In the last three weeks since my 12 hour race - yes, I am very behind in race reports - my "training" has consisted of daily runs not exceeding an 8 minute pace. That was literally when I had a bee circling me and I sped up to get away, and it was downhill. Other than that fast mile, I've been shuffling at an 8:30-10:00 pace, certainly not speed-training.
Race morning temperature was cool but mild. I wore my Brooks Pure Connects, shorts and Half-Fanatic shirt. I still can't figure out what to do with my hair at races since I've gotten it cut short. I had already picked up my bib the day before so all I needed to do was get to the starting line before 8:00 a.m.
The morning was uneventful (a very good thing on race mornings) and I was at the start by 7:30, enough time to do a quick half mile jog, use the porta-potty and talk with my friends. We lined up at the invisible start line and with a quick count-down, began our journey to the Narrows Bridge. Lizzie Lee was next to me and she would go on to smash yet another time and distance personal record. Amanda Hoskins, a fierce local competitor, took off just in front of me as we made our way down Point Fosdick Drive.
This race is uphill both ways! I remembered it was hilly but I had forgotten a couple of the more difficult sections. Selective memories. As we turned left towards the tunnel by the airport, I had to look down and just think about the 10 feet in front of me and not the monster hill we climbed. Amanda was the only woman in front of me but I knew my pace was slower than previous years. I regained my breathing after the tunnel and started picking up my pace again. I know the flats and downhill sections are my strengths and I try to push those harder when it is a hillier course.
I've been running with the same couple of guys throughout the race and that helped me to keep my pace. I tried to focus on being a metronome when I found myself slipping. The bridge is a gradual incline to the center, decline to the end and then on the the exit to Tacoma with a cruel uphill before the turnaround. Of course the aid stations at the bridge are at the ends where I can barely breathe let alone drink liquid.
I made my way back across the bridge and was welcomed and cheered on by so many friends and others who knew me or were thrilled to tell me I was in second place. The guy running with me asked if I knew EVERYONE in the race. He was happy to stick with me and benefit from all the cheering. I am a lucky girl to have so many encouraging people in my life.
Another uphill greeted runners as we exited the bridge back into Gig Harbor and I felt like my legs were rubber. This wasn't easy to run "fast" again but I knew I needed to get my legs out of the comfort zone if I want to start improving again. Once at the top of the hill, I knew the next section was mostly flat and down until Point Fosdick.
My goal in the last couple of miles was to just keep my pace and pray no woman was hot on my heels. I turned around a couple times after that to check but only saw a shirtless person which I assumed was a man. Thankfully I was right!
Michelle DeNully cheered for me just before the last incline of about 6/10ths of a mile (it seemed so much longer!) and I was thrilled to turn right into the parking lot towards the finish line. I crossed the line in 1:14:45 and kept my second place female overall. That is still surprising to me as this is my slowest running on this course. Here's the irony:
2010: 1:11:35 (5th overall)
2011: 1:13:XX (3rd overall)
2012: 1:14:35 (2nd overall)
Maybe next year I can win with a 1:16! The finish line area and awards this year were not nearly as good as the previous two years but with a $15 entry fee and money going towards a good cause, I won't complain. Hopefully I will run this again next year.
|Michael Hsu capturing me running back across the bridge.|
|Lizzie Lee, Judy Fisher, Amanda Hoskins, Beverly Schubert and me - all Winners!|