Sunday, April 8, 2012

2011 Leavenworth Half Marathon

Guess what day it is?  SUNDAY FLASHBACK!  Lucky you.  So I thought I would go back to moving linearly through my races for Sunday Flashback, but then Becky at RunFunDone asked about the Leavenworth Half Marathon, and since I was already kind of jumbling around anyway, here it is!  The people get what the people want! 

For those of you not from the Pacific Northwest, Leavenworth is an adorable little town in North Central Washington where everything, incuding banks, Starbucks, and McDonalds, are Bavarian-themed.  Every September / October they hold a three-weekend-long epic Oktoberfest that probably makes the tiny town 80% of its revenue for the entire year. 

Well this year Jordanne, Lisa, and I decided to participate in the half marathon, which occurred in October of 2011.  I should probably mention that all 3 of us were extremely undertrained for this race!  And without further ado... here is my race report:

Lederhosen is necessary for running this race.  Aren't our costumes awesome?!  Mine was made for a large man so it required quite a bit of safety-pin-modifications.

Half Marathon #9 is in the books!  It may be close to tying with my slowest half ever (with the 2003 half I did before I was a runner which I completed in 2:12:47) but this race is definitely up there with the most fun half I've ever done!

Jordanne, Lisa, and I all made the trek to Leavenworth (aka the most adorable town of all time!) and had a blast in our lederhosen.  We were all pretty undertrained for this race which was unfortunate because it was pretty flat (surprisingly, given the mountainous terrain of Leavenworth!) and would have been a good opportunity for PRs, except for the last 3 miles, which were on basically loose sand trail, and had us all cursing the race directors.  A trip through the adorable town would definitely be an improved 2 miles rather than crazy out and backs on this terrible sand which zapped all your energy (and caused Jordanne to fall).  The rest of the race was gorgeous though, trails through forests, along the river, through the country farmland with mountain views, meadows, and horses, and just plain loveliness.

See - loveliness. 

We ran the first 10 miles together, constantly commenting on how lovely it was!  It was about 40 degrees at the start but I was very glad Jordanne convinced me I didn't need the long sleeve after a mile or two.  I had to pee before the race but figured it was just nerves and dealing with that lederhosen was annoying (especially since it was so big so I'd pinned it in a million places to make it fit better and not fall off!) but by mile 5 or so I decided I had to stop, so I sent Jordanne and Lisa on and told them I'd catch up as I'd be quick.  Unfortunately the two people in line in front of me must have not been doing so well because they took FOREVER in the bathroom, and this had me worried I'd never catch up.  This was the fast 8:51 mile, as I worked so hard to catch them and it probably took more than half a mile.  Saw JMan spectating and gave Cooper a pat here (thanks for cheering us!).

I took a lot of blurry pictures during the race.

Took a Gu at mile 7 (vanilla bean is the best EVER, I will be buying some of those for my general snacking!), but it was an unfortunate aid station because this was the only one with Gu and it was at the bottom of the one massive hill of the race.  So you were already walking to eat your gu and drink your water and then you were expected to run up this huge steep hill.  Uh, no.  I think I saw one person actually run up it.  That was probably one of the 11 minute miles.  I drank as much water and powerade as I could throughout the entire race but I sure didn't get much, I wonder if I was dehydrated by the end.

After mile 10 I decided I wanted to see what I could do in the last 5k, I really wanted to suffer more!  So I finally turned on my ipod and took off, and felt GREAT for mile 11, wow that was a great mile.  I passed probably 100 people in this last 5k and most were in this mile.  Then we hit the loose sand which instantly drained me, especially because to keep passing people I had to run in the even looser section that hadn't been run on by all the people ahead of me.  I was also starting to feel tired, but I kept pushing.  Forced myself to sprint it in, but could only pull a 6:52 average for the last .1.   I was TIRED.

This race had a nice spread of food, nice finisher shirts, and sweet medals with bottle openers on them, but had a poor showing of drinks overall.  They needed more water stations that were manned with more volunteers, at most of them you had to wait for a cup of water which was usually only 1/4 of the way full, and I was constantly thirsty and wishing I had carried a bottle.  Even at the end when I was dying there was no water at the finish, you had to walk a quarter of a mile to get a tiny cup of gatorade.  I need a full bottle people!

We all finished!  Showing off our awesome medals.

Cooper wanted to model the medal too.

I was so proud of all of us finishing well despite being undertrained, and really proud of Lisa for persevering despite wanting to walk.  We all dominate!
TT: 2:10:23   AP: 9:56
Splits: 10:20, 10:19, 10:12, 9:16, 11:40, 8:51, 10:29, 11:03, 10:13, 11:00, 8:47, 8:37, 8:50

On the drive back to the hotel I really thought I was going to throw up, but an hour later or so I felt much better, so we headed off to Munchenhaus (for the best brats and pretzels ever), the hat shop (for the best hats ever!, yes, somewhere in America a hat shop is thriving), the CheeseMonger (for the best cheese ever, hello more garlic cheese to bring home), and for some general Oktoberfest shenanigans which of course involved chicken dancing.

The mobile hat shop at Oktoberfest.  We also visited the real shop.

We needed Lisa to take on the Bavarian boy!

That's the last race planned for the 2011 race season, though of course I hope to do a few more (already have my red striped tights ready for Jingle Bell!).  To I'm sure the relief of my husband and parents, I think I need to focus on getting faster at short distances (aka 5ks) since that seems to be my downfall - my 5k PR is way more than what is predicted by my half marathon PR.  Even though I'm dying to do a full marathon, maybe its best to let my legs get healed and stronger first.  EDIT: I left this part in there because I thought it was hilarious that approximately 2 days after this I signed up for the Seattle FULL Marathon! 

So that's a wrap!  To summarize, I HIGHLY recommend this race.  At least if you plan on spending the whole weekend enjoying the Bavarian loveliness of Leavenworth and sheniganning-it-up at Oktoberfest.  I definitely would love to make this a yearly tradition. 

What's your most favorite race of all time?  Why did you love it so?