Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Biggest Loser Half Marathon Race Recap

This race was very different than almost every other race that I have ever run. There were several reasons why this one was so different and the first thing that made it different took place a few weeks before the race even took place! I received an email stating that the race location had been moved from Seattle's Gas Works Park to the Port of Everett. I have never had a race location be moved before, I almost pulled out of the race (they offered a refund) but I decided to stick with it, and I'm sure glad that I did! 
The second thing that happened different with this race is; I bonded with my new friend Shannon on Facebook through a local running group. We kept each other posted on our other races/training runs and we met for the first time the morning of the race! 
Shannon is a lovely lady and I so glad that I was able to meet her finally! 

I ran this race after getting off my graveyard shift, drove the 45 minutes to Everett and tried to take a mini nap before the race but that didn't help. So I gave up on that and got in line early for the packet pick up. :D This is pretty normal for me, to pick up my packet the day of the race because my work schedule does not allow for me to go to the early packet pick ups. 
Me waiting in line for my packet, freezing my butt off because the sun hadn't fully risen yet.
So yet another thing that I found weird is how they organized the packet pick up. First you got in a line to get your bib and pins, then went to another line to get you bag and shirt then yet another line if you wanted any extras... I'm just glad I was early so I didn't have to wait too long in that mess!
In the middle of the pre-race set up I met with the Seattle Green Lake Running Group, I have been a part of this group on Facebook for while but this is the first time I've ever really been able to meet anyone in person! (My work schedule interferes with group events.) I was so glad to finally meet these wonderful people!
Pre-Race photo with the Seattle Green Lake Running Group!
The pre-race festival was pretty fun this time! They had a stage and previous Biggest Loser contestants hosting and entertaining us before the race. They were funny and full of inspirational stories. That was a great experience to be able to hear them speak.

Guest Starring:
Vinny Hickerson Biggest Loser
Vinny Hickerson
 Jackson Carter Biggest Loser
Jackson Carter
 Dan and Jackie Evans Biggest Loser RunWalk
Dan and Jackie Evans
During the pre-race festivities Vinny Hickerson took an on stage selfie, which I made it into! Definitely the first time I have ever been in a famous person's selfie! 
Hard to see but I am on the right, in the pink! 
When we lined up for the start there was yet another strange thing happening that I have never seen before. There were race pacers missing! I am not sure what happened but we were missing the walking pacers, which was actually a pretty important pacer for this race considering this was a Run/Walk. Thank fully I hadn't planned on using a pacer. 
Once the race got under way things went really well. There was really great on route support, plenty of water stations and the second to the last station even offered GU gels, which was awesome! I even got to high five this cool cat! Not gonna lie, I thought that was by far one of the coolest things that I have ever done!
Now the sappy emotional part of the race day that has never happened for me in the past. In the past I have drug my little sister, my best friend and my mom to a race or two. But nothing like that has ever happened to me before. 
First off my friend Tricia got up super early on her Sunday morning and drove up from Tacoma to support me during my race, now let's put this is perspective. That's an hour and half drive one way or 65 miles one way! That's so awesome! Then during the race she met me on the course three times with a fun sign and cheers of encouragement. This was so inspirational for me, it was so great knowing that someone was there supporting me in my endeavours. 
Tricia, such a great friend! Here's her advice on being a great spectator!!! 

This race was so great for runner viewing too, there are several city switchbacks (I guess you can call them.) So that made it a very spectator friendly race, which is rare for marathons. I was actually pretty worried about the course before hand because of the switchbacks but it turned out to be fine because we were running on different streets with different views. I have run races with back and forths on the same road or trail a few times and that makes for a very hard and boring race. This was nothing like that.
Half Marathon
The only hard part about the course was the last mile, which is something that hasn't happened to be before during a race either. They changed the course without telling us, the last mile isn't even on the map correctly. They made us run through a parking lot to get to the race distance, but it also added .28 miles to the half, making it longer than a true half. The last mile was hard because you could see the finish and they made you turn off and do another mile and then go back to the finish. Knowing you are that close, it's like a horrible teaser that just makes you want to cry, especially since it wasn't on the map! So it was completely unexpected! 

I am not sure why it says I was gardening for 13.38 miles but this is what my MapMyRun app recorded as the race distance and map. You can see the added loop around the parking lot on this map. What you can't see, and I wasn't able to get photos of, is that during the race we were able to see beautiful views of the Puget Sound Naval Complex and the Puget ound. There were also many very beautiful mansions that we passed along the route. 
However, at the finish there was a huge surprise waiting for me! Not only did Tricia manage to make it to the finish line on time but so did Anthony! I've never had a surprise like this at a race and boy did I love it! I saw him in the huge crowd of people before he even waved at me, I wasn't even looking for him or expecting him! He surprised me by showing up and he also presented me with a bouquet of flowers and a candy apple! How incredibly sweet is that?!?!
This race was also special because I PRed! So Anthony and Tricia were able to see me take a full 12:33 off my fastest time, which is an incredible amount of time to be able to take off all at once! My official stats: 15 in my division, 170 overall, finish time 2:21:18:2 and 10:47 per mile pace. 

Crossing the finish line Sunday was a very special day for me. Thank you all so much for the love and support!

Once I receive my official race photos I will update this post. Thank you for reading.

Keep on Running!