Zooma Great Lakes Half Marathon, Part 2

Part 1 is HERE

The start of the race was great. My three previous half marathons had crowded starts, but with approximately 350 runners, there was plenty of room. I had made a conscious decision to run without a phone or music since I really wanted to enjoy the experience and be present in the moment.

My plan for this race was to be disciplined in the first couple of miles and keep a slower pace. I wanted to get into a groove and see how it went. I have noticed on my training runs that it takes about 2 miles for my body to get into a rhythm. Once that happens, my pace quickens up a bit with minimal effort.

Miles 1-4 were fairly effortless and the crowd quickly spread out. I made a point of only looking at my Garmin when it beeped for a lap and not putting any pressure on myself. During my last half, I continually looked at my Garmin and was continually disappointed with my pace and it made the race miserable.

Mile 1: 9:15
Mile 2: 8:37
Mile 3: 9:25
Mile 4: 9:04

Mile 4 came and went and I was still feeling awesome. I picked it up a notch, but nothing crazy. I just made a point of running at a speed that was comfortable to maintain and WASN’T based on the people around me. I also continued to look at my Garmin as little as possible. The course was full of rolling hills, so I figured my pace would be all over the place depending on the incline.

Mile 5: 9:03
Mile 6: 8:50

I made a point of drinking a water at EVERY station. I’m not a great hydrator when I run outside, but I knew that with the cold weather, I wouldn’t get thirsty, so I just made the decision to drink a couple sips of water every time it was offered. The race is designed by seasoned runners, so I figured they put the aid stations where you needed them.

I had an Espresso Love Gu in my skirt pocket, and I wanted to eat it around the one hour mark. Everything was going soo well, that I was reluctant to eat it when 1 hour popped up on my watch. I ended up delaying it a couple minutes and waiting for the 7 mile marker. I know that Gu’s are supposed to be taken all at once, but since I have a wonky stomach, I always nurse mine over the course of about half a mile. Looking at my splits, I am thinking that the Gu helped!

Mile 7: 8:37
Mile 8: 8:20
Mile 9: 8:26

Mile 10 brought us right near the finish line and I could hear music and festivities. Surprisingly, I still felt really strong. Somewhere between 10 and 11, I saw the first place finished zooming by in the other direction, followed by my fast friend. This meant that there had to be a turn around point (apparently I blacked out when I looked at the course map earlier) coming up soon. Instead of a turn around point, I was faced with a hill that closely resembled a mountain. The whole course was rolling hills, but this was the only one that I really struggled with. I saw lots of walkers ahead of me, but I knew that there would be a very slim chance I would start running again if I began walking.

Finally, I reached the top and eventually found the turnaround point and started on the down hill. I had images of me losing my footing and cracking a tooth (my biggest fear!!!), but I held it together and stayed on my feet. I really just tried to use the least amount of energy possible and let gravity do the speed work. I started to get pretty pumped up and began yelling encouragement to all the ladies battling the uphill. I love it when other runners holler at me, and I knew that hill was major buzzkill towards the end of the race.

Mile 10: 8:21
Mile 11: 8:37
Mile 12: 8:50

*Looking at that split for mile 11 doesn’t make sense in my head. I really wish I had the Garmin stick to map out my pace against the elevation. 

After the 12 mile marker, I finally started to get uncomfortable and I fully embraced it. Running 13.1 miles is not easy and you need to find yourself “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable“.

I don’t remember exactly where I was on the course, but I remember looking down and seeing 1:47 and I tried to do some calculations of my expected finish time. I somehow decided that the numbers worked and I would be able to break 1:55 if I kept on pace. This was really motivating and I started to book it for the last mile.

Mile 13: 7:34 

I crossed the finish and was surprised to hear my name followed by, “From Chicago, Illinois“. This still sounds very foreign to me.

I forgot to stop my Garmin, but I was pretty sure I had seen 1:54:something on the official clock, making me pretty confident I had PR’ed. I took a moment to get myself feeling normal, drink some water, and just enjoy the moment.

I went and got my backpack from gear check, threw on a sweatshirt,  and then went to see my official time (on computers in the resort).

I squeaked in at 1:53:58, meaning all My Goals for Zooma were achieved! 
I was actually surprised how awesome I felt about 5 minutes after crossing the finish line. Those endorphins were really working overtime in conjunction with my PR excitement. 

Zooma had a great little party at the finish line with a rocking band and wine <—perfect combination for a dance party.

I met up with my buddy who got 2nd place in her age group! I’m onto her little game about “acting injured”. Girl is not injured, she is fast.
Although my race was awesome, the best part about the weekend was not the running.
stolen from Kelly
These ladies (plus others) made the weekend nothing short of fabulous. Obviously, that deserves it’s own post. I like to draw it out and re-live the fun. 

Have you ever been to Wisconsin? This was my first time. 

How much do you look at your Garmin during a race? 

Do you run faster with or without music? I’ve done some experiments over the past couple months and I’m typically faster without any music. 

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07725854485169654288 Colorado Gal

    Congrats on your PR! What an awesome race– and a great way to really feel at home in Chi-town!

  • http://www.readysetfeast.com/ kelsey

    Don’t spill my secret!

    I miss you already- I haven’t seen you in almost 24 hours.


  • http://www.readysetfeast.com/ kelsey

    Also- that picture of us could be much better… especially the left hand side of it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00296096604314024961 Chocolate and Cardio

    Congrats on your PR!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13403171228033713629 Maggie Wolff

    Congrats on your PR, especially with all of those hills!

    When I bought my Garmin, and realized it came with a heart rate strap, I made it my goal to figure out how to use the heart rate strap. I read an article (I should probably read more) and started paying attention to my heart rates during my runs. It’s been over a year, but now I do the majority of my runs (races, long runs, tempo runs and most speedwork), by heart rate. So, I do pay very close attention to my Garmin during races, to make sure I’m pushing my heart rate hard enough but not too hard.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04527731795745786604 bobbi

    I’m so impressed that you pr’d on that course! You are amazing! WI was good to you! I’m in WI all the time but it’s only 5 minutes away from me. I try not to stare at my watch during races but I’m not always successful. And I stopped running with music last year and I don’t miss it.

  • http://www.eatwatchrun.com/ Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run

    Congrats on a great race! Look at you, miss speedy pants. That last mile is crazy impressive.

    I feel the same way about Gu. They make me sick but even when I tried to take them, I couldn’t do it all at once. I hate eating when I’m running so I have to force myself.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07287043348709135433 Kayla

    Congrats on the PR! You rocked that race and did awesome on those hills :) GREAT JOB!!! I’ve been running without my garmin lately just to try to get out of the habit of always looking at it. I’ve been trying to not worry about pace at all since I have been in what seems like a never ending running funk. I’ve been to Wisconsin too many times…I drive through the whole state every time I go to Minnesota.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07073920261483561794 Christina

    CONGRATULATIONS! You are my inspiration, no joke. Very excited that you broke your PR! :) You are fast my friend. Super jealous that you met Amy too!

  • http://secondcityrandomness.wordpress.com/ Amy B @ Second City Randomness

    Congrats on the PR, lady friend! You did amazing. I was reading your splits and already knew exactly where you picked it up- I was consistently behind you by about 30 ft and then all the sudden you were GONE. lol

    We need to lunch soon… just sayin’. :)

  • http://www.livehalffull.wordpress.com/ Katie @ Livehalffull

    I go to WI a lot because it’s so close to me.

    I look at my Garmin WAY too much during races, I actually do better without it!

    Same with music, I seem to find my pace better without it. I was a figure skater for far too long and tend to follow the music-so if it’s too fast or too slow I will follow it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15261285599296693612 Kelly @ Running Kellometers

    Congrats on a PR on such a hard course. Just imagine what you’re capable of on a wonderfully flat Chicago course?! I hope your time in Wisconsin lived up to they hype. I mean, the midwest is just so interesting! :)

    It was great getting to know you this weekend and hopefully I’ll see you at the next race. Are you doing the Hot Chocolate 15k? I can’t remember…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17157742508302761756 Kelly Janowski

    A PR on that course is so impressive! Think how fast you could knock out a half on a flat course … another trip, perhaps?

  • http://runningthewindycity.com/ Lindsay

    Great job on the PR!! It looks like you girls had a wonderful trip!

  • http://accidentalintentions.wordpress.com/ Bethany

    Congrats again on the PR! Doing that on a course that sounds so hilly is super impressive, especially since Chicago is the opposite of hilly haha. Those are some awesome splits, too — keeping it under 9 for from Mile 9 on is fantastic. Great work!

  • http://www.ilaxstudio.com/blog/ kilax

    YAY! Congrats on the PR! You nailed it! It was so exciting to see you coming down the hill, all smiley… about to finish (okay, I was jealous).

    Did you lose your Garmin ANT stick? :(

    I go to WI quite a bit too (like other commenters) since I live so close. I try not to look at my pace on the Garmin. Music makes me run faster!

    Are you decided on your full?! :) :) :)

  • http://looplooks.wordpress.com/ Erin @ Loop Looks

    You looked so awesome coming down that hill. It made me smile to know you were having a good time!

    Congrats again on a great race.

  • http://www.chocolateatime.com/ Irina @ Chocolatea Time

    Congratulations on the PR!! I heard all about those killer hills and your PR on such a challenging course is amazing!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10321795284708416331 Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri

    SUPER congrats! Imagine what you’re going to do on your next flat half! You’re going to KILL it.

  • Shauna

    Congrats on the PR!!

    Super Random but I was actually running next to you for the first couple of miles but then I whimped out bc of all the hills. You did a great job!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17737566927947656993 Sierra

    Shauna….next time say Hi!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15496382935717734293 Katie

    Um, AWESOME job PRing even with all those hills!!! Sounds like an amazing weekend!

  • http://running2heal.wordpress.com/ running2heal

    Congrats on your PR! Thats so amazing!