One of my recent posts about my “Bucket List Races” actually included the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon in one of the drafts I had. Then 4 days before the race, I decided to register for it so I updated my list ;). Really happy I got a chance to finally run this one. The course was more entertaining than River Bank Run since you got to run over a bunch of bridges of all different sizes (I think it has a lot of similarities to the GR Bridge Run). One of the main reasons I had never done Gazelle Girl before is because the weather for the race is always AWFUL. So, everything kind of fell into place here for me this year. GORGEOUS weather and I was already scheduled to run the distance that weekend….might as well get some bling for it, right?! 😉 Sorry in advance, this post is kind of all over the place with thoughts haha!
Saturday, I joined a fellow Team Nuun teammate for packet pick-up. We didn’t really look around in there, but there was a bit of clothing and it looked like some various vendor booths set up too. The shirts were nike brand and wicking fabric. I’m not in love with the color, but they fit better than most race shirts in my collection :). (Sorry it’s sideways!)
I set out all my stuff ahead of time, as I always do. If I don’t, I’m bound to forget something! I had packed “The Gluten Free Bar” in my bag for post-race and was really happy to see they actually had them at the finish line! They are made right here in Grand Rapids, Michigan and love to support local when possible. I buy them at Meijer in the GF section. Definitely check them out if you’re looking for a Non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan protein bar (12 g in the one I grabbed – but they vary 10-12g depending on flavor ) — they ship too! I enjoyed that and an orange and some water after finishing (Nuun once I got back to my car). They also had muffins (not gluten free), bananas, and chocolate milk available.
Getting into the race…thanks to the wonderful world of social media, I was able to find a friend to ride downtown with and a running partner from the local running club I sometimes join (but haven’t in forever! Hopefully I can get out there more often when we finally move). We ran about the first 8 miles together and then I lost her going through a water station. But, it was great sticking together for most of the race!This was us a few minutes before the race started.
There was great crowd support at the starting line, and at a few places on the course. This was just a little past the starting line.
I was right on target to be in the 9’s for pace all the way up to mile 11, and then it all fell apart. I’m so used to running in the 9’s, but I always take a short break to refuel or stretch a few times (and I stop/re-start my watch every time) when I do long runs. So, it’s tough to see an average pace in the 10’s when my watch usually says 9 something’s. That being said, I’m still very proud of what I did! It was a 2 minute PR over my Disney Princess Half race, and 144ft. more elevation gain! That shows just how flat Disney was lol.Here’s one of the two of us during the race.
I’ve basically come to the conclusion that I’m always going to have some aches and pains during and after a long race. I had side stitches pretty early on in the race, but they subsided after a mile or two. I felt ok for most of the race, besides the obvious fatigue. I did have knee pain start around the mid-way point and didn’t go away, but my knees felt ok in the days after the race. My hip flexors hurt after the race for 2 days, and my left calf has been cramping/tight feeling since the race. It’s currently taped up in kinesiology tape for good measure ;). Worth all the pain though! I wore compression socks for a solid 2 days, been foam rolling, stretching, icing, and now have the tape on. So hopefully I recover soon and feel good for Nashville.
This was my “yeaaaaaah just over a mile to go!” face 🙂 As you can see, the crowds really thinned out as I neared the finish. I had eaten most of the dates I was using as my ‘fuel’ by this point, and ended up throwing the last 2 I had left in the bag away a bit before this photo. Still hard to tell if they did anything for me, but for now I’m going to keep using them for my distance runs.
There were water stations about once every two miles throughout the race, so I opted to just use those instead of wearing belt or hydration pack and then refuel with Nuun post-race. It was so crowded the first several miles that I almost missed getting water a few times. I’m really thinking about wearing the hydration pack for River Bank so I can get Nuun along the course and so I don’t have to worry about darting off to the sides for water table stops. It’ll be good practice wearing it for that long since I’ll probably be wearing it for the fall marathon too.
I looked for one of the finisher banner things to get a picture by and somehow missed it. So bummed about that!I’m awful about running the tangents. I’m always quite a bit over the 13.1 distance, so my official pace is always slower (booo!). I also forgot to stop my watch for a few seconds (which is pretty much the norm for me lol!). Official time: 2:14:01 (10:14 pace).
I think I’d do this one again. I hate registering so late and paying so much more for it, but I think if I ever did it again I’d late register to make sure the weather was going to be good. I remember one year it was snowing/hailing lol. Being guaranteed good weather is worth the extra cash I think.
The race photos are not free, but they did post some proofs.
Crossing the finish line is the best feeling ever! It makes the ‘I think I’m dying’ feeling during a race so worth it…and keeps me coming back for more. 😉
What is your favorite half marathon? I think I have the best memories of my first half (Country Music Half Marathon — now called Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville). I’ve never been so happy on a course, which I still can’t believe because it was no cake walk! My least favorite was the Laker Loop Half, where I got lost a few times on the course haha (for real).