Another weekend, another race. I’ve been signing up for races that fit well into my half-marathon training, and I am loving the feeling of being back into my running shoes and the racing environment.
This race started earlier than most here do. We were up at 4:45 and out the door by 5:30am to make it to the park in time for packet pickup. Since it was a smaller race, they did packet pickup the morning of the race. Nice to not make two trips, but it made our morning extra early! Getting out the door for races is more complicated now that we’ve got Cullen along for the ride. Lucky us (not really) he likes to wake up at 5am every day, so this was nothing new for him.
I got my number and got ready to run! After a bad half-marathon, followed by a great 5k, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Most of my weekday running and training recently has been shorter stroller runs. Basically I do a lot of 3-4 mile runs at my max stroller pace, and then I hope and pray that those will give me enough fitness for longer solo runs on the weekends. My longest distance running with no breaks prior to the race was 7 miles, so my goal for the 15k was simply to finish without walking.
It was a small race – about 350 people – and I had two other friends running which made it extra fun. I headed to the car to feed Cullen about 30 minutes before the race started, and then right at 7am – we were off!
Unlike the past few races I’ve done recently, I decided to run with my headphones this time. I don’t have an iPod so I just listened to the Beyoncé Pandora station on my phone. I turned it up and zoned out as the course ran through Fremont into Ballard and down one of my favorite trails. I smiled and waved as I passed Casey and Cullen.
- Mile 1: 9:01
- Miles 2: 9:00
- Miles 3: 9:03
- Mile 4: 9:05
One of the reasons I signed up for this race was the awesome course! It started in Gasworks Park at the top of Lake Union, and then looped all the way around the lake on trails and sidewalks that run next to the water. I tried to just keep my pace steady around 9:00 minute miles. I knew I was capable of running faster in those earlier miles, but I didn’t want to end up crashing toward the end.
As we looped the lake, I felt strong. All my favorite songs were coming on at just the right time, and I was happy with how I felt at the halfway point.
- Mile 5: 9:15
- Mile 6: 9:14
As I came around the other side of Lake Union, I was surprised that the course headed into the University area a different way than I had expected. Miles 7 and 8 suddenly turned into what felt like a roller coaster of HILLS. While the uphills burned and slowed me down, it was honestly the downhills that I struggled with the most. They were so steep that I found it hard to run down them, and did more of a skip to the bottom in order to keep running.
- Mile 7: 9:25
- Mile 8 10:17
By the end of the hills I was totally wiped, and I had to really focus to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. My goal was to run the entire race, and I wasn’t going to start walking in the last mile! I gave it what I had left, and ran back into Gasworks to see Casey and Cullen smiling and cheering for me!
- Mile 9: 9:22
- Final 0.3: 3:18
Official Results: 1:27:01 (9:20 pace)
Overall I was really happy with the race. A small part of me wishes I’d been just a bit faster (closer to a 9:00 average), but for where I am in my training I’m really pleased to have just finished well without walking. Looking forward to Rock N Roll Seattle, I think not walking is going to be my biggest challenge. This race gave me a lot of confidence that with a few more weeks of good training, I’ll be ready.
I have a few more smaller races I’m thinking about signing up for in the next few weeks. After taking such a long break from running, finding local races has been a huge boost of motivation for me to keep lacing up and pushing that beast of a stroller a few times each week.
Doing local races has also helped Seattle really feel like home for us. We have moved to so many new cities over the past few years, and because of that I think I feel like an eternal tourist. But having friends both running with me and cheering for me, and racing through the neighborhoods I love, brings me a strong sense of happiness that I had been missing for a while.
It feels great to be back!