Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hot Chocolate 15K Race Recap

**Disclaimer: When I first was flirting with the idea of running I searched running blogs and stumbled about a recap of the Hot Chocolate 15K in San Diego. The idea of running AND getting chocolate at the finish line inspired me to pursue running full time. So, I may have had somewhat high expectations for the race.

Packet pickup times were at the expo at Soldier Field basically all day on Friday and Saturday. I opted to go over on Saturday and arrived around 1 p.m. The line seemed never ending but thankfully it seemed to be moving quickly.

Rather than pre-assigned bib numbers, we were given a number assignment when we checked in.  I thought this system probably helped packet pickup run smoother and was a good idea.

I was assigned the S corral, so I was pretty much as far away from the race start as possible.  I had to push my way through the crowds to get to the corral.  Once I reached my assigned corral it was easy enough to get inside and it wasn't too crowded.

And then we waited for an hour and 20 minutes to get to the start.  That part seriously sucked.  I know that they were trying to eliminate congestion on the course, but this part was no fun considering it was only 37 degrees out!  Why not have the 5K start at a different time and/or place?

Once we start running though the dodging wasn't as bad as I expected it to be.  I hung back a bit to try and find my pace in order to minimize the stress of trying to get around walkers, etc.

The course took us up Columbus and under upper Wacker.  Going underneath the road caused my GPS to go a bit haywire so for the rest of the races my GPS was running anywhere from .25 to .4 ahead of the rest of the race.  I was bummed about that because I really wanted to run a sub 11 minute race, and my GPS watch was thinking I was doing 8 minute miles?!

I actually really liked how the course water and Gatorade stations were laid out.  They had all the water together then a little further along they had all the Gatorade.  Usually I want to get a cup of each and it's hard to grab both when everything is grouped so closely together!

The course ran down Michigan Ave and was well marked where the 15K/5K split was.  I noticed the loud speakers had repeating directions which was nice.  The directions were played both at the split and the end during the looong walk to the chocolate.

The 5Kers headed back on Columbus and we headed on down S. Lakeshore Drive towards Soldier Field.

There were two stretches where we were running underground and the GPS went haywire again.  I ate my only gel about 5 miles into the race.  I was really hoping there would be gels given out or at least chocolate but there was only the Gatorade and water.

We had to cross S. Lakeshore Dr. and the turnaround took us down the Lakeshore path and back towards Solder Field again.  We ran past the football stadium and around Shed Museum.   Soon enough we are back at the finish area!  The annoying thing was that there was announcer desperately trying to get us to smile for our finish photos and he actually ran right in front of me and blocked my path.  This was really annoying because I wanted to spring my finish since I wanted to finish with an under 11 minute pace!

Official Results:
1 hr 42 min 51 sec
Pace 11 min 03 sec

So close to my goal!  The finish was pretty sparse as the chocolate and was pretty far away.  There were still lines of people waiting to get their finisher's chocolate but there were plenty of volunteers and I didn't have to wait that long (once I actually got to the chocolate tent).

All in all I doubt I'd do this race again unless a friend asked me to do it with her (because I can never say no to a race).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Muscle Definition for Beginners

Morning workout: 2.5 mile walk with Beaux Beaux at the Lakeshore Path.

This summer I trained for 4 months with Camp Gladiator every M W F morning at 5:30 a.m.  I remember the first week or so being tough but then I quickly got into the groove.  Some days were tougher than others, but I always left feeling exhilarated.

Well, tonight I tried out the Muscle Definition class at Lakeview Athletic Club.  Now there is nothing wrong with this class, in fact I think it's going to become a weekly Thursday night thing for me.  But I left that class feeling like a loser.

I guess since I haven't been to a bootcamp class since the first week of October I lost all of my muscle fitness.  I struggled through this class.  It really really sucked.  It made me really realize that fitness is a lifetime goal not just a summer accomplishment.

Today's Muscle Definition class was apparently fuller than the normal class.  Probably the only reason why I ended up going was I noticed the line waiting to get in as I headed to the locker room to check my coat.  I figured I finally had to stop making excuses and just GO to this class.

We need to get a step, mat, hand weights and an elastic band.  At summer bootcamp I had been using 8 lb weights so I grabbed 6 lbs figuring I was being conservative.  I had no which elastic band was which so I just grabbed blue.  By the time I collected my step and mat I realized there was almost NO clear floor space in the whole room except the front.  I certainly wasn't going to work out in the front.  Luckily tucked in the back corner I squeezed into a space!

Unfortunately from the my vantage point I couldn't exactly see the instructor, but he had on a microphone and speakers and I could always hear him.  I felt like he was really personable mixing instruction, small talk and general announcements seamlessly and easily.   I found him very encouraging for all levels.  I definitely appreciated his enthusiasm and encompassing welcome to everyone in the class.

The warmup consisted of squats, jumping jacks, step-ups, etc.  It was a good way to get your heart pumping.  Then we worked on isolating each muscle muscle group.  We started with the bands to work our leg muscle muscles by stepping side to side with them.  It was at this point that I realized that the blue bands were NOT for beginners.  I had to sneak up front to get a looser band.  Once I did this I enjoyed this portion of the workout much more!

The workout usually alternated between working one muscle group and then switching it up to work another.  For example we worked the biceps with various curls and then immediately switched into doing squats.  Or we did triceps and then we did lunges.  Lunges KILL ME!!  I really need to work on my lunges, they just kill my quads.  Anyone have any tips?

A lot of the experienced people in the class had grabbed two sets of weights one lighter set and one heavier set.  There were definitely times in the workout that I wished I had a lighter set of weights to switch out.  This was definitely during the tricep section!!! 

Since I struggled so much with this workout (that wasn't even as intense as the summer bootcamp was!?) I know that I definitely have to go back next Thursday.

Now that I've lost over 60 lbs I really have to start concentrating on toning my muscles.  December goal?  Improve my muscle fitness!  Do at least 2 strength training sessions or classes per week!

What about you?  What's your December goal?