Monday, August 19, 2013

Weekly Hikes #9 and #10: Long Hikes on Pavement

Hiking on pavement? Really? Well, yes, really. And there is a good reason for it, too. Back in March, Mr. D and I signed up to walk the Tacoma Narrows half-marathon on August 3. We planned to walk it along with my friends, sisters Sarah and Martha, and their husbands, Dave and Tom.

While I'm a pretty good hiker and walker, I have only walked distances longer than seven miles a handful of times. Ten years ago, when Mr. D and I were in New Zealand, we walked over 20 miles hiking the Kepler Track (including getting to and from the trail from the town we where we were staying). Two years ago, Mr. D and I hiked to Surprise Lake, which was about nine miles, roundtrip. I've probably also walked in the eight to ten mile range a few times when I've been traveling in Europe.

Anyway, to prepare for the half-marathon, I extended the regular neighborhood walks that I do several times a week to at least five miles, and sometimes farther. I met up with Martha, who doesn't live too far from me, to do some walks in her neighborhood, including the torturously steep hill that she lives on—and I thought the hills in my neighborhood were steep!

On July 17, about two-and-a-half weeks before the half-marathon, Mr D and I decided to walk the Burke-Gilmam Trail from the access point near our town center, all the way down to University Village, a distance of slightly more than eight miles. The point of this walk was to get a sense of our time and pace, so for much of the walk we were going at a pretty good clip, and it showed in our final time: two hours and twenty minutes. I was focused on keeping up my pace, but I did stop to take a couple photos along the way.

On my walk on the Burke I proved to myself that I could walk eight miles in pretty good time, but what about 13.1 miles?

The day of the half-marathon was blessedly cloudy/foggy and cool, and Dave and I woke up well ahead of the alarm, at 3:45 a.m. We were on the road about an hour later, and were in downtown Tacoma before six. We met up with Sarah, Dave, Martha and Tom and took the shuttle to the start of the race, which was at the airport near the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. While we were waiting for the race to start, Mr. D and I hung out with a new friend:

At 7:30 we were off! Sarah and I spent the early part of the race walking together. Then I walked with Mr. D and Sarah's husband for a while (Sarah was walking with Martha and Tom, who were a few minutes behind us). At mile 9, I got a sudden burst of energy and took off. I was spurred on knowing that all that was left was the distance of my usual neighborhood walk. I walked by myself until there was about a mile-and-a-half left, and then Sarah caught up with me and we did the rest of the walk and crossed the finish line together. Our time: three hours, twenty-nine minutes and thirty-nine seconds!

I don't have any photos of the actual race, but I do have one of all the finishers in our little group: left to right it's Dave, Sarah, Martha, Tom, me and Mr. D.

I also have photographic proof that I finished.

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