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Let’s Get Physical: 20 Miles and Bright Pink FitFest 2015

Whewf, this weekend was pretty exceptional and VERY physical. Let’s just say that I earned the giant omelet that you know I ordered at brunch and the beer before and cocktail at dinner (this time, I didn’t even consider sharing!). 

Thanks, Katie!

Thanks, Katie!

Friday was a day of crazy weather, not boding too well either for the ITU Olympic Triathlon World Finals (which are held in Chicago). Also not boding well for the athletes? The fact that so many of them were zipping and out of cars and traffic! Guys, Chicago drivers will run you over. It was a pretty low key day for me, and I kept it that way intentionally because I knew I would have to be up bright and early Saturday morning for the

Chicago Endurance Sports 20 MIle Long Run!

Each marathon season, CES brings together all of the locations locations and participants as well as a few other charity groups (Team World Vision and Back on our Feet join!) to celebrate the climax of marathon training, the 20 mile long run. I loved that they gave this last big long run the feeling of a race but also familiar comforts–pacers, coaches, and support staff. CES threw everyone a great party at the end with Jason’s Deli and Athletico and Clif Bar. 

Chicago Endurance Sports Post 20 mile Long Run Party in Lincoln Park.

I had to be at the starting point at 4:45 Saturday AM when it was blustery and kinda raining and freezing. To say I was cold was a bit of an understatement! When the wind stopped, the temps weren’t so bad. Too bad the wind didn’t really feel like going away. So after warmer running days, humidity, warm rain, then lightning and hail, then cold rain, and now windy cold, I feel like we are ready for whatever marathon day throws at us. At least, I hope! Or, at the very least we know we can survive 😀

Chicago Endurance Sports Marathon Training

Photo by Mike Norman

The run went great–I saw so many smiles throughout and at the end (once we warmed up and could move our faces again!). I changed it up myself, however, and I ran with 9:00 groups of runners that weren’t from my location–I wanted them all to have some new faces and hear different advice. Besides, they likely won’t see me on race day. 

Coach Susie running with pace group during Chicago Endurance Sports 20 miler at the end of Marathon Training!

I felt great running–everything felt happy and relaxed. I wasn’t even really all that tired physically, though after a huge brunch with Alex and settling down in our nice warm apartment, I took advantage of the afternoon to get in a nap before we were due to meet some friends for dinner. 

It was a beautiful night of friends, beers, ping pong, sushi and cocktails (at Union Sushi), but Alex and I were both pretty wiped out and both of us had long days ahead.

Bright Pink FitFest 2015 at FFC Union Square

Bright Pink FitFest 2015 to fund Education, Awareness, and Prevention of Breast and Ovarian Cancers.

Sunday was a gorgeous day and even better because I got to spend it at Bright Pink’s FitFest with Erica, Kristin, Steph, and Jen! Team Suz and her Girls ended up raising quite a bit of money, but we would still love donationswhy not give up your precious Pumpkin Spice Latte for the day and fund the education of a girl, mother, friend, loved one? Learn about Bright Pink and its mission to prevent breast and ovarian cancer through education and please consider donating! Every little bit counts!

Donate now! Fund #breastcancerawareness and #ovariancancer education with @bebrightpink and @suzlyfe Click To Tweet


Bright Pink and Fitness Formula Clubs put on an incredible event that was educational, inspirational, and a fabulous variety of signature classes. I ended up taking classes at 4 of the 5 sessions (by the last one, I had been moving and doing things for a total of over 2.5 hours the day after the run, and I was just wiped!). I took Dailey Interval with Dailey Method head trainer Tami, a great spin class with FFC West Loop Group Fitness Director David, a SERIOUSLY awesome FitCore class with FFC trainer Ron (omg it was fabulous), and then a great pilates “Modern Mat” class with Lois, the Regional Director (I think) of FFC. I was going to finish out the day with Yoga for Athletes, but I decided to call it.  

Bright Pink FitFest 2015 Chicago Team Suz and Her Girls raised lots of money for Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer Prevention and got a great workout at FFC!

Having the event at FFC Union Square (they closed the gym for us!) was amazing–Erica took a Shred 415 workout on the treadmills, we had plenty of studios and top of the line spin bikes, and the whole place was just set up to support the classes and number of people. Each class was 30 minutes, which was a perfect amount for us to try things out, get working, and then move to the next without being absolutely exhausted. 

The only difficult part of the day was figuring out time to eat and visit with the vendors and sponsors–by the time we had time to eat lunch, Protein Bar had been cleaned out of their food! But we prioritized going to the class and gathering samples along the way rather than going for a full meal, and luckily, Corner Bakery still had some great sandwiches for us.

Bright Pink really rounded up some other great sponsors/vendors for us: Kevita (you know I love my sparking probiotics! and they had pomegranate, one of my favorite flavors!), Luna (love), Skinny Pop (I ate both of my bags on the way home. Not kidding), Kitchfix, Snap Kitchen, Lifeway Kefir, Essentia water, Sprig, High Brew Coffee, and even more! What I loved was the number of local and Chicago-borne businesses that were featured. Gotta love shopping local!

And check out the gift bags!

Bright Pink FitFest Gift Bags!

I didn’t partake, but there were nutrition consultants, cancer screenings/assess your risk screenings, beauty bars, spray tanning, hair styling, massages… and even basketball skills and drills with the Bulls/Sox Academy trainers. Oh, and World’s Fastest Woman Carmelita Jeter was there with her team. Kinda cool, right? 

To say I was impressed is an understatement–this was one of the best managed and conceived fundraising events that I have been to. Everything was scaleable to your fitness level, and participants could play or workout as much as they desired. I was with the work it out group 😀 so we worked it out! But many took a few classes and then got treated. 

Because I didn’t stay for the final class, I unfortunately missed out on the impact celebration, but I can only imagine that it was fantastic. This is a cause that is close to my heart, an organization that I increasingly respect, and I definitely think that this will be an event on my radar in the future!

Jealous! I wish I had gone to @bebrightpink #fitfest at @fitness_formula with @suzlyfe and @ericaagran! #sweatpink Click To Tweet

Cheers, Bright Pink! Now let’s save some lives! Please Donate here, see my previous post for more educational information and visit Bright Pink to assess your own cancer risk and learn about their initiatives.

In all, I was spoiled with 2 seamlessly managed and directed fitness extravaganzas this weekend, and I got to actively support so many people that are dear to me as well as strangers. I spent time with people I adore , made new friends, and just had a truly fulfilling weekend. 

What an exhausting, exhilarating weekend for @suzlyfe! @chicagorunning @bebrightpink #fitfest #fitfluential Click To Tweet

Have you ever taken part in a fundraiser of this nature? How was it meaningful for you?

I know many of you are reaching peak mileage in your training–how did everything go this weekend? 

If you could create a charity fundraising event of your own, what would the event be, and what charity/cause would it be dedicated to?

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