Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tukwila to Alki Half Marathon

Half Marathon #6- Check.

I heard about this free half marathon; no bibs, no aide stations, no medals, awards or after party. Just 13.1 miles of fun for people who love to run. The plan was to for runners meet up in Alki Beach at 8 am and then carpool to the start line because the course started in Tukwila and ended in Alki, no out and back or loop. So in order to be in Alki at 8 I woke up at 5 am so I could pick up Tabatha at 6 and then swing by Port Orchard and pick up Rosanna at 6:20. We squished into my husbands little 2 door sports car and headed towards Seattle.

We were parked by 7:40 and waiting to see runners accumulating on the street so we could find a ride. The streets were pretty empty right away so while we waited wanted to use the restroom. I find before ever race my bladder magically fills, a nervous thing I guess. The only open place was Tully's coffee, and their bathroom was locked and for customers only but we promised them our business after the race and they were gracious enough to give us the bathroom key :) When we came out of the coffee shop there were a few runners mingling but not quite as many as I expected. Rosanna was getting really nervous that we weren't going to find a ride. We almost didn't. We asked a few people but none had room for 3 so we were on the verge of calling a cab when two guys in a truck rolled up and asked if we needed a lift to the start line. Whew. Normally it'd be scary to hop into a car with strangers, but since there were three of us I figured there was safety in numbers, and they seemed legit. Don't remember their names but we were so thankful they gave us a ride. It was the drivers first half. I told him if he picked a no-aide race for his first half, he's pretty hardcore.

View of Seattle from Alki Beach
Got all checked in at the start line. 74 runners braved the cold misty morning for a 9 am start along the Green River trail. Rosanna and I had agreed to stay together, Tabatha who is a little faster than us went ahead. Right away we took off waaaaay too fast. Rosanna had said that she wanted to finish in at least 2:08 (as she had every race), I've only finished in 2:08 once, normally I was finishing around 2:20, so I wanted to push the pace and do the best I could. We were going to run 3/1 intervals (running 3, walking 1). I ALWAYS follow my "rest" intervals in training, but in my race I take them when needed and skip when feeling good. I don't think we took any for the first 2 miles, and mile split 1 was 9:03, mile 2 was 8:55- holy moly. How was I going to keep that up for 11 more miles? Miles 3, 4 and 5 were 9:02, 9:44 and 9:38. Uh oh, slowing down. We had started taking about every other walk break though so our running pace was still in the upper 8's, lower 9's though it already was taking more effort to move. At this point we were right next to the Green River and I looked at Rosanna and said "I wonder where he dumped the bodies." I'm sick I know.

 Mile 6 was 9:36, Rosanna said she thought this was a recipe for disaster. I was afraid that if I slowed down at all that we were going to fall behind the group in front of us. A lot of these runners were speedy, and while I knew there were people behind us it was nice to see where the runners in front of us were heading, just in case we missed the orange arrows on the ground. I think both Rosanna and I were scared that we were going to be hating life the last 3 miles and be running 11's or 12's by the time we reached the finish line. Mile 7 and 8 were 9:50 and 9:32. Then it happened, BAM 10:20 for mile 9. Was this the end of our amazing streak? We actually didn't even see this mile split until after the race so mentally it wasn't able to affect us, thank goodness. Miles 10 and 11 were back to 9:45, 9:45. We were running the BEAUTIFUL Alki Beach Jogging path. What a wonderful view of the Seattle skyline. I told Rosanna she could take off, I knew she wanted to get as best time as she could. I looked at my watch and realized I had enough time to comfortably make it to the finish line and PR. Ok, I say comfortably but then that's when a HUGE headwind hit me. Two girls running next to me actually yelled, "Is that all you got?!" Gave me a good chuckle cause it sucked running into the wind for the last mile. I was just wishing it were at my back pushing me along instead of slowing me down and punching me in the face. My last 1.1 miles I don't have the specific split for, but I was running around 9:40's and did take 2 short walk breaks (like 10 secs) just to mentally referesh and not let the wind get to me. No finish line marker, arch, or electronic timing board. Just the race director, two volunteers, a table with cups of water and a few onlookers marked the end of 6th Half. I crossed the finish line at 2:06:43, wooohoo, PR'd by about a minute and half. My time was marked down in a notebook, I shut off my watch, downed some water and the three of us, Tabatha, Rosanna and I headed to my car to peel off our running clothes, grab our money and get some grub.

My friend Brittany recommended Spuds as the best fish and chips place around so we got our Tully's, as we promised (a chocolate chai tea latte for me), and ate some delicious, much deserved fish and chips. I'm going to plan on this race again next year, can't beat the overall flat course, scenery, and a good time with friends. I'm looking forward to going back to Alki this summer with my family for a mini staycation.

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