Tacoma Narrows Half Race Re-Cap

I almost don’t even know what to say.  Let’s start with I DID IT!!!!  I started, I finished, and I have an awesome new Half PR of 2:09:28…10 minutes faster than my old PR!  

Finally able to smile and enjoy the accomplishment!

The reality is though this is what the finish line really looked like for me…
The woman in the light blue shirt just behind me…remember her, she’s important!  

 Collin keeping me on my feet…I was not feeling well at all.

 Emotional fall-out!  Could not stop crying.

I was a little lost as to what my specific goal should be, and what pace I’d actually be able to do since I missed so much training with the knee issue.  After my 12 miler though it looked like something between 2:00 and 2:10 would be a good goal to shoot for.  So, I lined up right behind the 2:10 pacer and we took off. 
I felt really strong at the start and passed up the pacer pretty quickly, my plan at that point was to keep 2:10 behind me clear to the finish.  By mile 3 I was with the 2:00 pace group and it felt good…I didn’t feel like I was running faster than I should have been (I did freak out a little in my head though…who did I think I was running with the 2:00 group?!).  Even though I ran with my GPS I didn’t look at it once.  I have a bad habit of looking at the watch and getting stressed if I’m too slow, and slowing myself down if I think I’m going faster than I’m capable of.  I’m pretty even paced naturally (according to running buddies) so I decided to just go with what felt good.  (After looking at my splits for each mile I was running a pace that is good for me from the start.  I thought maybe I started too fast, but I really didn’t).  
I felt pretty great the first 6 to 7 miles.  I was getting too hot though and kept having to take my hat off and let the breeze cool me off, then I’d put it back on.  I thought about ditching it, but it’s Mark’s hat, plus my hair was a mess and even though I was getting way too hot I didn’t want my finish line photos to be with messy, sweaty, hat hair.  Stupid I know.  
Mile 9 I saw Dad for the last time before the finish and by then I was fighting to keep calm.  I was starting to feel sick from the heat, the only thing that wasn’t bothering my tummy was water, and my legs felt like bricks. It was a struggle at that point to keep going.  I almost started crying when I saw him, but managed to hold it together and after a short walk break with him/trying to get some electrolytes I took off again because the 2:10 pacer was right behind me.  Dad had my hand held water bottle, so I took it with me and figured maybe drinking water more often than the aid stations would help, but by that point in the race I was already in trouble, and the water bottle was so heavy my arms just couldn’t do it.  I ended up ditching it at the 10 mile marker.  
By this point it was a cat and mouse game with the 2:10 pacer.  I had to walk a few times to keep from vomiting and every time the pacer was catching me just as my tummy calmed down enough for me to run again.  I’ll tell you that last 3.1 was the longest 5k of my life, and the last mile I was pulling out every trick I could mentally to keep going.  But, with about .6 to go one of my legs locked and I almost fell.  I wanted to stop so bad but managed to stay on me feet and keep going, constantly looking over my shoulder for the pacer, she was so close! 
That’s when the lady in the blue shirt saved me!  As she was passing me she looked back at me, reached out her hand and said “Come with me, we will finish together, I’ll get you to the finish”.  She must have seen the panic on my face, I was so close to the finish and so close to loosing it all.  So I ran with her.  She talked to me the whole time and was so encouraging!  As soon as I could see the opening to the shoot I told her to go ahead and go (she still had a finishing sprint in her legs…I did not) and she asked if I was sure.  She wouldn’t leave until I promised her I was going to make it and not stop.
I’m glad Dad got that picture of me double over with her in it, because I was out of it, my vision was flashing black and I was dizzy…I had no idea she was right there next to me after the finish line…I would have given her the biggest hug if I had known.       
I was emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted.  Everything was so overwhelming.  Every hug and every word of congratulations just made me cry.  Pulling off a PR when there were points that I didn’t even know if I’d be able to finish was just a lot for me to take in.  
I won’t be chasing another Half PR any time soon, maybe never, but for now I’m really proud of myself! While I had awesome support along the way I was out there alone for 13.1 miles, and I got myself through it…I didn’t let myself down and I’m really proud of myself for getting it done!  
A few things I learned along the way: 
-Races/courses run previously with a friend are a lot harder, and a lot less fun when alone! 
-While I’m super proud of accomplishing my goal…that is not the kind of running I enjoy.  I would rather run an easier pace and/or run with a friend(s) and enjoy it more, actually be able to smile at the finish.  
-The issues I have running in the heat are not just a fluke.  It’s happened enough now that I will most likely be skipping August races, or at least the half distance.  The shorter distances may be doable still.
Next up is the You Go Girl Half the middle of Sep which I’m actually dropping down to the 10K.  I need a break from the half, it’s not a course I like very much, and I need a 10K to PR, and this one is a PR course, so it all works out for the best.  
PR goal #1 for the year done.  Now, to go get #2…I actually think the 10K is the hardest distance for me, so will see what happens.  🙂
For now I’m going to enjoy this one for a bit, rest the legs this week and focus on some fun running before thinking to much about You Go Girl.  
All the photos are from Dad and/or Mark!

TGIF = Packet Pick Up Day!

I totally have race day on the brain.  I couldn’t sleep last night at all.  All sorts of dreams/thoughts about my alarm not going off, getting lost on the way to the start line, having a totally horrible race,  wearing my white running skirt and potential disaster, being to hot, waking up race morning and it being frozen all of a sudden.

Honestly I’m not worried or nervous…I’m just really excited!  Excited to be running this one period, and excited about the pace I was able to achieve on my 12 mile training run even with the lack of training, I’m really ready to get out there tomorrow and see what I can do!  It’s kind of silly really…it’s not like this is my first race.  

In the meantime I’m still working on getting life back to normal!  It’s busy work let me tell you!  Everything from getting back on track with my Jamberry business (I was bummed I only had one party going into July, but turns out that was a good thing given how much we ended up being gone!) to a marathon grocery shopping trip with Sky yesterday (she was such a good girl, had a smile the whole time!) and (boy does it feel good to have the freezer and pantry stuffed full of yummy goodness again!), to getting the laundry done, phone calls made, appointments scheduled.

It’s been busy, but life feels organized once again and that makes me happy!

A few pics from the week…even though it’s been a busy one we still find time for fun!

Totally girly and totally fun…had to include nails in my race day prep!  Runner Girls ready to run! 

Wednesday afternoons Sky visits the parents for a few hours allowing me to run errands, or just chill with a book.  It was ring inspection day and the store needed to keep my ring for a while to work on it.  So, I hit up Jamba Juice to try out the carrot, ginger, cayenne blend and I loved it!  Try it…just don’t drink the last little bit at the bottom too fast…all the cayenne ended up in that one sip.  WOW is all I have to say about that.

Elya and I took an evening walk around the Chambers Bay loop Tuesday night, and it was felt so good to be back at it with her!  We have seen each other and hung out since the ankle break, but have not done intentional work out type of activity since the end of March!  She is working hard to get her ankle back to fully functional and I’m glad I get to be part of the process!  (Cruddy pic of us, (sunset behind us with my cell phone = not great) but had to take it since it’s our first time “working out” in a very long time)!

We walked Sky down to the school playground near our house and do you think she played on the playground at all?  NO!  All she wanted to do was hike in the tall grass, and run the stairs!  She went up and down the stairs, and did some hill repeats, the whole time we were there.  She was a sweaty hot mess after about an hour of that.  “I just run, run”.  Makes my runner heart, and my Mommy heart happy!

She put then in time out…I have no idea why, but she was pretty ticked at them! 

Always asking if she can take pics with my phone. 
 Grilling as much as possible since it’s so nice out!

P.S. Special Shout Outs to a few friends running Tacoma Narrows Half tomorrow as well: El – my friend and stylist who is running for a huge PR!  You will kill it, I just know it!  Kelli – who I met through Fleet Feet is running her very first Half tomorrow!  Have fun with it!  And shout outs to my Dad and Elya who will be stationed along the route cheering runners on…it means more than you know!  They will both be at the top of the last of the first few hills that are the worst for me…my mantra for those hills “Get to Dad and Elya, just get to them”.  After that it’s RACE ON! 

Who else still gets race day jitters before the race?  How do you stop the tossing and turning?

First Time For Everything…

I ordered a race picture for the very first time!  Normally I feel like the pics are overpriced and I look like crap in most of them. 

But, I just couldn’t resist this pic of Michelle and I finishing Tacoma Narrows Half.  So much joy after a really hard push to finish and a pr for Michelle.  When we are 80, ok when I’m 80 and she is like 71, I want to look at this pic and remember our summer of running and how much fun we had! 
In an effort to make sure we are ready for our last 1/2 of the summer we got 9 miles in this morning. 
We had 11 on the schedule, but given how little we ran on vacation we thought it best to work our way back into it slowly.  It was hard, but not as bad as I thought it would be.  12 miles next weekend and then the taper begins.  🙂
View from the golf course as we ran past.  The weather this morning was perfect for running!  Not hot, not cold and no rain.  That was nice at least even if the hills felt harder than they should have. 
Any advice for the 1/2 the end of the month given I skipped two weeks of training?  Do I try and get a few extra long runs in and shorten the taper, or just pick up the training cycle where I’m at?  I feel like I can run 13, but I want to run 13 and feel reasonably good doing it!