Sunday, October 27, 2013

Snohomish River Run Half Marathon 2013

All smiles at the start.
You just never know what race day is going to bring.  I'd planned for a half marathon a month ago and realized that one was not going to work for me.  I found another one, actually registered for it and woke up the day before with a cold.  Sigh.  I dropped down to the 10k and enjoyed myself.  And still really wanted to race a half marathon.

Training hasn't been ideal the past 6 weeks or so.  There's been a lot going on some of it not so good and interfering with running.  Vacation last week was great but not necessarily relaxing or restful as I like fairly active vacations.  But I found another half marathon and planned to just go for it.

Weather was supposed to be perfect for race day.  And then it changed quickly the day before. Oh well.  I love running in rain. RIGHT? Actually it is better than sun for me.  It did change some things for me however.  More on that later.

It's a well organized event with very limited parking at the start/finish park. The race organizes shuttles from a couple local schools.  They kept harping on getting there early so I was. And it was freezing and rainy.  I'd grabbed a trash bag and extra plastic item to sit on in best experienced runner mode and crammed myself under a vender tent desperate to stay warm and dry.  And still froze and got wet.  Eventually it got to be time to run and I had to turn over all my warm clothing to bag check.  There was a pretty good line for that and it limited my warm up running time.  I'd wanted to run a couple miles but just had time for 1 mile.  Oh well.

I headed back to the start and was delighted to hear a loud shout of my name and run into a couple of running friends I've not seen for a while. one of the friends had targeted this race as a goal race as well and another was using it as a long run.  It was great to laugh and chat with them before the race. I figured I'd be a bit ahead of them and would look forward to seeing them on the out and backs of this race.  

And my goal?  Having set a lifetime PR in the 5k earlier this year, I've really wanted to break my half PR.  I knew that i did not have the training for that now however.  I thought i was pretty close to a master's PR and wanted to aim for that (sub 1:47 time/sub 8:09 pace).  The goal?  8:05 pace and see how long I could hold it.  I did not carry water which meant I'd have to take water on course which usually means a short bit of walking/slowing. I thought with the cooler weather, i could get away with less water and less stops.  We started right on time and were out onto a road which runs along the Snohomish River.  The best part is that they completely closed this road for the race. It was five miles out and back on this road with very good running. 

I got onto pace immediately and was pleasantly surprised to feel good.  Runs post-vacation typically don't feel great to me and this vacation was no different.  It just seems to take a bit to readjust. I took a gel at the turn around at mile 5 and was rather annoyed with the extra teeny cups they had at the aid station.  I saw the husband of the friend here and was happy to hand over arm warmers.  I'd planned on just tossing them but hey, he was there!

There were lots of trains going by and all were blowing their horns. That was fun.  There was a herd of cows who were mooing confusedly at runners.  Hilarious.  And less fun were noxious smells coming from the river.  Ugh.  Dead salmon smells are a local river phenomenon of the fall in the northwest. Then there is the toxic algae stagnant water smell.  Believe me, it's gross. 

I took in water about 8 (cursing the teeny cups) and walked just a bit. I got back onto pace but everything started feeling hard.  And here is where i goofed.  I'd had a gel around 5.5 (so 47 minutes) and had brought another gel.  I didn't want to stop at the aid stations and the cups were so small i didn't think it would matter. It was a cooler day and i needed less water i told myself. Because i didn't want to stop for water, i wouldn't take a gel. Mistake.  I needed the gel and really started slowing after mile 9.

At mile 10, we were pretty much back to the finish line but ran past that area and got onto a smaller paved trail.  I'm sure it was beautiful. All i could do was curse how long it was and curse the blisters I'd developed on one foot (and was developing on the other).  It just seemed to go on forever and ever the blisters were just starting to really be painful.  I'd even looked at the course and had told myself that it was going to seem long at this time of the race. Didn't help and i shouted out with relief "Finally!" when i saw the turn around.

I saw both friends on this section once i made the turn and that was great.  The one doing this race as a goal had caught up a bit to me but still looked like she was running strong.  The second gal who was doing this as a training run didn't look too happy (found out later she'd developed some gi distress the last couple miles). 

I knew i was gong to come under 1:50 and was happy to make it under 1:49.  1:49:50 is my official time and I am always happy with a half marathon under 1:50.  I saw the friend come in and we both bitched about the out and back and waited for the other gal.  They had a nice spread of hot soup and coffee too. I did actually have a hard time eating after this race which is rather unusual for me, bottomless pit that I am.  And I wonder if that is a result of skipping that second gel?  I eventually forced down lunch much later and felt better.

Good event with solid course and some nice touches.
Fun laughs with friends.
Solid race with a 3rd 2nd (Edited!) in Age Group.

I call this one a win! 

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