See Jane Run Seattle Half Marathon Recap

Stretching at Seattle Greenlake Running Group

Social stretching

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.

Seattle view from Gas Works park See Jane Run Seattle Porta Potties

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!

See Jane Run Seattle Course Map

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.

See Jane Run Seattle Half Marathon

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.

See Jane Half Marathon Seattle Finish Line

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.

Seattle See Jane Run Half Marathon finish

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.

See Jane Run Seattle champagne te

See Jane Run Seattle Half Marathon shirt

medal2

 

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

Holiday Weekend Recap

This was one of the best 4th of July holiday weekends weather-wise that we’ve had in the Seattle area so I definitely spent as much time as possible outside, working on my runner’s tan. On the morning of the 4th of July, I joined the Seattle Green Lake Running Group for a little jaunt around the lake. As you can see from the photo below, everyone was decked in their finest red, white and blue athletic apparel. I ran two laps around the lake for a total of 6.13 miles. Everyone in the group is so nice (and very speedy) and despite the fact that it’s a little bit of a haul from the Eastside, I’ll definitely be back to join them for more runs.

Seattle Green Lake Running Group

Seattle Green Lake Running Group decked out for the 4th of July

I was a little short on mileage for my weekday runs so doubled up and ran 4 miles in the evening, close to dusk. My legs were feeling great so I decided to make this run a tempo run which was a bad mistakes. My shins started screaming and towards the end of the run, I could barely walk. I came home, iced my legs and immediately put them into compression sleeves. I did the next logical thing any runner would do and started researching the difference between shin splints, stress fractures and compartment syndrome. Thanks to the powers of the Internet, I did the one-legged hop test and realized I just have a gnarly case of shin splints. The husband and I skipped fireworks since he came down with a cold and went to bed early. Continue reading

#SixPackWithaRack

I’ve never run a relay so I decided for my very first one, I might as well make it an ultra. On July 19th, my Ragnar Ultra Team will be covering 200 miles as part of Ragnar Northwest Passage, starting near the Canadian border and continuing down to Whidbey Island. Lauren pulled together the team and Rira, Robyn, Bethany and Jessey were all crazy enough to join the fun. I’m runner #3 and will my legs are 12.6 miles, another 12.6 and 8 miles. I’m in awe (and thankful!) of my fellow teammates that took the hard mileage. I think Robyn and Jessey have a 16 or 17 mile run, in addition to all the other miles they have to run. I’m not going to lie… I’m perhaps a tad nervous about this one. I know it’s going to be a blast hanging out with these ladies for 30+ hours but I’m hoping that I don’t slow us down too much and/or pass out on the side of the road in the heat.

Sidenote: Special shoutout for Lauren to being such an organized team leader. Thanks for all your hard work!

Oh, and here’s our meetup photo from May’s Miles and Margs where Lauren suckered/convinced Robyn and Rira into signing up. (Photo stolen from Stacie).Image

So about this training for Ragnar thing. I googled “train for a Ragnar ultra” and there isn’t exactly a Hal Hidgon “run an ultra relay race” plan so I’ve just been following my scheduled marathon plan. I did come across another runner’s blog that said you shouldn’t run an ultra relay unless you’re already in marathon shape. I am nowhere near marathon shape right now. Gulp. I reached a total of 26 miles in training last week and rearranged my weekend run to do longer back to backs. I skipped a 3-mile run during the week and combined it with my Sunday 3-mile run, for a total of 10 miles on Saturday and 6 miles on Sunday. I woke up at 6 am on Saturday to get my run in before it got too warm, despite the fact that I love sleeping in until 7:30 or 8am on the weekends. I let myself sleep in on Sunday which meant I had to do my 6 miles at the gym since it hit 95 degrees in Redmond.

My mileage is increasing to 28.5 this week, with 4 miles tomorrow, 6 on Wednesday, 4 on Thursday, 11 on Saturday and 3.5 on Sunday. I’m going to attempt to run my 4 miles outside in the 80 degree weather since it might be good conditioning for Ragnar. I grew up in Florida and my fellow native Floridians would be ashamed of me if they knew what a heat wimp I’ve become. In my defense, I haven’t lived in Florida since 2002 and my body has definitely adjusted to Seattle’s moderate temperatures. 

If you have any tips for surviving an ultra relay race, let me know. These are a few of the tips that I’ve read on other blogs:

1) Eat as much food as possible for an ultra relay, especially protein
2) Bring Immodium to help with stomach issues
3) Baby wipes. We won’t have time to shower so this will help reduce the stink
4) Put outfits into zip block bags and label them for each leg

I’ll post my full packing list when it gets closer. Any other tips?? I’d love to hear them!

Too Much Cowbell

Instead of running the Seattle Rock ‘n Roll this year, I decided to help hydrate runners with Nuun and cheer with some blog & Twitter friends. I’ve never cheered or volunteered at a race this big and it was so much fun. Can I please do it again this weekend?

Anyway, to recap the day: I woke up bright and early at 5:45 (insert Grumpy Cat face here). I made it over to the International District pretty fast, despite the fact that many roads and exits were closed. I decided to wear some capris and my long sleeve Marine Corps Marathon shirt, thinking it would be chilly most of the morning. After all, it’s June in Seattle. After standing around for 15 minutes, I realized how warm it was getting and I felt bad for the runners, especially the marathoners. It was so cool being able to see the elite runners pass by and I even got to give some of them Nuun. Boy were they flying. Once the elite runners passed, the Nuun station was slammed. It was hectic but also a ton of fun. I saw Stacie at the Nuun tent and gave her a quick hug (Stacie, you looked great in your Nuun singlet).

After we wrapped up at the Nuun tent, we headed over to mile 10 to cheer on the runners. Lauren kept cracking me up with her “you look like a mermaid” and “you really like running” cheers. Here’s a photo of us, courtesy of Sarah:

Image

We were able to see Lauren and Stacie go by but I never saw Robyn, unfortunately. I also saw the man below, who was running the half marathon on prosthetic legs. Amazing! You can read the full story about him here.

Man running on prosthetic legs

I kept shaking my cowbell and didn’t want to stop cheering, despite the fact that it was killing my fingers. I probably should’ve stopped when I noticed blisters forming and after I noticed blood on my fingers. This is the first cowbell injury that I’ve sustained but at least I had fun doing it.

Is anyone racing this weekend? If so, I want to come cheer for you but maybe this time, I’ll wear protective gloves or something.

Worst Race Photo EVER

Because of my work schedule and crazy travel schedule for the early part of 2013, I wasn’t able to run any of the races that I had signed up for. May finally rolls around and my coach asks me to sign up for a 5k as kind of a fitness test so that she could give more accurate pacing guidance on future runs. My instructions were to go all out and if I didn’t feel like death when the race was over, I did it wrong. I’m not a fast runner by any means but I’m in much better shape now than I was when I set my previous 5k PR at 28:56.

I searched the Internet for last-minute 5ks in my area and decided to sign up for the Kirkland Half Marathon 5k, well-known in this area for its hills. Hills, shmills. I wasn’t going to let some hills keep me from setting a shiny PR. The race started and the first half mile was flat and I was flying and I felt great. I looked down at my Garmin and saw my average pace was 7:15 and I was like (*&(@*#)(%)*&%#. I didn’t realize I was going that fast and I knew that I couldn’t keep it up for very long. During training runs, I’ve sustained an 8:15 ish pace over a 3 mile distance but not any faster than that. By the time I realized how much I effed up, it was time to tackle the first big hill. I don’t know what the total elevation for the course was (need to go look it up again) but I do know the hills felt giant and never-ending, especially when I went out of the gate at a pace that I knew I couldn’t sustain. Despite the fact that I felt like dying only 1 mile into the race, I kept running, albeit much more slowly than my start pace. Continue reading