18 March 2014

Race Report: St Paddy's Half Marathon

Normally, a race report is a reflection of my performance on the course. Rest assured, that will be here. First, I wanted to reflect on my training group.

This was a tune-up race for our half and full marathon training group which I am lucky enough to coach. Full marathoners competed in the half and half marathoners ran the 10k. The men and women in this picture blew me away. Not just by their performances, but their support for each other both on the course and at the finish! To those who were cheering for me on the out-and-backs, thank you!

This amazing group of athletes have gone from toughing out their first long runs of 8-10 miles to hill repeats in the freezing rain and snow to track work in the dark, pouring rain with just the stadium safety lights to light the way. For those reading this, you're hard work is paying off and I can't wait to see what you do on May 4th (which, fyi, is International Star Wars Day).

Congrats to all the runners from the Tacoma store and a special congrats to those I train out of the Bonney Lake store: Andrea, Jen, Glyn, Jesse, Jarna, Heather, Jeff, Celiane, Rhonda, Sarah, Lane and Stephanie! A big thank you goes out to my partners in crime, Sabrina and Michele. I couldn't do what I do with out your support.

On to the report:

I woke up around 5am. Had a small glass of orange juice, a banana and half a bagel. I left my apartment around 6 to head to the start. After battling with the parking meter which wouldn't take my cash (thanks for using your card and letting me pay you in cash guy in line behind me!), I walked the two blocks to the start. There I got my bib and started setting up the VIP tent for our trainees. I spent the next few hours hanging banners, chatting with trainees and enjoying the atmosphere. About 30 minutes before the start, I drank a bottle of PowerBar Perform Sports Drink. Fifteen minutes prior to start, I had a PowerBar Energy Blend to top off my fuel stores.

After a short warm up jog and some dynamic stretching, I made my way to the starting line. If you've seen me at the start of a race then you know my pre-race ritual includes a short prayer. No matter what my nerves are doing, that short prayer is enough to calm me down and get my head focused. Today, it told me I was going to have a good day.

I went out with a small group, maybe 8-10 runners. The three lead gals and a few guys from the group made a ~40 meter gap by mile two. Something told me to run them down so I did. After bridging the gap, two gals and a guy sped off. I ran with the third place woman until about mile 6.5 (when you start the climb to Pt Defiance). For what ever reason, I like to think it was four years in Montana followed by two years on the trails in Portland, I'm strong on the hills. I pushed through the rollers and started picking off runners.

I blasted back down to the waterfront (you can see which mile was down hill in the splits below) to the 9 mile marker. By then the second place woman was in my sight. At this point, we were weaving around 5k/10k runners. This made things a little tricky, but also made the last few miles go by quicker. One half runner I came up on around mile 10-10.5 and I worked together until the last half mile or so. We caught the second place gal and didn't look back.

The last little uphill just about killed me. Didn't think it was a big hill when we ran down at the start but man, at mile 13 that thing felt like a monster! As I crossed the finish, my store owner (who happens to also be the RD) told me I was 5th overall! I was ecstatic! Though I couldn't really express it. I was exhausted! After resting on the rails for a few minutes, I made my way to our VIP tent. I got a quick calf massage (thank you to Bodhi Wellness), changed into some dry clothes, got some soup and my bottle of PowerBar Recovery Sports Drink.

At this point, more of our athletes started rolling in. I chatted with them, cheered on others as they crossed the finish and gave the medals to my last two half marathon athletes! The whole event was a blast! After the kids' 1k finished up, Sabrina, a few others and myself cleaned up the VIP tent and I headed home to my amazing wife :)

In all it was probably one of the best race experiences I've had, as an athlete and as a coach.

I didn't have my Garmin on auto lap because it never matches up with the markers. I just hit the lap button when I saw that I was passing a mile marker.

1: 6:31
2-3: 13:08 (6:34 avg)
4-6: 18:46 (6:15 avg)
7: 6:16
8: 6:16
9: 5:49
10-11: 12:36 (6:18 avg)
12: 6:11
13: 6:26
0.1: :38

Garmin Time: 1:22:41
Official Time: 1:22:37
Overall: 5th
Men: 4th
Age Group (25-29): 1st

Elevation Chart:

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