5 Things Friday – All Things Detroit!


I’m not feeling 100%– pretty sure it’s a combination of running in 34 degree weather on Sunday, stress at work (2 huge events back to back, budgets and brochure copy for a recreation center), and continued training.  I’ve gotten in my two scheduled runs so far this week and I’m ready to tackle my 7 mile walk on Saturday and my 17 mile run on Sunday!

But I don’t want to skip my recap my experience this past weekend in Detroit!  It was my 7th Half Marathon of the year (9th overall) and my final one for the year :)


1—Getting to Detroit!

·         As you can remember, I was a little nervous about getting to the airport on time.  I was worried for no reason!  My best friend Stacy was a great driver, got me to the airport safely, and I made it thru security in no time.  Once I got to Detroit, I was able to get my rental car easily and headed straight to the expo.  I made it to the expo around 5ish and had plenty of time to make it thru the expo.



My one complaint about the expo was that I had to go all the way to the back of the expo to get my participant bib and shirt.  You had to weave up and down each aisle to get to the back.  A huge pain in the butt!! The shirt was definitely a keeper!  I’m not a huge fan of gray but the back of the shirt is awesome.


I didn’t purchase anything at the expo except for this magnet.  I had purchased this hoodie a few weeks beforehand online and I’m glad I did because since I got to the expo late, sizes were pretty picked over.  Other than that, I looked at the Cincinnati Flying Pig medal again (I met some ladies on Sunday who pretty much convinced me to do the marathon—they are walkers and said it is very walker friendly!) and I visited with the Pittsburgh Marathon booth (that will be my half someday for Pennsylvania).



2—Hotel and Dinner

·         Sadly, hotels in downtown Detroit were very expensive for this race.  I ended up having to stay about 10 miles outside of Detroit.  The hotel itself was very nice except that it was very crowded with lots of young hockey players.  These hockey players were very energetic and decided that running up and down the hallways until 2 am was acceptable.  I was pretty tired so it didn’t bother me too much other than waking up a couple of times in the middle of the night.

Unfortunately, this was my first race in awhile without a pre race dinner… major bummer!  My hotel was in the middle of nowhere, but there was a mall across the street with a few good restaurants.  Unfortunately, the Italian restaurant was very crowded, so I had to order my food to go—which I enjoyed in my room!

3—Pre Race Jitters

·         The race started at 7 am.  Unfortunately, since I was far away, wasn’t sure of the parking situation, I left my hotel around 4:45 am.  I was able to secure free parking at one of the casinos around 5:15 am.  It was very cold (34 degrees), so I was able to stay inside the hotel for awhile charging my phone and staying warm until closer to the race start.

4—Quick Race Recap

·         After checking my bag and making my way to the start, I stood in my corral for about 20 minutes before the race started.  Right before the start, they played “Lose Yourself” as well as both the USA and Canadian National Anthem.  Each corral was spread out about every 2 minutes.  I was supposed to be in Corral K, but I moved up to J because that’s where I thought I belonged and no one was enforcing the corrals at all.  About 16 minutes into the race, I finally started!  The first few miles were not good time wise for me (my first mile  was the slowest one) as I was super cold and my fingers were frozen.  Around mile 3, we started to make our way over the Ambassador Bridge and into Canada.  It was very cool to run into Windsor with the USA flag on one side and the Canadian flag on the other.  We ran for about 3 miles in Canada before going into the underwater mile tunnel to go back to the USA.  It was cool but it was hot!!  I was relieved when we made it out of there and back into the cold.  After the underwater mile, it was just a quick 5 miles to the finish line.  I remember having lots of water stops and food stops (oranges, M&Ms, GU, and even bourbon) along the race course too. About a mile from the finish, I thought I might have a chance to get around 2:20, so I started running hard.  It wasn’t fast enough as I finished in 2:23:46.  Am I upset?  No way.  I’ve had a great year of running (2 races in less than 2:20—which was my original 2014 goal) and I knew I had a difficult weekend ahead of me after the race, so I didn’t want to go all out.


5—Final Thoughts

·         Am I happy I ran this race?  Absolutely… it was a unique experience getting to run in Canada and the USA in the same race.  Would I do it again?  Probably not… the medal is pretty much the same each year (just the Chevy car changes) and Detroit is a bit of a scary place.  I had an encounter with a person with extreme road rage on Sunday morning at 5 am and I was terrified.  So, what’s next for me?!  I have one more race in 2014… the Hot Chocolate 15k in Chicago on November 9th.  2015 is shaping up to be a great one—I’m planning 6 new states by May (yippy!!  3 flights, 3 driving ones and one is going to be a double weekend.. ahh!!).

Cannot wait to check in again next week after my busy weekend!



Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K & Expo Recap


My Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon weekend did not start off on a great foot. Friday night, I rushed after work to the expo which was open on Friday from 9AM-6PM. I get off work at 5PM, and can make it downtown in around 30 minutes on a good day. Unfortunately, on a Friday afternoon, there was no way I was making it in 30 minutes because there was of course tons of traffic. I thought that there would be no packet pickup in the morning before the 5K, so that’s why I wanted to make sure to get there Friday before it closed.

I was going crazy in the car because my GPS kept saying I would get there later and later and started to seem like I wouldn’t get there in time. So of course, I was freaking out! I was worried I spent all this money to run the 5K on Saturday, and I wouldn’t even be able to! I finally got off the exit at about 5:45PM, but the downtown traffic was also horrible, so I was still concerned. I finally got to the America’s Center where the expo was at around 5:50PM. Of course there was no parking on the street around there and I was in a rush, so I ended up spending $15 to park! Oh well, at least I knew I would be getting my packet!

I ran inside and found the area where Rock ‘n’ Roll was pretty easily. It was clear they were about to close because the only area open was where the packets and tshirts were. I quickly grabbed my bib for the half, then I had to go to a separate table to pick up my bib for the 5K and then I had to go in another area to pick up the shirts! As I was still in there, they started to turn off the lights so it was clear- it was time to go! Obviously the expo part was closed so I decided to go back on Saturday after my 5K since it was open from 10AM-5PM. Oh and by the way, later I found out that I could have picked up my packet for the 5K (not the half) on the morning of the race. I will not forget this next year!

5K Race Shirt

5K Race Shirt

The 5K started on Saturday at 8AM. So, I woke up around 6AM and got ready in my race outfit. I had planned to just wear a short-sleeve shirt and capris, but after looking at the weather forecast one more time, I decided to also where a pullover because race time temperature was going to be around 45 degrees.

My outfit for the race. I was laughing because Lilli kept trying to get in the picture! (You can see her tail!)

My outfit for the race. I was laughing because Lilli kept trying to get in the picture! (You can see her tail!)

Justin, Lilli, and I headed downtown about 7:15AM and got to the start in plenty of time so we found a place to park so we could walk over to the start together. Justin wasn’t running but was just going to stick around there since it was a short race. Lilli seemed a little upset that she couldn’t run with me, but no doggies allowed in this race!

It was cool but sunny out and I was excited to be racing. I decided to just push myself as much as I could because it was only a 5K and I would have plenty of time during the day to take it easy! There was a lot of people running, but a lot seemed to be taking it easy because of the half or marathon they had the next day, and others seemed to be beginners to racing.

Once we started, I was off at a pretty quick pace that I was able to closely maintain throughout the course of the race. We got to run past Busch Stadium (where the Cardinals play) and through part of the downtown business district, so I really enjoyed looking at the various sites throughout the race course.

Close to the finish line

Close to the finish line

Before I knew it, my GPS was telling me we were about .5 miles from the finish line. This race seemed so fast especially with the longer distances I have been doing with my marathon training. My thighs were burning, though, because of the faster pace we were going!

I crossed the finish line with a time of 23:57. This was not a PR for me, but it was pretty close and I was very pleased with my time. I know I would have regretted it later if I just took it easy, so I was happy that I decided to really race this 5K. I ended up getting 2nd out of 95 in my division, and 51 out of 1121 overall. Not too bad!

5K Medal

5K Medal



Later in the day we went back downtown for the race expo. I really liked the merchandise this year for the race, but I decided not to get anything simply because I have SO many racing clothes! Other than the merchandise, I really wasn’t that impressed with this expo. Last year’s expo seemed to be much more interactive with the sponsors, and that aspect just wasn’t there this year. The only thing I ended up getting was some Clifshots, but I could have just got those at the grocery store! Oh well, probably better for my wallet that there wasn’t that much that excited me at the expo.

Next week, I will be back with a full recap of my PR in the Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis Half!


Weekly Recap


Monday, October 13th: Rest day

Tuesday, October 14th: 1.5 miles running

Wednesday, October 15th: 6 miles running

Thursday, October 16th: 3 miles running

Friday, October 17th: Rest day

Saturday, October 18th: Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis 5K

Sunday, October 19th: Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis Half Marathon

Wow, it was quite a week for me! I had my regular marathon training during the week, and then had my two Rock ‘n’ Roll races during the weekend. I really pushed myself hard in both of the races, and the results from each of those races definitely made my hard effort worth it. I will have recaps of both of the races coming up later this week (and maybe next week) and I can’t wait to share my experiences with all of you! I have been looking forward to this weekend for so long, and I am kind of bummed that it has come to an end. Luckily, I have two more races for 2014, and of course am in the middle of training for the Walt Disney World Marathon, so I have plenty ahead to look forward to!

Last week, my 21 Day Fix program came in the mail. I started the program yesterday with just the eating plan since I was taking a rest day after the half, and so far so good. The eating plan is really easy to follow and I am excited to start with the first video today. The videos are meant to be done each day, so on Friday I will do two to make up for the one I didn’t do on Monday. I tested out a few of the exercises last week and I really liked them. The instructor, Autumn Calabrese, is really an awesome trainer and motivator, and let me just say my girl Jillian Michaels might have some competition! haha. I will post my full review after the 21 days!

Have a great week everyone! I hope you all have some beautiful fall weather to run in :)



Weekly Recap

Monday, October 13—45 minutes running (4 miles at 11:17 pace on treadmill)

Tuesday, October 14—45 minutes running (4.26 miles at 10:33 pace on treadmill)

Wednesday, October 15—Rest Day

Thursday, October 16— 45 minutes running (4.28 miles at 10:31 pace on treadmill)

Friday, October 17—Rest Day

Saturday, October 18—Rest Day

Sunday, October 19—Detroit Chevy Dealers Intl’ Half Marathon 2:23:46 (13.1 miles at 10:58 pace)

What a busy week!!  I left Chicago on Saturday at 1:50 pm for Detroit (I made my flight with no issues) and I was back in Chicago by 3:00 pm today.  How crazy!!  I’m really exhausted from the experience—Detroit is on Eastern Time, so I was felt like I was up at 3 am this morning and now it’s 8:30 pm Central Time as I am writing this.  I’ll have a quick expo recap and full race recap on Wednesday.  My goal for the race was 2:20… I didn’t hit my goal, but honestly, I’m not upset at all.  I had a great race in Omaha last month and I have a 17 mile run next week—so I wasn’t planning on going all out anyways.

This week is going to be intense—work, personally and running wise.  Triple whammy.  For work, I have two huge events—one on Friday evening and one on Saturday evening.  Friday night’s event has a good chance of being cancelled, but I won’t really know until Tuesday or Wednesday.  Personally, I have a good friend coming into town on Friday evening and staying until Sunday lunchtime.  One of my best friend’s Stacy and I went to Ireland in November 2013.  It has always been a dream of mine to go to Ireland and in December 2012, Stacy and I decided to make that dream a reality (what a great friend).  We went with a tour group and we made some great new friends.  One of those people was Erin who actually lives in Indiana!  So, Erin will be staying at Stacy’s this weekend and we’re going to be hanging out at some Chicago places and hopefully planning our next big trip J.  But I am also training for my marathon, so that doesn’t stop this weekend.  This past week called for a 7 mile walk on Saturday and a 17 mile run on Sunday.  With work and travel on Saturday, it just wasn’t feasible to do my 7 mile walk and since I didn’t have time for the 7 mile walk, I knew that it wouldn’t be smart to do 17.  So I flip flopped the weeks.  Besides the following week is a cutback week too… so it’s not like I’ll be doing a 17 miler and then a 19 miler the following weekend.  

I cannot wait to hear all about Lauren’s big weekend tomorrow… she had quite the racing weekend!



A Rockin’ Weekend Ahead!


I am SO pumped that the weekend is finally here! I have been looking forward to this weekend all year, because I will be running in two Rock ‘n’ Roll events – the 5K on Saturday and half marathon on Sunday. Since I will be running in two events, I will earn the Remix Challenge Medal, which is a new aspect of the race weekend.

On Friday after work, I will be heading over to the Expo to pick up my bibs and packet for the races. The Expo will be from 9-6 on Friday, and I get off at 5 so hopefully the traffic won’t be too bad on Friday so that I can easily get downtown to pick up my packet. The one thing I don’t like about the Rock ‘n’ Roll races is that you have to be there in person to pick up your packet and cannot have another person pick it up for you. If I wasn’t doing the 5K on Saturday, then I would have been fine going to the Expo on Saturday, but since I need my bibs for Saturday’s race, I have no other choice. I am considering going back to the Expo on Saturday during the day, since I probably won’t have much time on Friday to browse around.

I keep going back and fourth in my mind on my plan for Saturday’s 5K. At first I was thinking that I would just take it easy so that my legs wouldn’t be too tired going into the half on Sunday morning. But I am afraid that my competitive nature will take over and push me to go faster on Saturday! So, I feel like I want to be somewhere in between- not going totally at an easy pace, but definitely not looking to PR for Saturday.

On Sunday, my ultimate goal is to go under 2 hours for the half marathon. I have been working so hard after the disappointment of the Nike Half Marathon, where I ended just short of my goal. I have to be around at least a 9:09 per mile pace, and I definitely think that this will be attainable. I just have to push myself through those tough miles in the middle where I always feel like going slower.

The weather is looking beautiful this weekend in STL, with highs around 63 for both Saturday and Sunday. Right now, it looks like it is supposed to be sunny with NO chance of rain! Hopefully I will be back next week with good news about my race weekend!


GO! St. Louis Halloween 10K Recap


This past Sunday, I ran in the GO! St. Louis Halloween 10K. As I shared in my preview post of the race, I had the ultimate goal of going under 50 minutes for the 10K. And I am very happy to share that I was able to reach that goal, even though I thought it would be pretty much unattainable.

When I woke up the morning of the race, I was a bit worried. I stepped outside and it was cool (which was fine) but it was raining. I have never really raced in the rain before, and I was disappointed because the forecast I had looked at the night before said it would rain later in the day, not in the morning. But I should have known this could have been wrong, given the weather forecast is always pretty much unreliable!

I realized that I would just have to suck it up, pray for the rain to stop come race time, but deal with it if it didn’t. I got ready in my outfit I had put out the night before, and also put on my rain jacket in preparation for a wet race.

My Halloween themed outfit for the 10K

My Halloween themed outfit for the 10K

The race started at 7:30AM, so Justin and I left the apartment around 7AM. The race was not too far away, and there was no point in getting there super early if I was going to just be standing in the rain. Justin dropped me off about 10 minutes before the start of the race, and I made the decision to keep my rain jacket with him. I figured it would probably just end up making me too hot, and I was going to get wet anyways, so I might as well not be hot as well!

By some sort of miracle, the rain stopped just as we were about to start! I couldn’t believe it. I was now very relieved that I didn’t bring my rain jacket, because it definitely wasn’t necessary now. I felt like the rain stopping was some sort of sign that this was going to be a good race for me.

At about 5 minutes before the start, all the runners lined up behind the starting line. This race was also a half-marathon, so there were many different pace markers in the group. I stood behind the sign that said 8:01 per mile because that would be around the pace I needed to go below 50 minutes. I knew that the half-marathoners split from the 10k runners sometime during the race, but I figured it would be good to be around that pace group for the time we were all together.

During the first half of the race, I felt very comfortable and was going below the 8-minute mile pace. The only bad part was when I almost slipped on some rain, but luckily I caught myself and was fine! After a while though, the rolling hills of St. Louis were starting to get to me, and my thighs were really burning! I knew it was important to keep going if I wanted to reach my goal, so I just told myself that it wouldn’t be that long of a race and the temporary pain I was feeling would be worth it if I got under 50 minutes!  So I just pushed myself through the pain, and kept going when I wanted to slow down. I was going at a bit slower pace than I started off with, but I knew that I was still around my goal pace.

Before I knew it, I could see the finish line and could make out large time clock right in front of the line. I could see the numbers “49” in the time, so I knew I would be very close! When I crossed the finish line the clock was at 50:09, but I was pretty confident I was under 50 minutes because I started several seconds after the race clock officially started.

I crossed the finish line and was met by many volunteers giving out tons of different goodies like fruit cups, FULL SIZE (!) candy bars, bagels, water, Gatorade, and my favorite – bananas. I was really impressed with all the goodies we got. We also received a really cool medal which I had forgotten about.

Cute race medal!

Cute race medal!

As I was going through the goodie line, I got a tap on my back and for some reason I assumed it was Justin (even though he did not participate in the race so I’m unsure of how he could have been in the finishers area haha). I turned around and recognized that it was a man that had been running around me during the race. He told me great job and that this was his first race and he was behind me the whole time and I inspired him to keep going even though he wanted to stop. I seriously felt that crying after he said that, because I remember in my first race I had followed behind someone and told myself that since they weren’t stopping, I shouldn’t stop. It made me so happy that I helped someone keep going!

After that, I found Justin and we went home. On the way back, I checked the live results on my phone and found out I had reached my goal (just barely!) clocking in at 49:56 for the 10K! I ended up 6th out of 155 in my age group (Female 25-29), 34th of 1016 for females, and 115th of 1426 overall! I was so happy with my time and place in my age group, and really enjoyed the race as a whole. The packet pickup was quick and easy, the race shirt was very cute, the race course was fun as we got to see a lot of downtown sites, the after-race food and refreshments were great, volunteer support throughout the course and after was awesome, and the medals were very nice. I will definitely do this race again, and am contemplating doing the half marathon race next year!



Diving into Detroit!


While watching the Chicago Marathoners on Sunday, I kept thinking in the back of my mind… my weekend is next weekend!  And now, I am 1 run and 3 days away from the start of the Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon!  This was one of the races I signed up for on New Years Eve at 11 pm (I didn’t want to miss out on the great deal of $50 for the race) and I have only heard great things about the race.

Unfortunately, with my new job, I am unable to have the exact weekend I was planning on having when I signed up for the race.  My original plan was to go up on Friday with my aunt and grandma to go gambling and then drive home on Sunday.  When I got my new job and realized I had an event on Saturday, those plans were scrapped.  Plus my aunt and grandma went to Las Vegas a few weeks ago so they didn’t mind the lack of gambling.  I still desperately wanted to do the race.  With the time change that doesn’t go in my favor, finding a flight from Chicago to Detroit was the only option.

I’ll be getting into Detroit around 4:10 and the expo closes at 7 pm.  The airport is about 30 miles away from the city center, so hopefully I will arrive in time before the closing (cross your fingers my flight isn’t delayed and I don’t miss it either—hopefully traffic will be non-existent on the way to the airport).  I really want to get my shirt and be able to check out the awesome vendors.  As long as I make it to Detroit, then I’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief :)

Here are the five things I’m looking forward to this race:

1—Crossing another state off the list!!

-This will be half marathon number 9 for me!  It will be state #8 plus DC.  It will also be my final half marathon for 2014.  With Dopey training, crappy weather in Chicago, and a bit of a hectic work schedule, I do not have another half marathon for 2014.  I actually only have 1 more race for 2014—Hot Chocolate 15k in Chicago.

2—Running in Canada

-I’ve never been to Canada let alone run into Canada.  The awesome thing about this race is that you get to run into Canada on the bridge and then run under the tunnel back into the US.  You actually have to carry your passport on you too!!  They don’t ask to see it when you’re running but god forbid something happen to you in Canada, then you’ll be ok to come back to the US.

3—The Expo!

-I’ve only heard great things about the expo… so I’m really looking forward to it!!  Hopefully I can find some stuff I don’t really need and hear about some awesome races– Pittsburgh Half is on my radar for 2016 and I know they will be there!

4—Running a race in general

-I love running in races.  I’ll do all of my training runs, but I’m much happier actually racing than training.  If I had unlimited money and time, I would race every single weekend.  I do get to race a lot (low mortgage, commute cut more than in half with new job, and making a lot more money with my new job allows me to do so) but the weeks I’m not racing, my fellow coworkers assume that I am racing and then I get runner’s jealously watching everyone on Twitter/Facebook running.

5—The Bling

-This medal is great for a few reasons.  One, the ribbon features half of the US flag and half of the Canadian flag.  The medal remains the same each year but features a different Chevy (I drive a Chevy!) with the Detroit skyline in the background.

I’ll check back in next week with a full recap of this race!