|Those cute little heads on the bottom left are my chicklets cheering me on!|
Sunday, May 8, 2016
Grandad's Half Marathon Race Recap
This was the 2nd year in a row that I completed
Grandad's Half Marathon in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
This was my first race back after my femoral stress reaction. I hadn't run more than 10 miles since late February. In my head, I was going into the race with no expectations. I was going to just finish and have fun. To be honest, I was doubting my ability of my leg to stay quiet. It's been tremendously better since the injury 7 weeks ago, but it's not been perfect, so my runs have been cautious and few and far between. I read up on injury recovery rate and symptoms almost daily. I think I'm out of the woods or any real danger at this point so that is great news.
Nonetheless, this race was meant to be somewhat of a last wake-up call before I hit the pavement at my first marathon in June. Could I make it? Will my pace suffer? I've noticed over the last few weeks that I am a bit slower than my pre-injury pace. That of course, is to be expected. My cardio was severly limited during my time off. I made a strong effort to keep up in the gym and work on other areas that were weaker. But, truly nothing compares to the miles on the road.
It was another absolutely fantastic year for this race. I love running this race because it's in my hometown and I know exactly where I'm running! 62 degrees at the start with clouds. Perfect running conditions! I started out at a great pace with the first two miles completely downhill. This race starts on top of Grandad Bluff and ends at the park along the Mississippi River. It's truly a great run! I was able to keep a solid pace at 8:25/mile for the first 5 miles. I frequently drank and fueled, but at about mile 6, I knew that I was just out of gas. Maybe it was because I started out fast. Maybe it was just too much time off. Maybe I didn't eat enough the night before. Maybe. It's ok. I know that not every race is going to rock my socks off. It stings a bit to not perform my best, but all in all I'm happy with the way this day turned out!
My legs felt so good the entire race! To tell you the truth, they weren't bothering me at all! What WAS bothering me were the monster blisters that formed on both feet. Damn new shoes! I broke out my "marathon shoes" a few weeks ago, and man... I have a blister to show for it. I don't remember getting blisters when breaking in new shoes. Does that mean I need to start looking for another brand?
The route at mile 7 runs right in front of my parents home. I loved being able to see my boys and parents and give them hugs. My mom immediately was concerned and asked me if I was limping. I wasn't, but my blisters were starting to bug me a bit and I was just tired. I shrugged my shoulders gave her a wave and just said "I'm tired." That's just what it was. It wasn't my day today. I struggled for my race mojo all the way through.
Mile 8 was my first walking break. The wind was fierce! At times, it alsmost felt like I was standing still anyway! The walk felt good. At first, I cursed myself for needing that break. I actually said to myself, 'come on Gina, you're better than this.' One things for certain. Running is NOT easy. Running sucks sometimes and it requires you to pull strength out of yourself that you don't even know you have!
For the next few miles I would run about 3/4 mile and walk about one minute. Just enough to catch my breath and carry on. Since I know that route well, I knew where the water stops were and what was in store for me at mile 11. It was at that water stop I told myself that this didn't have to suck, I could enjoy it one way or the other. I threw my goal of beating my last course time out the window and had a ton of fun the last 2.5 miles!
At mile 11, the local hockey rink always puts on a grand display. They haul out a TON of snow and make snowballs to throw at runners. No, not to hurt runners, but to give them a bit of a cool down. Instead of just running on by, I jumped up on the snowpile and laid there for a bit while they threw snow on me. I got several laughs from the crew and fellow runners and it felt great to be silly in that moment.
Along with the snow, there were also few dancing bananas at that water stop! HA! Just a few women handing out bananas in banana costumes, so I snapped a picture with them too! I told myself this was going to be fun, so I made it fun!
I needed a few more walk breaks before the end of the race but somehow managed a 2:01:18. I'm happy with that time. Sure, I absolutely could have been faster. I was 7 minutes off my 13.1 PR, but I also had a very memorable race to boot!
There are two blue bridges crossing the river coming into La Crosse and this medal is made after that landmark. You can see the bridges in my photo below. I tried several pictures because I got a jumping photos that I thought was cute! I know we've all been there. Trying to get that perfect race photo. I like this one, so I went with it. I can't believe my legs let me leap!
This race is amazing! I think it's going to have to be my yearly tradition!
Another great addition to this race is that my children get to come as well! I want to make them proud and I just love seeing them at the finish line! There faces brighten my day!