Category: Race Recap

Strike Out ALS 5K

Yesterday I ran my 99th race, the Strike Out ALS 5K.  Let me just tell you that it was a muggy evening for a race.  I ran with members of Team Ruth in support of my friend, LH, whose sister has ALS.

I met up with them at 5:30 pm and then went to gear check to meet members of the Chicago Running Bloggers.

Strike Out ALS 5K

Again, it was muggy outside.  Before I left my house I took a water bottle with me in the hopes that I would run with it.  I knew there was only one water station along the way and knew that was not enough for me.  Well, I finished the water BEFORE the start of the race.  There was water by the start line so I grabbed another bottle.

The race began a little after 6:30.  I had trouble with my Garmin locating a signal so I got out of the line and waited a few minutes.

The course was mainly through the U.S. Cellular Field parking lot.  Boring.  I did not like it one bit.  I really tried to stay positive but I was hot, thirsty, and already had a headache.  I finished my water bottle a little after the first mile.  The view was not interesting at all.  I cursed the sun in the hopes that it would go away.  No luck.  I focused instead on the reasons I was running this race.  So many people/families are affected by ALS and as much as I was unhappy about the weather and the course, I was still grateful that I was healthy and had two running legs.

The last half mile or so was inside the stadium.  I remember hearing last year that it was hot and long. Well, it was long but not hot since the AC was on.  I kept on running and took one walking break before we were finally outside the field.  We still had about another quarter mile before the finish line. It was cool there because it was like running to make a home run.  I was so happy to see the finish line!!

Strike Out ALS 5K

Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th

On Thursday, July 4th, I ran a 4 miler.  The last time I did this was in November 2008.  Let me just say that it is now one of my favorite races.  The problem is that there is not that many of them.

The race started at 7:15 but being a morning person I was up at 5:30.  I had coffee and a Clif Bar.  I was not sure how long it would take me to get to the race so I left a little after 6am.  I got there at 6:30.  I found parking and went to pick up my bib.  On the way I found another runner, DL, whom I met at another race last year.  Packet pick up was a breeze and then I waited for the race to start.

Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th

Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th

And off we went.  It was a nice course.  We ran through residences and part of downtown Elmhurst. By then it was warm but nothing out of control.  The first water stop was around mile 1.5.  I grabbed two cups and walked as I drank them.  I have not mastered the skill of running while drinking water. There was another stop before mile 3 but this time there was also watermelon so I grabbed a piece.  It was delicious!

The last mile was great!  I kept a good pace till almost close to the finish line.  Since it was uphill I just took a quick break for about 5 seconds and carried on.  My finish time was 41:19 and yes it was a PR!!  I am so excited and happy about it.  Now I want to do a 5K and see how I do.

Here are my splits:
Miles 1 through 2 – 9:39, 10:29
Miles 3 through 4 – 10:42, 9:57

I got so many compliments on my socks.

Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th

The shirt was nice.

Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th

Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon

Done, state #21.


I took an early flight from Chicago and arrived in Seattle around 10:30am.  There was no hotel shuttle and a cab was too expensive, so I took the light rail. I bought an all day pass for $5.75.  Score!

I booked my hotel, The Roosevelt, through Southwest.  I loved it!  It was a block and a half from the light rail/monorail to get to the expo AND the start line. Plus, it was close to Pike Place Market and many other stores and restaurants and I thought the price was reasonable.

The expo was cool!  I bought watermelon flavored Nuun tablets and three Sparkly Soul headbands. Unfortunately, I lost one (red, blue, white) that I was planning to wear with my new ProCompression socks in a 4th of July race.  I also purchased monorail tickets to the start line (Space Needle) and back to the hotel. I met Mel from Tall Mom on the Run.  She is really nice and we chatted for a little bit.

That evening I had pad thai from Wild Ginger.  I went to bed at 8 pm because my body was still on Central Time plus my alarm was set for 5:25 am.

Race day came and I got ready.  I walked to the monorail to get to the start line.  I had to use the bathroom and found one inside a building.  Then I proceeded to follow the crowd to the start line.  I realized I had to go again to the bathroom and left my corral to use the port-a-potty.  They smelled horrible! But when you have to go, you have to go.  I got in line again and had trouble with my Garmin.  No satellite.  Ugh, I got out and saw Mel again.  I realized afterwards that I did not take one picture with her.

Finally it was time to go.  I encountered my first hill after mile 1.  I thought it was never going to end. Of course there is always a downhill which was nice. I liked the view and felt really good at this time. At mile 6 we ran next to Lake Washington.  It was just beautiful!!  Plus, it felt good to be in the shade. I stopped to admire the view and also to see pictures of soldiers that died during the war. That made me really sad.




At mile 8 there was another uphill and I refused to run.  I was tired.  It was after the mile marker that we ran in a tunnel.  I did not like that AT ALL.  It was hot, dark, loud, and long.  I swear it was about a mile long!  There was a band playing close to the end of the tunnel which made no sense.  I ran as fast as I could because I just wanted to get out of there.  We then ran in the highway/expressway and it was mostly downhill.  We passed Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field.

I always find the last 3.1 miles of a half marathon to be the MOST difficult part of the race.  That is where I struggle the most.  I need to remind myself that it is only a 5K and not difficult at all.  Mile 11 is when the first marathon runner passed me up.  He was fast!  Right before mile 12 we ran in another tunnel.  Not happy about it again.  The last mile was mostly uphill.  Ugh!  Two more marathon runners passed me up.  A little before the finish line a runner had collapsed and that freaked me out.  I had no energy to run/sprint to the finish line.  My legs were not cooperating at all.

Here are my splits:
Miles 1 through 4 – 9:37, 9:45, 11:24, 10:02
Miles 5 through 8 – 10:58, 10:55, 11:43, 11:47
Miles 9 through 12 – 12:37, 11:48, 11:45, 12:44
Mile 13 – 10:32

My finish time is 2:30:39 and according to my Garmin ran 13.42 miles.  Am I happy with it?  No.  I really struggled in this race.  It was HOT and HILLY.

I got three medals at this race!

1) Running Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon
2) Running both races in Portland and Seattle
3) Running 7 Rock ‘n’ Roll races


After the race I went back to the hotel to shower and change.  Then for lunch I went to Tap House Grill.  The burger and beers (sampler) hit the spot.


Afterwards I walked over to Pike Place Market but was not impressed with it.  I ended up just walking for a little bit before heading back to the hotel.




Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon

Done, state #20.

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon

I arrived in San Diego late Friday night because my flight was delayed.  I went straight up to my room and met my roommate, Rebecca from Run Like a Girl, and Mean It!  She is a sweet person!  We talked for a little bit and then went to sleep.

The next morning I met another runner, Kim, and Rebecca’s mom and aunt.  I also ran 2.2 miles for this challenge.  It was such a beautiful morning in San Diego.


After my run I went to the expo.  Again, RNR expos do not disappoint.  I bought two pairs of Pro Compression Socks and two running shirts.  Plus, I made a video for Team Refuel.  I’ll find out July 5th if my video was selected for one of the top 10 and then voting begins to be selected to be on the team.

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon

Race day I was up at 4am.  Yes, ridiculously early.  We got ready and went downstairs for the shuttle bus to take us to the start line.  It wasn’t a bus but a limo bus.

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon

Once we arrived we had plenty of time to find the gear drop off area, start line, and go to the bathroom.  I was the only one that went to the bathroom. Before we knew it more people had arrived and the bathroom lines were getting longer.  Rebecca was the only one running the full marathon (6:15 am start time) and Kim and I were running the half marathon (6:45 am).  We got in line to go to the bathroom one more time and I am not kidding but we waited about 30 minutes.  Whew, definitely felt better afterwards.

Kim and I got in our corral and we were ready to tackle the race!

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon

It was humid!  I was sweating within the first mile.  Here are my splits:

Miles 1 through 4 – 9:22, 10:44, 10:24, 11:23
Miles 5 through 8 – 10:30, 11:07, 10:53, 10:41
Miles 9 through 12 – 11:33, 11:01, 11:34, 9:35
Mile 13 – 11:13

The course had its ups and down.  There were so many turns.  I got annoyed and did not like them at all and had to take a few walking breaks.  We did run through some nice neighborhoods and there were so many people cheering for us.  My favorite part was mile 12 because it was mostly downhill. Actually, it was about a half mile going downhill and it felt really good.

My finish time is 2:22:06.  According to my Garmin I ran 13.26 miles in 2:22:08.  Doesn’t really make sense right? The winner of the half marathon was Bernard Koech from Kenya with a finish time of 58:41.  That is a 4:29 pace per mile!!!

Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon

Done, state #19.

I registered for this race in November of last year for $45.  Great deal right?  The host hotel, The Seaport Hotel, was sold out so I searched for weeks for an alternative hotel.  I was put on a waiting list for The Seaport Hotel and decided to stay at the Hyatt Harborside.  On Wednesday afternoon I got a message that there was a room available for me.  That made me very happy.

I arrived in Boston on Saturday morning.  It was a gloomy day.  Luckily my room was available so I left my suitcase in the room and went to the expo which was across the street from the hotel.  Not too many vendors were there but I bought a running skirt and two shirts.  I paid $30 for the skirt and one of the shirts. Great deal!

Boston's Run to Remember Half Marathon

There was a dedication for Officer Sean Collier.

Boston's Run to Remember Half Marathon

The course map.

Boston's Run to Remember Half Marathon

I was up at 6am on race day.  I love staying at hotels in which the start line is right across the street. In my race packet there was a note letting us know that security was going to be tight and that we would be searched.  I understood the reason behind it but it just felt weird.

Boston's Run to Remember Half Marathon

There were so many people and everyone was happy and excited about the race!

It was really crowded at the beginning of the race.  About 3/4 into it, I took off and passed a group of Marines.  So handsome!  🙂  I made it my mission to finish before them.  We ran next to the Charles River. This part of the course was mostly flat, calm and peaceful.  We passed a group of police officers cheering and giving high fives to the runners.  The turnaround point was past Harvard University. Such a beautiful campus!

As I turned around to head back I saw the Marines pass me up. Darn!  I could not keep up with them. By then I had eaten one GU, drank plenty of water and Gatorade and was already tired.  I had some pain on my right side and was chafing in my chest area.  I found a medical tent and rubbed some vaseline to help with the pain.

Boston's Run to Remember Half Marathon

The last 3-4 miles we ran through Beacon Hill, the Public Garden, and Boston Common.  We passed the “Cheers” pub and laughed when I heard someone asked “Does everybody know your name?”  By then the sun was out and I was a little warm but knew I was close to the finish line.

At mile 12, I saw the group of Marines and cursed myself for not keeping up with them.  They were cheering the runners and that motivated me to keep on running.  As I turned on Congress Street I knew I was even closer to the finish line.  Another turn to Seaport Lane and I could see more people cheering.  I could see the finish line!  I ran as fast as I could and was finally done.

I went inside the World Trade Center to get some water and my medal.  There were boxes of Zico coconut water and people were taking one bottle and others a whole box.  I drank one bottle and took two more for the trip home.  I got my medal and was about to walk out when I saw the group of Marines.  I noticed they were just getting their medals.  I realized that when I saw them earlier they hadn’t crossed the finish line.  They were waiting for the rest of the group in order to finish together. That brought tears to my eyes.

It was a great race.  I had a great time and loved every minute of it.

Boston's Run to Remember Half Marathon