Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Race Recap: Rock and Roll Seattle Half Marathon

A year ago I watched my friend Danielle complete her first half marathon at the Seattle Rock and Roll race. I was so inspired and motivated by what I saw around me that day, that I went to the registration tent that same day and signed up for the next years race. Never having run a distance longer than 5k, I knew that I had a lot of training ahead of me, but I was excited for the challenge.
Fast forward a year, I've completed a half marathon already and I ran plenty of double digit training runs to feel comfortable with the distance of 13.1 miles. And it was time to run the race I had signed up for so long ago.
It began with the expo on Friday, it was quite impressive and the bib pickup process was quite easy!

When I signed up for the race I had no idea what my finishing time would be, so when I got my corral assignment I knew I had to go and adjust it at the expo. Proof of time in hand, I went to the table and told them when I thought I would finish and it gave me a 12 corral bump up.  WOOHOO! I went from 42 to 30! My friends were in 33, so I was going to drop back with them, but I felt great getting that bump!
Now it was time to shop and peruse. Brooks had this great circus cavalcade set up, it was so impressive and fun!
Some great Seattle themed merch and I LOVE these dressing rooms!

 There were games to win prizes and you could have your gait analysed as well.

Fortune telling, anyone? This "doll" was quite freaky looking, to be honest. But it was a good fortune.

I think I'm ready! Time to get this race going!
I got home and prepped my outfit for the race and set everything up so all I had to do was grab and go in the morning. Fuels packed in my iFitness belt, bib pinned on my shirt and my Team Sparkle skirt ready to shine!

Morning came and I'd had the worst night sleep before. I went to bed at a decent time but was wide awake at around 1am and tossed and turned until my alarm went off at 5:30. Ugh. Not a good way to start the day. I got dressed, made my breakfast and headed out the door. The race started at 7am and there were about 48 corrals to release and my friends and I were in corral 33. So we knew we wouldn't be starting the race until way after 7am.
As I was waiting to meet up with my friends in the corrals, I took some pictures and my hubby was looking for someone that was going to meet us at the race. I was bewildered on what he was doing and getting annoyed as I wanted to get to the corral already.

This was the finish line (yeah, the corrals were stretched from the start line all the way back to where the finish line was) and the long view of the corrals looking east on Mercer. We had a ways to go!
I'm ready to get this party started!
Then I saw some familiar faces and knew what my hubby had been doing this whole time. It was my parents coming out to see me run...for the FIRST time! I was so happy to see them and glad they were there to experience what a big race is like!

The corrals were starting to move and we were getting closer to the start line. The nerves were starting to kick in and I just wanted to get going. But one last picture of us before we start running!

All smiles! And we're off!

Here's the start line...wait, where's my fireworks!?!

The first few miles were pretty much a blur. You're working off the adrenaline of the start and all the people there. Not many spectators AT ALL were along the route, which kinda sucked, come on Seattlites support the runners! The first of the few gradual hills came in the first mile and thank goodness I was still riding the adrenaline because that hill wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. We were done before we knew it and it was downhill after that. I was cruising along with the ladies until they broke off and left me. Well...looks like I was running this thing on my own afterall.  Good thing I train on my own, otherwise I might have had issues.

Today also happened to be the ONLY morning in the past two weeks where there was not a cloud in the sky! It was a BEAUTIFUL day in Seattle, but made it a bit warm for a race! Around mile 4 we hit the longest stretch of the race, you just saw a bobbing mass of people ahead of you going on for what seemed miles. Then we headed east towards Lake Washington, the area where I train the most. The next few pictures of the stretch from miles 6-8, sorry for the finger, it was getting in my way alot.

Brooks had this HUGE blowup arch to go under that was in the shape of a rocker, it was awesome. Just after that, the half and full marathoners split going opposite directions.

Then Mile 7 came. I was warned about this, but you never truly understand until you're there in person. This was the Wear Blue, Run to Remember mile where they honor fallen soldiers and servicemen and women who currently and in the past have served our country. There were pictures of the fallen and then for the entire mile there were people holding American flags. I got so choked up, but I had to keep myself focused because I can't breathe when I'm choked up. So instead I just shouted "Thank You" to the flag holders along the road.

We took a sharp uphill climb to run the next mile+ on the I-90 express lanes. Yes, the car traffic had been blocked off so we didn't have to dodge cars on this run. Though that definitely would have made it interesting. It was weird running through the tunnel, it wasn't cooler per se, even though we were out of the sunshine, but it was pretty stuffy. The alien glow of the lights inside the tunnel cast eerie shadows on people and the walls seemed to swallow all sound. Then came the music for that mile, it was a bumping DJ that had his music up WAY too loud for a tunnel, the reverb was killing my ears. I ran just to get a way from that guy. It also happened to be the GU stop, or what I dub the "stick to the ground" stop. It was a sticky yucky mess on the ground and you were dodging orphaned GU packs on the ground for the next two miles.

We finally go out of the tunnel and up the overpass and were greeted with this beauty of a view.
It was gorgeous out and we were heading to the promised land. We were getting so close!!

Don't let this smile fool you...I was spent. By this time I was done, my legs were just not cooperating and I had sugar belly from the improperly mixed Gatorade at all the water stops. I couldn't even take my fuels, I was gonna be sick!
I got to the viaduct and took another great pic of the area. The waterfront and cruise ships in the background.
Mile 12! We're almost there...and another stinky tunnel. Yay...or something. This is when I was down on myself the most. I was walking more than running. I just couldn't muster the strength, my endurance was gone and I was drained. It wasn't until the last .3 mile of the race that I dug in and ran. I didn't care if I fell across that finish line, I was going to run until I got there and crossed running!

This beauty was mine. It took me 3:08 to get it, but I did it. I got emotional as I approached the end. I had done it, on my own, gone the distance and fought for the miles. It was not an easy race and I need to really work on my training if I'm going to have a better race in September for my next half! I just wasn't consistent in my training and my race really showed it. I found out pretty recently that I also have a "condition" that definitely effected my stamina and overall performance during the race and will also be affecting me during my training for and during my future races. I'm not ready to talk about what it is just yet, soon though, once I get more information and feel comfortable about sharing it with the world.
Regardless, this was one hell of a race and experience for me in general. My parents got to see me run for the first time, I ran my first half in my town and I got to be a part of a wonderful Seattle blogger opportunity, which I will detail in a separate post, it's just that cool! It was a really great time and I would definitely do the race again, and possibly in other cities too. Rock and Roll races have great course support and having the music or cheer groups at every mile is a fun concept. The runners had a good time and the camaraderie was really great. People supported total strangers like they were friends. I love this running community!


  1. yay!!!!!!! It's so awesome that your parents came and surprised you! I love your recaps, I feel like I'm there with you. It sounds tough, but you did it and what an accomplishment to sign up a year ago and the journey you took and the races you have run up to this one! Congrats.

    Oh and I went to my blog to tell you what a big liar I am b/c I didn't get to the gym today, but I'm having trouble replying? I've closed out firefox and it still won't work. Anyway...Dallas didn't want to get up and I just stood there in disbelief in the hall. Then I laughed, threw my shoes on...and went for a RUN! LOL! Ah cross training...you elude me so! ;)

    1. Thanks Karen! It was a great surprise to have my parents there, so it was nice to have that support. It was a tough race, but I was happy I did it and never letting the course beat me.

      Hahahahah! Ah cross training...such a tough thing to accomplish. Eventually you'll get out there and get it done. Then you won't want to stop because you'll like all the changes you see and feel. It's all cyclical. You'll get there soon enough! :)

    2. I'm sure I will. I mean, eventually my body will have to relent and I'll be forced to cross train! LOL. Nah...I do have a 5K on Saturday night (Glow Run) and I really only plan on running once more on Thursday, so I SHOULD be able to get SOMETHING in! LOL. I biked on Saturday, but when I'm talking about cross training, I'm mostly talking about weights.

    3. Oh a Glow run! They have one up here too, but the entry was far too much for a 5K for me. So I'm sitting this one out. I'm really interested to hear you recap that run! Sounds like fun!

  2. Oh yeah for your parents coming out, that is so awesome! Looks like you experienced some similar things as me...choking up at soldier pics, stuffyness in the tunnel! I've always hated that tunnel and usually try to get through as quick as possible to get to the cool breeze hopefully waiting at the end.

    1. The tunnel wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but the music in it was definitely too loud! Congrats on your finish!

  3. Great Race Recap! Thanks for posting!

  4. Great job on the half! It's so amazing what you've accomplished in one year! I love that your parents came out to see you. I'm trying to convince mine to run a Disney 5k with me. I hope everything with your "condition" works out and doesn't inhibit your training too much for Dumbo. :)

    1. Oh my parents would never run themselves, it took a couple of years to convince them that my running is serious enough for them to come out and see me run. Good luck with getting your parents to run! That would be fun!

  5. Congrats on the new PR! Well, just about anything would have been better than our heavily weighted character stop time at Princess. ;)

    I am so glad hubby and your parents were all able to be there to support you at this race! I know it really meant a lot for you to have them there cheering you along.

    1. Yes, it most certainly was a PR, so I'm thankful for that, but I was also hoping to get a better time than I did. Oh well, that's what the next race is for, right? Always strive to improve! :)

      It was great having the fam out to support me, it really was a great boost knowing they were at the end waiting for me. It definitely gave me a goal!