September 01, 2012

Women Rock MN race report

I think a combination of nerves and being in an unfamiliar house made me not sleep much at all last night. I wished I hadn't announced that I was going to try for a sub-2:00 half-marathon today, because I was putting pressure on myself.

Anyway, Renee and I got up at 5:30 ish and got ready to head out. Brian drove us to the finish line of the race, so we could check our bag and then take the shuttle to the starting line (the starting line wasn't the same as the finish). Once we checked our bags, we got on a bus that took us to the start. By the time we got there, we had about 15 minutes before the start of the race, and we were at the back of the porta potty lines.

The announcer called 2 more minutes when we were finally first in line. We hurried through the porta potties, and then got to the start right with just a few seconds to spare. I hopped in right with the the 1:55 pacer--I knew I wasn't going to hold that pace, but the next pacer was a 2:00 time (9:10/mi), and I wanted to try to stay ahead of that.

As soon as the gun sounded, I ran with that first pacer for a while, feeling pretty confident. But my mouth was SO DRY. That always happens to me during races--the first mile or two, I'm so nervous that my mouth feels like cotton. After about a half-mile, I decided to just fall back a little, and then I heard what sounded like a stampede coming up behind me. It was the 2:00 pacer, and a ton of people surrounding her. It was so hard to run with tons of people around me.

I heard my Garmin beep, so I looked at the time--9:17 for the first mile. As soon as I saw that, I felt defeated. I would have a lot of catching up to do if I wanted to finish sub-2:00. So I just decided to forget it, and fall back to a comfortable pace. I was feeling really disappointed, and I wished I'd never set a time goal--I hate setting time goals, because when I don't meet it, I always feel down.

I was feeling kind of crappy, but a little before the turn-around at mile 3, I saw Renee (she had already turned around, and was coming back). We high-fived as we were running, and she looked like she was doing awesome. She looked really determined, and it made me stop feeling sorry for myself and change my plan. I thought, "Renee wouldn't give up if she didn't reach her goal--she'd still try and do her best!" So I decided to make it my mission to catch up with the 2:00 pacer (a near-impossible task).

I was really not expecting all the hills in this race. The elevation chart looked like it was pretty flat--well, it wasn't. I took full-advantage of the downhills, and tried my best to hold a good pace on the uphills. At around mile 6, I started to feel a hot spot on my foot that I prayed wouldn't turn into a blister. I had brought my Mizuno's to race in, but I really should have brought my Brooks. The Mizuno's give me a blister on my right foot for anything over 6 miles or so.

I kept seeing my overall pace getting slower and slower, and it was bumming me out. My "A" goal was sub-2:00. My "B" goal was to PR (faster than 2:02:57). When I realized THAT wasn't going to happen, I made up a "C" goal of running all sub-10:00 miles. There was a huge hill around mile 11, and my pace was an 11:xx mile (I'll have to check my splits when I get home). So then I made a "D" goal of finishing with an average pace under 10:00/mi. And I did that! Thank goodness, because the only other goal (my "E" goal) would have been to just finish, regardless. So I crossed the finish line, and after stopping my Garmin, it read: 2:08:45. My official time:

I obviously wasn't thrilled with the results, but I am happy to have finished and to have at least completed one of the goals. My only regret is putting pressure on myself to run a sub-2:00 half-marathon. I've been training to run a sub-5:00 marathon; NOT to run a sub-2:00 half-marathon! So I couldn't possibly expect that I would blow away that goal with ease.

After I finished, I found Renee and we went to the after-party to enjoy our "bubbly".
Of course, we had to get a photo with the Michigan flag...
Then we went back to the finish line to watch people finish. I LOVE to watch the last people of the HM crossing the line. The first-place marathoners were starting to cross then, too. Renee and I laid in the grass and enjoyed the nice weather!
Final thoughts on the race: It was very well organized, a super fun atmosphere, and a gorgeous course. I was expecting it to be flat, but I was totally wrong. It was fun that we got unique swag, too--instead of a t-shirt, we got jackets. And instead of medals, we got pendants. We also got a champagne flute. It was nice to have different stuff than the usual race things we get. For being a first-year race, I thought it went perfectly.

During the race, I was mad at myself for not sticking to my goal, but got over that quickly. Now, I am happy to have finished, despite it feeling much tougher than I planned. I don't know if I'll ever run a sub-2:00 HM, and I'm okay with that. I actually think it's more fun to run slowly and enjoy the view of an unfamiliar city.


  1. Was Bummed I didn't get to see you! I think one of these days real soon you will PR on a 1/2. I totally agree with you on the course - way more hilly than I was expecting too! Hope you have a good trip home!!

  2. great job. my goal for my 1/2 is under 3 hr. sigh. why do you love watching the last of the 1/2 marathon finishers? you'd be seeing me coming in at the way end!

  3. Go for sub 2:00 at Rock CF with me in March. Cool and flat, as you already know!

  4. Good work Katie! You continue to inspire. I ran a HM PR today by 5 minutes. I'm still far from a sob-2:00 though.

  5. I've read your blog for a while, but have never commented. I ran the half this morning too - I wasn't expecting the hills either, but I was able to PR with a time of 2:03:29! I have also lost 100+ lbs and became a runner along the way. I am running my 1st full marathon in October. You are an inspiration!

  6. Great job! You're still way ahead of me, I'm still completing my couch to 5k training. I'm not even close to three miles yet!

  7. I ran the half as well-- from chatting with other ladies with Garmins, it sounded like the course might have been long, actually (which Team Ortho has done before several times, I've heard). Mine (which read exactly 13.1 after my last half two months ago) read just under 14 miles when I crossed the finish, and I ran the tight turns so I wouldn't add on too much mileage. I confirmed this fact on MapMyRun when I got home as well, so you probably ran way better than you think!

    Congrats on a great race! Love the blog-- been a lurker for a while, and thought I'd finally pipe in!

  8. Good job on making the most of it!!! Woo hoo!! You are still an inspiration, no matter what your time - we are inspired by your perseverance!

    Evidently there was one lone man at the Women's race?!?! Looking at your overall placement vs. your gender placement indicates that there had to have been a guy in the midst. Yeah, funny that THAT was what stood out to me!! HA!

  9. You did awesome! Like you said, you are training for a time goal for the full marathon, not the half. And better to do what you did than hurt yourself and screw up your marathon chances!!

  10. OMG you're so hard on yourself.
    I did five miles yesterday for the second time ever, the four to five mile I ran in 11:33-- the fastest ever for me.

  11. Great race and you did do awesome!! It's OK to set big goals and then have to readjust. In fact I think it's better to "shoot for the moon and land in the stars" than to just shoot for "safe." I tend to shoot for safe and it's probably a disservice - shooting bigger forces you to challenge yourself and overcome obstacles… and yes even readjust if necessary. I admire your ability to do that.

  12. Katie - I think you did an awesome job! I agree with Jen that it's good to set yourself big goals, but as you mention in your post - there were a lot more hills than you were expecting and I'm sure this played a part in your time. I may only be a beginner with running, but I really struggle with hills and have to slow my pace right down in order to cope with them.

    It looks like you had a fab time there and it looked like a fun race - well done! I know you're disappointed - but keep your chin up - you're such an inspiration to me and so many others :-D

  13. Katie.. YOU KICK A$$! I am NOT fast but I'm consistent. Sometimes when I race I do that same thing.. I get angry about not being able to be faster. BUT, I'm stronger than yesterday and more determined than ever... so I force myself to remember that. Congrats... You really are an inspiration to me. :)

  14. Great job Katie! As I was scrolling through Pinterest this morning, I found this blog discussing shoe problems and how to lace your shoes to avoid them. Hopefully this might help you with black toenails and hotspots wile you run! Interestingly enough, her name is Katie too. :)

  15. Hi Katie,

    This is my first comment, but I've been following your blog for a couple of months now, and read many of your early posts (found you through sparkpeople).

    I just wanted to A) show my support for once by letting you know I, one more reader, exist, and B) by adding (as others have I'm sure) that I'm certain those hills made the difference in your time. I'll bet you could've rocked the sub 2 on flatter terrain. And, hey you still have that to look forward to, hills or no, one day!

    Also, I wanted to let you know I enjoy your casual blog. I find it fun to read about your day with the boys and hear your stories of post-run treats and things. I also enjoy reading about your efforts, and am happy to let you know I'm here rooting you on. You ROCK!

  16. As usual Katie--I think you're amazing and way too hard on yourself. My God girl, you ran 13 miles! Could have even imagined doing that 100 lbs. ago???

  17. You did GREAT!!! I loved the pictures. I need to find a race that has champagne at the end. ;)

    You're awesome!!

  18. I felt the same way about not reaching my same goal of sub 2. But I think you are right - it's about enjoying the experience and finishing is such an accomplishment in and of itself.
    This is going to sound weird, but I remember reading you from the OD days YEARS ago, and it's such a thrill to catch up on your blog! You've been such an inspiration.

  19. Nice running Katie! You finished about an hour before I did. :) I'm disappointed that I didn't see you around, I would have loved to say hi and introduce myself! They ran out of pendants by the time I crossed the finish line...which is kind of crappy since I was registered for this race since February! They will be mailing them to us.

  20. Awesome job! I know you are frustrated with yourself but just know you are still inspiring the rest of us :)


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