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Category: Rock ‘n’ Roll Race

Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence Half Marathon

Done, state #25.

I arrived in Providence in the afternoon.  I met another runner, TF, and she was staying at the same hotel as I was.  My room was not ready so I left my stuff with the bell captain and TF and I made our way to the expo.  It was a very small expo.  I was there for about 20 minutes and then I left.  I did buy two Nike shirts.   I wore one for the race and love it.

Lunch was at P. F. Chang’s.  Honestly, I was not impressed with the food at all.  I had a beer and chicken pad thai but I’ve had better pad thai at other locations.

After lunch I went back to the hotel to rest.  I was tired.  I watched a couple of episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and then realized it was almost 8 and I had not had dinner yet.  I did not want to walk far so luckily Subway was down the street and I bought a chicken sandwich.  Earlier in the day there was the Street Painting Festival and I stopped to check out their work.  It was amazing!  So much creativity and detail in all of them.

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I went to bed later than I wanted to and could not get up in the morning.  I dragged myself out of bed, got ready, and ate a Clif Bar with coffee.  I knew the weather was in the mid 40s and I debated with wearing a long sleeve.  I ended up not wearing it and was so glad I made that decision.  I should know better that temperature in those numbers is the ideal running weather.

The race began and ended at the State House.  I was cold in the beginning but quickly warmed up.

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Right away there was a hill.  I stopped at the bottom for a bit because I was having problems with my headphones.  Once I took care of that, I took off again.  I used the Nike+ app on my phone to track my pace, time, and distance.  I like it better than my watch because I have no self control and am constantly checking my watch.

It was cloudy which I liked very much and am glad it did not rain.  The course was hilly but I did not think it was that bad at all.  Perhaps I am over these hills?  Or is it change of attitude?  We ran past so many beautiful homes.  Along the way I saw the most beautiful Dunkin’ Donuts coffee house I have EVER seen.  I mean it literally was a big house with lots of parking.  I am mad at myself for not stopping to take a picture.  It was that beautiful.

I am proud of myself for how I ran the last 4 miles.  I usually struggle the last 3 miles but I think this time I did good.  OK, maybe not the greatest but decent for someone that usually walks towards the end.  And let me say that to get to the finish line I had to go up a hill.  I really hate those!!

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There were plenty of spectators and water stations.  Some runners had cute costumes which I thought was funny because it wasn’t even close to Halloween.  Overall, it was a good race and I enjoyed it.  I was feeling really good and this time I did not fall.  🙂  My knees were not happy with me.  I’d like to think it was because of the hills and not because of an injury.

Oh and my finish time is 2:23:53.

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Next race is Rock ‘n’ Roll Cleveland Half Marathon.

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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.

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 Chicago Half Marathon

Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon

Done.  This race was not one of the 50 + 1 states goal.  I ran it because I live in Chicago and the registration fee is covered in the TourPass.  Let me begin by saying that this was my 100th race and my WORST finish time race this year.  I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out what went wrong.  I ran better in Nashville (2:30:14) and it rained the entire course.  I was miserable in that race. My other worst time was in Seattle (2:30:39) and that race was a month ago.  Since then the only other race I’ve done was a 5K.

Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon

This whole week we’ve had a heat wave and I was so happy when the temperature was cooler today. I woke up at 4:30 and did the usual pre-race things (bathroom, coffee, Clif Bar, etc).  I made it to the race by 6:10 and missed the Chicago Running Bloggers meet up at 5:45.  I did not check in any gear but used the time to use the porta potty.  No line! Score.  I got in my corral, double checked my Garmin, and just waited.  Before I knew it, we were off!

The course took us through various areas of downtown Chicago.  Actually, part of the course was part of the Chicago Marathon course.  I was sweating and thirsty before the start of the race.  Definitely not good.  I was trying to keep a 10:15 pace but having a hard time with it.  My legs felt heavy.  I alternated drinking water and Gatorade at each water station. To motivate me I listened to music and pictured myself crossing the finish line.  I walked.  Then I ran again.  And walked again.  I was tired and thirsty.  When it was time for my second energy gel I did not want to take it without water but there was no water station in sight.  Luckily there were some spectators giving out water bottles (my angels) so I took one and drank all of it.  That’s how thirsty I was.  I remember this was before mile 10 and kept telling myself that I was almost done.  After mile 10 there was ice, sponges filled with iced cold water, and a water misting area.  Heaven!

The last three miles we ran close to the lakefront and in a tunnel (cool with music and lights).  I saw a man on the sidewalk with blood in his face.  I did not see him fall but it freaked me out.

There was an incline and then I saw the finish line but it was SO FAR AWAY.  I ran and walked and then ran to the finish line.  My finish time was 2:34:38.  I grabbed water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, and a banana and went to sit down.  It felt good but then it hurt once I had to get up.

Whew, I feel much better writing about it.  A few people have told me that not all of my races will be good races.  And that is true.  I will be upset about it but then I will get over it.  I have many more races to run and I intend to enjoy them as much as I can.

Oh, and I think yesterday’s race did not go well for me because I was hot and dehydrated.  I drank more water before the race and along the course then I’ve ever done so in any race. Of course it did not help that it was hot.  Oh well.  Nothing to do about it now except learn from it and make sure I am properly hydrated.  My next half marathon is in Virginia Beach and I’ve heard from a few people that last year it was hot, hot.

Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon

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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