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Chicago HM Race Report

Monday, September 08, 2014

The Chicago HM did not disappoint in any way. It was a fabulous race for me, since it is my largest one yet. I ran the 26.2 Challenge when I entered two of the three race series, the other race was in May. Both races were run along the beautiful famous lakeshore with the cityscape as a backdrop. This race was larger in participants (7,833) and they closed Lake Shore Dr (LSD). It started and ended in Jackson park, in south Chicago, so we did not come close to downtown, as in the Spring race we were a block off of the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Ave). The May race was on the beautiful bike path on LSD, and I feared runner congestion, but it was a scenic race, better than being on the Drive itself.

My DIL joined me, since she lives in Chicago. I gave her a VIP parking pass so we met at the YMCA across from the start line! Otherwise, no parking, only busing and the Bears were scheduled to play. I drove in from Indiana that morning, so this was a real perk.


DIL finished 35th of 733 in her AG with an impressive 1:43:34, 1 minute off her PR!! WTG! I finished 119/201 in AG with 2:35:53, a PR by 6 minutes!! I was happy, especially since the heat was a factor starting at mile 6.


The weather looked so perfect for a good 10 days before race day. A 7 am start, the only thing I worried about was wind off the lake (the windy city effect), and a hot sun beating down on the LSD pavement. The latter proved to be a problem, and the heat moved in sooner than expected. So by 9 am it had already hit 70 degrees, but I will take that condition over rain.

There was a positive buzz pre-race and post race.

The corrals were large enough to handle the crowd of runners. DIL was in corral D and I was assigned corral K, and I was at the start line only 8 minutes after the gun start. That was really fast. Thank you race organizers!!

My splits were real good until mile 6 when the heat was affecting my HR. Not a problem, I could still see the 2:30 pace group until about mile 9. I almost hit the wall at 11M, but I pushed through. My garmin reported a pace of 11:21 (I was targeting 11:22 to come in at 2:29), however the garmin registered an extra .6 miles do to not running the tangents well. I have to work on that. I could not have done any better. This is exactly what I trained for.

This is a cool picture of LSD. The northbound lanes were used for the first part of the race, and this is a shot of runners coming close to the finish line.


Great entertainment for the post party. They were serving Chicago style pizza from Malnado’s and Michelob beer. Pizza and beer never tasted so good, and it was Sunday well before lunch! The event was wrapping up as planned at 11am.


I still get excited for the finisher medal.

I am not sure why I am waiting to sign up for next year’s races. It is an absolute must to repeat. Great race organization. Runners were supportive. Crowds were controlled. Expo was fun (Navy Pier), and it was a big race (my biggest TD), with a small race feel upon completion.

My next HM is scheduled 7 weeks from now! Ciao!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOILHAM 9/12/2014 10:10AM

    Great job! Would love to have a guarantee of 70 degrees for my races, too hot down here.

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UWHK8STER 9/10/2014 12:38PM

    Great report - glad you had such a good time at what seems to be a well run race. Major kudos on your PR!

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ROXYZMOM 9/9/2014 7:06AM

    Way to go! You did fantastic! I have heard that is a great race. A lot of runners I know in Delaware run it every year.

Where is your next HM?

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PMRUNNER 9/9/2014 6:44AM

    Way to go! Great race and report!

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SASSYLJB 9/9/2014 6:39AM

    Awesome job! Congrats on your PR! Love the pics! I love race BLING! Congrats to your DIL sounds like an AWESOME day for all! emoticon

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ONMYMEDS 9/8/2014 10:23PM

    Great job. Great report. Cool bling. Well done.

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JEWELS571 9/8/2014 9:38PM

    So excited for you! Hope my comment was ok, about the pavement, I have never forgotten that blog, so it says something positive about you and that I admire you!! Love ya!

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    Woohoo! Way to go Mary! That is awesome! It sounds like a great race and pretty cool to have DIL there also! The bigger city races terrify me. I don't like driving into them and the crowds scare me. My biggest race to date has been about 1,100 runners. That suites me fine. Still, I would like to run in one of the bigger ones someday.
Congrats on a race well run! Woohoo!
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Comment edited on: 9/8/2014 8:09:23 PM

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SLENDERELLA61 9/8/2014 7:20PM

    Great race report!! Really enjoyed the pictures, too. Hey, we could run a HM together. My 4 HM I ran in 2:26, 2:30, 2:37, and one much slower due to issues. Glad you enjoyed your run so much. Keep on. Run happy!!

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    emoticon On Your Half Marathon!

You did great! Thanks for sharing.

Sharon emoticon

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 9/8/2014 5:28PM

    Well done in all respects! I certainly can empathize with the challenges of the heat in a race. You handled it superbly!
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Comment edited on: 9/8/2014 5:29:13 PM

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IFDEEVARUNS2 9/8/2014 5:09PM

    Sun must have been a problem but 70 degrees sounds lovely to me.
Job well done!!!!!!! emoticon

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Rave Run at Sabino Canyon

Monday, August 25, 2014

1:36:12 emoticon 7.5 Miles emoticon 635 Ft Elevation climb emoticon

I did this run 8 months ago for the first time. Last week, I did it for a second time.

I was fortunate that the weather was cool (70 degrees at 6 am) and overcast in beautiful Tucson, AZ. There were several water holes I had to run through, given the monsoon season!

And I ran up to THAT peak!

And this run was a warm up for my 6 mile hike the following day, where I climbed 1200 ft, there and back in 2:50:00. The road you see way down yonder is the road I ran.

I would say, I am just about ready for the Chicago HM on Sept 7th. YIKES, just 13 days away!

Keep on running, SparkFolks.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PASTAFARIAN 8/29/2014 11:57AM

    Great pics, thanks for sharing. And your run was a warmup for your hike?! Love your sense of humor.

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BOILHAM 8/26/2014 1:27PM

    What a cool looking and challenging run! Good for you. Just rolling hills in Florida, nothing quite like that! But, at least it was cool. Now rest up! emoticon

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    Looks like a beautiful run! We are both running a half the same day! Except I will be in Harrisburg, PA. Sounds like the training is done and done well!
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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 8/25/2014 5:49PM

    Beautiful! But time to taper.

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MJRVIC2000 8/25/2014 4:56PM

    Faith makes everything possible; Hope makes everything work; and Love makes everything beautiful! God Bless YOU! Vic.

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Best Turkey Burgers EVER (recipe)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I do not make elaborate meals anymore. I used to love to entertain, and when I did I choice healthy fare. This is a tried and true recipe that is in high demand whenever I do entertain. I am making them for the first time this season for Fathers Day. Easy Peasy recipesy!! These burgers do NOT shrink. And the veggies keep them really most. Worth a try.

( Prep: 12 minutes Grill: 15 minutes )

1 egg white
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs (use oats for a better choice, just grind them first)
1/4 cup finely shredded carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped green sweet pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound ground turkey, veal, or lean beef
Nonstick spray coating
1 medium tomato, sliced

1. In a large bowl combine egg white and bread crumbs. (If using veal or beef, stir in 2 tablespoons water.) Stir in carrot, onion, green sweet pepper, salt, and pepper. Add Parmesan cheese and ground meat; mix well. Shape meat mixture into four 3/4-inch- thick patties.

2. Spray a cold grill rack with nonstick spray coating. Then, place rack on grill.

3. Grill burgers on an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 7 minutes. Turn and grill 8 to 11 minutes more or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F with an instant read thermometer. Place 1 tomato slice atop each burger and grill 1 minute more. Makes 4 servings.

Broiling directions: Place burgers on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 3 to
4 inches from the heat for 7 minutes. Turn and broil 8 to 11 minutes more or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F with an instant read thermometer.

Place 1 tomato slice atop each burger and broil 1 minute more.

nutrition facts
Calories 290, Total Fat (g) 18, Cholesterol (mg) 79, Sodium (mg) 441, Carbohydrate (g) 8, Protein (g) 23, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Enjoy your Sunday!

A BHG recipe, not my own. www.bhg.com/recipes/printRecipe.jsp?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SASSYLJB 8/18/2014 9:58PM

    Love turkey and love burgers I will have to give this a try! Thanks for sharing!

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    I love my burgers! I will have to try this some time. I have never actually eaten a turkey burger, maybe now is a good time to try it.

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FITWITHIN 6/14/2014 6:11PM

    I love turkey burgers. Thanks for the recipe.

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Rotary Rad Run Race Report (and Family Fun) 5K and 10K

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I love the small and personal races since I come away with the feeling of accomplishment as well as memories of the moment shared with those I love.

My DH is a Rotarian, and this race is a big fundraiser for their causes. Last year, this race was my FIRST ever. I did the 5K, and wow, was I proud of myself. My son ran the same race (I trained, he did not), finishing before me, and my DH drove the pace car, with our then new classic car.

DIL won her AG in the 10K! I was impressed.

This year, I ran the 10K, along with DIL; DH ran the 5K, along with DD. This was DD's 4th 5K, but she ran this one without a running buddy! She got 2nd place! She ran a great race, and all the runners were telling me how well she did on the course. I was beaming, of course! DH fell in way behind DD. And DIL not only defended her AG title in the 10K, she won the women's overall category! Wow, she came in 25 minutes before me. As she was crossing the finish line, I remember all too well where I was in the course at 47 minutes:)



I have never finished so hard in any race.

Since it was a RAD run, DD dressed in the spirit of the 80's, and I called her Suzanne Somers!

She was the cutest one there, and came home with a $25 gift certificate!

Sidebar: Rotary has watched my DD grow up, as they supported her orphanage with $1000 USD worth of formula on our trip in 2008 (a months worth of formula for a small orphanage). So they have always taken an active interest in her life.

So the chief of police saw us all together, and he says, "families who run together, stay together." Great quote.

STATS: My time was 1:12:02 (PR is 1:07:34). I ran a good ChiRun, until I tired on the track to the finish line. I had a hard time keeping cool under the hot sun.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    That is awesome! Very cool to see the family of runners!
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HOLLYM48 6/14/2014 5:16PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 6/13/2014 8:09PM

    Great race report! What an incredible family. I know you are so, so proud. Keep Running Happy!! Thanks for the support on my blogs, too.

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MAGNOLIA416 6/12/2014 8:56AM

    What a beautiful story and a great day! I got a little emotional reading it

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ROXYZMOM 6/12/2014 7:53AM

    Great family event! Too cool!
I love the pictures! You ran a great time.

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RUN4FOOD 6/11/2014 7:37PM

    Great race. Thanks for sharing the family fun.
It has to add to your enjoyment to share your experiences with friends and family.

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BOILHAM 6/11/2014 6:59PM

    Great race and family fun! Congrats to all.

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MWWENSIN 6/11/2014 6:44PM

    It's great when family can participate. That's a great run!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 6/11/2014 4:32PM

    Ah, keeping cool under the hot sun -- how well I sympathize!

Sounds like a great day.
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IFDEEVARUNS2 6/11/2014 4:26PM

    What a great race for the whole family!
It's difficult to stay cool when the sun is beating down on you.
Love all the pictures.

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Chicago Spring Half Marathon 'beautiful day' Race Report

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I love pictures to tell the story. Feel free to view the pics and skip the long blog.

I had an easy time getting to East Lakeshore Park, which is a new lifestyle center close to the Yacht Club and Navy Pier by Lake Michigan. When you are in the park, you forget you are in a large city, even with all the runners that were milling about. The lakefront here is gorgeous. We could not have asked for better weather. It was 50 and part sun at the start of the race, and 60 and sunny when I crossed the finish line. I only fought the wind off the lake one time, around mile 10. Otherwise, the lake was unusually calm this day! Yes! I have biked this path before, and normally you fight your way out, or back.

I can feel the excitement of this crowd just looking at it. The Chicago Spring HM was very well organized. I was assigned to corral H, but hopped into corral I instead since I was not going to pressure myself to do 2:30. I learned a valuable lesson: Everyone is AHEAD of you, and no congestion of runners after the first qtr mile which was the case if you were in a middle corral. It was genius, and something I would do again in a large race (this one was 4500). It took 33 minutes for my corral to start. That gave me plenty of time to warm up, albeit the coziest warm up I have ever done.

Once I crossed the start line, I was really enjoying the view. The view of the Shedd Aquarium with the cherry blossoms was a first for me, as I had never seen this view (top right below) in all my years of visiting the museum campus. That stint really set my run for a fun and relaxing race.

Now this was a repeat course, down and back, and sometimes that is annoying. This race, I did not mind (no wind), and on the course back the Cityscape was gorgeous. I never tire of this view of the skyline and it just became more magnificent as I closed in on the finish line. The lower left pic below is a shot of Soldier Field (what I call the toilet bowl after renovations!).

The picture below is the break wall along the shore, and this spot has significance for me. I was 3 / 4 miles from the finish when I toed the cement and instantly fell to the ground. I had no time to catch my balance. I instinctively rolled over like a hound dog, and the momentum sprung me to my feet, and kept running. Few scrapes, no bumps, (later a sore ribcage), but I sure dodged a bullet thinking of any one bone I could have broke. It was poetry in motion, and I never wish that to happen again. I was trying to sprint in hopes of waking my body up for the last mile. Another lesson learned!

I so enjoyed myself after the finish in 2:41:53. PR by 8 minutes. I was 63 out of 79 in my AG, so I have a lot of work to do. I was real happy I was able to stay ahead of the 2:45 pace group, and I had energy at the end passing many of my co-runners who did not have anything left to give. I was smiling, even after my tumble. GREAT medal! Breakfast was served by Goose Island, our local brewery, and they even had a vegetarian line (it was the “express” line). Best pancakes ever, with scrambled eggs and veggies, potatoes and more veggies. Watermelon to top it off. Yummo! This race was eco-friendly with recycling bins, shoe donations, and a flower station.

Great pictures that were posted on facebook of the event:

**Training prep: I chose the ChiRunning Half Marathon Intermediate plan. I focused on technique and distance for 8 weeks, and very little speed or hill work. The longest run was 13 miles, and it allowed for a simulated run at pace race for 60 mins 2 weeks before the race. I tapered for 5 days. I Consumed carbs for two days prior to race.

**Race Day prep: I was up at 4:30, no easy task. Chose a NoDoz instead of coffee. My drink for breakfast was beet juice. I consumed a bagel with peanut butter, all down by 5:45. I arrived at the park by 6. I used will call (extra $$) for packet pick up, checked my “clear” bag, then headed to porta-pots. 20 minutes later I am on my way to the waterfront starting line. Corrals closed at 6:45. I ate a half banana 40 minutes before I started the race, and drank most of my vitawater zero (with chia seeds added), donated my sweatshirt just before the corral started the race.

Porta-potties a plenty at every waterstation, always a long line. I was glad I did not have coffee or need to use the johns. Water stations were in 5 spots, so I used them 10 times. That was really nice to have. I did have a small water bottle tucked in my waist band just in case I became overheated. They offered Gatorade and water at every station. I took mostly water, as I used 4 Huma Chi Gels for fuel. I tried Gatorade once, and it was too sweet for me. They did offer GU at one station which I grabbed for another day. emoticon

I am doing the official Chicago Half Marathon in September. Below the difference will look like this! For this one I will be training hard!

Note: This was my first Chi Half Marathon. I have logged my successful ChiRunning Race here:

Thanks for allowing me to share this wonderful experience with you. Ciao!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IFDEEVARUNS2 6/11/2014 5:03PM

    Chicago in September can be brutal. Kinda like Texas.

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BOILHAM 6/10/2014 1:08PM

    Sorry I missed this blog before. You had a great race and didn't get injured during the fall. Great job, and congrats on a PB finish.

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DOGLADY13 6/1/2014 8:35AM

    Great race report! You worked hard and an 8 minute improvement is terrific. Way to go!

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JEWELS571 5/30/2014 1:13PM

    Way to get it done!! Were you using a run/walk method or all running for this one? Congrats on the PR, you will only get faster!!

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MAGNOLIA416 5/28/2014 10:35AM

    Way to go! That looks like a really lively HM!

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    Way to go Mary! I love the blog. It sounds and looks like a great race. Sorry about the roll, though it looks like you rolled in the right direction! Also sounds like you did an amazing job of getting yourself back up! Good luck with your training for Sept.
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JOHNSONZ 5/26/2014 4:03PM

Loved this blog!
Beautiful day for your marathon also...sure helps.
I have yet to RUN a race, walk & jog only.
But interesting to read the prep & feelings you shared.
Off to the Chi Team.
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BERGBA7 5/25/2014 5:12PM

    emoticon great you enjoyed the race and did not hurt yourself while tripping! Good luck and lots of fun for your next one!
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MWWENSIN 5/25/2014 3:54PM

    MSounds like you had a great time. Maybe you'll have to post a video of your hound dog roll. It's great to fall and not get hurt. Congrats on the PR.

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MAMMER3 5/25/2014 3:47PM

    Amazing!! Looks great congrats!!! emoticon

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HOLLYM48 5/25/2014 8:37AM

    Congrats to you! I see this was a beautiful day and a beautiful place for a very long run! Way to rock it. Sorry about the fall but I see nothing stops you. This is just pure awesome. Great timing. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ROXYZMOM 5/25/2014 8:20AM

    Congratulations! You did great! It sounded wonderful! Thanks for sharing your race experience!

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PMRUNNER 5/25/2014 8:15AM

    Yay! Sound like a fun race! Great job!

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MARGARITTM 5/25/2014 6:54AM

    Nice job on the race thanks for sharing - Chicago is on my list of places to run! This one looks beautiful!

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SMITTY4RL 5/25/2014 6:39AM

    Your recap sounds like you had a super experience overall! Did it feel better than your last? From your report you sounded a lot more confident relaxed. So very awesome ;-)! emoticon Keep up the great work!

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POSITIVE41 5/25/2014 6:18AM

    Great pictures and a sounds like a great time. So glad you didn't hurt yourself! I am happy you enjoyed the race and the accomplishment and did not pressure yourself over your time!

You are emoticon

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ONMYMEDS 5/25/2014 5:43AM

    Great job. Great day. Great city. Great pics. And nice stumble recovery.

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HMBROWN1 5/24/2014 10:52PM

    Great pics! Looks like an awesome day!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 5/24/2014 10:22PM


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MJREIMERS 5/24/2014 10:14PM

    emoticon emoticon ! It sounds like a really nice time and a "good run." Good is my meaning that you enjoyed it! I've found that is more important than the clock!

I can't wait to hear about the official race! Keep at it!

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