expo

Chicago Marathon Pt. 1 – Lost Wallet & Expo, No Flat Runners & We Bean Runnin!

So the trip got off to a rocky road start. As in my ride to the airport arrived at 5 a.m. (thanks for the ride dad!) and as I was walking out the door, I realized I didn’t have my wallet. It was nowhere to be found. It was frustrating. It was stressful. It caused me and my friend to miss our flight. I felt awful about that. And any hope to getting to the Expo early was dashed.

Please don't make me go in there.

Too many people. Too much stimulation. Please don’t make me go in there.

Luckily I’m one of the few Americans who actually has a passport. I grabbed it. My pops let me borrow his credit card. I thanked him. Finally got to the airport and sweated out the standby process.

Three happy people. One miserable one.

Three happy people. One miserable one.

Luckily there was a loooooong security line that caused many a people to miss their flights. Thanks TSA. But their loss, my gain. I took one of those poor suckers seats on the next flight. Standby success!

Next stop, Chi-Town!

First sight off the L train.

First sight off the L train. A sign that we were in the right spot.

Then it was off to the Expo. Luckily there was a shuttle from our hotel. And by shuttle, I mean a real live school bus. Okie dokie.

Snapchat fun: @piratebobcat

Snapchat fun: @piratebobcat

I personally don’t like expos much. Too overwhelming for me. But I sucked it up and tried to enjoy it. Luckily they had free beer to help endure it.

We found the beer bus!

We found the beer bus!

That looks like a long way to run.

Do we really have to run that far?

Bibs got.

Bibs got.

Hoping I will be like the sign says.

Hoping I will be like the sign says.

You hear that Chicago? I own you!

You see that Chicago? I own you!

With the expo out of the way, we were free to do a bit of light sight seeing.

We're not tourists.

Who us? No, we’re not tourists.

Heck of a town.

Heck of a town.

I see you, camera person.

I see you, camera person.

And of course, we ate. A lot. We ate a lot. Ate a lot, we did.

Homemade past? Yes. Wine? Double yes.

Homemade past? Yes. Wine? Double yes.

And did I mention I was running this race for charity? I had raised funds for Alzheimers, and the group was cool enough give us a pre race dinner! They rule!

And it was all purple.

And it was all purple.

But the best part of the pre race shenanigans was meeting up with my old college buddy, Rexy. We were on the cheerleading team at Ohio University and have remained close ever since. She’s the bomb biggie…and one heck of a runner. We met up with her for a two+ mile shakeout run the day before the race.

Lisa Lisa, why ya buggin?

Lisa Lisa, why ya buggin?

Where did we run? To the Bean of course! And we weren’t the only ones with that idea. I think every other shakeout runner was there too.

Have you ever 'bean' to Chicago?

Have you ever ‘bean’ to Chicago?

That’s always a good spot for pictures, and I’m glad we got it out of the way early as it would be packed later on in the weekend.

Just hanging around.

Just hanging around.

And since I refuse to take a #flatrunner picture the night before a race…all that was left was to wait for the 3 a.m. alarm to go off. While I did, I went back and read all the supportive comments you bloggers have been making on my posts the past few weeks (I still promise to respond to each of them). I also checked out all the supportive messages on the Facebook as well as the kind texts I received. Thanks again urrbody!

Time to sleep. Months and months of preparation was over. In the morning we race 26.2 miles across CHI.

Good night, sweet city.

One heck of a town.

One heck of a town.

Come Monday I will post my recap of the race. Stay tuned folks! Spoiler alert – I ran a PR!!!!

How bout you? What’s your pre-race ritual? Do you like expos? Ever bean to Chicago?

-Scott

Categories: chicago marathon, expo, Fuel (food), Life Times, marathon, Race Recaps, run, runner, Running, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Rock n Roll Dallas Half Marathon Recap – New PR & I Beat Deena Kastor!

Yay, we did it!

We did it, you guys!

Yes, I set another PR, but I’ll get to that. First, let me start at the beginning ~

Like a lot of big races, this one had an expo where we have to go to pick up our bibs. So that’s what I did.

A pretend finish line at a real expo.

A pretend finish line at a real expo.

I saw a lotta friends there, which was good. Tho some of them didn’t notice me at first…

Photobombing like a BOSS!

Photobombing like a BOSS!

But I gotta say, the RnRDal expo has gotten really small over the years. There were not a lot of vendors. I wonder what’s going on there???

Anyway, the next morning some friends met up earrrrrrly to carpool down.

The carpool gang.

The carpool gang. We hang out under bridges and terrorize the city folk.

Since the race route had separate start & end points, we parked near the finish and then had to heel-toe it across town to the start.

The carpool gang roaming the foggy streets of Dallas.

The carpool gang roaming the foggy streets of Dallas.

When we got there, we were waaay early. So we did like a buttload of other runners and kept warm (and off our feet) inside the Omni Hotel.

Chilaxing wide shot.

Chilaxing wide shot.

It’s nice of the hotel to let us destroy their restrooms politely sit on their floors like that. Shout out to Omni!

Chilaxing close up.

Chilaxing close up.

After a while, it was finally time to race! So we shed extra layers, dropped off our gear bags, then went to the corrals. I was in corral 1 – yippee! The horn sounded, and we were off!

Here we come!

Here we come! Lots of interesting outfits here.

The weather was decent. In the 50’s, and somewhat humid. But the rain had stopped a few hours before the race, and it felt cool.

I will rise above, thanks street artist.

I will rise above, thanks street artist.

I had a ton of friends not only running this race, but also cheering and volunteering at aid stations. So great to see so many peeps along the course!

Hey, my form looks pretty good here. I'll take it!

Hey, my form looks pretty good here. I’ll take it!

A bonus of having friends along the course is they were able to take some of the pics you see here. Tho sometimes they didn’t see me until I was going past.

I swear I was waving at my friend and not flipping the bird.

I swear I was waving at my friend and not flipping the bird.

Warning ~ Mild Rant Here

The course itself was just ok with me. I do not understand local race directors obsession with having us run through West Dallas. I know they think it’s cool to have us cross some of the bridges over the Trinity River, but it comes at a cost of us passing MANY bail bond shops, car impound lots, etc. Not the best way to show off Dallas.

I boycotted this race last year because they had dropped their charity and were strictly for-profit. That, and I thought the quality had gone downhill year after year. Part of that quality is the on-course entertainment. There was not a lot of crowd support. And for a race that bills itself as “Rock n Roll”, there were hardly any bands along the course. Speaking of which, why is it they always seem to be taking a break when you run past?

And I already mentioned the disappointing expo, but people were also disappointed with the medals. They were very small and kind of uninspired. What gives RnRDAL?

Warning ~ Mild Rant Over

Runnin over a bridge.

Runnin over a bridge.

Other than that, the course was nice….except for the hills! They threw in a few doozies. Especially towards the end.

Ugh.

Ugh.

I felt pretty good during this race. I never even wanted to stop and walk (well, I might have wanted to on that last hill – but didn’t!), I never drank anything at the aid stations, & I didn’t even eat my Gu. I was never completely uncomfortable during this race. That’s good, because it means I can go faster!

rnrd7

Proof that I ran the race.

I don’t know why I felt so good. Could be that everything just fell into place. However, I did do one thing different that morning…I drank UCAN.

My new BFF.

Just a couple of BFF’s.

They are one of Meb’s sponsors. When I met him back in December, they gave us a free sample. I decided to try it before this race. I need to do more experimenting to see if it really works that well for me, or if it was a fluke!

Back to the race ~

It finished outside American Airlines Center, which is where the Mavericks & Stars play. If you’ll recall, I ran a fun 5k at the same spot back in the fall. Here’s the recap.

rnrd5

Flying to the finish.

Finally, I passed by the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders who were dancing near the end and finished the race! New PR! WooHoo!

The stats.

The stats.

This was my first race since turning 40 earlier in the week. I was probably the youngest in my age group. Hahaha, I guess it’s not any easier than the 35-39 age group. I was in the top 6% overall, but only top 13% in my division. Ahh well.

Oh, and one cool feather in my cap is now I can officially say I beat Deena Kastor in a race. She was there pacing the 1:45 group. But officially, it will go down in the record books as me finishing ahead of her. Hahaha!

Anywhoodle, at the finish area I saw a bunch more friends!

Some friends.

Some friends.

And then it was time for the post-race party. I was excited because Eric Hutchinson was the headliner. I actually like some of his music.

The party was ok. They gave us one free Mich Ultra beer. To me, MU is like drinking water. Not much flava. And if you wanted more than one, then you had to shell out $6 a piece. HAHAHAHAHAHA…No thanks!

Our one free beer.

Our one free beer. Celebrating the many PR’s set this day by the members of the Carpool Gang.

So we left to go get brunch and margaritas at a TexMex joint. But before we did, I got in one last 6 second video of the party.

So there it is, another half marathon in the books. And yay for the PR!!!

How bout you? Ever raced without stopping or drinking/eating anything along the way? Are you scared of the Carpool Gang? Did you race this weekend?

-Scott

Categories: expo, fitfluetial, Life Times, Race Recaps, run, Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Hot Chocolate 15k Race Preview & Expo Recap

This Saturday is the Hot Chocolate 5k & 15k in Dallas. I’m running the 15k. I’ve never run this race series before, but I hope it will be fun!

Since the race is on a Saturday, they had the expo on Thurs-Fri. Not very convenient since I typically work on those days. Not to mention it was a pretty long drive from the burbs to the expo site. And get this…they charged us for parking. What the frisbee?!?

But, of course I still had some fun with it…

Me n my new bestie - Marsha M. And look, I got a free hat!

Me n my new bestie – Marsha M. And look, I got a free hat!

I didn’t realize how big this race is – they say there’s 13,000 runners running! So I went on the first day of the expo to avoid the crowds.

I got my swag bag and bib and then tried to take another silly selfie with an inflatable, but some gal ran up to me and insisted on taking the pic for me. It totally threw me off my goof game…

I was too shocked to do anything but give the shaka sign.

I was too shocked to do anything but give the shaka sign.

For such a big race, the expo itself was pretty small. Maybe 15-20 vendors, I think. But they tried to fun it up with a DJ, bounce houses, and chocolate. I made a quick 6 second video to try and capture the moment.

Anyway, as for the race itself, it starts/ends at Fair Park in Dallas. It’s a historical part of town, home to the Cotton Bowl, concerts, State Fair, performances, festivals and such. It’s not located in the best part of town, but I do enjoy going there. I’ve actually done several races in that area.

After the race with some friends and a giant ferris buehler wheel.

After a race in Fair Park with some friends and a giant ferris buehler wheel.

I’ve taken a look at the course and I’m familiar with a few of the sections. One stretch that sticks out to me is Gaston Rd. We ran that same road during the Mich Ultra 13.1 back in October. It stood out because of the long rolling hills. Hopefully it’s gotten flatter since then.

Stay the course, my friends.

Stay the course, my friends.

And while I haven’t run this race before, plenty of friends have. I was glad to get the scoop from them about the driving/parking/traffic nightmare that it is. I guess 13,000 folks can block up the roads. So some friends and I are going to take the train down. Choo Choo Chew Chocolate.

I’m in corral “I”. Usually I’m in corral 1 or 2. But they told me how it works is the 5k is A-H, and they start first. Corral I is actually the first corral for the 15k. Whew, I didn’t want to be doing too much dodging and weaving!

Once the race starts, I’m not really sure how to pace it. I’ve only done one other 15k – like a year and a half ago. All I remember is that I went out too fast, and that it was wicked hot/humid. You can read the recap HERE.

The only pic I took that day. Say ahhhhhh!

The only pic I took that day. Say ahhhhhh!

Anyway, I look forward to the race! I hope it all goes smoothly and we have some fun! And I can’t wait to get this medal around my neck!

It's a metal chocolate bar. That's one way to get iron in your system.

It’s a metal chocolate bar. That’s one way to get iron in your system.

If you want to follow along during the race, my Twitter is set up for runner tracking to post my splits. You can follow me HERE.

Come back in a few days for the race recap!!!

How bout you? Ever run a Hot Chocolate race? Anyone running this race with me that I should look for? Ever run a 15k before?

-Scott

Categories: expo, fitfluetial, run, Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Key West Half Marathon Recap

It's a two sided medal, it's a wine stopper, it's fun and functional.

It’s a two sided medal, it’s a wine stopper, it’s fun and functional.

Ahh, the Florida Keys. Who doesn’t love em? Key West in particular, has always been a magnet to the funky-fresh folks.

Closer to Havana than to Miami.

Closer to Havana than to Miami.

If you haven’t been, well, it’s kind of like a tropical and clean New Orleans. If you haven’t been to New Orleans, well, it’s kind of like an anything-goes sort of haven – full of good food, strong drink, history, openness, tolerance, and zero inhibitions. Both cities were home to pirates, poets, performers, and parties. Needless to say, I love it!!!

Two similar cities. Only separated by 600 miles.

Two similar cities. Only separated by 630 miles.

In case you get lost.

In case you get lost.

And I’m glad to report that the Key West Half Marathon & 5k had the same feel to it that the island has – laid back, scenic, inclusive & fun! Peeps could even register under a “walker division” – can’t get more inclusive than that.

The fun feel starts at the race expo, which was held at a seaside bar and oyster joint…DUH!

Ain't I purdy?

Ain’t I purdy?

I was so excited at the expo, because it meant we got our race shirts! They are so over-the-top amazesauce!!!

The shirts....I heart them!

The shirts….I heart them! And check out those bibs!

And if you’re so inclined, there are plenty of shops next door to load up on souvenirs.

Yeeeeah buoy!

Yeeeeah buoy!

From there, there were plenty of good joints on the island to get your carbo-load on.

Sushi grade raw tuna "nachos"

My sis with our sushi grade raw tuna “nachos”

The eggs in the restaurants were very fresh.

The eggs in the restaurants were very fresh.

The artwork in the eateries was very high brow, as my sis and her bae recognized.

The artwork in the eateries was very high brow, as my sis and her bae recognized.

My sis with some key lime pie, natch.

My sis with some key lime pie, natch.

The whole pie.

The whole pie.

And of course, there were good bevvies to wash it down with…

Key West beer, why not?

Key West beer, why not?

My sis and a Moscow Mule at Louie's Backyard.

My sis and a Moscow Mule at Louie’s Backyard.

Hog's breath is better than no breath at all. So they say.

Hog’s breath is better than no breath at all. So they say.

Anyway, on to the race! It started at 7am over by the boat docks. Very laid back – no formal corrals, no pre-race formalities…

Can you spot me?

Can you spot me? Hint – white Ohio University shirt. Photo courtesy of http://www.fotobyfreas.com

I was a little worried going into the race. I was in good shape, but I’d been training in Dallas in 20-30 degree temps. Race morning it was in the 70’s with 90% humidity – 90%!!!!!!!!! OUCH!

IMG_2804But it was time to race, and hahaha, there wasn’t even a race starting horn – Someone must’ve said, “Go.” cause all the sudden, we were off!

I started my gps about a 1/4 mile into the race. My bad.

I started my gps about a 1/4 mile into the race. My bad.

The course took us down famous Duval St., past the Southernmost Point marker, then an out and back along the beach.

Our friend Carrie caught me on the course. Throwin Dueces!

Our friend Carrie caught me on the course. Throwin Dueces! Or maybe quotation marks cause I was feeling “great” in the humidity.

I crossed the 10k mark at 48:34, but it was all I could do to maintain that pace in that humidity. Shortly after, the wheels fell off. I was taking walk breaks to dump cold water on my head at each aid station.

Anyway, on the way back we went past the Hemingway house, the lighthouse, the A1A Mile Marker 0, and through Mallory Square (where everyone goes to watch the sunsets).

Photo I took of one of their famous sunsets.

Photo I took of one of their famous sunsets.

The race eventually ended at the boat docks. But I was really hurting in the humidity. However, I sucked it up the last couple miles to finish at 1:50:00. A full 5 minutes slower than the Dallas Half last month.

At the finish, smiling on the inside.

At the finish, smiling on the inside. Photo courtesy from video from http://www.wildsideonline.com

I was hoping to break 1:40 at this race, but with the humidity, it wasn’t meant to be. I really did push hard though – so much so that I was very sore the next day.

That said, it was the same for everybody out there, and so I was still able to finish 27th in my age group and 201st overall (out of 3-4000 runners)!!!

See, I told you the race ended at the boat docks.

See, I told you the race ended at the boat docks. Sweat much?

Even though I didn’t have the race I hoped for, I still had an absolute BLAST! It was so SCENIC! The volunteers were WONDERFUL! And the post race party was OFF THE CHAIN!

Before we could really get turnt up, I had some other friends and family finishing the race that I went back to root for!

Some friends.

Some friends.

Some family - my ma.

Some family – my ma.

Sister's bae.

Sister’s bae.

My dad's first half marathon!

My dad’s first half marathon!

My sis also ran, but I didn’t get a pic of her finishing. But we did get a selfie with the race announcer. This guy was THE.BEST.MC.EVAH! He was cracking us up with gems like, “This is the best day of our lives!” And I think he called me “dude” when I crossed the finish line.

Michael the Boston radio DJ. Solid dude.

Michael the Boston radio DJ. Solid dude. Perfect match for the Key West laid back attitude.

With everyone finished, it was time to party!!!

We had fun.

We had fun.

Da Key West crew.

Da Key West crew.

The post race concert was Howard Livingston & the Mile Marker 24 Band. I’ve heard him before on Jimmy Buffett’s Radio Margaritaville. Such a great performer!!! He even made us margaritas with a modified boat-motor-blender at one point.

Howard on stage.

Howard on stage.

Did I mention all the beer was FREE?!?! That probably led to us making some new friends. Like when I photobombed some stranger’s selfie because Howard had jumped off stage to be in it!!!

Selfie stick, Howard Livingston, Photobomb.

Selfie stick, Howard Livingston, PirateBobcat Photobomb. Love this pic! Thanks to Elizabeth T.F. for sending it my way.

Hahahaha, the race photog actually got a pic of us taking a pic of ourselves.

Hahahaha, the race photog actually got a pic of us taking a pic of ourselves.

From there it was on to Duval St. where we could proudly display our medals and shirts.

Da Key West Crew all cleaned up.

Da Key West Crew all cleaned up.

Yet another patio bar to celebrate on.

Yet another patio bar to celebrate on. I figured I’d wear loud shorts with my screaming shirt.

The patio drinks led to even more selfies. Well, that and narcissism.

Look, a coconut tree and a coconut head.

Look, a coconut tree and a coconut head.

And I even tried my best to copy RunColbyRun and her high angle, partially-obstructed-face selfies, but I couldn’t master the master.

So sexy.

So sexy.

So to sum up, it was a blasty blast!!! If you are ever thinking of running the Key West Half Marathon, I say DO IT!!!!

And besides, you can’t run all the miles until you run the first one…

Mile Marker 0. Yes, I was in Birkenstocks.

Mile Marker 0. Yes, I was in Birkenstocks.

Good times people, good times all around!

How bout you? Ever run Key West…or do you want to? What do you think of the swag? Ever go on a runcation?

-Scott

Categories: Concerts, expo, fitfluetial, Fuel (food), Life Times, marathon, Race Recaps, run, Running, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 80 Comments

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