Monday, December 1, 2014

Half marathon #4 - check!

I 11/24: Rest
11/25: 4 miles, TM
11/26: Rest
11/27: 6 miles, TM. Happy Turkey Day!
11/28: Rest
11/29: Rest
11/30: Race Day!

Total weekly mileage: 23.1
Total run days: 3
Total rest days: 4 

Race day looms cold and clear, a balmy 25 degrees at the start. I contemplate my outfit about one zillion times, and finally decide on my roga shorts, and an old Nike half zip. I figure my tall marathon socks, gloves and hat would protect the extremities, leaving only my hearty thighs exposed to the elements. 

After a restless night sleep, I reluctantly roll out of bed at 5:20, shower to wake up, drink coffee, and get dressed. I eat two oatmeal breakfast cookies in the car, and I have my two GU packets tucked safely in my fuel belt, along with my wireless earphones and my phone.

We end up leaving the house later than planned because someone likes to take his annoying sweet time preparing all of his shit five minutes before we are supposed to leave the house. I hold in my impatient rage, which everyone who knows me knows how difficult this is for me. 

Pre race outfit. 

Note horrible sweatpants from last year.

Also to note, before this picture was taken I discovered some unflushed "lincoln logs" in the toilet, and spent some of my morning cleaning the bowl. 
Also, should have closed the bathroom door.

My life is filled with glamour. 

After zipping up I-5, and making a quick pit stop at Starbucks to use the bathroom, we have just enough time to screech into a parking spot, rip off our warm clothes (old sweatshirt and fat boy sweats for me) and jog to the start as our warm up. We make it the crowds just as the first wave of runners are starting. Unfortunately this leaves us on the sides until we could merge to the starting corrals. 

To my dismay, I see the 2:40 pacer up ahead of us, and know we have a lot of weaving/catching up to do to get into a good position to make up some time/distance. 

So, without further adieu, let's do this.

Split it out, yeah?

Mile 1 - 9:30
Ok, warming up nicely. Trying my way not to waste energy dodging people but really, you are already walking? Also, so many people wearing puffy coats! You're gonna regret that in about 10 minutes.

Mile 2 - 9:31
Downhill wheeeee. Doing my best to pass slower horizontal groups of walkers and shufflers. Trying my best not to burn out so I make sure to let my body cruise down 5th into the InternationalDistrict 

Mile 3 -  9:31
Annoying. Same thing happened last year. Everyone makes their way onto the bridge and decide to make a human wall of walkers. Tempted to yell "on your left" but also do not want anyone to have a reason to push me over the side of said bridge. Do my best to shuffle through human barricades and find an opening. It is not easy. 

Also, this is where you start to spot discarded hats, sweatshirts and gloves. See, I told you you'd regret those 7 extra layers. 

I am trying my best to stay positive. Goal of today is to stay in the moment, run my own race, and think positive. I can do this! It's my attempt at Zen.

Omg move, people! Now! On. Your. Left.

Working on the zen, ok?

Mile 4 - 12:17
Uh. So this is the I- 90 tunnel. First water stop. Also when I am supposed to take my first GU. And obviously it is when my Garmin loses signal for the next mile. I was hauling ass down the tunnel and I know 12:17 is not correct. Manage to free myself from the clusters of people. 

Mile 5 - 5:38
So.. My guess is that my pace for miles 4,5 are a combined avg because no, I am not Kara Goucher or Lauren Fleshman. 

Mile 6 - 8:58
Brings us onto Lake Washington Blvd. Pass groups of supports braving the cold to cheer us on. Make sure to go high five the cute kids standing on the side with ther hands held out.  Continue to sip my salted watermelon GU until about mile 5.5. Having a hard time maintaining a consistent pace. Either going 8:40 or 9:30. Not ideal.

Mile 7 - 9:08
Continue to motor on down Lake Washington Blvd. Take a few seconds to admire the absolutely perfect and gorgeously sunny, cold morning. The sun is shining low over the water, the blue sky is dotted with clouds and the air is crisp. For a second I almost forget how hard this is. 

Mile 8 - 9:52 
I take back what I just said earlier. You know... The business about this being hard. 

This hill shit is hard! 

However, I am determined to run the entire way up the monster this year. Last year, this was the point of the run that just crushed me.

This year? 

I crushed it.

Kind of... 

My pace is not swift up this hill but I am proud of myself for running up the entire thing, despite movement that really mimicks running in place. My reward at the top of the hill is the water stop, at which point I allow myself to walk while drinking the icy water. 

Mile 9 - 9:30
Aaand down into the Arboretum we go! 
I whip out my last trusty Espresso Love GU and sip on it for the next mile or so.

Looking back at this point, I think I was probably too conservative and afraid to push myself here. This was my mile of fear, doubt, on the cusp of disappointment. I think maybe I was letting the fatigue from the hill dominate me.

Then, I remember the last few weeks, the successful long runs, the solid hill training, learning to trusting my body. I remember finding my joy of running again.

And then I somehow manage to snap out it.

Mile 10 - 9:16
Back in the zone. Much of mile 10 is weaving up through tree lined switch backs, which makes it hard to run the tangents. This may explain why my Garmin said I ran 13.28 miles total.  We'd get a small, brief reprieve of flat path and then ahead of me I would spot groups of runners heading up, up, up.  I find myself passing groups of runners as I surge up the inclines. My legs are tired but I feel a burst of energy as we make our way out of the Arboretum towards mile 11. 

Mile 11 - 9:03
With less than 30 minutes to make 2hrs, I know i need to start hauling ass. I am tempted to take a Krispy Kreme donut at the beginning of this mile (sugaaaar) but refrain. I can eat 10 donuts after I'm done, right? I find a target, a young bouncy girl who is effortlessly making her way up Interlaken Blvd. I see the top of the bridge that descends into downtown, where we would enter mile 12 and then the homestretch 13 and the point 1. I reach my target, and then leave her spritely ass in the dust.

Mile 12 - 8:28
I haul ass up that hill and screech downhill to make the right turn onto Republican. At this point I pass the 2:05 pace group. Realize I may have less time than I first thought.

And so I go.

Mile 13 - 7:51
I have never, ever, even once run a mile so fast in my life. At this point I realize I have been running for 1 hour 52 minutes and know I am cutting it close. I run hard and fast, my arms pumping intentionally and my mind willing my now frozen legs to propel me forward as fast as my might allows.

We finally make the left turn down Mercer, and then back up towards the finish line.

And then I almost lose it. 

I try to sprint up the steep incline but my legs suddenly become leaden, and I am barely able to run. I contemplate, for a split second, walking. I can't go anymore. My body has given it all I have. 

My attempt was admirable, I think to myself. 

And then I see a sign that gives me life, and makes me laugh: 

"Hurry up and finish, we're freezing". 

These spectators are waiting for someone, someone they love and of whom they are proud. Someone who is so close to the remarkable feat of running  and completing a half marathon on this insanely frigid Seattle day.

Someone just like me. 

I see the left turn into the stadium, and know I have only one minute until the clock strikes 2. 

I can do this.

I will my entire body to just run. 

Run, Forest!


Mile 14 (.1) - 8:38 
I sprint onto the icy turf and see the finish line ahead. I screech past runners, pumping my arms, desperate to finish. 

I cross the finish line. 

Stop my Garmin.

Look down.

Time - 2:00

I did it. 


(Official time is 2:00, 9:14 pace. 13.1 miles. Garmin time is 2:00, 9:06 pace, 13.28 miles)


  1. Hi Linda! Thanks for visting my site :) I just wanted to let you know that the gray color in my family room is Martha Stewart's Flagstone from the Home Depot (now made by Glidden). It is my favorite color, I use it all throughout our entire house! Hope this helps!

  2. Great job, Linda! I'm so proud of you! And also amazed how you can remember every mile and how you felt. Everything is alway a blur to me. Miss you lots!