As I mentioned in my previous post, I was nervous and anxious about the Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon. Although nerves (and the super fun side effects of nerves including but not limited to excessive trips to the bathroom and poor concentration) can be annoying, it honestly felt good to be excited and nervous about a race.
Friday night, Christina, Alison, Brenna and I carb-loaded at Cuoco. The service was really slow, but the food was delicious! I enjoyed pesto pasta for dinner.
For dessert, we shared donuts with nutella cream, panna cotta, tiramisu and chocolate caramel gelato (sorry, no picture of the desserts — we inhaled those puppies too fast for pictures). Probably not the smartest thing to eat before a race, but everything was delicious and well worth the gut ache.
My 4:15 am alarm came very early on Saturday morning. After eating and getting ready, Alison and Brenna picked me up, and we met Christina at her condo downtown. We then took the monorail to the start. I’ve lived in Seattle for 10 years and had never ridden the monorail, so I was pretty excited!
We made it to the start with plenty of time for bathroom breaks, and with 10 minutes to go, we finally made our way into our various corrals.
Since my runs have been going well and this wasn’t a goal race, I decided that my race strategy would be to start out strong and just try to hold on. Positive splits were a-ok with me. I spent the first few miles trying to run hard while also getting in a groove (pace hovered from 8:10-8:20 for the first half).
At mile 5.5, I got the low battery message on my iPod. Irritated that my iPod lasted a whopping 45 minutes, I turned it off to save my battery for the last two miles of the race when I would need it more.
I made it to the 10k point at 51:30, which is a 20-second 10k PR. This made me really happy and super hopeful that I am getting faster.
My lack of double digit runs and endurance started to show around mile 10, when my legs started feeling really heavy. I temporarily freaked out until I remembered two things:
1. My new mantra: Keep Calm and Embrace the Suck. Things were definitely sucking, but I told myself to chill out and deal with it, because:
2. It’s normal to get tired when you’re running at your full potential. I was running as fast and as hard as I could that day, so getting tired was to be expected. It also helped my spirit to look around and see that everyone around me was also tired.
I allowed myself to slow my pace and walk through water stops, with the plan of picking it up at mile 12 for a strong finish. By the time I got to 12.5, I was tired but totally drunk on endorphins and some serious RunLove. Beautiful Day was playing on my iPod, it was a gorgeous day (albeit, too hot for running), and I was on pace to break my PR.
I had already run the course .1 long, but for some reason mile 12-13 took forever. By the time I hit mile 13, my watch said 13.34 and my PR had slipped away. Lame!
As the finish line came into sight, another runner about 15 feet ahead started dancing Gangnam Style as he made his way to the finish. This pissed me off for two reasons: The fact he had the energy to dance before the finish, and the fact that I didn’t have the energy to pass him. He stopped dancing and ran for a few seconds, and then he started to dance again about 10 feet before the finish line. I was exhausted, but his second round of dancing pushed me over the edge. So I dug deep and sprinted past him to finish a second or two ahead of him, with a finish time of 1:53:56 (8 seconds shy of a PR).
Note: Due to a timing chip error (aka I’m an idiot and put my timing chip on wrong), there is no official record of my run. Since I only have my unofficial Garmin time, I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t PR.
After making my way through the Finishers’ Chute, I found John, changed into dry clothes, and hung out at the finish line to wait for my friends to finish their marathons.
It’s been a long time since I spectated a marathon, and I felt so inspired and in love with the sport as I cheered and rattled my cowbell while runners came across the finish line.
John finally saw his first bloody nipple (he ended up seeing three in total!), and we saw someone cross the finish line dribbling two basketballs! I wrongly assumed he started dribbling before the finish, but I later learned that he ran the entire 26.2 miles dribbling two basketballs. Let me repeat that: TWO BASKETBALLS. So insane. So awesome.