Sunday, May 20, 2012

Seattle's Best 15K

You know, I think this outfit is cute. Also cute: THE SPACE NEEDLE!
So, yesterday was race day. I'd originally signed up for this AGES ago, thinking that it would be my first big run after London. Obviously, with a 5K a week after the marathon, that wasn't the case and, because of things that I'm not currently talking about, this had to be downgraded from a "race" to a training run. My goal was to hold a nice steady 10:30 pace for the whole race, since I've still got to go out and do a long run today (which I'm currently procrastinating on doing, but it will get done).

Errr, I don't think I've mentioned this, but I bought a car two weeks ago! It's a lovely, dark blue Ford Focus and, yes, since I will continue to commute by bus, it's really for the weekends and, frankly, races! I'm calling it the Racemobile at the moment. I even bought a 26.2 sticker for it! No word yet on whether I'll be able to get it a "My Other Car is a Saucony" sticker, but I've tweeted @Saucony my request.

The Seattle's Best 15K (which, as far as I can tell has nothing to do with the coffee brand of the same name) started and ended at Gasworks Park and took in a lap of Lake Union (the big lake in the middle of Seattle). The race started at a super fun early 7am, so I was up by 5:15 and out of the house at 6. I knew I wanted to be a little early, since I tend to get lost and because I knew parking would be at a premium. Happily, I got a spot in the lot RIGHT next to Gasworks and bib pickup took all of about 30 seconds. w00t! The shirts for the race were technical (yay), but white (boo). BUT, GUESS WHAT! I'm NUMBER ONE!! (because the race numbers were assigned in alphabetical order). I keep looking at my bib and thinking it was for a kid's race - where they tend to give every munchkin a #1 bib.

The race kicked off promptly at 7 am with a run through a sprinkler! :-) The first (and last) part of the run was on the Burke-Gilman trail, but luckily, I haven't actually gone west on the trail for awhile, since I discovered that it actually ended far short of the distance I needed to cover in marathon training. We then popped over the Fremont Bridge and did an out and back along the canal. (I did pull a slightly annoyed runner at one point and asked two people to move over if they were going to walk, rather than walking two-abreast and taking up the entire "out" lane of the out and back section...I know, I'm a total bitch.) At the turnaround, there was a giant dancing chicken, which was seriously awesome. The aid stations were handing out water, gels, and Heed drink. I don't usually go for sports drinks, but this was actually really nice - I'd walk for about 15 seconds to get it all down and the taste was really, really light. I didn't take any of my own water for this race - it was only 9 miles, after all, and the level of support was perfect.

I can't say a ton about my own run. It was lovely to have company and I was never really working super duper hard - because it was a training run for me. I am pleased about how "easy" 9+ miles felt at 10:30 pace (and the last two miles at 9:5x pace when I got excited and enjoyed picking people off). One of my big goals for the fall is a great 10M PB and I'm pretty confident that I can pull that off with some work. I was very, very excited that I had NO trouble on the couple of short, but VERY steep hills before we crossed back over the University Bridge to the Burke-Gilman to the finish line. I powered up those puppies like they were nothing and passed a ton of people who were walking in the process. I've got some very hilly fall races, so it's nice to know that I've got a bit of hill strength in me (although I want to do some very serious hill work over the summer). Toward the finish area, I enjoyed passing people more than I probably should have, but passed the one person who I didn't want to pass - an amputee running with a carbon leg. I would have slowed to leave him in front, if he hadn't had to stop to walk because of the gravel in the finish area. I don't know about everyone else, but I am in awe of these men and women who race and run following the loss of their limbs. Was pleased with my time and felt great after the race, which was pretty much my goal.

This is the second race that I've done with this company, the Birch Bay 30K being the first, and I have to say that I've been SUPER impressed: they're exactly the kinds of races I love - small (369 finishers), scenic, well-supported, and with a cool medal! Seriously, now that I realize there were only 370 of us, the amount of organization is even more impressive - they had actual police out where there were cars to deal with, the perfect number of aid stations, and some AWESOME strawberry shortcake to eat after the race. OMNOMNOMNOM. Clearly, there's a TON of thought & care that goes into the organization of these races. I can't wait for the next one!

Oh, final result:
15K in 1:37:29 (10:28 pace)
And, it's a new PB, since I've never run a 15K before (but strongly suspect I'll be running the Birch Bay one next year, so there's something to aim at improving).