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Category: Rock ‘n’ Roll Race

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!

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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.

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.

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.