Sunday is race day.
What a nice weekend. I am so not ready to go back to work tomorrow. Chris actually has two more days off that his group gave them for shipping. I am totally jealous.
This morning was the Seattle half. According to my watch I finished in 1:54, but I still can't see where I placed in the field because the results site has been down all day. The time is solid (especially for the hilly Seattle course, though more on that below) but I was hoping for closer to 1:50. At least I have a goal for Mercer Island in March.
The half has always been my favorite and my least favorite distance. It holds all kinds of nostalgia: My first race ever was a half-marathon, the Philadelphia Distance Run, and I finished thrilled with my very slow time on a sweltering (95 degrees) early September morning. (Okay, my very slow time.) I've probably run more halfs than races of any other distance. It's long enough to feel like a real workout, but unlike the marathon it's not so long that recovery time is a killer. But despite all the practice, my finishing time in the half as represented relative to the pack is generally worse than I do at longer distances like the marathon and much worse than I do at shorter distances like the 5k. So I feel kind of ambivalent about the distance, drawn to it and yet frequently kind of disappointed with my performance in the end.
We definitely had a beautiful day today. It was pretty chilly this morning, but we had sunshine throughout. It's about as good as you could hope to get on a late November morning in Seattle. For the first time ever, I followed the race dressing strategy of bringing old shleppy clothes to the start line and discarded them as the race was beginning. I'm definitely going to do that in the future -- worked great for staying warm before the start. It's hard to believe that it's taken me hundreds of races to figure this out.
I like this course and also don't like this course. I've run it before and sworn that I'm never running it again because of that annoying stretch through the I-90 tunnels. But the rest of the course is beautiful -- through downtown and along Lake Washington and back up through my old stomping grounds in Capitol Hill. Mile 10-11 of this race is a stretch of road that I have run thousands of times since moving to Seattle. But I haven't run it at all since moving to Phinney Ridge, so that was a little nostalgic and nice -- and helpful to know just how long the hills are. But for as much as people talk about them, I've always thought the hills on this course are a little overrated. There are a couple of tough ones, especially the one coming up Madison. But I've never understood the real concern with the long windnig gradual up through Interlake -- it's really not that steep. It might be rough for people doing the Seattle full with 13 more miles on their legs at that point, but then again by that point in the race it's the downhills that are the enemy.
Anyway, all in all it was a pretty nice day. Chad wins the #1 friend award for staggering out of bed to see us go by as we ran past his house. Good thing Yaniv spotted him because Chad and I never would have seen each other -- I was oblivious and the crowd was totally thick even at that point in the race. They told us this morning that there were 16,000 people registered for the events at the race, which includes half and full, runners and walkers, but that well over 11,000 were half runners. That aspect of things was kind of annoying -- the pack never thinned, and some of that course is pretty narrow. Still, the long straight sections were pretty cool-looking, through they are few and far between on that course. As far as the eye could see in front and behind was this unending line of runners. Pretty amazing for 7:30am the Sunday after Thanksgiving.