Monday, March 22, 2010

Mercer Island Half Race Report

My birthday started off bright and early: 6:30 AM. The plan was to leave the house at 7, drive two blocks and buy gas (because I hate buying gas and only do it when absolutely necessary, and well, my gas light was on), then head to the race. I wasn't too worried about getting there early because worst case scenario I would just jump out of the car and head to the start (like I did for Seattle half) and my friend Jessica would do the hard part, park. But aside from almost rear-ending the a car in front of me when the exit came up (not going to add the at 70 MPH detail) we had no problem finding a place to park (illegally in the Starbucks parking lot).

We parked next to AN the RB and quickly got ready. I gooped up my feet and toes with Body Glide, put my timing chip on my shoe, decided against sunglasses since it was so cloudy, and thank goodness I grabbed my arm sleeves!





My Little Buddy was helping me get ready.




All ready!



When I got my other shoe on we headed to the start. It seemed like the weather was going to hold out. If felt thick, if that makes sense but didn't feel like rain. We walked about a quarter of a mile, maybe more, to the start area where it suddenly felt cold. I had on my over sized cotton sweatshirt on over my short-sleeved shirt and my sleeves. I contemplated wearing my sweatshirt on the run but decided against it. We had about 20 min to Go! time so I decided I would try the Honey Bucket. The lines were stupid. I don't understand why 50 people get in a line in front of 37 individual Honey Buckets. I think there should have been a line per 1 Honey bucket so I started a line. I went and stood in front of one single potty and waited. So essentially I cut in front of 57 people waiting. I just think psychologically there is something to be said about waiting in line behind three people vs. 57 people. Does that make any sense at all? Anyway, AN the RB and Jessica were standing off to the side laughing at me and when I was done they were talking about line validity and how no one got in line behind me. I cut the Honey Bucket line. Oh well, it was my birthday and I was about to PR!


We wondered around for a few more minutes, talked about warming up, hopped up and down. I texted Mel a few times, she was inside the building, in a line for the bathroom. I wanted to tell her to come outside and cut like did but figured a warm bathroom with running water was better. I was wanting to wait for her to come out because I was rethinking my approach to this race (switching from run for fun to run for PR). Oh well, we heard an announcement telling us it was 10 min to start time. I texted Mel again and told her I was heading to the start with about 8 minutes to Go! time.

I did not want to take off my sweatshirt, it was cold and windy. But I knew running in that thing would be bad news. Here is me and AN the RB getting ready to go to the start line.



I was pretty surprised when I got to the start. It was like 2,000 people in a cattle shoot and I needed to get to the back of that shoot. It wasn't going to happen. It was just too crowded. The start may be the only flaw of this course. Since I could not get to the middle of the pack this is what I saw when I settled on a spot...


6:01 to 7:00 pace. Oh well. I wasn't THAT far off, right?

The time came and the guy blew the horn. Runners slowly made their way forward until we actually had room to jog. I bid adieu to AN the RB, sad to be on my own but excited to be on my way! I concentrated on not running too fast out of the gate. I quickly came up with a plan; hug the yellow center line. I ran the entire race within 4 inches of the center line. I was not going to weave if I could help it. Mile 1 and 2 flew by. I don't know where I saw the first and second water stations but I opted to run through them. I wasn't thirsty yet, I was just running. Before I knew it I was at mile 4 and remember when we were driving the course mile 4 had a long flat stretch, but I had hardly noticed the hills behind me. Huh? That is strange. I felt really good so I decided to be careful, I was waiting to get tired.

Around mile 4 is when I was looking at the shirt in front of me, well the shirt on the guy in front of me. It was the race day shirt. I hadn't even looked at it, until it was bouncing in front of me. This is when I realized this particular race was to raise money for Colon Cancer. My Grandpa died of colon cancer. Suddenly, halfway through mile 4 this race became personal. Not only was it my birthday, I was running a half marathon and supporting research for Colon Cancer. I thought about my Grandpa and had a special time remembering him. I dedicated this race to him and that is when I decided that I really needed to get my sub 2.

My hip started aching around mile 5. I kept telling myself, "I feel it but it doesn't hurt." I slowed a bit coming into mile 6 and 7, still waiting to knock out. I kept on running and enjoyed the views. It was about mile 10 when my hip down right hurt. I slowed down to try to give my hip rest. I guess it worked because mile 11 was back under 9. Mile 12 I crept back up to a 9:03. Oh well, I was certain at this point I was going to be under 2 hours.

I have learned that it is best to set my G. Money a bit over the race distance to allow for weaving, satellite discrepancies, and whatever else happens out there in La La GPS land. I had mine set for 13.19 miles. When I looked at my watch and it was 13.1 and I was still heading toward the finish I groaned to myself, of course...this race would be long. I had quite a bit of kick left and kicked it to the finish, passing one girl that I remember.

As the nice lady cut my timing chip off I tried to hold back the tears. I can't even tell you all the emotions that were going through my head. I did it! Finally made my goal of a sub 2 hour half! Now I can move on to the marathon!!! I had so many friends there and I wanted to tell them all. Right then! And how many half marathons have I done where all I wanted was for my husband to be at the finish? I fumbled my cell out of it's nest and called Jessica with my Little Buddy and I texted Mel. I honestly have no idea which happened first...it is a blur. All I know is the gun time had me at 1:57.48 and I knew my chip time would be even better!! 1:56.09!!

I could not believe that I did it. I mean I could believe it but it was surreal. So now I move forward. On to marathon goals and training.

Here we are after the run! And we are all smiling!! It was a fun race and I must say that I think I would do it again! It is hard to compare it to other races because I am a completely different runner than I was for any other half I have run.

After the run we headed to lunch at Red Robin where we all got to reminisce the course. I will post more about the lunch tomorrow...this post is way too long as it is and it is past my bedtime!


29 comments:

  1. So proud of you! You're Amazing! Glad the pic of one shoe on made the cut!!

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  2. Totally Awesome! Congratulations!

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  3. congrats on a sub 2!!! You are an inspiration! I am hoping to do the same soon!!!!

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  4. Congratulations on a sub two! That is awesome. Great birthday present. Of course no one gave it to you, you earned it!

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  5. YUUUUUMMMMM!

    Great race report. AWESOME time.

    I am a line cutter too... and I am PROUD of it. I do it everywhere... not because I am rude, but because, like you, think it is silly to have one line for 7 registers... or 50 potties.

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  6. Great job Amanda! Your race recap made the race seem so easy! (which I'm sure it wasn't) but great job for you...especially on your b-day!

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  7. You did so great!
    I loved your race recap!!

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  8. OK I am soooo sad that you were rethinking and wanting me to run WITH you.. Oh well, someday in the future... Hugs and congrats over and over you are so STRONG..

    May have to switch WEd, I have meetings up the Kazoo.. Will text you.

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  9. WOW Congratulations, sounds like a great race and a great time!!

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  10. Way to crank out a PR!! And to grab your sub-2 half!! Nice job!!

    I'm also a little envious of how all of you bloggy buds were able to meet up and run a race together. How fan-frickin-tastic is that?!?

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  11. Congratulations! Sounds like an awesome race and an awesome birthday for you!

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  12. Wow great job! Good luck with moving on to your other goals!

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  13. Too cool - I would love a sub-2hr. half. It is still a goal of mine.

    Congrat's - way to stay strong.

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  14. Amanda- great job!! Congrats on the sub 2 hour time! And all on your birthday...Happy belated birthday :-)!

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  15. wohooo awesome job on the pr, that is quite a gift to yourself!

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  16. I am so proud! You did an amazing job! You are a different runner now and you should be so proud of all the hard work that you have put in!

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  17. Congrats on the PR! And happy belated birthday!

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  18. Congrats....so inspiring. Is there a reason not to weave? Save energy? You sound like such a smart runner. P.S. Love G Money!

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  19. Congrats on your time, I loved your race report!

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  20. great Job!! I almost teared up reading your post! I hopped over from Zoe's blog! You girls make running fun and you are all inspirational!

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  21. Hi Amanda! What a great blog. It wants me want to go out and run (but already this AM). I am now one of your followers. I just started my blog, my first venture into this, so check it out when you get a chance! Happy Friday! Maria

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  22. I just found your blog and love it! I have only done 1 half-marathon and I am dying to get under 2:00!! Congratulations!!

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You're pretty much awesome!!

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