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ING Hartford Marathon

On Saturday, October 15 I ran my 4th marathon.  I first signed up to do this race two years ago but due to some back issues I decided not to run the race.  Fast forward two years later and I can finally cross it off my list.

ING Hartford Marathon

I took the day off from work on Friday and was on the 6am flight to Hartford.  There was a stop on Baltimore but I still managed to get in at a very decent time.  A friend picked me up at the airport and then dropped me off at the Hilton Hotel.  The XL Center (to pick up packet) was right next to the hotel so I was very happy about that.  I got chills when I got to XL Center.  So many people there!  I was not impressed with the expo.  I guess I like the Chicago Marathon expo a lot and compared it to that.  Oh well.  I bought a few things that I “needed” and met Dane Rauschenberg.  On the wall was an interesting quote “If I didn’t hear you telling me this was impossible, it was because I was too busy doing it.”   Definitely motivated me.

After the expo I met some friends at work and waited there till it was time to go to dinner.  We went to Bertucci’s.  I had some rigatoni with marinara sauce.  Very simple dinner.  My friends had some eggplant dish and chicken piccata.  Looked so good but I was still happy with my food.  I was having a great time with them that I was sad when it was time to go.  However, I knew I had to get a good night sleep and rest up before the race.  I went back to the hotel, got my things ready, and was asleep by around 9:30pm.

INGHartfordMarathon1

Race morning I was up at 6:30am.  I got ready and ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  My friend’s daughter had made them for me.  So nice of them!!!  Once I was ready, off I went to Bushnell Park which was about a 5 minute walk.  Lots of people there.  I could feel the energy and the excitement.  It was a gorgeous morning for a race!

My plan was to finish the race in 5 hours.  That is about an 11:30 minute pace.  No problem.  Well, at least I thought so.  I joined a group to ensure I finish the race in 5 hours.  However, I did not know that the pacer was doing a run/walk method.  She was running at about a 10:00 minute pace and then walking to “make up” the difference.  I ran with the group for a few miles but could not keep up with them.  Darn!!!  I was annoyed because I did not know she would be running at a faster pace.

I made it to the halfway point in 2:30:30 (11:30 pace).  Then it went downhill.  I got to mile 20 in 4:00:00 (12:02 pace) and finish line in 5:25:21(12:25 pace).  So what happened?  Well,  being from Chicago I am used to running in flat ground.  Hartford had inclines.  Many of them.  More than I am used to.  Also, the turnaround point was a little before mile 17 and from then on it was WINDY.  I know I live in the “Windy City” but I do not run 9 miles in the wind.  Ugh!!!  I felt some pain in my quads and took an ibuprofen around mile 17 to take care of that problem.  I had minor foot and hip pain but not enough for me to walk.  Overall, I felt good.  It was the wind that made me walk (I know, excuses, excuses).  I wanted to cry.  The marathon gods were not being nice.  I should have been glad that it was windy instead of rainy.  According to my friends I got lucky because it had been raining for a few days in Hartford.  It was raining when I got in Friday morning!!

INGHartfordMarathon2

Overall, the ING Hartford Marathon is a great race!  It took me about 4 minutes to get to the start line versus 30 minutes in the Chicago Marathon.  It was a very scenic route that went through several towns near Hartford.  Along the way there was more crowd support than I expected.  There were volunteers in bikes passing out GU.  They were also encouraging the runners but at one point I wanted to tell him to just be quiet.  He was all cheerful riding a bike while I was struggling to get to the finish line.  Did I mention the inclines?  I should have paid more attention to the elevation map and trained better.

The best part of the race was the finish line.  All runners passed through the Soldiers and Sailors Arch, a monument to honor the 4,000 Hartford citizens who served in the Civil War, and the 400 who died for the Union.  Beautiful!!!

I am very glad I did this race.  I got a PR!  Yay!!!  Next year I would like to run the New Orleans Marathon.  According to the website the course is flat.  Yeah right!  We’ll see about that.

The plan for now is to rest.  I have a well deserved massage scheduled for Thursday and am looking forward to it.  I plan to do the Carrera de los Muertos 5K on October 29 and am debating about the Trick or Treat 5K/10K the next day.  Then it is back to 18 weeks of training for another marathon.

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Less than 2 days to go

I should be asleep. I have a 6 am flight to Hartford tomorrow. I am packed and ready to go. However, as with my past marathons I am feeling nervous. I have yet to find the secret to stop being nervous. Or does every runner feel the same way?

Today was my last day of work this week. I did not have the guts to let my students know that I was not going to be in tomorrow. Should I have told them? Should I have told them of their teacher’s crazy plan of traveling to another city/state to run 26.2 miles? They know I like to run but I don’t think they know the extent. I should take all of my medals to school one day and show them. Hopefully it wil get them inspired to work hard in everything they do. Hard work is rewarded one way or another.

Back to the nervousness. I need to stop it!!! I have to believe that I will do well and succeed. I can do this. This is not my first marathon. I am prepared. The weird thing is that I have not completed one marathon this year but I am already planning for not one marathon but two marathons next year. Yep. I am thinking of New Orleans in March and Philadelphia in November.

I mentioned in a previous post that I purchased a pair of CW-X capris (medium). I did not try them on at the expo because according to the chart in the back of the bag I fit in a medium. I began to pack last night and decided to try them on. I almost cried! They were too tight!! I could not get them to fit properly. I thought for sure they were going to rip. I am glad I did try them on because I would have been very upset on Saturday morning. So I packed my regular Nike Be Strong Dri Fit Shorts. Love these shorts!!! They’re the right length and prevent any chafing in my thighs.

Good night all. Let’s rock ‘n’ roll in Hartford.

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.

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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