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Category: Race Recap

Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th

Saturday morning I was up for a race.  Normally I have a long run with the CES group but due to the holiday my group did not meet.  Instead, all of the groups from the various locations met on Sunday in one location.

Back to the race.  It is one of my favorites.  Very cheap-$25-and with a $5 discount if you are a CARA member.  It is 30 minutes from my house, plenty of parking, and fun/semi-challenging course. This was my 3rd time running it.  You can read my other recaps here: 2014 and 2013.

I will admit that I was hoping to get a PR.  Below are my times from last year and the year before.

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I was not feeling good on Friday evening.  I was bloated and felt very uncomfortable.  I went to bed hoping that I would feel better in the morning.

Race day I was up before my alarm went off.  I got dressed, drank coffee and ate a Hammer Bar.  I did go to the bathroom 3 times before leaving the house.

I arrived in Elmhurst around 6:45.  On my way to pick up my bib I ran into Pete who was running this race for the first time this year.  We chatted for a little bit and said our goodbyes.  Packet pickup was a breeze.  I did not want my shirt so I quickly tied my bib to my race belt and got in line to use the bathroom one more time.

I was feeling a bit better but overall I felt tired.  Not so much tired like from lack of sleep but more like body tired.

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Start line.  There weren’t too many people at the race so I was not too far from it.

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Here are my mile splits:
1-9:15
2-9:58
3-10:49
4-10:15

I have NO idea how I ran that fast the first mile.  I felt tired but still kept going.  I remember stopping for water and walking up a small incline.  As you can see mile 3 was my slowest and I just felt very tired and HOT (I was probably dehydrated).  I walked a lot and kept checking my pace on my watch.  I also did some walking in the last mile and even up the incline to get to the finish line but it must not have affected it that much because I still finished it in 10:15. <==== Very impressed with it!

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Even though I did not PR, I still enjoyed this race.  Unless I am out of town or injured, this is a race I plan to do every year.

My next race is Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon on Saturday in Maine.  It will be state #34.

Did you run a race on Saturday?  How was your 4th of July?

 

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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.

Fleet Feet Sports Soldier Field 10 Mile

A few weeks ago I ran my 4th race for this year.  The last time I ran this race was in 2012 and I set a PR.  In 2013 I went to Boston for the Run to Remember Half Marathon but cannot remember why I did not run it last year.

I was excited and looking forward to the race this year.  It was my 3rd 10 mile race and I was hoping that it would be a much better race experience that the last two, Live Grit 10 Miler and Quarryman Challenge 10 Mile.

I was up at 5am on race day.  I arrived at Soldier Field around 5:45, parked my car, used the bathroom (twice) and waited for the race to start.  It was cool in the morning and I debated wearing a thin jacket.  I didn’t and am so glad because the sun came out and it was HOT.

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Finally it was time to run.  I tried not to start off too fast.  I think I did OK based on my splits. There were two runners that were talking nonstop and it was driving me crazy.  One of my running pet peeves is runners that talk nonstop throughout the race.  Anyway, I would pass them up and then they would catch up to me.  Well, towards the end I “lost” them.

The course was flat and part of the route going south was on Lake Shore Drive.  The turnaround was before mile 5.  I felt great till mile 7 and then my legs began to hurt.  I wished I had an ibuprofen to take for the pain.  Instead, I sucked it up and kept running.

I looked at my watch after mile 9 and realized that I could probably PR.  I wasn’t sure by how much but I just knew it would be a PR.  That last mile was difficult for me.  I remember I stopped for a few seconds right before entering the stadium for the finish line.  Finish time is 1:41:56 for an almost two minutes PR (Finish time in 2012 was 1:43:49).  Definitely a happy moment!

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Afterwards, I got a bottle of Muscle Milk, my goodie bag and sat down to rest, enjoy my beer, and wait for friends.  I couldn’t stop smiling.

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I hung out with two other friends and then we went to The Weather Mark to eat.  It was delicious! I was tired but also very hungry.  The service wasn’t that great since we waited almost an hour for our food.  It wasn’t busy so Icouldn’t  understand why it took so long.  But I ate, it was delicious, and I was happy.

Once at home I took a shower and a long nap.  Then I ate again.

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Quarryman Challenge 10 Mile

I know I am really late with this post.  Honestly, I did not want to write about it because I wasn’t sure how I felt about the race.  I know, weird.  Anyway, here it goes.  Better late than never right?

I ran this race because of the Chicago Marathon Incentive Program.  I guess I had no choice.  🙂  I was really worried about it because I knew that it was tough and challenging course.  And hilly. Boy, it was definitely all of those three things.

The weather on race day was perfect!  To me it means not cold nor sunny.  That is how I like it.  I was afraid it would rain but it stayed away, but instead got hit with humidity.  Not sure what I would have preferred?

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Start line and I am ready to go.

No problems at the start but half a mile later there was this steep hill that I swear is about a quarter mile long.  I was told I would go up this hill 2 more times.

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Let’s just say there were so many ups and downs at this race.  It was a pretty course because we ran through some nice areas.  There were definitely some beautiful houses!

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Halfway done.  So happy to see this sign.

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Made it to the top of the hill again.  Could not wait to be done.

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Almost done.  I was even more happy to see this sign.

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Cool entertainment after walking up a small hill.

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Not cool that the streets were not completely closed off for the race.  It is dangerous.  I was constantly looking back to see if there were cars behind me.  I did not have headphones on but sometimes when I run I get into a zone and don’t pay too much attention to what is around me. I know, not cool either.

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Finally done!  There was a downhill and then flat out straight to the finish line.  Another runner friend told me that would be the best part.  Yes it was because I was finally done.

No medals were given to the runners but I enjoyed the “all you can eat pizza and drink beer”. Don’t know if it was really true but I went back for more pizza and no one said anything to me. As for the beer, no coupon was needed to get your cup so yes to me it is all you can drink.

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It is a tough course if you like hills.  I don’t.  But I am glad I did this race and experienced something different from the always flat pavement I am used to in Chicago.  There was no lakefront view but there were some pretty areas along the course.  On the way to the race I got lost (thanks to Google Map) but stopped at a gas station and a nice man told me how to get there.  I found free parking about 10 minutes from the start line.  The best part is that there is race day packet pickup.  Now, if only they would give medals since it is a challenging course.

The shirt is OK.

Tell me about your most challenging and difficult race.

Illinois Marathon Relay

My first relay race was Ragnar Relay Chicago in June 2012.  On Sunday I completed a marathon relay and got to cross it off this list.

There were 8 girls doing this relay race (two teams: Pink Ladies and Faster than Snails).  One of my teammates offered to drive to Urbana-Champaign (about 2 1/2 hours from Chicago) and we left Friday afternoon.  There were two girls from the other team so it was nice to meet them and talk to them.  They had food and I snacked on crackers, hummus, and sweet potato chips.

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We arrived to pick up our bibs and to check out the expo.  It was OK but does not compare to the Chicago Marathon or RnR expos.

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I almost bought this headband.

After the expo we went to Destihl for dinner.  The food was delicious!  We had a few appetizers to start off along with beer.  For dinner I had pasta with spicy thai shrimp.  The rest of the teammates met us there and we all had a lovely time.  We then said goodbye because it was late and we still had to check in the hotel and get our stuff ready for the next day.

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From L to R: Lety, Liz, Rocio, Fabiola, me, Angie. We were missing Ana and Arasally.

As I was getting my things ready for the next day, I realized that I had forgotten my socks.  I had originally packed everything in my Apera bag.  I switched to a bigger bag because all of my things wouldn’t fit but left my socks in one of the pockets. Luckily, I borrowed a pair from a teammate.

I checked the temperature and got really nervous because all I saw was rain, rain, and more rain.

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I slept good Friday night.  I was up at 5am and got ready.  I shared a room with 2 other girls so I waited for them to get ready before heading out to get something to eat.  The hotel provided us with a  free continental breakfast.  Love it when hotels do that.  I had coffee and a waffle.  Not too much but enough for a 6.7 run.

It was cold and drizzling.  I was hoping the rest of the rain would hold off till AFTER the race.  It didn’t.  There was a long line to get to the parking lot.  One of the girls was familiar with the area and told us of a shortcut.  We parked the car and got out to meet up with Ana and Lety.  We quickly got a team picture and since I was runner #1, I headed over to the start line.

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Team Faster than Snails From L to R: Ana, me, Lety, Rocio

I don’t remember hearing the National Anthem but I realized the race was about to start.  I walked over to the start line, got in the corral and off I went.

I don’t remember too many specifics of my part of the race.  Here is what I do remember:

  • I felt really good the first two miles.  Unfortunately, I do not know my splits because the Nike + app in my phone did not work.  I turned it on but somehow it turned off.
  • I felt tired after the first water station.
  • The volunteers were wonderful!
  • The crowd support made me happy.
  • I would run, walk, and repeat.
  • It started to rain and I had forgotten to wear my visor.
  • I was running in new shoes and they felt really good.  Ha, little did I know what was happening in my right foot (too much callus remover and a lot of water is NOT a good combination).
  • One water station was after mile 2 and the next one was after mile 4.  That worked out for me since I had a short run but not sure if marathon and half marathon runners will agree with me.
  • Between mile 5 and 6 there were signs along the course with several facts about the University.   I don’t remember the exact words but I do recall reading about REO Speedwagon, PayPal, YouTube, and a Nobel Prize Winner.

I saw a sign on the floor and I thought it was the the 6 mile marker.  I told my teammates I would send them a text when I got there since the exchange was at mile 6.7.  There the volunteers were giving out oranges.  Yummy!  Up ahead I saw the actual mile marker. Oh well.

Finally, I saw the exchange spot.  I removed my belt and put it on the next runner.  I was done but I was also very cold.

We got in the car and drove to the next exchange which was about 10 minutes away.  It was raining so much harder and I felt bad for the runners.  Runner #3 got her stuff ready and then we left to meet runner #2.  We finally got a text from her that she was at mile 13.

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Runner #2 is done!

Two legs done and two more to go.  The next exchange took a bit longer.  I drove this time because the owner of the car was running.  I am OK driving but get nervous driving other people’s cars.  Luckily, nothing happened and we arrived at the next exchange spot.  Lety was nice enough to get coffee for the both of us.  It felt good to drink something warm.  Earlier I had changed my top but left my skirt. I was getting colder so I changed into capris.  Not sure why I didn’t do that before.

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Love my colorful shoes!

We got a text from Rocio that she was at mile 20.  We were meeting her at 20.5. One of the volunteers told us that the race was cancelled because of the weather. We were like “What?!?”  We couldn’ believe it.  We kept walking and asked another volunteer and she was not aware of the news.  Ana was the last runner and she said that she would run no matter what.  We saw Rocio and Ana took off to complete the race.  We told Rocio what we were told about the race.  On our way to the finish line, Ana sent us a text.  Yes, the race was cancelled and time would not matter.  She would keep going till the buses arrived.  She called me and I  asked her if she wanted us to pick her up. She said no and I told her that we would meet her before the entrance of Memorial Stadium.

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It was raining even harder.  We arrived at the stadium and went inside.  It was pure chaos.  There were so many people there.

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Definitely not a signage you want to see at a race.

While waiting for Ana, I used the bathroom and got some pizza.  There was also water, bananas, and bags of pretzels.  She texted us at mile 24.  We waited a little bit before heading out to meet her so that we could cross the finish line together. While waiting we cheered for the runners.  Some looked tired, cold but also excited to be almost done.  We waited and finally saw her.

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We ran inside the stadium.  We held hands and crossed the finish line together. Finally done!

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Our finish time is 4:29:47.

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Even with the nasty weather we all had a great time!  We made the best of it and felt thankful for being able to participate in this race.  We ran, laughed, motivated and helped each other out.  And the rain did not stop us.  Definitely teamwork!  We had so much fun that we are already planning to do it again next year.

Have you ran a relay race?  Which one and how was it?