Race Recap- Chingachgook Challenge Half Marathon

WELL! It’s been a while since my last post…a LOT has happened in my life…The biggest change being that I’m now living back in Upstate NY. The good thing about this race is that I had already planned to be here for it, so it worked out!

IMG_3507This morning…bright and early I got to the elementary school in Lake George, NY to pick up my stuff for the Chingachgook Challenge! We got there about 15 mins after it had opened for pickup, so it was still quiet. Pickup was simple, just tell them your name, you get a bib, a shirt, and a shoe tag for timing purposes. I had never used a shoe tag before, so I had to ask exactly how it was put on…but my laces and some twistie ties did the trick.

When it was time to start, we were instructed to line up in the road in front of the school…. There was no fancy line or national anthem…just a guy yelling out how many minutes left to start and our general route and instructions. This course was on an open road. So they had to make a few announcements on where to run and general safety for running this course.

IMG_3512We all took off to the sound of an air horn and off we went. The course involved a little loop at the start that took us by the local beach, luckily, because it was early, there weren’t many people around.
My goal for this race was to finish it without hurting myself, at a better time than the last (3:07), and to take it easy. So I was very careful not to push too hard at the start. I learned my lesson Last timeChingaCourseI’ve driven this road hundreds of times before, so I knew what to expect, but one of the volunteers told someone at packet pickup that it’s WAY worse when you’re driving than running. Not too sure how that is…but okay. The course is in the mountains and the hills are the rolling variety. Honestly, it felt like I went downhill more than uphill. The hills didn’t get too bad until about 6 miles in. Luckily I had smiling faces and a bottle of water waiting for me right before I hit that. So it could have been worse! It gets even MORE challenging when you turn onto Pilot Knob Road right after Mile 9. I knew that going into it, so I was at least mentally prepared!

Also, the weather for this race was perfect…but there was not a cloud in the sky, so it made some of the sunnier (mostly flat) stretches a bit more difficult. Mile 7 was a short out and back down a road in Cleverdale with lots of shade and no hills, so that was a lovely “rest”…but that was followed by one of the larger hills.

Along the course, there were spurts of people cheering everyone on. My personal favorite was a group of older women who were drumming on capped pipes sticking out of the ground yelling “GO GO GO GO” in unison.  A few even cheered “BUTTERCUP!” at me…because of my shirt. 🙂
There was an SUV that I saw multiple times along the course that was blasting music and cheering for every person that went by them…even a few ladies who were just out for their morning walk!

The last 4 miles were difficult for me because muscles started to tighten up and knees started to protest. I was quite happy to reach mile 10, but it was a bit of a struggle after. I was also very familiar with this section of the course (I used to work at Camp Chingachgook) So I at least knew how much further I had and some major landmarks along the way. Made it easier to say “when I hit this, I’ll do this”. So that worked in my favor to keep me mentally sane.

When I got to the camp entrance, I got a huge burst of energy and just went for it! I could see all the people down the road waving everyone into the senior boys unit, where the finish line was.

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People walking back to their cars and the staff and CITs cheered really loudly and put a huge smile on my face as I approached. It was quite the feeling! My Parents were at the finish waiting for me and as I crossed, one of the officials said my name over the loud speaker. A volunteer clipped my timing chip off of my shoe and I got my “Medal”. I say this, because the medal was in fact laser cut wood on a leather string! It’s pretty much my new favorite thing.

Medal ChingaStuff

The shirt was an A4 brand Tech shirt, which is what I’ve gotten from running the Martian Marathon 5k and 10ks and I really like them, but this one fits tighter because they didn’t say during registration that they were tech shirts, and they tend to run small..It’s still useable, just doesn’t have as much room as I’d like. BUT This race was only $30…which is amazing for a half marathon. Yes, there wasn’t as much pomp and circumstance as the more expensive races, and the road wasn’t closed, but it was a really decent price for the distance! After, they had a BBQ by the lake and had the waterfront open for people to go cool off if they wanted. Also, bathrooms and showers were made available for those who needed it.

This race, overall, was really important to me. I wanted to run it last year, but it was financially and schedule-wise, not possible, so I was quite happy to be able to this year. Also, my last half marathon was pretty awful, so it felt really nice to cross that finish line smiling. And last but very not least…My new motto lately has been “I can do hard things.” Which I got from Janae over at Hungry Runner Girl. And thinking about it these past few weeks, I know that I can and the place that I learned that I’m able to do hard things, was Camp Chingachgook. I went to work there the day after I graduated High School. I was kind of a wreck at that age and I was terrified to do anything that was challenging. BUT…when you have to be a positive role model to kids, you have to put that aside and just do it. During the 4 summers I was there I did lots of hard things. I Climbed mountains, I dealt with difficult kids who sometimes had rough backgrounds, I learned (after failing many times) to water ski, and I swam 2 miles on two separate occasions. I was put outside of my comfort zone more times than I would have thought, but you know what? It was all worth it. That Camp has taught me so many things useful AND silly. Just being there makes me feel relaxed and optimistic. I mean, just look at this view!

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Martian Invasion of the Races 10k Race Review!

martian-marathon  This past Saturday, I got to run my first 10k of 2014! The Martian Invasion of the races 10k in Dearborn, MI! As I had talked about in my previous post, I hadn’t been training all that much this year, so I was pretty nervous.  We got up and out by 6am with enough time for a stop at Tim Hortons for my Pre-race bagel with peanut butter and Breakfast for the BF. Turns out I just got a plain, untoasted, pre-race bagel. They forgot to give me peanut butter! How rude! ANYWAY…. We arrived with no issues and I found the lot that I had parked in last year and we hung out in the car until 7:15, so as to avoid the start of the marathon.


Ford Field was where the start and finish were located and there were LOTS of people all excited and ready to run! Luckily, this year, the weather decided to be awesome. I remember standing in 2 layers of pants, a long sleeved shirt, and a hoodie shivering like crazy. This year, it was mid-high 50’s at the start and about 65 by the time I finished! It was the perfect day for a run!

We stood around for about 45 minutes and people watched. I think that’s one of the great things about themed races is all of the people watching! There was a group of ladies all in silver, a guy in a green full body suit with a silver bike helmet (he was also a pacer!), a lady dressed like Marvin the martian…! It was all really fun to take in.

1533766_10100400783838050_2766834600006194512_nWhen it was finally time to line up, they provided a jazzy version of the National Anthem before the start. It was nice to hear something a bit different for once!  I was feeling ready to go and excited to give this a try!

Last year, I got my 5k PR at this race and was really looking forward to seeing what the 10k route looked like. With the sound of the horn, everyone started to inch forward until they hit the starting line and the beginning of the first hill. I know I spent a lot of time weaving around people last year, but I think at this point, I knew to take my time up the hill and keep my pace slow for the first mile.

There was still a good amount of weaving because of the walkers in the 5k…but honestly, for some reason it didn’t bother me as much as it usually does. (Maybe the weather just fixed everything?!) But I also think that this was because they lined everyone up with pace signs at the start. It was extremely helpful to know, that, for the most part, the people around you were going to be going about the same speed as you. I love when races do that!


I wish I was able to take some pictures of this course because for the most part, it was really great! The course went through the really nice neighborhood around the Dearborn Golf Course.  REALLY big beautiful homes. One looked like an old English Mansion and right next to it was a building that looked straight out of the French Quarter of New Orleans! the route then proceeded onto a highway for a short time and then onto an entrance/exit ramp (?) which was a round and slightly bowled shaped area (right after mile 2 on the map) and onto a road for the out and back portion. This part was a bit difficult on my knee and hip, but I tried to adjust my form accordingly. I hear it had an effect on other people’s injuries as well. The road was slanted on either side, so it didn’t get too much better on the way back, but after this was over, it was a really enjoyable course! The 10k went onto a bike path and back roads and sometimes sidewalks and parking lots. But it was all really nice, and at some points the path went through wooded areas. There were also two bridges along the course that were a little difficult to run over, but it changed it up a bit! The only part I didn’t really enjoy was near the end of mile 6. The course went out onto a busy main road and while it was nice running on a flat and wide surface, it was hot and the car exhaust wasn’t awesome.

I had a little bit of an issue with pain for the first 2 miles or so, but I adjusted my form and kept my pace steady and didn’t push too hard and it seemed to help. I was even able to pick up the pace here and there to pass some people that I needed to. The last .3 miles were great! Everyone was out cheering and enjoying the day, and all the Aliens lined the streets to welcome you back to Ford Field!


Just after I crossed the finish line!

In the end, I didn’t get a PR…but I’m really, very okay with that. When my dad asked me how it went later in the day I said “I finished and nothing hurt!”. I think that’s a good goal for me to have this year with 3 half marathons ahead of me (June, August, October) I just need to focus on that. That being said, I got 1:07:27, which is almost 10 minutes faster than I thought I’d do! So that was a pleasant surprise! The race had the usual Running Fit post-race foods…cookies, bagels, and bananas along with Water…which I was SUPER excited about. and I got my Alien medal…which, let’s face it, is a big factor for a lot of people when they decide to run this one. It’s SO COOL! Also, the shirts were really awesome this year and the second I saw it I knew I had to run it for the shirt! (I wear my 2013 one all the time!)











I had a really great time this year and because of that I would totally do it again next year, and I think that you should too! Even if just to dress up fun and skip along the 5k route with friends…it’s just a really fun atmosphere!

Have you ever run this race?
Would you run a race just for the swag?

Things I Love Thursday

I googled "Busy Bee" and I couldn't not use this.

I googled “Busy Bee” and I couldn’t not use this.

It’s been a while…I know. What have I been busy doing? A lot.

Quick Rundown-
-My BF and I Cosplay and attend Comic Book Conventions. In March we went to Indiana and in a few weeks I’ll be taking my first trip to Chicago for C2E2. We have 2 more planned after that. This involves spending lots of time making and putting together a costume. My time has been spent working on this damn frock coat. I’m an advanced beginner level sewer and beginner pattern user…so I’ve been spending all my time trying to finish on time for C2E2…the good news is I should be done in the next few days! Then on to the next project…

– I’ve been taking RCIA classes since September and they are starting to come to a head. Every week I have at least 2 things to attend and that makes for a very busy schedule added to my regular schedule. I just have to get through April and I’ll be able to breathe, I think.

– Not running as much as I should be. My busy schedule makes it difficult for me to get to be early so I can get up early and run. Especially because Michigan has been so crazy cold and snowy for so long that it’s a treadmill or nothing. And really…That’s not a hard choice for me to make when I’m already curled up in bed and exhausted.

BUT! Things are starting to slow down and warm up a bit! I’ve managed the odd run here and there and have started to run outside again (which is really not easy after such a long break)! And I have my first 10k of the year this weekend, which I’m equal parts nervous and excited for. And then I start to train a bit for a Half Marathon, which I will be doing on June 1st! I’m pretty determined to run it with no issues this time around. So I’m going to have to be really good about training and stretching and foam rolling and the whole nine!

okay…with THAT out of the way, here are some things that I’m loving lately:tilt-1

♥My little Family ♥ Warm Weather ♥ Driving with Windows down ♥ Spring/Summer plans ♥ Puppy cuddles ♥ Sunday big Salads ♥ Reading calming blogs and getting back into that lifestyle ♥ New Friends ♥  Easter Candy ♥ Thinking ♥ Captain America: The Winter Soldier ♥ Re watching all of the LOTR and Hobbit movies while working on crafts ♥ Caffeine ♥  Finally getting a legitimate key card at work ♥ Getting stuff done ♥ Grilled Cheese Sandwiches ♥

What have you all been up to?
Anything particularly awesome that you’re loving lately?

Things I Love Thursday!

bare trees

♥ Meeting Karmin for the 2nd time! Those guys are always so sweet!
♥ Finally being back at my desk and having a window
♥ American Hustle
♥ My Little Family
♥ Date Nights
♥ Finding a really awesome deal on a GHD straightener…PROBLEM SOLVED!
♥ Really enjoying my RCIA class & the people that I sit with. Class was great this week!
♥ New Room arrangements & not being woken up multiple times by our upstairs neighbors!
♥ Watching my dog dive into a snowbank only to realize that he was stuck
♥ 3 year Anniversary w/ the BF. He’s wonderful. 🙂
♥ Finding new and exciting things to make for breakfast.
♥ Catching up on finances.
♥ Warm(ish) weather!
♥ Target Trips

What did YOU love this week??

The Worst Things…

I just came across this video that talks about the worst things that can happen on your run. Leaving injury out of it. This list is pretty accurate.

I know I’ve always suffered from the itchy legs, traffic dance, and cramping. And let’s not even talk about interactions! UGH!

What are some of the worst (little) things that happen to you on your runs/workouts?

Running Maps, As Art!

I came across this link on my facebook last night, and had to share it!

Nathan Yau compiled data from the app, Runkeeper, and made maps of the popular running routes in 22 different cities around the world!


New York City!

My old running route in Brooklyn isn’t represented… Probably because it was WAY too hilly!  On the New York map, you can very clearly see that one of the most popular routes is the NYC Marathon!  I’d be very curious to see if that’s the same with the other cities that I’m less familiar with.



Have I ever mentioned that my favorite city in the world is London? I don’t think I’ll ever run a Marathon, but if I do, you’d better believe it would be in London. Right now, I just dream of doing a big lap around Hyde Park and running along the Thames! Both look to be popular routes!

I wonder if I can get any of these framed…They’d look great in a home gym!

To see all of the maps, click here!

Do you/ have you run along any of these routes?
Where is your dream run located?

Things I Love Thursday!


This week has been rough.  Let’s talk about the good stuff.

♥ My little family- Always put s a smile on my face.
♥ Making Cupcakes
♥ Eating Cupcakes
♥ Completing a challenge
♥ Chocolate
♥ Being cozy
♥ Excited puppies
♥ Learning
♥ Hugs
♥ Really awesome episodes of good TV shows
♥ Mexican food (esp. Burrito Bowls)
♥ Date nights
♥ People who follow/listen to instructions
♥ That it’s not dark out when I leave work anymore
♥ Support

What do YOU love this week?

Super 5k Race Review!


I started off my race year and my Superbowl Sunday with a last minute decision to run the Super 5k in Novi, Michigan!  I had been reading about this race for the past year and wasn’t too sure if I should run it or not, but as the date crawled closer, I realized that I probably should give this race a shot!
I registered online for this 5k  the week before the race. That is probably the shortest amount of time I’ve given myself between registration and race day! But I knew I could pull out a 5k fairly easy and registered for it one morning. I didn’t check the forecast, however, before I registered, but luckily it looked to be in the high teens or low 20’s.  As the date came closer, the forecast called for a few inches of snow the day before. Still not a big deal, there was time to get it cleaned up!

Early Sunday morning we got up and got moving. Because of the snow we gave it a bit more time to do the usual 35-40 minute drive, but didn’t end up needing all the extra time because the roads weren’t awful. We got to the Novi Civic center very easily and pulled right into the lot.  It seemed as though we were some of the first people there!


Inside, the civic center was hopping, but I was able to walk right up to the bib pickup and get mine (although I didn’t see my name on the bib lists they had out… I had it written in my phone from an email they sent the day before). I got my Bib, a pin, and my fancy tech hat handed to me then and there. We decided to mill around inside before the race started to keep warm! It was nice to see so many people meeting old friends and running buddies left and right and though it was cold and early, people were in good spirits. They made announcements over the loud speaker to keep people informed and had some old superbowl footage rolling on a TV.
Part of the reason I was excited to do this race was the fact that a lot of people from the South East Michigan Runner’s group on Facebook (SEMR) were also doing it! At 8:30 they announced where everyone should meet and we all got our picture together!


It was fun to see some familiar faces, though I didn’t really talk to anyone… maybe next time?

After this, everyone started to make the journey over to the starting line, which was a 5-10 minute walk away from the civic center. This wasn’t so bad, but they didn’t plow this route at all, so it was kind of slow going.


We started the race in the school parking lot nearby. There wasn’t too much of an issue with the start area, except for the fact that it felt pretty cramped. But par for the course! I did feel bad for some of the dogs that were being brought along as running partners…Most didn’t have any kind of foot protection, and being a dog owner, myself, I didn’t agree with keeping them out in the cold and snow and slush for that long! That being said, there were a lot of cute furry running partners at this race!

I had my headphones in and two hats covering my ears so I didn’t catch the official start, but people slowly started to move forward.


We started out heading down Taft Rd., which is a main st. and was only a little bit slushy. So that was a bit of a relief. Right before the 1 mile mark, the course turned into a subdivision. That’s when it got rough. It hadn’t been plowed from the storm the day before, and the snow was mostly the kind that feels like sand. Slipping underneath your feet as you move across it! Some sections were better than others, but it really just depended upon how each house dealt with their snow removal. The packed snow was easy to run on, but then you’d come across an intersection where there were 6 inches of snow piled up in the middle that you’d suddenly have to jump over or run through. Lots of people had grips on their shoes or wore trail shoes that had more grip than the regular, but as I don’t ever run in the snow, I only had my normal sneakers. I’m not sure if the grips would have helped much in this case, but it might have been better if I had them.

courseThese kind of conditions went on for the majority of the race. There was one aid station at the halfway mark, and while I usually ignore these in 5ks, I had to stop and get some water because a lot more effort was going into this than usual! I walked for a very short amount of time while I chugged some water and then I took off once again. There were a few hills in this section, one of which was fairly steep and long. That plus the “sandy” snow, I decided it’d be better to walk it.

This was a really nice little subdivision, but the fact that it wasn’t plowed and the roads were kind of narrow, made it a tough run. I’m pretty sure, most of the time, I was looking at the ground ahead of me, or my feet. Usually when I run, I watch the people around me or look at the surrounding area. This didn’t make for an entertaining race.


As we left the neighborhood and went back out onto Taft Rd. it got a lot easier, but somehow it felt a lot more slippery. Luckily it wasn’t as far this time and we came up on the finish pretty quickly after hitting Taft. It was really nice having so many people cheering and the finish line too! Lots of dedicated supporters and volunteers willing to stand out in the cold! I managed to finish in 36:35, which is in no way a PR…but knowing the roads might be bad, and the fact that I hadn’t run outside since November, my goal was to get in before 40:00. So…I WIN! 🙂

At the finish line, they had the volunteers handing out some very cool Medals, bottles of water, and pint glasses! Out of all the races I’ve done, I think this one takes the cake for the coolest swag!


After the race, Everyone made a beeline back to the civic center to grab some grub. There were Hotdogs, Meatballs, Brownies, cookies, and Bananas. I was able to get in and out in under 3 minutes. Pretty awesome.  Scarfed down my food and made for the car! Getting out of the lot was pretty simple as well because we were right off of 10 mile!

I’d say, with the exception of all the snow, that this was a really great, really well organized race that I would do again. I know a lot of people had a tough time with the snow, but I think it added a bit of a challenge to those who have run a decent amount of 5ks/races. It was tough, and yes, I did have to walk at some points (which I don’t think I’ve ever done in a 5k) it was a good challenge and a nice way to start off the year!


Hat and Pint Glass!


Closeup of the Awesome Medal!

Did you do the Super 5k? What did you think?
What’s the most challenging 5k you’ve ever run?
Do you run outside with snow on the ground?

Things I Love Thursday!



Work was crazy today and life is equally crazy as well. PHEW! Just a quick one this week!

-My Little Family
-Good News!
-Dinner with New Friends!
-Being Warm
-Getting workouts in
-Standing up for yourself
-Online Window Shopping
-When things work out
-Taking Risks

What do YOU love this week?