I came back from Canada about a week before Jesse did and thought I would take advantage of the Lacamas Lake Half before he arrived. I hadn’t done my own half marathon yet (no running buddy, no support crew, just me). Lacamas Lake is a road event in a little town across the border in our neighbor state of Washington and just a quick 20 minute drive from our new place, which I continuously enjoy that being the standard time from our house to basically anywhere in the PDX-metro area. Also, I realize we’ve been here for a few months now and I can probably stop referring to it as our “new” place.
When I bought my new running shoes – the fabulous Brooks Ravennas, I might add – the store had their brochures about the event everywhere so I grabbed one and it’s been hanging on the fridge for months. It seemed like a decent run, for a road event *cough cough*, so I signed up kind of last minute and thought I’d give it a go.
The day arrived and I was cursing the 7:30 AM start as I pulled out of the driveway at 6:30 AM. I’m not even up that early on weekdays! C’mon!
I had never been to Camas, Washington…dare I say “who has?” It’s pretty small, but fairly cute, though I will say this event certainly helped liven the place up. There was also a 5k and a kiddie run happening and the main street was action-packed. I picked up my packet, downed a GU (strawberry-banana flavored, no caffeine) and elbowed my way to the starting line.
Now, as most of my longer distances, including the half marathons already “under my belt”, have been on trail, I had no idea what pace group I should even aim for. 2:15 I guess? I found the petite girl with her cute little sign and waited patiently as the clock ticked down…and secretly kicking myself for not having any water with my GU (that stuff basically coats your esophagus, suffocating you).
Pretty soon and after a while and before I knew it we were all running. It’s always tempting to bob and weave through the crowd to find your place but since I had no idea what pace I should be at, I kept myself mid-pack and figured it’d sort itself out later. About .1 miles in, we hit the “hill”, which made the pacers completely moot as everyone started walking already. I powered on ahead, trying to push myself for a decent time.
Running on pavement is really not super fun. It can be almost as bad as a treadmill; running next to the white fog line, feeling like you’re standing still. The lake and lush trees provided some nice scenery, but my mind still rejected the asphalt.
There were aid stations about every 2 miles, but I didn’t stop for anything until mile 8 – even then it was just a sip. I didn’t bring my Camelbak and packed exactly 4 jellybeans in my belt, of which I only ate 3. The last one melted / smashed against my phone at some point. So that was fun. Otherwise I relied on my headphones for fuel (Dear Fall Out Boy: thank you for helping me make it through. Sincerely, Bobi Jo).
The first 5 or so miles were surprisingly hilly and I quickly became annoyed at the pace I was keeping. After a few more miles, the course straightened out into a long flat stretch and I was quickly bored. My thoughts included:
“My shadow looks weird”
“What is that noise???” *looks behind* “Oh, a dog panting. We could bring dogs? Better to not have Riley here, that’d be a disaster. Is this dog really running all 13 miles? I wish Bear WAS a better running buddy though. Man, he was really confused when I left this morning. Poor guy.”
“Some of these houses are really pretty. Jesse and I could live there. Or there. Or there. Or there. Definitely NOT there. Oooh, horses! Ugh, they smell so good. Why is that?”
“I have to get away from this guy with the minimal shoes. Stop shuffling – PICK UP YOUR FEET, MAN! Holy crap, he’s like 70 years old. At least! Impressive. But still annoying. I should try to run like that.” *tries to run like that* “How does he run like that!?”
“We’re over half a mile past the last aid station – why are all these drink cups out here? This would never happen in a trail run. That’s grounds to be disqualified and never allowed back. Who are these clowns who think this is ok? That’s totally the top of a GU packet just thrown on the ground! Who does that!?”
“Seriously, my legs in my shadow are all sorts of messed up. Do they really bend in like that? I have such a weird stride. All these other people look normal when they run, why do I look so weird?”
“My face is too sweaty with my sunglasses on but my corneas basically melt without them. Why is this an issue? I am glad we started so early, though. It’s getting pretty warm out already. #firstworldproblems”
…among other things. I wish I had more productive things to think about that morning. You know, some deep life issues I’d finally have light bulb moments about. Some epiphanies, some therapeutic “me” time. But instead, I occupied my mind with insecurities of my deformed shadow. I clearly did not make good use of my time!
Around mile 8 I started to feel really good! I was passing all sorts of people and would give out encouraging messages as I ran by! “Good work, ladies!” “Over halfway done, you got this!” When most of those went unanswered I couldn’t be bothered anymore – some people can be so disappointing!
The last few miles were on a dirt path around the lake and it was nice to be away from the traffic for a while. Then the course fed right back into town, down the big hill we started with, and finished off downtown. I was ready to be done – but not because I was fatigued. More because the sooner I was done, the sooner I could pick Jesse up. (Not that that was true. His flight was going to land on schedule and me finishing my run early wouldn’t change that. But still. You know what I mean).
My time? 2:06. I impressed myself and was extremely pleased – for my first road half.
I downed a few cups of water and sat on the curb for a few moments to stretch and wind down. The finishing line at the event was complete chaos and I just wanted to shower and drink lots of water so I left fairly quickly.
My favorite part about the whole thing? I wasn’t even sore afterwards; not that night, nor the days following. I guess that means I need a new goal!