Friday, October 16, 2015

Worth the Hurt - Half Marathon #3 Race Recap

Last weekend, on a whim, I decided to run my third half-marathon - The Belle Plaine Scenic Byway Half Marathon did NOT disappoint!  I love the medal and I love the race slogan!  "Worth the Hurt."
I was warned from multiple people that this race was difficult.  Beautiful, but extremely hilly.  I was immediately intrigued and actually looked forward to the challenge.  I just had to conquer the hilly beast.  

The race was located in a nearby town just 10 minutes from my house. The route ran along the Minnesota River Valley which is beautiful!  One would think, "Oh the river valley, it should be flat."  WRONG!!  This course was as described with beautiful fall color, corn fields, quaint farm houses,  river valley, hills, hills, hills, hills..... and more hills.....and, when you think you're done with hills, mile 12 comes along!!

Because this race was so close to home, my husband and kids came out to support me.  I'm excited for this race recap because he really documented the "hurt" I was feeling during the race!  

It was a very small race with only 112 people running the half marathon.  The start of the race was a little unorganized as we were not quite sure where to start.  I do think that it was great that there were pacers.  I had high hopes to stay close with the 1:50:00 pacer, but at mile 3 I lost him.  I giggled to myself as I crossed the starting line because one of the race volunteers just shouted 1,2,3 GO!!  But, again, there were so few runners it was easy to hear him and I started near the front of the pack anyway.

Before the race, my husband asked where the best place to spectate was.  I usually start to have my mental struggle about mile 8-9 and the course was not a closed course, so many people were driving to multiple stopping points along the route.  It was a quiet course in the way of spectators, but I enjoy the quite and the course was absolutely beautiful.  I have a hard time watching the scenery as I run, but I tried hard to enjoy my race and look around me to take in the natural beauty beside me.

Starting at about mile 2.5 the hills started and never stopped.  Most were gently rolling, but I would describe them as slow burn.  Once you think you're done, there's another in the distance!  My most favorite part of the course was the downhill from mile 7-8.  I had just come off a very long hill from mile 6.3 to about mile 7.  At that time, I had a few fellow runners come up alongside me.  We quickly made friends and chit-chatted about the usual running stuff - pace, how many races, etc.  

The downhill from 7-8 was great!  There were hay bales with song lyrics. My new buddy Mike and I were competing to see who could figure out the song and sing the lyrics first!  These hay bales were about every 200 ft for almost 1 mile!  A welcome relief and super fun!  Thanks to the race coordinators for a great idea.  At the bottom of this hill was the first time I saw my husband and boys!  It was so great to see them. I was feeling great at this point in the race as well!  
So happy to see my family!  Mike, my singing partner, is in the red!  :)

At the bottom of the hill pictured above was a great water stop.  People in gorilla suits were dancing around and you could throw water balloons at them.  I learned after the race that the water stops were competing for prizes based on our votes as to who had the best water stop.  I loved the gorillas dancing and the high school boys WWE wrestling in the middle of the course at water stop 11.5. 

A few more progression photos will follow!  It was fantastic to see my boys and husband multiple times on the race.  They would often drive by and yell...  " GOOOOOOooooo Mommy!! "

By mile 10 I was still feeling pretty great.  My lungs felt amazing.  If it weren't for my legs I really could have kept running.  I guess that's what strength training is for??  I really hope to do that marathon someday.  Is 2016 my year???

Feeling great just at mile 9!

Mile 10 -  I bet you couldn't tell it was mile 10. :)  

At mile 11.5 I rounded a slight corner and there she was......  THE BEAST!  The hill of all hills.  An entire MILE of hill from about 11.8-12.8.   This hill is truly so big you can't see the round top. All you see if skyline above the top of the hill.  I can't tell you the mind games you play with yourself when you see this beast.   My mind was truly racing... how am I going to run UP this hill in the final hour?  How can I get a PR race with this hill in my way?  Is this for real? 

I looked at my watch and realized I had about 17 minutes to finish the race under my PR time and a wave of confidence came over me.... if only for a slight second.  I had 1.5 miles to run so I figured just don't walk this hill, just don't walk this hill!

My husband was at 12.5 - just about to the top. He ran a block with me and yelled " You got this babe!!  You can do it!! "  I pushed and pushed and surprisingly my paced slowed, but not terribly. I looked at my Garmin and this mile was 9:58!  Pretty solid time!
The BEAST!  Just keep going! 

I came to the top of the 12 mile hill with about .3 miles to go to the finish.  I gained some speed, took a final look at my Garmin to gage my time and crossed the finish line in 1:57:45!!  A PR by about 1:15!  I'll talke it!!!

Post race beer at the finish was new for me!  But it tasted pretty good really!!

This race definately is "Worth The Hurt!"  I may say this has been one of my favorites!  I definately would do run it again!!!  Can't beat a picture with my sweet boys at the finish line either!!
William - 5,  Henry - 3


  1. Congrats on the PR! What a great race! Your husband captured some really great shots. You look happy and you make it look easy!

    1. East except for mile 12! But I conquered it an it makes me want to do it again! Like child birth right? :)

  2. Congrats!!!
    & look how stinkin' cute you are in all your pics - all smiley! I want a pink running skirt now :)

    1. Oh Thank you!! I knew the camera was there! :) he he I absolutely LOVE my running skirts! Why not be cute and feminine when running right?