>Racing>12Ks of Christmas Race Report
I always wish more people on RA would post race reports, so here is my contribution.
I get nervous before every race, and the longer the race, the more nervous I get. Adding baby care does not make things any easier. We eventually got everyone bundled into the car and drove up to Kirkland, WA in moderate rain. Fortunately, the rain stopped before we reached the race. However, the temperature was still in the upper 30s and it was cold and windy. I was very thankful my husband was there to help so I didn't have to strip down to my race clothes until just before the event started. I picked up my number and race shirt and waited for my husband and my daughter to get back from parking. The race shirt was a very nice dark blue technical T. After standing in the cold for about 15 or 20 minutes, race time finally rolled around. I left my husband my jacket and fleece pants and went over the start wearing capri tights, a LS tech T, my rain jacket, gloves, an ear warmer, and my baseball cap. (I find a baseball cap really helps in the rain, and the weather was threatening.) The 5K racers set off at 9:30, and the we 12K racers lined up for a 9:36 start. Thankfully, they started the races on time. I lined up just in front of the 8 mpm mark since in my experience, everybody always lines up in front of where they should. I was planning to run about 8:15 mpm.You can see a course map here: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=111516549220643460141.00048eabcea80b7ec250c&ll=47.664551,-122.204894&spn=0.043321,0.021817&source=embedThey blew the horn to start the race and we were off. We headed up Waverly Way, apparently on the water, but I really didn't notice any scenery whatsoever the entire race. Things were crowded. I was going as fast as I could given the crowding, but some people were passing me anyway. I decided to just go with the flow until things cleared a bit. We turned around, and I started wondering if I'd missed the 1K or 1 mile marks, and in fact, we saw the 2K mark shortly thereafter. It felt good to know we had only 10K left. For some reason, 6 miles seems much more manageable than 7.5. In the race description, they said there would be caroling stations are each kilometer mark. Here's the text from the caroling application: "To help showcase the community spirit of Kirkland while also initiating a fun and unique experience at the event, we are offering an opportunity for twelve local groups to each become one of the twelve "12 Days of Christmas" caroling stations that we plan to have along the route of the 12K run/walk event this year." Well, I saw nary a caroler, and I have to say I was disappointed. I was counting on the singers to distract me and help me get through the race. Anyway, at about 2K, we turned left onto Kirkland Ave. Here we encountered the first hill. At this point it also began to rain. I was glad to be wearing my Goretex rain jacket and cap; I barely felt the rain, at least on my upper body. It would continue to rain lightly for the rest of the race. The race began to feel not quite so easy. I slowed down a bit, but just tried to stay with the crowd. Things had thinned out, and I'd passed a fair few stragglers, and been passed as well. From here on out, I don't think my place changed much during the race. We turned right on 6th Ave, where we'd stay for about half the race. At this point, the road was open, so we were running on the sidewalk or in the parking lane. The hill seemed to continue for quite a while. Up, up, up, then a downhill, then more up. In the end, I think most of the uphills were in the first half to 2/3 of the race, which meant the second half had a good bit of downhill, some of it quite mild, which I think is ideal. The Ks kept clicking by. 4K was nice, because I knew we had only 5 miles to go. I remember being very pleased to see 5K - 'five golden rings' - for some reason. I was distracting myself by singing the 12 days of Christmas to myself. I'd planned to wear a watch but had left it in the car accidentally so I really had no idea how fast I was going. I just tried to keep pace with the people around me. When I felt good, I'd pass some people, but in general, I didn't make a big effort to move up. I was worried about how I might feel late in the race. We cut in towards the lake briefly and ran on 106th, then headed back out to 6th Ave. I vaguely remembered this from the course description and felt we were making progress. It was great to see the 6K mark and know we were halfway through, then the 7K mark and only 5K to go. I envisioned the 3 mile mark on my normal running route - I'd run 3 miles back at least four times in training. I always find it helpful to "pretend" I'm at the corresponding point on my training route during races. Finally, we cut down towards the water for the last time. I enjoyed a very nice downhill and was feeling very good mentally, though the K markers always seemed to come more slowly than they should have. Some annoying guy was talking on his cellphone at this point. He was clearly running much more slowly than he was capable of, perhaps just using the race as an easy training run, but I felt the cellphone was a bit much. The rest of us were slogging away at this point, waiting for the end! 8K came, the 9K. I thought of running 3200 m on the track and knew we had less than 2 miles to go. Somewhere between 9 and 10K, maybe at 10K, I started having significant pain in my calf, maybe also in my hamstring. Something similar happened in my 8 mile training run at about the same point, and I just backed off. I felt good cardiovascularly and did not want to back off, but I slowed just a little. I tried to stretch it out and just hoped it would hold for the remaining mile and a half. I think that after a year and a half of little or no weight bearing exercise, not even a significant amount of walking, my legs are still getting used to the pounding of running. Between 10K and 11K, the leg was definitely my primary focus. It was hurting quite a bit at 11K, but at that point, I just started ignoring it. I knew we had much less than a mile to go. I saw the 7 mile mark go by. Because of my calf, I didn't really pick up the pace as much as I would have liked, but I tried to stick with the runners around me, and most people were going somewhat faster. I saw the finish line, heard the announcer say we'd just passed 60 minutes, forgot about the leg, and kicked it in. My "easy" goal for the race was to run at 8:30 pace or faster. My moderate goal was to run 8:15 or faster. My stretch goal was to break 60:00, which is approximately 8:00 pace. Well, I didn't quite meet my stretch goal, but overall I was very pleased with the run. I'm a bit undertrained for a 7.5 mile race, and given that my 5K 6 weeks ago was only at 7:59 pace, 8:07 pace is a good result. I think my calf will be fine if I just give it a bit of a break next week. One of the reasons I signed up for this race is that longer races really motivate me to train. I think I'm better at shorter distances, and for a variety of reasons, I'm not ready to put in the higher mileage needed to really excel at longer races, but signing up for the longer races helps me with shorter races. I'm hoping to convert the training for this race into a fast(er) 5K in the next month or so. Having never run a 12K before, an auto-PR was a nice bonus.
Thanks for sharing. I LOVE reading race reports.
Suffering Benefiting from mature onset exercise addiction and low aerobic endorphin release threshold. Hoping there is no cure.
That was some nasty weather yesterday (I was running the same race too). Thanks for the race report, and great job pushing through those last couple miles!
Did you have a specific 5K planned? I don't have any vested interested in them or anything, but Nookachamps is a fun race mid January. I'm a little bummed I'll be out of town that weekend, as I've ran the 1/2 the last couple years. The really nice part is it finishes next to a gymnasium. So you can go inside, use the showers and get into dry clothes, and then enjoy all the soup or chilli they have! Certainly makes it easier to chit chat with friends after the race. Yesterday at Kirkland, I was freezing and ready to jet as soon as I was done racing.
Obi - I hope the race went well for you. I have actually been eyeing that Nookachamps race as it looks interesting and fun. However, I'm from south of Seattle, and I'm nursing a 10-month old, so I don't think it's in the cards. Hopefully sometime in the future I'll get to do it. I've done the Magnuson series 5K a couple of times now, and I really like it - especially being able to stay in my heated car until two minutes before the gun, so I'll most likely do that race again.