Monday, November 2, 2009

Race recap: Half Marathon!

Finishing TIME: 157:14!!!

I completed all my goals:
  1. Sweet costume- CHECK!
  2. Get there on time- CHECK!
  3. Run the whole thing- CHECK! (was inspired by one man who was wearing a sign that said "Walking is not an option!")
  4. Not compare myself to others- CHECK!
  5. Give it my all- DOUBLE CHECK!
  6. Come in under 2 hours- CHECK!
  7. Be happy no matter the outcome- CHECK!
When I picked up my packet at the convention center, I saw that there were pace groups forming, something that I never really thought about joining up. I was still a bit skeptical...but took a quick snap shot of the 2 hour goal sign anyway--for motivation!

I also finally got to meet Chris who writes about his fitness adventures over at Works in Progress. He is an inspirational distance runner and an all around great guy! So glad to have connected in real life!

Along with the packet I was SO excited to receive this sweet Monster Dash pullover shirt/jacket!! I love it and will be wearing it on my first post half run! The piping and logo's are reflective which I will need now that daylights savings time has plummeted Mpls into darkness at 4:30 pm! Thanks a lot!

I went home, had a great dinner and laid all my clothes out for the next day. I actually laid EVERYTHING out for the next day because I knew that if I didn't have my hair binder, keys and socks all sitting there I would be off my game. I even put my chip on my shoe and pinned my number on in advance. I felt like a kid getting ready for the first day of school!

My fantastically fast friend Adam and I took the bus down to the lakes about 7:25 am and spent some time warming up and checking the tents out. It was chilly, about 35 degrees (F) so I was layered up and needed to check my excess clothing and my camera! Once we walked over to the start line, we went our separate ways near our "pace" groups, I was of course near the people with the 2 hour goal, Adam was up near the 1:30, because, well, he is a machine!

with Adam heading over to check my stuff!

outside the bandshell at Lake Harriet !

Starting: I felt very prepared and actually wasn't nervous at all for the start of the race. I was mostly excited and pumped to finally be HERE, the goal I have been working towards for so long! I felt great the first few miles and was really blessed because the course is around the lakes that I run regularly. I felt strong and like my pace was maybe even a little aggressive around mile 3-4. I wanted to make sure I wasn't going too fast, but reminded myself that this was my chance to give it my all and "Go for broke!" Like a sign I saw at mile 4. So I kept my pace where it was.

One thing I do during races is set mini little goals for myself. I know that one of my larger race goals was not to compare myself to other runners, but my mini goals involve picking a person out ahead of me and trying to pass them. Not sprinting up to them and past, but just eventually catching up to them and moving past them. I try to pick someone who has a strong pace I think I can meet or beat and sometimes I have to change people!! I can't really surpass someone clipping along at a 7:40 mile!! It helps me not get too relaxed with my pace and to have something tangible to achieve during the run. I think if I had a Garmin, I would be able to pace myself much better, but would probably still do this cuz it's kind of fun.

Miles 5-6: I felt the speed of my pace catching up to me a little around miles 5-6, but instead of slowing, popped a shot block and had a little of my Tropical Fruit Tart Lara Bar!

Miles 7-9: I knew that a group of friends and family were going to be at mile 7 cheering me on, so I kept trucking!! I got to mile 7 almost exactly on time, but none of my peeps were there (oh-nos!) Turns out no one could get close to the course where we had anticipated they would so I just kept trucking!!

I was SO happy to have the playlist I did, it really kept me up beat and pumped! I needed it on the course also, because we ran out on a city parkway from miles 6-9 and then turned around. I completely forgot how HILLY the parkway is in some spots. It posed a bit of a mental challenge because all of my training had been on flat trails and roads. Luckily I reminded myself how strong I can be when I run on hills. I lengthened my stride and took the hills strong, pumping my arms and breathing deep, then just opened up and glided down them with long strides again. It felt amazing!!

I saw my friend Nicole out there about mile 9 cheering me on, it was exactly what I needed. That and I grabbed a raspberry hammer gel at a water stop! I wasn't actually stopping at any water stops, I wore 2 out of 4 bottles on my fuel belt and it was more than enough for me! Normally I wouldn't have grabbed the hammer gel since I hadn't tried it before, but I knew I was close to the 10 mile mark and that was where I was going to crank it up a bit. So I gelled.

Mystery mile pic from

Mile 10-11: Journey had come on my ipod around mile 10 and I saw my friend Jason (who was supposed to be at 7 but couldn't get there) screaming for me and cheering me on! That was what I needed!! There were still some more hills that I hadn't anticipated so seeing my friends was a great boost! I kicked it up a notch or two because hey, there was 3 miles left. 3 miles!!! That's less than 30 minutes and I knew that I could endure for 30 minutes. There were big signs all over the course with motivational quotes on them, I wish I could remember more, but one I saw said: "Pain is temporary, quitting is forever!" I upped my pace and tried to tune out my body, just feel the run and go for broke!

Mile 12: A new kind of pain=hip pain. I was totally thrown off by this, with just a little over a mile left, I was ready for anything, but I was baffled by my right hip grinding as I ran!! I was sure it had something to do with my slightly bum knee on that same leg, maybe they had finally joined forces to take me out, but this was not their day, it was mine!! So I ignored a bad runner. :)

My DAD was somewhere near mile 12 and we missed each other completely-probably because I was trying to refocus on the run and not my hip. I also saw my buddies Jenn and Mike who cheered and screamed for me like crazy people-- it was awesome!!

Then as I turned the corner to head down the home stretch of the lake parkway where we started I saw the huge orange arch of the finish line-I pushed it harder than I ever have in finishing a race! I was grunting and crying out as I saw the clock counting up, as I approached it was at 159:57 and I gave it my ALL at the end and crossed as it said 2:00:00, but my official time was 157:14!!! I had done it!! Completed the race, achieved my goals and was able to walk for the first time in 2 hours!!

I was promptly covered in hugs from Jenn, Mike and Adam (who finished in 1:37!!) and took some photos, watched some other finishers and got our food (yay for banana's and Nut Rolls!!) I got my sweats and we took off to head back home! I took a few photo's in my living room to show Dad, who was there but missed me and Mom who is on Vacay.


Once I got home, I filled and proceeded to overflow my bathtub!! I was busy looking online for my official, official time and didn't think about the running water. Gah! Runners high stole my brain for a bit. So, I took a lavender and epsom salt bath and then a 2 hour nap!! Then got up and got ready to get dinner by busting out my AWESOME charm necklace from I Declare and finally declared my self a half marathoner!

Then I took off to treat myself to some wonderful post-race food at Common Roots Cafe which is within walking distance of my house! I brought the latest Runners World with me and planned on taking my sweet time in eating and enjoying the cafe.

I ordered the squash risotto: butternut squash, leeks, sauteed greens, sage, pecans, and shredded parmesan and added chicken to it. I had a Peace Coffee on the side and a big glass of water! THIS was a wonderful dinner and a great way to treat myself and relax! They have votives around the cafe during dinner and it gets very cozy. It's like a little date with myself!

I had a blast training for the race and running it and think I am in love with the distance! Now that I have a time to compare with others, I will be running more and seeing if I can improve on this one. I don't know if I have been bit by the full marathon bug or not, 4 hours is a long playlist, ah I mean, a long time to run. I know that there are other half's coming up so I will be focusing on training for speed and beating my own time, my PR, thus far for the half marathon distance!

Oh, and here are my official stats:


busyrunningmama said...

Great job Mary! Love that you met all of your goals! Sweet medal and Jacket and I LOVE your I declare necklace. That was on my list too, but I don't think I will be running my first Half in December due to injury, so I guess I'll have to wait!!!
You did awesome and you should be so proud!!!!

Shan said...

Congrats, Mary! What a fun recap to read--so full of enthusiasm, joy, and positive energy. I ran the Chicago Half-Marathon in 1998 when I was 27; after that I was diagnosed with arthritis in my feet (I know; totally weird for a young adult, but it runs in my family) and had to stop all impact exercise (even walking) for several years. Luckily in the past 6 years (since my first pregnancy) the arthritis has improved and I've been able to resume running, though I have not done more than 6 miles at a time a few times a week. (Currently I'm doing a lot less, but that's due to other factors including having 2 small children to take care of and a lack of me-time!) But it's really fun to read about the experience of the half-marathon and think about that again! I always loved a major goal and if my bones/joints were healthier I'd totally try to train for a half or even full marathon someday...

Lori said...

Congratulations! You look so happy, too :D

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

Huge congrats Mary!! that race sounds so fun and really cool top!! That is weird about your hip, I hope it is OK. Love that you were able to wear your costume the whole time!

Nice earned it..

Jamie said...

Congratulations on accomplishing all of your goals and finishing your first half marathon. You ROCK!!!

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit said...

That is a monster accomplishment, Mary. Way to go!

BAM said...

Congratulations Mary! It sounds like you had a lot of fun achieving your goals.

Now, take care of that bum knee/hip combo girl!

teacherwoman said...

Way to go Mary! You ROCKED all your goals and then some! WAHOO!

I have heard of this race, and am thinking of talking my sister (who lives in the cities) to do it with me next fall!

Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point said...


ClaireBear said...

WOO-HOO! Awesome! Your blog is so inspirational to me and way to go on your half-marathon! I'm gonna be running my first race on Thanksgiving and I'm so excited about it!

Nicci@NiftyEats said...

Awesome job Mary, Congrats. Iloved the outfit and that is an awesome necklace too.

Foster Fitness said...

Good Job Mary! It is awesome to see you reach your goal!

Alison (Foster Fitness) :)

Jenn said...

Congrats! It really was a great race-wish I had a little better attitude during it though! There is nothing better than the feeling you get after completing your first half-no PR pressure!! Glad you had fun and you did great!!

greensandjeans said...

congrats! I did a half on the 1st as well and I am already looking to do another one before the race season ends!

lindsay said...

congrats on an excellent half! glad you enjoyed yourself and congrats also on meeting all of your goals :)

RunToTheFinish said...

wohoooo way to go on a really fabulous day!!! I love all the smiling pictures they are just so wonderful. glad it all went as planned...excpet the mile 7 meet up!

KK @ Running Through Life said...

CONGRATS Mary! Great recap and awesome time!!!

That Pink Girl said...

Way to go - congratulations!!!

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