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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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September 2013 in Review

September was such a busy month for me!  Work was hectic (still is) and I am freaking out because I have progress reports due on Wednesday morning. Paperwork and more paperwork is definitely NOT fun for me.  I caught  a cold this weekend and am not feeling good.

I am a coach for Girls on the Run-Chicago and I volunteer with them on Monday and Friday.  I’ve been having fun with the girls and they’re so cute and adorable!!  I was a bit nervous in the beginning but now am feeling more confident.  There is a 5K in November to benefit the organization but I’m not sure if I will be running it because I am also traveling to Las Vegas that day for a half marathon.

This past week I began my training for the Goofy Challenge.  I missed my workouts on Wednesday (met a friend for dinner and to grade papers) and on Friday (too tired from the week).  I’ve just been so tired.  Excuses, excuses.  I know.   No more slacking off.

This month I ran 63.62 miles compared to 66.05 in August.  I also ran four races:  Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach, Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia, Omaha Half Marathon, and Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence.  Interesting but I ran one race in August and four in September but the difference between the two months is 2.43 miles.  I did so much better in August.

I have four races in October.  All except one are RnR races.  I am running in CT again because two years ago I ran the full marathon but this time I am going for the half.  I get to see my friend, JB, again.  Yay!!

On Sunday I ran in Providence and had a good time.  The course took us through some shaded areas and there were many supporters.  It was hilly but I did not mind them too much.  And the weather was just great.  I will have a race review this week.

As of Sunday I’ve ran 178.72 miles in my Brooks PureFlow 2.  They’re great shoes but now am thinking of trying a different pair (maybe Nike?).  Any suggestions?  During the race on Sunday, my knees were not happy.  I am not sure if it’s because of the shoes or because the course was hilly.  I’ll see how they feel during my runs this week.

Last weekend I finally reached A-List status from Southwest by completing 25 qualifying one-way flights.  Ha, I knew all of those flights for my races would come in handy.  I get benefits such as priority boarding, more points per flight, and priority check-in and security lane access.  What I really, really want is free Wi-Fi on the plane.  I am not cheap but I don’t want to pay $8 for each flight for the Internet.

September was a busy month but I am definitely looking forward to October!

Omaha Half Marathon

Done, state #24.

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I arrived in Omaha at 11 am and called the hotel for a shuttle pick up and was on my way to the hotel at 11:30.  I love it when hotels offer free airport pick up.  My friend , JB, was already in Omaha so I met up with her in the room.  We chatted for a few minutes and then headed to the expo to pick up my bib.  It was about a 10 minute walk and it was such a nice day outside.  The expo was in the parking lot of a stadium with only a few vendors.  I bought a long sleeve shirt and more Gu (salted caramel).

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Race day came and we got ready.  I was excited but nervous at the same time.  It is a weird combination of feelings because I’ve been running half marathons for quite some time and I still feel that way.  It was dark and kind of chilly as we walked to the start line.  Ideally it was perfect running weather.  There was some kind of confusion at the start line but JB and I just followed the crowd and waited for the race to start.  Luckily I did not have to go to the bathroom because I had no idea where they were.

We were off a little after 7.  I had a good pace the first couple of miles.  Did I mention the weather was just perfect?  The course was not flat but I took it easy and did not mind them too much.  I tried not to look too much at my watch for my pace but just went with how I was feeling.  I took my first Gu around mile 3.  Surprisingly there were A LOT of water and Gatorade stations.  Plus, many of the tables had oranges which I enjoyed very much.

I was feeling really good and was pleased with the many volunteers along the course.  We ran through a park and I wondered how much longer till the turnaround point.   It was sunny but fortunately the course was shaded.

The 2:10 group caught up with me and I stayed with them for a few minutes till the turnaround point. I stopped to take another Gu and to drink more water.  All was going very well until for just one tiny second when the sun appeared and blinded me.  I did not see the girl in front of me and I tripped and fell.  It felt like I was in a slow motion movie and I remember every single move I made before landing on the floor.  I was shocked and laid there for a few seconds.  The runners that saw me asked if I was OK.  I got up to scan the damage.  No bleeding on my knees but they were scraped a little.  There was blood on my left hand and a small scrape on my right hand.  I was OK and was glad that it was not worse.

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I ran and walked the remaining miles.  I fell but so what?  I guess it was bound to happen to me.  I ran next to a girl that had a good pace and she told me that she saw me fell.  I laughed because I wondered how many other people saw me.

I saw the finish line and was glad that the race was over.  I looked at my watch and was confused because it was only 12.81 miles.  Imagine my surprise when I saw people running into a stadium. I still had to run inside it?  So I did and it was pretty cool.  It reminded me of the Soldier Field 10 Miler.  Luckily the race was over shortly after exiting the stadium.

I looked at my watch and was pleased with my time.  I then walked over to the medical tent but was only given two bandages because they had nothing to clean the wound.

The course was blah but I was grateful it was mostly shaded and the weather was fantastic. The crowd was wonderful, there were plenty of water/Gatorade stations, and there were so many Gu stops that I grabbed one at every single one.

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Next race is Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence 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.