Monday, April 18, 2016

Gazelle Girls Gone Wild

I've been pretty open about my running funk of late. It's been a real struggle to get motivated. Late last year my friend and I registered for the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon. At the time it was months away and during my post-marathon running hiatus. It seemed like it was so far away. As it crept closer I kept thinking I need to do some long training runs. I was doing my short tempo runs for 5k training, but I kept putting it off.

I ran the Shamrock Shuffle 8k in Chicago a few weeks ago, and then didn't run for two weeks. That 8k (4.97 miles) is the farthest I've run since my last half marathon in November. I had zero business running 13.1 miles.

On Saturday morning my husband and I decided it would be fun to head to Grand Rapids for the morning to pick up our race packets. We walked around downtown, ate breakfast, and then headed to the race expo. I'll be honest - the race expo was terrible. There were so many people crammed into a small space. Luckily we'd taken our son out of his stroller; otherwise I don't think we would've been able to get in. 

I walked in and asked a volunteer where to pick up my packet. She starred at me blankly. I told her it was my shirt and number, and then she directed me through the crowd and up the stairs. I grabbed my and my friend's bibs and shirts and we left. I had zero interest in lingering.

On Saturday morning I was up at 5:30 to head out and meet my friend on the way to Grand Rapids. I've posted about Nikki before. She was my colleague for eight years until earlier this year when she took another job and broke my heart (kidding...it was a great professional move for her).  I honestly don't remember how many races we've done together, and we've done countless training runs. She's one of my closest friends and always helps motivate me. I knew I'd get through the race even if it wasn't pretty.

We parked near the start and got into the starting area immediately before the race start. While we're both used to challenging ourselves and pushing pretty hard, I knew this wasn't going to be a fast race for me. We stayed together at a solid pace for most of the race. It was a crowded field of women for most of the course. I wish the course had been a little less off the beaten path, but I knew it's easier and more convenient to take it out of the city a little bit.

Love this photo taken mid race by one of our city managers. Also my outfit is cute.
The race went by so quickly because we spent the entire time chatting. Now that we don't see one another every day we have a lot to catch up on. As we passed the mile markers we marveled at how quickly they were flying by. At mile 12 Nikki pulled ahead (even though I'd been bugging her to for a while). I knew she had a lot more left in her because she trained like a smart person. I crossed the finish at 2:04:07. Of my 21 half marathons it was my sixth fastest. Not the best but certainly not the worst race I've ever had. Given my lack of training I felt pretty good. 

So fun.
Even more than my physical condition at the end of the race I felt like I'd gotten my groove back. It was so great to spend that time with my friend and to have her help push me to the finish. The race atmosphere was fantastic, and I remembered on every step why I love this sport. It was a great morning. One of the great things about representing communities all across the state is that we also saw some people we know. These race photos were taken by one of our city managers in West Michigan! Great shots.

One of my fav ever post-race shots. Did we discuss my cute outfit yet?
Today the lecture I got from my physical therapist was less fun, but I have to admit I felt like a real athlete when she was working on my feet and calf muscle. Gazelle Girl was a great race, and it was the boost I needed to get out of my running funk. Now back to my regularly scheduled 5k speed training.   

Current view.
 

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