Date/time: Sunday, April 13th, 2014
Registration/price: 10k - $37-50; Half $60-75
Location: Horseshoe Lake; Woodland WA
Events offered: 10k and Half Marathon
Number of runners: about 800
Beneficiary: Scott Hill Park and Sports Complex
Swag (t-shirts): Purple tech tee shirts (men's and women's) with "Blooms to Brews" on the front and some tulips, and the sponsors on the back. Half marathon finishers received a super cute purple solo cup bottle open medal (yeah, just read that again and let it sink in.... picture below!)
Parking: There was lots of parking, even though I got there just 20 minutes before the start of the race.
Bag check: Because of the proximity to parking, there was not bag check. No biggie.
Course: The course is very flat and very beautiful. You see the Lewis River, Columbia River, Horseshoe Lake, Mt. St. Helens, and the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens.
The race: All week I was kind of anxious about this race. It would be my first half marathon of the year; and it was also first half since the Holiday Half, when I'd strained my quad, and since I sprained my ankle in January. I'd had a long string of bad half marathons even before that, and I just didn't feel ready. I didn't feel like my training was there, and everything else in my life wasn't helping either. But I still woke up and went to the race... thinking I just needed to FINISH. And finish healthy, but pushing myself. I ended up deciding I'd try for a sub-2 half, and if it fizzled out somewhere in the middle or at the end, whatever. And the first few miles felt hard, especially since I'd taped my ankle too tight, and my toes got tingly, and I struggled for about a minute to tear off the athletic tape... but then everything started to feel better. I was keeping up a pace that would definitely get me to my goal. I felt pretty good. And while I was afraid of straining my quad or puking in an epic way at the finish (like the Hop Hop Half last year)...I just decided to go for it. I didn't feel any injuries coming on, and I wanted to finally get under 2 hours so bad... SO SO SO bad... so I pushed. While the last 2 or so miles felt hard, I managed to finish in 1:53:51!! About a six+ minute PR :) I also overdressed. I was planning on wearing shorts, a tank, and arm sleeves, because it was supposed to be a nice day... the morning of, it was sunny but in the high 30's! So i decided to switch out a jacket for the arm sleeves. MISTAKE. Most of the course was in direct sun, so I warmed up FAST and had to take off my jacket just a few miles in.
Post-race: After the race, there were gummy bears, water, Gatorade, bananas, and bread w/butter. Each runner could get a pulled pork sandwich and an Alameda Brewing beer (Yellow Wolf IPA or PTown Pils), but they ran out of pulled pork! (I wasn't going to eat mine, but I figured someone else would have wanted to eat it. IT SMELLED SO GOOD). The beer was alright. Bottled beer or another cup of beer was available for $5 each. Photos: I LOOOOOVE that photos are free on Facebook!!!
Results: I PR'd. Didn't get anything for my age group (apparently all the fast people showed up). But I was thrilled to finally get that goal I'd been chasing for over a year!