On Saturday the hubby and I loaded up the Limo that for some reason people keep calling a “mini van” and drove down to the little big town of Mankato, MN. We checked into the Holiday Inn Express around 2:30 with no issues and marveled at the big room that my priority elite points bought us. After a short bit of opening and closing the fridge and jumping on the beds, we hopped back in the Limo and drove to Scheels to buy some Sports Beans for the big race.
When you walk into Scheels a bunch of bells ring and a big light shines down from heaven. Angels start singing and trumpets sound. OK, not really, but it is like a heaven on earth. It’s that cool. Once you go in, you will walk out with less money. A lot less. It’s not your fault, heaven does that. You feel all warm and fuzzy and can’t think straight.
I walked out of Scheels with a new running outfit. I couldn’t help it. The angels whispered to me while I was trying it on. Even my husband fell too the big light and walked out with a bag of stuff. I did get the Sports Beans also so at least there’s that.
After leaving Scheel’s we went to the Expo for packet pickup. The expo was located in the Myer’s Field House. It was smaller than I expected but still a nice expo and had the stuff you would expect at a pre-race expo. Something really exciting happened at the expo also…
I GOT TO MEET KATHRINE SWITZER. No, for real…I got to talk to her. And she signed my bib. She even took the time to write a personal message on the back of my bib to my daughter. Seriously, how cool is that?
After expo’ing we went for dinner. This required some thought. “What do I want to eat tonight?” Then I realized that I spent a lot of money at Scheels so it turned into “What can I afford to eat tonight?” AHA! Applebees has that 2 for $20 thing on their menu. Applebees it is. Awesome enough, it was right across the street from our hotel.
I stared at the menu for quite awhile. I knew that whatever I got on that 2 for 20 deal was going to be a bad idea. I have kind of a sensitive tummy (read all my previous poop posts). Well, I’m all about if you’re gonna do something enjoy it– I went ahead and ordered the honey-pepper-chicken-fried-potato-fried-shrimp-greenbeen meal that I don’t know what it’s called but OMG WAS IT GOOD. We got the chicken wings as an appetizer and then enjoyed our delish grub.
Back at the hotel, I hopped in the hot tub and enjoyed the ‘night before a race jitters.’ In the room, I packed my warm-ups into the bag check bag, made a ‘create a pocket’ in my pants, laid out my new running outfit, set up my breakfast, put my socks next to my shoes next to my body glide, hooked up my chip and set out the bib/pins nearby. Good enough.
Wait- I bet you’re wondering what this create-a-pocket is right? I bought that really awesome running outfit at Scheels but alas it had no pockets so whats a girl to do? I don’t like those running belt things and I don’t have a wrist thing…how do I carry my sports beans? Thank you Joanne Fabrics for your create a pocket which I pinned into the back of my pants to hold my sports beans. Not attractive, but quite functional…and removable.
Next was sleep. Which I didn’t get any of because hotel rooms and I don’t get a long. I got up at 11:50pm thinking it was time to go. Then every half hour thereafter I woke and checked my watch until finally it was time to get up and get moving at 5am. OK, that was a bit early but at least I take my slew of medication, shower, have some breakfast and hopefully poop.
I ate a bagel with peanut butter and banana, got dressed and walked around. I got frantic. I didn’t have to poop. What was going on here? The clock ticked towards having to leave. I became more frantic, I tugged on my husbands arm. “I haven’t pooped yet”
It was time to go to run the Mankato Half Marathon.
The start area was busy! I waited in the Limo until I absolutely had to go check my bag at bag check. Why? Because it was C-O-L-D and windy. I’m talking a crisp 30 odd degrees.It was also ?sleeting? ?drizzling? off and on. The Limo was so nice and warm and I didn’t want to get out of the cocoon of the vehicle. Soon enough though it was time. The bag was checked and I had to pee. I waited for a bit in the porta potty line and then made my way next to the 2:00 pacer- “Jake”
Luckily my procrastination paid off as I didn’t have to stand there shivering very long and it was time to go. RUN! STOP! RUN! That’s how it goes when you’re a bit away from the actual start line.
The race got underway and the crowd…including me…headed down Monk Ave amidst cheers.
It was crowded. Very crowded. I have mainly positive things to say about this race, but the one knock I’ll give it is the narrow paths that a very large crowd of runners are smashed onto. Yikes.
Mile 1. Brrrrrrrrrrrr. I was cold. I was also nervous. According to the training runs I’d been doing, I shouldn’t be with the 2 hour pacer. I should be running a 2:08 race. That made me angry. I put myself by the 2 hour pacer anyways and really wanted to be up by the 1:55 pacer. I knew I could fail and get a 2:08. I knew that if I didn’t at least try, I would be disappointed in myself. The pace felt comfortable in the first mile.
Ms Garmin says: 8:56
Mile 2. I was warmer now and we had popped out into some cornfields a bit ago. It seemed random. City—BAM! Corn! It was windier in the cornfields. The half was still right next to the marathon so it was very crowded.
Ms. Garmin says: 9:01
Mile 3. At about 2.5 miles in the Marathoners turned left and we halfers turned right. On the right hand turned someone tripped me with their very long stride and some guy elbowed me in the ribs with his flailing arms. This made me say curse words. Then I found my zen and happy place and blew kisses at the corn to make myself smile again.
Ms. Garmin says 9:00
Mile 4. Met the coolest people ever, wearing “No one fights alone” shirts. Leader of the pack’s husband beat cancer last Nov. Stomach removed– they were running for him –one from NC, one from TX, leader from MN and get this– HUBBY WITH NO STOMACH was RUNNING THE HALF! Yep! I could not whine in this race…there was a man running with no stomach. How awesome is that? I left the pace team at some point in this mile (as the downhill started)
Ms. Garmin says: 8:51
Mile 5: I left the pace team sometime in Mile 4 as a steady downhill started and downhills are my strong point. I knew that they would catch me again later so I had to take advantage of what I’ve got “Know thine-self” I ran. The downhill felt awesome.
Ms. Garmin says: 8:46
Mile 6: This was bumpy but I wasn’t tired so just ran. It’s probably the only major uphill on the course though the later uphills felt much worse to me. I did attempt to eat my sports beans here but got frustrated because my stomach was rocky so gave them to a girl who I was chatting with who said she was fading out. I didn’t actually need any fuel, I was just practicing using it so whatever. I cruised up the ‘Mt. Kato’ hill without issue.
Ms. Garmin says: 8:49
Mile 7. The Mankato half is pretty. It runs mainly on paved trail and the leaves are changing so the scenery is nice. There are people out cheering and the hills are very mild rollers. I ran next to some guy who was doing his first half in this mile and mile 8. It was nice to hear his story and how excited he was to get to the finish line.
Ms. Garmin says: 8:55
Mile 8. I ran this mile with the ‘new half guy’ so it seemed to go by quickly.
Ms. Garmin says 9:02
Mile 9. In mile 9, ‘new half guy’ needed to walk so I said good bye and good luck. I remember thinking that I was tired too after that and having to beat some stuff out of my head. I slowed a bit and battled out some demons for awhile.
Ms. Garmin says: 9:07
Mile 10. I got excited in mile 10. 5K to done. And even though my training has been slow, long runs, I was still running ‘ok’ — Not a 1:55, but at least it looked like I was going to have a time I could be comfortable with.
Ms. Garmin says 8:55
Mile 11. UH OH. I gotta poop. No really, I gotta poop. This is a problem. This is a real problem. I ran fast. WORSE. I walked for a bit until it was better. I got angry and ran fast again. GOTTA POOP. Ugh. Walk. RUN. Walk. RUN. I want to cry.
Ms. Garmin says: 9:27
Mile 12. I’m so close. Come on ignore it and just run to the finish. OK! GAH I GOTTA POOP SO BAD. Repeat Mile 11. So frustrated. Sarah’s Smile is gone. It’s a poop grimace.
Ms. Garmin says: 9:37
Mile 13. ONE MILE LEFT. JUST RUN YOU BONEHEAD. I did the shuffle run with clenched buttcheeks in an attempt not to disturb my poor intestines. It worked ‘enough’ to get through the mile without ‘incident’ I could HEAR the 2:00 pacer behind me yelling to the pace group. This made me mad. I had been ahead of them for so long and there they were. I needed to keep going.
Ms. Garmin says 9:07
Mile 0.22 This is sad– I actually halted immediately at the FIRST mat. I’ve never done that before. Then I stumble ran to the second mat realizing I had stopped at the wrong mat, clicked my Garmin off and sadly saw there were no porta potties at the finish.
Total time for this ultimately fun race? 1:59:28 (official)
I took a post race pic at the hotel:
I hit the hot tub at the hotel to warm my freezing bones. I tried to take a muscle shot but sadly, my upper pipes hid from the camera. Be afraid because really, they’re there. Really.
All said and done, Mankato half was a great race. I had fun. I got to hear some great stories from other runners, met Kathrine Switzer, and once again got to give you another poop story. Win-Win.
This post has been brought to you by “poo before you run”