I ran my first half marathon of 2013 on Sunday, along with fellow Ragnar ultra teammates Robyn and Lauren. By now, I was supposed to have run 2 or 3 half marathons in 2013 but my work and personal travel plans kept getting in the way.
Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of joining the Seattle Green Lake Running Group for my last run before the half. Sara and I got there a little early and ran 3 miles around the lake before joining the group before a second 3 mile lap. I left my Garmin in my car so had no idea where my pace was and kept speeding up to 8:30 and 9:00 min miles, which is fast for me and not necessarily what I wanted to do a couple of days before my race. I didn’t run or work out at all on Friday or Saturday in order to allow my legs to rest.
Pre-race: I skipped the expo since some evil person decided to close both the 520 bridge and 405 N, pretty much creating traffic hell for us Eastsiders wanting to go over to Seattle. I decided to wake up at the ass-crack of dawn (5:30) and head over in order to beat traffic and find a parking space. I wore my Oiselle Winona tank and my gray roga shorts and it’s probably the most comfortable race day outfit I’ve ever worn. I also decided to carry a handheld water bottle rather than my usual water belt which was a bit risky given that I’ve never run more than 5 miles with my handheld but it was fine for a half marathon. I would’ve been grumpy if I had stupidly run with a handheld for a full marathon.
On the way over, I hate some peanut butter crackers and a cherry pop tart. Not the healthiest pre-race meal but I didn’t feel like eating oatmeal. I was able to grab a space right at Gas Works Park which is nice since I haven’t figured out the whole parallel parking thing.
It was a gorgeous morning and I’m so glad that I got there early to enjoy the scenery. Another plus: the lines for packet pick up and the honey buckets were non-existent. The line got pretty long toward the start of the race. I knew it was going to be a warm race since I didn’t need to wear my jacket at 7am. I ran over to my car and dropped my jacket off so never used bag check. I ran into Julie and her husband before the race and chatted with them for a while.
I lined up in the 9-11 minute mile group and cranked my iPod up while waiting to go. I wasn’t nervous for this race since I didn’t have any intention of setting a PR, given that Ragnar is coming up this weekend. My only goal was to run a consistent, even pace which didn’t happen. My pace was all over the place, ranging from 9:20 to 10:00.
The course traveled around Lake Union and was really scenic and flat, minus a short but steep hill around mile 7. As you can see from the map, there were a couple of out and backs, although I didn’t mind them since it gave me a chance to see the super speedy ladies, including the 16-year-old girl who won the race. I saw Robin early in the race and she was flying and placed 26th!
Here’s a breakdown of how I felt during the race:
Miles 1-3: My legs weren’t feeling that great and felt kind of heavy, despite resting on Friday and Saturday. We got to experience our first out and back during this part of the race and I picked up speed when I saw the effort the fast ladies were putting in. I also got to see Lauren for the first during the turnaround. I think it was during this part of the race that I noticed the mileage wasn’t matching up to the signs.
Miles 4-6: The race started to thin out around during the middle miles. There was some decent shade in some areas which I definitely appreciated. My stomach started to grumble right around mile 6 which was a little annoying.
Miles 7-10: Lauren and her friend passed me at exactly 6.98 miles since she called out to me and asked what my Garmin said. We knew at this point that the mileage wasn’t adding up. I encountered the short, steep hill around mile 7.5 ish and it wasn’t that bad, except the downhill was a little scary so I slammed the breaks on pretty fast. Heading into mile 10, I passed the parking lot and the finish line. It’s always tough seeing the finish line knowing that you have 3 miles to go. I also saw Rira around mile 10 – seeing her perked me up and she also snapped this awesome photo. So much better than the “official” race photography.
Miles 11 – 12.86: I was ready to be done with the race during the last couple of miles. It was getting warm and my sunscreen started getting into my eyes and stinging. I was very thankful to have Lauren and her friend right in front of me. I followed both of them the last couple of miles and didn’t even think about my pace. I’m not sure what the temperature was around 10am when I finished but the sun was out and my race was covered in salt. I also realized that I neglected to eat my sports beans which I meant to eat around mile 8 or 9. I need to be better about fueling during races. During Marine Corps, I didn’t start eating my sports beans until mile 15. I did stop at all the water stations and grab guzzle some water. By the way, great job volunteers!
When I finished, my Garmin said 12.86! It’s the first time I’ve ever run a race that’s been short. Grr. It’s a good thing I wasn’t trying to PR this course since it wouldn’t be a “real” PR. I finished in 2:08, which is behind my 2:06 time for the Labor Day Half and faster than my 2:17 at Seawheeze and 2:19 at Rock ‘n Roll. I’d like to run a sub 2:00 half at some point but I’m not going to attempt it until after Chicago so it will likely be a 2014 goal. I didn’t feel too tired after I finished, at least compared to the halves I ran last year which is a good sign.
Once I finished, I met up with Lauren and plopped down on the grass just on the other side of the finish line and started stretching and taking pictures.
I eventually got up and wandered around to grab food and samples. I got a cup of pretzels, a bagel slice, peanut butter and my champagne glass with chocolates. Since it was so hot, I wasn’t in the mood for chocolate or champagne. After the race, I headed home and the journey was a cluster*(#$&. Remember how an evil person decided to close 520 and 405 North? Because of the closures, there was a ton of traffic and the route was extra long. Even though I had 50 miles worth of gas in my tank when I left my house in the morning, I was starting to run on empty and I realized I left my purse and wallet at home. (*#&$(#*&%(*#&%(*#. I made it to a gas station in Factoria and had to call my husband and ask him to bring my purse so I could fill my car with gas. I was starving so I started eating the See’s chocolates from the race which tasted great but upset my stomach. Thank goodness that the Shell gas station in Factoria has a nice, clean bathroom since I had the fun of being stuck in the bathroom for 25 minutes. Ugh. I just wanted to go home and curl into a ball.
Here’s a quick summary of my thoughts on the race:
Pros: Scenic course, loved running a female-focused race, parking was easy, loved the chocolates at the end, like the t-shirt, great volunteer support
Cons: Course was only 12.86 miles (huge con), couldn’t find elevation chart on the site before the race, not very much crowd support (didn’t bother me but it might bother others)
Coming up on the blog: Ragnar Ultra with team Six Pack with a Rack and my first time at Jasyoga