Saturday, January 11, 2014

Nookachamps Half Marathon

I ran the Nookachamps Half Marathon today.  At times, it was about as windy and rainy as I can remember any race I’ve done.  Big winds—I don’t know how fast, 40 mph?—but big winds with sideways rain as we ran through the middle sections.  At the time, I was ready to file the adventure in the Dumb Files.  But now, as I sit watching the Seahawks game, still in the rain and wind, the whole thing feels good.

The Nookachamps Winter Runs are a Washington classic, as far as events go.  The starting line is five minutes from our place.  There’s always a big turnout, but the January weather is unpredictable.  I’ve ran some cold ones here, but nothing so windy and rainy as today.  I’ve ran the race a number of times—not sure how many offhand.  My friend Craig was kicking out his 25th Nookachamps in a row today—wow!

I really should’ve done the 10k.  I’m not in shape for a half, and I just couldn’t get the blood circulating or the lungs breathing right, and so it was a walk/run in the ill conditions.  I did not have a finisher’s mentality for much of the race.  It was more of something between, “What am I doing here?” and Nirvana’s “I think I’m dumb. I think I’m dumb.” But then the mile markers go by, and the aid station kids smile (local cross country runners, whom the race benefits, I believe), and the finish line gets nearer.

I saw more birds today than I typically do in this event.  Probably five or seven eagles.  A really big one sweeping over a lake out Clear Lake.  A few groups of trumpeter swans too, sitting in the field.  Usually they’re up and around, pecking the ground for eats, but the wind had them still.  A number of horses in fields.  Some downed trees from last night’s windstorm and some mildly flooded flats. No pictures today--the camera stayed in the car. But for what it's worth, this is a wonderful time to visit the flats of the Skagit Valley.

Thanks to all the volunteers—Kevin, Keefer, Terry, Stan, and a host of others made things go great.  Nice new design to the shirt/hoodie, and a nice finisher’s medal too. For me, I have a benchmark to improve upon as the year goes on. And now, a nice warm blanket, a remote control, and a Seahawks team up at half. #GoHawks!

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