Red Wing City Ramble - 1/2 marathon



A lot of my family came down for the 1/2 marathon in Red Wing this weekend. I had signed up a while ago because it was an event my work was sponsoring (and thus, signed up my husband, who always appreciates being signed up for long running races). My brother also came down, bringing a friend, and my cousin (who is 16) came down to run with my aunt and uncle to cheer. Fun family event!!

It's a nice cool morning, which suits me well. I do a little warm up, and realize that my legs aren't feeling really springy (the sign of a good race). Bummer. I was hoping they'd respond to a lower mileage week. They don't feel bad, just not great. I get to talk to my bro, friend, and cousin before the race. My cousin is incredibly nervous. It's his first 1/2 marathon, and he's only run 9 miles before :).

The announcer states that in addition to the advertised prizes (trail shoes and red wing pottery), a local Red Wing resident is donating a week's stay at his resort in Mexico for the men's and women's winner of the 1/2 marathon. What??!! Sweet!!

The gun goes off, and I start conservatively. Nate is next to me for the first 1/2 mile until I tell him we're running 6:30/mile pace. I continue to hold the 6:30/6:28 pace. It's a whole lot HARDER than it should be, though. Mentally, I let myself ease up a little. I know I'm the first female (I'm after that resort stay!), and I convinced myself that's all that mattered. At the half way point I turn around (out and back run) and see Nate. Right ahead of him is another girl who looks pretty strong. I know that I'm at least a couple minutes ahead of her, though, so I'm pretty happy.

The second half is mostly downhill. It's actually a really nice course -- flat, slightly uphill for the first half, slightly downhill for the second half. It makes for the chance for some quick times. My miles are now around 6:26/6:28. That's better, but I still feel really flat. Ug. I can't wait to get this race over with, I tell myself. Plus, in my mind I'm thinking: I've felt really flat in two races in two weeks. I haven't done well in either (10K last weekend in 38:30, which is 2:00 off my college times). Is my training really working? I think to myself that it's just making me slow... and then I think to myself that this 6:26-6:30 pace will only get me to the finish in 1:25. Yes, that's relatively quick by most people's standards... but even if I were to run TWO of these 1/2 marathons back to back at this pace, I'd still be 3 MINUTES off of the Olympic Trials time. In the back of my mind, I'd been telling myself that the Trials was my ultimate long-term goal. I sort of decided during this race that I just don't think it's possible, I'd have to be SOO much faster in order to make that happen :(.

Who thinks this much during a race?? I normally don't, and I don't recommend it (thoughts during races are never very positive). But, I didn't have anything else to think about, since I'm running completely alone. At about 3.5 miles to go we go down a bridge and you have a chance to look behind you. That chic in the green sports bra is actually really close now! What?? I start to focus more. I want this resort stay a LOT (it's not something I'd ever splurge on, but it'd be so much fun to have a relaxing vacation next to the carribean sea!!), so I'm going to make ever effort to make sure I'm number 1.

Except, she passes me with 2 miles to go. And it's not like I typically get passed, where they're just going a few seconds per mile faster and you can latch on to them. She BLOWS by me. I didn't even have time to react. The next thing I knew, she was 30+ seconds ahead of me (and this is just in one mile). I'm not going slow by any means either -- I think that mile was in 6:24 or so. The last mile I think I see her falling back a little (I'm probably just hoping for this at this point). So, I decide to go for broke. How fast can I make these dead legs go? Not very fast -- 6:15 pace for the last mile. And she definitely wasn't falling back. I think she put another 20-30 seconds on me. Nooooo!

I finished in 1:24.29. The woman that passed me finished in 1:23.36. WOW. She put almost a minute on me in those last 2 miles, and I wasn't running slowly at that point. I talked to Nate afterwards and he said that he ran by her until at leat the 7 mile mark. I don't think she started racing until the last 4-5 miles. Incredible.

I'm bummed because I didn't have a really quick 1/2 marathon like I was hoping. It's my 2nd fastest, but I was hoping to be able to set a PB. Oh well. I just have to trust in my training, hope that the base mileage will really benefit me in the long run. Is it working thought? I do doubt it in the back of my mind...

My family and I wait for awards. They call up the winners and they recieve a pretty cool jug & their certificates for their vacations. The guy winner comes back up. Apparently he can't take it because he runs in college & it's against NCAA rules to accept something this valuable. Instead of giving it to his mom (she talked to me afterwards and was really sad her son didn't gift it to her), he gave it to the second place male. Then, I see the women's winner running up: she too runs D2 in college and can't accept it. !!!!!! They call me up to accept it. I couldn't be happier!! I think it was almost better to have lost it and then to have re-won it :). Honestly, I'm beaming now, just writing about the winning/award. How generous to give it to the next in line. The two winners were first class, no doubt.

I went over to thank the winner (Morgan Place) afterwards & took my picture with her. No doubt, she'll do really well next year as a sophomore at UMD. I'll have fun cheering her on!!

I'm still in awe... winning a resort stay?? That's amazing!!!



Tonight I looked up Morgan's NCAA results and turns out she placed 7th at NCAAs in D2 as a freshman. That's incredible!! I suddenly don't feel as bad, getting smoked by her :)

Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!

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