Category: Race Recap

Fit Five Friday: 5 things about the 4 on the 4th Race

On Tuesday I ran my 2nd race of 2022.  I knew I wasn’t going to get a PR so my goal was to have fun and finish.  I did that and did better than expected.

This race is special to me because it takes place on July 4th.  To me it is more than Independence Day (and that is a WHOLE different conversation).  My family emigrated from Mexico to the US on July 4, 1978 – I was 5 years old.  I remember seeing the Sears Tower and Lake Michigan.  My father was already living here and finally he had his whole family together.

Here are some fun things about the race:

🇺🇸 I’ve been doing this race since 2013 – It was cancelled in 2020 and I skipped it in 2021.  Almost 10 years of running this race.  It is a fun race – there aren’t that many races that are 4 miles.  I realized I need to get more fun gear for this race.  Pictures below are from 2013 and 2014.  I don’t have any of that gear anymore.

🇺🇸 My PR is 39:39 from 2014 – The closest I’ve come to beating it was in 2015 with a finish time of 40:47.  This year my finish time was 45:46.  My coach had asked me to do a progressive run with the first mile being between 12:00-12:30.  I did it in 11:30.  My last mile was 11:02 with an uphill to the finish line.

🇺🇸 It is not a flat course – Chicago is flat which is nice.  I think this is the only race I do in the Chicago area that has hills.  The first photo is from the race and the one below is from a 3 mile run by my house.

🇺🇸 Well organized with great volunteers – I had the option to pick up my bib before the race or wait till race day.  I love that we have options!  The race started right on time.  There were a few water stops but I didn’t stop because I had my own bottle bottle.  After mile 3 one of the race volunteers told me that the last mile was the shortest mile.  I laughed.  I told him that to get from 3 to 4 is only 1.  He replied that it was all in my head.  

🇺🇸 It is a huge confident booster – Why is it that many times we don’t always believe in ourselves?  We are too hard on ourselves too.  I did get tired and walked a little but still I was smiling.  It helped me see that my training is going well and that makes me a bit more excited about my 50k.

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Tuesday Topics: 2022 Shamrock Shuffle 8k Race Recap

This week’s Tuesday Topic is: What do you do after a long run or race?  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!

I am deviating from this week’s topic to write about my race from Sunday.  I was debating on whether or not to run it and Saturday morning at the expo is when I made the final decision.  I am glad I did it because it was LOTS OF FUN!

The last time I ran this race was in 2019.  The expo was in a different location than in previous years.  It was cold and rainy on Saturday morning as I made my way downtown.  It was actually fun taking the train and being downtown again.  It must have been 2 years since I’d taken the train as well.  

I went to one tent to pick up my bib and then to another one to get my shirt.  The expo was very small.  I just looked around but didn’t buy anything.

Race day was cool – not warm nor too cold either.  I wore pants but could have worn shorts.  I wore a long sleeve top under my shirt and am glad I did because I waited 12 minutes to cross the start line. 

Wow!  There were times that I felt cold but OMG it felt GREAT being there.  It is hard to explain it but it felt wonderful to be able to race again.  This race is one of my favorites!  I loved seeing everyone’s outfit and their excitement of being able to run this race again.

Finally it was time to run!  I knew the signals downtown were wacky and Garmin information isn’t reliable.  The day before I had set my watch for manual laps.  That morning I changed it back to auto lap.  While I did care a teeny tiny bit about my time, I didn’t want to worry too much about pressing that lap button at each mile marker.  I wanted to enjoy the race and finish!  Secretly I was hoping to finish under an hour – and I did, but it was close.

I had been doing good with running without stopping.  I wanted to see if I could do it again and for how long.  I kept an easy pace.  My watch was showing numbers in the 10s but I knew that wasn’t possible.  I also saw the numbers 9 and 8.  I ran and ran.  I took in the sounds and the sights.  I ran sans music and am glad I did.  I listened to everyone around me (luckily no one was talking too much because you all know I hate it).  

I stopped at the first water stop.  According to my watch it was before the 2 mile marker.  I then learned later on not to rely on my watch.  I took two cups of Gatorade and continued to run again.

When I was at the one mile marker my watch said 1.15 mile.  OK, not too far off.  However, at mile 2 it said 2.30.  Soon it was 3 miles but for sure I thought I had missed the mile marker.  Then I saw it when my watch said 3.5 miles.  For some reason that messed with my head.  I stopped to walk for a few seconds.  Then I snapped out of it and kept running.

There wasn’t too many people out there but it was still enough.  I was already getting tired and did my best not to walk too much.  There is nothing wrong with walking but I wanted to limit it.  There was another water stop around mile 4 and I took two more cups of Gatorade.  I was thirsty and should have drank water instead. 

I ended up walking more the last mile of the race.  By this point I was even more tired and wanted to finish.  I’ve run this race plenty of times and know where the finish line is but it felt like it was taking too long to get there.  I knew the hardest part was yet to come.  I was on Michigan Avenue ready to turn left on Mt. Roosevelt.  Oh, I mean Roosevelt Road.  It is a long and hard incline and it feels harder when running the Chicago Marathon.  I was running but stopped to walk.  I picked up the pace knowing that I could still make it under one hour.  I finally finished in 59:42.

I didn’t take any pictures along the course.  I took in everything around me – the energy, the runners, the noise, and the sights.  I recognized many places but also saw some new ones.  Did I mention how great it felt to be downtown again?  Did I also mention how great it felt to run a race again?  Part of the route was new but some of it was the same from before.

It was a beautiful day for a race.  No rain like the day before.  It was sunny and perfect.

My original goal was to have fun and finish.  Deep down I also wanted to finish under an hour.  I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen since I hadn’t been running much these past few months.  I was pleased with how I did and was surprised at my average pace.  I ran without walking too much.  I am definitely in much better running shape than I thought I was.  

Below is the data from my watch.  Interesting on the pace and distance. 🤣

Topic for next week – FREE topic.  Feel free to write about this or any running related topic.  We hope you’ll link up with us!

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Tuesday Topics: Some of my best races

Happy Tuesday and welcome to another edition of Tuesday Topics!  Last week I wrote about some not-so-great things that have happened to me at races.   So today let’s discuss some of my best races whether it is because of a PR, the course, or some other reason.

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This week’s Tuesday Topic:  What was your best or worst race 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!

2016 Chicago Marathon – It it my marathon PR.  I simply love everything about this race.  I’ve run it a few times and also love spectating it.  


2015 Live Grit 10 MilerI met Wendy and Marcia at this race.  It was warm in the beginning of the race but then the temperature dropped about 20 degrees.  I did not have a jacket and was COLD.

2019 Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Half Marathon – I was undertrained but loved this race.  I was also dealing with plantar fasciitis but I made the best of it. It is an incredible experience running the bridge to Canada, in Canada, and then back to the U.S.  

2019 Delaware Marathon Running Festival – Hilly course but I met Kim!  What’s not to like about it?  Running in Brandywine Park felt peaceful and very relaxing.  It was just what I needed to deal with all of the hills.

2013 Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4thI don’t remember how I heard about this race but am so happy I did.  I love everything about it (distance, price, location, to name a few things) and continue to run it each year.  I am sad it is cancelled this year but understand the reason.

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2020 Publix Atlanta Half MarathonSo the race itself was not that great.  It was a VERY hilly course and I was undertrained.  What I loved about it was the Olympic Marathon Trials that took place the day before.  I got excited and goosebumps being so close to many elite runners – LOVED seeing Desi on the course!!

Utah Valley Half Marathon 2017 – A race meeting up with blogger friends!  The views were incredible.  It was the first time dealing with altitude and running a downhill race.  Not easy but I finished in 2:34:59 which is a whole lot better than I expected!!

Walt Disney World Half Marathon and Walt Disney World Marathon – Did this as part of the Goofy Challenge.  Seriously, I have no idea what I was thinking when I signed up.  I don’t think I was thinking AT ALL!  🙂  It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done.  No regrets at all.

The Great Alaskan Running Cruise 2017 – It was a fun week exploring and running in Alaska.  There were a total of 4 races:

5K Kick Off Run/Walk in Anchorage and Welcome Party
√ Glacier Half Marathon in Juneau
4-Mile Amazing Race in Skagway
5K on the trails in the Tongass National Forest in Ketchikan

♥ Chicago Lakefront 50K 2012 and 2014 – I don’t have a recap from my first race in 2012 but HERE is the second one I did in 2014.  As if running a marathon isn’t hard enough, I decided to run a race even longer than 26.2 miles.  I ran the RnR New Orleans Marathon early in March and then ran the 50k a few weeks later.  Why not, right?  🙂


I enjoyed writing about this topic.  It was fun reading older posts (sometimes cringing because of what I wrote – Yikes!!), but overall remembering each one which made me smile.

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Tuesday Topics: Publix Atlanta Half Marathon Race Recap

This weekend went by so fast.  I am back home recoverating from my race on Sunday.  If you missed my recap of the Olympic Marathon Trials, click HERE to read about it.

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This week’s Tuesday Topic:  Have you ever taken a break from running?  Why?  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!

I’m deviating from this week’s topic to write my recap of the Publix Atlanta Half Marathon.  I ran this race the day after the Olympic Marathon Trials.  Did you watch it?  It was INCREDIBLE.  I have no idea where it will take place in 4 years but for sure I want to be there again.

I signed up for this race in April of last year.  I paid $50 plus fees.  Pretty great deal!

I didn’t sleep well on Saturday night.  I even took a melatonin.  I think I finally went to sleep around 10:30 pm.  The race started at 7 am but I always like to get there early and use the port-a-potty.  Plus, I knew it was going to be cold in the morning and I was planning on wearing sweatpants and sweatshirt, so I also needed plenty of time to check in a gear bag.

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I woke up at 4:40 am but didn’t get up till 15 minutes later.  I quickly got ready and went to the lobby to get a coffee from Starbucks.  Then I walked to the start line at the Olympic Centennial Park.  I had 3 layers so I did not feel cold at all.  🙂

I used the port-a-potty, took some pictures, then I checked in my gear bag.  I got in line about 6:30.  Then I waited.  And waited.  I asked myself why I had gotten there so early.  It was chilly but I wasn’t THAT cold.  I wore a Oiselle flyout long sleeve underneath my singlet and that helped.  

When it was almost start time, the race announcer introduced Meb.  He was pacing the 1:40 group.  I was in Corral C and I am assuming he was in either A or B.  I wanted to leave my corral and find him.  I didn’t.  Then she mentioned that the Olympic Marathon Trials winners were there as well.  Neat way to start off the race.

Then it was time to run.  My goals were to finish the race and to have fun.  I did finish it and made the best of it.  I was tired and in pain.  I knew it was a hilly course.  I underestimated how hilly it was.  The plan was to walk up the hills and run the downhills.  Good plan, right?  Well, in this race I was either going up or down.  There were very few flat areas.

Here is the elevation map from my Garmin.

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I felt good for about 3 miles then I got really tired.  I decided to just walk and run whenever I felt like it.  I don’t remember too many details because I was so focused on running and walking.  By then it had warmed up a little and the sun was out.  I was never hot nor cold.  In reality it was just perfect weather.

While running I saw Kim and we ran together for a few minutes.  I could not keep up with her.  🙂  I also saw Vanessa and ran with her but also could not keep up with her.  I saw Jessica pacing the 5:30 team but also could not keep up.  I was really struggling but I still wanted to finish.  I didn’t care about my finish time.  I just wanted to finish.

I took two Huma gels (mile 4 and 8) and stopped at every water station.  I think it was around mile 11 or 12 that I had some Powerade.  I needed something to get me through the final miles of the race.  I don’t remember being thirsty but that drink tasted really good!

I enjoyed running in Piedmont Park.  It was lovely and a great place for running.  I didn’t see other runners except those running the race.  I thought that was strange.

The last 4 miles is when I was cursing a little bit.  I was tired of the hills.  I was struggling more than ever.  But I was almost done and I just needed to hang in there.  

I was so happy to hear the race announcer.  I was almost done and could stop running.  🙂

After the race I got my medal and was handed a bottle of water and chocolate milk.  There was a tent with some food but I didn’t get anything.  I got my bag from gear check and went to take some pictures.  I just wanted to get back to the hotel to eat something.  I was so hungry.

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I showered, packed my suitcase, and my friends and I went to Hard Rock Cafe for lunch.  We then went back to Olympic Centennial Park to walk around for a bit before going to The National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

I loved that they offered FREE race photos.  I like the long sleeve shirt.  It is soft, comfortable, and perfect as a pajama top.  I don’t like the medal.  So plain.  🙁

There weren’t too many people on the course.  The volunteers were friendly and encouraging.  There were also plenty of water stations.  I was looking for a medical tent and did not see one at all.  I was disappointed because I wanted some Vaseline or something to apply to where I had chafed.

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This was state #43 for me.  Next is the Garmin Oz Half Marathon in April (#44) and the Fargo Half Marathon in May (#45).  Then I will need 6 more to go!  Total will be 51 because I am counting Washington DC as a state.

Have you run this race before?  Would you run a race knowing that it was a hilly course?

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Tuesday Topics: Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Half Marathon Race Recap

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

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!

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On October 20th, I ran the Detroit Free Press/TCF Half Marathon.  It was my 73rd half marathon.  It was also state #42 in my goal to run a half marathon in each state.

I left Saturday morning and arrived in Detroit at 1:00.  Once there I took an Uber to the hotel to check in and left for the expo.  I stayed at the Rivertown Inn and Suites on Jefferson and Rivard.  It was an OK place to stay.  What I liked about it is that the expo and start line were less than a mile away.

The expo was fun with lots of vendors.  I signed up for the International race so I had to show my passport in order to get my bib.  

I tried on some shoes but didn’t buy any.  🙂  Although these felt more comfortable than another pair of Ghost 12 that I had but sent back.

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I bought 3 pairs of Balega socks (it was buy 3 pairs and get one free) and an R3 foot roller. 

Race morning I woke up tired.  My neighbors next door were loud and it took me a while to go to sleep.  I got ready and made some UCAN gel for before the race and during the race.  Then I went to the lobby because the clerk told me when I checked in on Saturday that there would be breakfast for the runners.  I ate a waffle as big as my face with coffee.  I walked with another girl to the start line while eating my UCAN.  It took us about 15 minutes to get there.

One bathroom break and it was time to run.  I was happy and excited.  I almost skipped the race because my left foot had been bothering me so much that it hurt to walk.  I blamed it on my inserts.  I have two different pairs – one in my shoes for running and another in the ones for running.  I switched them and hoped that I made the right decision.

The race began at 7am.  It was dark.  I didn’t worry about it too much and concentrated on my run.  I was feeling good.  The beginning of the race was in downtown Detroit.  I couldn’t really see my watch but knew that I was going faster than I was supposed to.  Still I kept running.  I was determined to enjoy and finish the race no matter what.  

Then came the incline to the Ambassador Bridge.  It was long.  I was beginning to feel tired.  I stopped to take a few pictures because the view was gorgeous.

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Running in Canada was so much fun!  Lots of spectators cheering for us.  I was running in Windsor, Canada while on the left was the Detroit River and left to it was Detroit.  How awesome is that?!?!

My foot began to bother me.  My longest training run was 6 miles so I was beginning to feel more tired.  I didn’t want to remember this race as one in which I was in pain.  Instead, I wanted to remember it as the race where I ran in two different countries.  I soaked it all in.  The weather was perfect and I loved seeing the Canadians cheering for us.  So I kept going. 

My time in Canada was coming to an end as I entered the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel which is under the Detroit River.  Someone warned me that it would be hot in there.  It wasn’t too hot but I did warm up a little bit.  Love the middle picture with both flags!

Towards the end of the tunnel is another slight incline.  

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You know what I am going to say now, right?  I was hurting.  I felt even more tired.  I wanted the race to be over.  I still had about 4 miles to go.  I kept going.  I began to wonder if I had made a mistake in running the race.  Well, at that point there wasn’t anything to do but to keep going.  I am smiling in my pictures but pictures can be deceiving, right?  🙂

I ran and walked the last 4 miles.  We were back downtown and I remember thinking that I was going be done soon.  I could see more people lined up on the sidewalk.  I could hear the announcer and knew I was close to the finish line.  I kept running till I finally finished.

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I enjoyed this race and would love to do it again.  And this time hopefully not be dealing with an injury.  It took me a few days to recover from the race but I don’t regret running it.  My quads hurt a lot.  I felt like I had run a marathon.  The weather was perfect, there were a lot of water stations (there were signs letting you know how far the next water station was), and the volunteers were wonderful.  Every runner also gets free race photos (low resolution but still free).  Oh and the best part was running in CANADA!!!!

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The swag bag had a long sleeve shirt, a pair of gloves, and a race wrap.

I am pleased with how I did.  I enjoyed the race and finished it.  That is all I wanted.  Oh, and I got mostly positive splits.  Isn’t that the way to do it?  🙂  And yes I did run with my passport and no a border patrol agent didn’t stop me to check it.

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If you are planning to do this race, I hope I convinced you to do it.  Save the date as next year it will be on October 18.  There is also a marathon if you want to run more than 13.1 miles.  

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