Every so often, runners need to have a completely flat course, just to see how fast they can go. I got that opportunity on Labor Day, at the 2013 Overlake Medical Center Labor Day Half. I did the 4-mile run at this event; it covered almost a third of the half-marathon course through the Redmond-Woodinville area.
I never did have blazing speed, even injury-free, but these days I am happy just to finish a race before they take down the finish line. So it was nice to improve my per-mile pace in this run to 12:34, my best since my ankle surgery in August 2011. My overall time was 50:14, a PR since I have never done a 4-mile running event before. (I will take any PR I can get.) Full results are here.
A little history about this event: It used to be the Super Jock n’ Jill Half-Marathon, a Labor Day run starting and ending at Redhook Ale Brewery. There was a shorter-distance “fun run” as part of the event, but I never did it. I ran the half-marathon five times through 2009 or so (I base that on how many race shirts I have), and the course was centered further north in Woodinville and Bothell.
Some time after 2009, the race got a new sponsor (Overlake Medical Center) and the start/finish line moved south to Marymoor Park. And the course, even for the half-marathon, got flatter. The last six miles of the half-marathon and last 1.5 miles of the 4-mile run traverse the super-flat Sammamish River Trail.
Since I’m only running once a week now, and walking, bicycling or doing the elliptical machine the other days, I am never sure about my running stamina. But while I was sucking wind in the first mile of this race, I got stronger as my bad ankle loosened up and race wore on, and I finished strong.
Nice to cross that finish line. And nice to be running again, even if it’s slow going. Two years ago, I thought I’d have to give it up. Preserving my ankle is still my priority, but being able to run short distances without serious pain is awesome.
A bit more about this event:
- The turnout: Labor Day is not the best time to have a running event, even in sun and pleasant 70-degree temperatures. So many people are out-of-town for the three-day weekend. Still, there were 960 finishers in the half-marathon run, 94 in the half-marathon walk and 281 in the 4-mile run; 1,335 participants altogether (60 percent women).
- The half-marathon finish: I was done running, and had gotten my water, bananas and other goodies, in time to watch the top six finishers in the half-marathon. This will tell you how flat and fast the course was: Travis Boyd, 29, won the race in an amazing 1:07:47, a 5:10-per-mile pace. He beat well-known local runner Uli Steidl (1:08:59) by more than a minute, and didn’t even look tired. The top six all finished in under 1:15.
- The course: For those interested, this PDF shows the half-marathon and 4-mile courses pretty well: LDH_2013_Route-Map_no-crops.
- The vibe: Thankfully, there were no Zombies on the course. Also, there were runners slower than me. It was a nice, flat out-and-back through Redmond Town Center and along the Sammamish River Trail.
- The after-event: I didn’t stick around for it, but there was a barbecue and picnic, a rock band and a beer garden. Looked like fun.
What’s next: I am looking forward to riding in the Harvest Century bicycle ride (probably the 45-mile route) in Washington County near Portland on Sept. 29. It’s a nice late-season ride with my brother and a friend; I did this ride in 2011. I also plan to run another 5K before then.
Thanks for reading. Till next time.