Tag Archive | half marathon

2017 Whidbey Island Half-Marathon

April 23, 2017

On race day it was a very cold morning, but it wasn’t raining!  I was going to be doing my ninth half-marathon!

We huddled around trying not to freeze until race time, then got on our way.  The race does a wave start, meaning that you cue up according to your anticipated finish time, and they start groups in waves, every couple of minutes, in order to keep the course from getting overrun with too many people.

L to R: Kimi, Me, Katie and Shelley, pre-race

By the way, this is totally off topic, but I love how I look like I am the tallest one in that photo!  I’m not…
 
The first several miles of the race I was feeling pretty good and making decent time.  Pretty soon after the start, there is a section that is kind of a nature trail through the marshlands, and I realized why the wave start was important.  There is one big hill near the beginning too and then the course gets more mild for a bit.  Once I moved away from the water, the temperature warmed up as well, and I was actually pretty comfortable.  I was thinking, “I can do this!”

About mile 5 (I think it was mile 5), the course starts to do this big, rolling hill thing along the water, starting with a giant downhill stretch that you know you are going to have to come back up…  Yeah…  But I was still moving along at a pretty good clip and feeling pretty good; I reached the turn-around point still feeling pretty good about my progress.

It was that giant hill on the way back that was the problem…  Mile 8… My energy was really flagging and I was starting to feel really crummy again, dizzy and hurting.  By the time I got to the top of the hill I was really lightheaded and queasy, and was seriously considering throwing in the towel.  The problem was that I was in the middle of nowhere, with no water station and no one around.  Who would I even quit to?

So I slowed down a lot and just kept walking, trying not to let the lightheadedness get the better of me, thinking as soon as I got to a water station I would quit.  I was so exhausted!  Slowing down helped though, and by the time I got to the next water station, I was feeling a bit better.  So I decided to keep going…

Pretty soon, it was all downhill from there, because the last couple miles of the course is downhill or relatively flat.  I can’t say I was fast, but I was a little faster than mile 8 and 9!  My head cleared some, and a good bit of the nausea went away.  The last mile was pretty brutal though, because it was right on the water and there was a cold wind blowing sideways!  UGH! 

In the end, it was certainly not my best race or my best time…  And absolutely NOT my favorite course…  But I did realize I can still push my body further than I think I can go and be successful.  And it just made the post-race beer while bundled up in a blanket that much better… 

Feeling sassy after some beer

In the end, my official time was 3:07:16, which was actually WAY better than I was expecting it to be…  Not a personal best at any rate, but not too terrible either!  I really, really, really earned this swag!

 

Whidbey Half-Marathon 2017 Weekend

Last winter, I signed up for my ninth half-marathon, the Whidbey Island Half!  It was April 23, 2017. 
 
There was just this one little issue that came up: I was fighting one of the worst colds I have had in a while.  I had been completely down for the count the weekend before.  Like the kind of sick where you are awake for less than 2 hours and you already are in dire need of a 3 hour nap…  In fact, my only outing the weekend before the half-marathon had been to venture out for a very slow stroll around the tulip fields for a few hours, which had completely wiped me out and sent me back to bed… 
 
During the week I was feeling a little better, so I decided to still try to do the race, knowing I could just take it easy.  I didn’t need to run much, or at all, if I still wasn’t feeling up to it.  Katie, Shelley and I all met up at the expo, then headed off for a girls’ weekend excursion in scenic Coupeville, Washington.
 
We checked into our accommodations, the Wisteria Cottage at The Inn at Penn Cove.  It was a very reasonably priced option for Coupeville, where most of the lodgings are Bed and Breakfasts.  Most of the hotels in Oak Harbor were either booked, or had jacked up their rates for the marathon weekend.  The Inn at Penn Cove is also a historic house and cottage, consisting of the Jacob Jenne house built in 1889, and the doctor’s office turned cottage where we were staying, which is also historic (sadly I don’t know when it was built – trust me, it was old!). 

The Wisteria Cottage at the Inn at Penn Cove

Katie was convinced our cottage was haunted.  So haunted in fact that we had to drag the futon into the main room, because she didn’t want anyone sleeping in that bedroom alone…  The proprietors are warm and welcoming, giving us a rundown of the quirks of the place, and even letting us know that it was no problem at all to have a very late checkout so we could go back to the cottage for showers after the race.  And in case you were wondering, no, we didn’t see any ghosts…  However, the drawers in that bedroom wouldn’t stay closed – was it due to the fact that the floor was sloped, or something supernatural?!  You decide…
 
After getting our lodgings squared away, we poked around in some of the shops in the historic downtown area, and enjoyed a wine tasting at the Vail Wine Shop, where we chatted and laughed and enjoyed ourselves. 
After that, we enjoyed the lowering sun and the remaining afternoon while we waited for the Front Street Grill to have a table ready for us for dinner.  I love spending time with my girlfriends, and we thoroughly enjoyed the quiet afternoon relaxing.

We had a water view table at the Front Street Grill, and I had the Saffron Mussels and a beer sampler.  So delicious!

Katie and my beer samplers at the Front Street Grill

I had a wonderful day, despite my continuing fatigue…  After dinner we headed back to the cottage to turn in early.  We had some calorie burning to do in the morning!

 

2016 Woodinville Wine Half Marathon

On September 17, 2016, I completed my 8th Half Marathon!  The race was a repeat for me, another chance to do the Woodinville Wine Country Half Marathon – in it’s 2nd year.  You may remember that I got my personal record in this race in 2015!  Or maybe only I remember things like that…

At any rate – Katie and I were back for another round, with our friend Shelley cheering us on.

The weather was not our friend – a steady drizzle that pretty much stuck with us the entire race.  My shoes got squishy…  I usually don’t get blisters when I race, but the wet socks and shoes were a different matter…  Thankfully, they weren’t too bothersome and I was able to make it through…  My clothes were soaked through – I guess it doesn’t much matter if it’s sweat or water!

The good thing is that despite the rain, it wasn’t windy and the temperature was perfect for heavy exercise.  The course is awesome – fast and flat, and most of it runs through woods and along the river for some really pretty views.

I struggled a bit with my shin splints at the beginning, but was able to really find my groove thanks to the Nine Inch Nails I had on the IPod – a little ragey music to get my heart rate up!  And in the end I got a new personal record!  2:53:50 – for a pace of 13 minutes 16 seconds per mile.

The post-race beer and wine festival was good – the rain had stopped by the time we made it to the finish line – but it was a little cold once we stopped moving!  And again this year it seemed like some of the wineries were already packing up and heading out by the time we got done…  Frustrating!  We did find enough to keep us satisfied and get a happy buzz on, and made some new friends too!  I cannot remember this man’s name, but he was super-funny and very kind – it was his first half marathon!

After we did some day-drinking, we walked down the street to a burger joint and had a delicious lunch and lots of water!  You have to hydrate!

What a fabulous day!

 

Note: It seems that the Woodinville Wine Country Half Marathon is no more – after two years they packed it in.  I’m sad…  I liked the course and it was a convenient location for us.  I guess I can say I did them all…  All two of them…

 

Who Thought Race Photos Were a Good Idea?

What’s up with race photos? I just don’t get the concept – let’s take photos of you doing something highly physical, when you are at your maximum level of exertion. Where you are hot, tired and sweaty, with no makeup and wet, sweaty hair. Nobody looks good under those circumstances – at least I don’t!

Perhaps they could do race day photos that are more like school photos. You know, where you get to pose before the race, in all your still dry gear, before your face is thirteen shades of crimson.

At school, nobody wielding a camera came into class during a test to memorialize all those squinchy, concentrating faces. Nobody came by to try to capture you in the cafeteria with food crammed in your face as you tried to eat it all in 2 seconds flat so you could get excused for recess. Nobody snapped away while all the blood rushed to your head as you hung upside down on the monkey bars… No, instead you got to pose all pretty in your nicest outfit and pretend that you always looked that put together.

Of course, even those posed school photos often went horribly awry. But there is a much better chance of looking good in a school photo vs. a race photo, statistically speaking.

I understand there are people who want the race photo – my friend had an aunt who always purchased the ‘crossing the finish line’ photo, and framed it in a shadow box with the finisher medal.  A bit obsessive if you ask me…

And in case you couldn’t guess, no, I won’t be buying the race package!  And I only feel slightly better that Jon didn’t look good in his photos either…

Happy Tuesday!

I Am a 40 Year Old, Asthmatic, Half-Marathoner

I have asthma – adult onset, exercise induced.  I am not fat, and not thin – just average.  I’m short.  I was never a runner.  I pronate severely (my feet roll inward when I walk), and have struggled through the pain of shin splints several times.  And a few weeks ago, I turned 40.   Yet despite all this lack of athleticism, this morning, I completed my seventh half-marathon.  It was the inaugural Woodinville Wine Country Half-Marathon.

I haven’t really been training.  Last year, after the Oregon Wine Country Half-Marathon, my girlfriends were split on the idea of doing it again.  As it turns out, the decision was made for me – they moved the Labor Day weekend race to August – on one of the weekends when Jon and I would be in Colorado.  I was disappointed, but then I was also kind of ok with the idea of not doing a half-marathon this year.  I haven’t been keeping up with exercise as well as I ought to.  Then my friend Katie asked if I wanted to do the first Wine Country Half in Woodinville.  It was only a month away.  I said, “Why not?”

In that month, I did exactly one 8 mile walk/jog.  And the usual couple times a week 4-5 mile walks.  I didn’t feel prepared.  I figured I would be happy just finishing, and wouldn’t worry about my time.

Me, Jon and Katie, before the race

Me, Jon and Katie, before the race

This morning, we drove to the race, and started a few minutes after 7.  Jon started near the front; Katie and I lined up at the back.  We stood next to the 3 hour pace runner, but I had no expectation that I would do a 3 hour race.  A shin splint was bugging me early on, before settling down in the second mile.

The 3 hour pace runner passed me.  But then I passed her; and pulled away just a little bit.  And as the miles ticked off, I was still just a little way ahead of her.  I began to second guess – she must be setting the wrong pace.  She must be running too slow for a 3 hour finish!  I stayed ahead.  I never really let myself believe that I was really doing so well.

Between mile 5 and 6 I first started to notice the blister on the bottom sole of my right foot – it hurt more when I jogged, but I kept pushing myself to jog for periods of time.  Between mile 8 and 9 keeping up my intermittent jogging was getting really hard.  Between mile 10 and 11, I started to think that my music was really annoying, and the sooner I finished, the sooner I could turn it off!

Mile 11 was the longest mile ever!  When I hit the beginning of mile 12, I looked at the clock and realized the pacer might be right.  I thought I would finish just a few minutes past my best time ever.  I tried to keep up my pace.  In the last tenth of a mile, rounding the curve, and seeing the finish clock, I realized I was really close to my personal record – I could beat it!

I found just enough gas at the end to sprint (my sprint – which is pretty slow) across the finish line.  Jon had finished almost an hour and a half earlier, and he was waiting at the finish for me, to cheer me on.

I didn’t know if I had beaten my previous record until hours later when the official times were posted.  But I did!  My finish time, and my new personal record, was 2 hours, 56 minutes, and 23 seconds.  I trimmed 18 teeny, tiny seconds off my old record.  But in doing that, I also trimmed off a big chunk of self-doubt, the kind that says, “You are 40 now – it is just downhill from here.”  I got this!

2014 Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon

Last year was the second year that I did the Oregon Wine Country Half marathon (when I tell you it was Labor Day weekend, you’ll know how far behind I am on posts!).  In 2013 it was just me and Shelley, but in 2014 I was able to sucker convince several friends to join in the fun! In all, it was me, Jon, Katie, Katy, Allysa, Angela, Renee and Jean. We all made our own way down to Oregon, because some of us were just staying the weekend, some were heading off on further adventures afterwards, and some were on the way back from vacationing! Jon and I drove separately, because Jon had to work on Monday afternoon, but we caravanned with Angela and Renée.

We met up at the Ponzi Wine Bistro in Dundee and enjoyed lunch and a bottle of Pinot Noir. Everybody was pleased with their choices; I had a delicious grass fed burger. The wine was fabulous, and it was wonderful to just be able to relax and laugh with good friends.

Jon and me having lunch at Ponzi, the day before the race.

Jon and me having lunch at Ponzi, the day before the race.

After that, we braved more of that terrible Highway 99 traffic to make our way to McMinnville for the packet pickup at the Evergreen Aviation Museum. After we got our packets, we sampled some wines from the two wineries that had tasting stations on site. More and more of us kept rolling in, so we chatted and laughed and enjoyed the bright sunshine outside the museum.

That evening, it was “do it yourself” dinner night – some went out for dinner, some just grabbed a quick bite at the diner next door to our hotel. Katie and I went to the grocery store and grabbed some eats for ourselves and families – Katie had come with her husband and two littles. A hodge podge of fruit, meats, cheeses and breads was the perfect pre-race dinner, in my opinion.

The race was very similar to the year before – I think there was one minor course change. For more info on the course and the mile by mile experience, check out my post from 2013. I feel good about my race; I came in fifth among my friends, behind Jon, Jean, Allysa and Katy, and in front of Katie, Angela and Renee. My time was a little slower than last year – a 3:03:08 (a 13:58 per mile pace).  Our finish order was exactly where I expected us all to be!

The Gang - Pre-race - at Stoller Winery

The Gang – Pre-race – at Stoller Winery

It was fun to see us all do it at our own pace and in our own way – we were competing with ourselves and not each other. I was about 5 minutes behind my personal best from the 2013 race, but I had been having a wee bit of trouble at the beginning with my shin splints, so while a little disappointing, it wasn’t surprising. I feel like I finished strong.

The post race festival was fabulous again – the group of us joined together and broke apart and joined together again, as we went to get wine, came back to compare notes, and went off again in search of the best wines to be had.  It was way too long ago to remember the specifics, but my post on the wine festival from last year should give you a good idea…  Lunch was again at the little sandwich shop – a fantastic Reuben.

Later in the afternoon, after getting a much needed shower and change of clothes, a group of us wandered around downtown McMinnville poking in shops, and enjoying some huckleberry ice cream.  Dinner that night at La Rambla (a tapas restaurant) ended a wonderful day. Good friends enjoying good food…