This has been a staple in my race running career since I began running. I’ve only missed it a couple of times (2008 – cancelled due to ice, 2010 – recovering from a torn MCL, and 2013 – in STL). So of course when I saw the date was December 20th, I planned my trip back to Seattle to coincide with the 12Ks of Christmas.
I woke to cold and rain. While I just received my boxes in Portland, I am no where near being unpacked. I had thrown a few items in my suitcase, but of course not a hat or a raincoat. I know it can be considered taboo to wear the race shirt the day of, but given my limited wardrobe and the coldness of the day, I went ahead and wore it. I also bought a hat, but more for the cold as the rain died down.
The course was changed up from previous years, with promises of flattening out the course. There would also be two water stops on the course.
We lined up at the start line and they released us in waves of a couple hundred at a time.
The first big change I noticed (other than starting in the complete opposite direction) was we had a downhill fairly quickly! Through Marina Park (the old start/finish line) and down Lake Washington Blvd.
Based on my last 5K, I once again switched up my intervals, this time to 1:15 run / :45 walk. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to maintain the 1:30 / :45 so pre-emptively decided to shorten the run. It was a good decision – while I was able to maintain 1:30 run for the 5K, I wasn’t sure that I could maintain it for the 12K.
The uphill to catch the Cross Kirkland Corridor was brutal. Especially when at the top, there was the remains of a water station but no water. Really? This the second year in a row, there has been no water at the water stops. Boo. When a race says they are going to have water, shouldn’t they have water? Even for the back of the pack runners?
The majority of the Cross Kirkland Corridor was gravel. I played leap frog with a few folks. And then we got to the second water stop. Once again, no water. So frustrating. But it was so close to the end! Up and down and up and a long down and we were at the finish!
Let’s talk times, shall we? Last year I PR’d at 1:29:28. It’s been somewhat disheartening to watch my times get longer and longer this year, and I knew that time was unattainable with where I’m at now. Deep, deep down I really wanted to come in under 1:40 (my secret goal). The last downhill definitely helped me sneak in under 1:40 at 1:37:27.
This year has not been great for me, running-wise, but as I look back at my history with this race, I realize I have come a long way. With the exception of this year, I have improved my time every single year I’ve run this race.
- 2006 – 2:00:37
- 2007 – 1:44:08
- 2009 – 1:42:28
- 2011 – 1:39:34
- 2012 – 1:33:04
- 2014 – 1:29:28
- 2015 – 1:37:27
Here’s hoping 2016 brings a little bit of speed with it!