We have been experiencing a real cold spell and it was probably in the mid-20s when I headed out in the dark. By the time the run started at 8 a.m. it was light (thank goodness), sunny, and probably about 28 degrees. I dressed a lot warmer than I usually do for a race, with a warm mock turtleneck (that I usually wear skiing) and a rather heavy half zip (again, one I've used for skiing and snowshoeing, although with long underwear added, plus a vest or coat). I was actually afraid I might be too warm with the sun out, but I was okay (though not cold). I also wore long running pants, compression socks, gloves, and a regular running hat (I know my head would have been overheated with a warmer hat).
This was a pretty low-key race put on by the First Call Running Club (mostly Maniacs). There were options for a 50K (starting in the dark at 7:00!), a marathon, and the half. Despite the proliferation of Maniacs, a lot of people chose the half. I was a little nervous, as I have only run more than eight miles one time since the Seattle Marathon (eleven miles about two weeks ago). Additionally, we got an email the day before the race that the bathrooms at the park where we were starting might not be open. Eeek!
After I arrived, I checked in then sat in my car for a while to keep warm. Luckily there was a Safeway not too far away, where I could go to use the bathroom before starting. I did my warm-up jogging to and from Safeway (getting a little lost on the way over and going the wrong way at first). My warm-up was about .86 mile.
The race was on the Sammamish River Trail starting in Bothell and running toward Woodinville, where we turned around. Out and back for the half, doubled for the marathon, with something extra for the 50K
As I said, I was a bit nervous, but I wanted to see what I could do with a moderate (but not lung-searing) effort. It went quite a bit better than I thought it might, although my splits were quite evenly divided between the first half (pretty good) and second half (just okay). Miles 1-6, 9:20, 9:13, 9:17, 9:20, 9:22, 9:31.
It's pretty obvious that most of my recent runs have been 6-8 miles. Not coincidentally, it was around 8 miles where I started thinking how long this was, and losing my mojo a little. I concentrated on keeping as strong as I could, and using landmarks to push myself a little. I had hoped to make an extra strong push in the final 5K, but that didn't happen (though I was trying, I just didn't go faster!). Miles 7-13, 9:43, 9:45, 9:51, 9:46, 9:45, 9:50, .97 at 9:35 pace.
Yup, the "official" distance was only 12.97 miles. I saw that coming when the turnaround was at 6.49 miles! In fact, I wasn't even sure if that was the right turnaround, but there were arrows on the ground and everyone else was turning there. So I guess it was.
I noted my official time (2:03:50), but kept running so I could have a full half marathon distance for myself. My Garmin time for 13.11 miles was 2:05:27 (9:34 pace). Unfortunately I had slowed for that extra .14 mile and my pace was 10:07 for that bit. Ironic as one of the goals I had for this run was to keep every mile under 10 minutes! Well, I met that for the "official" distance anyway.
There was a club member taking pictures as everyone approached the finish area and later in the day she Facebook messaged us the pictures. How nice! There were actually three pics with me in them. The fourth picture was taken after the race (obviously) with my phone.
Although this was a casual race there was a ton of food at the finish, including pancakes! Plus cookies and brownies, pretzels and other snacky things, and who knows what else. I took a cup of hot chocolate and a peppermint brownie. Then I went back to my car to let my mom and Rod know that I was done.
I drove back to Everett and made a quick visit to Renee's New Year's Day sale. Yes, I bought a cute new outfit. Then home to take care of the cats, and back to Rod's for the Rose Bowl.
Rod has been obsessed with making Onion Soup Mix Dip (carton of sour cream mixed with a packet of onion soup mix), and on Saturday he finally bought the ingredients plus a bag of Tim's Maui Onion Potato Chips. Yes, that dip is just as good as you remember!
He also made us a great New Year's dinner with sirloin steak and a lobster tail, plus collard greens with onions, bacon, and black-eyed peas (to hit some traditional New Year's food). The steak and lobster were great (I'm a lobster lover) but I was really taken with the greens and black-eyed peas. So delicious!
And that was my New Year's Day.