Sunday I ran the third annual See Jane Run half marathon in Seattle. The first one was my second half marathon, just three weeks after my first one; this was my 23rd half marathon. Crazy!
Although I've done quite a few half marathons now, this was a race of firsts for me. It's the first half marathon that I ran entirely alone; I was given a free entry to this race for helping See Jane Run at the Seattle Marathon Expo last November, so my husband opted to assist with ham radio communications for the race rather than run it, and my friend, Shannon, hasn't been running a lot lately. It is also the first race where I had a mishap that could have been serious. More about that in a moment, though.
See Jane Run puts on these half marathons and 5K races in several cities specifically to encourage women to run, so out of around a thousand people, there were only something like 25 men in the race. At the end, along with a medal you receive a champagne glass, See's chocolate, and champagne to fill the glass, hence the theme of the medal: I run for chocolate and champagne.
Life has been so crazy busy lately that I have not been training like I know I need to, so I tried to not have any expectations for time. Still, I can't help but hope to do better when I run, so I had an idea of what my time needed to be along the way to finish at least under 3 hours and preferably faster. I started out fast and tried to consciously slow down, but I was cruising along quite well the first few miles. I was on track to my best time ever. I waved to my husband as I went by where he was handling radio communications, and he managed to snap a picture as I went by:
That was within the first mile or so; I was feeling good, focusing on my orm and trying to keep my pace reasonable. I walked through the water stops and was running well.
Then the little mishap occurred. At around 4 1/2 miles, I was debating whether to take a walk break or keep going more. I was running on a sidewalk that was smooth, so I wasn't paying too close attention to where I was running. The next thing I knew, I was falling face first onto the sidewalk.
What?! It happened so fast, I had no way to stop the fall, and I landed hard, hitting my lip and splitting it open. I lay there a moment, stunned, and checked everything: teeth all there and not loose? anything broken or seriously hurt? A couple of kind women who saw me fall stopped to make sure I was okay; I got up and made sure I wasn't too badly scraped up or hurt and assured them I was going to be fine. Then I felt my lip and saw the blood; yep, split it right open, and I could feel my lip was getting fat. The women tried to find somewhere that was open where they could get me a napkin or something, but everything was closed. I waved them on and began walking, trying to figure out what to do. Then I realized I could at least use water from my water bottles to rinse off the blood.
I walked several minutes, still in shock that I had fallen, and finally went back to running. By now all thought of finishing fast was shot; the main thing was simply to finish. The course took us by a drinking fountain, and I took a few minutes there to rinse off the blood more and clean up as best I could. Fortunately my lip stopped bleeding pretty quickly, so no more cleanup was needed after that until I was done with the race.
The rest of the race was thankfully uneventful. My two minor complaints about this race are that they could use more frequent water stations, especially as warm as it was that day, and that they're not very nice in their course design: you pass within earshot of the finish line at about mile 9, so you hear all the cheers and announcements as you're going by, but you still have 4 miles or so to go. Oh, and their mile markers seemed to be off by a fair amount; I passed mile markers before my Garmin ever registered that distance, sometimes as much a quarter mile. They seemed to get a little farther apart toward the end, so my Garmin showed that the course was just under 13 miles.
Near the finish, the women who had tried to help me came by (I must have passed them somewhere along the line) and asked if I felt better. That was so nice of them; I appreciated that they had taken time to try and help me out. Then about a mile or so from the end, my phone rings: my husband calling. Uh, right; I didn't answer.
I was able to push the last half mile and finished the race in 2:53:52, not my best time but actually better than Seattle Rock 'n' Roll, which surprised me under the circumstances. I found my husband waiting for me and asked him to NOT try and call me during a race. He didn't realize that I wasn't finished; no, don't count on less than 3 hours at this point. Turns out he had heard on the radio that a runner had fallen but continued on; I guess one of the ladies told someone at a medical station about my fall and it got passed on to the race director. Yep, that would be me; graceful is NOT my middle name.
I got some food, picked up my glass and chocolate and headed for the champagne only to be told they were out, more was on the way. Sigh; it was obviously not a stellar day for me. We wandered around the booths a bit, then once the champagne was restocked, I was able to enjoy a bit of bubbly before we headed home.
Here's a picture of me with my medal and enjoying my champagne:
If you look closely, you may see my slightly fat lip and the beginnings of a bruise on my knee. My lip felt enormous, but when I finally could look in a mirror, it really wasn't that bad. I am so fortunate that I did not do more damage, especially since we are running Ragnar Northwest Passage this Friday and Saturday. And this was after managing to let a truck tail gate fall and hit me in the head, chest and arm the week before--no, graceful is not my middle name.
I do still plan to write a blog about something other than races soon, but I thought I'd better get this one written while the race and all that happened was still relatively fresh in my mind. Yes, there is more in life than running and races, but that's the most fun!