Thursday, June 26, 2014

Rock n Roll - 1/2 Marathon Race Re-Cap!

 There is something I have loved about coming home to Seattle every summer for the past 4 years to run the Seattle Rock n Roll, but for some reason, this year it was like icing on the cake. Icing on the cake of who I have become. 

I really didn't have any goals for myself for this race other than to enjoy it and to have fun. In the past when I train, there has always seemed to be a level of anxiety that fills my body. It usually starts months ahead when I look at the training schedule and anticipate all I need to do in order to be ready for the big day. Then I study the long runs and their increase in mileage by the week, which causes more anxiety. In a nut shell, it always has felt great to complete the race, but the process to get me there hasn't always been my favorite. 

This time I decided to go about things a little differently. I had just gotten done with Ragnar SoCal in April so I was still in my routine of running. I decided that this time around for the Rock n Roll I wasn't going to follow any certain training plan. I was just going to plan to run 3 shorter runs during the week with a long run on Saturday. I liked the idea of not being tied to a schedule per say. Part of that for me I think comes from the fact that I am such a rule follower. If I didn't follow my schedule to a tee, I would get cranky and frustrated, even like I was feeling behind. Having no schedule other than to get the runs in I have learned is a much better option for me. Not only that, because I wasn't stressing about how many miles I needed to get in or the run I missed yesterday and trying to make it up somewhere along the way, I was able to learn to love what I was doing. Learn to love running. Finally!

It was a beautiful day on Saturday in Seattle. We couldn't have asked for better weather. We got up at five and headed out the door so we could be downtown by 6:00 to catch the monorail to the Seattle Center. We arrived with plenty of time to get situated, check our bags, wait in line for the restrooms, and get to our coral. I had eaten a piece of bread with peanut butter and a half of a banana before leaving the house. I was hoping it was enough time to get it settled before we got started because my stomach is ultra sensitive when I'm running. In fact, I have to run on minimal water and fuel. I know, not always the best idea, but I have found a few things that work for me, so I stick with the basics and press on. 

Once our coral crossed the starting line we were off. My best friend Tammy and I have run this race together every year. She is quite the runner and could out run me any day but this is one of those runs we have always just done together. She was a huge part of my support team on the journey to a healthier me, so I love that she comes and does this with me every year. Better yet, she runs along side me the whole way. 

As we headed down the streets of Seattle I marveled at the large buildings and the beauty of the city I was raised in. That is one thing I love about this race. The course is absolutely perfect. You get city, waterfront, Mt. Rainier, Puget Sound, Safeco Field, Space Needle, and so many other sites. We were running a fairly decent pace the first few miles. I felt great. In fact, we were passing people! For me this is the first. I'm usually the one people are passing by left and right. I think at one point I had thought I didn't know how long I'd be able to keep that pace, but then I didn't think about it and kept going. The miles continued to pass and we kept on going, passing people along the way. There is a point on this run where you have to run a mile through a tunnel and I don't do tunnels, so I'm sure I slowed down a bit but not much. At mile eleven we were running up what's called the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The views of the Sound are wonderful. We even stopped for a selfie! Speaking of selfies, this was the first race I was able to take my phone on now that I bought a flip belt. (Best invention ever. I don't even feel it on me and I am super picky about carrying extra things on a run.) It was fun to be able to snap a few pictures here and there along the way.

About the time we were at mile eleven, I glanced at my watch. I knew that I would be finishing the race nearly 30 minutes faster than last year as I had some cramping and had to walk a bit last year. Then I then realized that it was possible for me to get a PR. I had pretty much written the idea of this off long ago as they had changed the course from the first two years we ran it. Back then it was much flatter with only a few hills. Now, for the past two years, it has been rather hilly with a doozy at the end. I never imagined I could beat my first time of 02:14 and some change. As we kept running I started picking up speed as in my mind I decided I was going to go for it. I wasn't sure what Tammy was thinking at this point as she was weaving in and out of people like I was, nearly on the opposite side of the road. I saw another tunnel up ahead and started to panic a bit but decided I was going to push through it and run faster. I thought, "The faster I run, the faster I get through this tunnel." We ran a short distance more before rounding the corner to the chute. Mind you, it is a huge hill that climbs for what seems like FOREVER! People cheering you on left and right but it still doesn't seem to help. It was at that point that people where passing us for the first time. I almost felt silly but seriously, I couldn't make my legs go any faster up that hill. I finished 13.1 with a time of 02:13:32. It was the fastest half I had ever run! I felt great. Aside from the hill at the end, I honestly could have kept going.

The human body amazes me! When we fuel it and take care of it in the right way, it will perform the way we want it to. I am grateful for the knowledge and the things I have learned over the past several years and what exactly my body can do for me. Instead of being something I dread, something that weighs me down, it has become a machine of nothing but goodness. It has shaped me to who I am today and has opened a whole new way of life to be 
enjoyed that I never knew existed. Life is good! 

P.S. After the run, it has become our tradition to have a girls weekend and head to the coast for a couple days to relax and recoup after a season of training and running. It's nice to just not be on a schedule, walk the beach, shop, hike a trail or two, and eat as much naughty food as we want. Here are a few pictures from that part of the trip. 

Ever since my foot surgery a few years back, my feet love the sand after a long race. The beach makes for a perfect stop on the way home.

Yep, Tammy's sister-in-law made us the BEST CAKE ever to eat after the race!

Don't ask! I have no idea...

P.P.S.....I have a mentioned this was the best race ever? 

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  1. That sounds like so much fun! Great photos. That cake looks yummy.

  2. The only problem is that you really didn't eat your share of that cake, which meant I ate more than I should have. :)

  3. Awesome job Paige, way to have a blast and PR at the same time! :)

  4. Congratulations! I hope you ate some Haystack Bread or Apple Spice Donuts from the Cannon Beach Bakery - they're our favorites!!!

  5. Sounds like a wonderful race - Congrats on the PR - I may have to keep that in mind. I've been itching to get back to WA since I climbed Rainier (didn't quite make it to the top before getting altitude sickness :( ) in 2002 - With my first 1/2 this fall, maybe I'll have to travel there someday :)

  6. Awesome!!! This post is SOOO inspiring. It made me realize that somewhere inside me there still lives a run!!!

  7. So happy for you Paige! Glad you have such a great friend to be there for you and have this awesome tradition with. Congrats and the race looked like a blast!!

  8. I could feel your happiness jumping off the screen. Of course, that may also be because I got to be WITH your happiness just a few days ago. You amaze and inspire me and I'm glad to call you my friend through this crazy Ragnar SoCal experience. Hope to see you again someday soon! xoxo

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