Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dizzy Daze 1/2 Marathon - Seattle, WA

This was a beautiful course around Green Lake in Seattle!  It was a wonderful, low key event that I will definitely run again.  The scenery was lovely, the other runners (even those not running the race) were very encouraging, the staff who put the race on were very organized and friendly, and it was overall just a wonderful event!

My alarm went off at 4:45am.  Ugh...have I mentioned I'm not the greatest of morning people?  Well...I hit snooze.  5am rolled around and my second alarm went off.  I guess it was time to get up.  Luckily, I have an awesome husband who gathered up most of my racing stuff for me the night before so I didn't have much to do this morning.  I got out of bed, got dressed in my cute new long sleeved tech shirt for today's race (because I knew it was supposed to be colder with possible rain) and favorite Nike Dri-fit capris, did my hair and went downstairs.  Erik had already gathered up my armband for my GPS, my headphones, my electrolytes, a banana, and my aleve. 

Once Erik was ready we took off for Seattle.  As always, we made a pit stop at Starbucks for my usual pre-race tall drip coffee with 1 splenda and cream.  We had stopped in Federal Way so I was able to eat my banana and sip my coffee on the way to Seattle from there.  We found the starting point without any problems.  I checked in and got my goody bag.  I was #167 this race.  I was told if I wanted to start early I could or I could wait until 8am.   I decided to hit the restroom and go for the early start. 

To complete the 1/2 marathon I had to do 4 laps of the lake on the outer course.  The first mile of each loop of the lake was always the hardest for me.  There were the most obstacles on the course there.  Lots of tree roots coming out of the ground, curbs to go up and down, and pipes sticking out of the ground.  Once I got past that though, it was easy sailing!  Erik was hiding out waiting to take pictures of me as I ran is one:

While I was out on the course I realized...I want to join a running group...BAD!  I passed several groups out running together talking, running, having fun...I want that.  I also loved running around the lake because the other runners were so supportive of the racers.  I passed another woman who was going the opposite direction as me at least 3 of the loops and she was cheering me on every time we passed each other.  It was so nice!

Once I arrived back to the starting point of Lap 1, the organizers of the race told me I had won a prize!  I have never won a prize for racing other than the consolation medals and things.  I was so excited that I think I picked up my pace for Lap 2!  3/4 of the way through Lap 2, I saw Erik standing there with a water bottle. husband and water!  He's been injured for the last month but he decided to try and run a mile with me.  It was great to finally have some company :)  I had one minor interruption when a giant lab thought I was his mom and he decided to lunge at me.  That threw me off a bit but I kept going. 

Lap 3 was the hardest physically for me.  I stopped at the check-in tent to empty my shoes of all the gravel they had collected from the trail I had been running on.  That ate up about 1 minute of the clock but it was so worth it to not be stepping on rocks anymore.  The rain they had predicted had also started at the beginning of Lap 3 which made me very cold.  My hands had turned so purple and they hurt to bend them through most of this lap.  Oh yeah, I almost totally bit it on one of those tree roots too!  That's a problem with me when I don't wear my glasses to run...can't see too far ahead of me :)

During Lap 3, I also really wanted to stop off at the restrooms again but I knew from the tent that I was on pace to PR again.  I didn't want to take anymore time off the clock then I had to so...I kept on running.  The worst problem though...I realized that the band aid I had but under my bra line (like I always do) had come loose.  I knew there was something wrong but didn't want to stop to look.  What I came to find out at the end of the race was that my bra had rubbed me so raw I had bled through my bra and even through my new tech shirt!  Ugh!!! 

Final Lap!  What glorious words!!!  I still hadn't stopped except to empty my shoes so I thought, what the heck...I'm going to try and run the whole thing!  Mile 10 was fine.  I think I was still pacing to finish around 2:05.  Mile 11, I felt myself starting to slow.  My breathing was still great.  Actually, it was the best it's ever been in a race.  I was never once gasping for air.  It was a nice, constant rhythm but I felt my body starting to tell me that it had never run this far without stopping.  Oh oh!  I found myself talking to myself..."Come on Sharon!  You are strong!  You've got this! Just pass this guy!"  What ever it took just to will by legs to continue.  I came up to the only crosswalk in the whole race and my legs started to walk.  I thought, "What the heck are you doing?  Keep going!"  So, I forced them to run some more.  I also kept looking around hoping that maybe Erik was waiting along the course to finish the last mile with me.  Like the great husband he is, he was waiting at the finish line with a camera in hand :)

As I approached the finish line the group of organizers started clapping and yelling for me :)  What a great feeling!  I made the final loop around the parking lot and finished in a time of 2:08:27!  A new PR for me :)  It's amazing what torture we can put our bodies through and yet feel so good afterwards.  By the way, my prize was an Asics Hat!  I was stoked because I have been wanting a new running hat. 

p.s.  This race also allowed me to complete my miles for the #cupcakemarathon!  That would be my first marathon ever :)  Who cares if it was over a few days time?!?  :)

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