A 1/2 marathon story: 2 weeks to glory?

Friday night I loaded up the Subaru (and my husband!) for the trek to my parent’s farm. But on the way we had an important stop to make — race packet pickup!

After staying up too late chatting and watching the Twins (playing on the west coast which made for a late game start) I finally tried to get my race eve sleep.

Staying up late before races seems to be a recurring problem for me. Maybe something to think about for next time…

Rather than go through a long play by play of the 1/2 marathon on Saturday, which may take awhile for me to write and you to read, I’m going to share some bullet points. Easy and concise. Maybe.

But first, the obligatory photos.

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Apparently I am a super-dork. My sister Julie is not.

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JR and I just before leaving.

Yup, he chauffeured me to the race with curbside drop off. Though with a field of 89 in the half marathon traffic wasn’t exactly tight.

I think the 5K and 10K each had several hundred runners, but it was still a nice, small event with under 1,000 total.

Okay — now for those bullet points.

Things that were awesome (or at least good)

Logistics
The beauty of small races includes no parking congestion or giant bathroom lines. I got to use a real, clean, indoor bathroom twice before the race started with barely any wait. Fabulous.

The other runners
Everyone from the girl in zebra-striped apparel to the oober-competitive chick in a bra and bun huggers.

Actually, I was too slow to interact with either of these two. But everyone I did run near was friendly and encouraging. When the course was feeling lonely or long I was able to strike up a little chit chat just when I needed it.

The weather, sort of
The rain mostly held off and we didn’t have severe weather or scorching heat.

When I first looked at the forecast 10 days ago it seemed my pale Norwegian skin would be burned to a crisp under hot, sunny skies. A few days later it sounded like thunderstorms were imminent. What we ended up with was 50* and overcast with rain waiting until the afternoon. And wind. Oy, the wind. More on that later.

Family
Having my dad see me finish, waving to JR as he drove by us running in the early miles, and hearing my sister’s congratulations were all awesome. I can’t remember that any of them have seen me race before, and it was special to have my own “support squad.”

(I can’t believe we didn’t take any family photos at the picturesque lakeside finish. I suppose I’ll blame exhaustion and post-race chills for that.)

The lake shore
The first mile brought a nice view of the beach and the last 4 or 5 miles showcased awesome shoreline with homes, parks, a resort, and more. Overall it’s a pretty course.

The middle miles do get monotonous on a straight stretch of county highway — into the wind.

My time
Not the best ever, but I think it still qualifies under the headline of “at least good.” πŸ™‚

For those of you waiting for the result, I finished in 1:55:10. A good time for me, but about 30 seconds slower than I ran 2 weeks ago.

But can a person really stew about 30 seconds?

Well they can, but what good does that do?

And this was a hard fought race for me. I do feel I ran well. Between the wind, my lack of a garmin or pacers (or iPod), and the fairly challenging hills, I can’t be disappointed. Of course I wish I could have skimmed off a few seconds, but 1:55 is still my 2nd best time ever. I’m happy.

Post-race meal
While the offerings of water, bananas, yogurt, etc at the finish were fine, my stomach was in too many knots to eat much of anything. The awesome lunch of chicken in mushroom sauce, veggies, fresh rolls, cheeses and carmel bars my mom made was perfect.

My stomach was still unhappy with me, but I ignored it enough to enjoy the comfort food.

Things that weren’t so awesome

Wind
This tops the list for sure. It wasn’t terrible wind, but for at least 4 or 5 miles we ran a straight stretch of highway head on into the breeze.

Fighting it was tiring, but it also made my ears, fingers, and arms super chilly. Shorts and t-shirt were fine except for this windy stretch when I wished for a jacket and mittens.

Exhaustion
Do you ever have those “Oy, this is wretched; WHY am I doing this?” moments during a race?

I didn’t two weeks ago, but this race made me question my sanity a few times. The last big hill around mile 9 reduced my legs to pudding, and I wanted to call it quits. Of course I forged ahead. And I did give a few silent thank you’s that I was running a half marathon and not somewhere in the middle of a 26.2 mile course.

Comparatively, I was more sore and tired after this race than 2 weeks ago too.

Stomach issues
It’s weird, but after a (slow) long run I’m starving and usually ready to eat right away. My stomach might be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t stop me from chowing down.

After a long (faster) race, I just can’t eat that way. It’s taken me 6 – 8 hours after each of these races to get past the upset stomach and feel normal.

I’m sure most runners go through some degree of this, but who knows. Is this normal?

No music
I’ve virtually quit running outside with music, but I do crank up the tunes on the treadmill. Given that I’ve run 100% outside this month I didn’t really think much about needing the neglected iPod.

Besides, it’s a pain to wear an arm strap or decide where to carry it. And if it started pouring rain I might wreck the thing.

I just left it at home to avoid the decision dilemma. Let’s just say this was one race where it would have been nice to blast a little pick-me-up. Almost zero spectators (aside from water stop support) makes a race feel longer too.

And I think that’s it for the “not so awesome.”

In the end, 2 weeks didn’t exactly lead me to a new and glorious PR. But it was certainly more good than bad, and I’m happy I worked another 1/2 into this spring season!

Saturday afternoon brought a thick downpour which again made me thankful for our dry race.

Things were well at the farm when we returned in the afternoon, and I only had one new calf to meet.

I was doubly spoiled with food on Saturday night when we decided to go out. A Japanese sushi/steakhouse place was our pick, and my fried meat, rice, and veggie creation was delicious.

We were both still hungry, so this was our “dessert.”

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I’m still learning to like sushi, and rolls like this surely help.

Happy Monday all. If you raced this weekend I hope you have happy tales to tell!

About Lisa

Hi, I'm Lisa. Dairy farmer's wife and Minnesotan to the core, I write about rural farm life, running down country roads, and the food, faith, and family that bind everything together. Follow along on my journey.
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11 Responses to A 1/2 marathon story: 2 weeks to glory?

  1. Runblondie26 says:

    It’s hard doing races (especially loger ones) that close together. Great job holding it together and having such a strong race!

  2. bearrunner says:

    Don’t be hard on yourself, that’s two half’s in two weeks both under 2 hrs!!

    Congratulations!!!!!!!!

    Cheers

  3. sweatykid says:

    I have found that it’s hard to move to the “next level” too soon after a PR effort like yours from a few weeks ago, so to be within 30 seconds of your PR (at the half distance, no less) looks pretty outstanding to me! Sounds like it was a gut-through-it type of day, conditions-wise. I bet that after another cycle/build-up you’ll find yourself ready to lop off another significant chunk of time.

  4. Terzah says:

    I think you did *great* considering you ran an all-out one two weeks ago! Congratulations!

  5. You did great! I think PRs are made up of more than just training. Wind and hills definitely affect things so the fact that you missed your hard-fought PR by just 30 seconds I think proves that this race was a stellar performance because it sounds like a harder course and especially a harder day. I know what you mean about wanting music though – I definitely felt that need for a boost during the half I ran in February. Brutal. Are you planning on doing any more races this spring/summer?

    • Lisa says:

      Probably focusing on a few 5K and 10K races this summer, no specific ones planned yet. For fall I think I’ll sign up for Twin Cities 10 mile lottery, and if that doesn’t work then maybe think about a different 1/2 somewhere. Marathon is still in the way back of my mind too… πŸ™‚

  6. Bree says:

    Wow another great race! I’m curious to know where it was. I like smaller races, too.

  7. Dana says:

    I think that is amazing to finish only 30 secs slower than your PR two weeks ago!
    On the tummy issues — I have the same thing. Sometimes I’m hungry after a race and I want to chow down but that usually leaves me running to the bathroom within 20 minutes of finishing my meal.

  8. Christina says:

    Congratulations on finishing the 1/2! I’m sort of the same, I really can’t eat much for a long time after a run. I usually can get a Luna bar down or a few bites of a sandwich, but that’s about it. So many runners seemed to have tackled a big run this past weekend πŸ™‚

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