Tuesday, October 1, 2013

4th Half Marathon... done!


The Bellingham Bay Half Marathon!  I was already nervous about my 4th Half Marathon... you can read all about how nervous HERE.   As the week wore on I added another worry... the weather.  The forecast was for rain.  Now... I live in Washington State so rain in the forecast is not that unusual in September but this forecast was for LOTS of rain... and wind too.  The worst of it to hit mid day on Sunday... great.  

I drove up to Bellingham (about a 45 minute drive north from where I live) on Saturday to pick up my bib and check out the mini expo.  The weather was terrible driving up... pelting rain and cold.  

The mini expo for the Races was being held in a nicer hotel in Bellingham.  The pick up went really smoothly and was quite quick!  There were pick ups for people doing the Full Marathon, the Half (that was me), and the 5K.  Signs were clearly showing us where to go.  It wasn't too crowded and there was a good mix of vendors.  We didn't take a long time lingering (I had 2 of my kids with me) but I did stop to purchase a new pair of shoes.  I have needed to replace my running shoes for a few weeks now and luckily there was one of the local running stores at the Expo that had a ton of marked down shoes!  Yeah!  I was able to purchase an identical pair of my current shoes at a $40 savings!  Yeah!

Okay... back to the race...

The drive back home was an adventure!  The rain had really started to come down and I was really glad to pull into the drive way with my kids.  I went to bed that night after laying out a ton of race clothes... layering and staying dry were my goals for the next day.  The Half Marathon was not set to begin until 9:30am... a very late start for me.  The Full and the 5K were beginning at 7:30am... I am sure because of course overlap they were planning the Half and Full to be finishing together.

As I drove north the weather seemed to be calm... still raining lightly but not a ton of wind.  As I pulled into Bellingham and found some free downtown parking about a block from the start the weather seemed to be improving (a little).  I made my way over to the staging area.   There was a lot of cover  and lots of runners were seeking shelter there as we all waited for the start time.

Finally the time to start was near and about 2,100 runners/walkers that were doing the Half Marathon made their way to the starting line.  No corrals or pace signs that I saw... it was really just a "line up where you want to" start.   Because of the weather I did not carry a camera while I ran... sorry no "during the race" photos.  The course began in the heart of downtown and headed north of town... laced through many beautiful neighborhoods and was fairly flat.  There were a few slight up hill grades but nothing terrible.  Eventually we were heading a little south again and at about mile 7 or 8 I glimpsed a little of the waterfront.  I had just run a 15 K Race a few weeks prior that took place all on the waterfront here so this was familiar territory.   The weather had held and really hadn't more than drizzled at this point... I did notice some wind but I was wearing 3 layers and was actually thankful for the wind because it cooled me off.

As we ran along the waterfront I was a little sad the weather wasn't better... it really is a beautiful view on a nice day.  Oh well.  The course was headed west now and back into the downtown area... then... what is that... oh it is the finish line but don't get too excited we took a sharp right hand turn and had about 3 1/2 miles to go.  It was fun to see some of the "faster folks" finishing for the moment I ran by going the other way but a little bummed I still had over a 5K left.  I felt great though and on I went.  We were on the trail now headed south along the waterfront headed towards Boulevard Park.  We ran along the boardwalk and then a sharp left up the ramp and headed north now to the finish...  only less than 2 miles to go.  

I snagged this picture off of google... from a previous year... 
Now for the hills... there were two serious hills climbing back into downtown... no negative splits for me... I walked a bunch more than I thought I would at this point but oh well.  My goal was a good strong finish... no point in killing myself.  I ended up with almost the exact finish time (a 30 second difference) I had back in July at the See Jane Run Half in Seattle.  I was glad and happy that the weather had held and I finished!  Yeah!  Half Marathon #4!  At the finish there was a ton of things to do... there was a band playing in a big grandstand and they had several food venues open as well as a beer garden.  I only snapped a picture of the grandstand...

Photo courtesy of the Bellingham Herald.
All in all a great race and I was so glad the weather held... later in the day the rain came but I was already home, showered, and cozy in my house!Here are some photos taken at the finish as well as the my shirt and the race bling! 

Great friends that I "ran" into at the race... Craig and Ann Timmer!

Have you ever experienced terrible weather during a race?    

What were your best strategies to get through it?  Layering?  Repeat positive mantras to yourself?  Stop for cupcakes?

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