Race Discounts

Take advantage of some good deals while it’s still nice out!!

  1. Willimantic Classic ( Willimantic, CT 4/30/16): $5 off with Rave
  2. The Color Run Baltimore (Baltimore, MD): 30% with BIBRAVE through 4/20/16
  3. Bank of Marin Running Festival (Novato, CA 5/22/16): 30% off with BIBRAVE through 4/20/16
  4. Madison Half & Twilight Series (Madison, WI 5/28/16): $10 off with BRSAVE10
  5. Vermont City Marathon (Burlington, VT 5/29/16): $5 with BibRave5
  6. Hospital Hill Run (Kansas City, MO 6/3-6/4/16): 10% off with BIBRAVE
  7. Northern VA Destination Races (6/4/16): $10 off with BIBRAVE10
  8. North Olympic Discovery Marathon (Port Angeles, WA 6/5/16): $5 off with bibrave16
  9. North Face Endurance Challenge WI (9/17-9/18/16): 15% off with BIB15
  10. North County Wine Run (North County, WA 9/24/16): $7 off with winerun
  11. Paso Robles Marathon (San Luiso Obispo, CA 10/30/16):  $10 with BIBRAVE
  12. Milwaukee Running Festival (Milwaukee, WI): $10 off with Bibrave
  13. Honolulu Marathon (Honolulu, HI 12/11/16): $50 off with BIBRAVE

Race Review: Magnolia Meltdown

You know you’re a true half marathon fanatic when you look for races after you schedule a job interview. I set up this interview about 3-4 weeks ago for a hospital in Jackson, MS. Shortly after, I searched for races and found the Magnolia Meltdown, about a 10 minute drive from the hotel I stayed at. The best part of the whole thing? It’ll be my cheaper races I’ve traveled for, because the flight, hotel and rental car are all covered. I can’t complain if that takes Mississippi off my list of states!

I got in Thursday night and took care of some things for work and interviewed Friday morning. Friday afternoon, I headed off to pick up my bib and shirt. It’s a small race that’s a 5K/10K and half marathon. The 5k and 10k have been around for 7 yrs or so, but this was the first year for the half marathon. Pick up was at the Hyatt Place in Ridgeland, MS and was the bear basic packet pick up. It was your bib, your shirt, some hand outs for other races, maybe 2-3 local running stores and that was it. Since it was a race sponsored by a hospital, they had a CPR dummy to do demos of how to do CPR.

The race started at 730 on Saturday. I was up and at em at 630 or so (but with the body being on EST, it still felt like 730) and got to the race at 715. Parking was no problem. It started/finished at the Hyatt Place at the Renaissance (I think?). Though we were told a 730 start time, after announcements, prayers and the National Anthem, we didn’t start until closer to 740. The first mile was decent, but I didn’t realize that there were hills involved. I didn’t see the elevation map till after the race (whoops- but maybe it wasn’t there initially?). The race was a combination of roads and paved running/bike trails. It was pretty well marked, especially for a half marathon with 410 total runners. I learned real fast as to how it got the ‘meltdown’ part of the name. As the race wore on, the heat and humidity went up. The sad thing? When I met with the realtor after the race who showed me places to live if I move to Jackson, he said that the humidity on Saturday was a good day for them. Sigh.

Anyways, between the heat, humidity and hills and my 3rd half in 3 weeks (in addition to a 15K 4 weeks ago), my legs weren’t all that happy with me. There was more walking than I would have liked, but one will do anything to check a state off their list when trying to do halves in all 50 states.  There were water/hydration stops every 1.5 miles up until mile 7-8 and then every mile after that. Only 2 medical tents though, it would have been nice to have a few more.

Regardless, my worst half time later and I have Mississippi crossed off my list of states. Post race, there was a little food tent with gatorade, propel, water, pizza, and some other stuff. Music was playing and I think there was some other shenanigans going on too (I just wanted air condition and a shower).

Overall, a well run race. It was nice to have a smaller race that was just that. No wall to wall runners, but the people running were nice, no bands every mile, a reasonable race fee ($55) 3 weeks before the race and a pretty decent after party. The only thing I would change would be some more porta potties so people weren’t clogging up the hotel’s and maybe a 630/700 AM start time.

Race Review: Kentucky Derby Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received entry to the Kentucky Derby Half (mini) Marathon to review 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! 

This past weekend, I made the trip out to Louisville, KY to run the Kentucky Derby 1/2 Marathon. One of the few Saturday races I’ve done, I made the trip down Friday via my trusty Rogue. It took a little over 5 hours and since traffic was minimal, it made for a decent drive down. I got in around 3 pm and checked into the Bed and Breakfast I had found. I stayed at Austin’s Inn Place Bed and Breakfast. At $120 a night with a nice queen size room with TV, internet and own bathrooms, I couldn’t complain! It was a nice little place with their own gated parking behind their houses (10 rooms in 2 houses that connect). Austin and his wife Mary were incredibly nice and hospitable: if you’re ever looking for a place, look up this little place for sure!

I walked down to the expo at the convention center (about a mile from where I stayed). Expo was decent size. Good amount of races to sign up for, some vendors and hand outs. You walked in and went right to the area where your number was located and got your bib and gear check bag. Down the line, were shirts and you had the option to exchange shirts if the size was off that you ordered.

Afterwards, I went to the Louisville Slugger Museum and walked around. I didn’t do the tour since I got there at 430 and they closed at 5. I also went a Bourbon tour and found some souvenirs for my dad. I headed back to the pasta dinner at the expo. Pasta with marinara, garlic bread, dessert, salad. Not bad! I also got to meet fellow Bibrave Pro Angie (we really do exist!)

Saturday morning, I was up bright and early. I walked to the start and got to my corral about 10 minutes before the start of the race. As we were waiting (and the clouds were grey and you knew the weather gods weren’t going to cooperate), I was able to hop out and go to the bathroom without missing anything. We starting moving and got a glimpse of the start coming upon us,

We crossed the start and the rain started coming. It was only a drizzle/light rain initially, which I was ok with.  The first mile was in town and we passed the Slugger Museum and made some turns. We passed through a neighborhood, though a little run down, had some awesome people out cheering from one of the churches. As we continued through town, we hit up the first few water stops, which seemed to be about 1.5 miles apart or so. As we pushed through to mile 5, I spotted my fellow Bibrave Pro Angie around mile 5 and hung behind her a bit (close to Spalding University). It was a nice historic part of the city. We then came up on Churchill Downs. Apparently there’s something going on there this coming Saturday?

We got to go through the stadium and around it some. People were stopping for pics and all that good stuff. After we came out the other side and dealt with the underpasses, the half and full marathons split (this as we were at mile 8). The half marathons made off easy as we had some miles sans hills (those poor marathoners). As we trudged along, we saw some of the marathoners come back and run parallel with us. At one point, I saw one of the Ethiopians/Kenyans pull out of the race. About 10 miles in, the rain started picking up. I kept praying for no blisters. It was beyond miserable and wet. We all made it through somehow. Somehow, we made it back to downtown Louisville and YUM stadium. I think I missed the last few mile markers. We got to the point where we made it around the last turn and through the finish. The medals were such a sight for sore eyes

The course was generally flat, though there are some hills involved. the weather wasn’t on our side and I think it kept some of the spectators away, as there were bleachers set up, but no spectators. I missed some of the water stops, but there times were I thought they needed to be on both sides.

The post race led to a lot of people hanging out under the highway underpasses to stay somewhat dry. It was a tad congested and people were backed up once you got to the refreshments. I never got my banana, but I got some bagels and peanut butter crackers. Afterwards, I headed back for my million dollar shower. The B&B owners were super sweet and let me wash my soaking wet running clothes. I did some sight seeing the rest of Saturday and had breakfast Sunday morning before heading back home. While at breakfast, there were some other runners, one of whom placed 3rd overall. At 2:33, it was a rough day in the office. He offered some cool insight into the elites. One knows that the Kenyans and Ethiopians don’t like rain and cold, so he saw 2 in front of him peel off and stop. If they don’t think they’re going to do well, they’ll stop and find another race in a few weeks. For about 5 miles, he kept pace with a Kenyan before that runner peeled off and told him to keep going. If only I was that fast!

This is a definite must do race. Yeah, the rain was miserable, but race organizers can’t do much about that. Take a trip out to horse and bourbon country for sure!!

Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and Half Marathon… Are You In?

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to The Kentucky Derby Marathon Festival 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!

I’ve had the Kentucky Derby 1/2 Marathon as a bucket list race for the past few years and had the chance to sign up for it this year (and bail on some other races, that’s how bad I wanted to go down and run it).  It takes place as part of the Kentucky Derby Festival, leading up to Kentucky Derby weekend.  The race is a Saturday race (which includes both a half and full marathon).  As of right now, registration is over 50% full- that is, chop chop and register!

The must knows.

Location: Louisville, KY

Date: 4/25/15

Time: 7:30 AM start

Why register, might you ask?

  1. Why pay full price when you can use BIBKDF10 for 10% off through 3/31/15
  2. The Course looks decent on paper…though there looks like there could be (hopefully not too terrible) hills. Don’t believe me? Go over here and see for yourself
  3. Don’t feel like doing 26.2 miles by yourself? They have a relay!
  4. Brag that you’ve been to Louisville Slugger Field. Hey it’s not your fault the race starts/stops there
  5. Did I mention 10% off? See #1
  6. People like it! Don’t believe me? Head over to Bibrave
  7. Bling. That’s why we run isn’t it?
  8. A boat load of activities to do before and after you run.

Hopefully I can convince some more people to come join me….are you in??

River Run Half Marathon

I always love getting emails for races I semi forgot I signed up for.  If only I looked at my running calendar more closely!!  This was year 15 for the River Run Half on Cleveland’s west side.  It’s a point to point race (starts in Berea, ends in Rocky River) with about 1500 runners.  The nice thing though, is no hotels, no planes, I can get in my car and go.

I picked up my bib and such on Wednesday after work.  Hermes Racing joined forces with Fleet Feet Cleveland, so for this race, you could pick up your stuff at any Fleet Feet store.  You give your name, they assign a bib to you, you’re good to go!  Key is to not lose your bib (because that would stink).

Yesterday was rough with a late OSU game, which they lost.  I watched with friends as we had a game of poker going on at a fellow resident’s house.  I left after midnight and didn’t fall asleep until at least 1 am.  Not the best idea when you have to wake up at 530 to be out the door by 6 at the latest.  I drove to Rocky River HS and parked and got shuttled over to the start (after using the bathroom).  We at least got a little preview of the course.  We got to the starting area and walkers were already on the course (this is a good race for walkers as it offers a 7 AM start time, kicker, you park at the start, not closer to the finish).  I’d been working on a gatorade which led to standing in a non moving port a potty line for a bit.  I checked a bag just so I could save a throw away sweatshirt and powerade!

We were sent off at 8 AM sharp.  The first 2.5 miles or so were neighborhood, while the rest of the course was a straight shot along the Rocky River.  Though it was paved road, the entire course was blocked off from traffic.  It’s a very scenic course, so not having a crowd on course was actually kind of nice.  The only downside was lack of restrooms on course, but what can you do.  Weather was beyond perfect- 50s-60s at the start, not too hot by the finish.  There were some hills, but nothing like Atlanta a few weeks ago!!  It’s also very shady, so you’re not being beat down by the sun.

I slowed down the second half of the race, finishing in 2:17:14.  I’m working to improve my times as my halves haven’t been fast this year at all compared to last year.  After the finish, I got my medal and grabbed some pizza and my bag before hopping on the 10-20 seater bus back to the HS.  Granted, I know a good amount of people had to go back to the start for parking and that they need a few of the regular size buses, but the HS parkers could have used it too for how long the line was!  An over all good race though.  Head over to find your results too!

Williams Route 66 Half Marathon

For some, going on vacation means going some place warm and relaxing. For me, it meant visiting friends in Chicago followed by flying to Tulsa for the Route 66 Half marathon (state #18/50). I was expecting it to be warmer than Chicago or Cleveland, but oh how wrong I was. I flew in on Friday and I think most of my flight consisted of runners. There was a free shuttle to the hotel, where I checked in and then walked to the expo to pick up my packet. The perk of being a Half Fanatic member is I got a snazzy bib wand we had a maniacs corner for half fanatics, marathon maniacs and the 50 state marathon orgs.

Saturday, I was back at the expo as a volunteer. You know when the doors first open because of the rush of people that flood in. We had some first timers, people who I couldn’t understand their names and a whole lot of fun. Why fun? Because of this guy:

Let’s just say we knew when we had a marathon virgin and a marathon maniac signing in! Another perk? Free lunch. I headed back to the hotel to watch some football and to pray for a quick fix to my congestion and my headache that knocked me out for a few hours. After an OSU win, I headed out for a quick bite to eat.

Sunday AM, the race started bright and early at 8 AM and the start was a block from the hotel. The downside? The weather didn’t realize I wasn’t in Cleveland or Chicago and decided that 22* with wind would be awesome weather. After a group photo of Marathon maniacs and half Fanatics (and peer pressure to get Bart Yasso in our photo), we headed to the start in a miserable attempt to stay warm (3 long sleeved shirts and gloves). Off I went and it took a bit to get warm. I’m not sure when Tulsa grew some hills, but they were there. A good mile in and began having feeling in my hands and feet again. We took in some of the nice part of town and come mike 3, some orange cones diverting us around some ice. We ran by one of the private schools who had kids holding up signs at each of their 7 speed bumps to prevent us from landing flat on our faces. Come mile 5, we started a break from hills (yay us!!) and we hit the main strip of shopping (if only I was staying closer to that). My 10k time was else’s than stellar, that’s for sure. I kept on chugging and attempted to keep ahead of the 2:13 pace group. Somewhere around mile 11, we hit Route 66. All I could think about was 2 miles left and I’d be done. Some more hills were thrown in and shortly after mile 12, the half and full split off (yay me for being almost done!). We got a little bit of a downhill and then a turn before running into the finish. It was a warm, steamy 25* when I finished and I’m pretty sure wind burn was everywhere. It was so cold, I went through the post race chute pretty fast, got some water and my medal, switched my medal for the Half fanatic medal and trigger back to my hotel.

It took a good hour to de thaw myself (hot shower and covers) before heading out to the airport and back to Cleveland. It’s overall a good race, that I think had fluke weather this year. If it were normal OK weather, I think it would have been warmer. The race was well done, but the only issue I had (and that other Half Fanatics had) was our medal was engraved with the race being on 11/23/13 when the race was 11/24/13. Oh well I guess?

Random Musings of a new Clevelander

I’ve recently moved back to the midwest and to the mother state of Ohio.  I’m still finding the running places to go and the stores that people like around here (let’s face it, I have no idea what running stores are good or not).  So far, I’ve found a Second Sole store a few miles away from me with a running group on Saturdays (maybe?) and  Fleet Feet in Pepper Pike.

My first running group experience was over a week ago at Fleet Feet (they meet on Mondays at 630).  I had no idea I was running with 2 women who were at the 2012 Women’s Marathon Olympic Marathon trials.  That was mildly horrifying and yes, at 930 min/mile, I was the slowest one there.  See ya back at the store!!  At least with both Second Sole and Fleet Feet I was able to find some good races to look into in the area and now that I’ve found out my schedule, I can plan my minimal social life.  Any suggestions on places to run and stores to utilize are appreciated!!

In other running related schinanigans, I’ve found some deals:

  1. Chicago 10K (Chicago, IL August 11, 2013): $10 off with FLEETFEET10K
  2. Conquer the Bridge 5 Miler and Half marathon (San Pedro, CA September 2, 2013): Active members get 15% off with conquer15bdg
  3.  MAD Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K and 5K (Idaho Falls, Idaho July 27, 2013): Active Members get $10 off with  13mad10mar
  4. 5K Dance Party: Check out their Living Social deal for various Cities!
  5. Newly Added: 20% off City Sports with RWB1776.  One full price and select clearance items through Monday


Over the Rainbow to the Pot of Gold, a Leprechaun and a Long Half a Dolphin Later…

…I’m back in Kansas City after finishing up the Shamrock Half Marathon.  I spent the weekend in Virginia Beach for the Shamrock and quite frankly it’s my new favorite race.  I did the Dolphin Challenge and ran the 8K on Saturday (go read about it!) and the Half yesterday. So Saturday, after I got done running, I grabbed a shower and as I was getting ready to go find food, I realized it was pouring outside.  Glad it decided to hold out, I only had one pair of shoes with me!!  After enjoying some lunch at Baker’s Crust, I headed back for a walk on the boardwalk with out my leftovers I meant to bring back with me (that always happens!!).  I headed off to church where all the visitors were asked to stand.  Instead of being called crazy like we were in Little Rock, we got a round of applause.  And probably a whole lot of why are you running in 45 degree weather thoughts.  I had a pasta dinner at my hotel.  Whoever thought an unlimited  pasta buffet for runners was a good idea probably didn’t realize how much money they could lose off it. Just saying.  I got my stuff put together and headed off to bed.

Bright and early at 6 AM, I was up and out the door by 6:30 to add state #15 to the books of my 50 state challenge and half marathon #25 of my short running career.  I saw my fair share of leprechauns, men in kilts who probably shouldn’t have been (but kudos to them) and more men in tutus.  The half marathon started at 7 and the full at 8:30 (in order for most of the half marathoners to be cleared out for when the full marathoners came on to the second half of their course.  Make sense?).  After a little bit of a delay, we were off on the wonderfully flat course of the Shamrock.  I found my happy pace of 9:10-9:20 min miles and stuck with it.  It was such a tease to get to miles 2 and 3 and see signs for miles 10 and 11.  Really?  I realize we could all see our breath but we aren’t on anything.  I got to love the crazy, insane volunteers with so much energy cheering people on.  Y’all were awesome.  We headed towards the military base and along the route saw fun little Irish signs (What’s purple and something the Irish hate? Grape Britain).  We were still sending out white smoke signals that we were coming, just like the white smoke coming from the Vatican saying that Catholics have a new pope (disclaimer: I’m Catholic and went to Catholic schools from K-8 and a Jesuit University).  We turned onto the military base and it was so fun to see some of the military guys out for the race.  from miles 5-9, you could really feel the cold coming off the ocean, but you can’t do much about that one.  Unfortunately, no rainbow or pot of gold by this point.  After our loop, we headed back towards the main drag and boardwalk of Virginia Beach and I realize I’m right on the edge of a PR.  Like I have to pull something from somewhere to get one.  I had one mile that was 9:54 and I hated myself for it.  I picked up the pace for the last 3 miles and tried to kick it in the last 1/4 of a mile on the boardwalk.  How close to a new PR you ask? 18 seconds.  I finished in 2:03:18, just off my 2:03 from New Orleans last March. Sigh, it’s not the Shamrock’s fault I have short legs

I headed down the shute and picked up my awesome swag: a medal, a hat and a finisher’s blanket:

Blanket, hat and medal

Blanket, hat and medal

I know you’re jealous!  I got to love the post race Irish Stew and some Yuengling (I’m not big on beer, but it’s grandpa’s favorite so I had one for him) before heading back for a nice long shower.  I appreciate the rain not happening during the race (the whole one pair of shoes thing).  I must say, this is a race that I’m putting on everyone’s bucket list for them whether the like it or not.  Flat and fast is my sort of thing and you get some awesome stuff from it. The only downside is that since I flew in last minute as opposed to driving from Philadelphia as planned, not only could Bart Yasso not depend on me for a ride, I flew into Raleigh Durham instead of Norfolk because it was cheaper.  It also meant I had a 3.5 hr drive turn into 4 hrs because of how much my body loves me after long runs.  The other downside?  Didn’t get home and to bed until after 1 and being up at 7 makes for one tired person.  Until next time Virginia Beach!

Virginia Beach Shamrock Sand Castle

Virginia Beach Shamrock Sand Castle

Chocolate Rush Half Marathon

I admit it.  I’m the person who searches for half marathons in states I need when I’ll be there for an extended period of time for work.  This is how I came  to the Chocolate Rush Half Marathon in Kansas.  I’m in Overland Park for work and needed to cross KS off my state list.  It cost me all of $35 and was less then a mile from where I’m working so you really can’t say no to it.

The weather out here the past few weeks has been temperamental.  I’ve had 70 degree days and 20 degree days in the span of a week.  For yesterday’s race, it was 30 but felt like 22.  I picked up my race stuff on Friday.  It was the first time in awhile that we had chips that needed to be returned (I wasn’t going to be paying $120 for a lost chip that’s for sure).  No B or D tag this time around!  The past part for me was the 2 free one day gym passes I got, not the chocolate.

The Chocolate Rush race started at 8:45, a nice change from 7 or 7:30 AM.  I could semi sleep in and still had time to drop my stuff off at work where I’d shower afterwards.  I headed over to the race and parked a good 15 minutes before the start.  They even had door prizes, and no, I was not the lucky one who won a $1000 diamond neckless.  One would think that the young single girl would get something diamondy for once and not have to pay for it.  This was the inaugural half marathon for Chocolate Rush (they’ve had a 5K for the past few years), so there were a little over 150 of us crazy half marathoners.  We headed out at 8:45 and I felt ok at first.  Somewhere between mile 3-4 I hit a wall.  I’m worn out and tired from work and this is my 3rd half and 4 weeks.  I picked it up miles 5-6 and kept on going.  Around mile 7, tired and coldness were starting to make me miserable but the only thing that kept me going was me not wanting to come back to KS for the sole purpose of a race.  Mile 8 had us pass the start as we headed in the opposite direction for a few miles.  We had our fair share of running under underpasses and having to do these little up hills and down hills as we switched sides to continue on the Indian Creek Heritage Trail.  It was kind of amusing that we were racing and then we had other runners/bikers coming by us.  miles 10 and 11 came and went when mile 12 finally came, I was beyond thrilled because I had about 10 minutes left.  I picked it up and finished in 2:12:05.  I was 19/28 in my age group, 108 overall.  When I got back to work to shower, I was talking to a friend and she told me to go look in the mirror.  Definitely had some blue lips because of the wind.  And to think, I ran a half in 70 degree weather last weekend! Run and looking for results?  head over here.

The good: KS is knocked off my state list and I don’t have to find a half out here anymore.  The bad: if I would have done the 5K, I would have been done a whole lot earlier and would have probably placed in the top 3 of my age group!

Rock N Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon

Now that half marathon #16 is in the books and I’ve flown back to Philly, I’ve had time (and sleep) to think about my weekend in Chicago.  I haven’t been to my second home since last year at some point and boy, I’ve missed it!!!  I flew in Friday morning and our flight was delayed over an hour.  It was a combination of rain, our flight starting off at the wrong gate and it taking 20 minutes to get off the run way.  I got into Chicago around 10 AM Chicago time and headed over to the expo to pick up my race gear.  The expo wasn’t all that special- I’ve seen most of the vendors before.  Since I was meeting up with a friend, I was in and out in 10 minutes and headed to my hotel.  Note, I booked my hotel Tuesday and that was after we got a good deal from another runner friend coming in for the race.  After checking in, I met up with a friend for the afternoon and we headed out for a short run while his girlfriend was on a conference call for work.  After we got back and showered, we did some grilling and headed to my alma mater to take a look at all the work they’d done (holy construction Loyola!).  From there, I headed to Evanston and met up with another friend for dinner.  After catching up, I headed back downtown (thank goodness for 3 day groupon CTA passes on sale!).

Saturday morning, 3 friends made their way to Chicago.  I met up with 2 of them at the expo, where, while waiting, I met my alter ego Christine Amy Martinez made an appearance.  A friend had signed up for the race, but ended not making the trip from LA.  The Rock N Roll series, for whatever reason, no longer allows people to pick up bibs for others, even with a note and permission from the person.  This is a huge issue because I knew a few people who were coming back from vacation and couldn’t make the expo.  The race made it seem like they were doing people a huge favor by allowing my friends to pick up bibs race day. Why not just let them have someone pick up their bib??  Anyways, I was determined to get my friend’s bib and my alter ego came out.  Yeah, we’re just going to leave it at that.   Let’s just say a bib went good use.  Another issue I have is with the prices.  $150 to sign up for a half at the expo?  Are you kidding me?  Even after a certain date it was $100 and that wasn’t even close to the race date. Why jack up prices?  I’ve gotten the same amount of ‘stuff’, including end of race food, etc for less than what Rock n Roll charges.

After the expo, I met up with some friends at The Melting Pot to catch up and then headed out to church (smart phones are a good thing).  Afterwards, I met back up with my fellow runners and we headed to Quartino’s for dinner.  Holy loudness!!  After some good pasta and conversation, we headed to the hotel and called it a night.  We laid out all of our stuff so we were all ready to go in the morning

Our wake up call was 5 AM. YAWN.  The 4 of us met in the lobby around 530 and headed to The Congress Plaza Hotel to meet up with some runners we know and have run with before.  We also made sure my alter ego’s bib was used well.  We started in corral 8 with the goal of just to get out of the start and on the course.  It was definitely hot and humid the entire race.  I haven’t done a run over 7-8 miles in over a month just because of time so I knew I wasn’t going to PR by any means and the heat didn’t help at all.  There was water and gatorade on course, but I felt like it was erratic in placement.  I appreciate the marks at 5k/10k/15k/20k, but I wish they would have done split times there as well.  I was dripping sweat at least 5 miles in!  The last 3 miles were rough.  My stomach wasn’t liking me (and I did eat before the race!) and I was sure I would be sick by the end of the race.  After hitting mile 11 we ran under McCormick Place.  I’m not a fan of that part of the race just because you can’t see well and if someone gets hurt, it’s hard to get too.  After passing mile 12, around the 20K, there was a runner down who did not look good at all.  some of her friends and medical were there working with her (which is why I didn’t stop- help was already there).  I was hoping she was alright!  one of my running friends saw her as well and asked about her when I finished since we were a few minutes apart finishing.  The last part of the race was a straight shot to the finish, but the finish seemed so far off! You came around the corner and were running Columbus Blvd, and it just felt like it kept going and didn’t end.  After getting through the finish, I picked up my medal, wet (cold) wash clothe, 2 chocolate milks, water and banana.  As people started finishing, we made our way back to Congress Plaza to meet up with our group.  We then headed back to our hotel and got some much needed showers. Let’s face it, that’s always the best part of the race!

After we freshened up, we headed to lunch over at the Emerald Loop Bar and Grill and had a free appetizer to boot.  After walking around State street, depositing a check and picking up some Garrett’s pop corn, we relaxed in the hotel until 6 or so.  I headed off to Midway to fly back home while 2 of my running buds headed to dinner to meet up with our running friends from this morning.  It was a good weekend overall with good company.  Here’s to hoping to another meet up for the marathon in October!

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