18 May 2012

Tacoma City Half Marathon Recap

My self portrait at 6am- ready to run!  After I put some shoes on of course.
Sunday morning (May 6th) I woke up at 5am to prepare myself for the Tacoma City Half Marathon which started at 8am about 10 minutes from my house.  This would be the first time EVER that I drove myself, alone, to the start of a race.  The family was going to hunt me down during the race to take some photos though.  I felt like such a race professional- and I really wasn't even nervous.   

Please ignore the large bags under my eyes!
Probably because I was too busy trying to decide if my legs were going to actually cooperate and run 13.1 miles two days in a row!  I ate a Cliff bar for breakfast and dressed in my half fanatic gear before heading out the door.  I opted to wear my Brooks PureConnects for this race even though the farthest I had ran in them was 10 miles.  I wore my Kinvara 2's on Saturday and didn't think it would be wise to wear them twice in a row for such long runs.  They worked out great, no problems with either shoe and my feet had no complaints.  My Garmin was fully charged and would hopefully be on its best behavior for the race!  I grabbed a banana, my gels and headphones and off I went, leaving around 6:30am or so.
The starting area, quite peaceful still!
Look who decided to behave for this race!  Good morning Garmin!
I found a great parking spot just a couple of blocks from the start line so I wandered around for a bit, just people watching and figuring out my game plan.  It was chilly and there was a foggy cloud cover but I knew the sun would eventually poke through.  I walked back to the car, attached my chip timer onto my shoe and ate my banana around 7am.  It was kind of lonely to be there by myself, I saw a few people I knew and said hi to them but otherwise just stood around waiting for the race to start.  I used the bathroom around 7:15 when the lines were still short, watched the full marathoners start at 7:30, and checked my bag in around 7:50-keeping my jacket until the last possible second. 
Waiting for the starting gun
I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom again at that point but just figured it was my usual "prerace" potty jitters so I didn't get in line.  Turns out I should have gone, I think I overhydrated myself on Saturday night and ended up needing to stop during mile 3 really quick to go!  Anyways, we all lined up and I realized I was standing with the 2:00 pace group but it was too difficult to move at that point so I just stayed put.  Suddenly we were off running, I started my Garmin (yay it worked!) and it was time to see what my legs thought about going for a run.  My head was in the game and ready for a challenge, and as far as I could tell my body was too.  I wasn't sore at all and I took that as a positive sign. 

Not the greatest photo, but this is my Garmin data with elevation profile.  Just a tad bit hilly!
The first few miles of the race are pretty much uphill.  I didn't notice it too much until mile 3, when suddenly my legs were slightly rebelling and my breathing was a bit heavier than it normally is.  Then I remembered that we were heading up into Wright Park and the hills would level out in a few miles.  As I entered the park suddenly my daughter was on the side of the trail!  The family had found me, took a few photos and then they were off to the next viewing spot.  It gave me something to think about- where would I see them next?? 

I love this picture!  I told Devan to run with me- it looks like we are leading the race!
Mile 1- 9:45 ~getting warmed up, testing the legs
Mile 2- 9:42 ~realize I really DO have a full bladder
Mile 3- 11:46 ~potty stop, water stop and start my ipod, say hi to family (busy mile!) 
Mile 4- 9:39 ~start getting warm, ditch arm sleeves along Stadium Way

Will found me one more time on the other side of the park
We ran about 3/4 of a lap around the park then headed down towards Stadium High School before winding our way down towards the waterfront.  I had never ran through that neighborhood, and it was fun looking at all of the houses.  I ditched my "arm sleeves" Cynthia had made out of socks for the Boise race somewhere in mile 4 when I started warming up.  At this point I was on the lookout for water stop #3 so I could say hi to Nicole -she was volunteering and that was her assigned spot.  I have never officially met her in person but I recognized her right away and she handed me gatorade just like a pro haha!  I guess I missed out on saying hi to Becky -I wasn't sure where to look and didn't realize you girls were together!

I'm not in this photo, but I liked it.  Aren't the trees pretty?
Mile 5- 9:44 ~took my espresso gel as I got close to the aid station, got gatorade from Nicole
Mile 6- 10:00 ~heading down to the waterfront, start seeing the leaders as they head back
Mile 7- 9:37 ~see the family again, cruising down the waterfront
Mile 8- 9:40 ~I felt like my pace was faster here, but I guess not!

Blurry.  Fitting, I felt a bit blurry at times!  Just entering the main strip of waterfront. 
A quick hug from my daughter always helps!
After that we were cruising down to the waterfront for an out and back that was relatively flat.  My body felt good, I kept waiting for the crash but it hadn't happened yet.  I felt good- it kind of made me nervous but I tried to pick the pace up a bit.  Mile 8 is the magic number for me in a half marathon (well, it is also my favorite number but that is different), at that point I am more than halfway done and with only 5 miles to go I suddenly get this second surge of energy.  The family was waiting for me again so I said hi and snuck in a quick hug as I passed by. 

There is the Vibram wearing, jogger stroller pushing guy that passed me.  Yep. 
I know the waterfront like the back of my hand- I could tell you the distance from nearly any point to any other point along the way so I was just cruising along on autopilot.  This part was fun because you could see other runners as they headed back and there were TONS of half fanatic shirts out there.  I got lots of cheers from other runners and a few high fives from some friends I saw.  I got passed by a dad pushing a jogger stroller, wearing Vibram's and digging around in a bag for a bottle (I figured he hadn't run a half marathon the day prior so it didn't hurt too bad!). 

As I left the waterfront I knew that I had a hilly section coming before the finish.  My legs still felt great- what is up with that, you would think they would feel like lead or something right???  As I was running (didn't have to walk at all, what the heck?) up the hill that was my nemesis during the St Paddy 5K I realized that I would pass back through the water stop where Nicole was and wondered if she would still be there.  I had already made the decision not to get any more water since there was less than 2 miles left at that point but I would try and say hi really quick if I saw her.  As I approached I noticed she was standing off to the side and had her phone out- she took a couple of photos of me which was really awesome of her, I said hi and off I went. 

Hi Nicole!  Thanks for the photo!
Mile 9- 9:29 ~happy to reach the turn around point and be heading back!
Mile 10- 9:55 ~got passed by the stroller dad, took my second gel
Mile 11- 10:08 ~hilly on the overpass, getting the "ready to be done" feeling

UP I went might be a better description of what I did next.  Wow, that was a hill and a half!  Luckily it was just for a couple of blocks- I jogged/power walked up the steep, steep hill that is 9th St in downtown Tacoma!  Finally we got to the top and I rounded the corner and knew I was almost done.  After a couple of minutes I saw a sign up ahead- it was the 2:10 pacer!  I wanted nothing more than to pass her and that was my mission.  I was so focused that I didn't even see the family until Will shouted at me as I ran by! 

Focused on the pacer sign I can see a block ahead of me!
Oh HEY!  Almost missed the family!
Mile 12- 10:17 ~say hi to Nicole, go UP the big hill, almost done
Mile 13- 8:35 ~time to get it done- pass the 2:10 pacer and crossed the finish line

One of the official race photos- I actually smiled AND waved at the photographer.  It only took me 2 years and a million races to get it down!  HA!
I caught up to the pacer and actually said hi and introduced myself- once I got closer I realized it was one of my Daily mile friends Sharon!  How funny.  Anyways, she said they were ahead of pace and to "go finish strong" which I did!  I suddenly had this surge of energy and I just pushed myself as fast as I could to the finish line.  That last mile was my fastest mile out of both races! 

Earned some bling!  One half for the race, one half for being a Half Fanatic!
I apparently also earned bagels and chocolate milk!
My official finish time was 2:06:58.  Sixteen seconds slower than the day before- I couldn't have gotten closer if I tried!  Thanks for an awesome race Tacoma- I will be back next year, maybe for 26.2 in one day instead of two!! 
I did it- 2 half marathons back to back!



  1. well done.....and what a GREAT race photo....you nailed it! Back to back.....you ARE a FANATIC! :>)

  2. You rocked both of those halfs and it doesn't suprise me that you did. It should surprise you either! You are usually always in half marathon shape, you do lots of back to back workouts with running and soccer. Point is you are awesome and I hope these to halfs showed you that :)
    P.S. Love that first picture of you and Dev running. So cute!

    1. Correction- *shouldn't* surprise you either :)

  3. Nicole pointed you out on your second time past our stand, but you were, you know, running a race, so there wasn't time for introductions! :) It looked like such a fun race and as far as I could tell things seemed pretty organized. I look forward to running some of TCMA's races...I'm planning to do the Tacoma Narrows in August. Way to go!!!