Race recap: Gazelle Girl Half Marathon 

The Gazelle Girl Half Marathon in Grand Rapids, Michigan was this past Sunday, and it was a fantastic morning!

Saturday was packet pick-up at the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids. My husband drove me down there so I could get comfortable with finding the parking lot I’d be parking in before the race.We didn’t spend much time at the expo, but I did get to finally meet fellow Michigander Jessica there. It’s so fun getting to meet other Instagram friends in person!

And I got to meet up with Kaitlyn, who I planned to start the race with in the 9:30 corral. We ran into eachnother (not literally haha!) on the Grand Rapids Marathon course last year. So, it was fun to see each other again for a different race.

As always, I gathered all my race-day items and set them out to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything. My hydration pack had some pitted dates in a sandwich bag that I used as my running fuel, and my mylar blanket for pre-race warmth.

The weather was pretty darn perfect for the race. A little chilly at the start, but not terrible.

There was almost no wind, so that’s what kept me from freezing my behind off! I love it when it’s a calm day for a race.

The race started at 8am, and the local running club had a group photo at 7:40 by the Calder plaza sculpture. I miss running with them, but hope to do more group runs after Nashville since I won’t be so focused on a set training schedule. And my husbands work schedule should lighten a bit soon so that means possibly some weekend group runs! 🙂

I found Kaitlyn in the 9:30 pace corral just minutes before the race started. It’s like finding a needle in a hay stack with so many runners! haha I knew she would be a bit faster than me, but I figured we could start together. I think I lost her between mile 2-3 (she ended up finishing 2 minutes before me — Go Kaitlyn!!). It probably wasn’t the smartest choice starting with that group, or rather wasn’t smart speeding past them (the first two miles were in the upper 8’s for pace…oops!). I started with them but ended up being ahead of them for the first 9 or so miles before they caught up to me.

When the 9:30 pace group caught me, I told myself I could’t let them get away from me. So I fought until the end to stick with them. I literally cried at one point during those last 3 miles because I wasn’t sure if I could do it.img_8204Around mile 10-ish there was a crowd of people cheering and playing Kelly Clarkson’s song “Stronger” (…what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger) and that’s when I lost my cool. Complete breakdown…cried while running for a bit haha! 😂 The race got ‘real’ at this point so I am actually not surprised at all that I cried here.

The last mile I could feel myself fading a bit. The three pacers ended up finishing 14 or 15 seconds ahead of me (their avg. pace ended up being a 9:27), so I’d consider that a win!

At the finish line I took a few steps and fell down crying because of how overwhelmed I felt getting that big PR and knowing I had given it my all!My official time was 2:04:06 with an avg. pace of 9:28 (different from watch since I actually covered 13.25 miles since it’s pretty impossible to run the course tangents.) Funny enough, I’m pretty sure this is the first time my watch time and the official time were the exact same because I actually remembered to turn it off at the finish haha!After I got up off the ground, I made my way to the food tent and grabbed one of the Gluten Free Bars (made in MICHIGAN!) and started the mile walk back to my car. I don’t know how far into my walk I got when I realized I never got a medal! haha So of course I turned around and found the tent and got one and ran/walked back to my car.

I had to quickly shower and get ready to go after I got home because we had a 2 hour drive north to make it to a performing arts thing that my Grandpa was being honored at. I unfortunately started feeling sick that afternoon and ended up with a migraine headache for the rest of the day. It was awful! I hadn’t had one that bad before. I had one after my first half marathon but this was pretty unexpected since I thought I had my nutrition and hydration in check. Who knows why it happened…over exertion? Not sure. But I felt better by the next morning :). All I know is Nashville half will be a slow and steady climb to the finish because I want to feel good the rest of the day.

The official race photos were of course all doozies 😜.

Has anyone else gotten sick after a race? What do you think caused you to feel that way?

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