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Category: Race all 50 states

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.

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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.

Covered Bridges Half Marathon

Almost two weeks ago I went to Vermont to run in state #33.  Jaime and I had registered for this race back in December and it sold out in a few hours.

My flight left at 7am with a layover in Baltimore and that is where Jaime boarded the plane.  I had not seen her since November for the Tulsa Route 66 Half Marathon.  An hour later we were in Manchester, NH picking up the rental car and on our way to get something to eat cause we were starving.  We found  a cute and delicious sushi place not too far from the airport.

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Then it was time to head out to Vermont.  Beautiful drive!

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The race directors did a good job of sending emails on a regular basis with helpful race information.  Somehow we missed the part letting us know that bib pickup was only available on race day.  Jaime and I arrived in Woodstock (cute little town) only to find out that we were to pick up our bibs the next day.  We’ve both run a lot of races and have never heard of such a ridiculous thing.  We know some races offer bib pickup the day before AND on race day but never only on race day.  Well, since we were there already we walked around for a bit.  Jaime found a magnet for her collection.  We went inside another store and they were offering complimentary drinks for the customers.

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For dinner we went to a Mediterranean place and ate hummus, falafel, zucchini pancakes and a bunch of other things.  I had woken up really early that day for my flight and was asleep by 9:30.

My body likes messing with me and I was awake at 4:30 but really it was 3:30 since I was still on central time.  An hour later I got up, got ready, and went downstairs to see what was available for us at the breakfast buffet.  There was fruit, bagels, cereal, oatmeal and other stuff.  My favorite was the pancake maker.  I made two of them for me and went back upstairs.

The race began at 8:15 so why the heck were we leaving our hotel at 6am?!  Well, we had to drive to Quechee Village Lot, leave our car, and then get on a shuttle bus to take us to the start line at Suicide Six Ski Area.  The whole trip from the hotel to the start line took 45 minutes.  That meant we had to wait 1 1/2 for the race to start.  It was cold.  I took a long sleeve shirt and was still cold. I used the port-a-potties after I got my bib and once again before the start of the race.  We were both annoyed that we had to wait so long for the race.

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Finally it was time to run.  I took off my long sleeve shirt and wrapped it around my waist.  I knew I was going to be hot once I began running.  I had clear instructions from my coach.  She told me to run miles 1-5 @11:30; miles 5-10 @10:45-11:00; and miles 10-13 to go as hard as I felt comfortable.  I had every intention of doing what she planned for me.  Did not follow her plan.  I finished my first mile in 9:15.  I couldn’t believe it because I did not realize I was going that fast.  I did try to slow down and my next two miles were done in 10:07 and 10:28.  At mile 4 (10:24) I stopped to take a picture.  At mile 5 (10:46) I walked a little bit while I ate my energy gel.  My watch lost connection at mile 6.24 and was working again 2 miles later.  It was still way off based on the mile markers.

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There was this massive hill around mile 8 and I just simply cursed.  And I walked too.

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At mile 12 there was this woman yelling that we were almost done and I seriously wanted to tell her to shut up.  It really bugs me when people are yelling and screaming at the runners telling us we were almost done when we really were not almost done.  You can say that to me when I am .25 miles from the finish line but not 1 mile away.  I had taken an ibuprofen after mile 6 so my legs weren’t sore.  Ha, once that wrote off I was sore for two days.  Once I knew I was close to the finish line, I ran as quickly as I could and finished in 2:19:51 @10:41 average pace.  I heard the announcer call out my name and said something about Chicago Cubs tickets.

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I am very pleased with my finish time.  It is my second best half marathon finish time.  My PR (2:17:01) is still from the Hartford Half Marathon in 2013.

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Then came the tricky part.  My cell phone was not working so there was no way to get a hold of Jaime.  I sent her two texts but they were taking a long time to get through.  I also called her several times but got disconnected.  Finally, by some miracle I got her text letting me know that she was next to the stage.  I turned around to look for her and saw her walking towards me.  In my text I told her that I would meet her by the car.  I saw some cars up ahead and assumed that was where we left our car that morning.  Wrong.  We still had to hike almost a mile to get to the parking lot.  Why make the runners walk almost a mile after running 13.1 miles on a hilly course? Plus, we still had to shower, check out of the hotel, drive to Manchester, and eat before Jaime’s 2:50 flight back to Baltimore.

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Overall, I thought it was a very pretty course.  The weather was perfect during the race.  The shaded areas were wonderful.  The volunteers were great.  Great tshirt color too.  However, the logistics were horrible.  I am somewhat OK with the flight to Manchester and the 1 1/2 drive to the race location.  I did not like the early wake up call (still better than Disney races), the long wait prior to the race, and definitely not the walk back to our car.  Jaime and I had talked about doing again some of the races we’re run before such as the Little Rock and RnR New Orleans. The Vermont race is definitely not on that list.  I guess maybe I am spoiled and like it when I can walk and it is easy to get to the start line and then back to the hotel after the race.  I remember that for the Little Rock Half Marathon the start line was literally outside the hotel.  I am NOT saying not to do this race but just giving you a little heads up on what to expect.

What has been your “most challenging race to get go?”  Next race is Elmhurst 4 on the 4th.  This will be my 3rd year running it and I am looking forward to it.

Running in new states in 2015

To date I’ve run in 31 states.  Well 32 if you include Washington DC.   I know Washington DC isn’t a state either I am counting it as part of this goal.  The states in yellow are those that I still need to run in.

Race in the 50+1 States

To date I’ve registered for the following races/states:

There are a few more I plan to do but still working on logistics:

So that is 7 new states this year for a total of 39.  Wow, I was hoping to be in the 40s at the end of this year so I will need to add a few more races to my list.  Let me check out those cities that I can get to on Southwest.  I live about 5 minutes away from Midway Airport so there is no doubt as to which airline to use.

As I complete a race in a new state I get excited because I am so much closer to completing my goal. I am hoping this year I get to truly enjoy each race instead of focusing on time.  Although I would like to one day run a sub-2 half marathon.  To date my best time is 2:17:03 at the ING Hartford Half Marathon in 2013.

I am also excited this year to run the Illinois Marathon as a relay member for “Team Faster than Snails”.  For sure that race will be just for fun!  Oh, and I am still hoping to run Ragnar Relay Chicago. So far we’ve had 2 snow days and now my last day of school is June 9 (Tuesday).  Team members meet on Thursday evening to start on Friday morning.  A couple more snow days and for sure I won’t be able to run in the relay.  No more snow!!

Come run with me!  Where are you running?  Can I tag along?

December and Year in Review 2014

Disclosure of Material Connection:  Some of the links in the post below are “affiliate links.”  This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 

HappyNewYear

In December I ran 90.71 miles compared to 69.82 in November.  Last year (December) I ran 142.39.  Big difference but I remember that I was training for my 50K in April.

Here is my 2014 running year in review:

# of Miles Run: 1001.48.  I did my last run yesterday morning.

Races Run: 17, 50K (1), marathons (1), half marathons (9), 10K (2), 8K (1), 4 milers (1), 5k (2).

Fun Race Destinations: All Disney races except the Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  Also, Des Moines and Tulsa (basically all races with Jaime).

Best Races: I had a great time at both the Shamrock Shuffle and the 4 on the 4th.  I felt really good in both races and definitely enjoyed them.  Also, I enjoyed the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon because I also felt great (besides some pain in my glutes) and did well despite my lack of running/training.

Worst Races: Chinatown 5K, ZOOMA Chicago Half Marathon, Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon and Route 66 Half Marathon.  I really hate running in the rain and hills.  However, I would like to run again Chinatown 5K and Route 66 Half Marathon.

Running Shoes: I started off the year running in Brooks PureConnect 2 (315.35 miles).  Then switched to the Brooks PureFlow 2 (346.28 miles) and then back again to Brooks PureConnect 2 (65.18 miles).  I then needed more support so I got a pair of Mizuno Sayonara.  There were OK.  I guess I was used to lightweight shoes and found the Sayonara too heavy.  I went back to Fleet Feet and was fitted with a pair of Newton’s Kismet. Wow!  I really loved those shoes.  Everything was going well until I experienced some toe numbness in my right foot.  I went to the podiatrist who diagnosed me with Morton’s neuroma.  I don’t think that’s accurate since I did not experience many of the symptoms. “Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition that affects the ball of your foot, most commonly the area between your third and fourth toes.  Morton’s neuroma may feel as if you are standing on a pebble in your shoe or on a fold in your sock.  Morton’s neuroma involves a thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves leading to your toes.  This can cause a sharp, burning pain in the ball of your foot.  Your toes also may sting, burn or feel numb.”

Luckily, I only experienced the numbness but it was enough to take me back to Fleet Feet for another pair of shoes and I walked out with the Brooks Ravenna.  Really comfortable shoes but somehow I experienced some discomfort on the right side of my right foot.  I really tried to make them work (because I did not want to buy more shoes) and used several different pairs of socks but no luck.  In November I bought my last pair, Saucony Ride.  My feet are happy and I am happy.

Star Sightings: I met Scott Jurek, Deena Kastor, and John Cox.  Plus, I got to see Bart Yasso again in Chicago and Tulsa.

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Ambassadorships: Zooma Chicago Half Marathon and Fort2Base.  I did not run Fort2Base but instead volunteered at gear check which was fun but also exhausting.

Next year I will be am ambassador for Christmas in July and will be sponsored by Hammer Nutrition.

Register for any Christmas in July Race and use discount code AMBARROYO10 to save 10% off and code 228361 to save 15% off your first Hammer Nutrition order (affiliate link).

Personal Records (PRs): 2, Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle and Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th.  I am excited and looking forward to running them again this year.

Favorite Medals:

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Top L to R: Tinker Bell Half Marathon and Disney Princess Half Marathon Bottom L to R: Dumbo Dare Challenge and Coast to Coast Challenge

Best New Running Product I Tried: Hammer Gel in Nocciola (Hazelnut-Chocolate).

My plans for next year?

  • Run 2,015 miles as part of Run 2,015 in 2015 Challenge.  The plan is to run them with three other friends but don’t think they’ve signed up.

RunTheEdge