So today’s Wish I Was is more of a feeling…wishing I was on vacation, with nary a care in the world (except maybe what to see next), sipping a cappuccino in Vienna at the Sacher Cafe. Ahhhh.
It’s amazing what can trigger a memory. As I was sitting in a traffic jam this morning, my mind went back to another traffic jam on another July morning, several years ago. That morning I not only sat in traffic, but also watched the aftermath of a multiple car pile-up outside my window, where a beautiful little girl was critically injured and later would lose her life.
But I was once again reminded of how hope arose out of that tragedy. Rachel’s selflessness (giving up her 9th birthday to raise money for charity: water) in her short life inspired so many people around the globe, including myself. Remembering her story was a good reminder for me that no matter how dire a situation appears to be, good can come out of it.
Saturday, I was up early for the Biggest Loser 10K. I wasn’t expecting much as work has been taking up a lot of my time. It was taking place at Six Flags and we were directed to park in what seemed like the very back corner of the parking lot. While there seemed to be a decent turn-out, it had a feel of a small race.
We set off, and I was actually keeping up with the 10:30 pacer. Have I mentioned before that I start out waaaaay too fast? That lasted for not quite the first half mile. I managed to say with the 11:00 pacer until almost the 1 mile marker, before fading to my normal pace.
The first part of the course took place in Six Flags, starting in the parking lot, before heading into the park and then the behind the scenes roads, which were not in the greatest of shape. I had visions of me tripping and falling (which fortunately I did not do!). The course was also surprisingly hilly!
Once we exited the park, the course wound its way through the parking lot towards the finish line. But only for the 5Kers! Those doing the 10K started the loop all over again.
Part II was much of the same, except for that small stretch when I couldn’t see anyone in front of me or behind me and wondered if I had accidentally wandered off course.
Going into the race, I was hoping to come in under 1:20. As I got closer I realized that this was entirely possible and in fact, I could PR. Well based on their course. What I also realized was the course was short (according to my watch anyway). I did end up with a PR at 1:14 even, if the course was accurate. But I have my doubts.
So now, here is the dilemma…do I count this race as a PR? Or not? My watch clocked in at 5.93 but could it be my watch? I was having problems finding a satellite at the beginning. So I ask you, dear readers, would you count the PR or not?
Today’s Wish I Was reflects back on the time I saw the German soccer team outside the Cologne cathedral. It was 2006 and the World Cup was in Germany and the excitement was palpable. I really do love the World Cup and was ecstatic when the Germans won this year (of course my first loyalty is to the US but once they were out I was backing the Germans!)
Sometimes the alarm goes off and you debate if this run is really necessary
Sometimes you step outside and you are greeted by a glorious early morning sky and you remember you do like running (for the most part)
Sometimes you look over at the person that is effortlessly passing you and wonder if you’ll ever be even half as fast
Sometimes every step is a battle to move forward
Sometimes you need an extra long walk interval
Sometimes a stop at a water fountain becomes a #selfie photo shoot
Sometimes after a water fountain break you find a burst of energy
Sometimes a field of flowers can bring a smile to your face and lightness to your step
Sometimes all it takes is a High School Musical song on your iPod and you skip the last walk interval and finish strong
And sometimes when you are stretching you realize your shirt was on inside-out the entire time
So later I realized there was no way I was going to publish that water fountain picture. Or at least to instagram. But you, my friends, get to see the outtake. Actual photo a day posted:
Once upon a time, or last year, my friend decided she wanted to do a half marathon and we made a pact to do the Seattle RnR (even if I decided to move to St Louis, which I did). Plus any chance to visit home! :)
I took advantage of being home and scheduled a few appointments (still haven’t found a doctor or dentist in St Louis….I know, I know). In between appointments and visiting friends, I made my way to the expo where there was no line to be taped with KT Tape! That never happens!
Saturday morning I was up early and headed across the bridge. Rather than dealing with parking at the race site, I took the monorail to the Seattle Center and met up with Nilly.
We said our goodbyes and good luck and I headed for the real bathrooms. One of the best things about races starting at the Seattle Center are real bathrooms!
The other good thing about races at the Seattle Center? Iconic landmarks!
And off we went down 5th Avenue! My Garmin was acting up for the first few miles but settled down in the third mile. The weather was great – slightly warm, but with a fantastic breeze that kept it from getting too warm.
We turned on to Rainier Avenue S and Mt Rainier was out and absolutely gorgeous!!
Down Genesee and then we turned toward Lake Washington where I saw this guy.
And where we passed by the 10K mark – I wasn’t too far off my PR pace. I can do this!
Onto Lake Washington Boulevard we went. I love running by the lake. The marathoners split from the half marathoners. There are tons of signs and volunteers telling you which way to go but I’m still paranoid I will accidentally get on the wrong course.
This is also the stretch manned by the Wear Blue: Run to Remember. The pictures of fallen soldiers and the American flags waving get me every time.
Up onto I-90 (via the ridiculous hill) and through the tunnel. It is still really cool to run on the freeway!
My pace had slowed somewhat but an under 3 hour finish was still in my grasp. And then I saw Nilly not to far ahead of me. I put on a burst of speed and caught up with her. Good thing we were wearing matching skirts!!
Her training had not gone as she had planned and she was cramping. The decision to stick with her and walk the rest of the race was actually pretty easy. Plus the next section was pretty hilly and walking the hills is still good practice for San Fran, right?
Back into downtown and up to Highway 99 where there were beautiful views of the Seattle Great Wheel.
Through another tunnel, around a corner and then the evil hill right before the finish line. A few friends had come down to the finish line and were waiting at the top of the hill to cheer us.
I saw the finish line and turned to Nilly to tell her I was going to run now. I saw my family off to the side and waved just before crossing the finish line!
My time? Eh, one of my slowest non-Disney race times, but that’s okay. I didn’t beat 3 hours (coming in at 3:12.50), but I am still feeling okay about San Fran.
To cap off the day, I stayed for the Sir Mix-a-Lot concert and ran into this lovely lady!!! Yay!!
How cool is this medal?
This race kind of came out of nowhere. Well, the race itself didn’t as this was the 41st running of it, but my involvement did. It was advertised in a newsletter and I started thinking about it. My thoughts went something like this…
- It’s supposed to be humid this weekend…I don’t want to run.
- But the Seattle RnR coming up in a few weeks…this would be a good warm-up (and it would be easier to run in the humidity if there are people cheering me on).
- Who knows how long I’ll be in St Louis and this would give me a chance to explore Kansas City and see more of the state.
- Too bad it’s Kansas City, MO and not Kansas City, KS because then I could cross another state off my list.
- I’m signed up for the SF Half Marathon, which is hilly, and which also has a 3 hour time limit. This would be a good test of a hilly course and see if I can come in under 3 hours.
Race registration and a hotel room near the race start/finish were still available and before I could think twice about it, I was signed up.
Packet pick-up was not available the morning of, but was open until 9 p.m. on Friday night. I left work a smidge early and headed out towards Kansas City. I arrived at my hotel, which was also where the expo was being held, just in time to walk through the expo and pick up a few goodies (the expo closed at 8 while packet pick-up was open until 9).
After a quick dinner, I laid out my clothes, minus my socks. Because guess what? I forgot my socks. Wait a second, they’ve got to be in my bag somewhere. Sadly, they were not. No running socks. Too bad I hadn’t discovered this prior to going to the expo, but fortunately I did have regular socks. Whew.
I woke to rain. But worse than that, I woke to thunder and lightning. The forecast had been calling for potential thunderstorms all week, but the timing had varied. I quickly checked twitter. The race’s twitter account was up-to-date and saying the race was still on. Thanks to a fabulous sky bridge, I walked from the hotel to the start line without getting wet!
I hung out in the mall (using the real bathrooms) until almost race time. I headed outside, only to be greeted by an announcement to get back inside. Due to the storms, the race would be delayed a half hour.
I found a place to sit and waited out the rain delay. Finally we heard the announcement we had been waiting for: “Runners to the start line.” Yes!
They did have a corral system, but due to the late start and the promise of more rain to come, it was basically a mass start. At the start, runners were also given the option to switch to the 10K (due to the weather).
You know if there are hills in the name of the race, it is going to be hilly. It did not take long before we reached the first incline, followed quickly by the second. But fortunately the old adage of what comes up must come down was in play. I tried to take advantage of the downhills as much as I could. Also in play? Slick streets. Oh yes, have I mentioned the rain?
While the thunder and lightning had left the vicinity, the rain had not. It varied from a light misting to a downpour and just about everything else in between. My shoes were soon soaked and making squishy noises. But the rain was keeping the humidity at bay, thankfully!!
There were a few brave spectators sprinkled throughout the course, in their ponchos and umbrellas.
There were many pacers and options for the race. I was sort of keeping up with a 2:40 pacer until a little after mile 5. At first I was impressed I was keeping up with the 2:40 pacer, but then I realized they were behind and much closer to the 2:45 pacer, which would make more sense. The 2:45 pacer came and went fairly quickly and I just watched. Right around mile 9, the 2:50 pacer came by. I decided to try to stick with them for the next mile or so and then reevaluate. As mile 10 neared, I realized I was going to have to let the pacers go.
The best (or worst) hill seemed to stretch on from mile 10 to mile 11. After a brief downhill, a steep uphill appeared out of nowhere! The top of the hill was mile 12.5. It was also where I saw the 2:55 pacer pass me. Hm, think I start out to fast?
The downhill flattened out and after a large curve, the finish line came into sight! And across the line I went.
My time? Why 2:55.50! Under 3 hours – always a win in my book.
Plus I got a giant medal out of the deal!