Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Race Report

Rewind time to October 2017.  I just finished the Loony Challenge and completed the 10 mile portion of the race when I uttered the words “This is my last race ever”.  It wasn’t 2 hours later and my evil and awesome friends had different plans for me.  The Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth was having an open registration for the first time ever!  Which meant no random lottery to select participants.  This race has historically been one of the hardest races I have tried to get into.  I have been rejected several times because my name was never randomly drawn.  As appealing as it was to jump on board, I still was not sold.  Meanwhile, my friends were all ready to hit the confirm payment button and they were bullying urging me to sign up with them.

I knew I would not have ample time to train.  Committing to extra scheduling during hockey season is just plain stupid.  Plus I really hate running on the snow and ice.  I also knew that this race would fill up in a matter of minutes so I had to make a quick decision.  Knowing myself, I would feel really bad if my friends were all doing the race and I wasn’t.  So I caved to my bully friends and signed up.


Eight months later, I found myself toeing the line of the half marathon start.  I felt sick for what was about to happen.  I quite literally had to find my running shoes that had not been worn since October and I had to buy a new charger for my Garmin that was stashed in a drawer.  In other words, I did not run one single mile to prepare for this race.  It was going to be PAINFUL.  The gun went off and I started to move.

Pre-Race Selfie with the crew and a photo bomber!

Miles 1-8:  I actually felt okay.  I ran the first half mile then when 2 minutes of running and one minute of walking…unless there was an uphill (there were a few) or if there was a water stop (lots of them too).  I even ran into a few people I knew on the course after my friends left me in the dust.

Miles 9-11:  My back and my legs started cramping.  My foot starting feeling pain and I cursed the fact I was wearing 3 year old shoes that died a long time ago.  I cursed myself for signing up.  I cursed myself for not training.  I really was praying for the race to be over.  I knew quitting wasn’t an option because I would never live it down from my husband.  I didn’t want to hear the words “I told you so” come out of his smug mouth.

Miles 12-13:  I was too far in to drop out even though I was completely over the run.  The route that I knew from past experience was redirected into the bowels of Duluth.  It was a steep downhill on concrete with a steep uphill to get out of it.  My finish line song came on prematurely and I chose to keep hitting the back button so I would have it handy when I crossed that finish line.  In case you are wondering, my finish line song is American Bad Ass by Kid Rock.

Final .1 Mile:  I truly gave it all I had.  I had nothing more and crossed the finish line on jelly legs, sore foot/ankle, and every muscle in my body screaming and seizing up on me.  I finished the race to the lyrics of American Badass “I know it stinks in here, because I’m the shit”.  I could not agree more!  The moment I stepped on the final timing sensor, I saw a text come through on my watch from my husband congratulating me.

Final time:  3:01:45.  Not my worst and it was far from my best.

What did I learn from this experience:

  •  You CAN run a half marathon with zero training.
  • I do NOT recommend running a half marathon with zero training.  Respect the distance, respect your body.
  • Marathon photographers really get flattering photos.  These photos are both horrifying and hilarious.



I would like to say this is my last race but it was so much miserable fun that I know I will do it again.  I will leave with my famous last words…

“Next time, I WILL train”


Winter Storm Warning

As I scroll through my Facebook and Instagram accounts I see some of my friends frolicking in the sun and surf getting away from our tundra.  I see other friends that live in the South wearing shorts and flip flops.  I am sending these people a silent salute with my middle figure because I we are getting dumped on with snow today.

It is still very much Winter here in Minnesota.  We are predicted to accumulate 5-7″.  It is not big storm, but enough to make things good and messy.  At least the temps tend to be a bit warmer this time of year so the kids can go out and play in it.


Warmer or not, I am over Winter.  The Holidays are done, hockey seasons are coming to an end, and the Spring collections are out in the stores.  In this neck of the woods, we are still bundled up in our parkas stomping around in our heavy boots (and will be for at least another month).   I really yearn for green grass and leaves on the trees.  It seems like a long, long way away.

I do have to say I am pretty impressed that I am prepared for this line of weather.  I hit up the stores last night to get my winter storm essentials.  I got there before the crazy rush and got just left with the important things (booze, TP, and snacks).   I have a set Winter Storm Checklist that I follow in case of inclement weather to ensure we ride out the conditions with some level of comfort.  One can never be too prepared.

Carly’s Winter Storm Checklist

  • Beer, wine, liquor, and assorted drink mixers  (a MUST for being stuck inside, and yes it is NUMERO UNO on the list)
  • Ice for cocktails
  • Snowstorm Nutrition:  Doritos, Top the Tater, and Pizza Rolls
  • Cookies or Other Baked Treats
  • Vat of hot soup or chili (Comfort food)
  • Coffee and Toilet Paper (Staples that keep us from killing each other)
  • Netflix (binge worthy series)
  • Snowblower, Shovel, and Car Scraper Brushes
  • Gas for Snowblower
  • Child Labor to Dig out Driveway for Quick Exit to Hockey Practice
  • Hot Chocolate (for the kids and maybe my homemade Irish Crème)

I am not sure if am bummed out or excited that the snow is hitting us on weekend versus a weekday.  There is something fun about the anticipation of a snow day where school is called off.  Since I don’t see a snowmageddon in the forecast, our normal activities are in still on.  My daughter and I both have hockey games tonight.  We could get a foot of snow and hockey still would not be canceled.  Hockey never gets canceled as ice time is precious.  After the games, I plan on putting on cozy PJs, having a delicious Dirty Martini, and watching one of the many shows I have in my Netflix’s queue.  I am going to chose to enjoy it.

If we have to get the snow, lets make it really worth our time by getting a couple of feet of snow and set some records. Go big or go home is my motto.