Seattle RNR Half Recap

Unfortunately, not only did I let time get past me, but I also typed up most of this race report a while ago and saved it as “draft,” and now it’s not there.  So, this race recap may be limited.

June 13, 2015

Guess I’ll start by saying that this was a day off for me, which is rare for a Saturday for me in my current profession.  Normally on a day off I will sleep in.  And being on swing shift now, sleeping in on a day off is not necessarily “sleeping in” as much as it is simply normal.  But, as you know, road races are early in the morning.  I live about an hour from downtown Seattle these days, so this was getting up early, making toast and coffee, and leaving the house early, to get there on time.  Maybe I’m slipping a bit these days (ha!) because I either don’t wake up early enough or I don’t time things right, all to say I arrived in the normal neighborhood where I park for this race a little late.  Well, we’ll make me feel better and I’ll say it was cutting it close.  That’s better, right?  Ha. Sure.

Trying to park in the area I normally do, maybe it was because I was 15-25 minutes later than I normally arrive, but parking was super scarce or “su’scarce.”  I finally found parking, and ran, yes literally, down eastern Queen Anne to the start area.  First things first, find a bathroom, drain the tank.  I had less than ten minutes til the first wave.  Lines everywhere.  Bleh.  I ran around to the Centerhouse to see if any other buildings were open for bathrooms and actually found many runners going in/out of the back doors at the Centerhouse for the bathrooms.  Walked in.  Major lines.  5 min til the start.  Panic attack.  The ladies line was long.  The guys line was still there too, however, I heard a guy say, “the urinals are open.”  Went past the line, true story.  That’s all I needed. In and out.  2 min.  On my way out, I thought, “Good.  Enough time to get to the start.”  Then I remembered the start was about 30 corrals away, and I was at the back.  Running again.

A girl was singing the national anthem, and the side areas bordering the fenced-off corrals, were packed with people walking both directions – mostly the other way. Move people.  I finally made it to the front corral area, at the time the 4th wave was approaching.  Was supposed to be in Corral 1.  Oh well.  I was just happy to be at the start.  

The race

As is often the case, from the start there was congestion for the first two miles.  I felt good, but was limited to stretching it out due to congestion, especially in the area of the monorail.  If I was in the 1st corral I’m sure congestion issues would’ve been better.  Lesson learned: next year, don’t be late!

At Mile 2, we turned onto S. Dearborn Street, and it’s a gentle climb under I5, up to Rainier Ave S.  The morning light was in our eyes, facing East, and for the first moment, things were quiet.  We ran in silence.  

Turning onto Rainier Ave S. was a familiar stretch.  This was the 4th time I had crossed this path in this race.  The road has a gentle decline passing Beacon Hill and Mt. Baker neighborhoods.  Pace was steady.  Things started thinning out here and I felt, not fast, but fine.  It seemed like myself and the few runners next to me were moving in slow motion somewhat, almost as if in a dream.  I don’t know why that was.  Maybe because the pace wasn’t exceptionally fast or maybe because the road is in terrible condition here with potholes, manhole covers, and uneven pavement.  That takes more concentration on the road.  

Approaching Columbia City, at the Mile 5 marker, the course doubles back on itself for a 1/4 mile and you see the runners smacking you, then a quick turn up a hill, and you see the ones you’re smacking.  Haha.  Yeah, I wasn’t smacking anyone.  I felt like I was slacking.

Well, though I have been trying to focus on distance this year, over speed, I must admit with a rather erratic work schedule and dealing with subconscious emotional weight, training has been difficult.  And I’m not at the level I wish I was at this year.  So, going into this race, I knew it would be decent, a good mix in my running this year, but not a PR today.

Then, as we turned into S. Genesis St, on the incline, I was surprised to see that the crowd behind me was fading.  And it wasn’t because I was getting faster.  Maybe I was…by a few seconds.  Rather, it was that they were slowing.  Huh?

The two mile stretch down Lake Washington Blvd S. on the way to the I90 express lane tunnel, can seem daunting.  Again, maybe it’s because I wasn’t in top shape this year.  Or maybe because it’s a funky section of the race in my opinion.  I don’t know why, but this part of the race feels slow to me as well.  I didn’t feel like I was gaining much ground here.  However, after fueling again, on the climb to the tunnel, though I wasn’t feeling “energetic” necessarily, I did focus and found drive to push up the hill, into the tunnel, and stay steady on. I can remember my last time in this tunnel I was flying.  I wasn’t necessarily “flying” per se, but I kept it steady here, and ran through the 3/4mi-long tunnel well.  Between the 9 and 10 mile markers, on the express lanes, things felt good and stead you.  I was definitely tired, but able to stay focused.  By the 10 mile marker, I was exhausted.  3 miles left. Point 1.

That’s only a 5k.  And, as I heard Alexi Pappas say on a now famous YouTube video of her cheering on Jordan Hasay, “you can do anything for ____ minutes,” or in my case, a 5k distance.  

Though still tired running in Pioneer Square, I simply tried to keep things steady.  I didn’t anticipate a PR and I knew at this point it wouldn’t be a PR.  Fine.  Just as planned.  And I was averaging between 7:30-7:45 pace.  Again, not a PR pace for me in the half, but okay in my book.  And with the way this year has been going, totally acceptable.

It’s funny how much runners think about things like this during the race.  I guess it shows a few things: 1) I’m competitive, 2) I care about my training and my performance, 3) mentally, I can make adjustments during the race, and 4) I’m athletic. 

Final stretch: Alaskan Way Viaduct and Hwy 99 to the finish.  This section, again, wasn’t fast, but was steady and was trying to hold the same pace I’d kept practically the whole race, 7:45-7:50, to the finish.  Going through the tunnel after the viaduct I actually kicked it up a notch and swept through the tunnel, down the Hwy 99 connector, and onto Mercer St.  This pace at this last mile was definitely faster, and I brought it home into the stadium with a last, surely my fastest mile (don’t have the exact time on that).  

1:40:54 (7:42 pc)

I was glad with how this race went, despite being off my fast half-marathon time.  I knew where I was at going into this race and I think the consistent pace reflected a good performance with my current fitness level in June.  I felt a little sick from pushing it hard in the final mile.  Met a cute girl I had seen earlier in the race, at the finish. Ate a few snacks, and snapped this photo before getting into my truck on Queen Anne.



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