Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cupids 1/2 Marathon Rochester, WA

Another one in the books!  This one felt great too :) 

Here we go...

Erik and I decided to stay the night in Lacey with my sister-in-law, Andrea so we didn't have to wake up so early and drive the 2 hours to our destination.  By staying at her house the commute was only about 30 minutes away. Phew!  Plus, Andrea kindly volunteered to watch Bryce for us so we could run.  Another bonus :)

This was a late starting race but we still woke up at 7am to get ready.  I had already planned my outfit the night before.  I chose my black Under Armour long sleeved shirt with a pink cotton tee over the top, my usual Nike Dri-fit capris and I was ready.  We went downstairs to stretch and grab something to eat.  As I've told you before...I can't eat a lot before a race because I tend to get a little nauseous...okay, maybe really nauseous.  Today's menu, a half of a cheese bagel.  YUM!

Time to take off.  We stopped off at our usual pre-race stop-off...STARBUCKS!  Drink of choice, tall drip with 1 splenda a little cream and a dash of cinnamon.  DUH-LISH!  Now we were really off.  I have lived in WA all of my life and I can honestly state that Rochester, WA is not a town I have ever spent any amount of time in.  After today, I can still add that I don't think I will be spending any amount of time there again. :) 

We found the start easily.  To our surprise, there were several smokers standing outside.  That should have been a clue as to what was inside.  I was very disappointed by the lack of organization that went on there.  When we went to the check-in area, there was only one girl working the stand and she had a very confused look on her face.  We were able to find my packet however, Erik's was nowhere to be found.  Sadly, his was not the only one.  Many, many other racers did not have packets or shirts.  It's a shame to pay the amount of money we do to run in these races and not have a packet waiting for us before the race...ya know?

Race time!  All I can say is thank you Andrea for having a pair of sunglasses in your car because my-oh-my was the sun out today!  All week leading up to the race they were forecasting a huge storm but the weathermen couldn't have been further from the truth.  It was sunny and almost 45 degrees out at the start of the race.  I was regretting even wearing the layers I had on and I hadn't even ran yet.  Oh well, too late to change now. 

I was sporting my new water belt that I bought at Target for today's race.  I wasn't sure how many water stops there were going to be so I decided to bring my own.  It didn't bother me at the immediate start however I ended up dumping half of my water out about .5 miles into the race because it was too heavy and kept falling down.  I didn't want to be distracted so, bye bye water.  That made a big difference and I was off!

For about the first mile I was running alongside a girl who was my height.  She was stoked because we were running the same pace and the same height.  This was her first 1/2 marathon.  She was super sweet but she was breathing pretty hard and so I wished her luck and left her behind.  I began pacing with a lady who was wearing a Seattle Marathon shirt and a guy who was wearing a white tech shirt.  They had a really great, manageable pace and I felt that I could keep up with them.

Sadly, my pacers detoured for the restroom at about mile 3.5.  I yelled a giant "Thank you" to them and kept going.  By then I was pretty much on my own.  I had passed all of the 5K and 10K crowd so the roads were pretty open.  It was easy sailing.  This was also the point that I started getting a blister on my left foot.  All I could think is that's going to suck for the next 10 miles.  Mile 4 was the worst.  Not because of running, because of the smell!  It was pure manure...YUCK!  I don't know which was worse breathing through my nose and smelling it or risking breathing through my mouth and swallowing a bug.  Either way, blech! 

At mile 4.77 I finally saw Erik :)  He told me I was almost to the turn around.  Really?  Shouldn't the turn around be at 6-6.5 miles?  How far behind him was I?  That's what started running through my head.  It turns out that I was only .5 miles behind him because the turn around was at mile 5.  Wait what?  If the turn around is at mile 5 then how am I going to complete a 1/2 marathon?  Where are they going to add that extra 3.1 miles?

At the turn around I finally saw my friends who were pacing for me towards the start.  They both gave me the thumbs up and "Great job."  It's nice to have these great little relationships on the course.  It gives that little extra boost.  About .5 miles later the lady in the Seattle Marathon shirt passed me and started pacing again.  Thank goodness, I felt like I was losing ground.  As the minutes ticked away, she got further and further away.  In the far distance I could see Erik (he was wearing red, so I could see it without my glasses) but at long last he turn a corner and he was out of my sight.  Oh no!  What now?  My pacers were gone. 

At mile 6, the guy in the white shirt came up behind me on my right side.  He gave me a thumbs up and said, "You are doing great, keep up the good work."  My reply was, "Thank you, I really needed that right now!"  You don't realize how much a few words of encouragement does to your motivation.  I felt like I was able to pick up my pace a little more.  He then stated that he had been trying to catch up to me for awhile and we both had mentioned that we had been pacing back and forth for several miles.  He introduced himself as Robert and said he would run with me for a while if I liked.  I gladly accepted! 

The next several miles were going okay.  It was nice to have a partner to help me through the times that my body was trying to talk me out of running.  By then my blister was screaming at me!  I had asked Robert if he knew the course and he replied "no."  Bummer!  By my calculations and recollection of the scenery, we were getting close to the start of the race.  According to my GPS it said we were only at mile 10!  Where in the world were the last 3.1 miles that I still had to run?  At mile 10, I got my answer...we had to pass the finish line and go another 3.1 miles.  THAT WAS A MIND BLOWER!

I really didn't like passing the finish line to continue running.  It messed with my mind.  I kept chanting "you only have a 5K left, you only have a 5K left" but my body kept saying "you already passed the finish line, your done with your race."  It's not a good feeling.  Robert kept telling me that I was doing great and I could finish strong, I hoped he was right. 

At mile 10.96 I finally gave into my mind and walked.  Damn!  I wanted to finish the whole race without walking but my blister was killing me and my mind was winning.  Robert was kind enough to walk too despite me urging him to keep running.  We walked a very short time (like .05 miles) but it was enough to get my head back into the race.  Then we were off again.

I saw Erik again at mile 11.77.  His phone had died so he didn't have any music or GPS.  I felt terrible for him but I told him to finish strong and we said goodbye to each other.  Robert and I continued on our way.  At the last water stop and final turn around, Robert stopped for water.  I walked for my longest period at this time.  It was nice to get a breather and rest before the last 1.1 miles.  I encouraged Robert to run but his Gatorade wasn't sitting well in his stomach.  I told him I was going to jog and told him to stay strong! 

I thought Robert was right behind me but when I turned around he was a ways back.  I felt terrible that I had left the guy who was kind enough to pace with me for the last 6 miles.  I really didn't realize that he wasn't right behind me.  I continued on my pace and hoped that I could set a new PR.

I decided to walk up the last small hill just for the heck of it.  No real reason, I just did.  I turned the corner and headed for the finish line.  The last .3 miles seemed to go really fast.  Much faster then the first time I ran them.  I could see Erik standing by the finish line!  I couldn't be happier!!!  As I passed him, he yelled, "Great job Baby, you got this!"  Yep, that is EXACTLY what I needed to hear.  I raced to the finish and set a new PR! 

2:09:57!!!  That is 10 minutes off of my last time :)  This runner is definitely smiling =D

Erik also PR'd today despite pulling his calf muscle.  He finished in 1:58:03.  I am a super proud wife!  My new friend Robert finished just behind me and I even managed to be outside as the sweet gal I met in the first mile crossed the finish line. 

I really love my running community and I love how you manage to form these wonderful friendships in such a short time out on these courses.  Being there for one another, cheering each other on, pacing with each other, a smile, a thumbs up....  I love to be part of this amazing group of people!  You have changed my life for the better :)

p.s.  My GPS said the course was actually 13.28 miles.  My official time for that was: 2:11:41

946.19 miles to go for 1000 miles for the year :)


  1. Amazing! Great job! That's a great twist they threw in there with the extra 5k. That would have totally messed with my mind too. Congrats on the new PR for you and Erik!

  2. Hey Sharon, it's Robert! Great blog! You even inspired me to create my own. or just type in The Cycling Runner. Hope the training is going well? I did 10 miles this past weekend, with 14 coming up this weekend.