Category: Rock ‘n’ Roll Race

RnR NOLA Week 1

I’ve mentioned that I’ve run over 50 half marathons but have yet to finish one under 2 hours.  My half marathon PR is 2:17:01 at the ING Hartford Half Marathon.  My goal for my next half marathon at the end February is to finish under 2 hours.  Can I seriously do it?  It may sound like a lofty goal but at least I can try right?  Of course Plan B is to get a PR.


*Week #1, December 7-13


  • PLAN – 5 miles all easy effort
  • ACTUAL – 5.02 miles @10:26 average pace

Overall, the run felt blah.  I’ve felt better during my Saturday runs.  Splits are:
Mile 1-10:35
Mile 2-11:03<—– Headwind. I stopped a few times to catch my breath.
Mile 3-10:19
Mile 4-10:04
Mile 5-10:09


  • PLAN – Cycle Zone and Body Works Plus Abs
  • ACTUAL –Cycle Zone and Body Works Plus Abs

Yep, two classes in one day.  I almost did not make it to my evening class (and I got there late) because I was so sleepy from my morning class.


  • PLAN –2 miles warm up (10:00-10:45), 2 minutes around 8:30 with 3 minutes recovery and repeat until you get 2 miles, then 1 mile cool down
  • ACTUAL – 5 miles @11:45 average pace


The sunset was gorgeous and I was bummed I had to do this run at the gym.  I actually enjoyed this workout.  I did 1.30 mile warmup @11:10 before realizing treadmill was not at 1% so then ran the rest @10:32.  2 minutes run were @8:32, 8:39, 8:39, 8:39, 8:39.  3 minutes recovery were at walking pace.  As for cooldown, .50 was @10:55 and .50 @10:32.  The 8:39 pace felt hard but not too hard.


  • PLAN- 3 miles negative splits
  • ACTUAL- 3.02 miles @10:13 average pace


Boom!  Done!!  Decent weather but very windy.  I am taking advantage of this warm weather so I ran in shorts.  Splits are:
Mile 1-10:34
Mile 2-10:04
Mile 3-10:02


  • PLAN – OFF


  • PLAN- 7 miles
  • ACTUAL- 7.12 @10:25 average pace

The weather in Chicago has been warmer than usual.  I am not complaining at all.  I am a 10:30 pacer for the Chicago Endurance Sports Winter Warriors Program and have been enjoying my runs with the group. This was the 4th Saturday pacing the group and each week has been very different weather wise.

Run was going well till the last mile where I walked twice.  Just felt really tired.  Splits are:
Mile 1-9:51
Mile 2-10:12
Mile 3-10:30
Mile 4-10:23
Mile 5-10:37
Mile 6-10:47
Mile 7-10:37



  • PLAN- Yoga
  • ACTUAL- Did not make to class.

*Runs on treadmill are done on 1% incline.


  • I am finally seeing numbers that I like.  I definitely feel that I am running faster.  Even my former coach, Sara, whom I ran with yesterday made a comment about it.  That made me happy!
  • Earlier in the marathon training season I ran in the Brooks Launch 2 but had to send them back because they hurt my feet.  Well, I found them on sale on Running Warehouse, decided to give them another chance, and ordered a pair.  No pain.  Love them.  So I ordered another pair and should be getting them tomorrow.
  • One week before winter break.  To say that I am excited is an understatement.

Done with the Chicago Marathon. Now what?

Hello November!  Cannot believe only two months till the year is over.


It’s been three weeks since the Chicago Marathon.  I think I have recovered.  I’ve been out for a few runs but nothing more than 4 miles.  I really have not had any desire to run.  But once I am out there, it is definitely a different feeling.  The weather has been pleasant in Chicago so I’ve been able to run in shorts and a short sleeve shirt.

Last Saturday I went for a run and it was gorgeous!  A bit deceiving because on my way back it poured like crazy.  I saw my cousin and he offered to give me a ride home.  I had about 1/2 mile to do and was determined to run 5 miles.  And I did!

Now what1

Now what2

On Sunday I went to the outlet mall in Aurora to buy a new Coach purse.  I came home with two.  I checked out the Nike Store and found a Chicago Marathon finisher shirt for about $16.  The price was right, the material feels soft and I love the athletic cut which fits perfect.  Plus, I had a gift card so it was free right?  I ended up buying more stuff than needed there and at Under Armour.  I am going back next week to return a few items.

Now what3

I love the Long Roga Shorts from Oiselle.  Yes, even if they did chafe me really bad at the marathon.  I bought another pair but somehow they’re big even though they’re both the same size.  Not cool.

Now what4

Thanks to Pinterest something random I did with my kids.

Now what5

This past Thursday was a Brooks fun run at Fleet Feet Chicago.  Some of the runners wore costumes.  I ran three miles in 40 degrees weather and it was wonderful.  I had so much fun and I did not care that I got all positive splits (10:11, 10:20, and 11:10).

Now what6
Photo credit: Kristin Zajac

What is my plan now that marathon training is over?  Well, I’ve run over 50 half marathons but have never officially trained for one.  Also, I’ve never run one under 2 hours.  You would think that I would have since I’ve been running for quite a few years.  I know it is tough to get out there when it is cold outside so I signed up to be a pacer for the CES Winter Warriors Half Marathon Training Program.  Definitely no excuses at all from me.  My goal is to run the RnR New Orleans Half Marathon under 2 hours.  So I hope you continue to read as I train for my first sub 2 half marathon.


Oh, and not running related but I know I am late to the party here but I am finally watching “Dexter”.  All I can say is “Wow”!  I watched 8 episodes today and cannot wait to watch more tomorrow.

Dexter fan?  What is the best half marathon you’ve run?  Any exciting races this month?

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.


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.

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.


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.