Grandma’s Half Marathon weekend recap

I finally had a great race – where I pushed through the tough spots and didn’t give up, physically or mentally.   I LOVED how I raced yesterday!

For those of you who just like the numbers, the details:



11.9M 1:29:41
10M 1:15:32
10K 46:38
5K 23:18
Average Pace 7:34 per mile
Age Graded Percentage 68 percent
Overall Place 479 out of 6482
Sex Place 99 out of 3757 Females
Division Place 12 out of 416 Females in the F4044 Age Group

For those of you that like more, my thoughts about my race:

  • I hadn’t really RACED a half marathon in ages.  I’ve done many of them the past several years, but they always fall in the middle of marathon training or right after a marathon, so I usually end up doing them just as a hard training run or a fun run.  This time it was a goal race, of sorts, so I had fresh legs and a better focus.  Although even still, it was 8 weeks after Lansing Marathon, so after recovering for a few weeks from Lansing, my true “training” time for this half was only about 5 weeks.
  • I have been feeling really good about where I am at, physically and mentally, so I was hoping for a strong race.   My previous PR had been 1:40:33, although that’s deceptive because the course (Polar Dash HM) measured SO short (12.85 miles), so really my pace for that race would equate to a 1:42:30 (which still would have been a PR).
  • Most of you who have been following my races know that SOMETHING always seems to happen to derail my marathon and other race goals.  Wind (fucking Lansing).  Heat.  Rain.  Stomach issues. Leg cramps.  Blah. Blah. Blah.  What I have come to realize, is these are all just excuses.    Truth be told, the reason that I always blow up in my races is that I haven’t been mentally prepared, or willing, to deal with adverse circumstances and pain.  I decided recently that I was ready to change this.  I was ready to push through the discomfort (pain) and give it my all, no matter what the conditions.  A friend texted me the night before the race and said that he got better at running when he stopped being afraid of crashing.  That is exactly what I had been thinking about recently – about how my own fears were holding me back.  SO – I went into this race telling myself that I was NOT going to hold back this time – I was going to push through and leave it all out there.
  • Although I would have been content with 1:40, my real goal was 1:38.
  • It was warm.  I think maybe 60 at the start, 65 throughout (maybe, I haven’t seen temps), but it was full sun.  And it FELT hot.
  • I did zero warm up.  Probably not very smart, but there was no where to warm up.  Seriously.  It was crazy crowded at the start and they had a barricade up to keep us commoners back from the elites running the USA Half Marathon championships.  So there were basically 7000 people trapped in a 1/2 mile stretch of road.  So I just sat on the road, looking at Lake Superior and listening to my music, trying to get pumped up.
Looking at Lake Superior pre-race
  • Before the race I saw my friend (and financial planner!) Jeff.  We had talked about meeting near the 1:40 pacer because we both had similar goals.  I told him I was going to do my own thing, and run a 1:38.
  • It was crazy crowded and slow and frustrating for the first 1/2 mile.  For a good 1/2 mile I was at 8:15ish pace, weaving in and out of masses of people who were NOT 1:40 runners. (So I guess this was my warm up?).  Finally got through the crowd, but then needed to kick it in to get my first mile to be near where I wanted to be (I was aiming for 7:28ish miles).
  • After the first 2 miles I very briefly questioned whether I could keep up the pace for 11 more.  I knew negative thoughts, or thinking about how far I had to go, would bring me down, so I told myself just to think in small chunks.  So from that point forward I started looking at it as “get to the 5k at this pace”, then “get to the 10k at this pace”, then “get to mile 9 at this pace”, then I switched into “take it a mile at a time” mode.
  • It TOTALLY helped that I had made my 1:38 goal public.  Had I not done so, I think I would have backed off the pace and been content with a 1:40, since that still would have been a PR.  But having told The World (my 5 blog followers) that I was going to run a 1:38, I felt like I couldn’t back off.
  • It also helped me get through the race (and stay near my goal pace) to know that people were tracking me online.  As I approached each timing mat, I would think about needing to be at 7:28 pace and so I would pick it up in the 1/2 mile before the timing mat.
  • At one point – I think about mile 7 – it was starting to feel very hot and I was hurting.  It helped to tell myself “Could be worse; at least you aren’t face down at mile 70 of Bad Water”  (I had started reading Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run the night before and the first chapter opens with him telling about being face down at mile 70 of Bad Water, with 65 more miles to go.)
  • Just after Lemon Drop Hill (mile 9), I looked over and my friend Jeff was next to me.  He asked how it was going and if he could run with me and we could help eachother.  I said I was starting to get tired and grunted something at him. 🙂  So we ran together, not talking, but keeping eachother on pace.  He pulled a little bit ahead of me and it was JUST what I needed – trying to keep up with him was motivating and a welcome distraction.  I was starting to tire and wasn’t sure how much longer I’d be able to keep the pace up.
  • Then at mile 10 something happened.  I got like a second wind or something.  Not that I felt great, but I didn’t feel like I was struggling anymore.
  • The last two miles were great.  The crowd on Superior was so awesome.  They were loud and I felt like a rock star with all the cheering.  It TOTALLY energized me and made me kick it in.  Mile 12 ended up being 7:22 pace, but I know at one point I was at 7:05 pace for a good stretch.   Jeff was still running right in front of me and he was picking up speed too.
  • The last kick to the finish was great to actually have some gas left (6:50 pace).  I wanted to catch Jeff, but couldn’t.  He beat me by 8 seconds!
  • This race was a huge success for me, mentally and physically.  I left it all out there.  I overcame mental obstacles.  I pushed through even in the heat/sun.  I LOVED how I raced this.
  • Even though my 5k time and previous marathon times don’t “predict” that I could run a 1:38, I KNEW that I had it in me.  I felt trained and ready for that time.  Now having done this solid HM, I feel ready to start the training for Chicago and get after a speedier marathon time!

Jeff, me and Jeff’s buddies enjoying post race beers

For the numbers geeks, my splits:

  1. 7:45
  2. 7:39
  3. 7:11
  4. 7:28
  5. 7:35
  6. 7:21
  7. 7:34
  8. 7:43
  9. 7:36
  10.  7:35
  11. 7:34
  12. 7:30
  13. 7:36
  14. :41

Random thoughts about the rest of the weekend:

  • I will blog later this week about Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano’s talk and “Bridging the Gap” and “Being on the right side of the line between tough and stupid”.  Anyone else notice that my BFF’s commented on my blog again? 🙂
  • It was so fun to do the half marathon instead of the full and then be able to watch the marathon.  We watched it near the finish line and it was so inspiring to see people finish – the fasties AND the normal runners.  Loved it!  Todd from my running group ran it yesterday as his first marathon and rocked it with a 3:26:xx.
  • The partying last night was crazy. I’ll leave it at that since my mom and daughter read my blog.  If you want details, you’ll have to run with me and I’ll fill you in. 🙂

11 thoughts on “Grandma’s Half Marathon weekend recap

  1. Dory Spence

    WHAT??? hope you were not one of the ones staying up til 3AM of course not your in training!!!

  2. Jeff Zimmerman

    Congrats Cindi! Your comments were too kind. You made me run faster for I felt like I was being chased! I couldn’t have set my own PR without you.

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