Fox Cities Half Marathon Recap Part 2

Time to recap the best part of the race-the actual run!

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It was a chilly start to the half marathon last Sunday, as the temps were in the low 40s. I shivered up until a couple miles into the race. I was really happy with what I decided to wear because as I warmed up I didn’t get hot.

Running Gear for Race Day

  • Mizuno Wave Elixir 8s
  • Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS watch
  • Pro Compression socks
  • Nike Filament Dri Fit compression shorts
  • Flipbelt
  • Champion long sleeve semi-fitted shirt
  • Koss FitClips
  • Fingerless gloves from Dollar Tree (bigger spender, I know)
  • BandIt Headband (Etsy)

One mistake I realized right away was that I should’ve worn my sunglasses. The sun was so blindingly bright it threw me off a bit in the beginning. It was difficult to see too much in front of me. I guess that happens at 7am on a fall morning.

I tried my best of remember information I learned at the Good Form Running clinic over the summer; namely to keep my upper body loose and use quick, short steps. I felt comfortable right out of the gate and settled into my race pace. I hit about a 9:00 min/mile pace for the first 8 miles. Before the race, I was guessing that’s the pace I would keep as I always run faster on race day (I train at 9:30 min/mile usually). I also attribute my quicker speed to all those fabulous signs out there! My favorite of the run: “Running is a pain in the butt, but you guys sure do have nice butts!” 🙂

My splits:

  • Mile 1: 8:53
  • Mile 2: 9:01
  • Mile 3: 8:46
  • Mile 4: 8:52
  • Mile 5: 9:06
  • Mile 6: 8:59
  • Mile 7: 9:07
  • Mile 8: 9:20
  • Mile 9: 9:37
  • Mile 10: 9:50
  • Mile 11: 10:13
  • Mile 12: 9:43
  • Mile 13: 9:39
  • Total time: 2:02:46

As you’ll notice my pace slowed as I got deeper into the race. This was because I began to feel my right hip tighten and begin to hurt. I was fighting through some pain, however, it was a blip on the radar compared to the pain I was in last year. As I passed mile 8, I thought of the debacle that was last year’s half marathon. I thought to myself, I’m not that same girl anymore. I’m a fighter. I also happened to see a sign that said, “Pain is only temporary.” Yep, keep truckin’ Nik. At mile 11 my music decided to stop and I could’ve reset it, but thought, why bother? I could see the park where the finish line was by then and decided to run the last 1.5 miles without music; just body and mind pushing myself to the end. I never realized the mental battle that goes on with runners before I called myself one. Yes, running is physical, but it’s also very mental. That’s one of the {many} beautiful things about running; it gives you confidence, that I can do anything mindset. And that’s why I love running.

As I rounded the corner into the park at mile 13, it rushed over me that I was about to finish. I was about to reach my goal. You work so hard for 5 months and then….it’s over. It’s bittersweet really. I loved training and I loved racing. My excitement radiated as I saw my dad waiting for me at the finish line. I couldn’t help but feel elated and emotional. Running will be forever tied to the loss of my mom. It has been a form of therapy for me. To see my dad and know the support he gives me; it’s hard to describe how much that means to me in words. My mom was always my biggest cheerleader with my dad being a close second. In some way, I feel that even though she’s gone, I can still make her proud.

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I was adorned with my finishers medal, grabbed my shirt, and headed to the finish line to wait for my hubby. My dad was sent text messages with our ETAs so we had an idea of when hubs would finish. I was amazed to see him cross right around his predicted time, a very respectable 2:29:59. I am SO proud of my husband. I’m the one who has pushed us to pursue races and luckily he’s always right by my side. I’m a pretty lucky girl, I know. 🙂

finishcollage

Many runners get that “now what?” feeling after a race. I am of course looking forward to the Brewers 10K this Saturday, but also enjoying the accomplishment that was my second half marathon. I proved to myself that I can do anything if I set my mind to it. Honestly, I felt defeated after last year’s half, but without that struggle this half marathon would not have been as sweet as it is.

And how sweet it is. 🙂

afterrace

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Fox Cities Half Marathon Recap Part 1

There is so much to awesome running stuff to share that I am breaking up the weekend into two posts!

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Last Sunday my hubby and I ran the Fox Cities half marathon in Appleton, WI. This was our second half marathon, the first being Fox Cities half marathon ’12. It was an exciting, exhilarating experience that I will not soon forget. I had a personal best of 2:02:46 which was 52 minutes faster than last year (yep, it was that bad). What made the difference this year was figuring out the puzzle that is my digestive system. I FINALLY feel like I have control over my body and how I feel during running. Being regular has helped stave off stomach pains and the need for a restroom stop during the run. After the run my stomach felt great! I believe it was a combination of eating and hydrating properly before and during the run that led to my success.

The day before the race hubby and I picked up our packets and checked out the expo.

expo2

Some of the notable booths included a pole dancing exercise program (pole and everything…), Bondibands headbands, Fleet Feet, Run Away Shoes, and Blue Sky Run. Blue Sky Run is a relatively new company that sells headbands, posters, jewelry, and medal hangers related to running. I love the half marathon word collage posters they put together. They will even create a personalized poster with your race/finishing time! Check out the poster I picked up at the expo here.

expo3

I stopped at the a chiropractor booth to check the alignment of my spine. Apparently, the bones in my neck are misaligned (?). Not sure if I agree with that. I also checked out “the stick” roller which felt really good on my calves.

prerace2

The night before the race I laid out all the running gear I needed. I ate a stir fry of chicken & veggies over spinach and quinoa for dinner. I don’t believe in consuming large amounts of pasta and meatballs the night before. That just doesn’t work for me. The thought alone would slow me down on race day. I ate something I would normally eat to ensure no “surprises” on race day. Do what works for you, right?

racemorning

One of my favorite parts of race morning is the excitement from my husband. He blasts “pump up” music at 5am and it really does help wake me up and get me ready to run! The morning was a cold one is the low 40s, so I kept my jacket on as long as I could. The atmosphere was electric and corrals were packed. 5,000 fellow runners took to the roads on Sunday in either the half marathon, full marathon, or relay.

sunrise

It was an absolute beautiful morning with blasting sunshine coming over the horizon (didn’t wear my sunglasses=newbie mistake). I reminded myself frequently that I put in the training and did everything I could have done to physically and mentally prepare. The community support for this race is amazing, with people lined on almost every street. It makes a huge difference to hear someone call out your name with encouragement!

I will be recapping the actual running in an upcoming post. Stay tuned, friends! 🙂

What’s your favorite running mantra? What’s your perfect race temperature? 

An Ultra Marvelous Monday

Feeling ultra marvelous today because my half marathon was yesterday! I’m still in the post-race glow; in awe of what I accomplished. I feel so blessed to have the body and mind to complete 13.1 miles. Surprisingly, I felt like 13.1? No problem. It doesn’t seem that far to me anymore because it’s obtainable. I finished in 2:02:46! A whopping 52 minutes and 10 seconds faster than last year’s half marathon. I’d call that progress. 🙂 And no stomach issues to report! High five!

I will do a more in depth recap of the race this week, but for now just a snipet of the excitement I felt yesterday!

FCM13

Other marvelous things that happened this week…

Marvelous is…new Mizunos! Sara at LovingOnTheRun mentioned this great deal on Mizuno Wave Ronins from Running Warehouse. Because I’m also a PaceSetters member (local running club) I got an extra 15% off! The shoes came to a total of $24.88, not bad for a pair of Mizunos. They’re a little stiffer than my Wave Elixirs, but I think they’ll be good for speed work.

shoes

Marvelous is…the energy I get from exercising. I can feel a significant difference at night if I haven’t worked out during the day. In the past, I would’ve assumed exercising would make me more tired at night, but I find when I’m eating nutritious foods and running I have much more energy. Besides running, I have continued to attend my favorite classes at the gym including Group Core and Group Centergy. These classes complement running beautifully, as Core helps to strengthen problem areas (i.e., glutes/hips) and Centergy builds strength while stretching out my tight muscles. Because I attend core regularly, I went on Saturday before my half marathon without feeling sore for the race.

watch

core

centergy

Marvelous is…seeing this face after running 13.1 miles. He makes me smile. 🙂 I am definitely one of those obsessive dog owners who takes way too many pictures of her dog. #SorryImNotSorry

Murphy

Marvelous is…fall shows started! I am a huge fan of New Girl and The Mindy Project. Morgan on the Mindy Project is my favorite character on TV. So many good one liners. In fact, someone put together “27 Reasons Morgan from The Mindy Project Is the Best“. My favorite is “He Loves to Work Out.” I also love that we have Hulu Plus and can watch episodes anytime we want!

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What a glorious weekend! It was much needed after a hectic week. I’m definitely back into the swing of things with speech therapy and IEPs. Oh joy 🙂

Hope everyone has a great week! I am already looking ahead to our next race which is the Brewers 10K in Milwaukee this Saturday! It’s like Christmas around here with all the races going on!

Anyone have a fall race still to come? Which one? What is your favorite fall TV show?