Category: Race all 50 states

Manchester City Half Marathon

Done with state #28 in NH!

I will admit that the course description scared me.  It is described as “hilly, challenging, and scenic”.  I almost backed out but am glad that I did in fact run this race.

The expo was really small.  The highlight of it was meeting Kathrine Switzer.  She is so friendly and down to earth.  She hugged me and I felt like we’ve known each other for years.  I bought one of her books and can’t wait to read it.

The race began at 8:50am.  I woke up at my normal time of 6am.  I tried going back to sleep but couldn’t.  I went downstairs to get coffee and began getting ready.  The weather was  41 degrees and I was not sure whether to wear pants or a skirt.  I decided to go with the skirt and my ProCompression socks.

It was windy and cold and I almost regretted not wearing pants.  I got in line to use the bathroom and made it to the start line with one minute to go.

The course is exactly as mentioned on the website: hilly, challenging and scenic.  Beautiful course!  I love running during the fall because of all of the colors.  There were plenty of water stations and they were not crowded at all.  There were some places with a lot of crowd support.  There were houses in which families were gathered outside having their own little gathering and cheering for the runners.  And yes it was hilly and challenging!  My legs were screaming at me to stop!  I took some walk breaks, especially during the hills.  There was just no way I could run up all of them.

My finish time is 2:25:57.  I am very happy with it because the course was not easy.  The weather helped too.

Next race is Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas which will be by 29th state.  Plus, it will be my 49th half marathon.  After Las Vegas my next race is the Goofy Challenge in FL.  But you know for sure I will be planning a 50th half marathon in my hometown, Chicago.


Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis Half Marathon

Whew!  Done with state #27!


Last week I was supposed to run in Denver but a few days before the race I decided not to go.  I was tired and my mother was going back to Mexico and I wanted to spend more time with her.

I arrived in St. Louis at 10am and got on the MetroLink to get to the hotel.  Once I was settled in I made my way to the expo at the Convention Center to pick up my bib.  I like the shirt a lot  but my favorite part were the two Chipotle cards I picked up.


Back of shirt.

After the expo I went to the Gateway Arch.  It was a beautiful afternoon and I sat down and relaxed for a bit.



Nothing to do with the Arch but I thought it was pretty neat.

Race day came and I was up at 5:40 am.  I got ready, made coffee, ate my ClifBar, and was out the door by 6:30am.   It was COLD!!  I know I am from Chicago but it’s been a while since I’ve ran in 28 degree weather.  I had a Nike longsleeve shirt/jacket underneath my Swirlgear shirt, capri pants, and gloves.

Why couldn’t it be 41 degrees at 7am?!?!


There were hills and downhills.  I don’t look at the elevation map anymore before a race because I know there will be hills.  I just mentally prepare myself for them.  I liked the course.  We ran through some nice parts of St. Louis.  However, my favorite part was after Mile 9.  The area and homes were just gorgeous.  I never take any pictures along the course but wish I did.  I read other race recaps full of pictures and I get jealous.

Throughout the course I like reading the spectators’ signs.  I don’t get tired of reading them except one: “Worst Parade Ever”.  For some reason that one really annoys me.  My favorite ones I saw today: “You’re Running Better Than the Government” and something along the lines of “Forget This Race and Let’s Grab a Beer”.  Both signs made me laugh.  Oh, and the latter sign was at mile 12.

The weather did get better along the way.  I was still cold but not as cold as in the morning.  The sun did help but there were some shaded area and that’s when I was cold again.  On the plus side there was no wind at all.

My finish time?  I am really happy with my time.   I did not wear my watch.  Instead, I used my Nike + app on my phone and then once the race began I put it away in my Fitletic belt.  I am glad I did because I have a bad habit of constantly checking my pace and time.

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Downhill and uphill before the finish line.
Another uphill and downhill to the finish line.

Next race is Manchester City Half Marathon on November 3rd.  According to the website, the course is hilly and challenging with perfect running weather.  The best part of the race is that the VIP is Kathrine Switzer.  She is best known for being the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon only to be physically assaulted by the race director.  That did not stop her and she continued with the race.   And it did not end there.  She went on to run 39 marathons and won the New York City Marathon in 1974.  Such an inspiring woman!

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.





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.


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.



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.



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.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Cleveland Half Marathon

Done with state #26 on Ohio!


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.



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.



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.


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