The first race was the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Seattle, WA. The day before the race, we hit the expo, which is one of the coolest I've seen. There were free Brooks products, a few games, and, as always, lot of gear.
|Rockin' at the Rock N Roll|
|"You will totally kick butt tomorrow..."|
We got a hotel in Tukwila, so we walked 1.2 miles to the race. On our little walk, I felt like my legs were nearly energized nor heavy, so I felt okay about the race at 7.
But even though the race was supposed to start at 7:00 (which it did), my corral - 32 - didn't get to the starting line until nearly 8:00. That meant that I had an hour to people-watch, eavesdrop on other runner's conversations about injuries and gear, do some stretching, hit the beach balls flying over the crowd, and mouth-breathe (as to avoid the ever-growing stench of the porta-potties).
The race start was pretty funny now that I look back on it. The announcers counted down from ten, and I crossed the starting mat and clicked my Garmin at the same time. Solid start. But not fifteen steps down the course, I step wrong, and my right foot and ankle just didn't feel right; they didn't hurt necessarily, but they felt funny, and I immediately worried that the next 13.05 miles were gonna be rough.
I decided to keep my pace, however, and after the first mile, I could barely tell I had ever stepped funny. My first 4 miles or so went really well. In fact, I got it in my head at some point that I was going to run the whole 13.1 miles without walking. But then came our first big hill, and I actually chuckled out loud at my silly optimism. I slowed to a walk and ascended the hill.
Miles 6-9 were also pretty good. I remember that I wanted to cry during mile 8 of my first half marathon - last July. It was nice to pass mile 8 this year and not feel that urge. Sure, my legs were tired, but I felt so much more confident this year than I did last. I had confidence in my mind and body. I knew I was going to finish strong.
Around mile 10 there was a great tunnel that we got to run through. My Garmin lost satellite recepton, so it couldn't keep my pace, but the clock kept ticking away. I ran the whole way, listening to the whoops and hollers echoing around me. I felt the sweat run down the sides of my face, and I tried my best to ignore the soreness on my thighs. (I remembered the sign I had seen a few miles back: "Chafe now; brag later!")
Once out of the tunnel, I looked at my time and realized that I had a very good chance of getting a PR. I would have to keep up my sub-12-minute pace, but I saw that I had a nice downhill up ahead, and that gave me extra confidence and energy. I ran down the freeway toward the city with a new spring in my step.
Miles 11-13 run together in my mind. (I'm so punny!) I just remember reminding myself that I am stronger now than I ever have been, that I am capable of more than I had once imagined, and that I was going to be proud of pushing myself.
I ran as hard as I could after the Mile 13 marker. I knew I was going to get a PR, but I wanted to finish as strong as my body could. I crossed at 2:36:56 (one minute and one second faster than my half in July of 2010). I had a pace of 11:58/mile.
After the race, I was doing okay for a little while. I collected my medal, and got my bottle of water. However, as I started to wait in line for the official Finisher's Picture, I started feeling dizzy and my vision started going wonky. I blinked hard to get the black in my vision to disappear, but no amount of blinking helped. I knew I was about to pass out, so I leaned over to a runner next to me and asked her where the nearest medical tent was. She said it was a long way away, and I grabbed onto her shirt for balance. She and a gal in a medical staff T-shirt took me over to the sidewalk and had me lay back on the cool cement. Before I knew it, I had multiple people helping me and giving me fluids. I started to feel better.
I got up to walk with the medical gal named Beth, and we started to walk slowly over to the medical tent. I learned about her daughters at WSU, and everything was going great... until my vision went all tunnel-y again, and my legs felt too weak to hold me up. Thankfully we were at the medical tent's door, and they got me right in (ahead of the line). I laid down on a cot, and they had me drink some electrolyte mixture and a big salt packet. Then they put a cool cloth on my forehead.
I felt like an idiot.
When they asked me how much I had fueled up during my race, I felt even worse. I had only stopped at one water station and one electrolyte drink station in the entire 13.1 miles. I purposefully didn't eat my chocolate GU that I carried with me. Not smart.
After a few minutes of taking pictures and getting warmed up, we headed across the street to get some more fuel and hydration. :)
|Tired but happy to hydrate|
|Well-deserved mac 'n' cheese|
It was a great day!