Friday, November 23, 2012

Half Bone Half Marathon race report

It was, in a word, WET.

Got up early for the drive to Gig Harbor... where we got a bit lost trying to find the start, but arrived with, oh, 15 minutes to spare? I liked the set-up for this "not-a-racc"... a couple of porta-potties on a front lawn, a gaggle of runners in a living room, paying a $20 cash donation to the food bank, then picking up a number that was left over from a previous race... Perfect.

We made our way to the start and joined a small group of folks who looked just as wet and a little worried as we did.

But everyone -- at least everyone who put themselves toward the back of the pack! -- was friendly, chatty, and full of a "we're all in this together" spirit. Hmmm... maybe that's the endorphins talking...

A few words were spoken... but I couldn't hear them. There was a request for walkers to start at the back, so we hung back a bit, but then realized we weren't starting off as walkers, so joined the line of people.

bundled up before the race
Much of the race was on single-track trails... so we actually walked for about the first five minutes. Fine by me -- it was brisk and got me used to the feel of the trails in my new shoes. Then we set off at a trot. Not super fast, but a nice trot. I felt like I could run all day at that pace. The trail was narrow, the plants on either side were soaking, and I spent most of the time running looking down at Wil's feet and legs so that I didn't trip, slip, or stumble.

We ran for the first 3 miles with a nice Maniac twosome, sometimes trading leads after wider paths. I was feeling pretty good about the day -- like I could run and run.

And then we hit our first big, big puddle. Now, we'd been through a lot of puddles so far, sometimes jumping over them, sometimes skirting the edge of them in the mud. But this one was a doozy -- all the way across the path and well into the woods beyond. This brought all of us to a screeching halt, as we tried to find the shallowest way through. Jumping ahead to our second loop, I watched a woman -- who was completely soaked already -- just walk straight through it, and the water was nearly up to her KNEES.

Wil and I were wearing our Adrenaline ASR GTX shoes, so we were dry -- unless water went over our ankles. I think I actually stayed almost perfectly dry for the first loop of the course by remembering to walk on my tippy toes to keep the top of my shoes above water.

The course was pretty -- lots of gorgeous autumnal leaves, red ferns, mushrooms, huckleberry bushes. But the rain just kept pouring down so I didn't want to stop and try to take any pictures.

The course was marked with fluorescent paint arrows indicating turns. We were running with a small group when we caught up with a nice German guy standing next to a small path with an arrow. He said, "it's a turn, yes?" and we all agreed --- and tried to call after the people who had run straight past it. As we know from the Birch Bay Road Race, all it takes is one person to go the wrong way and everyone follows. So vielen dank to our German friend!

Before we knew it, we had reached the end of the first loop, so ran out to the aid station at the start/finish to warm up a little. I ate a very delicious pancake and the nicest hot boiled potato you could ever imagine. We weren't sure if we were supposed to go back out to the start/finish, but I'm very glad we did.

We then decided to just walk the second loop. This had the advantage of making it less likely that I would trip and fall, but had the disadvantage of making for a loooooooong day out in the rain. And it was raining ridiculously hard... so hard that every hill turned into a small stream, small puddles completely overwhelmed the path, and dirt turned to ankle-deep mud. Multiple times we had to pick our way across a deep pool. And, of course, at some point I managed to get my feet soaking wet. Oops.

I also got really, really cold... so cold that my hands went almost numb. Not good. Wil ended up pulling my sleeves over my hands for me and then velcro-ing shut my sleeves so I could try and get some feeling back into them. Sadly, this was at mile 12 or so... and he accidentally bumped my GPS... so it stopped recording. Still, small price to pay for avoiding hypothermia, right?

Never has anyone been so pleased as I was when we reached the turnoff for the start/finish... unless perhaps it was me when I remembered that we had only signed up for the half. Yay us!

We got to the finish, gave them our numbers, had a bite to eat, picked up our medals, and then hurried to the car, where it took me a good 15 minutes to thaw out my hands enough to drive.

wet and relieved... and a little bit manic

make that VERY manic

That's day two, then. Tomorrow and Sunday may both be rainy, but they won't be muddy!

and the cutest half marathon medal in the world

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