I’m starting to lose count of the half marathons I’ve completed. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or bad thing. If you ask my hubby, he’d say I’ve done enough. If you ask me, depending on the day, I have even began to scratch the surface. Years ago, when we were first married, my hubby said I needed to find a hobby. It took me a while but I finally landed on running. I see it as a great way to experience a city from a different view.
This last weekend, I completed another half. It was the Tacoma Narrows Half and some of the course was very similar to that of the Tacoma City Marathon. Both races started at the Tacoma airport, a small airport which coincidently reminds me of my dad. Side note: My dad loved flying and I spend many weekends hanging out with him at the airport (DeWitt Spain Airport, Memphis)so he could work on building his plane. Ok, back to the race…it was beautiful morning. You could even see the Cascades in the distance. If only I had brought my phone to snap a quick pic.
I left the house at 5 am with my usual race fuel (tall hazelnut latte and bacon Gouda sandwich). It seems like I’m making a habit these days of getting up around 4:30…this is a habit I’d like break. I got to Tacoma in plenty of time to catch the shuttle bus over to the airport and then picked up my bib/timing chip. The race started at 7:30 but somehow I had it in my mind that it was starting at 7:15 so I was all set, stretched and fueled by gun time. The course takes a quick out and back by the airport and then heads over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge – basically the biggest downhill then uphill of the race. By this time, the sun was in full force. Don’t get me wrong, it was absolutely gorgeous but it was already starting to warm up.
I started out with a really good pace – so good that my brain started to kick in to convince me that I’d started too fast. Maybe I had…but it felt good and my rule of thumb is shoot for what feels good, not on the number. Sometimes the mind overrules and wins…and that was the case for Saturday. Between my mind and the sun beating down on me, my heart (the part that really loves running) had no chance.
After the bridge, the course took us through a few neighborhoods and along a paved trail that followed the highway. It wasn’t too bad but it was a little noisy. The water stops were about every 2 or 2 ½ miles which I thought was the right amount. I actually don’t care for water stops at each mile – to me it’s just another opportunity for the mind to take over…one more mile, one more, and another…for 13 miles…it actually gets old.
Ok – so back along the course, I told my head that I would only walk up any uphill portions. There were a few but not too bad…not bad enough that I had to walk. I would pass a few folks and then they’d start to walk. We did this game of leap frog from miles 7-10. Finally, I was about to give up (not really but sort of felt like it). I saw this girl and had noticed her last couple of miles. I stopped and asked her if she was doing the run/walk method. Her response was that she wasn’t doing it intentionally but its working out that way. She mentioned that I was helping her…she said she kept telling herself if she could just keep up with me, she would be fine. I was basically telling myself the same about her. Since we were both struggling at this point, I asked if she mind if we run together – we can keep each other motivated and accountable until we cross the finish line. She was excited about that proposition and we chatted while we ran/walked. Turns out, she lives outside of Olympia and this was her 7th half marathon this year! During those last 3 miles, we talked about what races we’ve completed, what races we wanted to do and what we did outside of running. Before we knew it, we were sprinting across the finish line together. We high fived and then went on our way.
Races are funny that way…I tend to step outside my comfort zone by talking to random people and doing things I wouldn’t normally do or feel is acceptable…like picking up a random pair of gloves laying on the street because my hands are cold. There’s a few other things I’ve done that I’m not proud of but I’ll keep those to myself. What happens in/on a marathon stays in/on the marathon.
Final time, you ask? 2:11 Not my best, not my worst. Here’s a breakdown of my times…you can see clearly where my mind out won my heart.
Next race? December 12 – Santa Runs Tacoma; yes, another Tacoma race. What can I say, this is the Year of Tacoma: good courses, reasonably priced, and convenient to get to on race day. I have a goal in mind for December 12th and I’ve got plenty of time to train. With the weather changing, I think my heart will win over my mind.