26 March 2013

St. Paddy Run Tacoma Recap

I will start this off by saying training for a marathon is time consuming.  I have had to eliminate a few things from my life in the last two months and blogging and reading for fun have taken the hardest hits.  Although I have plenty of time to play Candy Crush it seems.  Anyways- I have been diligently training for my marathon coming up on May 5th, and last Friday I actually popped over 300 miles of running for the year.  I will be trying to get a blog or two up about some of my actual training, but for now I wanted to let you know how my half marathon went!

Our tech shirts- each year they add a character to the shirt design
I did manage to fit a race into this training cycle- last weekend on March 16th I ran the St Paddy Day Half Marathon in Tacoma.  I registered way back on opening day using a volunteer credit I earned so basically this race was free for me.  I also registered Will for it as one of his Christmas presents- (haha, Merry Christmas...now go run!) and many local friends were running it as well.  This was my first race ever as a new runner in 2010 and I have run the 5K the last three years.  This was the first year they added the half marathon to the line up.

Devan made me this little collage. 
I tattoo'd myself up for the race!
Race morning Alyssa arrived at our house around 7am since her boyfriend Paul offered to watch the kids for us since we were suddenly without a babysitter Friday afternoon.  Very brave (and awesome) of him.  He stayed at the house and the three of us headed down to the start line about 10 minutes away.  I had 3 race packets to deliver and I like to be a bit early so we can get organized.  Parking was easy, I found Zoe quickly and gave her 2 of the packets and chatted for a few minutes.  Then we set off to find Steve which wasn't too difficult since he is so tall.  Found lots of friends, took a quick stop in the honey bucket, decided to check my stuff in at the coat check area and then stood there in the cold waiting for the race to start.  Will and Alyssa went to put their stuff in the car then Will handed me the keys to hold- I really didn't have a ton of pockets so I dashed to the coat check and by the time I got back the racers were all lined up and I could not find my friends -they had disappeared into the crowd.  Dang it- I was bummed I didn't get to tell Will good luck!

My little good luck charm I have worn the last 3 year's to the race. 
It is for my missing runner buddy Cynthia who loves butterflies.
I lined up just behind the 2:10 pacer, my ultimate goal was to finish under 2:10 so I figured that would be a good place to start.  The first mile is pretty fast since it is a downhill slope- after about 5 minutes I caught a glimpse of Alyssa's sparkle skirt ahead of me so I sped up to catch her.  We ran together the rest of the race, so I am glad I found her so quickly!  I passed the 2:10 pacer to catch Alyssa and we never saw him again the rest of the race.  There was a turn around with an out-and-back after mile 1 so I did see Will also and give him a high five as we passed which made me feel better.  The miles just ticked by pretty quickly after that.  My foot started falling asleep so I stopped quickly at the first water stop to loosen my laces on my left foot which helped.  I took a gel around mile 6, just before heading up the huge hill towards Pearl Street at the end of Ruston Way. 

Mile 1~ 9:15- downhill, found Alyssa, warming up
Mile 2~ 9:17- uphill, found Will and gave a high five
Mile 3~ 9:30- getting into the groove, my foot is falling asleep
Mile 4~ 9:53- over the overpass, quick water stop and loosen my laces
Mile 5~ 9:24- flat waterfront, foot comes back to life
Mile 6~ 9:33- take energy gel, water stop, rain starts, dreading the big hill
Mile 7~ 10:20- the big hill, rain stops

It also started raining about that time- it rained for about 3 minutes and it kind of felt good since I was warm.  The weather was pretty awesome overall- the temperature was mild, there was a bit of wind and the rain held off except for those couple of minutes!  Back to the hill.  We jogged/walked/jogged up that thing then headed off into the hilly neighborhood in Ruston.  I was thinking "it must be flat now" before every turn- only to face another hill.  Ugh.  Finally we were heading back down the massive hill onto the waterfront.  The lovely flat waterfront.  I took one more gel, one last cup of water and was ready to finish this race!  Over the overpass, then up Schuster Parkway, knowing the final mile is all uphill was mentally tough.  I caught sight of Steve after the overpass and in my mind I was hoping to pass him- it gave me a focus and something to think about besides being tired.  Finally, in the last half mile as we were running up the hill we passed him!  A quick moment of walking to catch our breath near the top of the hill and then we headed into the finish line.  That hill is pure evil. 

Mile 8~ 10:01- more hills with each turn, head back down big hill, water stop
Mile 9~ 9:31- aaaahhhh- the flat waterfront again
Mile 10~ 9:31- water stop, take a gel
Mile 11~ 9:47- over the overpass again, catch sight of Steve
Mile 12~ 9:51- just running to catch Steve and finish the race, tired legs
Mile 13~ 10:09- the UPHILL finish, pass Steve, then cross the line.  Done!

Just after finishing, still a little dazed!
I think this is my favorite medal ever.  It even
stands up on its own so you can display it!  Genius!
We grabbed our amazing finisher medal's and some water then chatted with Steve for a few minutes.  He races nearly every single weekend and recently earned his marathon maniac status.  We met last year when he ran Ragnar with us and I have seen him at a couple of races since then (Defiance 30K and Seattle Half).  We found Paul who had brought the kids down to the race for us so I could relieve him of his child watching duties.  Then we waited for Will to finish- I figured he would be in around 2:30 and sure enough- right at 2:29 he came up the hill for his big finish.  I was glad we could get a few pictures of him because literally 30 seconds before he finished a gust of wind knocked over several things including the photographer's stuff.  No finish photo for him!  Interestingly enough, this happened at the High Speed Pursuit race in Boise last year- the timing equipment was blown over just before he finished. 

Will coming up to the finish after that monster hill!
So proud of this guy- he just finished his 4th half marathon!
Overall, this was a fun race and I would do it again for sure.  It is hilly but hello- it is Tacoma.  Can't avoid hills around here!  I wasn't sure what to expect for my finish time- I have been intentionally running at a slower pace for marathon training.  I am pretty happy with my 2:06:05 finish time!  That is an average pace of 9:37 which is about a full minute faster per mile than I have been training at for my long runs.  Thanks Tacoma City Marathon Association for another fantastic race!