Great Western Half Marathon Recap

I didn’t want to run.

Not ever…just this morning…and maybe just this early in the morning.

As you all know, I am the type of person who really enjoys running, racing, training.  But, I’ve been in continuing ed classes 2 out of the last 3 weekends and out of town the other weekend.  Needless to say I am just exhausted!  Like curl up on the couch and take a nap 2 minutes after you  wake up exhausted.  It was the promise of an afternoon nap and and the realization that my friend was picking me up in 30 minutes that actually propelled me out of bed at 6am this morning.


Also not helping was that I overdid the carb load yesterday.  There was some tasty cookies and scones at the course during the day and I definitely didn’t measure out my pasta like I usually do.




This is for sure more than one cup of pasta.  But soaked in olive oil and garlic and topped with grilled chicken and mushrooms, it makes a fantastic pre race meal.  With a few squares of dark chocolate for dessert, of course.




My friend arrived right on time as I was packing up my bag.  I grabbed my overnight oats for breakfast to eat on the way.  Note: we truly have NO FOOD in our house and I stopped by the store last night to buy chicken and 1 banana to get me through race days meals.  We parked at the  high school and then hopped a bus over to the race site.  I ran this half marathon a year ago and was excited to do it again because it is well organized by friendly people along a beautiful forest preserve course.  The weather could not have been better and it really was was the PERFECT morning for a run, making me happy that I did indeed get out of bed this morning.




It’s been no secret that I am hoping to PR my half marathon time this year.  I came close to cracking 1:50 last year, but just couldn’t break through.  With a list of reasons I won’t name (although a few mentioned above), I was comfortable with this morning’s race not being my PR.  That being said, I still had that 1:50 in the back of my mind.  Last year, I hit a HUGE wall at mile 8 which may have been dragging down my confidence a bit, so I hit the start line hoping to beat last year’s time, but not really remembering what that was.




I never know how much detail to share in a race recap.  I’m sure you don’t want to know every thought in my mind for 13.1 miles….some days neither do I.  But because each race is so different, it is fun to share some of the details.  My friend and I hung together for the first 2 miles before I pulled ahead.  With last year’s BONK fresh in my memory, I didn’t want to go out too strong and was just hoping to keep a consistent pace.  The first few miles were a struggle.  I was tired, couldn’t find my rhythm, and struggling to keep my race belt in place.  At one point, my race bib (also the timing chip) came loose.  Around mile 5, I walked through the aid station, drinking some water with my first batch of nutrition (Larabar) and finally got my belt adjusted.  After that, I was able to find my running groove.  I was glancing down at my watch to get my mile splits as I crossed each mile marker, but in between I let my body determine my stride and pace. 




The mind/body connection during running amazes me.  My mind is saying ‘Go! Go! Go!’.  Yet my body is saying ‘Wait…we haven’t trained for these distances and speeds’.  I found this morning that my mind was just waiting for my body to give up and shut down.  Thankfully, I passed the dreaded mile 8 and mile 9 makers with no signs of a BONK.  By mile 10, I knew that a 1:50 PR was within reach and I wanted to finish the race with every mile under 9 minutes.  I allowed myself to slow a bit, walk through the water station, and focus on keeping my stride smooth.  I passed the bright yellow mile 12 sign right at 1:40.  With confidence, I continued along the path towards the finish…except I rounded a corner to find a gradual incline and a headwind that brought me to a halt.  Ok, not a literal halt, but I definitely felt the wind seep out of my sails.




And my PR slip right through my fingers.  I used my mind to push my body through that last mile knowing that I’d be proud no matter what (and vowing to train better for my next half marathon).




When I passed mile 13, I just took off letting adrenaline fuel me to the finish line!  This always makes me laugh because in  my head, I was sprinting full speed ahead, but who knows how fast I was really going.  I stopped my watch as I crossed the finish line and excitedly looked down to see my unofficial time of 1:49:46.  I could barely walk to get my medal, my legs were sore tired and stiff and I have a huge new blister on the bottom of my right foot.  I happily took 2 bottles of water from the volunteers and slowly made my way with frequent rest breaks to the sidelines to cheer on my friend to the finish.




After the race, we took a few minutes to stretch and I definitely thanked her for dragging me out of bed and to the race this morning.  We snacked on some Great Harvest bread and a cookie before heading back to the car.




I was crazy sweaty, so I immediately showered when I got home.  The BOY was studying and heading out to the library just as I climbed into bed for an afternoon nap.  I slept for 3 blissful hours.  I probably should have done some foam rolling before napping, but didn’t think about that until I stiffly got out of bed for some afternoon errands.  I came back from Costco with a car full of goodies.  Shortly after, the BOY returned from the library to pick me up for an early date night a Yogurtland!




It’s been way too long since we’ve been out for fro yo, so it didn’t take much convincing to get the BOY out for a sugary dinner.  I filled my cup up high with some of their new flavors, including a fantastic Chai, and covered it with cookie dough balls and some other tasty high calorie treats.




The BOY has an evening of studying ahead of him, and I am looking forward to a quiet night in!  And maybe a little QT with my foam roller while catching up on some TV on the DVR.  That PR has left me tired and a little sore!


Do you like to read/hear other people’s race recaps?

Every details or the abbreviated version?



The official stats aren’t posted yet, but hopefully I have that tomorrow!

Mile Splits

Mile 2: 8:06

Mile 3: 8:21

Mile 4: 8:15

Mile 5: 8:17

Mile 6: 8:29

Mile 7: 8:08

Mile 8: 8:25

Mile 9: 8:16

Mile 10: 8:26

Mile 11: 8:46

Mile 12: 8:34

Mile 13: 8:25

37 thoughts on “Great Western Half Marathon Recap

  1. Great job on the PR!!! I am jealous of your quickness!! 🙂 I love reading others race recaps and hearing their thoughts while running. I can compare them to mine and it makes me feel almost normal. It looked like a great day for a race too!

    • Thanks for the comment. I totally agree that I love to hear what is going through everyone elses head….especially during the long runs. I have also found it is fun to go back and read my own recaps and see what I was thinking AND use my mile splits to look for some themes. I was amazed at how consistent I was able to stay yesterday even when I felt like I was so much slower.

    • Well said! I couldn’t agree more! I am enjoying a rest day today with some shopping (hooray for groceries) and looking forward to my next challenge. I think one of the reasons that I love running so much is that it challenges my mind and my body and that no matter what my finish, I am always pleased with my effort!

  2. Congrats-it sounds like a wonderful race-even with the blister. You beat your time without really pressuring yourself to do it-maybe you have been putting too much pressure on yourself for times. When you just go out and enjoy the run it is so much better-the times will come.
    Did you see Jamie L (from ww) she was there too-her goal is to do a half mara. every month this year.

    • I didn’t see her but it is a small race, so I could have bumped into her without knowing it. I totally agree about the pressure and I am already concerned about this year’s marathon that I will put too much pressure on myself to beat my time and the stress will cause fatigue. There were a few times during the race where I could feel my heart rate increasing and it was focusing on my yoga breathing that kept me calm and consistent. Speaking of yoga, I hope to get there soon!

  3. Great job. Even with a tough start, you managed to come out ahead. Those are the times that really test your will power.
    Whenever I read running posts where people went long distances (marathons, half marathons), I’m amazed they did anything else that day, like grocery shopping and froyo. I don’t think I’d leave the couch. In fact, I feel like running such a far distance is justification for doing nothing the rest of the day.

    • Ha ha! Usually I agree (and typically spend the day after the long distance race curled up on my couch with popcorn), but in this case the lack of food situation was dire and my Costco coupons expired on Sunday….oh the nerve : )

  4. Congrats on the race. I have the same questions as you posed: do people want to read mile by mile descriptions of the crazy shit going on in my head? Are my observations worth anyone’s time to read?
    I’m so busy that I have cut back on reading looooong blog posts. I will skim them but foolishly I’m following to many runners to read all of their recaps in detail.
    I always edit mine and always end up around 1K words. Some people tell me personally they enjoyed reading my recaps but I think a lot of people don’t read them or skim them.
    As you can see, I’m long winded. For my latest race I’m using some happenings for additional posts. I met some interesting people and had other things I consider interesting happen.

    • Thanks for taking the time to write a long winded comment! It was great to read because I really am interested in other’s thoughts on this. I love the idea of using other people and unique stories along the way to share your racing journey. Like you, I read WAY too many blogs, but I love them and sometimes just have to skim to keep up. I do like to learn what others eat on race day, how they fuel while running, what they think, and how they felt because it teaches me more about being a runner. I am learning that I also like writing my story (even if others are just skimming) because it is great to look back and reflect on past races.

  5. Great job!!! Way to break the 1:50!! SO happy for you. ALSO yogurtland looks like the shit. We have some froyo places but your toppings looks amazing.

  6. Congratulations- a PR is never easy, especially not when you don’t even feel like running! Way to go! You’re off to an awesome race season this year!
    Yogurtland sounds like the perfect way to cap off a race day!

    • It has been an exciting start. i can’t wait for my first tri which is right around the corner. Most likely followed by another trip to Yogurtland! Thanks for your encouragement!

  7. Congrats on your new PR, Ms. Fasty-pants! Seriously, awesome job. You pushed through when you met bad conditions and met your goal. Maybe you can run even faster on a not so hilly and headwind-y course later in the year. 🙂 I hope you’re enjoying the afterglow of making your goal! I do enjoy reading race recaps–it’s fun to see what other people’s experiences are at different races, and sometimes I decide to run that race next year if someone has had a really awesome experience!

    • That’s a great point! i do like learning about new races through blogs and then adding some to my list. I am exited about the race and haven’t decided on what my new goal is, but I’d love to hit a 3:55 marathon in October : )

  8. You are so amazing!!! I knew you would do awesome! I really liked reading your recap. The whole thing. I’m still recovering from mine, and not allowed to run much, so I lived vicariously through your race 🙂 Congratulations on the PR!! I am so impressed by your speedy little self!!

    • Well thanks! I am enjoying a down week too and agree with you that it’s hard to sit still : ) Luckily I had a busy week and was happy for some of the extra sleep!

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