Oh, the Cascade Half Marathon...
While training for the Holiday Half, I always had Cascade in the back of my mind for a back-up race. I ran it last year and did awesome, surprising myself and PRing by several minutes on the flat course.
Unfortunately, racing back-to-back half marathons isn't necessarily a great idea (Dec. 13 and then Jan. 17). First you have to recover from the first one. Then you have to taper for the second one. And in between was Christmas and all it's excitement and activities. Not the best recipe for success.
I did really well working out over Christmas break, but I did a lot of cross training and not tons of running miles. Honestly, I was a bit burned out from months of training and then the disappointment of missing my goal by so far.
I waited until the last minute to sign up (Thursday, I think) because I was scared of what might happen. I knew I wasn't 100% prepared and was a little gun shy after December's failure. I was also watching the weather forecast and it looked terrible.
I finally decided to pull the trigger and stop being scared. I would give it my best and run for fun - no pressure.
Brad went with me Friday night for a short, easy shakeout run in the dark:
We woke early Sunday to very heavy rain. It was supposed to pour all day with moderate wind. But I couldn't complain... I knew that when I signed up. Last year was wet and windy, too. In fact, I blame that southerly headwind for making me miss the 2-hour mark in 2015!
The sun rose as we drove south to Turner - and by that I mean the clouds got turned from black to dark gray. We parked behind the school, and I noticed that the wind wasn't so bad. Then we walked to the south side of the building... THERE'S the wind!
Waiting inside the dry school with heat and real bathrooms!
This was my motto for the day!
It was raining so hard that almost everyone stayed inside or huddled under the eves until right before the start. (and this was the south - windy - side of the building!) OK... let's do it!
In retrospect, I should have slowed a bit more to conserve energy. Instead, I ran too hard and ended up losing my steam. By the time it turned into a tailwind on the return, I was too pooped to take advantage.
After seeing me off at the start, Brad found a parking spot near mile 5 and waited with the camera:
As I passed, I told him that 3ish miles of constant headwind was really taking it out of me. He said I still looked strong.
Two days before, our 20-month-old cat got very sick and stopped eating. We'd spent lots of time, energy and money trying to figure out what was wrong. It was incredibly stressful and definitely affected my race day.
The vet was to call back Sunday morning between 9-11 (the exact time I'd be running!) with test results. Of course, she called right when I was passing Brad the second time. I saw him on the phone in the car and knew he was talking with the vet. Talk about a stressful moment.
I still managed a smile and wave as he snapped some photos out the window:
When I knew that my 2-hour goal was no longer possible, I changed my goal. I really wanted to just have fun and enjoy being so hardcore that I was racing in a crazy storm ;)
Also, last year's event was the first time I ever ran the entire 13.1 miles - without stopping for walk breaks or at aid stations. So I decided to make this the second time I ever raced a whole half marathon without stopping. It's a true mental challenge to keep going when your mind and body are telling you to stop!
I gave it my all on the home stretch and did manage to pass a couple people.
My official time was 2:07:49. I came in 172/265 - 12/25 in my division and 67/142 in women.
Now days, I usually place in the top third. Placing in the middle was really an indication of how fast this field was - these were hardcore runners, especially to come out in weather like that!
The rain and wind never let up. This was not a shower situation - this was wall-to-wall rain. Can you see how soaked I am??? I felt like I was wearing a swimsuit instead of shorts and shirt!
I was proud of this race. I didn't let a bad day get me down - I still enjoyed racing, even though it was tough. That's a good day in my book :)
Because I was soaked to the bone, I changed clothes in the car before heading to the cafeteria for hot soup, bread and cookies!
Hot, salty soup is amazing after running in the rain :)
Per our new tradition, I showered, put on my race shirt and then refueled with PizzaSmith:Half marathon No. 22 in the books! :)