On Tuesday of this week, I celebrated 10 years of being in Alaska . . . . TEN YEARS!! Never ever in a million years did I think I would live in Alaska for 10 years, and let’s be honest, I never thought I’d live in Alaska period.
Since moving to Alaska, I have run something at the Run Fest race series 6 of the last 9 years. I have usually done the half marathon, but I did the 5K when I was 7 months pregnant and the marathon the following year 10 months postpartum.
2009 Skinny Raven Half-Marathon 1:36:36
2010 I’m not sure why I didn’t run this year.
2011 Skinny Raven Half-Marathon 1:39
2012 I was training for the Twin Cities Marathon and didn’t want to jeopardize that performance.
2013 Skinny Raven Half-Marathon 1:30:35
2014 Snow City 5K 22:51 (*Ran 7 months pregnant.)
2015 Moose’s Tooth Marathon 3:06:34
Last year at this race, I was injured, and I went to watch my athlete, Sam, run the marathon. (I was also supposed to do the marathon.) It was hard to watch everyone race. I longed to be out there training again, and I only hoped that I could come back stronger.
The next 8 months were filled with discomfort from my hip, a lot of money to see professionals, and a lot of sadness knowing I had been in the best shape of my life the previous summer. I was finally able to start training again in May, but I figured my race performance this summer would be pretty dismal.
The day prior to the Skinny Raven Half Marathon (Saturday), I was able to have my mother-in-law watch Cullen, which was so nice and allowed me to really rest up for the race. I worked at the coffee shop for a few hours and even watched a movie by myself. (I do not remember the last time I did that!) I know being off my feet helped with my performance.
Per usual, race day morning, I spent about 30 minutes warming up with some easy jogging, drills, static stretching, and striders. I felt ready to go by the time the race was going to start. The weather was perfect for racinglow 50s, overcast, and cool. There was a drizzly Pacific Northwest rain, but that didn’t bother me.
Going into the race I was hoping to run a 1:25:xx finish time. I looked up the pace for a 1:25:30 finish time, which is an average of 6:31 minutes per mile, so I told myself I had to maintain a 6:30 pace. This sounded pretty scary, but I also was optimistic I could do it.
I’ve said before that I can tell within the first mile how my run or race is going to go. Maybe it was the downhill during the first mile, but I felt really good starting out. My stride felt smooth, I felt in control of my breathing, and my energy felt strong.
I ran with a couple of the guys for the first few miles, but there weren’t any other women around me.
Mile 1 6:19 (downhill)
Mile 2 6:28
Mile 3 6:31
Mile 4 6:38
I got a little worried when I saw the split for mile 4, but I think it was slower because this is the potion of the trail where we run through several tunnels and the trail becomes more wooded and my GPS never picks up a good signal. I tried to not get too worried, but I also knew I had to buckle down and stay focused if I wanted to achieve my goal time.
Around mile 4 my boss, Neil, joined me on his bike and biked with me the rest of the way, which was so nice of him! I really think it helped distract me and helped me stay focused. Otherwise I would have been by myself with no one to push me.
Mile 5 6:31
Mile 6 6:40
Mile 7 6:35
I felt relatively good through the half. Overall, I still felt strong, but it also started to get a tough at this point. Luckily when I turned around, the next couple miles had a slight downhill, and I always feel like I am flying during this part.
Mile 8 6:18
Mile 9 6:22
I believe it was somewhere during these couple of miles a moose ran across the race course twice and impeded us runners. I had to slow down for a few seconds because no one was sure where it was going to go. You could tell the poor guy (gal?) was really scared and not sure what to do as it was trapped by the runners, a fence, and the road. It was pretty scary and definitely the closest encounter with a moose I’ve had during a race.
It always seems like the last few miles drag on forever during the race, but now looking back on it, they went by quickly as I don’t remember much about them. I remember there was hardly anyone out cheering during the last couple of miles, so once again, I was glad to have Neil there with me.
Mile 10 6:35
Mile 11 6:33
Mile 12 6:27
Mile 13 6:32 (gradual uphill + steeper hill)
I was so incredibly happy to see 1:24:xx coming down the homestretch! I had really just hoped to run a 1:25-something, so to run a 1:24, absolutely made my day!