Sunday, May 11, 2008

Over the Dam Run Race Report

After a bit of hemming and hawing, trying to figure out what to wear, we left the room in (Wil) shorts, short-sleeve top, hat, sunglasses and (Sunny) shorts, sleeveless top, hat, sunglasses. Both of us attached our numbers to our race belts; I also nicked Wil's "goodie pouch" from his water belt and put my camera and some sports beans in it, and attached it to my race belt. Not the best of ideas, but we liked having the camera and the sports beans...

Headed up to the start to pick up our timing chips, got them on and found Rebecca and Eric. Then we milled around nervously, trying not to worry too much. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the weather was pleasantly crisp at 8:30.

Listened to the race talk -- reminders where the 5K split was, a note about mile markers 9 and 10 not being in quite the right spot, etc. And then, suddenly, we were off.

R & E set off ahead of us (not wanted to get caught by the walkers), and we settled in behind. Down the hill past the motel, across the old bridge, around the corner through the cute little houses, and then Up The Hill. We passed a volunteer directing traffic; he had a line of cars stopped which meant that the "SLOW" sign was pointed at us. I said "Your sign should say 'FAST!'" and he laughed.

Up the hill slowly -- we started walking pretty early on, but moving at a fast enough clip that we could pass some people. Past the visitor center, and then around the corner, through the security check, and on to the top of the dam. Truth be told, it was a pretty rudimentary security check. Wearing a race number? Check. Come on in.

We stopped a couple of times on top of the dam to take pictures -- it's an amazing view. I think I went across it when I was a kid, but I don't know for sure.

Then down the hill on the other side of the dam, across a horrible gravel road (stopping at the remarkably handsome "pit toilet"...) and then on to the Downriver Trail.

Saw Eric on his way back from the 10K turnaround, running strong. A bit later we saw Rebecca too, smiling and happy. Picked up water and gels at the turnaround, then kept going. The sun was out, the path was sunny, but the breeze kept us from getting too hot.

On and on it went -- pretty, mellow, quiet. A woman came running towards us... it surprised us that she would be at the head of the marathon pack. We eventually figured out that she had accidentally missed the 10K turn and was finally headed back. Poor thing.

Finally a guy can pelting towards us -- really, really fast. I said "Good job!" and he smiled and thanked me. It was a while before we saw anyone else. Then a trickle of others. Everyone saying hi, smiling, waving. Nice.

Finally got to the turnaround between mile 8 and 9. Had banana pieces, water, and gatorade, then got our heads ready for the last 5 miles. I was feeling pretty good -- soreness in my right hip, pain in my right knee and ankle, but otherwise okay. I wasn't too tired, too grouchy. We opened up the sports beans at mile 9 and felt great -- maybe it was all mental, but the placebo effect is just fine by me if it lifts our spirits.

And we discovered that, indeed, the distance between markers 9 and 10 was 1.25 miles. At least we knew it in advance. And we weren't lost. :)

Passed a few runners on the way back in, and saw some others behind us. But as we were pretty well back in the pack, it was a quiet run in. I really felt okay until, oh, mile 11? Maybe mile 12? But after that every step sucked. I was tired, I was hungry, I was thirsty. I had drank at every water stop, had had a gel, two bits of banana, and half a pack of sports beans... but still felt tired and moody. It occurred to me that I really don't even stand for that long on a regular basis. Sheesh.

Then we saw the bridge... and the hill leading back up to the bridge. Boo. Seems cruel to end a race on an uphill! By this point I was snivelling, "I want this to be done. I hate this." and almost in tears. So very done. Wil was just trying to herd me up the hill at this point. So up I went, even though we walked most of it. Then we saw Rebecca and Eric and took off running. Well, "running" is a better term for it. We got a little lost... Wil veered towards the parking lot, while I tried to avoid some cones because I thought they were blocking the road. Um, yes, blocking the ROAD, but not the runners. Wil thought I was going to say hi to R&E, but we both sorta snapped out of it when we saw the FINISH banner... we sped up as far as we could, and I heard the announcer call out my name. Then done.

We crossed the timing mat and the volunteers took off our timing chips and handed us medals. We both kept saying "that was horrible! that was awful!" and the ladies were gentle and smiling and told us to take our medals and go have a lovely sandwich.

Lots of hugging of R&E, some stretching (which we failed to do after Birch Bay). And it was done. Eric came in second in the 10K his age group and walked away with a shiny red ribbon. Rebecca came in fourth in hers. Wil came in fourth is his group, while I came in a lowly sixth.

Said goodbye to R, E, & M, headed back to the room for the prescribed ice bath (ouch! brrr!), followed by a hot shower, then we packed up and left.

Overall our first half marathon experience was positive. Did we wish we were faster? Yes. Did we wish we ran with less pain? Yes. But we finished. More importantly, we started.

Tomorrow I'm taking a day off (poor Wil has to work) and we're both having massages. Well earned massages.

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