After a pretty restless night’s sleep, the alarm went off at 4:15. Breakfast was 2 pieces of Ezekiel toast with almond butter, a cup of coffee and a glass of water. I started getting ready and vaselined my toes and put Body Glide AND Vaseline on the arch part of my foot where it has been blistering. I also decided on a tank and shorts with compression socks. According to Weather.com it was going to be 50 degrees at start time and mostly sunny. I knew I’d be cold before we got going but would warm up pretty quickly.
J dropped me off near the start just before 6 a.m. (And then he went and ran 20 miles at a 7:15 pace! So jealous.) I got in line for the porta potties right away and noticed that I was wearing significantly less clothing than others. I might’ve started second guessing my wardrobe selection at this point, but once I started running, I was SO glad it’s what I decided on.
The porta potty line moved pretty quickly and then I headed over to the start area. I did a minimal amount of dynamic stretching (I need to be better about this) and then lined up just in front of the 9:00 pace sign.
My strategy going into the race was just to break two hours. A finish time of 1:59? Awesome. So I decided I would try to do the following:
Miles 1-3: maintain a 9:13 pace
Miles 4-10: maintain a 9:05 pace
Miles 11-13.1: maintain an 8:57 pace or give it all I’ve got.
Well it didn’t exactly turn out that way but I still feel like I ran a smart race. In general, my approach in races is to start out a bit slow and finish fast. But this race I ended up keeping a pretty consistent pace, but did end up finishing a bit faster than I started.
I also feel like my fueling/nutrition was pretty spot on. I did a good job of hydrating during the day on Saturday and then during the race I took water at every aid station except for the first (at mile 2) and the last (at mile 12-ish) — I didn’t take any of the sports drink. I also took the first half of my GU at mile 6 and the second at mile 10.
Mile 1: 9:05
The first mile was actually kind of challenging for me — mentally, not physically. I was so focused on not going out too fast but getting my pacing just right that I was getting frustrated with all of the people who were passing me. So I’m pretty happy that the first mile came in not too far off from what I had planned.
Miles 2-6: 8:59 , 8:45, 8:46, 8:50, 8:42
These were the miles that flew by but I was still struggling a bit in my head. First, my left shin was giving me some issues. By the time that went away, it was my left calf. Then it was my right calf.
It was also at this point that I decided to throw my original pacing strategy out the window and run at the pace that felt good, which was right around 8:45. Between thinking about whatever part of my body was hurting, I would get distracted by running in a part of Minneapolis that I’ve never run in before!
Mile 7: 8:43
I think I started to doubt my ability to hold my pace right around mile 7.5. Something I’ve never felt before in my right hip started to worry me. Not pain — just tightness. I focused on shortening my stride and taking one mile at a time.
Mile 8: 8:42, Mile 9: 8:50
At this point, I had been running with the same people for a few miles and I made it a point to not let them pull away. I was determined to keep my pace and luckily, it seemed like they were too. And then I got a second wind (maybe when my GU kicked in) around mile 9.
(Also at this time, we ran by my spin studio! Kind of cool to be running on a street that was shut down that’s usually so busy.)
Mile 10: 8:53
Nothing too exciting here — just was trying to put one foot in front of the other and hold my pace. I took the other half of my GU and some water at the aid station right before mile 10.
Mile 11: 8:43
Somewhere around mile 11.5 we ran across the Stone Arch Bridge, right near where I got married and one of my favorite places to run! That gave me a little pep but then I just couldn’t stop thinking about how badly I wanted the race to be over.
Mile 12: 8:47
I run in this area pretty often so at this point I was able to visualize the distance I had left to go and it helped me hold onto my pace.
Mile 13: 8:24
Now the last time I ran this race, the course was different and you basically ended at the top of this awful hill. This year, the finish was at the bottom of that hill (you come from the other direction). That downhill was awesome and I gave it all I had (you can see it in my last mile split) but the 400 meters or so that followed after getting to the bottom of the hill were ROUGH. I’m pretty sure that quite a few people passed me around this point. You took a big turn where the marathoners split off from the half marathoners so I couldn’t ever actually see the finish until I rounded that turn, which was just awful.
I finished in 1:56 which is exactly 7 minutes faster than my previous PR of 2:03, set at the Garry Bjorkland Half Marathon, just over one year ago! And that marks race #9 of the year complete!
I’m jumping all over the place, but this was an amazing course. Seriously, I don’t give Team Ortho props for many things but I love, love, loved this course. Minus the handful of hills (they could’ve been way worse) the course is awesome and overall pretty flat — slightly downhill even.
I also realized that the fun part about running longer distance races by yourself and without music is taking in your surroundings and listening to other conversations. I heard one woman telling her friend about crossing the finish line at Boston just moments before the first bomb exploded. Unreal. Running races by yourself also means asking others to take your picture after the race — but I totally bonded with others who were there alone and we took turns taking each other’s pictures.
The not fun part about running races by yourself is having to walk your tired/sore body home 3.5 miles. You know that blister that wasn’t so bad when I finished running? Yeah got much worse after I finally made it home. And I was unbelievably crabby by then as well. But my Fitbit stats looked like this at the end of the day:
Oh and if you’ve made it this far in getting through this obnoxiously long recap, you’ve made it to the most important part: I officially give the Oiselle Stride Short two giant thumbs up! I wasn’t so sure after my test run on Thursday but I think it was getting used to wearing compression shorts in general. I will say they rode up just slightly from when I was standing waiting for the race to start and when I started running. But then, they didn’t budge. And absolutely no chafing! I still might order a smaller size and see how they compare in fit. So thanks, Hillary, for your recommendation!
Did anyone else race this past weekend? How’d it go?
Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Health and Fitness Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.