Chicago Marathon-Pilsen Style

I met up with friends yesterday morning in Pilsen for the Chicago Marathon.  I was glad to be a spectator again so watch all of the amazing runners.  I was excited about seeing Ryan Hall!!

Chicago Marathon-Pilsen Style

Chicago Marathon-Pilsen Style

Meeting time and place was at Nuevo Leon Restaurant at 7:30am (Mile 19).  I got to Pilsen around 7 and parked my car about 2 blocks away from the restaurant.  As usual I am the first one to get there and waited for my friends.  Luckily I had a magazine to keep me occupied.  I got bored waiting and got out of my car to walk a little bit.  My friends were letting me know how far along they were and I finally met up with them outside McDonalds.  We had to wait for another friend so we went into a coffee shop.  By then the race had started and I was happily watching it on TV.  we talked and talked and by then the leaders were halfway so that meant they were going to be at Mile 19 at about 30 minutes or so.

Chicago Marathon-Pilsen Style

We could hear the helicopters and the police sirens so that meant they were literally around the corner.  So exciting!!!  I was sad Ryan was not with the leaders.  What happened?  He was so confident about winning this year’s Chicago Marathon.

Chicago Marathon-Pilsen Style

Once the leaders passed my friends and I went to Nuevo Leon for some tasty Mexican food.  If you are in Chicago you have to go there.  The food is just delicious.  had rice, beans, and enchiladas.  I just realized I did not take a picture.  I guess I was too busy eating.  After we ate we went outside to wait for friends that were running in the race.

I managed to see two friends in the race.  I was so proud of them!!!  As a runner myself I know what it is like to run 26.2 miles.  It is time consuming, a commitment but also a rewarding experience.  I am a firm believer that ANYONE can do it.

Watching the runners was very exciting and motivating!  However, I will confess that I am nervous.  I don’t want to run another marathon close to 6 hours.  I know, I know.  I should be proud that I finished it and there is definitely nothing wrong with 6 hours.  The Hartford Marathon will be by 4th marathon but I want to improve on my finish time.  My PR was in 2010 with 5:40:49.  A friend of mine ran the Denver Marathon in 4:53:59 and someone else I know ran her first (Chicago) in 4:51:56.  I know I should not be comparing myself to them but I cannot help it.  Last year I did better from 2008 (a PR of about 19 minutes).  I remember that last year it was HOT and I struggled the last 7 miles.  I have been monitoring the weather in Hartford and the forecast is 70s and sunny.  Definitely not happy with that but I will take it.  I am worried about the hills.  I was told that there are hills but they’re not long nor steep.

Enough rambling.  I leave Friday morning so now it is time to relax, hydrate, and carbo load.  My concern now is that since I am wearing compression capris, do I need to wear compression socks?

Chicago Marathon Expo

As you know I am not running the Chicago Marathon tomorrow because I will be running the Hartford Marathon next Saturday.  I love the Chicago expo and made my way there after work.  Love it!!!  I did not plan to be there too long but ended up staying there till about 6 or so.  I bought some great things as you’ll see below.

The best part of the expo was the Brooks Pure Heaven area.  So nice.  They had people doing gait analysis and then they gave you suggestions on which pair to buy.  I know I overpronate but was told that it is was a slight one.  Oh well, I still overpronate and was recommended to wear the Adrenaline, Ravenna, and the Pure Cadence.  I walked over to the next booth (Fleet Feet) to try them out.  Love, love the Ravenna!!!  So comfortable!!!  I was tempted to buy them (only $85) but realized that I still had a few hundred miles left on my Asics Kayano.  I fell in love with the Pure Cadence.  Such a beautiful shoe!  The only thing is that it is $120.  I think it is a bit pricey but still love it.  My birthday is next month so maybe I can treat myself to these.

pure cadence

Feliz Navidad

Other things that I bought are:

  • Balega running socks.  I already own pairs of Smart Wool and Thorlo but still like Balega.  I guess a runner can never have enough socks.  Oh year, and I own a fair pair of compression socks.
  • CW-X capris.  I get pain in my quads and hamstrings when I run so I am hoping these will provide support during the race.
  • SnuggBuds.  These are the BEST headphones.  I have tried quite a few sets and they all slip out with the sweat.  These come with 3 different inner ear buds to properly fit your ear.  I bought my first pair last year and have had a great experience with them.  They are a bit pricey but worth it.  However, within the last month or so there was no sound coming out of the left side.  At the expo I told the vendor about it and she told me that if I return that pair I could get 50% off the next pair.  Of course I forgot to take the pair with me!!  I even tried to talk her into giving me the discount but no luck.  Anyway, I still bought a pair for next week’s race.

I saw Dean Karnazes.  He was there for a book sign.  Wow!  He looks a little too thin but I guess that is what happens when you run a marathon every single day.

Looking forward to seeing the runners tomorrow at the Chicago Marathon.  I plan to get a picture or two of Ryan Hall.  I hope he wins or at least places in the top 3.

20 miles again but with no music

Yes, I ran 20 miles again.  How did it go?  Much better that two weeks ago.  I got to the lake around 6am but waited a little because it was still very dark and I was not going to run alone in total darkness.  Ten minutes later I was cruising along.  Great weather.  I wore a long sleeve shirt because it was chilly but yet perfect for running.


I did make a few stops along the way but managed to finish in 4:06:20.  The best part was that I ran without my iPod.  It just so happens that something is wrong with the headphones and I cannot hear the music on the left side.  So annoying!!!  I was “entertained” with the lakefront view, the sounds from the cars along the lake front, and of course the conversations by the other runners.  However, I don’t think I will have all of this at the Hartford Marathon so I definitely need to get a new set of headphones.  By the way, my legs feel fine.  A little sore but I can actually walk around without limping.  Definitely a good sign.

I can’t believe that the marathon is in less than 3 weeks.  Yes, I am ready to tackle this race!!!

On a different note, I am making beer bread from “Tastefully Simple”.  Yes, it is made with beer and it is THE MOST DELICIOUS bread and so easy to make.  Just add a 12 oz. bottle of beer to the mix, stir for 20-30 seconds, spread batter in a loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes.  I love eating this with spinach dip.  This bread is for my book club this afternoon.  I will do a taste test and hopefully I won’t eat it all.

20 miles again but with no music

20 miles

I ran 20 minutes yesterday.  I was up a little before 5am because I wanted to get to the lake early to begin running.  Well, I did not know that the lot “officially opens” at 6am.  I could have left my car in the lot but you see the wonderful city of Chicago charges its residents to park in the lots by the lake.  It is not too expensive but still.  I paid for 6 hours which came up to about $3.75.

It was just a WONDERFUL day for running.  It was just the kind of weather I would like to have on October 15 for the Hartford Marathon.   As usual I started too fast but I still managed to run more than walk.  Once I completed 10 miles I turned around and mentally told myself “going home, going home”.  It was around mile 14 that my quads were hurting really bad and I had a nasty blister on my right foot.  I have to remember to put band-aids or something for my next long run in case I get another blister.  I struggled the last 4 miles but managed to keep on running.  Overall finish time was 4:12:37 (12:35 pace).  Not as fast as I would have liked but still pleased with completing 20 miles.  I am planning another 20 mile run in 2 weeks.

Once at home it hurt to go up the stairs.  Sigh.  Why did I agree to live on the 2nd floor?  Since I was too tired to stop at the gas station for ice, I partially filled the tub with cold water and sat there for about 10 minutes.  Not too bad.  I had my iPad so I caught up on Facebook and email.  I told myself that next time no excuses and I will stop at the gas station for ice.

I am happy to say that I am not as sore as I thought I was going to be.  Sure my quads are still sore but not too bad.  Was it the chocolate milk?  The cold bath?   Was it all the walking done yesterday?  Well, whatever it was simply worked.  Hopefully in two weeks I will share a similar or better story…no pain at all!!!  Or maybe that is asking too much.

What are your thoughts on ice baths?  How soon after a long should you take one?  I ask because I want to be ready for when I complete the Hartford Marathon.  Obviously the first thing I would want to do is eat, eat, and then eat some more but should I do the ice bath first?

Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon….or was it really a half marathon?

What a great day for a race!  The race began at 6:30am so I had to be up at 4:30am.  By the time I got ready, stretched, and ate a peanut butter & jelly sandwich it was about 5:15.  Of course I made it just in time to drink water, go to the bathroom, and stretch some more.  I guess I got lucky and ended up in Corral 7 which was not too far from the starting line.

I don’t have correct mile split times because my Garmin was off.  I have it set up to Auto Lap by Distance.  According to it I completed 14.01 miles.  Seriously?  Who is wrong the Garmin or the people that measured the course?  Overall I was pleased with my finish time – 2:26.  My goal was to finish it in less than 2:30.  I knew I was not going to set a PR for two reasons: 1) my training has been so so this summer and 2) I had this pain on the bottom of my right foot that by the end of the race the pain was all the way up my leg and to my lower back.  After the race I had to stop at the medical tent for an ice pack.


I did like the race and the course.  The weather was just perfect!!!  To be honest I really don’t care too much about the live music along the course.  The only reason I ran this race is because I signed up for it last year during the 2010 race expo.  There was some kind of promotion going on and I had the chance to register for next year’s race for only $55.  Yes, that is correct.  I was thinking of signing up for the half marathon in Las Vegas in December and almost fainted when I saw the fees.  Why, why, WHY?   Why so much?  I cannot justify spending $140 for a half marathon.  Seriously why so expensive?  I see that next year there will be races in Madrid and Scotland so I will be interested to know how much the fees are for those races.  One race that I MIGHT do is the marathon in New Orleans.  It is only $95 till October 31.

Half Marathon Marathon
May 31 – June 5 $130 $140
June 6 – Sept. 4 $140 $165
Sept. 5 – Nov. 27 $155 $175
Expo $175 $175

Any thoughts on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series and their ridiculously fees?