North Shore Half Marathon

by Jenn (eating bender) on June 10, 2012

We made it. 13.1 miles!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I laughed, I cried (apparently races bring out all sorts of emotions in me), but in the end Bobby and I crossed the finish line and can officially call ourselves North Shore Half Marathoners!

We were up bright and early – 5:00 a.m. to be exact – to get ready. After my usual pre-race breakfast of peanut butter and jelly toast and Bobby’s bowl of oatmeal, we lathered up on sunscreen and hopped in the car for the 45-minute drive to Highland Park. Once there, we hung around in the car for a bit (always good to be early, but the wait makes me nervous!) and then made our way to the starting line around 7:15.

I had on my IT band compression wrap, Spibelt, Garmin and iPod and felt ready to go. Before we knew it, we were lining up in the C corral for our 7:35 start time. And then…we were off!

The first quarter mile we dealt with some easily fixable problems. My Spibelt was way too loose and kept bumping my iPod so that the music went off (very strange). It was frustrating, yes, but we were still going all out as I passed the belt onto Bobby to wear – the first of many reasons why he was my hero through all of this. Once I was free from the bouncy belt and it was secure around Bobby instead, we continued our quick pace and finished the first mile in 8:48.

I was THRILLED. We were shooting for 9:00/mile in order to meet our sub-two hour race goal and we met it and then some. Still feeling good, we finished the second, third and fourth miles in 8:29, 8:31 and 8:58 respectively.

At this point, my IT band compression wrap was no longer my friend. Thanks to the sunscreen I applied before putting it on, it was slipping down my knee no matter how tight I fastened it. By mile three, I decided that there was no way it would help if it wasn’t even in the right spot, so I took it off and held it for the rest of the race.

I don’t know whether it was the loss of the wrap or the fact that it was moving around so much, but after mile five (8:53), the pain came on faster and more intensely than it ever has before. Being the stubborn person that I am, I was determined to push through, but after the pain shot all the way up my leg, I cried uncle and we slowed to a walk. The rest of mile six was a hodgepodge of walking and futile running. We ended up finishing it in 11:01.

But mile seven was the worst.

As I continued my attempts to run through the pain in hopes that it would magically disappear, I suddenly became overwhelmed by the fact that we still had not reached the halfway mark and would likely not reach our goal. Bobby was really worried that I was pushing myself too hard – which I was – and suggested that we quit. No injury is worth it just to make a goal time. I agreed with him, but the thought of quitting made me break down. We pulled over to the side and I had my “emotional moment” under a neighborhood tree.

Our conversation went something like this:

  • Me: I can’t quit. I’ve been training for three months. I feel great except for this darn knee. (Yeah, we all know that I did not actually say darn, but this is a family friendly blog.)
  • Bobby: It’s not quitting – it’s just taking care of yourself and making sure you don’t get hurt.
  • Me: What would I tell people? I would be so embarrassed to say I couldn’t finish after talking about it for so long.
  • Bobby: Nobody is going to judge you for taking care of yourself.

He’s a smart guy, isn’t he? Thank goodness for Bobby. Ultimately, my stubbornness forced a compromise and we decided to stay in the race so long as I walked. I kept my promise, and we ended up finishing mile seven in 15:49.

As we continued walking, I was relieved to find that my IT band pain was virtually nonexistent, even at a fast clip. (Side note: I’d be curious to hear from anyone who knows why this would be – does it have something to do with the stride? I felt as though I was “pounding the pavement” just as hard when walking, and yet as soon as I attempted any sort of jog formation, the pain would return. So strange. I would love to be enlightened if you know the answer.)

During mile eight, there was a steep hill. As I attempted to climb it at my “fast walk” pace, I found myself breaking into a slow jog and – again, inexplicably – that it did not hurt. Not sure if it’s easier on the knee to run uphill? There is nothing about this race that made sense to me.

We reached mile nine with a combination of walking and what I’ve decided should be called “trotting” – not exactly jogging or running, per se, but my own style of “trying to avoid pain at all costs” movement. By the way, it should be noted that Bobby could easily have finished this race on his own, but he was amazing and stuck with me through it all.

This pattern continued for the rest of the race and we wavered between 11:15-12:45/mile to cross the finish line at 2:23:49. Or so said my Garmin. As much as it was disappointing not to reach my goal, knowing I had done the best that I could given the circumstances made me feel proud.

The chip time shows us at one second faster – 2:23:48. Huge difference, I know. 😉

Overall, I couldn’t be happier that we pushed through. Bobby was my rock, and I am so grateful that he stayed calm and levelheaded (unlike some people…) throughout the entire race. I couldn’t have done it without him!

Another great motivator was seeing Lauren cheering for us at the finish line!

Thanks so much for coming, Lauren. It meant a lot to us to have you there and hear your cheers!

We debated going out for brunch but ultimately Bobby’s offer to prepare a delicious homemade feast won out. While I nursed my knee with ice, he prepared this egg and pancake goodness.

The scrambled eggs were topped with a bit of mozzarella and chili spices.

The pancakes were of the Ebleskiver variety, but made flat (just like yesterday). This was by far the best batch yet from The Pancake Man, and as we sat down to eat he asked if I noticed anything different. Not only were there blueberries, but there was also the subtle hint of banana in every bite. It made our post-race meal all the sweeter.

Now we are kicking back and watching some Euro 2012 soccer with a pair of Oberons.

As one of the signs on the course so perfectly put it, “Beer awaits us.”

The best medicine for knee pain, methinks. 😉

Thank you all for the amazing support and kind words. I couldn’t have done this without you, either!


1 Jess June 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Congratulations! Nice job on not giving up, yet being smart about your ITB. I hope it heals quickly!
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2 Jenn (eating bender) June 10, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Thank you, Jess! I hope so, too – definitely taking it easy this week!

3 Michelle@Peachy Palate June 10, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Congratulations!!! Well done for pushing through. I had to drop out of the first race I’d signed up for ever this month, a 10k, due to a trapped nerve in my hip…I’m easing back in to running, 10 minutes at a time, it’s painful both in the psychological and physical sense :) I was toying with the idea of signing up for a 7k in July and was worried I might not be able to do it but your post is an inspiration! I will sign up and fight my way through even if I have to walk! Well done again, your a superstar! Did you watch the Ireland match???
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4 Jenn (eating bender) June 10, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Thanks, Michelle! A trapped nerve definitely does not sound fun. You’ll have to keep me updated if you do decide to do the 7k in July! It’s hard not to want to run when things start to hurt, but if anything I learned today that it can be just as rewarding to walk and not put pressure on your body. Good luck and keep me posted! Thanks so much for the support. And yes, we did watch the Ireland match, but admittedly just fast forwarded to all the goals. :) We have a bad habit of doing that when we use DVR!

5 Michelle@Peachy Palate June 11, 2012 at 12:26 am

I’m worse…I was probably the only person in the country not watching it!
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6 Cara (Twinthusiast) June 10, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Congrats you guys – amazing to complete it with an injury. I completely agree with Bobby that no race is worth a long term injury, seriously. As you know, running is all about competing with yourself, you just have to cut yourself a break sometimes…Love the pic of you guys – Bobby’s muscle tee reminds me of 80’s teen movies 😉
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7 Jenn (eating bender) June 10, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Thanks, Cara! It really is a competition with yourself and I’m glad I had Bobby there to help me realize that today. Next time I will know better (though hopefully I can fix this IT band problem so this doesn’t happen)! Loved the comment on Bobby’s muscle tee. :)

8 BroccoliHut June 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Awesome work, my dear!! This is such a huge accomplishment!
It sounds like Bobby is a very wise man, and he knew just the right thing to say during the race :)

9 Jenn (eating bender) June 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Thank you, Caroline! He is very wise, indeed. :)

10 Erica June 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm

First off- you rock! And for the record, you would still rock even if you didn’t finish :) I think you guys are SUCH an amazing team. Ah! Warms my heart! Congrats and hope the pancakes and beer felt awesome going down.
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11 Jenn (eating bender) June 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Aww, thank you for the sweet comment, Erica! That really means a lot. :) I truly appreciate your support throughout this entire process and yes, the pancakes and beer felt amazing!

12 Melissa @TryingtoHeal June 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I had that same conversation with myself at mile 18 of my marathon. But I’m so glad to hear you took your time and were able to finish the race! I’m so proud of you Jenn, and Bobbi too! You both are such strong people! I know about that defeated feeling, what will people say, but every race is all about YOU! So YOU did a great job! Congrats!!!!
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13 Jenn (eating bender) June 12, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Thank you again for your support, Melissa! Your guidance throughout this whole process truly meant a lot to me.

14 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City June 11, 2012 at 8:32 am

Congratulations on finishing the race! It was so smart of you to listen to your body. Finishing a race at a specific time is NO reason to hurt yourself. When I was injured and had to skip a marathon someone told me “good runners know when to push their bodies but great runners know when their body has had too much”.
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15 Jenn (eating bender) June 12, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Thank you, Lindsay! I really like that quote – so much so that I’ve written it down and plan to return to it every time I’m doubting what my body is telling me. Such smart advice.

16 Caroline June 11, 2012 at 8:34 am

Congrats, Jenn! It’s always frustrating when races don’t quite go your way (especially due to an injury), but you finished and that in itself is a huge accomplishment!
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17 Jenn (eating bender) June 12, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Thank you, Caroline! It’s never fun when things don’t go as we hoped but you’re right – crossing that finish line was a big deal for me! I truly appreciate the support.

18 Erin June 11, 2012 at 11:10 am

Jenn, you did so great! You and BD are such a unit – this post made me a little tearful! You told the tale with such HEART! Your determination, love for life, and passion inspire me completely – rest your body and beam in pride <3
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19 Jenn (eating bender) June 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Your comments never fail to put a huge smile on my face. :) Thank you, Erin!! You’re amazing. <3

20 natalie@thesweetslife June 11, 2012 at 11:47 am

props to you for not giving up–those are character defining experiences! and bobby is a complete gem for being such a huge support system! way to go girl!

21 Jenn (eating bender) June 12, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Thank you, Natalie!! :)

22 Lauren Kiddy June 11, 2012 at 11:59 am

Hello Eating Bender!

I am a daily reader of your amazing blog and I truly love every aspect you include in it, especially how important your family is to you. I am a huge supporter of TeamDad, an organization created by David Hirsch in Chicago, Illinois. He is a primary member of the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative and has created TeamDad with his wife to raise awareness and money for children who do not have father figures in their lives. TeamDad created the Great Dads Coin as the perfect Father’s Day gift to give to those special men who are heroic figures in the lives of children. More than 200,000 children have been born this year without the name of a father on their birth certificate. Please help us raise awareness for Team Dad by highlighting the organization. Your help is so greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much!

23 Madison @ Espresso and Cream June 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Congrats again, Jenn! Kudos to you for being both tough and smart about your race. There are always more races, but you only have two knees. :)
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24 Jenn (eating bender) June 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Thank you, Madison! That is such a good quote – I’m hanging onto that one. :) Good luck with your race this weekend!

25 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner June 11, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Way to go! You are quite the trooper. I’ll use you as my inspiration to make it a measly 5k in August. :)
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26 Jenn (eating bender) June 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm

There is nothing measly about a 5k – that’s AWESOME. :) Thanks so much, Chelsea!

27 Val June 11, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Way to go! You made it, fighting. And what a great guy that you didn’t have to fight it on your own. And what a good cook! 😉
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28 Jenn (eating bender) June 12, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Thank you, Val!! It was definitely a delicious post-race feast. :)

29 Shannon June 11, 2012 at 9:08 pm

congrats to you two! bobby certainly gave you some good advice 😉 hope things aren’t too rough today, and you’re back at it after some much needed rest!!

30 Jenn (eating bender) June 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Thank you, Shannon! Slowly but surely feeling better thanks to the foam roller. I hate it…but I love it. :)

31 Susan June 11, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Excellent job, Aunt Jenn and Uncle Bobby! We are super proud of your hard work and perseverance. The next time we see you, Claire requests that we celebrate your accomplishment with her favorite snacks – cheese and bananas. Oh, and I suppose you can pick something too. :)

32 Jenn (eating bender) June 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Thank you, Susan!! I would love to celebrate with cheese and bananas. And a head bobbing dance. :)

33 Irina @ Chocolatea Time June 12, 2012 at 5:51 am

Congrats on completing your first half! Reading this was very inspirational…I’m running my first half next month and reading race recaps is great!

34 Jenn (eating bender) June 12, 2012 at 11:18 pm

I’m so glad it could provide some insight for your race next month, Irina! Can’t wait to read all about it once you’ve crossed that finish line! Hope training is going well. :)

35 brandi June 12, 2012 at 9:52 am

congrats!!! so exciting for you guys :)

36 Jenn (eating bender) June 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Thanks, Brandi!!

37 Cassie (bake your day) June 12, 2012 at 10:16 am

Fun! Congrats on the race. Happy to be a new reader here. Your blog looks great. And I’m heading to Chicago at the end of this month and very much looking forward to it!
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38 Jenn (eating bender) June 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm

I’m so glad we got connected through Brandi! Checking out your blog now. :) So exciting that you’ll be in Chicago – let me know if you want any restaurant tips!

39 Biz June 12, 2012 at 10:50 am

My boss ran that race but had to drop out at mile 8 because of the heat – proud that you guys were able to push through and finish!
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40 Jenn (eating bender) June 12, 2012 at 11:22 pm

It was definitely hot out there – and mile 8 was one of the worst because there was no shade! Part of me wonders what would have happened if I had been able to run the whole time – the walking allowed me to stay cool, which may have been the reason I was even able to finish!

41 Megan (Braise The Roof) June 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Congrats on sticking it out and listening to your body! Finishing is finishing in my book. And Bobby is a great guy for staying with you the whole time! :)
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42 Jenn (eating bender) June 12, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Thank you, Megan!! :)

43 luv what you do June 13, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Conrats on finishing your race and taking care of yourself at the same time! I hear that hill is brutal, from everyone who has run it!

44 Jenn (eating bender) June 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

Thank you so much! It was definitely a brutal hill – as soon as I hit it I knew exactly what they meant!

45 Wendi June 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm

I can’t even begin to tell you how proud of you I am miss Jenn! How amazing it must have felt to cross that finish line. Way to go girlfriend! You make me want to strive and do that one day too :)
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46 Jenn (eating bender) June 14, 2012 at 10:34 am

It was definitely an amazing feeling! Thanks so much, Wendi. :)

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