Thanks to the commitment of Z and our joint registration many months ago, I completed my first half marathon in 9 months (and my 20th ever) today. It was even more important because it was the first half I *ran* since November 2009 as my last completed effort was a 3-hour run-walk to support a friend in her first (and post-pregnancy) half marathon.
Apparently, Z sent our weather down to the Los Angelese Marathon where hundreds were checked for hypothermia (and Ethiopians won both categories. Yay for underdogs!). The hypothermia concern is interesting to me, since the LA Marathon was merely 60F and rain, while we, up in the Seattle area literally cheered on command at the start to celebrate the first clear day of spring weather of sun and 45F and the only concern you might have heard was whether hands were too cold. I guess acclimatization is a much stronger force than I realized. Certainly, I have become much better at running in the cold since moving here. At least once or twice a week, I head out without hesitation between guaranteed rain in search of good weather that even if it holds would have been enough to keep me home in California.
So, here I am, in Washington, training for my first marathon in 2 years, 10 months, and I'm almost a year and half after running my last half. I gleefully finished today's half 5 minutes slower than my last real effort. Not so much slower that I felt bad, but enough to encourage me to work harder.
Overall, it was a perfect re-entry to racing. Doing it with a friend who flew up for a multi-day visit and who used to live here? Awesome. She directed us to delicious restaurants, asian bakeries, grocery stores (yay Uwajimaya), and cute neighborhoods we should check out. Also, magically, she brought fairytale weather for her visit so that we could enjoy a perfect day today for the Mercer Island Half. After an early Saturday night, we woke to sunshine and clear skies, which was important since the views of the lake and the snow-capped mountains behind the Seattle skyline were necessary to distract us from the hilly course.
Note: Just because a course is along a shoreline does not mean it is without hills. Particularly on an island (where obviously something is pushing it out of the water!). On the other hand, my ignorance of the elevation changes made today an awesome hilly training run for next weekend's small and supposedly flat along-the-lake race, where I'm hoping to test my fitness.
As for that marathon -- I'm registered and it's 10 weeks out. Wow. That's soon. Wish me luck!