Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tacoma Narrows Half-Marathon - Race Time!

After the National Anthem, we are herded across the start line. The first couple of miles are flat with an out and back in the first mile. I see many friends in front and behind me. The leaders are already putting a sizeable gap on the rest of the field.

We head across the newer Tacoma Narrows Bridge and I relish in the fact that the sidewinds are very light today. Nearing the end of the bridge, I steady my nerves as I know what's coming...the dreaded off ramp, cross the road and up through a memorial park. Up, up, up. My plan is to maintain even effort up the hill. I still manage to get a side stitch which eventually leaves by mile 6. I try to listen to my own advice I gave one of my friends about uphills: when you get to the top, keep pushing, don't slow down, you can recover and race at the same time.

Jeff has been driving ahead to various spots on the course to cheer for me and is prepared to give me ibuprofin if I think death is nearing.  I happily wave him off as I'm feeling surprisingly light on my feet even though I know my finish time will be slower than my last Tacoma Narrows Half.

I get a great boost of encouragement from Annie as she waits on her bike just off the course.  Fellow marathon and ultramarathon runner, Annie brings out the best in everyone she meets as well as herself.  She's a local celebrity runner, winning many races and is friend to everyone.

Mile 9 brings us on a quick tour through Cheney Stadium.  We enter through the lot into the stadium to be greeted by rockin' music and live footage on the jumbotron of yourself running.  I glance up, think my legs look appropriately jumbo sized and quickly move out of the camera's view.

Just ahead I see my good friend, Pedro.  I can see he's slowing and encourage him to help pace me.  He yells at me to "Go get Tony", the 1:30 pacer.  I know with 3.5 miles to go, I don't have enough road to catch him.  Pedro tells me at the finish line that his longest run had been 5 weeks ago and the last 3 weeks he's barely run at all due to work and family circumstances.  Trust me, Pedro is an amazing runner, recently clocking 3:15 and better marathon times.

I push myself knowing it's just a 5k!  Get through this mile and then we have the best two miles of the day to the finish line.  Flat and downhill! 

At mile 11,  I see a group of four men running together, a silent comaraderie between them.  I set a goal to reach them by mile 12 and begin slowly reeling them in.  I've reached the back of the group and am feeling strong.   One by one I pass them, each of them looking over and if they could have talked, I'm sure they would have given me a, "You go Girl".  Instead, I got the dazed and I've-just-been-chicked look which is fine.  Having been called a "stupid girl" while passing a man in a different race, I just take these comments and looks as compliments.  ;*)

Picking up my pace, I finally see the finish line, crossing within the 1:35 time that I predicted to Jeff at mile 10.  I feel happy about finishing and with a decent time. 

My goal was to have fun.  I told an amazing runner, Mary, that I have the most fun when I race and place well.   She laughed and said she feels the same way.  It's nice to have friends who understand me.

  • 1:35:23 11th female out of 467
  • 2nd out of 75 in age group
  • 68th overall out of 840
  • *Technically I took 3rd in my age roup, but the first master was in my age group and was taken out of the division.

Race splits for those that are number obsessed (like me):
13.17 Garmin distance
  1. 6:57
  2. 6:53
  3. 7:16
  4. 7:28
  5. 8:03
  6. 7:04
  7. 7:17
  8. 7:26
  9. 7:25
  10. 7:24
  11. 7:40
  12. 6:50
  13. 6:41
1:03 ( for last .17)