Chase:Every:Second

Enjoying every second of life and running.


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2014 Lake Run – Half Marathon – 1:58:51

Race Takeaway: Perfect race weather does not equal perfect race experience.

Saturday, May 2nd Rob and I ran the Lake Run Half Marathon at Lake Bloomington, IL. There are three distance options now with this race, the 4.37 Mile, 12K, and the half (which was added last year). Rob had ran the inaugural half last year and Chase and I cheered him on.

This year we weren’t sure what the weather would do so we decided to have Chase stay home with a sitter and we could both run the half distance. The weather turned out to be gorgeous, around 65 degrees and sunny. It was making up for the terrible weather at the IL Half Marathon the week prior.

If you come to this event, I would suggest to get there an hour early for parking reasons. Parking extends along a country road and it’s just easier if you can manage to get there early to find a spot. We waited around hanging with our friends: Jon, Brandi, Kyleigh and others. Brandi was a rock star and pushed her two year old daughter in the stroller for the half marathon – yowza!

The 12K and half start first and the 4.37 mile race starts about 30 minutes later. This race has a chip start/finish, which is a nice bonus for lining up. There are no corrals, just a clump of people so the chip start mat helps you get a better reading for your personal race. I wore both my apple watch and Garmin again, but this time on the same arm (my left) so I could compare during the race if I wanted (which I didn’t end up doing).

The temperature felt amazing and I felt good considering I haven’t been racing back to back weekends is ages. I knew the rolling hills would get to me since I’m not great with hills, but I was still feeling optimistic as my paces were still doing well even 6 miles in. That went away completely when the race course turned to a gravel (loose, big chunky gravel) . This out and back section of a mile (or more?) was so annoying, slippery, and draining that I just felt done afterward. My pace slowed way down and I was trying to remain hopeful that once back on the roads I would again regain some of my stride and get back on pace. That never happened because from mile 9 to the end my stomach was cramping and I felt very sick. I had over a year of terrible stomach issues while running and racing and it appeared it was back. This race is a small town deal so porta potty options are limited, water stops table set ups were small, and no medical that I noticed. This is not a half that I would recommend to a first timer or someone with known stomach issues (aka me). I slogged through the final miles refusing to stop at a porta potty that I finally saw next to a park area. I just wanted to be done and go home to rest.

I don’t think I’ve felt this bad in a half, that I can recall anyways. I immediately knew I was going to have to get back on my plan of taking a probiotic pill to try and correct my stomach problems in the future. In the past I saw a doctor and that was their recommendation, which did end up helping. I had just stopped when I got pregnant and subsequently started nursing. After that I just hadn’t been running enough to realize any stomach problems, but now it was time to get back into that routine again.

I crossed the finish line in 1:58:51. Rob finished in 1:52 and felt good. There were comments that the course may have been short. It can happen for newer races to potentially be long/short so hopefully if that were the case it gets addressed next year. And hopefully the course could be arranged to not include gravel.

On a side note, since I didn’t have a good race I didn’t spend time looking at my apple watch on the course. It still find the ending a workout clunky and it takes a few times to tap it to get it to stop. I still don’t see this replacing my Garmin, but still trying it out to see how it does. I also need to try out other running apps with it to see how they function.

The medals were unique, a bottle opener.

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Stats:

1:58:51

9:04 Pace

F: 17/55

F 35-39: 6/15

Overall: 58/117

Past Lake Run Performances:

2011 Lake Run – 12K – 54:01

2009 Lake Run – 12K – 1:04:03

2008 Lake Run – 4.37 Mile – 39:58


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2015 IL Marathon Weekend

Race Takeaway: Runners tough it out, rain or shine.

Friday, April 24th started the Illinois Marathon weekend with a packet pickup and 5K.

ILMarathon2015-01Rob, Drew, and I decided to run the 5K together for fun. This race size has grown over the years to around 7,000 people. They implemented corral starts for all races, which is nice. I never look at this event as a true ‘race’, but an excuse to run. Although it seems like they keep moving the start time later and later (or I’m imagining things). The race didn’t start until 7:30pm this year. If it were to get any later I may re-think running this in the future. Afterward we headed home for our early wake up call of 3am.

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On a cool side note, my new apple watch was delivered and waiting for me when we got home. I ran the half marathon with it and my Garmin 910xt to compare the data afterward.

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5K Stats:

29:05

9:21 Pace

Saturday, April 25th 3am came quickly with the normal groggy wake up and second guessing why I choose to do this to myself, but that usually passes after the first cup of coffee. 😀 We were out the door just after 4am and were in the parking lot by 5am. The race start was 7am, but timing of any race road closures or other factors I prefer to be parked early and wait. We all tried to cat nap in the car until it was closer to time to line up. The weather would not be favorable. I was anticipating spitting cold rain off and on and 15-20 mph winds at times making the temperature feel more like upper 30s. I’ve become a weather wuss and would rather feel a little over dress than under, a personal choice really. So while waiting in the car I was able to debate my clothing options. I went with capris and a stocking cap (which I should have brought a running baseball style hat instead), but I was originally planning on just a long sleeved shirt. At the last minute I changed into a short sleeve shirt and then wore a light weight jacket over top. The good thing is that allowed me to carry my phone and key in my pockets versus a belt, but they asked that anyone wearing their bib under layers lift up their shirt or unzip for the chip mat readers. It was a tradeoff, but I’m glad I had the extra layer from the rain.

We waited as long as we could before lining up. Rob had corral A and I had B, but he just ended up staying with me since it really didn’t matter when we started. We also ran into our friend Carissa so we got couple minutes to chat before we took off. I probably looked a little silly holding up my jacket to make sure my bib was exposed at the start line for the chip mat, but wearing two watches probably was also helping with my dork factor. 😀

As we headed out the first few miles there was barely a mist, but then it started raining and it continued on and off throughout the rest of the race. It was enough rain that I decided to pull down my jacket sleeve over my watch to protect it. I figured I really only wanted to see the data after my race, it wasn’t needed mid-race. I was able to keep pretty even pacing, except in the ~20+mph winds and downpours, multiple times on the course. I was happy with my choice in having a jacket because I could unzip the front when the weather was better and zip back up when it got worse. I did try to push my pace at the halfway point to the end, but I wasn’t able to pick up my speed. It was just wasn’t my day for that apparently. I felt terrible for those running the marathon in the bad weather conditions, especially for those who had ‘fist marathon’ bibs on their backs. 😦 Also, I felt terrible for the volunteers having to deal with the weather and I tried to thank as many of them as possible along the way. Before I knew it I was at the finish and luckily a volunteer reminded me to unzip my jacket to make sure my bib scanned as I crossed the finish mat. Unzipping my jacket caused it to be clunky with my phone and key in the pockets, but oh well. I was finished (1:56) and ready to get dry and warm again. Rob was there waiting for me and finished 1:47. We both improved our times from our last half marathon race. Drew has been dealing with injuries and was able to finish. Hopefully some more rehabilitation time for his hip/leg will help for our summer race plans.

After my race I found out that my wet jacket sleeve must have touched my apple watch and stop my workout. The recording stopped around mile 11. As far as I know there is not a locking feature on the touch screen for workout purposes. Since I don’t see this watch replacing my Garmin, it was annoying, but not critical since it was just extra data. I’m sure there will be a lot of reviews of the apple watch over time, but I may do one just to share my experiences, especially if/how I incorporate it into workouts in the future.

Unfortunately for those running the full marathon the weather got so bad that they had to cancel the race after 3 hours and 15 minutes due to the conditions and lighting. Our hearts goes out to those who were toughing it out on the course and then had to stop. 😦 IL Marathon has identified those that were not able to finish and are offering them complimentary entry to 2016.

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Chase loves running. She insisted on wearing a medal and my running shoes. She then proceeded to try to take off and say ‘running’. Love it!! 😀

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Half Marathon Stats:

1:56:26

8:52 Pace

Previous performances:

2014 IL Marathon Weekend

2013 IL Marathon Weekend (8.5 Months Pregnant)

2012 IL 5K – 23:32

2009 IL Half Marathon – 1:57:19

What’s the worst race conditions you’ve run in?

Have you ever been in a race that was cancelled while running?

Do you have the apple watch and what do you think about it?


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2015 Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon – 1:57:55

Race Takeaway: Training isn’t required to have a good time.

I’ve written about this race over the years so I’m going to try to focus on aspects of the race that I may not have covered in previous posts in case you are reading this considering the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon in the future.

The weather in the past has ranged from low 30s to mid-50s. Saturday (4/4) was low 30s, sunny, very light breeze, a nice day overall.

Similar to last year, we’ve battled the flu in our household for the last month. Therefore my “training” has been minimal. My expectations were to run easy and for as long as possible, hopefully not having to walk the hills. Which worked out great! I had an enjoyable run and while I was sore from not formally training, I was able to run the entire time.

This race will always be a favorite for us for the following reasons:

  • Proximity – this race is about an hour drive away
  • Parking/driving accessibility – Finding the race location and getting parked is very easy. There is on street and parking decks near the Hilton. We’ve never had an issue getting close to the start/finish due to race course closures.
  • Packet pickup available race day – This was the first year that we picked up our packet race day. It was super easy that we will likely do that in the future since it’s an hour drive each way for us to get them the night before.
  • Good/changing scenery – I’m not very familiar with Springfield, but the course takes you through enough neighborhoods and parks to keep it interesting. You run past historic locations related to Lincoln, including the old State Capitol Building. The course has hills starting at 10K and then every couple of miles to the finish.
  • Easy going crowd/start corral – In previous years people casually line up with no corrals. This year they asked for people to line up to the pacers that aligned to their goal, but just an honor system. People seemed to respect that and I like that people don’t get all pushy to get one inch closer to the start corral like other larger races. Everyone is very chill
  • Chip start/finish – sometimes a smaller race doesn’t have a chip start mat, this one does.
  • Instant unofficial results – right after the finish look for a small tent, they will print you your chip results right then and there
  • Penny Medals! Last year they had a $5 bill medal. We always love a unique medal. 🙂

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Things that could be improved:

The race shirt – I’m not a fan of white tech running shirts personally. I just donate running shirts that I don’t use, so it’s no biggie.

The water stops could use more volunteers/tables, but again it’s manageable. They have enough stops for water, but they aren’t very big and can get congested. They consistently offer water on both sides of the street, which is beneficial.

Water and Gatorade bottles were passed out at the end, but I think the only food option was to attend a pub and purchase a meal at a discount. While that’s a nice after party I think they should offer some sort of fruit/bread for people that may have blood sugar or recovery fuel needs. Perhaps they have it and I just didn’t see where it was located. Since our car was so close it wasn’t an issue to bring our own things if we wanted.

Overall we plan to keep attending this race. It’s a fun way to kick off the running year and see a lot of our friends from the area.

Stats:

1:57:55

9:00 Pace

Past Performances:

2014 Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon – 2:07:07

2012 Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon – 1:41:39

2011 Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon – 1:40:15


2 Comments

2014 Quad Cities – Half Marathon – 2:02:57

Race takeaway: Summon your inner billy goat and go for it!

Sunday I had the opportunity to run Quad Cities Half Marathon, thanks to a fellow runner and race organizer for this event, Michelle. I took her up on the offer to run at this event and I told her that I would be happy to share my feedback. So this post will be longer than my past race posts because I want to share as much as I can about the race as possible. It got me thinking that I should probably do a better job in general on racing posts (espeically for bigger events) in hopes that it helps someone in understanding the logistics to determine if it’s the race for them. Sound good? If so, then settle in for a lot more detail. 🙂

Race Information

Quad Cities website, twitter, and Facebook page will give you all the information you could ever want for your race (5K, Half Marathon, or Full Marathon). The directions, information about the start/finish location, and course information was all complete.

I like that this race is on a Sunday because that allowed me to run other races Friday and Saturday.

Expo

Saturday afternoon we drove up to the expo at the iWireless Center. It was super easy to find and parking was a breeze (and free).  What made it even better is that the start/finish of the race would be in the exact same location, bonus! When traveling for races it can sometimes be stressful figuring out all the places you need to be. Having everything in the same location is perfect!

We had made a decision to not stay over night for the race, but if we do next time there is also a Radisson right next to the expo/start/finish area.

The expo is about medium sized to others we have seen. It had vendor options for fuel, clothing, etc. I went to the bib number lookup wall and thought I had my name. The names were sorted by last name, but the first names were all out of order. Little did I know that there was another “Christine” and while my name is common, I just didn’t think about it. Luckily they had a chip check table. Note: ALWAYS check your chip to make sure it works! This is how I found out I had the wrong bib number, because when the chip scanned it showed a different age and location. I’m SO glad I checked it and didn’t mess up my race and another person’s race.

The long sleeved tech shirt was very nice too. The design was simple and neutral for both men and women.

After getting my bib and shirt we headed outside and enjoyed watching the kids run, music, and festivities going on.

Getting to the Start

Sunday morning I was up at 3:30am, got ready, and was out the door by 4:15am. We chose to not stay the night before the race because the last time we traveled for a race it was hard on Chase to sleep in the hotel (and therefore we also didn’t sleep). I would rather stay home and have all of us comfortable and get up at a crazy early hour to drive to the race. It was a 2 hour drive to the start/finish and again it was easy to get parked and settled.

I had a chance to meet up with Michelle while she was working at the race. Drew and Tina also came up to watch the race and see me and other friends running the marathon.

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There were no start corrals based on pace, it was just open and people could line up wherever they wanted. Also, they started the 5K, half marathon, and full marathon at the exact same time. Even though the 5K course turned after a couple of blocks, it still makes for a crowded start and a crazy herd of runners all and very different paces. I think it would be good if they could have the 5K start 30 minutes later than the half and full marathon. Also, over time it may be good to have corrals by pace. They did have pacers if you like to run with one during your race.

The Course

The course is really nice at this race. I think for the half we ran over four different bridges. It was sunny and warm, but the breeze off of the Mississippi river kept the temperatures comfortable. The course changes enough every few miles that it kept it interesting the entire time, making the miles fly by. There were various bands and artists along the course too. The views along the river were so beautiful. The course is not flat and had hills throughout. I had to summon my inner billy goat to get up them. I am not good at running hills, so I just try to survive them. I met a couple of women while running, one from Omaha and the other from Avon, IL. We chatted about our races and it put it in perspective that I thought the course was hilly and the lady from Omaha thought it was flat. 🙂 If either of you ladies happen to be reading this please post and say hi! I hope your races went well!

The water stops could use some improvement. I felt like they had enough water locations and I liked that they had large paper cups. The water stops varied in what they were offering. Some had water only, others had water and gatorade. The gatorade they had was cherry, which is a rare flavor for a race (normally you get lemon lime), so it was delicious. 🙂 The water stops from mile 7 on were small. Instead of having three tables of water and volunteers they had only one table, which meant I accidentally missed getting water because I was expecting more opportunities to get a drink. So the subsequent water stops I made sure to stop and get a good drink before continuing on. It wasn’t a big deal because I wasn’t racing for a time or running  a full marathon, but if I was, this would have stressed me a bit. I’ve seen worse, so this wasn’t a deal breaker. Just some minor improvements would make a big difference.

The course has some uneven terrain in small sections and one of the bridges you run over grating, but given that the race is running all around the river, it wasn’t unexpected. Some races in Chicago have the same with over their bridges and near the lake, so I’m used to that being a part of the course.

Since I wasn’t able to train I was worried how I would feel as the miles continued on, but I actually felt good the whole way. I think I lucked out because I took it easy the entire time.

Finish/After Party

At the finish there was a large crowd of spectators. I crossed the finish in 2:02 and smiling. I got my finisher’s medal and got to see Michelle for a moment and thank her again for the race. The finish line food and celebrating was excellent! They had a large open area and there were food options everywhere. They had: bagels, cookies, oranges, bananas, grapes, watermelon, chips, pretzels, hot dogs, sausages, beer, etc. I had to head home so I didn’t get to see the band.

Overall

Overall this race is a must do. This fall race has a great medal, shirt, scenic course, and amenities. Rob and I will definitely be back in the future! And if you have people wanting to spectate they will likely also enjoy this race and location.

Stats

2:02:57

9:24 Pace

Disclaimer: My registration for this event was covered. However, the observations and opinions shared on this blog are my own.


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2014 – Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon – 2:00:35

Race Takeaway: An exhausting night = a punishing race

Before I get to talking about the race here is the rest of my training plan:

Week 15: 18 Miles Run

  • 7/7: 3 Miles Easy, 25:20, Treadmill, 1% Incline, 8:27 Pace
  • 7/11: 5 Miles Easy, 44:18, Const Trail, 8:52 Pace
  • 7/12: 10 Miles Long, 1:25:20, Treadmill, 1% Incline, 8:32 Pace

Week 16: 20.1 Miles Run

  • 7/14: 4 Miles Easy, 35:41, ‘Hood, 8:56 Pace
  • 7/17: 3 Miles Easy, 26:23, Treadmill, 1% Incline, 8:48 Pace
  • 7/20: 13.1 Miles Race, 2:00:35, RNR Chicago Half Marathon, 9:13 Pace

Drew and I would be running the half marathon Sunday and Rob, Chase, Katie, and Carter would be there to cheer us on. We started off Saturday, July 19th with lunch in town before heading to the expo.

Chase and Carter. She’s wearing her “My Mom Rocks” onsie for the Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon.

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Carter, Katie, and Chase

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Packet pick up was at McCormick Place and was easy like usual. Me and Chase.

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Drew, Me, and Chase.

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Nestle Quik Bunny!

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After getting settled into our hotel room we took a walk to grab dinner. The weather was gorgeous, just 70 degrees. It was going to be a very mild morning for a mid-July race.

Me, Rob, and Chase.

 

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Drew, Katie, and Carter.

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On our way to dinner as we were crossing the river we saw this amazing wedding photo being taken. It was so cool looking, yet quite dangerous!

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Drew and I both love the ginger salmon at P.F. Changs, but the menu changed and it was no longer an option. While it was a nice visit and we were able to easily get a table, I wasn’t a fan of the menu and may not seek out P.F. Changs in the future.

After dinner we put Chase to bed at her regular time and she was not pleased. This was only our second over night stay and first hotel experience with Chase. It took an hour to get her settled, but then she popped up every hour upset from 8pm to 2am. The only way to get her to settle and rest was to hold her. I ended up sitting up from 2am holding her, looking at a dark room, waiting for 4:50am to come. It was so exhausting. Plus I felt guilty for putting Chase through that, but I guess we didn’t know until we gave it a try. Needless to say we won’t be putting her through that again anytime soon. We will be avoiding overnight trips for a while.

4:50am finally came and we got ourselves ready, we met up with Drew, Katie, and Carter and headed to the start.

Ready to do this.

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Family photo time.

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The weather was perfect, especially for July. The 6:30am start is also a big help as well. Drew and I waited around and tried to catch a glimpse of Shalane Flanagan, but had no luck. Drew was in Corral 4 and I was in 8.

View from the Corral.

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I made a classic Chicago race faux paus. I forgot to turn off auto lap on my Garmin. The satellite connection isn’t good in the heart of the city and thus most of the race it’s impossible to get an accurate pace reading. So I just ran as best as I could considering I was so tired just after a couple of miles. I knew I was in for a long race. Luckily the course was near our hotel and we were able to see Rob, Chase, Katie, and Carter. Rob was able to get a picture of Shalane as she flew by.

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It was so uplifting to see them at mile 4 and 5.5. Seeing Rob and Chase made me excited to try to make them proud.

Drew at mile 4

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Me at mile 4

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I came across the 10K mark at 55 minutes and talked myself into just needing to do it one more time (with a little extra), but my energy just wasn’t there. I was slogging through the miles. Luckily I ran into our friend Carissa around mile 8. She’s a momma of a 2 year old and we chatted about how it’s hard it is to fit in training and also the challenges of getting back into racing post-baby. We encouraged each other to keep pushing that we are tough mommas and can get this finished. I lost her at the next water stop, but it was comforting knowing she was out there too.

I ran into Drew around mile 8.5 almost as soon as I lost Carissa. He asked how I was doing and I bluntly told the truth “like crap”. Drew was encouraging and we kept going. We lost each other about a mile later, but with just a few more miles to go it was going to be easier to find each other at the finish. I put my head down and I thought about while I’m exhausted right now, there is a mom out there crying and worried about the health of her child. The whole purpose was to use something I love to do, running, to support a cause, St. Jude Children’s Research hospital. My pain from this race would stop and fade away, but the pain a parent feels when their child is seriously ill, I’m not sure if that ever leaves. I can’t imagine and my thoughts were with them as I got to that finish line, 2:00:35. I found Drew easily at the finish, he completed it in 2:07. One of the first things I said to Drew was “thank goodness that wasn’t a hot race, I would have been even more miserable”. We grabbed some post-race snacks, which I like giving to a homeless person on the walk back to the hotel. It’s not much, but it’s something.

Thank you for all of those who support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with your donations and prayers. And a special thank you to those who helped with my fundraising: Lisa, Erin S, Erin C, and Kiki! Thank you SO much!!!! If you still want to donate, it’s never too late. You can still make a donation from my fundraising page or through St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital directly, either works!

Stats:

2:00:35

9:13 Pace

2014 Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon Medal

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Past races:

2012 – RNR Chicago Half Marathon – 1:54:07

2011 – RNR Chicago Half Marathon – 1:39:54

2010 – RNR Chicago Half Marathon – 1:36:16

2009 – RNR Chicago Half Marathon – 1:55:44


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2014 Peoria Half Marathon – 2:02:07

Saturday Drew and I ran the Peoria Half Marathon (there was a full marathon and 5K option as well). Rob stayed home to watch Chase since it was too cold early in the morning to come out and spectate. I was up at 4:30 and out the door just before 5:30am to head to Peoria, IL.

Heading out:

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I’m terrible at navigating Peoria. For some reason I can never figure the way the roads are laid out and I get turned around. Luckily Drew was able to navigate me to the parking lot once I was over there. We got our stuff together and walked 5 blocks to the start area. Logistically this was an easy race to navigate, especially since was so close to our where we live. I barely looked at the course map and just trusted we would be directed where we would need to get to, which the course seemed well marked. It would be a good race for people to spectate because the course passed through downtown Peoria area a couple of times. This was the second year for this event, so it’s still on the smaller side for attendance. There was no corral system, but wasn’t necessary. There were pacers for only the full marathon, but they were still a good gauge for half marathoners for approximately 9 miles.

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The race started on time at 7:00am and we were off. The first mile was basically a straight shot out with just a turn to the right as we came to the first mile marker. I found it interesting that my Garmin went off early and then no matter how I cut the tangents I was hitting the mile markers early on my watch. I never expect to be spot on, that’s unrealistic, but was just curious how it would end up.

I had good energy for this run and was feeling well the whole time. A big improvement from my last half marathon. Peoria is notoriously hilly, but this course did a good job of keeping the hills to a minimum. Drew passed me on the big hill at mile 7. I then caught back up to him about mile 8.5 and we chatted. I moved ahead feeling great thinking I could pick up the pace. By mile 10 my un-trained body reminded me that I’m not ready to go faster. My left IT band tightened up and I had to slow my pace to complete the race. Drew passed me and I told him I would be okay and that I would see him at the finish. Drew came in at 2:00:18 and I finished 2:02:07. Bonus – I didn’t fall down or walk the race at all, that’s progress! 🙂

Regarding my Garmin being off, I came across at 13.3 miles and so did Drew and others. 13.3 on the nose. I’m used to being off + or – .05ish, but .2 is quite a bit and it’s interesting that others were showing the same thing. It would be disappointing if the course was long (or short), especially if you were running the full marathon. Hard to say what happened there.

A couple items that I didn’t care for at the race were the water cups were plastic, which are very hard to manage when running to get a drink. A paper cup allows you to pinch the cup into a spout to drink will running. Trying to do this with the plastic cups resulted in the cup fully splitting and then not getting any water. Also, the finish only had oranges and bananas. There were no pretzels, bread, or any type of carbs. Not having more than an orange made me feel sick. I would have been in trouble if I were running a full marathon and fruit was the only post race recovery fuel. Finally, there didn’t appear to be much medical staff at the start/finish or throughout the course. That can be a very dangerous situation, so I hope that it is improved in coming years.

The finisher’s medal.

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Stats:

2:02:07

9:20 Pace

Overall: 216/505

F: 75/269

F35-39: 10/38


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Running for Charity – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Many of the races I’ve run benefit local and national charities. It’s wonderful thing that running races becuase it provides people a fun way to stay fit, hang out with friends, and a charity can also benefit. Something I haven’t directly done before is actually ran a race for a charity by fundraising specifically for a charity. I’m excited to finally do that for the upcoming Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon on July 20th to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

St. Jude has always held a special place in my heart. When I attended Illinois State University they were my sorority’s (Epsilon Sigma Alpha) main charity. We completed fundraising throughout the year and had the opportunity to take a check to the headquarters in Memphis, TN and visit the facilities.

Me and my sorority sisters (circa 1997) at the headquarters in Memphis, TN.

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While we had time for some fun photos, it was a very serious trip to get to visit with children, families, doctors, and the support teams. It’s one of those significant moments in life to witness such brave children and their families battling cancer and diseases. It was apparent that in those moments the world stops and everything focuses in on the love for your child. Now being a mom, it hits home a million times more, what that would feel like.

It was an easy decision to focus a race and support such a wonderful cause that helps families get through such a trying time and support these kids getting the best of technology and research as a part of their treatments and hopefully a cure. Some important information about St. Jude’s:

  • Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
  • Because the majority of St. Jude funding comes from people like you, St. Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters most – saving kids regardless of their financial situation. (That means your donation, no matter what the size, will help!)
  • St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90% by 2020.

So I ask for your support either donations and/or prayers for the children going through treatment with St. Jude’s. I appreciate you taking the time to read this post and consider supporting this charity.

My fundraising page

My training is no where like it used to be, but I still want to share what I’m doing in preparation for this race periodically to share my progress.

Here’s what I’ve done thus far for training:

Week 1: 17.1 Miles

  • 4/1: 2 Miles Easy, 16:25, 8:13 Pace, Treadmill, 1% Incline
  • 4/4: 2 Miles Easy, 16:53, 8:27 Pace, Treadmill, 1% Incline
  • 4/5: 13.1 Miles Race, Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon, 2:07:07, 9:43 Pace, Springfield, IL

Week 2: 8.21 Miles

  • 4/11: 3 Miles Easy, 25:18, 8:26 Pace, Treadmill, 1% Incline
  • 4/12: 2.2 Miles Easy, 20:54, 9:25 Pace, ‘Hood
  • 4/13: 3.01 Miles Easy, 26:59, 8:58 Pace, Const Trail

Week 3: Bike – 6.1 Miles, Run – 8 Miles

  • 4/15: 6.1 Miles Bike Easy, 30:09, 12.14mph
  • 4/16: 3 Miles Easy, 25:42, 8:34 Pace, Treadmill, 1% Incline
  • 4/18: 1 Mile Easy, 8:31, Const Trail
  • 4/20: 4 Miles Easy, 38:07, 9:32 Pace, Const Trail

Week 4: 18.2 Miles

  • 4/24: 2 Miles Easy, 17:05, 8:33 Pace, Treadmill, 1% Incline
  • 4/25: 3.1 Miles Race, IL Marathon’s 5K, 36:20, 11:44, Champaign, IL
  • 4/26: 13.1 Miles Race, IL Half Marathon, 2:12:54, 10:09 Pace, Champaign, IL

Week 5: 8.48 Miles

  • 4/30: 1 Mile Easy, 8:40, Treadmill, 1% Incline
  • 5/2: 2 Miles Easy, 17:39, 8:50 Pace, Treadmill, 1% Incline
  • 5/3: 1.48 Miles Easy, 15:31, 10:30 Pace, Lake Bloomington, IL
  • 5/4: 4 Miles Easy, 37:52, 9:27 Pace, ‘Hood

Week 6: 0 Miles – Chase was sick and then I was sick 😦

Week 7: In Progress….more to come

And I thought I would add a look back at the past times that I have run RNR Chicago Half Marathon. Here are the links to those races.

2009 – 1:55:44

2010 – 1:36:16

2011 – 1:39:54

2012 – 1:54:07

Thanks again for your support!! I’ll post about my training as it goes along!


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2014 IL Marathon Weekend

5K Race Takeaway: Helping a friend reach a PR is so much fun!

Half Marathon Takeaway: Sometimes it’s just about finishing.

IL Marathon weekend started like usual with picking up our packets and running the 5K the night before.

  • Rob and I would be completing the Half I-Challenge by running the 5K Friday night and the Half Marathon Saturday morning.
  • Drew would be doing the Full I-Challenge by running the same 5K and then completing the Full Marathon Saturday.
  • This would be our friend Katie’s second 5K and she was looking to improve her time from her first race. We decided to run together since we were taking it easy and we could help Katie get her PR.

Let’s just say this is the closest we have ever done a packet pickup and I was stressed. 🙂 I normally like to be at race events super early, but this was cutting it WAY too close, we were there just 15 minutes before the expo ended. Whew!

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This year the 5K started on time and we eased our way into the start as the crowd got moving. I talked to Katie when she seemed to need encouragement and I tried to stay quiet when she looked like she was pushing hard and was focused. Rob and Drew ran with us and were enjoying joking around along the way. It was such a fun time running together as a posse.

Katie was able to push herself and take 2 minutes off of her time and finished in 36 minutes. Go Katie!

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BTW….notice that Rob wore the wrong bib number to the 5K? 🙂 A good lesson learned! Anyone else done that before?

Afterward we headed home to get some rest.

The next morning we were up at 3am and on the road by 4:20am. We were way ahead of the 7:00am start and so I was much more relaxed about things than the night before. 🙂 We killed time doing the normal runner routine: put on bib (the correct one Rob!), get fuel into Spibelts, go to the bathroom a 100 times, ask Drew if he is ready about a 100 times. 🙂

The weather was gorgeous, 50s, sunny, and it was going to get quite warm. Beautiful if you are running the half, potentially miserable if you were running the full. Yet we stayed optomistic that it would be a good day for everyone.

Finally it was time to line up and say bye to Katie. Katie hung out at a nearby Starbucks to see us off. In the past the course has come back on the same road so I thought it would be a good opportunity for Katie to see us again around mile 10. Apparently the course had been updated and that was not the case. Whoops! Katie was able to find the course and see Drew one more time around the halfway point and he was looking good!

My race wasn’t going so well. It wasn’t going well from the beginning, which is always a bad sign. The first mile my legs felt dead. Rob was encouraging and said “maybe they will shake out in a couple of miles”. Unfortuantely that never happened. It was just one of those days where I felt like I was dragging my tree trunk legs around. I got to the 10K at 57 minutes. From there things just worse, I was just out of gas and ready to be done. I was off pace and missed my opportunity to be on live TV at mile 10 (info at the bottom of the post). I gave the crew high 5s and trudged on. Around mile 11 Rob was trying to keep me in good spirits and reminding me we were just out to have fun and that we hadn’t been training. I then said “true, and at least I’m not injured, I just have no gas today”. Well those words came back to haunt me at mile 12. I missed seeing a small bump in the road and tripped. One of those slow motion trips and I tried to catch my steps, but after three awkward stumbles I hit the ground on my right hip, scraped both hands and twisted my right ankle. I was flipped over now facing backward, seeing other runners coming up to me asking if I were okay. I laid there saying “go, go, go” and motioning them to keep on running. Rob was said “I’m not leaving you!” and I was like “no, not you, them!”. 🙂 A cop came up and help Rob get me to my feet. I haven’t been injured like this since a training run in 2010.

I think hobbled for what felt like a quarter of a mile. I started to cry from the pain, but mostly because my hands were so bruised I was worried I wouldn’t be able to pick up Chase. I just wanted the race to be over. At least I fell with only a mile to go, but it was hard to be near all the spectators and feel the energy of the finish and be so wounded. I told Rob I wanted to “run” in and so I ran/hobbled as best as I could to the finish. It’s probably worth mentioning that I didn’t care for the half marathon finish that wrapped around the side of the stadium. The surface was different and there were stumps from lights in the ground that would be a tripping hazard for people like me. In the end I finished: 2:12:54

With my injury I plopped down on a couple of bags of ice. I didn’t get our typical finishing pictures.

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Afterward we grabbed some food and Rob went out to meet Drew around mile 23. I found Katie and we waited for the guys to get back. Drew was having an excellent run and was set for a huge PR, but after mile 20 he ran out of gas. The temps got up to 80, I’m sure that didn’t help. That’s part of marathoning though, sometimes it just doesn’t come together. Drew was able to tough it out and finish it: 5:25:17

 Stats:

5K 36:16

11:39 Pace

Half Marathon 2:12:54

10:08 Pace

The medals – 5K, Half Marathon, and Half I-Challenge:

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Previous IL Marathon Posts:

2013 – IL Marathon – 10K – 8.5 Months Pregnant

2013 – IL Marathon – 5K – 8.5 Months Pregnant

2012 – IL Marathon – 3:46:03

2012 – IL Marathon – 5K – 23:32

2010 – IL Marathon – 3:25:05

2010 – IL Marathon Expo

2009 – IL Half Marathon – 1:57:19

2009 – IL Marathon Expo

The Interviews:

For those that know me or have followed my blog for awhile, you may remember last year that the local news of Champaign, IL, Channel 3, covered my story of running while pregnant. Here’s the interview from last year.

They were back to do a follow up story on us now that we have Chase. Here is this year’s interview.


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2014 Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon – 2:07:07

Race Takeaway: My love of running makes me do crazy things.

Saturday, April 5th was the 2014 Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon.

Before we get to the race day, I have to share some back story. Drew, Rob, and I had signed up ages ago as we were planning out our 2014 racing season. Drew’s training is focused on the IL Marathon at the end of April and doing this half marathon would be a good training run to test his fitness and potentially set a new PR. I had planned a conservative running plan that was focused on the IL Half Marathon and was going to use this race as way to help shock me back into running this far again. My last long run was 16 miles back in December 2012 when I was about 4 months pregnant. I had started my training run the week of Christmas 2013 and all was going pretty well through the mid-February 2014. I was slowly building my miles while trying to manage work, caring for our baby, taking care of the home, and preparing for an exam. My longest run to that point was 8 miles. Then wham, our house was hit with sickness that lasted over 5 weeks! Rob, Chase, and I were all miserable. Each of us had been to the doctor and were all on meds. Needless to say my running completely stopped. I was just lucky to make it through the day and baby wasn’t sleeping well either between being sick and teething. Because of our illnesses we had missed our first two races of the year, a 5K and 10K. March was just punishing.

So the week before this race I was finally coming out of the sickness. Rob was still down for the count. I was able to run 3 days for just 2 miles each day. I was in no condition to be doing a half marathon. Nor would I advise anyone to do what I was about to do. I knew that running this race would likely leave me VERY sore and run the risk of an injury. Also, I knew that it would be very likely that I would feel miserable for at least half of the race. Still I just couldn’t pass up the chance to finally run. The winter in Illinois has been the longest that I can remember and after over a month of sickness, I just wanted to be out running, no matter how much it would likely hurt.

I decided that I would try to run easy for around 6-8 miles and then expected that I could end up having to walk the rest of the race. This race has hills with the biggest ones around miles 8, 10, and 11. Hills are not my thing, even when I am in shape. I just try to survive them.

So with a plan of taking it easy and surviving it was time to go race. This would be my third time running this race. I wasn’t there last year, but since 2012 the packet pick up and race start/finish had changed. Even so, the race logistics were the same, it was very easy to navigate getting around. This was the largest year of participants, over 2,000.

We were up at 4 am and out the door by 5am to drive the hour to get to Springfield, IL.

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We were able to find on street parking near the new start/finish location on 6th and Washington. It was low 30s, sunny, with a light breeze. It was perfect running weather. I decided to run in capris, long sleeved shirt, gloves, and hat. We wore sweatshirts when waiting around before the start.

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There are no start corrals, but because the race is a smaller event it really didn’t feel like an issue. After a few words from President Lincoln and his wife and the national anthem we were off.

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Drew and I were together the first mile and then got separated trying to find out groove after that. I was trying to run easy, but was still just so happy to be out that I was running sub-9, knowing it wouldn’t last. My pace slowed by mile 5 and Drew passed me. He sounded good and asked me how I felt. I told him my stomach was feeling funky, but otherwise I was okay. I was hoping that I wouldn’t be spending time in the porta-potty later on. By mile 6 was I was averaging 9 min miles and came around the 10K at 56:35 (9:08 pace). The hills started after that and I new that I would need to walk so I made the decision to walk the hills and water stops. Around mile 10 we go into and out of a cemetery. I got to see Drew leaving as I was going in and got to shout at him super loud, “Go Drew! Fight for it!! Pop pop pop!!!”. Drew smiled and looked at me like “settle down”. 🙂

It was funny on the hills because anytime we were going down hill I wouldn’t brake my stride. Sometimes people get scared of  the incline and start to lean back and change their stride to slow down. In our past training we learned how to lean into the downward slope and not brake your steps. It makes you go super fast and keeps you from getting injured. I had gotten up to 6:27 pace on some of my downhills. So here I would go super fast to save my legs and then walk up the hills. People would look at me funny as I zoomed past them and then would switch to walking. 🙂 It looked silly, but hey it’s my race and I need to preserved my legs as much as possible. And I was definitely feeling the grind from being on my feet this long, since it’s been over a year since I’ve ran this far.

By the last mile I was sore, but still smiling. I was so happy that I got out there and got to feel the energy of the runners, volunteers, and spectators. It was so worth it and I did better than I expected. As I came through the finish chute I high fived the rows of specters with there hands out and shouted “I just had a baby!! Woo!!!!”. I was so proud to be out doing what I love, even with everything that’s been going on. Even with my walking through the hills and water stops after mile 6, I came in at 2:07:07.

After getting the finisher medal Rob and Drew easily found me. Drew got his sub-2, 1:59:11 and a new PR!!!

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The Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon has a unique finisher’s medals. Normally they are a large penny, but since this year was the 50th anniversary, they had a 5 dollar bill. Man that thing was heavy too!

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Stats:

2:07:07

9:42 Pace

F: 318/1134

F 35-39: 56/209

Overall: 822/?

Previous races:

2012 Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon – 1:41:39

2011 Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon – 1:40:15


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Comeback Year

I hope you all had an amazing holiday! I’m so late posting this that I’m sure most of us have moved on from thoughts of Christmas. I’ll just say quickly it was an amazing time for us as with our new family. It was such a joy to see Chase experience all the aspects of Christmas for the first time: church, opening presents, lots of toys. 🙂 Just warms my heart!

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So on to the new year! Happy 2014!!

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As Drew likes to say, “it’s the year of the comeback”. Meaning we are all ready to get back to the business of running and training hard. Well in my case training hard, will be easy to accomplish. My fitness is so low that most runs feel hard. It’s like I’m starting all the back to the beginning. Except in this case, I know that with consistent hard work the pain will eventually become less and less and the euphoria that running brings will be back.

I won’t be crushing my PRs and still I like the idea of referencing this year as a “comeback year”. I think it will be a year of finding balance of everything we have going on. My training is lighter, but the time I can commit will be more meaningful. The time I’m committing takes me away from Rob and Chase, but at the same time promotes my health so I can hopefully be with them more in the long run. 🙂

I also can’t wait for the warm weather to come back so we can get out for walks and bike rides as a family. 🙂

My race plans for 2014 are starting to form, right now I have the following on my radar.

  • St. Pat’s 5K – March
  • Lincoln Memorial Half – April
  • CCHS 5K – April
  • IL Half Marathon – April
  • Lake Run 12K – May
  • Galesburg 5K – June
  • Park to Park 5M – July

More to come as events get announced. For now I’m gearing my training to get me in shape to run IL Half Marathon. My training plan is very easy and comprises of 3-4 days of running. As I was saying, I’m basically starting over from scratch so I have to be careful and ease back into things to try to prevent injuries. Also, this light plan will also work best with balancing working, taking care of an infant, and taking care of the house. I built this training plan from Runner’s World Smart Coach and adjusted the days of the runs to fit my schedule. Since I am just looking to get more fit, I don’t have a race time goal. I’m basing my paces by level of effort. Which actually works out perfect because perceived effort can change if it’s been a hard night with baby or something like that.

Here’s how my easy training has gone so far:

Week 1

  • 4 Miles Easy
  • 3 Miles Easy
  • 4 Miles Tempo w/2 Faster Pace

Week 2

  • 3 Miles Easy
  • 5 Miles Long
  • 4 Miles Interval

Week 3

  • 4 Miles Easy
  • 4 Miles Easy
  • 3.7 Mils Easy (Baby woke up, didn’t get to 5 miles, oh well)

Week 4

  • 4 Miles Easy
  • 3 Miles Easy
  • 2 Miles Easy (bagged long run, wasn’t feeling well for a few days)

I feel good that while this plan won’t bring a bump up of speed I do feel like it’s getting me into a good practice how to fit running in around everything else. For weekday runs I try to get them done at 4am if the baby is sleeping. Weekends I try to complete them during her first nap. On weeknights I’m studying for an insurance exam (which is hard to do and not fall asleep). I’m terrible at taking tests so this may not end well, but at least I’m trying. 🙂

I can’t believe a month of “training” has already passed. I know it’s not much, but I’m excited that the running year has all begun!

Please share any goals you have for 2014! I would love to hear about what’s on your radar for the coming year.