Race weekend started on Friday evening with a steak dinner celebrating my sister Allison’s birthday. Steak isn’t exactly carbo loading food but I had enough mashed potatoes and chocolate cake to make up for that. Unfortunately, I had a fitful night of sleep on Friday which left me feeling a bit sluggish on Saturday morning. We had tickets to first round of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament Saturday evening. The games were at 5 and 7:30 pm and since the stadium doesn’t have the greatest selection of food we decided to have dinner in the mid afternoon. So I had raw veggies with dip and pizza at about 3:30 pm. Not exactly my usual pasta with tomato sauce but that’s OK. I had a better night’s sleep on Saturday night and was up at 6:40 am to have my standard oatmeal and banana pre race breakfast.
Dad picked me up at 7:30 am to head over to Mercer Island. We joked that it was like back when I was in high school and he and I would be up early on the weekends driving to who knows where to get to a basketball tournament! When we got to Mercer Island the traffic at the 77th Ave SE exit was backed up onto the highway! It took about 10-15 minutes but eventually we made our way into one of the race parking lots. I got myself organized at the car and then Dad and I walked about 10 minutes to the community center. I picked up my bib and chip, waited in a longish porta potty line and then Dad and I made our way over to the start. I lined up between the 8:00 and 9:00 min/mile pace signs and did some quick stretches before the gun went off.
I didn’t have much of a plan coming into this race. This was my eight official half marathon so I wasn’t too nervous about finishing. I just wanted to push myself and see what I could do without putting a lot of pressure on myself to get a PB or anything. Honestly, going into the race I was feeling good about my training but I wasn’t feeling like I was in PB form. I’ve been having problems with tight hamstrings and I wasn’t sure how that was going to affect me.
I really didn’t want to go out too hard and luckily the course was so congested in the first mile that this wasn’t a problem. I missed the first mile marker but averaged 8:42 over the first two miles. I was feeling OK early on in the race but at the same time I knew that dropping down to 8:23 (the pace for a 1:50:00 finish, my dream goal) just was not going to happen. Instead I decided to just run hard and see what would happen. There were a lot of winding turns along the east side of the island during the first 6 miles. I tried to run the tangents and avoid road sections with a steep camber but they really started to get annoying. I took my first walk break at 35 minutes during the fifth mile. We were running on one lane of E Mercer Way and the course was surprisingly congested. The density of runners didn’t impede me in any way but there were a lot of people around.
I was feeling OK, but not super, as we hit the bottom of the island and started heading back north. I knew the second half of the course was hillier than the first but since I hadn’t memorized the elevation chart I didn’t exactly know when the hills would come. We covered a number of small rolling hills which I felt that I handled reasonably well. At this point I’d decided that 8:40 min/mile would be a good target pace for me but I couldn’t quite get down there. Miles 7 and 8 were both done in 8:46. I was feeling my hamstrings/butt musles fatigue already. I wouldn’t say they really hurt but, as per usual, my legs were more tired than my lungs. I took my only gel of the race during a walk break at the 1:10 mark. This made my mile 9 come in at 9:02 which didn’t make me too happy. The highest point on the course came during the tenth mile which was also slow at 9:00. Hitting mile 10 means that the finish line is “just a 5K away” and I rode the downhills hard in this mile to come in at 8:27.
The biggest hill came during the twelfth mile and it was a beast. I’m sure it seemed worse because I was tired but it brought most of the runners near me to a walk. I only let myself walk for about 50 steps at one point and otherwise pushed myself up it. Then I tried to push through the last 1.1 miles but I was beat. There was a short incline just before the finish line that I didn’t very much appreciate. Fortunately there were lots of people lining the course and the cheering really helped in the last few hundred meters.
I crossed the finish line in a chip time of 1:56:02. I immediately met up with Dad, Alli, Tim and Matt. My legs were shot but the rest of me felt OK within a few minutes. I ate a banana and half a bagel and then we started walking back to the car. I was quickly getting cold and all my warm clothes were in the trunk. Dad, Matt and I went out for a post race brunch at the Rusty Pelican in Wallingford. Usually I’m a sweet food brunch kind of girl but for some reason today I was craving savory so I had a veggie and eggs scrambler with potatoes and toast. Oh and of course coffee. We spent the rest of the day watching NCAA basketball on TV!
I really upped the speedwork and tempo runs during this training cycle so part of me is disapointed that I didn’t see that pay off with a faster finish time. I’m starting to think that doing both speedwork and a tempo run each week might just be too much for my legs. In the end though I’m pleased with my race result because I feel as though I gave pretty much everything I could on race morning and that’s all I can ask of myself.
Cumulative Cumulative Average
Mile Split Time Pace HR
1 08:42.3 0:08:42.3 08:42.3 179
2 08:42.3 0:17:24.6 08:42.3 180
3 08:22.3 0:25:46.9 08:35.6 185
4 08:36.4 0:34:23.3 08:35.8 185
5 08:50.7 0:43:14.0 08:38.8 183
6 08:51.7 0:52:05.7 08:41.0 184
7 08:46.0 1:00:51.8 08:41.7 183
8 08:45.9 1:09:37.7 08:42.2 180
9 09:01.6 1:18:39.3 08:44.4 180
10 09:00.2 1:27:39.5 08:45.9 180
11 08:27.2 1:36:06.6 08:44.2 176
12 09:03.0 1:45:09.7 08:45.8 175
13.1 10:52.3 1:56:02.0 08:51.4 178
Total 1:56:02.0 180
Overall place: 820/1620 (49th percentile)
Gender place: 276/798 (65th percentile)
Division place: 61/144 (57th percentile)
[places are based on chip time and do not include walkers]