I signed up for the See Jane Run 5k late last year. There was a coupon for a discounted entry through Zozi that was just too good to be true. I think the race rate was $25 and I had a $10 credit for that site, making this race entry only $15. What a score of a deal, right?
I had been off the training game for a couple of weeks, so when the race came up on Sunday July 14th, I felt like I could still have a good race and a stomp out a decent finish time. What I really loved about the race itself is that it was a female centric race, but did not exclude men. There were plenty of men running both the 5K and half marathon courses. Not to mention at the finish line you received a champagne glass full of See's chocolate and Barefoot champagne to toast with your fellow runners. Now I would say that is a pretty sweet ending to a race! But that's where it ends, what about where it begins? First stop was the expo!
Saturday July 13th, the See Jane Run expo was held at the swanky W Hotel in downtown Seattle.
I really enjoyed the signage that the race committee placed around the hotel leading you up to the expo.
Once upstairs, there was quite a crowd! My Saturday was packed, so I had to get to the expo right as it opened, get my packet (and a friend's packet that was running the half) and get out of there. But I still had a little time to spend to take a tour around the expo! When we got in, the packet pick-up was immediately on the left and we were directed there first, then we could make our way through the rest of the room to the other booths.
This was the expo, not too big at all. Just the See Jane Run merch area and other sponsor booths along the perimeter of the room. You got to sample some See's candies and even got some samples from So Delicious Dairy Free, they had these babies that they were handing out along with some delicious yogurt and frozen treats. I've already had the chocolate coconut milk, it was like a liquid Mounds. YUM!
I had the packets, some tasty samples and I was heading out, but there were more signs with great quotes and even a t-shirt that caught my eye.
Now before you ask why am I littering my recap with pictures of these quotes, ask yourself "why not?" Sometimes we need to have some words of wisdom to get through a tough situation or a time when you felt like there was no answer. Someone else has been there before and they may have some light they can bring to your dark.
Now here is where I separate from my night before tradition. I didn't set everything out and pin my bib or anything. I was so exhausted that night that I fell into bed and didn't even think about night before race prep, I know...so unlike me!
The next morning I woke up nice and early and met up with my friend Danielle and we drove to the race site, Gasworks Park on Lake Union. It is a short 2 miles away from where she lives and we were able to find a parking spot easily and headed over to the festivities. When we got to the park we were greeted by the party!
It was a gorgeous day for a run...and a warm one already! Our race didn't start until 8:30 and it was already warming up with the sun beating down on us. We hit gear check and grabbed some water and watched the half marathoners head out first.
There were approximately 1800 participants in the races, with 800 running the half. Once the half marathoners were off, we got into the start gate and got ready for our start. Then it was our turn and we were off!
The course is nice in that it is fairly flat for the majority of the 5k with only slight inclines in a couple of places, so that is always welcome! However this course differs in that it isn't run on closed streets, it is actually run on trails around the lake and along the waterfront towards the locks. That means half way through the 5k run, as it is an out and back, you had to share the narrow trail with people running back towards the finish. It actually got hairy just after mile 1 when the leaders were heading back in the opposite direction, people weren't mindful (and the bikers clearing the way for the leaders weren't doing their job at clearing the way) and there was almost a collision between runners. That would have been disastrous!
The run however was quite nice, I mean how can you argue with this type of view when you're running!
I'd run this trail many times before, however it never fails to surprise me how being in a race on the same stretch of road that you've trained on before can feel so difficult. I know it's a mind game and it really messes with you, but I was just struggling with trying to keep my pace up. I felt like I was riding a wave at times. I would be trucking along at a 10:50 pace, then I would look at my Garmin shortly afterward and see I was at an 11:56 pace, I couldn't seem to keep myself locked into a decent pace; I was all over the place!
My friend Danielle, who I had been running with, pulled away from my shortly after we passed mile 1. I could see her most of the way back to the finish line, but lost her the closer we got there. I was angry with myself for not being able to keep up with her. I was disappointed that I couldn't keep pace and I had fallen behind. I was frustrated that I didn't push myself to get a better time. Then around mile 2, I let it go. I let it all go and just ran. I reminded myself that I have a reason why my running has become more strenuous (my condition as eluded to in my RnR recap) and that I needed to be mindful of that and just enjoy the run. So I concentrated on my breathing and my stride making sure I did what I could to keep going and get through the race.
When I finished, Danielle was waiting for me and had arrived just a couple minutes before me. I had my final surge to pick up the pace and finish strong, beating in a few runners I'd been jockeying with for position during the previous mile and a half. It was great to be able to finish strong and I was proud of what I had done. From not running the weeks previous and going out there and rocking this 5K, I was happy with my performance.
We got our race "medals", grabbed the bag from gear check and headed to the post-race party. Next stop chocolate and champagne!
We took finisher pics with our champagne glasses, then it was time for a fill up! I got the Rose Sparkly, but it wasn't for me, I gave it to my friend Danielle. I've tried a handful of times to have alcohol after a race and it just never worked out favorably, so I took the chocolate and gave her the bubbly. I still kept the glass though. ;)
Also a really cool moment happened when I was in the champagne garden (sounds so snobby) with Danielle. A lady approached me and said that she reads my blog and just wanted to come up and say hi and let me know that. I was floored, I was in a total mind flub, I had never been approached by a reader before and I felt so honored that she would come and introduce herself to me. I think I stood there, mostly in shock, smiling and thanking her for coming and saying hi. There were a million other things I should have said and thought of only after she had walked away, but I wanted to say now that it was a pleasure meeting you Jessica, thank you for saying hi and I hope to see you at more events soon!
Then we sat and watched the half marathoners come in while enjoying the sunshine and cool breeze that was finally coming in off the water. I had to have my requisite post run snack, gotta have my Picky Bar!
Another good quote to live by and I firmly believe it. I have made some of my most dear friendships lately from people whom I have met running. This is such an amazing community and the people you meet are there because they want to be, so you know that their hearts are genuine. It takes a certain type of person to be a runner and especially those that do long distance running. It's more about the journey and less about the ego, it really has changed my view of people and humanity.
And the results are in. Not great, not a PR, but again for someone who hasn't been a consistent runner and who had quite the hiatus the past few weeks, I'll take it! My pace is getting better with each race and that is what I'm looking for, improvement. I can't expect large changes overnight, but I can certainly celebrate the small victories!
This race overall was a lot of fun. Even with the issues of the course layout, this race was definitely a good one and a race that I would do again in the future. I heard from a friend that the participation in this years race was down drastically from last year. That is unfortunate to hear, especially when it is so well supported by vendors and there is a lot of great offerings to the runners. I mean really, who wouldn't love some free chocolate?!? Does See Jane Run have a race in your neck of the woods? Have you run it before? What did you think? I know I ran for chocolate and I will do it again next year, it was that much fun!