Category: Race Recap

Live Grit Lakefront 10 Miler

Yesterday I ran my 2nd race of the year: Live Grit Lakefront 10 Miler.  I’ve run this race in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015.  Not sure why I skipped 2013 and 2014.  In previous years this race took place in March so I was a little surprised to find out CARA moved it to March.

This race is on the list of races to run for get guaranteed entry to the Chicago Marathon as part of the CARA Marathon Incentive Program.  I already have an entry for this year but why not get started for next year right?

I love a hassle free packet pickup.  It took me 10 seconds to get my bib at Live Grit.  I stayed just a little bit longer to check out the Oiselle gear.  Everything was marked down (about 50% off). Sadly, I did not buy anything.

I love the shirt.  I rarely keep my shirts but for sure this one I will keep.  Great color right?


I met Emily for dinner.  It was last minute and it was great catching up with her.  I had way too much sushi but it was DELICIOUS.


It was cold on race day.  I wanted to wear shorts but changed my mind when I saw the weather report.  Plus, it does tend to get windy along the lakefront.  I wore two long sleeve shirts and was still cold.  I left my house at 6:30am and was at the race location by 7.  I had to wait 2 hours but it was worth it because I found a parking spot next to the finish line, used the bathroom various time, and met the lovely Dani.


Photo credit: Dani-Holmes-Kirk

I had no time goal for this race.  My only goal was to have fun.  I did wear my watch but switched it to the current time screen instead of current pace/average pace/distance screen. I only switched the screen maybe once or twice but that’s it.  I ran by feel.  I ran and walked whenever I felt like it.  I actually enjoyed this race.  It felt so good to feel the sun on my back.


Ridiculous hill we had to run between miles 2-3 and then on the way back between miles 9-10. Seriously WHY?!?!?!


The miles went by quickly.  I did have some pain on my right knee and quad and on my left hip.  I did not have this pain during my last race so I will be foam rolling a whole lot more.

After the race, I got a slice of pizza and went to get my beer when I met another lovely runner, Lisa.  We’ve communicated via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram but have never met.  We talked for a little bit but then she had to leave.  I got my beer but I did not finish it because I was too cold and instead grabbed another slice of pizza.  I was so hungry and the pizza was delicious.

Photo Credit: Lisa Verdon


Another medal to add to the collection.


Next race is Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8k on April 3rd.

Like or dislike 10 mile races?


Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans

On Sunday morning I ran my first race of the year.  I was in New Orleans in 2012 for the marathon and this time I ran the half marathon.  I left Saturday morning along with my two sisters and my nephew.  Lola wanted to join us but had to stay at home.  She was definitely missed.


Time to hydrate at the airport.  Seriously, Contigo water bottles are the best.


Once in New Orleans, I went to the expo to pick up my bib.  I was in there for 20 minutes.  My goal was not to buy anything. Mission accomplished!  I was tempted to sign up again for next year.  I mean, $50 is seriously a great deal.


This little park was next to our hotel.

Later I met a few friends for lunch.  I was so hungry because I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast early in the morning in Chicago.  We went to Pierre Maspero’s and I had a beer along with Fettuccine Alfredo with Blackened Shrimp.  It was delicious.  Then we went to a couple of bars to check out the music and to drink.  Well, I did not drink but my friends did.  I did see the cutest cat.


For dinner I had made plans to meet with Rebecca.  I met her in 2013 in San Diego when she ran the full and I the half marathon.  My goal was to finish before her and indeed I did.  🙂  She is so much faster than me and her race began 30 minutes before mine.  I did not meet her for dinner because I had a late lunch but I did see her after the race.


Race day.  I had coffee and a waffle at the hotel.




As for the weather, it was perfect!


For some reason I thought the race started at 7am (that was the start time for the 10k) so I left the hotel at 6:30 since I still had to use the bathroom and check in my gear.  I then found out that it started at 7:30.  Oh well.  I looked for Rebecca and Sam but I did not see them.  I did see Jaime and a few minutes later it was time to go.


When I began training for this race, my goal was to finish under 2 hours (Goal A).  Let’s say I had bad and good runs throughout this training period.  However, I did have great runs during the month of February.  I was confident but was still prepared for Goal B which was to finish under 2:17.  That is my PR from 2013 and I came so close to it last year.


I was feeling great till about mile 6.  That is when my legs began to hurt.  They felt tired too.  I took an ibuprofen and stopped at the medical tent for some of that pain spray (cannot remember what it is called).  None of that worked for me and I ran/walked the rest of the way. I was disappointed.  The weather was great.  It was a flat course.  Some parts of the route was sunny but for the most part it was all shade and it was WONDERFUL.  I did not understand why I could not pick up the pace.  By mile 10 I was around 1:46 and with some quick math I figured that I could still PR as long as I ran the rest of the miles at 10:30. That did not happen.  My last 3 miles were done at 12:00, 11:36, and 11:51.


All this time the marathon and half marathon runners were running the same course but it was time to split up around mile 12.5.  By then I just wanted to be done.  There were people giving jello shots and you bet I took one.  Why not?  I was almost one.

Official finish time is 2:24:26.  Done with race #138 and half marathon #63.  I am disappointed with how my race went on Sunday.  I know I should be happy that I finished the race and that I ran another half marathon (and I am).  However, I can’t help it knowing that I trained for this race for months and then for it not to go as I expected.

My coach told me “Shake it off.  It’s not a reflection of your hard work or self worth”.  So true.  I am not giving up.  I still have a few more half marathons this year and I know I will get my sub 2 this year.


Next race is the Live Grit 10 Miler on March 19.

Year of Running in 2015

I am linking up with Courtney to share my year in running.


  • Best race experience:  I ran 10 races this year.  Each one brought a different experience.  I worked hard and I pushed on through to cross the finish line.  But to pick one it would have to be the Covered Bridges Half Marathon.  It has a beautiful course with one gigantic hill around mile 8.  Still I ended up with my second best half marathon finish time.  My friend, Jaime, ran a sub 2 half marathon and it made me so happy I was there to enjoy the moment.
  • Best run: I ran 20 miles with the Chicago Endurance Sports.  They had everything set up from tents/support at the beginning of the run to even more support after the run.  It was a gorgeous day for a run and the coaches and pacers did a wonderful job.  It was definitely an amazing experience!  The only bad thing was that I lost my phone with less than two miles to go.  One of the coaches stayed with me to look for it instead of leaving me and going with the other runners from the group.
  • Best new piece of running gear: Definitely my Garmin Forerunner 225.  I had to purchase a new one in November (and thanks to so many discounts only paid $120 for it). Next year I want to upgrade to the Garmin Fenix 3.  Just a beautiful watch!  Not a running gear but I am also obsessed with Nuun Kona Cola.  Unfortunately, that particular flavor is being discontinued so you bet I am stocking up.
  • Best running advice you’ve received this year: To have fun and to be in the moment during my runs.  That is something that is hard for me to do but I am working towards actually doing it.  🙂
  • Most inspirational runner: This is a tough one.  But every runner inspires me.  I love hearing stories of how they became a runner and the reasons they run.  I never get tired of talking to them about their experiences and where they are in their journey.
  • Favorite picture from a run or race this year: This photo was sent to me by a friend.  I was on TV!!


  • Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: Two of my favorite races are the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle and Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th.  I love the distance.  For the former race, this year it was a cold and windy day but still fun.  Also, the race has the same start and finish line as the Chicago Marathon.
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Progress.  I’ve been doing more speedwork and while it is taking me longer than I wanted to, slowly I am seeing progress in my runs.  I’ve had great and terrible runs (who hasn’t) but I am learning to not focus so much on the bad ones but to celebrate and learn from each one.

To read more amazing “Year of Running 2015” stories, go to Courtney’s blog.

Oh, and just want to let you know about my 5 days of giveaways beginning on Saturday, January 2nd.  I have items from Swiftwick Socks, MudLOVE, Momentum Jewelry, Lock Laces, and Hammer Nutrition. 


Chicago Half Marathon

On Sunday, I ran my 62nd half marathon, the Chicago Half Marathon.  The last time I ran this race was in 2009.  This race is my last one before the Chicago Marathon.  The only reason I ran it is because of the CARA Marathon Incentive Program.  So now I need to volunteer at the expo, run the Chicago Marathon, apply on December 1 (yes there is an application) and cross my fingers that I get in for next year.  Now that I think about it, it does sound really crazy for a supposedly guaranteed entry.  I mean, it isn’t really guaranteed because there are a limited number of spots available and once they’re filled, you’re out of luck!

Back to the race.  I was told not to race it but instead to use it as a training run.  And that is pretty much what I did.  I was up very early at 4am, got ready, and drove to the race.  Luckily I found parking right away and waited for about half an hour before heading over to use the bathrooms.  It was very dark.



I met up with another Chicago Endurance Sports runner (Amy) to run together.  The weather was just perfect.  No rain and overcast.  Definitely ideal running weather.

I do not remember hearing the National Anthem but we were kind of far so maybe we didn’t hear it. Anyway, a few minutes later we crossed the start line.

We settled into a nice and comfortable pace.  I had my iPod but ended up not using it.  Yep, I ran the whole race without listening to music.  I love the course!  And I love even more that we ran on Lake Shore Drive instead of the running path.  That would have been very tight and a disaster.


I took an Advil at mile 4.  My calves were tight and my feet were bothering me since the beginning.  The Advil kicked in a few miles later.  I wonder if maybe for the marathon I should take 2 of them earlier in the race.

Amy and I got separated after mile 8 but then I caught up to her.  I saw the 2:20 pace group and did my best to stay with them but they were running a little bit faster than I could/wanted to.  With 2 miles to go I told Amy to go ahead and I did my best to finish.

Throughout the race I had my watch to only show average pace.  I was hoping to keep it at 10:55 which is pretty much what it was on throughout the race.  However, that number crept up once I took my walking breaks and then I could not bring it down.  I then changed it to show just the time.  I ended up finishing in 2:24:41 (according to my watch) which is an 11:01 average pace.  I am very pleased with my finish time.


Seriously the best medal ever!



A cute shirt and one that I will definitely keep.


One of my friend sent me the picture below.  I remember seeing them when I crossed the finish line and thought about waving but did not want to look stupid.  But it is still pretty cool!


Overall it was a great race.  The course is awesome.  There was plenty of crowd support and enough water stations.  We lucked out with the weather so it made it an even better experience.

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.


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.


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).





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.


At mile 12 there was this group doing yoga.

Photo credit: Kim Reed
L to R: Kim, me, Sonya
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.


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.