2015 Mercer Island Half-Marathon: I walked the talk and ran the Run

Mercer Island Half-Marathon race winners Uli Steidl (1:09:47) and Katie Conlon (1:18:18).

Mercer Island Half-Marathon race winners Uli Steidl (1:09:47) and Katie Conlon (1:18:18).

March Madness is over for Oregon Ducks fans for another year, though they went down swingin’ (like Sonny Liston) against Wisconsin. Earlier last Sunday (March 22), I labored my way through the Mercer Island Half-Marathon. It took my best punch just to finish it, but I did, as I said I would in my last post.

Me at finish lineIt was my second of two March Madness runs, so-called because they are back-to-back in the height of tournament frenzy, and because I am never well-trained for them — especially Sunday’s half.

On the positive side, I ran the entire clockwise loop around the island — the first time since 2010 that I’ve done the Mercer Island Half-Marathon Run instead of the Half-Marathon Walk. In the last four years, as my left ankle healed from my 2011 surgery, I did the Walk but gradually walked less and ran more of the event, leading up to last year’s Walk when I ran about 11 of the 13.1 miles.

Near the startSo it felt good to run the entire distance, just as I did for the Seattle Half-Marathon last November. My time Sunday was 3:09:05 (a 14:26 per mile pace), a modest improvement over the 3:17:25 (15:04 per mile) time a year ago and the 3:17:29 (15:05 per mile) time I recorded for the Seattle Half. Full results are here. I’ll take it; this might be as good as it gets.

Some 1,599 runners finished the race, and I beat only 23 of them, coming in 1,576th (though I finished nearly an hour ahead of the last-place runner). Had I done the Half-Marathon Walk, I would have come in 62nd out of 204 participants.

Running the Run and Walking the Walk

My pictureI had a discussion in my 2014 Seattle Half post about the fairness of running the entire Walk. Is it fair to other Walk participants to run it all when they are walking most or all of it? Perhaps not, but my assessment is that few people really care either way. So I won’t discuss it further.

But here are some differences in doing the Mercer Island Half-Marathon Run instead of the Walk:

  • MIH6You get to sleep in a bit. The Walk starts at 7:30 a.m. and the Run at 9 a.m.
  • Conversely, you finish later — around noon, rather than mid-morning.
  • And, in my case, doing the Run means you finish long after most everyone else. Doing the Walk means the elite runners start bolting past you around Mile 9, and you have a mass of runners and walkers crossing together around 10:45 a.m. In doing the Run, there were just three or four of us near each other in the last mile to the finish line.
  • Both 10K and 5K runs are also part of this event; those start at 8 and 8:30 a.m. By the time I finished, most participants had headed out and taken all the food with them — only bananas, bagels and bottled water were left for me. As I sipped water and ate a banana, crews started taking down the finish line and the food tents.
  • Ah, but the photographers stayed, at least until a few runners after me finished. As you can see, my own pictures in this post (taken after I finished) are devoid of many runners.
  • I ran stretches of the run alone; lonely indeed, although most of the time there runners in sight both ahead of and behind me.
  • I could see and feel the great community support this event gets! Volunteers at the water stations stayed until the very last runner passed by, which was very cool. I also was able to get a much-needed energy gel pack at Mile 8; oftentimes, those are gone early.

MIH3I do like this run; I’ve done the Mercer Island Half-Marathon 12 times now — every year since 2003, except for 2008 when I had a torn hamstring. I was a race volunteer that year. My best time for this race is 1:57:31, which I did in 2004 (my half-marathon PR is 1:55:33, also that year).

Risky business, these longer runs

Also, it was my 35th half-marathon overall and 178th road race since 2001 (including 21 marathons). I enjoy this distance, but do worry about the toll it takes on my damaged ankle. Though I experienced very little pain both during and after this race, I know it is risky to do these long runs, especially without significant training.

MIH1I will keep monitoring my ankle’s health, and continue running at a pace I can endure, as I count my blessings that I can still run. During my painful days both before and after my surgery in 2011, I never imagined running an entire half-marathon again. It felt good to be able to do it.

What’s next? I am doing the Seahawk 12K Run in Renton on April 19, upgrading to the 12K after doing the 5K the last two years. This event draws loud, spirited Seahawks fans and is always a lot of fun.

In May, it’s back to bicycling for some big rides (7 Hills of Kirkland and Flying Wheels Century).

Congrats to Microsoft friend Robyn Wilson on her fabulous time (1:38:50)!

Thanks for reading. Till next time.


About monteenbysk

I am not an elite runner or bicyclist, though I am friends with many. I run, walk, and bike for fun and the health benefits. I can get you to the finish but probably not to the Boston Marathon (and especially not to the Tour de France).
This entry was posted in 5K, Bicycling, Marathons, Mercer Island Half-Marathon, Running, Seahawks 12K Run, Seattle Marathon and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 2015 Mercer Island Half-Marathon: I walked the talk and ran the Run

  1. johnswen says:

    It’s great you are able to run on that ankle again. I never thought you’d be able to do that again either. Go Buckaroos!

  2. monteenbysk says:

    Thanks, John! I run gingerly, but I’m very happy to be able to do it at all.

  3. Pingback: 2015 12Ks of Christmas 12K: Flatter course now, but hills still grueling | Monte's running commentary

  4. Pingback: 2016 Mercer Island Half-Marathon: Modest improvement but still back of the pack | Monte's running commentary

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