Seattle Half Marathon Blog! I did it! Woo hoo!

Monday, November 28, 2011

We got up super early on Saturday to hopefully miss the line ups for crossing the border and I think it worked. We didn’t have to wait too long. We went to Denny’s for breakfast (OK, not the healthiest but we were loading up for our race!) and when we went back to the car, a tire was completely flat! It only took an hour for it to get fixed, including waiting for the breakdown service – we had to be towed to a tire place as the wheel wouldn’t come off because one of the nuts had been threaded wrongly.

Shopping on the way, we stopped at Target and I got some ski helmets for the girls – cheaper than second-hand craigslist ones in Canada!

We went to pick up our race packets and had a quick look in the Healthy expo that was on. I ended up buying some new and expensive running tights – they have support for the knees built in and are compression tights so they help to reduce muscle soreness.

We had a nice meal in Seattle, at the Crab Pot – where you get a big bowl of seafood, corn and potatoes tipped onto your table. On the walk back from the restaurant I was reminded of my sore shoulder and knee – I’d been aching all week all over the place and my nerves were starting to get the better of me. I felt a bit sick at the thought of the race and when we got back early to the hotel, I went to bed. It was only just after 8pm.

I didn’t sleep too well. My knee was in some discomfort and I was just tossing and turning pretty much all night. I was worrying about torrential rains and stormy weather... being too cold... not being able to finish in 3 hours.

In the morning I decided to wear the new pants and my older pants over the top. I think my friend Amanda thought I was crazy and that I’d get too hot but I find that if I’m cold, my body tenses more and I feel more stressed. She runs way faster than me so would get much hotter through the race.

The weather on Sunday was not very nice at all... it was quite windy when we set out. We had to walk over 1 mile in the cold and damp weather to get to the start. The rain was changing from drizzle to rain... but it wasn’t as bad as I was imagining!

The starting gun went off but it took a while before we even were able to walk towards the starting line – I was at the back of the pack. It was still pretty dark and gloomy too but there was a good atmosphere around the place and everyone was pumped! The race had been separated into runners and walkers and I was thinking that perhaps I should have gone in for the walkers race instead but it was too late for that now! I was off!!!!

The first mile seemed pretty long! I was a bit disappointed to see the 1 mile marker. Running along I could see a pace marker but I couldn’t see the time on the board. I was hoping that it wasn’t the 3 hour pacer but I just couldn’t tell. I tried to catch up but found it was making me tired, so I continued as I was. I made the first 5kms in around 40 minutes which I thought was pretty good going as I still had over ¾ of the distance to go! The weather got progressively worse and I felt the cold particularly in a few open areas. The hills were tough – but downhill felt great! I pushed myself to run up a couple of the early hills! It was pretty miserable weather and my toes were getting sore from dampness. I caught up with the pacer and she had a 2hr 30minute board!!! I was so happy! I kept overtaking her as I would run and then walk for a bit. She’d overtake me when I was walking. Half way through I decided that I wasn’t going to make 2.5hours so I let the pace runner get out of my sight... I was hoping that I wouldn’t see the 2hr45min pacer!

Quite a way after the half way marker, we ran through the park which was lovely but on an uphill stretch there were lots of boards with pictures of people and kids – “in memory of”. I also kept spotting a woman who had a sign on her back saying that she was running for her dad who’d died in June. Running up the hill with the boards I found incredibly difficult to stop myself from crying. A lot of my Spark friends know that I lost my mum in July and when I’m physically exhausted I struggle sometimes. When I completed the first half marathon in Delta, I had trouble breathing as I crossed the line, not through the exhaustion but it was an emotional semi-panic attack I think... I’m not sure... anyway, I started to experience the same problem when I saw all the memorials. I had to turn away and attempted to think of something else but it was really tough. I managed to get my breathing under control a bit – the main problem was that I didn’t want to stop running and walk as then I would probably make myself more upset. I guess it’s going to take time to come to terms with losing mum, and my dad years before. I just have to come up with some coping strategies to stop myself from having breathing issues when I’m physically tired!

The rest of the race was tough... my toes were getting more sore and I was getting tired. The weather was getting worse and although I wasn’t cold most of the time, I was getting colder for longer periods when I was running on bridges and in the open.

Towards the end of the race, I could see the Space Needle getting closer. It was great to see it! There’s a big dip as you run under a bridge and then up back to ground level and that hill was tough! It was great to see the finish line – and so many people there! I ran through the line and was given my wonderful finishers’ medal. It’s great – it has a picture of the Space Needle on one side (I love the Space Needle!).

It was cold. I took one of those silver heat blanket things and grabbed half a bagel before getting the monorail back to town. I got really cold on the way home but it was great to get in the shower and freshen up. I checked my time at the hotel online and my chip time was 2:44:59! So I have knocked 15 minutes off my last race time – and this was in bad conditions and it was super-hilly! Woo hoo to me!!!

I was pretty stiff all day and my knee felt sore. We went in the hot tub when I got home but I was pretty tired and just had a general feeling of discomfort. I went to bed early again. This morning I woke up and I am super-stiff! It’s not just my legs but my shoulders and back too. I hope to pop into the hot tub again tonight. I have a meeting at 3pm to talk about a project that might possibly take me further than January at work. Fingers crossed. Tomorrow is my day off and I have a tour of Kerensa’s new school (she’ll start next September) and a massage and chiro visit booked. I can’t wait!

Maybe tomorrow I can start thinking about my next race... not today though. I’m too too sore!
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