First, I wanted to say that I ran my first half marathon. Yay!
Since this was my first official half marathon, my only goal was to run the entire time and not worry about pace or finishing time. I mostly stuck to that goal although there were a couple of times when I walked on the
mountains hills on the course. I ended up finishing in 2:19, which I’m happy with since I was expecting that I’d finish around 2:30.
So here’s a recap of the race and the events leading up to the race:
I left work in a frenzy around 1 PM and headed over to South Lake Union to check into my hotel. Even though work was crazy that day, I’m glad I left early to miss the worst of the “I-can’t-drive-in-the-rain-even-thought-it’s-always-raining” traffic. As I made my way over, I saw a fellow blogger, Tricia, tweet and ask if she could have a ride over to the expo. Turns out, we were staying at the same hotel. Great meeting you, by the way!
It was my first expo experience and I might’ve been a tad excited about all the free food samples. Mixing 20 different protein bars and coconut milk ice cream into your stomach within a 1-hour period is probably not the smartest thing to do the day before a race. I couldn’t help myself. How could I possibly resist a Snicker’s energy bar or an almond milk ice cream sandwich? Aside from food, I purchased a sparkly headband and a pink pair of Brooks PureCadence since I love my blue ones so much.
I walked over to where the blogger meet-up was going to occur and then saw some work things blowing up over email and had to make a few phone calls. By the time I went back, everyone was gone. I ran into Julie, Adrian and Laura at the expo though. Laura & I wandered around for a bit more and then we headed over to dinner with Stacie, Allison & Lauren. I was tempted to order a wine flight but given that I had to wake up at 5am and I already punished my stomach enough between sample overload and my bagel dog lunch, I reluctantly passed. After dinner, I headed to the hotel and met up with a friend of mine. Staying in a hotel near the start of the race was such a brilliant idea. It meant I could sleep in until 5 AM instead of waking up at 4 AM.
I didn’t sleep well at all that night and kept waking up every hour to check the clock. Finally got up at 4:45 and headed to the bathroom since I’ve read in several blogs “You can’t PR if you don’t PRP (pre-race poop).” I must say that I was getting a little stressed about that it wasn’t going to happen for me but that’s a little TMI. The hotel had a runner’s breakfast for $4, consisting of a bagel and peanut butter, trail mix and chocolate milk. Yum. G and I then headed to Seattle Center and met up with some blogger peeps. Unfortunately I missed the big group photo but had fun anyway hanging out with my friend G, Stacie, Julie and Adrian. I decided to hang out in their corral and start the race with them instead of heading back to my corral in the nosebleed section. It was probably a smart move since a lot of people in this corral were running pretty slow anyway. When it was time to get moving, I was pumped. I turned my music on and had it on full blast. I was so thankful that it wasn’t raining. I really did want to get soaking wet while I was running. I’m a wimp when it comes to rain and cold.
The first few miles went by really quickly and I kept checking my watch to make sure that I wasn’t going too fast. I was between a 9:00 and 10:00 pace the entire time which is ideal for me. I was really surprised at how many people stopped and walked during the first mile or two. I’m also really glad I didn’t have to use the bathroom since the porta potty line at mile 1 or two was super long. I was trucking along, reading the signs on the side of the road and then I turned the corner and the energy of the race seemed to drop. Up in front of me was a dreaded
mountain hill. I ran up the hill but I felt like I was barely moving and going downhill, I was scared I was going to faceplant in front of everyone. A very brave girl whizzed by me as fast as she could down that hill.
The run along Lake Washington Blvd was very pretty and we ran past some military tributes which was very touching. My iPod was driving me crazy since it would only play the first twenty seconds of a song before skipping to a new song. I think my sweat/body was screwing with it; once I clipped it to my fuel belt, the iPod worked just fine. This stretch of the race also took us through the I-90 title which was dark and humid. I wasn’t a fan and wanted to get out of there asap so I picked up my pace a bit. After exiting the tunnel, we ran towards the Viaduct and the slant of the interstate was driving me crazy. The marathon winner ran by me on the right and he looked like he was flying.
After climbing up to the Viaduct, we were rewarded with amazing views. At this point, I was ready to be done but the nice views certainly helped. I was so excited that mile 12 included a downhill and I thought we were going to end on a downhill. No such luck. There was a bitch of a hill right before the end and my hopes of sprinting through the finish line were quickly dashed. It was more like jog-of-death up the hill.
Overall, my first half was a fun and amazing experience and I’m definitely hooked on racing. I avoided races for so long since I thought training for them would be stressful and take the fun away from running but I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised. My next half is the Lululemon SeaWheeze on 8/11 and I don’t have a goal time yet since I want to see how I do between now and August.
Here are some of the gems the race photographers caught:
I’m also starting to train for my first marathon which is Marine Corps in Washington, D.C. Does anyone have any newbie marathon tips to share?