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2014 Rock n’ Sole Half Marathon Recap

Just a reminder that there is still time to enter my giveaway for a Hit and Run 5k entry!


I finished my THIRD Rock n’ Sole Half Marathon this weekend! Last week was tough because two people I love had crappy things happen to them (again, I’m just going to continue vague blogging about this), but the Rock n’ Sole Half Marathon definitely helped raise my spirits by a landslide. Traffic was slow-moving from Chicago to Milwaukee on Friday night and I didn’t end up going to bed until around 12:30 or 1:00AM the night before the race. The 5:25AM wakeup call was not appreciated.

All I could think about while getting ready to run 13.1 miles at the crack of dawn was the fact that I ran 3 times in 2 days on very little sleep the week before in the Ragnar Relay.  Clearly, all of my pre-race activities were a struggle because I felt like crap.  I had to really talk myself into running that morning. I was lucky to have Sara and her coworker, Jenn, with me! It was Jenn’s first half marathon and she was PUMPED 🙂 A couple other happy things about the race were that the weather was a perfect 60* when we started and Sara bought me a super cute running tank top:

20140615-221113-79873813.jpg I also hydrated a ton during work on Friday in preparation for the race. Such a good choice!

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I also ate lots of peanut butter.

We walked to our corrals and stretched for a few minutes.  Sara asked me if I was going for a PR and I said “definitely not; I didn’t really train for this race. My goal will be to come in under 2:10.” I truly believed that a PR was out of reach for me. My previous PR (2:05) was from 2012, and that was a result of following a training plan.

As we started running, my anger towards all the crappy events from last week started to really affect me.  I wanted to forget all about the stress; my pace went between 8:50 and 9:15 for the first few miles.  This is pretty fast for me when running a half marathon, but I just went with it.

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Here we are running on the bridge!

I love running through a city other than Chicago because the scenery is delightfully distracting.  If you’ve read this blog for even one week, you’ll know that I visit friends in Milwaukee pretty often, but it’s still newer to me than Chicago 😉 Another welcome distraction was that I listened to music with my new Yurbuds. After a year of cheap headphones, my birthday gift from Britta really feels like a treat.

My failure to eat breakfast on race morning lead me to eat a Clif Bar at mile 4. Very poor life choice.  My stomach hurt SO BAD for about a mile, but the pain subsided eventually.  Other than the Clif Bar incident, I felt awesome for the first 7 miles.

It was around mile 8 that I was ready to be done.  We had just run up a ginormous hill. Chicago doesn’t have hills, so this one does me in every single year.  I usually walk up the hill, but I was so angry that I pushed through and ran up it.

20140615-221114-79874875.jpgHopefully these people don’t mind that I took a picture of their backsides and posted it on the internet… I just wanted to show you guys the hill (this is almost the top of it)!

We ran through a beautiful forest preserve after the gigantic hill and some bands played for us (it is the ROCK n’ Sole 😉 ).  The music helped significantly with my motivation. My anger stopped working to fuel the run for a few miles (probably miles 8-10), but I was still running around 9:20s or 9:30s. My PR (again, 2:05) average pace was 9:40 so I pretty much knew at mile 10 that I was going to PR.

The last 5k of the race was pretty brutal, but I kept thinking “leave everything you have on the course” and I definitely succeeded!

I flew across the finish in 2:03:29, a 9:25 pace overall! PRed without even expecting to!

After I crossed the finish line, I needed to sit down in a bad way. Sara and Jenn were still running, so I had time to eat/drink every. single. thing. they gave away. This included a granola bar, a bag of Fritos, chocolate milk, water, and gatorade. My time sitting alone and reflecting on my emotionally-fueled race reminded me of why I run: it’s my escape, my time to think, my time to tune into how I truly feel about certain issues, and a way for me to prove to myself over and over again that I can do so much more than I believe I can (like PR my half marathon time!).

Jenn and Sara finished the race and we snapped a photo in our cute matching shirts:

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All three of us PRed!

We drank some beer, ate more food, and talked for a little while before heading home. I spent a significant amount of time sleeping after the race, haha. I was exhausted.

Do you know what this PR means? I’M GOING SUB-2 NEXT TIME! 😀

Have you ever surprised yourself with a PR?