My Seattle Half Marathon
Signing up about 7 weeks ago seemed like the natural thing to do. It was easy, after all, to transition into running after a good cycling season and the Bellingham Traverse with several PR’s and personal highlights. With what I would call my first season of any kind of systematic and structured training it felt good to just run. For the most part I put away the watch and the HRM and just got out there. Not without a plan however, because well, I have found that I now need that. My fall consisted of a mix of gym work, some adventurous inner child like cross rides, and of course runs. As the Seattle Half approached I felt fairly casual about it with no intention to “kill it”. I had done a few track workouts and a couple of long runs but mostly just 30 minutes at a casual pace.
Then the week before came. I started to get excited and really began to question my preparation. Did I do enough long runs? Would I crack in the second half? What pace could I hold? I realized that I possibly cared more than I previously thought. And I started watching the weather which was the real indicator to me of my true commitment. I was psyched!
When the weekend came after a couch potato post Thanksgiving feast feeling fat sloth session I did not feel great. The Friday before my 30 minute run was rough. But being a believer in my program I did not fret. Upon leaving town I fueled with an awesome Super Mario’s Wonder Burrito (I have to plug this place) and we drove down.
Race morning was nice. We stayed two blocks from the start and with so many people milling around you couldn’t not get amped up. At 7:25 I jumped over the fence into the scrum of seven-eight minute pacers and at 7:30 the horn blew and the herd of thousands began plodding south on 5th. It took me 29 seconds to reach the starting pad and I just began running in a relaxed chilled pace. My goal was to hold an 8:00 pace throughout.
I did not want to go out too hard and get caught up in the first couple miles of hype. My plan was to run my own race. After the first four miles however I found that I was easily running at a 7:30-7:45 pace and feeling really good. But I knew the hills would come. I dialed it back a small notch and had one gel and my first split was 53:11 so mile 5-6 must have been slow. Then the hills came. Surprisingly, being a bigger guy, I just spun my legs up, didn’t think and got to the top. At about mile 12 I realized two things, first, my hips hurt and maybe I hadn’t run on enough pavement, and two, I was ready for the finish. On the downhill to Seattle center I started to see spots going under the couple of bridges so I knew I was going pretty hard. The finish was great fun and the stadium was full of people. My second split was surprisingly faster than I thought at 54:48 and I finished with a PR of 1:47:21. Nearly ten minutes faster than last year. I’ll happily take that!