Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CheapRunnerMike's Run for Retina 2014 Recap

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

We had a great to race on Sunday for the Run for Retina Half Marathon with sunshine and temperatures up around 17°C (low 60's), but here's what we woke up to this morning…

photo 2

Seriously, when is this going to end?  Hopefully this was the last we'll see of the white stuff for a long time.

The race itself went well…like I said the weather cooperated and it was a great day to run.  There was rain in the forecast but other than a few drops on the windshield driving there we were fine.  The race was downtown along the river paths, which had been flooded out earlier in the week.  Despite more rain leading up to the run, the paths were clear and dry.  A couple muddy spots and maybe a puddle or two, but just fine all things considered.


There was a Half Marathon, 10K and 5K and us Half Marathoners were first off at 9:15…a nice late start, no early morning alarm required.  It wasn't a huge field with just over 100 people running the Half.  I happened to be lined up near the front but I really didn't feel like I would have my best race.  I'm still on the low end of where I want my mileage to be and training has been almost non-existent. 

The gun went off and I started out towards the first turnaround about 2K out.  I was going way too fast at first and was really trying to force myself to slow down.  I was in 4th place by the time I hit the turnaround and knew my pace was still too quick.  I can still put up good quick times and run fast if I want to, but my endurance just isn't where it needs to be to sustain the quick pace for longer distances.

I managed to hold my pace pretty steady for the first 15K (almost 10 miles) and had slipped to 9th place…it was at 15K though that I just felt so TIRED.  My legs got super heavy and just didn't want to push on anymore.  On top of that the temperatures had warmed up quite a bit and even though it was only in the 60's it felt so much hotter after the weather we've been getting since November.  May as well have been 100° as far as I was concerned.  I kept going as fast as I could but I was spent.  I had taken a Gu gel a bit earlier but could barely stomach it…I think it's time for me to change my fuel as Gu's just don't work for me anymore.  They just stick to the back of my throat and make me cough the rest of the race.

As we were hitting the home stretch another guy passed me putting me back in tenth place…I decided I would give it all I had to get back in front of him and take 9th place.  I kicked in with what I had left and made a push for a strong finish.  I saw Michelle and Kennedy right near the finish line and they thought I looked fast at least…I passed the guy and finished in 9th with a time of 1:35:56, about 5 minutes off of where I was last year.  Oh well, I survived what was, for me, a very tough run.  At that 15K mark I felt the same way I normally feel the last 5K of a marathon…which is not good.  I know I need to build up some more endurance again and this race was a good reminder for that!


I have another Half coming up in two weeks, the Forest City Road Race.  I set my PR in that race last year and would love to have another good run there, but I think my main goal will be to just feel good throughout the entire race.  I'll try to get in a couple of good training runs between now and then and see if I can improve on this run.

Any more snow hit where you are?

Any Gu alternatives to suggest?


  1. Well considering the time off for your foot and the weather, I think you ran an awesome time!!!
    We had a little snow yesterday and it has been cold again - under freezing but hopefully that will change again soon.
    I'm no help on the GU stuff - I don't use anything.

  2. Amy @ fitnessmeetsfrosting.comApril 15, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Wow congrats!!! Even though you struggled you ran an awesome race!!! I use Honey Stinger organic gels- basically like GU but I think they taste a tiny bit better (more like honey). But you might have the same issue with those since they are still a gel. Clif Shot Bloks are delicious and taste like candy, but I haven't tried them on a run yet because I'm fairly certain I'm not coordinated enough to run and chew.

  3. Congrats!

    No snow here, but it was 38 degrees this morning!! High of 60 something today though thankfully so it's gonna warm up!!

  4. nice job mike! and oh, we know snow ...

    1:35:xx is nothing to sneeze at - no matter how cold. :) and as for Gu alternatives? i'll probably still lug along a variety of gels for the mississauga marathon, but i'm trying to use natural honey (from a local beekeeping friend) - i've read that back in the day it was a couple of spoonfuls of honey before the race and off you go!

  5. Thanks Kim! I know I have to adjust my goals and be happy with the results I get. I'm just happy I didn't have to race a half in the snow!

  6. Appreciate the input, thanks Amy...I actually have a Honey Stinger gel in my cupboard I'll have to try it. I like their waffles :) I've tried the PowerBar gels and they were better, more of a liquidy consistency...but both times I've used them for long runs they've forced me to make unscheduled stops if you get my drift!

  7. Brrr, 30's in Texas just ain't right! Glad it's warming up though...

  8. Oh, I know you know snow!

    The honey is an interesting idea, might be worth a try too. Any excuse to eat honey :)

  9. Sugar Coated SheridanApril 15, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    Great job! I have only run one half (and am trying to find one to train for this fall) but they are so hard and I think just as much mental as they are physical!

    And snow...no no no...

  10. Hard to find training time with two little ones I'll bet! Any race can turn mental once you let negative thoughts creep in...that's the hardest part of a race at times

  11. Amy @ fitnessmeetsfrosting.comApril 16, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Lol OH NO!! I hope you find something better then!

  12. katie @ fromicecreamtomarathonApril 16, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    Awesome job Mike! You always inspire me.
    For my marathon Saturday, I used Gu's and Huma Gel's. Have you tried those? I like them better than Gu's. Smoother consistency and they just taste better. You should try them!

  13. Aw, thanks Katie!
    Funny you mention Huma gels...I had never heard of them but I just opened my StrideBox today and there was one in there!

  14. http://raz-family.ca/RunKristiApril 16, 2014 at 9:24 PM

    Wow, amazing time!
    I have never been able to stomach Gu. For ATB I used honey with a little no nut butter (you could use peanut butter) and a little sea salt. I get tiny zip lock bags from the dollar store craft section, can't remember if they were $1 or $2 for 100. They are about the size of a gel package. When I am ready for one I just bite off a corner of the baggie and it is ready to go. It seems to work for me and tastes amazing. Mind you, I am a slower runner so I can't make any promises for all of you fast folks out there!

  15. Heidi @ www.idlehide.comApril 17, 2014 at 6:32 AM

    I would kill for that time! Wicked! GU alternatives? I have only had one I liked which was the mint chocolate, but it was still hard to handle. I made energy bites before and took them on a half marathon and they were pretty good. That could be an option?

  16. Thanks Kristi, that's another good idea...looks like a few people make their own fuel, maybe I'll give it a try!

  17. I know the time was good and I don't want to complain...it's just off from where I was. Need to put the work in and I haven't been. It isn't the flavours that really bother, more that thick consistency. I've used chews for training before, maybe they're worth a shot on race day too...