Location: Whidbey Island, WA
Official time: 2:06:50
Chip time: 2:06:31
Garmin time: 2:06:45
Gender Place: 249/916
Well, the second half marathon for 2010 completed! Woo hoo! The good news is that running in the Whidbey Island Half Marathon last Sunday completed my goal for the year (running two half marathons in 2010)! The bad news is that it was really a difficult run. I'll start at the beginning....
On Saturday my Mom, Little Bro and I left to go to Whidbey Island. As you might have seen, we stopped at the Tulip Festival on the way up. It was absolutely beautiful! If you are in the PNW, it is worth going to at least once. There are fields and fields of different colored tulips all in bloom at once. My only suggestion is to arrive early, as the highway can become quite crowded with all of the traffic. Pics below (and the ones from here) are taken by Little Bro:
We then made it to the Race Expo, which was pretty small for a half and full marathon. Not many freebies, but I guess that's what you get when there are less than 4,000 people running in the entire event. Well organized and lines were short but they had already run out of the small t-shirts that I preordered! Grr! Seriously, what's the point of pre-registering if you get a shirt that doesn't fit? But I digress.....the shirts were a really nice tech fabric in short sleeves for the half, and long sleeves for the full.
Luckily we stayed in a hotel that was right across the road from the half marathon start. Since Im not a morning person, this let me sleep in as late as possible :) Also, they allowed pets for a small fee, so Chloe my rat-cow was able to stay too. Pretty exciting stuff for her!
We arrived at the start with plenty of time to spare. I had my usual pre-race protein bar and was good to go. Since I have been sick lately, I took 2 Tylenol Cold Multi-Symptom Severe an hour before the start to reduce my cold symptoms. I figured that if I was able to run on my bad hip in the Seattle Half (with 3 ibuprofen) I could run with a cold (and 2 Tylenols). Probably not a good idea.....I hate people who "fake" cold symptoms or injuries. I really don't get sick very often, and I usually think that most of it is literally "in your head." I figured most of running is a mental game, so I could run through anything.
Little Bro and I at the start
The lines were fairly long for the port-a-potties, but luckily we didn't have to go. The race started on time and we were off! Little Bro pulled out ahead of me early on, but I already figured that I wasn't really going for a sub 2 while being so sick and stressed out lately. My real goal was to hopefully beat my Seattle Half time of 2:16. I was thinking I might run even slower than that, but I just wanted to compete in general and see how it went.
Click here for a map of the route. The first 2 miles were easy and mostly flat or downhill. My Garmin beeped at mile 2 and it had only been 16 minutes! Not bad! At this point I was feeling great and we headed into a pinwheel for mile 3. I was chugging along but suddenly felt completely drained. I mean, we were running on totally flat ground and I was ready to call it a day. This was worse than my horrible 11 miler in February. I made sure that I had plenty of protein that morning and the night before, so I shouldnt have been that tired. I also had a TON of water to stay hydrated the day before. What gives?? Then I realized that it must be the cold medicine! WTH??
At mile 4 I was wobbly as we headed around Oak Harbor. Luckily the course is beautiful and runs mostly along the harbor or in view of the harbor. It was sunny, not too warm and not crowded at all - perfect running conditions and I felt like crap. Mile 5 continues to be flat through Windjammer park (which is also the finish of the half and full marathon races). Running through here felt like I had rubber for legs. I'm pretty sure that I was stumbling and swerving the entire time. I had a few funny looks from people on the course....honestly, it probably looked like I was drunk! (I wasn't, I swear!!) Yikes!
Mile 6 heads up from Oak Harbor into farmland and pastures (with views of the water still). Somewhere along this point I started to feel really sick. I mean, I wasn't sure if I needed to throw up or find a port-a-potty. I struggled up the hill and my face was probably green or ghostly white. I did not feel good. I think that a combination of the cold medicine, being over-stressed the past few weeks and over-exerting myself in the first half of the race just took a toll on my entire system. Blah.
Miles 7-9 were awful. I wanted to die. It was flat and beautiful, but I was dragging. I finally stopped to use a port-a-potty at mile 8. It was either stop for a minute (literally, only a minute) or possibly barf on one of the poor volunteers handing out GU. Also, we were running through plowed pastureland, and there was no tree or shrub to hide behind if I became sick.
I felt a bit better at that point, but had to stop again at the port-a-potties at mile 11. It was either that or get a DNF, and I wasn't about to let that happen. I have to say I was disappointment in stopping, but it only added possibly 3 minutes total to my time (I kept my Garmin running to track time). I was also worried that I might actually pass out while on the course. I was THAT lightheaded the entire time. I managed to grab another GU, but I was so nauseous that I wasn't about to force it down. I decided to just keep running and finish as soon as possible.
Trust me, Im not as happy as I look!
At mile 11.5 we started to run downhill back to Oak Harbor, so I knew we were in the homestretch. I tried to push it, but I really couldn't go very fast. I knew a PR was out the window and I really had no idea what time it was....I figured I didn't need to make myself feel worse by looking at the Garmin. Around this time a pace car drove by my. I wondered what it was then I saw a blur fly by me. The marathon leader had passed me! (Note: the marathon started an hour before us and they ran the half course as the second half of their course). Holy cow he was fast! We were going downhill and I was probably running a respectable 8 minute mile, and he was EASILY running a 5 minute mile! I turned to the guy running next to me and our jaws just dropped. Dang, I wish I was that fast!
Mile 12-13.1 was the longest mile in my life. We wound back through Windjammer Park to the finish, but I was completely spent. My official chip time ended up being 2:06:31, which is only 5 minutes slower than my Mercer Half time 3 weeks ago!
Not only was I woozy and sick, but I was pretty sick for the rest of the day too. The medal at the end did help me feel better though!
Im a sucker for a medal!
I really did learn a lot from this race. In retrospect, my time was pretty good. 5 minutes slower than my PR (albeit on an easier course) really isn't that bad. I learned my lesson that you should NOT take cold medicine before running 13.1 miles, or any race in general. Please let my experience show you to not do that in the future! I also have come to respect racing, and loving good running days. I will be SURE not to take advantage of my next good running day from now on!
I also proved to myself that you can really get through anything if you put your mind to it. I should NOT have raced, but I was still able to get it done once I put my mind to it. Might have not been the smartest thing to do, but it does show how mental running can be. (Too bad it made my cold worse the past 2 days, boo) Oh well, live and learn!
On another sidenote, Little Bro broke the 2 hour mark with a time of 1:56! Good job little bro! :) And a thanks to Mom for coming out on her b-day weekend to support us!
Ill leave you with 2 pictures we snapped after the race. Unfortunately, the funny pics my Bro and I tried to take during the run were not captured. There is always next time....
Nice toe-touch Little Bro! That star-jump took the last bit of energy that I had. I had to sit afterwards, haha.