Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wenatchee 1/2 Marathon

Wenatchee Half Marathon - Saturday, April 17, 2010

Eyes open.  Clock reads 5:44 a.m.  At first, I close my eyes and think, I have one more minute until the alarm goes off - ni....  OH CRAP.  We are leaving at 5:45.  ARGHHH!  At least I didn't completely oversleep.  Rob says, "you pushed snooze a long time ago."  Thanks dear.  I guess I am not shaving my legs this morning.  So much for a shower.  I check the boys bedroom - no Michelle.  I find her sitting at the kitchen table quietly drinking coffee, eating breakfast and reading a magazine.  At least I set the automatic timer on the coffee pot and set my clothes out the night before - let's roll!

It's 6 a.m. - the morning looked perfect from the view of Plain Valley.  Sun shining through a light layer of hazy clouds, 50 degrees.  A great day for a morning jog.  Wenatchee is a short hour drive from the cabin and one I am used to on Saturday wee-mornings.  Packet pick-up is from between 6:30 - 7:30 a.m. with the race starting at 8. The plan was to be at pick-up at 7, use the restroom, drop our stuff at the car, use the restroom and start the race.  The email correspondence from the 'director' stated that they were expecting a record number of participants estimated at a thousand people. 

We pull into the parking lot next to a series of porta-potties at 7 a.m.  This has got to be close.  How convenient - right next to the restrooms.  Things are looking good!  

But, are we in the right place?  Where are all the people?  Oh - a thousand people for the whole event.  There is a 10K, 1/2 marathon & full marathon.  

I pick up my packet.  This is too easy!  We found that we had plenty of time to walk around, find indoor plumbing (twice), sneak across the bridge for a photo and drop our 'warm' gear at the car prior to the race start.
We basically just followed the crowd, knowing that the 1/2 marathon was the first race and as soon as people started filling the street, we followed.  A quick snapshot at the start.  Just another weekend run - I was trying to convince myself.  Up until this point, I had logged just two runs in the double digits and the closest I came to 13.1 miles was just over 11.  I was trying not to think about how many more minutes I would have to run over that 11 mile run and was hoping that race day anxiety and adrenaline would get me through.  Let's go already!

I was feeling really good at the start.  The first two miles flew by, but I was humbled greatly when from behind I heard this alarm go off.  Someone's HR monitor already?  No, no.  It was just the two fellas out for a morning jog.  With a keg.  Yes, they passed me.  The alarm was set so they could switch carriers.  They were going to carry the keg the whole race.  Michelle mentioned to me that she would feel horrible if they finished the race before us.  So Michelle, how do you feel?  (Yes, they kept their pace and finished ahead of us - but it didn't appear they were 'officially' running the race.  No timing chip and no number. Doesn't count right?!)
The course is an out and back along the mighty Columbia River, starting in downtown Wenatchee and heading north along the river.  We cross the bridge into East Wenatchee and head south for about 2 miles turn around and head back.  It was a gorgeous day with little wind and just the right amount of sun (not beating down but not completely hiding behind the clouds).

You can almost see Mission Ridge in the right hand side of the mountains in the photo below.  The views of town from the Ridge are just as spectacular as from the views on race day looking up.  The scenery alone is enough to keep me running.

It is at this point in the race (about mile 6) my stomach begins to cramp.  I know that I need to down some gel soon and I am just not sure how that will go.  Knowing that a water station is also coming up, I want to down some nutrition in order to wash it down with some water.  So, I chugged about a tablespoon of Hammer Gel (apple cinnamon, just in case you are interested) and await the water station. 

I accidentally grab the sports drink - ick. But, apparently my sports drink mix up wasn't the only mishap here - my wardrobe malfunction just adds more humor - now.    My stomach is already in a knot and now it is cringing.  I can't do sports drinks and I think I need to go to the bathroom.  This isn't looking good.

So I plug along.  My pace is slower than a snail at this point, but I am still jogging.  I see a porta-pottie.  Oh, I'll be fine.  I am sure there is another one not much further along - heck, they've had them just about every other mile up until this point.  This feeling HAS to pass.  Michelle confirms my thoughts - you'll be able to make it she says.

"Hi Sam's mom!"  I hear.  Huh?!  I have a Sam.  Oh!  You mean me!  Who is that?  I don't recongnize that person.  Sam -preschool & snowboarding are his thing - who would be here that would know him and not me?  I couldn't think of anyone from Sam's preschool class that would be here.  Must be someone from snowboarding.

At the turn around they hand out GU (and quite the variety I must add).  I politely take one and put it in my pocket (it's 'free'!)- I have absolutely no desire to put anything else into my body.  I was mapping out the distance to those porta-potties - how far was that last one from the turn around again?   If there isn't a line, I'll go. 

Hah!  Two porta-potties, right next to a water stop.  There are people around.  NO WAY!  I am not going there - too public.  (Love, love, love my pottie phobia).  I know that on the other side of the bridge there are bathrooms ever mile or so.  They are permanent structures and much more 'private'.  I'll go there if I need to.

Thinking back on it - I was ridiculous.  I was running, but using all my energy on the downhills (where I can actually 'recover' a bit) making sure everything stayed put, on the inside.  It got to the point where I was playing out scenerios in my head about which group of sagebrush was big enough to hide behind. 

Somewhere around mile 10 - I find relief.  Hallalujah! 

Now it's time for the side stitch to take over and my numb toes to cause me grief. 

It's ALL in my head.
Push through - you can do it.

(Note the huge sigh of relief here!)
I FINISH 2:12:01! 
Right on.

Thanks Michelle for 'running' with me.  I say that because for Michelle - this was a slow jog.   Had it not been for the fact that Michelle is rehabbing an injury, there is NO way I would have asked her to run the race WITH me.  But because she is under doc orders to run only short 4 milers a couple times a week I took advantage of the opportunity.  I am happy that I did - her report on Monday was that she felt great.  Had she run 'her' race the outcome would not have been so joyful  or so that's the story I'm sticking to. 

 Of course, she heads right to the results posting and checks her age group.  Her response, "I could have totally won my age group" reminds me that she is a strong competitor and I was a lucky girl to have such a wonderful friend to give that up!

My goal was to RUN the whole race.  Check. 
My target finish time was 2:09, based on my PR 5K time.  I am very happy with the outcome and am still laughing at the fact that ANYTHING can happen on race day!

NW Adventure Chics - postrace.
The mystery greeter! a.k.a.  Miss Amy - Sam's preschool teacher!!  What a surprise.
Michelle, Samantha Cox & I.  While running the 'home stretch' Michelle & I both see this girl walking a dog and cheering on the runners and as we got closer we realize we know her.  Sam, a lifeguard at the North Kitap pool and a hopeful triathlete recruit - ran the 10K and finished SECOND in her age group!  Way to go Sam!

A great first half. 
Now when is the second?!

1 comment:

  1. Look! It's Audrey. Oh no, my mistake. ;-)

    Seriously though, awesome. And great photos too.