Sunday, April 17, 2011

Earth Day Half Marathon Weekend

We went to St. Cloud on Friday afternoon trying to outrun the nasty winter weather that was coming. The trip went well. We took Lynette's new ride -- a bright red Kia Soul-- that we bought last week. After checking in at the hotel we went to the college to pick up my race packet. There wasn't much schwag, just a cloth grocery bag and a shirt, but the shirt is a technical t-shirt which is great.

We left the campus and went for supper at Panera. Julie and Mary introduced us to this restaurant on a recent trip to the Twin Cities and we loved it. We both had a sandwich, but I also ordered the mac & cheese which was amazing! We went back to the hotel and waited for our friends Don and Shelly to arrive from Wisconsin. They spent the weekend with us and were there to cheer for me at the finish.

Looks like I'm in for a cool run.
When we woke up Saturday morning there was a layer of snow on the cars, but at least the streets were clear. The weather was cold (low thirties), cloudy, and windy. I got pretty chilled while waiting for the race to start. I warmed up quickly once I started running. I was just behind the 11:04 minute/mile pace group that would finish the race in two hours twenty-five minutes. I was hoping to stay with this group and finish under two and a half hours.

Starting line.
I saw Shirley, another runner from our training class, at the starting line. We ran together for a while, but she was running a little faster than I wanted. She slowly pulled away and I kept to my pace which started a bit slower than the pace group. I caught up to Shirley and the pace group at about the four mile aid staion. I was able to stay with the pacer for the rest of the race.

The course was a nice mix of residential streets, bike paths, and even some grass through the park. The crowds along the course were great. It's amazing to have people you don't know cheering for you. There were a lot of volunteers at the aid stations. It made it easy to get through them quickly.

Heading down into the park.

Old Man River -- The Mighty Mississippi
Shirley started to fall back a little after about eight miles. I forced myself to keep up to the pacer. She did a great job of keeping me motivated even though she was running the hell out of me. The end of the course was a big downhill run. I let gravity do its thing and just tried to keep my feet moving fast enough to keep from skidding down the hill on my face. There was still about a quarter mile to go after I reached the bottom of the hill. People along the road kept telling me that I was almost there. I've discovered that the finish line is deceptive. It seems to keep moving further away as I approach it much like the never-ending hallways in scary movies.

Keeping up to the pacer.
Shirley nearing the finish line!

I crossed the finish, heard them announce my name, and got my medal. It was over and I was thrilled to have done it in two hours twenty-two minutes! I saw Shirley nearing the finish line as we were walking to our car. It is great that she finished. Now it's back to the training grind. Only five weeks to go until the big race. 


  1. Congrats! Good luck with your training over the next 5 weeks.

  2. Great job, as long as injuries stay away you'll have a fantastic marathon.

  3. Way to go! Wish I could have been there to see the race, but I was definitely with you in spirit. Well done!