Ok, I was unsure of how things would go heading into this race. I felt that I was ready to break 70 on a flat course. However the seattle half will slow you down by about 90seconds according to the course tool. So I felt that 71 would be a more reasonable goal. I also had no idea what the competition would be like. So I was kind of content to go for the win.
Also...I haven't really been able to train this fall. At least, not the way I like to train. I've been so slow to recover from my last marathon. I've really had to measure my long sustained efforts. So I've really just been going through the motions waiting for myself to heal. That's part of the reason I've not been so enthusiastic about recording my training. It's basically all base runs. Seeing from how this race went, I'm now stronger than ever but I have lost my top end speed.
Anyway, in all of my halfmarathons, I've had bathroom issues. Not this time! I got up at 4am, so that I could be totally ready when the race started (7:30am). I left my house at 5:15 am and was downtown and parked at 5:40am. I did a little warmup before realizing! Oh no, I forgot my timing chip!!!!!!!!!!! I sprinted to my car, dove in and started tearing through downtown. I left the startline at 6:07 and made it home by 6:23 (that's some fast driving btw). And I was getting off the interstate to get back to the startline at 6:40. Then I was stuck behind a long line of cars. Instead of waiting to get close, I just pulled over as soon as I found someplace to park. I parked at 6:57am got completely changed (losing the sweats) and started to tempo run over to the startline stopping only at a gas station to use the bathroom. Fortunately I made it to the start in plenty of time.
I was very relieved to make. At the startline I saw my hs coach, she was also running the half. I also saw that the guy who beat me last year (I got 2nd a year ago) and Aiden Irish (a runner for the university of Portland who was one of the top prep runners in the area recently). He told me he was shooting for sub 70. I told him I was going for that too, but that this course is a beast!
I went out nice and relaxed at the start and found myself in about 20th or 30th! Seriously. Over the first mile I worked my way to the front so I could stalk the leaders,none of whom I recognized. The first mile is a mild uphill in. We all covered it in 5:24. Climbing along 5th avenue I dropped back a little into 15-20th place trying to conserve energy. I glanced around and saw Steve and Aiden Irish were sitting right on me, but there were alot of other people who didn't really seem tired.
Cresting the hill in downtown, I moved back to the front and charged on the downhill as did the leaders and a group of still about ten people remained up front. The leaders (including me) got to two in 10:48. Steve and I had gone out in 10:22 last year, because I was a lunatic. I think the difference this year was that there was a lot of wind and most people didn't want to lead. Two guys however,one in blue and one in red were content to stay near the front fighting the wind and seemed relaxed.
Now we were going on to the express lanes and a select group of 5 pulled away up the hill. At this point, I realized that the drafting game was over. We were now shielded from the wind and for most of the rest of the way it would be at our backs. In any case, I chose to start racing at this point and pulled back in the leaders, taking a couple of guys with me. We were down to maybe 7guys at 5k (still behind my pace from last year).
In the 4th mile, guy in red and guy in blue surged and started to pull away. One guy covered their move but at this point I was starting to enter my mile 4 shin cramping stage. I knew it would pass but I could get on them and they were flying away up the road. I was running all alone in 4th when the 5th place runner caught me. I was very much in cruise control but he was laboring to stay with me. Coming out of the tunnel down onto Lake Washington Boulevard I surged away from him and he couldn't respond. I was feeling mighty at this point and decided that I was going to bury myself to catch the leaders. I had the weird feeling of not feeling tired but not being able to go any faster (I was running really fast at this point, though, just as fast as I ever run in training). I caught the 3rd place runner and just kept pressing. The guys ahead of my kept getting further away though. By the time the hills started, their lead was 45 seconds. This was just like deja vu from last year.
In mile 8 you go up a steep hill and then turn onto Madison which is less of a steep hill. My legs were cold and tired. I remember trying to force them to turn over again as I crested the hill, it was like running in a dream. I think my pain tolerance is just really intensely high now, I just couldn't feel any pain, but my whole body was objecting to anything faster than 5:25 pace (ok that's quite fast I know). I crested the hill and the spectators informed me that I looked much stronger than the leading pair and that I would catch them. Great. I didn't think so. I kept it rolling though, I kept trying to surge and dig out anything. I wasn't racing for third, but for second. (I felt one of the guys might crack).
Miles 9 and 10 climb through the arboretum I would barely catch glimpses of 2nd place on the switchbacks, but I could see 4th and 5th both stalking me (running together,grr) just 10 seconds back. It was unnerving. Midway through mile 12 I saw the second place guy for the last time. He was tantalizingly there at the end of the long straight. I kept trying to surge to catch him but I just couldn't get in going. I didn't care about my time anymore and I finally realized I couldn't get him.
I crossed over I5 and was ready to roll downhill into the finish when I got hit by a stong headwind (the same one from the first two miles). I also heard the footfalls of the 4th place runner. I was still hauling ass. How could anyone be catching me? In the last mile I was up on the balls of my feet throwing in ridiculous surges to hold off the guy behind but he caught me with about 1K to go. I held on to him for dear life, but he moved away easily on the final uphill. I tried to get mylegs moving as we crested it, but they didn't respond. I tried to outkick him in the final .1 but didn't have the room. Crossing the line I felt totally fine, I was sure I could have gone and done it again, but my legs basically shut down after I had walked for a couple of minutes. This was basically one of the weirdest races I have ever done. I felt fine at the end, but could not get myself to move any faster. This would be reasonable in a 5k, but a half marathon? It probably is due to my lack of speed work. Needless to say, I was, in fact totally spent after this race. And I took consolation in the fact that the guy who beat me for 3rd was Chris Foster (
9:04 8:50 steeple chaser and 4:01 miler...now I feel better about not being able to catch him, my flat 3K is 9:07 and I have run 4:28 for the mile.).
In any case. my glute mostly cooperated, but it was a major factor in preventing my from pushing harder. I think that training for a marathon will work out much better and hopefully it will be totally healed by then. I also think that I CAN, with a few months training and with an easier course, run this pace for a marathon. So, yes,ridiculous as it seems, I'm setting myself the goal of a 13minute marathon PR this april 2:22:30 at Boston.
Ok here are the splits (this year and last year)
New PR 10miler (unaided) 54:19.
15K (unaided) 50:39