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Tuesday Topics: Elmhurst 4 on the 4th Race Recap

Happy Tuesday!  I hope that everyone had a great weekend.  It finally cooled down in Chicago but we are expecting more HOT weather tomorrow.  I hope it cools down for the RnR Chicago Half Marathon on the 21st.

This week’s Tuesday Topic:  What are your tips for a strong training cycle?  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!

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For this week I am going to write about my race on Thursday – Elmhurst 4 on the 4th.  It is one of my favorite races and highly recommend it race to everyone.  It is cheap, plenty of free parking, and somewhat in a central location for those living in the Chicago area.  

I got home later than I wanted to on Wednesday night and I didn’t not want to get up.  I thought about sleeping in and missing the race.  I guess I must have been feeling guilty because I couldn’t go back to sleep and so I quickly got up, got ready, and drove to Elmhurst.  Google Map said I would arrive around 6:45am.  Yikes, that was the time for the Oiselle group photo.  Oh well.

Somehow I made it to Elmhurst about 6:38, found a parking spot, and sent a message to one of the girls letting her know that I was on my way.  I found the group and while waiting for a minute or two in case someone else showed up, I picked up my bib since packet pickup was located next to us.  I got number 23.  I was happy!  It is Michael Jordan’s number so it must be a lucky number, right?

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After the photo I went to use the port-a-potty and then lined up to wait for the start.  I saw a few friends and chatted with them for a bit.  I was happy to meet/see Becca.  We both looked at each other and stopped because we recognized one another from reading each other’s blog.  

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I remember hearing the National Anthem and then still waiting a few minutes for the start.  The race director had a countdown going.  Finally it was a minute to go and we all got ready to run.

Finally at 7:15 it was time to run.  I started close to the front knowing that many people would pass me.  And yes they did.  The beginning of the course has a slight downhill and coming back it is an uphill leading to the finish line.  Definitely no bueno.  It was humid and I was sweating already, but surprisingly I was feeling good. 

My 1st mile was my fastest.  I thought I could run the whole race at that pace but soon realized that I couldn’t.  

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The first water station was 1/2 mile into the race.  It was much needed.  The next one was about a mile later under the underpass (??).  I got two cups of water, one to drink and another one to dump over my head.  I walked to catch my breath and then continued running.  I was slowing down and I could not make my legs go any faster.  I saw Kathleen at the turnaround point and she encouraged me to keep going.  

I am smiling because I saw some friends but inside I was struggling.

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Halfway through the race I had a headache and was shivering.  Definitely not a good sign.  I was dehydrated and overheated.  I just wanted to be done.

With a mile to go I picked up the pace a bit.  Not much but anything to get me closer to the finish line.  The volunteers were encouraging.  I knew I was close to the end but I had to go up a little incline.  Right before the incline there was an ambulance and a girl on the stretcher.  I think I remember seeing that girl on the course ahead of me but I’m not sure.  I hope she is OK.

Almost done!  I ran as fast as I could.  Smiling because I was almost done.

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I did a bit better than the year before.  

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After the race I got some water and then went to get my bag at gear check.  The only thing I had there was my shirt.  Not sure why I picked up the shirt since I don’t keep them anyway (I gave it to my mom).  I saw a coffee company giving out free iced coffee and got a cup.  Yeah, coffee after a HOT race is probably not the best idea but the ice was so good and the coffee was delicious too.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love this race.  This is the only 4 mile race I run since not many are available.  It is a competitive race but I know I will never win nor place in my age group.  🙂  It is cheap ($25 then $30 after the price increase) and easy to get to.  Perhaps one day we will get a medal?  

Tuesday Topics

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Tuesday Topics: My DEXAScan experience

A few weeks ago someone reached out to me about getting a DEXAScan.   I’ve been intrigued since I read Marcia’s post but never got around to making an appointment.  Now that my schedule is a bit “flexible”, I made an appointment.  

What is a DEXA Scan?  It stands for dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and is a body composition test.  This test measures fat, weight, muscle, and bone density.

I went to the Naperville location after work.  I arrived a few minutes early and checked out the place.  The office is shared with another office which I thought was weird.  You have to go through one office to get to the other one.

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After filling out some paperwork, I was taken to another room for the test.  There was a table with a scanner attached to it.  The machine can be intimidating but don’t let it scare you.  The receptionist asked me to remove all metal jewelry and when I was ready, to lie still on the table.  Then an x-ray wand passed over me several times and then I was done.  The whole process took about 5 minutes.

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Then I waited for my results.  This is what I found out:
• My bone density is good.  I have to thank all of my years of running for this.

• My BMI puts me in the overweight category.

• Overall body fat is high.  It is 10% higher than what it should be based on my height and weight.

• Most of the fat is in the stomach.  I knew that already.  I can see it.  Hahaha.

I am glad I took this opportunity to get this scan.  I have a good idea of where I am at bodywise.  I would like to go back in a few months to see if there is a difference, especially the body fat.  I definitely have lots of work to do.  🙂

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There are several locations you can go for a DEXA Scan.  Check here to find one near you.

Tuesday Topics

This week’s Tuesday Topic:  What are your tips for a strong training cycle?  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


Weekly Run Down: First week of July and summer break

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I hope everyone had a good week!  I am amazed at how fast these months seem to go by.  This week was kind of low key but still a good week.  I did not do much when it came to running (I did run a race).  It has been hot (except today) and if I am not out there early enough, forget it, no running for me.  I could go to the gym but prefer to run outside.

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I had a 20 minute run on Monday but could not get up in the morning.  If you read my Missoula Half Marathon recap, then you know that my flight was delayed and I did not get home till almost midnight.  Thank goodness my coworker picked me up because then I would have had to take a cab or Uber home (O’hare airport is 26 miles from my house). Since my original flight was supposed to get in at 5pm, I was planning on taking the train home.  Yeah, I did not want to do that late at night.

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My left leg was still bothering me so I also skipped my run on Tuesday.  I did get up early to run but then realized it felt uncomfortable to even walk.  I used a small ball to massage my foot.  It did feel better afterwards and then just decided to get ready for work.  Something else I noticed about my feet that has never happened before is that they swell.  Some of my shoes feel tighter and even my running shoes hurt in the shoelace area.  I don’t tie my shoes anymore (I leave them tied); I just take them off and put them back on.  The tightness is so weird.

Wednesday was my last day of summer school and the students made a flag with popsicle sticks.  It amazes me how many kids do not know how to use a paintbrush.  Heck, it amazes me how many do not know how to use a pencil!!

That evening I went to my mom’s in Palos Heights for the fireworks in the evening.  It didn’t start till 9:15 and usually by that time I am already home.  It was a good show and lasted about 20 minutes.  By the time we were back at the apartment and got her ready for the night (insulin injection, take medication, and check glucose) it was after 10 and I was EXHAUSTED.  I also had a headache.

Thursday morning I had a race.  I almost decided not to race that morning because I was still tired.  I am glad I did get up because it is a race that I’ve run since 2013 and always have fun.  I quickly got up, got ready, and drove to the race.  I made it with about 30 minutes before the start, got my bib, took a Oiselle group picture, and use the port-a-potties.  It was HUMID!

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I had mentioned that I would have liked a PR in this race.  Not sure how realistic it would be but definitely possible.  Somehow my body was not cooperating and I could barely get the legs moving.  The humidity did not help.  I was sweating almost as soon as I started.  I didn’t even come close to a PR but I did slightly better than last year.  Finish time is 44:12.  Last year I finished in 44:17.  Dang, I shouldn’t have taken so many walking breaks.  But it still counts, right?

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Friday was all about catching up on sleep and relaxing.  I wanted to do my Saturday run on Friday but woke up late and by then it was over 88 degrees outside.  Again, I could have gone to the gym but didn’t want to.  I spent the day catching up on blog posts and basically doing nothing.  I stayed in my pajamas all day.  I am one of those people that could stay home in pajamas all day and not get bored.  🙂  Even Lola could not stand the heat!

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Saturday’s run was 2 mile warm up, 5×3 minutes with 2 minute walking recovery, and 2 mile cool down.  It was so humid in the morning and very uncomfortable.  I posted on Instagram that it sucked.  I was miserable.  I did not hit the required paces and didn’t care because I just wanted to get home.  On the positive side, I got it done and it is another run in the bank for my upcoming races.  

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By Saturday night the weather had cooled down and it was pretty decent on Sunday morning.  I ran 4 miles in a new to me area by Lake Katherine.  It was overcast and cooler.  The run went so much better than Saturday’s.  🙂

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Linking up with Kim and Deborah for the Weekly Run Down.

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Random Thoughts Thursday 79

Random Thoughts Thursday

• I hope everyone has a great 4th of July!  This day is extra special for me because my family (mom, brother, and 5 sisters) came to Chicago in 1978.  I was 5 years old and do remember getting here.  One of my fondest memories is seeing the Sears Tower.  <<To me it will always be the Sears Tower instead of the Willis Tower.

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• Wednesday was my last day of summer school.  I guess I can finally say I am officially on summer break?  Now I will have so much time on my hands.  Haha, just kidding.  I will be spending lots of time with my mother and taking her to various doctor appointments.  I also want to do some decluttering since I have so much stuff in my apartment.

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• Saw this on Facebook and it is so true.  Unless you are a teacher or were a teacher, you have no idea how much work we get done or what is expected from us.  Administrators like to forget they were once teachers and make all of these decisions that sometimes make no sense.

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• I know some teachers have been out of school for weeks but what is up with stores already out with back to school stuff?  I went to Michaels and did see some cute stuff I wanted to buy but didn’t.  🙁

• Saw this project on the Michaels’ app and decided to do it with my students.  Haha, I had to modify it a little it but they had fun.  That’s the important thing, right?

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!

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