"Winning has nothing to do with racing. Most days don't have races anyway. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Securian Frozen Half Marathon Report: Exciting and Upsetting

Saturday, January 29th marked the date of many exciting things: The birth of my manager's baby (Derek Ryan Hale), my cousin Jen and Jeremy's wedding, and my first winter half marathon-The Securian Frozen Half Marathon.

I woke up Saturday morning with time to get my usual pre-race breakfast, a rice cake with peanut butter, honey, and banana slices. The temperature was about 25 degrees, with windchill it was about 18 degrees. Great temps for a winter race! It was nice to only have to wear two top layers for this race. Heather and I met up with Jim and Trey at the Securian building, and we hung out for a bit before heading to the start. It was chilly and windy, downtown St. Paul with the buildings creating a wind trap. We went to the start line with 4 minutes to spare.

The first half of the race has a lot of rolling hills along Shepherd Rd. Jim, Trey, Heather, and I ran the first few miles together. We were holding between a 7:20-7:40 pace/mile. Heather and I were trying to get ourselves to slow down to conserve energy so we could have negative splits on the way back. The race felt great! After running on snow-laden trails for months, it was nice to run on clean pavement, and actually stride out. I didn't do much of a taper. This past week was heavy on the miles, and intense in the workouts. But my legs felt fresh, my body felt strong, and I was content along the course. The turnaround was just after mile 6. We noticed after the turnaround in the course that it jumped to mile 8. Did we hit a time warp? Where did mile 7 go? I kept looking at my watch, wondering why the course said mile 8, but my watch said 6.6 miles? I kept thinking the course would work itself out, and it would all even out in the end. My second half of the race was great. I did exactly what I had hoped to do, run negative splits.

As got back to downtown St. Paul, I knew I had about 3 miles left. I was still conserving my energy. I knew I could pick it up a little but (and run sub-7). I charged up the quick, but steep hill, and was thankful for the hill workouts we've been doing. I turned and ran the less-steep, but gradual and longer hill downtown, and was pleased with my abilities. I knew I was working hard. I felt out of breath from the hills, but knew I had 2 miles to go. I turned a corner downtown, and saw Trey (he had just finished), he ran up to me and said, "the finish is right around this corner." WHAT?!?! I'm only at 11.5 miles. My plan was to pick up the last mile, and finish strong. So I dug in, turned the corner, saw the finish, and made a mad dash for it. I saw a guy a few seconds ahead of me, and decided he was going down. With a strong finish, I beat him, crossed the line, and stared at my watch in disbelief. 11.6 miles. My finishing time was 1:27:52 (average pace 7:35/mile). I was on track for a CAREER PR for my half marathon!

My half marathon PR is 1:41:07. Had this been a full half marathon distance (13.1 miles), I absolutely would have PR'd! So I am celebrating the fact that I now realize I'm in great shape! I also learned that the New York Marathon is a lottery; however, for my age bracket, if you run a 1:38:59 half marathon time, you receive an automatic entry into the New York Marathon! That would have been achieved yesterday, had it been a certified course. This was the first year they changed the course and this was the first year the course was not certified. That was upsetting. Even still, I accomplished everything I had set out to do. I wasn't looking for a career PR, I was looking for a fun race, running with friends, running on pavement, and feeling good about the work I put in. All of that was accomplished (the career PR for an 11.6 mile race was an added bonus)!!!

Trey, Heather, and Jim all had great races too! Trey likes to say he's not in shape, but he had a fantastic race! Heather dropped the hammer, and ran like a crazy lady! Jim had an awesome race too! We all felt satisfied with the work we had done.

I also had the privilege to see my client Pam, running another 5K. She has made exceptional progress in her training. Pam has accomplished more than any other client I have had. She is a beautiful and inspiring woman. I am honored to be her trainer :) She had a career PR in her 5K!

Here's my log for the week:
Monday: PM Treadmill run-5 miles
Tuesday: AM 6 hill repeats plus 6 mile loop-11.5 miles
Wednesday: AM Outside 5 mile river run; PM Treadmill tempo run 3.1 miles (8.1 miles for the day)
Thursday: AM Outside 9 mile loop.
Friday: AM Outside 4 mile run.
Saturday: Frozen Half Marathon (11.6 miles)
Sunday (today): Will be running 13 miles

Weekly total: 62.2 miles-->New high mileage week!


  1. Great job. Last Fall I was considering the Securian as a NY qualifier too. A 1:40 is what I need, and what I can run, when well trained. I am not well trained now, and was not able to have that day free to race, so I didn't run it. I would have been very p'd-off had I run it and not be able to use it as a qualifier. I am sure many that ran it are ticked because 1:45 is also a wave 1 TCM qualifier. Again, great job!

  2. omg, my first run was 16 minutes per mile, I have some work to do!