Thursday, November 29, 2012

LA Marathon & Nike Womens Half --HELP!

With all the turkey-trotting and finals coming up, I've hardly had time to type up anything besides recaps.

The crazy bug bit me before Thanksgiving break, and I signed up for the LA Marathon and the Nike Women's Half in DC. (Just looking at the word "marathon" is freaking me out.) So I need some advice for this first-time marathoner.

I've never followed any training plans, so it's going to be tough sticking to one (for 16 weeks?!). Especially during the long, cold, dark winter days. The marathon is in early March, in California weather I'm not sure what to expect. There's a couple things that stress me out besides following a training plan.

1) what marathon training plan to follow?
2) training in cold winter, to then run in California.. ehm? Will this be a bad thing?
4) there's hardly any races during the winter, is it a good or bad thing?
5) motivation to go out and run in 20 degree weather
3) the upcoming winter here in Chicago is unpredictable.. running 13mi+  in the snow?

I'm also running this marathon for charity (Susan G. Komen) and my minimum goal is to hit $500. I have more than enough time to raise this money, but how do I get started? Any good tips on what to do and how to go about fundraising? If anyone is kind enough.. and donate here! :) that would be sooo nice of you

Now.. onto the Nike Women's Half.

I'm not too stressed about it (the distance anyway) but it's about 4 weeks after the marathon.. will I have recovered by then? When I first heard about this inaugural race in DC, I thought "this will be my goal race" I've made it a goal to run a half in 1:45 ever since I finished the Chicago Half at 1:49. But will my legs be fully recovered by then? I'm not so sure

... so Plan B is to just finish it and have fun. I always wanted to run a Nike Women's race (looks awesome! and Tiffany necklace at the finish line ;).. even if it's really expensive. The perks of being a college student -- not only did I get the registration at a discounted price, but I also got a guaranteed spot (no raffle or waiting to see if I got in).

Is anyone else running the DC race?
Me and another fellow run club runner are planning to drive there so we're looking for anyone who is wanting to split gas costs! Please let me know :)
and if you're debating whether to run it or not.. registration is still open! If you're a college student $125 & guaranteed entry :)

Sincerely, distressed and in need of advice runner...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Race Recap: Long Grove Turkey Trot 5k

Why am I not out shopping for Black Friday deals?!?! well..
1. I don't want to get trampled on (I'm short, I get hit in the face.. on the bus, going up the stairs.. Going into a store with a million other people sounds dangerous)
2. I don't really need anything... besides normal people clothes. I don't remember the last time I bought a pair of jeans or a blouse.
3. I don't want to go out in the cold to shop, I would rather go out for a run :)

I will wait patiently for Cyber Monday (BTW anyone know of any good deals yet?)
Now that Thanksgiving is over, it officially feels like Christmas season!

Thanksgiving consisted of running my second 5k, eating turkey, watching movies, eating turkey, and watching more movies, and eating cookies.

5k Recap
The 5k was in a cute little town of Long Grove. I was really looking forward to this 5k since I'm a big fan of All Community Events races and their goodies and (placing) medals. Getting there wasn't hard considering they had country roads (i think). Those roads that have a little sign with the street name and looks like your about to go into the woods.. We also used a GPS app, just in case.
Parking was free, always a good thing, and we could see the start line from where we parked. Packet pick-up was a breeze, except the volunteers looked confused at one point. I was a little dissapointed that they ran out of Smalls, and instead got a Medium, but I'll survive. The sweater was still warm and cute for wearing after the race. Gear-check was also a breeze, and it's always a good thing they bring extra bags, just in case your warm up clothes don't end up fitting in your drawstring bag :) There was a lonnng line for the port-a-potties though, which is never a surprise.

After dropping our bags off, we went and lined up about 10 minutes before the race started. We tried staying behind what looked like a high school track team. lol We knew they were going to sprint off, which was a red flag if I wanted to start off calmly.
The course started off in their small paved streets but led us past some woods, and small section of trail. The course was looped, flat and mostly paved. As we passed the first Mile, I did a really good job pacing myself, a little under my goal pace and even clocked my second mile 2 seconds slower. I was feeling good until we passed mile 2. I was starting to feel tired, and knew that my legs were going to be letting me down today. I stuck with a few guys till about mile 2.8 and sped up. At mile 3, I saw the finish line and also one of the guys coming up behind me. I was a little too late to kick my legs a little faster but still finished under my 5k PR. I was a little dissapointed with my finish and the last half mile, but there's always next time.
I ended up placing 2nd in my age group and shedding a few seconds of my 5k time. After getting our goodies we walked around the little town. My favorite part was the hot cider :) It was addicting and I kept going back for more. There was also beer for those over 21, free massages, live band (although I did not see one single turkey. Like a blown up turkey :(

I'm definitely signing up for this race next year, I really liked the course and the food. and the hot cider.



After our long drive from Chicago, we just wanted to start racing!! The weather was perfect for running. We were both really excited for the 5k and because it was Thanksgiving.  (who doesn't love eating a lot of turkey  and other goodies )

As soon as we got to the race we saw that most of the tents were crowded with runners surrounding them.  We found the packet pick up tent and picked up our bib numbers.  We also got a brown sweater, but it wasn't the size we requested because they ran out.  After picking up our bib numbers we went to gear check which was a truck.  Gear check was smooth without any problems.  I just didn't think that they'll be using a truck for gear check haha. After gear check we went to the starting line.  The starting line wasn't really that organized and it was really narrow.


And were off!!! All the fast runners sprinted off and I tried to maintain my own pace this time.  I did my best to focus on my form and pace.  I ran the first mile at 6:15 and thought to myself okay not bad next one better be around the same time or couple seconds off.  As mile 2 was creeping up, i  soon started catching up to some of the runners who sprinted off in the start .  I was able to do mile 2 at 6:19  and was feeling okay , but things got a bit hard around the 15 minute mark.
I thought to myself this is were the race really starts.  I fought hard to maintain my pace and form. I just wanted the race to end already!  When i looked at my watch for mile 3, My pace dropped, but i got a boost when i saw the finish line insight.  I sprinted to the end with a total time of 19:51 and came in 3rd place 19-24 age group.   Most of the race was ran on the local streets, many which weren't even closed.  The local police just stopped traffic when runners were coming through.  Overall the course was very fast and flat.

Post Race:

Post race after party was good.  They had many goodies and many tents offering free stuff.
Even free massages.

-Fast/Flat course
-Goodies!! (hot cider, chewy bars, candy , etc.)
-Beer?  Not 21 so i wouldn't know
- Free sweater
- 1500+ runners

- Didn't  have our sizes for the sweater

Overall , we both liked the race and would definitely consider to do it again next year.  It was fun and they had many goodies at the end and we both PRed for our 5k distance , which is always a plus.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Race Recap: Lincolnwood Turkey Trot 10k

I think 10k's are my new favorite distance after HM's :)
They're fast, but not too fast, and the distance is just in the middle.
I got the 10k itch after completing last weeks Chicago Perfect 10. The morning of the race, there we went, and I registered a few minutes before the race started.

10k Goal: have fun. It was my first turkey trot ever and first consecutive same-distance race within 7 day span. Although, I wasn't going to take anything above 50 minutes. That would be slacking on my part.

Race Day Registration: Smooooooth. 1 person in front of me, and got my t-shirt, bib, 'goodie' bag filled with bunch of fliers and my pins. Done.

2 seconds to pin my bib on. Then lined up at the gear check.

Gear Check: Not too long of a line. Second time using gear check. Usually at bigger races I avoid those lonnnng lines, but this was a smaller race so why not? Kudos to volunteers for keeping the line going :)

Course: comment. It was my fault for not looking up the course map beforehand, but hey it was a spur of the moment kind-of-thing when we decided to run this race. But here is a snapshot. and it's not pretty.
I'm used to running races on the lakefront.. and with straighter courses. Can you imagine what it was like running a race, not knowing there was so many turns, it kind of felt like a corn maze. When you thought it was finally going to stop, BAM! there came another turn. and another. And when you thought the finish line was after the next turn. It wasn't. Damn it. But it was a good experience. Change is good, and atleast it kept my mind busy from my aching shins (oh yeah, wore my new Brooks, which I shouldn't have, I'm such a noob).

I may come off as mean, but why were there kids on the course?! Especially right by the finish line. A few yards from when I was about to finish, a little girl just jumped in front of me (and probably slowed me down by a few seconds), it would've been terrible if I hadn't seen her..
Which reminds me... having a 5k, a walk, and a 10k all on the same course= not such a good idea. During the last mile, I had to weave in and out of 5k people and walkers. I'm glad I wasn't going for a PR.

6th in 20-29 AG
3rd if they had 20-24 :( darn...
The mile marks and clocks were right on though! Which is always a good thing. Too bad my splits sucked.--->

(look at that first split.. what was I thinking, I was kenyan or something? no way I was going to keep that pace up, what a noob..)

I was really tired after mile 3 and regretted not signing up for the 5k instead haha. but as soon as we hit mile 5, I felt I had warmed up enough (or slowed down enough actually) to keep going. Maybe I could come close to last weeks time? & I did woohoo! I was off by 2 seconds (I blame the little girl at the end, and my shin splints... and the crazy course ;) haha.

... this only encourages me to run another 10k. Damnit...

Top left: stacks of boxes of pizza, no line!
Top Right: live band
Bottom left: cozy warm sponsorship tent with food/goodies inside
Bottom right: Free Hot Chocolate & Coffee Trucks :)
 After Party: After today's race, I could say Chicago Perfect 10 sucked. This race had alot more goodies at the end.

-boxes and boxes of pizza
-Hot Chocolate & coffee
-expo under a tent, kept us warm
-live band
-Chewy bars (but they ran out after a while :(

The only thing they could've had was a finishers medal, but hey it was just a turkey trot.

 For Mid-november, the weather has been amazing!



This was actually our first race outside of Chicago.  Finding parking was a bit difficult, we had to drive around for a while until we found parking lot by a grocery store.  After finding parking, we had to run to registration and pick up our bib numbers and check in our gear.  The whole process went smooth without any waiting .

And were off! Both the 5k and 10k runners started off together.  I tried to maintain a relaxed pace throughout the start of the race, not trying to use a lot of my energy.  The first mile was done at 6:07 according to my Garmin. I did my best to maintain this pace , but it became more difficult as the race went on.   The course was flat and consisted of many turns!! (at least for the 10k route) The turns were not only confusing , but they only made me want to finish the race already! The route back to the finish line was packed with a lot of runners/ walkers because the 5k/10k route came together as one.  The last mile was the most tiring for me throughout the whole race.  I just wanted to finish already, but i also wanted to beat last weeks time.  I pushed through and finished 42:00 flat.  I beat last weeks time by a few seconds, but off from my 10k PR (40minutes)  Not bad for not being in top notch running shape like in the summer.  Time to work hard >:)


-free pizza!
-free plastic water bottles
-bag with a race shirt
-1000+ runners
-timed mile markers

-They ran out of snacks. (chewy bars-granola bars, hot chocolate)
-10k had too many turns! It felt like if i was going in circles
-Age groups are not in 4 year increments.


NEXT UP! Long Grove Turkey Trot 5k!

Any suggestions/advice on how NOT to sprint off at the beginning... it's getting to be a bit of a problem.

Anyone know of any upcoming 10ks? tehe.

Happy Turkey Trotting :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Race Recap: Chicago Perfect 10

My morning: started out at 5am... with a cramp on my left calf that had woken me up. It seriously felt like 5 whole minutes had gone by and I was still clutching to my leg in bed :( Worst. pain. ever. My race mornings never fail to surprise me.


My goal for the race was to keep my time under 50 minutes and if my legs felt like going fast today, maybe even PR. (Chicago 10k finished at 49:44)

The 10k was paid for by UIC, and funded 15 of our runners in the running club. Pretty neat, so even if I didn't like the race, I wasn't going to really mind. Free race = happy Luz, regardless.

The race was pushed back by half hour.. which was good and bad. But more of a good thing, I think. We had just parked a few blocks away from Navy Pier when we heard from fellow bloggers that the race had been moved back. We were barely going to make it on time, so it gave us a few minutes to check-in our gear.

The course:
-was a bit, odd. First thing I noticed was before hitting the lake front trail, we had to run on the road, next to incoming cars. The only thing separating us from them, was a few cones spread out. Uh?
-The hills. Oh my jebus.. Was not mentally prepared for those. Or physically actually. I guess I've been running on super flat courses for the past few weeks.
-no Gatorade for the 10mile runners?

Post race:
-Bananas, bagels and Powerade. I'm not a big fan of Powerade, but after I was done, I took a bottle (not knowing what it was) and it tasted okay.
-Not enough goodies in my opinion.
-We went back to indoor warm place and pick up our gear, which was convenient.
-Gear check-in went smooth, and pick-up as well, with no lines.
-Got to meet up with two Chicago Running bloggers (Christina & Maggie) while hanging out near the gear check :)
Javier, me and Christina

Maggie, me and Javi
-had fun, but would hesitate to register with my own money next year.
-Shirt, a tad bit small.
-Nice bling
-Ended up finishing at 48:43 (7:51 pace), which means a new PR :) and even got 3rd in my AG

Chicago Perfect 10 Recap -  by JV


After doing the Chicago 10k back in August and liking the distance,  Luz and I definitely wanted to do another 10k race. We were very excited for the 10k and were hoping in hitting a new PR.  We got to Navy Pier around 7:15 only to find out that the race had been pushed back to start around 8 am.  We didn't mind because it allowed us time to park the car and go to gear check.  Once we got to Navy Pier, the whole event seemed a bit disorganized .  There were people everywhere and very little room for all the runners.  We decided to kill some time inside because it was a bit chilly outside until we heard that the race was about to begin.  We ran to the start line and placed ourselves in our corrals.  As soon as we got to our corrals, the race started.


As soon as I crossed the starting line, my Garmin wasn't working properly. I had to mess around with it until i finally got it working again.  After that i tried my best to get into race mode.  I found it a bit difficult getting into "race mode" because the start was crowded and the route was a bit narrow.  I accidentally stepped on a runner in the process.  I tried to put all that aside and focus on my running form and pace.  As we left Navy Pier and hit the lakefront trail , everything seemed okay until it started to get more and more crowded.  10 Miler runners and 10k runners were running with one another.  Adding to that were the bikers along the route.  There was also confusion with the clocks along the route.  The times that were being displayed along the mile markers were different for the 10 milers and the 10k , but there was no clear indication on which one was the correct time for the 10k people and the 10 miler people. At the turn around, i just wanted the race to be over already.  I was happy that i was halfway done, but i knew that i wasn't going to PR or anything.   I tried my best to focus , but i just couldn't get into my zone.  I pushed through those last miles until i finished!!

The race overall for me was okay.  I liked that there was:
-finishers medal
-enough people so it can be competitive
-parking close to navy pier
-cool looking shirt, but i heard that it runs small along the arms

-Route was packed with people at the start and along the race
-Clocks caused confusion among runners
-not enough goodies at the end
-Aid stations were dead only few volunteers giving out water without any cheering

Other than that I'm looking forward  to our next race which will happen on Thanksgiving Day (the Long Grove Turkey Trot).

We're both hoping to PR for the 5k distance!!

McSpeedy & I :) ♡

UIC Running Club

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hot Chocolate 15/5k (Volunteering)

This was suppose to be my race-aversary (sp?). The very first race I ever signed up for was the Hot Chocolate 15k in 2011... and it took alot of me to not sign up this year. After alot of debating, I decided to skip out on it. And after all the complaints this year, I think I'll skip out next year too. Instead I registered for a 5k ($30) and a Half Marathon (Chicago Half sale price $35) for the price of one 15k race. (deal or what?) I still wanted to be there race day since a bunch of friends were running it and I wanted to cheer them on and volunteer.

(Thanks jebus for daylight savings time change)
I got up at 4:30am and got ready, left my house by 5am. There was no traffic at the time, but there was a random driver on I-55 driving in the wrong direction, going towards us. (WTF) yeah...
Drive: 15 mins, no traffic

Parking: We were stationed at mile 7 to volunteer, and got easy metered parking a few feet from the 7 mile mark. (25cents an hour) Of course we had to wait till the course reopened in order to get out of there.. but no complaints about that.

As soon as we met up with our leader, we began carrying boxes of water & cups and started filling. It was cold. I was freezing and sleepy. But I packed some left over halloween candy to fuel me through the cold morning :D (har-har). They also gave us warm sweaters, which we had to wait for because they had ran out at our station... (no surprise there) but we still got them after a while of waiting. It was about 6:45am when they finally decided to give us hand warmers, the things you shake and they warm up. Lifesavers.

They took them 10 mins after 7am to finally start up the timer by our station and I noticed the race had started late.. uh oh.  (Not a good sign)

We saw the first runners across lake shore, the still needed to pass the turnaround. Once they did, first male crossed the 7 mile mark around 35 mins. (5 min pace, Super fasttttt)
1st male
2nd Male, he looked like he was in pain..
3rd Male, nice shoes dude

2nd Female

1st Female, 6 min pace! Jeez.

I had not looked at the course map for this years race, and honestly thought it was the exact same course as last years. Was I wrong. For one, running down lake shore is kinda boring, compared to how they did it last year, but that's just me. They had changed a pretty decent course and ruined it. Nice one.

Anyways, I got to see some of UIC Run Club's runners and Chicago blogger too! I had missed the blogger meetup... Maybe next weekend @ the Navy Pier Perfect 10 :)

I can't believe I was screaming for almost 3 hours at that water station. My throat hurt like hell by the end, but I loved it. I just wish I had brought a poster and a cowbell haha people at my aid station weren't so enthusiastic... So I kinda had to scream my lungs out. Idk if it helps runners push through (since I always listen to music during races, I don't really pay attention to what goes on around me).
Does it help?

Well that was that. I had a great time volunteering and cheering on runners! I have no regrets on missing out on this race.  I knew for a fact I would have PRed my 15k distance. (avg pace in 2011 was @ 9:30.. and it was my first race, I could do it in my sleep now, basically lol) So I didn't really need to race this, it was kind of a given I would be happy with whatever my time was. I'm really excited for the next two weeks on my running calendar.
Chicago Perfect 10 next Saturday (Nov 10) and the Long Grove Turkey Trot 5k (Weds. Nov. 22nd). Woohoo!!

Sayo-nara Hot Chocolate.. maybe if you add more things to give me, and better goodies I might consider registering for your race next year.. Maybe.
And change the course. And maybe even a medal would be nice.
Lowering the price would be nice too..

McSpeedy and I