Sunday, November 29, 2009

Well, that went fast . . .

The Short:

Event: Seattle Half Marathon
Mar Split 1 = 1st 13.1 miles; Mar Split 2 = last 13.1 miles. HMar Split 1 = 1st 6.2 miles (10k); HMar Split 2 = last 6.9 miles.


Overall Place

Division Place


Chip Time

Official Time

Split 1

Split 2

Finish Order










GPS Track:

The Long:

It has been a while since I ran long, a month in fact, and the last run was a tough, hilly slog through Ballard that left me feeling quite beaten up. The flu took me totally out for a week and it took two just to come back.

I had a fantastic race this morning!

Woke at 5:00 AM to get ready. It was very calm and quite warm when as I walked the puppy (he is not a "morning guy" and was complaining at the early hour). 49 degrees and little wind so I decided that shorts and one of my light long-sleeved shirts would do. No hat, gloves, or throw-away shirt necessary. Packed my race bag, remembering the bottle of Iskiate I prepared last night and headed over the SS's to wait for our ride.

Once at Seattle Center I headed over to the bag check and took advantage of a whole line of empty Porta-Potties just past a whole line of full Porta-Potties with lines of people in front of them. Dropped my bag and ran into PuddleThumper and she introduced me to "J" who she was pacing.

Lined up just behind the 2-hour pace runners and waited. The Half-Marathon walkers went off to much fanfare and we heard about the Baghdad Shadow Run (some impressive times there). Was it just me, but was it less crowded than it has been in past years?

I got a great start, about a minute to the start mat, and was almost immediately running in the clear going up 5th. This did not stop me from being bumped and elbowed by people wearing headphones (they were weaving off their line and, of course, could not hear anything going on) but I made steady progress up the hill. Two guys running in Five Fingers passed me at this point going like bats out of hell. And then there were the really strange gaits—the guy whose feet and lower legs ended up at almost 90 degree angles to the side, the pigeon-toed woman, and the various (and interesting) injury compensations.

Skipped the first water station at 2 miles and headed up the I-90 Express Lanes.

Hitting the lanes I was passed by two girls wearing t-shirts that read "You are being beat by a 13 year old girl!" Funny! Everyone around me was laughing at this.

I started to think how fast this was all going and how short 13 miles really is (at least it is for me at this point, mentally and physically). We'd be at, what, 4.5 miles or so exiting the tunnel (I think) and then the hard work climbing over Capitol Hill would begin. Looking at my watch, was surprised that my pace was well-under the planned 9:30's and at how smoothly running felt though I am sure that a video would show that standard lumber of mine. A two hour half started looking possible and I decided to go for it. I'd run strongly on the flats and the downhills and try as much as possible to power up the hills knowing that I would have to make up time. Pretty uneventful EXCEPT that I had to run through a potent cloud of someone's gas (it was awful).

East Galer starts the first significant climb of this run. Turning the corner and hitting the uphill I noticed the two 13 year olds to my left. They hit this hill at about the same time. One just dropped away, the other charged but ran out of steam about halfway up. I smiled at this. Yep, I wasn't being beaten by 13 year old girls although I am not sure why this matters (actually, I counted five really young runners in my immediate environs as I went through the course and marveled at their efforts).

East Madison to Lake Washington Blvd through the Arboretum is a long climb followed by a downhill and turn. It was interesting to see how many people that hill took out. I made slow and steady progress and picked up the people that I would basically be running with for the rest of the race: two women carrying cowbells (and ringing them, if that is the right word), a woman in a "Run Calgary" t-shirt, a tall and lanky South Asian Indian man, and a woman with short dark-brown hair done up in a hair-clip, and a bearded man wearing a red wool hat (why??). I was feeling the "heat" at this point and drinking as much as I could get in at the water stations (not much).

Interlaken has to be my favorite part of this race. People in the neighborhood come out to cheer (got the obligatory "Eye of the Tiger" on the boom box) and, well, the scenery is just so pretty that it distracts you from the climb that you are actually doing. Interlaken Park is just peaceful and pretty. Surprise! Surprise! I was running closer to 8-minute miles during this section which, adding the slower climbs, put me at just over 9-minutes per mile.

Slowed some on Delmar doing down over I-5, was thrilled to hear some Boston, and kicked it up a notch on Boylston back under the freeway and onto Lakeview Blvd. Couple of miles left and I was feeling amazingly strong especially on the hills. My group generally stayed together as it were with me surging on the hills only to be passed on the downhills and hold even on the flats. Kicked it into 8:30's or so onto Lakeview. One mile to go!


All downhill too . . .

I started to feel vague, odd because I had been eating and drinking and hadn't really be over-taxing myself. A quick glance at my watch told me why, I was running about 7:45 per mile. OOPS! Backed off and concentrated on holding steady on the final stretch down Republican and onto Dexter. Cow Bell Ladies surged ahead and were complimented on their musicianship by one of the course volunteers. Lost sight of Run Calgary, short haired woman, and tall South-Asian Indian guy. Red Wool Hat dropped away. Saw my first casualty of the day at the final aid station on the course—a tall guy who was looking not-so-well as he lay on the ground being administered to by emergency personnel: pale, closed eyes, and moving jerkily. :-(

The rest of this race went so fast. Caught and passed tall South-Asian Indian guy on Dexter.

Point one-oh left. Down under Aurora. Caught Run Calgary, Cow Bell Ladies, and short haired woman. Tall South-Asian Indian guy caught and passed me and then just started walking up the last hill. I kicked in the afterburners for the final kick. Entered the Stadium running 8:23 and sprinted in running 6's.


Really cool!

By this I mean, I really enjoyed myself this morning in a way that I have not on the course before. It didn't seem so hard or so long.

Not a PR but a very strong run, especially after being ill.

It is really funny how much detail I remember about the people around me. I never met them but they felt like friends . . .

Can't wait until next year when you know that it will snow, hail, ice storm, and turn tropical all in the space of two hours. :-P

What's next?

What else?


Slomohusky said...

Fun report and ... very fast! Great job! I can only dream of such speed. NO rain!

I noticed lots of young runners at my recent 12K Turkey Trot. We had most of the Xcountry team of at least one high school. The coach even had his two son's running the 5K, who were only 9 and 7 year olds. I thought that might be a little too young, but they had fun and did well.

Yeah it is fun for me how 9-12 mile training runs seem short to me these days.

Thanks for sharing.

GVB said...

Strong work, Robin. Sorry I didn't find in all of the starting area chaos!

ChrisG said...

Yay! Great job. I can't even imagine running for 2 hours, so I'm really impressed.

I wish my dog could channel your puppy. He gets me up every day at 5, and I'd really rather sleep until 6 0r 7.

PuddleThumper said...

rocks n roots n sand. Way to go sandbagger! I can't wait to see how you tear it up on the xc course.

rpd said...

@Slomohusky You'll get there. :-)

@GVB Was looking for you too but, well, there was such a crush.

@CAG I am sure that Terfel would be channelable. We'll just have to find the frequency.

@PT :-P