I don't really think there's anything wrong with a solidly sub-2 half marathon (it is my fastest in 2011). I'm pretty satisfied with my time and the general evenness of my splits (more on that in a mo).
Buuuuut...it would have been nice to be a little closer to a PR (sub-1:53). Buuuuut...I am still a little envious of all the mid-1:50s halfers who have broken 1:50 this year (I read a lot of running blogs). Buuuuut...8:45 pace,* while solid, is so predictable and wouldn't it have been nice to surprise myself with something faster?
The Seattle R 'n' R half is actually a great course for me and it plays to my strengths. It's a nice combination of mostly gentle hills, up and down, plus flat. The uphills are matched by downhills, so you do get a reward for your efforts. My typical training routes include both up and down hills and I have been working on running strong on the ups and making the best of the downs.
It turns out that about half of my miles were in the 8:40s, a few were around 9, and a few were 8:30 or below. Yup, that looks like 8:45 to me!
Okay, I went and grabbed my Garmin so I could look at the details....
1 - 8:48
2 - 8:43
3 - 8:49
4 - 8:47
5 - 9:03 (long uphill)
6 - 8:23 (long downhill)
7 - 8:45
8 - 8:55
9 - 9:01 (most of this mile was through a tunnel with no satellite signal...it was flat and easy but I don't like the tunnel so I probably was lagging...and I had no Garmin pace to encourage me to pick it up)
10 - 9:01 (no idea what was going on here, it may have been somewhat uphill coming into downtown Seattle, or maybe just general fatigue....)
11 - 8:48
12 - 8:31
13 - 8:23
.15 - 7:27 pace (woohoo!)
I was happy to see that I had the capability to pick up the pace in the last couple miles, but wonder why I couldn't do that in a few more of the early miles? Of course I didn't want to burn out by going too fast in the beginning. I felt like I was running at a pace that required effort but not excessive work. I wanted to have strong times at the 5K and 10K mats as my mom was getting text updates (5K just a bit over 27, 10K just a hair under 54). There was apparently also a "9-mile" mat but it must have been in the wrong place because my time was way off.
I was pleased at how solid my pace was on the hills. I know I was slower than 9-minute pace at times but I managed to pull out the averages. Same thing (in reverse) for the downhills.
After last year I didn't intend to run R 'n' R Seattle again. I signed up this year because some other plans fell through. I am planning to have other plans again next year but I wouldn't rule out ever doing it again. The half, I mean. Never, ever the full.
My mom and I stayed at the Days Inn Tukwila South and I would definitely stay there again for the event. Yes, it is just a humble Days Inn, but we have stayed in any number of rather expensive European hotels that are slightly less nice than a basic American budget motel, so our standards are not high. As long as it is clean and vermin-free, we are there! Any special bonuses and we will rave like the Ritz. The benefits to this Days Inn--literally right around the corner from the starting line, plus a Starbucks nearby which I didn't take advantage of but would in future. Also complimentary breakfast (not early enough for me, but my mom went), and best of all (according to my mom), quick and easy access to the freeway for departure. Yes, it is right next to the freeway, but surprisingly, the noise didn't disrupt my sleep at all. I slept as well or better than any other pre-race night.
On Friday morning I took a hiatus from work to zip down to the Expo and packet pick-up. This was a great idea because afternoon traffic was bad even on the freeway, I can't imagine battling downtown Seattle on the night of a Mariners game! I was back at work at 12:30, then we went straight to Tukwila later in the afternoon.
We ate dinner at Grazie Ristorante near Southcenter. I had a primavera salad (which turned out to have just vegetables, no lettuce, a surprise to me!) and linguine Marco, with roasted chicken, capers, roasted garlic, feta, pine nuts, white wine and feta. The sauce was a lot more buttery than I expected, but it was delicious!
Afterwards we drove around for quite a long time looking for Starbucks so I could buy coffee to save for morning. I hadn't noticed that we had a coffee maker in the room, though regardless I would have preferred the Starbucks anyway. It was quite a frustrating endeavor, as we drove up and down the same roads. Meanwhile it was raining hard, which added to the stress as I imagined what similar weather would be like in the race.** Finally we found success at Barnes and Noble, and I acquired my Americano doctored with cream and splenda. I did drink a few sips to soothe myself on the way back to the motel. Especially when we took a wrong turn and ended up in a scary industrial area. My iPhone map app put us back on track.
Back at the Days Inn we had cake from work for dessert, and then called it a night.
Here I am this morning ready to run! It's the only picture I have until there are race photos.
I had a Goodwill jacket for the beginning which I tossed after a mile. After I finished I went over to the merchandise tent and bought a light jacket to wear in case I got chilled after my body temp cooled. I also got a "free" Rock Seattle tee shirt with my purchase which I like as much as anything I could have bought. (Actually I could have bought it at the Expo but they gave them away after the race.)
I was a little smarter about my departure than I was last year and was able to catch the bus at the International District station instead of walking all the way downtown. My mom met me at the Northgate transit center and we went to Sunflour Cafe for a lovely late breakfast. Banana sourdough pancakes and bacon. Oh yeah.
*My average pace of 8:45 is based on a distance of 13.15. My official pace was 8:48.
**But it wasn't like that! The weather for the run was perfect, cloudy and 50s. I don't know what it warmed up to later, but it was very pleasant for the first two hours.
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