Sunday, April 27, 2014

Heroes Half Marathon 2014

So windy, the med tent blew over!

K finishing!
Heroes Half Marathon today. It just poured last night but it was dry this morning as we headed up to the race. This race is all along the Sound so I knew that it would be exposed. And sure enough there was a very strong wind out of the south. I still decided to stick to my run plan of 3 very easy (9:15ish), 5 at marathon pace (around 8:45) and then 3 at half marathon pace (around 8:15) and then whatever i could do. While this race is mostly flat on a closed highway (with great views and a good surface), there are some bridges including a pretty big exchange we'd climb back up at mile 8. I knew that would be tough plus the dang winds. 

Last year, the world record for a half marathon time pushing a stroller was set at this course! 1:13:50. The guy who did that was introduced (with his toddler girl) at the beginning of the race (and yes he won the race today 7 minutes faster and way out ahead of all the competition!). They'd just had their second child two weeks ago. This baby was in NICU having just undergone a pretty serious surgery.  The runner guy wanted to thank all the heroes who had saved his new baby. This set up a serious lump in my throat. Of course this just got me thinking about a bunch of friends who are going through some hard times right now. I vowed to stick to my plan when it got tough towards the end. It was a great motivator as was just happy to be out and able to run a half marathon again.

I had a hard time slowing down the first few miles as expected but stuck to the plan. It was a relief to be able to open up to the faster pace after mile 3. This mile was also downhill and I knew that the uphill back would be run just at effort level not a particular time.  The miles ticked along especially as i was passing loads of people. I could feel the wind pushing me along and had taken off gloves and headband. I was happy I'd worn half tights and long sleeves with singlet though. The temps were in the mid 40s and mostly cloudy. 

And as we turned to the little loop for the turn around, I got the first taste of the headwind. Oh boy. I immediately put back on headband and pulled down my sleeves. Cold! I saw K in here. He was really iffy about running this race and finally decided to do it just as a long run with walking through aid stations (every 2 miles). He looked good and happy to be out running! Ok, mile 8 ticked over and I picked it up to goal half marathon pace.  And passed more people.

Mile 9-11- 8:15, 8:35 (the hill and a water stop), 8:15. Ok I'd hit my goal even into the wind. Two more miles. The wind was even stronger to the point where i'd tend to duck my head and want to push. I latched on to another older male runner and complained to him about why HE wasn't much larger so he could block the wind for me. That got a laugh and we kept each other motivated the last couple miles through this add on section out on docks over the Everett Marina. Those two miles just seemed to go on forever. we'd get very short breaks from the direct wind but I could see the building where we were going to be finishing and didn't seem to get any closer!

Eventually I pulled away from the older runner and finished just a bit ahead. I was surprised to get a medal. And then made sure to thank and hug that runner. He was just as appreciative. This race had hot chile and half sandwiches of pbj! I immediately grabbed our checked bags and went to wait for K. I figured he'd be in about 15 minutes later and I figured exactly which is pretty good considering that i knew the winds would be tough.

My goal was to be under 1:55 (following the plan) and I ended up with 1:54:24. This was good for 5th in age group which seems very surprising but this is a small race. I am very happy to get in 13 miles as I've not run over 10 since the trail race in mid-december. No knee pain! But my feet were killing me. I wore the lighter racing shoes which fit me the best but might need to think about adding some more cushioning.

Yellow Ribbon Highway - closed to traffic for this event!

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