Seattle Half Marathon

High on the tails of my successful sprint triathlon, I thought it might be a good idea to run a half marathon. I know what you’re thinking, “Andrew, you are crazy!”

You would be correct.

But I did it anyway. I didn’t actually want to run a half-marathon, but there weren’t any 10K runs that were near anytime in 2010. My friend Shannon somehow convinced me that running a half-marathon wasn’t a bad idea, so I started preparing. Shannon told me about a book called Run Less, Run Faster1:


Finally, runners at all levels can improve their race times while training less, with the revolutionary Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST) program.

Hailed by the Wall Street Journal and featured twice in six months in cover stories in Runner’s World magazine, FIRST’s unique training philosophy makes running easier and more accessible, limits overtraining and burnout, and substantially cuts the risk of injury, while producing faster race times.

The key feature is the “3 plus 2” program, which each week consists of:

-3 quality runs, including track repeats, the tempo run, and the long run, which are designed to work together to improve endurance, lactate-threshold running pace, and leg speed

-2 aerobic cross-training workouts, such as swimming, rowing, or pedaling a stationary bike, which are designed to improve endurance while helping to avoid burnout

With detailed training plans for 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon, plus tips for goal-setting, rest, recovery, injury rehab and prevention, strength training, and nutrition, this program will change the way runners think about and train for competitive races.

My biggest problem is that by time I got the book and decided to run, I only had about 8 weeks to get ready instead of the 16 the plan called for. So I just launched into the middle of the training program which more or less worked. However, the last few weeks my perfectly laid plans started falling apart as I couldn’t find time (and sometimes couldn’t even find motivation) to run — especially the long distances.

One of the more miserable running experiences involved a 5:50am wake-up for a 6am run around Green Lake in the pouring rain.

I did have fun running down Roosevelt, across the University bridge, down East Lake Avenue East (past KIRO), around the south end of Lake Union, up West Lake Avenue North, back across the Freemont bridge, and up Stone Way.

The last week before the race was particular difficult because it had snowed in Seattle and I was only able to run once around Green Lake (about 3 miles) on Thanksgiving day; and the ground was still compact snow and ice.

The night before the race I was at an awesome wedding (which I’ll blog about later). The problem here was the wedding was about two hours away, by car, and copious amounts of alcohol were present. I managed to hold my liquor and get enough sleep and woke up Sunday morning raring to go!

Shannon’s roommate, Laurie2, gave us a ride to the start line. A quick pit stop to drop off my stuff, a bathroom check, and off we went:

Off to a good start, running beneath the monorail. I started running about 10 minutes after the gun went off, mostly due to the bathroom line. Fortunately, my official time is chip based.
Running through downtown Seattle. I was grooving out to Explosions in the Sky on my iPod, which I felt was a very good mood setting music to start with.
I think this is the turn off from I-90. Rockin' it!
Coming down the finish line in Memorial Stadium. The astroturf felt SO nice on my feet and give me the extra energy to sprint through the finish line.

They even had video of the finish line.

Greenlake running champs. Photo © 2010 Shannon Erickson.
'I'm a winner, bitch.' I'm pretty sure that's what he said here. Photo © 2010 Shannon Erickson.

My finish time was 2:29, which was about 9 minutes over my target of 2:20. I blame the nipple chafing, and the fact that running any distance past 10 KM is just gratuitous and unneeded. By the way, nipple chafing is the top 20 reasons guys should not run a marathon3. I stopped by a med tent at about mile 9 and asked for some tape (thinking I would just cover my nipples). Apparently, Vaseline is the more appropriate solution and they had plenty of that just waiting for people like me.

My other issue was something I believe to tarsal tunnel syndrome and some pain behind my left knee which could be hamstring tendonitis — but I’m an engineer, not a doctor.

Gray's Anatomy FIG. 442. The mucous sheaths of the tendons around the ankle. Medial aspect.

My plan for now is to not run, probably for the rest of the year. Then start looking for a nice 10K to run next year and I think I’ll also run Beat the Bridge.

And now for the stats:

Course Elevation

Run Profile

Overall Place4: 5911th (out of 7618)
Men Place5: 2794th (out of 3237)
Men 20-24 Place6: 220th (out of 246)

Average Pace7: 7:06 minutes/KM
Average Speed8: 8.5 KM/hour
Time9: 2:29:39
1st split10: 1:11:10
2nd split11: 1:18:29

Finishers Certificate

  1. Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, Ray Moss, et al 

  2. Kickedsarahinthefacetwice 

  3. hat tip to Katelyn Hackett 

  4. based on chip 

  5. based on chip 

  6. based on chip 

  7. based on chip 

  8. based on chip 

  9. based on chip 

  10. based on chip 

  11. based on chip