From Polaroid to PR: Reaching My Resolution with NTC Chicago


Oh, hey there, Fab Fit Chicago readers. Check out that incredibly attractive polaroid. The one with the girl in the hot pink pullover shamelessly mugging and thumbs-upping for the camera. Yup, that’s me in all my open-mouthed glory, and now my New Year’s resolution is out for the world to see- run a half marathon in less than an hour and fifty minutes.

The story behind this resolution actually goes back to the end of the summer of 2012. I had just moved to a new building super close to the lakefront, and I was determined to become a runner to avoid gym fees and to take advantage of my primo location. To celebrate this new identity, I went to some sports store and bought the most blinding neon shoes I could find- which just so happened to be the barefoot shoe style. I had no idea I was supposed to break them in and strengthen my foot muscles, so I just sprinted out of the gate and ran about six miles a day, almost every day, in those shoes. Within a few weeks I had a painful stress fracture in my heel (the doctor called it the most aggressive break he had ever seen, a claim I’m strangely proud of) and was in a boot for six incredibly frustrating weeks.

When I was given the green light, I started running again, albeit slowly and carefully. I set my sights on running a half marathon to celebrate my bone refusion, and on July 21, 2013 after weeks of training (including one mentally taxing 12 mile run on a treadmill), I crossed the finish line of Chicago’s Rock and Roll Half Marathon with a time of 1:51:55. I was (and am) pretty pleased with that time for my first half marathon, but this year, I want to do better.

During the polar vortex, I naturally began looking up spring races and settled on the Chicago Spring Half Marathon on May 18. With a pretty cheap registration price (then $60, currently $70 until March 31), a finish line at the picturesque Park at Lakeshore East, and a couple of good friends willing to sign up with me, it was pretty much a no-brainer. A few days later, NTC Week started and encouraged me to put a tangible goal with my half marathon- so I’ve set my sights on 1:50:00.


And you know what’s awesome? I now have a trainer and a crew to help me hit that magic number. Last night, NTC Chicago held an event called “Meet Your Resolution Crew” at their Michigan Avenue studio (which is gorgeous, by the way- check out their free classes!) matching our resolutions with bonafide Nike trainers to help us achieve them for the next five weeks. NTC looked at all of our goals from NTC Week and divided them into five categories- Move More, Sculpt, Stretch and Balance, Run a Half Marathon, and Set a PR- matching us with phenomenal trainers to guide us along the way. I joined the PR crew, and I’m lucky enough to be led by Kate Hiipakka (a Nike Master Trainer and owner of the blog The Four Percent). By the end of this, I plan on making her my best friend while also learning how she gets her hair so perfect. In a completely non-creepy way, of course.

Our crew is going to get started next week (tentatively planning on one long run a weekend and shorter runs/workouts once or twice throughout the week), and I’m so excited to train with such motivated girls and to make a few friends along the way! But I don’t want to leave y’all at Fab Fit Chicago out, either. So, to that end, I’ll use the blog to keep a record of our training, discuss training strategies with you, and maybe meet up with some of y’all for weekend long runs (CREW girls, I’m lookin’ at you). My basic training plan is adapted from this one that I found online, and I’ll adapt it week-to-week based on the workouts Kate sets up for us and whatever new class Jeana and I find to try out.

Here’s what I have on deck for next week while I wait for the PR Crew to settle in:

Saturday: Three miles at goal pace (~8:23/mile)

Sunday: Cross train (Spin)

Monday: Cross train (NTC Barre with Gina at DePaul’s Ray Meyer gym)

Tuesday: Three miles at goal pace

Wednesday: Cross train (Spin)

Thursday: Three miles at goal pace

Friday: Cross train at Crosstown Fitness

These next five weeks are going to be crazy busy with this, starting a new job, and lots of fun social things coming up (St. Patrick’s day, amiright?), but I. Am. PSYCHED. If you weren’t able to attend the NTC event last night, you can (and SHOULD!) definitely still get involved! Just send a private Facebook message to NTC Chicago with your email address and the name of the crew you want to join (again, Sculpt, Stretch & Balance, Move More, Run a Half or Set a PR), and they’ll set you up with everything you need to achieve your goals!


Let’s hit the ground running.

What are your fitness resolutions? What have you done to achieve them so far? Any rough spots yet? 

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About Kristen Geil

A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Kristen moved to Chicago in 2011 and received her MA in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse from DePaul while trying to maintain her southern accent. Kristen grew up playing sports, and since moving to Chicago, she’s fallen in love with the lakefront running path and the lively group fitness scene. Now, as a currently retired marathoner and sweat junkie, you can usually find her trying new workouts around the city and meticulously crafting Instagram-friendly smoothie bowls. Kristen came on to A Sweat Life full-time in 2018 as Editor-in-Chief, and she spends her days managing writers, building content strategy, and fighting for the Oxford comma.

11 thoughts on “From Polaroid to PR: Reaching My Resolution with NTC Chicago

    1. Hey Lenka! The Move More group is being led by Liu so I’m sure y’all will have a ton of fun! Hopefully I’ll see you on some runs soon- and maybe Kate is living proof that the more you work out, the better hair you have?

  1. Hah! You are hilarious KG! I’ll tease you and say that my scretes will be told in the weeks to come…but really all you do is wash your hair. blow dry haphazzardly. put in top knot. hope for the best when top knot is taken out! 🙂 See you soon!! xo

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