Fist, let me wish everyone happy holidays. I hope you all had a wonderful time being present with friends and family. I’m overwhelmed with feelings lately. Grateful is a total understatement.
A few weeks ago I traveled to Chicago for the Nike #GetOutHere Challenge Finals. I was one of 48 athletes chosen from around North America to attend. You may have seen Nike’s Snow Day spot on TV or shared on social media over the last few months. The point of the commercial and the challenge was to encourage you to conquer winter. To get outside and train in the elements. Rain, sleet, snow, wind, coldness – Nike has you covered.
A lot of people have asked me how I was chosen. (I still can’t believe I was!) Over the last few months, Nike has been hosting free workout events in several cities. The larger cities have Nike Run Club and Nike Training Club (I’m hoping these come to KC more frequently this summer). Kansas City had pop up workouts/Style Guide Live Events in local boutique studios. I participated in the social media challenge. I attended some of the events, posted on Instagram and used #GetOutHere #Contest. From there, Nike selected 24 boys and 24 girls to represent. A mix of trainers, Insta influencers, bloggers, fitness enthusiasts and runners were selected. (And little miss Kirsten from Kansas.)
I arrived in Chicago Friday afternoon. A driver picked me up from the airport and shuttled me to the Chicago Athletic Association hotel on Michigan Avenue near Millennium Park. Right by the infamous Chicago Bean.
This hotel is insanely cool #swanky. Until 2007 it operated as an elite private men’s club and in 2012 it was transformed into a hotel. The hotel pays homage to its past while still feeling very modern and new. Even a tad bit hipster. My favorite was the 2nd floor game room featuring built-in bocce ball, billiard, shuffleboard, chess and checkers tables.
When I got to my room I found some Nike swag on my desk with a little note advising me to head to the Athletes Lounge to check-in and get the full scoop. To my surprise they rolled out an entire Nike suitcase full of official gear. I was SO stoked. I received a lot of the items on my winter wish list that I mentioned in my last blog post.
Dinner came quick. We met in the lobby around 5pm in our matching Nike outfits and loaded up the buses. We had two tricked out Nike buses. People were staring at us and taking photos – I felt pretty important.
We landed at the secret location, which ended up being Soldier Field. We walked out on to the field with our names in bold on the jumbo-tron. We ate dinner from a suite that overlooked the field and got an awesome pep talk from pro CrossFit athlete Josh Bridges. We ended the night at Nike Town for a personal shopping experience.
Saturday morning came fast. At 7am we woke up and headed to the roof top for breakfast. The view was dreamy and totally set the stage for the day. Athletes had the option of a two mile shake out run or yoga. I went for yoga knowing that we’d be running later for the Challenge. I prepped for the Challenge finals much like I prep for a half marathon.
The morning session was followed by a stretch session on the retro indoor basketball court. PT and massage therapy sessions followed stretching. I took full advantage of the compression boots in the lounge during lunch. After lunch we got another “product drop” from Nike. Swag on swag. Oh hey!
About this time we all found out that the Challenge would last about 3hrs. This made me feel the good kind of nervous. At 3:30pm we hopped on the Nike buses and headed to the Challenge, which was on the Chicago Riverwalk. Nike and their team created an awesome Icebox type barge that floated on the river – totally Instagram worthy.
We got off the bus and were rushed to our lockers. We had quite the crowd cheering us on. In our lockers we found more gear and the most amazing Flash Jacket. Our lockers even had our names on them. For a moment, I felt like an elite athlete.
The Final Challenge consisted of three sessions after our warm-up. I’ll try to describe them as best I can:
Run: We had pacers and broke out into groups for a quick sprint workout. We ran 800m, 400m, 2x200m and then we repeated the drill.
Circuit: Based on our colored wrist bands, we broke out into groups. We rotated several stations, each lasting about 15 minutes. Some things were familiar to me and others were new. Sledge hammer slams and tire flips were two things I’ve never done before. Tack on battle ropes and I think I found the reason for my sore arms the next day.
Metabolic Challenge: We all met at the barge together to finish up the workout. I was probably the most excited for this portion because it resembles things I do often at Fusion and Health House. We did 45 seconds of intervals followed by 15 seconds of rest. The Nike Master Trainers were looking for people who were encouraging, positive, had perfect technique and didn’t quit. Besides my intense calf cramp during high knees, I felt pretty good but the girl next to me was totally crushing it.
They chose three top females and three top males to duke it out. This was a race to the finish and the winners totally deserved it. The girl next to me, actually won it all!
What I loved most was the teamwork everyone showed. It was such an encouraging environment. Everyone was on a different level. We survived a very tough workout together and made friendships along the way. We even dubbed ourselves #The48 with our own hand signal.
After the Challenge we ended the evening on a rooftop sipping drinks and chowing down on delicious eats. The view was awesome and it was a great time to socialize. It was the perfect way to end my fitness vacation.
2016 is around the corner. I’ve spent the last few days reflecting on 2015. The #GetOutHere challenge was really the icing on the cake. I’m so pumped I was chosen to participate. THANK YOU NIKE!
Let’s be honest. I’m shy. To be completely honest, I’ve battled social anxiety since I was in high school. Being solo in a large group of new people is something that really scares me. Fear gave me a lot of excuses why I should not go. I was supposed to be on vacation with my fiance in Mexico so that seemed like a perfectly good reason to turn down the opportunity. But I started my fitness blog January 2015 to put myself out there. To meet new people and put myself in uncomfortable situations. To battle my fears head on. So with a ton of support, I decided to go. Yes I felt a sense of complete panic but I knew that was because I was about to do something really cool and life-changing. I’m SO happy I went. Not only was it an honor but it was a really good experience for me. Something I will never forget. Not going would have been a HUGE regret.
So cheers to me for conquering my fears in 2015. What will you do in 2016? I’d love to know your goals and resolutions. Tell me about it in the comment section below.
📷 photos compliments of Nike, Inc. & EpagaFoto
Full list of participants and entries here.