The long awaited Mankato Half Marathon race report
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Last Saturday I ran my first half marathon at the first Mankato Marathon.
All week I watched the weather report. They kept forecasting rain for Sat, and kept moving it earlier and earlier in the day. I didn't sleep well and was up early, it was sprinkling at 5 am. We haven't had measurable rain in over a month (when there were record floods). It was in the 50s so I went with shorts and a t-shirt (so glad I did).
I was meeting a friend at my house so we could park together and ride the bus together. I live less than a mile from the finish, but I didn't think I would want to walk home afterwards. We got on a bus and drove past the start area, then stopped, our bus driver was lost, he had to back up into traffic and find the right spot to get in the parking lots.
We got Jody's chip and number on and got our bags labeled for the bag drop (I was wearing a sweatshirt and had flip flops for after the race). Then off to the porta potties. Then it started to rain.
We started to line up, found the 11:27 pacer to start by. I found a friend from yoga, she was with her parents and they had an umbrella so I hung out with them for a few minutes. We were at least a block from the start and couldn't hear anything. The pacer said not to start our watch until we got to the start mat. Standing on tip toes we could see that the race had started. 2-3 minutes later we got to the mat and the announcer was saying we were lucky to be here, 1000 people couldn't get in (race was capped at 2000 and filled about 10 days early).
The rain stopped and there were people cheering for blocks at the start. It was about 2 1/2 miles on the road and then the marathoners split off and we headed off on the trails.
I was worried about the trails (paved bike trails) where most of the race was run. I thought it would be crowded and without spectators. Boy was I wrong. There were spectators everywhere they could get to. And they all read there spectators guide - cheering and ringing bells.
I was running under 12 minutes miles until the first downhill, I didn't want to take a chance so I walked down. A friend was volunteering at an intersection and she had her camera in my face as I went by. Every few miles my yoga buddy's parents were along the course and they were cheering me on (she was behind me). I got to the part of the trail I had been training on, and it went pretty fast. At one spot I was looking over thinking "the last time I was here, that road was halfway under water"
At about 9 1/2 miles there is a loop through the park. I ran past the nursing home(the residents were out cheering) and then past the zoo (the goats were watching and baaaaaahhhhhing from their pen) the local drum corps was playing and then up the hill. They had chocolate mints at the water stop, that got me going again. Then it was down by the river, the trail that was under water a few weeks ago and covered in inches of silt only one week before. There was a lack of spectators in that area and another hill to go up and down. This is about where I really slowed down.
When I got out of the park (mile 12) a woman asked if I was ok and told me to get water up ahead (the last water stop). I saw a couple looking beyond me and then heard "way to go leader" I looked over and there was the marathon leader with his escort. I really thought I would have been passed earlier. (in the end he was only 4 minutes ahead of me and I was only passed by one other marathoner)
This is where I was doing a lot more walking, but a few blocks from the finish there were more people making a lot of noise. Everyone was yelling "just around the corner" for about 3 blocks. I took out my earbuds so I could hear the crowd and was kinda in a daze looking at the people. Jody was right at the finish line (she did the 10k) and another friend happened to be right next to her. They called my name and town as I crossed. I stopped my watch at 2:41:03 and wandered in to the finish area. I found some liquids and food , got my medal and commemorative gloves (this is MN). I had to sit on the curb three different times ( I was feeling a little dizzy), but we hung out for a while and watched some friends finish the marathon.
It’s been a week now, and I’m fully recovered (I ran Thursday night) and am ready to find another half (or two) for next year. Thanks Sparkfriends for waiting for this blog.