I have been wearing Nike ever since I was old enough to play sports and run around. I also like to think that I was the pioneer who started the trend of wearing Nike Pro Combat shorts on their own (shout-out to 16 year old Beverley running around in short shorts). So when I found out that I was picked by Nike to fly to Chicago with 47 other incredible athletes, ‘ecstatic’ could not even begin to describe my feelings.
How I Entered
To enter the contest, you had to post a video or photo on social media, and use the hashtag #getouthere #contest. The video I used to enter is the one below. On the day the contest closed, over 25,000 people had entered in, using the #getouthere hashtag. I waited a couple weeks and never heard back, so sadly assumed I never got in. Suddenly out of the blue, I received both an email and direct message through Instagram congratulating me on being selected!
Nike told us that they would take care of our flights, hotel, and all transportation and food costs while we were down there. I flew out last week Friday and arrived to these lovely gentlemen holding signs with our names. I’ve never had that happen before so obviously I had to take a quick snap of it. We were ushered into a black Lincoln car, and driven to the heart of downtown Chicago. Literally right across from the Bean.
Our hotel was the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, a grand hotel with many unique features and four different bars/restaurants. We each got the key to our room, and were greeted with a suitcase full of Nike gear. As everyone slowly arrived, I realized I was surrounded by insanely athletic, inspiring, and motivated human beings. Everyone was either a professional athlete, model, personal trainer, or had ran, at minimum a half marathon; to say I was humbled was an understatement.
That night Nike treated us by taking us to the Chicago Bears field, and letting us walk around while a massive TV with our names were playing. The entire night we kept talking about what the challenge might consist of, but Nike was making sure to keep it as much of a surprise as possible!
The Day Of
Saturday morning we woke up and had breakfast at 7 am. At 8 am there was a choice of a 2 mile run (3.2 km!) around downtown, or a yoga session. I opted for the run, as I wanted to see as much of the city as I could. From there we had from 9 am until basically 3 pm till we had to meet again to head off for the competition.
The time was filled with free physio or massage sessions, a stretch and foam roll class, lunch and snacks, and a walk to Willis Tower ($19 to go up, noTHANKYOU). Finally, 3pm arrived and we headed downtown to the lobby!
I was so impressed when I got down – everyone was wearing the same gear and we looked like a solid team. There were definitely a ton of nerves in the air, but not enough to not take 100 different photos! We loaded into our black swanky Nike busses, and headed to the Riverwalk!
Okay this is the coolest part of the trip:
The feeling I had as we exited the bus and walked down the bridge to the Nike Barge was unlike anything I had felt before. We all looked like an insane team in complete unison; we had cameramen and videographers in our face, filming everything. Chicago citizens literally stopped and stared as we walked by. If ever in my life I felt like a celebrity, this was it.
Okokay I know this post is getting super long, so let me tell you about what the secret three hour workout turned out to consist of:
Hour One: The first half hour consisted of a warm up; Technical exercises like high knees, runner kicks, and leg sweeps. The second half was a speed session. Two rounds of 800 m sprint, 400 m sprint, and 2×200 m sprint. We were divided into five different groups based on your 5km race time. After the first hour I was feeling pretty good – warmed up and ready to go!
Hour Two: The second hour consisted of three 15 minute circuits. I won’t go into detail, but the circuits included stairs, medicine ball slams, battle ropes, tires & sledgehammers, agility ladders and plyometrics. Pretty much everything that I LOVE when it comes to exercising. Sadly my biggest downfall were my calf cramps that started just after the first 15 minute session. Every single time I stepped hard or jumped, I felt my calves beginning to fail. This was frustrating as I found the actual workouts to be challenging, yet enjoyable.
Hour Three: At this point in the challenge I had already gagged back 2 bites of banana (vomit) to ease my calves. I could barely walk, let alone jump. For the third challenge we had to do a 4 rounds of 3 body weight exercises for 45 seconds on, 15 seconds rest. My feet started cramping up at this point, so my effort here was average at best.
There was 6 top contestants picked, and those 6 had to move on to a final challenge. I did not envy those people one bit, and instead got interviewed through Periscope!
That night we partied to our hearts content. When we left Chicago that day, everyone was sad and probably quite sore, but we also left feeling inspired, happy, and satisfied. I met some amazing people that I will stay in touch with forever, and got to do things that I probably will never again have the chance to do again. Not to mention, I will never need to buy new winter workout gear for a while…
How about you?
- What is your favorite brand when it comes to outdoor gear?
- Have you ever been to Chicago?
- Would you be interested in doing a 3 hour outdoor challenge like this?