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Category: Rock ‘n’ Roll Race

December and Year in Review 2013

Happy New Year!!

In December I ran 142.39 miles compared to 104.65 in November.  December was the month where I ran the most miles.  Plus, according to my cool spreadsheet, I finally ran over 1,000 miles this year.

I signed up again for the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak.  I wasn’t able to complete it last summer nor last winter but three times is a charm right?  I did it…but barely.  How hard can it be to run one mile per day?  Ha, it was definitely more work for me.  Or maybe I was just lazy? During the week the last thing I wanted to do was go to the gym for that mile.  Yeah, I guess I could have ran outside but this crazy weather was not helpful.  Well, with all complaints aside, I completed this streak and that is all that matters.

Total miles ran in 2013 was 1018.59 miles compared to 848.41 in 2012.

This year I ran 24 races.  14 of those races were Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Races.  I PR’d in the ING Hartford Half Marathon and at the Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th.

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My best race experiences were the ING Hartford Half Marathon and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.  Other cool races were the Little Rock Half Marathon because I met Bart Yasso and the Manchester City Half Marathon because I met the lovely Kathrine Switzer.

Best medals I received were from the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon and the Little Rock Half Marathon.  I would love to go back to Little Rock to run the full marathon because the medal is as big as my face.

I ran in 19 states last year.  Also, I ran my 100th race in my sweet town Chicago!  I submitted this photo to Pavement Runner as one of The Best Photos of 2013 and he posted it on his blog!  There are other amazing photos so make sure to check it out.
 
100th race
 

I ran in the Mizuno Wave Elixir but fell deeply in love with the Brooks PureFlow 2 and the PureConnect 2.  I love them so much that I’ve purchased several pairs from Running Warehouse. Are 8 pairs enough?

 
 
I discovered Huma Energy Gels but also found out about Gu Energy Gel in Salted Caramel thanks to Kim at (Just) Trying is for Little Girls.  Run with Jess had 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways and I won Day 12 which was an 8pk of Gu Energy Gels in Salted Caramel.  Yep, that made me very happy.
 

2013 was a frustrating year for me.  I could not even get close to a sub 2 half marathon (which was my goal in 2013) but I was also frustrated for being hard on myself and not being able to fully experience and enjoy each race.  However, after various pep talks from several people and a big change of attitude, I was no longer frustrated and instead made the best of each race.  I loved traveling to each state and look forward to many more this year.

Follow my journey as I travel to run in more states, each RunDisney Half Marathon, and a 50K all in 2014.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series

This year I ran a total of 14 Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathons.  I am so glad I purchased the TourPass last year.  I know it is available for next year and if you are on a mission to run a race in each state then the TourPass is for YOU!

Each race is different but special to me.  Each race gave me the opportunity to visit a new city and I enjoyed my stay in each one.  So in  a nutshell.  Arizona was my first one.  I loved the weather and the course.  St. Petersburg was a HOT one.  Too bad it is cancelled for next year.  I cried when I got to the hotel and found out my reservation had been cancelled.  Luckily they were able to accommodate me and get me a room at the last minute.  I just LOVE, LOVE Washington DC.  I swear I lived there in a previous life.  Luckily it did not rain like it was supposed to but there was one killer hill around mile 6. Brutal!  It may not have rained in DC but it was pouring in Nashville.  It rained the whole time I was running up and down those darn hills.  I was MISERABLE.  That was my least favorite race.  Portland was so much better.  Great weather and decent course.  Another trip to the west coast to San Diego. It was a humid race day but I enjoyed my time in San Diego.  And finally another trip to the west coast to Seattle.  It was a hot day and the course was hilly.  Sweet home Chicago!  I love running in my hometown.  That day I also ran my 100th race.  Oh and I was also dehydrated and did not think I was going to finish the race.  And then I went to the east coast to Virginia Beach.  What’s not to like about the beach?  The course was mostly flat but it was HOT and HUMID.  The best part was the finish line by the beach.  Back to the east coast to Philadelphia.  Perfect weather and flat course!  I also enjoyed my time in Philadelphia.  And again to the east coast to Providence.  Great running weather but hilly course.  This is another race that is cancelled for next year.  Oh Cleveland, I was not my usual self that day.  I was tired and dehydrated on race day. However, for being an inaugural race, everything went well without a glitch.  Meet me in St. Louis at The Arch.  It was a beautiful day on Saturday but on race day it was cold (28 degrees).  It did get a little warmer throughout the race.  And saving the best for last but my favorite race was in Las Vegas. It was so much fun to run along the strip at night. The expo was great and the VIP experience was amazing.

In total I received 22 medals.  My favorite is the “Rock Idol” I got for running 10 RnR races.  I got that one in Philadelphia.

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I have no regrets at all for traveling across the country to run these races.  It was worth it!  I learned a lot about myself during each trip and made the best out of each one.

Have you ran any RnR races?  If so, which one has been your least favorite and/or favorite race?

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

Done, state #29 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This was my last race in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.  Last year I bought a TourPass which gave me “free” registration to their races this year.  I ran almost each one and the TourPass was the best deal ever!  I know it is being offered again for next year but now you have to pay a $7 processing fee for each race.

I got into Las Vegas after 4pm and my friend, DB, picked me up at the airport.  DB is a Swirlgear Ambassador and I met her this summer at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon.  From the airport she dropped me off at the convention center to pick up my bib.  Her daughter was with her and since they had already been to the convention center, DB told me that she would wait for me.

Once I got to the front of the line, I was told that my packet was on the 2nd floor.  I did not but went upstairs.  Imagine my surprise when I found out I had VIP status. Apparently I’ve ran 15 or more RnR races.  I got a backpack with more goodies inside, a wristband that gave me access to the VIP lounge before and after the race, and champagne to enjoy.  Amazing!

Fast forward to race day.  The VIP lounge was amazing!  Food and more food was everywhere.  Plus, there was water, coffee, and a bunch of other stuff.  I did have to go to the bathroom and did not have to wait long.  Score!  Before I knew it, it was time to head over to the start line.

It took me 10 minutes to cross the start line.  There was so much energy and excitement around me. Everyone was pumped up for the race.  I took it easy because I had stomach issues.  The first mile was not exciting because we ran away from the strip.  But once we got to the strip everything changed.  It was already dark but the lights along the strip were just breathtaking.  There were so many supporters along the route.  It felt amazing knowing that the strip was closed to traffic but open to us runners.

Miles 7-9 took us away from the strip.  I did not like that at all because it was dark, boring, and no spectators at all.  I paid close attention to where I was running to make sure I did not trip.  It did go by fast because then we were back on the strip towards the finish line.

The last 3 miles were difficult for me.  I would run and walk.  I was not sure what was going on because I was fine up until mile 10.  Somehow I got some energy and made it to the finish line for a finish time of 2:27:16.  There were so many people cheering there and I felt so happy but sad at the same time.  Despite how I had been feeling the last three miles, I was sad because it was my last RnR for the year.  This year had been amazing with so many wonderful races.

Once I was done my next stop was the VIP lounge at Serendipity 3.  I knew it was by Caesar’s Palace but getting out of the secure zone was a hassle.  Finally I found the place and the food was ever better than what was offered before the race.  I wasn’t too hungry but ate some pizza and drank a beer.  I chatted with a few folks and left about an hour later because I was cold and tired.  The walk back to the hotel was NOT fun at all.  It was about 2 miles to the Luxor and there were so many people out there.  I received compliments on my socks and someone asked me if I had won the race. When I told him that I didn’t, he told me that maybe next time.

This is the best RnR race I’ve ever ran and would definitely run it again!!  This race should be on everyone’s list.  A few things I would do different:

  • Arrive early to take advantage of the expo
  • Check into hotel early to avoid risk of hotel not having non-smoking rooms available
  • Do better job to hydrate and eat properly prior to race
  • Stay at a hotel halfway between start and finish line
  • Go see a Cirque du Soleil show

Again, every runner MUST do this race.  I promise you will have a wonderful time!!

This race was my 49th half marathon.  Now I am on a mission to run a race possibly next month in Chicago for my 50th half marathon.  If I don’t, then my next half marathon will be in January for the Goofy Challenge.

Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis Half Marathon

Whew!  Done with state #27!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.
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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!

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.