I woke up at 6:45 to eat breakfast, slip into my clothes and actually let myself wake up before the 9 am start. I left the house at 7:30 to arrive in Port Orchard (race location) by 8 am. Luckily I got there when I did because parking was nearly non-existent. Someone must have just left because I found the only spot let in the strip mall lot. The race started behind a strip mall/brewery. I heard after the race that several people got their cars spit on by the owners of a local store because he was pissed that the runners took up all his customer parking. Oops. Lines were short to get race bibs. The marathon runners took off at 8 am, half marathoners at 9am so I think that cut back on the congestion of the check in a little. Porta pottie lines were a different story entirely though. I had gone back to wait in my car for my friends to arrive, Rosanna and Krissy were both running the half as well, when they arrived we all piled into my car to keep warm, the temperature outside was in the low to mid 30’s. About 15 minutes before race time we decided to get in line to empty our bladders, what we thought were just people milling around were really porta potty lines. Going to the bathroom before a race is a tricky thing. When you get nervous you want to use the bathroom, go too early and you might have to go again when the gun goes off, or wait too late and risk missing the start of the race. I made it into the porta potty when I hear the announcer say “30 seconds” OMG!! People outside started yelling at us to “hurry up” I dashed out and headed right to the start line. I found Krissy right away but Rosanna had disappeared and we had agreed to run the race together. Rosanna is a little faster than me, her PR was 2:08 something, mine was 2:17:03, but she had been slacking on training so wanted to take it a little easy. I found her at the last minute, whew. Our watches were still locating when we took off, missed about 20 seconds of the start. This was a BEAUTIFUL race, a lot of it along the water. The parts that didn’t have a waterfront view were on back roads with horses and camels, yes camels, to entertain us as we ran by. I was expecting a nearly completely flat route but there were a few surprise hills thrown in. One hill in particular going down into the state park looked long and depressing, but I found that on the way back up it wasn’t as bad as I had expected so it didn’t slow me down much. The shoulders were the only other thing that surprised me. The shoulders to the road were very narrow, and policemen kept driving up and down the roads yelling “single file.” I ran in the road when they weren’t looking. There is nothing worse than being stuck behind someone whose pace makes yours all awkward as you trip over your own feet.
I felt really strong coming into the last couple miles. I told Rosanna at the start of the race my goal was to PR and to hit 2:15:00. To do that I had to keep my pace under a 10:30 mile. At mile 7 we knew we were golden, Rosanna went so far as to tell me I might finish under 2:10:00. I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much and struggle at the last minute so we just kept a steady pace. She asked me if I wanted to pick it up but that last mile I was still running 9:45’s which is good for me so I told her no, lol. The finish line came into view and I looked down at my watch which said 2:06, I told Rosanna, cause I knew if she took off then she could PR. She gave me a half way sympathetic look and said “see ya!” She finished in 2:08:08 and PR’d! I wasn’t far behind though, I heard a running buddy (Jill) cheering for me, which was an unexpected surprise, I didn’t know she’d be there, and I quickened my pace a little flying through the finish line at 2:08:23! I PR’d by almost 9 (count that 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9) minutes!!! My average pace was 9:48, unheard of for me over such a long distance.
I finished feeling great, I was so excited I didn’t even get a medal for a few minutes. I just stood there blabbering to Rosanna about how I wanted to cry but wasn’t going to, lol. I stuck around to watch our other friend Krissy finish, she PR’d too 2:56 I believe. PR’s all around, nice!
The next day I knew I wanted to do a shakeout run. Ran 5 miles with some friends, including Jill who cheered me on at the finish. Our route was pretty hilly too…not the best for recovery but I was so psyched that I felt good enough to do it the day after a half.
Can’t wait for Yukon Do It 2013- see ya there!