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Category: Race all 50 states

ING Hartford Half Marathon

Two years ago I ran the full marathon and this year I ran the half marathon.  My flight was late from my layover in Baltimore so I did not make it to the expo till after 1pm.  The city of Hartford was definitely ready for the runners.

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It was a gorgeous morning on race day (50 degrees).  JB and I walked over to the start line at about 7:20 and were there in about 10 minutes.

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At about 5 minutes before 8, I saw and met Kim from (Just) Trying is for Little Girls.  We’ve ran in two different races this year but had never met.  Kim and I started together but then got separated.  I then saw her a bit later and ran behind her for about 4 miles.  She is one awesome runner!!  I got separated again from her at one of the water stops. Then as I began running again I saw Jess from Run with Jess.  She is another great runner and I ran with/behind her for about 3 miles.   These 7 miles were not easy; they were HILLY!  However, I ran each mile (except mile 5) under 10 minutes.  Yes, I was pleased.  I guess those two girls brought me good luck.  🙂

A little after mile 7 I saw a friend and her husband giving out water (non official volunteers) to the runners.  I stopped for about a minute while I ate a Gu and drank water.  I was very thirsty and drank enough water to get me through the next few miles.  I ran mile 8 in 10:54.  The rest of the course had its share of hills but I knew that each uphill also had a downhill and I flew down each one.  Most of the course was shaded but there were some parts that I wished I had sunglasses.  I used my hand to cover the sun so that I could see better and not trip like I did in Omaha.

The spectators and volunteers were WONDERFUL!!!  They sure made this experience so much better.

And just like the marathon I got to run under Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch to cross the finish line. My finish time was 2:17:01 which is almost a 3 minute PR.

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At the finish line we got a cute medal, a real water bottle, and a small reusable bag with some goodies.  There was a food tent for runners.  In order to get in you needed a ticket that was attached to your bib.  I was happy with this process because I’ve been in some races in which spectators also helped themselves to the food when it is only for runners.

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Overall, it was a GREAT race!  I am so happy that I decided to run this race and now have an official half marathon race in CT.

I know it is hard to see but here is a picture of the elevation map.

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Next race is Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Half Marathon on October 20.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Cleveland Half Marathon

Done with state #26 on Ohio!

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I’ve been running a half marathon every weekend since September 1.  It hasn’t been that bad.  The one thing I miss is staying home during the weekend.  When I stay home I catch up with work and TV shows or just simply relaxing.  Now I find myself traveling early on Saturday morning and coming back on Sunday afternoon/evening.  Yes, I am tired when I get back but I know I have a couple more races and then I can relax at home.

I almost cancelled my trip to Cleveland.  I was tired.  I don’t know if it is because of the running, work, or lack of sleep.  Or maybe a combination of all of them?  I was up late on Friday and then woke up early on Saturday for my 8:30 am flight.  Luckily, the flight was only 45 minutes but by the time I landed, took the train to the hotel (cab was $40 and train/bus ride was $5), and checked in, it was almost 1pm.  I got directions to the convention center to pick up my packet and was going to walk but instead took advantage of the free trolley.

At the expo I bought two more Nike shirts at 50 percent off each and a pair of Nike Free 5.0 in pink. I’ve been told that they’re not training shoes but instead are to be used for speed and short runs.  I might sell them on Amazon or just keep them because they’re just so cute!  Afterwards I was tired and hungry but unfortunately could not find a decent place to eat.  I was already in a bad mood.  I then found a Chinese restaurant close to the hotel.  However, after I ate and walked back I noticed a sushi place even closer.  I made a mental note to be more observant to the places around the hotel.  I did not let that bother me because I ended going to the sushi place for dinner.  It was delicious!!  That night I went to bed around 10:00 pm.

On race morning I was tired.  I got dressed and went downstairs because the hotel was providing free breakfast.  I had coffee and a bagel with cream cheese.  I wasn’t really hungry but am glad I ate because I got really hungry during the race.

The race began at 8:00 am.  It was humid.  I was feeling a little dizzy too so I decided to take it easy. Each mile was very difficult for me.  It was hilly the first 3 miles.  There was one downhill so steep that I swear that if it had been raining, we would all have been rolling down (that was my fastest mile).  I almost quit halfway through the race.  I began questioning myself and wondering why I was running the race.  Then I remembered, “Oh yeah, my 50 states goal.”  I walked and ran each mile.  I stopped at two medical tents because I was chafing in my bra area.  I cursed the bra, the sweat, and everything else.  Yes, I was tired but I kept on running.

The weather was nice.  I had checked the weather that morning and the day before and it was supposed to rain.  It didn’t.  I was dehydrated and could not wait till the race was over.  The 2:30 group passed me and some walkers were walking faster than me.  Yikes!

The mile markers were way off compared to the Nike+ app.  As you can see below, I finished mile 13 in 2:28:35 but yet my official finish time is 2:35:41.  I remember that at one point it was off by .30 of a mile so I knew I would finish at around 13.40.  Once I reached that point I thought “Where is the finish line”?

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Overall, it was a good race for being an inaugural race in Cleveland.  There were plenty of water stations, race began on time, and not enough port-a-potties (typical of many races).  I don’t know how many people registered but the last corral number I saw was 8.  There weren’t too many vendors at the expo but that has been the case in other “small” city races.

Next race is ING Hartford Half Marathon where I will be reunited with JB.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence Half Marathon

Done, state #25.

I arrived in Providence in the afternoon.  I met another runner, TF, and she was staying at the same hotel as I was.  My room was not ready so I left my stuff with the bell captain and TF and I made our way to the expo.  It was a very small expo.  I was there for about 20 minutes and then I left.  I did buy two Nike shirts.   I wore one for the race and love it.

Lunch was at P. F. Chang’s.  Honestly, I was not impressed with the food at all.  I had a beer and chicken pad thai but I’ve had better pad thai at other locations.

After lunch I went back to the hotel to rest.  I was tired.  I watched a couple of episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and then realized it was almost 8 and I had not had dinner yet.  I did not want to walk far so luckily Subway was down the street and I bought a chicken sandwich.  Earlier in the day there was the Street Painting Festival and I stopped to check out their work.  It was amazing!  So much creativity and detail in all of them.

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I went to bed later than I wanted to and could not get up in the morning.  I dragged myself out of bed, got ready, and ate a Clif Bar with coffee.  I knew the weather was in the mid 40s and I debated with wearing a long sleeve.  I ended up not wearing it and was so glad I made that decision.  I should know better that temperature in those numbers is the ideal running weather.

The race began and ended at the State House.  I was cold in the beginning but quickly warmed up.

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Right away there was a hill.  I stopped at the bottom for a bit because I was having problems with my headphones.  Once I took care of that, I took off again.  I used the Nike+ app on my phone to track my pace, time, and distance.  I like it better than my watch because I have no self control and am constantly checking my watch.

It was cloudy which I liked very much and am glad it did not rain.  The course was hilly but I did not think it was that bad at all.  Perhaps I am over these hills?  Or is it change of attitude?  We ran past so many beautiful homes.  Along the way I saw the most beautiful Dunkin’ Donuts coffee house I have EVER seen.  I mean it literally was a big house with lots of parking.  I am mad at myself for not stopping to take a picture.  It was that beautiful.

I am proud of myself for how I ran the last 4 miles.  I usually struggle the last 3 miles but I think this time I did good.  OK, maybe not the greatest but decent for someone that usually walks towards the end.  And let me say that to get to the finish line I had to go up a hill.  I really hate those!!

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There were plenty of spectators and water stations.  Some runners had cute costumes which I thought was funny because it wasn’t even close to Halloween.  Overall, it was a good race and I enjoyed it.  I was feeling really good and this time I did not fall.  🙂  My knees were not happy with me.  I’d like to think it was because of the hills and not because of an injury.

Oh and my finish time is 2:23:53.

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Next race is Rock ‘n’ Roll Cleveland Half Marathon.

Omaha Half Marathon

Done, state #24.

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I arrived in Omaha at 11 am and called the hotel for a shuttle pick up and was on my way to the hotel at 11:30.  I love it when hotels offer free airport pick up.  My friend , JB, was already in Omaha so I met up with her in the room.  We chatted for a few minutes and then headed to the expo to pick up my bib.  It was about a 10 minute walk and it was such a nice day outside.  The expo was in the parking lot of a stadium with only a few vendors.  I bought a long sleeve shirt and more Gu (salted caramel).

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Race day came and we got ready.  I was excited but nervous at the same time.  It is a weird combination of feelings because I’ve been running half marathons for quite some time and I still feel that way.  It was dark and kind of chilly as we walked to the start line.  Ideally it was perfect running weather.  There was some kind of confusion at the start line but JB and I just followed the crowd and waited for the race to start.  Luckily I did not have to go to the bathroom because I had no idea where they were.

We were off a little after 7.  I had a good pace the first couple of miles.  Did I mention the weather was just perfect?  The course was not flat but I took it easy and did not mind them too much.  I tried not to look too much at my watch for my pace but just went with how I was feeling.  I took my first Gu around mile 3.  Surprisingly there were A LOT of water and Gatorade stations.  Plus, many of the tables had oranges which I enjoyed very much.

I was feeling really good and was pleased with the many volunteers along the course.  We ran through a park and I wondered how much longer till the turnaround point.   It was sunny but fortunately the course was shaded.

The 2:10 group caught up with me and I stayed with them for a few minutes till the turnaround point. I stopped to take another Gu and to drink more water.  All was going very well until for just one tiny second when the sun appeared and blinded me.  I did not see the girl in front of me and I tripped and fell.  It felt like I was in a slow motion movie and I remember every single move I made before landing on the floor.  I was shocked and laid there for a few seconds.  The runners that saw me asked if I was OK.  I got up to scan the damage.  No bleeding on my knees but they were scraped a little.  There was blood on my left hand and a small scrape on my right hand.  I was OK and was glad that it was not worse.

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I ran and walked the remaining miles.  I fell but so what?  I guess it was bound to happen to me.  I ran next to a girl that had a good pace and she told me that she saw me fell.  I laughed because I wondered how many other people saw me.

I saw the finish line and was glad that the race was over.  I looked at my watch and was confused because it was only 12.81 miles.  Imagine my surprise when I saw people running into a stadium. I still had to run inside it?  So I did and it was pretty cool.  It reminded me of the Soldier Field 10 Miler.  Luckily the race was over shortly after exiting the stadium.

I looked at my watch and was pleased with my time.  I then walked over to the medical tent but was only given two bandages because they had nothing to clean the wound.

The course was blah but I was grateful it was mostly shaded and the weather was fantastic. The crowd was wonderful, there were plenty of water/Gatorade stations, and there were so many Gu stops that I grabbed one at every single one.

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Next race is Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence Half Marathon.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon

Done, state #23.

I arrived in Philadelphia at 10:30 and took a shuttle to the hotel.  The staff was wonderful!  My room was ready and they were able to give me a 1pm late checkout.  Plus, they would have breakfast available beginning at 6am on Sunday morning.

I wasn’t planning to purchase anything at the expo.  🙁  I bought 5 packets of Gu (Salted Caramel is DELICIOUS), a running skirt, sandals (very comfortable) and a shirt.  When I picked up my packet there was also a letter congratulating me on achieving Rock Idol status and an extra bib.

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Afterwards I had lunch and then made my way to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Of course I had to get a picture with the Rocky Balboa statue and walk up the stairs of the museum.

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Race day came and I got ready.  My coffeemaker in my room was broken so I went downstaris to the lobby for coffee.  There were a lot of people having breakfast and I kicked myself for not waking up earlier to eat downstairs.  I got ready, went to the bathroom, and made my way to the start line.  It was chilly in the morning but I am so glad I did not wear my long sleeve shirt.  I had to go again to the bathroom but the lines were RIDICULOUS.  The race was sold out but there weren’t enough bathroom.  I waited in line for about 45 minutes before I was able to use one.  By then it was almost 8:30 so I made my way to the start line.

The race began by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  The first few miles we ran through Philadelphia.  There were so many people out there cheering for us.  The weather was perfect and I was in my own little zone just running.  I told myself not to stop and walk.  There isn’t anything wrong with walking but I just wanted to run as much as possible in this race.  Anytime I felt like I wanted to stop, I ran a little slower.  The only times I stopped were during the water/Gatorade stations.

The water stations by mile 3 and 5 were disappointing.  I appreciate all of the volunteers that help out during a race but I was just a little disappointed today.  In mile 3 the Gatorade was straight (concentrated) from the bottle and in Mile 5 there were only empty cups on the table.  The volunteers were scrambling to fill as fast as possible the cups.  I did feel bad for them but man I was thirsty and I wanted water!  The rest of the water stations were fine.

We ran past the museum again and then it was straight running along the Schuylkill River.  It was shaded, flat, and peaceful.  The river was long.  I knew there was a turn around point coming up because I could see runners on the other side of the river.  Whew, finally I saw it and I walked for a few moments as I drank my water.  Now it was time to finish the race with about 4 miles to go.

The race ended at the museum as well.  There were so many people there cheering.  I slowly went up a slight incline and made my way to the finish line.  Done!  My finish time is 2:24:06.  I am proud of myself because I took minimal breaks and ran through most of the race.  I liked the race very much and if you are looking for a race in Philadelphia then this is the race to do.

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After the race I walked back to the hotel to shower and change because I was meeting a friend for lunch.  He was picking me up at noon at the hotel.  We went to a great place “Marathon” where I quickly ate a Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.  I was hungry.  Then afterwards I went to Independence Hall and to Liberty Bell Center.  I had a great time in Philadelphia and will definitely visit again.

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Next race is Omaha Half Marathon on Septemeber 22.  I am looking forward to this race because I get to see my running buddy, JB.