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Ok are you all buckled in for the recap of the 1st Annual Women Rock half marathon? Ready, set Go!

Well I will preface this by saying I didn’t totally follow my training plan like I did for the Fargo Half Marathon back in April, but I was still keeping up with my Runner’s World Run Streak since Memorial day 2012, and keeping up my long weekend runs, so I felt decently prepared. But then came vacation, but I did a solid 11 miles out there on my own, hoping not to get kidnapped! And a short run too, but that’s what happens on vacation, you don’t run (as much as you should) and spend time fishing and playing with the fam, like these two little monkeys!  Gangster B                                     B as a little gangster

And B and E on the 4 wheelerb n e

I did my last long training run with my newest running buddy Linda the Sunday before the race.  I did 2 miles to her house, two 4 mile laps, (one with her and one solo) and then 2 back to my house. The first 6 were good, the next 4 were not, and the last two were just me saying I want to get home. Actually, the last .5 I think I just walked. My hip hurt, my knee hurt and I was utterly dehydrated. Not a great training run going into the week before a half that I wanted to PR in. (Later that night I ended up with what I like to call a running hang over: headache, nauseas, and all around icky feeling. Not cool!)

water

In preparing for the half I started operation hydration/operation pee-a-lot. Which basically meant drink a lot of water! I ate decent in the week of the race and fill up my trusty Camelbak many many times throughout the days. (side note – I don’t know why I don’t drink this much water all the time, I honestly felt so much better all week)

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I was nervous about getting up on time so you may have seen my tweet saying hey wake me up at 4:45! Well, my nerves thankfully did not get the best of me and I was up showered (yes, I shower before a race! I know what you’re thinking, but whatever! It helps wake me up!) and headed out the door at about 5:30 like I planned. I knew about 6 women running this race, but I wasn’t planning on running with any of them so I got to the Science museum parked solo and who was honking at me but Linda, Sara and Crystal (who were running the 10k!)! Yeah friends!

Crystal, Linda, Me and Sara pre-race!clip_image004

After a potty break and trying to figure out where in tarnation the dang bag drop was I finally loaded onto the shuttle to get to the start line once again solo. I was worried about my knee and hip so I frantically texted the two girls I knew might be near by to see if they had drugs and low and behold Ann and Aleve and her friend Julia (my new friend now, just because we met once!) She is an ultra runner and was running her 6th marathon with Lindsay (who was on her 2nd) because she needed a long run. Now at the time I didn’t understand, because a long run to me IS the 26.2 miles, but for someone training for a 50 miler, a marathon is a training run! (Her ultra marathon is this weekend! Wish her good luck and check out her blog here!)

So the race is under way and I start out with Annie and Maria just like we did when we meet at the Get in Gear this spring! But I quickly lost them; by the time I get to mile one where Ann was I shouted “hey did you see the girls yet!?” Oh yea, they were cruising!

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Me, Annie and Maria at the start of the Women Rock!
Apparently this is now a tradition!

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Maria, Annie and I pre Get in Gear 10K! Our first race together!

The course had a little bit of an out and back and I’m half listening to my music and half just running and zoning and thinking to myself I AM GOING TO PR! Then all of a sudden I hear “Hey! Amy Shaner!” And this time it isn’t Ann, it’s another runner! My friend Aimee from college, who I had NO idea was running this race too! She’s super speedy so she was about a mile or two in front of me! GO AIMEE! So that gave me a burst and a smile of my face that lasted for a few miles, and then I saw Ann again! (Yay for spectator friends!)

clip_image010 Ann is ready to spectate! (pic stolen from FB :))

I kept going and I kept feeling good. No walking for me. Now I don’t have a garmin, but I want one in a bad sort of way. I run with my Map my Run app on my phone so I knew my pace and I knew I started out decent, not too fast, but fast enough to know that I could get a PR and maybe even my sub 2:30 dream goal. My pace kept getting slower (I need to work on that), but I was still faster than the 2:30 pace team (for most of the 13.1). I did not want them to beat me!

I don’t know what mile it was, maybe 7, 8, 9, but I started to feel like Heidi did during the end of her marathon – hey this was fun! I like feeling like this! I’m doing well! I saw Ann again at 8 and she ran with me a little while which was awesome! She asked me how I was and my hip was decent, I hadn’t walked and I wasn’t planning on it! I was happy to be feeling this good! I saw Julia and Lindsay when they turned back for another loop on the marathon course, and another smile on my face and pep in my step!

Just before mile 11-ish where some women walking up a hill over the river and I kept saying “you got this”, “good work”, “keep going”. I was being a cheerleader and I don’t even like cheerleaders! (Is it bad that I was like hey I’m good, I’m running and other people are walking, my training paid off!?) Then, somewhere in mile 12 the dreaded 2:30 pace group caught up with me and passed me. I was sad, and I tried to stay with them, but it didn’t work like it should have! Alas this day was not meant for me to hit the 2:30 mark.

I, apparently, slowed WAY down for the last two miles, but once I saw the finish and felt I was close I full out sprinted. I took off the one headphone and just listened to everyone cheering me on, they didn’t even know me! Then they announced my name! WOO! I heard cheering and it was Crystal, Linda, Sara and Brittany! They stayed around to watch me finish!! (I am grateful to have some pretty cool friends!) You can watch the video of me crossing the finish line and see my ugly race pics here. But don’t ask me why I look so weird running.  That’s just how I was made, I guess, all awkward like!  At least I got a lot of cheers when my name was announced!

clip_image012Crystal, Linda, Me and Sara (Brittany was the photographer this time)

I finished and I knew I finished REALLY close to a PR and I didn’t walk! My 6th half marathon and for the first time I didn’t walk, not one step! With that alone I was proud, and secretly KNEW I had to have PR’d, righ!?

I collected my little W pendant from some hot fire fighters and my treat bag from a familiar face: Nic! I played volleyball with him about 4 years ago (hadn’t seen him since) and he was there to give me my snacks! (One of my favorite people of the day!)

Some of my swag from the race! Loverly right??clip_image015 Who doesn’t need more steam
wear they won’t use right?
clip_image014I really like my new pendant!

The post race festivities for this race included a champagne flute full of champagne! WOO! So I collected my bag, changed shoes and we wandered over to the party. I had about one sip of champagne, my snacks and some power-ade zero and I was beat! So we headed home. Something in the one sip of champagne did NOT sit well in my stomach, so much in fact, it ended up on the side of the highway on my way home. I literally had to pull over! No worries though! I got home, had an ice bath, lunch, shower, about a gallon of water and a little napski and I was all bright and shiny like a brand new penny!

My final chip time was 2:31:06 which was 0:04:15 faster than my Fargo Half Marathon! Yay me! Yay for Annie, Maria, Aimee, Julia, Lindsay, Sarah, Crystal, and Linda for having an awesome race! And Yay for Ann for cheering and spectating!

clip_image017Of course no race would be complete with out the traditional finish
line excited pic that Heidi and I started back in April 2008!

It was a great downhill course and the out and back wasn’t even so bad (3 out , 3 back)! It was so good; in fact, I will be signing have signed up for the 2013 Team Ortho Women Rock Half Marathon tonight (as well as the Tough Mudder 2013 and Monster Dash Half. That’s what you call run club peer pressure, folks.  Sorry Mr. Visa)!

If you live in the Twin Cities area and want to run a women only race and don’t want to pay too much you should sign up for this one! If you sign up for it before THIS FRIDAY you get extra FREE swag! Now who doesn’t like free swag!? That’s the whole reason I started running! (Well, not really, but it’s one of the reasons I run now!)

Have you PR’d lately?  How much in advance do you sign up for races?

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