Monster Dash Half Marathon Race Recap

I made it through my first half marathon! It turned out to be a great way to celebrate my birthday! It feels amazing to have conquered this distance and gives me a boost of confidence as I start the last 3 weeks of training for the Las Vegas Half Marathon.

I woke up at 6 a.m. (though my nerves definitely got the better of me because I didn’t sleep great the night before). I wanted to get to downtown St. Paul fairly early so I could park in the ramp near the finish line. I was in the ramp by 7:10 a.m. and easily found a spot. I hung out in my car for about 20 minutes to stay warm. Then I ventured out so I could have time to walk to the start line which I knew was about a 15 minute walk.

I made it to the start area with plenty of time. It was a chilly morning and the wind made it a little worse. I found a spot to stand on the steps of the Cathedral that blocked some of the wind. Made for a nice view of the sunrise over downtown St. Paul too.

MD half sunrise 1

MD half sunrise 2

A little after 8, I made my way to the 10 min mile starting corral. I did some dynamic stretching while I waited for things to get going (which was also necessary to stay warm!).  A bit after 8:30 the crowd finally started to shift forward and we made our way to the start. I took off and settled in to a comfy pace for a nice long run.

Miles 1-4

The first couple miles were all about getting warmed up — like literally getting blood pumping to my fingers and toes. I sometimes have a habit of going out a bit fast in a race because I’m weaving around people and the adrenaline is pumping. Knowing I had a long way to go, I reminded myself to take my time and try to stick close to my 10:20/mile goal pace. I had my dad’s pre-race advice in my head too. He said you’ve done all the work, now go out and ENJOY it. (Yea, my dad is pretty cool :)) I took those words to heart and let myself enjoy the scenery of running down Summit Ave. There were gorgeous homes, cheering spectators, and beautiful fall colors to admire. I think this helped me not get caught up in the crowd of runners and stick to my pace. By the time I hit mile 3 my body was warm and my legs felt good. Before I knew it, we were rounding the corner to East River Parkway.

Miles 5-9

I was still feeling good when I hit mile 5. I wanted to keep my energy level up, so I took my first GU to fuel this next part of the race. I was excited because I knew that a couple friends were going to be around mile 6 cheering. I spotted them and a bright yellow sign.

MD bday sign

I gave them high fives and a hug. Before I continued on, Hyedi snapped a quick photo to commemorate the halfway point of my first half.

Seriously love this picture  and the smile on my face. Thanks Hyedi!
Seriously love this picture and the smile on my face. Thanks Hyedi!

The rest of this part of the race was pretty uneventful. I felt good and kept my pace.

Miles 10-13.1

I could feel my energy level dropping a bit, but my sister and a couple friends were going to be cheering close to mile 10, so I distracted myself a little by scanning the spectators for them. I spotted them and their cheers gave me another boost of energy to push on. I took another GU to get me through the last few miles. These last few miles were a bit tougher. I could feel my legs getting more and more tired. Then we hit a pretty sizable hill at mile 11 that didn’t help the tired legs. Even through that, I stayed right around my goal pace of 10:20. Before long I saw the 12.5 mile marker up ahead. Right then, the 2:15 (10:18/mile) pacer appeared next to me. I didn’t have a whole lot left in the tank, but I felt like I had the right amount of energy to keep up with him and that would mean I’d meet my goal time. I kept up and soon the finish line was in sight. I got a smile on my face and picked up my pace just a bit to head down the straight away and cross the finish line!

Here’s how my half marathon goals stacked up:

  • A: Cross the finish line in 2 hours and 16 minutes or less (avg. pace ~ 10:20). Check! My official time was 2:14:45!
  • B: Run the whole way. Check! With the exception of slowing down a little at water stops and to say hello to friends, I ran the whole way!
  • C: Finish. Check! See below 😉
Mission accomplished!
Mission accomplished!

There were unfortunately a few logistical issues with the race. Some runners’ times didn’t get recorded properly and there was a lack of food and water at the finish. I was given a little bag of pretzels and a few pieces of candy, but bananas were all gone when I got to the other food tables. (How do you run out of bananas after a half?!) They had little glasses of water at the finish, but a bottle of water or at least a larger plastic cup would’ve been better (oh, and maybe some Gatorade or something). I had heard that Team Ortho commonly has logistical issues like that with races. I’m glad I did it, but it will probably be awhile before I do another Team Ortho race.

But, back to more positive stuff. I felt like I had a great race. It makes me really excited to take on the Las Vegas half marathon in a few weeks!

MD medal


16 thoughts on “Monster Dash Half Marathon Race Recap

  1. Way to go!! I looked for you, but never saw you 😦 This was my 3rd team ortho race and I try to explain to as many people as will listen, that if you treat their races like a fun run, you will have a good time! But they are so focused on getting big numbers for their races, that the quality isn’t controlled.

    • Yea, I think that’s what I’m learning. When I did the Monster Dash 5K last year it was just for fun and it was fine. It was also only the 2nd race I had done, so I didn’t really know what to expect. Was just hoping for a bit more organization for a longer distance race.

      I wish I would’ve seen you too! Hopefully at another race sometime soon. Happy Halloween!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s