Our anniversary weekend away to take part in the Carnation, WA, Beat the Blerch half-marathon is now drawing to a close. In fact, I’m writing this as our plane descends toward Philly airport.
We had a lovely weekend with smooth flights and an enjoyable event.
The run was as good as we expected. We met ‘The Oatmeal’ (race organiser, cartoonist & runner) Matt Inman on a couple of occasions through the weekend.
We bought and scored a lot of ‘Blerchandise’ at the registration event. Here’s a photo of the collected items.
The race day started with a lazy breakfast at our hotel in Redmond. There were many groups of fellow runners staying at the hotel. The start time for the half was 9:30 so we didn’t have to rush to head out.
When we arrived, everything was setup already; the marathon was already underway and there was a nice general buzz around the place.
We posed and had our photos taken with gigantic tubs of Nutella and then put our bag into the checked luggage room.
We lined up together and they let us all go in groups of about thirty. I shot off quickly from the start and was soon racing along the side of the trail overtaking lots of people.
My initial pace reading was 8:15 which didn’t seem to bad… But the next was 8:04 and then it dropped further into the 7:50s. This was good but I felt it was too early to get times like that.
I hadn’t looked at the course profile so when we started a hill climb at about mile three I hadn’t expected it to continue until the turn around point at 6.5! It wasn’t very steep but it did just… Keep… On… Going.
I had all the food and drink I needed for the run on my belt so I didn’t slow for the rest stops. The first one had a guy dressed as ‘The Blerch’ chasing people and trying to tempt them to sit on his sofa (which they had shipped into the middle of the woods; good effort!).
Immediately after the turn around I hit a rest stop and took a cup full of birthday cake to help me get into the spirit of things. It was good but messy to eat with no fork. :-).
I was wearing my superman race shirt and getting lots of shout-outs from people as I went by. This certainly makes the event more fun but doesn’t add any encumbrance to your running effort; it is an easy dressing-up solution.
At one of the stops there was a Saskwatch lurking in the woods. Very cool.
I had intended to eat cake at the last stop but it was too busy. There was a 10k run too and the leaders had just hit that point so we all came together on the trail around the same tim; marathoners, halfers and 10kers. Very busy.
I managed to navigate my way through the bodies and some people were very thoughtful in keeping their ears open for incoming runners.
I had been keeping an eye on the clock and knew I might be close to a personal best so I really started to push the last couple of miles.
Kudos to the person who did the 10k in the Godzilla costume, too.
As I came into the final straight I turned the dial up again and finished smoothly. 1:38:47 on my watch.
I had more birthday cake to aid my recovery and then watched the 10k awards.
It then struck me that I should find out how I did, so I went in search of the computer:
Nice. 24th overall. 15th male. And 2nd in my age group. I’ll take it!
I waited around for my medal which is laser cut into wood and then headed out to find my wife on the trail.
Once I found her we ran back to the finish for her completion.
We hung out for a bit and then took a few photos.
To top-off the weekend I got to meet and old college friend who I hadn’t seen in 20 years.
All told it was a great weekend and the recovery margaritas were fabulous. A very well organised and fun time.