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Hello Mexico and South America!

I had never been hiking and this past month I had this experience.  It was a lot more difficult than I had ever imagined.  I mean, I had participated in several 3 Day Walks to raise money for breast cancer but this was very different.  I was not prepared for the mountains/hills and all of the inclines.  I was not prepared for walking nonstop in hiking boots versus my comfortable Asics.

My first hiking experience was walking up a mountain in the state of Morelos.  I don’t know how high it was but let me tell you that for sure it was high.  It was drizzling that morning so the climbing (and going downhill) was difficult.  Off I went with my nephew.  He did not have faith in me and told me several times that we could stop and go back whenever I wanted to.  Ha!  I told him that I would make it to the top but just needed to make more stops along the way.  Below are some pictures of the path.  My biggest fear of course was slipping and falling. Thank goodness none of that happened!!!

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Next adventure was Ecuador.  Beautiful country!!!  This is where I went on an 18 kilometer bike ride, went horse back riding, a jungle and canyoning, and saw many waterfalls.  I had never done those things!  Well, it had been over 20 years since I had been on a bike.  I will be honest and say that I fell.  I was not hurt except a bruise on my leg but I survived.  I tried walking up a volcano but backed out at the last minute.  Overall, great food and wonderful times in Ecuador.

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Finally….3 day  walking trek to Machu Picchu.  It was just phenomenal!!!  The view is just fantastic.  There were about 16 of us in our group and we had so much fun together.  We supported and encouraged one another as we walked.  I climbed a 4,400 meters mountain.  In feet it is about 14,000!!!  I almost cried when I got to the top.  I completed something I thought I could not do.  Honestly, I felt I was not going to make it.  Once I reached the top I had to take in the view because it was just amazing….plus I had to catch my breath from climbing so much and so high.

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I truly believe that everyone should go to Machu Picchu and see one of the wonders of the world!!!!

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Hiking and NO running!!!!

I was out of the country (Mexico, Ecuador and Peru).  Awesome time and will post pictures soon.  However, now I am concerned because I did not run at all.  I mean NADA.  Just hiked.  I am worried how this might affect (if anything) my running plan.  Where should I start now?  From the beginning?  Where I left off?  Or continue as if I had not stopped running?

I cannot believe the Hartford Marathon is less than 3 months away.  I am so worried about it now.  🙁

Marathon Training

Hello friends!

I have been MIA but am glad to say I am back.  Yesterday was my last day of school!  Yay!!!  No more kids for 2 months but I know that I will miss my kids.  But anyway, now it is time for relaxing, running, and taking vacations.  Yes, I will be going on vacation for 3 weeks to Mexico, Ecuador and Peru.  So excited!!  Below is a photo of my backpack!  Yes, I have to pack L-I-G-H-T-L-Y!!

Marathon Training

Anyway, this is week 2 of my Hartford Marathon Training Program.  I am doing the Hal Higdon Intermediate II.  So far it is going well.  On Sunday I set up to do 10 miles but I am blaming it on humidity and was only able to do 8.  I made a mental note to get out on the lakefront earlier, say like 6am and not 7:30.

I am worried because I will be missing about 3 weeks of the plan.  I might be able to do Week 3 and part of Week 4.  I will miss Week 5 and part of Week 6.  I won’t be able to run but I will be doing a lot of walking/hiking.  Should I be worried?  Any suggestions/thoughts?  I guess I can just enjoy my time off and worry about it when I get back and see how I feel.

Well, that is all for now.  I am going to REI to return and get more stuff for my trips.

Hasta luego!

PR and PR

Yes, that is exactly what I did!  I have a PR in my last two races.

The first one was the Alivio y Salud Run for Health 5K on Saturday, May 21.  This year was my third time running this race.  The first time I did it I placed 3rd in my age group and got a medal.  I like this race because it is FLAT.  Seriously.  I know Chicago is known for its flat course but there are a few inclines which I have yet to be friends with.  It was a bit cool so I wore a long sleeve underneath my Fleet Feet running shirt.  I am a member of their running team so I wear my shirt at every race.  It is a small race for runners because there are many more walkers than runners.  Also, this race attracts a lot of grade school kids.  As it got closer to the starting time I made my way up to as close as possible to the front.  I was not going to be stuck behind the walkers.  However, instead I was passed up by kids.  Well, I ran as fast as I could and finished in 29:48.  I placed 6th in my age group.  I was so happy because finally I finished a 5K in less than 30 minutes.

The next race was the Solder Field 10 Mile Run on Saturday, May 28.  I woke up so tired that morning and almost decided not to go.  I am glad I did go.   The race began at 7:15 so I left my house around 6am because I still needed to pick up my packet.  As I got closer to Soldier Field I could see the traffic and it was not pretty.  There were two lanes (left side) to get to Lake Shore Drive (north).  However, some drivers decided that it was best to cut in front of the other drivers that had been waiting in their lane for quite a bit of time.  So annoying!!!  I finally got to the parking lot and it was a challenge to find parking.  I found a spot after squeezing in between two cars only to find out that there were plenty of other spots in the next lane.  By this time I was even more annoyed but decided to let go of it and pick up my packet.  So many people were at the race.  I found the packet pick up line but did not know my bib number so I had to go to another line.  Frantically I checked my email on my phone to look for a email from Fleet Feet.  Found it and went to the appropriate lane to get my bib.  Yes!  I even got the shirt size I asked for when I signed up.  I checked in my gear and got in line for the bathroom.  Too many people there.  I left the line and instead went inside the stadium.  By then the race was about to begin so people were leaving the stadium.  Good for me because I did not have to wait long to use the bathroom. 

I went to get in line for the race but there were so many people.  There were corrals and I did not know which one I belonged to.  I followed other runners and made my way to Corral B.  I noticed that the finish goal time was 1:30 but I knew that that was not going to happen for me.  A few minutes later off I went.  As usual I started too fast.  Below are the times:

Mile 1-10:06 (fastest mile)
Mile 2-10:09
Mile 3-10:14
Mile 4-10:34
Mile 5-10:44
Mile 6-10:33
Mile 7-11:33 (slowest mile)
Mile 8-11:05
Mile 9-10:53
Mile 10-10:27

My goal was 1:45 but I finished in 1:46:17.  I am very, very happy with my time.  Another PR for me!!  Last year I finished this race in 1:49:48.

How do you run AGAINST the wind?

I know Chicago is called “The Windy City” for obvious reasons.  We also have some silly and crazy weather…hot for four days and then cold and rainy for two days.  Yesterday’s race was the worst race day ever.  Originally I signed up for the half marathon and changed it to the 10K.  I am so very glad I did.  I took the train downtown and waited for about 5 minutes for a coffee shop to open to use the bathroom and of course to get some coffee.  It was the BEST coffee I have ever had.  I then made it to the race site, used the bathroom again, added another layer, of clothes, dropped off my gear and went to look for the start line.  This is the third year I run this race and of course I did not read the instructions indicating the new start line.  I followed the other runners and found it.

The beginning was really nice.  I had plenty of room to run, the sun was shining, and there was no wind.  At some point around mile two I could feel the wind pushing me.  Yay!  I am running faster!!!  However, I knew that I was going to pay for it on the way back.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  On the way back it was windy, cold, and raining.  I could not believe it.  I would run but had to stop a few times because it was just so bad.  I was running behind these girls that were running about a 10 minute pace but I just could not keep up.  I was running along the lakefront and could see the waves crashing.  I would have enjoyed the view on another day but at that moment I just wanted to get to the finish line.

My goal to finish the race was 1:06.  However, I finished in about 1:07.  I guess it was not a bad finish time considering the wind and rain.  I was so cold that my face and hands were so red.  At the end there was a breakfast for all finishers but I did not stick around.  I am SO GLAD I changed my registration to the 10K.

So my running friends, how do YOU run against the wind?