The Seattle Rock n Roll Full and Half marathon had over 27,000 participants this year. Incredible! They do know how to put on a race of this size. Everything is well organized. I even chatted with a favorite vendor (Sound Sports) who was at the expo. According to her, even the vendors benefit and the expo is well organized adn they are very well treated. That was nice to hear.
I managed to hitch a ride with JCB and other Coach Lesley athletes to the start of the race in Tukwilla. JCB's husband is the ultimate in taxi services and knew just where to go to avoid all traffic. And the drop off was close to my secret bathroom which I found last year when I gave up waiting in porto-potty lines for over 2500 people. No. I'm not telling! I wore a throw away shirt and planned on not checking anything. It was fun traveling light.
It was a perfect morning. Low 50s, cloudy and cool with no wind. It was humid and I did take an electrolyte tablet early as I'd knew I'd need the salt. Since I had signed up for this race last summer with discounted pricing, I'd had some other goals in mind when I seeded myself. I was in corral 3 (out of 30 or more) but that would be too fast for me know so I tucked myself into Corral 4 after a good warm-up. Ready!
Obviously the organization listened to issues from last year. This year they had PA system set up so the people in front could hear what was going on. I listened to the national anthem and marveled at how quiet so many people could be. She sang "In the dawn's early light" and you could see all those late runners scurrying around. Pretty funny, I thought.
I placed myself behind the 1:45 pace group for the half and pretty far back. My aim was to run 8:15 pace for the first few flat miles, take it easy on teh big hill at mile 5, get back on pace on the flats, don't lose it on the hill and tunnel and then keep it strong on the downhill and finish. 1:47 is what I ran last year. I was doubtful I'd do that but was thinking I was in 1:48 - 1:49 shape based on a recent 10k.
and we were off. It was crowded and so right away I was right on 8:15 pace and feeling good. I carried a small bottle of water so I could avoid the crowds at the aid stations and not have to stop to drink out of those cups. That works very well for me. I was worried my shoulder which has been bugging me (from that trail fall a month ago) would not like carrying water but it wasn't an issue. Tick, tick, tick. The miles just fell away. And then we start the very long hill at mile 5. It's not real steep but it definitely goes up and I could feel it. I honestly did not want to push here so just took the pace easily. the downhill was nice on the backside.
I was tending to a bit slower than I wanted but the effort felt right so I chose not to try and push it. Mile 6 is still pretty early in a half. I had decided to wear headphones (in one ear) and my ipod. Last year most of the bands weren't quite awake or something when I came through. This year they did better but I was still glad I was wearing the ipod. With such a big race and at half marathon pace, there isn't chatting going on. I'd done a special playlist and was really enjoying it.
:insert music here:
Praise You by Fatboy Slim. A feel good song for me with a lovely line "I have to praise you like I should." It always makes me thankful for all the things I can do and all the wonderful people in my life. I was also enjoying seeing Seattle at it's best. It was green and glorious and felt so nice out there. There were numerous people out cheering too. Nice! 50 states and 12 countries were represented at this race and it's nice to show off the city.
And then around mile 7, I started to feel the first twinges of my hip. Oh, that isn't good. I tried switching up my stride a bit with quicker turnover and then slower turnover. Sometimes that can help. Slowing definitely can help as I knew from long runs. I'd taken a gel at about mile 5 so I made sure to finish water off and decided I was going to need more and took my first aid station stop in here. Six miles. Can the hip hold it together?
They did seem to change the course this year to the more gradual climb (starting at 8.5) to access the very steep short access road to the I-90 tunnel. I found that a bit easier but I still kept it easy on the very steep section. And had a huge laugh as "Stayin' alive" by the Bee Gees came on. Last year I got way too hot in the tunnel which this year wasn't an issue. I do find the tunnel rather horrific though. The sound of traffic from the other tunnels echos strangely and I really dislike it. It's creepy to me. I put in the other earbud at this point. the hip was starting to bind and ache. And I know from experience that I will eventually be unable to maintain any sort of pace as I stop being able to extend my leg. At mile 9, I took my first stop to stretch out the hip and hamstring as I stopped being able to extend it and my race was done.
Nope. Hip couldn't hold it together. I had to alternate running in and stopping to loosen the hip. Frustrating to say the least. Once off the I-90 bridge, I was tempted to jump off the course and just jog it in to the meeting place but ultimately decided I didn't want another DNF.
1:54:21 or 8:44 pace overall.
Basically this was a good tempo run with marathon pace at the end. And really, marathon pace or easier is what the hip can handle once it is irritated. Doing the marathon training for Lincoln, I'd managed to keep the hip under control but knew long runs would irritate it. I was encouraged that as I built distance that moment when all of a sudden I'd be aware of the hip got later in the run (first 8, then 12, then 15 or 16) but running at the faster half marathon pace brought up the issue sooner. And I've been lax in some of the care I do to keep it happy. When the trail fall, I couldn't do yoga as easily with my shoulder so iffy. I'd had a hard time getting into get a massage since work was so busy. Don't you hate it when you try to ignore things and they come and bite you in the butt (literally)?
All the coach Lesley gals had run really well and there were numerous PRs. that was great to hear and listen to people's race stories. I was pretty quiet but very happy for everyone though. I was in a bit of shock at how quickly the race had turned and really was questioning my training and the choices I'd made.
And now it's been 24 hours later. I knew the hip was starting to act up and I wanted to address the problem before I decide what my next goal should be. I called last week and made a physical therapy appointment for this coming wednesday. I am SO glad I did this. I honestly cannot think of a time I've not dealt with some mild hip issue which at times has gotten worse. I'd love to figure out what this is and the PT (recommended by multiple friends plus husband who has had success after a long and frustrating injury) sounds like just the right fit. I went off and did a really nice and easy trail run this morning. Hamstrings are tight but the leg with the bad hip is very sore in both quad and hamstring as all muscles struggled to compensate for a hip/butt which wasn't working correctly to move a leg. the trail run felt so nice though and a great way to move the legs without bothering anything.
Yesterday I spend a lot of time vacillating between I need to take a month off of running to I need to run many more miles. Shock and anger and frustration was getting the better of me. Today? Keep up the 30-40 miles per week with biking and get back on the core/weight training program and see what happens with PT. I do plan to ask a some questions regarding my thoughts that I may be much better at shorter distances. How can i train to get better at longer ones? There's always been a huge disconnect between my PRs at shorter distances to longer distances and I'd like to look at that in better detail.
And because I plan on using this playlist again for half marathons, here is what powers a PuddleThumper:
On the Road to find out - Cat Stevens
Have you Ever - Brandi Carlile
Superstition - Stevie Wonder
Silence - Delerium & Sarah McLachlan
Come on Eileen - Dexy's Midnight runners
Once in a lifetime - Talking Heads
Brimful of Asha (Norman cook remix) - Cornershop
That's Not my Name - the ting tings
Take your mama - Scissor Sisters
Mamma Mia - ABBA (yes, really)
I got it (What you need) - galactic & Lyrics
I see you Baby (Fatboy slim Remix) - Groove Armada
heads will roll - yeah yeah yeahs
american idiot - green day
daylight robbery - imogen heap
last train to lhasa - banco de gaia
vacation - the go-go's
praise you - fatboy slim
land of a 1000 dances - wilson pickett
stayin' alive - bee gees :-D
I love baby cheesy (skippy mix) - banco de gaia
rock this town - stray cat strut
suddenly i see - KT turnstall
the dusty miller - the Chieftains
marvo ging - the chemical brothers
when you're falling - afro celt sound system
synchronicity 1 - the police
the wind that shakes the barley - the chieftains