Allstate New York 13.1 Half Marathon, New York- 30th state

This is part of a series of posts from my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states. New York was my 30th state.

A funny thing happened to me on my way to the Allstate New York 13.1 Half Marathon. Only it wasn’t really funny but at least now I can look back at it and while I’m not laughing at least I’m not as upset as I was then.

So first the drama that happened on the way to the race and then the specifics.  My husband, daughter, and I took a taxi to the race start and when I got in I told the driver we were going to the National Tennis Center (our hotel was nearby also in Queens so I knew it should only be short ride).  He nodded his head and we took off.  After about 10 minutes I realized he was circling around Corona Park, where the National Tennis Center is, but it was obvious he didn’t know exactly where to go.  I looked at my watch and it was 10 minutes before the race start.  I started to panic as I watched the minutes ticking away and we still weren’t there.  Finally I told my husband I just wanted to get out, so I told the driver to just pull over right where he was and let us out.  I just blindly ran in the direction I thought the race start should be (based on the race website) and made it to the start with a couple of minutes to spare.  I was furious that I was almost late to the race start because the taxi driver didn’t look up the directions and pretended to know where he was going, but I tried to channel that into positive energy and ended up running a good race and enjoying myself.

The state of New York has no shortage of marathons or half marathons.  There are at least two half marathons in every single month of the year and a marathon in every month except four.  This may make it difficult to decide which one to do if you’re only going to run one in each state, like me.  However, I always knew my half marathon in New York would be in New York City.  I had been to New York City before and typically I like to run races in new cities, but honestly, I was just looking for an excuse to go back because I had so much fun the previous times I had been there.

It did occur to me that the weather can be temperamental in New York City in March but I thought I would take a chance and hope for the best.  Fortunately the weather for the race was a bit chilly and windy but at least it didn’t rain so overall it was pretty good.  Later in the afternoon the day of the race, a storm blew in and it was freezing and raining, so things could have been much worse.

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Typically I tend to choose races that are off the beaten path at least a bit and since this race was entirely through Queens and no other boroughs, it gave me a glimpse into another part of New York City I had not experienced previously.  Like most first and even second time visitors to the great city, I had stuck to Manhattan and had not ventured out much beyond that.  This gave me and my family an opportunity to see things such as Flushing Meadows Corona Park, New York Hall of Science, Queens Museum, and Queens Botanical Garden. There’s even a small zoo in Queens although we didn’t go there.

This was my daughter’s first visit to the Big Apple so of course we also went to the Empire State Building, American Girl Doll Store, Metropolitan Museum of Art , Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, New York Public Library, the iconic American Museum of Natural History (one of my favorites), and the Guggenheim Museum. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a tour to see the Statue of Liberty (I didn’t make reservations far enough in advance) and of course there were other things we missed as well, but we squeezed in as much as we could in a few days after the half marathon- no way I was doing all of that walking before the race.

From my post-race notes:

“Ran through Corona Park in Queens, which is relatively scenic and has a glimpse of Manhattan at one point.  Course had two double loops, was very flat with only “hills” being bridges.  Very good volunteer support along course.  Was very windy and overcast with temps in the low 30’s at start and mid 30’s at finish.  Had been dealing with a strained hamstring which caused back of knee pain in the 2 weeks prior to race, but thanks to a massage 3 days before the race was able to run at good pace with no pain.  Finished in 2:02, my goal time.  HUGE medal, technical shirt, and plenty of post-race snacks and beverages.”

The race for 2016 was cancelled and it’s not clear whether it will be brought back for 2017. However, like I mentioned earlier, there are many others to choose from with more than 10 just in New York City alone throughout the year.

Here is the link to the race series: 13.1 series

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Chicago 13.1 Half Marathon, Illinois- 25th State

This is part of a series of posts from my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states. Illinois was my 25th state.  Half-way there!!!

Looking at half marathons for my one in Illinois, I was drawn to those in Chicago.  I had been there once when I was in high school and had been wanting to go back, so I signed up for the 2012 Allstate Life Insurance Chicago 13.1 Half Marathon.  It was in June and as one might predict, it was hot.  Extremely hot.  So hot that they put out warning flags at mile 2.  I knew early on that I wouldn’t be getting a PR (personal record) at this race.  Although it was a large race with a lot of runners, it was well-organized and had corrals so we weren’t on top of each other.

In 2015, the Chicago Spring Half Marathon and Michelob Ultra Chicago 13.1 Marathon merged to become the Chicago Spring Half Marathon, currently part of the Michelob Ultra 13.1 Series which includes races in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and Chicago.  The Chicago Spring Half Marathon is in May, which I think would greatly help with the extreme heat that I experienced in June, so I think that was a good move on the director’s part.  The race starts along Lakeshore Trail near North Lakeshore Drive and only has a rise in elevation of 25 feet, so it’s about as flat as half marathons come.

Chicago is filled with all kinds of fun things to do.  My family and I spent a week here just doing all of the touristy things like taking photos of ourselves in front of the “bean” at Millenium Park, going to the Museum of Science and Industry (highly recommend), checking out the Field Museum (also highly recommend), admiring the views from the Skydeck at Willis Tower, and my daughter had a ton of fun playing in the water at Crown Fountain.  One way you can save money is to buy a Chicago CityPASS and you can save 53% off admission for up to 5 attractions.

From my post-race notes:  “Nice course along shoreline of Chicago, with some shade first 7 miles, but no shade remaining miles; extremely flat with only one small incline. Was very hot the day of the race, however and completely cloudless. Warning flags (due to extreme heat) were on course starting at mile 2. Volunteers were great along course and afterwards. Big, heavy medal, nice technical shirt and rucksack. Large race but with corrals wasn’t too crowded. Usual food and drinks afterward. Cooled my severely blistered toes in the cool water of Lake Michigan. Because of heat, finish time was 5 minutes off goal (had to slow down last 5 miles), but was on schedule for a 2:02 finish before that.” Ha!  That last sentence in my notes crack me up!  I can tell myself that I was on schedule for a 2:02 finish, right?

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The cold water of Lake Michigan felt awesome after the race!

Run 13.1 Series