2016 Race for the Roses

Apparently all I do is run races and write recaps of said races.  Some day I’ll get back to other things.

I had been doing good, for a few weeks anyway, at following an actual training plan and doing speed work and cross training even!  And then work got busy again and everything but the long runs fell by the wayside.  We’ll see if I can salvage the last few weeks.

But in the meantime, I had 10 miles on tap for the weekend.  And surprise, there was a 10K going on.  Four plus six equals ten, right?  Or to be more exact, 3.8 plus 6.2 equals 10.  I got a late start to the morning and since I am super weird about time, I decided to settle for 3.8 since I would still get to 10.

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Start Line

 

The 3.8 actually went fairly well and I was back in time to use the restroom, grab my bib and eat a Gu.  And then came the announcement the race was delayed 15 minutes.

Finally we were really off!  The race started near the convention center and went up Interstate Ave and across the Broadway Bridge.

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Broadway Bridge

 

We wound through downtown and the Pearl district before a small out and back along Front Ave / Naito Parkway.

I’m still doing 1:1 intervals.   Remember when I used to do 2:1?  Yeah, me neither.  As I hit Front Ave I was feeling good.  The sun was coming on strong and there was no shade at this point but I kept plugging along.  I hit 4 miles and glanced down at my watch – 52 minutes!  (Remember I’m really not fast.)  I did quick math and though I should have no problem beating my time from last week.  And maybe even hit 1:20!  But I didn’t take into account the heat.  Or the giant hill at the end.  I actually thought I was doing really well on mile 5 but no, I was slowing way down.  And then came the hill up to the Steel Bridge.  I walked it.  And when I got to the top, I kept walking.

At this point I glanced at my watch and realized 1:20 was long gone.  I still had the chance to beat last week though.  Slowly I started running towards the finish line.  With a time of 1:22.30!  So not under 1:20 but I did improve on last week.

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Done!

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2016 Bridge to Brews 10K

If its a weekend, there must be a race!  At least lately that has been case.  I had 8 miles on my calendar.  Fortunately there was also a 10K going on.  So of course I signed up for it!  Even better Bridge to Brews is the only race that goes across the Fremont Bridge.  And you know how I love bridges.

I showed up early so I could get a quick 2 miles in before the race started.  I found rockstar parking, literally across from the race start.  Granted, I had to pay for the rockstar parking, but it was worth it!!  I got my two miles in, returned to my car and changed shirts.

And we were off!  The first mile wound through downtown, before heading onto the bridge.  I kept stopping for pictures (even though they didn’t turn out great and didn’t do justice to the magnificent view).

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Approaching the Fremont Bridge

 

We hit mile 2 and started the downward decent off the bridge.  The remaining miles meandered until we came across the Steel Bridge.

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View from Fremont Bridge

 

Here’s where I admit to you, dear readers, my ineptitude.  I can figure out intervals on my watch but I can’t figure out how to get miles as well.  There has to be a way but I have not discovered it.  Given I run by intervals, I’ve given up really knowing my mile times.  In some ways its freeing, just listening for the walk or run beep.  Going into this race I really just wanted to come in under 1:30 since my last two 10Ks I wasn’t able to.  Partway through I was thinking 1:25 should be attainable but the race math was eluding me.  And I didn’t have mile times to give me an approximate idea of where I was.

Back to the regularly scheduled race report – across the Steel Bridge and I took a sneak glance at my watch.  I should totally make under 1:25.  But I had to stop for that final picture!!

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One last picture with the Steel Bridge!!

 

I started all out sprinting towards the finish line a little too soon and lost a bit of steam.  But then I was across!  Hooray!  And guess what my time was?  1:25:00 even!

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Done!!

 

One of the draws of this race is the after party which is a beer tasting festival!  I jumped in a shorter line and tasted before heading off to my next adventure.

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Taste away

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Tiptoe through the 2016 Tulips

One of my favorite April activities when I lived in Seattle was to visit the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.  I haven’t been able to go the past few years (since I moved away).  It didn’t dawn on me that I would be in Seattle in April until I was driving up.  I was at once both ecstatic and disappointed.  I wasn’t sure if I would have time to visit.

Saturday morning was the 520 10K, followed by breakfast and then coffee.  My afternoon suddenly was clear.  I had a choice – do I try to visit the tulips, or see if any other Seattle friends were around and free?  The tulips won out!

And with that, I will let the tulips do the talking.

 

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Yellow!!

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Pink!!

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So many tulips!!

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And a daffodil for fun!

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2016 520 10K

Wow, that’s a lot of numbers!  When I heard there was to be a 10K to celebrate the re-opening of the new 520 bridge, I knew I had to do it!  520 is the longest floating bridge and connects Seattle to the Eastside.  It has been under construction for oh about forever.  The new bridge has been being constructed alongside the old bridge.  I’m still a little confused about the actual opening of the bridge to traffic as it will be done in phases and eventually the old bridge will be phased out.

I checked with Nilufer to see if she would be interested and she was!  She picked up our packets during the week and we met up race morning.

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At the start line

 

There was an option to do it timed or untimed.  I chose timed even though I was treating it as a fun run.  There was approximately 13,000 people taking part in the race.

The timed portion started first and we were off!  Down Montlake, across the Montlake Bridge, (which always scares me either on foot or in a car due to the grating), and onto 520.

Just as we got to the new bridge, we ran into an old co-worker!

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Hi Maria!

We kept up pretty steady intervals, when we weren’t pausing to take pictures!  Because when else were we going to get a chance to run across 520 with no cars?

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So many people!!

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Feet pic on the new bridge!!

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On the bridge deck!

And soon we were off the bridge and back on to Montlake and across the finish line!

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2016 Hop Hop Half

You know what helps my motivation?  Races.  I was looking at the 12 miler on my calendar for this weekend and suffering from a lack of motivation.  I had seen fliers for the Hop Hop Half, but hadn’t really given it serious consideration.  Until the lack of motivation really started dragging on me.  It probably has something to do with my last few long runs being horrendous due in part to rain, rain and more rain.  And just like that I signed up!

My plan was to treat it as a training run (as much as possible) and use the last 1.1 miles as a cool down.  The time limits were slightly confusing – but the gist was since most of the race took place on a bike path, the real time limit was 19 min per mile.  Given my time lately, this was an important detail.  Another important detail was that the course was flat!

It wasn’t a large field, and I looked around my old familiar fear of being last came bubbling to the surface.  The rational part of me says, so what if I’m last, but the irrational part of me still worries about it.

We lined up and we were off!  The first part of the course headed down NE 33rd before heading back up and onto the bike path.  There was a slight uphill to get onto the bike path.  There were a few other hills, but for the most part the course was flat as advertised.  The water stations were stocked with Cliff Shots, which was nice.

Ready to Hop Hop

Ready to Hop Hop

How’d I do?  Well, I may have mentioned I’ve changed my intervals to 1:1 which seems to be helping.  I actually felt pretty decent up until about mile 7ish.  Mile 10ish is when I started skipping a few run intervals.  The sun was coming out at this point, which may have played a part in my increasing sluggishness.   I made it to mile 12 and even though I told myself I would treat it as a cool down, I happened to look at my watch, and saw that I could possibly make it under 3 hours.  Coming in under 3 hours would have been a good confidence booster.  However, I was really fighting fatigue.  I made a deal with myself and walked two minutes and ran one.

Coming towards the finish line, I could see the clock turning to 3:00.  I knew I started fairly close to the front so I probably didn’t have any grace time.  I probably started running towards the finish a little too late, but before you knew it, I was across the finish line!  With a time of….3:01 even.   Honestly, I’m very okay with this time.  It’s not my best, but it’s not my worst.  It definitely was a confidence booster.

Done!

Done!

The after party included mimosas, cinnamon rolls and other brunch items!  Yum!

Goodies!!

Goodies!!

Yum!!

Yum!!

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Exciting and Not So Much

This blog post came to me this morning as I was driving in to work.  I was going to have two great things to tell you.  What is it they say about counting your chickens before they are hatched?  Instead of having two exciting things to tell you, I have one exciting thing and one not so exciting thing.

First, let’s start with the exciting thing!  I’ve been lamenting my loss of speed.  Not that I was ever that fast, but I had improved and made strides towards my ultimate goal of a running a 2:45 half marathon.  But after Sunday’s 10K, I started thinking that maybe my new normal was 14 / 15 minute miles (instead of my former 12 / 13 minute miles).  With that playing in in my head, I left work and it was still light out!  Let’s count this as another little successful fight won.  I headed to the waterfront to get in a couple of miles.  I walked the first mile and ran the second mile!  Not run / walking but actually ran without stopping!  Fighting a headwind the entire time!  Okay, maybe not the entire time, but a good portion of the time!  And my Garmin clocked me in at 11:45.  Take that slow thoughts.  While I’ve still have a lot of work to do, it was a good confidence booster.

Second, the not so exciting thing (that could have been exciting).  I did not get into Wine & Dine.  Boo.  It was frustrating accessing the site and being immediately placed on hold.  I kept hitting refresh but nothing ever opened up.  Secretly I was glad when it finally showed sold out as I could stop hitting refresh.  Fortunately this was only the early registration for annual passholders (and DVC members) and I will have another shot next week.  Those of you not obsessed with Disney, Wine & Dine has gotten an overhaul and will now be a morning race with a challenge option (i.e. Saturday 10K and Sunday Half).  Even though I have sworn off challenges, I am hoping to get into Lumiere’s Challenge.  I mean its named after Lumiere!  Fingers crossed I get in next week!!

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2016 Mercer Island 10K

This post came “thisclose” to being my first DNF (did not finish).  I’ve had several DNS (did not start) due to illnesses, but I’ve never came close to a DNF.

With that ominous start, let’s back up, shall we?  One of my besties had a baby, but since she had him so early, we never had a baby shower.  Instead there was a meet the baby gathering.  I was super excited to meet baby and headed up to Seattle Friday night.

Knowing I would be in Seattle for the weekend, and knowing I needed to do 10 miles (according to my Tink training calendar), I looked at what races were going on.  Lo and behold, the Mercer Island Half was going on.  I’ve never done the half before, however, I have done the 10K multiple times.  It’s a very hilly course.  And by very hilly, I mean extremely hilly.  It is Seattle after all.  And I never seem to remember how hilly it is until I get out there.

I definitely wasn’t ready to do the half, but I could do the 10K, plus a few extra to get me to 10.  Fortunately the 1oK didn’t start until 8:30 so I was able to squeak in 3.8 ish miles before the race started.

Towards the end of my pre-race miles, my stomach started bothering me.  Well that is new.  I finished, grabbed my bib and some water, thinking the water might help.  It seemed to calm my stomach for the moment, so I headed to the start line.

Go!  The first few miles were actually fine.  I completely missed the mile 2 sign and was pleasantly surprised by the mile 3 sign.  Mile 4 is a giant downhill followed by a giant uphill.  And it is also where my stomach started complaining.  I started cramping and running jarred my stomach.  I seriously thought I might just need to stop.  Had there been a medical tent there at that moment I’m pretty sure I would have DNF’d and left the course.  But there wasn’t and I knew I was close to the end.  I put my head down and walked.  I walked down the hill, I walked up the hill.  I walked down the next hill and attempted to run on the flats as the jarring wasn’t that bad on the flats.

I had come in to this race with lofty goals of 1:20.  Yeah, so that didn’t happen.  When it became obvious my stomach wasn’t going to cooperate, I thought maybe I could salvage under 1:30.  Guess what?  I couldn’t, exactly.  I came in at 1:30.50 so not under 1:30 but not exactly over 1:30.  I’m still a long way from where I want to be but I keep plugging away.  Some day I’ll find my lost speed.  Some day.

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