The Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon

Last Saturday I ran my 4th half marathon. I ran the same race last year with Scott and Kris, and Scott and I finished in 2:03. I am not a very hard core runner. I’ve always considered myself to be someone who runs more than “a runner.” I guess my chill attitude about running, love/hate relationship, and usual slow pace just hasn’t made me feel quite worthy of “runner” status.

Well after running so close to 2 hours last year, I decided to actually set a goal to break under two hours this year. And… I did it!! I ran the race in 1: 54, which is a PR by over 9 minutes! I feel too scattered and tired to tell the whole race training and race day game plan, so I will just share my random thoughts on the race day. Maybe some of my tips might help you PR in your next race :).

  • I found out the night before the race that my dear friend Tonya wouldn’t be able to pace me like I had planned on, and that was a little discouraging. I toyed with the idea of throwing my goal out the window and just finishing the race, but I decided that I had to stick with my goal.
  • When I started the race, I immediately saw two college aged girls running ahead of me, and I decided that I would try to keep them in my sight for as long as possible. One of the girls had bright orange and black striped socks on, so it was easy to spot her. I was able to follow these gals for the first 10k.
  • I ran the first 10k in about 52-53 minutes. When I realized that, I was a little worried as I wondered if I would be able to maintain the pace.
  • My playlist on my ipod saved me. The songs that really helped me out were “Pumped up Kicks’ and “Roar”. I also always have a special connection with Ingrid Michaelson’s “Keep Breathing”. Some of you might remember that that song helped get me through the hardest part of my last labor, so it certainly didn’t hurt at all having that one come up on my playlist.
  • The most exciting part of my race was when at mile 10, a green car drove by… being driven by Tonya!! Tonya made it to the race after all. When she cheered and yelled for me, she asked me how I was doing. I responded that I felt like I was in “Transition”. Oh Tonya, you are a true friend, and it meant so much to me ┬áthat you showed up to support me!
  • The last mile of the race, I was so mentally done. A cute little gal in a sports bra passed me (no it was not hot enough for a sports bra). When I saw her, the first thought that crossed my mind was, “You may be a cute little sports bra lady with tight abs, but you are not leaving me in the dust.” And she didn’t. I kept her in my sight the whole rest of the race. So thank you sports bra lady for keeping this muffin top mama motived :).
  • During parts of the race when I felt discouraged, I thought of being an example to my kids, and especially Sofia as she is going through a hard time right now. I kept thinking that I wanted my kids to know that their mama can do hard things, and so can they. Nothing in my life motivates me more than my love for my family does.
  • The pumpkin race really is the most well organized race I have run. And all of the money goes towards the ABC House in Albany, which is a great cause.
  • After running half marathons, I truly am certain that I will never have the desire to run a whole marathon. The thought of doubling what I did on Saturday just sound horrible. I am wondering now how fast I could run a 10k if I tried really hard.

So that is the story of how I ran my fastest time to date. What are your goals right now? Exercise or non-exercise relate??

adrienne w - October 23, 2013 - 10:28 pm

My very wimpy goal is to build up to running 5 km. Just bought a jogging stroller and I’m going to go after dropping the older kids off at school. You definitely earn the title of “RUNNER!” And you made me laugh with your sports bra girl story! Yay for muffin top mamas!! (Though from what I can tell, you are looking fabulous!!)

Rose C. - October 24, 2013 - 8:46 am

Great accomplishment and race recap story Kara! Too bad we didn’t get to go to Runaway Pumpkins Race this year. My husband really love this race (it was his first-ever half marathon event) and was planned on running it again this year, but some other commmitments kept him from it. Watching him train to run half marathon and going to different races with him through out the year really motivated me to get healthier. I’m not much of a runner, but had managed to join him in some races with 5k walking event. Pushing stroller with two toddlers in tow was quite challenging and I felt some sense of accomplishment just being able to cross the finish line. Hoping that some day I can run 5k without towing the kiddos. Hubby had been encouraging me to start on the C25K; so may be that should be my goal :p

Carrie - October 24, 2013 - 10:50 am

Wow! Awesome job, Kara! I’m totally impressed. I’ve always had a goal to get my half marathon time under 2hrs., and the closest I came was 2hrs. flat. Arg! I think I was able to get close in that race because it was flat, the weather was nice, and I was healthy. One half marathon I ran with bronchitis…one I ran in a downpour the entire way…and one was pretty hilly. It always feel so good just to finish, though! I have to say that when I got back into running in my 20s, the first major race I ran was a marathon. I’m glad that I did that first, because if I’d done halfs first, I wouldn’t have made it to a full! One full was enough for me – check that off the list – and now I mostly stick to halfs, trail runs, and 10Ks.

And now…a question: Did you run while pregnant? I’m pregnant with my first baby (a girl!) and due on March 28. I’ve been running throughout my pregnancy so far (3-4 miles at a time a few times a week). I’m hoping that I can keep it up as the months move on, but since this is my first time going through all of this, I have no idea how my body is going to change and react. If you did run while pregnant, do you have any tips? So far, I’ve felt great and actually haven’t even had to slow my pace (yet!), but I’m sure that’s going to change! Thanks!

kara - October 24, 2013 - 6:35 pm

Adrienne,
A 5k is not a wimpy start at all. You have to start somewhere, and although I am down to an okay weight I think that muffin top will be with me forever. Having kids didn’t do a lot to help my middle at all :)
Rose,
Running without a stroller is heavenly. Nice that you are doing this, because when you don’t, you will enjoy how much easier it feels. There was a dude who ran the half with a kid in toddler. I heard the kid cry for about 3 miles. I think that a half marathon is a bit long for a kid in a stroller!
Carrie,
Yeah!!! Congratulations to you!! So.. my thoughts on running while pregnant. If you feel great doing 3-4 miles, do it as long as you want. I wouldn’t push it more than that. I honestly did not run a ton while pregnant. Mostly because I started each pregnancy out of shape, and I figured that pregnancy was not the time to try to go from bad shape into good shape. It is a different story if you started out in pretty good shape. I just walked a lot during pregnancy. Keep on running, and just listen to your body if it isn’t liking it anymore!!

sharon - October 27, 2013 - 8:47 pm

Love the comment about the sports bra lady. You’re great at keeping things real. Yahoooo for your personal best! Hmmmm – my exercise goals. Well, as a 56 year old nonrunner I just attended a seminar for healthy aging for the ‘mature’. It was great and the number 1 thing they emphasized was daily exercise 30-45 minutes, and at least twice a week weight resistance exercises. So my sister and I just started doing this last week and we have been keeping the daily exercise goal with walking some beautiful areas in Klamath. It’s been quite fun but now that we’re into the cold wet weather we’ll see how well we stick to our goal. I am an absolute wimp about exercising in the cold and in the rain/snow.