Chicago Marathon – Our Advice!

This weekend is the Chicago Marathon. For all y’all running it, we wish you the best of times! We ran it in 2015 – our first marathon together – and absolutely LOVED it!  This post gives you our advice…take it if you want, give it back if you don’t.

 

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RUN FOR CHARITY:

Both of us ran this race on behalf of charities. M raised money for the Special Olympics, as M’s brother has Downs Syndrome. S raised skrilla for Alzheimer’s Association, as S’s G-pa passed away from it. This is a great way to run this race if you don’t want to go the lottery route…Or if you just want to do some good! Combined, we raised a few thousand dollars!

EXPO:

This is a bit of a beating. The site is quite a ways from downtown. There are shuttle busses. The ride is long, but at least we had good company.

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The expo is pretty crowded and overwhelming at times. But they do have free beer, so hooray for that. Brews are needed to deal with the crowds and commute.

SHAKEOUT RUN:

This is fun. A day before the race, tons of people met at The Bean. We took selfies and got a little 2-3 miles in along the shore. Then more selfies, duh.

THE MARATHON:

  1. Get there early. A crap ton of people run this race. You gotta navigate people to the tune of 40+ large to get to the porta-johns, gear check, and corrals.
  2. They paint a line on the street throughout the course – this line is the shortest distance of the race – try to follow it. It will help you hit your tangents.
  3. Everyone says the race is “pancake flat”. Mostly true, but like grandma’s mashed taters, there are a few lumps in it. Mainly the bridges over the rivers. Don’t be surprised by them*.
  4. 1st half of the race is downtown and mainly in the shade from the skyscrapers**. This is a good thing. Helps keep it cool. 2nd half of the race is on the outskirts of town. It can be sunny and warm. This was not a good thing. Be ready for it.
  5. Those same tall buildings that shade you, also jack with your GPS**. Everyone, we mean everyone, around us had inaccurate mileage on their Garmins. Mile alerts were beeping at random times. Don’t worry about it, just run your race and don’t obsess over your watch.
  6. Crowd support is AMAZING! Nearly 2 million people cheering their Windy City heads off. And the ethnic neighborhoods have themes – dancing lions in Chinatown, mariachis in Little Mexico and drag cheerleaders in Boystown. Soak it in.
  7. Do. Not. Go. Out. Too. Fast. It’s easy to do in the shaded and boisterous first half. We both made the mistake of thinking we could go faster than we could in the beginning. Suffice it to say, we did not have negative splits this day.
  8. There is a hill*. At. The. Very. End. Of. The. Race. “Pancake flat” they said…yeah, not at the end it’s not. Be ready for that stoopid hill.
  9. Enjoy the after party – beer, music and really really tired people make for a good time.
  10. After you recover a bit, spend the next couple days sightseeing sightseeing sightseeing!
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Billy Goat Tavern – It’s ok to be a tourist, you earned it.

OUR CHICAGO STORY

Personally, we learned a lot running this race. It’s one of our best and favorite marathons ever! We both PR’ed by 20 minutes S: 3:48:28 & M: 3:45:50. Our only regret was that we did not run together. We were assigned different corrals, but we should have found a way to start together. And after seeing our splits online, we realized we would have been right next to each other, just like in training.

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We spent the entire 26.2 miles looking for each other. It was an amazing race, but we were sad we didn’t share it together step by step. After that day, we promised ourselves we’d never run separately again. Since then, we’ve run every half and full marathon side by side.

That said, when S crossed the finish line he immediately stopped, turned around and desperately hoped to see M. But there were 40+ thousand folks in this race. How could we possibly find each other in that mess? But about 30 seconds later, it happened: M crossed the finish line we had the biggest hug. We were happy we had a good race result, but happier that we had found each other.

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Reunited & free to be dorks again.

This race also brought us our best good friends in the whole wide world of sports…

First, M got to meet S’s college bud, Rexy (who is fast AF – she ran this race in 3:05). And even though she lives in the great state of Ohio, we’ve all become very close. That’s what happens when good chill people come together. LOVE HER!

 

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SightBeerseeing the day after.

Second, we got to meet in person for the first time, the ever so internet famous HellyOnTheRun!

Her and her Hubby have since become our bestest friends ever…our “ride or die”. They even made us Godparents to their sweet little Benny! Can you believe that?!? Some people who we first met over the internet are now so important in our lives. And Chicago was the first in-person meeting. Destiny.

And with this motely crue of misfits, we spent the next couple days frolicking around Chi-Town. It was the. Best. Time. Evah.

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GOOD LUCK to everyone running Chicago this weekend, YOU will ROCK IT! And who knows, it may even change your lives for the better forever.

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96 floors above the city. Great way to end the trip.

Questions: Do you have any tips for running the Chicago Marathon? Do you have any questions about Chi-Marathon? Have you ever met someone from the internet in person?

Mavs Run This Town 5k (HOW TO)

We’ve run this race the past couple years, and in this post we’ll give you our best tips for a good race and a good time. If you don’t know, this race is a 5k put on by the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA. It starts/ends right outside the arena. It draws some speedy folks. It also features a fun post-race party. Know you know.

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Sssssssnake!

Firsty off doe, lettuce say that we shant be running it this year ’round. Not cause we don’t like this event, but it just wasn’t happening this year. In years past, this race was in October, but this year they bumped it up to the first week of September. That’s a tough time for those of us with kids who just started the new school year. So we’ve got obligations – yeah, we’re adulting big time.

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We’re all kinds of blended.

But for those of you going, here’s our tippity tips:

1.) GET THERE EARLY. It’s a (school) night race. That means you will be battling Dallas rush hour traffic to get there. That traffic blows. Our belief is that traffic is our living version of Hades. Leave early so you won’t be as stressed about making it to the race on time, while you sit in bumper to bumper Hades.

2.) PARK IN THE GARAGE. On game nights, this garage costs skrilla to park in. On race day, this garage don’t cost no skrilla. Park there and save the dolla dolla bills for making it precipitate later on (if you so choose).

3.) *TINKLE INDOORS. One yuuuuge perk of this race is they open up the arena so you can use the facilities pre & post race. Take advantage of that…Unless, of course, you prefer port-a-potties, then we’re sure you can find one around. There’s always construction going on in North Texas, and that means port-a-potties-a-plenty.

4.) GET READY FOR CRAMPED CONDITIONS. The race start is on a narrow street. You’ll be packed in the crowd like Swedish sardines. If you’re a faster runner, work your way to the start of the (only) corral. If you’re not a faster runner, get in your proper place (further back) as to not cause accidents/annoyances.

5.) **DON’T GO OUT TOO FAST. Once you pass the arena, you go down a nice little downhill. It’s the beginning of the race, so people are already jacked, don’t buy into their hype. They’ll be sprinting down that hill – resist the urge. Save that energy for later in the race.

6.) CAREFUL ON THE COURSE. It’s dark. There’s potholes. There’s switchbacks. There’s sprinkler run-off. Just be careful, please.

7. EMBRACE LONELINESS. There’s like one Mavs Cheer Station, the rest of the time it’s pretty lonely out there. Not much crowd support to speak of.

8.) **GIT UP DAT HEEL. You did save energy instead of sprinting down the hill at the beginning of the race, didn’t you? Didn’t you??? We hope so, cause you’ll need it to get back up the hill and finish strong.

9.) GIT YER DRANK ON. After the race, it’s party time…*Or potty time, if you need to go again. They usually have free adult brews and some live music. Find your friends (or make new ones) and get turnt (if you so choose).

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We’s dorks.

If you’ve trained properly followed all of our tips, you’ll probably place in your age group and earn a medal. We were both lucky enough to do this last year.

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We came, we ran, we earned.

And remember the other big perks of running this race: it benefits a great charity (Mavs Foundation) and you get A FREE TICKET VOUCHER TO A MAVS GAME!!!! You’ve gotta take advantage of dat!

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Matching outfits look especially fly in the nosebleeds.

So there you have it, kids. We hope our tips/pics inspire you to get out there and have a great time! Please let us know what you think in the comments!

Have you run this race before? Do you have any tips we missed? If not in Dallas, have you run any sports themed races in your town?

-Scott & Marsha #scarsha #commonlonghorns

PS!!!!! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook – @rundrunklove