Man, I'm beat from a busy weekend. Normally on Mondays I do a cardio kickboxing class at the gym, but today I just wasn't feeling it and spent 45 minutes on the spin bike instead, followed by a relaxing yoga class.
It started Friday night when I went out to carb load with pizza, followed by an improv comedy show with local celebrity Ryan Stiles and friends. I went to bed as soon as I got home and set my alarm for 6:15am.
On Saturday I drove about an hour south for the Clear Lake Triathlon - a 1/3 mile swim, 14.8 mile bike, and 4 mile run. I likely won't come back to do a full recap of the race, so in short I'll just say that I was nervous going in but ended up having a blast with my fastest bike ride ever at 16.7 mph (it was a pretty flat course) and I killed the run with a 7:33 pace. Afterward I got the best compliment ever when a girl that I passed said "you were terrifying on the run".
After the tri I headed back home to have lunch, shower, unpack all my triathlon gear, and repack for another drive south. On a good traffic day it's about an hour and 45 minutes to Seattle, depending on where I'm going. Unfortunately I had dawdled too much before leaving the house and then hit a traffic jam entering Seattle so I wasn't able to make it to the See Jane Run expo. Instead I did some shopping for a dress to wear to my cousin's wedding next month, and then fueled up for the next morning's race with my favorite pre-race meal - a Chipotle burrito bowl.
I should back up here and say that this was an unexpected double race weekend. The See Jane Run Half Marathon wasn't even on my radar until about a week ago when I came across an opportunity to win a free race entry. In recent years I haven't been that into women-focused events but I was interested because my favorite chocolate company, See's Candies, is a sponsor of the See Jane Run race series this year. I figured I'd give it a shot and I found out on Wednesday that I won!
Luckily I have relatives in Seattle so even though it was last minute, I had a place to stay on Saturday night. I woke up at 6am on Sunday morning and snuck out of the house bright and early. I got a bit lost and then got a little stressed out about parking but eventually made it to Gas Works Park and picked up my race number. I want to get through this recap tonight so I think I'll do a second post later with thoughts about See Jane Run and the whole event.
Even though the race was unplanned, I knew I was in half marathon shape because I've been doing long runs of 12+ miles the last several weeks. I didn't think I could PR since that would require a 7:45 pace. But I did want to push myself a little and decided to aim for an overall average pace of 8 min/mile which would put me around a 1:45 finish time depending on how well I ran the tangents.
The starting corrals were a bit odd. There was a tiny area for people running under 9 min/mile. Then everyone else crowded in after that. Since the race was chip-timed, I decided not to push myself up to the front. Instead I ended up about four people back in the 9+ min corral and it worked out well. We started about 3 minutes after gun time and once I got past the initial group of people then it thinned out and I was mostly by myself for the rest of the race. I mean, I could see people in front of me pretty much throughout the race, but for the most part there wasn't really anyone around me.
At first I felt a bit sluggish and wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make my goal. But I hit the first mile right on target and then picked it up a bit as my legs warmed up. Around mile 3 I realized that the weather felt warmer than I'm used to running in since there wasn't any shade. I got worried about having enough electrolytes so I grabbed some Gatorade at one of the aid stations. I have a pretty strong stomach so I figured I could handle it even though I never drink Gatorade while training.
I hit the mile 4 marker early compared to my Garmin and after that the mile markers were off the rest of the race. I had set my Garmin to show me average pace so I focused on that instead of my time. All I had to do is keep my average pace under 8:00. After the first few miles I hit my groove and started to enjoy myself. Recently I've been racing shorter distances so it was nice to be in a race where I wasn't gasping for air. I didn't know the course or have any sense of where the heck I was in relation to the finish line, so I just focused on following the people in front of me and slowly reeling them in. I'd guess that I passed about 2-3 people every mile which felt great and kept me from being bored.
After 7 miles I had an orange GU Roctane. (I also had a berry GU before the start.) The water stops were about every two miles. While it wasn't hot, it was sunny and warm enough that I started grabbing two cups each time. I'd drink about a cup and a half and then dump the rest over my head.
I think it was around mile 8 when we hit some hills. Nothing major, but definitely a change from the mainly flat course that we'd been running until then. We'd just finished mile 9 when I realized that we were back near Gas Works Park. That meant the last four miles were an out and back. I was starting to feel a bit tired and it was showing on my Garmin. Whenever I checked I was seeing that my current pace was over 8:00. I wasn't too worried because I had some time banked but I knew I couldn't slow down too much if I wanted to make my goal.
Once I hit the turnaround point I felt good because now I knew that I just had to head back the same way for two miles and I was done. Piece of cake. Also it was nice that there was a slight downhill. Going out I hadn't noticed that we were climbing because it was so subtle. I picked it up in the last mile and according to my Garmin, it was my fastest "mile" of the race at 7:33 pace. However, once again the mile 13 marker was off and I could see the finish line just ahead so I finally knew for sure that the course was short. As I was coming into the finish I could see the clock was really close to 1:45 so I sprinted in the last few feet before it clicked in my head that that was the gun time.
According to my Garmin the course was only 12.96 miles. I'm actually glad that I wasn't trying to PR because if I PR'd on a short course then I'd always feel like I didn't really earn it. The key thing is that I met my goal and ran better than an 8 min/mile pace. And I'm super proud of myself based on the official results. I can't believe I finished 35th overall. I'm also happy that not only did I pass a bunch of people throughout the race, but no one ever passed me. Even though I was tiring at the end, I ran a strong race overall.
Like I said above, I'll try to do another post with details about the event. But all-in-all it was a great morning. I hung around for a bit after the race to get my chocolate, snacks, and other samples. And I looked for friendly strangers to take my photo.
After a shower and change of clothes, I went out with my relatives for dim sum, bubble tea, and picked up some Chinese veggies to take home. Then I made the drive back north and wrapped up my weekend doing laundry, paying bills, and other various tasks before I called it a night. Despite racing pretty hard two days in a row, I don't really feel stiff or sore. I think that I'm mostly just tired from not getting enough sleep. It makes me wonder how I might have run if I hadn't raced the tri on Saturday. Or if perhaps I still had more to give on Sunday morning and could have pushed harder. Maybe it's time to put some serious thought into chasing down my half marathon PR.