Thursday, September 16, 2010

Race Report: Sioux Falls Half Marathon 2010

When my alarm sounded at 5:15am on Sunday I was thankful.  All weekend I have been rewatching Star Wars, so Saturday night I kept dreaming that the race directors changed the unit of measurement on the race course from miles to whatever they use in Star Wars.  I would spend the whole race trying to figure out the conversion rate of _____ to miles so I could figure out my pace.  It was brutal, and I woke up sweaty and nervous. :p

Before I knew it, I was on my way with Sara and Tom to the starting line.  Sara was running her first! half marathon and Tom was pacing her for her awesome accomplishment.  We were probably equally freaking out with nerves and excitement.  The full marathon started at 6:40am, so we got there in time to see them start off and I was oh-so-happy that I wasn't toeing the line for 26.2.  I had originally entertained the idea, but after seeing the race course, decided....hell no!

After they were off it was time for some jogging and stretching.  Before I knew it they were calling for everyone to line up at the start and I still had to find my parents to give my clothes and bag and use the bathrooms....because.... you know... I need more stress on a goal race day, yes?  :p  I found my parents, quick shucked my outer warm clothes and dashed for the bathroom.  I made it out mid-Star Spangled Banner.  This is an upgrade from last year when I was still waiting in line for the bathroom during the SSB.  I found Jeff near the 6:00 pace sign, and we both agreed that no one was paying the pace signs any attention, and we'd be ok starting there (and we were right).  The gun sounded and we were off!

Luckily for us (or for me I should say) I lined up exactly where I needed to be.  No weaving around people, no getting passed left and right.  It was one lap around the track and we hit the road.  I waved to my parents and I was off.  I tried to settle in to my pace, but figured my first mile would be off time wise anyway.  We started climbing the "main" hill of the race towards the end of mile 2, and I tried not to let my legs pound down too much on the downhill.  Most of mile 3 was downhill.  I took my first GU at mile 3.5 and was already STARVING.  I had eaten my normal long run breakfast, but my stomach didn't like it, so I ended up with not much in my stomach at the time the race started.  :/
1. 8:28
2. 8:36
3. 8:25

After mile 3 I found my pace (bingo!) and it felt solid, but I was looking at my Garmin a lot to guage my pace on the rolling hills.  We ran through downtown (one of my favorite parts of the race) and then on to Falls Park where I'd see my mom and dad aka the Paparazzi!  I ditched my Spibelt with my mom, because the sucker would not stay put.  Not sure if my booty got some more bounce in it or what, but that thing wouldn't stay put for anything.  Frustrating.  Around mile 5 we started deviating from the "standard race route."  It's also at about 5-5.5 that the normal course flattens out big time.  Not so much in the new route!
4. 8:22
5. 8:14

Look!  Proof I was having fun at some point. :
I really love the lighting in this pic. My dad's such a photog in training. Ha.
I reteach him how to use my camera at every race. Love him. :)

I was honestly surprised to see more hills as I figured it would be about the same elevation as it was on the other side of the river.  At this point my IT bands were mad at me, and were burning/shooting with pain.  When my watch beeped at me at 6 miles, my legs were dead, and I freaked.  There was no way I could run my expected pace for the next 7 miles!  Pouting may have commenced.  I kept plugging along but my pace dropped significantly, as did my drive for my goal time.  I'm not sure what happened in my brain, but when Goal A no longer seemed achievable, it's like I didn't even have a Goal B or C in mind.  But duh, I did... I even blogged about it!  It didn't help that this part of the course was through random neighborhoods instead of my beloved bike trails. :(  I took my 2nd GU at 7 miles.
6. 8:49
7. 8:45
8. 9:03
My form says it all in this pic "blah."  Hah, cracks me up!
My mom always likes to capture a pic of the Jer(r)i(y)s.  Yes, I'm named after my pops. Total daddy's girl.
I swear there are others running this race.
Oh hey, there they are.  Wait for me!

Every time my watch would beep with another mile down, I would figure out my possible finishing time based on 9 minute miles.  Again, I'm not sure why I resorted to 9 minute miles.  Mental toughness?  It was not present race morning.  It's cousin, Whiny brat, was, unfortunately.  At mile ten I knew the course was joining up with my beloved trail and that it would be predominantly flat to the finish.  The only problem is that my legs were trashed from pushing the pace on the earlier hills.  Ho hum.  I took my 3rd GU at mile 10. 
9. 8:54
10. 8:50
11. 9:01

When there was two miles left, I was just focused on finishing.  There were a group of green gals that were with me earlier in the race, but I had lost (while pouting probably) that I tried to catch up to.  With a little over a mile left, the leader of the marathon flew by me.  I attempted to do math to figure out what his finishing time would be.... and then attempted to figure out what that pace would be.  Since I suck at math while running, this got me quite a ways!  :)  The last mile I took to counting the people I could pass (12 was my last count before the last stretch to the finish line).  The finish line was further down the road than I had visualized it.  Boo!  Haha.  I kicked it in for the last .25 of a mile and zoomed to the finish line.
Move it or lose it toots. I'm ready to be done with this s-show.
Hmm... I wonder if I held her off.  Probably. ;) I kid.  Kinda.

I ran 13.14 miles in 1:53:47 for a pace of 8:39.

My mom was SUPER DUPER bummed she didn't make it to the finish line to photograph me finishing.  I told her I loved her anyway. Plus I'd much rather have an exhausted sweaty, just finished pic. ;)

I was bummed but relieved to be done.  I saw my mom and my TEAM GREEN.  Moments after finishing I got the worst cramp ever in my right hamstring.  Holy cow.  I've never gotten a cramp before, and if you've ever experienced one in a race and continued, my sweaty sports bra is off to you.  Serious pain.  Whoa.
TEAM GREEN!  Mel and her boys.  Love them.
Matt came to cheer me on!  And wore green too.  I have such fab friends. This day could've been rectified with a trip to a certain swim up bar.  Tear.  Goodbye summer and WWW...until next May!
My madre and me. My pops hurt his knee a month or so ago, so he wasn't able to walk the trillion miles to the finish line.  

Since I have had plenty of time to reflect on the race, I have a few reflections to note.

  • If you have access to the race route (ie:  you live in the town) do yourself a favor and run/bike/drive the race route.  If I had realized how much hillier it was than I had expected, I would've revamped my goal from 1:48 to a PR.  Granted, I tend to avoid hilly races because my IT bands hate them, so this isn't saying much, but this was the hardest half course I've ever run.  A low 1:52 or high 1:51 would've been stellar, and totally doable if I hadn't killed myself early on the hills.
  • Mental toughness.  Not sure when I lost this, but I need to get it back.  I've struggled with my confidence to run fast and far this whole summer.  I know I'm a fast runner.  I know I can run far.  I can run a long ways fast, but for some reason I psyche myself out about it.
  • Despite my short-comings in this race (IMO) it's still my 3rd fastest HM time.  It's faster than last year's time on a much easier course.  And technically it ties my pace for my PR race in August.  That course was slightly short, and this course was slightly long.  
All that being said, I'm not disappointed in my performance, or in myself.  But I am disappointed in how I handled what I perceived as "failure" in the midst of the race.  Sometimes I have an all or nothing attitude, and I need to break that, especially when it comes to running.  Christ, look at how much I've grown from this race.  Let's all hold hands and sing Kumbaya please.  Seriously, I have no doubts that my legs have a 1:48 (or faster!) in them....just need to work on getting my brain in the same shape that my body's in! 

Thanks for all of your support and well wishes for this race.  I love you kids.  :)


Anonymous said...


Seriously, we are running twins. I've been struggling with the same exact issues. Mental toughness, what's that? I feel like all the slow, comfortable paced runs I did while marathon training stole my speed & my toughness. Things start feeling a little tough and I just back off, Boo. But, a 1:48 IS in your legs.. no doubt 'bout it!

Good advice about running the course. Honestly didn't cross my mind, I'm going to run the Mapleleaf course this weekend. Thank ya kindly!

You did GREAT Jeri! Celebrate your accomplishment, it deserves a rage or two! :)

Evolving Through Running said...

Great weather, great pictures, damn good pace despite fighting some battles in your head. Good analysis and introspection from the experience. Great race recap. I'd say it was a successful outing. If you can post that time and feel like you were a little off, you're going to throw down a monster PR the next time out when things line up better for you. GREAT job!

Now - make sure your boy Jennings gives me another strong outing for my fantasy team this weekend. I'm pathetically addicted to ff. Glad I didn't discover this sooner.

Jen Feeny said...

You may have had a moment of self doubt in the midst there but you still did great girl! Don't sweat it, learn the lessons from the run and move on. If you're going to dwell on anything, dwell on how awesome you are! (And while you're at it don't forget to add another notch to that half marathon belt!) :)

Julie said...

Awesome job Jeri! You are such a strong runner and look really look like you are enjoying yourself and having fun when running:) Congrats on another great race!

Jamie said...

You did awesome on a tough course! I think we have all experienced those moments of self doubt during a race. But you stuck with it and finished strong! You will have that 148 in no time.

J said...

I think I have dealt with the same thing as you. I know I can run fast, I have run fast in training but then the race came and it just didn't work out. This summer definitely has been a learning experience for me and hopefully next year will be better! great job on the half! Sorry it didn't go as well as you wanted.

The Boring Runner said...

CONGRATS!!!!!!! those tough courses are.....tough. Way to power through

At least you really looked fresh during the pictures!

hehe, your dad does take some pretty fun pictures. ;)

Mica said...

I think your time is awesome, but I understand that you're disappointed with some of the elements of a race. I hate that feeling of disappointment when I think back "Oh, I should have pushed myself harder. Why did I give in so easily?"

Teamarcia said...

Great job hanging on after the killer hills! Sounds like a really tough course.

Anonymous said...

You make a very good point about mental toughness and I think when the mental and physical click that's when PRs are born! Regardless you did a great job on a hilly course! Love the green :)

Susan said...

Mental toughness is SO hard, but you had a great race nonetheless! The tough runs make us stronger, and they'll get you to 1:48. (And 3:40...just saying!)

Quinton J said...

Great race report. Still a solid time. “booty got some more bounce” made me crack-up. I’ve had cramps during a race…actually a few races…so thanks for the sweaty sports bra.
Have you done any fast-finish long runs? I have found them to be really good training runs for building that mental toughness. But based on what you’ve learned in this race…I’m thinkin’ you’ve got the next one in the bag. Congrats.

Aron said...

you did great out there girl on a tough course! we all have those races and i know i have gone through periods of time where i lose confidence in myself, but you will get it back! the mind is the hardest thing to train. congrats though because you did awesome out there!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats on the race.

Mental toughness is something too many people dont train for, I think its just as important as physical training.

Anonymous said...

First of all, someone above me is "Big Daddy Diesel"...and that made me laugh.

Now - Seriously, I struggled with getting my pace and mogtivation back after the marathon and jumping back into running/races too quickly. Maybe thats part of it? Either way, don't get too discouraged! It'll come back when your legs are ready for it - and the psyching out will subside. :)

Be proud of the hilly course survival and some Awesome supporters cheering you on (including us interweb peeps)!