I signed up for the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon at the start of the year for a few reasons-
- I loved the idea of an all-female race and the impact that Gazelle has in the community.
- Everyone was signing up for races at the beginning of year and I had a little bit of FOMO.
- I wanted to add another “chance” to get a sub 2:00 half before I started training for Chicago in the fall.
So I’ll address reason number 3 first. Last year I had one half marathon in the spring(Bayshore) which turned out to be extremely hot and I finished in my exact PR time 2:02. It’s Memorial Day weekend so I had no other chances before marathon training in the summer last year to run to try to get a PR.
This year I had Disney in February but did not really anticipate getting a PR at Disney at the time I signed up for Gazelle. However, I did and I was extremely happy with my 1:57 at Disney. So going into this I had the Gazelle half, a 25K coming up on May 13th, and then also the Bayshore half marathon at the end of May. To be really honest, I felt weird going into this one because I had wanted a sub 2 half for so long that I had not really thought about what I wanted out of this race because I threw it in my schedule for a sub 2.
The two weeks leading up to Gazelle were personally and physically hard for me. I had a death in my family and also caught a bad sinus infection that lingered for two weeks. In fact, I still don’t feel 100% with breathing. Also, the Friday before the half I came home from work and started feeling very sick to my stomach. I went to bed early(too early) and then woke up around midnight and could barely sleep the rest of the night because I felt so awful. When we got up on Saturday to leave for Grand Rapids I was trying to make the best of it because it was nice to get away for the night without our kids so I was trying to be positive all day and enjoy the day.
The expo was from 11-5 at the Marriott and we were staying there as well so it worked out well. We got there and I went to the expo while Justin went for his long run. The expo was fun- they had a large amount of Nike Gazelle gear and also fun female vendors. They also had special drinks they made for the expo for the ladies attending which I thought was a cute touch although I didn’t have anything because again my stomach was off.
While I was there I was able to meet my friend from Instagram and also a blogger @mittenrunner and it was nice to finally talk with her as she gave me SO many tips about Disney this year and I was so grateful!
That night Justin and I went to dinner and then went back to the hotel to prepare for the next day. It was probably the most odd night before race I have ever experienced. We started a new Netflix series and watched a few episodes before bed. I was pretty calm about the race except for the fact that I didn’t feel too great but I figured a good nights sleep would help. WRONG! I woke up around 1 am with a fever and had horrible sweats. I took some Motrin and eventually went back to sleep but was not too optimistic about the next day.
When I woke up I felt a little better but I did question whether I should even do the race. I talked to Justin about it and he said to shower and give it some time. I slowly got ready and put some positive mantras in my head for the race. I still LOVED the idea of running with all girls and the empowerment of it all so I decided to go for it and just run my race. In my head I told myself “if you have to stop and rest because you don’t feel great, do it” but I had traveled to Grand Rapids so I wanted to do it!
Walking to the race I started getting excited and talking to other girls it made me forget that I didn’t feel good. I lined up, music was playing, everyone was dancing and then we were off. For the first 6 miles I hung around the 8:30 pace, and then around mile 7 I walked for just 30 seconds to eat my sports beans. I have a hard time chewing them and running so I like to walk and then I make up the time. The course was great, it was a beautiful day, and people were out for most of the course cheering us on. This is the first race in a long time that I didn’t wear a pace band, probably because my goal for so long was to sub 2 and I didn’t have a pace band set up for this race. I was determined to just have fun with it and was high fiving all the kids lined up on the course and the people in the parks cheering us on. At mile 10 my pace was slipping but I realized if I could keep that pace I would probably still have another sub 2, but wasn’t sure about a PR, but fought for those last three miles. This picture is from the last bridge you cross and I kept telling myself- “as soon as it ends the pain will subside, don’t stop, keep going”.
To my surprise mile 12 was up an overpass that honestly felt like would never end, I finished that and thought “phew” on to the homes stretch. I had no idea what the course was like so when we started to get back into the city of Grand Rapids I thought I was in the home stretch until I turned the corner and saw one more hill which would take me to mile market 13. The crowd was steady and cheering and I kept pushing but honestly wanted to just walk up the hill. My Garmin had already vibrated that I was at mile 13 half way through the hill but I knew the course was a little long or I didn’t run the tangents right on so I pushed and kept going. I turned the corner and saw the finish line and sprinted as fast I I could. I didn’t even look at my Garmin to see if I needed to sprint to get a PR, I just RAN! When I got closer I could see the clock had just turned to 1:56 and I knew I had a PR. As soon as I crossed the finish line though I immediately started gagging. I’ve never done that before. I felt like I was going to pass out or throw up and then I saw Justin yelling my name and he came into the finish area and I took his arm and could barely walk. He wasn’t supposed to be in there so he was told, but he walked with me out of the finish area to get a water and I started to feel better instantly. He actually was the one who told me to check my official time, I was still a little out of it and did not even think about it at first! I was pleasantly surprised to see 1:56.06 – a 1:51 minute PR from Disney! Considering I almost didn’t run the race 4 hours prior to that I was thrilled with my time.
My watch was a little off again because I’m horrible at running tangents!
And as always thank you to my constant cheerleader for being there, keeping me positive, and holding me up at the end! We had a nice big pizza after the race to celebrate and maybe a cocktail 🙂 We will be back in Grand Rapids in two weeks for the Fifth Third RiverBank 25K!