We peeked out the window and it didn't look too bad. We got dressed and decided to give it a try. I stepped out on the driveway to see what it felt like outside. It had iced over night, and the pavement was so slippery that I couldn't make it back into the garage. My feet kept slipping and Mike had to pull me back in. When we backed the car out, it just slid down the hill sideways and got stuck in the snow. When Mike stepped out of the car to assess the situation, he literally slid standing up all of the way down the driveway to the street, about 100 ft. He put on some cleats, and after digging us out twice we finally made it to the street and were on our way. The major roads were fine and we made it safely in plenty of time.
We saw lots of friendly faces right away. We saw Jenny, Guy and Diane. Then I saw Julie and went over to say hello. It was great to see her and she is just as adorable in person as you would think she is from reading her blog. She was ready for her first half marathon. Here we are:
She said she was looking for Steve, who was now over chatting with Jenny and our other friends. After introducing Julie to the whole group, we took a photo:
This is a great race because you get to park in the parking garage that is connected to the Securian office building. All of the registration and packet pickup is inside, and the start line is 25 feet out the door. I waited inside until they said that we had 30 seconds until the start of the race, I stepped out the door and lined up right behind the 2:15 pace group. It was in the low 30's and sleeting a bit.
Surprisingly, the pack moved pretty well in the back and we were able to hit our pace right from the start. Since we were moving right away, I was toasty warm and didn't mind the sleet. Wearing a baseball cap kept my face dry which made me more comfortable. It stopped sleeting after a couple of miles, and I had enough layers on to keep the moisture out for the rest of the race. The windy conditions had worried me before the race. It turns out that the wind was coming out of the south and we were reasonably protected by bluffs. There were only a few sections that I noticed the wind and it didn't effect me at all. What had looked like a nasty day turned out to be just fine.
The course is a out and back along the river, so around mile 4 I started to see the leaders heading back on the other side of the road. It was great to look for all of the friendly faces and cheer for them. I saw Steve first, then Mike, Guy, then another group of friends that included Helen, Bulent, and Kami. I saw Jenny and Julie running together and they looked awesome! I also saw Steve Quick out there giving moral support. Seeing everyone made the middle miles of the race pass quickly.
I ran pretty consistently, hitting the miles right around 10 minutes. The course had a few inclines and rolling hills, but the only challenging hill was right at the end. After the first few miles, I had left the 2:15 pace group and slowly caught up to the 2:10 pace group. I knew that they were running a little slow because I started after them and I knew I was on pace for 2:11. Sure enough, they picked it up during the last mile and left me behind. I came in at 2:10:55 which is right at a 10 minute pace. I felt great the whole race and felt like I ran the right pace to finish strong.
Honestly, being the slowest in a group stinks most of the time. The one time that it is the absolute best to be last is when all of your friends are waiting for you at the finish line. Thanks to everyone who waited out in the cold for me. I know they were freezing just standing around after running, but they were a welcome sight for me. It is also nice to have a speedy husband who is willing to run and get the camera and take everyone else's finishing picture. Here is Kami, Helen, Bulent and Guy. Guy PR'ed by 5 minutes!
Here are Jenny, Julie and Diane celebrating their speedy race. These ladies are fast! This was Diane's 10th consecutive Frozen Half.
Here I am, finally making it to the finish. Can you see that person behind me? Proof that I didn't come in last.
The Securian Frozen Half Marathon is a lot more fun when you do it in person with everyone else instead of on the treadmill by yourself. When you do the official race, you also get a super cool coffee mug. Since I don't drink coffee, I'll just have to try it out with some hot chocolate.