May was the month of the half marathon for me. Two of my friends wanted to run the distance for the first time this year, so I decided to play the part of trainer and attempt to get both to the finish line safely.
First up was my high school friend Bonnie and her husband Eric, who now live in Houston and made the trip back to Minnesota for the Inaugural Stillwater Half Marathon. Colleen and I had a great pre-race pasta dinner with them at Ristorante Luci in St. Paul, followed by a post-race celebration at the Champps north of downtown St. Paul. Several people from high school showed up at the latter event, which was great. So fun to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in years.
As for the race, the weather was perfect and the course was hillier than I expected. It started near downtown and ran south on 95 for about 5 miles. The end of that stretch had a big hill, which was followed by another big hill as we crossed over highway 36. It’s always hard to know what to expect when you’ve never run a course before, but I thought this one was pretty good overall. We finished together in 2:25 at a nice little park that had a great view of downtown Stillwater. Congrats to Bonnie and Eric and thanks for everything!
The following weekend marked the end of a compressed five week training plan I crafted for my friend and neighbor, Gina. Her race was Burnsville’s Heart of the City Half Marathon, which runs along the Minnesota River Valley. Gina just started running last year and had only one race in the books – the Grand Old Day 8K. Her very aggressive goal was to jump right to the 13.1 mile distance and run a 2:15, followed by the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon in 4:30.
Race day also brought great weather, although the sun made it feel a little warm towards the end. We started off pretty fast, running the first six or seven miles all under a ten minute pace. By mile ten, Gina said she couldn’t finish in 2:25, but I still had her on pace for a 2:14. She declined an offer to walk with half a mile left and crossed the finish line in 2:10:37. So proud of her – I think she’s a natural…
So everyone is safe and sound and training continues. I’m signed up for Grandma’s later this month, then Twin Cities in October with Gina (if I can keep up with her). May was a new mileage high for me (134.3 miles) and I’ve never felt better or more fit in my entire life. I’m even getting close to Things To Do Before I Die #2 – Hit the scales at my high school weight. Amazing.
Originally published by DK on June 4, 2009 at 10:40 pm