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 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?