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Adrenaline can carry you four miles...

I renewed my affair with Mercer Island this morning for the Mercer Island half marathon. It was fantastic! I think the half marathon distance is becoming a favorite distance of mine. No official time yet, but I was around 2:44.

The race was really well organized; my main complaints were that they didn't have the first water station until 3 miles in and that they had too many races starting right near one another -- I nearly got mowed down by the 5K race starting shortly after the half marathoners started. But the miles and course were really well-marked, and I've never seen so many volunteers in any race. I don't think I ever went more than a quarter mile without seeing another volunteer. And the course was absolutely breathtaking in areas; it was a loop around the island, so there was a mix of mossy forest areas and vistas of Lake Washington.

I started in the next to last position and shortly after starting a woman on a bike introduced herself to me as "the pigtail". Her job was to keep track of the last set of runners and let support staff know when we'd be coming, so she kept spiraling around and checking in. When I passed the second checkpoint, she indicated to the volunteer there that there were two more people after me. I overheard and grinned at her and said my goal was to keep adding one to that number at each aid station. I succeeded by the next one, which earned me some words of encouragement from her. By the next checkpoint after that (around mile 7), I'd blown past 4 or more people which got a huge cheer from her and announcement that she used to be tracking me, but that I "KEPT PASSING PEOPLE!!" It was fantastic. I kept passing people after that, and eventually worked my way forward enough that I didn't see her anymore. I think I ended up ahead of around 10-14 people by the end.

The only downside was around mile 9. One of the problems I have when I get tired is I start to drift to the right if I don't pay attention. (This is such a common problem of mine that one of my catch phrases for ends of races is, "Watch the right, Jonobie.") I had just eaten my second gel and trying to stuff it back into my pack when I suddenly realized I was in the middle of tripping off of the right side of the road and onto the gravel shoulder. I flailed around and managed to right myself before falling but not before twisting my right ankle. I stayed at a walk until my heart slowed down and then started a slow jog, deciding that if it started to hurt, I'd immediately drop out and catch a ride to the finish. It did start to hurt shortly after finishing the race, though. I didn't realize that adrenaline could carry me so many miles.

At about 3/4 a mile to the end was Jeff -- halfway up this monster hill. The course was quite hilly, and this was right before the end, so it was hard. He ran up it with me (after having already run up it in his own race!), and then told me that the rest of the 3/4 of the mile was all downhill. That was one of the best finishes I've had - I passed three people and had a blast just rolling down the hill to the end.

At home, I've iced and elevated the ankle. It feels stiff, but not too bad. I'll see what happens in the next few days.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 25th, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC)
Congrats on finishing! After Moe's I thought the half was a good distance -- far enough to feel like I got a long run in, short enough that I can be ready for one pretty much year-round. Short enough that fuel and hydration mistakes don't really kill my time.

After much staring and dreaming, I think I'm aiming for the Bandera 100K to be my next focus event. I'll probably do a few 50K's and marathons as training runs, but I want to finish Bandera. It's in early January so I may not be able to do both it and the Distance Challenge next year. :-( I have no idea how long it will take, but if I'm behind 90% of the field again it will be about 20:30 - 21:00. So I guess I had better start training st night with a headlamp, too. :-)

Mar. 25th, 2007 11:49 pm (UTC)
I should also say, sorry about the ankle. With early icing it will probably come out just fine in a few days.

I have not been able to stop thinking and talking about ultras all the time. Michelle said that she doesn't really mind me spending a lot of time running, because it clearly leaves me in a better mood, but she may get tired of hearing me talk on it. :-)

It does feel good to have a new, hard, goal for the next year of training. Staying ready for marathons or doing a few marathons in 2007 just hadn't been feeling very appealing after the Austin marathon. Training for Bandera... wow.

Mar. 26th, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
Twenty hours of running is a long time! I'm interested in ultras, but I think my interest starts to wane when I'd hit a period of running that either requires being awake significantly longer than I usually would be or requires camping. It's awesome you're so excited about it, though! (And I understand how obsession with a race can lead to much talking about it. The ADC was about all I talked about last year.)

Jeff and I are considering also doing the Bellevue marathon, which is about 2 months after the Olympia one. Two marathons in two months gets me psyched up, but whether or not Olympia happens depends on how quickly my ankle feels up to running. If I miss too much more training, I won't be ready for Olympia.
Mar. 27th, 2007 02:15 am (UTC)
take care of the ankle and congrats! I'm looking forward to being able to run half-marathons again some day. Right now, though, I'm content if I can keep up the 6 mile distance I've been doing without more damage to the knee.

See you soon!
Mar. 27th, 2007 07:19 pm (UTC)
Hey, good job on the half marathon! I'm partial to that distance too, since it was my first race. :-)
Mar. 27th, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
Mar. 27th, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks! A 10K is a good distance too, especially when it's damage-free. ;-)

Definitely looking forward to seeing you in Columbus soon!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )