Tag Archives: Race Recap

Lola’s Half Marathon 2017 Race Recap – Part 2

Bling from Lola's Half Marathon 2017

This is Part 2. Part 1 is here!

I remember this stretch of road from last year, but I don’t remember it being so early in the run. This scared me a little because I was thinking, “Damn, I’ve got a long way to go!”

It was here we began to meet up with the 10-milers. They had a 10 minute head start on us, so this seemed like the place to run into them, around miles 5 through 6. This was a larger highway, so there wasn’t much fan support. I remember last year having to put some body glide on my legs as they were really chaffing. I must have done a good job putting it on this year, because so far so good, even though it was 10-15° warmer than 2016.

Lola’s Half Marathon 2017 Race Recap – Part 1

Lola's Half Marathon Logo 2017

I have but two words to describe my performance in Lola’s Half Marathon 2017.


Gawd! Nothing came together for this event, except perhaps for the fact that my husband decided to come with me. That meant I didn’t have to get behind the wheel, which was a good thing. I could have been arrested for any number of traffic violations since I was basically under the influence of hell.

The Polar Dash 2017 Race Recap – #PDMN

Team Ortho Polar Dash Medals 2017 #PDMN

I could not have been less thrilled to run this event. The sore Achilles tendons, my rotten mood, the holiday blues…what other excuse could I possibly come up with? The crazy thing is, it was my husband who pressured me to forge ahead with the event.

“Walk up until the race. You’ll be fine! You can always drop out if you don’t think you can make it.”

Words a runner does NOT want to utter. Drop out…DNF…did not finish.

Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon Race Recap – Part 2

This is part 2 of a 3 part series.

Part 1 is here.

I neglected to mention that I had saved up two episodes of the Runner Girl’s Podcast for the first part of this marathon. I knew they weren’t long enough to take me through the entire run, but I figured I’d worry about that when I got to the part when the recordings ended. Recently, I had returned to listening to my running tunes through some training runs, just to defeat the boredom of listening to podcasts, and to see if it would affect my pace. I thought, perhaps, I’d finish off my marathon with some tunes, if necessary. Right now, however, the podcast was working just fine. I also knew that Meagan, from said podcast, was running her first marathon on this day, and I couldn’t help but think about her as I ran. I was hoping she was having an amazing run!


Do you know when sometimes you are running, the time seems to fly right by, and other times, it doesn’t? This was one of those “other times”. I’m not sure why, but it seemed like the early part of this run was taking forever. Perhaps it was the steep mini hills at the start of this race, or the humidity, or the headwinds. Regardless, it just crept along. And for the first time in my marathon running career, I had visions of DNFing. It just seemed like I had no desire to run 26.2 miles this particular morning. It was taking too stinkin’ long.

I glanced down at my watch some time after I fueled near mile 7 and realized that it was only a little after 8am. Holy heck, I still had the whole morning ahead of me. It was early. Maybe I could get this done after all. Funny how your mind works like that. My fuel this hour was just 20 Energybits and a re-dose of SportsLegs, taken with a chug of sugar free electrolytes.

The hills were rather brutal, and as always, I can’t help but notice how everyone around me handles them. I was thinking that there were some brave souls out there that morning putting the pedal to the metal so early in this marathon. I hoped that they had what it took to finish the event. It wouldn’t be easy, and I knew that just 3 miles in. I also knew that I had played the first half of this marathon the right way for a change. I took it slow and deliberate when it was hard, and played with some speed when it was easy. I kept thanking the good Lord because he never allowed the sun to come out and play. This kept the temperatures in check. The humidity, however, was still brutal. And once we turned direction and headed back to the start/finish line, the headwinds dissipated. It felt to me like the humidity did as well, but the damage was already done. I was soaked just from sweat. I wouldn’t realize what damage was done, either, until later that day.

Looking pretty serious somewhere past the halfway point.

Looking pretty serious somewhere past the halfway point.

By the middle of the marathon, I started to feel better about everything…the run, my pace, the course, the weather…and my ketones were kicking in, so everything was getting easier. I was lighter on my feet, and my brain was coming into focus. When Runmeter told me I had hit the half marathon mark at 1:45:something, I knew I had a shot at a PR. I was doing way better than I expected I would be. It was time to make the decision to go for it, or back off a little and just settle with the BQ. I blatantly decided to go for it. What the heck? It was still early, and I could back down if necessary.

Now the race started to accelerate. I fueled with my hour 2 baggie near mile 15. It contained 20 Energybits, 2 SportsLegs and a caffeine tab that was the equivalent of a cup of coffee.  Up to this point, I had been alternating taking sips from my two hydration bottles. One contained a water/baking soda mix. The other contained water with a packet of MeStrength and a little Emerge powder by Max Muscle. In between fueling, I added in a little of an unfair advantage…that being Unfair Advantage from Bulletproof Nutrition. They are mini tubes of brain power which I found very useful at the start of the last two marathons I ran. This time, I decided to take a few of them as needed when I felt as though my brain was telling me I wouldn’t make it…if it ever did tell me that. I took one pre race, then again at mile 10, and then near mile 18. Each time, I swear I got an unfair advantage…now I know why it was named as it was.

The middle miles whizzed by and I couldn’t believe how fast I had gotten to mile 20. I was looking for a “wall”, like the physical inflatable one I saw at Twin Cities, or the ones on the signs held up by the fans cheering us on at the sides of the road. But there were so few spectators at this run. I was disappointed. I expected more from Kansas City. I learned that it truly was a “small town” marathon.

Mile 20 passed me by. I still felt amazingly great.

As luck would have it, somewhere around here is when my podcasts ended, so I turned on some tunes. We were just exiting a residential neighborhood on the edge of the city limits again, and there were a few spectators here. After I got my phone re-situated in my Tuvizo waist pack, I turned, waved and shouted “thank you” to all of them.

I made it all the way to mile 22, firmly holding on to the belief that I had a shot at a PR. But something happened on the way to heaven. I’m not even sure what it was, but as we ascended a short, steep hill, I hit my mini wall. I decided to walk a little here so that I could take my last baggie of fuel, again, 20 Energybits, SportsLegs tabs, and this time, an Advil just for the heck of it. Swallowing it down, I realized right then that I should have taken it earlier. I had just waited too long for that last pouch. Runmeter told me it was the top of the hour. I had 4 miles left. That left 4 miles in 30 minutes to PR. It wasn’t going to happen. Looking back now, I think hearing that might have been what deflated me. I’m not sure which happened first.

Runmeter data

Runmeter data

Regardless, I fueled and thought, well, I can beat BOTH Boston and Grandma’s times if I keep my wits about me. We crested the hill, and I looked ahead to see a bit of a downhill segment ahead. Let’s go for it!

Starting up again was a little tough, but after 10 steps or so, I was rockin’ it once more. The final few miles were not unlike the first few miles…short, steep, mini hills…just enough to make many fall hard at the end. I started to re-pass those who had passed me earlier during the first half of the run. I recognized them all. There was a male/female pair who whizzed passed me here at some point, and I was astounded at their presence and prevalence these last few miles. I was determined to keep them in sight through to the finish.

At this point, I was also joined by the half marathoners, and later, the 5K runners, still finishing their races. There were so many walking at this point. Jockeying around them added another mile to my run…at least that is how it felt. I cheered on a few, and a few cheered me on as well.

Now, my brain was on fire, and finishing was first and foremost. Still, however, the lack of any spectators was disillusioning. I felt like I needed that crowd support now, if ever. But there was no one…and I mean NO ONE lining the streets the last few miles. I was on my own. Just me and my music, and those runners who run on glucose. As I passed each and every one of them, I was grateful I was a fat adapted runner.

I passed a young man who I had traded the lead with a few times in the last half of this marathon. And I commented to him as such. He told me he was finished. He had nothing left. We were at mile 25 point something and I urged him on. “You GOT this,” I told him…”Let’s go!”

I ran on, looked behind me to see him still struggling, then turned ahead. I didn’t see him again. I hoped he kept running.

Mile 26, my Runmeter told me…and finally some spectators. They were behind a steel rail, which told me how close I was now. I pulled the headphones out of my ears, tucked them into my sports bra, and heard one woman yell “You go, girl! Take those headphones out and listen to the sounds of you FINISHING THIS!”

I needed that. I turned it on. Looking up, I saw 3:34: and seconds and thought “I can finish this in less than 3:35:00. GO GIRL!

The final stretch...I look like I'm about to burst out in tears!

The final stretch…I look like I’m about to burst out in tears!

And there it was…crossing over, I made it by just a couple of seconds. I tried to smile, but realized I wasn’t feeling so well. In fact, for the first time ever at the end of a race, I thought I’d hurl. I was handed a medal, (which just about brought me to the pavement. Damn, it was a wicked chunk of steel!) and asked for a foil wrap, but didn’t put it on. I knew I’d need it later, however. I grabbed a bottle of water, too, then spotted the medical tent to my left. Do I go in there? Gosh, I didn’t feel so good. But just beyond the medical tent was a porta potty, and upon seeing it, I had the urge to go…and go IMMEDIATELY. I was grateful it was empty, because, and excuse the graphic nature of this sentence, I got my shorts down just in the nick of time! My bowels emptied…and the nauseousness and yucky feeling went with it. Thank heavens! I sat there a minute, gathering my wits. And finally, felt good enough to go find my husband.

Coming soon. Part 3 and some final thoughts…

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Kansas City Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro Ambassador. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon Race Recap – Part 1

Marathon #7 is in the books. There was absolutely nothing that went the way it was supposed to go for this run, or at least the way I thought it would go. Nothing…from pre-race planning, to the weather, or even the actual run…went the way I envisioned it would.

This would be my third marathon this year, and I had little in the way of expectations for it. Attaining a Boston qualifying time at Boston for marathon #1 of 2016 was the best redemption ever. Then, coming off Grandma’s with a course record, despite the record breaking heat and the close proximity of the Boston run in my rear view mirror, was tremendous for me.  Although I would have enough time to recover and train for Kansas City, this summer wasn’t the easiest Minnesota summer to train through for marathon #3.

Somehow, I had started a run streak which took me out on the roads every damn day these past 6 months, with no run being shorter than a 3-miler. It was unintentional, but thanks to a Facebook secret running group, and a challenge issued wherein, that is how it ended up. Was it the streak that helped me with this last marathon or was it just pure willpower and sheer determination once again? I may never find out the answer. But what I do know is that I secured a spot in Boston for 2018. This is important to me since I have 3 perfectly good Boston Qualifiers for 2017, but cannot make the trip this coming April. It is heartbreaking to say the least.

That being said…here is the recap from start to finish.

It started with a 6 1/2 hour drive to Kansas City on Friday morning. My husband dropped the kids off at school and returned so we could pack it all up and get on the road. At first, I had made us a hotel reservation and planned to have us stay right at the start line but we later decided to stay with my step-daughter, her husband, and brand our new grandson. It seemed a great way to get some family time in as well as run a marathon in one fall swoop.

We planned the drive with enough arrival time to make it directly to the expo to pick up my bib and such, and still get in some hours with my husband’s daughter. And all of that went as planned. We were also looking forward to scoping out the expo to see who might be there. Since we have been actively working Charmed Running, expos have become something other than a medium to pick up a race packet.

We were both surprised to see how small the setup actually was. After I retrieved my bib number and headed to packet pick up, I noticed that the marathon bib numbers only went from 1-1999. So, there were less than 2000 running the marathon. There appeared to be more running the half marathon and the 5K at this event. That is typical, but I guess since this is a Boston Qualifier, I expected there to be a larger number of marathon runners registered. Especially in a city such as Kansas City.

There was little to the expo. And whether Charmed Running would do well or not at such an expo remains a mystery. Since there was no one there selling a product like ours, it was a hard one to answer.  But, it opened our eyes to perhaps attend events elsewhere in neighboring states, where we could sell at the expo, and I could then still run the marathon. Research began almost immediately. But I digress…

After getting my bib and hoodie, which by the way I found ran a wee bit small (they were more than willing to exchange sizes, thank heavens), I stumbled upon the pacer booth. I had no intentions of running with a pacer, but they did have pace bands out there for free, and I felt it wouldn’t hurt to grab one…just in case. To my surprise, I learned that the pacers for this event don’t run the actual “pace” every mile as most pacers do. Instead, they run as one would expect one to run a long race. They start slower, and then speed up according to the course geography and the time spent on the road. That intrigued me, and I decided that perhaps, I’d give these Kansas City pacers a try.

After discussing the course with the fellow behind the table, and learning that many runners have found Kansas City “easier” than Boston, I decided to adjust my time goal. Perhaps I could PR this run after all. Call me crazy, but I’d already had two brutally warm marathons this year. This was promising to be no different. If I could run those two, and BQ, and this one was notoriously easier than Boston, anything could really be possible…right?

I couldn’t decide which pace band to go with. The fellow said I could take more than one. So, I grabbed the 3:30:00, 3:35:00 and 3:40:00 bands. No doubt I’d change my mind at least that many times between now and race time.

I might add that the only food sample that was handed out at this expo were two pieces of whole grain bread, in a little package. Very odd, indeed. And since I don’t partake in the gluten full, brain fogging, health altering food of the typical American, I handed it all to my husband, who in turn, deposited it at his daughter’s home.

With all of that out of the way, we were free to go, and headed directly to my husband’s daughter’s home.


The remainder of the day was spent playing catch up, hanging with the baby, going for a walk to see my daughter’s neighborhood, and then me taking a quick 2-mile run to shake out the cobwebs that had formed during the long car ride. After that, more catching up, and then an early bedtime for me. I managed to be in bed and quite fast asleep before 10pm. After debating earlier on a wakeup time, I finally surmised that 5AM would leave me 45 minutes of prep time before we headed to the start line. I decided this after previously deciding that I needed a full hour of prep time. As it turns out, I changed one fitbit alarm, but not the other, after I changed my mind. So, I ended up getting up at 4:45 am anyway. It was probably a good thing.

My husband had had a rough night battling acid reflux, and I felt bad making him get up so early to bring me to the start line. He still did it willingly, however, but we barely got out of the house in time to make the 20 minute journey downtown and prep for a 7 am start. We ended up parking closer than we anticipated, but with a $10 fee, rather than free. My husband wasn’t in the mood to fool around with the whole free parking thing. We exited the car, my bag in tow since I had my own personal bag check with me, and headed to the start line.

It was still dark. And I mean DARK. Clouds and fog hid the full moon, and there was no sunrise in sight. I wondered when the sun did rise in Kansas City these days. I had planned to run with my sunglasses since eventually the sun was expected to make a grand entrance later that morning. But that would mean having impaired vision for the first few miles of this run since there was literally no sun…at all…at the start of the race. There wasn’t much I could do about that. I did make it to the porta potty, however, with no lines, no waiting. That is always a bonus on race morning. My belly wasn’t feeling quite right so the stop was necessary. I tried not to let it affect my mood, or my good night’s sleep that I don’t necessarily get before a run.

I looked for some VRF’s who I knew were going to be there, but instead got sidetracked by a wonderful older man from Minnesota. I knew he was from there because he wore the Victory Day Race long sleeved tee shirt that I had also received on race day. We got caught up in conversation, and I learned he was on his second round of running all 50 states at least once! So impressive! I judged him to be in his 70s, and he was running the marathon this morning. All I could think was “I want to be YOU…” He was happy, he was fit, and he was glowing…eager to talk about all his running and the run this morning. I’d have talked with him all day if I could, but I was eager to get to the front and find my pacer. I had every intention on trying to stick with the 3:30:00 guy…at least for now.

I wished him luck and worked my way to the front of the crowd, and looked for my husband on the other side of the steel gate that separated the runners from the specatators. I found him, buckled on my belts, and handed him the bag with my eye glasses and nearly empty fuel bottle, which I used to down my Energybits and Sportslegs tabs in my pre-race fuel pouch. I was ready to rumble.

Start line photo

Along came National Anthem time, and as always, I got a little verklempt. Soon after the wheelchair racers were off, and before I knew it, I kissed my husband goodbye and we were off, too. I came to find out later that we were off at 7:04:38. 22 seconds early. Wow!

The first few miles were brutal. I couldn’t see a thing. I was so worried about stepping in a pot hole and twisting my ankle, I had my head down for the first few miles. I wasn’t even sure how fast I was running with respect to the pacers. I figured eventually I’d catch up, or they’d catch me. As it turns out, they caught me…near mile 3. That is when the day dawned, about 26 minutes into the run. I found my pace group, and for much of the first 10 miles, we traded the lead…back and forth. They stopped for water, and I didn’t since I had my hydration belt with me. I have to admit, I was grateful for the cloudy morning, but that didn’t do a damn for the humidity. I was sweaty by mile 3. And the early headwind was a delight, even though it played havoc with my pace early in the run. In the end, it probably evened itself out, but had the day been cooler, with no wind, this race would easily have been a PR for me.

I never would have believed it toeing the line a half hour earlier…

Stay tuned for Part 2.

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Kansas City Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro Ambassador. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!