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Category: Race all 50 states

Tuesday Topics: 2019 Missoula Half Marathon Race Recap

Disclaimer:  I received a free entry to the Missoula Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!  

On Sunday I ran the Missoula Half Marathon.  It was also state #41 in my goal to run a half marathon in each state.  I am hoping to be done with this goal next year.  

I left Saturday morning on a direct flight to Missoula.  The airplane was small.  The Missoula Airport is also small, definitely different from Midway or O’Hare.  I was staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Missoula and they had a complimentary airport shuttle so as soon as I got my luggage, I called the hotel and there was a van waiting for me in about 10 minutes.

My flight arrived early and luckily a room was available for me.  I went to the expo at Caras Park to get my bib.  There were a few vendors but I did not buy anything.  Well I did buy a small bag of donuts.  

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Then I tracked down a friend of mine and met up with him and a few others at Big Sky Brewing Co (they were one of the race sponsors).  I had a flight (they were all delicious) and then went to dinner at Kobe Seafood and Steak.  Then we parted ways since we had to wake up early the next day.

Sunday morning I got up at 4am.  A friend of mine, Rebecca, was also running and she said her boyfriend could pick me up at 4:40am and take us both to the shuttle bus.  There is no drop off at the half marathon start so you have to take the shuttle bus.  We didn’t wait long for a bus and soon we were on our way.  It was about a 15 minute bus ride to the start line.  It was chilly but not cold.  I knew it would warm up later.  There were plenty of port-a-potties and I must have used them about 4 times before the race.

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There were no corrals but I lined up close to the start line.  I don’t remember hearing the National Anthem but soon it was time to start running.  Sure enough by then it had warmed up a little bit.  It was definitely perfect running weather.  

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The course is gorgeous!  You run through the country side and along the river.  I saw cows and horses.  The course is flat with some downhills.  The views were spectacular.  About a mile into the race I saw the 2:20 group and ran with them for about 2 miles.  I was feeling good but then took a break and then couldn’t catch up to them.

I saw a guy playing the piano in his yard!

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I kept running but eventually I was tired.  My left leg began hurting.  I also felt some discomfort in the bottom of my left foot.  I was frustrated because I had trained for this race (and did really good).  For about 2 months on Saturday mornings I ran the hills at The Arboretum to get ready for this race.  I knew it wasn’t a hilly course but figured training on hills still wouldn’t hurt.  I couldn’t understand why I was struggling.I decided then to just keep running and enjoy the race.  There were water stations about every 2 miles.  The volunteers were wonderful in motivating us.  

By mile 9 I was done with the race.  I was tired and sore.  By this time I was focusing on each mile and each one was slower than the previous one.  I saw the 2:30 group but had no desire to run with them.  It was sunny but I never felt very hot.  I did sweat a lot though.

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I saw a group of spectators with a table outside their house full of various adult drinks.  Mimosa?  Sure, why not?  At about mile 10.5 is when the first marathon runner passed me.  He was flying!!  

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With less than a mile to go I asked someone how much longer I had and he told me less than 1/2 mile.  At that moment even 1/2 mile seemed like a long time.  I told myself that it really wasn’t and tried to focus on my morning runs and exactly where 1/2 mile was from my house.  It helped a bit.  I remember then turning left and then right and then a bridge (downhill) to the finish line.  I ran as fast as I could and was finally done.  I think about 5 or 6 marathons runners passed me up by the time I was done.  😉  I did not stay long because I wanted to get back to the hotel to shower, get something to eat, and head to the airport.  My flight was at 12:30 and I wanted to be there by 11:30.  I know I had plenty of time but I hate rushing when going to the airport.  

I was at the airport by 11:15am.  I checked in and sat down to relax.  At 12:00 there was an announcement that the flight was delayed because of the bad weather in Chicago.  Later we were told it would leave at 2:30, then 1:30, then 3:30, then 5:30.  It finally left after 4pm.  However, the plane arrived at 9:10pm in Chicago but we didn’t get to the gate till 10:45 because there were other planes that were also delayed and were waiting for a gate too.  

My coworker picked me up at the airport and she sent me the information she got from the website which of course is different from what actually happened.

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I didn’t get home till almost midnight.  Lola was happy to see me!

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Thoughts:

• I should have done a better job of researching hotels because I regret selecting that hotel.  It was a nice hotel but not close to Caras Park where the expo was held nor close to the Adams Event Center where the shuttle busses were to take us to the start line (it is a point-to-point course).

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• Uber/Lyft is expensive.  Once I figured out how much it was going to cost me to go to the expo and and come back and also to and from the Adams Event Center (this was before Rebecca asked me if I wanted a ride), I realized I should have rented a car.  I checked online and of course no cars were available at the airport.  I will confess or runfess that I cried.  How could I have been so careless about this whole trip?  When I made my hotel reservation for Michigan, Kansas, and Georgia, I picked one close to the start and finish line.  I booked the first hotel I saw on the race website but I should have looked for one closer to the start line.  Oh and to top it off, the hotel was $300. 

• Missoula is expensive.  My flight was almost $600.  I did book it at the end of May so maybe it would have been cheaper if I had booked it earlier?  A few people did tell me that it is expensive to fly into and out of Missoula.

• I had high expectations for this race.  Many people raved about it.  The course is very pretty and flat.  There are also great views but I wasn’t that impressed with it.  I thought the course was nicer at the Delaware Marathon Running Festival.  Sure it was hilly but there was more to see in DE.

• It is a well organized race.  I liked that there were plenty of water stations and volunteers.  There weren’t too many spectators but the ones that were there did a wonderful job of cheering for us.

• Gear bag drop off and pick up is a breeze.  There was a bit of a line at the start line, but it still moved fast.  When I was done with the race I went to get my bag and one of the volunteers saw me walking towards the truck and quickly retrieved my bag.

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• I like the shirt but hate the color.  The marathon runners’ shirt was blue.  

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• Finish time is 2:40:56.  I am disappointed in my time.  The weather was perfect and the course was flat.  I was aiming for a 2:30 finish time but wasn’t even close.  The last time I did a half and got a “decent” finish time was the Covered Bridges Half Marathon in 2015.  I finished in 2:19:51 and that is my second best time after the Hartford Half Marathon.  Oh, and the course in VA was hilly.  

Would I do it again?  Maybe but for sure I would pick a different hotel.  I would also plan to stay longer and do more things in Missoula.

Tuesday Topics

This week’s Tuesday Topic:  Your 2019 mid year review.  You can write about this topic, or feel free to post any running related blog post.  Remember to Link-up with Kim and Zenaida!  Visit at least two of the other linked posts – the more the merrier!  Remember to come back for later linkers!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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Tuesday Topics: 2019 Delaware Half Marathon Race Recap

Disclaimer:  I received a free entry to the Delaware Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!  

On Sunday I ran the Delaware Half Marathon.  It was also state #40 in my goal to run a half marathon in each state.  I am hoping to be done with this goal next year.  

I left Saturday morning and took a flight to Philadelphia.  When I arrived I waited about 20 minutes for a shuttle bus to arrive and take me to my hotel in Wilmington.

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Luckily my room was ready.  The front desk clerk gave me a bag that had two bottles of water and a cookie.

Then I unpacked and went to the expo.  I love it when the expo is in the hotel I am staying.  I got my bib and shirt but did not buy anything. I signed up to get FREE race photos.  I began talking to the volunteer that was there about my 50 states goal.  I mentioned that I planned to run in Hawaii next year.  He asked me if that would be my last state.  I said “no” and the idea was born to make it my last one.  Currently, it will be my 48th state.

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Then I got something to eat.  I ordered a chicken wrap and a beer flight.  Yummy!  I also ate my cookie at the hotel.

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Later I met Kim for dinner.  We ended up going to the small restaurant in the hotel.  We talked and laughed.  We had a good time.  Once back in my room I got my stuff ready and went to sleep.

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Race morning it was in the mid 50s.  No rain and no sun which makes it perfect for running.  I made coffee, got ready, and ate a Clif Bar.  I met Kim and her mom in the lobby and we walked to the start line (about 15 minutes away).  The race started and ended at the Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park.

My two goals for this race were to enjoy it and to finish it.  I remember at one point I was hoping to make this race my PR race.  My training hasn’t been going that great so that idea went out the window.

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This race is not flat.  Well, for about 4 miles it was flat.  Then it was all downhill and uphill.  I thought I was going “fast” in the downhills but my watch told me something different.  We ran in Brandywine Park and that was simply gorgeous.  Lots of trees – very peaceful and relaxing. 

A little after mile 6 it was up, up, and up.  I saw Kim and she was in her zone.  This is when my legs started to hurt.   

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Beginning at mile 7.5 was the Munchkins Mile.  Lots and lots of munchkins.  I grabbed two and kept going.  It was here that we ran through a nice neighborhood.  The houses were beautiful and I remember what seemed to be like a small park/lots of trees in the middle of the two streets.  

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I remember that after mile 9 someone told me that I had already run the most difficult part of the race.

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Then it was back to Brandywine Park (more downhill).  

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I almost cried when I saw the mile marker for mile 12.  I was very sore and tired.  The last mile was uphill for 1/2 mile and the rest downhill to mile 13.  That area is “Lawyer’s Row” and I saw a bunch of law firms such as Richards, Layton & Finger; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP;  and Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP.  I used to work at the American Bar Association so I recognized those firms.

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I was so happy to see Mile 13.  I did stop for a few seconds to catch my breath and then ran to the finish line.  

Finally done!  I got my medal and a bottle of water.  I kept walking and saw Kim and her mom.  It started to drizzle and at first I was OK, but then eventually I got cold.

I sampled two different Dunkin iced coffees.  The pistachio almond fudge was good but the butter pecan was even better.  Then we got some beer and pizza.

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Our hotel was at about mile 12.5 of the race course.  During the race it was nice running downhill, but heading back to the hotel it was all uphill.  That was rough.  

Once I showered and changed, I met Kim and her mom for lunch.  We ended up going back to the same place I had been to the day before.  This time I had a cheeseburger and a mimosa.

Overall, I thought it was a great race.  The weather was perfect.  It was well organized. There were plenty of water stations and the volunteers were wonderful.  There wasn’t a lot of crowd support, but the views made up for it.  Again, Brandywine Park is gorgeous.  What I did not like were the hills.  I was very sore.  My left leg was bothering me and I stopped a couple of times to stretch.  Want to know what was going through my mind throughout the race?  I told myself over and over again that I should start training on hills.  Someone asked me if I would do it again.  The answer is “yes”, but I would train on hills.  🙂

I definitely recommend this race.  Two thumbs up from me!

Tuesday Topics

This week’s Tuesday Topic is a FREE topic.  Feel free to post any running related blog post.  Remember to Link-up with Kim and Zenaida!  Visit at least two of the other linked posts – the more the merrier!  Remember to come back for later linkers!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

So many cities and so little time!

I have been running for over 10 years.  However, it was 6 years ago that I decided to make it a goal to run a half marathon in each state.  By then I had already run in 5 states (two being a marathon and I went back to run a half) so I knew I had a long way to go.

One of the best things I did was purchase a Rock ‘n’ Roll TourPass in 2013.  This pass allowed me to register for as many Rock ‘n’ Roll races as I wanted to in a year.  And that is what I did.  That year I ran 14 Rock ‘n’ Roll races.   While it was exhausting, it was also fun and I made the best of it.

I may be biased but I love running in Chicago.  I love running along the lakefront.  Although for almost a year I have been running by my house.  I live 1.5 miles from Midway Airport and sometimes run loops around it (4 miles each loop).  It is just perfect for me.  I also love running in Chicago because it is flat.  Although that didn’t help when I ran in other hilly cities like Nashville, TN; Little Rock, AR; Tulsa, OKand Jackson, MS.

Besided Chicago, I have enjoyed running races in other cities as well.  They’re listed below in no particular order.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half MarathonWhat’s not to like running down The Strip at night?  It is fun to see The Strip at night without any cars.  The best part of this race was that I got VIP status.  First and last time!

Princeton Half Marathon.   Getting there was a bit of a hassle but I enjoyed running through Princeton University.  Even though there were hills, there were so many trees and the colors were just beautiful.  The campus is lovely and it was fun learning about Albert Einstein.

• Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon.  This race was after the bombing at the Boston Marathon.  Security was very tight and I remember feeling a bit nervous but also sad.  The course was mostly flat and the turnaround point was Harvard University.   I also enjoyed running through Beacon Hill and Boston Common.

Glacier Half Marathon.  Running in Alaska was also so much fun!  I ran a half marathon, two 5Ks, and did a running scavenger hunt.  I ran these as part of the The Great Alaskan Running Cruise.  You can read all about my great adventures HERE.

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Linking up with MarciaPatti, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.

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Friday Five 2.0-5 Things I Am Looking Forward to in 2018

Happy New Year!  How did you celebrate?  I kept it very low key.  Nothing exciting at all.  My sister came over with my nephew.  We ate and watched TV.  Then they left and I went to bed at 10pm.  Felt great to go to bed early and wake up early the next day.  🙂

Happy New Year 2018

The other day I was thinking about things that I am excited about and looking forward to this year.  There are a few but for now I am picking five of them.  Here they are in no specific order or importance.

1. The Illinois Marathon.  This will be my 9th marathon.  My last marathon was the Chicago Marathon in October 2016 where I ended up with at 5:12:59 finish time.  I am working with a coach to get me to the finish line in April.  I am hoping to finally get a sub 5 finish time.  My training is going well.  Most of my runs have been “easy” and short (30 and 45 minutes).  I know this will get my body ready for when I need to do hard and intense workouts.  This week I ran “specific” miles (3 and 4 miles).

2. Rock ‘n’ Roll Races.  In 2013 I ran 14 RnR races.  While it was fun, it was also tiring and expensive.  As a BibRave Ambassador, I have the chance to run again a couple of these races.  I picked Washington DC, New Orleans, Chicago, Savannah, Denver, Las Vegas, Seattle, and San Diego.  There is no guarantee that I will get selected for all of them but I’ll be happy with 2-3 races.

3. Moving to a new apartment or house.  I’ve been living in the same apartment for about 8 years.  When I moved here, I told myself that that would be the last time I would move.  Wrong.  My landlord told me to start looking for a new apartment because he wants to remodel the apartment and sell the building.  Part of me wants to move to another apartment because it is just easier and less responsibilities.  However, another part says it is time to buy a house.  I’ve looked at a few houses and have not seen anything that I like.  My goal is to move no later than March/April (assuming that the landlord gives me till then to move.  What I am most excited about is the possibility of having a bigger bedroom than the one I have now!  🙂

New House Image

4. Run a couple half marathons in new states.  Currently I’ve completed 38 half marathons in different states.  If I get picked for the RnR races (#2) then I will be adding Colorado and Georgia to my list.  I am hoping to also add Delaware and Michigan.

Run all 50 states
Source: www.etsy.com

5. BibRave Ambassador.  I was selected for another year as an ambassador.  I am happy and excited about it!  I’ll have the chance to provide you with various product and race discounts.  I will also have the opportunity to run various races throughout the year and try out different and new to me race products.  I also hope to meet more Ambassadors whether in Chicago or from another state!

Anything exciting you are looking forward to this year?

I’m linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for Friday 2.0.

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Friday Five 2.0-5 Favorite Races

To date I’ve run over 150 races.  Most of them I’ve run in Chicago or nearby but more than half of my half marathons have been in other states.  Recently I ran a half marathon in Alaska.  I don’t have a recap yet but have written a few posts about my trip and you can read about them HERE.

So you bet it was kind of hard to pick and write about my favorite races.  Well, I thought about it hard and here are my 5 favorite races.

Chicago Marathon.  Definitely the best marathon ever!  I am kind of bummed that I am not running it this year but am excited to spectate and cheer for my friends. I’ve run this race 5 times and am always amazed at how well organized it is as well as the support and encouragement I get along the way.  Plus, it is a BEAUTIFUL course!

This is from my first Chicago Marathon in 2006.  Check out the iPod!

4, 2006 Chicago Marathon 2

Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle. The race marks the beginning of the running season in Chicago.  I’ve done this race since 2006 and have missed it a few times due to weather and being out of town.  This race starts and ends on the same course as the Chicago Marathon and there are also many spectators along the way.  I remember the first time I ran this race, I was so happy because I had run the whole race and only stopped ONCE to get water.  That was a huge accomplishment back in 2007 when I was still kinda new to running.

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Elmhurst 4 on the 4th.  I love the distance and there aren’t too many 4 mile races. While I enjoy taking the train and running a race in the city, I also like getting in a car and driving to a different race location.  There is plenty of parking, cheap ($25-$30), and good crowd support.  Plus, I like the variety of running on small hills – different from running in flat land in Chicago.

In 2014 and a 39:39 PR.

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Soldier Field 10 Mile.  What’s not to like about running 10 miles?  It’s weird how when running a half marathon, I start feeling like crap past 10 miles.  That won’t happen when running this race.  I love that it starts and ends near Soldier Field. This year the start line was inside the stadium which was kind of cool and much more organized.  It is cheap if you register early (around $55) but then can go up to $90 in April.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.  I ran this race in 2014 and it was my last race of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.  I enjoyed running on the Strip at night and checking out the view.  I ran for fun because when will I ever get the chance to run on the Strip and not have to worry about pedestrians and cars?

The best part of the experience was my VIP status.  I didn’t sign up for it but got it               because I signed up to run 15 RnR races that year.  I ended up running a total of 14             races because last minute I decided to skip Denver.

Would I do this again?  Absolutely!  A few bloggers are heading out there in                         November and I am tempted to go but do not want to pay the ridiculous price for               the race.  I could just go and hang out with them, right?

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I’m linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for Friday 2.0.

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