Monday, June 24, 2013

PW and PB at the Seattle Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon

You guys. YOU GUYS. I did it! I finished the race! As I sit here typing, several hours after crossing the finish line, I'm still not sure how much damage I ended up doing to my body in the process, but holy cow. It felt UNBELIEVABLY GOOD to be running a half marathon again! The past year of stress from relentless injury was incredibly tough to handle, but I forgot (almost) all of it out there on the course. I was running again.

Let's see, let's start at the beginning:

I didn't sleep very well on Friday night, but luckily I slept like a baby on Thursday night, so I wasn't too worried about it. I even jumped out of bed at 4:30 on Saturday, half an hour before my alarm went off. A taxi picked me up at 5:45 and. . . . . he got pulled over by a cop on the way downtown. He was driving really fast, even through the race zone where there was, duh, tons of cops. Luckily he got a quick warning and we were left to go. 

Since I hadn't checked the course map before the race, there were a few surprises of the day, the first of which was that the start line for the race was in a different spot than last year! A quick stop at the potty and I was over at corral 7, where I met Stacie from Skipping in Seattle. We hung out and waited for everyone to show up for the group photo.
With Stacie before the race.

This is our group shot before the race. I don't actually know everyone in this shot . . . please comment if you know who I missed so I can link to them! Top row is Sally, me, and then Lauren from Marathon Lar in the nuun singlet and Tiffany from Musings of a Runner Girl second to the right the black shirt. Bottom row is Stacie from Skipping in Seattle and Zoe from Run Zoe Run. (Thanks Stacie for the photo!) 

After the group photo it was time to jump in the corral with Sally. Sally was my buddy for the race. We didn't chat much today, because if you are chatting while racing, well, you're probably not running hard enough, but it was incredibly reassuring to have her by my side.

With Sally in corral 7.

We started our race just after 7:00 am. The course was different from the start in that it went down 5th Ave this year. Last year it was 2nd, I think? So right off the bat, that was new. This section of course was fun, and shady, which was nice. It was already too warm at 7:00 am! We turned east on to Dearborn, then south on to Rainier, which was just like last year. BORING. The Rock-n-Roll Seattle organizers made some awesome changes to the course this year, but they still need to change that section! It is not pretty! I popped a peanut butter Gu around mile 5.

From Rainier we turned east on to Genesee and headed in to mile 5, where Matt and the girls were waiting. It was fantastic to see them and give them all a hug. I definitely began to lag right before that point and seeing them gave me a huge boost and some confidence that I was going to actually do this thing. We turned north again, and saw Endorphin Dude and his cape right before we ran under this huge blow up rocker dude, which was cool!

Photo from Competitor.

As we made our way along Lake Washington, Sally was starting to fade. She wasn't feeling the best and I walked with her up the ramp to the I-90 tunnel. I appreciated the chance to walk, but was starting to feel my left knee complain every time I stopped running and that made me nervous. After we slogged through the horrible, no good, very bad tunnel, Sally was feeling ready to slow down. I let her know I wanted to plow on (and secretly wondered if I could make a sub-2:00 if I pushed hard) and we said our "see you soons" and I sped up a bit. 

The splits. My fastest mile was 13! Mile 9 was walking up the ramp to the tunnel 
and then stopping for a Gu and water in the tunnel. 

The I-90 expressway wasn't so bad. I appreciated the bits of shade and the moments of breeze. At the end of the tunnel, the start of mile 10, was where I started to realize (pardon my language) holy shit, I really am going to finish this race strong. I did a little math in my head and thought if I ran 9:00 min/mile the rest of the race I would hit a sub-2:00, though I decided not to become a slave to my watch. After I-90 we ran down by the stadiums for a bit before heading north on 2nd Ave. I was again surprised by the course change. Last year we got on the viaduct downtown much earlier, via a steep ramp. This year we ran up 2nd Ave for a few blocks before getting on at much friendlier incline. Though I do think that overall it was nicer this year, the fact is, we ended up at the same place on the viaduct. Whether we got up there on a steep ramp or a long slow incline, we still had to climb. 

It was about a mile and a half from the finish that I realized I wouldn't hit a sub-2:00, but I still kept running with everything I had. I didn't hate the viaduct as much as I did last year, I was in so. much. pain. last year on that stretch. This year I was running hard, but not dying. It was much nicer to just enjoy the view and be present instead of wishing the race to be over. 

And then . . . . the uphill to the finish. Dear god, this uphill finish HAS to go! It's awful! I was looking at the spectators lining the fences as I (didn't really) sprint to the finish. No one was really cheering for the runners, what the heck? Was fun to hear Tall Mom on the Run shout my name as I went past, though! Matt and the girls were at the finish line, but unfortunately I didn't see them. They did catch video of me crossing the line, which appears in the video below. 

After hanging out in the finish area for a couple minutes to see if I could find Sally, I grabbed my food and headed out to find my family. It felt so good to re-unite with them! My little cheering squad. I am so incredibly grateful that they would get up early and drive all over the city through road closures and other nonsense just to be there for me.

We met up with Sally and her boyfriend in the meet-up area and they took off to get on with the rest of their day. When they left we relaxed for a bit and I shared the finish line snacks I grabbed. Then we headed over to grab some ice for my knee from the medical tent and watch Hot Chelle Rae perform. I knew my girls would especially love seeing the band, and you know what? They weren't so bad! It was not crowded at all, so we laid in the grass and listened. Everything about it felt perfect.

With the girls at the finish. Eloise's sign said "Go Mom Go". 

I am so incredibly blessed that my family came out to cheer me on on race day. Having them on the course and at the finish line meant the world to me. It isn't easy for them to be up early, navigate the traffic and stress over being in the right spot at the right time just to see me for a moment on the course-- but without them it would have been a very different race for me. Love you guys! Thank you for supporting me and believing in me, even when *I* wasn't sure I could do this, YOU were all sure I could! 

One of my favorite parts of the day was getting a few text messages from my physical therapist right after I finished. She had looked up my results online and sent me her support. Her first text said "proud of you!" and then she said my time was good, considering my lack of speed training, and to relax and celebrate my day and then come in to see her so we can make a plan for my running comeback! Honestly, that made me tear up. I LOVE how much my PT believes in me, even when other health care providers don't. And her last text said what an inspiration I am to her. Tears.

My take-home message of the entire day? It feels so good to be believed in. 

Once the band was over I was DONE. I needed to get home immediately, I felt like I had been suddenly struck with the flu. When I got home I showered and snuggled up in bed and didn't move for several hours. It felt nice!

  • A video my husband made for me on Magisto.
    In the first shot of runners going across the finish line I am on the left all in black. 

    So what makes this race my personal worst (PW)? My time. 2:03:02. I just have to suck that up, my first half over 2:00. 

  • Overall: 2846 out of 12367
    Division: 201 out of 1303
    Gender: 1110 out of 7963

  • And what makes it my personal best (PB)? Everything else. 

    Did you run Rock-n-Roll Seattle? How did it go?


    1. So fun to read this, Sybil!!! You are so awesome. Your family is, too. And your PT. :) You deserve to be surrounded by so much love. Happy for you!!

    2. Wow, 2:03 a are so very speedy! I ran Eugene with Sally, she is a delight.
      Oh, and I don't like the RNR Seattle course either, your time is awesome for that one.

      1. Thank you Kim! Isn't Sally awesome??? She told me that you ladies got to run together! And maybe you should try RnR Seattle again! This year was a little better than last year, though still needs some work. That first giant hill was eliminated, which was a major plus!

    3. Good post Baby. I'm continually reminded how strong and determined you are. Congratulations on battling through so many injuries over the last year. Time isn't the only measure of success!

    4. Oh man you were literally behind me :). Wish I would have introduced myself during the photo op before the race but those pre-race nerves kicked in and I sort of felt like a zombie! You had a great race and I couldn't agree more about that dang uphill was even LONGER than last year!

      1. I was! I was chasing down your nuun singlet :)


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