splits: 6:18, 6:20, 6:29, 6:25, 6:41, 6:27, 6:50, 7:38 (!#$%), 6:35, 6:45, 6:50, 6:48, 6:50, :41
this was an unpleasant experience.
officially four minutes and three seconds slower than my time last year (1:23:42). that is significant. i will try to avoid writing a report that will bring a black cloud over my blog, but admittedly there were few sunshiney take-aways from this one.
to start off, i'm now laughing that i was upset about my time last year. it was a good time. this is not an easy course. i went into the race thinking i might be able to better my time from last year, or at least match it in the 1:23s. i figured my good-but-not-great fitness from last year would be more or less equal to my eroded-but-still-hanging-on fitness this year. [false]
the weather was okay -- all the forecasts i looked at called for lots of rain, but somehow it held off and we stayed dry. it was also very warm -- a solid 55 degrees at the start with cloud cover and warm winds. i was actually sweating glitter quite a bit during the race and i had to ditch my gloves. that was great (positive #1). the downside was the wind, specifically the wind gusts which were 30-35 mph. there were a few points on the course where we were fully exposed to a jolly strong headwind. this was a factor for sure, but my response to it was weak. when the elements come out, you can't fake it -- you're either ready to battle or you get eaten alive. i was eaten alive and i have no excuses for that. i just wasn't up for the battle. i was not ready to race today.
i started out in the lead for the first quarter mile or so before two women came up behind me and immediately dropped me. i surged to catch them, determined to stay in a group so i didn't have to face the wind alone. i ran behind them for maybe 10 seconds and i knew their pace was too fast for me. i had to back off. i started off too fast last year, so i thought maybe if i relaxed a bit for a few miles, i could catch them later on. [funny]
after backing off, i found myself all alone -- a big crew of men + two women in front of me, and a big crew of everyone else in the race behind me. there were 7,000 people in this race -- how was i alone? that question to myself was followed by a big wind gust to the face that sucked my breath away, and suddenly i was annoyed that i was racing. i hadn't even reached the first mile marker. this was not good.
mile 2 went through downtown seattle, with a whipping wind coming off of puget sound. there is quite a bit of uphill in this mile, but the wind was the biggest factor here. i started getting passed by a lot of men, but no other women yet. i was holding steady in third place. as we crested the hill, the wind just assaulted us. everyone's bib numbers were flapping furiously, making this eerie zip-buzzing sound. at one point a gust blew my singlet sideways and quite nearly undressed me. [yowz]
mile 3 -- a gradual climb up the entrance ramp to I-90. the course runs along the express lane and goes through a tunnel for about 3/4 of a mile. i hit 5k in 19:45, and was feeling okay through four miles. and then everything went to pieces (my splits tell the story). a woman passed me somewhere in mile 5, which dropped me to fourth place. now i was demoralized and really losing power. my legs felt so heavy and my breathing was very labored. and the hills just kept coming.
i was passed yet again in mile 8 -- now i was in fifth. i was pretty sure there would be no rallying and catching on my part, so i focused on hanging on to fifth. i didn't end up seeing any women for the remainder of the race, but several men started passing me. over and over again. this felt terrible. it made me feel like i was going so much slower than i was, and each time i was passed i felt like a bit more of my energy was sucked away. it was like i was crashing at mile 23 of a marathon, and i hadn't even run 8 miles. oh my.
i chugged my way up the beast hill in mile 8 (7:38 split!) and then continued to putter through the next four miles. i thought there was more downhill to work with in miles 9-10, but i remembered incorrectly. it was mostly climbing. my legs were so tired and the course offered no reprieve.
mile 11 went across a bridge -- more wind exposure. i was just surviving at this point. mile 12 had lots of downhill but also lots of wind. the good thing about this mile was that i was running next to a very tall man who was somehow running while also bending himself in half, presumably to duck under the wind gusts so that they could hit me in the face. here is a sketch:
i finished the race in a daze -- feeling completely spent yet unable to connect that feeling with the time displayed on the clock. it was so far off my expected pace...so far off my marathon pace! and yet it felt so hard today. i know i haven't been training much over the past month, but i really wasn't expecting it to be so ugly. that said, i am not letting myself fret about it too much. it was one race. it was a bad race. but they happen. admittedly it's a bit unsettling to end the year on such a flat note, but i'm not letting today's bad experience kill all of the good experiences i've had in 2013. it's been a fun year, and now i'm wrapping things up for real this time -- no more races until 2014.
one more positive from today's race -- i could actually see the course. it was so foggy last year that i really didn't see much of the course or the surroundings. there was plenty of beautiful scenery to enjoy, including a stretch along the waterfront of lake washington and a couple of miles in the washington park arboretum. the space needle is the finish line target, so it was nice to be able to see it this year and have a better sense of where i was headed. seattle is a lovely place, and i had a great weekend spending time with team moore. i managed one tourist photo: