Thursday, August 24, 2017

Race to Wrigley 5K

Decided to run this race last minute.  Never have participated in this race before.  Went with the untimed version and was lucky enough to have a friend pick up my packet.. SCORE!

Overall, the race was... meh...
The run was nothing special for 3 miles.  For .1 miles you were able to run through Wrigley which consisted on the corridor (where the concessions are).  After you existed out of Wrigley was the finish line.  Unfortunately, it was completely backed up!  It took me almost 5 minutes to go the last .15 miles due to back up.  I heard from others the medal distribution was the hold up and after going through the post race area, i could have believe that was the reason.  Because the race was in the city streets AND the medal was of the cubs (coming off a World Series win), they were concerned about bandits.  I can understand that and since I wasn't timed and not very competitive, I was just mildly annoyed.

Probably won't do it again as I am not a die hard cubs fan.. (i am from Cleveland :)  For those into medals and love the Cubs, worth at least one year

My write up for Chicago Athlete

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Wisconsin Marathon Race Report

Sometimes you run a marathon prepared and sometimes you don't.  While the former is the better way to do it, I seem to always find myself in the latter.

Wisconsin Marathon is located just over the border which makes it easy to run it if you are from Chicago area. With packet pickup options in Chicago and easy parking race morning, it is perfect race to make with friends or go solo.  This year, I went solo and parked only a few hundred meters from the start. It was cool and windy at the start.  While I had signed up for the full, I had convinced myself I was going to drop down to the half. A half was plenty... no need to kill myself.

First half of the race was fine.  Felt good, weather was good, slight overcast, barely any wind and enough people to keep the miles ticking.  Still was convinced I would do the half at mile 11.  However, as I got closer to the half mark (i.e. finish line), I thought that I wouldn't get better conditions to run a full... let's just do it.   About 20 seconds after I made the decision to do the full, i started running parallel to the finish and passed it. It was a quick turn but once the decision was made, you were stuck.  It was at this time I regretted doing the full and continued to have that regret the ENTIRE second half of the race. However, I trudged through and got it done.  I had one moment when I crept up on a guy that was hysterically crying around mile 22.  He was struggling and wanting to quit.  The problem is the back half of the course was on residential streets and with most people doing the half, it was pretty lonely and no SAG vehicles.  I stayed with him for 5 minutes or so and then had to keep moving.  Felt bad but he was so upset, it wasn't helping me being alongside him.  Made it to the finish within regulation and no blisters.

At the finish line, since I was one of the last people, the RD and volunteers gave me a ridiculous amount of post race food since there was very few people to come in after me. I obliged and took it and then again, regretted having so much to lug back to the car.  Seriously, this day was full of regrets.  But, i made it back to my car and pulled through the Wendy's drive through on my way out of town.  It was only an 1-ish drive back home but I was eating some junk.  The drive through girl was hilarious when i pulled up since I had my bib and medal in the passengers seat and she saw it. While i ordered a hamburger and coke, I got a hamburger, large fry, coke and frosty.  I didn't complain and basically negated the last 6 hrs of exercise in 30 minutes!   Oh, I also might have stopped at the outlets and shopped on the way back so I guess I couldn't have been that miserable!

Another marathon, done!

My write up for Chicago Athlete:

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bunny Wabbit 15K

Remind me to not signup for 2 back to back longer races right after a long vacation!   As I finally got over the jet lag, I had Bunny Wabbit 15K up in Libertyville.  Rey (the RD) does a great job at making this local event a well executed one.  The race was a 1-3 loop race which each loop being 5K.  The weather was a warmer than the weekend before and most of us shed the jackets and enjoyed our stroll through the forest preserve.  Due to it being early in the season, there were very limited amount of people on the trail other than the runners.  I was in the back of the pack for the 15K and was fine going at a slower pace ticking the miles away.  A fun race, got in my steps and my long run for the week!

ChiTown Half Marathon

Came back from our Italy/Masters trip and got a cold that manifested about a week after I got home.  It wasn't horrible but between the jet lag and cold, i was feeling pretty pooped.  I had signed up for the ChiTown Half and drove down race morning pretty convinced I was going to downgrade to the 10K.  Since they run both races simultaneously, had no issues downgrading.

Got down to the race with no incident and met up with some friends prior to the race.  Love seeing all my racing buddies!  The race had three corrals but still had a fair amount of congestion on the course.  Nothing super crazy but it took a while to get into the groove and of course.  For an early April race the weather was really perfect.  By mile 3, I was still convinced I would just do the 10K. It was a long few weeks of travel but when I hit the point to turn off, I decided to keep going.

Random stranger cheering ME on !
Nice conditions!
Didn't regret my decision and was happy with it.  I plugged along and felt good for an early season half.  Saw some more friends along the path and on the course which always helps the miles tick by. Made the turn for the finish only to have like 200 meters of running along the portos.. This is the second time All Community Events has made the finishing stretch a stinky one.  Not sure if that is just the only way that logistically works but not my fav.  However, they made it up to me as I was handed a hotdog at the finish with extra pickles!  I am easily bought off.

Fun morning! Good/economical race!  Will probably be back

final time right within my happy time (+/- 5 minutes of 2:30)  : 2:33:53

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Solo running in Venice

Packing for an international trip is always tricky..

Am I going to pack 10 shirts and only wear 2...
Am I going to pack cute pants and only end up wearing the same pair of workout leggings?!
... I really want to run so I must pack run shoes (as I have been trying not to wear them otherwise).. but then i need run clothes and now my suitcase is busting!


But I had them and committed to be active on this trip.  We rowed through the Grand Canal and biked from Florence to Fiesole but I also wanted to run when I could.

Had a chance to run in Venice and Rome and it did not disappoint. For anyone contemplating running on vacation... Do it!  You won't be disappointed.  It is one of the best ways to see the city!

First, lets talk about safety.  I feel like anytime we told anyone we were going to Italy.. you are bombarded with "be safe"  "so many pick pocketers"  "don't be alone."  And while I completely appreciate people being concerned, I also believe I can take precautionary steps to be safe.

Things I recommend (and let's remember I am no expert so these are not canonized in the Running Bible or anything)
  • Running in the daylight is definitely preferred
  • Keep your phone with you.  Even if you don't get cell, the GPS should work when in Maps. 
  • If you must run with headphones, run with one and keep them low.. or better yet,  soak up your new surroundings
  • While the streets were pretty empty where I ran, running amongst people definitely decreases your chances of being abducted.  Depending on where you are, definitely keep that in mind. 
  • Check what the local customs are and what is appropriate to run in.  I know some Middle Eastern countries have traditional standards that might not be met in the "normal American running outfit."
  • Running with a buddy always increases your safety but when you can't... keep high alert of surroundings!

First full day we had, i got up early and went for a run.  I think I left the apartment a little before 7am when my parents were leaving too.  We stayed in a residential area of Venice (which strongly contributed to why it was my favorite city) and there were hardly anyone out in the morning.  Few locals with dogs and street merchants were rolling their carts around.   It was so peaceful and really awesome to experience Venice with very few people.

I had my phone (as demonstrated with all the pics i took) but tried to just follow the signs from our place to Rialto and then San Marco.  I knew the general direction of Rialto as we went there the day before and then planned to follow the signs down to the square.   Got to Rialto with only a few dead ends and found it relatively empty still. 

The canal was so peaceful as the city was waking up.  Kept plugging along and got to Piazza San Marco.  The pigeons out numbered the people.  Turned toward the water and it was the first sign of major tourism.  Venice is kindof known to be overrun with tourists and the drag of hotels south of the square near the Vaperetto stops were definitely already congested which made me appreciate where we stayed.
Hung out around the square for a bit, cked out the basilica and then was going to take the Vaparetto back but thanks to it still being early, there wasn't an express.  We had a Doges Palace private tour that morning and I had to high tail it back to the apt, shower and get back down to San Marco in like 90 minutes.  I realized that running would be faster than the slow boats so made my way back through the city.  I had a few more dead ends running back and it was only when I got back to the hotel and looked at a map that i realized i didn't need to run over the Rialto AT ALL!  Oops... got some good pics so worth it :)  You can see i realized that after running around in San Polo for a while on my Garmin map!  haha

Made it back to a slightly jet lagged husband and son... Rushed back down to San Marco and made it to the meeting point literally seconds after the last chime rang from the clock!   Perfection!

They say to get lost in Venice and enjoy each little bridge and small street... so do it while getting your run in!  Next up ... Rome!