Race Report for first Half Marathon in Eleven Years

Are you a long distance runner? As you may have gathered from previous blogs, it’s taken me a long time to love running. I am pleased to report that after years and years of mental gymnastics and re-framing, I have convinced myself that I DO LOVE running!! In fact, that might be one of my biggest COVID-19 accomplishments, falling in love with running.

Jenny and Mari over the Mississippi River on Half Marathon race day!

Winter running for a spring half marathon

Likely that’s in part because running outside all winter long was a good way to see people I like in person, since all my other engagements with people were over Zoom. My friends Jenny, Brooke and Marie were all equally committed to meeting up every Saturday to run together. Nadine and Monica joined us when they could. Before we’d start a run, we’d declare, “We are winter runners!” Away we’d go.

Get in Gear

Before I cracked my rib on January 21st, a few of us had committed to run a half marathon this spring. I looked around for a spring event and I found the Get In Gear race. They offer a variety of distances, the longest being 13.1 miles. 

Perfect! Jenny and I committed to doing the half marathon distance. Both of us wanted the t-shirt, so we officially registered for the virtual event. Given how many race shirts I own, it was a bit silly, but it IS the longest I’ve run at one time since I did the Big Sur marathon in 2010. 

Race plan success

My post last week was my Race Plan which included a detailed plan for what I focused on leading up to race day. I am very pleased to report that the careful preparation paid off!!! Jenny and I completed 13.1 miles in 2 hours 53 minutes and 41 seconds!!That made both of us very happy as our goal was to finish in under 3 hours. SUCCESS!!

Victoza for race morning

As I stated in my Race Plan, I was awake at 5 AM and I did everything on my race prep agenda. I took my daily Victoza dose. I’m on the highest dose, as I’m transitioning to the once weekly dose of Ozempic on Monday, and it’s easier to transition from Victoza to Ozempic if you take the highest Victoza dose. 

But the highest dose of Victoza is really too much Victoza for me, and it makes me slightly nauseous and a little bit dizzy when I am doing a long run. I made an executive decision, without consulting anyone, to take a lower dose. That was a wise choice, as my blood sugars during the run were practically perfect. And I experienced almost zero dizziness or nauseousness. 

My Dexcom G6 tracing the morning of the race! Major diabetes management success!!!

No pain until mile 11

The other big success was I experienced no hip, butt or quad pain until about mile 11. My daily foam rolling and stretching was a huge help in making that a reality. Since it didn’t creep up until mile 11, I only had two more miles to go, so it was bearable. 

Flipbelt run pants for carrying things during the race

Due to my Flipbelt run pants, I had two water bottles with me and thus I was able to stay hydrated during the 13.1 mile run. Plus I had paid close attention to my hydration the three days before race day. All those Nuun electrolytes were happily in my system helping me out. 

Race Start – Why we run

This was a virtual race and thus there was literally no one at the location that Jenny and I selected to start our run. Well, actually, one amazing person showed up to send us off! My dear friend Tammy and her fabulous senior dog Diamond both showed up to snap some photos, interview us on video about “Why We Run” and generally cheer as we took off at 7:25AM. Huge appreciation to Tammy for making the effort to come send us off with good vibes and big smiles. 

Race Day Nutrition

I ate my 30 grams of chia pudding with berries and I drank 30 grams of UCAN, all without taking any insulin. I ate all that before driving to the race start. At the start, my blood sugar was 162 mg/dl. Ideal. 

An hour later, my blood sugar was dropping down to 108 mg/dl and I had a downward arrow on my Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor, so I ate a Honey Stinger gu packet. Then at about 9:15AM I was still worried about what was going on with my blood sugar, so I slowly ate a packet of Sport Beans as I ran. That was plenty of carbs during running. Turns out that UCAN is super helpful. Oh, and I did not have to eat a single Smartie! That is for sure diabetes race day success!! 

NOTE: I use Smarties for low blood sugars, and I always carry at least 6 rolls of Smarties when I run. 

Post Race Triathlon Social

Jenny and I finished our 13.1 miles a little after 10AM as we crossed the Lake Street bridge over the Mississippi River. Other members of our triathlon group, Team Looking Sharp, were out running also. We had seen Nadine, Brooke, Elizabeth and Marie as we were running.

Jenny is really good at organizing events and she had sent out a couple of emails to the entire Team Looking Sharp roster, about 65 women in all. We really had no idea who exactly would show up. To our delight, there were 13 of us gathered outside at 11AM to celebrate all being COVID-19 vaccinated and our commitment to being fit and healthy as we move into summer. 

In her inclusive wisdom, Jenny had us go around and each state one of our summer athletic goals. Along the way, each of us said what we had done that morning, since almost all of us had either run or walked some distance before the tri social started. 

I confess, gathering with amazing women who care about their health and well-being was almost better than finishing a half marathon. Well, let’s say, they were BOTH a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning! 

There you have it, a race report for my longest run in more than a decade! Thanks for reading. I plan to keep running all summer and into the fall and again, into the winter. In fact, my summer focus is going to be on getting faster. I will keep you posted on how it goes!

Let me know how you’re doing with your running. I love hearing from you!

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10 thoughts on “Race Report for first Half Marathon in Eleven Years”

  1. Love that you’re able to address considerations for the diabetic runner! Hope you find those who are hesitating and pull them into the streets!

    Reply
    • Thanks Linda!!! As someone who also values goal setting and setting out to achieve said goal, thank you!!!

      Reply
  2. So happy to have shared this experience with you, Mari, and Team Looking Sharp!!! I totally agree that having a supportive group of athletic and health-minded women (no matter their fitness level or body size) is the great joy and motivation!

    Reply
    • I 100% agree with you Jenny! It was awesome to run this event with you!! We did good! And Team Looking Sharp is the best! I love meeting with the amazing women of all sizes and all fitness levels! Here’s to more running, swimming, biking, weight lifting fun ahead of us!

      Reply

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