A Big Chicago Thanks!

Needless to say, today was by far the smartest, most uplifting marathon I have ever completed. I can’t wait to share my recap(I PR’d!!), but just know how thankful I am for all of the support I received today and yesterday leading up to the race. The number of tweets, texts, and Facebook posts I received was unreal. I’m off to enjoy the city some more, but felt compelled to say thanks first. I have a smile just thinking about today!


The Chicago Marathon Race Expo

It’s official – I am ready to run the Chicago Marathon!

We got into the city early Friday morning, so we had plenty of time to play around yesterday, and were able to make it to the expo before the crowds hit. We even got a nice warm welcome at the airport!

 My sister-in-law lives in Chicago, and was super pumped for our arrival as well. She is pretty darn crafty, and got creative with our welcome sign. It brought a huge smile to my face!

Anyhow, back to the expo! A word of advice – get in town on Friday instead of Saturday for this marathon. The expo was incredibly enjoyable! I didn’t have to wait in a line for anytime at all. It was pretty bare actually…

The volunteers all mentioned that they were expecting the majority of people to get their packets today (Saturday), knew everything was going to get crazy. I was able to get my bib within about 3 minutes from walking through the front doors. I brought my registration card that was mailed to me, and went to my sectioned bib number line. The volunteer grabbed by confirmation card, and grabbed my race number. She then proceeded to scan it with this…

The technology that was used to double and triple check that the correct race credentials were given to the right runner was pretty impressive. The information that pertained to me popped up immediately, and I knew it was all perfect! Then I went and grabbed my race-shirt and swag bag, which was located all the way in the back of the expo hall. It was kind of a pain to have to walk through all of the vendors to get the second part of the packet, but it wasn’t too bad since there were no lines. I would imagine that people who went today probably had a different experience! I grabbed my shirt, and was off to explore!

There were a lot of good vendors that had their best race gear there. Nike, the sponsor of the race, had more race specific gear than I have seen at any other expo. They had the most fun colors for their tops, but I had my eyes set on something else!

I found my marathon coffee mug! I have so many things from everything that I have run over the years, so I don’t usually buy much at the expo. I do love to see everything that the vendors and sponsors have though!

And the absolute best part of it all – the race conditions!

The marathon team has been sending out emails all week letting the participants know what to expect on race day. This year, I got unbelievable lucky with great conditions. Past years have been in the high risk conditions, but this year is ideal running weather.

After doing my shakeout run this morning, I FINALLY feel like I am ready to race!! My legs are loose and rested, my head is clear, and I am ready to conquer 26.2 miles for the 7th time!

Bring it on Chicago Marathon!!


Headed to Chicago & Zooma Race Discount!

Happy Friday to you and travel day to me! I am currently on my way to Chicago for the marathon!! I am crazy excited that the race is finally here, and took advantage of getting a nice and early flight out this morning to head up to the Windy City. I took the day off of work, so I might as well get the most out of my day! ;) The only thing that I have on tap for today is to head to the race expo! I’ve heard such great things about it, and can’t wait to spend a couple of hours just walking around and chatting with the different exhibitors. Yep, I’m a total #runnerd!! ;)

If you are interested in tracking me on Sunday, sign up here for updates through text, Facebook, or Twitter. My bib is #3870 – I would love your support!

Before getting lost in my runner’s oasis, I have something very worth while to share with you today! A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was chosen as a Zooma Race Ambassador. Well, today you have the opportunity to register for the either the 5k or the 10k, and $10 of your registration fee will go directly to a charity of my choice, on top of getting 10% off. Pretty cool, huh?!

All you need to do is use the Promo Code FLAMB8, and the portion of your registration fee will be sent to help others. There is a catch – you can use this code for 10% the race, but the charitable donation is only able to be given today, October 5th! If you have been waiting to register for this fun girls weekend, don’t wait any longer! Even better – if you register before November 4th, you will get a running care package mailed directly to where you live to help you prep for Zooma! Seems like a win-win to me!

So what charity will your donation be given to if you register today? I have chosen the Make-A-Wish Foundation as my charity to support. When I was in college, my sorority, Chi Omega, supported Make A Wish in all of our fundraising efforts. I really grew attached to the organization, and love the amazing opportunities they can provide to kids with a life-threatening illness. I would be thrilled for Zooma to help contribute to making a kid’s wish come true!

Something I forgot to mention Wednesday… Fitness Magazine featured a recipe of mine as a healthy lunch option. Be sure to go check it out if you are looking to change-up your lunch routine for the better!

Anyone else headed up to Chicago? Tweet at me (@marybaum20) and hopefully we can meet up! What charity would you choose to have your portion donated to? Do you prefer to take early flights on travel days, or sleep in?


Morning Mile

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by the ladies at my local Lululemon store for a very fun opportunity. A local school asked if they knew a runner that would want to participate in a new program, aiming to get kids active. Since I am the store’s running ambassador, they quickly contacted me to gauge my interest. Of course, I jumped at the chance!

This past Monday, I was up bright and early to participate in the first Morning Mile at a local elementary school!

What is Morning Mile? Directly from their website, “Morning Mile is a before-school walking/running program that gives children the chance to start their day in an active way while enjoying fun, music and friends. It’s supported by a wonderful system of rewards, which keeps students highly motivated and frequently congratulated. It’s a proven project geared towards fighting childhood obesity and increasing the physical activity levels of school children nationwide.”

The entire school gathered on the field behind the school, students and teachers alike, to kick off the program. There were many volunteers involved, along with many people taking part – the Superintendent, Principal, and Vice Principal all made  the first lap around the cones for the kick-off. I was even introduced, along with Stephen Jones (a former Olympian!!), along with Ed and  Scott – 2 of the program sponsors from PeerFit. We all lined up with the kids and ran the laps with them.

The sponsors, principal, vice principal, and superintendent

The students were all so excited to get to run around before having to go inside for the day. They were laughing, smiling, and running away all of their morning energy. Every morning, any child (and parent) that wants to participate can come to school a few minutes early and do a few laps around the field. 16 laps = 1 mile. For each lap, the kids collect a coffee stirrer-sticks. At the end of each Morning Mile, they count how many sticks they have, and record it on a piece of paper. Once they have reach a total of 5 miles, they get a prize!

I think this is such a great way to get kids active. Not only are they starting their day off by moving (which I’m sure helps the energy levels in the classroom) but they are being reinforced that exercise is a great way to start the day – and that little exercise gains lead to some pretty big wins! Think of how far 5 miles is to a 1st grader! That’s a long way!

I hope that more elementary schools in the Tampa Bay area (and the country for that matter!) adopt this program. It sets such an amazing example for today’s youth and really was a lot of fun too! I can’t wait to go back for another Morning Mile!

Have you ever heard of Morning Mile? What about other programs like this?  Any teacher’s out there? Bring this up to your school principal, and get a Morning Mile program started where you live too!



Weather Checking Fanatic

I have a confession to make.

I am a compulsive weather checker the week leading up to marathons. I can’t help it. As soon as the 10 day forecast is up for the day of the race, I am all over it. Luckily for this upcoming weekend (unlike Nashville), the weather is looking pretty promising…

High’s in the 50′s is definitely my perfect racing weather! The pre-race will be a bit chilly, but will be completely worth it to run in some incredibly ideal temps! I know this is by no means  a guaranteed forecast, but I am going to hold on to it! Send me some well weather wishes!! So since I have been running in such hot temps all summer, picking out what to wear for next weekend is going to be a bit tricky. I default to shorts pretty much no matter what – I don’t think that I have ever raced in running crops! These are the shorts I plan to run in on race day:

They are the speed shorts from Lululemon. They are super comfy, and have a great storage pocket in the back. I can pair them with my compression socks, and have a little bit of extra warmth. However, depending on how cold it really is going to be, I may go ahead and wear the Run Inspire crops (don’t worry, I have run in them before, just not a marathon or anything). At this point, I am definitely undecided. I have a feeling it will be game time decision!

As for the shirt, I will definitely be wearing a tank with some arm sleeves. I picked up a pair when I ran the NYC marathon, and I am excited to be able to put them to use! I have always ended up taking off my long sleeve shirt whenever I have worn one in the past, and I just don’t feel like having to deal with having a shirt tied around my waist again.

As for the pre-race, I am going to have to make a thrift store run this week to grab some throw away clothes for sure! For those of you that have not run in a cold race before, wearing old clothes to the start of the race, that you have no attachment to, is a great idea. You can throw them to the side once the race starts, and be ready to go! The best part – most races donate all discarded clothing to charity, so it’s really a win-win for everyone! Unfortunately, living in such a warm state, I do not exactly have an influx of old, cold weather clothes. I have a few staple items, but that’s about it. To the thrift store I will go! Hopefully I’ll find some awesome sweats – the stuff I have the possibility of finding is usually pretty priceless! I’ll be sure to report back. ;)

I only have 10 miles on the dock for this entire week leading up to the race. I see some sleeping in and relaxation in my future. I am sooo excited!

Do you constantly check the weather leading up to a big race? What about what you wear – crops or shorts if it’s cold out?

*** All of the clothes photos are from the Lululemon website***