Tuesday, March 20, 2012

St. Paddy's Day Run Tacoma

I think that the St. Paddy's Day Run in Tacoma was my favorite race yet. I got to run with my friend Tara, whose family lives in Canada.  A few weeks ago I put out the idea of her family combining one of their trips to Seattle with a 10K run and we quickly settled on the St. Paddy's Day run in Tacoma. Anticipation built over the weeks as we chatted about how we would run the course and, more importantly, what we would wear! We have never had the chance to run together, so that made this race extra special.

The morning started for me in a blur. I had hardly slept at all thanks to sharing my bed with a tossing and turning five year old. When I looked outside the weather was just as it was predicted: raining. And it was cold, so the rain was threatening to turn in to snow at any moment. Tara, her fantastic husband and awesome children picked me up just after 7:00 am and we headed south to Tacoma (my family stayed home in bed catching up on much needed sleep!). I cracked up listening to their GPS announce all of the directions in the voice of Darth Vader!  They dropped Tara and I off at the starting line so we could wait in the queue to pick up our race packets and then they came back to meet us after parking the car. It was great to have a "crew". Having them all there with us meant we could keep our coats on and stay relatively warm and dry until handing them off to her husband at the last minute. Tara's husband took some pictures of us and we quickly decided not to do a pre-race warm-up (my running coach would be so disappointed! ha.). Before we knew it, it was time to say good-bye to Tara's family and we went up to the line to wait for the race to start.

Pre-race smiles! 

Despite many people still being in the queue to pick up their registration packets, the 10K race started only about eight minutes late. It didn't take long for us to warm up and feel completely comfortable despite the low 40's temps and constant rain. Tara and I chatted the whole way, which I loved. I can be a bit of a chatty cathy and rarely get the chance to talk on runs. It was amazing, to both of us!, that we held a speedy pace despite the yakking.

 Off we go!

The course was decent and was just one out and back for the 10Kers. When I ran the Santa Runs Tacoma on almost the same course it was two out and backs. I think my biggest complaint about this course was that it was so narrow-- a big chunk of it was just one lane of a two-lane road-- and we had to pack in to allow room for the runners going in the other direction. My second complaint was that they let the 5Kers off after the 10Kers, so on the last couple of miles we were weaving like crazy in and out of walkers. It was annoying. Usually the weaving occurs at the start, but not in this race! Of course I have to add my third "complaint", which was the long freaking hill right at the end! I say "complaint" because we rocked that hill, despite it sucking horribly. Tara trains on hills where she runs and me? well, I just don't give up. So we made a good team powering up that hill cruising past everybody. It's true, no one passed us on that hill! I think we both worried we would have to stop and walk, but we made it together! Finally the hill plateaued about .1 mile before the end and I looked at Tara and said "ready to sprint?!" and we took off for the finish line, finishing together at 58:37. Only two seconds faster than my Magnuson Park run!

 Check out that elevation change! Damn!

Our splits were pretty much amazing. Especially considering the GIANT HILL in mile six!

At the end of the race we found Tara's family, took off towards Tully's for warm beverages and then headed back up to Seattle. (((finish line photos coming soon!)))

Hooray for Tully's! And being totally soaked! 
It was such a fun race. I can't wait for our next one together! Maybe we will go for a PR? As much as I don't mind running races alone, coming to a race in a cute costume with a good friend and running the whole thing stride for stride was a real treat.

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