2011 Seattle Half-Marathon Race Report

With the beginning of another holiday season also comes what has become an annual tradition: the Seattle Half-Marathon.  The SHM takes place every year on the Sunday following Turkey Day.  This race has come to hold a little bit of a special  meaning as it was the first Half-Marathon I have ever completed.  Back then it was Hitch, WCB, and myself who thought it would be a good idea to do the HM despite our limited training and forecast that called for snow.  Our goal was to just finish and have a great time doing so.  We ended up somewhere around 2:20 something which we were pretty happy with.

I skipped the race the next 2 years and made my triumphant return last year.  Hitch and WCB both moved to Spokane which meant I was riding solo this go around.  I was running more and had the goal of breaking 2 hours.  Coming off a couple of long nights of indulging myself in adult beverages, I wasn’t exactly on a performance enhancing nutrition plan.  But, what better way to burn off the Kals than running 13.1 miles?  I ended up beating my goal and finished in 1:53.

So, for 2011, I set two time goals for this race: Low Goal of beating 1:53 and a High Goal of Sub 1:45.  I have been running more than ever over the last few weeks avg between 30-40miles per week with lots of hours in the Cascade Mtns.  I have been feeling strong and felt confident I could beat last years goal but was a bit unsure on Sub 1:45.  I was once again riding solo on this which is all right with me; after all, I was in no condition to really talk to anyone.  After the Marathon Walkers were sent off at 7am, I jumped the barrier to line up for the 7:15 start.  I found my self at the very front alongside some pretty badass looking runners.  Realizing I was a bit out of place, I moved back just a bit so as not to get trampled by the gazelles.  I nervously awaited the gun going off doing some calf/quad stretches that probably dont really do anything while I wondered if the pre-race GU was a good or bad idea.  I had decided to try a 2 GU plan: 1 15mins before the gun and 1 half-way through.  I also managed to do about a 1 mile warmup jog to help loosen me up.  Usually, I end up at the starting line cold and tight; figured that there must be something to warming up.

Anyways, back to the start: the gun goes off at 7:15 sharp and we take off.  Realizing that my Garmin always runs long due to weaving, I set a goal of holding a 7:45 pace.  I burst out of the gates and hit 2 pretty fast splits: 7:21 and then 6:59.  When the latter popped up on my watch I was a bit surprised as I was not intending to head out this quick.  I quickly learned this was not a good idea as I started getting cramps in my lower outer shins; lower legs were extremely tight and I had some bad thoughts about even being able to finish.  I decided to just try and mentally block it out and run till I drop- Sub 1:45 or Bust!  As we cruised down the I90 expressed lanes to Lake Washington I found my body starting to loosen up and I found a nice groove to settle into.  I was avg about 7:30 at this point which was a little ahead of where I needed to be; I felt great so I stuck with it.

One thing about this race that I seem to forget every year is that amount of rolling hills and especially the 2nd half of the course.  From about mile 6 to 12, you climb from Lake Washington up Madison, thru the Arboretum, and up thru Interlaken park.  This was brutal.  I took my 2nd gel around 6miles just in time for the slog up the hills.  I’ve run these hills before but for some reason they sure felt harder.  Those were some of the longest miles I think that I have run ever.  I still managed to hold pace avg between 7:40 and 8:10 which put my average for the race right around the 7:45 I was shooting for.

As you crest the last hill around 12miles, the last 1.1 of the course is a nice fast, downhill section.  I checked my watch and realized I was in great position to break 1:45.  All I needed was to hold a sub-8min pace for the downhill section.  Well, I let her rip and clocked a 7:05 for the last mile crossing the finish line at 1:43:26 (Chip Time).  I was more stoked than I have ever been for two reasons: I crushed my goal and literally had nothing left in the tank.  I crossed the finish line and just bent over to catch my breath- I was gassed! This was really the first time where I felt like I gave it my all from both a muscular and cardiovascular stand point.  This was my max my body was going to give me this day.  I am cool with that.

So, guess its never to early to think about Sub-1:43 next year, eh?

Notes: Had a Honey Bucket break around mile 6 which I probably lost about 45sec to a minute.  Need to figure out my water intake better to prevent this.  I think that 2 GUs helped tremendously.  Not sure if it was mental or if they really did something.  I will definitely keep this in the game plan in the future.


This entry was posted in Weekly Summary. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s