Sunday, May 18, 2014

Beat the Bridge

It's one of those races I always curse but really enjoy doing.

curse worthy:
I think this course is flat for some reason. It is NOT! It very subtly rolls and mile 3 plus the last almost mile has a tough gradual uphill.
The start of this race is always ridiculous. I think I'm close enough to the start and I still always end up weaving around walkers.
There are 4000 finishers for the 8k plus there is a 5k walk and a 1 mile race. Trying to get into the area of this race could be a nightmare.

praise worthy:
I really like the course. The rolling that i curse is interesting and I like the neighborhoods we run through.
It is well supported and well organized even with so many people
It's a great cause and I love that it gets such a variety of non-runners out to run

K and I have figured out a good place to park that bypasses all the craziness. It's just over a mile run to the race start area and this year I remembered where some random portopotties were. The construction they are doing around the Burke-Gilman and the coming light rail station were very much in evidence.  I am looking forward to all of that being done although it is still some year(s) out.

We jogged over together (2.5 mile warm up) and randomly found people we knew and chatted while the shorter walking event started and then the 1 mile kids' race started.  It's a big event - just over 4000 finishers this year in the 8k.  They opened the corral area to the 8k runners and yet again I realized i was too far back. I squirmed my way towards the front and was really only 50 yards away from the start line. 

And we are off! And I started too far back! I weaved and hopped on the sidewalk and weaved some more.  We immediately go over a bridge with an unpleasant metal grating (I stayed on the sidewalk) and finally after about a half mile it opened up.  I feel I've managed to do pretty well to come back sensibly after the knee cap incident. If that hadn't had happened, I would hope to be similarly paced to last year's race which was 7:41 average. I managed a sub 38 finish last year but felt the course was a bit short because of some construction changes. I was hoping to stay in 38 minute range this year even with the time off I'd had which would have me running at a 7:45 - 7:50 pace. I wasn't sure I could go under 7:50 but that was the hope!

I hit the first mile in 7:46 even with all that wasted energy. I always think the course is flat but in reality there are rolls as we go up and down around bridges and neighborhoods surrounding a waterway.  Last year, I started too fast, died on the harder 3rd and last mile. I really wanted to run more even splits. I really wanted to focus on staying relaxed and working on form when it got tough.  Mile 2 was 7:42. After the bridge, there is a gradual climb and then some turns until another gradual climb. I just stay focused on form and using my glutes properly and keeping my arms moving. Mile 3 was 7:45. I honestly did not monitor pace while racing. I just stayed focused on working the tangents, keeping form and not letting the pain scare me. I can handle this. Just two more miles and I'd be done.  Mile 4 is hurting at 7:42. And then we come to the last less than a mile to go and this part always sucks. There are a lot of turns and the last half mile is uphill with even more turns. And construction is going on still in the area so I wasn't sure quite where they'd direct us.  Last .98 mile is 7:43 (7:55 pace per garmin). And done!

The finish line clock read just over 39 minutes and I was a bit disappointed but realized they'd made the course just a bit longer and it was an honest 8k. And then I looked at my time on my watch (and then once at home in results) and realized I'd run very even splits and had run 38:39. Hooray!  I really thought I'd slowed way down on those tough miles and was delighted to run 7:47 overall pace.

This was a tune up for a half marathon in 2 weeks. That half marathon was a goal race and it still is but I've needed to revise my goals because of the knee issue. My goals were also to work on the mental side of racing and I think I accomplished that this race.  I'm in a new age group too so this was 6th in AG which is excellent for such a large and generally competitive race.

K finishing!

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