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Month: April 2015

Illinois Marathon Relay

My first relay race was Ragnar Relay Chicago in June 2012.  On Sunday I completed a marathon relay and got to cross it off this list.

There were 8 girls doing this relay race (two teams: Pink Ladies and Faster than Snails).  One of my teammates offered to drive to Urbana-Champaign (about 2 1/2 hours from Chicago) and we left Friday afternoon.  There were two girls from the other team so it was nice to meet them and talk to them.  They had food and I snacked on crackers, hummus, and sweet potato chips.

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We arrived to pick up our bibs and to check out the expo.  It was OK but does not compare to the Chicago Marathon or RnR expos.

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I almost bought this headband.

After the expo we went to Destihl for dinner.  The food was delicious!  We had a few appetizers to start off along with beer.  For dinner I had pasta with spicy thai shrimp.  The rest of the teammates met us there and we all had a lovely time.  We then said goodbye because it was late and we still had to check in the hotel and get our stuff ready for the next day.

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From L to R: Lety, Liz, Rocio, Fabiola, me, Angie. We were missing Ana and Arasally.

As I was getting my things ready for the next day, I realized that I had forgotten my socks.  I had originally packed everything in my Apera bag.  I switched to a bigger bag because all of my things wouldn’t fit but left my socks in one of the pockets. Luckily, I borrowed a pair from a teammate.

I checked the temperature and got really nervous because all I saw was rain, rain, and more rain.

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I slept good Friday night.  I was up at 5am and got ready.  I shared a room with 2 other girls so I waited for them to get ready before heading out to get something to eat.  The hotel provided us with a  free continental breakfast.  Love it when hotels do that.  I had coffee and a waffle.  Not too much but enough for a 6.7 run.

It was cold and drizzling.  I was hoping the rest of the rain would hold off till AFTER the race.  It didn’t.  There was a long line to get to the parking lot.  One of the girls was familiar with the area and told us of a shortcut.  We parked the car and got out to meet up with Ana and Lety.  We quickly got a team picture and since I was runner #1, I headed over to the start line.

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Team Faster than Snails From L to R: Ana, me, Lety, Rocio

I don’t remember hearing the National Anthem but I realized the race was about to start.  I walked over to the start line, got in the corral and off I went.

I don’t remember too many specifics of my part of the race.  Here is what I do remember:

  • I felt really good the first two miles.  Unfortunately, I do not know my splits because the Nike + app in my phone did not work.  I turned it on but somehow it turned off.
  • I felt tired after the first water station.
  • The volunteers were wonderful!
  • The crowd support made me happy.
  • I would run, walk, and repeat.
  • It started to rain and I had forgotten to wear my visor.
  • I was running in new shoes and they felt really good.  Ha, little did I know what was happening in my right foot (too much callus remover and a lot of water is NOT a good combination).
  • One water station was after mile 2 and the next one was after mile 4.  That worked out for me since I had a short run but not sure if marathon and half marathon runners will agree with me.
  • Between mile 5 and 6 there were signs along the course with several facts about the University.   I don’t remember the exact words but I do recall reading about REO Speedwagon, PayPal, YouTube, and a Nobel Prize Winner.

I saw a sign on the floor and I thought it was the the 6 mile marker.  I told my teammates I would send them a text when I got there since the exchange was at mile 6.7.  There the volunteers were giving out oranges.  Yummy!  Up ahead I saw the actual mile marker. Oh well.

Finally, I saw the exchange spot.  I removed my belt and put it on the next runner.  I was done but I was also very cold.

We got in the car and drove to the next exchange which was about 10 minutes away.  It was raining so much harder and I felt bad for the runners.  Runner #3 got her stuff ready and then we left to meet runner #2.  We finally got a text from her that she was at mile 13.

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Runner #2 is done!

Two legs done and two more to go.  The next exchange took a bit longer.  I drove this time because the owner of the car was running.  I am OK driving but get nervous driving other people’s cars.  Luckily, nothing happened and we arrived at the next exchange spot.  Lety was nice enough to get coffee for the both of us.  It felt good to drink something warm.  Earlier I had changed my top but left my skirt. I was getting colder so I changed into capris.  Not sure why I didn’t do that before.

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Love my colorful shoes!

We got a text from Rocio that she was at mile 20.  We were meeting her at 20.5. One of the volunteers told us that the race was cancelled because of the weather. We were like “What?!?”  We couldn’ believe it.  We kept walking and asked another volunteer and she was not aware of the news.  Ana was the last runner and she said that she would run no matter what.  We saw Rocio and Ana took off to complete the race.  We told Rocio what we were told about the race.  On our way to the finish line, Ana sent us a text.  Yes, the race was cancelled and time would not matter.  She would keep going till the buses arrived.  She called me and I  asked her if she wanted us to pick her up. She said no and I told her that we would meet her before the entrance of Memorial Stadium.

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It was raining even harder.  We arrived at the stadium and went inside.  It was pure chaos.  There were so many people there.

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Definitely not a signage you want to see at a race.

While waiting for Ana, I used the bathroom and got some pizza.  There was also water, bananas, and bags of pretzels.  She texted us at mile 24.  We waited a little bit before heading out to meet her so that we could cross the finish line together. While waiting we cheered for the runners.  Some looked tired, cold but also excited to be almost done.  We waited and finally saw her.

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We ran inside the stadium.  We held hands and crossed the finish line together. Finally done!

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Our finish time is 4:29:47.

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Even with the nasty weather we all had a great time!  We made the best of it and felt thankful for being able to participate in this race.  We ran, laughed, motivated and helped each other out.  And the rain did not stop us.  Definitely teamwork!  We had so much fun that we are already planning to do it again next year.

Have you ran a relay race?  Which one and how was it?

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Friday Randomness – April 24, 2015

1. The hunt for the “perfect” running shoes is back on.  The Asics Cumulus are not working out for me.  I went to Fleet Feet to try the Brooks Ghost 7.  Oh, they’re so comfortable.  I knew I had to get them but could not decide on a color.  Yes, I am one that has to pick a cool color.  I decided on a pair (see below) but then when I got home I changed my mind so I ordered a different pair.  The second pair looks nicer right?

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2. I am keeping up (I’ve missed a day or two) with the Kettlebell Swing Challenge but it is getting tough.

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3. Tomorrow is the IL Marathon .  I am runner number 1 and my leg is 6.7 miles.  I met with the rest of my team on Sunday to go over logistics, nail down on what to wear, and just to hang out and talk.  I also gave two of them (one of the girls was in CA) a bag with a pepper spray, two Hammer gels, and a packet of Justin’s Hazelnut Butter.  We’re all very excited and cannot wait.

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4.  I love getting pictures/drawings from my students.  Translation: Teacher, you are the best teacher I’ve ever had.  Sometimes they also give me candy and chocolates.

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5.  Tuesday afternoon was the deadline for me to register for the Chicago Marathon.  Now begins the training before the training for the marathon.  🙂

6. These ads were an eye opener for me.  I’ve drank Nuun (I am obsessed with the Kona Kola flavor) but now after seeing the comparison with Hammer Nutrition’s Electrolytes Fizz Tablets, I don’t think I will drink it again.

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How are you doing in the Kettlebell Swing Challenge?  What do you drink when you run, bike, exercise?

Live Grit 10 Miler

On Saturday I ran my second race of the year.  I’ve run this race in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.  I was very excited!  10 miles is the longest I’ve run this year.

I picked up my bib Friday after school.  Very fast and easy.  Nothing fancy.  Just a bib and a black long sleeve shirt.  Definitely my kind of packet.

Saturday morning came and it was time to run.  I got ready, ate, and drove to Montrose Harbor.  Luckily I found a spot not too far from the start.  I took advantage of the extra time to relax and use the port-a-potties.

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Then I met a few bloggers and it was nice to chat with them.  Notice the before and after picture.  I am the only one without a jacket.  I did not check in a bag and clearly I did not need a jacket cause it was almost 60 degrees.  Big mistake!

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Before the race. From L to R: Erin, Marcia, Sara, Wendy, me, Emily
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After the race. From L to R: Marcia, Erin, Emily, Sara, Wendy, me. Photo Credit: Emily Seto

Emily and I had decided to run together.  The plan was to start at 10 minute miles and then hopefully still have enough gas in the tank and speed it up during the second half.

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She is a great runner!  I was able to keep up with her for two miles before realizing that the pace was too fast for me.  Plus, I got so distracted with several girls talking nonstop behind me and the sound of feet scraping.  I wished I had brought my headphones to block out those sounds.  I don’t run with my headphones (except on the treadmill) and I like it.  But I know I need to learn to tune out the noise/sounds and just focus on the race.

Between mile 2 and 3 is the dreaded Cricket Hill.  Oh how I dislike that hill.  I walked. No shame.

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I was feeling great until the turnaround on Fullerton Avenue (mile 6).  That is when it got unbearable with the wind.  I was running very slow and took several walking breaks.  I was also very cold and had a headache.

Finally I saw the finish line and sprinted to it.  No PR but I did get my personal worst for a 10 miles race.

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After the race I met up with the same bloggers from before the race.  I did not stay longer than 5 minutes before I was COLD.  Heck, I couldn’t even enjoy my free beer. Bummer.

Overall, I think it is a great race.  Small, nice location, and inexpensive.   For sure I plan to run this again next year.

Next race: Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon (Relay Member), April 25.

Friday Randomness – April 17, 2015

1.  I got my glasses on Tuesday.  I can see, I can see!!  I got the top ones.  My kids are cute.  They told me I look beautiful.

2.  I had a great run on Saturday morning.  But then it wasn’t so great on Monday nor on Tuesday.  I told my coach about it and she reminded me that there will be good runs and bad runs.  We all have them.  It is weird how a pace I was able to run for 15 minutes last week, I could not do 5 minutes this week.

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3.  I picked up my mother at the airport yesterday.  She is like a bird.  She travels south to Mexico for the winter and comes back north when it is warm.

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Her flight got in at 6:05 pm.  An hour later she calls me.  Apparently there were so many people waiting to get through immigration and customs and she had no idea how much longer she would have to be there.  I am glad she was able to borrow someone’s phone to call me but I wish the airlines would update people about the situation.  I was at the airport from 6pm-10pm.

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4.  The Boston Marathon is on Monday.  I am so excited and can’t wait to watch it.  It is definitely my goal to one day qualify for it.  I have a long way to go but I am determined to work hard to one day run that prestigious race.

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5. My next race is tomorrow-Live Grit 10 Mile.  My PR is 1:43:49 from 3 years ago.  You bet I want to get a PR tomorrow.  Emily and I are planning to run tomorrow morning.  She is faster than me so I am hoping she will help me stay on pace and get a PR.

6.  In December I (with two other friends) signed up to run 2,015 miles in 2015.  As of March 31, we’ve run 411.19 miles and need 1,603.81 to meet our goal.  That means we each have to run 534 miles until December.  Very realistic right?

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When is your next race?  Do you have a goal to run a specific number of miles this year?

Friday Randomness – April 10, 2015

1. Today is my last day of Spring Break.  I had a great week and am sad that it is over.  But today is also payday so that makes it a bit better.  Oh and I have two months left of school.  My last day is June 11.  That means I will not be able to run Ragnar Relay Chicago as I had originally planned.

2. On Wednesday I went to Road Runner Sports to get fitted for a new pair of shoes.  I’ve heard so many great things about it and decided to check it out myself.  Seriously hands down a great experience.  I walked out with a pair of Asics Cumulus 16 and custom insoles.  I also signed up for the VIP Family Membership.  When I got home I was disappointed because I found out that the membership online is $1.95 (I paid $19.95) and the shoes were $89.95 (I paid $103.95).  You bet I am going to go back and get back the difference.  I ran a little over 5 miles yesterday and they felt great.

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3.  Who doesn’t like a challenge?  I do but I am not good at keeping up with them.  Still, I decided to do the Kettlebell Swing Challenge.  I bought a kettlebell on Wednesday at Target and did 90 yesterday.  It was not easy but yet still doable.

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4.  Last week I went to my math class and could not see the board.  Now I know I sat in the last row but it isn’t a big room.  On Monday I went for an eye exam and sure enough I need glasses.  I need them to drive and to watch TV.  Now the “problems” I encountered were which frames to get.  I narrowed it down to four but then to make a long story short I did not go back in time to purchase them so I ended up going to another store the next day.  There I found two that I liked and hopefully will get them on Tuesday just in time for my Wednesday class.  Which ones do you think I picked?

Eyeglasses5.  A few months ago I purchased Yoobi Assorted Color & Glitter Gel Pens 12 Pack.  A few of them did not work – the ink must have dried up because I could not write in them.  I sent an email to the company letting them know about it and to get a refund.  I forgot about it till Monday night when I came home and found a package with an assortment of gel and ballpoint pens.  Great service!  Yes, it is the little things that make me happy.

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So, do you want to do the kettlebell challenge with me?