March 25, 2012

Rock CF Rivers Half Marathon race report

Let me start by saying that I am so glad I didn't go into this race with the expectation of hitting my sub-2:00 goal! Today was not my day for racing, apparently.

It took me forever to fall asleep last night, and I didn't sleep well at all. I woke up before my alarm, at 4:15 this morning. I had oat bran for breakfast with milk and peanut butter, and a cup of tea. Then I drove to meet Jessica, Renee, and Andrea, and Renee drove to the race, picking up Alicia and Stephanie as well.

Alicia, Jessica, Andrea, me, Renee, Julia
The race was scheduled to start at 7:30, and we got there pretty early, so we took a couple of pictures while we waited. Then we waited in the long bathroom lines, of course. I got to the starting line about 2 minutes before the race started--and it started right on time, which was great.

I brought along my iPod, which I've never done for a race before. I remembered how awful my last race on Grosse Ile was (the Run Happy 8K), and nobody was talking during that race. I figured it would be the same, quiet run today, so I brought the iPod.

I popped a Clif Shot Blok in my mouth right as the race started, because I usually get caught up in the excitement, go too fast, and get a really dry mouth. Having the shot blok helped a lot. Almost immediately, I spotted a someone about 5 people deep in front of me with a shirt that had "" on the back--and I realized that I read her blog. So I tried to catch up to her to say hello, but there were too many people (and she was definitely speedier than me).

I tried to settle into a comfortable pace right away, but it was hard. There were a lot of people, and the race course bottle-necked us a couple of times right at the start. About a mile or so in, Johna (who I ran with a few times with Jessica in the beginning of our marathon training) came up from behind, and we ran together for a couple of miles. I had a bad muscle cramp in my left side from the very start of the race, and it was then that I realized today was definitely not my day for hitting the sub-2:00, so I was glad I stuck to my 'B' goal (which was to PR).

At mile 4, I ate a chocolate Gu that the race was handing out, and that gave me a little pick-me-up, so I sped up and that was the last I saw of Johna. Once I got to mile 6 or so, I was really looking forward to the water stations. I was thirsty! But they were more sporadic than I would have liked. I wished I had brought my water bottle belt thing.

At around mile 7, I was staying right on pace with this one guy for a while--we were running side by side. Then he'd pass me, and I'd pass him, and so on, playing leap frog until I passed him at mile 9 and didn't see him again until later.

I chatted with a woman for a minute about her Nathan handheld water bottle, asking if she liked it. At mile 10 or so, I felt like my legs suddenly turned to lead. The fatigue hit me fast. I ate my 'emergency' Gu from my SPI belt, and just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I wanted it to be over so badly!

At around mile 11, that guy from earlier passed me. I said, "Hey, not YOU again! I thought I passed you!" But I knew I had slowed down, and I was fine with that. I knew I would still PR, by quite a bit. I felt like I was dying for water the last 5 miles or so, but they had finally had a water station at mile 11, which I definitely needed. I drank two cups and kept moving along. The last mile felt really long.

I kind of wished I didn't bring my iPod with me, because a lot of the people on the course were friendly. I probably could have had some good conversations. I put the iPod in my SPI belt at mile 12, so I could be all-ears for the last mile.

I finally saw the finish line. We had to enter a high school track and run half a lap to finish. It was then that I heard Andrea yell out to me, "GO KATIE" really loud, and that boosted my spirits, which were feeling crappy at that point.  (Steph was kind enough to take some pics of me--I wish I knew that, so I looked a little nicer for the camera!)

The clock said 2:03:47 (which was more than my chip time), and I knew I crushed my previous PR of 2:10:40. I waved to Renee at the last minute and stuck my tongue out (as in, "Ugh, I'm so exhausted!") and I think that's probably what was captured in my race finish line photo, haha.


The Garmin time isn't my "official" result, but it's close:

I saw Alicia, but all I could think about was to find water. I was dying! I got my medal (they had soldiers handing them out, which I thought was so cool!) I thanked him for his service (the military, not handing out medals, haha), then went to find water. I grabbed two bottles, and chugged the first one down fast. Then I went and sat with Renee (1:48:??) and Alicia (who just said she had the worst race of her life, but she still beat me and PR'ed) and Stephanie (who walked the 5K, her first race, in 40:xx! That's a super fast walk). We saw Johna finish at 2:09:xx, and then Jessica at 2:13:xx (a PR for her).

While I was walking, I saw a very pregnant half-marathon finisher who looked familiar--so I said hi and introduced myself (I read her blog, but I don't think she had a clue who I was).

We went to check out the food, and they had PANERA bagels and homemade cookies--if my stomach felt up to it, I would have eaten some serious carb calories. I did take a blueberry bagel and a macaroon. I ate the macaroon right away, and it was AMAZING. But my stomach wasn't feeling up to the bagel, so I brought it home for lunch, and it was delicious.

Stopped for a group picture on the way to the car:
Me, Alicia, Andrea, Jessica, Stephanie, and Renee
My "official" results:
Chip time: 2:02:57 (9:23/mi pace) (crushed my previous PR of 2:10:40)
Overall placement: 454/834 (I was in the bottom half of finishers... good grief!)
Age group: 32/75

And my splits:
You can see where miles 12 and 13 were where I just felt exhausted--going from 9:09 to 9:31 and 9:36.

I'll post the race photos when they're ready on the website. Overall, I'm happy that I PR'ed, and I'm happy I didn't go for the sub-2:00, because I think I would have been very disappointed. The race was good, I would probably do it again next year--except I'd bring my own water for the course.

Race photos are in! A couple of good ones, a couple of bad ones...
My running form looks terrible here

My favorite of the pics

All race finish photos show me stopping my Garmin


  1. Good job!!! Very inspiring!!!

  2. Awesome job!!! It's a great course. Wish I had run it again this year since the weather was so nice. You are so close to breaking 2 hours! I know you'll do it for your next race. If not, I'll be happy to help pace you to it at another race in the area.

  3. Great job Katie!! It was a beautiful day for a race. Great job on an 8 minute PR :) Bummed I missed you.

  4. Fantastic Katie!! What an awesome time - congrats on the PR. That medal is SWEET by the way. Way to hang in when you were starting to feel tired.

  5. Awesome job! I just ran my first half on Saturday with a time of 2:26. My goal was 2:30 so I was very happy about that. It was a perfect morning and the campus of Notre Dame was beautiful. I really need to watch Rudy again and see all the places I ran by that are in the movie. My husband and 2 of my kids suprised me at the finish line. They had 2 giant pictures of me on sticks. I got so flustered when I saw them I forgot to turn and ran into some people LOL! Thanks for writing your blog and giving me motivation to keep going.

  6. Awe-inspiring! Can't beat feeling goo about your accomplishment AND helping a great cause in CF! Good for you Katie!!

  7. Great Job and congrats on your PR!

  8. You did great today!!! I was glad I was able to yell for you at the end. You are going to do great for your full!

  9. Congratulations on the major PR! Great time!

  10. Where do you find your races? You have inspired me to run! Call me crazy but I want to sign up for races with shirts. :)

  11. Your time was awesome! And you're so lucky to have so many runner friends.

  12. I can't wait to get some runner friends! I have one that I've never run with, but we're doing a race together in July. She invited some of her runner friends, so I'm hoping to get to know some more people. Until then, I race alone... :)

    You did GREAT Katie! I checked all day until this site updated with your new post. Proud of you and inspired to take myself further!

  13. Holy cow! She walked it in 40 minutes?! I ran my first 5k yesterday in 44:54! And great PR for you! You will totally have a sub-2:00 next time!

  14. CONGRATS!!! so awesome that you PR'd. One thing from the post that I'm wondering about: you asked a lady if she liked her hand-held Nathan water bottle... did she? I just bought one because I was able to save some $$ on it but I hope I don't regret it and wish I would have bought a hydration belt instead.

  15. WOW! That's an awesome time for a half marathon, and I bet it feels amazing to beat your previous time by so much! Go Katie, go!


  16. Yay! I think the pics of you look terrific! Everyone should look so lovely.

    Congrats on not only finishing, but beating your persona best.

    I cannot imagine running with a belly full of baby. I commend that woman AND your 40 minute 5K friend! Jeesh!

    Such inspiring ladies.

    I sprinted on my elliptical while thinking of your racing around. Baby steps.

  17. Nice job! I think your splits look great. I'd be happy if I was that consistent :)

  18. Very inspiring blog post - even though you didn't have a very good "feeling" race day! I'm very proud of you!!!

  19. What does the time mean? I see race times and I just don't get it. I see that and my mind automatically thinks 2 hours, which I know is not right.

    1. Actually, it is 2 hours--2 hours, 2 minutes, 57 seconds. When I talk about my runs under one hour, I just write the minutes and seconds (like 26:30 would be 26 minutes 30 seconds).

    2. Whoah! I am just beginning, and I run one minute and need to walk. I can not imagine getting to the point of being able to run two full hours! I just thought I was missing something.

      Thank you for clearing that up. I will remind myself of that when I'm trying to push myself to at least 3 minutes!

  20. so bummed that I missed you! I would have remembered the cute skirt, so I definitely never saw you. Congrats on the PR!! You are definitely going to crush the sub-2 soon. I really liked the course too and I agree on the water. I brought my own and it made it that much easier.

  21. That's awesome!!! Congrats on your PR!!! May I just say, all of the ladies in the photos are beautiful, but you look exceptionally cute in your purple skirt and headband, nice accessorizing!

    BTW: I hope you are able to find that PB and almond butter I saw, at your Meijer...I saw them at the Meijer in Lapeer.

  22. Thank you so much for coming up to me after the race!! it was so nice meeting you. Hopefully we will see each other again at future races.

    Great job yesterday and big congrats on the PR!!!

  23. Congrats on your PR- amazing time! I've done 4 halfs and I am going to begin training soon for my first full. I've had stomach issues too during and after a race and I found a podcast that you might be interested in. The hosts are normal everyday people and they have some great advice about fueling that is like nothing I've tried before and so far in my long runs, it's working. I haven't had any stomach issues since.
    Thanks for always sharing so much with us.

  24. Great job! You beat a guy friend I know who did the same race!

  25. OMG Kastie, You looked GREAT! And when you realize you just ran 13 miles, you looked esp. GREAT! Loved the purple sparkly skirt and matching headband. Must be fun to have so many friends who like to run too. You all looked amazing, both before AND after the race. Your friend who walked must have really been booking it too--that is a super fast 5K time. I can relate more to the walking time, since I don't run much, and I know I could never do a 5K in 40 minutes! I can't even walk ONE mile in 15 minutes--how slow am I???? I'm going to chalk up my slowness to being really old--no denying it--61 is OLD!

  26. Awesome job!!!!!
    I have found that now that I wear a fuel belt and garmin I NEED THEM! it is soooo mental! even if i dont drink the water that is fine just knowing it is available is what I need!

  27. GREAT job!
    Just as I was getting to feel like I may be a runner, I went on the injured list after my first half a couple of years ago.
    I have signed up for a half in August but I just can't get my head back in the game now. Plus I am still having a few injuries.
    I admire those of you who can push yourself through!!

  28. Great work! And I love the sparkle skirt.

  29. Whoo hoo! Way to go, Katie. I honestly don't know how you (or anyone) runs that far...or for two hours straight! I just finished my first running 5K and was so excited to beat 40 minutes - if your friend WALKED that, I need to ramp up my times!


  30. AWESOME!! I love hearing about the whole experience :) Thanks for sharing!

  31. I read a post shortly before my marathon that had last minute tips.. things like "clip your toenails" and "use body glide." My favorite of them all was "smile for the camera" and they explained that waiting a few moments after finishing to pause your garmin and giving a big smile was a great way to end with a great picture. Best advice I've ever been given. You look great!! Keep it up :)

  32. Great job, always inspiring to read your running accomplishments...maybe someday I'll be a runner too :) For now my friend and I are walking the Columbus half, it's a good start I guess and we're trying to have fun together while exercising too


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