I was so excited when I realized I would be home for the 12Ks of Christmas. This is probably one of my favorite local races. I love the distance, the festive atmosphere, and the costumes!
They changed the course this year and rather than starting with an uphill, they moved the start line up to the top of the hill so you were starting somewhat flat. I parked in my normal spot and began the trek to the new start line. As I got out of my car, I realized I had forgotten GU back at my parent’s house. Well boo. There wasn’t much I could do at that point. I hoped against hope one of the vendors would have something I could eat (I found something).
The predominant colors, being a Christmas race, were red and green. However there was a third color(s) – that of Seahawk blue. Lots and lots of Seahawks outfits. Some of the best were half Christmas, half Seahawks.
We lined up ready to start. Coming off last week’s PR, deep, deep, deep down, I was secretly hoping for another chance to PR. I figured this one would be a bit more difficult than last week. But once I realized I had forgotten my fuel, I put aside thoughts of a PR.
The race organizers had been promoting the fact the course had been flattened out. Although due to construction issues, they did have to change the course slightly from what they had anticipated. While it was definitely flatter in some parts, it seemed that the hills just shifted slightly. The hill at the beginning was gone, but then there was a super short, but super steep hill. And the hill that used to be at the beginning ended up being at the end. Overall, I still enjoyed the course (except maybe that last hill which we’ll get to).
While I didn’t think a PR would be realistic, it was still my “A” goal, followed by “B” at 1:35, followed by “C” which was under 1:40. “D” wasn’t too far behind with finish.
We started out (with the 5Kers – another change from prior years). It was drizzling slightly which only reminded me more that I was back in Seattle. They had signs pretty early on telling the 12Kers to stay left and the 5Kers to stay right.
From the short steep hill we were heading back down Market and through downtown Kirkland. The giant hill had not been removed and I tried to keep up my intervals while climbing it.
The next big change to the course came around Houghton (I think) where we turned right instead of going straight. This is also where we passed the first water stop that was empty. A few stray cups but no water. Now, while I am slow, I was still with a decent number of people and I know there was still a good deal of people behind me. Regardless, there should have been water. There wasn’t anything I could do about it and so I kept plodding along.
Around Mile 5, I looked at my watch and attempted to do race math. I clocked in Mile 5 at just under 1 hour (barely) which meant I had 33 minutes to do approx 2.4 miles to beat my PR. Or 35 minutes to get goal “B”. This might just happen.
By now we were back on Lake Washington Blvd, with the views of Lake Washington. The street wasn’t closed, but the shoulder was blocked off. Between the shoulder and the sidewalk, it felt like enough room since the pack had thinned out.
We came up on the second water stop and guess what? Yup, no water. Boo. By this time I was seriously thirsty. But fortunately I was also that much closer to the end. Where they better have water!
Mile 6 came, followed by the 10K sign (Lords a leaping). I took a quick glance at my watch. I was really close to a 10K PR. Through the old finish line area and up the hill past the new finish line area. And up, and up, and up Market we went. This is where I was doubting the whole new course idea. I was not a fan of this hill so close to the end.
I reached the top. Woohoo!! It had to be all downhill from here, right? Back down the super steep hill, on to Waverly, where we turned into the park and finished!!!
Before we get to my time, I need to complain about one thing. (Only one, you ask? Well, there may have been a few complaints a long the way!) Some ding-dong jumped into the course to finish with his girlfriend, which fine, except he completely blocked me from the photographer!! This wasn’t his finish, it was mine! And I’m one of those people who actually buy the race pictures. I was extremely irritated. It could have had something to do with the fact I was starving and thirsty as well.
And across the finish line I went!! With a time of (drumroll please) 1:29.28! That’s another 3 minute PR! I honestly didn’t think I had it in me. I was definitely more uncomfortable on the course as I kept pushing where I normally would back off. But it paid off with a shiny new PR to end the year with.
I am very happy to say they did have water at the end which I gratefully guzzled.
So ends my 2014 in racing.