|6:00 AM - 1 package Pop Tarts (2 pastries), 6 oz fruit yogurt, water, PowerBar, fruit juice
|GU sports drink, water
|upper 50s at the start, mid 60s at the finish, sunny, dry, calm
|Leavenworth Marathon – mostly rolling pavement with some flat dirt trail
Men 45-49 – 2nd
newer Brooks road shoes
|shorts, sleeveless active t
So... this is the first of three half marathons I have signed up for this fall and with my recent knee issues I had just taken one whole week off from running and just did stairs once (walking) and some light cardio at the gym. Nothing else. My goal was just to finish and to go under 1:45 for sure. I have been doing almost all of my longer runs on trails this fall instead of on the road so don't really have a good handle on pace meaning I have no idea how fast or slow I am going. :)
There were supposed to be about 2000 people entered but for a change no one was crowding the front so I simply walked up there and stood in the third row. Kinda nice really.
As we headed out I got passed by quite a few folks initially but also went by some others. I was trying to find an effort that felt comfortable as my tendency is to start too fast and then die plus I wanted to take it easy on account of my knee. I think it worked. My breathing felt fine and my knee did too.
The first part of the course is an out-and-back up Icicle Creek Road. I was told it was all uphill but it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. More like steps than a steady climb and there were even a couple of descents on the way out. Interestingly I was passing people on the ups; that is new for me. And no one was going by me from what I recall.
I was feeling really good as I rounded the cone but then on the descent I kinda let myself accelerate and immediately the knee started complaining. So I chopped my stride and tried to use my quads to brake and cushion the impact. It did not really work so well.
As I passed the start four miles in Shelley and my father were by the side of the road cheering. That was super cool. I came this close to quitting as I passed them thinking that if my knee hurts this early I really should stop... and then it got better. And then half a mile later I did have to stop, but just to take my left shoe off and fix a sock wrinkle before putting it back on and starting back up. That rest did my knee even more good.
The course wound through the river park which was fantastic. I love trails and this also got us out of traffic which was a godsend on Oktoberfest weekend! On the trails my knee started to flair up again and I was thinking it's still not too late to walk back when we climbed out of the park and it improved. This was mile eight or so and I recall deciding that now I was going to finish. When the pain went away my knee felt fine and the pain was not constant.
At mile 9 there was a GU stop. I grabbed a packet but when I looked at my hand it was chocolate so I just stuffed it in my pocket thinking this flavor would give me a filmy mouth. They had water and GU drink every two miles and in deference to my knee I walked though each water station one while drinking a cup of fluid.
Leaving the food stop we went down the last decent on the course and I spotted three women that had been in front of me ever since I fixed my shoe. I tried opening it up just a tad on the downhill and this time it (my knee) felt fine so I sped up a little more and then a little more and passed them soon after the bottom of the hill. Nice.
There were not many people in sight ahead of me now. I rolled through the last water stop and picked out a person to see if I could catch them. And I did! I introduced myself and said hi and discovered that he was much more tired than me which is a total role reversal compared to all my previous running races. It must have pumped me up a bit because I left him behind and managed to pull in one more person just 100 m from the finish.
After I crossed the line I walked around for 10 minutes, did some stretching and got some fluids and snacks and met my father and Shelley. Then we waited for everyone else to finish. We were here with tons of friends from work who were running and walking and I gotta say, participating in an event with your buds is more fun than showing up solo.