Yesterday was the Grand Rapids 1/2 and full marathon. In order NOT to bury the lead, I cut 9* minutes off from my last half earlier! 2:24 was my magic number. It is also some kind of world finals for stilt walking – all 26.2 miles. I know, completely nuts. I’m thinking these folks have legs of steel.
I signed up for the half a few weeks ago as it was also my friend’s first half. I was really excited for her! She did fantastic! I’ve done this race before, in 2011 and it is such a well organized and fun race. If you want to know the tone of the race, read the FAQ section of the their webpage!
Yesterday I celebrated the baby shower of my dear friend and due to an incredibly un-mensa move on all of our parts, we got up very early and ended up being 3 hours early for the shower. So, we went shopping! I was worried about the crisp air in the morning so I picked up a heavier long sleeve shirt. It worked perfectly. And on sale.
Pizza for dinner (my go-to) and one of the best night’s sleep I’ve had in weeks. 6 am arrived and I slowly started getting ready to go. 6:38, I was out the door and headed into downtown GR. My friends live about a half hour away and due to the back route I took – thanks GPS! – I didn’t hit any traffic, arrived at 7:12 am and quickly found a CLOSE parking spot.
Since I wasn’t going to tempt fate or the porta potty gods, I waiting in the bathroom line at the Y for 20 mins. Completely worth it. The race had 5000 folks and it took almost 9 minutes to get to the start line.
It was chilly, about 40* at the start but the rain held off the entire morning, YAY! I checked my garmin at mile one to see what my pace was and it was somewhere around 11:15ish? I wanted to see what my time was because I felt like I was going fast. I was a little worried at this point since my efforts didn’t seem to be bearing fast fruit and thought it would be a tough race. But I started to feel stronger and stronger. I took half a GU salted caramel for the win at mile 3.84 and felt better at mile 5 then I did a couple of weeks at the same distance.
I also found that with feeling stronger I was pushing the pace. I decided to only look at my garmin once in a while and knew even if I couldn’t keep up the pace, what did it matter? I would slow down. This was a really freeing feeling. I kept going, walking through water stops. Two stops took longer than I wanted – major bib failure that was thankfully rectified.
I felt good all the way to the end of mile 11. Mile 12 I wanted to be done and at the 12.45 mark, someone was playing the Rocky theme song. Brilliant. I pushed it harder and harder and eeked out two folks at the finish line. I was so pleased with the run overall and with my drop in time from a couple of weeks ago. I felt confident during the run, never questioned whether or not I could finish and when I did check had a handful of negative splits in there! The earlier half my pace was about 11:46 per mile. This time around it was around 11:08. Actually following through with training really helps!
This is a great race. Very well organized, e-mails from the race director on how to prepare and train, nice race shirts and socks and a lot of crowd support. It’s a mostly flat course and at the finish line they gave out 13.1 or 26.2 stickers. The after race treats were STOCKED with a huge variety including a free beer and a free cup of Wendy’s chili. I strongly recommend this race!
*The official time said 2:26. However, a minute or so after I crossed the finish line, I turned my garmin off and it said 2:26. Also at this same time, the announcer said “and Amy German crosses the finish line!” I didn’t think much of it at the time but now I realize my time was a bit messed up. I KNOW I finished at 2:24. I know – silly to split hairs over it but I moved my buns for those 2 mins!!