That Day I Ran with Galen Rupp: Foot Traffic Holiday Half Marathon Recap

by Jodi
Finish line photo courtesy of Devon Johnson.  #nailedit
Yesterday I raced Foot Traffic's Holiday Half Marathon and set a new PR (personal record).  I'm still trying to come down off the high.  #sograteful

I race because I like to test my fitness level, but also because it's a great way to bond with my friends.  We carpool and share pre-race jitters, then celebrate together post-race.  It is SO fun. I registered for the race thinking a couple of friends would run with me, but life got in the way.  When I realized I'd be getting up early to drive to North Portland and navigate a large crowd of runners by myself on an already crammed weekend, I almost quit on the race.

Thankfully my friend Paula talked some sense into me. All it took was two or three encouraging text messages from her to help me regain my focus and following my train through to race day.  Encouragement is a powerful weapon. We should all use it more often.

My friend-less-ness (I just made that word up) turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because my awesome husband Curt wrapped up graduate school on Saturday and agreed to be my Race Buddy.  He put together an action plan, chauffeured me to the race, volunteered with the shuttle buses, and cheered me into the finish.  His careful planning made me feel so cherished. I lucked out marrying him.
Car selfie. We do not have an iPhone 6s with a front flash like our friend Al Guidry.
Waiting for the shuttle.  I got on. Curt stayed to help direct traffic.
My buddy Devon works for Foot Traffic. She greeted me with her award winning smile, gave me a giant hug, and made sure she was in the finish line area when I came in.  She even had the race announcer call out, "Jodi Nailed It Stilp from Newberg" as I came through the finish.  I am ridiculously blessed in the friend department.
Need a ride on the shuttle?  Just ask Devon. 
Post-race Selfie in the warming area.  It was cold.

First off, Olympian Galen Rupp ran this race with me.  We're practically BFF's now.  He runs SO fast! A 4:41 pace per mile (1:01:20 for a half marathon) is inspiring to watch.

Second, it has been dumping rain and ridiculously windy in Portland for the past week.  I can handle the rain, but I can't stand running in the wind.  By the grace of God it stayed dry all morning with very little wind.  Thank you Jesus for the little things.

I've been running faster than usual lately and knew a half marathon PR was within my reach.  The Holiday Half is an out-and-back course, perfect for running a conservative first half and picking people off on the return to the finish.  My training partner Dawn is an expert at running negative splits. We thought I could run around a 7:15 average pace so she made me promise that my first mile would not be faster than a 7:20.

I totally got caught up in the race excitement and ran a 7:06 pace for the first mile.  OOPSIE! Just past the mile one marker, my shoe came completely untied even though I had double knotted it just before the start. It was a wake up call for me to run MY race.  I forced myself to slow down and man was that tough.  A ton of women passed me, but I kept telling myself, "Run your race.  This can't be painful.  You have church and The Nutcracker with your family when you get home. Just run steady. No suffering until the last mile."  That was seriously my race strategy.  "Don't suffer until the last mile."  LOL!

At the turnaround, I counted 31 women ahead of me.  I had hoped to be in the top twenty finishers but there were some FAST runners on the course.  I knew there wasn't enough race left to catch eleven women, but I made it my goal to pick off as many of them as I could.

I felt strong, confident and in control the entire race.  My splits were steady and I was able to increase my speed in the last three miles.  It was so rewarding to start passing people around mile nine and to sprint the last .2 miles in for a new PR.
Lucky lucky me!  Finish line picture with my Boo Thang.

Official time: 1:35:22 - 7:16 pace.  4th place age group. 4th place masters. 22nd overall woman and 89th overall finisher.  I really can't believe it.

You guys... my first half marathon in 2007 was a 2:33:34 - an 11:42 pace - and I was just as thrilled with that time as I am with a new PR. The endorphin high and sense of accomplishment is the same, regardless of the pace. It's what I LOVE about running.

If you would have talked to Jodi Stilp circa 2007, THIS ^^^^ was never part of my story. But God has a crazy way of turning things upside down and drawing out skills and gifts in us that we might not even know we have.

I can't dance, or make a craft, or put together a Lego kit to save my life, but I get great pleasure from running.  Every day when I run I thank God for strong lungs and legs and health to be able to do stupid stuff like run 13.1 miles as fast as I can.  The miracle of it is not lost on me and I hope it never is.

We all have gifts and talents.  It's the stuff deep down inside that when utilized brings life and vitality to our hearts and minds.

How are you uniquely gifted and talented?  Can I encourage you to use those gifts today?  You won't regret it.

BY THE SPLITS: 1:35:22 - 7:16 pace
Mile 1: 7:07
Mile 2: 7:20
Mile 3: 7:17
Mile 4: 7:30
Mile 5: 7:16
Mile 6: 7:11
Mile 7: 7:12
Mile 8: 7:12
Mile 9: 7:25 (the only uphill climb)
Mile 10: 7:15
Mile 11: 7:11
Mile 12: 7:06
Mile 13:7:16
Mile 13.1 (or .2 according to my Garmin): 5:24

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