Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Berry Dairy Days half marathon

Friday after my family left I decided to go to bed early-ish.  I was laying in bed at 9:30 and I remembered I really wanted to get my stuff together for the morning so I wasn't rushing around trying to find everything.  Anyway, I got up and got my clothes together and went to grab my energy chews (I think the brand I got is Honey Stingers) that I had bought only a week ago.  I couldn't find them.  I searched the house everywhere.  I think I spent at least 30 min looking for those stupid things, and they were no where to be found.  A couple weeks ago, before I bought them, I used Maddox's fruit gummies on my long run.  They didn't work as quickly as the "real" thing, and I had to take more of them, but it was all I had, and I knew I would need something.  So I grabbed about 12 of those and put them in a baggie to stuff in the butt pocket of my pants.

I laid back down and of course thought of several more things I needed, so I was up and down several more times.  Then I realized I hadn't set an alarm.  I was trying to figure out what time I wanted to leave for the race.  The race started at 8:30 and I still needed to get my race packet, plus they had an early start time for those that were unable to finish in 2 and a half hours, so I was trying to figure out if I wanted to do that start time instead.  My last 11 mile run I finished in 1:47, which equaled to 9:42 min/mile, so I was hoping that I could do the whole thing with a 10 min/mile time.  That would be 2 hours 10 min, so I decided I didn't need to do the early start.  I decided I wanted to get there around 7:30, to pick up the packet and just be there and be ready. 

Now I needed to figure out how much time I needed to get ready, don't forget I needed to eat early enough that it doesn't cause problems while I run, and how much time I needed to drive there.  Remember the Skagit River bridge is out, so I was worried about traffic.  Who knows how long a normally 15 min drive would take now.  Anyway, I decided to get up at 5:30, which would give me plenty of time to get dressed and eat something . . . and let it settle . . . and use the bathroom if needed and leave by 7:15 (I mapped backroads and figured they wouldn't be bad, and they weren't).  So I set my alarm.  Whew, that was a really long process to just set my alarm. =)  I think I finally fell asleep around 10:45 or so.  Thankfully I slept well, and didn't have weird dreams.  (Unlike the night before when I dreamed about getting there in street clothes and not having my headphones or anything I normally run with.)  I just kept telling myself that it was "just a long run, nothing special." 

I really wanted to act like it was a long run.  Not to start out too fast, keep it slow and just run my long run with a bunch of other people.  I repeated this in my head as I was laying in bed and I think it really helped me stay calm and get some sleep. 

I got up on time, ate my normal oatmeal and had one cup of coffee and drank several glasses of water.  Chris was up at the same time for work and he asked me multiple times about where it started and finished and what time it started (he said he wanted to avoid that area while he was working). I thought it was strange he asked so many times, but whatever.  =)  He asked me one time how long I thought it would take me and I said just over 2 hours.

I used the restroom . . . many, many times and left on time.  =)  I got there with no problems, even saw a part of the route that ran along the road.   I took a jacket with me because I didn't know how chilly it would be just standing around.  I found my original running jacket that the zipper broke on, so I thought if I found a place at the start that I could toss it, it would be okay if I couldn't find it after I was done. However, I was there so early, with a decent parking spot, and the morning was warm-ish, so I was able to take it back to my car before the race started.  I also left a water bottle in my car, because I knew I would want some water on the way home. 

I ended up standing around for an hour before the start.  Right after the race was going to be a parade, and it looked like there was also a small street fair, so there were lots of people setting up booths.  I wished some of them had already been set up because it would have been fun to wander the booths while waiting.  I got a text from Chris saying that he had been planning on surprising me at the finish but he had a 13 hour alarm job (he's a contractor for Comcast) in a different town so he wouldn't be able to be there.  I appreciate his thoughtfulness (a lot), but I wasn't expecting him so I was only a little disappointed. 

The start line was not obvious at all.  Everyone was standing around and the clock rolled around to 8:20, then 8:25 and I think most people had no idea where the start line was.  I saw some people walking to a little side street, so I decided to walk over there and see if they knew where they were going, just as I was crossing the street someone on a microphone told everyone to head toward the side street that I was going to for the start. 

As I was walking to the start line, I was behind a group of three people, a girl and two guys, who were talking about Bloomsday, they were debating how long that race was, so since I was really close behind them, I said it was about 7.5 miles.  The girl said she can never figure out the conversion from kilometers to miles, and I said that I just google it.  Anyway, they started talking about how fast they wanted to run the race. One guy said he just wanted to finish and the girl said she was trying to do it at around 2:15.

My goal was to finish as well, not really caring about my time, but my last long run of 11 miles was about 9:45 min/mile, so I was thinking that I would be able to finish the half marathon in around 2:15 or under. I decided I was going to use her as my pacer if I saw her.

It was not a very big race, and she was pretty easy to spot, so I kept her in my sites.  At about mile 2ish I passed her, and then she passed me and I ended up right behind her, I mean so close that I had to watch her feet so I wouldn't trip her or me, however, there were people right behind me and it felt like they were just as close as I was to her.  I didn't want to slow down because I didn't want someone to run into me.  I got really tired of being in such tight quarters so I sped up a little bit and I think she did too because we ended up running side by side. She was going an excellent pace and I didn't really want to pass her, but my pride wouldn't let me slow down. We were running right next to each other for a while when we passed a camera man who took our picture. I said "looks like we're going to be picture buddies." She laughed and said something that I no longer remember and we kept running.

It felt really awkward to be running right next to her and not say anything.  I thought about slowing down, but I really didn't want to, so instead I said something, I'm sure it was brilliant, but I can't remember what I said.  We started talking off and on until the 8 mile mark.  She talked about her running schedule and partner, she said she was from Seattle and this was her 2nd half marathon.  I told her it was my first.  We talked about family and running and I felt like it was a really awesome conversation, even though I didn't know her at all.  Just before mile 8 she said she had a cramp in her stomach and was going to slow a little, I said I was okay with that and asked her if she minded if I stuck with her.  She said that was fine, but I don't think she slowed down much.  Looking back, she probably wanted me to go on and leave her, but I was enjoying the company so much, it was making the time fly, that I didn't get the hint and didn't want to leave her.  However, at mile 8 she said she had to stop for a min so I kept going.

After leaving her (her name was Taylor) my race got a lot harder.  I think the distraction of having her to talk to really helped me to not think about how much farther I had to go.  She got super excited everytime we reached a mile marker, but I couldn't drum up any excitement after mile 9, there was still 4 miles left, and that's tough for me to get excited about when I am tired.  =)  I think mile 9 ended up being my slowest mile at a 10 min/mile pace.  The rest of it was all under 10 min/miles, with the next slowest at 12 miles with a 9:52 min/mile.  Surprisingly I had enough in me for the last mile to do a 9:25 min/mile, but I think that was because we were back on the road we started on and there were lots of spectators waiting for the parade to start (they were not cheering on the runners at all). 

The finish line was a little underwhelming as well.  There was no timing chip on this race, but they had a clock with the official time.  As I passed the clock I thought it said 2:07:37, but after looking at the official results it was actually 2:07:39 . . . 2 secs off.  =)  Anyway, I guess "Berry Dairy Days" is referring to strawberry harvesting, because they had some strawberries set up for us to eat.  They had one giant jug of water set up, and the line was kinda ridiculous.  There were people who had obviously been done for a while getting water and the people that just finished the race had to wait.    I was disappointed in the "water" stations, more than half of them only had gatorade.  I have never drank gatorade while running, so I was worried about how it would affect me and avoided it, only taking water when it was offered.  However, at mile 10 I really needed something so I took some gatorade and then again at mile 12.  I didn't like the sugary after taste it left, but I think it helped energy-wise.

I also had Maddox's fruit gummies, which I ate at about mile 7 and again at mile 10, just before the "water" station.  The gummies and the gatorade seemed to help with my energy.  and I didn't feel very tired, however, at mile 10ish I started getting a cramp in my stomach, but I was close to being done, so I chose to ignore it. 

At the finish line I waited for a little bit for my running "buddy," but didn't see her and really needed some water so I walked to my car.  I thought about going back, but my feet were sore, and I was sweaty and gross and I didn't know if she would have crossed before I got back.  Plus, what would I have said to her?  I probably would have thanked her for letting me run with her for so long, but she would have been celebrating with her husband (she told me he was there) and her friends, so I just left. 

I almost forgot to take a picture with my medal and it's not a great picture, but it's all I've got.  =)

When I got home I was exhausted.  My legs were sore and my feet were sore and I just wanted to lay down.  After my shower I put a movie on TV and ended up falling asleep for about an hour.  I spent the rest of the day pretty much just laying there doing nothing.

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