13.1 Minneapolis Race Report

by Beth on August 21, 2011

What do you do when you find a race that has a great course that fits perfectly into fall marathon training? If you are me, you run it two years in a row. This morning I ran 13.1 Minneapolis for the second time, and once again I came away thinking that this is a great race. Organizers started with what has got to be one of the best half marathon courses in the Twin Cities. It’s a point to point course, starting at St. Anthony Main and ending at Lake Nokomis. The first four miles are flat, and then it’s downhill through mile five. After climbing back up for a half mile, the course is flat all the way to the finish. Not only is it flat, but the 7 a.m. start time and the beautiful boulevard trees mean that much of the course is shaded. This morning was cool and overcast, so the weather couldn’t have been better, but last year it was hot and humid and I was thankful for the shade. There were plenty of water stops with both water and Powerade, and every mile was marked with a race clock. One of the most notable differences between running a marathon and a half marathon is the number of spectators. Many half marathons have few spectators, but today the public was out full force. I saw lots of family members jumping in to run a few steps with a loved one, and there were lots of signs and cheers of support for the rest of us.

Since I’m marathon training, Mike and I got to the start early so I could run two miles before the start of the race. Here are Mike and I near the start line:

Here I am with my training partner, Beth, who is also training for Marine Corps Marathon, and our friend Mike who has been running with us:

My friend Deb also ran the two extra miles with Beth and I but she was doing some pre-race preparation (porta-potty) during our picture taking session. After an easy two miles, we lined up and were ready to go. My plan was to use the race as a supported training run and not run all out. Last year my average pace was 9:43 and I ran pretty hard. I’ve been running better this year so I was hoping to run close to that pace but with less effort. Having warmed up for two miles, I felt good and ran the first mile a little fast at 9:15. After that I kept better track of my pace and ran the next six miles right on a 9:30 pace. This pace seemed comfortable and the miles went by quickly. The next four miles I let myself run just a little faster, closer to 9:25. Although I had originally planned to keep a steady pace through the end, I couldn’t help but get caught up in the race excitement the last two miles. I was feeling great so mile 12 I ran 9:17 and mile 13 was 8:59. I came in at 2:04:11, an average pace of 9:29 which is a little slower than my Garmin since my Garmin clocked the course at 13.23 miles. Mike had to leave on a business trip right after he finished, so unfortunately he’s not in any of the post race pictures. He ran very well, finishing in 1:40 and is on track for his Ironman training.

Here I am with Beth and Deb, my running pals that are headed to Marine Corps Marathon with me. Beth PR’ed and all three of us ran very well. We are getting pretty excited to go D.C. and run through the capital.

Deb and Beth ran the whole race together. This was their first time running this race and they also loved the course.

I was looking back at the pictures I took last year and it reminded me that when I ran this race last year, I knew that I had an issue with my mammogram and I thought that I would be having a lumpectomy in the coming weeks. Little did I know that more testing was to follow and that I would be diagnosed with breast cancer just a couple weeks after this race. Even though the weeks and months following the diagnosis were hard, a year later I feel just as happy and healthy as I did then. Here is a picture from a year ago…

And here I am from this morning:

Yes, I know you are comparing my boobs and that is okay. The old ones tried to kill me so I have no hard feelings about saying good-bye to them. Other than that, I would say that I look just as happy, which I am. While Mike was with me both today and a year ago, today was even nicer because I also had my running partners and friends there with me. The only that could have made today even better? Chocolate cake. There was no chocolate cake at the finish! There were blueberry muffins, bagels, fruit, and… beer! While I didn’t have any beer, I guess that most people would say that beer is an upgrade from cake. I’ll make sure to put this race on my calendar for next year with a mental note that it would be a good course to try for a PR. I’ve never done the same race three years in a row, but now that I’ve done this race since it’s inception, I need to keep the streak going!


Linda August 21, 2011 at 7:20 pm

WOW great job on the 1/2 marathon. It must be the weekend for the Midwest’s 1/2 marathons – Madison had one also! And this was the 3rd year!

You have gone through a lot over the past year! It is amazing about the change in one year – where you were then as compared to where you are now! ENJOY!

Heather August 21, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I’d choose chocolate cake over beer. :) Nice job on the half! So exciting to look forward to MCM, would love to do that race someday.

Anne August 23, 2011 at 5:20 am

Congrats on a great race! Love the photos…you seem to have really enjoyed yourself and you look amazing! It is hard to even imagine all you have gone through over the last year…you are such an inspiration!

Marcia August 23, 2011 at 8:08 am

Great race! What a difference a year makes huh? You looked great then and you look great now. Honestly I was admiring your chiseled guns…didn’t think to check out the boobs. : )
I did the Chicago 13.1 last year–very well organized but it was cancelled due to heat this year.
I’d vote for chocolate cake over beer anyday!

Black Knight August 23, 2011 at 9:25 am

You are an inspiration, nothing can stop you! Another good half is under your belt and it was useful for your marathon. I included some races to prepare at the best the Florence Marathon too: 2 half and 1 30 km.
Congrats, congrats a lot. Brava.

Jean August 23, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Absolutely awesome, Beth! What more could you ask for? Great friends, and fun race…OK, well, maybe some chocolate cake, too. :) Keep doing what you are doing. You continue to inspire all of us, and I wish you the best in your preparations for Marine Corp!

beth August 25, 2011 at 11:32 am

I would prefer cake :) You look fantastic – I know a lot of fun things will be in store for the next year!!

mnsunshine September 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Beth, thanks for keeping in touch.
You can check out Don’s blog
and see that he is planing to run Marine Corps, too.
Sweet Pea and I are just going along to cheer this time.
Happy training!

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