Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Skirt Sports 13er and the #13Daysof13er Challenge!

Skirt Sports had their 13er (Half Marathon) this past weekend! They had both a local race in Colorado and a virtual race that you could run on your own and still get all of the great swag. It would've been a lot of fun running it local (and I saw all of my fellow ambassador's photos - it seriously looked like a blast!!!), but the timing was just not good for me - I had a pretty crazy weekend in two different states - the first half of the weekend I was in Kansas City for my grandparent-in-law's 60th wedding anniversary party (60 years - how cool is that!?!), and then early on Sunday morning I flew to Chicago for a work trip Sunday night thru today. It was very busy and I got very little sleep - but it was all a lot of fun and worth it!

Despite the craziness, I did manage to have an extra few hours on Sunday, so I could squeeze in my Skirt Sports 13er! I made the best out of it by using the time to explore Chicago, which was pretty cool (there's a good chance that I literally took a million pictures). I'll be recapping that in a bit, but before that, I wanted to also share my posts for the #13Daysof13er Instagram Challenge. Since the 13er was on the 14th of the month - Skirt Sports came up with this cool challenge to share pictures and posts in the 13 days leading up to race day! I ended up having a lot of fun with it, so I thought I'd just share it on my blog as well for anyone not on Instagram (although - you really should be - it's only the best form of social media out there ;).

So without further ado, The 13 Days of 13er Instagram Challenge:

Day 1 of the @SkirtSports #13DaysOf13er challenge: What do you LOVE about YOU?"
I love how dedicated I am! When I commit to something, I am determined to do it and will do whatever it takes to get there! Whether it was running my first 5K, which then became a Half Marathon, followed by a Full Marathon (and then some Ultras, Imogene Pass Run, and Pikes Peak). I signed up for those races, committed, put in the training and accomplished what I set out to do! Which is why I have no doubt in my mind that I WILL someday qualify for Boston. I don't necessarily know when, but it will happen! It's not too late to join in on the countdown too! What do you love about you?! #REALwomenmove

Day 2 of the @SkirtSports #13DaysOf13er challenge: Who is your role model? 
My running role model is @ShalaneFlanagan! I think it's so cool that she isn't afraid to share her goals and dreams very openly and publicly!!! Whether it be going for the win at Boston or going for records, it's very inspiring to hear about them beforehand and watch her go after them! It is equally inspiring to see her pick herself up and keep setting new goals even after she doesn't reach some of them. I was so impressed that she keep going at this years Boston Marathon and finished despite losing the lead pack miles before the finish line. Definitely someone to look up to! #REALwomenmove 
(P.S. Shalane Flanagan ACTUALLY commented back on my post!!!!)

Day 3 of the @SkirtSports #13DaysOf13er challenge: "What is your hardest workout?"
Today's question is actually very fitting because I had speedwork on the schedule for today! Speedwork is BY FAR the toughest workout for me, especially in the mental sense. Honestly, I don't like running fast! AT ALL. I've determined there are two types of runners out there: those who would prefer to be in a lot of pain for a short amount of time, or those who would prefer to be in a little bit of pain for a long amount of time. I am definitely the latter! I would run a marathon over "racing" a 5K any day of the week! The short, fast stuff is very tough for me mentally. Thankfully, it does tend to pay off. Since I started doing consistent speedwork once a week, my overall speed has improved drastically. I have PR'd in every race distance from 5K to 26.2 since I started doing speedwork last November. So while I dread it every week and complain about it while I'm doing it, I know it's good for me and I get through it! What doesn't kill me makes me stronger, or so I've been told! #REALwomenmove #NationalRunningDay

Day 4 of the @SkirtSports #13DaysOf13er challenge: "Who is your Best Running Friend?"
This is a tough one because I've met SO many awesome people since I started running! So I'm just going to give a shout out to all my running friends! From my best childhood friend Amy who unintentionally inspired me to start running long distance in the first place (in the summer and fall of 2012, we were both getting into running and because she was naturally much faster than me, I turned to distance running for the first time in an effort to be good at something "of my own"), to my friend @kelleelyn who I met on Instagram and have since stayed at her house (having only met online prior) and traveled to Phoenix with, to all of the lovely local ladies I've met both here and in Montrose, and finally to all the awesome people I've met through #MyFitnessPal - you guys all rock! Thank you for continually inspiring me with all of your Bad Ass-ness!!! (and sorry, I don't have pictures of everyone, but there are only so many pictures you can fit into a 2"x 2" square!) #REALwomenmove 

Day 5 of the @SkirtSports #13DaysOf13er challenge: "Who do you wish was waiting for you at the finish line?"
My hubby! We works most weekends and so isn't able to make it to a lot of my races anymore (and especially now since I do SO many) but it just makes it all the more special when he can be there! This picture was right after I finished my first 50 mile Ultra Marathon last September! It was SUCH a long day, I was so happy to have him there to celebrate this huge accomplishment with me! #REALwomenmove 

Day 6 of the @SkirtSports #13DaysOf13er challenge: "Toughest Race Ever?" 
While I've ran more challenging and longer courses than this, The Desert RATS Trail Marathon last year was the toughest race for me mentally, by far. What is normally a beautiful trail close to home, was, that day, a rainy, muddy (SO muddy) nightmare! Those were the longest 26 miles of my life! It was a long, slow day and I wanted to quit so many times! But despite the never ending mud constantly caked to my shoes, and a lot of mental battles about why I even run, I EVENTUALLY finished (and with a smile on my face - although that was mostly because the sun finally came out for the last mile) and I couldn't have been prouder of myself for sticking with it and not quitting! Not every race will be a perfect, joyous occasion - but that's what makes things interesting and leaves you with some great stories to tell! #REALwomenmove 

Day 7 of the @SkirtSports #13DaysOf13er challenge: "What Inspires You Most?" 
Honestly there are so many things that inspire me to run - other runners, seeing myself improve, setting goals...but I think I am most inspired by the incredible scenery I get to witness when I run! I have lived in Colorado almost my entire life, and had no idea how lucky I was to live here until I started hiking and running. There are so many beautiful places right outside my front door! Running to these views always puts me in such a good mood and reminds me of why I run! #REALwomenmove

Day 8 of the @SkirtSports #13DaysOf13er challenge: "What Is Your Favorite Cross Training Activity?" 
My favorite cross training activity is...drum roll please...Hiking!!! I actually fell in love with hiking before I even started running, so it will always have a special place in my heart. I just LOVE the glorious places hiking has taken me - I have climbed some of the tallest mountains in the continental United States, been to some of the most beautiful, pristine alpine lakes, seen a sunrise from 12,000', hiked over fields of snow in July, and gotten caught in rain and hail storms with miles still to go! As challenging as it can sometimes be, every hike I do turns out to be an incredible adventure and is so worth it! Today's picture is my hubby and I at the summit of Torrey's Peak - the third 14er we climbed in 2011 - the first summer I got into hiking. It is still one of my favorite hikes to this day! #REALwomenmove

Day 9 of the @SkirtSports #13DaysOf13er challenge: "Flat Kate" / What's your favorite race outfit?
I've actually got two favorite race outfits these days! When I'm running for #TeamBeef, I love how my red team jersey matches with my @SkirtSports arya print gym girl ultra skirt! When I'm not, I'm in love with my new @skirtsports electric tank and the vixen skirt! Both outfits always with a @sparklysoulinc headband and my trusty @brooksrunning Ravenna's! #REALwomenmove 

Day 10 of the @SkirtSports #13DaysOf13er challenge: "What has been your most fun race ever?" 
That's an easy one: The #WaltDisneyWorldMarathon! I don't do a whole lot of out-of-state traveling for races, but when I decided I was ready to attempt my first full marathon, I knew it had to be at #Disney! I went there several times growing up and it's just SO much fun and magical, I thought it would be PERFECT for my first marathon. And it totally was. As much as I cringe at the pricing of Disney Races, they seriously know how to put on a great race and a great experience! The whole race was a blast - running through the different Disney parks and past all of the characters. The race is huge (20,000 racers), so there's always tons of people on the course and lots of crowd support. This was my first marathon, so I ran it conservatively, but it was also my best executed marathon to date - I felt good the entire time and never had that, "why am I doing this" thought. I was even able to speed up over the last 6 miles and finish at a faster per mile pace than I had ran the first 20 in. It was just pure and total FUN!!! Plus, what better way to recover after a marathon than by spending a week at #WaltDisneyWorld!? It truly was a great experience and I can't wait to go back someday to complete the #DopeyChallenge. #REALwomenmove

Day 11 of the @SkirtSports #13DaysOf13er challenge: "What goes through your mind at mile 10 of a 13er?" 
I always group mileage together to help get through runs mentally (ex. "1/4 of the way there", "5 miles to go", "single digits", etc.), so my first thought at mile 10, is "ONLY a 5K to go!" And since I've been in full marathon training mode for 6+ months now, the word "ONLY" is actually pretty applicable! #REALwomenmove #skirtsports (P.S. the photo above was from my most recent half marathon 2 weeks ago, and I'm pretty sure it was right around 10 miles! I busted out a 2 1/2 minute PR running it in 1:41:50!)

Day 12 of the @SkirtSports #13DaysOf13er challenge: "What is your favorite post-race treat?" 
Very fitting since I'm on #TeamBeef, my favorite post-race treat is a burger and fries (several hours post-race that is)!!! I also enjoy chocolate chip cookies, so I had photoshop those in as well! #REALwomenmove (and eat) #skirtsports

Day 13 of the @SkirtSports #13DaysOf13er challenge: "Show us your finish line smile!" #NoDescriptionNeeded #REALwomenmove #skirtsports

Day 14 of the @SkirtSports #13Daysof13er challenge: Run a 13er! 
There wasn't an official post for the 14th day, but I thought it would be fun to finish it off with this! I also ended up taking a TON of pictures along the route, including 13 Selfies for 13 Miles - something I came up with while I was running. I'm not even a huge selfie person, but after I had taken a couple, I decided it would be fun to go for it and try to get as many well known landmarks and areas as I could! So here those are:

The Chicago River Walk
Navy Pier

The Lakefront Trail
This path extends from the Lakefront Trail out along Lake Michigan around the Planetarium.
Adler Planetarium
Shedd Aquarium
The Field Museum
The Skyline, about to head into Grant Park

These Gardens were right by the Art Institute
The Art Institute
Up close selfie with "The Bean"
Far away selfie with "The Bean"
Ohio Street Beach

After finishing my 13er, I grabbed lunch and then headed to the condo we were staying at. It had SPECTACULAR views, so I sat out on the balcony enjoying the views, the weather and my new finisher's skirt (it is SO comfy)!

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