Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Half #13... a PR... and a deep breath...

Hello... it is me again... another race is in the books!

This past weekend (October 26th) I participated in the Snohomish River Run Half Marathon in Snohomish, Washington.  It was my 3rd Half in 6 weeks time.  I kind of did that by accident.  I wasn't really trying to set any records or stack up bragging rights or anything.  Just happened really ...and I am proud to say that I DID IT!  I got to help out at the Packet Pick Up for this race and if it works out I would LOVE to do this again!  Got to meet some fun people and it was fun to be "on the other side of the table".

Prepping the night before
This race also had a 10K offered and there were a lot of folks participating.  I looked up the results online and if you add all of the participants together there was close to 1000 people across the fields.  This was the 3rd annual happening of this race but the first time I have done it.

We (my friend Carrie and I) arrived at Snohomish High School for parking about an hour before the race was set to begin.  This Half would be my 13th and Carrie's 4th.  It had taken us about 45 minutes to drive south to the area.  It was still a bit dark out and a little chilly.  The weather wasn't that promising and rain was threatening on the trip down as well as we gathered our things to make our way to the start.  The Half was set to begin at 8:00am with the 10K set to start at 8:15am.  We walked the few blocks to the start area and went straight to the potty stop and bag check.  The lines were short and only took a few moments to drop my bag at the check.

The race was providing pacers (folks that carry a tall stick with a time on top if people are going for a certain time goal) to 2 hours 10 minutes... a little fast for me (choke choke).  I was a little disappointed they didn't have pacers for a little bit slower times as I really wanted to try this "fast and flat course" to reach a personal best of my own.  I have yet to break 2 hours and 30 minutes for a Half and I really wanted to try today.  I guess I would do the best I could on my own.

Carrie and I lined up in the middle of the pack and waited for the "GO" signal.  Soon... we were off - I bid Carrie a goodbye and said "have a good race" and we set out at our own respective paces.  I am not super familiar with the Snohomish area so I will just leave out a detailed description of the course.  Instead I will just post a link to the course map... HERE.  I will say that the course was very flat and basically an out and back.  I had done this course basically backwards at the Snohomish Women's Run Half last May.  So I knew some of what to expect.  Doing an out and back is not my favorite type of course but this direction seemed for some reason more tolerable than in May.  It could have been that the weather was super warm in May and took me a bit off guard. 

Carrie and I snapped a quick selfie at the start!
All in all I enjoyed this race and the weather held for the most part.  I felt a few drops of rain the last 5K or so of the race but that was it.  The wind was another story.  On the way back (on the out and back) there was a pretty good head wind.  I wonder if that had not been how my time would have resulted.  Hmmm... always questions.  Once I finished it didn't take long for me to chill a bit.  I was so thankful I packed an extra coat in my bag and I wrapped the silver blanket around my legs.  The wind was a little bit of killer as I waited for Carrie to finish.

The great news is I did get my Personal Record for a Half Marathon!  I didn't get the time I hoped for (under 2:30) BUT I did shave 3 1/2 minutes off my best time!  I finished with 2 hours, 33 minutes, and 41 seconds!  That might not sound like much but it is a BIG deal to me!

After the finish!

I spent some time waiting for my friend Carrie to finish... and as I waited the weather deteriorated.  By the time Carrie finished the rain was coming... so we hurried to the warmth of the car.  It felt so good to crank that heater and be done!

This race was a lot of fun.  I am totally up for doing it again next year!   For now... I don't have any more races on the calendar for the rest of this calendar year.  I think I will probably be on the look out for some shorter distance races before December 31st.  I have 2 more Half Marathons (The Rain Run and Tinkerbell Half Marathon) already booked for 2015... with more to come. (Actually at Disneyland in May of 2015... I will be doing the 5K, the 10K and the Half Marathon on 3 consecutive days... if you go you might as well RUN ALL THE RACES!)

Do like out and back races?  What is your favorite type of course?  Trail... pavement... hilly?

How close have you scheduled races before?  Back to back days? 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Biggest Loser Half Marathon - Everett, Washington

Well... on October 12th I participated in the Biggest Loser Half Marathon just south of my home in Everett, Washington.  I did this race in 2013 too but it began in Seattle... I asked around at the race and found out that some of the reasons they moved it north to Everett this year was... 1. construction at Gas Works Parks in Seattle, 2. complaints from neighborhoods of noise in Seattle... hmm - whatever the reason (s) I liked that it was closer for me.  The route... I would put it in the category of "hilly"... I have been known to pick races because of the "flatness" - I do not have any love for the hills.  That aside... I did okay. 

The other thing I should mention is that way back in the summer I signed up for this one... I realized that I had signed up for 3 Half Marathons in 6 weeks.  Yep... that is run one... skip a weekend... run another one... skip a weekend... then run the last one.  What am I ... nuts?  Yep - pretty much.  This race was #2 of that threesome and #12 in my total Half Marathons to date.   The first installment was the Bellingham Bay Half that was on September 28th.  The one coming up is the Snohomish River Run on October 26th.   I have never run the Snohomish Race before - but did do the sister race the Snohomish Women's Run (Half Marathon) last May - that was a good race - nice and flat.  Check back to see how I do...

The Biggest Loser Race Series is a really fun race.  Very well partnered with the TV reality show and a very inspiring atmosphere.  The Half Marathon course began at the Everett waterfront at the The Port of Everett.  Another Half I have done begins at the same spot... Heroes Half that I have done twice and wrote about here and here.  The routes were almost completely different though.

 My friends Carrie and Lynn at the start!

We showed up about 40 minutes prior to race time - used the restrooms and made our way to the very loud start area.  The race series also included a 5K which was set to begin 30 minutes after the Half Marathon.  So... the start area was quite congested prior to the race.  I wish there had been a better way to line up nearer to the desired pacers... if you didn't get there early you just had to line up behind the people that got there right before you did.  It all worked out though and once the race began everyone spread out.

Like I said before the course was in my opinion "hilly".  Despite that... I ended up with exactly the time I had in 2013 when I ran this race in Seattle... on a different course.  How did I do that AGAIN?!  On a different course too!  Crazy!  I was SOOO hoping to break 2 Hours and 30 minutes... but I will have to be happy with my 2 hours and 36 minutes. 

This was Half #12 for me... I can't believe it!  How did I get here... the girl who HATED running!  I really point to one thing that makes this whole idea even doable for me!  Jeff Galloway!  His run/walk/run method is the way this whole crazy thing sounded doable to me... I have stuck to it and it works!  Staying injury free and enjoying the journey.   Is it easy??? ... NO WAY!  There is LOTS of effort involved... lots of "do the training even when you don't feel like it" moments... But oh so worth it! 
Coming in to the FINISH!  Always the most awesome moment!

My younger 2 kids (Makenna and Luke) after they finished the kid's race!

The Half Marathon Medal!

I love this race series... next to Disney it is hands down my favorite local race atmosphere for the start and finish as well as so encouraging on the course.  I highly recommend this series to anyone who might be interested.  You won't be disappointed!  So much fun!

Race Recap... Half Number 11

Wow - Half Marathon #11 is done. 

On Sunday (September 28) I participated in the Bellingham Bay Half Marathon in Bellingham, Washington for the 2nd year in a row. 

Bellingham is a beautiful city located about 50 miles to the north of where I live.  Bellingham is about 90 miles north of Seattle.    This was the 2nd time I have done the Bellingham Bay Half.  The weather was perfect... overcast a bit and in the upper 50s at race time.  The Half began at 9:30am which is a bit late for a Half Marathon to begin.  The reason for this is the Race includes a Full Marathon and a 5K... both of which began at 7:30am.  I think the reason they start the Half later in the morning is to ensure that they are maximizing volunteers.  Also making sure that finishers of the Half and Full are finishing within similar times.

The Half route was almost exactly the same to what I remember doing last year... this time though the weather was perfect and I had some beautiful views as I made my way.  Of course I neglected to take any photos of the course... dah.  

Photo Credit - Bellingham Bay Marathon official page
Photo Credit - Bellingham Bay Marathon official page
I remember at one point coming around the corner off of the short trail portion and almost stopping because the view was so beautiful... the water... the boats... the weather was perfect! 
The unsung secret of this beautiful course is the cursed hills at the end... the last couple of miles (except the stretch to the finish) is all hill... Yuck... not my favorite!  I pretty much walked a bunch of that... no shame in walking except when you get passed by folks completing the FULL marathon and they are running... up the hill.  Yep... that was me shouting encouragement to them... "You go Blue Bibber!" (the full marathon participants were wearing blue race bibs)
Getting to the finish was a great feeling and believe it or not I got the EXACT same time to the minute that I did at this race last year.  How does that happen?  One of my strengths must be CONSISTENT!  Yep... that is me!

At the FINISH!  My friends... Craig and Ann Timmer - they are faster than me... They are Lightening fast compared top me!  Good job guys!

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