moving forward, running

Great Western Half Marathon 2014, the good, the bad, and the ugly…

Race day started a little like this:
I woke up this morning just before 3 am to pee…and couldn’t fall back to sleep. When I retain water, I feel it first in my hands and as soon as I woke up I realized I couldn’t get my rings off…the scale confirmed added water weight, and immediately got nervous. I tried to go back to sleep with no luck, so I was starting race day with about 4 hours of sleep. Ack.
I got up at 0540 hrs and slowly started getting ready. My gear was all set out, so thankfully I didn’t have to think about too much. I was ready…
I came downstairs, had my Nuun water and scoop of peanut butter with chia seeds…it’s my go to pre-race fuel as my stomach often likes to act up on race day.
I met the girls at the school where the buses were shuttling runners to the race, and we were lucky enough to have Katy’s husband drop us off. We were there with a good 45 minutes to spare, so we checked our bags and made our way to the porta potties. It was windy, overcast, and quite cold but made for perfect running conditions (minus the wind). I did a 1/4-1/2 mile loop to warm up, and soon it was time to settle in to our respective starting time waves.

Sole sisters true and true
Sole sisters true and true

I went into this race with NO expectations. I wanted to finish, and not die. My winter running has been sporadic to say the least, and the polar vortex of Chiberia kept me indoors most of the winter which meant 2-3 miles on the dreadmill, and walking the halls of the hospital on lunch break. Thankfully the last month or so I have managed to get my long runs in on the weekends, but the longest I’ve done in 2014 is 10 miles. I have, however, been working on my speed work outs ensuring at least 1-2 of my short runs were at desired race pace or faster. I worked so hard to get my speed last winter, which often curtails in the summer due to full marathon training and heat which slows me down. This year, however, I will NOT be running any full marathons, so my goals early in the year were speed. Yet I digress…back to the race.
Me and Katy!
Me and Katy!

Runners at the start
Runners at the start

Circle of shoes
Circle of shoes

As our wave took off, I watched Janel and Melissa take off at breaking speed…I smiled, knowing my own limitations of having to hold myself back the first few miles in order to save gas for the end. Katy and I hung together the first couple miles, and around mile three it was time to break away and run my race.
I. Felt. Great. I was running at a pretty constant pace of 9:20 the first few miles…breakdown of my miles: Splits were 9:20, 9:22, 9:37, 9:26, 9:33, 9:16, 9:16, 9:04, 8:52, 9:02, 9:02, 8:39, 8:48, 7:45 for the last .2
I hit mile 6, and I was no longer running…I couldn’t feel my feet hitting the crushed limestone, yet the beautiful sounds your feet make when hitting the ground lulled me into a beautiful rhythm,…I found myself once again, flying. I was running physically, but my body was flying, singing, dancing to a beat only I truly understand. Seeing my friends both on the way out, and coming back gave me an added perk in my step, and I saw a possibly sub 2 in my horizon. At mile 8 I felt my calf cramped up so I stopped at the next aid station to take salt tabs and walk it off. I walked (fast) all of the water stops, and wonder if this lead to the demise of my sub-2 dream…
Yet I kept pushing, nearing the point of losing what little was in my stomach several times (for half marathons I fuel with sport beans only every 4-5 miles to save my stomach), but I was NOT going to give up…I saw Janel and Melissa at mile 8-9 and gave them a quick pat and smile as I barreled through the trails and runners, to finish this race strong. The last mile and a half was beyond difficult, with the slight up hill curve and the wind picking up and deciding to slap me in the very tired face…but I kept movin’ forward. I felt my Garmin vibrate signaling the 13 mile mark, and watched my sub-2 goal fly by in the wind. I crossed the finish line at 2:01:09, and after getting my medal I had to choke back the tears.

People tease the fact I am so emotional at times, but I have come to love who I am, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
This race was tough for me, being under trained after a tough winter both in running, and in life.
But I proved to myself today, that no matter what happens, I don’t quit.
That sub 2 marathon WILL be mine…it’s just a matter of not giving up.

I did celebrate with my daughters, and TRIED to eat this…my poor stomach said otherwise, LOL.

BLT, not so much...LOL
BLT, not so much…LOL

All in all, it was a GREAT race…
Despite some glitches in registration, the race staff and volunteers were AMAZING, the course was well marked, and aid stations were plentiful. This was my second time doing the Great Western Half, and it won’t be my last!


14 thoughts on “Great Western Half Marathon 2014, the good, the bad, and the ugly…”

  1. Congrats on the finish! You were oh so close to the sub-2. When you do it, you will savor it. And a BLT! Keep movin’ forward! 🙂


  2. Excellent race today, Michelle! You’ll reach your goal soon, I have no doubt! My goal is also to sub 2-hour this year, and I am still choosing my fall half in which to DO IT! Atlanta has so many hills and so I’m looking for a flatter course on which to race. Do you have any fall races on your schedule already? Maybe Kim and I should take a trip up North for the fall race…hmmmm.


    1. I will be doing the Fox Valley Half marathon in September, which is in St. Charles, IL. It’s relatively flat, and beautiful. I also help volunteer to coordinate the race! I PR’d my full last year here.


  3. Brava! Sick splits, I think the last three miles of a Half might be my favorite racing time. Sounds like a great run for you, even without finishing the BLT. And yes, that 2:00:00 wall will not stand much longer.Proud to know you, Sis.


  4. Congrats! What great splits! You were so close to sub 2:00 without the specific training for it, now imagine what you could do with it! Go get it! 🙂


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