Women Rock MN: Race Recap

5 Sep

I arrived in Minnesota on Friday gearing up for the Women Rock Half Marathon on Saturday. The flight was pretty smooth which eased my nerves about the 13.1 mile run the next day… that I wasn’t ready for. My cousin, Erin, picked me up shortly after I arrived where I tagged along to run errands with her and her youngest daughter before heading to her house for a good nights rest before the early 5am wake up call the next morning.

Pre-Race

Waking up at 5am on race day was so difficult this time around. I’m not sure if it was the two plane rides the day before or sleeping in a new place but whatever the reason, my mind was not ready for this run! With each alarm that went off from my phone I quickly pressed the snooze button and tossed and turned not wanting to get ready for this race I wasn’t prepared for.

Once we got ready, picked up my cousins two friends, and arrived at the race location we made our way to the start line. This race wasn’t as big as I thought. There were about 5,400 runners in the half marathon and 10k.

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Once I got in the crowd at the start line I was getting pretty excited for another race! I’m glad my mood changed and I was more positive at this point.

Race

I’m glad that the weather was clear for the run! It had thundered on Friday night and we feared that the storm would continue into Saturdays run but luckily the storm came right around the time that we would be out running! We lucked out big time!

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Erin warned me a few months ago that this course was pretty hilly so to “be prepared”. To be honest, I didn’t train for hills so I was expecting the worst. It wasn’t as bad as I anticipated though. It was just that steep hill around mile 11 that I struggled with.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 5.16.06 PMI liked that the course was all on the pavement of the road, not on the highway. The route we ran for the first 6.5 miles was the same as the second half, as you can probably tell by the elevation map above. I like courses like that in a sense because what you run in the first half of the race is the same route you run in the second part of the race so you have an idea of what is to come. On the other hand, I don’t enjoy courses like this because by the time you get to mile seven you’ve already seen all the scenery. Regardless, it was a nice course to run and wasn’t too difficult to get through.

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I ran with Erin and her friend Katie the whole time which was great! Normally I run on my own since my pace is a bit faster than my parents and Erin’s is a tad faster than me but I think I kept up pretty well. We ran the first four miles or so and than starting slowing down a bit for some jogging breaks. Once we hit the half way point we tried to plan out the rest of the run and was estimating that we would be crossing the finish line a little over 3 hours.

I was really pleased with how many water stations they had set up through out the course! I think they actually added more than what was originally on the website which was great! It wasn’t extremely hot, nothing as close to when I ran the Chicago Women’s Half last year, but it was a bit hotter than I expected it to be. In addition to having more water stations, I also saw a few guys walking up and down the road between water tents with a gallon of water and plastic cups handing out water to those who needed it. It was also nice to see medics on bikes riding next to runners handing out cubes of ice to cool off!

Around mile nine we saw a blown up tunnel that smaller races would have at the finish line so obviously I thought it was the finish line… I was very wrong. After looking down at my phone I saw we still had at least four more miles to go until the real finish line. Epic fail.

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The rest of the race went pretty smoothly… until we got to the huge hill around mile 11. At least we were right next to a river so we had a nice view as we struggled uphill.

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As we were nearing the end of the run we spotted the 3-hour pacers right behind us and knew that we could make it right around the three hour mark. We crossed the finish line at 3:02:58, so incredibly close to breaking into the 2-hour mark! I was a little crushed that we didn’t make it into the 2-hour mark BUT it’s a good goal to have for my next half!

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Katie’s boyfriend got a few photos of us crossing the finish line which was really nice as I’m not sure there were a lot of photos taken of us through out the race. If you look closely at this photo you can see someone holding up a sign to the left that says, “Run Rachelle Run!”. So glad to see people were cheering me on… now only if they would spell my name right! 😛

IMG_4494Plus seeing these gentlemen at the finish line handing out our finisher rewards kind of put me in a better mood. Now granted, they aren’t my type BUT who doesn’t get a little excited to have hunky men at the end of a hard run handing you race goodies!

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Post Race

We didn’t get finisher medals at this race but instead we received finisher necklaces with a charm that has a W and a colored jewel on top. I really like the lanyard they are on too!

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I was a little disappointed of the after race munchies…. cups of water and bananas. And when I say cups of water I’m talking about small plastic cups in which I had to take two of since I finished the first cup in two gulps! It was so hot that I was really looking forward to a bottle of water at the finish, oh well. They did hand out bags of snacks though which was nice. I liked having the bag from the start so we didn’t have to try and hold drinks and fruit while trying to catch our breath from the last leg of the race. What we got in the bag was great, kind of made up for not having tables of fruit and such after the finish line.

Bag of goodies: chips, chocolate truffles, fruit cup, nut bar and a few lara bars we picked up from their information tent.

Bag of goodies: chips, chocolate truffles, fruit cup, nut bar and a few lara bars we picked up from their information tent.

We made our way to get our finishers champagne, that I was thinking about the last couple miles of the race and that’s what pushed me to the finish line!

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Check out that champagne glass! So excited to get those, and even more thrilled that I made it home on two flights without breaking it! After getting our champagne we made our way to get some celebratory photos!

Me & Erin

Me & Erin after the finish!

Also met some new friends while we were walking around the tents! Again, not my type but they were fun to get photos with!

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It also looked like they had flags with all the states that were represented at the race. I was proud to represent North Carolina! Wooo-Whooo!

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Right before we left we got a great view of the water that we ran next to towards the end of the race! A great way to finish the morning!

IMG_4425This was a pretty good race and I was so excited to be able to run it with Erin! Next year we are planning Las Vegas! Yay!

 

 

 

 

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