My final half marathon of the year was the annual Foot Traffic Holiday Half Marathon. I intended to run this race last year, but the event sold out before I was able to register. Needing one final half marathon of the year to complete my goal of running 12 half marathon's in 2014, I knew this was the race for me.
I personally had some issues with Foot Traffic at packet pickup and their treatment of event sponsors (Ragnar sponsored the event). I've gone back and forth wondering if I should include this in my event race report. Because it is the Christmas Season, I'll just say that when we (Ragnar) sponsored Run Like Hell - the Terrapin folks were AMAZING and treated the sponsors with the respect I think you should get when you provide a race THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of dollars. I did not feel the same respect from Foot Traffic. Enough on that topic - I'll continue on with the actual race report now.
|Stolen from Instagram because|
it's a GORGEOUS picture
|Another beautiful image |
pre-race from Instagram
|Assembled Saturday night post holiday party|
|Starting line at Adidas|
|Cool image taken from above - Instagram|
They released all runners at the same time - promptly at 8:00 a.m. I think this event would be wise to consider a staggered start for future races. Releasing 4,000 runners at once (and without pace recommendations) can be rather sticky.The first mile was really packed as we were running down narrow neighborhood streets. I couldn't have run faster if I had tried. It was just too many people for the start of the course - a staggered release would have made things a lot safer and more enjoyable for runners.
The first few miles of the course serpentined around the neighboring streets of the Adidas Campus. Because the runners were very thick here, I was not concerned in the least about getting lost. Eventually we merged back onto the street we started on and finally the crowds started finding their pace. I was happy to see a good number of spectators along the course for such a cold morning. The weather was certainly in our favor that day and there was no rain to be found. As we ticked off the miles we encountered some heavy fog - it made for some beautiful vistas as we ran. During this stretch I noticed at one point I was surrounded by a group of running snowman. I had considered dressing in the exact same costume the day before so this happenstance cracked me up. They were nice enough and ran on without me ...laughing all the way. Right after the snowman mobbing I spotted my friend Becky on the course. I knew this was her very first half marathon so I ran alongside her for a few minutes asking her how things were going. She was looking good and I waved her on ahead me. I had no desire to run this event fast in any way, especially considering I hadn't run more than 7 miles since the Run Like Hell Half in October. Nope - today was all about running by feel and I was not feeling speed today.
Around mile four I started feeling not so great so decided I would stop at the next course HoneyBucket which showed up at the mile 5 water station. The line was longer than I would have liked but I knew I wasn't running this event for a PR so I stepped off the course for a pitstop. When I emerged from the HoneyBucket I realized I had lost yet another snowflake from my costume. Grrr. But oh well - time to run!
Once I was running again (and feeling much better) I noticed a flashing motorcycle policeman coming toward us and I realized the fastest of the runners were upon us for the return portion of the event. It's always fun watching the fast people sail past us on a race. More miles into the course and a few groups of Christmas carolers (nice touch by the race organizers), I began to wonder exactly where the return portion of the race would hit. I was nearing mile 7 and all I could see was fog ahead. As I was nearing the turnaround I spotted Emily on the return, it was great to see her and seeing another familiar face gave me a charge of energy!
|LOVED having carolers on the course!|
(My friend Wendi in the red Santa
skirt on the right )
I ran around the little cones and headed back on the first real uphill of the course. I heard after the fact that people were challenged by the hills but they didn't bother me much at all, although the were slight they did go on for a while but overall I liked that it worked some different muscles in my legs. On this slight uphill return I spotted fellow Ragnar Ambassador Wendi and her daughter and Brady on the course. It always gives me a burst of energy to see familiar faces.
I was now on the hunt to catch up with Emily and as I kicked it into gear, I felt the snowflake I had pinned to my back fall off and hit my calf as I ran off. Another snowflake down. I was wondering if I would finish the course with any left at this point.
I finally caught up with Emily around mile 9 and learned she was on pace to set a PR. Awesome! I stayed with her for about a half mile and tried to get her to come with me and really kill that record but she opted to hang back. The second half of the course was physically harder for me because we were running straight into some serious sunshine. I didn't think to bring my sunglasses for a December race in Oregon and I was having a hard time looking ahead. Just as I was coming up to another water station I decided to hit one more HoneyBucket (and lost one more snowflake), I came across the group of Snowmen once again - I had caught up! This made me laugh because if there is one thing I am - it is an even racer. I pick a pace and pretty much stay right on target for the entirety of the event. I really should pace more.
|The snowmen I saw throughout the course|
After my race I made my way back to the indoor sponsor area and helped out at the Ragnar booth a little more. I don't think I was nearly as helpful post race as I was pre-race but I did talk to some great people. The shirts were a hot commodity as we gave away every single shirt we brought! All in all it was a really nice day for my final half marathon of 2014. My final time was 2:10 - not a record by any stretch, but considering I had some stops in there (approx 3 minutes each time), I think this is a respectable showing for a race I was just out to run for the fun of it!
PS - Emily DID earn a PR on the course!
|Me and Emily at the celebration area|