Belle Plaine Half Marathon Recap

What a difference a year makes. More wisdom? More experience? Better prepared? Perhaps a combination of all three.

I got a good night’s sleep (Score 1), and I got up and pooped right away (Score 2), and I tapered this week so I felt very rested (Score 3).

It was a rather late start (9 am) so I didn’t have to get up any earlier than usual. I had a grapefruit, some chia pudding made with chia gel, red cherries and veggie powder. Then I sipped on some coffee, had a banana in the car and I took my bits 15 minutes before start time.

Bits and a warm car!

Bits and a warm car!

I also took a couple of Hyland’s Health Arnica 30x to relieve any leg issues I might encounter along the way. As always, I overestimated the time I allotted to get there so we were pretty early. My husband opted to come along this run. This is always nice! It is great to have someone to pass the time with…and to hold your stuff. Let’s be honest. That IS the best part of having your husband along. He becomes a human coat hanger.

Start Line Photo

Start Line Photo

And I needed one this morning because it was chilly! In fact, temperatures were in the upper 40s. And as sunny as it began, it quickly clouded over. Factor in a brisk wind and limited sunshine, and hello Autumn! I’m glad I rethunk my clothing this morning and added an extra layer below my long sleeved Brooks performance top. I opted for shorts and compression socks, too. To be honest, I was dressed just right. I shed my sweatshirt just before race start and handed it over to the coat rack.

I love these small town runs. They are just so much more homey. And everyone is SO nice. This was my second year at Belle Plaine and it is just a wonderful little city. The people, the atmosphere, the history, the fall colors. Even the hubster was impressed. He talked about it all day. The race was well set up, everything was easy to access. There were plenty of porta-potties, and there was even beer afterwards! Although, I opted for coffee. 😉

I kind of started in the middle of the pack, since there wasn’t much of a pack and was pleasantly surprised to see pacers there! The fastest one they had was 1:50:00…so that wouldn’t do me much good today. I was hoping to beat last years time of 1:45:19. But still, it is always great to have pacers!

I started out deliberately slow as we headed through town (1st gear). The smell of freshly baked pastry goods filled my nostrils and for some reason, I imagined my husband sitting inside one of those places enjoying some gluten and coffee. Imagine my surprise (or not) to see him on the corner getting video of me! Yes, I know him SO well. I knew where he was headed next.

Rounding out of town and down the first big hill meant the river valley was ahead (2nd gear). I have been doing hill repeats since September 1 to prepare for this run. I knew I could handle it. I had done 8 of them over a 1:20:00 time in practice so I should be well prepared. Ben Greenfield was in queue for my listening pleasure this run (I laughed out loud a few times so it was a good thing I was kinda alone in this race), and I was sure to get a few of them in there ready to play back to back. I was actually quite surprised that he held my attention so well, because before I knew it, I was 45 minutes into the run (3rd gear) and had an amazing 10k time. So I knew I was running my 10K pace. I felt really good. The heart rate was low, and the leg was good. I felt strong! It could have been the coffee, it could have been the chia, and for sure, it could have been the bits. And it could well have been a combination of the three!

I passed quite a few, and a few passed me. Everyone had something nice to say! There weren’t many water stops, or fans, but what they did have had plenty of enthusiasm for all. And I never saw my husband along the way. I knew at this time that he had hunkered down in that bakery.

By mile 8, I knew I had better refuel. Instead of opting for a gut bomb gel, I went for the bits. It looks like I took 20 as I came home with 10 in my pouch (4th gear).

As I ran the course, I compared it to last year.

  • “Gosh, I remember THIS hill.”
  • “Goodness, I remember being WAY more exhausted here last year!”
  • “Really? I remember this being MUCH worse.”

So, was I smarter, healthier or better trained? All three. Clearly. Ben really kept my interest off running. My sister chimed in on my Runmeter, reminding me to keep good posture and pace (lifesaver), and the cooler weather kept me alert. By mile 10, I knew I had my time beat from last year. I just had to keep it up, or better yet, negative split it (5th gear).

I passed quite a few more folks here. I just had the energy of a champ. As we rounded the last corner over the railroad tracks, I SWEAR I saw our old jeep parked right ahead! If I didn’t have such a great pace going, I would have stopped to take a picure and have my husband confirm it. But when I told him later, he said he did sell it to someone from Belle Plaine! I’m so sure that was it. It looked like worse crap than it did when we owned it! LOL!

The course was toughest at the end, with the biggest hill at the 12 mile mark. I passed quite a few up that last hill. Gosh, I just felt great! There were a few more fans here and they were all wonderful. I just poured it on. I also realized here that although my Runmeter was dead on with the course mileage at the start, it slowly fell off. It told me I was at mile 12.5 at mile 12, so I had to readjust. I may have poured it on a little too early because of that discrepancy. At the last corner, a fellow told me I was the third woman! I was pretty excited and wondered if any of them were older than me. 😉

Coming into the finish, I gave it all I had! I got lots of compliments on my neon coming in, and when I saw the 1:41:55 time on the clock as I went under, I was more than excited! No, not a PR but, clearly, an amazing time for this course as I beat last years time!

My husband was there, video-ing it all. But it wasn’t until a message from my sister that I realized I won my age group. And later, when I got home, I found out that my chip time was actually 1:41:13. Now, THAT is a PR! I beat my New Prague Half Marathon time by just 6 seconds on a much more challenging course. Wow!

So, quite a run. Now, my leg is feeling it. But I know how to stretch it out and bring it back down to comfortable which I plan to do right after this. And I’m looking forward to a cool 3 days off. I deserve it. Yea…I deserve it!

Runmeter data.

Did you race today? How did you do?

Oh, and HOW SWEET IS THIS? A finish line marriage proposal! My husband wasn’t nearly as thrilled about it as I was. He’s the grinch of romance. But I thought it was wonderful!


Finish Line Proposal

Finish Line Proposal

Finish Line Proposal

Finish Line Proposal

8 Responses to Belle Plaine Half Marathon Recap

  1. Woohoo! Nice work Theresa, congrats!!

  2. Celia says:

    I KNEW I smelled a PR! Congrats, sister!

  3. Emily says:

    You rocked it Theresa and it’s perfect that you feel better than last year! Congrats – you deserve your rest days!!

  4. Wow! Congrats, speedy lady.

  5. A Running Chick says:

    Thanks, sista! Mwahhhh!

  6. A.S.E. says:

    Congrats! Great time! A PR on a tough course is icing on the cake!

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