St. Paul Winter Carnival Half Marathon Race Report

>> Saturday, January 26, 2008

I did it! My first official half marathon is in the bag! I’m sitting on the couch, icing my knee, so I figured I’d start typing up my report.

The day started normally: up early, solid breakfast, a few solid poops. I had 2 different time goals for this race. I figured that I could run this half marathon in 1:35:00. But, I had a CRAZY goal of breaking 1:30:00. So I taped a pace chart to my arm that had a finishing time of 1:30, with mile splits of 6:51.9. I wasn’t going to go out that fast, but I wanted to see how close to that pace I could run.

Pharmie came with me, and we had an ominous sign on our drive towards downtown St. Paul: a hearse passed us on I94. Dang. We got down there, grabbed my chip and number, and I started to stretch a bit.

Oh...yes, I was wearing the lucky tighty-whities. How could I not?!?

Waiting in line for the porta-potty, a man saw my pace chart on my sleeve and said “That makes you look like Tom Brady!” I laughed and said, “Yeah, but mine only has one play on it: run 6:51 miles!” Shortly after, still in line for the crapper, I ran into Jeremy, who’s new to the blogging world. We actually hopped in line near one another at the start, and chatted for a few minutes waiting for the gun.

Pharmie’s photo shortly after the start

We were off, and Jeremy and I split up. The roads were wet, but they weren’t slick. It was a nice, calm, 20 degree morning, with light snow falling. PERFECT RUNNING WEATHER! I made small talk with a number of people that I passed. Everyone loved the day and how calm the air was. I waved at all the police officers and thanked everyone for being out there. As I passed one man, he laughed and said “You’re so polite!” I smiled, thanked him, and kept on going.

I wasn’t keeping to my pace for the first few miles, but I knew that would be the case. That was the plan. I ran the first 3 miles in 21:00 on the nose. My pace was over 7 minute miles, and I reached the turn around in 45:59, which was 59 seconds off my pace.

Mile 1: 6:57
Mile 2 & 3: 14:03 (7:02 ave)
Mile 4: 7:00
Mile 5: 7:14
Mile 6: 7:15
Turn Around: 45:59

I was pretty happy with where I was. (Except for the fact that I saw a guy in a giant penguin costume before turning around who was a half-mile in front of me. Dang.) I sometimes call myself “Captain Negative Spilt” because I’m great at running negative splits on my long runs. My second half of all of my long runs in the past 6 weeks have been 15 seconds to 2 and a half minutes faster than the first half. If I held onto this pace, I’d finish happily around 1:32, but if I could pull out a negative split, I still had a shot at my CRAZY goal!

After the turn around point, I saw Jeremy shortly after. We shouted sweet nothings to each other. A bit later, I saw Iron Girl Nyhus, who I didn’t know was running this race. We shouted “hellos!” And then, just a little bit later, IronMomJenny jumps into the median with her camera to take a photo of me as she’s shouting “STEVE IN A SPEEDO! GROSS!” I shouted my thanks back to her. It was at about that point that I started running with a man in a blue jacket, wearing a Lifetime Fitness hat backwards. He was chattier than I was! He was a great guy, but I never got his name. I told him it was my first half, and he said my pace was awesome. I think he kind of took me under his wing. I asked if he thought we could break 1:30. He said “Keep it under 7 a mile, and we’ll do it!” We stayed no more than 10 feet apart for the last 4-5 miles of the race. I started to pick it up. So did the nameless man in the LTF hat.

Mile 7: 6:29
Mile 8: 6:38
Mile 9: 6:40
Mile 10: 6:39

At this point, I was only about 21 seconds behind my crazy goal. I WAS HURTING, but I also knew I had a shot to break 1:30. And then I did this:

Mile 11: 5:35

What? WHAT?!? I don’t know if that was a short mile, or if I had just really been kicking it in the ass, but I was now running nearly 1 minute FASTER than my goal. I knew I couldn’t let up.

Mile 12: 7:28

I had slipped a little, but I was still giving it everything. I was now only 20 seconds faster than my goal (the pace chart on my sleeve was SUCH A GREAT IDEA!). Nobody passed me in the last 5 miles. Even though I felt like I was dying, I was still passing people.

Nearing downtown St. Paul, I glanced at my watch. The nameless man must have seen me do that, and he uttered under his breath, “you’re gonna make it...” We turned up that BASTARD of a hill to get back into downtown, and my legs felt like bags of shit. Heavy, stinky, slow bags of shit. I knew that hill would take a bite out of my pace. I heard Phamie shouting my name from 2 blocks away. I was hardly moving, and I knew it was going to be close. I locked my sight on the finish line and gave her hell.

Mile 13 and last 0.1: 7:21
Total: 1:29:25

I had done it! I had 35 seconds to spare! I was ecstatic! And sore. And wet. And sore. And tired. And sore.

I found Phamie, my SUPER SUPPORTER, and she gave me my heavy winter jacket. We cheered for finishers for about a half hour. We saw Jeremy and Iron Girl Nyhus finish, and then we grabbed a finish line photo as we were on our way out:

We went home, and I had a look at my foot. It was sore. And nasty. A blood blister had formed UNDER my regular blisters:

Well, now we have a party to get ready for. More photos to come regarding the half marathon, and hopefully some photos from the party tonight! Thanks for reading!


Danielle in Iowa in Ireland 2:27 PM, January 26, 2008  

w00t! Congrats! And gees those are some nasty feet!

Spokane Al 3:00 PM, January 26, 2008  

Congratulations on a solid, fast race.

And thanks for leaving out the poop photos.

Trisaratops 3:12 PM, January 26, 2008  

Congratulations--that is awesome!

And your foot is awesomely NASSSSSTTTTTYY!!!!!

Bill 3:26 PM, January 26, 2008  


Quite the race and quite the price (blister).

Well done, Steve.

tracie 4:15 PM, January 26, 2008  

Way to go!!!!! Great report and great times! Have fun at your par-tay, you earned today!

xt4 4:36 PM, January 26, 2008  

AWESOME. Way to go Steve, great work hitting your goal and pushing hard at the end. Kickass!

Joy | Love | Chaos 5:53 PM, January 26, 2008  


What a fahreaking ROCKSTAR!! Way to kick ass out there. The hearse? All about killing the competition, babe.

Just think, now it's time for recovery food! Knowing you, I'm thinking a horse or barn or something.

Bravo, Steve!

MissAllycat 6:04 PM, January 26, 2008  

NICE!! Way to show that race who is boss!

Born To Endure 6:36 PM, January 26, 2008  

I had no doubts you would rawk!!! Poor little footie...

Jessica 6:59 PM, January 26, 2008  

"a hearse PAST us?" i'm sure you meant, " a hearse PASSED us." god, talk about the blind leading the blind.

just kidding! give me an A.

LittleRachet 7:52 PM, January 26, 2008  

Su-weet!! Glad to hear the weather was almost warm compared to those chilly temps you had been running in.

Tri+Umph 8:17 PM, January 26, 2008  

Man, that blister is worse than some I've gotten from marathons!

21stCenturyMom 8:28 PM, January 26, 2008  

WooHoo!! The Bishop was not frozen in vain!!


Bigun 8:44 PM, January 26, 2008  

now...did we really need the foot shot? Everything was moving along really cool and then, wham! Nasty as& foot shot.

congrats on the goal buster - speedy!

triguyjt 9:23 PM, January 26, 2008  

steve...pharmie must have a high speed shutter of something on the camera..she caught you flying by going about 6 mins a mile..great shot.

you need a pedicure and foot massage big guy. you earned I see a 3:08 marathon for you the next or first time you do one... smoking

J~Mom 9:59 PM, January 26, 2008  

Congrats!!! Your hard work paid off!!

Rainmaker 10:03 PM, January 26, 2008  

Awesome race! Well done!

And the double-blister is sweet, it's like the double-cheeseburger of blisters.

Donald 11:30 PM, January 26, 2008  

Sweet race, dude. Congrats on making the crazy goal.

Marcy 5:43 AM, January 27, 2008  

Daaaaammmnnn son! I'm all sitting here nicely reading, and then I get to the end and BAM! Freak nasty! Thanks for making me throw up my donuts this fine AM :P


triblog carol 8:19 AM, January 27, 2008  

Wow - That is a a wicked pace!

Anonymous,  9:20 AM, January 27, 2008  

fantastic race speedy! Congrats on a rockin first half marathon!!

Kellye Mills 6:46 PM, January 27, 2008  

I can't believe you ran your first half in under 1:30! That is awesome! Congratulations!

IronTRISH 11:31 PM, January 27, 2008  

Good work! Congrats!! Thanks for the foot photo -- makes my feet look beautiful :)

Triseverance 8:12 AM, January 28, 2008  

Fantastic, really an excellent race. Congrats on breaking 1:30!

Formulaic 12:20 PM, January 28, 2008  

Awesome Race! Fast times, sexy feet and the tighty whitey's lucky streak still going strong!

Kim 12:29 PM, January 28, 2008  


you are one hot, fast and nasty byatch.

Anonymous,  1:34 PM, January 28, 2008  

What a great race, race report, and pictures!! You are smokin' fast!

Congratulations, and I hope you had fun celebrating afterwards!

TRI TO BE FUNNY 5:22 PM, January 28, 2008  

Damn boy!! I'm guessing something was f*cked up with mile markers cuz it seems odd that you would go from a 5:35 to a 7:25...Sounds like one of the miles was short...Either way, way to kick some ASS!

Soapin' Cindy 6:38 PM, January 28, 2008  

What an exciting race report. You and Pharmie make such a nice couple. Congrats on exceeding your goal! Do you use Blister Shield??

Tea 7:46 PM, January 28, 2008  


trimybest 7:49 PM, January 28, 2008  

great run! and awesome party. i went ahead and invited everyone i know back to your house for next weekend too. im not going to be there but thought id give you a heads up. haha

SM 8:39 PM, January 28, 2008  

Wicked awesome! Great job on the run. Your Super FasT!!!! Your blood blister is pretty cool to.

Anonymous,  8:35 AM, January 29, 2008  

awesome blister! and your post was perfectly suspenseful. really cool. :)

Dana 9:31 AM, January 29, 2008  

Congrats on your half mary PR! YOU ROCK(even the blister)!!

Lance Notstrong 9:32 AM, January 29, 2008  

That's awesome Steve!!! I like your description......"my legs felt like bags of shit. Heavy, stinky, slow bags of shit."

That's funny!!!!

Nat 3:33 PM, January 29, 2008  

Great job on the race! You had a great day for it!

CoachLiz 4:13 PM, January 29, 2008  

Nice Job Stevo!

Ugh! That blister is gross. I have never had one that bad...but hey better that than toenails that cut into the side of your other toes and produce bloody results.

Stef0115 5:32 PM, January 29, 2008  

So inspiring and funny!

HUGE CONGRATS on reaching your "crazy goal!"

E-Speed 4:59 AM, January 30, 2008  

awesome! Way to set the bar high!

Those are my half goals this year too. I don't think I will pull out the crazy goal on the first one in winter though. YOu rock!

IronMin 10:47 AM, January 30, 2008  

Congrats! Your time rocks! Hope the knee is pain-free. Oh, that just rhymed.

The Lazy Triathlete 3:55 PM, January 30, 2008  

Great job Steve. That was a hell of run. Nice double blister. :)

Dluna 7:53 PM, February 28, 2009  

Congrats on the half!....I am training for my first half (April 19 in St. Louis, MO) and found your blog because I googled the word "blister" as i have been getting some bad ones lately...

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