We woke up at 5:00 to grab a bus to the Seattle Science Center where the start of the race was. We met up with Renee and took some pictures. Then at 7:00am the race began! By 7:50, our corral had moved up enough to actually cross the starting line! haha. We ran for a mile or so and then used the porta-potties (for like the 4th time that morning!) and then ran the rest of the race. It was fun to have live bands every so often - I wish they were more often - and it was nice to have so much room (side to side) to run. Entire streets, on ramps, off ramps, bridges, over passes, etc.. were blocked off for us. There were around 20,000 people doing either the full marathon, 1/2 marathon or 8 K race.
This time was the hardest 1/2 marathon I've ever done. The first 7-9 miles were actually super fun. I loved running with Amanda and Amy again and enjoyed the gorgeous views of the Puget Sound, Downtown Seattle, and Lake Union. It was also really nice NOT to be running in 90 degree, 100% humidity weather. But the last few miles were brutal. Around mile 9, we ran through a super super long tunnel where my GPS watch lost the GPS signal and so didn't track the distance for a good mile or so... meaning that I had no idea how much further we had to the end. I usually rely heavily on knowing that. I pep myself in my head, "Only 2.5 miles to go... wow, already another 1/2 mile down... now almost 1... almost 1 mile left. YAY, only .75 more to go..etc..." My feet were hurting, my hips were hurting and I had no clue how much more distance was before me, and the finish line was out of sight and uphill - terrible end for a race. I pretty much moaned for the last 2 miles. I wanted to walk a bit and not push myself too hard so we walked through the water stations towards the end of the race, and even about 100 feet further past the water station around mile 10, but then my friends were like, "ok... you good now? lets just finish" and so somehow I just kept running, putting one foot in front of the other. We all crossed the finish line together, somehow picking up the speed at the very end, and finished around 2:30. Not my best time, but pretty good considering how little I trained.
The problem was, I hurt. I hurt bad. Both my calves cramped up and my legs just ached, and my left foot was abnormally painful with every step. I almost threw up getting my medal and some chocolate milk then happily hobbled into Chris' arms. He, Gwen and Freddy came up to Seattle to meet us at the end of the race and spend the rest of the afternoon with our Grad School friends. I saw them cheering for me about 100 feet from the finish line and I just about cried. I love that Chris braved the crowds and parking mess (Freddy in a hiking backpack, and Gwen in a stroller) to do that for me.
Us runners took long bath/showers at Amy's and then played a few games and talked so more until the babysitters came to watch our children so we could go out to eat as adults. Justin, Amy, Chris, Amanda and I met Brooke at this yummy Mediterranean restaurant near their house and had a really really pleasant time together. I miss all of these dear friends so much and enjoyed every minute with them.