Thursday, June 27, 2013

2013 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon!

First and foremost, I want to thank all of my supporters. You may have run with me, encouraged me from afar or donated to my fundraising cause for this year (see sidebar on right!). As you know, this year I raised money for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, the organization that paired our family with a professional photographer when we were in the NICU of New York Presbyterian Hospital. The photos Rachel Elkind took of our family will be everlasting gifts that we'll have to remember our precious son Ellis in the 15 short days of his life. Your donations will give some other families that gift and you should be applauded more loudly than anyone who ran the 1/2 this year.

The donation site is up for a few more days if you didn't get a chance to support.

So race day started early for me. 4am wake up call, after an almost sleepless night. The pre-race jitters, combined with procrastination on preparation (read playlist), over hydration and a fussy baby all contributed to the woeful amount of sleep. My uncle's sister Jill (she ran last year too) picked me up and we were on our way to the bus, a 45 minute drive. From there, the bus took us to the start. The weather this year was a bummer. It was 50 degrees and misty. In fact, it was so foggy, we could barely see anything as we drove to Duluth. At the start, we had about 45 minutes to wait and it finally set in that I was preparing to run my third half marathon. My expectations for this race were high, but pragmatically  I was prepared to not do my best. My training was incomplete, my pre-race was not great and the weather was not my ideal. Nevertheless, when the gun went off, I was on my way.

No turning back.

Due to the weather, there were far fewer spectators this year cheering us on. Another bummer, I thought as I crossed the start about 30 seconds after the gun. This year I had a watch so I'd be watching my splits. Mile one came about 7:20. Good pace I thought, not sure if I could keep it up. Mile two, and the pace was consistent. At the 5K mark, my first "official" split came in at 22:36. Mile four, no change. I resolved to chill out on looking at my pace and concentrate on just relaxing and running. The fog had taken away the gorgeous views of Lake Superior, the light rain/mist had taken away the spectators, so it was just me and the road.

I kept focused on my reason and inspiration for running-the boys and Kate. Thinking of hands, I had practiced signing everyone's names and during the race I kept making everyone's names. E-L-L-I-S (with the LLI being the "I love you" sign, Kate's idea), A-R-L-O, K-A-R-E (after a while I realized my mistake and changed the R to T). Oops! Whenever I saw a photographer, I place the I Love You Sign on my heart for Ellis. You can see my photos here (btw, crazy expensive for digital photos).

My 10K split came in at 45:04 and I knew I was doing well. I felt great and was passing tons of people. Except the Purple Pirate. I couldn't catch him. This guy was barreling along ahead of me, with a wild form, and I couldn't believe he was in front of me. And he was wearing a purple shirt, fringed along the bottom and sleeves. I followed him for miles! Around the eight or nine mile marker, I figured out what his deal was. People were singing "Macho Macho Man" and yelling "Go Macho Man!" as he passed. It dawned on me. Randy "Macho Man" Savage. Eventually, he started to fade and I passed him. I realized that I wasn't fading. In fact, my pace was consistent the whole time and at 10 miles (1:13:11) I started to wonder if a PR was in my future. Knowing that Kate and Arlo were waiting in the next few blocks was a big motivator for the next mile.

I saw Kate right away and crossed the street to say hi to her and Arlo. Even though the weather was gross, she drove down to support me. I owe her the biggest thanks of all. She's been so supportive of my running, through everything. She's my number one inspiration. Thanks love!

Then, to my surprise, Jill's husband Andy popped out! They didn't even know that one another was in the same place waiting. From the meet-up point, there was just a bit more to go. The last official split is 11.9 miles. I crossed at 1:27:09. I did the quick math and realized that I had to finish in just over 11 minutes to beat my last year's time. An eleven minute mile? My pace had been about 7:20 for the entire race. I began to see Running Goal Number 2 come into focus. The last stretch was a strong finish. Seeing Kate and Arlo had energized me and I pushed on to the end. A quick sprint for the last bit and I was crossing the line at 1:35:47. Two minutes, fifty-one seconds faster than last year. 

For fun, here's a video of my finish...

And my playlist...

Get Lucky- Daft Punk
Girl- Beck
Sexy Mexican Maid- Red Hot Chili Peppers
Short Skirt, Long Jacket (Live)- Cake
Daytona 500- Ghostface Killah
Let's All Go To The Bar- Deer Tick
Me So Horny- 2 Live Crew
King of New York- Fun Lovin' Criminals
Stuck In The Middle- Steeler's Wheel
Baby I Got Your Money- ODB
American Woman- The Guess Who
Who Shot Ya- The Notorious B.I.G.
Standing O- Wilco
Jailbreak- Thin Lizzy
Straight Outta Compton- NWA
Moving Out (Anthony's Song) 12-12-12 Benefit, Billy Joel
Mr Big Stuff- The Ska Vengers
Werewolves of Londong- Warren Zevon
Tudo Bem- Garotas Suecas
Michael Jackson- Das Racist
Go! Go! Go!- We Need Surgery
Fix Up, Look Sharp- Dizzee Rascal
Cannonball- The Breeders
Lump- Presidents of the United States of America
Let Me Ride- Dr. Dre
Unbelievers- Vampire Weekend

and the last song before I turned off my iPod was, no lie, Dog Days Are Over- Florence and the Machine 


Distance - 13.1 Miles
Time - 1:35:47
Mood - Elated

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