The morning of the Mercer Island half marathon the weather was overcast and high clouds not to cold and not to warm - In my opinion it was perfect running weather - a tad chilly to stat but once warmed up it was great. The start/finish moved this year to the community center at Mercerview and the course was revised since last year. I ran the 10k last year so I did not really know the old course. Traffic was horrible - I guess last year was easier because we go there so much earlier and it was pouring rain. I sat on the exit for 10-15 min alone - Kyle road his bike to the race and beat me there. I finally found a spot that was so far away it gave me a chance to warm up as we made our way to the start to meet up with Bryan and Coach Col with only a few minutes to spare before the 9am start. I did not have enough time to use the restrooms once more before the race. We gave our stuff to sherpa Kyle and lined up.
The start area was not really the best - it was hard to find enough space to stand. We sort of placed ourself in a good pace section not to far back or to far forward. Once the race started it took about 15 seconds or so to cross the start line and we were off. Now Coach Col had told Bryan and I that she was going to run easy the first couple of miles (like sub 9s) then ramp it up a bit and finally go hard the last 3 miles or so.. She also told oh no big deal we should be able to run together.. hahaha soo funny. First mile out - super crowded just trying to not trip over someone and so on - my garmin beeps for mile 1 - 8:19 - yeah I guess sub 9... But I felt ok so I stayed with her. She continued to pick up the pace. I was so focused on staying with her I barley noticed the gradual hills. Mile 2 was 8:15, mile 3 8:10, mile 4 8:02, mile 5 7:54! I have to look twice... really sub 8 min where did that come from. I was so happy to see Kyle so I could toss my long sleeve shirt which even tied around my waist was making me to hot. Mile 6 was still an 8:10. Col just kept cruising along running as strong as always and I started to let her go. Now my goal was sub 1:54:00 or a 1:50:00. I knew I was running faster than my dress rehearsal run a couple of weeks ago and I started to feel it a bit. I kept going hard but never caught back up to Coach Col - I did manage to keep her in my sights for a mile or two. I just knew I had to maintain mid 8 min miles to make my goal time so I kept at it.
Around mile 7 or 8ish I started to need a restroom but every time I passed one at the water stations they were occupied or had a line - no way was I going to wait so I just kept running. My pace slowed but stayed in range - mile 7 8:22, mile 8 9:18 (not sure what happened there).
I think Bryan caught me somewhere during mile 8. He was doing pretty well and inevertantly helped distract me from needing that restroom - though it still took a lot of extra energy to control it. I was able to pick the pace back up and keep going - mile 9 8:28. I should have eaten another gel but my digestive system wanted nothing to do with it so I sipped cytox as much as I could.
We saw Kyle again and then during mile 10 I saw my Mom and Jerry - with a HUGE sign cheering - my mom with her camera going a mile a minute. Bryan and I gave them hugs and were back at it so mile 10 was 8:42. Well worth it.
I did my best to stay with Bryan so mile 11 was a strong 8:06. Then I started to fade on the rolling hills mile 12 was 9:08. Coach Col and Kyle where in front of the finish shoot cheering me up the final hill - which was a killer. All I wanted was a restroom and a bottle of water lol. It was strange they had no medals, but I guess that is ok - though I'm a tad bummed since I did PR.
I finished right at my goal with a 1:50:19 chip time :)
A full 10 min off my previous half marathon time of 2:01. I am very happy with my times - especially for such a hilly/challenging course. I'm also pleased that i ran so well even though I had a sore throat since Thursday and had bathroom issues. The best part as Coach Col yelled at me at the finish "you have the monkey off your back" - I have gone sub 2 now who knows how fast I can go in Vancouver especially with coach Col's help ;)
I don't have many pics yet but when I do I will be sure to post them.