That's 4 straight PRs! Given the difficulty of the course, I doubt I could have done much better.
Mile 1 6:20 (5:43 adjusted)
First mile had a ton of uphill. I knew that it would be slow ahead of time so I kept it pretty easy. Still, it ended up being faster than I needed. A ton of people around. I started running with someone in red singlet and a guy in a shirt that said "Elite runners and Sophie".
Mile 2 5:42 (6:01), 12:02 (1:18:42 projected finish)
In the second mile we lost pretty much all of the elevation gain from the first mile. Pretty steep downhill and I relaxed a ton. The two guys I was with took off, along with the lead woman. I ran with the 2nd and 3rd place women going down. This mile ended up being slower than I needed and I was behind goal pace.
Mile 3 5:56 (5:50), 17:58 (1:18:38)
I resolved to stay with the two women that I was with and so just followed them. We caught up to the 3 that had surged on the downhill. Another guy joined us and we formed a pack of 7 strong. I think we were places 9-16 in the half at that point. There were also two marathoners ahead of us. At about mile 2.7 we took a hard right and hit about a 100m hill with about an 8% grade. That destroyed the pack, so I just stuck with the two lead women, now in spots 9-12.
Mile 4 6:03 (5:54), 24:01 (1:18:49)
The women slowed down ever so slightly, but I needed to speed up so I dropped them. Reach 5k in 18:37 in 9th place. I could see 8th place about ten seconds ahead. I could also see the 2nd place marathoner about 20 seconds up. Finally, the 6/7 place guys were about 30 seconds ahead. I couldn't see anyone else. This mile was one of my slowest miles and also the only one I ran alone.
Mile 5 5:55 (5:56) 29:56 (1:19:01)
I caught up to the 8th place guy (Simon Ong) just as I caught from behind by Allen OConnor. Both of these runners had crossed the start line after me so there were actually several seconds in front by chip time but I didn't know. I picked up the pace again, thanks largely to a flattening out of the course. My legs were starting to show the first signs of fatigue. This mile had the strongest headwind of the race.
Mile 6 5:56 (5:55) 35:52 (1:19:07)
Still running into the slight headwind. My legs were holding steady. I told myself that if I could make it through this mile I'd be over halfway, so fatigue was fine. At south lake union there was a machine setup that allowed you to give high fives to a bunch of diembodied hands. If you do then someone will donate some money to charity. Anyway, these things really hurt a ton. I would not recommend anyone doing that.
Mile 7 5:54 (5:37) 41:46 (1:18:37)
Now we turned back north again and had the wind at our backs. This had been my pre-determined point to surge and it worked out well. The 2nd place marathoner was coming back to us so I used him as a target. Hit 10k in 37:06 still leading a tight pack of 3. 7th place was only 15 seconds ahead at 10k, but had apparently also chosen that spot to surge as he started getting further away. 6th place was 45 seconds ahead. Top 5 were out of sight. This mile had the most significant climb since mile 1 and Allen surged by me. He clearly had the same idea about picking up the intensity. I tucked in behind for a few blocks and then took over again when we crested the hill.
Mile 8 5:51 (5:50) 47:37 (1:18:36)
Mile 8 was relatively flat and I picked up the pace again. We still had a slight tailwind. I knew that I needed to make these mile count due to the impending doom.
Mile 9 5:53 (5:56) 53:30 (1:18:45)
A switch back to another uphill and slowed down a little. Allen again took the pace and I stayed right on him. I took over again as we crested yet another hill. I was hoping that this would be one of our fastest splits, but now we had a little headwind again. I was also dry heaving a little in this mile.
Mile 10 6:30 (5:53) 1:00:00 (1:18:46)
Legs very wobbly as I reached the bottom of the hill. Allen passed me again and for the first time gapped me. Hit 15k in 55:26, making for 5k splits of 18:37, 18:29, 18:15. When I saw this it pushed any negative thoughts out of my head. I knew I was behind goal pace but I definitely wasn't tanking. Big problem though, was that we had to climb one of the craziest hills I've ever seen in a major race. Starting off at about a 10-12% grade for 100m, it then kicked up to 20% for the next 100m. There were actually timing mats at the top and bottom to encourage people to race up it, but in typical RNR fashion it doesn't seem like they worked. At the base of the hill I was 6 seconds behind Allen and 7 seconds ahead of Simon. I climbed the hill so slowly that Simon closed the gap completely during those .1 miles. Despite climbing slowly my legs felt like garbage at the top. Somehow I managed to keep them moving and didn't lose any ground. I pushed hard to catch Allen and caught up to him again before the tenth mile.
Mile 11 5:52 (5:44) 1:05:52 (1:18:36)
After a bit of recovery I picked up the intensity again. Allen gave me some words of enouragement as I caught up and we started going back and forth again. I know the end of this course very well as its the same as the seattle half marathon which I have run many times in another life.
Mile 12 5:51 (5:33) 1:11:43 (1:18:15)
My best mile of the race. It climbs once again, but it's the last climb (basically). Allen came up along side and I pointed to the overpass peeking through the trees and said it was the top. I caught and passed the 7th place runner as we crested the last hill and just started to roll down to the finish.
Mile 13.1 6:33 (5:50) 1:18:16
The last mile was mostly down, but my legs were too trashed to take advantage. Allen surged and was gone. I just kept up the same pace, knowing that there was one final kicker. The last .3 was another climb, much harder than I anticipated. Simon once again passed me having crushed the final mile and I managed to stay on his shoulder to the finish. I also ended up losing to another guy in chip time so I was 10th overall.
Great race. I obviously need to work on my strength as I was not very aerobically challenged but my legs were dead when I was finished. So dead that I couldn't even cooldown. So I walked all the way home.