Women Rock Half Marathon Race Recap

Gawd, I’m SO BEHIND on life. Catching up with this blog has proved to be way more time consuming than I anticipated, but I’m determined…

Today, I’m gonna rattle on about the Women Rock Half Marathon that I ran on August 29th. This is the 3rd annual Women Rock held here in Minnesota and the 3rd one that I’ve attended. Each year has been slightly different, for as well as you know, kinks need to be ironed out of these new events. It is a big one, too. So the kinks can look a lot more like shreads at times. But, I’m pleased to say that this seems to be the smoothest that the event has gone thus far.

Women Rock 2012

Women Rock Group 2012

Women Rock Group 2012

The first year, I ran the half-marathon with a handful of girlfriends. We had a great time, but I was still a rookie back in 2012, and I suffered with a poor nights sleep before the run and I didn’t perform nearly as well as I would have liked. Many complained that it was a hilly course. I didn’t find it particularly “hilly” rather it had long grades, most of the uphill ones occurred right at the end of the run. Tough…yes. There was a marathon the first year, which wasn’t very popular. Less than 300 ran it. The majority of the women ran the half or the 10K (about 2000 in each event).

You had to bus to the start line and the marathoners and half marathoners started together. So it meant a very early start. We had to meet at 5:45 am just to carpool and get to the event on time. It was disorganized, to say the least, and the porta-potty lines were intense. The start was delayed because the buses were delayed, and the porta-potty lines were unGodly.

But we all ran it, and there was champagne at the end…and shirtless firemen…whom I completely missed.

Women Rock 2012 Results

Women Rock 2012 Results

Women Rock 2013

The second year, Team Ortho cut the marathon and added an untimed 5K. There were just a few of us in the original group who even wanted to attempt the run again, all of whom downgraded to the 10K run…except me. I still signed up for the half-marathon, but the raging hot summer of 2013  and the potential for 80+ temperatures that day meant that Team Ortho allowed for free downgrades if racers wanted to opt out of the longer run for a shorter one. I did so, just so I could run with the others on the shorter course. The faster we got it done, the faster we could stop for coffee afterwards! Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do!

Women Rock Start Line 2103

Women Rock Start Line 2103

The 10K was an out and back and it was warm that day, but I performed much better this year than last.

Women Rock 2013 Results

Women Rock 2013 Results

 

Women Rock 2014

This year, enough was enough for my girlfriends. I had to go it alone. And I vowed vengence with the original half marathon. However, they completely changed it up for 2014 with no buses to the start line. All races began and ended at the same place. So, this meant an out and back half marathon…which isn’t so bad. But it still meant that dreaded upward grade at the end.

All of Team Ortho’s runs have a route that uses this hellish upward grade so by now I was quite used to it and knew what I was up against. I ran most of their events in 2013 and a few at the start of 2014. But this was my first major event since Boston, and the longest. I have to admit, I was a bit anxious.

I didn’t sleep great the night before, but I did sleep much MUCH better than I did the first year. And I was on my own, so there was only the stress of getting myself where I needed to be on time. But with the addition of the 5K, the crowds would certainly be more brutal, so I prepared for that accordingly and left early.

It was a good thing, too, because there was a lot of traffic. Because of it, I missed the entrance to the parking ramp, but low and behold, the next street was completely empty, and available to park on! BONUS! I got a great spot, and wouldn’t have to fight the crowds out of the event area.

I arrived with 20 minutes to spare, and the porta-potties were triple in number from the first year, so I walked right in and got that out of the way. But I found myself at the end of the starting chute…and dang, it was PACKED with women! It took me all of 15 minutes to weave my way through and get to the very front. They had pacers, too, which was nice, and the fastest pacer they had running was a 7:40 pacer. I already decided I wasn’t going to try and keep up, but just get out there and enjoy the cooler weather and the run and just aim for a respectable finish.

There was NO one at the start line. Hmmmmm….interesting. And we started dead on time this year.

I even made one of the start photos! I’m 520!

WomeRockStart

I had my Runner Girls Podcast going this morning so I had something to pass the time. There were no crowds at the start so it was almost like running at the local park. It was quiet and there was lots of room. There weren’t nearly as many spectators as there have been in previous years, except near the water stops, and even they were thin. That was a little disappointing, but I was so in my own zone that it didn’t matter much this run.

Everything went well. I was feeling great and got out to a moderate start and was able to speed up to a pace I was comfortable at within the first 3 miles. My sister, the Petite Pacer was keeping me company on Runmeter, updating me on my pace and heart rate, which was great. (I had a few comments about how high my heart rate was but came to find out later that my chest strap was on the fritz). At the turnaround, I took my Energybits and a swig of my UCan and Amino Energy concoction. And that was all I had to drink the entire run. I felt great! I had a half cup of bullet proof coffee before the race and a few bites of a Quest bar, plus my initial 30 Energybits. I was surprised how well I ran on such little fuel. It was just another reinforcement to me that my new Low Carb/High Fat way of eating is working well for me, and I don’t need to over fuel before a big event…nor do I need anything but the Bits during the run.

I handled the hills with ease, backing off a little as I ascended, and it paid off at the end because I was able to step it up the final half mile. I felt like I had the chance to PR the run, but I knew the slower start would probably prevent that. But I gave it all I had at the end. And it went well!

Women Rock #selfie

Women Rock #selfie

I still got my champagne at the end, but I had to take my own #selfie. I visited some of the Team Ortho booths they had set up so that I could pick up my Monster Series jacket to save the expense of having them mail it, but they were out of my size and would have to mail it anyway. And I met one of my Facebook friends at the finish line! He was a volunteer, and I was delighted to be able to recognize him and chat with him at the end of the run!

I finished well, and surprised myself. And even after I got home, I felt good. I had no after ills, and was even able to go out and do a 7 mile run the next day! That, thanks to Hyland’s Muscle Therapy Arnica Gel and my RecoveryBits. They are both now a part of my new post run therapy!

Post Run Therapy

Post Run Therapy

After a few visits to my results, I was happy to see that there were a few race changers this year as well, so my original 37th place was replaced with a 20th place. Hey! That is OK!

Women Rock 2014 Results

All in all, the improvements at Women Rock were tremendous. And I have no reason not to do this again next year. I really enjoy doing an all women’s run once in a while. It is always such an inspiring crowd!

Are you ready for fall racing season? Which race are you looking forward to the most?

One Response to Women Rock Half Marathon Race Recap

  1. Katie says:

    I’ve done the Women Rock half the last two years; I honestly never thought it was super disorganized – but too many people waited until the last minute to try and get on the busses. And maybe disorganized in the fact that they could’ve had more busses the first year – but I found the process to be simple for my first half! Anyway. I wished I wouldn’t have missed this year, but didn’t know how soon after Grandma’s I would want to train again! I wonder why the crowds were so much smaller? Nice job on your run!!

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