My running co-worker (actually now former co-worker as she has recently moved on) first mentioned this race several months ago. She hasn’t done a half for a while but thought this would be a fun one as it combines one of our favorite races (12Ks of Christmas) with another local race (Captain Jack 8K). Unfortunately her training did not go as planned and she decided not to do it. As the thought of doing the race was already swirling in my head, I decided not to dismiss it right away. And then the tragedy unfolded at the Boston Marathon and I wanted to do something to show I wasn’t afraid. So I signed up.
The days leading up to the race were quite warm, at least by Seattle standards. I was never so happy to wake up and hear the delightful sounds of rain pitter pattering outside my window.
I arrived, parked and headed towards the real park bathrooms, which were sadly closed. Boo. I walked across the street and got in line for the port-o-potties. After I finished, I got immediately back into line. I know myself. I finished my second bathroom stop with just minutes to spare before the race started.
I didn’t have high expectations for this race. While it was only two weeks since the Nike Women’s Half DC, I hadn’t done much in those two weeks. Plus I’ve been under a lot of stress and not sleeping well. Which all adds up to not really being prepared for this race.
And go! It was fairly crowded for the first half mile but then smoothed out. The first few miles went fine – I was even running the uphills if they fell into my run interval. I took advantage of the downhills and ran those regardless of the interval.
It was overcast, but slightly humid. Have you noticed I like complain about the weather? 🙂 The breeze was fabulous! And every once in a while we’d get a few sprinkles.
By mile 6 we had connected with the 12Ks course and I was in familiar territory. It was also when my now familiar hip/IT band pain made its presence known. It was gradual at first.
We came down the hill and were on Lake Street, running along Lake Washington. I knew it was going to be difficult to pass what was the finish line of the 12Ks and still have around a 5K left.
Mile 11 came and with it came almost pure misery. The road was slanted and I couldn’t find a flat piece of the road. The pain was increasing. And then came the hill. Remember when I said this course was hilly? Ugh.
I was just about in tears when I got to the top of hill. But at the top of the hill were the most incredible volunteers. I got several high-fives as well as encouragement. The first volunteer told me she had faith that I could finish. I held on to that. Literally it was just what I needed to hear. The tears threatened again but because I knew I had this. Their encouragement and uplifting words meant so much to me. It wouldn’t be my fastest time, but I would finish.
The rest of the course was downhill, for the most part. We went through a neighborhood street with beautiful, blooming, rhododendrons before heading into a park. While my spirits had been lifted, I was still battling the pain. I was definitely walking a lot. I would start running but my running spurts were just that. Spurts. That didn’t last long.
I rounded the corner, took a deep breath, and reached deep to run the last tenth of a mile.
My parents were at the finish line, cheering me in. Done!! Hallelujah!! I was so happy to have crossed the finish line!! And with that half number 5 of the year is done. Holy cow!! Five half marathons already for 2013?!
With all the walking and hills and pity parties along the course I was happy to see my time was under 3 hours. Definitely not my best time at 2:53.57, but not my worst. I’ll take it!!