2015 See Jane Run Half Marathon (& Kids Run!)

Yesterday was my second big race of the summer!!  Most of my training this year has been building up to run the Rock N Roll Half Marathon, which I ran last month.  But long before I knew I was going to be running Rock N Roll, I had signed up for the See Jane Run Half Marathon.  The races were one month apart – definitely not ideal.  I actually did this to myself last year too, and I’m not sure how I ended up doing it again – I’m obviously a sucker for early registration coupons.  :) 

Last year after I ran Rock N Roll, I had a really rough month of Casey traveling and then traveling myself the week before the race.  I ran exactly two times between half marathons, and it was brutal.  I told myself that if I was going to run back to back races again this summer, I was at least going to keep up running consistently in between.

I’m happy to say that this time around, I did a much better job of fitting in my training.  The weekend after the Rock N Roll race, instead of finally sleeping in on a Saturday morning like I wanted to, I woke up and ran 8.5 miles along the waterfront and I felt amazing.

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The next weekend, I ran 12 miles on a new loop with my running buddy, Lacey.  It was right in the middle of the crazy heatwave we had here a few weeks ago, and it was absolute HELL.  The sun was blazing and it was 80 degrees by 7am.  One of the worst runs I’ve had in a long time, but at least I covered the distance.

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I took Fourth of July weekend off because it was 90+ degrees every day and we had friends in town.  But I kept up with my weekday runs, and I’ve also been doing a lot of barre classes through ClassPass.  So I felt like I had done a decent job staying on my feet, but I also felt a little burnt out.

Either way, I headed to the starting line yesterday with about 800 other women (and a few men!) and got ready to run my second half marathon this summer. 

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The race starts and ends in GasWorks park, which is really centrally located and close to our house, so very convenient for race day logistics.  The course goes out and back along the Ship Canal and Burke-Gilman trails, and around Lake Union – the same path where I did almost all of my long training runs.

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I also did almost all of those runs with Lacey.  She started running last summer (and did this race last year as her first!), and it has been such a joy to have a running partner again.  It would have been a lot harder to get motivated to run at 6am every Saturday morning (and many evenings at 8pm!) without her. 

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The starting gun sounded and we were OFF!  One of my biggest challenges in running has always been just getting out of my own head.  I started the race feeling kind of off, and had to just keep reminding myself to stay positive, enjoy my playlist, and check off the miles one by one.

  • Mile 1:  9:05 pace
  • Mile 2:  8:43 pace
  • Mile 3:  9:11 pace

After a crazy heatwave that lasted for several weeks, the past few days have been really overcast and cool.  When I woke up Sunday morning, it was dark and breezy, and I knew we’d be running along the waterfront where there is significantly more wind.  Just before I left the house, I changed out of shorts and into capris.  Mistake! 

Within the first two miles I regretted it and wished I wasn’t feeling so suffocated.  I have been running in shorts for months and wasn’t used to the feeling of tight capris.  And for some reason, despite not really being all that warm (maybe high 60’s or low 70’s), the weather was unusually humid.  I watched the runners in shorts around me and willed mine to be back on my body.  No such luck!

  • Mile 4:  9:19 pace
  • Mile 5:  9:24 pace

This was my fifth time racing this course, in addition to the countless training runs on the same path, so I knew every inch of it.  I felt sluggish, but tried to keep my pace up and ride the slight downhill, knowing that the middle hills were just up ahead. 

  • Mile 6:  9:16 pace
  • Mile 7:  9:25 pace

I have learned from previous races on this course that the hills in mile 8 are ridiculous, and I do better if I walk them.  I power-walked up the steep inclines in order to save my quads, and I relished the slight break it gave me.  Lacey and I rabbited back and forth through the entire race, and knowing she was right there in it with me was a great push to make sure I didn’t fall behind.  I dumped water over my head at all the water stations, the only relief from the nasty humidity. 

  • Mile 8:  10:00 pace
  • Mile 9:  9:22 pace

Just past mile nine, I saw Casey and the boys!  I ran over and gave all of them kisses, and I felt proud of myself for being out there and pushing myself even when I didn’t feel very good.  The last time I raced this course (back in May) it was almost the exact same, but it was a 15K distance.  Something about running nine miles is just SO much better!  The way this course works is that you loop back to GasWorks park – where the finish line is – around mile 9.5.  AND THEN YOU PASS IT.

You run three long, heartbreaking miles AWAY from the finish line, out the Burke-Gilman trail and back.  But I told myself that once I heard my running app announce that I’d reached 11 miles I’d be in good shape.  I had two more miles in me.  I could do this.  And then the friendly voice said, “you have reached mile 10!” – oh hell no.  Somehow I’d convinced myself I was a mile ahead of where I really was, and it zapped every bit of energy I had left. 

I was literally willing myself to run every step at that point, when I looked up and saw my friend Heidi running toward me!  She was out for a morning jog on the trail, and ran up to my side and said “want some company?”  She is an incredible runner (her PR for the half is in the 1:30’s!) and for a minute I felt embarrassed to make her slog along at my slow pace, but then I just blurted out “YES PLEASE RUN WITH ME!”  She had also run the same race a few years ago, so she knew how hard that last stretch feels. 

Being a runner, she knew that I just needed someone to distract me and talk to me.  It was exactly what I needed – she chatted about her boys and running and summer plans, and who knows what else – I just desperately needed the distraction from the voice in my head saying “let’s just walk this thing in, shall we?”

She ran me all the way to the finishers’ chute before peeling off to continue her run back home.  I am sure I would have ended up walking a lot of those last three miles without her, and I am so grateful that she popped up at the perfect spot.  I used every last bit of energy I had to cross the finish line.

  • Mile 10:  9:30 pace
  • Mile 11:  9:28 pace
  • Mile 12:  9:41 pace
  • Mile 13:  9:48 pace
  • 0.40 miles:  9:45 pace

Official finish – 13.1 miles – 2:06:12

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It is mindboggling to me that my official time for this race was fast than my Rock N Roll half time last month (which was 2:06:47).  But that race measured super long for me (13.8 miles), and this one was only a little bit over (13.4), so I’m still pretty confident I ran the other race faster.  I finished Rock N Roll feeling strong and amazing – so proud of myself for running every step and feeling great.  I finished this race trying not to puke and questioning why on earth I do things like this for fun. 

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But of course, once the initial pan and shock wore off – it DID feel fun, and I was actually really proud of myself for gutting it out when it felt pretty terrible.  A million congrats to Lacey for setting an new personal best, and I’m excited to keep running with her as she starts training for her first FULL marathon! 

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After I laid in the grass for a while and wondered how I was ever going to start moving again, Casey finally pulled me up just in time for the kids’ run!  Cullen did a kids run a few months ago and absolutely loved it, and he was so excited to get to do one again. 

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There was no way I had anything left in my legs, even jogging at a three year old’s pace, so Casey jumped in to run while Graham and I cheered.  The horn sounded and the kids all bolted – some of those bigger kids are seriously fast!

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They looped around the park along the lake, and I died at the cuteness watching Cullen trot along with his dad.  He’s a pretty clumsy runner, but I just love watching him have fun. 

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They had it set up as a long course for older kids and a short course for the younger kids. 

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There were only a handful of kids that turned off for the short course, but imagine my surprise when I saw Cullen charging to the finish line first!

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He knew it too, and he was PUMPED.

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I felt so proud and happy watching him charge to the finish line.  It was a nice reminder that even though I am slow and running still feels hard most of the time, my kids are watching and learning from me.  They don’t care about my pace, they watch for the smile at the finish line.  And seeing his just about made my heart explode. 

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He got his medal and a little packet of finisher goodies – so adorable!

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We even let him chow down on a giant chocolate bar at 10am (which was part of his finisher pack), because he had put in the work and earned it.  And his shirt did say “I run for chocolate!” after all. 

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Last year I ran this race in 2:03:14 – I was 9 months postpartum, about 10 pounds lighter from breastfeeding (and subsequently faster), and extremely overwhelmed and sleep deprived. 

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And now I’m a year older, finally running as just ME (not pregnant, not breastfeeding), and life feels a lot more balanced.  My arms and heart are so incredibly full.  (And Cullen still has the same scowl on his face!)

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I feel happy to have two decent races behind me, and am looking forward to scaling back for a few weeks.  I have one more big race planned for this year, and I’ll share details on that soon!  For now, I’m excited to add a bit more cross-training back in, and to be able to do more barre and yoga to get stronger.  And to finally sleep in next Saturday.