Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mercer Half Marathon Recap

Location: Mercer Island, WA
Official time: NA
Chip time: 2:01:20
Garmin time: 2:01:30
Pace/mile: 9:16/mile

Overall: 1211/2137
Gender Place:  443/1060
Age Place: 100/214

Woo hoo! Mercer Island Half Marathon COMPLETED! It feels great to have 2 half marathons under my belt! There was a delay in writing this due to crazy times and not being able to figure out how to view my pace per mile with the Garmin. Besides that, it worked great! But back to the beginning of the race.

Little Bro and I awoke early to get ready and head over to Mercer Island. I had a solid protein filled meal the night before (chop salad then a protein bar) and half a Builders Bar about an hour and a half before the race. Noticing that it could rain that day, I put on my standard black capri pants and favorite Under Armour teal shirt. I also used the Body Glide that I just received in the mail, hoping that it would work (and it did!!). I was a bit grumpy, but I think it was just pre-race nerves.

We arrived on Mercer with no traffic at all! I was pretty surprised. Mercer is a small island and the off-ramp shoots you right into the main town where the start is. We were able to park a few blocks away and walk to the start. My Mom, boyfriend JJ and my rat-cow Chloe were there to cheer us on from the start! I looked around for my blogging buddies, but I wasn't able to recognize anyone.

 Awesome pic from the start. Could that be me in the teal?? :)

Little Bro and I waiting for the gun start  

While waiting in line, I realized that I needed to start my Garmin.....I pushed start and it just added on to my run from a few days before! Ahhh, I had no idea how to start a new workout! Luckily the guy next to me also had a 305 and reset the thing. I would have been SO bummed if I didn't get it working! I fiddled with it some more and accidentally reset the setting to show calories burned and not average pace. I just kept it on this because the gun went off! Luckily I could see my total time though through the race.

I had told Little Bro to run his own pace, so we were separated from the start. Although this was a smaller race, it was still crowded on the course since the race was not officially closed off to the public. They had half the road closed off but there were still cars on the other side. The first mile was along the highway and had rolling hills, but not so bad.

Miles 2-5 consisted of switchbacks through the forest and residential areas, and slight rolling hills again. It honestly reminded me of snowboarding on the backside of Stevens Pass, WA because the road had trees on each side and was quite curvy. The road also sloped from left to right on each turn, which funneled the people onto one side. (For all of you non-snowboarders, it was similar to a snowboarding cross route, if that makes sense!)

I did notice a familiar tall ponytail FLY by me around mile 3. I was about to yell "Tall Mom!" but I wasn't 100% sure it was her, and I had never officially met her by that point. I didn't want to interrupt her run and have her think I was a crazy person, so I just kept on running (I later found out it was Tall Mom!)

The end of mile 5 was a huge downhill, and I took my first Vanilla GU around the start of Mile 6. I loved the taste of the Vanilla, and the consistency. I also think that it actually gave me some energy this time! I ended up carrying the GU with me, holding it behind my iPhone. It was a bit warm, but I didn't mind carrying it.

Miles 6-9 were somewhat of a blur, and consisted of a steady overall elevation gain (there were rolling hills, but we were slightly climbing). We had rounded the South end of Mercer and were heading back up to the North end. Luckily I was zoning out for these miles, and they really went by quite quickly. The road opened up and it had less switchbacks than the first part of the race. This is when I started to notice from my Garmin that I was running under my 9:00/mile pace. I knew that I was ahead of my sub-2 hour goal, but I didn't want to psych myself out.

At mile 9 I took another GU, which seemed to help. Unfortunately, this is where the big hills started. Miles 10-11 were mostly downhill, but there were 2 major hills around mile 11 and 12. I mean, these hills seemed to go on FOREVER. Unlike the Seattle Half where the hills were solid then ended, these just kept coming! My pace slowed slightly, but I reached mile 12 and had 11 minutes to get to the finish. I could possibly get my sub 2!

Yep, not happening......

The last 2 miles really hurt my pace. Everyone was walking around me, but I kept on going. I even saw a guy pushing (YES, you heard me right!) PUSHING his lady-friend up the hill. I wanted to yell at them, but it was a waste of energy. I was proud that I was finishing strong, but I didnt have it in me to sprint the last .7 of the race (and the race finished after another slight hill, which was torture).

Overall, I finished at 2:01:20, which is more than 15 minutes faster than my Seattle Half time. I beat my goal of that race, and my sub 10 minute miles. And I was oh-so-close to getting that elusive sub-2 half. I was a bit bummed at first, but really, I did better than I expected. I was thinking I would get around 2:07:00 for the race, so I really did beat my goal.

 Pictures JJ snapped of me at the finish. At least I didnt LOOK like I was dying :)

Little Bro also had a great race and came in 30 seconds behind me at 2:01:50. Good job!! Im excited to run with you in the Whidbey Island Half in a few weeks! 

 JJ and I after the race

 Also, I finally "ran" into a few of you! (That was my attempt at a running joke!) It was fairly easy to spot our classy dumpsters :) Even though it was brief, it was great to finally meet Jill, Amanda, Mel, Zoe and Kerrie. Ive told my Little Bro about you guys, so he was excited to get to meet you all as well!

 Not sure what we were thinking for this one....

Overall, it was a great race and everyone seemed to have an awesome race. I cant wait for the next one and to meet all of you again!
First Image by C. Coleman via Mercer Island Reporter
Benefits: Colon Cancer


  1. Congrats Sarah! That's a HUGE improvement. You definitely have a sub-2 in you... I'm sure we'll be hearing about it soon. You ran a strong race. Love your teal top too!

  2. You did awesome!! You exceeded your goal by so much!!!

  3. Wow great race! Congratulations!! That is quite a chunk of time you cut off your last Half time!!

  4. Congrats on a great race! Glad you got to meet up with the bloggy crew!

  5. whoohoo congrats and great pics!

  6. Hi Sarah,
    Woo hoo!! You did awesome:) You have a great time and should be so proud of yourself!! I love all of your many of them turned out so nice:) You did good Sarah!!

  7. I WISH you would have yelled at me.. I probably would have slowed to run with you...I was so over running alone. Hmm Whidbey?? LOL!!

    5K soon? There is also a Run Like a Mother Book tour in Seattle I plan to attend. Should be fun..

  8. Congrats on improving your time so much! I had a hard time getting used to my Garmin as well but you will get used to it. How do you look that good/happy at the end of a 1/2 marathon?! I usually hate my race pics!

  9. Congrats on an awesome PR! Next race, Whidbey, should be cake for that sub 2 hour! :)

  10. Awesome recap!!! Great time! I am so excited to have another quest for the elusive sub 2! It eluded me for 7 half marathons!! You'll get it!

    Good luck at Whisbey!!

  11. great job on ur half!!!!
    thnx for the recap. i love reading recaps. they are always so inspiring! :)

    happy friday!

  12. That is SO SO awesome that you saw such improvement with this race!! It gets me so pumped for my half this weekend :) Congrats girl!

  13. congrats chica! that's an excellent improvement and you are soo close to going sub-2! great action shots of you too :)