December 2, 2013

Amica Seattle Half Marathon

I hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving break! Mine was filled with wedding planning, running, traveling, and performing. More to come on all that later - but first, my recap of the Amica Seattle Half Marathon!

On Saturday, we went to Seattle to visit the Expo and pick up my race packet. This is one of my favorite Expos - the space is so large so it never feels overcrowded, and there's always tons of vendors that have delicious samples. I really should look up races I want to run and then to go expos to sign up, because they're usually heavily discounted.

I was SO excited to see the Flipbelt being sold! JW and I immediately tried them on and bought them. It was my belated birthday present :)

We got home, I went to Snowflake Lane, and then I came home to start mentally preparing and setting things up for the next morning.

For some reason, it was so hard to focus on the next day. I had no idea what I should wear, or what the weather was going to be like - I had heard rain, no rain, snow... gah! So I laid out the pants that I wore on the Turkey Trot, the orange long sleeve Seattle Marathon shirt, another shirt on top of that, my zip up vest, ear muffs, gloves... could you tell I was cold as I was trying to decide?? I bought some Clif Shot Bloks and put them with my stuff, and made the decision to not bring my water bottle since I was going to try just having the fit belt as my only extra gear.

The next morning, on Sunday December 1st, I woke up at 5:15 to leave by 5:45. I was really worried about parking and wasn't sure where I was going to go- last year I had to pay $15 to park in a lot, so that sucked. I was planning on parking near my friend's apartment. I had one thought on my mind: Have fun, and get in under two hours.

I checked the weather - 52 degrees. 52! That's apparently scientifically proven perfect running weather... or something. I decided to only wear the orange long sleeve tee, and went and grabbed my capri yoga pants that I sometimes run in. Thank goodness I also decided to pack other things in my bag to leave in my car - I brought my vest, the long pants, another sports bra and long sleeved t-shirt, and gloves. 

Before I knew it, it was time to leave!! Mentally I was feeling okay - a little unsure of myself, but thinking about my awesome 13.1 training run really boosted my confidence. The weather being so awesome also made my outlook a lot more positive. I swear, running is like 70% mental.. if not more.

I arrived without a hitch and managed to snag the closest parking spot ever - it was right next to my friend's apartment and less than half a mile from the start line, as the crow flies. (I've used that phrase like, three times in the past two days - does anybody else regularly say that??! I feel a little nuts.) 

After staying in my car for about 10 minutes making sure I was warm and that I had everything I needed, I started walking over. On the way, I had to walk through where we would finish and snapped some pictures.

I wasn't nervous or jittery. I visualized myself crossing that finish line with the numbers saying anything less than 01:59:59. I felt a little calm - it was strange.

I walked over to where I could chill out in the Armory, where most of the other runners were doing the same thing, and stayed there until about 7:15 when I knew it was getting ready to be time to go. 

After the Turkey Trot, I now realize the importance in warming up before the race starts. Before races, I always saw people running before the race and thought they were a little crazy - why were they tiring themselves out before they had to run?! But now I realize... it's just incredibly unsafe to not do that. I jogged my way down to the start line and immediately felt better, a little more awake, and more importantly, ready to go.

I got as close to the start line as I could. I was in line with the 2 hour 15 minute pacer so I knew I needed to get ahead of her to catch up to the 2 hour pacer. As I took the above photo, my phone was in a Ziploc case (in case it rained - the Flipbelt isn't waterproof) and someone passing me said, "Nice waterproof case!" and I said, "I know, real high-tech, right?!" :D :D

We sung the national anthem and the countdown begun - we were off! My main goal was to not start out too fast at the beginning. If someone got in front of me, so be it. I refused to weave in and out and waste my energy trying to get in front of people when I need to be holding back. I was convinced I was running a 10 minute mile.. but nope. 8'30''! Yikes.

My second mile was even worse (with trying to be slow) - 7'25'', my fastest mile pace ever. Haha!! Honestly I just zoned out during the race - I listened to my music, danced along, looked at the scenery - sometimes I would even forget that I was running. I was sort of pushing it, yeah, but I didn't feel like I was going all out like at the Turkey Trot.

The only thing bad about not bringing a water bottle and having Clif Shot Bloks was that I had nothing to wash them down with when I wanted them. I saw water stations at the first mile, but thought that was too soon to take one - big mistake. I wanted one in the second mile, but there was no water in sight. So I just waited until the third mile and took it then. I stopped at nearly every water stop, so of course I'm looking at my finishing time and betting that I could have shaved off at least 10 seconds, if not more, if I hadn't stopped. My next purchase will be a small handheld water bottle, I think!

As we approached the tunnel I was feeling pretty good. As we got to the 4 mile marker inside the tunnel, someone was yelling that we were at 36 minutes. What!! That meant I was doing GREAT on time. I didn't dare look at my Nikeplus app and jinx it, though.

I continued to feel good all the way. We got up to the halfway point and I saw my time - the clock said 59:43. I knew my chip time was earlier than that, so I started feeling really confident. My mantra became: I eat 13 miles for breakfast! Seriously, I don't know why that works, but the mantra gave me confidence and made me laugh a bit, too. Sometimes you just have to not take things so seriously.

I tried to actively push a little more than I had in the previous half. I knew it would be harder, but hey, we can do hard things, right?? I knew there was a huge hill around mile 7 so I was mentally prepared for it, though that didn't help it absolutely killing my calves. After I got that over with, I knew there were more rolling hills later, but I felt better knowing I got the biggest hill (in my mind) out of the way.

I did pretty well the rest of the way, but I could tell I slowed down while we were in the park area - the same place I slowed down last year. I was happy when we exited the Arboretum area, because I knew the end was so, so near. As we were going down one of the highway ramps, I saw the 2 hour pacer and quickly sped up so I could pass her. At that point I knew, barring anything unfortunate happening, I was gonna hit 2 hours!!! 

Right around mile 12, they had these INSANE downhills that just killed my quads, but I still pounded down them because I knew my goal was in sight. At Mercer, right before the 13 mile marker, there's a pretty steep uphill that I HATED, but I pushed as well as I could to get through it. I could tell I was slowing down and was disappointed that I wasn't surging as much as I could, but finally I got up the hill and started to sprint as fast as I could. Now the question was, how much under 2 hours was I going to be??

Right at the end, looking at the times, I was going about 8'30'' ish and sped up to about 7'50''. As I rounded the corner, I saw the clock in the distance reading 01:57:40 and I was ecstatic to see it so far away from 01:59:59. Plus, that was the gun time - I knew my chip time would be even faster! I crossed the finish line with a big smile on my face. I did it!!! 

Originally clocked me in at 13.4mi (see the lost tracking in the tunnel?)
Really hate that all of my miles were under 9, except for the 10th mile!!

10 minutes, 37 seconds faster than last year!!

I'm SO happy to see that the second half of the race was faster than the first half of the race - even if only by 4 seconds. The competitive part of my personality looks at the 56:06 and wonders if I could have done it 6 seconds faster... but then I remind myself that my goal was under 2 hours, and I accomplished my goal. 

I got in the top 15% and 14% of my age group and gender respectively, and top 24% overall. Of course, these numbers might change as they get data and change it- I was originally 89th in my age group when I first saw it, and the total number of 25-29 year olds has been fluctuating almost every time I refresh it. 

Last year, I was in the 33% and 34% of my age group and gender, respectively. I think it's cool to see how much I've improved in a year!!

Overall, I'm SO HAPPY!!! :D

Did you race this weekend?


  1. Congrats on your awesome race! Hope wedding planning is going well :)

    1. Thanks Amy! slowly but surely, wedding planning is trucking along! hope yours is going smoothly as well!

  2. holy crapolie--- you're amazing!! CONGRATS on a sub 2:00!! GREAT work!!