Saturday, June 10, 2017

Snoqualmie Valley Half Marathon Pacer Report 2017

My assignment for the Snoqualmie Valley was to pace the 1:45 group along with David for SGLRG. I hadn't run this race before or run on the Snoqualmie trail.

There was a course preview run on May 21st which in hindsight helped me prep for this pacing gig immensely. Additionally, unlike the weather on the preview run (which was sunny and hot), the weather on race day was quite near ideal for running (57-60F,  Humidity: 72%-67%, Cloudy with a light Drizzle). My twin takeaways from the preview run was the approximately 1 mile gravel section leading up-to the  trail and the fact that the outward section of the course was an incline while the return section was downhill. This apparently is also the same course used for the "Beat the Blerch" races.


The race start was at 9 am. I loved being able to sleep in some on a Saturday especially given that Carnation/the Tolt McDonald park is a 45 minute drive from Seattle. I hadn't factored in the time it would take me to find parking and hence missed our group pic/meet-up time of 8:15am. I finally reached at 8:35 am.

This is a smallish size run (approximately 600 half runners and some 10k runners). There were ample porta-potties and everything including the gear check and the start was all in close proximity.

mile 1: 7:52
The start from the park on asphalt, to the gravel section. We had a nice little pack of 4-6. The conversation was picking up.

mile 2: 7:56
During the gravel section it was handy to stay to the left where there was a narrow smooth path.

mile 3: 7:54
The first water stop was around the 2.8 mile mark. They were also giving away cliff shots here. I attempted to get one but ended up dropping it :) The mile markers for the race were pretty spot on!

mile 4: 7:56
The topics of discussion ranged from upcoming races to injuries to the Iron Horse Half...

mile 5: 7:58
It was around here that we got to see the race leaders heading the other way.

mile 6: 7:54
Then the other two pace groups (1:35 and 1:40) were on their way back. The second set of water stops was just before the turn-around.

mile 7: 8:02
The turnaround and hitting the downhill section. The challenge pacing was to try to keep from going too fast. Even effort clearly was going to take us out too fast.

mile 8: 7:53
I had wondered if having runners go both ways would end up clogging the trail. No such issues!!

mile 9: 7:53
I knew that we had a decent buffer (1:30 minute-ish) so it was important that we did not go any faster than 8-min miles! I had to pull David back at times :) Our division of labor was that he would carry the sign and I would be the guy keeping track of the splits!

mile 10: 7:52
There was also a mud-run happening in the area. We should see the runners around the trail. We concluded that this was not something any of us wanted to sign-up for!!

mile 11: 7:58
mile 12: 8:19
The course markers seemed to be accurate so we could now slow down to get closer to our target pace. The two ladies who stayed with us till we hit the gravel section now bid farewell to us.

mile 13: 8:26
We even allowed ourselves the luxury of stopping to get some water at the stop!

mile .11: :40

Average HR: 169


Net: 1:44:29
Clock: 1:44:33
OA: 70/506
Male: 59/188
AG: 21/70

Final thoughts

A well managed, fast course on a beautiful trail!! It ended up being a beautiful day for running! Fun experience...


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