I seem to race this one about every other year. Two years ago I ran the 10K but today I am back for the half. Third time at this distance here. Although it is a certified course, I am convinced from my previous times here that it is significantly short. Tried to get in my 5th consecutive 40 plus mile week, but I was just too worn out and needed a break. Took off the past two days and I should be OK. I also am committed to not racing hard today. I really want to run about 8:50/mile and keep even splits the whole way. Then next week do the same thing, but keep it going as far as I can during a marathon. So it is a marathon training run today and I will need to exercise discipline to keep from going too hard.
Light rain stops just before the race start. Cloudy and cool and damp, very nice running conditions. I feel light and unprepared with no jacket, water bottle, food or energy gels. After three weeks of super long races, I should be able to tough out any conditions during a quick 2 hour run. It will be good for my to rely on the aid stations for drink.
Goal time = about 1:57. Must get under 2:00 as I have never gone over 2:00 in a 13.1 mile half, in 22 races in the past 22 years.
Club Oly group photo. Great to see Lizzie, Mike, Loren, Ulrike, Marilyn, Missy, Marilou and others.
Start - Start near the back and stay patient as the course narrows and turns this way and that. Actually everyone is running at a decent pace and it is easy to just gradually build up the speed. No warm up run today.
Mile 1 - 9:18 - Free from the crowds and feel good. Pick up the pace a little. Now the big loop around The Evergreen State College campus. Nice quiet country roads. I know the big down and up is coming. Get there and it is as steep as ever, but I run up the whole way and it is fine.
Mile 7 - Second loop. 7.1 on the GPS. Course is running long this year. How can this be? I am going to trust the certification process and not the GPS signals over the years. Have to adjust my pace though and go with the mile markers. Not a big race, every couple of minutes I pass someone as I am continuing to feel comfortable and the pace is not hard for me today. Catch up to one guy who is holding a phone that is playing some king of hip hop music. I run with him for a while and the music is OK I guess, then a really bad song comes on and I surge ahead. Second time down and up goes well too. Run the whole hill, that I know I have walked in the past.
Mile 10 - 10.2 on the GPS. I pick up the pace some more, but try to stay in control and not push it. I am ahead of my time goal. It is fun to catch people though and the urge pushes me forward. After passing someone, I ease up a little, but no one catches back up. Everything feels really good and I try to keep a steady cruise to the finish.
Finish - 13.31 on the GPS. Around the last turn I thought I could beat 1:54 and I speed up to do it. Then I forget to turn off my watch until after they take my tag and hand me a cool medal/bottle opener. 1:54:08 on the watch. I will have to wait for official results. Really happy that I did what I set out to do, maybe a little faster than I had planned, but it all felt so good. Now can I do the same thing next week, a little slower, and keep it going for double the distance?
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