With the reschedule of the Inna Gadda Davida Challenge I was not able to do 8 races in 8 weeks at 8 different distances. Today's race was supposed to finish off that phase, but instead it feels like the beginning of something new. Last Saturday I ran 20 miles with Club Oly and now I look forward to longer races including a couple of marathons in the coming weeks. My heel responded quickly and positively to the slower but longer runs. I registered for today's race back in May and have been looking forward to it for some time. It has been three years since my last 13.1 mile race.
Start - It is going to be a while before I am actually running. 5:15AM I park in the same spot as I did for the Tacoma Marathon. I catch the first shuttle bus. There is Bob, Marci, Judy and my new friend Ron who I ran with last week. This is getting to be like a second family. Bus takes a wrong turn but we still make it in plenty of time. I sit for a while and even though I have a jacket on, I am cold and start shivering. I walk around the parking lot for a while, try to keep moving to warm up, and that works. With each bus drop off the crowd swells. Looks like an excellent turn out. I introduce myself to two Manaics and spend time chatting with others. 7:20AM I go for a short run to loosen up. Just a half mile and no strides. The plan is to ease into a comfortably hard pace, Get to the bridge at 7:40 average, top of Jackson at 7:50 pace, slowly hammer back to 7:45 overall, then gun it down the hill at mile 11 and hold on for a PR. My previous best is 1:41:39. My favorite racing partner is here but not feeling well, so I will do my own thing for sure and just focus on the pace. It is very crowded, with all kinds of runners, but I think I have positioned myself well. The race starts about 10 minutes late, and I am happy to be running. Cloudy and cool.
Mile 1 - We are getting sorted out and it has been smooth going considering the crowd. Nice little out and back stretch lets me see the leaders.
Mile marker 3 - GPS says 3.00, that is terrific, I can trust the watch. It tells me that I am right at 7:40 pace. Enjoy the views. Nice madronas hanging on the cliffs.
Mile 4 - Up the hill on the other side of the bridge. It is not too steep or long, but I am slowing. At least I am in control. This was the part I was most worried about.
Mile Marker 5 - GPS says 5.00. Thank you TP! and Garmin. Pace is 7:51 but the hills are done and I speed up slightly.
Mile 7 - Cheney Stadium. Running around the warning track with the Rocky theme playing nice and loud. What a treat!! Pace at 7:44
Mile Marker 9 - GPS says 9.00!!!
Mile 10 - Pace at 7:42 but I am starting to flounder. Tough little hill to the end of the "trail" and I lose my form. Nice flat stretch but I think I am slowing. Should I slow and focus on form, or just keep working hard? I split the difference and flounder more carefully. I really want to see the big downhill.
Mile 11 - There it is, the beautiful long downhill, leading to another gradual decline. Same last few miles as the marathon so I am familiar with the course. PR propects look good.
Mile 12 - Average pace is 7:39, just need to hold on, although thoughts of sub 1:40 are crossing my mind. How about I stop negotiating with the watch and just run hard?
Mile 13.1 - PR!! Negative split!!! Very pleased with results, I seldom run exactly as planned, but today I did so. Finisher's glass is cool and will get lots of use. Shirt is one of the best I have seen. Race was well organized for a first time event and I will plan to run it again. I stay for a while to cheer on the others. After it is all done, my right knee starts causing pain. Not sure what that is about, but I think I will be fine.
1:40:23 PR 88th place of 580 finishers
Race number 143