A COLD day for Hot Cider!

Coldest day in Green Bay since last winter, and what did we do?  Yup, we ran!  Ok, I ran, and the rest of the family walked.  It was time for the Hot Cider Hustle and my first half marathon since St Louis in April!  Yes, I have been running and biking all summer  long, but it’s been everything BUT half marathons!

When we got downtown, it was a balmy 31 degrees and there were multiple layers of clothing for everyone. In hindsight, I was probably overdressed for the half marathon with my Toasty Tights and Jette Skirt and then a long sleeve shirt under my Tough Chick top, along with gloves and a hat.  Since the rest of the family was walking the 5k, the extra layers came in handy for them!

Darci and I headed over to the Creamery to meet up with the Fellow Flowers crew for a quick group photo.  I REALLY wanted to get something hot to drink, but since I was running in less than a half hour, that was probably not going to be the best thing for my stomach, so I just enjoyed the aroma of fresh coffee while we waited for the rest of the crew to arrive.  We had some pretty lofty goals for the group and it was going to be exciting cheering for each other on the course.  Since the half marathon course was an out and back along the trail, we knew that we would see each other at least once along the way.

Finally, it was go time!

With all of the walkers and runners for both the 5k and half marathon starting at the same time, it was a little chaotic at the start, but after a few blocks the crowds thinned out a bit and I was able to get into my own rhythm and fall into pace.
Although I went into this race with goals (always have goals for a race), it was more about getting out there and making it happen!  With getting sick a few weeks back, I knew that my training was not where I really wanted it to be.  I did what I could with what I was given and decided that today was more about seeing where I was at with my training and to get a starting off point for 2018’s goals.

Now, this does not mean that I was not out there giving it my all!  For me, every race is a test. No matter how the studying went leading up to it, it’s time to give it my all and get the best score possible.

I ran my intervals, I fueled when I needed to and pushed every mile.  As I was at about mile 5, I saw Bobbie on her way back toward the finish line!  She was already over 8 miles in to her race and was looking good to hit her PR for today!  She was in the zone and probably didn’t even see me or hear me yell to her, but that’s ok.  She had more important things on her mind than watching for me!

As I was approaching the turnaround (just before Mile 7) I realized that was not too far behind the 2:40 pace team (which also happened to be a few good running friends of mine).  I had been playing leapfrog with them for a few miles, but I realized  that hitting my goal of 2:38 was still possible.  On my next walk interval, I pulled off my jacket, tied it around my waist and zeroed in my focus.  I knew that I still needed to stick with my intervals, but it was time to really make this happen.

I caught up with Alicia and Christine about mile 9 and told them I was not losing them again!  I settled back into pace and joined up with the crew that was running with them.  Knowing that they started after me, I was in a good spot.  As long as I finished in front of them, I would be able to hit my goal.

I’m not gonna lie.  Those last 4 miles were tough.  After each mile, I did some quick math to make sure I was still on track.  Since I was keeping with my intervals, when I was walking, I usually fell behind the pace team for a bit, but would always catch back up when I started running again.

At just before 1 mile to go, at the last aid station, the pace crew grabbed a walk break but I knew it was time to go.  Time for that final push.  I always love running along the trail coming into downtown and across the city deck, but I can honestly say that this time, I didn’t notice anything… except the course in front of me!

I ended up finishing with a time of 2:27:47!

Just after I crossed the finish line I heard someone yell my name and saw arms waving.  I looked over and saw Karen!  Karen and I met when we were both running the Manitowoc Duathlon earlier this summer.  By sheer luck, we were able to connect via Facebook but had not seen each other since we crossed that finish line back in July!  She was in town with her family for the 5K and just happened to be at the finish line when I crossed.  I feel so blessed that we were able to reconnect after the Duathlon – and I am sure this will NOT be the last time we see each other!  Her positive outlook and “go get ’em” attitude is infectious!

I also managed to find my awesome pace team!  These ladies kept me going and refused to let me give up (that really wasn’t an option anyway!).  They made what could have been a cold and miserable half marathon fun – plus they helped several of us reach our own goals!  You ladies are awesome!  Thank you!!

It was cold, but the rain and snow stayed away!

It was not the PR race that I had originally hoped for when I signed up for this race, but it was still 10 minutes faster than my April half marathon!  HUGE win in my book! This race gave me a great snapshot of where I am at right now and will help me set the stage to reach some goals for 2018.

I have a few races left for 2017, but it’s time to start looking forward to 2018.  A goal without a plan is just a wish.  I’m not wishing for a successful 2018 – It’s time to get the plan together and make it happen!

See you all next weekend at the Houdini 10k in Appleton!

**I am a brand ambassador for Skirt Sports. I am not paid to mention them in my blog or to wear their merchandise. I loved the brand and the message “Real Women, Real bodies” before I was invited to be an Ambassador.  You can find out more about her story and the merchandise on www.skirtsports.com.  

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