Sunday, July 17, 2011

See Jane Run Half Marathon Race Report

I must confess that the only reason I signed up for this race was that I got a "Groupon" for it -- $37 for a half marathon? I'm there. And I've heard nice things about the stores, so why not? 

I suppose I should also say that I applaud companies who sponsor races, and I'm happy to have another half marathon in Seattle. And the race shirt is one of the nicest shirts I have ever received. Who doesn't love a v-neck? And chocolate and champagne as a theme is great. So all of those things are good. 

Went to the "expo" to pick up my packet -- nothing much to see, a handful of exhibitors and some people who clearly felt they'd been fooled into buying space in a nearly empty ballroom. But I was able to get my bib and my shirt quickly and get out of there in under 5 minutes. Still, an expo for a small race was bound to be a bit haphazard, right?

Then last night I watched the course video and thought, huh, they're gonna run all those people on an out and back along the Ship Canal Trail? In the first 4 miles? That'll be awkward. But since I'd never been on that trail I also thought that maybe it's really wide. Who knows?

And then I arrived at Gas Works. I had been surprised never to receive an email from the organizers, but had checked the web site for info. Hmmm. "Plenty of parking in the surrounding neighborhoods." No wonder they were asking people to get there at 6:30 for a 8:00 race. But I got parking only 2 blocks from the park and walked down. 

I saw a really long line and realized it was the line for the little restroom at the park. Dozens of ladies were already waiting in it. At 7:00. I walked around a bit and saw another, even longer line -- for nine porta potties. Now, it must be really difficult to plan races. But this was a women's race. And women simply take longer in a porta potty than men do. The lines were absurd.

I also wandered around the "expo" -- a handful of exhibitors / vendors in a field. Most of them hadn't really set up yet -- but I remembered the web site repeating that the ladies should "make sure to bring your credit card". Which put me off. 

Then I spotted a couple of Fanatics and went over to say hello. Nice big group, and we chatted and took some photos for the newsletter. Yes, I finally made it in to a HF group photo! There was a lot of grumbling about organization. There was a lot of concern about the lack of porta potties, but even more concern about the course. 

I decided to get off my feet and chill out for a little while. I started chatting with a few people -- two runners and a spectator -- about the organization. And the lines continued... 

Then a quick 80s-style warmup, and we headed in to the starting chute. Sort-of. I thought I was in a group waiting for the start, but it turns out that we were in a porta-potty line. Hilarious. 

The course was pretty flat -- from Gas Works to Fremont, across the bridge, and then a cloverleaf onto the Ship Canal Trail. Out and back -- on a narrow trail -- was a bit rough. I was glad they had a bike riding ahead of the leaders, but the closer we got to the turnaround, the harder it was to run. Got to the 4-mile point and ran into the spectator, who smiled and cheered. :)

Then around the lake. I kept up my 3:1 run:walk intervals, feeling okay most of the time. I was surprised that the course did an up and down (and up and down, and up and down) rather than just the big hill on Ruby Street. Eventually we emerged and ran across the tiny little sidewalk along the bridge. (Another awkward spot on the course...)

It was tough to pass Gas Works, knowing that we had another couple of miles to go... and also knowing there wouldn't be a timing mat to ensure people actually ran that far. :) Tra la la, Burke-Gilman Trail... 

This was about the point when I had a "wardrobe malfunction" and my foot really started hurting. So I walked between mile 11 and 13, running the last .1 for a strong finish. Did I leave anything in the tank? Yeah. I had hoped to finish in 2:30 or less, but the walking pretty much scuppered that. I finished in 2:37:17, but I also feel pretty good. 

Got my medal (small, but at least different from the 5K medal...), got my champagne glass with three chocolates in it, a bagel, a banana, and I chugged a bottle of water. Then a quick swig of champagne, and home.

Would I run that race again? Nope. 

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