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Category: BibRave Pro

Tuesday Topics: 2019 Missoula Half Marathon Race Recap

Disclaimer:  I received a free entry to the Missoula Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!  

On Sunday I ran the Missoula Half Marathon.  It was also state #41 in my goal to run a half marathon in each state.  I am hoping to be done with this goal next year.  

I left Saturday morning on a direct flight to Missoula.  The airplane was small.  The Missoula Airport is also small, definitely different from Midway or O’Hare.  I was staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Missoula and they had a complimentary airport shuttle so as soon as I got my luggage, I called the hotel and there was a van waiting for me in about 10 minutes.

My flight arrived early and luckily a room was available for me.  I went to the expo at Caras Park to get my bib.  There were a few vendors but I did not buy anything.  Well I did buy a small bag of donuts.  

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Then I tracked down a friend of mine and met up with him and a few others at Big Sky Brewing Co (they were one of the race sponsors).  I had a flight (they were all delicious) and then went to dinner at Kobe Seafood and Steak.  Then we parted ways since we had to wake up early the next day.

Sunday morning I got up at 4am.  A friend of mine, Rebecca, was also running and she said her boyfriend could pick me up at 4:40am and take us both to the shuttle bus.  There is no drop off at the half marathon start so you have to take the shuttle bus.  We didn’t wait long for a bus and soon we were on our way.  It was about a 15 minute bus ride to the start line.  It was chilly but not cold.  I knew it would warm up later.  There were plenty of port-a-potties and I must have used them about 4 times before the race.

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There were no corrals but I lined up close to the start line.  I don’t remember hearing the National Anthem but soon it was time to start running.  Sure enough by then it had warmed up a little bit.  It was definitely perfect running weather.  

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The course is gorgeous!  You run through the country side and along the river.  I saw cows and horses.  The course is flat with some downhills.  The views were spectacular.  About a mile into the race I saw the 2:20 group and ran with them for about 2 miles.  I was feeling good but then took a break and then couldn’t catch up to them.

I saw a guy playing the piano in his yard!

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I kept running but eventually I was tired.  My left leg began hurting.  I also felt some discomfort in the bottom of my left foot.  I was frustrated because I had trained for this race (and did really good).  For about 2 months on Saturday mornings I ran the hills at The Arboretum to get ready for this race.  I knew it wasn’t a hilly course but figured training on hills still wouldn’t hurt.  I couldn’t understand why I was struggling.I decided then to just keep running and enjoy the race.  There were water stations about every 2 miles.  The volunteers were wonderful in motivating us.  

By mile 9 I was done with the race.  I was tired and sore.  By this time I was focusing on each mile and each one was slower than the previous one.  I saw the 2:30 group but had no desire to run with them.  It was sunny but I never felt very hot.  I did sweat a lot though.

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I saw a group of spectators with a table outside their house full of various adult drinks.  Mimosa?  Sure, why not?  At about mile 10.5 is when the first marathon runner passed me.  He was flying!!  

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With less than a mile to go I asked someone how much longer I had and he told me less than 1/2 mile.  At that moment even 1/2 mile seemed like a long time.  I told myself that it really wasn’t and tried to focus on my morning runs and exactly where 1/2 mile was from my house.  It helped a bit.  I remember then turning left and then right and then a bridge (downhill) to the finish line.  I ran as fast as I could and was finally done.  I think about 5 or 6 marathons runners passed me up by the time I was done.  😉  I did not stay long because I wanted to get back to the hotel to shower, get something to eat, and head to the airport.  My flight was at 12:30 and I wanted to be there by 11:30.  I know I had plenty of time but I hate rushing when going to the airport.  

I was at the airport by 11:15am.  I checked in and sat down to relax.  At 12:00 there was an announcement that the flight was delayed because of the bad weather in Chicago.  Later we were told it would leave at 2:30, then 1:30, then 3:30, then 5:30.  It finally left after 4pm.  However, the plane arrived at 9:10pm in Chicago but we didn’t get to the gate till 10:45 because there were other planes that were also delayed and were waiting for a gate too.  

My coworker picked me up at the airport and she sent me the information she got from the website which of course is different from what actually happened.

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I didn’t get home till almost midnight.  Lola was happy to see me!

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Thoughts:

• I should have done a better job of researching hotels because I regret selecting that hotel.  It was a nice hotel but not close to Caras Park where the expo was held nor close to the Adams Event Center where the shuttle busses were to take us to the start line (it is a point-to-point course).

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• Uber/Lyft is expensive.  Once I figured out how much it was going to cost me to go to the expo and and come back and also to and from the Adams Event Center (this was before Rebecca asked me if I wanted a ride), I realized I should have rented a car.  I checked online and of course no cars were available at the airport.  I will confess or runfess that I cried.  How could I have been so careless about this whole trip?  When I made my hotel reservation for Michigan, Kansas, and Georgia, I picked one close to the start and finish line.  I booked the first hotel I saw on the race website but I should have looked for one closer to the start line.  Oh and to top it off, the hotel was $300. 

• Missoula is expensive.  My flight was almost $600.  I did book it at the end of May so maybe it would have been cheaper if I had booked it earlier?  A few people did tell me that it is expensive to fly into and out of Missoula.

• I had high expectations for this race.  Many people raved about it.  The course is very pretty and flat.  There are also great views but I wasn’t that impressed with it.  I thought the course was nicer at the Delaware Marathon Running Festival.  Sure it was hilly but there was more to see in DE.

• It is a well organized race.  I liked that there were plenty of water stations and volunteers.  There weren’t too many spectators but the ones that were there did a wonderful job of cheering for us.

• Gear bag drop off and pick up is a breeze.  There was a bit of a line at the start line, but it still moved fast.  When I was done with the race I went to get my bag and one of the volunteers saw me walking towards the truck and quickly retrieved my bag.

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• I like the shirt but hate the color.  The marathon runners’ shirt was blue.  

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• Finish time is 2:40:56.  I am disappointed in my time.  The weather was perfect and the course was flat.  I was aiming for a 2:30 finish time but wasn’t even close.  The last time I did a half and got a “decent” finish time was the Covered Bridges Half Marathon in 2015.  I finished in 2:19:51 and that is my second best time after the Hartford Half Marathon.  Oh, and the course in VA was hilly.  

Would I do it again?  Maybe but for sure I would pick a different hotel.  I would also plan to stay longer and do more things in Missoula.

Tuesday Topics

This week’s Tuesday Topic:  Your 2019 mid year review.  You can write about this topic, or feel free to post any running related blog post.  Remember to Link-up with Kim and Zenaida!  Visit at least two of the other linked posts – the more the merrier!  Remember to come back for later linkers!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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Tuesday Topics: Changes in my training

Disclaimer:  I received a free entry to the Missoula Half Marathon and the Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!  

I am excited about my races this year.  So far I’ve run an 8k and a half marathon.  My next race is the Missoula Half Marathon on June 30th.  Yesterday I signed up for the Elmhurst 4 on the 4th in July.  It is another of my favorites and have been doing this race since 2013.  My PR is from 2014 (39:39) and each year my time has been slower (40:47, 41:24, 42:37, and 44:17).  Can I get a PR this year?  Who knows since I will be running a half marathon a few days before.

The Missoula Half Marathon is flat, fast, and point-to-point.  The course looks so pretty!  Check out the video below.  If you want to sign up, use code BibRave19 to save $5 off your registration fee.  I am excited that this will be state #41 for me.

Another race I am looking forward to is the Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Half Marathon.  At the moment it looks like it will be state #45 (depending if I do end up running 3 half marathons in August).  I have never been to Detroit and am excited to run in the U.S. and in Canada (I signed up for the International Half Marathon).  I read online that runners will be required to run with their passport.  I am a bit nervous about this because it has been years since I have used my passport for travel.  What if I forget to pack it?  🤦🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️

Want to run with me?  Use “2019DETROCK” for 10% off your registration fee.

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I don’t know what the course is like, but I’ve written about how I’ve recently started running in a new place (The Morton Arboretum).  I was so frustrated during my last race because of all of the ups and downs.  Chicago is FLAT.  See below for a comparison while running 6 miles by my house (top) and 7 miles at The Arboretum.  🙂  The Arboretum has lots of hills and my plan is to go there every Saturday morning.  For sure it will help me, right?

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Another change I’ve been doing is watching what I eat.  My goal is not to lose weight (thought I could benefit from losing a few pounds), but not overeat so much and to eat more fruits and vegetables.  For breakfast I make overnight oats with strawberries, almond milk, and nuts.  For lunch I usually take spaghetti, beans, or a salad.  Dinner is where it gets tricky.  Baby steps.

I am working on drinking more water and getting more sleep.  I take my Contigo water bottle (32 ounces) to school and usually finish it by lunch time.  The problem is “going to the bathroom”.  I have a break in the morning and during lunch.  The rest of the day I either have to call the office for an administrator or ask a teacher to watch my class while I run to the bathroom.  Sleep is hard too.  I am usually in bed by 9pm since I need to be up at 4:30 to run.  Sometimes my body likes to play games and I wake up at that time even on the days I don’t run.

I used to be very good about taking a multivitamin every single day.  I don’t remember the last time I took one.  I need to read Wendy’s post again about the various supplements for inflammation.  With the hard workouts I’ve been doing, sometimes I’ve had to take a couple of pain pills.  No bueno.  I remember I was very sore after running the Delaware Half Marathon.  Kim’s mom gave me Motrin and while it did help, I don’t want to make it a habit of taking something after a tough run.

I am hoping these changes help in my training.  I know I could add a few more things but am OK with these for now.

Tuesday Topics

This week’s Tuesday Topic is a How has running made you a better person?  You can write about this topic, or feel free to post any running related blog post.  Remember to Link-up with Kim and Zenaida!  Visit at least two of the other linked posts – the more the merrier!  Remember to come back for later linkers!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Tuesday Topics: 2019 Delaware Half Marathon Race Recap

Disclaimer:  I received a free entry to the Delaware Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!  

On Sunday I ran the Delaware Half Marathon.  It was also state #40 in my goal to run a half marathon in each state.  I am hoping to be done with this goal next year.  

I left Saturday morning and took a flight to Philadelphia.  When I arrived I waited about 20 minutes for a shuttle bus to arrive and take me to my hotel in Wilmington.

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Luckily my room was ready.  The front desk clerk gave me a bag that had two bottles of water and a cookie.

Then I unpacked and went to the expo.  I love it when the expo is in the hotel I am staying.  I got my bib and shirt but did not buy anything. I signed up to get FREE race photos.  I began talking to the volunteer that was there about my 50 states goal.  I mentioned that I planned to run in Hawaii next year.  He asked me if that would be my last state.  I said “no” and the idea was born to make it my last one.  Currently, it will be my 48th state.

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Then I got something to eat.  I ordered a chicken wrap and a beer flight.  Yummy!  I also ate my cookie at the hotel.

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Later I met Kim for dinner.  We ended up going to the small restaurant in the hotel.  We talked and laughed.  We had a good time.  Once back in my room I got my stuff ready and went to sleep.

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Race morning it was in the mid 50s.  No rain and no sun which makes it perfect for running.  I made coffee, got ready, and ate a Clif Bar.  I met Kim and her mom in the lobby and we walked to the start line (about 15 minutes away).  The race started and ended at the Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park.

My two goals for this race were to enjoy it and to finish it.  I remember at one point I was hoping to make this race my PR race.  My training hasn’t been going that great so that idea went out the window.

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This race is not flat.  Well, for about 4 miles it was flat.  Then it was all downhill and uphill.  I thought I was going “fast” in the downhills but my watch told me something different.  We ran in Brandywine Park and that was simply gorgeous.  Lots of trees – very peaceful and relaxing. 

A little after mile 6 it was up, up, and up.  I saw Kim and she was in her zone.  This is when my legs started to hurt.   

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Beginning at mile 7.5 was the Munchkins Mile.  Lots and lots of munchkins.  I grabbed two and kept going.  It was here that we ran through a nice neighborhood.  The houses were beautiful and I remember what seemed to be like a small park/lots of trees in the middle of the two streets.  

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I remember that after mile 9 someone told me that I had already run the most difficult part of the race.

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Then it was back to Brandywine Park (more downhill).  

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I almost cried when I saw the mile marker for mile 12.  I was very sore and tired.  The last mile was uphill for 1/2 mile and the rest downhill to mile 13.  That area is “Lawyer’s Row” and I saw a bunch of law firms such as Richards, Layton & Finger; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP;  and Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP.  I used to work at the American Bar Association so I recognized those firms.

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I was so happy to see Mile 13.  I did stop for a few seconds to catch my breath and then ran to the finish line.  

Finally done!  I got my medal and a bottle of water.  I kept walking and saw Kim and her mom.  It started to drizzle and at first I was OK, but then eventually I got cold.

I sampled two different Dunkin iced coffees.  The pistachio almond fudge was good but the butter pecan was even better.  Then we got some beer and pizza.

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Our hotel was at about mile 12.5 of the race course.  During the race it was nice running downhill, but heading back to the hotel it was all uphill.  That was rough.  

Once I showered and changed, I met Kim and her mom for lunch.  We ended up going back to the same place I had been to the day before.  This time I had a cheeseburger and a mimosa.

Overall, I thought it was a great race.  The weather was perfect.  It was well organized. There were plenty of water stations and the volunteers were wonderful.  There wasn’t a lot of crowd support, but the views made up for it.  Again, Brandywine Park is gorgeous.  What I did not like were the hills.  I was very sore.  My left leg was bothering me and I stopped a couple of times to stretch.  Want to know what was going through my mind throughout the race?  I told myself over and over again that I should start training on hills.  Someone asked me if I would do it again.  The answer is “yes”, but I would train on hills.  🙂

I definitely recommend this race.  Two thumbs up from me!

Tuesday Topics

This week’s Tuesday Topic is a FREE topic.  Feel free to post any running related blog post.  Remember to Link-up with Kim and Zenaida!  Visit at least two of the other linked posts – the more the merrier!  Remember to come back for later linkers!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Tuesday Topics: My favorite cross training activity

Disclaimer:  I am promoting the Ravenswood 5K as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

I will confess that I am bad when it comes to cross training.  Thanks to my insurance I got a great deal on my gym membership, but have not taken advantage of it.  I think I’ve been to the gym less than 5 times since I joined back in January.  

I Confess

Right now I am a member of Planet Fitness and LA Fitness.  I am aware that the latter has awesome classes such as zumba, spinning, and boot camp.  I know, I know.  It is a waste of money if I am not going to take advantage of the memberships.

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However, I do enjoy walking.  Well, not too long of a time because then I get bored.  🙂 How is it that I can run for an hour but easily get bored when I walk for an hour.  But throw in some money incentive and I could walk for hours.  Remember the step challenge I did a few months ago?

Some benefits of walking include:
• Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
• Lowers stress and improves mood
• Supports your joints and strengthen muscles
• Can lead to weight loss
• Improves sleep

Right now most of the walking I do is in my classroom.  Now that Spring is here and a bit warmer, I am hoping that I can get out more often for a walk.  Did I tell you that Target is about 1/2 mile away from my house?  It is good but also dangerous.  

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For those in the Chicago area, make sure to sign up for a fun 5K on April 28th.  Unfortunately I won’t be in town for this race since I will be in Wilmington for the Delaware Half Marathon.  It is my first half marathon this year and I am excited (but nervous) about it.

Check out the cool blue shirts for all registrations.  Aren’t they lovely?  Make sure to use code “RAVENSBR” for a FREE stainless steel water bottle!  Pretty cool, right?  Even I want one.  🙂

Proceeds from this race help support the Ravenswood Community Services Food Pantry at All Saints Episcopal Church and the student health centers at Lakeview and Amundsen High Schools.

Here is a short clip from the race:

Tuesday Topics

This week’s Tuesday Topic:  What’s your favorite cross training activity?  You can write about this topic, or feel free to post any running related blog post.  Remember to link-up with Kim and Zenaida!  Visit at least two of the other linked posts – the more the merrier!  Remember to come back for later linkers!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Tuesday Topics: 2019 Shamrock Shuffle Race Recap

Disclaimer:  I received a free entry to the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!  

This week’s topic is “What are your favorite non-running or non-fitness hobbies?”  I ran a race on Sunday so I am going a different route and writing my race recap.  I hope I don’t don’t bore you!

On Sunday I ran one of my favorite races!  Love, love this race!  This was also my first race of the year.  This year was also the 40th Anniversary.

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I’ve been running this race since 2006, but missed it in 2009, 2012, and 2013.  

I picked up my bib on Saturday morning along with my race shirt and a bright green hat just like last year.

The forecast on Saturday morning was that it was supposed to rain.  I was debating between shorts or tights.  I also had a jacket for the rain.

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I woke up Sunday morning at 6am and quickly checked the weather.  No rain!  I got up, drank coffee while eating a Clif Bar, and got ready.  I left my house at 6:45 and drove to the train station.  Luckily I didn’t have to wait too long for the train.  When I arrived downtown I stopped at the Congress Hotel to use the restroom and then went to drop off my gear.

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I had planned to meet up with a few BibRave friends and as I was running towards Buckingham Fountain, I heard my name and saw Wendy.  Then I realized Marcia was also with her and Stephanie (Wendy’s friend).  We chatted for a bit and also took a picture.

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I then saw my BibRave friends!  We chatted for a bit and then went to our corrals.  We were in Wave 1 and had to be there by 8:20 to start at 8:30.

My goal was to have fun and finish in under an hour.  I had my watch on manual lap because I knew the building always mess up the satellite signal.  I also set my watch to just see the current time because I didn’t want to stress out about my splits.

Time to run!

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I took my time with this race.  I stopped at the water stations and also walked.  I soaked it all in because I rarely go downtown anymore and it was nice to be there.  Also, I did get tired, not sure why but my legs just wouldn’t run faster.  🙂  I did warm up a bit but then would also cool down and warm up again.  Still it was much better than being too cold or too hot.  And definitely better that it wasn’t raining.

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I was surprised to see my time for my 1st mile because I didn’t realize I was going that fast (I also had to stop before mile 1 because one of the shoelaces came untied).  I then just made an effort to slow down because I knew it was going to bite me later on.  Yep, it did.  I ended up with positive splits.  🙂

This race starts and ends in the same place as the Chicago Marathon.  While the crowd support isn’t like the marathon, there is plenty to cheer and support you.  

Once done I had planned to meet up again with my BibRave friends at Buckingham Fountain, but as I was walking towards gear check, I saw Stephanie and Wendy again.  Then I saw Marcia.  We wanted a picture of our medal with The Bean.  It took us a while to get there because some streets were still closed and we had to find an alternate route.  Anyway, by then I was hungry and cold and then decided to head home after the picture.

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In case you didn’t know, I love this race.  My plan is to keep running it every year unless there is a reason that I cannot do it.

Tuesday Topics

This week’s Tuesday Topic:  What are your favorite non-running or non-fitness hobbies?  You can write about this topic, or feel free to post any running related blog post.  Remember to Link-up with Kim and Zenaida!  Visit at least two of the other linked posts – the more the merrier!  Remember to come back for later linkers!