2015 Charlevoix Half Marathon

Expectations for this race were not met. Nope. Not even close. Sub 1:45 continues to elude me.


Five minutes slower than I thought I would be running.
Three minutes slower than I would have been happy with.
One minute and forty one seconds slower than my PR.

As I’m sure you can guess, I am pretty disappointed with my time. I thought I was better prepared for this race. I honestly did not expect to be writing such a sad race report. Anyway, on to the race.

Shoe and I drove up to northern Michigan Friday night. My in laws have a cabin up there which gave us to a place to stay about 45 minutes away from Charlevoix. The race started at 7:00 am Saturday morning so I woke up at 4:30 to give myself plenty of time to get ready and eat breakfast (Clif bar) before the race.

At the starting line. Fingers crossed for good luck!

Packet pickup was available the morning of the race; it was quick and easy. Once I had my bib I took my time finishing my pre-race routine (sunscreen, inhaler, double checking shoelaces, bathroom, etc). About 10 minutes before the start I made my way over to the starting line and did a few dynamic stretches to warm up. I felt excited and confident.

Miles 1-3 (7:48, 7:48, 8:00)

I watched the 1:40 pace group pull further and further away from me, but I knew it was best not to try to stick with them. I focused on relaxing and making sure to keep my pace easy. My main goal was to keep each mile under 8:00.

Miles 4-7 (7:51, 7:57, 7:42, 8:00)

Right around mile 4 I started chatting with another a runner. We ran together with some occasional chit chat through mile 10. Even though we didn’t talk much it was so nice to have some company. We were also wearing the same shorts! The course doesn’t have a lot of crowd support and for awhile it felt like I was running all by myself. It is an out and back course so at 6.55 miles we turned around and were running into on coming traffic.

Miles 8-10 (8:06, 8:04, 7:55)

It was tough to maintain our pace through this section. This part of the course is a paved bike path wide enough for 3-4 runners. At this point in the race there were more runners approaching the half way point than there were on their way back to the start. This made passing people very difficult. I wasn’t too worried about a few seconds since most of my miles had been under 8:00). Mile 10 had a misting station set up and running through it was so refreshing!

Miles 11-13.17 (8:22, 9:16, 10:01, 1:14 (7:08 pace for 0.17 miles))

I knew after the 10 mile mark that I just had a 5k left. I also knew that I was starting to get pretty tired. I did some quick mental math and determined that as long as I kept the pace under 8:30, I could finish under 1:45. Not my top goal, but I would have been happy with that time. My plan was to slow down for two miles and pick it back up when there was just a mile left. Instead, at 11.6 miles (thanks, Garmin) I got a horrible stabbing pain in my side. I knew I was close to the finish, but this was the sort of pain that I could not run through. It was excruciating. I spent the next mile running when I could and being forced to walk every few minutes. I watched 1:45 slip out of reach and then watched a PR slip away too.

I’ve been dwelling on my disappointment pretty much since I crossed the finish line. I hate that this has now happened to me in two half marathons and I still don’t really know what is wrong with me or how to fix it (is it just a side stitch? Am I really such a newb runner that I get side stitches? OR is it something I am eating before/during the race? OR is it dehydration? OR am I starting too fast? OR ???).

I have about a million thoughts swirling around my head about what went wrong and why, but I think I am going to save that for another post. Prepare yourself for another few days of whining and complaining. But there were a few good things about this race. Mostly the shirt! I am so in love with this race shirt! It actually fits nicely and it isn’t plastered with sponsor information. The Michigan design with the runner cut out is fantastic. I would run this race again just for another awesome shirt!

I spent the afternoon relaxing on a boat so, in spite of having a bad race, I really shouldn’t complain too much. It was a beautiful day.

Any advice on abdominal pain while running? Also any thoughts on the fact that it still hurts the next day? Do you think I just started the race too fast and paid for it in the end? Really any advice is welcome! I know I am not an expert runner so I always appreciate feedback!


16 thoughts on “2015 Charlevoix Half Marathon

  1. First I want to congratulate you on a great race. I know you're really disappointed in what happened during the final miles, but you were performing phenomenally for the first 10 miles. You know it was the side stitch that affected your finishing time and not that your body isn't capable of meeting your goal or that you were undertrained. Now it's really just a matter of figuring out what the cause of the stitches are. Once you figure that out you're going to be completely unstoppable!!!


  2. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear all of this 😦 That really sucks. But like Kristina said, remember, this has nothing to do with your abilities or how prepared you were. You were ready for that sub-1:45, your training showed it. What happened is just one of those freak bad luck things that sometimes happens on race day :-/

    If it truly was a side stitch, then my guess is that you went out too fast. That is always what causes side stitches for me, and it looks like after two miles you were already well below goal pace. But the fact that it still hurts you the day after the race is concerning – I'm wondering if it's something else entirely. I've had abdominal pain in runs before but nothing that lasted that long. Has this ever happened to you before? I hope you start to feel better!!

    I don't think it would be fair to use this time to guide your marathon training since you know you can do better….maybe plug your time at 10 miles into the calculator, as if you ran a 10 mile race? At that point you were still on pace for your goal and feeling good so it should still be accurate


  3. Congrats on your race! I know you didn't hit your time, but you still ran 13 miles!

    I have issues with side stitches too! Mine, I think, are related to dehydration and it's usually if I'm running in the afternoon versus the morning. I don't really know why I get them, but I feel your frustration!


  4. Yes, this has happened before, with the pain continuing the next couple days as well. I'm feeling mostly better now, just some slight residual pain.

    Also thank you so much for your support! I feel like I really could have done better, but it is hard to know if my training really supported my goals or if I was overconfident with my goal setting. It is nice to be reassured that Saturday just wasn't my day and I could probably/hopefully do better next time.


  5. Thank you!

    I haven't noticed a difference between morning vs afternoon running, but mine have only happened during races. I almost wish they happened in training so I could try to fix them, but so far just on race day. Well, at least I am not alone!


  6. Aww Heather I'm sorry things didn't go your way. It seemed like you were pacing well within your abilities during the first 10 miles. 2 possible causes for the side stich. 1) Were you taking in fluid before this happened? Could you have drank too much too quickly? 2)How was your breathing right befoe the pain? When I get a side stitch, I will try to forcefully exhale out through my mouth. and try really hard to not inhale forcefully. Something about getting rid of excess air from your stomach.
    The reason you may only be experienceing it during a race, is because during a race you are giving 100% and you just can't mimic those conditions in training.

    I hope you don't beat yourself up too much. PRs in the summer are hard to come by.


  7. I am so sorry to hear the race didn't go the way you wanted 😦 Believe me when I say that I totally understand how you feel. I know how heartbreaking it can be! I don't think this means you can't run the goal time you had for yourself – sometimes, we just don't have it on that day. I think that's what happened to me a few weeks ago, and unfortunately what happened to you at this race. I love running, but the one thing I hate about it are all of the variables you can't control. You can control things like your training, diet, etc. But there is so much you can't control and that's what often determines how a race goes down. You WILL get your goal time SOON! And btw, a 1:47 is an amazing time. You rock!


  8. Thanks, Dolly. I'm actually starting to feel okay about the race. The initial disappointment has worn off and I starting to focus on what I can do better next time. It is really nice to hear that the pacing seemed to be within my abilities. I sometimes worry that I am overestimating my abilities and setting unreasonable goals.

    I don't think it was drinking too much water. I've made that mistake in the past, so if anything I was probably drinking too little. I'll try to remember your breathing tip for next time, hopefully that helps.


  9. Thanks, Allison. At least we can commiserate together about our bad races and hopefully this means we are both due for PRs at our next races 🙂

    You're right, in running you just can't control every variable. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist so sometimes it is hard for me to look at the big picture (1:47 is awesome!) instead of focusing on just what went wrong.


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