Monday, July 5, 2021

Race Report: Summer Rocks Half Marathon

 It's been so long since I've written a race report! I'm actually digging up an old one from my blog to somewhat copy the format. 2019 was the last year of my in-person races. For myself <baby boy #4 was/is well worth it!> and probably for most of the running community as well <thanks, Covid-19>. Needless to say, getting back into the race environment felt A-MAZING! 

This was the inaugural Summer Rocks Half Marathon and the race timing was perfect; especially with the Fargo Marathon being moved to the Fall for 2021. A friend and I had planned to run a half marathon post-baby "time trial" on our own but I had a wedding come up - so that didn't work out. Then along came this race.

Training was a bit all over the place, as is life with young kiddos. My average mileage was 27.5 miles per week - crazy low but for the half marathon, it was going to work. I knew I could at least finish the race and some solid longer workouts mixed in to that low mileage made me think that I could still shoot for a sub-1:30 goal. 

Just a note: Fitting in 20-25 miles per week felt like a major feat with all the kiddos. Most of my struggle was with morning workouts. Baby's unpredictable wake up times, plus night waking, made it tricky to sneak out for workouts before the other kids were up. Stroller workouts aren't an option with the four kiddos and the treadmill was a desperate move - baby just cried when I ran on that. All in all, this is getting easier now! Baby S is 9 months old now and much better at a decent wake-up time :) For a season, fitting in time to even go to the bathroom or shower is ridiculous. Though things get easier! Time. Enjoying where I'm at and just giving it time. That saying "babies don't keep" is so true. The older three are growing up so quick - I am going to miss my chubby baby snuggles!!!

Okay, back to the race thing. We had a local 5k a couple weeks before the race and I had done a solo time trial mile on our track in town. Increasing speed has been the focus this year so far and I plan to keep working at that! 

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On race morning, I woke up at 3:00 am to pump a bottle for S (that he didn't even drink), eat breakfast and scoot out the door. The forecast looked hot for race day so I drank a Nuun along with my breakfast, in an attempt to pre-hydrate some. I have gone into races dehydrated while breastfeeding and I just can't recover - tried to avoid that this time. Then I drank coffee because mama needs coffee.

Baby S nursed at 3:50 and then I loaded up to leave. I picked up Amanda around 4:45 and to Fargo we went! 

We had a great time visiting on the way, talking about all things Jesus and this wife/mama life. I find it helpful to not dwell on the race too much. The race day "jitters" felt a little extra this morning! 

We made it to the race with plenty of time to pick up packets, hit the bathrooms (no lines! amazing), change shoes and stay out of the rain. Yes, it was raining, but they had plenty of indoor space for runners to stay dry and also building overhangs outside. The race felt small, which was just right in my opinion. Perfect size for a first race back. Amanda and I went for a short shake out run and then we headed to the line up.

This race did have pacers available, with the fastest one at 1:40. We lined up just in front of him with another gal and waited there. The rain wasn't terrible and temp wasn't as hot as I had expected! The humidity was definitely a thing but it could have been much worse. 

And we're off! 

There were a few sharp turns to make on slippery ground but no mishaps that I saw at least. We ran a lot of sidewalks and dodged the goose poop. The Canadian Geese seemed content watching and I appreciated that they didn't attack :) I chased Amanda for a while but soon lost her and the runners in the front spread out. 

Free race day pictures! 
I knew I wasn't trained well enough to keep up a 6:30/mile pace so I dropped back and sat around 6:45/mile. Technically that was also aggressive considering my training (or lack of), though I knew I should stay ambitious to make up for crashing in the end of the race. A solid positive split race goal. Not exactly the "right" way to do it though it got the job done.

There was plenty of time to think on the course, with not really any runners around - except for that guy that passed me half way through - and sparse crowds. Mentally I was getting a little restless and struggled to calm down my breathing (and my mind), so I thought about Psalm 23's verses 1-3: The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. Amen and amen. I forgot to write Scripture on my hand, though that particular Psalm was on my heart at the time.

My #1 biggest issue in this race was not wanting to take in calories. Something about my fueling earlier that day or maybe just race day nerves made it hard to consume calories. I grabbed water at the aid stations and 100% should have taken gatorade instead. It's easy to see that in hindsight now! Every race is a learning experience, right? 

I took a gel at around mile 6 but couldn't stomach the whole thing. Not great, though I didn't feel the consequences of that yet. Then for the final aid station, I missed the gatorade with another runner already there and I didn't want to lose time by slowing down. I paid for those crucial fueling mistakes in mile 12 by just feeling terrible. Super duper hungry, tanked for energy and dizzy - so I "marathon shuffled" my way to the finish line because I REALLY didn't want to miss that sub-1:30 goal! 


1:28:38! I made it! 

I appreciated Amanda cheering me on through the last leg of the race - she finished 1st female with a blazing fast 1:25! After crossing the finish, I sat down on the astroturf to regain myself. The lack of calories left me feeling dizzy and nauseous. Post-race they did hand the finishers a water along with their medal and a free post-race beer was available. I figured a beer wasn't the best calories for me to take in at the moment; especially on an empty stomach. Thankfully Amanda saved the day with bars that she had packed for both of us! 


After changing into clean clothes, we had the BEST caramel roll at Lucky's 13 Pub followed by massive breakfast burritos. I wish I could say we devoured the food but our appetites hadn't completely returned yet. That made for great take-home food though :) And we grabbed coffee, too. Overall this "Mom's Morning Out" was a blast! 



Breaking 1:30 has been a big goal of mine and I'm so thankful to have finally done that! My legs didn't feel great or very well-tapered and, in a way, that is encouraging. This 13.1 felt more like a group workout done on tired legs. My hope is that I can keep working at the speed and gradually increasing base mileage to push in the half marathon even more this Fall. As much as I love the full marathon, racing shorter distances this year has been good for me. And hopefully that will translate to more marathon speed in the future!

(official time 1:28:38)




Tuesday, June 15, 2021

A Gentle Feast: Cycle 2 Term 2 + 3 Review

The school year ended along with the month of May and we made a mad dash straight into summer life! 

After a Memorial Day weekend camping trip, our older two boys did enjoy an entire week at Grandma & Grandpa's farm before baseball started. They loved that and I appreciated the time hanging out with our youngest two boys. 

I haven't taken the time yet to reflect on the last two terms of our school year - so now is that time! We followed along with A Gentle Feast's Cycle 2 (White Year): Wars, Whigs & Washington.

We loved the book selections and were introduced to so many new favorites. The 4th of July Story by Alice Dalghesh was one of my personal favorites - a great read for children and adults. 

A lesson I learned is that we need to have all books in-hand, if at all possible. America First and Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans are available free online and I went that direction at first because, well, they're free! But I soon found that attention spans and even keeping our place between lessons was difficult. I was able to find printed versions online (on Amazon, I believe) and wished I had done that from the very beginning. Now we really have learned so much from those stories and aren't as distracted by pulling them up on the computer. 

So note to self: Physical books in our hands are best.
Studying American history really has pumped the boys up and made them proud to be an American! Our preschooler's "copywork" proved to be quite patriotic:
Now for our extra readalouds... we have totally been doing our own thing. And that's okay! My husband and the boys have an affinity for adventure books and I'm just happy to have us all enjoy readalouds together. Over many winter evenings, we read Endurance by Alfred Lansing aloud. It is an amazing story and was enjoyed by ALL ages. Well, I'm not sure the baby cared. Everyone else loved it though! 


Dimensions Math was a great fit for us again this year. E finished up book 2A and will finish 2B either this summer or in his 3rd grade year. W finished the Earlybird Kindergarten books from Singapore Math also. 

E was also required to test in the state of Minnesota this year. We went with the CAT paper version and the testing process was painless :) With this being our first year, I wasn't sure what to expect! Thankfully, my mother-in-law was here to help with other kids during the testing. Testing has been helpful to make sure we are covering the materials we need to and he did great! 

(Disclaimer: This term review is just as scattered as my brain currently is! Thank you for bearing with me!)

Term 2/3 Challenges: 

  • Keeping a very active, busy 3-year-old on task and out of trouble
  • Nursing a baby while doing all things
  • Meal planning. #Goals.
  • Writing up Term reviews in a timely manner - I will be better at this next school year! 

Term 2/3 Victories: 

  • Having two readers that can read to younger siblings
  • Buying the Tuttle Twins book series. We love it! They are so fun to read and helpful! 
  • Activities and the library opening up again after Covid-19
  • Our homeschool co-ops. We are in a monthly Charlotte Mason co-op and then a field-trip based co-op in our town. The kids and I greatly appreciate the fellowship of both of these groups!
  • Our household needed more action so we got a puppy. Talk about a homeschool nature study ;) See random puppy picture below.

In the midst of summer fun and crazy schedules, I did order part of our curriculum for A Gentle Feast's Cycle 3! Julie has done a wonderful job on this curriculum and I'm looking forward to our third year using it... which will also be our last year of all the kids being in Form I, grades 1-3 (!!!). It's pretty nice having everyone in the same form! 

Explore the A Gentle Feast curriculum here and feel free to email me or comment here with any questions! Disclaimer: This post contains my A Gentle Feast affiliate link. If you click it, and make a purchase I will receive a commission.