Tag Archive for #14in2014

2014 Chicago Marathon Race Recap

Wow, how do I put into words the entire experience of the Chicago Marathon? It was an amazing day and a dream come true.

The day started out with my sister and I waking up in a hotel room less than a mile away from the start line. She was fantastic and went out to get a bagel, peanut butter and coffee for me to fuel my 26.2+ miles for the day. She also surprised me by wearing a shirt they had made for me. My entire cheer crew wore these!

 

Chicago Marathon 2014 | amotherspace.net

 

Once we were ready we headed out and walked to the Ronald McDonald Charity tent. I’m going to write an entire post about running for this charity so I’m skipping over this part right now. In short, if you’ve ever considered running the Chicago Marathon with Team RMHC…do it! It was AMAZING!

I made my way to Corral G. It was the perfect running weather. Low 50’s and no wind. Just beautiful. Corral G wasn’t crowded at all and everything went very smoothly until the start of the race. Once the second wave started we just started walking until we arrived at the start line. It took almost 10 minutes.

 

Chicago Marathon 2014 | amotherspace.net

 

I spent this time just enjoying the crowd and trying to be in the moment. I was not nervous at all about the race at this point. In fact, I was never nervous about the race at all. I was excited and ready to run. I completely think that my mental preparation for the race helped tremendously with the nerves.

And then we were off. It was crowded at the beginning but I just conserved energy and avoided swerving in between people. Once we came out from the first tunnel the crowds were ROCKING and they didn’t stop the entire course. I didn’t wear headphones during this marathon because I wanted to soak in the crowds and they did not disappoint! I kept looking at the people and the huge buildings and I almost got emotional. Almost, though, I had to stay focused and not fall apart in the first mile! One of my favorite signs that I noticed early on was ‘Slow down! I’m trying to count everyone!’

 

Chicago Marathon 2014 | amotherspace.net

Photo Credit: Photogenic Chicago

 

 

My family was waiting for me in the 5th mile and just knowing they were going to be there was a huge lift for me. When I saw them I stopped for high 5’s and some kisses and then was off again with extra energy. I had written my plan for seeing my family on my arm along with when I wanted to take in fuel so that I wouldn’t have to think about anything. This ended up working out so well. I’ve never written down my fuel like that and it helped me stay on track.

 

Chicago Marathon 2014 | amotherspace.net

L: left | F: fuel | R: right

 

BELIEVE | BE GRATEFUL | BE BOLD

My mantra for Chicago. You can train extensively for a race and still when it comes down to race day you have to BELIEVE that your goal is achievable. My number one goal was to enjoy myself and finish strong. I believed that I could do this and that helped push me to the finish line. I’m incredibly GRATEFUL that I have the ability to run. So many of the children that are involved with the Ronald McDonald House Charities are not able to do the activities that they want to do because of illness. I ran for those children and with thoughts of my niece and how grateful I am that she is doing well now. The last few miles I wanted to BE BOLD. I didn’t train for months not to have a strong finish and having this thought in my head helped to keep me centered.

At some point after this I saw some spectators with several little trampolines just jumping away and cheering everyone as they ran by. So. Much. Fun. Really, Chicago was just one big party that morning. I hope to go back and spectate the race one day. I had my name on the front of my shirt so people would say, ‘Looking strong, Angie’ or one lady, as I ran by, said, ‘Angie!’ When I turned around to look at her she pointed to me and said, ‘I see you!’ and I just pointed right back at her and said, ‘I see you too!’

As I was running along in mile 7 I came across some people creating a barrier in the middle of the road. I wasn’t sure what was going on until I saw someone performing CPR on a man. It was very hard to see that and I looked away immediately. I just said a prayer for him and thoughts of him stuck with me throughout the race. We looked after the race was finished and found out that he ended up being o.k. I’m so thankful that he is alright!

Before mile 9 I was on the right side of the street because I knew my family was coming up soon. Anytime I was on the side of the road running I would give high 5’s to kids that had their hand out. I had a time goal for this race but my main goal was to have FUN. So at the end of mile 8 I was over on the right and ran by a child with an outstretched hand. After I high 5’d him about 8 hands shot up after him (all adults) to high 5 so I just kept going on down the line.

 

Chicago Marathon 2014 | amotherspace.net

Photo Credit: Photogenic Chicago

 

Mile 9 family stop. More high fives and kisses.

And have you noticed that every time I saw my family my arms went straight up in the air??? I couldn’t control it. It just happened. I was so excited to see them and they gave me such a boost!

As much as I wanted to remember every little detail it all tends to blur together a little bit. The most memorable songs that I heard on the course were Eye of the Tiger, I Will Wait, Roar, and Shake It Off. The live music along the way was fantastic as well. Elvis was one of my favorites.

The water stops were so close to each other and very well organized. Some were only a mile apart. They were organized the same way at each stop as well and covered two blocks. First was the First Aid station, next the toilets, third was Gatorade and last was water. I wasn’t carrying any hydration so I had told myself ahead of time that I needed to get water at every stop. The only walking I did at all during the race was when I briefly had a water cup in my hands and when I slowed down to give high 5’s and kisses to my family. I actually ended up drinking water at all but the last two stops and I also had Gatorade at one of the later stops as well.  Many of the stops were actually very sticky from the Gatorade even though I ran right down the middle.

Another little fact: this was the first year that the marathon had a blue dotted line painted throughout the entire 26.2 miles.

I crossed mile 13.1 in 2 hours and 8 minutes feeling great. It blows me away that this is so much faster than my 1st and second half marathons and yet I was only half way finished with the race. It just goes to show how much a person can improve if they have their mind set to it.

At mile 15 I was supposed to see my family again so I was on the right side of the road. They didn’t end up making that checkpoint but I did run into another runner that I knew. Which is pretty amazing considering that I only knew 5 other people running out of the 40,000+ runners out there! We ran together for a little bit but her ankle was hurting and I had to keep my pace if I was going to finish like I had trained.

I started to slow down a bit at mile 18. My watch average pace still read a sub 10 minutes until the end but for most of the race it was around 9:30. Mentally I didn’t focus on my sore legs or my aching right foot but I know that these things still slowed me down. My right foot has a callous by the big toe and it was really rubbing wrong during this race. After the race the outside of my foot, my heel and my entire right side hurt and I’m sure this was because the callous made my stride change.

I saw my family one last time somewhere around mile 21. It was just the boost I needed to help me cross the finish line. Definitely the best cheering squad out there!

 

Chicago Marathon 2014 | amotherspace.net

Photo Credit: Photogenic Chicago

 

I had read about turning onto Michigan Ave. and seeing all the buildings in the distance. For some it’s hard because you see how far you still need to run to finish but for others it’s easier because the end is in sight. I choose to think positively! I had read an article from Coach Jenny at Runner’s World that encouraged me to go fishing on this last long stretch and that’s exactly what I did. I picked out a runner ahead and started reeling them in. I passed a lot of people doing this and it helped me to continue to feel strong.

Just before this I had realized how much I was slowing down. I hadn’t trained so hard for 18 weeks to give up in the last few miles. I kicked it in gear and finished STRONG. Sure I was hurting but the faster I ran the faster I would cross that finish line.

I ran up the incline to the bridge, turned onto Columbus and saw the finish line. Seeing that finish line was a powerful thing but somehow I kept it together and crossed with my arms up in the air.

4:22:54

I finished almost 8 minutes faster than my goal at the beginning of training. Not to mention that this is a 42 minute PR for me. I was (and still am) super happy with my finish time.

 

Chicago Marathon 2014 | amotherspace.net

Photo Credit: Photogenic Chicago

 

Official Time: 4:22:54

Garmin Time: 4:23:00

Official Distance: 26.2 miles

Garmin Distance: 26.54 miles

Official Average Pace: 10:02

Garmin Average Pace: 9:54

Overall Place: 18967

Gender Place: 6399

Age Group Place: 1075

Chicago Marathon 2014 | amotherspace.net

 

I can’t write this post without a heartfelt thank you to so many people in my life. First and foremost I want to say thank you to my husband. He was there for me all throughout training. He got the kids up almost every morning and started getting them ready for the day. He was also with them while I was out running crazy long distances for hours every Saturday morning. He’s my rock and I couldn’t have done this race without him by my side.

My kids deserve a huge thank you as well. They were champs the entire busy weekend in Chicago and survived the long two day car ride to get there. It makes me so excited to hear them play ‘finish line’ games and to see their interest in running.

 

Chicago Marathon 2014 | amotherspace.net

Photo Credit: Photogenic Chicago

 

Also, a thank you to my sister and brother-in-law. They hosted us this weekend and went way out of their way to make our family of five comfortable in their home. My BIL, a photographer in Chicago, took fabulous photos of the marathon and throughout the weekend.

I need to thank everyone back home that was cheering me on from afar. My mom, my dad and my in-laws were all watching on various devices and cheering so loud I could almost hear them from Kansas and Iowa. So many people sent well wishes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and this blog. I’m feel extremely blessed to have so much support from those I know and my virtual friends as well.

Lastly, I want to thank those that donated to my cause. As I mentioned above I am writing a separate post about my experience with the Ronald McDonald House Charities. But I would like to say that I was able to exceed my fundraising goal and help our TeamRMHC raise over 1 million dollars!

I think that wraps it up. Thanks for hanging in there and reading this extremely long recap!

 

Chicago Marathon 2014 | amotherspace.net

 

 

_________________

I’m running I ran the Chicago Marathon with Team RMHC!

To find out more read my post about Running for Charity or head over to my fundraising page to make a donation.

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Johnston’s Half Marathon Race Recap

Have you ever had a race day that came together perfectly from start to finish? I’ve had fun races and great races for a variety of reasons but I’ve never had that one perfect race. That is until now.

On Sunday I woke up early to get ready for the Johnston’s Half Marathon, a local race here in Wichita, KS. My husband and kids were coming along to spectate and so we had to get everyone out the door by 7:00 and shockingly we were in the car precisely at 7 a.m.

We arrived at the start line about 30 minutes before the start so we wondered over to a little outside zoo nearby so that I could warm up and the kids could eat their breakfast. A few dynamic stretches later and I was ready to go.

 

Johnston's Half Marathon | amotherspace.net

 

As the runners lined up for the start, I kissed my family goodbye and joined the racers. It was not a huge race, only 229 finishers, so the start line was laid back. Pretty soon the countdown was on and we were off.

This course is one of my favorites and goes through the Riverside area that I used to live in back when I was single. I’ve ran a lot of miles in this part of town and I love reminiscing about it during races.

 

Johnston's Half Marathon Race Recap | amotherspace.net

 

This entire race was either by the river on the bike paths or in a tree covered area in the park. It’s arguably the prettiest area of Wichita and my favorite place to run. For those reasons alone I will try and run this race every year even if I don’t specifically train for the half. This year it didn’t hurt anything that the weather was perfect as well. At race start it was 55 degrees and I don’t believe that it got much above 60 by the time I finished running.

 

Johnston's Half Marathon | amotherspace.net

The Keeper of the Plains bridge that we ran over during the race.

 

During this race I tried to stay in a zone and just enjoy my surroundings as they happened. I glanced down at my watch occasionally and often found that I was well under my goal pace of 9:05 per mile. This was my first race with my new Forerunner 220 and I have to say that I loved it during the race. Being able to see my average pace for the mile that I was actually running was so helpful. Between that and looking at my overall average pace I knew exactly how I was doing on my goal.

 

Johnston's Half Marathon | amotherspace.net

Mile 6 was my fastest and it was no coincidence that happened during the same mile that I saw my family. Giving them high fives and seeing them cheer for me gave me a huge burst of energy. I was feeling great at this point in the race and my speed just naturally increased.

For this race I packed two Honey Stinger Vanilla Gels and only ended up eating one in the 10th mile. I also relied on the water stops and did not carry my handheld like I normally do. I don’t want to carry water during the Chicago Marathon and this was the test run to try it out. Normally I don’t like slowing down at the water stops and I’m not coordinated enough to drink from a cup and run at the same time. So during this race I just slowed to a walk for a few steps to get a small drink and then I was able to get right back into my pace. It gave me the confidence to leave my handheld at home and feel o.k. about relying on the Chicago water stops.

 

Johnston's Half Marathon | amotherspace.net

 

There were so many times while I was down by the river or running on the path by all the trees that I wanted to stop and take a picture. I was so tempted to try and get out my phone and take a shot while running but I kept it in my FlipBelt. It was a beautiful day out but I don’t have many photos to show for it!

My plan was to run the race around my goal pace (9:05) and then kick it in gear during the last two miles if I felt good about it. I was under my goal pace by quite a lot and decided that I would just run what felt easy (about a 8:5x pace) and then speed up in the last two miles. The problem with this was that I was so completely in a zone that I didn’t even realize I was in the last mile of the race until it was almost half way over. At that point I sped up because I was just coasting along. This means that maybe I’m not done with the PR’s yet!

What amazes me about this race and what makes it the ‘perfect’ race for me was that at no time did I feel like I couldn’t meet or exceed my goal. My goal being, of course, that I wanted to finally run a sub-2 half marathon. I know it had a lot to do with the weather and the fact that I am training for a marathon which means running long miles every weekend. But the biggest key to this PR was my mental training for the race. I’m working on a post that I’ll publish soon to share what has been helping me with the mental side of running.

So, yes, you read that right. I crushed my previous half marathon best by over 5 minutes and set a huge PR on this course. I finally, after 8 half marathons, have raced one in under 2 hours. It is huge for me and I even got a little emotional after I crossed the finish line.

 

 

Official Distance: 13.1 miles

Forerunner 220 Distance: 13.18 miles

Official Time: 1:57:02

Forerunner 220 Time: 1:57:04

Official Average Pace: 8:56

Forerunner 220 Average Pace: 8:53

Age Placement: 6 out of 27

Overall Placement: 88 out of 229

14 in 2014: Race #11

 

Have you had a race or a run lately where everything came together for that perfect run?

Johnston's Half Marathon | amotherspace.net

 

_________________

I’m running the Chicago Marathon with Team RMHC!

To find out more read my post about Running for Charity or head over to my fundraising page to make a donation.

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Run for Your Momma Half Marathon Race Recap

In just a few weeks I’m about to participate in my first very large big city race but recently I signed up for a small town, middle of Kansas race with only 44 participants. Yes, you read that right, only 44!  I’ve never ran anything that small before and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

A while back I compared my training schedule with our local race schedule and noticed that Marion, Kansas had a half marathon scheduled for the same Saturday that I was supposed to run 13 miles. It was the Run for Your Momma Half Marathon to benefit the MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) program in Marion. I figured that running a race would break up some of these long runs all by myself. I planned on running this as a training run to practice my marathon pace in a race setting. I wanted to practice getting water at the water stops (I’m horrible at that!) and wear my Ronald McDonald jersey that I will wear for Team RMHC in Chicago. Well, I wore the jersey but failed on everything else. I just get too competitive (with myself) during a race and I have to RACE it.

I had trouble sleeping the night before the race. It took me awhile to get to sleep and then at some point in the night my husband saw I was awake and informed me that the race takes about 45 minutes LONGER to drive than I had thought. He set his alarm earlier to go off at 4:00. Good practice for Chicago! Think positively!

My mom was watching the kids so my husband and I took off and drove towards Marion in the early morning. When we arrived my first hint that this was going to be a tiny race was the fact that hardly any cars were there and not many people. We went in and picked up our packet and looked at the course a little before heading out to the start line.

 

Run for Your Momma Half Marathon Race Recap | amotherspace.net

 

I loved lining up with such a small crowd. It was fun to listen to everyone chat and it was a really relaxed setting. The race director had a few announcements before the race started and a few runners had some questions. For instance, one asked if there would be water stops along the way, have I mentioned that this race was small?! And, yes, there were water stops.

Soon we were off and running on the country dirt roads. In that first mile the rain sprinkles started coming down and then not long after that it started pouring. The rain just made me smile. It was nice and refreshing and different. It made me feel alive.

 

Run for Your Momma Half Marathon Race Recap | amotherspace.net

 

Not only was I running on gravel, which I’m not used to, but we also ran by cows and corn fields. This was definitely a country race! If you’re not from Kansas you might imagine that all of our races are like this but that’s not the case. My hometown, Wichita, has just a population of just under 400,000 so most of the races I run have a fair amount of people involved. And most courses are on the city streets.

 

Run for Your Momma Half Marathon Race Recap | amotherspace.net

 

This course in Marion was challenging for me because it had a few pretty significant hills. Mile 10 had a killer hill! Not all of Kansas is flat but the city I live in is pancake flat. Hills are not in my training but every one of these that I tackled during this race I powered through with thoughts of that last bridge close to the finish line in Chicago.

My ultimate goal for the race was to try and hang on to a 9:00-9:05 pace and to FINALLY run a sub-2 half marathon. I started the first mile a little too fast (surprise, surprise!) and the gravel, rain and hills slowed me down. I knew I wouldn’t meet my goal of a sub-2 but I was just hoping for a PR.

The race had great support with water stops every few miles and a couple of cars were driving back and forth in case any of the runners needed anything. The people running it were so helpful and nice. They were very appreciative that we had signed up for the race to help their organization.

 

Run for Your Momma Half Marathon Race Recap | amotherspace.net

 

I actually did end up with a new PR (by almost 2 minutes!) and I couldn’t be happier about it. This was by far the most difficult course I have raced on and the fact that I got so close (yet so far away!!) to breaking 2 hours shows how far I have come.

I loved everything about this race. The gravel, rain, hills, cool air, and the small numbers. I would definitely consider running it again in the future. I think it was fun for me because it was so different from anything I had raced before.

 

Run for Your Momma Half Marathon Race Recap | amotherspace.net

Run for Your Momma Half Marathon Results

Official Distance: 13.1

Nike+ Distance: 13.07

Official Time: 2:02:36

Nike+ Time: 2:02:37

Official Pace: 9:22

Nike+ Pace: 9:23

Age Group Placement: 2/3

Overall Placement: 21

Half Marathon: #7

14 in 2014: 11th race

#14in2014 | A Mother's Pace

 

_________________

I’m running the Chicago Marathon with Team RMHC!

To find out more read my post about Running for Charity or head over to my fundraising page to make a donation.

——————————-

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