Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Race Recap: Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon (and, why I'm grateful for good running buddies) #dishthefit

This past weekend, I ran the Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon in Baroda, Michigan. If you follow me Twitter or Instagram, then you've seen me indicate that it wasn't my best half marathon. It was my sixth half marathon, but still...not my best. And yet, it was still pretty awesome because nothing beats running through the vineyards of Southwest Michigan.

run Michigan, Pure Michigan, Southwest Michigan, race medal
I have always wanted to run this race. For one, it's close to home. And...wine. But I couldn't run it the first year because it fell too close to other half marathons that I was signed up for. And I couldn't run it the second year because it was the Summer that Evan was born. But this year, it was all systems go.

I used a combination of the two Train Like a Mother half marathon plans to prep, and despite two weeks of crazy because of BlogFest and IDEA, I felt ready. Sort of. I guess not really.

I was super nervous about the hills.
Like, super really nervous.
Here's the course elevation:

pure michigan, run michigan, michigan wine trail, half marathon, running, run chat, race course
I am not a hill girl, so I upped the hill training a bit toward the end. And then we got an email about the race being under caution because of the projected heat and humidity, which didn't help my nerves at all. Heat + hills = death by half marathon.

But, I decided not to give up on myself or my training.
My left knee, on the other hand, had a mind of it's own.
Problem: IT band issues.

So I rolled the heck out of it all week.

Race day came, it felt good, and I decided to not let the hills (or heat) get me down.

Hal Higdon, running quote, inspiration, fitness, half marathon, run chat

Additionally, I found out one of my running friends would be there so I reached out to him. This girl needed a race day buddy, and he was willing to accommodate.

Sunset Coast Striders, running group, Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon, Southwest Michigan, Pure Michigan, Run Michigan, 13.Wine
Dan runs the Saturday morning group I meet up with, and he was a great friend to run with. He knew about my nerves and my knee issues before we even hit the starting line, and kept me going for most of the race with distracting conversation and words of wisdom. And excellent pace work...we were on target for a strong finish despite the hills.

And then I hit mile 9, which is when my right knee decided to act like my left knee (which, by the way, was feeling great). IT band issues. Insert f-bombs here, for real.

I thought I could tough it out, but knew that would be stupid, so I sent Dan flying through the last there miles of the race and literally almost lost it in a pool of tears.

I even sent a text message to a trainer on my staff that also happens to be a running coach.

After his first quote came through, I put on my big-girl panties and came up with a plan: I'd walk until the 10:30 mark, then run...until I hit a downhill. I knew my knee wouldn't like the pounding of a downhill, so I gave myself that wiggle room.

And it worked.
I finished.

I've never loved a finish line so much in my life. I didn't even care that I finished with one of my slower times to date...because I finished. I ran the Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon and I finished that thing despite the hills and heat (which didn't really bother me) and my knee (which really bothered me).

run Michigan, Pure Michigan, Southwest Michigan, 13.Wine, runner, run chat, Tara Sabo
So grateful for good running buddies.
You need to get yourself some good running buddies if you don't have them already.

Of course, then this happened:

Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon and 5K, run Michigan, Pure Michigan, Southwest Michigan, Garmin Forerunner 15

Seriously, when I run a half marathon, I could eat the world all day afterwards. What is UP with that? Twizzlers at the end of a race? Straight to my heart!

Here are the goodies I went home with:

run Michigan, pure Michigan, Southwest Michigan, Wine Glass, race bib, race bling, 13.wine
And here are five reasons why I loved the Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon:
1) The wine trail in Southwest Michigan is beautiful, and you get to see a lot of it on the course.
2) There was a pregnant woman running ahead of me, and she totally rocked it.
3) The race director added two extra aid stations to help combat the hot conditions.
4) There is definitely wine (and beer) at the finish line.
5) The race was local, so I got to run with a friend.

And, of course, here are a few things I disliked about the race:
1) It started on a grassy field, which meant I also came home with some mosquito bites.
2) For such a steep fee, there was very little at the post-race party besides wine.
3) They wouldn't let myTEAM TRIUMPH participate.

These minor issues (and some knee pain) aside, it was a great morning.
So grateful for my running buddy. Thanks again, Dan.

To learn more about running in the beautiful state of Michigan, you should follow Michigan Runner Girl. She knows all about it. And if you're local and want to meet my running group, check out the Sunset Coast Striders (you'll love them). 

Finally, it's #dishthefit day. To see what my blogger friends are grateful for, head on over to Jill's blog and check out the posts.

Question: What are you grateful for today? 

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