I have been slow to post last week’s race recap on the Amica Seattle half marathon.  Half numero dos in my quest to be eligible for admission to the elite Half Fanatics club.  Of which I am aiming for three half’s in 90 days.  Final race in this trilogy quest on December 31st – what better way to end this year of running?  Before I get ahead of myself, I must remember & give thanks for the Seattle half.

My original goal for 2011 was to run one half marathon.  Before the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco was on my radar, before all the fundraising, before I found Team in Training: the Amica Seattle Half Marathon was my goal race.  My one big race for all the marbles in 2011.  I, somehow, got caught up in the magic of running and found myself following in the footsteps of runner friends who were questing for their Half Fanatics number.  That number – it’s kind of a big deal.  (Don’t be fooled: in less than 30 days plus whatever time it takes to process my eligibility, I WILL be shouting that number from the rooftops.)

Digressing no further…

PRE-RACE
As if I couldn’t do things more wrong: do you know you are not supposed to take on new activities a few weeks before your race?  And do you know that is exactly what I did?  My thought process was if I didn’t start crossfit in mid-November, it would be harder to schedule after the race.  Plus there would always be another race right around the corner.  Start crossfit, I did.  And wouldn’t you know, I injured myself lifting too much weight on the dead lifts.  Because apparently, someone has a weak hip (from running), which means someone has a weak hamstring (from running).  I kept pushing through the crossfit trainings.  For the most part, the training runs the week up to the half were pretty good.  My pace had improved (side effect of the crossfit?) even as my leg was kind of gimpy.  I did feel the pull on my hamstring running downhill & the strain on my knee running up.  All in all, this race was going to be what it was.  I was already preparing myself for walking the race, if need be.  In fact, up until I received my race packet, I was see-sawing on whether I should walk or run the course.

RACE EXPO & SHAKE OUT RUN
At the race expo, I was determined to find kinesio tape.  It seems you can only buy it online and since it was last minute, not an option.  When I called a sports store two days prior to the race, they had no clue what I was talking about.  I found the kinesio tape at the expo and was given instruction on how to apply it.

The shake out run the day before the big race, I tried out the kinesio and all the hurt I had felt during the Turkey Trot – gone.  I am starting to think the kinesio tape is some kind of magic potion in tape form.  I have yet to figure out how it works but it does.  And not just my testimonial.  buttahcup tried it this week and she is also singing the praises of kt tape.

RACE DAY
I really didn’t want to make this a comparison post between the San Francisco (Nike) & Seattle (Amica) races.  Each race was vastly different.  At Nike, I was in a zen state; Amica, I was full of excitement.  Maybe it was having M{squared} by my side but the atmosphere was abuzz with nerves but also anticipation.  What was this race going to bring?

starting line

The skies were brilliant in the early morning but that soon changed to light rain…to heavy rain… to being totally soaked and facing winds off the Puget Sound.  {unfortunate for runner girls!}  As soon as the horn blew, we were off.  I can’t tell you how cool it is to see a city on foot, running through the streets, seeing people, and shops, how the skyline changes.  It is one of my favorite things about running.  The monorail rumbled by overhead.  All of a sudden we were at the first water stop at mile two.  So far, smooth sailing.

hamming it up b/t miles 2-3

Part of the I-90 interchange was blocked for the race.  Awesome to run on the highway.  Awesome to run through a tunnel (honking noises included).  Recaps for the 2010 race, everyone said it was such an apocalyptic experience running through the tunnel.  It was plain fun.  That, and it was dry.

scary tunnel running

Mile four was somewhere in the tunnel or just on the other side.  As the full marathoners passed us, we got off the highway and ran along some waterfront.  From reading the course map, I have no clue where we were.  I imagined the course to go in a complete opposite direction.  At mile five, I made my first med tent stop.  My right knee was bothering me and asked them to tape it up.  Wet from sweat and rain, my 15 minutes of taping fell off within 30 seconds of leaving the tent.

Mile 8: second med tent stop.  This time they had kt tape and I was poked & prodded by the doctor with me nearly in tears (I still have bruises!).  Running out of that tent, I felt good.  My energy had been slacking and that rest was exactly what I needed before the big hill at mile 9-10.

Within a mile of the finish line, I was tired & cold & hurting.  My tape had come off and I was running unsupported.  And even though I kept plodding along, I would have found myself walking to the finish line had M{squared} not been there with her motivation.  Within a quarter mile to the finish my right calf cramped up – the kind of cramping that wakes you up in the middle of of the night a la charlie horse.  A short walk to work it out, and again, running into Memorial Stadium.  Running around the corner, seeing the photographer ready with his camera, both calves cramped up.  This was not how I wanted to finish my race.  I limped along to the finish line and completed my second half marathon.

no big smile, just a big sigh of relief to be finished

POST RACE
Soaking wet, I grabbed my medal and the warm sheet and hobbled to the little expo inside the stadium.  It hurt to move.  It hurt to breathe.  Where Nike was a mentally tough race, Amica was equally a physically tough race.  Instead of the tirade of curse words, my only question was “When am I going to get good at this?”  I am hoping with proper training runs (somewhat lacking between the San Francisco & Seattle races), my third half marathon will be the race where it all comes together.  Amica Seattle half had great moments and it had less than stellar moments but there was no pity party at the end.  I completed my second half marathon.  With the help of a truly amazing friend.

THE STATS
M{squared} had a race goal for me which she refused to share (good for her!) and minus the two med tent stops, I would have made it.  Including the med tent stops, I still PR’d by six minutes at 3:51:xx.  Good day in terms of race stats.  Although, it was far above the time I wanted to come in under. Without the med tent stops, my time was 3:30:xx, a potential 27 minute PR.  This is why my third half is going to be the one.  I am overly focused on getting my training in – which includes 5 a.m. runs across the bridge this week.  Add in the strength training, Yukon Do It will be the race.

RACE GOALS

1) Finish the race – CHECK
2) Beat my time in San Francisco – CHECK
3) Have a good time – at least half the race, I had a great time; the other half I was focused purely on finishing.  The average is pretty good.

This race is on my list for 2012.  I feel like it deserves a second go when I’m better at this whole racing thing.  And maybe by then, my type A race personality will have mellowed a bit.

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