Ahhhh, the race day recap. When I wax poetically about how I wasn’t at all tired from that early morning wake up, how amazing my pre-race breakfast was, how I was able to go to the bathroom so easily before in a super clean, indoor bathroom (runners dream!) and had a seamless transition to my corral, where I ran an effortless race and smashed by PR while waving to the crowd.
Oh wait, what?! That didn’t actually happen?? In my dreams…
Since we were staying at the lake house, it was full-on camping style in the tent in the backyard. Luckily we had a double air mattress, and real bedding, so we were super comfortable and warm the entire time. No waking up with stiff joints or sore muscles or a stiff neck. We had packed our bags (and my overnight bag) and put them in the car the night before, which worked out well. Got dressed, grabbed breakfast to go and were on the road at 4:45am with a few minutes to spare. It took us about 35 minutes to get to Seattle Center and park (I had pre-purchased parking at the 5th & Mercer garage, which is literally right next to the corrals. Super easy and worth it). After parking, we did last minute changes (I was still in flip flops when we left the house, and when you have to pack your own fuel and hydration, there are lots of little additions to your race day outfit that are necessary.
At 6am we headed to Seattle Center to get the girls coffee (still envious of those who can drink coffee at all, let alone right before a race, and not have terrible stomach aches or poop your pants during a race. I bow down), and find a bathroom. Luckily the Armory was open, warm, clean and had 2 coffee places open before 6am! 2-3 levels of bathrooms that had seat covers, flushed and water to wash your hands (SCORE!). Even though I took care of business, I still always worry about needing to go to the bathroom at mile 1.
We then headed for our respective corrals (17, 20 and then three of us in corral 28) and would meet again at “S” at the finish area (S for super awesome, naturally). To say I wasn’t fully prepared for this race would be an understatement. To say that I’m not fully prepared for any half marathon I’ve done would be an even bigger understatement. I have to listen to my body, and only run two times per week while training, unless I want to end up with shin splints again. I have to stop running 3-4 weeks before a half marathon to give my shins time to get used to the face that they’re about to do a whole lot of work soon. I ran the Rock n Roll San Francisco 1/2 on April 7th, and hadn’t run anything over 4 miles since then (oy). For the last few weeks leading up to the race, my left hip was giving me issues (I have less cartilage, so my hips grind and pop and are just a nuisance in general sometimes) and I felt like I had strained my left calf. But I was determined to PR (lol).
It takes me usually about 3-3.5 miles for my body to warm up and get out of the “what the what?!” shocked stage and then I can kind of settle into a more comfortable run. It definitely took me longer this run, and at mile 3, I started intervals. Run 13 minutes, walk 2 minutes. My shins and calves were so tight that during the walk portion, I felt like I was moving at a snail’s pace because my legs were so tight and heavy, and I couldn’t flex my ankles). I did this with Suzanne until mile 9 when we finally parted.
I was trying to take pictures while running, but am not super coordinated, so when I looked at them later, most were super blurry (especially the ones I attempted to take in the tunnel). Miles 2-9 felt like I was building a giant blister on the ball of my right foot, which was really uncomfortable, but luckily after the race, I realized it was just a hot spot, there was no blister and it was just a little bit raw, whew! When we looked at the elevation chart before the race, there was a HUGE hill just before mile 9. Seriously though, straight up and straight down. I almost peed my pants when I saw it. When we got to mile 9, there was just a long tunnel with a slight elevation climb, but nothing horrible. Apparently GPS went wonky in the tunnel and jacked up the elevation chart. Thanks for the heart attack technology.
At mile 9, I finally left my friend Suzanne (her mom later told me I needed to ditch her sooner haha) and headed off on my own for the rest of the race. Oh wait, did I mention that I realized as soon as my plane landed on Thursday that my Garmin was still plugged into the wall next to my bed? Yeaaaahhhhhh. So I basically had no idea how I was doing the entire time. I didn’t really like it, especially since I had thoughts in my head of a PR. By mile 9, it was pretty warm, completely sunny, and I was slightly regretting not putting on my sunscreen, but I’d power through. The last 4/1 miles were spent people watching (my favorite past time) and just enjoying the amazing views: CenturyLink Field, SafeCo Field, downtown Seattle, the Sound, and the Space Needle. The people of Seattle were awesome and cheered us on, and then when we were running alongside the freeway, people were honking and waving as they drove by on the other side.
At this point, I was feeling good, and once I left Suzanne, I ran the rest of the way, with no intervals. I did however slow to a walk when I grabbed water at 2 stops, and had to stop once to try to stretch out my left hip (not successful). After hitting mile 12, I still felt good, so I wanted to finish strong (you know, that last push, semi-sprint to get a good time/and look like a boss in your finish line pictures). We had one last turn before the surge… and this is what we see around the turn:
Talk about killing your spirit at the end. Quite a few people had to walk this hill because they just didn’t have the juice to run up this last hill (myself included. I had to walk half of it). When we got to this point of taking the picture, I heard a “you’ve got to be kidding me” beside me and looked over, across the dividing tape, and saw a poor guy running the full marathon that wasn’t happy to see a hill at mile 25.8. There were plenty of people that agreed with him, trust me. Once we got to the top of the hill, the short sprint to the finish started, I smiled for the photographer (fingers crossed I don’t look disgusting in the photos since it was warm and I was ridiculously sweaty), and grabbed a bottle of water and my bling… Commence post race photos 🙂
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After the race, we raced back to the Monorail to get back to Suzanne’s hotel so we could shower and check out by noon. Note to others: request a late check-out on race day (if you’re not staying longer) so you can enjoy the finish area, and don’t have to stress about making it back in time. After showering and check out, we headed to Pike Place for brunch/lunch and a little sighseeing before heading to the Mariners game.
I’m happy to announce that the weather on Saturday was absolutely beautiful and the Mariners beat the A’s! It was a really great game, and I’m so happy I was able to finally get to a home game in the new (to me) field. Also, while looking for another friend in the big bar area in the outfield, I ran into an awesome fellow former Team in Training mentor from San Diego, who moved to Seattle 2 months ago for work. Such a small world! Extra large beers were had 🙂
I’m sad to announce that I was 2 minutes from my PR. I have no one else to blame but myself (seriously, not being fully prepared, forgetting my Garmin and running with someone else). I’ll be back for you #RnRSEA. COURSE REVENGE WILL BE HAD!
HUGE thanks to all the brands that get me through every run and race:
- Brooks Running – shoes, shoes, shoes! (I’m drooling over all the latest models)
- Injinji socks – have literally saved my feet from blisters. And how awesome are toe socks?!
- Compression sleeves – I have Zensah, CEP and Pro Compression sleeves and love them all. Keep it tight folks!
- Moving Comfort – To say that they have saved the tatas is an understatement. I used to wear 2 sports bras and still had problems. Running wasn’t comfortable OR attractive (don’t get me wrong, I’m still an ugly runner)
- I have an uber sensitive stomach, so I have to pack my own fuel to get me through long races. It would be far easier to run “naked,” and eat/drink whatever they offer on course, but no one wins with that plan. NO ONE. My SpiBelt helps keep my ID, cash, salt capsules and Honey Stinger gels all in place! Speaking of uber sensitive, I found out the hard way to not eat Gu gels or drink Gatorade on the course. I now bring my own fluid so I don’t get super sick during/after a race: NUUN to the rescue! Moving Comfort saved the tatas, Honey Stinger and Nuun have saved my entire body (and mind). I almost stopped running because I was getting sick all of the time. As soon as I found these two, I knew I had a power duo and could resume a normal, active life again, without worry of being out of commission for 8+ hours after a race.
- Sunblock – Kinesys and Mission are my favorite for outdoor activities, and especially because I have sensitive skin.
- Headbands of some sort – #curlyhairdontcare was made for me. My hair has a mind of it’s own, and given the chance, looks like a wild, afro, lion mane. Cute, right? NOT. I have Brooks Running headbands (for colder runs when I need my ears covered), Bondi Bands when I’m feeling sassy and need to express myself a bit more, and Bic Bands for a little oomph (who doesn’t love sparkle?!)