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F^3 Lake Half Marathon [A Race Report]

Well, well, well…SURE, I’ll run a half on the Lakefront in Chicago…in JANUARY…during a POLAR VORTEX.  To be fair, the high for the day was about four hours prior to race start time (10:00am).

I spent my early morning (after sleeping in!) enjoying sipping some coffee and doing some blogging.  Around 8:45am, I started getting dressed and we took off toward Montrose Harbor.  No lie, I’ve never participated in a race that started this late in the morning.  I was beginning to get hungry!  Since I haven’t found a good food to nom on before any kind of run, whether it be long or short, I just don’t eat before taking off.  I have successfully completed 14+ miles without food, so I figured today wouldn’t be any different.  I realized it sort of WAS different, since I usually run earlier in the day.  Much earlier.  Like hours earlier.  Ahhhhh.

When we finally arrived and found parking, which was about a half mile from the race start, we realized that it was FIVE MINUTES until race time!  My emotions were teetering on the fact that I didn’t feel prepared, but that it was a chip-timed race, and I wasn’t *racing* it, anyway.  I could waltz over the start line five minutes after they began the silly thing if I wanted to.  Luckily, they started the race in waves.  There were parts of the path that would’ve been just downright frustrating having to deal with everyone at once.  The best part about being late?  SO MANY PORT-A-POTTIES!  Not ONE was occupied.  This isn’t to say that I took my sweet time and chose the cleanest one with the most TP in it, but it was nice to not have to stand in a line.  The first wave had taken off before I even got near the start line; the second wave took off just as I finished up and was ready to go!

Despite my ridiculous timing, this race was clearly extremely organized!

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As you can see, it was REALLY tight at the beginning!  Everyone was running right on top of each other, stumbling over patches of ice and mounds of snow.  We even stopped completely at one point; for what, I have no clue.  They had shoveled and cleared the entire route before the race, but the WIND kept blowing more and more snow onto it.  I just concentrated on people’s feet in front of me.

    

Meanwhile, Harry took some really wonderful pictures!  Welcome to #Chiberia!

The first half was pretty nice!  I sloshed through mud, shuffled through snow, and slid ever-so slightly over icy patches.  I kept the pace extremely easy, as I was just treating this like a long run.  I tried to pick up a tempo, but I eventually hit more snow and ice, so I slowed back down.  My feet started to ache from all of the bouncing and dodging around people and winter elements.  Up top, I was burning up!  I had put on two layers, knowing that the temperature was going go drop quickly.  I was ready to turn my back to the sun. The wind eventually started blowing HARD, nearly knocking me over into the oncoming race traffic.  It felt nice.  :P

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I hit the turnaround and thanked several volunteers for being out there.  If I was freezing my tooshie off while running, they must be absolutely frigid!

Eventually, I started getting REALLY tired.  Why?  I’m assuming from running in ankle-deep snow and sand (SAND!  Sand had gotten up there, too!) and from dodging puddles.  I took a GU (see above about me eating and running…this goes for DURING, as well) around mile 7, as I felt my tummy turning over itself.  When I say that I “took a GU”, I mean “chewed a GU slowly over a mile”.  Now I had a GU-cicle in my tummy.  Great.

Miles 8-12 were really just me putting one foot in front of the other.  Times were tough.  My feet were muddy and freezing, and my legs were heavy!  I kept saying “I’m not of my body, I’m not of my body”, attempting to control the mentally enduring portion of this run.  I did not want to stop for anything.  I saw so many people walking, which mentally messed with me…taunted me…“You know you want to walk, Tiffany…it’s only a long run…you can stop if you want…”; with which I would fire back with“NO, I don’t care, I can’t stop…I’m not of my body…”

I finally got to mile 12 (after successfully watching every tenth of a mile tick-tick-tick away…*le sigh*) and I got excited.  Hooooray, food is near!

Harry was settled about .15 of a mile from the finish line.  Of course, I looked stupid-happy to see him.  I looked forward to the finish line and smiled at every camera I saw.  There’s definitely nothing more humbling than running that far in that weather, in those conditions. Unless you were volunteering that day.  Then you win.  :)

Harry found me grabbing food and water.  I was trying to show him that there were ice cubes in the water…you can see what I suspect as frozen snot.  *le blush*

    

 Aftermath mud!

All in all, this was an absolutely fantastic, fun, well-organized race!  From packet pick-up, which had been situated in several locations all over Chicago a week out up to race day, to the traffic coordinators and volunteers.  Plus, they had nifty Finisher’s medals and 1/4 zip long sleeved race shirts!  The hat was a gift from Harry.  D’awwww.

Did you run in F^3 (EFFING FREEZING FROZEN) weather?

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Vega Sport Energy Bar Review!!!!

A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity through Sweat Pink to try out Vega Sport Energy Bars. I was super excited about this. I have tried Vega products before but had never tried these before. I am always up to try new things that will help sustain my energy during runs and couldn’t wait for these to come!

For those of you that are not familiar with the Vega brand, all of their products are plant based, gluten free and non GMO. They have many products for sport but also for everyday use. They have smoothie mixes, energy bars, things to prepare for a sporting event, to having during and to help you recover after and many, many more products I am failing to mention. All their products are good for you and for the environment so I encourage you to go and check them out!

Moving onto the energy sports bars….When they came in the mail I was eager to try them, including the flavor Chocolate Coconut Almond and they also come in Apple Cherry!! I had one the next day for breakfast; I wanted to taste it first before I had it before running and I was pleasantly surprised. It tasted like a brownie, but a brownie that was good for you. You could see the coconut in it and the almonds which I liked. It had a bit of a crunch to it which was nice and was very moist. It is however very sweet. I love sweets so I was fine with this. My mom also had one and said she couldn’t finish it because it was too sweet. So if you like sweets you will love this but if you don’t then you might not like it so much but I thought it was delicious.

Moving onto the energy factor of this…After having this bar in the morning I did feel like I had a bit more energy then normal and it kept me full longer then my usual breakfast, but that is not exactly the point of this bar. I did eat a few of them while I was running Ragnar Cape Cod (stay tuned for my recap!). I had one before my first leg of the race which was just over 6 miles. I felt good during this leg and found I had more energy then normal. I had been up for several hours and had to get up super early and expected to be a bit tired while running but after eating this I didn’t. I checked my time after running and I ran a bit faster then normal. I had planned on taking it slow so that was a nice surprise and I felt good when I was done – not like I had over worked myself. I will credit this bar for that! I also had one before my second leg which was only four miles and felt the same way. I cruised through this leg and felt awesome. I will credit this feeling to the bar!

 

Final thoughts….I really liked this bar, I have a couple left and will most likely get them again! They were delicious, helped my performance, and made me feel good. I highly recommend these bars!

To learn more about these bars Click Here and to learn more about Vega Sport and Fuel Your Better Click Here

Disclaimer: Although this product was given to me, all opinions are my own.

QOTD: Have you tried any Vega products? If so, how do you like them?

 

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Take It To The Top!

I had SO much fun yesterday climbing Crowder’s Mountain with my friend Katelyn! We took the hard trail, which is pretty much straight up the whole way with a few breaks. We probably stopped five times on our way up just to catch our breath but eventually we made it to the top. One of the things that I love about hiking up the mountain is that I get so tired that I want to give up but I know that if I just keep pushing myself I will be able to see the amazing view at the top! It’s a lot like my journey through this weight-loss thing. I get tired, or sometimes just lazy, and want to quit but I know that after I reach my goal I will be so happy and relieved. It will be all downhill from there! Not easy, I have to tread carefully or else I’ll go tumbling to the bottom, but it will definitely be easier that the climb was!

Things to remember whenever going hiking:

1. Always go with a friend. Not only is it more fun when you go with someone, it is also safer. I love having someone there to help push me to the top! We both get tired as well, so it helps to know that I’m not so out of shape that I have to take all of these breaks, she’s getting tired too!

2. Take a break and don’t feel bad. I am a strong believer in pushing myself past my limits. but if I need to take a second to catch my breath, that’s what I do.

3. Don’t forget your water! It helps me to stay hydrated but it also helps me cool down a bit. Even on a cold day like yesterday my body gets hot fast. I don’t recommend chugging it because that can weigh you down or cause cramps, but a sip here-and-there helps a LOT

4. Zig-Zagging it. Sometimes when I’m walking down the mountain it can get to be overwhelming. Maybe just because I’m so tired from walking up it, or maybe because of how steep the trail is. Either way, zig-zagging from one side of the trail to the other tends to help me feel more in control.

5.Bring music! Most of us have smartphones that have tons of music on them anyways. Put that sucker on speaker and get to hiking! The right music can help motivate you right to the top. Katelyn and I were about 5 minutes from the peak and put on Britney Spears’ “Work B****” and it was like a second wind for us! Particularly, the part that says “Look hot in a bikini?” was enough to keep me going! Just have fun with it!

Those are my top 5 tips for going hiking. I also like to remember that if going on a long hike (over an hour), to bring a snack such as almonds or a protein bar. I have asthma so I always carry my inhaler on hikes just in case. I also keep a caribiner on my keys so that I can clip it to my sports bra (I hate carrying a bunch of stuff when I’m hiking). I also use an armband for my Iphone so that I don’t have to worry about it slipping out of my sweaty hands. :)

Do you want to go hiking but aren’t sure where any trails are? Just click here and visit Every Trail to find out where the nearest trails are closest to you. It will also tell you the difficulty and the distance of the trails! Hopefully this helps you out so that you can add some diversity to your workouts like I do. As always, if you have any comments or questions feel free to leave them below or visit Mini Me Wannabe. Have a fit day!

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