Red, White, & Boom! Pikermi

It is no secret that I don’t love the name ‘half-marathon’ for a 13.1 mile running event. Mathematically, I get it– it is half the distance of the marathon. But it doesn’t exactly feel like half of anything. In fact, when I ran the Twin Cities Marathon in 2011 and I got to the halfway point, I didn’t think, “Oh. Halfway! That was easy.” I thought, “Lord have mercy, I have to do that again? Right now?!”

Turns out, I am not alone. There is a whole group of people who think that 13.1 miles is no joke. They are Team Pikermi.

Pikermi is the town at the midpoint of the infamous run from Marathon to Athens, completed by the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a character that every non-runner reminds you died at the end of his run. The idea behind giving the half-marathon its own name is a good one. First, every other race distance has its own name. Sure, most of them are just a representation of the distance (5K, 10K, etc), but still. You would never enter a 5K that was billed as a half-10K, right? Anyway, I am going to start trying to refer to all half-marathons as pikermis (pee-ker-mees). Plus, it’s super fun to say.

Anyway, all this to say I am running a pikermi on Friday– the Red, White, and Boom! TC Half Marathon. Training has been mostly good. I have had exactly zero injuries, which seems to never happen. I did struggle in early June when summer rolled in with some serious humidity. I haven’t really learned how to overcome or compensate for that, so I am feeling pretty grateful that July is rolling in with unseasonably cool temperatures.

This week’s event is a chance for me to redeem myself a bit from the Fargo Half last year. An unforeseen injury at Mile 4, a course I was unprepared for (why are we turning every. two. blocks?!), and some bizarre weather patterns made that one of my worst events yet. Which sort of spoiled the whole “first half-marathon pikermi” thing. My friend Andrea sets A, B, C goals for her running events and I loved the idea. I think of it like this:

  • The A Goal is what you wish to happen if the stars align in your favor. Good weather, fresh legs, perfect peanut butter to toast ratio at breakfast, etc. This is the best possible race day outcome.
  • The B Goal is what you think will happen if things go typically. Race pace is consistent with training, starting corral crowds slow you down at the start (as expected), you walk through water stations, etc.
  • The C Goal is what you can live with if all else goes belly up. It’s the “at the end of the day, what matters?” goal. This is the cramping, surprise GI issues goal. Gross, I know. Sorry.

My goals for Red, White, & Boom! are:

  • A Goal: Finish under 2:20. That’s a 10:40 pace, there seems to be only 1 big hill on the course and the 2nd half of the course seems to be mostly downhill. I think this is doable.
  • B Goal: Finish under 2:38:50. That’s my abysmal Fargo time. It would be a great confidence booster to bust that and earn a PR.
  • C Goal: Run confidently. I am a slow runner, and when I am out training I am okay with that. But when I run events I get self-conscious about the faster runners and being a habitual “back of the pack-er.” I really want to spend Friday morning running my own race.

Here we go!


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