Merco Credit Union Half Marathon Race Recap

Since I ran this half marathon 3 weekends ago, it’s about time I post a recap…woops.

merco credit union half marathon merced

In my defense, I had finals and then my baby sister graduated college the following weekend so I was quite busy :)

annie graduation uci

Photo cred- my dad

Also, check back tomorrow in a week (sorry, hit a road bump) for a GIVEAWAY+my bathroom update (I redecorated. Not a poop story)!!

Back to the recap.

My super amazing and generous runner friend Michelle was pacing this event. She kindly offered me a race entry! At first I wasn’t sure about this race. It’s pretty far away from where I live (>2 hours) and kind of in the middle of no where. In the end I (obviously) decided to do the race because it’s kind of close to where my grandpa lives and this way he could watch!

Day before race day

I was very good about hydrating. This race was supposed to be HOT, and I’m a heavy sweater. I kept my Calorie intake normal, but I shifted my carb:protein:fat ratios so that I was eating more carbs. Also eliminated “dangerous” fibery foods i.e. foods that could make a runner’s butt explode at mile 6.

Race day

Wake up was 4 AM because the race started at 6:30AM. That was a fun conversation to have with my family (who came to watch). I just casually slipped that into the conversation and ran away before they knew what hit them.

I ate my usual bagel and banana, plus a glass of Nuun. Typically I eat almond/peanut butter on top of the bagel but I just couldn’t force any more food down. Not easy to eat that early!

We left my grandpa’s house a little after 5 AM and drove to UC Merced (the race start/finish). When we arrived, I started to get nervous because I still had to pick up my race bib. I discovered I had no reason to worry, as this was an incredibly small race and I was ready to go in 5 minutes. I made a trip to the porta-potties, which had NO LINE. That was a first for me. (My second trip had a small line)

The race announcer was great and reminded us of the markings on the course (that indicated where we should be running). This race didn’t have corrals, but instead you lined up near the pacers who had nice signs indicating your desired finish time. Yep,honor system…

I decided to line up between the 1:50 and 2:00 pacers. I kept inching closer to the 1:50 pacer, because based on past experiences, runners lie and I end up spending the first few miles weaving.

The race started right on time. We took off and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with the 1:50 group for very long. I already felt thirsty and I just didn’t put in the training. I told myself just to stay with them as long as I could and then drop back and hold a steady pace.

Miles 1-4: 8:12, 8:25, 8:40, 8:52

I stayed with the 1:50ers until probably around miles 4-5. I still felt good but I was getting thirstier by the minute. I started walking through the aid stations and finally lost the 1:50 pace group. Twas for the best. After that, I just told myself not to ever let the 2:00 pacer pass me. I got in a good rhythm and just chugged along.

merco credit union half marathon merced

That’s me in the pink and dorky white hat. I still felt strong but was way too hot and thirsty for that early in a race!

Miles 5-8: 8:52, 8:54, 9:04, 9:03

The race started to get more challenging for me. After 6ish miles, I was running by myself. This was a small race, so the crowds thinned out quickly. I find that it’s much harder to push yourself when no one is around. It’s also not incredibly scenic, so that was mentally challenging too. Plus, as I said before, I was sweating like it was my job. I think one of my favorite parts was when my grandpa yelled, “I can walk faster than that!” at me.

merco credit union half marathon merced

By this point, I knew I could break 2 hours if I just hit certain miles by a certain time. I knew a PR wasn’t in the cards because a) I was just sweating too much and could tell I was getting slightly dehydrated and b) I didn’t put in the training.

At every aid station I was grabbing water and Gatorade. Gatorade for drinking and water for pouring on my face/shirt. Reason #37 why NOT to wear a white shirt for a race.

Miles 9-11: 9:10, 9:24, 9:46

I definitely slowed down. We kept running through large sections without any shade. That really slowed me down.

By this point, I realized I was actually pretty close to a PR. I couldn’t do the math because I didn’t start my watch on time at the beginning of the race. But mostly because I couldn’t use my toes to count- since my shoes were on and all.

I pushed myself as hard as I could. Luckily I ran into a small crowd of runners who really pushed me! Everyone was so friendly and as soon as someone passed you, you would cheer them on. Loved it!

Of course the end of the race (part of mile 12 and the very end) was uphill. A very slow and steady incline, but still cruel enough ;) Actually, if you look in this photo that was at the beginning of my post, you can see the finish line in the background. You see that incline?

merco credit union half marathon merced

Miles 12-13: 9:35, 9:17

Official time: 1:58:02, 9:00 pace.

I was pleasantly surprised! I ran a lot faster than I thought I would, and actually came in 4th in my age group. The only bummer- I was ~30 sec. off of a PR!! Next time ;) I know I didn’t put in the training to deserve a PR, so I shouldn’t expect one.

After I crossed the finish line, downed 2 bottles of water and met up with my family, I waited for the awesome Michelle to cross the finish line.

merco credit union half marathon merced

She paced her group perfectly! And annoyingly looks like she didn’t even run ;)

HUGE thank you to Michelle for inviting me to this race!!! I’m glad my grandpa got to watch :) Also huge thank you to my family/Kyle for waking up at the buttcrack of nothing to watch me sweat profusely.

Overall thoughts:


A very well organized, small, and basically flat race. The volunteers were wonderful, pacers were awesome, the aid stations were spaced perfectly (for me at least), and the runners were all very friendly. Packet pickup on race day and parking were a breeze. Our medals and tech-tees were very nice, and they passed out ice cream (among bagels, bars, and fruit) at the finish! Too bad ice cream sounded awful at 8:30AM after running 13.1 miles.


Very far away from where I live. The race is kind of in the middle of nowhere so it can take a while to get there. The heat (hence the 6:30AM start), lack of scenery, and lack of runners can be mentally challenging.

Can you eat ice cream after a race? Sorry, but dairy-based foods sound awful to me after running…

How well do you run in the heat? I’m kind of a wimp.

What is mentally challenging for you in a race?

Little tiny bugs that destroy my wallet

Right now I’m in the middle of finals, so obviously I’m procrastinating like it’s my job. Kyle and I keep waiting for a calm weekend, but we don’t have one for at least a month!

My half marathon is this coming weekend (yikes)! Didn’t train as hard as I would have liked to so I’m not expecting a PR. Just going to try hard and have fun! Saturday I had my last long run for this training cycle.

run path

It was something over 10 miles, but I have no idea because my watch died. It was supposed to be an easy run, but towards the end of the run when I got the low battery warning, I tried to pick up the pace to finish before it died. Anyone else do that? Or are you smart enough to charge your electronics…

Sidebar- I’ve decided that after this half marathon, I want to stop focusing on running and focus on strength training for a few months. Whaaat? Before you freak out, I will still do a few runs throughout the week so I don’t lose most of my endurance, but I want get back to strength training.

Before I became a runner, Kyle and I used to go to the gym a ton and lift weights. I miss that and given my current schedule, I just don’t have time to focus on both. I’m hoping I can convince him to do P90X with me :)

Like I said- I’m not quitting running. Just taking a break for a few months.

Later on Saturday, Kyle and I went to a wine party at our neighbors’ house. It made me feel so grown up, until my eyes immediately gravitated towards the cookie plate like a 5 year old. BUT I was a big girl and I didn’t touch them because…

after the party, we went to dinner to celebrate my uncle’s birthday. And there was cake. Because it’s not a birthday without cake.

cake dessert

Oh, and low point of Saturday- I was in class and dropped my pen on the floor. When I reached down to grab it, I noticed a weird pile of black shavings (kind of looked like coffee grounds). I told Kyle later and he took a look at it. Termites. Fun. Oh the joys of homeownership. Because with grad school and house payments, I really wanted to spend money on little tiny bugs that like to eat my home.

On Sunday, Kyle and I woke up early to drive to Sacramento where we were picking up tires/wheels for his car. Yeah…I don’t ask with his car projects anymore. I just say, “Yes dear. Want some company?” ;)

kyle tires sacramento

After tire pickup (never thought I would say that sentence), we went to the restaurant that my parents are investors in. I forgot to take photos of our food like a good blogger, but here’s one from the last time we went.

dessert mango sorbet

We ordered so much food, I know the chef was judging us.

We didn’t have much time to spend in Sac, but we at least got to walk through this pretty park.

me kyle sac


And the rest of my day was spent meal prepping for the week and doing homework.

Do you like running or strength training more?

Are you a birthday cake person? Kyle is indifferent about it- that was almost a deal breaker ;)

Have you ever had termites? I hope not…

Simple Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt Pops

Simple Strawberry frozen Yoghurt Pops


Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 2 mile jog with the pup (all I had time for- class day)

Wednesday: 5K runch

Today: Speedwork (hopefully). Felt some weird/sharp heel pain during yesterday’s run so I’m only going to run if my foot feels good. Otherwise- strength training.


Right now we have one of my favorite house guests visiting.


Sienna is staying with us for the week. For those of you who don’t know, Sienna is the family dog that I wasn’t allowed to take with me when I moved out of my parents’ house. Boo. So I like to steal her at least 1x/month for sleepovers. Totally normal.

On to the delicious frozen treats!

Kyle and I are going to Hawaii this summer, so I’ve been trying to be extra good when it comes to eating. Unfortunately I have a major sweet tooth and sometimes get crazy dessert cravings. Luckily, if we don’t keep desserts in the house, I simply don’t eat them. BUT (ladies- back me up on this) there’s always a certain part of the month where I HAVE to have something sweet. Enter, delicious, homemade, simple, strawberry frozen yoghurt pops! These only have 5 ingredients!

I wanted to create a simple and healthier frozen treat that would satisfy my dessert craving and have a little protein. I decided to use Mountain High Yoghurt as the base!

mountain high yoghurt

Check out their Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram Pages for more recipe ideas!

I love Mountain High because they use simple ingredients for their product. Plus, they use milk from farms that never treat the cows with growth hormones!

If you’re interested, click here to get a free coupon for Mountain High Yoghurt (scroll to the bottom and subscribe).

NOTE: You will need a blender (or food processor) and popsicle molds for this recipe! Legoland popsicle mold not included ;)

Simple Strawberry Vanilla Yoghurt PopsSimple Strawberry Vanilla Yoghurt Pops

Simple Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt Pops

  • Servings: ~6 pops
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Simple Strawberry frozen Yoghurt Pops

  • 1 cup Mountain High Vanilla (or Plain) Yoghurt
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice


  1. If using frozen strawberries, you may want to thaw them in the microwave for ~20 seconds. I did not need to do this step and the pops turned out great.
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into popsicle mold.
  4. Freeze >8 hours. Freeze time will depend on size of popsicles.
  5. Enjoy!

I hope you love these as much as I do!

Thanks to Mountain High Yoghurt for sponsoring today’s post!

Check out their Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram Pages for more recipe ideas!