I’m just getting around to writing about this, almost a month after the fact. The Rock ‘n Roll Seattle Marathon didn’t go as I had hoped. Rather than do my 21st marathon, I ended up doing my 29th half-marathon. But I am over the disappointment.
Here’s a quick recap:
The day started out positive; my bad left ankle wasn’t incredibly stiff and didn’t hurt when I woke up at 3 a.m., an ungodly hour, that Saturday morning. I had high hopes. Also, I got a parking spot at Safeco Field near the finish line, got on the shuttle bus on time to the starting line in Tukwila, and my ankle continued to feel strong once I got there.
But the feeling I had was misleading. When I actually tried to run in the race, the ankle provided no support at all. My hope was to be able to run about two-tenths of every mile and walk the rest. That would allow me to run 5.2 miles of the race and, more importantly, keep up with the faster walkers. But the ankle was extremely wobbly and tender; I gave up trying to do this around mile 3.
All told, I ran about a half-mile the whole day — somehow, I mustered enough to run last two-tenths of a mile to the finish line.
Meanwhile, I was able to walk without significant pain in the first 10 miles, just not very fast. And I handled a steep downhill walk toward Seward Park (mile 5) OK. But I lost valuable time not being able to run or jog at all (that, plus a couple of pee stops).
When I got to mile 9 at the I-90 floating bridge, they had just stopped allowing any more would-be marathoners to go right to the marathon turnaround on Mercer Island. I had missed the cutoff; that meant I could only go left and do the half-marathon. Honestly, I didn’t know there was a 10 a.m. cutoff time; I certainly would have skipped that last pee stop at mile 8. But since my wave didn’t start the race until 7:45, and I couldn’t run much, I was going to be close anyway.
I was bemoaning that twist of fate until I got a little past mile 10, when my ankle pain flared up as I walked. I began to think it was probably a good thing that I wasn’t going to be out there for several more hours.
It was discouraging to walk down the viaduct and head toward the finish line with the half-marathon walkers, as the marathoners ran past me in a different lane toward the same finish line. Only a year ago, in my marathon No. 19, I remember how good it felt to be approaching mile 26 in full stride.
Like I said, I somehow ran (hobbled) to the finish line. I’d been walking as fast as I could, and passed a woman in the home stretch, and she didn’t seem to like that. So she broke into a run, and I tried to respond, but she left me in the dust. I crossed the finish line in 3:35 (16:27 mile pace), and wondered if I will ever do another race. Full results are here.
Only two years ago, I ran this same half in 2:13. Last year, I ran the full in 5:21.
We’ll see if I ever run another race. I seriously need ankle surgery, and am still deciding whether it should be ankle replacement surgery or something less aggressive at this time. Lots to consider. I will discuss it with my doctor this next week.
For the record, I’d love to be able to do one more marathon. That may be out of the question. But even if I could do a few more 5Ks, I could be happy. I have my new bicycle, so I have moved into biking and it is much better on my ankle than even walking. But I still really miss running.
Till next time. I plan to write about the most memorable moments in my decade of serious running.