On Sunday I ran the Lincoln City Half Marathon. As I mentioned earlier, I ran this race last year (only I did the 10k not the half) and would like to keep running it every year if possible. It's a small race and I highly enjoy small races! They're cheaper, usually require much less planning / getting up early, and usually actually support charities, which I love. Plus small races = a much higher chance of age group awards! Ha! Usually their downfalls lie in the organization but this race is well done and I have only a few complaints, only one of which is actually under the race director's control.
The "Before" picture.
Jordanne is rocking her Team Sparkle skirt I got her for Christmas. :-) I was devastated mine got forgotten at home.
What's funny about this race is I had just mentioned to Leandrea last weekend that I didn't think I would ever get another half marathon PR. I got it way back in 2010 when I was running a lot and had run 3 half marathons over 3 months or so (the PR coming on the 3rd) and the stars just seemed to align that day. Going into this race I hoped for sub 2 hours and secretly hoped it to be closer to 1:52 or so. But like the day I got my PR, after the first mile, I just decided that I was going to go hard for as long as I could, and accept that if I blew up, I blew up. So I am so amazed I am only 1-2 minutes off my PR (1:44:xx) and it gives me high hopes for beating it in my next half (not until May - the Portland Rock n Roll).
Since I did the 10k last year, I had no idea that this race features one incredibly ginormous hill. It just goes on and on and on and on. It started around mile 5 (though the chart shows it actually started earlier, but that's when I noticed it) and continues on until the turnaround at mile 7. The gravel muddy road also starts around mile 5-6. Yes, it is not only a never-ending hill, it's also a never-ending hill on gravelly mud. Kill me now. I'm glad I wasn't wearing my heart rate monitor because I think it would have been flashing "Heart Attack Heart Attack" pretty much the entire time on miles 5-7. It WAS beautiful though, winding through the forest on a trail of sorts along a beautiful river with horse and goat sightings. Too bad I was suffering too much to enjoy it.
I suffered with a horrible side stitch for over half the race (I'm not sure why but probably because I was running faster than I was trained to?!) and I sadly had to walk a bit during mile 6 (as you can see, the only mile in the 9's), this is where the hill had me feeling pretty defeated. Once I hit the top of the hill though I felt SO happy, like seriously elated ecstatic wonderfulness happy. I took a GU and prepared to catch the two girls I had been tailing who had got way ahead of me on the hill (I did catch and beat them, I'm happy to say). This made me realize how much I suck at hills, because I had been running hard with them most of the way but they were dominating that hill while the hill was dominating me.
I started suffering again MAJORLY in mile 11. I was so ready to be done and I could feel how tight my hamstrings and calves were. I had to walk again during the steep hill in mile 12 (on the elevation chart it just looks like a blip but it was a serious horrible hill to have so late in the race!) and while walking my calves were turning to stone. I felt them shudder as I came up on mile 13 and I just begged them to hold off the cramping for a few more minutes. I think having more salt (i.e., gatorade) on the course would have helped that (see complaint below).
And then I finished! I was so so SO happy with my time. I felt extremely proud of it. I was proud that I went as hard as I could the whole entire time - there is no way I could have pulled a faster time on this course. That was all I had. I am also way proud of all those miles starting with 7. I NEVER run miles starting with 7, except in my 400 repeats. So to run a whole string of them together (this is basically my 5k pace!) makes me happy and reiterates how I feel that my best distance is the half - seriously, those paces are pretty much how fast I run a 5k. I can't wait to keep training and racing and see what I can do!
Last year almost all of our group that did the 10k got ribbons. This year Kevin was the only one who got any bling. 2nd place in his age group! WAY TO GO KEVIN! I got 8th female but it was only 5th in my age group (apparently the 25-29 year olds were a force to be reckoned with). I guess being 30 would have actually been a benefit in this one case ONLY. I'm still dreading it.
One great thing about this race is the FOOD! Dave's Killer Bread (have you had it? It's the best) is a sponsor as well as Mo's (a famous local chowder house), so they had tons of delicious bread plus my favorite: Dave's Killer Sin Roll. If you haven't had this yet you must (they have it at Costco sometimes). It is a delicious healthified (somewhat) bread product that tastes like a cinnamon roll. It was amazing. I took 3 extra pieces home with me but unfortunately a sneaky dog grabbed them from the counter! I was feeling pretty nauseous afterwards so I couldn't enjoy much but JMan majorly dug the Mo's Clam Chowder and they also had bananas, apples, Girl Scout cookies (Thin Mints!), and cake.
Another improvement from last year: EVERYONE (10k included!) got medals, and the medals are now race-specific (last year they were generic medals with the name of the race engraved on the back). LOVE IT! I'm also so proud of JMan for DOMINATING the 10k! He rocked it!
The first complaint I have is obviously the course killed me, but that's just a lesson I need to learn. The only real complaint I have is that there wasn't enough water stations. Only 4 water stations on a half marathon course is NOT enough. I know I was spoiled at Disney last weekend since they had like 10, but I think a half needs 5 at a minimum and 6 is more adequate. I know they were working off a tiny gravel road and had to set-up where there was space for the tables and the cars, but even if they had just moved the station at the turn around to ANYWHERE else it would have turned into 2 stations instead of 1 (since it was a complete out-and-back). Jordanne carried water and I definitely need to as well next time I do this race.
Major "take-away" - I NEED TO DO MORE HILL TRAINING! I used to be proud of my hill-climbing skills - I would pass tons of people climbing the hills. Now the opposite is true: I completely suck at climbing hills and dominate going down them (because I practiced that and I guess let the climbing part slide). I'm going to add a hill workout into my schedule at least once every two weeks. Seattle is full of hills and the marathon will kill me if I don't get ready!
Whew. That got long, sorry. THE END!