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Category: Race all 50 states

BCT Harpers Ferry Half Marathon

Last weekend I traveled to West Virginia to run the BCT Harpers Ferry Half Marathon which makes it state #35.  While it was a hilly and challenging course, it was still beautiful.

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I left Friday morning for Baltimore and met up with Jaime for lunch.  She went back to work and I went to the National Aquarium and was very impressed with it.  I saw turtles, sharks, frogs, so many types and fish and birds.  The best part was touching the Moon Jelly.  They felt so weird sort of slimy.  I found Nemo but could not find Dory.  Afterwards I got a coffee from Corner Bakery and waited for her to get off work.

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After work we met her husband and went to a bar while enjoying the best crab pretzel.  Yummy. Then we relaxed and enjoyed a baseball game between Baltimore and Detroit.  We did not stay too late because we had an early wake up call in the morning to drive to West Virginia.

The next morning we were out the door by 5:45.  We knew it was about an hour drive to Harpers Ferry but didn’t really know how much longer it would take to get to the start line.  We were there by 7, met her friend, Justin, picked up our bib, used the restrooms and waited for the race to start.  It was a small race with no more than 400 registrants.

A quick announcement from the race director (no National Anthem but there were playing “Take Me Home, Country Roads which made me smile) and off we went.  There was no special mat at the start line so my time started right at 8am.  I had a timing chip secured with ziploc twist ties and was afraid of it becoming loose and actually losing it.  Throughout the race I made sure to look down a few times to make sure it was there.

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Here is the race description:

“Local runners have crafted one of the most challenging and beautiful half marathons in the country. The half marathon course is almost completely enclosed in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the preserved Civil War era towns of Bolivar and Harpers Ferry.  The route includes close to 1000 feet of total elevation gain and 2000 feet of total elevation change.  You will experience a mix of trail, road, and crushed gravel paths.  You will view the confluence of the Two Rivers- the Shenandoah and the Potomac.  The steep uphill portions will test each runner’s strength and will. The fun and challenging downhills will be a wild ride you’ve rarely experienced in a run.  Breathtaking views of the rivers, historic buildings, mountains, scenery will stimulate the senses and inspire you to reach the finish line.”

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Harpers Ferry Battlefield

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I think this is The Shenandoah River.

Running through Harpers Ferry.

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This is how I felt going down and up the hills.

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It may be a simple medal but let me tell you that I earned it.

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Even though it was challenging and tough, it was a beautiful course.  I did like the variety of running paths.  The volunteers were wonderful.  I knew I wasn’t going to PR so I took my time, walked up the hills, took pictures, and simply enjoyed the race.  I wore an Oiselle shirt and shorts along with a blue Sparkle Athletic skirt and got many compliments on it.  I was so happy it wasn’t hot and that it did not rain.  I did get warm while running but was never uncomfortable.

Post race I had two slices of pizza and a bagel.  I was very hungry.  We stuck around for a little bit longer and left after the start of the One Mile Fun Run.

Next race is the Buffalo Half Marathon on May 29.

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Race shirts: Favorites and the ones we love to hate

I am linking up with Marcia, Erika, and Patti for today’s Tuesdays on the Run.

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I will confess that I rarely keep any of my race shirts.  The year I ran 14 RnR half marathons, I got 14 shirts but did not keep any of them.  They were all nice shirts (Brooks) but really what was I supposed to do with 14 shirts?  There has been one or two races in which I had the option of not receiving the race shirt in exchange for a few dollars off my registration fee.

However, I have kept a couple of them mainly because of the materials and the color/cut.

  1.  Route 66 Half Marathon

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2.  Princeton Half Marathon >>My favorite one.

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3. Des Moines Half Marathon

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I like the shirts from the Bank of America races (Nike brand) but do not keep them either.  Not sure why since I do like the cut.  But I prefer the finisher’s shirt I bought at the outlet store.  It was about $16 three weeks after the marathon. 

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The “ugliest” looking shirt is this one.  I mean, seriously?

I did keep my Run Disney long sleeve shirts but only because I wear them at night when I go to sleep.  That extra layer keeps me warm throughout the cold Chicago winters.

I know some runners have had quilts made from their race shirts and I kind of regret not saving mine.  Seeing hers made me want to have one for me so you bet I will start saving my shirts. Pretty cool right?  This one is from Kimberly who blogs at KookyRunner.

Do you keep your race shirts?  For you or to make a quilt as well?

Spring Race Plans

I am linking up with Marcia, Erika, and Patti for today’s Tuesdays on the Run.

TuesdaysOnTheRun

I am very excited about my upcoming Spring races!  I know it isn’t in the Spring season but my first race this year is RnR NOLA on February 28th.  I did the marathon in 2013 and am excited to go back for another race. My two sisters and nephew are also going so it should be fun!!

Next on my calendar is the Live Grit 10 Miler.  I’ve done this race a couple times but I think last year was the worst one.  The weather started off perfect but then throughout the race it must have dropped about 20 degrees and was windy.  You bet I was cold.  On the good side, I got a chance to meet Wendy and Marcia.  The race course is along the lakefront but on the north side which I enjoy because I normally run on the south side and like the change of scenery. Hopefully the weather cooperates this year.  Love the medal too.

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Next is the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K.  This is one of my favorite races.  I love the distance and the location.  The start and finish line are the same as the Chicago Marathon.  I managed to get a PR in 2014 but missed it in 2015 and you bet I am aiming for one this year. Check out the medal.  Pretty cool huh?

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I have a few half marathons in various states that are still in the works.  For sure I am going to Michigan for the Bayshore Half Marathon (May 28) and West Virginia for the Harpers Ferry Half Marathon (May 14).  I am working on logistics for the Garmin Half Marathon on April 16. That’s three states.  My goal is to run in at least 5 different states this year.  I’m not sure about the Run for the Zoo Half Marathon in NM on May 1 because that will be 3 half marathons in one month.  I know it is doable.  I am just worried about how my body will respond to it.

I may register for a 5k and/or 10K since I have not done one in years.  The Run to Remember 5K in May is a great one but always gets so crowded.  I’ve been wanting to run both The Good Life Race 5K and the Ravenswood Run 5K and a few running friends have said good things about both races.  I have not made up my mind about the Illinois Marathon Relay also in April.  We had a good time (even if it rained throughout the whole race) and it looks like this year more of my friends also want to run the relay.

Summer and fall races is a whole different story.  I will leave that for another post.

This is how I feel.

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Any fun races for you?

Garmin Marathon (or Half) FREE Entry Giveaway – Let’s go to the Land of Oz!!

“Follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road
Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow-brick road
Follow the yellow-brick, follow the yellow-brick
Follow the yellow-brick road”

How many of you grew up singing the lyrics to that song?  I started off late and didn’t see the movie till about 6 years ago when I showed it to my 1st graders.  We also read a kid’s version of the book which we all enjoyed. However, I do remember seeing the play when I was in grade school but have no clue why I did not see the movie.

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Anyway, did you know that there are several races (marathon, full marathon, 10k and Kids Run) sponsored by Garmin in Olathe (O-Lay-th), KS on April 16, 2016?  Who wants to go?  For all of you Wizard of Oz fans and/or Garmin fans, this is a MUST run event.  Also, if you are like me and want to run a race in each state, then this is another reason to take a trip to “The Land of Oz”.  In addition, if you’re a Marathon Maniacs or Half Fanatics member, there will be an all new Maniac Corner with an indoor VIP area with private restrooms and FREE post race food. If you’ve run the William Route 66 Marathon/Half Marathon, then you know it is a memorable experience for all runners.  

The new 2016 race course includes small rolling hills, commercial development areas, residential streets and paved suburban running trail.  Love the variety!  The races will also feature a new 2016 start and finish near the recently opened Embassy Suites Hotel and Olathe Conference Center, located at Kansas Highway 10 and Ridgeview Road.  Hotel rooms are filling up quickly so make sure to make your reservation at either the Embassy Suites Hotel, Hilton Garden Inn, or Holiday Inn Express.

Embassy Suites in Olathe

“The Emerald City Finish Line Festival” will also take place there where you’ll find many wonderful freebies for runners including bananas, chocolate milk, granola, post race meal, beer, adjustments, massage, yoga stretching & live music.

Check out the sweet bling!  Two of my friends, Elizabeth and Kim,  ran this race two years ago. Make sure to check out their recaps.

Garmin Marathon Medals

The Garmin Marathon has graciously decided to give away ONE entry to either the marathon or half marathon.  To enter, click on the image below where you will be directed to Gleam and enter several different ways such as leaving a blog post comment; following me, Garmin Marathon, and Garmin on Instagram, visiting the Garmin Marathon Facebook page, or tweeting about the giveaway.  For the winner, I will also send you a package with some running essentials which includes a pair of Lock Laces and 2 bottles of Nuun Active tablets (I have several flavors in stock).

Garmin Marathon

This giveaway will run for seven days.  The winner will be selected on the eighth day.  This one will run through January 26th at 11:59pm.  The giveaway is open to US residents only. The winner will be contacted via the email address associated with their Gleam account and will have 24 hours to claim their prize.  All entries are verified, so please be sure to complete them or a new, random winner will be selected.

Disclaimer: If you have already registered for the 2016 Garmin Marathon Full, Half or 10K; and you win the Gleam raffle; you will not be allowed a refund; however, you would be allowed to accept the prize for a friend.

Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon

Another really late post.  I am usually really good about posting race recaps right away but somehow I slacked with this one. It won’t happen again.

I ran the Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon on Saturday, July 11.  So that was state #34 for me.  You can read about what I did the day before here.

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The race began at 7:15am so I was up at 6, got ready, ate, and headed out with Sonya and Kim.  The start line was about a mile away from our apartment.  On the way there I saw a Residence Inn so I took advantage of it to use a real bathroom.  I said goodbye to the girls and went to do my business.  I walked to the start line and waited for the runners in the first wave to start.  Then about 5 minutes later it was my turn to run.  It was so crowded.  I am not a fast runner but I still had to weave around a few runners.  Plus, it did not help that it was a narrow path.

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Honestly, I don’t remember too much about the race except that it was HOT.  Plus, I was miserable and couldn’t wait to finish the race.  Earlier I told Kim that my goal was to finish under 2:30.  I was still at mile 12 when I saw those numbers on my watch.  Honestly, I did not care because all I wanted to do was cross the finish line.  We ran around a lake that seemed to go on forever.  It reminded me of the one in the IMS Des Moines Half Marathon.  There was absolutely no shade and I mostly walked (but in Des Moines it wasn’t as hot).

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I remember the 2:30 group caught up with me before mile 6 and I decided to run with them.  I ran with them for a few minutes but there was a hill and I simply had no energy to keep up with them.  I was very impressed with this 10 year girl that was running with her mom.  There was also a cop in uniform gear. That shut me up and I did not complain anymore.

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At mile 12 there was this group doing yoga.

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Photo credit: Kim Reed
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L to R: Kim, me, Sonya
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Lunch at Bayside American Cafe. I had the Bayside BLT with lobster.

Overall, I did like the course.  There were many wonderful volunteers and thanks to them I had plenty of water to drink and to dump on my head to cool down.  The medal is pretty neat too.  After the race I told the girls that I did not like it.  Obviously I was not in the right state of mind when I made that comment. One cool thing that the race offers is free race photos to the runners.  Here is one that I cropped because, well, I do not like the rest of it.

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Portland is a fun place to visit so make sure to stay a day or two to enjoy everything it has to offer.

Next race: Chicago Half Marathon, September 27 as part of the CARA Marathon Incentive Program.