Illinois Marathon Relay

My first relay race was Ragnar Relay Chicago in June 2012.  On Sunday I completed a marathon relay and got to cross it off this list.

There were 8 girls doing this relay race (two teams: Pink Ladies and Faster than Snails).  One of my teammates offered to drive to Urbana-Champaign (about 2 1/2 hours from Chicago) and we left Friday afternoon.  There were two girls from the other team so it was nice to meet them and talk to them.  They had food and I snacked on crackers, hummus, and sweet potato chips.

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We arrived to pick up our bibs and to check out the expo.  It was OK but does not compare to the Chicago Marathon or RnR expos.

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I almost bought this headband.

After the expo we went to Destihl for dinner.  The food was delicious!  We had a few appetizers to start off along with beer.  For dinner I had pasta with spicy thai shrimp.  The rest of the teammates met us there and we all had a lovely time.  We then said goodbye because it was late and we still had to check in the hotel and get our stuff ready for the next day.

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From L to R: Lety, Liz, Rocio, Fabiola, me, Angie. We were missing Ana and Arasally.

As I was getting my things ready for the next day, I realized that I had forgotten my socks.  I had originally packed everything in my Apera bag.  I switched to a bigger bag because all of my things wouldn’t fit but left my socks in one of the pockets. Luckily, I borrowed a pair from a teammate.

I checked the temperature and got really nervous because all I saw was rain, rain, and more rain.

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I slept good Friday night.  I was up at 5am and got ready.  I shared a room with 2 other girls so I waited for them to get ready before heading out to get something to eat.  The hotel provided us with a  free continental breakfast.  Love it when hotels do that.  I had coffee and a waffle.  Not too much but enough for a 6.7 run.

It was cold and drizzling.  I was hoping the rest of the rain would hold off till AFTER the race.  It didn’t.  There was a long line to get to the parking lot.  One of the girls was familiar with the area and told us of a shortcut.  We parked the car and got out to meet up with Ana and Lety.  We quickly got a team picture and since I was runner #1, I headed over to the start line.

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Team Faster than Snails From L to R: Ana, me, Lety, Rocio

I don’t remember hearing the National Anthem but I realized the race was about to start.  I walked over to the start line, got in the corral and off I went.

I don’t remember too many specifics of my part of the race.  Here is what I do remember:

  • I felt really good the first two miles.  Unfortunately, I do not know my splits because the Nike + app in my phone did not work.  I turned it on but somehow it turned off.
  • I felt tired after the first water station.
  • The volunteers were wonderful!
  • The crowd support made me happy.
  • I would run, walk, and repeat.
  • It started to rain and I had forgotten to wear my visor.
  • I was running in new shoes and they felt really good.  Ha, little did I know what was happening in my right foot (too much callus remover and a lot of water is NOT a good combination).
  • One water station was after mile 2 and the next one was after mile 4.  That worked out for me since I had a short run but not sure if marathon and half marathon runners will agree with me.
  • Between mile 5 and 6 there were signs along the course with several facts about the University.   I don’t remember the exact words but I do recall reading about REO Speedwagon, PayPal, YouTube, and a Nobel Prize Winner.

I saw a sign on the floor and I thought it was the the 6 mile marker.  I told my teammates I would send them a text when I got there since the exchange was at mile 6.7.  There the volunteers were giving out oranges.  Yummy!  Up ahead I saw the actual mile marker. Oh well.

Finally, I saw the exchange spot.  I removed my belt and put it on the next runner.  I was done but I was also very cold.

We got in the car and drove to the next exchange which was about 10 minutes away.  It was raining so much harder and I felt bad for the runners.  Runner #3 got her stuff ready and then we left to meet runner #2.  We finally got a text from her that she was at mile 13.

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Runner #2 is done!

Two legs done and two more to go.  The next exchange took a bit longer.  I drove this time because the owner of the car was running.  I am OK driving but get nervous driving other people’s cars.  Luckily, nothing happened and we arrived at the next exchange spot.  Lety was nice enough to get coffee for the both of us.  It felt good to drink something warm.  Earlier I had changed my top but left my skirt. I was getting colder so I changed into capris.  Not sure why I didn’t do that before.

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Love my colorful shoes!

We got a text from Rocio that she was at mile 20.  We were meeting her at 20.5. One of the volunteers told us that the race was cancelled because of the weather. We were like “What?!?”  We couldn’ believe it.  We kept walking and asked another volunteer and she was not aware of the news.  Ana was the last runner and she said that she would run no matter what.  We saw Rocio and Ana took off to complete the race.  We told Rocio what we were told about the race.  On our way to the finish line, Ana sent us a text.  Yes, the race was cancelled and time would not matter.  She would keep going till the buses arrived.  She called me and I  asked her if she wanted us to pick her up. She said no and I told her that we would meet her before the entrance of Memorial Stadium.

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It was raining even harder.  We arrived at the stadium and went inside.  It was pure chaos.  There were so many people there.

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Definitely not a signage you want to see at a race.

While waiting for Ana, I used the bathroom and got some pizza.  There was also water, bananas, and bags of pretzels.  She texted us at mile 24.  We waited a little bit before heading out to meet her so that we could cross the finish line together. While waiting we cheered for the runners.  Some looked tired, cold but also excited to be almost done.  We waited and finally saw her.

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We ran inside the stadium.  We held hands and crossed the finish line together. Finally done!

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Our finish time is 4:29:47.

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Even with the nasty weather we all had a great time!  We made the best of it and felt thankful for being able to participate in this race.  We ran, laughed, motivated and helped each other out.  And the rain did not stop us.  Definitely teamwork!  We had so much fun that we are already planning to do it again next year.

Have you ran a relay race?  Which one and how was it?

104.10 Miles for runDisney

So this year I ran a few Disney races.  I ran a total of 8 races which equals to 104.10 miles and 14 medals.  I won’t get into how much money I spent.  I had fun traveling to Florida and California but prefer going to Florida because 1) It is closer and cheaper and 2) More parks and more things to do.

I remember when I signed up for the Goofy Challenge and I was nervous and scared.  Running a half marathon is tough but then to add a marathon the next day?  What was I thinking?  I wasn’t.  My friend, Jaime, convinced me to do it so I did.  She did Dopey Challenge (5k, 10k, 13.1, and 26.2).  At the end of the marathon I was almost in tears because I had accomplished something that I did not know I was capable of.  Plus, I enjoyed the course more for the full than the half.  I was also very sore.

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But I recovered quickly because the following weekend I went to California for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon.  Traveling there was nerve wrecking because there were problems with my flight and I got to the hotel after 5pm.  I was too late to pick up my packet but luckily I picked it up on race day.  I was not able to get my shirt but someone was nice enough to mail it to me.  I liked the race and the course.  The weather was perfect too.  The last time I was in Disneyland was in 1991 so I stayed an extra day to hang out in Disneyland.

In February I went back to Florida for the Glass Slipper Challenge (10k on Saturday and 13.1 on Sunday).  Definitely so much “easier” than Goofy Challenge.  I ran the Enchanted 10k with Jeff Galloway and it was nice to chat with him.  It was muggy and humid that morning but I finished early enough to head back to the hotel, shower, eat breakfast and hang out at Magic Kingdom with Arasally.  We had a blast! The last time I was there was in 2004 (I did run through there in January but did not stay at the park).  The half marathon was OK.  Nothing too exciting about it.

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Pretty medals!

At the end of August was another trip to Disneyland for the Dumbo Double Dare (10k on Saturday and 13.1 on Sunday).  This time I made sure to leave early enough to avoid any problems with my flight.  I saw Jaime again and it was fun hanging out with her.  I knew Emily was also planning to run the half marathon but I did not see her at all.  I liked the 10k but not so much the half marathon.  It was cool running through Disneyland and California Adventure Park but could not wait to finish the half marathon.  I did like the medal I got for completing both races.

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Finally my last race was last month.  I was nervous and excited about that one.  The race was at night and I am not a fan of night races.  The weather was pretty decent during the day but then things turned for the worst.  It rained pretty much the whole time for the whole race.  I heard good things about the race and was looking forward to it and the post race activities.  I was cold and miserable.  I could not wait to finish.  I walked a lot, which made it worse.  I know this was out of Disney’s control but the rain ruined it for me.  However, the best part of the race was seeing all of the beautiful lights in Hollywood Studios.

Final thoughts:

  • Each race is a fun experience.  I like the Disney theme and seeing the various costumes.
  • I prefer traveling to FL than CA.  But unless you have a car or stay on property, it is much easier to get around in CA.
  • When traveling to FL make sure to stay at a resort.  Disney does a great job of providing shuttle busses from/to the airport and to/from the expo and race.
  • Why, oh why, is it so expensive for these races?  I know I spent over $300 for Goofy Challenge and while I did get 3 medals and 3 shirts, there pretty much nothing in the goody bag and in the post race box snack.
  • I told myself I would never run another Disney race but am finding myself drawn to the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon in 2015 and the Glass Slipper Challenge in 2016.
  • Part of me wants to run again the Wine and Dine Half Marathon and actually enjoy the race.
  • Ugh, I will not miss the 3:00 wake up calls.  Those were brutal.  I understand the reason behind it but they’re still brutal.
  • Every runner has to run one Disney race.
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14 medals!

My favorite medals.