I was a little short on training for this race due to my gimpy sore foot, so beforehand I was a bit nervous about how well I would do – I hadn’t gotten in much training at all since RnR. I didn’t want to try to shoot for a new PR or anything and re-injure myself; I mostly just wanted to enjoy the race.
I decided to wear my new running underwear (henceforth dubbed “runderwear”) – yeah, I’ve been wearing cotton ones this whole time! For shame!
The day of the race I was up on time (somehow), staggered into my outfit, chugged some coffee, and caught my pre-ordered cab at 5:30. It turns out I was a liiiiittle overzealous on the whole getting-there-early thing as there were literally only 2 other racers there when I showed up – the three of us and a bunch of groggy volunteers who were still in the process of setting up the vendor booths and check-in areas. Since I apparently had time to kill I wandered over to the empty portapotties (most of which were still zip-tied shut) and tried to do my morning pre-race business if you know what I mean, then moseyed over to the Gasworks park lookout toward Seattle and snapped some photos.
I returned to the portapotties (still empty at this point) and was able to get ye ole pre-race-business done finally. When I re-emerged there were a handful more runners wandering around the grounds. I realized I probably could have slept another half hour or so and still had plenty of time… curses!
As race time drew near the bathroom lines exploded into behemoths of epic proportions. That’s one awesome thing about being early, I guess – I did not have to deal with that craziness at all.
I checked my bag and wandered around freezing until the somewhat weird 80’s style warmup began.
Then without much fanfare (or pace markers, or staggered start, or etc) we were off like a raging stampede of buffalos!
Since we weren’t really organized in any way, the start was a mess – walkers mixed with runners (agh!), slower folks in front of the speedy folks, 2000 ladies crammed onto a 5-foot-wide path. It was a bit frenetic. There were a pair of sisters right in front of me in matching pink-skirt outfits that I followed for awhile – I only realized after reading recaps online that it was Tall Mom on the Run and her sister, who was running her first half! I followed them across the Fremont bridge and down underneath to the first out-and-back portion of the course.
I hate out-and-backs – something about them is just kind of mentally depressing. Add to that the fact the racers coming back the other way were fighting upstream against the massive wave of the field behind them and it was a bit of a mess. I realized this when I saw the “official race vehicle” bicycles coming back at us with the speedy ladies directly behind them. Eek! the concrete was also kind of uneven on this part of the course and I found myself staring at the ground, trying not to stumble over it.
Eventually though we were back up on the roads, diverting off to the sidewalks heading south toward the bottom of lake union. These miles felt OK, my foot wasn’t giving me any trouble and my energy seemed to be fine. I took Gu number 1 (chocolate mint flavor…. mmmmmm) at mile 4.5, and realized in glancing at Henry the Garmin after I’d finished it that it took me .3 miles to eat the whole thing, heh! (I do like the delicious distraction…)
The first course photographer I’d seen was around this part of the race…
I gotta work on that wack stride of mine…. I don’t even know how I manage to run like that >_>
Around mile 5.5 we looped around the bottom of the lake and started heading back north. I was using the same mental trick I employed at RnR – counting down the first 10 miles and treating the final 3.1 like a final 5k. We hit mile 6 – 4 miles left in the first 10! I was still feeling pretty good at this point and there were some spectators along this part of the course cheering.
Around mile 7 there was a nasty hill going up to the right onto some residential streets – I let myself walk it, and then flew down the hill on the other side. I was starting to feeeel it and when we hit a looong uphill slog of a bridge right about at mile 8, I could feel the wheels starting to fall off. I walked up the whole long bridge, which was about 4/10 of a mile. Once we reached the top, though, there was a nice long downhill awaiting on the other side, and I let myself fly down it.
Somewhere around here we ended up on some funky back roads, and I really started to feel the fruits of my undertraining over the last 3 weeks. The roads were a bit uneven and we chugged down into an alley and back up, and I could feel the energy seeping out of me. We ran by Gasworks park and the mile 9 marker. At 9.5 I chomped down my final Gu – chocolate frosting flavor, yesssss. Mile 10 passed – onto the final 5k!
I was puttering along on fumes at this point and allowing myself 1 min walk breaks at the start of each mile (though I may or may not have taken one 2-minute break). We were on the final out-and-back of the course, heading up the Burke-Gilman trail. Again, I despise out and backs, and in a race it’s even worse because you can see all the runners ahead of you, and keep anticipating seeing them turning around, and it seems to take FOREVAR for that turnaround point to come. I just kept chugging along, telling myself “slow running is better than walking” and pleading with my body to keep going. The turnaround finally came around mile 11.2ish. I followed a lady in a blue tank top for awhile who was keeping up about a 10:45 pace, and tried to get myself to stick with her, but lost her when I opted to walk through the mile 12 water stop. FINAL MILE!
Oof, this final mile was rough! I wanted to walk sooo badly and people on the side of the road chanting “you’re almost there” wasn’t quite helping when I could see I still had a half mile or so to go on the Garmin. I tried to summon a finishing kick as we came around to Gasworks Park again only to discover we had to run THROUGH the park to get back to the finish line. GAH! A little hill right after we entered the park didn’t help at all and I felt my energy sapping again. I could see the finish line off in the distance. I was slowly gaining on a girl in front of me but I didn’t think I would catch her before the finish line – until a guy on the sidelines called out to me “pass her! pass her!” I glanced at him and kicked it into high gear. He gave me a thumbs up as I flew past her and on to the finish. Thanks, random guy!
Gosh I was tired! It wasn’t my fastest race, but not my slowest either – I clocked a 2:31:26 (strangely, my Garmin time and chip time were identical! woo!) for 13.18 miles.
They had a photog taking post-race photos and in spite of the lessons learned at RnR, I did the ridiculous arm-thing again:
I snagged post-race water and food and moseyed to the champagne area. The champagne was extremely delicious right after the race… I will have to remember this ;D The vendor booths were good and I happily took advantage of the free ART massages being offered. The only spot available when it was my turn was the table out in the rain, but I couldn’t have cared less at that point! The massage was awesomeness and worth every minute I spent laying there getting drenched.
All in all it was a pretty good race, there were some things that could be improved (more portapotties, a staggered/organized start, no out-and-backs on a 5 foot wide trail, avoiding some of the rough/weird side streets and alleys) but there was a lot of good about the race as well, and I totally dug the chocolate and champagne at the end. The race shirts were also awesome (A great purple color and nice fit). Not sure I’d do the race next year unless they improve some of the more negative aspects.