Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Just Run Half Marathon Recap

Happy Tuesday that feels like a Monday to you...

Last week, I signed up to run a half marathon in a pretty little college town about an hour away.  It promised to be a good race - lots of scenery, a very small, competitive field, and a chance to run the last 13 of my 20 miler with other runners to distract me.

I woke up on Saturday, got ready and waited for my buddy Matt to pick me up for the trek out to Stevens Point.  While I was waiting, I noticed a little note on the counter:

I am a lucky woman!

Matt and I found the race start, laced up and got in an easy almost seven miles (hey, if DailyMile rounds up, I can too.)

I actually felt pretty crappy during the warm-up run, and considered a DNS.  My knee was killing me, I felt there was a decent possibility of having to find a spot on the course to deal with some GI issues, and I just felt tired.

We kept it an easy 10:15/mile pace, and headed back to the car to stock up on provisions for the run.

Pretzels on a string?  Yes, I am a genius.

A klutzy genius.  Sad after dropping my pretzels in the parking lot.  

 The race started on a bridge, and the sun was shining beautifully off the water.  There were about 120 half marathoners and another hundred or two 5k runners who split off about 100 yards into the race, so the start had that fun, tiny race feel.

I ran the first mile with Matt and went on ahead when he stopped to walk through the water station.  I had hoped to run 10 minute miles through mile 8 or 9, and then push it if I had anything left.

Mile 1 - 10:05
Mile 2 - 10:04
Mile 3 - 9:51
Mile 4 - 9:42
Mile 5 - 9:40

About five miles in, I was feeling GOOD.  Fluid, easy.  Wanting to pick up the pace, but trying to remember that I was actually running 20 and not 13.  I did not want to crash and burn at the end.

Mile 6 - 9:03

When I saw the 9 minute mile on my Garmin, I thought, "Wouldn't it be hilarious if I could pick it up enough to go sub 2?"  
Mile 7 - 8:57
Mile 8 - 8:50
Mile 9 - 8:29

Miles 7-9 just cruised by.  Easy auto-pilot miles, and I rarely looked at my Garmin.  I knew I'd have to pick it up to get my average pace down to 9:09 (for a sub 2 finish) but I felt great and was loving the faster pace.

This course was had some loop portions, so there were plenty of opportunities to cheer for the faster runners ahead of me and also the walkers that had started an hour earlier.  I made it my goal to cheer for every single person I saw, and I did.  

There were also a lot of middle and high school kids out on the course playing their band instruments, and it was awesome. 

Mile 10 - 8:20
Mile 11 - 8:19

After mile 11, I started feeling pretty tired.  I cranked up the tunes and thought about how bummed I'd be if I put in all of the work over the last hour and didn't get under two hours. 

Mile 12 - 8:16
Mile 13 - 8:16

The finish was in a pretty park, and I cruised into the finish, happy to be done, but still feeling pretty strong.  A glace at the clock brought a smile to my face:


***In the spirit of full disclosure, I feel I have to mention that this course was pretty short.... about a quarter mile by my Garmin and the Garmins of the people finishing around me.  But, my pace was still under 9:09, so I'm counting it as under two hours.  :)

Just Run Half Marathon
9:01 pace
Overall:  56/122
Division:  11/25
Sex: 25/70

This was my last long run before my FIRST MARATHON, and it was a good confidence booster.  Enough that I think I'll actually register today... :)

Do you prefer big or small races?  I really like both, but there there's something special about the community feeling of a tiny local race.

Do you try to run negative splits when you race, or do you prefer an even pace?  I love negative splits... the races where I feel happiest at the finish line are those when I took it easy in the beginning and had energy for the second half.  


  1. congrats! I love the sweet good luck note. How encouraging. Good job on picking up the pace. I love when I have great runs like that!

  2. Gah you're so speedy! Great job! I love the race combo move... I need to find another one for my second 20 miler!

  3. Awesome job!!! I am thinking I might do the same thing as you for my 20 miler. It lands on the weekend of FCM so I might just run 7 to the start line and then do the 13 back home. It really works out so that I don't even have to have a car at the start or finish then. Kind of weird. (I live like 3 blocks from Riverside Park)

  4. Gawd, but I hate your tiny, speedy ass.

    I ran 5 miles in 46:40 and almost lost my cookies in a ditch, and you hammered out a sub-2 half after a 7 mile warmup. GAH!

    See you at FCM, where my relay team will be eating your tiny, speedy dust!

  5. Rounding up is totally acceptable:)
    Glad you started the race and had such an enjoyable run.

  6. so many amazing things about this!!!! first the way you ran it was so beyond perfect! you finished so strong...a HUGE confidence booster for your marathon! girl you are going to rock it! i so wish I could return the favor for how many amazing things you are doing for me and be right back by your side the next week to help you through that 26.2 but I know you will be amazing. and hey...we have 7 miles to again reflect on how awesome this race was for ya and how excited you are for your big dayyyy! LOVE THIS! you absolutely dominated!!! also...pretzels on a string = genius!!!!

  7. Congratulations on running a sub-2 half especially after running 7 miles before that! It sounds like you are more than ready for your first marathon.


Hearing from you makes me happy! :)

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