Lola’s Half Marathon – #Race Recap

I think we’ve all had those days…the one’s where you wake up and you just can’t get synced. It seems as though you are one step behind, or sometimes even one step ahead of where you should be at that particular moment in time. On this race morning, I was one step ahead.

I had already arranged to have my bib mailed to me. Like the Goldy’s 10-Mile run back in April, I don’t remember doing that. When it arrived in the mail, it was a bit of a relief because I couldn’t figure out how I was going to fit packet pick-up into my schedule. The weeks have been packed full with kid stuff, mainly. I really should just start a taxi service rather than make running charms. I’m thinking it would be much more lucrative.

Back to race morning…

My husband decided to attend the run with me. This usually gives me a few less things to worry about. One is having enough time to park, because if worse comes to worse, he can just drop me near the start line. The other is having a human bag drop. I can literally bring anything with me to the start line and just hand it off minutes before the gun.

We had to get an early start this morning because the race was 48 minutes away, according to Google. With an 8:00 am start, I felt good getting out of the house by 6:15 am. This would give us plenty of time to find parking, as the bulk of it would be residential street parking. My memory told me there was a cap of 2500 participants for all four events, but I’m not sure if that was correct or not. Plus, I wanted to try and find some of my Facebook VRF’s at the race. Quite a few of them were running Lola’s that morning.

As it turns out, my morning ritual was already off kilter, and I would have liked to have had another shot at the bathroom before we left the house. Since I didn’t get that, I ended up spending all of my time before the race standing in line for the porta-potties. My husband had strolled off to find a coffee shop to hang in while I ran. The potty lines were orderly and well laid out, but they were slow. Either that or people were just taking up residence inside them for longer than was needed. The weather was nice…not too hot, not too cold, and not rainy, so why the lines weren’t moving quickly was beyond me.

As fate would have it, by the time I got my turn, I couldn’t go, and I thought I’d just have to wing it. The half marathon would take me roughly an hour and 45 minutes. I’ve never had issues before during a race and I didn’t anticipate any for this one.

As I said earlier, I just wasn’t synced. And I felt rather unprepared for this run. But I didn’t feel under trained. I just felt like I wasn’t ready. I took my fuel (30 Energybits and 2 Sportslegs capsules) at 7:30 am while I waited on line for the potty, and I nibbled on a UCAN Superstarch Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar, too. I had all my paraphernalia in a Fleet Farm bag, including my hydration belt, my hydration, my Good Sport anti-chafe balm, my sunglasses, the remainder of my UCAN bar, and my fuel packets there within. I still had my sweatshirt on, pockets stuffed with paper towels and tissues from that morning. I organized it all while waiting on line.

When I was done, I found my husband and we tried to figure out where the actual start would take place. It was already time to line up. Gosh, that 45 minutes went by very fast. I didn’t have time to meet up with anyone!

I was buckling my waist belt, rechecking my phone and headphones, stuffing my fuel into the hydration belt pouch, and dividing out tissues to take along. I handed my husband my sweatshirt and the Fleet Farm bag with my eyeglasses and other stuff I didn’t need for the run. I snapped my startline selfie, and…

Start Line #Selfie

Start Line #Selfie

We were off!

I had no idea what to expect for this run. We did, however, spot Lake Waconia at the starting line. And she was way down there. Way WAY down there. I’m thinking “Ooooooh, this is gonna be a hilly run!” If we gotta run down to the lake and then around it, we’ll have to come back up here to the finish line. This was going to be tougher than I anticipated.

The first few miles were run right through town before we got a little break with a downhill section which took us to the lake. Then, surprise, surprise…we were running on a dirt path that turned into a deer path. It was nice to get a break from the pavement, but at the same time, I was reminded that I need to run more trails, if not to strengthen my feet and ankles, but to be better prepared for surprises like these on these less popular local races.

We had to run single file for almost a half mile. Sure, there were speedsters passing us up, but I was so worried about stepping in a hole and twisting my ankle, I didn’t chance it.

Afterwards, we emerged lakeside into the prettiest section of the run. I immersed myself into a podcast, but I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful homes in Waconia. There were very few right on the water. Most of them were across the two lane road we were running on, but they had a piece of beach to call their own. There were docks, boats, gazebos, lawn furniture, fire pits, owned by each homeowner right on the water. It truly was a beautiful city. It was a rather breezy morning, too, and the lake was big enough to produce some white caps way out in the middle.

Photo courtesy of Sovereign Estate Wine

Photo courtesy of Sovereign Estate Wine

Once we passed the residential area, we came upon a winery. I thought, I have to remember to tell my husband about this little gem hidden over here. Not that we frequent wineries, but we are sometimes puzzled with what to do over the long summer months. We ran right passed the vineyards, which not only had grapes, but a few osprey nests atop man made towers as well. Looking down to the lake, I found that we were now on a cliff. And the trip to the water would be a fast, uncomfortable tumble if one stepped off too far to the left.

Yep. The ascent was more than the descent!

Yep. The ascent was more than the descent!

Yeah, the run was hilly. Up and down…up and up and down. Up and up and up and down. I thought of Belle Plaine, and how this run was a step below the difficulty of that half marathon. But not TOO far below. Or maybe because it just wasn’t my morning, it just felt that way. Regardless, it was a challenging run. And I could tell that by the amount of people I passed up along the way. Being fat adapted, I find I get my groove on about mile 5 or 6 and this day was no exception. But I didn’t get my true burst of energy until about mile 8.

I first refueled with 12 Energybits and two Sportslegs tabs just after the 5 mile mark. I planned to do it again at the 10 mile mark. Typically, I only fuel once during a half marathon, but as I mentioned in a previous blog post, I decided to try something different this time and fuel a little earlier…before I felt like I needed it. And I believe in this circumstance, it allowed me to pull off what I did.

In my hydration belt, I had one bottle of Ketone salts, and a bottle of UCAN Superstarch mixed with a MEStrength Sugar Free Electrolyte packet (Fruit Punch flavor…because I had a hankering for it that morning). I was sure to alternate between the two, taking a swig after every water stop we passed, and then again while taking my Energybits.

It was humid, and I was soaked. It’s a good thing I stuck that paper towel into my sports bra before I took off, because I needed to wipe my brow a few times. I also found, at around mile 10 or so, that the chafe was on. So, I peered behind me to be sure no one would pound into me if I slowed to rub some Sport Guard on my inner thighs. Lovely, right? All I saw were a bunch of young men about 50 yards back. Great. Well, you gotta do what you gotta do. But SO glad I did it or my shower later could have been a nightmare.

BellePlaine LolasHalf

FINALLY at mile 11, some relief from the tedious uphill climbs. I reveled in it…for about a mile and a half…when suddenly, at mile 12.5, we were up hill again. Steep…at the end of a grueling run. Soooooooo much like Belle Plaine! I pulled these elevation maps off of the internet…Lola’s is wonky, but you get the idea. Up, up, up at the end!

Coming back into town, the fellow at the last stop said “Take a right at the crowd, and then you’re almost done!” And he was right.

I ran in, alone, and had my name read. I poured it on, too. My husband caught me in action!

Suffice it to say, this was my last tough run before Grandma’s Marathon. It was Half Marathon #20 for me. And, it was a good test for everything, including my legs, my strength, my guts, and my will. I think I passed. Again, I’m not looking to PR in Duluth, but another Boston qualifier would be welcome. And now I get an extra 5 minutes. I think I’ll need it.

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I collected my metal and asked for an extra for Delaney. After I stopped my runmeter, my phone completely died! It’s a good thing I found my husband so close, but I couldn’t contact any of my VRF’s for meet ups. UGH! My husband got my photo with my medals, then I picked up my race shirt, and we headed home. We couldn’t stay for the after party, as my daughter had to be downtown for a music lesson. We had just enough time to get back home and double back with her. Maybe next year!

So, now you’re asking “…you’re gonna run it again?”

Yeah…I like to torture myself.

Which was the last torturous run YOU ran? Tell me about it!

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