Hooray! I ran the Mercer Island Half Marathon today, finishing in 2:06:23 (this is my watch time - actual gun time will be about 2:08 since it took me two minutes to get to the line after the start). This works out to be 9:34 minutes/mile on average. I'm very happy with these times; they're way faster than my goal times (I was shooting for 2:15 overall.)
I'm also happy that I didn't feel any real discomfort during the run and feel good now (we'll see how tomorrow is.) Somewhere around six or seven miles in, I got a small stitch in my side, but I managed to work through that. I was actually mostly concerned at the start about being cold and wet. We started out in a pretty heavy rain, so the waiting around part basically sucked. Fortunately, it cleared up during the run, so I wasn't uncomfortably cold, wet, or hot.
As with most races, I started out quick and kept having to hold myself back to keep on my target pace. I did an OK job following my plan of slowing on the uphills and speeding up on the downs. I walked through the water stations, taking Gu gels every forty minutes or so. I also walked a bit on the uphills in the last few miles as my heart rate was starting to get high (like 195). With maybe .8 miles to go, I caught up to Eric, and we both sprinted to the finish. Well, I should say he sprinted to the finish. I sprinted to about 50 yards short of the finish and staggered across the line. (I like to think I let him win. He has a fragile ego...)
The biggest issue was the hills; this is not a flat course (my GPS says it +323/-494 which is a lot of up and down when you're running). Worse, from 10.95 miles to 12.21 miles, there's a 150 foot climb that sucked the life out of me. (Fortunately, the last .9 mile is downhill.)
I must say, one of the nice surprises were the little kids cheering by the side of road. They'd hold their hands out to high-five the runners. I always got a charge out of that and found new energy. Thanks, kids. It was also great to have Kellie and Kristen come out to cheer us on at the finish. Bruce, of course, was already at the finish too and was very vocally supportive.
After the race, my calves cramped so I had to stretch for a while. I had hoped there would be Gatorade or something at the finish, but they just had water. (The run was well organized, but they certainly were not extravagant with perqs for the runners.) A bunch of us went out afterwards for lunch at the Seattle Yacht Club. Nothing like a Bloody Mary, a bacon cheeseburger, and fries and onion rings to celebrate an accomplishment like this.
All in all, I'm really happy with how things worked and feel good about having done this. Not sure what's next, maybe the Issaquah Sprint Triathlon. Right now, a nap sounds good...