Sunday, March 16, 2014

3/15/14 St Paddys Day Half Marathon - Tacoma

My first time here for this TCMA event.  I feel like I have not run a major event in a long time.  With over 3,000 runners including the 10K and 5K this will be the largest race in recent memory for me.  Fun to be in a big event, but then there are the logistics.  We were strongly encouraged to pick up our numbers (and long sleeve T-shirts) on Thursday or Friday.  So I went up to North Tacoma after work on Thursday.  I got to see the TCMA and Marathon Maniac Headquarters above Fleet Feet Sports which was fun.  Not fun was finding 26th street, finding parking, then waiting in a long line for quite some time.  Oh well, Saturday morning will be a little easier.

Saturday arrives.  I do get there early enough to find good parking and am ready to race.  Dry and cool, great running weather.  Fun to see Terra, Martinho, Tammy and others.  I meet a young woman from Chicago who is here for a few weeks on business.  Of course I want to tell her all the things that she should do and see.

I am way ahead of my normal monthly mileage and I know that I have tired legs.  60 miles last week and after this race I will have 110 for the first 15 days of the month.  I did rest yesterday, but I have no expectations for a fast time.  I would prefer to run comfortably hard and not blow up on the way back. Under 1:50 will be fine.

Start - Chip timed, I start with Tammy, but take off on the sweet downhill.  First mile in 8:00 but it was mostly downhill.  The 1:50 pacer is already getting far ahead of me, also going out fast.

Mile 3 - Loop back around, up and then down again.  Feeling good with plenty of room to run, but also lots of people.

Mile 4 - On Ruston Way.  Water station. Volunteer Rogue Wave sighting.  Running on my own, but having a friendly word with the people that I gradually catch.

Mile 6 - Catch the 1:50 pacer with a nice pack.  She has time in the bank for the hills and I try to keep up the pace, up the long gradual hill.  Then the turn and the real climb up to Ruston.  Tough patch here. 

Mile 7 - Looping around blocks of Ruston.  Steep little uphills and then the downhills are too steep to run effectively.  Starting to rain a little.  Happy to zoom down the final hill here and back to Ruston Way.  Maniac Deb sighting.

Mile 8-11 - Long flat rainy.  A little wind.  I draft one guy and then run with him for a while.  Nice company, he donated blood yesterday.  We start passing 10K walkers.  I am in a good groove, getting more tired legged, but holding the pace.  Up and down the overpass.  One more big hill to go.  Every once in a while someone goes zooming past me, but for the most part I am passing more than being passed.

Mile 12 - I catch up to Chicago woman.  Nice surprise to see her.  I decide to encourage her and run the last mile with her.  I am not feeling super competitive and am working plenty hard enough.  5K and 10K walkers are supposed to be on the right side, but we have to go around those who are still in our lane.  At one point we split apart to pass a little group and when we merge back she grabs my elbow.  Except it is not her, it is Lizzy Lee.  She is putting on her final sprint and says hi as she passes me.  I want to run with her so I pick it up.  Then there is the very last hill and she is faster than me, so I finish just behind her and just ahead of Miss Chicago.

Mile 13.1 - Finish - 13.17 on the GPS.  Terra and Martinho are already done and watch me come in.  Great times for them.  A little later we get a photo.  It is still raining lightly and I start to shiver.  I don't stick around much longer.  But it was a fun event and nice morning.

129th place of 930
Race#321  Half Marathon #28

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