Tag Archives: Runner

Las Vegas Half Marathon

Las Vegas Half Marathon


Words cannot express what a perfect weekend! I’m running the American Dream one state at a time. The Rock’n’Roll Las Vegas half marathon is one of the top 15 marathons of all time to run and this was my opportunity thanks to 2 wonderful friends who support my goal of running.

While I’m blessed with amazing friends, you never know how people will react with one another. My best friend  Stacey would be meeting lifelong friend Maggie for a weekend together while neither tolerate your day to day girl drama. I knew they would both make the best of it because of who they are, but it couldn’t have been a better connection if they had been lifelong friends.

Friday, November 13
Mom’s birthday

Mom supported my goal too by giving up her time with me to run my dream! I love mornings when I can run and take Austin to school and this happened to be one of those blessed mornings despite the fact I was pressing my luck with time to get to airport. The great start on the day progressed as I rushed to airport… May have been running a little late. 😳
I parked the car, checked bag and security as I approached my gate.

Lay over in Salt Lake City and arrived in Las Vegas where Maggie was waiting at baggage claim… It was a nostalgic moment since it was a month ago at the same place where lifelong friends reconnected after 14 years.

Background… Maggie and I lived across the street from each other in elementary school and grew up together. Life has taken us on different paths and we are blessed to have reconnected. She is a beautiful, successful mother of 3 living in Vegas working as a CEO of a construction company.

We departed the airport and went to the convention center to pick up my race packet.
As we were driving to the convention center, a life long friend called to tell us she was getting married at mile three of the marathon and at the same time she is telling us this, we see a cab driver jumped out of his car and knock a man off his moped by hitting him… Talk about road rage… Could that moped have really been that much of a distraction to the taxi cab?? Smh

Sunday, November 15
Las Vegas Half Marathon Race day!

We have a lazy morning!

Maggie and I venture out for coffee and breakfast from McDonald’s.

Our McDonald’s picnic in the comfort of our souped up Holiday Inn style room strategically placed in an “old Vegas” hotel fueled more life story, friendship building conversations multiplying the love of friends while strengthening the true meaning of life.
We primp and prepare for Kid Rock concert and race. We proceed with cab ride to race start and puzzle walking maze along the strip searching out the start line.

 Kid Rock delivered an incredible show and I cannot wait to see him again. The concert died down as the winds picked up. It was time for me to enter my corral. Maggie and Stacey departed me.

I was corral 23 meaning 22 other groups of people would start this race before me. I believe there were at least 50 corrals.  Large races start in waves providing adequate time and space for the tuners along the course. Your corral is determined by your finishing time putting similar paced runners together. This may have been the largest populated race I’ve run.  I questioned my sanity and love for running as I froze 30 minutes in the corral for my start. It was a battle with myself to quit before I started… A common battle we have in life when we want to take the easy route. My mind played havoc when I knew I could be with my friends having fun verses pushing myself 13.1 miles in high winds and rain.

Finally, I was at the start line and 10, 9, 8… 3, 2, 1 … It is too late to turn back now… I’m owning half marathon #51 state # 15 Rock’n’Roll Las Vegas half marathon.
Despite the abuse my body had endured the last two days and the stomach virus earlier in the week, I felt great. I’m pushing through and running strong. The wind gushed through at rates of 25 to 40 mph with precipitation popping through the miles. The marquees lit up the course with true Vegas charm as the runners progressed down the strip.
At mile 3, the race coordinated a wedding where 195 couples married; one being a life long friend. Amy & Joseph were married in Vegas at a marathon… Unique style!
The course was lined with cheering spectators, music, casinos, and wedding chapels. The uniqueness of the course allowed the miles to roll by in true harmony. Mile 8 led to Fremont Street where I had zip lined the night before. The experience was surreal as I love the Fremont street atmosphere. As I pushed myself for a PR that wasn’t earned, I now wished I would have enjoyed the scenery a little more. I felt strong during the race and thought I was keeping a PR pace. At mile 11, the winds had picked up. Even though I felt I was running faster than usually, it probably took that extra push to fight the wind. I crossed the finish line pissed at myself for not Having a new personal record. The maze through the closed, crowded streets eventually led me back to Maggie and Stacey. Once we were reunited, I let go of my disappointment for a post race picture and meal. They treated me to an incredible steak and lobster dinner with wonderful conversation. It is heartening to know I inspired them to set goals as I pushed through and ran half marathon #51. They assured me it wouldn’t be to run a marathon.

Never give up…you never know who is watching you.

Cab ride back to hotel was interesting since the roads were blocked off still in some areas. While this was the last cab ride of the weekend, a lifelong bond was made between three amazingly, strong women in three short days. Promises of future events were made. We laughed and chatted as we all fell asleep in our super up holiday inn hotel room known as the stratosphere located in old Las Vegas. Maggie and I woke up to a personalized hand written message on the bathroom mirror from Stacey who was already at the airport departing for Dallas. It is the small things that make the most impact in life as I write this blog post with tears streaming down my face as my plane descends on the runway of Dallas Love Field airport.

Run your life or life will run you! Set goals and make them happen! God will provide the way and the people who are to be a part of your course! 💕💗💖

Center of the Nation Series, Bowman, ND

 

North Dakota Half Marathon Completed.

North Dakota Half Marathon Completed.

 

Population ZERO

Population ZERO

Center of the Nation Series, Bowman, ND

Bowman, North Dakota was the location for Day 2 of Center of the Nation Series.  The community was the least welcoming of all the towns we visited.  The restaurant for the group dinner wasn’t prepared for us so we decided to leave.  Those who stayed told us that they had ran out of food and had a bad attitude all together.  The town was small and our choices were narrow, we tried out a local pizza place.  Despite the poor service, the food was pretty good.  A few other runners joined us for dinner.

Daisy and Jeanine were staying with us in the host hotel called WindNorth which looked like a horror movie.   Misty had us watch the trailer from Vacancy and had us all a little scared when bed time came. The hotel actually had a real key; not a key card. The water in the bath tub had a yellow hue for our ice baths. We all chatted about the days, events, and life while preparing for the next day’s race. Daisy & Jeanine were only running two of the five days and would return home after race 2.

We woke up early, dressed, and drove 20 miles to the race location for day two.   The course was adjacent to a beautiful lake with a couple of huge hills.  We had blood hungry mosquitoes join us for today’s race but (thankfully) the first aid table had repellant. After the first loop, we each decided to stop for a hearty layer of OFF to keep the mosquitoes away.  The Bowman race seemed to fly by as I was constantly watching my Garmin to keep a 3 minute run 1 minute walk interval for us. The best part was visiting with other runners on the course and cheering each other along the way.

The volunteers were wonderful about providing a variety of food and drinks for us.  I actually tried coke while on the race today and liked it; Misty, however, not so much. I also had some M&Ms on the last loop and Misty tried olives with corn chips. I did see some marathon runners eating chili and running along. Thank goodness for the bathrooms along the course! After the race, we decided that the food made our stomachs heavy and we would stick with our GU.  There was chocolate milk at the end of each race and I loved it. Chocolate milk is my favorite recovery drink.

After completing the race, we headed to the hotel for an ice bath and so we could pack and prepare for our departure towards South Dakota. We stopped in Crow Butte (population of ZERO) for burger and fries.  Misty had a Huckleberry shake.  Huckleberry is not prominent in the south.  Crow Butte consisted of a small store/ restaurant and a gas pump. It was on sale for $250,000 and the only business establishment for miles (if you are looking for a new adventure).  While in Crow Butte, Jan and Bruce stopped to eat also.  Bruce was running full marathons in the Center of the Nation series.  They were from Connecticut and he stole my heart from the moment he shook my hand.  He was in his late 60’s and ran a fast, steady pace each day. I loved cheering him on.

We arrived in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, checked into Super 8, and rested before attending the group dinner at the Branding Iron.  Belle Fourche was welcoming to all of the runners and my favorite town of the five we visited.

 

North Dakota

State Line Selfie

 

 

 

5 half marathons in 5 days in 5 states

Do you think it is crazy to run 5 half marathons in 5 days in 5 states?

 

 

I thought so too, but I like to be challenged.  I knew I could do anything I set my mind to do, but never did I know that this challenge would change my life.

 

In January 2014, I decided to run 40 half marathons before December 2014.  I was not sure how to make it happen, but I was going to give it my all. As of September, I have completed 29 and learned a lot about life and health through this journey.

5 half marathons in 5 days in 5 states is part of www.mainlymarathons.com.  We completed the Center of the Nation Series and included Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Nebraska.

I taught summer school to fund the 5/5/5 adventure. I registered in July for the races, purchased airfare, and booked the hotels.  Misty agreed to this craziness with me.

 

On Tuesday, September 16, Stacey drove us to the airport at 4:30am with a bag full of snacks.  Only a true friend will drive you to the airport at God early!  The airport was uneventful and the layover in Denver included a gooey cinnamon roll to share.

6:07am departure

6:07am departure

 

We met Kevin on the plane from Denver to Rapid City.  He lives in the town south of us and has run 288 marathons.  He was running full marathons in the 5/5/5 series and explained to us that there would be running legends at this series.

 

We arrived in South Dakota, picked up our rental car and headed to Mount Rushmore. It was amazing to see in real life. Driving through SD, ND, and MT was boring.  There were no restaurants or anything much to see in the 4 hour drive. We arrived at packet pickup for our tee shirt, race bib, and medal.  We arrived at the Red River Inn, but were not able to check in until the other ladies we were sharing a room with arrived.  We ate at the attached diner and checked email while we waited. Finally, we were able to get into room and prepare for day 1.  Daisy and Jeanine roomed with us the first two days and they were running the full.

 

Race 1 of 5 was in Baker, MT.

 

We woke up, dressed, and headed to the race. We represented Texas with our outfits and became known as the “Texas team.” We were nervous and not sure what we got ourselves into… it was too late at this time to back out!

Montana complete

Montana complete

 

We ran loops around a small lake/pond with some roadkill along the course. Each loop was about 2 miles resulting in running more than 13.1 miles. We started making friends on the course while everyone would cheer each other on as we passed each other time and time again on the loops.  Several of the runners were running full marathons and were much older than us. We met running legend Larry Macon who holds several world records in the Guinness Book of World Records.

 

There was no chip timing. Each loop we picked up a rubber band and when you had 7 rubber bands, you were finished. As you came through to pick up your rubber band, there was a table of food and a table for drinks.  The volunteers were amazing providing food and drinks for us as we made our loops.
Lap 7 was our victory lap! We picked up our MT medal, took a picture, and headed to hotel for shower. After showering, we asked locals where to eat.  We ate at a local diner, stopped at the local grocer for water and advil before heading to Bowman, ND for the next race.

Day 2 will be on next blog.

Three attempts at half marathon #21 in 2014!

Three attempts at half marathon #21 in 2014!

 

Texas has smoldering hot summers and I had several races scheduled during the summer months, but never thought it would take three attempts at half marathon #21 in 2014.  I thought it would be a good idea to check as many off the list as possible while I was off from work. I knew when fall arrived, I would be busy with work and football (I am super excited to have a freshman playing high school … big deal in Texas… need I say anymore).  2014 has been an unusual year as far as weather in Texas with snow storms and cool days in the summer.  To be honest, it has been nice.

June was great.  I ran a couple of races in nice weather and rescheduled one to take a camping trip with friends. The camping trip was a cabin in Broken Bow, OK and we had a fabulous time.

Great time with friends!

Great time with friends!

July came around and I rescheduled another race to take Austin (my youngest son) and his friends to a video game convention in Austin, TX. They had a great time and I had some wiggle room in my race schedule.

Video Game Convention

Video Game Convention

First attempt at #21 – July 13 was the day for El Scorcho 25K and I was excited about it.  I did not know how to prepare for the race.  It was 5K loops around the Trinity River in Fort Worth at midnight.  It was a hot day in July with a beautiful super moon.  One 5K loop was completed when my stomach started to rumble and a bad trip to the portapotty sent me home.  I have always finished races and not finishing was devastating to me, but I did not see any other option.

Super Moon

Fun night race!

Fun night race!

Second attempt at #21- July 19 Orange Leaf Half Marathon in New Braunfels, TX

I was nervous about a race in southern Texas in July, but I love New Braunfels and it started at 6:30am.  I figured I could survive and I would make it into a vacation for me and the boys.  We drove to Austin to stay with a friend and would get up early, drive one hour to New Braunfels for the race, and then float the river.  Well, I overslept! Again, I was devastated that I had paid for a race, traveled for the race, and missed it due to oversleeping. We did have fun floating the river, kayaking, and at Schlitterbahn Water Park.

Boys and I at water park.

Boys and I at water park.

Boys and I floating the river.

San Marcos River

Three attempts at half marathon #21 in 2014!

Third time is a charm… not to mention it was local.  My commute was just across town! It began and ended on the football field my boys had played and Austin would play many games over the next four years… ADDED BONUS  finishing on the 50 yard line.

Wildfire Half Marathon

Denton, Texas

July 26, 2014

High Temperature of 98 degrees

I arrived at the stadium, picked up my packet, and was ready to conquer #21! I could do this 13.1 miles of rolling hills on blacktop in smoldering heat… pancakes awaited me on the other side.  I was relieved to see a friend at the start line and we ran the first few miles together before drifting apart.  The next couple of miles were long as I questioned my sanity. About 5 mile, I met up with a couple of guys who we finished the race together.  One was running his first half marathon.  He swore he would never run another one and I encouraged him to run another one in better weather.  The other had run over 50 half marathons and multiple fulls plus he was a cancer survivor.  He was encouraging with interesting stories which made the next 8 miles pass by a little easier.

The heat was smoldering upon my shoulders, the road kill accented the pathway often leaving you guessing what the creature may have been before it was road  kill. There were plenty of water stops and my fingers swelled like small sausage links due to dehydration taking over my body. I could feel the blisters below my toenails and knew I would lose the toenails in the following days.  The last mile was spent walking more than running finishing with a 2:55 finish which I will take since it was Three attempts at half marathon #21 in 2014! I ran into the stadium and across the finish line.  It was a honor to have Stacey cheering for me at the stadium.  Spectators always add value and love to the course; especially, when they are there for you.  I love when friends and family take time from their schedules to support my goal.  Non-runners don’t understand the love of torture and it fills my love tank when they are there cheering for me. I picked up my medal and a bottle of water before heading to Old West Cafe for PANCAKES!!  YES… pancakes always make a half marathon better.

Three attempts at half marathon #21 in 2014!

Three attempts at half marathon #21 in 2014!

Finishing half marathon #21 in 2014!

I have completed 21 half marathons since January 11, 2014.  Running the 13.1 miles has not been the biggest challenge in this goal compared to the discipline and commitment.  Is it a mid-life crisis or is it a personal desire to be better??

Challenges of 40 Half Marathons in 2014

  • Running the 13.1 miles is a mental challenge moving one foot before the other 70,000 steps
  • Committing the time
  • The cost of the race and supplies
  • Scheduling and strategizing the race dates and times
  • Weather issues- rain, heat, cold
  • Lonely – several of the races, I have been by myself
  • Sore muscles
  • Loss of toe nails

It has been worth all of the challenges, to have the victory of completing a huge goal and meeting so many amazing people along the way! I know I will reflect over my lifetime the goal of 40 half marathons in 2014!

 

 

Half Marathon #19 Wounded Warrior

Half Marathon #19 Wounded Warrior

Half Marathon #19 Wounded Warrior

Half Marathon #19 Wounded Warrior

 

Half Marathon #19 Wounded Warrior honored fallen American soldiers. It was located in Irving, TX on June 8, 2014 and Half Marathon #19 Wounded Warrior of 40 in 2014.  It was my first race of the summer, school had just dismissed a couple days prior and summer school started the following day. The 5am alarm on Sunday morning is always the time I consider myself insane for a goal of 40 half marathons in one calendar year.  I drove in early that morning because I had heard the construction could cause congestion and delays plus I needed to pick up my packet.  I made it in perfect time, missing the traffic, and I was able to pick up packet, drop off shirt in car, and make it to the start line.  I made it to the start line; only for the race to be delayed due to traffic.

While waiting for the race to begin, I met a new friend.  Her name is Monica and she is active military.  The Wounded Warrior is a fund raiser for wounded soldiers and it was a honor seeing family and friends running for those they love who had been wounded serving our country.  The race was delayed about 20 minutes allowing the rain storm to move in perfect synchronization of race start. The drizzle was enough to keep runners cool as they were on their journey of a 10K or half marathon.

The course was out and back with a few hills.  I felt great along the course considering a little bit of a slosh with the rain.  I had not checked the weather; so, the rain was a surprise leaving me unprepared.  Honestly, I do need to pack the emergency run bag with a hat and poncho.  My time was 2:31 which is the best time I have had in a few races.  I was happy and I knew I had friends and family at the finish line which always makes my day.  Dano stood in the rain waiting for me from mile 6 to 13.1.  My mom and sister arrived after I crossed the finish line.  After the race, we met another friend for lunch.

 

Half Marathon #19 Wounded Warrior

Half Marathon #19 Wounded Warrior Mom, Salena, Christi (me), and Dano

with my mom and sister

Half Marathon #19 Wounded Warrior

Half Marathon #19 Wounded Warrior is in the blog as a nice race for the various reasons:

  • Honors Soldiers
  • Friends and Family at the finish line
  • Awesome after party with pancakes
  • Vendor fair day before (I did not attend)
  • Nice course
  • Tech Shirt
  • Great Medal

Summer Solstice 3 hour race

Summer Solstice 3 hour race

Summer Solstice 3 hour race was race number 20 which means I am half way through this goal of 40 half marathons in 2014! I am considering this goal my “mid life crisis.” I don’t consider myself “middle aged” yet nor do I really think this crazy goal is a crisis, but it is the most rational description for the goal.  I know it is something I will always look back on and think “how did I do that?”  There are several things I look back on and wonder “how did I survive that” like domestic violence, custody battles, being a single mom, and oh not to mention… the dumb things I did as a teenager.  Needless to say, all of these things made me the person I am today which I would not trade.

Summer Solstice 3 hour race was different than any race I have ever done for many reasons:

  • it was a night race
  • it was 3 hour or 6 hour increments instead of a distance
  • it was one mile loops
  • it was a flat course; NO HILLS
  • no medals at the end
  • it was in Abilene, TX

I enjoyed the race.  The one mile loops were not too bad since Jenn ran with me.  I met Jenn at Lake Benbrook Half Marathon (race #3) where she was running with her husband and son.  I was inspired by them and we became friends instantly.  We were able to hash out the problems of the world and discuss parenting while running 15.2 miles in 3 hours completing 1 mile loops over and over again.

The race committee was awesome with the small town friendliness! They had plenty of snacks and the event was well organized. The weather was perfect!! We could not have asked for better weather conditions.  It was cool with a nice breeze.  The most difficult part of this event was the drive home after the race.  I probably should have stayed with Jenn and drove home the next day, but wanted to get home.  I won’t go into detail about the interesting dance moves I made along the way to try to stay awake, but I made it.

I still cannot believe I have completed 20 half marathons in 2014!! My next race is another night race in July in Fort Worth called El Scorcho 25K along the Trinity River and Jenn will be running with me again.

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Diva Dash Half Marathon

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Galveston, Texas 15 0f 40 in 2014

Diva Dash Half Marathon

 

A month has gone by since this race and I have not been able to bring myself to blog about it. It was by far my worst time, but time has nothing to do with the essence here. What happened at the end of the Diva Dash Half Marathon has scared my mind and broken my heart.

Garrett and I woke up early and headed to Houston to pick up Danielle before headed to Galveston.  We chose to commuted between Houston and Galveston; so, Danielle could be a part of the weekend.

The highlight of the trip was the time I had with a lifelong friend Leila (terrible part is we did not take a picture together).  I loved the time we had together. She has been sick for a couple of years and had convinced me to do the 10 day detox diet with her which I did.  The detox changed my life and helped me to find some inner health problems of my own. I will share in another post. We enjoyed lunch, shopping on the strand, and the Diva Dash Half Marathon Expo.

I spent the remainder of the evening reading about the detox diet and watching meaningless television in the hotel.  We woke up early, picked up Danielle, and headed to Galveston.  They let me out close to the start line.  I found the port-a-potties and my way to the start line. It took me about 3 miles to find my mojo which is unusual and I still don’t think I ever found it by my time in this race.  It was humid and hot outside. The course had a couple of small hills and ran along the seawall.  The scenery was amazing running along the beach and seeing the winners pass you on their way back. The second person on the return was a 12 year old runner which was inspiring to see. 20140520-222946-80986649.jpg

At mile 13, they adorned you with a boa and a crown to cross the finish line which was a nice bonus, but always the Diva Dash Half Marathon’s key attractions.  At the finish line, you had the choice of champagne or Ginger Ale which I love both.  I chose the champagne.

As I approached the finish line, the officials directed us to the left.  On the right, the emergency response team was performing CPR on a young lady.  I knew the outcome wasn’t good when they carried her away and there was not any response from the CPR.  My heart aches as I write this.  She was there on her bachlorette party and was to be married in two short weeks after the race.  She had run many marathons and had a heart condition un-diagnosed heart condition.  I will forever be shaken by the Diva Dash Half Marathon. Read more about Kaytie Joyner here.  God bless her family and fiance. 20140520-222951-80991816.jpg

Diva Dash Half Marathon was race 15 of 40 in 2014 in Galveston, TX.  It was a woman’s race which I loved the support and encouragement of other women along the race. I loved running along the beach.  The heat and humidity was tough and my time was bad.  The finish line story leaves me with a broken heart for Kaytie’s family and friends.

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Women Rock Half Marathon

Women Rock Half Marathon

 

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Abby & Christi at Women Rock Half Marathon

Women Rock Half Marathon was race #12 of 40 half marathons in 2014.  It was an inaugural race held in Grand Prairie with some fun perks that are unique to the racing scene.  The  start and finish line were on the baseball diamond of Grand Prairie Air Hogs Stadium which was fun.  The finish line was adorned with shirtless fit men for after pictures.  The finish line gift was a diamond and ruby pendant, but we were able to purchase medals which is great to keep for my collection.  The post race drink was champagne with a nice champagne flute imprinted with the “Women Rock” logo.  A nice black dri-fit jacket with the “Women Rock” logo printed on the back was part of the goodies for Women Rock Half Marathon.

I was excited about this weekend because both races had unique post race experiences and I had friends with me.  I would not be running solo.  Saturday morning, I woke up and loaded the car with running gear and a suitcase for the weekend. I picked up Abby in Flower Mound and we headed to Grand Prairie for the Women Rock Half Marathon. The race did not start until 9:26am which I felt was late for a Texas race in late March due to the heat by noon.

This was my 3rd race in 7 days and I was feeling it, but kept on.  Abby stayed with me through the race.  She wanted to take it easy for  a PR the next day and she had never experienced running with a friend.  We were able to talk about parenting, running, and marriage.  She has so much wisdom for  a 28 year old.

The course was quite boring looping through the perimeter parking lots and sidewalks of the stadium.  We learned what a “swap meet” was because it was in the parking lot that we were running around. In some places, we were jumbled up with several other runners making it impossible to pass. The volunteers were great; especially, the “Black Girls Run” groups.  There were not enough water stations for the Texas heat.  I could feel myself swelling up due to lack of water and I saw a couple of ladies cramping up at mile 12.

Just short of 13.1 miles, we turned into the stadium took a stroll around the bases and finished the race crossing home plate which was another fun twist leading into the post race festivities. Our finish time was 2:30 which I was happy with considering I was tired and it was hot. We received our pendants, a towel to wipe the sweat off, and baggy of snacks before heading to the champagne tent for our champagne flute full of champagne which was a nice treat after a long, hot race. We mixed and mingled for a few minutes before heading out to meet Misty for the trip to College Station for the Texas Wine Series Half Marathon on Sunday.

 

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Overall, I enjoyed this race for the post race festivities. The course left much to be desired and needed more water breaks.  The post race festivities and the goodies made up for the shortcomings in the race plus running into the stadium, around the bases, and into home plate was a nice spin on things too.

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