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Adventure with Half Marathons #20 and #21

July 28, 2013

The last two Saturday mornings I spent doing half marathons #20 and #21 – the 4th and 5th of 2013. Each race has it own unique flavor, I have discovered, and these two certainly tasted different from my past race adventures.

There is an international organization I belong to called Half Fanatics. You have the opportunity to elevate your Half Fanatic status (denoted by the planets) by how many half marathons you do. I was able to join at the lowest level a couple of years ago as Neptune. To get to the next planet (Uranus) would take doing six halfs in six months. But no matter how you pronounce it, Uranus doesn’t sound so good. Reaching Saturn level requires doing 12 halfs in 12 months – doable, we (girlfriends Shaun and Diana) decided. We already have two halfs (starting May 2013), so we just have to find ten more to do before next May.

Mind you, I get nothing tangible for this accomplishment. I get to say I am a Saturn (just can’t do Uranus) Half Fanatic. And only people who know what a Half Fanatic is would ooh and ahh, and probably not even then :)) So what is the real payoff? Well, I plan on being a healthy 90 year old who finally wins her age group!

The races for the balance of this year have to be local and have a reasonable entry fee, so the next two we decided on were the Lakefair Run in Olympia, WA, July 20, and the Foothills Buckley to Orting Half July 27. Two half marathons in 8 days? Why not?

Lakefair Run Photo

Coming into the finish line at Lakefair

Lakefair had a beautiful course, lots of volunteers, and the overcast weather was perfect for a race.  There were 375 entrants and I finished 373rd. Not last. It was a smaller race than my norm and it was a fast course overall – my time was actually my best in my last five races.

Shaun and Diana and Fast Husband Tom waited many minutes for me to finish and cheer me in and it was heartwarming to hear them.

P1010279

Buckley to Orting was an even smaller (81 entrants ) race, and it also was a lovely course mostly following the paved Foothills trail. We carpooled to Orting where we were bussed to the starting line in Buckley.

Foothills Half Marathon

Tom and Diana Hull, Shaun Linse

What made this half marathon extremely different for me is that both my girlfriends decided they wanted to do this together, all three of us. I knew that meant they will go slower than they ever have as I trot along, but as Diana said, “If we do it together we don’t have to wait for you at the finish line.” Made sense. And Shaun said she just wanted to have a nice race and not look at her watch. So we said goodby to Fast Husband Tom and because there were so few entrants the three of us were last in very short order.

There were advantages to being last in this race – we had our own personal support. Not only did we have the race sweeper on his bike trailing us, we had the EMT jeep carrying water waiting for us at unexpected places, making sure we had enough hydration. The sun was a bit brutal at times and I poured a lot of that water down my back.

At water stop number 2, probably about mile 6, we spotted two women several hundred feet ahead of us who were walking the race. I commented that it would be pretty cool to pass them so we didn’t finish last, and Diana responded with, “We aren’t competitive, are we? We will just keep them in our sights.”

At mile 10 we rounded a corner and there they were. Diana and Shaun caught up and started chatting with them. As soon as I trotted up Shaun asked me if I was ready and then they took off running. So did I. Finally Diana and Shaun slowed down and Diana asked me if I was okay. When I didn’t respond she laughed, “We have enough distance, you can breathe now.” She was right, I couldn’t talk because I trying to find my breath. We actually did that a couple more times to make sure we didn’t finish last. No, we aren’t competitive!

buckley medal

I really appreciated Diana and Shaun doing the race at my speed. It was amazing to realize how fast a race can go by when three women talk the whole time.  And Fast Husband Tom got to take a nap while he waited.

Next race is Race for a Soldier on September 29 in Gig Harbor, WA, although I am looking at a couple earlier that month.  Want to get to Saturn!

a mile is still a mile

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