My first half marathon and how my husband lied to me

Today marked a first in Cassie history – a half marathon. 13.1 miles to be exact. I had a goal of finishing in 2:15:00 but frankly, I would have been happy with just plain completing it.

Let me start by saying that today was windy. I’m not talking a slight breeze, either. I’m saying gusts of 35 mph. And it was cloudy and cold. I think my car said 47 degrees.

When we got to the parking area, we still had to take a shuttle (read: big yellow school bus) to the start. We stepped of the nice, hot, toasty warm shuttle we entered a big open area surrounded by a corn field on top of a big hill.

Personally, I’m a fan of 60-70 degree weather. I’d rather be cold than hot, though, because you can always put on layers. Once you’re naked – you can’t really take of any more, now can you? And I’d also like to think that having been born and partly raised in Minnesota made me naturally resilient to whipping cold wind.

Today tested me.

Having cold muscles leads to sore, achy joints. Then turning around and running a half marathon on them…well, it’s not a good combination. Once we got started, however, we warmed up quickly.

Matt and I use an app that keeps our pace called Run Keeper. It’s nice because it’s really no frills, but every 5 minutes it chirps in your ear your pace, time run and distance. Because we were both running together, I figured he could be the man and be in charge of it for a bunch of miles.

But I was wrong.

We got started at a nice pace, it felt good, it felt easy. I asked Matt what our pace was and he said, “Around a 10 minute mile,” which was good because I was hoping to run the whole thing at a 10:30 pace.

Around mile 3, I was starting to feel my hips get tight and asked him again what our pace was.

Matt: We’re around a 10 minute mile.
Me: Really?
Matt: Do you really want to know?
Me: Yes.
Matt: We’re averaging 9:45.
Me: !!!

Now, to some, 15 seconds doesn’t seem like much, but really, I swear, it is. Especially when you have mentally prepared yourself for a 10:30 pace for 13 miles. That’s 45 seconds faster.  And if you want the math part of it, that’s 5 and a half minutes Matt was trying to shave off my final time.

The nerve.

Then I had to pee. I had to pee bad. Cold weather + mother of 3 + constant motion and bladder jostling = bad situation. There were porta-potties along the trail, but of course, as soon as I had to pee, they all went missing. FOR THREE MILES there was nothing. And this was one of the few times I really wished I was a man. I don’t know how many guys we passed taking a piss off the side of the trail.

Finally, when we found one, I squealed with delight because I a.) found a porta-potty and b.) managed to not pee my pants.

I kept my legs moving the whole time, which is pretty amazing and I came out of the porta-potty running. When we got back into our rhythm, I again, asked Matt what our pace was.

He answered his standard reply: “We’re around a 10 minute mile.”

Fine. Whatever. 10 minute mile.

I’m pretty sure I was known as the girl who sang obnoxiously. I sang my version of That’s Not My Name by the Ting Tings (however, I turn it into the Geno Malkin version,) Britney Spears, and of course, what race isn’t complete with out the Black Keys?

I spanked Matt at mile marker 1, 3 and 11.

I did my own version of Rocky Balboa’s shadow boxing.

There were many fist bumps.

Around mile 11 we slowed down. I know this because Matt told me so.

Matt: We’re slowing down.
Me: What do you want me to do? I’m going as fast as I can.
Matt: We’re down to, like, a 12 minute mile.
Me: No way.
Matt: Really!
Me: !!!

The race course is fantastic. It follows a very scenic trail along a creek in the middle of nowhere. It’s quiet, rustic and at any given moment, you could get mauled by a bear.  It’s also mostly downhill with the exception of the last mile, where you have to go from down on the trail to waaaaaay up high on the road. That means a ridiculously steep hill.

When we got into the town of Freeport, we turned the corner and saw the finish line. Matt kept saying, “You did it! Great job!” and I took off sprinting with a huge, cheesy smile on my face.

I did it.

We finished at roughly 2:11:22.

When we got to the end of the chute, Matt stopped his phone and looked at our pace.

Mile 1 was our fastest at 9:41.

Mile 10 was our slowest at 10:59. (Because of the pee break.)

12 minute mile my ass, Matthew John.

He pushed and pushed and pushed. He went a few feet ahead of me to try to get me to sprint to keep up with him. He lied to me about how fast we were going because he knew I could keep up with a sub 10 minute mile pace and he thought that if I thought we were doing just that, then he could make me go faster than that.


And because of this, I finished my first half marathon 3 1/2 minutes faster than my goal. (With my original goal being 2:25:00)

So thank you for lying to me.

But I’m still mad at you.


About Cassie

Two sisters from two misters. What could be more fun?

Posted on October 15, 2011, in Cassie. Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. Congrats, Cassie! Ya done good.

    And I bet seeing a bear near the course would also benefit your finishing time too.

  2. You guys are so cute. That sounds like something my husband would do.

    Congrats on the half marathon! I’m so impressed with your fast pace. It’s sort of crazy to me that you’re just running to different TOWNS.


    • I know, right? It sometimes seems so silly that I’m going from one town to another. Most races I’ve done are a loop, so you finish where you start. This was awesome for that reason.

  3. Way to go! That’s an amazing pace for your first half!

    I’ve only done one half marathon before, with a knee injury (torn cartilage), and boy was my time pathetic – like 3 hours 22 minutes! I am ready to do another though. Or, well, ready to start training for another. 🙂

    • Pretty sure we would have gone faster if we didn’t have 35 mph gusts of wind blowing in our faces and if it was just a touch warmer. It’s amazing what cold weather can do to one’s joints/muscles!

      Get back on the wagon, girl! It’s an amazing accomplishment to say the least!

  4. WOW! I don’t think I could run for 13.1 MINUTES….seriously! Perhaps after baby Evelyn gets here that can be my first goal: 13.1 mins and then we can go from there. hehe. Congratulations girl!

  5. Congratulations! The Family Conti consists entirely of badasses 😉

  6. That is amazing!! I am totally impressed. I really wish I could get into running, but I have yet to do so… maybe some day?

    • It’s one of those things….you either like it or you don’t. Unfortunately, a lot of people start running and push it too hard too fast and end up either injuring themselves or are worn after a simple 2 mile run because they tried to keep a pace of 7:30 a mile.

      Give it a try! You never know!

  7. Wow! I’m so glad you have a wonderful husband who knows you well. I’m not sure this gal is made to run… unless I hear the dinner bell, or that man behind me is holding a knife/chainsaw/scary slasher implement of death of any kind.

  8. 1) Why did you not tell me your blog is on Facebook and force me to Like it?

    2) Why does Jessica show up in your sidebar as having Liked you twice? I call conspiracy!

    3) The Black Keys are from Ohio. Just sayin’.

    4) I actually kind of thought that you were the runner of the family and made Matt come along with you, but it’s awesome that he’s actually pushing you to go faster. Way to go!

    • Matt’s one of those annoying types who is naturally athletic, so he can just up and run 13 miles for the fun of it.

      Me? I torture myself at the gym so I can.

      Life is so cruel.

  9. Woohoo! Way to go!

    He has some nerve! haha But awesome job you two! It is great that you have each other for support and motivation. And spanks when needed. 🙂

  10. Congrats on the run!

    There’s another app consisting of a head band, a stick, a string, and a chocolate brownie. I runs and runs but I never catches it!

  11. Just a lurker, but congrats on running your 1st 1/2 marathon. If it’s the one I’m thinking of, my sister and I accidentally ran the wrong way on it last year while I was doing a training run for a marathon. We were terrified our car was going to get towed and wound up turning around earlier than expected. We ran 7 minute miles on the way back to the car. The aid station people thought we were in the race and it was totally ridiculous. It’s a great little trail though : )

    Good luck running your 1st marathon–Remember it’s all mental after about mile 18 or so. Your body will be telling you to stop, but don’t listen to it. The last .2 will feel like forever, but once you cross the finish line it’s all worth it.

    • Thank you! Love it when lurkers come out.

      I can’t wait to run the marathon, but I know, after running the half, that I have A LOT of training to do. I have to work on my hip flexors like woah.

      I saw a few people jogging on the trail with a giant “WTF” bubble cast above their heads. It was plain to see they were thinking it was a crappy day to pick to run on the trail.

      • I would definitely stick to running your planned mile times through the marathon as best as you can in order to avoid the hip issues. You have so much adrenaline at the start of the race it is super easy to start out too fast. They had pace groups for Pittsburgh last year, so you might want to see if you can find your goal pace and try and stay as close as possible to them. The 3:40 group was right on time last year, so they do a good job.

        If you have any other questions about marathons let me know. I’m running Boston in April, but I only ran my first last December so I definitely know what it’s like to be freaked out over your first : )

      • Thank you so much for that. I did the relay last year and remember seeing the pace groups go past holding signs. I heard somewhere that the people that are the pacers actually have to run so many marathons before they’re even considered. Nuts!

        I want to finish in under 5 hours. My goal time is yet to be determined. I kept up a 10 minute mile for the half, so I’m thinking that I shouldn’t slow much past 12 minute miles if I keep training like I have been.

        I also think that part of my hip issue was because I’ve A.) broken it in the past (almost 10 years ago!) and B.) it was cold, COLD, COLD out.

        Good luck at Boston! That’s so exciting! Please come back and tell me how you did! I’m so curious!

  12. I was really pleased w/the Pittsburgh pace groups. The other marathon I did in Tucson was way off with it’s group, so it is important to still monitor your time. They’ll also give words of advice/encouragement along the way and will probably know quite a bit about the course to warn you what’s coming up. I think Pittsburgh’s course will be different than last year but you’ll probably go up the hill into Oakland after crossing Birmingham bridge. That hill is a little rough so make sure you do a little hill training to be prepared.

    Everyone can be so finicky when it comes to running injuries–I partially tore an Achilles tendon about 6 years ago and that still bothers me from time to time. The Army doesn’t do the greatest job of taking care of it’s soldiers in basic either (my husband saw that first hand when he had to see them right after.) Hopefully the weather for the marathon will be a little better than it has the last two years so it won’t be so much of an issue.

    I am super excited about Boston and I’m going to try and just enjoy the experience and course without thinking too much about time. I’m planning on taking lots of pictures though so if you want to see them I’d be happy to share.

  13. I am impressed with anyone that runs, well…anywhere! I don’t run unless someone is chasing me!

  14. Great job! Thanks for sharing your blog. Adding it to my reader now. I’m hoping to finish the marathon in under 5 hours too. Is your husband running with you again? Maybe I can get him to trick pace me to get me in sooner? 🙂

    • He IS running it with me! He’d probably be able to finish many miles ahead of me, but he wants to finish our first one together. And make sure I don’t die.

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