Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Earth Day Half Marathon Race Report....Did She PR?

First of all...good luck to the gang heading out to Boston!! Good luck to Meg, Jill, Jenn, Marcia, Ginny, Lindsay and Ana Maria...kick some butt ladies:) Also good luck to my St. Cloud River Runner Friends Nikki and Renee...you both are going to rock it:)

Okay, here goes.....I woke up this morning at 4AM and got ready to drive into St. Cloud for today's Earth Day Half Marathon. I did not want to drive to St. Cloud last night to pick up my packet. I paid the St. Cloud Tech high school track team to pick it up for me. I was then able to pick it up this morning in St. Cloud State's field house. Totally worth the five bucks:) Packet pickup opened up at 6AM and my plan was to get there at about 6:15 to 6:30. I wanted find a nice parking place and not have to worry about rushing. I did good, I was there in the parking lot at 6:15AM:) Guess who was the first person to pick up her packet.....me:) I then had time to just get organized and calm myself down. I was really nervous and wanted more than anything to PR in this half marathon.

Number 705, this has got to be a lucky number! My birthday is on the seventh and the first number is a 7...so I am going with lucky today:)

I walked down to the field house at around 7:45 and was elated when I saw these guys! Woo hoo, pacer dudes!! The guy kneeling in the front is Dave, he is one of the pacers that I met at the St. Paul Securian Half. I asked him what pace group he was leading and I think it was the 1:35 group. I told him that there was no way that I was running with him today:) I really wanted to have a pacer to follow. I just am not good with pacing the longer runs so this was a nice surprise.

Walking around the field house I ran into Wanda who is a St. Cloud River Runner and we talked for a minute. She told me that her husband Buddy was there too. I went over to chat with him for a few minutes. Here we are...look at how tall this man is! I feel so short next to him:)

When I saw the pacers leaving the field house to go outside and get set up by the start line...I followed. As I was making my way to the start line I ran into one of my college classmate friends. Katie lives in Sartell and this was her first half marathon. I then went and met my pacer Tanya. She asked me if I had run a half marathon before and I told her yes. I also told her that they were both hard as hell for me. She told me that I was going to do fine and not to worry:)

This is about 15 minutes before the start....this was the view behind me.
Here is the view in front of me.

I was just looking around and checking things out when I spotted these two friendly faces!! I was so excited to see them! This is Deb and Gene who are both St. Cloud River Runners. Both of them were running the twenty miler and just happened to be running near my pace group:) Deb and Gene are running in the Wobegon Marathon in May! I am volunteering for that marathon and can't wait to cheer them on:)

Here is a picture of me and Deb. I told her how nervous I was and she invited me to run with them. I would be with them for the first 12 miles of their 20 miles. I felt so much better about running with them and knew that they would help me to stay on task:)

It took us some time to shuffle forward but it went much faster than I thought. This was a few minutes after the start, we are crossing a bridge. It was a beautiful day with gorgeous temps and beautiful sunshine. We let Tanya lead the way and were behind her for some time. At one point we ended up pulling ahead and I felt fine. Deb was chatting and telling me about the course and what to expect. I was so glad to know what was coming ahead. Really no surprises:)

I have no idea where this was but it reminded me of running cross country as an eighth grader on the golf courses. Oh my goodness, I forgot to update everyone on my shoe issue. I decided to see if I could return the Nikes but the store representative said that I couldn't return them if I ran outside. Deal breaker...I am stuck with a pair of Nike running shoes. My daughter Kay put them on and might use them for track. If they work out for her it won't be a total loss. I ended up purchasing a new pair of Asics....basically the same shoe. Today was my first day wearing them but I was not really worried about it. They fit pretty darn good and I was confident that I would perform better in them than with the Nikes.
I have to confess, I did not look at my Garmin for the first four miles. I just followed the lead of Deb and Gene who are experienced runners. I felt like so much of the pressure was lifted because they set the pace. The first three miles just flew by and I was feeling great:) Tanya, our pacer girl was still behind us.
This was such a great course! It was pretty flat for the most part but there were a few hills...nothing to terrible:)
I loved the energy of the spectator crowds!! They were awesome! Everyone was cheering and at a few places there was music playing. It was really nice and kept my mind off of getting tired. I am convinced that Deb must know basically everyone living in St. Cloud. People were calling her name and cheering for her constantly:) Deb did a great job of keeping my mind off of running the miles. She chatted off and on the whole time we were together and that helped me more than anything. It is always a struggle for me running on my own because I tend to concentrate on the negative things. She talked about many different random things and the course. Hearing her voice was such a comfort and I needed that. Gene was a little quieter but every now and then he would crack a joke or say something funny and I would end up laughing or smiling:) The miles went by and I was doing pretty good. This was the first half marathon where I actually used fuel. I took a few sport beans before the race and at about mile four I started on my first pack of Strawberry Banana Power Bar GEL. I won a few of these packs from Adam and I used them on my 11 mile run on Wednesday. I loved them so much that I went to the Running Room and puchased about ten more. I also went home with a Spibelt that Sean from the Maple Grove Running Room talked me into:) It worked great and I will be using it for all of my longer runs.
Here is Deb happy as ever:)

This is Gene sporting a big smile:)
In this picture it is hard to tell but this is a hill. The only place were I started to feel a little tired was at mile eight. Deb just kept on chatting and within a few minutes I was fine. We stopped at every single water stop and walked. I think this helped me too:) The miles went by and it was at the last water stop where Deb told me to go on ahead and that she would catch up with me. I continued to keep Gene in my sight. I would say that it was another 400 to 600 meters before the split off came. A little after mile 12 was where the half marathon runners and the twenty miler runners went their seperate ways. I saw Gene turn right and I continued left. I was a little lonely without my running partners. A few minutes later I saw a few of the St. Cloud River Runners at a corner....I waved and they cheered, Go Julie! Thanks guys:) I said, "I sure wish I had someone to run with." There was a girl running next to me who told me that she would run with me! We ran side by side and chatted at bit. I could hear people cheering and knew that the finish line was up ahead!! I could see the finish line and just needed to turn left and make my way down the shoot! One thing that I never mentioned was that Tanya my pacer never passed me:) You know what that means......it means that I PRd:) I finally got my damn PR!! I finished my half marathon with a time of.....1:56!!! I shaved almost six minutes off of my old PR and I pretty darn happy about it! I am hoping to get my time down to 1:50 to 1:45 by the end of the season. My official stats are... 581 out of 1494 overall....218 out of 863 for gender and 31 out of 89 for my age group. My offical pace was 8:55 minute miles:) For now, I will take it!
This picture is super blurry:( After I finished I hung out and saw my blogger friend Heather cross the finish line. We took a moment to talk and have a photo opportunity. I dropped my camera and screwed it up:( It is hard to see our faces but here is Heather, her little girl Sophie and me. I am so glad that I had the chance to meet Heather...she is really nice and her daughter is such a cutie:)
This is a picture of me and my friend Pam. Pam is the one who who gets credit for getting me to run in races. The first 5K that I ran was the Old Glory Run and she is the race director:) Pam rocked the race and finished it in 1:40 something!! Go Pam:) I hung out a little longer because I wanted to see Deb and Gene finish their 20 miler. I waited for a bit and saw Shannon making her way up the way to the finish shoot! Shannon is a River Runner who just started running last year. She did so great and made running twenty miles look effortless:) I later spotted Gene and cheered for him too! A little bit later I saw Deb making her way up the final stretch! I ran with her until the beginning of the shoot....she had a huge cheering section:)
This last picture is of Deb, me and Gene after their twenty miler. We are all glad to have it done:) I was so lucky to have had them to run with....they made this the best half marathon to date. I am running this one again next year:)
I will post links to current giveaways after my hubby and I get back from dinner. Date night:) When I return I will also catch up on a few blogs:) I can't wait to read the race reports!!
Erica is hosting a Thorlo socks giveaway!
MCM Mama is hosting a Gu giveaway!
Tara is hosting a Ryder Eyewear giveaway!
Molly is hosting a Green Super-food whole food energy bars and Vitalicious Vita Tops chocolate yummy things giveaway!
Angie is hosting a Nuun giveaway!
Marcia is hosting a Chia Seeds giveaway!

67 comments:

  1. Congratulations!! This is very exciting!! :)

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  2. Yay Julie on your PR!!! Awesome job!!! You look beautiful, as always. Do you have a perma-grin on your face after such a great day??? :-)
    Kathleen

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  3. Wow! Julie that is so wonderful! Way to effin' go girl!!!! I am smiling so big after reading this and great job on the race report! It was a pleasure to read!

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  4. Congratulations Julie!! Your hard work is paying off...well done.
    -Derek

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  5. Congratulations! Sounds like a great race for you. You were lucky to find Gene and Deb to run with. I tend to focus on the negative too when I'm running along and am finding that running with people is a great way to distract myself from that.

    Congrats on the PR! Amazing.

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  6. Great job!! Way to blow your previous time out of the water. :)

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  7. Hoo! That's a nice half! Way to go!

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  8. Wohoooo and CONGRATS on the PR. This is a great race report. Love the pictures. You must be thrilled. How exciting. Sounds like a great race.

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  9. Way to Go Big Sis! You broke 2 hours! You should be proud!!!

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  10. Excellent work!! Great pace and PE

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  11. Way to go Julie!!! You're awesome! I love all the pix with the report. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy this one, you deserve it!!

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  12. Congrats Julie!! And great RR .. You told a wonderful story with great pics!

    So happy for you and your new PR!

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  13. Congratulations on the awesome PR, you smashed your old time! Looks like a nice race too, nice scenery! You look amazing after finishing too, I would have been lobster faced hehe, good work!

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  14. Congrats on the huge PR! It was so great to meet you and chat for a little bit. I'm sure we'll be running another race together soon!

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  15. That is a huge PR for a half, Julie, congrats! And yes, this PR will be history by the end of the season!

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  16. Great Job Julie! I knew you were going to kick some butt.

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  17. Congratulations! I'm glad you got your PR, you've worked hard for it!!!

    p.s. you look too darn happy in that first pic for so early in the morning. lol :-)

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  18. How many beautiful pictures! By them we can imagine to be there. Congratulations for this temporary PR, the next is on the corner (as we say in Italy).

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  19. Woohoo! Congrats on your PR! You did awesome! It must have been great to see so many familiar faces and to have some running buddies to help you through it! :)

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  20. Julie--That is great! Congratulations! I hope you are flying on cloud 9 today. And did you treat yourself to a nice meal/good wine last night? I hope so!

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  21. Great job Julie, I'm sure you're very happy, and probably looking forward to the next race already.

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  22. That's awesome! I feel like there must be something about the third half that just clicks. I was a lot less tired the third time around...probably because I trained more? Or was more familiar with the distance? IDK.

    Congrats on your PR! The pictures are really fun.

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  23. I think that you aren't short: it that man who is too tall :) I look forward to reading your next adventure!

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  24. Way to go Julie! Congrats on the PR! It must have been nice to have some running buddies for most of the race. Those are some great photos!

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  25. 1:56 was my first Half Mararthon time also! That is awesome, see we could pace togather!

    Greta job on the race!

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  26. top stuff julie
    bet youre mighty pleased!
    have a day off ;-)

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  27. Julie -
    Congrats on the awesome PR!! It sounds like the race went well in every aspect. I love all the pictures.

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  28. You did an excellent job. You must be feeling great! Did you take pictures as you ran? You have some great ones.

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  29. Great job Julie! You are so funny with all the pictures. I love seeing them. Keep it up and you will be running in that 1:35 pace group!

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  30. That is an awesome PR!!!! You did great and as always, you have great photos!!

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  31. Yay! That's so awesome about the PR!! Way to go!!

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  32. Great job on the race and PB. Fueling up makes such a difference for long races. Now you know the secret and you'll be able to go faster and faster.

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  33. Great PR; great photos; great race report! You rock!

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  34. Awesome job, Julie! I knew that you would knock it out of the park!

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  35. Wow, this is fantastic Julie! Congratulations! Super run with a super report as well! Great pictures too.

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  36. Rock on with your PRin' self! Photos show a nice day and a great course.

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  37. Congrats Julie! I am so proud of you! I love your pics, especially the one of you in your visor before the race w/ Deb. Lookin good chica!

    I love the Strawberry Banana Power Bar Gels too....YUM!

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  38. Wow girlie, congrats! You are super fast! :)

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  39. Great job on the PR. Glad to see it.

    If I don't PR my next race, I might have to borrow some female attire.

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  40. WOHOO!!! CONGRATS!!!!!!! Love the race report and all the pictures that come along with it.

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  41. This is just awesome, ya know? The only thing better than a personal record is coming along with somebody else when THEY PR :-) I haven't PRed in two years (not exactly true), but I am OVERDUE!!! LOL... Great job on your race, and great pics as usual. As somebody who mostly trains and races alone, I love that you have people to pace you and cheer you on during races. It has AWESOMENESS!!

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  42. Great running Julie. Nice report. I liked the pix. I hope your friend Gene is okay though. He did not look too good in the last shot post 20 miler? Keep running!

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  43. What a great report Julie! I am glad to know you get nervous too! That was an early wake up on a race morning.

    So did you go alone to the race? It sounds like you knew a lot of people once you were there!

    I love the idea of having someone pick up your packet. Totally worth $5. I really do not like having to worry about that on race morning but so often the race is quite a drive for me and I don't like to go the night before (I am nervous enough). Anyway, that is a great idea. I've never heard of that.

    Great pace! I would love to run my 1/2 in May in that time.

    Julie - thanks for always taking the time to read my blog. Your comments are always so sweet and I can tell you actually read my post! :)

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  44. 51 comments?! holy moses!! wow! That's gotta be a bloggy commenting PR eh??;-)

    and nice job on the half marathon. and that's a smart way for a high school or other org. to make a lil' money...picking up race packets pre race. worth the $5.

    and it looked like there was a lot of crowd support which always makes for a fun race.
    nice job on your pr!;-)

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  45. Great race Julie! Thanks for all the pictures. Looks like Spring is in full swing. Everything is so green and beautiful. Congrats on the PR!

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  46. NICE WORK on the PR!!!! It looks like you had such a great race. I'm sure that having people that you knew run with you helped a lot.

    I loved the scenery of the race. A little wooded, a little suburban. perfect.

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  47. Congratulations on the PR! Sounds like it was a great race!

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  48. Hi Julie, I have been following you for quite sometime now, (I am Katie's Mom "Fit To Wed). I waited to comment because I wanted to be your 100th blogger, Woot woo. I love the way you tell your stories and your pictures are great, plus your very funny. Congratulations on your race. You are very inspirational. Katie got me started on the Couch to 5K program so I wouldn't injure myself and I am on week 7. Running is not my favorite exercise ( I prefer yoga, cardio kickbox, boxing aerobics, body sculpt, pilates and lifting weights) but after running I do feel great (most of the time, ha).Congratulations on your PR. You are FAST!!!! You Rock. :) Have a beautiful evening!!

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  49. Hooray for the PR! I knew you were bound to have a great race after those last two 1/2's.

    Funny you mention using the beans and gel for energy for the run. I'm starting to experiment with it as well, especially since I have my 10 mile race next weekend.

    Have a great week Speedy!!!

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  50. Yay, congrats on the PR! What an accomplishment to be a sub-2 half marathoner! :)

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  51. Well done Julie! 6 MINUTES! That's a fantastic PR. Any training tips..?

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  52. Awesome job with the PR! And wow tons of great pics. How do you get so many pictures during a race? Is someone from your running club taking them?

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  53. woo hoo! congrats on the 6 min pr!! :) you earned it girl. thanks for the shoutout/well wishes for boston. that stinks about the shoes/shoe store and their return policy! i think they should take them back as long as they aren't all way dirty or something.

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  54. Congratulations on setting your new PR! And by 6 minutes, too. That's a lot. Glad you found something to eat during the race that worked for you. I usually use something if it is 10 miles or more and it really helps. Looks like you had a great time!!

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  55. Nice work!! Great PR!!! That's my wife's PR too!

    Nice race!

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  56. Six minute pr and you broke 2:00... must be a great feeling. Congratulations. This story has been linked to the Minnesota Distance Running Association blog (yes I know I'm a few days late on this).

    http://runminnesota.blogspot.com

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  57. WOOHOO for your PR!!! That's awesome this post made me so excited for my first half. I am a new runner and have loved finding motivation and encouragement in the blog world. I lost over 100 pound a few years ago and am taking up running in hope of getting the last 25 off!!!

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  58. There's no doubt in my mind you will smash your 1:56 time in the near future... I predict on 5/2. You're too fast not to improve. Great pics and race report. Congrats.

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  59. The race looks lot of excitement and fun. You made a very good report. Keep it up.

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