start working, I passed by the Mizuno booth. They had a monitor up and they were showing a company video. Out of the corner of my eye, I see my friend, Pat, on the screen! I knew he worked for Mizuno, but I didn’t know he was in their company promo video. I was like, “Hey! I know that guy!” It made me feel all big time knowing a guy who was in a fancy company video.

Mizuno Running. Stepping up their game!


Once I got back to the booth, the CRAZY set in. We were busy slinging Nuun all day. I got all warm and fuzzy when someone would come up and say, “I LOVE Nuun! It’s the only thing I will drink other than water!” or “Nuun helped me get through my training runs!” Lots of Twitter friends came by to say hello, which I super loved! As I have said before, I always love it when online friends can become in-real-life friends. I finally got the chance to meet Gene from boutdrz.com, since he was working at the Arctic Ease booth. I got to reconnect with old friends like Valerie, and I also got to see one of my old #RunLA buddies, Ed!

After the expo, we headed back over to the hotel where we met up with Jocelyn, who had come in town to participate in the race. I heart Jocelyn. I really do. I swear she has a smile that can light up a room. She is so kind and funny! I met Jocelyn when I went to run Hood to Coast with Nuun. While she wasn’t on my team for Hood to Coast, she was on my team for some of the activities we did the day before the race. I loved getting to know her then and was thrilled to get to see her again. (PS – Check out her blog, Enthusiastic Runner!)

Since we got back late, and since Kim and I were EXHAUSTED, we just ordered room service and went to sleep. I know it sounds pretty uneventful, but after working a 12-hour day and visiting with Jocelyn, there has no gas left in our tanks.

Saturday was pretty much the same, only busier. Much busier. Jocelyn even joined us in the booth for the first part of the day! It was really fun when people came by and said that they had followed our Hood to Coast adventures on Twitter or via our blogs. Sometimes I wonder if people ever really read this blog, but…it seems as if they do! (Thank you so much for reading, peeps!)

I snagged these! Limited edition colors! Available online late Nov 2012!


Even though 99% of what I did while in Chicago was work and sleep, I did get to have an awesome experience. It seemed like every time I took a break to grab a bite to eat or run to the restroom, I was seeing someone famous! I have never been to an expo with so many famous folks! Literally, in two days, I found myself within a few feet of Dean Karnazes, Hal Higdon, and Deena Kastor! Crazy!
Dean Karnazes!

Dean Karnazes!


On Saturday night, Jocelyn just picked us up some sushi from Whole Foods. I was glad not to have to get back out after we got “home” from the expo. There was a huge football game going on (Notre Dame vs Miami) and football fans were EVERYWHERE. It was nice to just grab a quick bite, and again, head to bed early.

On Sunday morning, we all got up early to help Jocelyn get ready for the marathon. She had all of her stuff laid out the night before, so getting ready was pretty quick. Since it was so chilly, she made these homemade tear-away pants out of a pair of navy blue child-size sweatpants from Target and white duct tape. I wish you could have seen these things. They were pretty…special. But, hey, they worked, and that’s all that mattered! Kim and Jocelyn put on their trash bags for warmth and they were off to the race!

Jocelyn was ready to race!


And that’s as close as I got to the actual Chicago Marathon…unless you count watching the live news coverage while I was packing my stuff up or being able to look out of my hotel window and see the elites pass by. I wish I could have stayed to see all of my friends finish, but my flight left Chicago at 10:30AM. With all of the street closures, I had to start making my way over to the airport shortly after Jocelyn and Kim left. Boo.

Although I wanted to stay in Chicago, I was glad to be heading home to my guys. I missed my husband, baby boy, and pup so much. I landed at GSP around 1:00PM and Brent and Baby Key were waiting for me! Oh, and did I mention that Baby Key started WALKING while I was gone?? C’mon! I was gone 24 hours and he started walking. What the heck! Being home was nice, though brief. All I had time to do was unpack, wash my clothes, spend a little time with my guys, repack for Kona, and head to bed. Before rolling over to go to sleep, I set the alarm on my phone for 3:00AM. I can’t remember the last time I got up at 3:00AM for ANYTHING. 6 hours of sleep won’t be much, but I probably won’t be able to shut my brain off anyway.

I’m heading off to Kona tomorrow and I am PSYCHED. I’ll be putting in a lot of time on the airplane, but it will SO be worth it! So many thoughts are swirling in my head about this trip that I can’t even start on that now.

More tomorrow! The next time you hear from me, I’ll most likely be in Kona, HI for the Ironman World Championships! What what!!

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