April 13, 2013

Martian Half-Marathon race report

(I'm posting my Saturday "cat post" tonight, so this is just a bonus entry from my race today.)

As I've mentioned (way too often), I've been lusting after a sub-2:00 half marathon for about three years now--since I started running. Ever since I finished the Detroit Free Press Marathon in October, I've been concentrating on getting faster. I've been working my ass off to run a half marathon in a time that starts with a 1.

Today was the big day I've been training for! I had been running at an 8:45-ish pace for my long runs, so I was VERY confident that I would reach my goal today. It wasn't a question of whether I would PR, but rather by how much I would PR.

And then a couple of days ago, all the talk started about the weather, and how we were expected to get freezing rain, some snow, and super high winds on race day. Also, part of the course was flooded. This totally burst my bubble, and I was really worried that maybe I wouldn't meet my goal after all.

Last night, Jessica and I rode with one of her friends to the expo, where we picked up our packets. And you can't go to Dearborn, Michigan without eating Middle Eastern food, so we carb-loaded on rice and pita bread at La Pita. I got my usual chicken kabob, of which you've seen the picture a dozen or so times.

Last night, I had a hard time sleeping--which almost always happens the day before a race. I got up with Jerry this morning at 4:30, even though I didn't have to leave until almost 7:00. I ate a big bowl of oatmeal with strawberries and chocolate chips (a great combo, by the way!):

I drank a whole quart of water and two cups of tea. I dressed in my muscle tights and two long-sleeved black tech shirts, hoping it would be warm enough.

I drove to Kroger, where I was meeting Jessica, and her friend drove us to the race. The weather was nothing like I was expecting, which was a good thing! It was cold, but I was fine with cold; I just don't like freezing rain AND cold AND wind. The race directors handled the weather issue REALLY well--they rerouted the half and full marathon to avoid the flooding. I'm sure that was a huge pain for them to do, but everything went off without a hitch.

The new course

As soon as you cross the starting line of this race, it goes up hill--which actually didn't bother me, because at the beginning of the race, I was just wanting to MOVE and get warm. It was super crowded at first, and I had to weave around people for a while, but I finally settled into a semi-comfortable pace.

The first few miles, I recognized the course from the 10K that I've done two years in a row. The half-marathon course is usually an out-and-back course (which you know I love), but since they rerouted it to avoid the flooding, I had no idea what to expect. It was kind of fun, the not-knowing.

I got a LOT of comments on my muscle tights. It was so fun! They were a great conversation-starter with other runners. I kept hearing "Nice legs!" "Check out those glutes!" and "Great muscles!" They were a good choice to wear, because they kept me distracted from the fact that I was running, and because when I would hear a comment, it usually made me run faster ;)

The new route took us through subdivisions, which was actually really cool--a lot of times, we could see runners on the opposite side of the road, going the opposite direction. Around mile 5 or 6, I saw Jessica not too far behind me. I wanted to yell out really loudly, "Go Jess!" but I was tired! I barely managed to say, "Great job" in passing. Then I saw Ty, and again, I wanted to yell--but I just managed a wave.

Mile seven really hit me hard, and I felt very tired. I decided to eat a Shot Blok (I brought two of them along with me in the pouch of my handheld water bottle). They were really stale and stuck together (I never use fuel when running, so when I say stale, I mean so old I probably shouldn't have been eating them). It took me probably a half a mile to get the whole thing swallowed, and I was even more tired from all the effort. But by mile 8 or so, I was feeling better.

At around mile 10, I was ready for another Shot Blok. I was fumbling with it, and then I dropped it on the ground. Without hesitation, I picked it up, squirted a little water on it, and popped it in my mouth. It was all I had! After that, I started to think of all the shoes that were running on that ground after using porta potties. I was grossing myself out, so I tried to think of something (anything) else, while trying to chew the stale Shot Blok for nearly a mile.

At one point (mile 11 maybe?) we had to cross a bridge that freaks me out every time--it's part of the 10K course, so I've had to run over it before. It bounces up and down from all the runners being on it at once, and it feels like trying to jump on a trampoline with a dozen other people. Very strange to run on! (Runners who don't know about the bridge always gasp, or say, "What the?!" while crossing--it's kind of funny).

The course was pretty hilly (especially for someone like me, who doesn't have a single hill to train on!), but whenever I came to a hill, I made it a mission to run FASTER. I charged up the hills, and then sped through the downhills. Shortly after that weird bridge, I turned a corner and it was a very steep hill in front of me.

The bridge had worn me out a little, and then I charged up the hill, and when I got to the top, I felt the weirdest sensation--almost like I was going to faint. My feet felt like I was still on the bridge, and I got dizzy. My pace slowed to 8:50 ish, and I focused on one girl that had been pacing me the whole way, pretty much. I just tried to focus on keeping up with her, but she was slowing, too. I eventually passed her at around mile 12, where there was a big old hill.

I was SO relieved when I saw that I had just a mile to go. I tried to pick up the pace again, but I was really ready to be done. The wind was picking up, and it had been drizzling freezing ran on and off for a few miles. The last quarter mile or so was downhill, which was nice.

The last tenth of a mile was actually pretty fun, because there were a lot of spectators, and lots of people were yelling comments to me about my muscle tights. I had a big old smile on my face through the whole finisher's chute and when I crossed the finish line.

I had done much better than I even anticipated--I expected to finish in about 1:55 if all went well today. I stopped my Garmin... 1:52!

My splits:

 My official results:
I grabbed some food (my kids are lucky, because I run a race and then bring them each a cookie from the finish while I eat a banana), and then went to the finisher's chute to watch for Jessica. She finished in 2:01:01, taking 14 minutes off of her PR!
After that I was FREEZING, and we stopped at Starbucks on the way home. I got a decaf, mostly just for the warmth. After I got my car from Kroger, I went to the local bakery that makes the best doughnuts ever, and I got a peanut butter cream-filled doughnut to have after lunch. It was SO heavenly!

Anyway, I am THRILLED with my new half-marathon PR! Now, I feel like I can truly just run for fun, without trying to hit a certain pace. I've reached my major running goals, and it will be nice to just run by how I feel, and not worry if I am slowing down.

(By the way, thanks so much for the offers to pick up my packet, etc., if I should do Indy--but since I reached my goal today, Indy isn't an option anymore. Probably for the best, because I don't think I could have worked it out anyway! But I do have a registration that can be transferred until the 19th. I was going to try and sell it, but if one of my readers would like it, I'd be happy to give it away. The only condition is that you actually use it! ;)  Just send me an e-mail if you're interested in it.)


  1. Congratulations! I knew you would do it! When I'd read about your runs I just knew you'd get under 2 hours, like way under, and you did! :) I was excited to read your post today because I ran a 10k that is big here in town every spring. I ran it last year, but this year I beat my time from last year by 5 minutes. My time was 1:02:07. :)

  2. Oh, and I love oatmeal that way! I am trying to get my kids to eat it different ways. Their favorite way is with peanut butter and a crapton of chocolate chips. LOL

  3. Way to go!! I was hoping the weather would cooperate for you!

  4. Hi Katie, Congrats on your PR. I ran the 10k at the Martian today. I have been reading your blog for a while but never commented. Midway through my race i actually wondered if you had decided to wear those tights. How funny to remember that from when ever you had written about it. Those bridges were freaky. I felt like i was sea sick. I liked the race. I have only done one other 10k so I don't have much to compare it to. I am so glad that all that hard work paid off for you.

  5. Good job!! Rest up and enjoy your accomplishment!!

  6. Congrats - super cool accomplishment AND medal!

  7. Good job! You are an inspiration!

  8. Well done, you must be so proud of yourself :) An awesome achievement, you've come such a long way since Day 1 when you couldn't run at all. You inspire me! I'm hoping to run my first half marathon in August :)

    Also, I love those tights, they're crazy :D

  9. Yay! AWESOME job! Today on my 6 miles (tapering as we get close to the Nike Women's Half) I made it a point to run hard up each hill. Made me feel super strong when I'd get to the top of each bridge.

    Proud of you for y our PR!!

  10. Whooo hoo! Eat that doughnut with pride! :) You're run sounds like it was challenging, so the fact that you KILLED your PR makes it that much better. You go girl!

  11. Awesome job! Glad you hit your goal and then some! I know that fainting after a hill feeling, always interesting... That bridge sounds fun too! :)

  12. 1. LOVE those tights!
    2. I probably have commented before and told you you're inspirational, but you really are. I am signed up for a half in January. Right now I weigh the same that you did when you started losing weight. YOU are the reason behind what I'm working towards!

  13. love the tights... I just signed up for my fall half... its an ADORABLE run and such a family fun weekend!


  14. I forgot about Indy. I just checked my schedule and I'm working the 3rd into the 4th. :( If it was the 5th I might have taken you up on it!

  15. Nice race Katie. You smoked me (so did everyone else I know that ran today) :) That is a huge PR and great accomplishment!

  16. Your race sounds aweseome!! Congratulations on a job well done. So happy for you after all the hard work you have put in. Now - I will say.... I would have to say a trip to Dearborn does warrant a visit to Miller's.... but that probably would have blown a few too many points!! HAHA... yummy bar burgers and fries!

  17. Yeah! Great job Katie!

  18. CONGRATULATIONS!! I'm so happy for you, but I can't see this being it for you! I'm sure a flatter/faster course on a better weather day would make for an even better time!

  19. Congratulations on your PR!

  20. Congratulations on your PR! I just found your blog the other day - the recap from the Maritan last year. I train in that park often and those bridges ALWAYS freak me out. Yesterday it was much worse and I had to stop and walk over it I felt so dizzy. Then for another quarter mile or so I STILL felt like I was on that bridge!

  21. Congratulations on your PR! And those tights are so fun. I love wearing crazy outfits and costumes because I feel like a celebrity with all the attention I get at races. Plus, it's easier for my friends to find me and to find myself in the race photos.

  22. Super exciting news about your new PR :) Well done girl!!

  23. Great job! Those tights are really cool.

  24. YOU are awesome!! And those tights made me laugh out loud. I think I can see your IT band. ;)


  25. Congratulations! Did you know that the link to your rabbit's story just takes us back to your post from yesterday? :( I want to read her story!

  26. Delurking to say that I ran this yesterday and my husband saw your tights and loved them! He asked me if I saw "the girl with the muscle tights" because he thought they were cool! (No, I didn't see you because you were wayyyyy ahead of me.) I found your blog last year through pinterest and I did this race specifically because I saw it on your blog. It looked so cool!


  27. LOVE the tights!

    Great job on your time!!!! I love reading race reports and you definitely satisfied my craving for a good race report.

  28. Awesome job Katie- what a fantastic time!

  29. Love your muscle tights! I was at the same race but I did the 10k. And yes! That bridge made me freak out just a wee bit. LOL. Sorry I didnt know that you were there or I would have tried to meet you!!


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