Race Report: Maple Grove Half

On May 15, 2021 I (Phil Jonsson) ran my second in person Half Marathon. It was a week after I hit my one year run streak so my conditioning was much greater than my previous attempt at the 2018 St Pete Run Fest Half Marathon in Florida when I did not train at all. My previous long races before I began my run streak never involved proper training or conditioning and the results showed. I have happily learned the errors of my ways now that I have embraced running as a lifestyle. 

I’ve been working training plans created by Brian that have really been dead on in terms of my comfort level, conditioning, and the goals I’ve set. 

Interestingly enough I had no intention of running the Half as I had signed up for the 5K and due to Covid restrictions being lifted more spots were added a couple weeks out from the event. Now that I knew it was possible and that I had fellow Northstars running it I decided to make the switch. 

I had recently been training for the team 10K so I was peaking at 36-38 miles a week with average long runs of 10-12 miles. My goal 10K pace was 8-8:30 and I ended up doing 7:57 with it feeling good so I was confident I could try for a Half PR. Setting on a goal race time was tougher and I discussed the strategy with Brian, Rob, and Missie. Brian’s evaluation from looking at my runs was the results from the Team 10 Mile and Team 10K would put me near a 1:50:00 goal race time. Missie suggested I start out slower the first few miles to not burn out too quick, and Rob was confident about starting around 9:10 for miles 1 & 2 and talked about how to work  hills. I felt really good with the input and that I had a good game plan. 

When I got there an hour before I ran a slow warm up mile with Gavan (Missie’s son). Then Missie ran me through drills and I kept my heart rate up right until it was time to line up.

I started out focusing on not going out too fast. My first mile I was right at 9:15. Once mile 2 hit I felt really good and cut half a minute off. From then on I worked around an 8:30 pace until mile 9 and pushed to stay within 8-8:30 through the end. It was definitely a hard effort miles 11-13 as the course was hilly like I had heard. The temp was about 55 so it felt nice and I utilized the water stops slowing down but not stopping. 

I felt confident and focused on the things I knew worked. Smart pacing, listening to my body, good form and moving my arms. But it was definitely a fun race because I knew I could do it but I also knew I could hit my goal if I dialed into my training and made sure I enjoyed the effort too. 

I set a PR at 1:51:40. My other in person Half was 3:14:34. I credit a different mindset, a healthier lifestyle, and a supportive running club as the main keys. I look forward to the next race and the one after that. 

- Phil

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