Race Day!

Today was the big day of the half marathon! If you missed it, check out my earlier post about packet pick-up, and you can learn more about the Get in Gear race there. The race’s start time was 9:00am, so I set my alarm for 7:10, planning to leave the house between 8:00-8:10.

As soon as I woke up, I laid out the essentials:

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iPod arm band + headphones, garmin GPS watch, face sunscreen, and my beloved body glide. I also got out my ugly Christmas sweater:

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My former (and fabulous) roommate actually gave this to me second-hand to wear prior to running my first only marathon last June (I ran Grandma’s in Duluth). I wore it pre-race before checking my bag at Grandma’s, and it took on a sentimental value for me. It only seemed appropriate to wear it again today. 🙂

What to eat for breakfast was a little bit of a dilemma. I wasn’t that hungry when I first woke up, so I didn’t want anything too heavy. I decided to have the fig bars from the March Bestowed package along with some walnut butter and a banana:

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Another tough decision was what to wear for the run. The weather looked promising:

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So I settled on shorts and a t-shirt. Specifically, my Grandma’s finisher tee:

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I figured if I did a full, then I could do a half. That’s how it works, right?!

When I got to Minnehaha Park just after 8:30am, it was gorgeous weather and runners were streaming in from all directions:

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The area near the expo tents and bag check was crowded…

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…but not as crowded as the porta-potties!

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One thing I thought was pretty neat was a special area where people could lock up their bikes if they rode to the park:

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The race started promptly at 9am, and the 10k and half-marathon runners started together and ran the first 5 or so miles together. After that, the 10k runners split off to go back to the finish (which was also the start) while the half-marathoners continued. The run was primarily along West River Parkway next to the Mississippi River. One of my favorite parts of the race was when we crossed the river from Minneapolis to St Paul and got to look out on the Mississippi:

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Pretty much everything about the race went better than I expected. There were three main victories for me:

Victory 1) My goal was to finish within 2 hours. I ended well under!
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My official race time was 1:52:38! The timer above was about a minute over since I didn’t stop it until I got my medal and walked off the course. My average pace was 8:36, and I placed 14th in my age group (F20-24).

Victory 2) The second victory was a negative split! Negative splits are a hallmark of smart and successful races, but I can never seem to pull them off in anything besides short training runs (maybe I just get overly optimistic and run too hard at the start…). Anyway, this race marked my first significant negative split! I ran the first half of the race in about 57 minutes and the second half in about 55 – woohoo!

Victory 3) I’ve only run two official half-marathons. I’ve run that distance several times more as either just a long run or part of my marathon training plan, but this is only my second half-marathon race. The first time I ran a half-marathon was about 4 years ago, and it was at a time when my eating disorder was at a low point. I weighed about 20 pounds less than I do now, and I was running about 60-90 minutes every day. Since I was over-exercising so much, I didn’t even need to train for the half marathon and actually registered on a complete whim the day before. The memory of that half marathon is extremely tied up with symptomatic memories – binging the night before, not eating anything prior to the race, not fueling properly afterwards, binging the night afterwards, etc.

Despite knowing that I wasn’t fueling or running (or living!) in a healthy way at the time of my first half marathon, part of me was a little terrified that I would run a time a lot slower today. I felt that if I did run slower today than four years ago, then some negative thoughts would creep in, telling me that the slower time was due to weighing more. Lower weight equating faster speed is a common thought pattern in runners, and there’s an interesting Runner’s World article called ‘Running On Empty‘ precisely about how easy/common it is for runners to develop disordered eating habits in an effort to lose weight and run faster.

Which brings me to my third victory; I ran not one, not two, but THREE minutes faster in today’s half marathon than I did 4 years ago. I may have weighed 20 pounds less then, but today I am stronger and happier and healthier than I was, and seeing those facts reflect positively in my time was definitely the day’s greatest victory of all. 🙂

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Packet Pick Up

Spring is here! It is officially warm(ish) and beautiful outside. Now that everyone can feel good about the weather….

I’ve been on an egg spree for breakfast this week (see here and here and here). Today I returned to the yogurt+cereal morning fuel. What can I say? It sounded good! In the mix, plain non-fat yogurt, fiber one cereal, mixed nuts, dried apricots, and dried cherries:

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After work, I needed to pick up my bib number and chip for the Get in Gear. The Get in Gear is an annual spring race in Minneapolis. They offer several distances: 2k, 5k, 10k, and half-marathon. I’m running the half marathon and I’m very excited! Packet pick-up was at Minnehaha Park – the same location where the start/finish will be during the race.

As I got to the park, I realized that this is the location of Sea Salt.

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Sea Salt is a sea food restaurant – open only during the warmer months – that I’ve heard raves about since I moved here. There’s a similar fair-weather restaurant, the Tin Fish, by Lake Calhoun that I’ve also heard highly recommended. Even though this is the first real warm day, Sea Salt’s kitchen was fast and furious:

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The outside deck was completely packed, and I checked out the chalk-written menu behind the counter:

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Check out all of these sauces:

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I guess people really like sauce with their fish! The restaurant definitely piqued by interest, and I think it would be fun to come back here during the summer and get some fish tacos or something. Plus, I appreciate their sense of humor:

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Back to the packet pick-up…the Get in Gear is a HUGE race! It’s the largest 10k in Minnesota, and it’s one of the top 15 in the country. To get their number with their timing chip, runners had to find their bib number by looking up their name on these sheets:

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There were about a million sheets, but it was organized alphabetically and I went when there weren’t too many other runners, so I didn’t have trouble locating my name. I picked up my bib:

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BIG BONUS: my name was on the bib! I love having my name on things. 🙂 I also picked up my technical tee that all registered runners get:

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The tents for the expo were already set up although there wasn’t much action:

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I’m looking forward to an exciting race – check back soon for a post about the race itself!

 

Almond Coconut Cookies

Although it’s been a rocky road with injury, it looks like I will be running a half marathon in exactly 10 days. This morning I did my last long(ish) run.

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11 miles in 1:47 – an average of 9:45 pace. I’d like to be faster, but I know that I’ve taken a lot of time off and have hardly trained, so I’m not too disappointed. We’ll see how the race goes! For my runs of over an hour, I’ve been using this bad boy:

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All of my clothing seems to turn into horrible chafing weapons, but this body glide has really helped a lot. I just need to remember to put it EVERYWHERE. For example, my ankle got chafed on my last run:

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My ankle?!?! I need to wear longer socks I guess. After my run I was super hungry for breakfast, so I put together some egg beaters with mushrooms and spinach, two slices of wheat bread with hummus, and a few strawberries:

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A very satisfying and filling post-run meal!

And now…what you’ve all been waiting for…COOKIES! As I mentioned yesterday, I bought some almond flour at the store last week and am trying to find good ways to use it up. Obviously, one pathway was to make cookies. I found a recipe for grain-free kitchen sink cookies at Fast Paleo and decided to give it a try. I modified their version slightly, here’s my take on it:

Combine 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut with 2/3 cup almond flour with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon:

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Mix it all together:

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Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup maple syrup, 3 tablespoons walnut butter, 1.5 teaspoons vanilla, and 2 tablespoons coconut oil:

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Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine. Then, add the chocolate chips:

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Form into small balls on a cookie sheet:

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And cook at 350° for 13 minutes:

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Enjoy with a nice glass of milk:

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🙂