Kelly the Culinarian: A different kind of recap: Zooma Chicago Half Marathon

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A different kind of recap: Zooma Chicago Half Marathon

I've rejoined the blogging world! More on that another day.  First, I want to talk about the 2013 Chicago Zooma Half Marathon. I ran this last year when it was in Lake Geneva and had a great time. Of course, I was far more concerned with having a good time than getting a good time, and it was hilly as hell, but we rented a house and made a blogger weekend out of it.

In 2013, the race moved into Chicago along the lakefront path. I was one of the race's ambassadors initially, but later took over as the program manager of the Chicago Half Marathon Challenge. I ran this race for free, but I wasn't there to race anyways.
I was there to help dreams come true.

I've paced Jenny last fall when we ran our second marathon together and it was a fantastic experience. Yesterday was the first time I helped runners achieve their first half marathon and it was a life-changing experience. The weekend started Friday with the expo. I picked up my swag-a-licious athlete's bag. Registration for this race is steep, but included a water bottle, shirt, yoga mat and bag.
I also listened to Sara Hall's words of wisdom about nutrition, racing and the mental aspect of racing. It was fascinating.

I met up with all four of the challenge ladies at the mocktail hour to enjoy some Honest Tea at a mad hatter-themed shin dig. I was the only one wearing a hat. No shame.

Saturday morning, we made decided on our race strategy. I planned to run with Tiffany while Tracey and Samira followed us. Kate was planning on listening to podcasts, so she was good to go.

We started far back and took our time. I eventually paired up with Tracey and kept trucking through the miles. She had some challenges along the way, but we persevered throughout and kept moving forward. We did have to walk, but walking is still moving forward. It counts. A finish is a finish.

And each and every one of the ladies finished.

It was amazing to see all their hard work come to fruition and for them to find out how strong they really are. Afterwards, all the ladies got a PR medals, we had our boxed lunches, celebratory wine and photos. I also visited a physical therapist to get stretched out some of the ladies visited the medical tent.

I am so proud of Tracey for pushing through the pain to finish this race, her first half marathon. I hope that it's the first of many for her! I can't tell you how amazing it feels to know I helped these ladies in some small way enjoy the sport that's given me so much. Tracey made adorable Zooma cookies for the event as well as gave me this way too generous gift basket. I also got a sweet note and headband/flower combo from Samira, which touched me.

Not every race is about the time you post. Some races are about the time you have and the time you spend. This was one of those races. Thank you, Chicago Half Marathon Challenge ladies, for letting me be a part of your journey.


Losing Lindy said...

how awesome!

Unknown said...

So good to finally meet you! Great race!

Maggie W said...

Awesome! I ran with one of my good friends for her first half marathon finish last year at the Chi-Town Half. It was awesome to be there with her the entire way.

Unknown said...

Your challengers definitely loved you! It was a well put on race, and great for beginners! I hope to be honored one day by pacing someone!

Jamie said...

Aww this is great! Mike and I paced our friend during her first marathon, we each did half of it with her, and it was a great experience! I've definitely appreciated when people have paced me.

Kayla said...

Sounds like an awesome experience!!! Glad you enjoyed it!

Tracey said...

This was hands down one the best, most amazing experiences of my life. You played such a huge & important part in my journey. Your word in this blog put sooo many things in perspective for me. It was SO much more than the time that flashed on the finish line clock Saturday. After I got over my frustrations & disappointment and thought about all the things we talked about those last tough miles, it all clicked for me. My challenges surprised me, my ankle injury frustrated me but there you were reminding me I could & would finish. That I'm finally in the I'm a half marathoner!!! You're amazing & incredible. You were my blessing. :)

Tracey said...

This was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. Being chosen as the Zooma Muscle Milk Athlete and meeting all of you has changed me and my life. Saturday was SO much more than the time that flashed as I crossed the finish line. After all my challenges, my ankle injury, and then reflecting on all the things you and I talked about during those miles I all clicked for me. You reminded me that I could and would finish. That despite things not going the way I envisioned that all that matter was that I finished. Things didn't line up for me and that's okay. You reminded me that I am in the 1%...LOL! And, I woke up a half marathoner. You were my shining star and blessing when I thought I was done. And, there are not enough words to thank you! My life is forever changed from this experience and the amazing people I met along the way.

Unknown said...

I've never paced someone but it looks like a lot of fun!