A few weeks ago I decided that, since we were going to be in Seattle anyway, I wanted to do the Seattle Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon. Last year I did the full marathon and was very impressed with the race. I also PR-ed at the full last year, so my memory of the race is a good one. This year the half marathon option fit perfectly with my training schedule since my long run called for 15 miles. A half marathon was the perfect substitute. If I needed any more convincing, my sister and my sister-in-law were both doing the half marathon this year – it was my sister’s first and I wanted to be there with her. The only problem was that the race was sold out a few months ago. So off to Craig’s List I went and I secured a bib for half-price. Sure, I wouldn’t be racing in my own name, but there was no reason why that should matter.
Race day conditions were absolutely perfect. The weather was around 50 degrees and it was overcast, but no rain. We took the busses to the start line, eating on the way there. Instead of drinking coffee with my bagel and peanut butter, I had a bottle of 5-Hour Energy. This is a new thing for me. I’ve always been anti-energy drinks and have always been big on consuming only natural energy products (like coffee and tea). But I got a free bottle of 5-Hour Energy at a race one year and let it sit in my pantry for probably two years. Then one afternoon a few months ago I was really struggling and decided to try it. I was an instant believer. So now I’ll drink a half of a bottle it if I’m struggling before a run in the morning. But this was the first time I drank a full bottle and I really do think it contributed to my great racing experience.
The course was full of rolling hills, which I actually think is the perfect profile for a race. Your body needs the variety and the changing uphill and downhill keeps your muscles fresh and on their toes. During the race, I was conservative on the uphills and let my legs fly on the downhills, which for some reason felt very liberating. I was also pumped up with my music choice for the day: Cruise Control Podrunner at 175 BPM. Yes, I know I mention Podrunner a lot, but I really do love it and it has helped both my running form (cadence) and my speed. And on race day I had my Yurbud earphones in perfectly. The Yurbud representatives were at the race expo the day before, so I took the opportunity to stop and ask them exactly how to insert them and find out what was I doing wrong. Now I think I have it down so that every time I can get it right and from now on I can give Yurbuds a glowing review.
All of these factors led to the perfect race for me. My pace was steady the entire way and not once did I stop to walk. I drank the water or Cytomax (course drink) when I was thirsty and had my GU at mile 7, but otherwise I just kept running and loved every step of it. In the end, I finished in 1:46:58, a new PR for me.
I had three goals for this race: 1. Have fun. 2. Set a new PR. 3. Give it everything I had and finish with absolutely no fuel left in the tank. The first two goals were definitely achieved. I am not totally convinced I achieved number 3, but I came pretty close. Really, this race was a personal experiment in that I wanted to see if I could maintain an 8:10 pace for that long during a race. I did, which gives me hope for Chicago, when I need a time of 3:35 to BQ. Plus, I’ve still got 3 months of training ahead of me.