A quick race report and update: Yesterday was the Get in Gear Half-Marathon and I was able to set a PR due to good training and my changing eating habits and in spite of rain, sometimes lots of rain. The Get in Gear has been around for over thirty years, although the half is only two years old. Before last year, Get in Gear was a 5K and 10K race. I’ve run both over the last few years and wanted to run it again, but felt the 10K was not long enough. I decided to run the half when I saw that on my training schedule for the Minneapolis Marathon on June 6, I was scheduled to run 13 miles yesterday. That seemed serendipitous to me, so I signed up for the race. The course is the same for the half and 10K for the first 5 miles or so and then splits so that the half course goes along or near the Mississippi River for a few of miles and then doubles back.
I’ve been getting faster fairly steadily, knowing how fast to go out for the longer distances, so I felt pretty good about how I went out when the race started. One issue I ran into was that my Garmin kept switching modes because the rain drops would accumulate on the bezel and cause a mode switch. I often had to try to get back to the training screen that showed my average pace while continuing to run (except for water stops and one other gel break, I ran the whole race, no walk breaks – another recent improvement). I felt I was at a good pace the first 3-5 miles and was able to continually go a little faster each mile after that. I did have one split that was slower by a few seconds, but I think that was a mile I was wrestling with the Garmin. Ultimately, I finished at almost a sprint, powering through the last half-mile and really pouring it on the last few tenths of a mile. I tried to stop my watch as I crossed the finish line, but had the same issues. I knew my watch time and chip time would be different (and they were, but either way, I also knew I had set a personal record for a half-marathon. I finished in 2:13:17, four minutes faster than my previous best set 5 years ago in my first half-marathon. That’s right, the half races I had run since 2005 had all gone downhill until yesterday.
Not paying attention to my training or weight really had hampered my running. The work I have done in the last two months, the weight I’ve lost (weighed 200.5 this morning, the least I’ve weighed in almost 9 years!), and the renewed enthusiasm for running, and really, life in general has paid off immensely. I’m not one to seriously consider what ifs in my life, but really, what if I’d done these things 5 years ago, 3 years, a year ago? I didn’t then, but I am doing the right things now.
Next weekend, I’m running a 20-miler, which is usually not a big deal, however, my wife, son, and I are going up to Duluth for a family gathering. I’ll be running in a town that I lived in for almost four years in college (that’s where my wife and I met 23 years ago this year), but I never ran in college. I did walk a lot, but around campus. We’re staying at a hotel downtown, so I’ll need to find my 20 miles somewhere. I have ideas and I’ll look at maps. I’ll also have my iPhone and Garmin, so I should be okay as long as the weather is okay. I’ll post how the run went when we get back.