15 December 2012

Santa Runs Tacoma 2012 Race Recap

The family ready to run!
I love local, fun races!  This is my third year running the Santa Runs Tacoma 5K and this year my whole family decided to join in.  Of course I had to get creative with our costumes, and luckily everyone was a good sport about it.  This race doesn't give out shirts or medals- instead you get a stocking hat and gloves.  I think this years gloves are the best so far, and the hat is really cute also which is awesome.  Last year's hat was a bit too small (even though it was cute!) and the gloves were scratchy.  You do have the option to purchase a shirt if you want one- I personally do not need another cotton shirt to wear as pajamas lol.

Our race packet goodies- hat and fleece gloves!
Our race bibs!
So race morning we got ourselves up and organized and out the door by 8:05am or so.  The plan was 7:45am but with 4 people getting ready and 2 of them being kids that was the best we could do!  It was cold outside, about 37 degrees or so but the rain was holding off and I was hoping it would stay that way until the race was over (it did!). 

One is naughty, one is nice!
We parked down on Pacific Avenue and jogged our way down to the starting area to warm ourselves up, about 1/2 a mile away.  I quickly spotted Mel from www.tallmomontherun.com and went over to give her a hug and say hi.  We found some other friends and tried to stay warm waiting for the race to start.  The 10K started around 8:40am and then we lined up for our 9am start time.  We were soon joined by Alyssa (www.therandomnessofalyssa.blogspot.com), Paul, Meredith, Kallie, Brian, Rydar, Zoe (www.runzoerun.com) and her daughter, as well as Alma (www.averagewomanrunner.blogspot.com) and a couple of her friends!  Quite a large group of friends, but so great to know so many people out on the course.  And I know there were many more that I didn't list!

Mel and I before the race!
Devan, me and Mel waiting in the potty line!
The gun went off and we were shuffling towards the timing mats and then we were off and running!  It was a bit crowded in the beginning but we were able to keep together easily enough.  We made it up the initial hill without any problems and settled into a comfortable pace for the kids.  I didn't wear my garmin because there really wasn't a point- I wanted to have fun not stress about what time it was!  At the halfway point Niko was wanting to take lots of walking breaks which was fine with me but Devan was annoyed and wanted to keep running so I asked Will if he minded that we went ahead and he said no so off we went.  Devan kept a nice steady pace and I told her if she needed to walk to let me know.  We took maybe 3 walk breaks for about 15-20 seconds each and soon enough we were at the final little hill before heading down to the finish line! 

Cheesy smile for the camera
My elf hubby
We stopped and had our timing chip removed and grabbed a banana, bottle of water and a chocolate milk before walking down to watch for Will and Niko to finish.  We cheered on a few friends that finished right behind us and then Will and Niko came through- Niko didn't look too happy, I think he had gotten a bit too cold in the last mile.  Oops, should have dressed him in one more layer I guess.  But he finished and once he warmed up and had some chocolate milk he was as good as new!  We stood around and chatted for a few minutes and then made the trek back to our car.  It was FREEZING cold and raining for our walk back but I couldn't complain because the kids were with me and I had to pretend it was not that bad.  But it was cold and my hands and face were frozen and I was really happy to be back at our car!

Alyssa, Meredith and I
A tall elf and a short Santa!
If you are interested in running a race for the first time and want to have fun I highly recommend finding a local themed race.  These are less competitive and you will find people of every size, shape, age and fitness level there.  The kids had a good time- I asked Niko if he had fun and he said yes even though it didn't seem that way at the end.  It was a fun way to spend a Saturday morning with the family doing something active.  We finished up with a nice breakfast down at The Harmon hanging out with some friends and relaxing.  Good times.
Alyssa caught Devan and I finishing the race!
Niko and his buddy Rydar before the race.  I love this photo!


11 December 2012

Amica Seattle Half Marathon Recap

I signed up to run the Seattle half marathon last spring when there was a Zozi deal floating around for $39.  Too good to pass up right?  Several friends signed up as well, including Cynthia who was planning to come over from Boise and spend the holiday weekend with us before the race.  The Seattle half marathon is on the Sunday following Thanksgiving so typically the weather is horrible and I imagined I would have a pumpkin pie hangover but it would still be a fun race with friends no matter what happened!

As the date starting creeping up, I found out that Cynthia would not be able to make it over for the race after all (insert very sad face HERE) so I arranged for another friend Kate to use her race bib.  This would be Kate's very first half marathon- she had mentioned wanting to run a full marathon next year so I suggested that a half would probably be a good place to start.  And if you read my last post, you know that I was not going to set any PR's on this course due to my rough November training so I offered to run the whole race with her- that sounded like more fun anyways!  She was so relieved and happy that I knew I made the right decision to help her get across the finish line and just not worry about my time at all.

Seattle Space Needle- pretty fantastic view!
The day before the race my hubby, the kiddos and myself headed up to Seattle.  I had reserved a hotel room right across from the Space Needle (best decision EVER) so we walked down to the race expo and then met up with a group of friends for dinner.  After dinner we walked back to the hotel and tried to get some sleep.  I had laid out my race day outfit and made sure I could get ready quickly in the morning.  It was so nice knowing I could literally walk to the start line in about 5 minutes! 

Kate, me, Alyssa, Kerrie and Zoe looking all sparkly before the race!
I met Alyssa down in the hotel lobby and we walked to a quick meet up with Kerrie, Zoe and Kate.  We chatted for a few minutes, had a random guy snap our photo and then we headed out to the extremely packed start area.  Alyssa, Kate and I were starting together and I really had wanted to be ahead of the 2:15 pace group but it was impossible to move.  The only bonus was that we were staying warm since it was about 38 degrees outside.  No complaints though because it was not raining or snowing!!  Kate was looking pretty nervous and I assured her once we started moving she would be just fine. 

We were smashed in and couldn't move any more waiting for the race to start
It was kind of fun to relive the "first half marathon" experience through her.  Do you remember your first half marathon?  Did you get to run with somebody?  Mine was at the North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon in June 2010 and I started the race with Cynthia and Tiana.  Even though we didn't run together the entire race it was so nice to have friends at the start and the finish! 

Flashback!  Me, Cynthia and Tiana after finishing our
first half marathon in June 2010
Anyways, soon the gun sounded and we were off and running!  Not.  We were walking in a cluster and barely able to move for a few minutes and then we were running!  It was very, very crowded in the beginning of the race since we started so far back.  After about a mile it thinned a bit and we could pick the pace up a bit.  I was trying to keep as close to 10 minute miles as possible, but since I didn't do any training runs with Kate I didn't really know her pace- only her goal which was between 2:10 and 2:15.  I didn't want her to go out too fast and then be dying later in the race.  So we ran and chatted and Alyssa stayed with us for about 3 or so miles until Kate needed to take a little stretch/walk break and she went on ahead. 

I had kind of wanted to use the bathroom before the race started but the lines were very long so I decided to go out on the course after a few miles.  Well, literally every single time we passed a honey bucket there was a line!  I have never seen this before in a race.  And the weird thing is that I didn't really have to go that bad, but after you think about having to go you just can't get it out of your mind!  Finally we waited and spent a good 5 minutes in a line to go.  We multi-tasked and drank water and had a gel while we waited- this was around mile 5 or so.  This was Kate's first Gu (vanilla bean) by the way.  I would recommend trying Gu before race day, but I didn't realize she didn't even know what they were until I brought it up the week of the race!  Oops.  She thought it was really sweet and preferred the espresso one she had later at mile 9 but she liked them overall and said they helped her energy level.  I prefer espresso as well- I tend to buy them by the case.  Peanut butter is pretty tasty as well, if you haven't tried it you should!

One thing that is awesome about pacing somebody who is a bit slower than you is that you get to absorb the race course- the sights, the sounds, the other runners and the people cheering us on.  Pretty cool.  Kate was doing a great job, we were taking walk breaks about once or twice each mile but only for about 30-60 seconds and we took water at all of the water stops.  We ran along Lake Washington and then through the Arboretum before heading back into the Seattle Center.  I loved the Arboretum with all of the trees lining the streets- I felt like I was out in the woods it was really pretty!  And the neighborhoods we passed had the most beautiful, amazing houses to look at.  This course was much better than the Seattle Rock and Roll as far as scenery goes. 

The finish area
The last few miles were the toughest for Kate, she had built up to an 11 mile run during training but it was only one time.  I was talking her ear off, trying to keep encouraging her and make sure her mind was busy and not just focused on how badly she wanted to stop running!  Finally at 12 miles she told me she was going through the stages of grief.  I asked her which stage she was at and she said anger- I just laughed.  She knew she was going to finish though and she found a last surge of energy- I knew it would be very close but there was a possibility of finishing under 2:30 still.  When we finally saw the finish area Kate just took off for the finish line and I tried my very best to dodge people and keep up!  She has really long legs! 

Watch out- girl on a mission coming through!
Half marathon #14 in 2 1/2 years
Once we crossed the finish line she was just hugging me and so happy to be done- that was a great feeling, to be there when somebody completes a goal.  A huge goal- a half marathon is a big accomplishment.  Just because some people (myself included) are crazy and run half marathons like we are taking a stroll through the park does not mean that it is not something to be extremely proud about doing.  And like I told Kate, no sense killing yourself on your first one- you need a goal to beat for your second one!!  Our finish time was 2:31 and I think that is a pretty great first half marathon time.  I would definitely consider running this race again- and who knows maybe next year I will tackle the full marathon!