Decided that since this is a running blog, it would be good to actually write about some running. The problem is, although I have lots of time to write, I can’t actually do any running right now. I do, however, have some old races to recap, so I can at least write about that while I am laying here in bed, where I am trying to rest after a strenuous trip to the outlet mall to buy kids’ jeans, and Costco this morning.
(I am not even kidding – recovering from this surgery is no joke and while I am feeling better everyday, some days just the day to day stuff is very wearing).
Anyway, back at the end of January, I ran my first ever half-marathon – the Rain Run out in Redmond. I think the race billed itself as being in Woodinville because that’s where you ran to, but since it started and ended in Marymoor Park, I’m gonna say it was actually in Redmond.
It was an out and back course along the Sammammish River trail, which because of the early start was mostly, but not totally devoid of other traffic. As the race got later in the day, other traffic became more of an issue. But at the time when the race started it was mostly just racers on the trail.
This year the Rain Run didn’t live up to its name, as there was no rain. There was, however, ice fog. It was very cold that morning, I think about 25 degrees, and foggy. Later in the day the sun burned through the fog and it warmed up somewhat.
I thought it was a pretty well run race generally. They had the start and finish in a place where there were lots of restrooms and had also brought in porta-potties to address the runners needs, but as is always the case in these races there were still massive lines in the 15 minutes before the start because that is when everyone wants to go.
For various reasons having to do with pre-race stomach problems and subsequent dehydration, I decided to wait until the very last minute to make my last visit to the facilities, which contributed to a nearly 2 minute discrepancy between my chip time and my gun time. The race had started by the time I got out of the potty, and so I had to go tearing over to the start and ended up somewhere at the back of the pack. Not a great way to start a race, and not a good place for the middle of the pack runner to end up since you spend the first half of the race dodging bodies until you find your pace and an empty spot to run.
The race looped around in the grass to start and then headed over to the paced portion of the River trail. The trail is old converted rail bed so it is pretty much pancake flat except for a couple spots where you have to go over the River via a bridge.
The run out to the turnaround was therefore flat and mostly unmemorable. Once we hit the turnaround things got a bit more interesting. They had Gu and water at the two hydration stations. This was good because again owing to the aforementioned stomach issues, I was sort of dehydrated. I got a banana flavor Gu, which lasted me the whole race. I could barely eat because it was pretty gross tasting and because the cold gave it a texture a bit more like gum than Gu. And I ran through the stations meaning I wore more of the water than I drank, but whatever. I tried. Probably my fueling strategy needs improvement but it worked well enough given that my goal was just to finish, which I did.
Once I hit the turnaround, things got hard for a few miles. I wasn’t feeling overly fatigued but my ankle, which had been bothering me for a couple of weeks, really started bugging me. I tried walking a couple of times to see if it would let up (it did), but I was pretty determined that I wanted to finish in under a 10 minute pace, so I chose to ignore this little bit of biofeedback and continue running as best I could.
Around mile 9, the ankle finally went numb and stopped bothering me. Either that or the rest of my body drowned it out. My legs started feeling pretty much like lead by about mile 10 but I kept on chugging along. I felt like Dory from Finding Nemo, only instead of singing “just keep swimming,” it was “just keep running.”
As we neared Marymoor Park on the return it was necessary to cross over the River via a little pedestrian bridge that was also open to bikers. Remember how I said we had ice fog that morning? Well it came into play when a cyclist tried to pass me on a tight turn under that bridge and ended up losing traction and falling down right in front of me. I hopped over (it was that or trip and fall down myself), then ran about another 20 feet, then I felt like an ass so I went back to ask if he was okay. He was, so I ran the last mile and a half to the finish as fast as I could manage. In other words, still not that fast, but faster than I had been running before.
As I neared the finish I spotted my husband and kids holding up signs that said “Go Mom” and was suddenly overcome with emotion. I was proud of finishing my first half, glad it was over, and wondering when or if I would be able to do it again. It felt pretty darn good to cross that finish line.
After the finish line, there were cupcakes, stretching and some post race recapping with a friend of mine who also ran the race. Then I changed clothes and drove the half hour home in the car. By the time I got home my right ankle had completely seized up. The tendon pain I’d been having prior to the race became a full fledged case of tendinitis, which I am still dealing with somewhat. But oh well – it will heal, and it was worth it.
In the end, despite bike crashes, bathroom emergencies and lack of fueling and hydration, I finished the race in just under a 10 minute mile pace (9:56). My chip time was 2:10. I had been hoping to finish in under 2:15, so I was very pleased with that.
And now I am recovering from surgery. I am glad I pushed myself to run the race even though I had less training than was probably ideal (adding too many miles too quickly probably caused the tendinitis), and I look forward to running this race again next year!