Mankato Half Marathon

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

It was a perfect day for racing. It was cool, not much sun and no wind. It was a great day.

After running the Mankato 10K for the last 3 years, I bumped up my game and did the half this year. I was very familiar with the course. I have watched people run the full before and the half runs on the same course except for the crazy first loop. The course is mostly flat or downhill with some inclines. I lost 582 feet but also gained 372 feet.

The Start
DJ hung out with us at the start of the race which was nice because I could keep my “throw away” hoodie on up until we started running so I didn’t get cold. And since I didn’t have to toss it along the route, I get to keep it for another race. Not much fanfare at the start of this race. Heck I didn’t even hear the national anthem. I started in the back like usual which means I actually passed quite a few people. The first mile was flat and I’ve ran most of it before in the 10K race. I didn’t take my first walk break until 5 minutes in. It was still crowded and I didn’t want to skirt around people to get out of their way. I think that helped me get a 12:35. Mile 2 was also flat and I managed to get a 12:47. Mile 3 was where we had our first noticeable hill but I kept my time under 13 minutes with a 12:58. Once we go to the end of Mile 3 we turned right on to County Road 90. I should point out that most of this race is on county roads in the country. If you like city running, this race isn’t for you. Ha! County Road 90 is out in the open on top of the hill which means it tends to be very windy. Thankfully there was no noticeable wind. Mile 4 again was flat and I slowed down a wee bit and even though I ran hard the last bit of the mile, it was just over 13 minutes at 13:02. Bummer.

The Middle
Mile 5 was the start of the awesome downhill section of this race. With the 125-foot hill, my time again was under 13, and close to my first mile time with 12:36. I knew I would have a good mile here but I was very surprised that it was that fast. I was happy. Mile 6 was very hilly, both up and down, we lost 170 feet but climbed 101 feet. The downhill was in the beginning of the mile and the uphill was at the end so I even though I tried to get another under 13 mile, it was 13:11. Mile 7 flattened out a bit and my time was a consistent 13:07. My time through 7 miles was so much faster than I had predicted, I was so happy. And I was right on track for an under 3-hour half, something I haven’t accomplished since 2015.

Mile 8 was another uphill. I had run on this part of the course before so I knew what to expect. I knew this is where my time would plummet and I was right. Miles 8 and 9 were both over 14 minutes. Boo! But as I did the math, I knew I could beat 3 hours if I really tried the last 4 miles. But what came ahead was Sibley Park and more hills…uphills.

The Finish
Just after mile 9 we headed towards Sibley Park. At this point, we saw the faster runners coming out of the park and heading to the finish line. Lucky ducks. It is kind of demoralizing to think they are over 3 miles ahead of you and less than a half a mile from the finish. It was during this time I was passed by the first marathoner. I knew it would happen, I just thought it would be after I hit mile 10, not before it. Funny story, he passed me just after a water stop. I threw my cup towards the garbage can and hit the lead biker. There was no warning that the first marathoner was right there. It really took me by surprise. Mile 11 was the start of the death march to the finish. We looped around the park and there was a dreadful uphill and then a steep downhill. There was another water stop in there and then it was up the hill again to the running path. At this point I was being passed by quite a few marathoners. There were still a lot of us slower half marathoners too so I wasn’t alone.

When I passed mile 12 my overall time was 2:43. That left me just under 17 minutes to get to the finish to get an under 3 hour half. I really thought for sure today would be the day I get under 3 again. I was so excited running/walking my way to the finish line. I got to the last uphill just before the end of mile 13 and I turned the corner and saw the finish line. My excitement turned to disappointment when I realized that I will not make it. I knew the distance to the finish line and I knew that I would have to run a 9 minute pace to get there under 3. I was really deflated. This course was .15 long. When I passed 13.1 miles my time was 2:59 but that extra .15 put me over 3 hours. My finish time was 3:00:27.

27 fucking seconds. Dammit!

I’m disappointed that the race was long so my official time is over 3 hours. But I’m very happy with my race. I did way better than I had anticipated and I came oh so close to getting a 2:XX time again. And I beat the first female marathoner. Woo hoo!

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