Saturday, June 22, 2013

Alaska Day 4 - Running the Anchorage Mayor's Half Marathon

6 AM Saturday morning, a beautiful cool, clear day and perfect to run a half marathon.


Yesterday I walked the mile to the Sheraton to pick up my race packet, stopping at Starbucks on the way for a grande cappuccino.  The expo was small, just a few vendors and not much to browse, and the race "packet" itself consisted only of my bib and the Marathon/Half Marathon Official Guide book.  So my trip into the Expo was quick and I was soon back outside and on my way back to my hotel. 

I stopped at a Subway on the way and picked up a foot-long sandwich - half for lunch, half to save for lunch after the race the next day. Then, back at the hotel, I sat back and watched movies on TV for the rest of the afternoon, until it was time to meet friends Alan and Brenda Leduc at Sorrento's for a pre-race pasta dinner.


When I woke up this morning, I could already hear them testing the PA system at the start line, which was just feet outside the door of our hotel.  I had 3 hours before the race starts, so I didn't need to rush getting ready.  Breakfast of Cheerios, banana, and a glass of water as I logged in online and checked my mail, Facebook, the news, the weather. 

At 8:45 AM I walked out of my room and headed down on the elevator to the lobby.  As I stepped outside, the air was brisk in the shade, but felt delightfully cool in the sun.  I quickly found my friend Alan and his wife near the start line and a few photos taken, a few waves, and we were off to run this half marathon!

Crossing the finish line
The course was absolutely gorgeous!  It started at the Delaney Park Strip on 9th Street and took us downhill with a gorgeous view of Cook Inlet and mountains beyond, then along a street paralleling the bay for a mile, then onto a paved bicycle trail that ran right along the edge of the bay.  Gorgeous!  The tide was out and there were many birds working the flats for their breakfast.

At mile 5 we exited the trail and onto a street that ran behind the airport.  It was hilly, a couple of long steep uphills followed by equally long steep downhills.  Then we were sent off the road and onto a primitive track through the woods.  It was rough, a bit muddy, with rocks, short steep climbs, and one very steep downhill.  I'm good at this type of trail and bounded up the grades, leaping from one toe-hold to the next.  On the downhill, I passed a lot of folks who were carefully picking their way down.  It was fun!!  But taxing!  I was tired when we finally rejoined the bicycle trail near mile 7 and I walked for a mile or more to recover.  But at this point we've now turned around and are headed back toward the finish line. 

Walking the uphills, running like a crazy woman on the downhills, I was on track for a sub-3 hour pace until the last mile.  Blueberry Hill!  Ugh!  Steep uphill section, a flat section, then another steep uphill section.  By the time we made that last turn, with 0.1 mile left to go, I knew I'd miss that time by a minute.  Not a big deal. Still happy with my finish time.

After I crossed the finish line, my friend Alan quickly found me and we congratulated each other on a good run.  He did very well, running his first half marathon.  He should be very proud of himself for this accomplishment!

Here's my Garmin track:

Here's my finisher's medal:

Here's what my 50 States-50 Half Marathons map looks like now:

The Alaska race is now behind me.  Now I can look forward to a celebratory dinner tonight with friends Mary Ellen and Roger Bliss, Alan and Brenda Leduc, and Maura Shea who's the daughter of a neighbor of mine and is now living in Alaska, and then relaxing and enjoying the rest of my trip!

Coming up:  Driving Whittier-Valdez-Glenallen loop then down to Seward for a few days.

1 comment:

  1. You sure are getting that map filled it. Good for you. And congrats on another 1/2 marathon. Congrats to Alan too on his first.

    What is up with a hill to the finish line? They did that to us with our 5k in Florence. I couldn't imagine how hard it would be after a 1/2 marathon.