Monday, August 8, 2011

Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon

A friend of mine was going to run the Tacoma Narrows Half with me but decided not to a week before the race. I was SOOOO bummed. I really didn't want to be in the race by myself. But a few days later I heard some of my gym friends talking about what time they were meeting on Saturday morning.... I was totally eavesdropping but they were running the same race and invited me to carpool with them. I was grateful that they invited me along but even more grateful when Brenda (blue shirt) offered to run with me because my goal was to finish in 2 hours 20 minutes (or less) and she has a broken toe so she would be running her slow pace (her best time is a good 40 minutes less than my goal!).
Amber (black shirt) told me to carb up Friday night, hydrate, and eat a PB&J in the morning. I ended up eating cereal for breakfast because we didn't have any bread. We met up Saturday morning and drove over to the starting line in Gig Harbor. When the race was about to start we lined up, sang the anthem, and then the race started. It was exciting.

I ran the first two miles with Brenda and Ashley (purple shirt). Right at the two mile marker Brenda and Ashley stopped for some minor injuries and I kept going.

While I was running over the bridge I passed the 2:10 pacer and made 2:10 my new goal. I slowly caught up to a girl in a tie-died shirt -who looked like a good person to pace- at mile 3.

I stopped at every water table and gagged down two Powerade energy gels along the way. Cereal for breakfast just wasn't enough and I could feel myself loosing energy like an incandescent light bulb.... the Powerade helped but I felt new for only eating cereal.

The tie-died shirt girl passed me shortly after I passed her and now my goal was not to let Brenda and Ashley catch up to me.

The race was hard. My right quad was on fire and my left knee and hip were all messed up. (At least it balanced out the pain.) I never stopped to walk although I was tempted a time or two. I remember the mile markers coming a lot quicker than I expected and it got exciting to think that I might finish under 2 hours.

Right after I passed the 12 mile marker I heard someone behind me say, "only 1.1 miles left." I thought about finishing the race and how proud I was of myself. I thought about Jake and Everett at the finish line and I got a little emotional. I got a lump in my throat and tried to pick up my pace a little. And then I saw her... the tie-dyed shirt girl and I started sprinting as fast as I could. I had been trying to catch her for nearly 10 miles and it felt amazing to finally catch her. I passed her as I rounded the the corner to the finish line. I was going so fast I could feel the cheeks on my face bouncing. I saw the clock say 2:05 and I was so happy and a little disappointed all at the same time. I beat my goal by 15 minutes but came short by 5 minutes all at the same time (thinking that I might finish under 2 hours). I saw Amber right before the finish line cheering me on and I could hear Jake yelling: 'TO THE LEFT... TO THE LEFT.'

I finished in 2:05:21 (9:34/mile)
I was the 405th person to finish (out of 836) and the average time was 2:13.

(The clock says 2:06 because there were so many runners that I didn't cross the starting line for almost a minute so they subtract that time from your finish time).

I met up with Amber and Mike after the race. Amber finished in 1:46 and Mike finished 1:31.

(I must have been in the zone because I didn't even take my ear phones out... and it was the radio of all things.)

Andy, Amy, and Sawyer also came to cheer me on. It meant so much to have some of my favorite people at the finish line.

One of my first thoughts after the race was when can I run the next one? 

Of course I was sore the rest of the day. I was sore on Sunday too but it's the best feeling ever... you just feel alive!

Mike, Amber, and Brenda run marathons and half marathons all of the time and invited me to run the Columbia Gorge in October (Eastern Wa). I think I'm going to do it... and I'll eat TWO PB&J's for breakfast!


  1. YAY! I bet the gorge will be pretty! That is so awesome to finish faster than average because most of those people are probably pro runners!

  2. Wow Tyrell, I am so proud of you!!! I totally know that feeling that you are on top of the world after finishing something so hard. In a long race like that it's so up and down, great and sucky, etc. I LOVE that you finished 15 minutes faster than you had planned. That is seriously an amazing time!!! I wish you were here; I would make you run with us in the mornings and sign up for races with me ;)

  3. I am so proud of you!! Running a half marathon/marathon is always something that I've wanted to do, just never got around to actually training :-) As soon as you mentioned getting a "lump in your throat" I could totally imagine being there and I may have started to get one too... shh, don't tell I'm such a baby. Anyway, I am SO excited for you, I wish we lived a little closer so you could convince me to run with you lol Good Job!

  4. You are amazing! And you look great!