Bad race with a suprising finish: Maple Grove Half Marathon

Saturday was our local half marathon and not a very nice day for a run: cold with temps in the 40s and drizzly with winds. Yuck! Not what I like to run in especially on this hilly course. We get to the race and line up for the first lap around the track before heading out on to the the streets and trails. There is just something wrong with wearing mittens and long sleeves in mid-May. I had 20 miles on my schedule so the plan was to finish by running home afterwards.

As my typical race starts I went out way too fast, Mile 1: 6:50, yikes! This continued Mile 2: 7:03, but at this point I was the lead woman, I'm never in this position and it didn't last. I was soon caught by another woman (she ended up winning for the 3rd year) and we ran together for about 1 mile chatting about Boston since I was wearing my jacket at this point. Mile 3 came and so did the feeling that I was punched in the stomach. I was continuing to slow down to a better pace 7:10s and just kept telling myself to keep the 1st girl in my sight. The next miles came and went and I was falling further back, she was out of my sight by Mile 5. I grabbed water and was about to grab a gel from my pocket when I realized my mom and Ophelia were there. Good I can get rid of my jacket, I dropped my water and pulled the jacket off to only realize 1/2 mile later that I left my gels in the pocket, so here I am nearly 6 miles in and haven't drank anything and have no gels to finish. 

Cheering on the runners!
I am now realizing the importance and history of this day and race. Two years ago (May 14th 2009) I got a much anticipated, but very unexpected phone call, after a long time trying I found out I was pregnant. We were actually only having the test done to confirm the negative home test so I could start wonderful fertility drugs. Two days after this wonderful news I ran this exact race, my first pregnant race leading to the start of the pregnancy nausea. That year it was warm and miles 6-8 are near a lake, the combination of heat and fish was now pleasant. This was also one of my first post-partum races last year. This is now my motivation and keeping me going as I am passed by another two women, from first to forth in miles, ugh!

Finally a water stop and I decide to grab some Gatorade since I have nothing else and can tell I need more then water, I hate Gatorade and this was only reinforced. 10K at 44:58. Now here come the hills! I should have remembered these hills and made it a point to save something for them, too late now. Just keep running I'm telling myself. Mile 8 and it is now raining harder, not pouring yet but a steady rain. Mile 9 done, I think I can still PR.

Almost to the finish!
Almost to Mile 10 and here comes girl number four, now I'm in fifth. I guess a top five finish isn't bad, maybe she'll fall back. Now I'm trying to get back to keeping a 7:30 pace but am just not feeling it (I'm going off memory I have yet to look at my Garmin for the mile splits). The last hill is finally here and then flat to the finish! Mile 11 and I have nothing left as I tell myself to keep pushing and maybe I can catch #4 she's still in clear view. Mile 12 and the final water stop, every year I find this an odd place to put a stop. I just want to finish, no stopping now. Finally I am starting to hear the crowd at the finish and I see the school realizing I'm not catching #4. I hit the track for the final lap with a quick glance at my watch and realize I can still PR. I give it all I have, which isn't much at this point and I am finally crossing. Done!

1:37:48 (7:29 pace) 5th woman and 1st place AG finish! 2 minute PR. Wow! How did such a crabby feeling race turn into such a good finish? 

My first thought after finishing is crap I have 7 more to run and am I freezing! I grab my pants and jacket and try to warm up waiting for Matt and my dad to finish and soon realize I should wait for the awards too. I grab some coffee to stay warm and eat a little knowing I need something if I plan to finish 20. The 1st woman who I ran with early on finished 1:33, we chatted a little afterwards about the tough course and how you can't call it a race if you don't go out too fast, so true. 

The rain returned and I chose the lesser of the two bad options and hit the gym treadmill to finish my last 7 miles since I was still cold.
Lessons learned: don't go out too fast (actually I've learned this many times before), hydrate during a race/long run, think before you get rid of jackets/clothing there might be something you need in the pocket.

One question for the women runners: Am I the only one who hates V-neck shirts? Why whenever they have women's shirts at a race are they V-necks? Yuck!


  1. Congratulations on the PR! That's awesome.

  2. Well done on the PR - in tough conditions too, that's fantastic! I hear you on the V-neck shirts...why can't we just have a nice round collar like the guys???


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