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Category: Race all 50 states

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.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon

Done, state #22.

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I left on Saturday morning for Virginia Beach.  I thought the airport was going to be very busy because of Labor Day (it wasn’t) so I arrived at the airport very early.  Oh well, not a problem.  Virginia Beach is 30 minutes from Norfolk so I rented a car.  I am glad I did because I drove to the expo, lunch, dinner, and Target.  I booked my hotel, The Blue Marlin, through Southwest.  I loved it!  It was not a fancy hotel but it was a block from the beach and a 15 minute walk to the start line.

Relaxing along the beach before the race.
Relaxing along the beach before the race.
My view from the hotel.  See the beach?
My view from the hotel. See the beach?

Nothing new or exciting about the expo.  Same stuff.  Don’t get me wrong, it is still a GREAT expo.  I checked out a few sleeveless shirts because I knew it was going to be hot on race day but I decided to save my money and wear the one I brought along for the race.

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I don’t get the goodie bag anymore because there are no goodies inside (just paper) but this time I did and what a nice surprise!

Tasty!!
Tasty!!

Race day came and I got ready.  The hotel did not have a coffee maker in the room so I walked across the street to 7-Eleven.  I saw several people walking to the start line.  I drank my coffee and water and made my way to the start line.  It took me about 15 minutes to get there.  I got in line to go to the bathroom and missed beginning with my corral.  I was OK with that because then I realized I had to go again to the bathroom and got in line again.  I started running at about 7:15 am.

The course was mostly flat except for one hill/incline after mile 1 which on the way back was the beginning of mile 12.  It was HOT and HUMID but the course was about 90% in the shade which was nice.  I ran like a turtle, nice and slow.  There were so many supporters and plenty of water stations. Plus, spectators were spraying us with their water hose which helped cool me down.  Others were offering ice which I gladly accepted.  In one station volunteers were handing out sponges filled with cold water.

The last 3/4 of the race was along The Boardwalk next to the beach.  I enjoyed that very much.  There were many people cheering for us.  Plus, it was nice to see the finish line as it got closer and closer.

My finish time is 2:38:52.   After the race I got chocolate milk, a banana, a bottle of water, and walked back to the hotel.  I went to the beach for a bit and it felt good to put my feet in there for a bit.  I didn’t stay too long because I had to be out of the hotel by 11 am.

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Next race is Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia on September 15.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon

Done, state #21.

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I took an early flight from Chicago and arrived in Seattle around 10:30am.  There was no hotel shuttle and a cab was too expensive, so I took the light rail. I bought an all day pass for $5.75.  Score!

I booked my hotel, The Roosevelt, through Southwest.  I loved it!  It was a block and a half from the light rail/monorail to get to the expo AND the start line. Plus, it was close to Pike Place Market and many other stores and restaurants and I thought the price was reasonable.

The expo was cool!  I bought watermelon flavored Nuun tablets and three Sparkly Soul headbands. Unfortunately, I lost one (red, blue, white) that I was planning to wear with my new ProCompression socks in a 4th of July race.  I also purchased monorail tickets to the start line (Space Needle) and back to the hotel. I met Mel from Tall Mom on the Run.  She is really nice and we chatted for a little bit.

That evening I had pad thai from Wild Ginger.  I went to bed at 8 pm because my body was still on Central Time plus my alarm was set for 5:25 am.

Race day came and I got ready.  I walked to the monorail to get to the start line.  I had to use the bathroom and found one inside a building.  Then I proceeded to follow the crowd to the start line.  I realized I had to go again to the bathroom and left my corral to use the port-a-potty.  They smelled horrible! But when you have to go, you have to go.  I got in line again and had trouble with my Garmin.  No satellite.  Ugh, I got out and saw Mel again.  I realized afterwards that I did not take one picture with her.

Finally it was time to go.  I encountered my first hill after mile 1.  I thought it was never going to end. Of course there is always a downhill which was nice. I liked the view and felt really good at this time. At mile 6 we ran next to Lake Washington.  It was just beautiful!!  Plus, it felt good to be in the shade. I stopped to admire the view and also to see pictures of soldiers that died during the war. That made me really sad.

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At mile 8 there was another uphill and I refused to run.  I was tired.  It was after the mile marker that we ran in a tunnel.  I did not like that AT ALL.  It was hot, dark, loud, and long.  I swear it was about a mile long!  There was a band playing close to the end of the tunnel which made no sense.  I ran as fast as I could because I just wanted to get out of there.  We then ran in the highway/expressway and it was mostly downhill.  We passed Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field.

I always find the last 3.1 miles of a half marathon to be the MOST difficult part of the race.  That is where I struggle the most.  I need to remind myself that it is only a 5K and not difficult at all.  Mile 11 is when the first marathon runner passed me up.  He was fast!  Right before mile 12 we ran in another tunnel.  Not happy about it again.  The last mile was mostly uphill.  Ugh!  Two more marathon runners passed me up.  A little before the finish line a runner had collapsed and that freaked me out.  I had no energy to run/sprint to the finish line.  My legs were not cooperating at all.

Here are my splits:
Miles 1 through 4 – 9:37, 9:45, 11:24, 10:02
Miles 5 through 8 – 10:58, 10:55, 11:43, 11:47
Miles 9 through 12 – 12:37, 11:48, 11:45, 12:44
Mile 13 – 10:32

My finish time is 2:30:39 and according to my Garmin ran 13.42 miles.  Am I happy with it?  No.  I really struggled in this race.  It was HOT and HILLY.

I got three medals at this race!

1) Running Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon
2) Running both races in Portland and Seattle
3) Running 7 Rock ‘n’ Roll races
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After the race I went back to the hotel to shower and change.  Then for lunch I went to Tap House Grill.  The burger and beers (sampler) hit the spot.

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Afterwards I walked over to Pike Place Market but was not impressed with it.  I ended up just walking for a little bit before heading back to the hotel.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon

Done, state #20.

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon

I arrived in San Diego late Friday night because my flight was delayed.  I went straight up to my room and met my roommate, Rebecca from Run Like a Girl, and Mean It!  She is a sweet person!  We talked for a little bit and then went to sleep.

The next morning I met another runner, Kim, and Rebecca’s mom and aunt.  I also ran 2.2 miles for this challenge.  It was such a beautiful morning in San Diego.

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After my run I went to the expo.  Again, RNR expos do not disappoint.  I bought two pairs of Pro Compression Socks and two running shirts.  Plus, I made a video for Team Refuel.  I’ll find out July 5th if my video was selected for one of the top 10 and then voting begins to be selected to be on the team.

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon

Race day I was up at 4am.  Yes, ridiculously early.  We got ready and went downstairs for the shuttle bus to take us to the start line.  It wasn’t a bus but a limo bus.

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon

Once we arrived we had plenty of time to find the gear drop off area, start line, and go to the bathroom.  I was the only one that went to the bathroom. Before we knew it more people had arrived and the bathroom lines were getting longer.  Rebecca was the only one running the full marathon (6:15 am start time) and Kim and I were running the half marathon (6:45 am).  We got in line to go to the bathroom one more time and I am not kidding but we waited about 30 minutes.  Whew, definitely felt better afterwards.

Kim and I got in our corral and we were ready to tackle the race!

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon

It was humid!  I was sweating within the first mile.  Here are my splits:

Miles 1 through 4 – 9:22, 10:44, 10:24, 11:23
Miles 5 through 8 – 10:30, 11:07, 10:53, 10:41
Miles 9 through 12 – 11:33, 11:01, 11:34, 9:35
Mile 13 – 11:13

The course had its ups and down.  There were so many turns.  I got annoyed and did not like them at all and had to take a few walking breaks.  We did run through some nice neighborhoods and there were so many people cheering for us.  My favorite part was mile 12 because it was mostly downhill. Actually, it was about a half mile going downhill and it felt really good.

My finish time is 2:22:06.  According to my Garmin I ran 13.26 miles in 2:22:08.  Doesn’t really make sense right? The winner of the half marathon was Bernard Koech from Kenya with a finish time of 58:41.  That is a 4:29 pace per mile!!!

Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon

Done, state #19.

I registered for this race in November of last year for $45.  Great deal right?  The host hotel, The Seaport Hotel, was sold out so I searched for weeks for an alternative hotel.  I was put on a waiting list for The Seaport Hotel and decided to stay at the Hyatt Harborside.  On Wednesday afternoon I got a message that there was a room available for me.  That made me very happy.

I arrived in Boston on Saturday morning.  It was a gloomy day.  Luckily my room was available so I left my suitcase in the room and went to the expo which was across the street from the hotel.  Not too many vendors were there but I bought a running skirt and two shirts.  I paid $30 for the skirt and one of the shirts. Great deal!

Boston's Run to Remember Half Marathon

There was a dedication for Officer Sean Collier.

Boston's Run to Remember Half Marathon

The course map.

Boston's Run to Remember Half Marathon

I was up at 6am on race day.  I love staying at hotels in which the start line is right across the street. In my race packet there was a note letting us know that security was going to be tight and that we would be searched.  I understood the reason behind it but it just felt weird.

Boston's Run to Remember Half Marathon

There were so many people and everyone was happy and excited about the race!

It was really crowded at the beginning of the race.  About 3/4 into it, I took off and passed a group of Marines.  So handsome!  🙂  I made it my mission to finish before them.  We ran next to the Charles River. This part of the course was mostly flat, calm and peaceful.  We passed a group of police officers cheering and giving high fives to the runners.  The turnaround point was past Harvard University. Such a beautiful campus!

As I turned around to head back I saw the Marines pass me up. Darn!  I could not keep up with them. By then I had eaten one GU, drank plenty of water and Gatorade and was already tired.  I had some pain on my right side and was chafing in my chest area.  I found a medical tent and rubbed some vaseline to help with the pain.

Boston's Run to Remember Half Marathon

The last 3-4 miles we ran through Beacon Hill, the Public Garden, and Boston Common.  We passed the “Cheers” pub and laughed when I heard someone asked “Does everybody know your name?”  By then the sun was out and I was a little warm but knew I was close to the finish line.

At mile 12, I saw the group of Marines and cursed myself for not keeping up with them.  They were cheering the runners and that motivated me to keep on running.  As I turned on Congress Street I knew I was even closer to the finish line.  Another turn to Seaport Lane and I could see more people cheering.  I could see the finish line!  I ran as fast as I could and was finally done.

I went inside the World Trade Center to get some water and my medal.  There were boxes of Zico coconut water and people were taking one bottle and others a whole box.  I drank one bottle and took two more for the trip home.  I got my medal and was about to walk out when I saw the group of Marines.  I noticed they were just getting their medals.  I realized that when I saw them earlier they hadn’t crossed the finish line.  They were waiting for the rest of the group in order to finish together. That brought tears to my eyes.

It was a great race.  I had a great time and loved every minute of it.

Boston's Run to Remember Half Marathon