Wild Hog Half Marathon

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I had a plan for this half marathon, start slower and finish stronger. Well I did the first part right but the second part not so much.
The expo was very small. I have to remember this isn’t the Twin Cities marathon or Grandma’s marathon where it is a huge event and brings a lot of vendors. My assumption that I can just pick up my honey stingers (my fuel choice) at the expo was bad as they weren’t there. Thankfully we found a running store near our hotel that had them in stock. It was looking pretty bleak!
I didn’t sleep well and I woke up an hour before my alarm and couldn’t get back to sleep. I was a little worried about my performance. I also didn’t prepare very well for this race so I had serious doubts about my ability to go the distance. I struggled to run after the last half and the longest run I could muster in that 7 weeks was 8 miles once. I was very scared, more than usual. I had my two pieces of toast and Nutella and water for breakfast. We hopped on the shuttle to the start/finish. It was nice that this shuttle was across the street from our hotel! We got to the start with plenty of time to spare. We hung out at Dunn Bros. Coffee to stay warm…well so Mary Linda could stay warm. Ha! The temperature wasn't bad, a little warmer than I had hoped but still was in the low 60s. The humidity was a killer though.  We lined up for the national anthems…yes they sang O Canada! Grand forks is practically in Canada so it didn’t surprise me.
The Start
I lined up near the 3 hour pacer. My plan was to stay with her but the adrenaline in me said go!  So I went! I didn’t go crazy though. I ran for the first 8 minutes or so before I broke into my 1:30 run/30 second walk. I keep changing my mind on what strategy to do but lately I have stuck to this one. I have decided this works well for me. The first mile was a nice warm up. A lot of people passed me but I was ok with it! I don’t remember much about the first couple miles of the race. I stuck to my splits and had some consistent miles. At one point a black cat darted out in front of us and there were about 5 of us who started laughing and making jokes, "dang, guess I’m not going to win" and "oh no! our race is cursed now!" Haha! Good times.
I wanted to keep my pace right around 13:22 which would have put me at a 2:55 time. I knew with my lack of training that this was a lofty goal but I had been running consistent miles around this pace so I knew I could do it for a while. Miles 1-4 were: 13:13, 13:32, 13:23 & 13:14. Mile 2 was a bit slower because of a water stop. Unlike all previous half marathons, I didn’t run fast in the beginning. I didn’t have any 12 minute miles which is unusual for me. I stuck to the plan and I was only 5 seconds off after 4 miles. I was happy and feeling good!
The Middle
The middle miles went surprisingly well. I was already passed by the lead marathoner and that meant that these miles I was constantly passed until the marathon diverted a different direction from us. Mile 6 was around a park. We were running on pitted cement which made for an interesting time. Of course it rained all night so these holes in the cement were full of water and by the time I left the park my feet were soaked. It was a tough mile and I’m surprised I still maintained my desired pace. Mile 6 had the one “big hill”. So it was only like 25 feet but when the whole course had an elevation gain of 118 feet that was a big hill. Ha! I tried running it but gave up and walked with everybody else. Mile 7 we crossed over into Minnesota, my home land. I saw something near the end of mile 8 that surprised me...I’ll get to that soon. Miles 5-8 were: 13:12, 13:17, 13:28 & 14:03. As you can see I lost it during mile 8. This is no surprise to me, as I mentioned above, this was my longest run during training.
The End
As I was running down a hill, close to crossing the mile 8 marker I see Mary Linda. WTF? Mary Linda was walking and I never saw her pass me so I was so confused. I caught up to her and said how did you get in front of me?  Well she had a snafu and somehow missed the pitted wet concrete mess in the park. She is so lucky! Anyways I spent the last 5 miles with her. We did some run walk splits for mile 9 but mostly walked the last 4 miles. The 4 Mile Death March as I like to call it. Ha! We did sprinkle some running in between but mostly it was a fast walk. She walks really fast! We were again on the shared course with the marathoners so they were screaming past us. They got a 30 minute head start and had ran 13 miles more than us. Crazy!  I wish I could run that fast! We eventually crossed back into North Dakota and before long we were at the finish line.  Miles 9-13 were: 14:11, 15:09, 15:43, 16:23, & 16:21. Finish time 3:08:33. 

Could I have finished faster? Absolutely! But I had fun walking and talking with Mary Linda and sometimes having fun is important too!
I felt pretty good afterward. We had bananas, oranges (I gobbled those up!), pineapple and granola bars. I even had a Mello Yellow! I was starving. We eventually boarded our shuttle bus back to our hotel. I immediately headed to the pool and hot tub to swim a bit and then soak in the heat. After a quick shower, Mary Linda and I went to Perkins for lunch. Eric decided to lay in bed. After Perkins, I crashed, took an hour nap and for the evening we went to the movie, Bridget Jones' Baby. Overall it was a great day.

LBJ NHS & Pedernales Falls State Park

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Our last day of our Texas vacation was a drive out to LBJ’s ranch. It was a lot of driving. We got to see a living history farm where they stay true to the ways of life in 1915. We got to see some longhorns, chickens, a turkey and some goats. We toured the old farm houses.

We drove around the LBJ ranch and saw the Texas White House. We didn’t actually go inside. We stopped at a small cafĂ© in Johnson City on our way to Pedernales Falls. The food was surprisingly good.

To view the Pedernales Falls was a bit of a walk, it was tough on mom. I actually hiked down the water. It was so hot outside I wanted to jump in. There were some people in it even though swimming wasn’t allowed in this section. I can see why when the water is hit but it was very low when we stopped.

Overall we had a very nice trip to visit Nancy and Greg in Texas.

LBJ, Texas History & Willie

Monday, September 19, 2016

Before all the exploring, Mom, Denise, Nancy and I went to Lady Bird Lake so I could run. Run is a loose term as I struggled with the heat. There was a marathon relay going on. I’m so glad wasn’t running that!

The first stop of touring was a stop at LBJ Library and Museum on the University of Texas campus. It was very interesting. We got to see his car, his desk, and a model of his office. He accomplished a lot in his short time. Granted he is always overshadowed by Vietnam. He was just a common old man with a sense of humor.

Next stop was the Bullock Texas State History Museum. I learned a lot about Texas state history. There is a lot to learn! The special display was on the propaganda of the Nazis. We spent about 2 hours walking around and learning about everything Texas.

Our last stop was at the Willie Nelson statue.

We made our way back to the house for dinner and Sunday night football. Vikings vs Packers! Gregory and Emma (a Packer fan) came over. It was a great game…especially when the Vikings win! Ha!

The Alamo, the River Walk & the Missions

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Our day trip to San Antonio started at Bu-cee’s. It is a Texas tradition. We went straight to the Alamo. Since Mom and Nancy had already been there, only Denise, Greg and I went in. It was smaller than I expected but still cool.

We made our way to the River Walk. We walked around and eventually got on a boat to see the sights. It was a very nice ride down the river. After that we ate at the oldest restaurant on the river, Casa Rio. Mom and I shared a chicken quesadilla. The chips and salsa were very good and the quesadilla wasn’t bad.

Before we headed back to the Austin, I asked to go see the San Antonio Missions National Historical Place. We got to see one of the Old Catholic missions. A very interesting place but the church was closed for a wedding. :(