Thursday, June 9, 2016

2016 Parkinsons Half Marathon Race Report

Well, this race report is LONG overdue ... but, here it is.
I have run the Parkinson's Half Marathon a couple of times already.  But I was a wee bit scared when I picked up my packet on race morning this year.  This was going to be my first race since having my baby in December.  And it wasn't just a 5K - it was a half marathon. I hadn't really trained for it.  I wasn't prepared - mentally or physically.  I had run a few double digit miles post-pregnancy, including a half marathon I ran on my own around town.  But still, I didn't feel ready.  And I knew I would be sore after.

I was going to pick up my packet in Cottage Grove the evening prior.  But I opted to save gas - and time - and pick up my packet the morning of the race.  I'm glad I did.  Parking was easy and packet pick-up was convenient.  On the way in I also was greeted by former clients, running friends and acquaintances.  It was great.  And, I got #2.  Nope - I'm not elite or anything.  Talk about pressure ...

I headed to the startline and saw a lot more familiar faces before we headed out.  We headed out on a quick mile around the neighborhood in Cottage Grove, before entering the Glacial Drumlin Trail.  This is one of my favorite places to run.  The crushed gravel can be hard for some to adjust to and hard on your ankles.  But, once you're use to it, I find it therapeutic, listening to my feet crunch against the gravel.  I quickly met up with an old friend, who ended up running the first half of the race with me.  I turned my tunes down low while we chatted and caught up.  He did a good job distracting me from what was ahead.  My pace was way faster than what I was use to post-pregnancy.  I was clocking 9:30-9:45 minute miles.  Something I hadn't done in about a year.  I was pushing it and knew I needed to slow down. 
I drank water from my handheld, downed a couple of energy gels along the way and picked up sports drink at the water stations.  I really enjoy the out and back route so that you can cheer fellow runners on, give some high fives and welcome the distraction.  At the turnaround, I decided to slow down as my friend opted to try and catch up to some of his other friends.  I turned up my tunes and focused on my breathing and slowing down.  The sun was hot and something we weren't use to at this point mid-April.  It was getting warm - very quickly.  Runners were turning into walkers.  I saw folks walking with their hands on their hips in frustration.  I slowed down, but I didn't walk.  My stomach felt fine, I had enough energy, but I was hot.  I continued to drink water and sports drink for the remainder of the run. 
There is one big hill at the very end of the race, and I prepared for that as runners with medals around their necks were cheering us on.  I was slowing down, but I was getting up that darn hill.  Step by step I trudged my way up and then down the hill to the finish line.  at 2:10, this was my slowest half marathons EVER, but I did it.  My normal pace is around 1:58 or so.  But, I finished.  And my daughter was only four months old and waiting for me back at home.  The race gave me a baseline for where I was at physically and I could only get faster and more fit from there.
After the race, I drove to a local park to run with two young clients to log a couple more miles and soak up more of the day outdoors.

Chip time:  2:10:02
9:56 min/mile
231 / 384 overall
19 / 42 age group
99 / 211 gender

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