This has to be my least favorite race that I keep coming back to. 4th time here. Hot, unsafe road open to traffic, slanty pavement that will hurt my feet. $50 pre registered entry fee. But the age group awards are back. And it will start earlier than before, beating the real heat and avoiding the crush of Olympic distance triathlete runners. And really, am I going to drive all the way out here to watch friends do triathlons and not jump into a half marathon if it is offered?
Jody is running the 10K and she forgot her watch, so I give her mine. This helps to take the pressure off. I picture myself running nice and easy and not caring about time. Maybe I will finish strong and at least be under 1:50.
We got in last night and the smoke from the wildfires was scary. Chelan is safe but surrounding towns were hit hard. I feel a little guilty coming here to have fun when people are losing their homes not far away.
Meet up with the only other Half Fanatic in the race. HF Pam is really cool. She started running when she was 62 and seems so happy, showing off her HF gear. We take a "group" photo.
Very short warm up and then it is time to line up. The RD tells us to self seed by pace, but no one moves to the front. I know that I should not be in the very front, but no one wants to step forward. I suggest that if anyone is going to be faster than 8/mile, they should get in front of me. I expect to go out about 8-8:30/mile. One woman joins me and her son who looks about 11, gets in front saying that he plans to do about 6:50/mile. I am skeptical and I hope that I don't run over him.
Start -Smooth enough, but a bunch of people go screaming past me on the downhill, the sharp turn and along the hotel parking area. Up the hill, and on to the road. I am running very fast and I wish that these guys had stepped up closer to the line. Well, no one slow to pass and soon we are stretching out on the shoulder of the highway.
Mile 1 - Don't know my time, but I suspect it is too fast. Working way harder than the easy effort I had pictured. Three dead bats on the side of the road. Feeling warm already. Strong head wind. I draft a woman for a while and it really seems to help. Then I get in front of her and tell her that she can draft me if she wants.
Mile 2- Good news is that there are aid stations every mile. I had planned to carry water, but left my bottle in the hotel and it really is fine without. I will feel thirsty each mile. Try to just drink a little, but by mile two I am pouring some water on my head.
Mile 3 - Not going to be a good race. It is hot and my legs don't feel speedy. Difficult going. Wondering why I signed up anyway.
Mile 3.1 - 10K runners turn around. That kid I was skeptical of is doing great! He is one of the top 10K runners and will go on to a finish must faster than I could have done. Hoping that Jody and Haley are having good races.
Mile 3.4 - Nice downhill. I can see a long way ahead. No one in front of me for at least a quarter mile. I count seven little specs of runners far in the distance, all close together. Now I see that one of the seven, in a white shirt, has stopped and is off to the side. Another runner has slowed too. I think the white shirt person might be injured and dropping out. She is walking back this way, the other runner has continued on. It takes a while to get closer, then I see that it is a kid. The poor girl is crying and the sweat and tears are just so sad. I stop and ask if she is OK. She missed the turn for the 10K and is super frustrated and upset. I have a sudden strong feeling of empathy for her. I just want things to be OK for her. I stop and tell her that it is OK, try to relax, just head back the way you came and it will all be fine. Best words of encouragement that I can think of. We walk back together just a little way until she starts running. She was going so fast and would have had a great 10K race. She will end up in 79th place of 130, which is pretty awesome for a 12 year old who put in an extra two miles in the race. She was so unhappy, what if this turns into a horrible memory for her and she never races again, and wastes that obvious talent? Later I will learn that she is the sister of the fast boy and that her mother was in the half marathon not far behind me. The mother saw me try to help her and thanked me later. In the mean time I turn back around and start running again. No idea how long that took, but whatever the hit on my finish time it was well worth it. The first few steps though I am still feeling terrible for the girl. Probably because of the difficulty I was having in my own race, her tears really affected me. I start having my own crying fit and it takes a giant spider crossing the road in front of me, to think of Jiaxin, and my race starts to brighten up.
Mile 5 - Around a curve and an older teen boy is coming towards me on the other side of the road. First place runner? Wait that is super fast and he is not going so quickly. I yell that he is really fast, and he says that the missed the 10K turn around! He seems to be handling it better than the girl. I don't know how anyone could go that far off course.
Mile 6 - Half mile up hill to the turn around. Quite a hot slog up the hill. I better not miss my turn or I might end up in Stehekin.
Mile 7 - Made the turn and heading back. Downhill is great and on the flat after that I start to feel pretty good. Catch a woman who is training for a marathon and plans to run 14 miles tomorrow. We go back and forth a bit, with runners coming at us and lots of bikers on the road.
Mile 8 - With that woman and I ask her about the time. With a little tricky math I figure that I should finish in 1:51. Feeling good though and I expect and want to get in just under 1:50.
Mile 12.5 - Nice to not be distracted by a watch. Hot and tired but no wall. Give a good effort on the final hill, but the woman passes me. Zip on down to the finish.
Finish - 1:52:43 Slower than I had thought I was going. Second half was slower than the first half, but I felt better as it went along. Nice to win 2nd (out of 5) in my age group. Haley did great, exceeding her expectations. Jody had a decent run
Two hours later we watch Bill head out for his half marathon after biking 58 miles and swimming some long distance. An hour and 45 minutes later I walk back from the finish area and cheer runners on. I keep walking and make it all the way to the last aid station, about 0.8 miles from the finish. The aid station has been abandoned. I pick up 15 cups on the ground, pour some coolish water from the jug and then find some bags of ice in a big container. It is over 80 degrees at this point and these guys have been at it for more than 6 hours now. I put chunks of ice on the table and each runner takes some. Bill comes through and I jog with him most of the way to the finish.
Sunday - Tammy completes her first triathlon and may be hooked on the event. She does great and has fun.
23rd of 90
Race#332, Half Marathon#29, Chelanman Half #4