Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Yukon Do It! Race Day Part 2

As we began to run en masse, I had to let all the planning go and trust that everything would work out fine.  I couldn't believe how many people were around me!  We traversed the park roads, including the campground before exiting Hilldale onto Beach Drive.  As we turned right on a side road, I could hear gasps and people talking about the camels.  Haha!  So I guess not everyone knew there were camels on the route even though I did mention it on the website.  That was a fun surprise seeing camels in 26 degree weather.

Torpedo House at Manchester State Park


Camel!

Another camel!


Back on Beach Drive, we headed toward the waterfront and I was disappointed to see a thick layer of fog over the water.  Hidden in the fog was Bremerton, the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and the Olympic Mountains.  I had been running comfortably and was able to catch up with Nicole (she would earn Maniac status at the finish of this race). 

We see the first aid station and the Fritz family was doing a spectacular job for the runners.  Boy, they looked cold!

The leaders of the half-marathon, Miguel and Jeff, flew by us at our 5 mile mark as they passed 8 miles!  They used the race as a tempo run and intentionally paced each other the entire race.  We had come across patches of ice but the road had been mostly dry.  We turned around in a parking lot and as we headed out toward the park, I saw the fog lifting!  Bremerton was partly in view and a little while later, a ferry was crossing the Sound .  Hooray!

Too foggy to see on race day

View along Beach Drive


Sadly we had to leave the flat waterfront about mile 10 and head inland toward Manchester.  My legs told me that a half-marathon was a super idea but I ran them into submission.  We entered the park and looped our way around back to the start.  It was a little tough, mentally, to push my way back out of the park when  I saw the party in the Torpedo House. 

Nicole and I kept pace with each other and it was wonderful to have a friend by my side during the long miles.  We exited the park and later found out that some marathoners turned back toward Beach Drive and did the first half of the course twice.  We didn't have a volunteer at the turn and they didn't see the arrows.  They were the lucky marathoners as that half was A LOT flatter than the second half!

Manchester was absolutely georgeous with clear views of the Seattle skyline.  We plodded up and down Colchester and finally reached Yukon Harbor.  I made a pit stop and told Nicole to go ahead without me.  This was about mile 18.  We saw the leaders heading back toward the park and I tried not to think about how many miles ahead they were.
Yukon Harbor
Southworth Drive

I continued on along Southworth Drive and enjoyed the clear, sunny skies.  The half marathoners really missed out on some spectacular scenery!  At the turnaround, I saw my daughter and husband and didn't want to leave them.  They were my comfort zone and I told myself that I only had about 6.5 miles to go. 

It was fun to encourage other runners as we passed each other along Southworth Drive and seeing happy smiles helped ease some of my own pain.  Up Yukon Harbor I saw a couple of loose dogs and eased down to a walk and waited for another male runner catch up with me.  I figured it would be safer to pass the dogs together rather than alone.  Once clear of the dogs, I pushed on and somehow made it to the top of Colchester and aptly named, "Miracle Mile Drive". 

As I rounded the corner of the park entrance, I saw my good friend, Pedro!  He finished 3rd overall.  He told me the second half was hard!  Yup, that's no lie.  It's not too bad on a training run but when you're racing, holy schmoly!

Finally I began the descent into the park, passing runners who have finished and already enjoyed the post-run food.  The clock sadly read 4:16 but I still was happy to be finished and knew that today was not about me. 

There was so much food to eat!  I think I overestimated how much food we needed. My beautiful daughter, Jessica, was alone at the food line.  Her and my friend, Ruth, somehow managed the food together for most of the race.  Jessica was freezing but stayed positive throughout the day.  We had the most amazing volunteers helping with the race.

There was some confusion on age group awards but in the end, most everyone had a great, although cold, time and appreciated the effort that went into putting the race together on such short notice.

Next year will see a new start location and it is sure to be an event not to be missed!