So it’s been a month since the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, and I’m finally publishing my race recap. Better late than never, though. Unless you’re talking about diseases, terrorism or any of the people currently running for president.
It can also apply to running fitness. For example, during last month’s Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll half, I asked Zoë, “You know how you know that you’re a distance runner? When you finally feel warmed up at Mile 10.”
A nearby runner didn’t appreciate my observation. I swear it wasn’t a humble brag, though. I was just really, really surprised!
Every time I thought about running the half in the days leading up to it, my stomach turned. I’d done absolutely zero training. At least with other half marathons I haven’t trained for (bad habit), I’ve had some sort of solid base, but my longest run was six miles more than a month before the half. Sure, two weeks before this, I ran a relay, but my legs were each only 4 miles, and I had lots of rest in between.
I had a tough time at the expo on the Friday before the race, picking up my full marathon bib. That’s right. I was registered for the full because I registered right after my Beat the Blerch TRAIL marathon experience, and thought it would be a good idea to get redemption on the city streets of Seattle. But that was pre-shingles and pre-fatigue and pre-not running.
Anyway, this year, RnR Seattle had race jackets for full marathoners. You could try on your size at the expo and then pick up the jacket at the finish. Oh man. That just made things worse. I was fine with not getting a full medal, but a piece of clothing?! Actual wearable bragging material. That about did me in.
I knew I could not run the full. I didn’t even know if I could do the half! But that jacket. Zoë said, “It’s just a jacket.”
She’s so smart.
The only thing that kept me from DNSing the half was that I knew I was strong…and also I’d agreed to run with people. I’ve been consistently lifting weights and doing HIIT workouts since the end of March. I have my strength. I hoped I could muscle through it.
This is also not my first time at the rodeo, and I know that one needs more than strength to get through 13.1 miles on foot. Luckily, I also had Zoë, Tiffany, Cynthia and Alyssa, and they all promised we were going to just run for fun.
There’s no better way to run a race than with friends in my opinion…unless you are going for a time PR, then that’s a whole different ball of BodyGlide.
I met Tiffany, Cynthia and Alyssa in our usual meeting spot for driving into Seattle at 5 a.m. Doing that meant I got up at 4 a.m. Ouch. But I went to bed early the night before, so I had a solid six hours, which is pretty good for me the night before a race.
My only issue was food. This year RnR Seattle changed the course back to a point-to-point, starting at Seattle Center near the Space Needle and finishing in SoDo (south downtown) at Century Link field. We would be driving to the finish and catching the shuttle to the start.
My usual pre-race smoothie would have to be consumed before we got on that shuttle because I don’t own disposable smoothie cups. Who does? So, I drank my breakfast at about 5:30 a.m. on the drive into Seattle, thinking we would be starting the race right around 7 a.m.
Too bad I didn’t wait until we got to the freeway exit because it took us an hour to get off the freeway and parked in a spot at Century Link. That’s not even a mile, guys. We thought the traffic would be so much better having everyone go to SoDo. We didn’t even get onto a shuttle till after 6:40 a.m.
Finally, we got to the start. I don’t know my way around Seattle Center that well and we had trouble locating Zoë. Also, we all needed to use the potties, but the lines were so long they made Disneyland ques look small. So we did what anyone else would do. Took pictures!
Then Zoë found us and told us to get in a damn line for a potty. Total mom move. We got a hot tip that the lines were a lot shorter in the armory, which is a building in Seattle Center that’s warm, has cafés and real bathrooms. Great tip!
I realize I’m more than 700 words into this post and I haven’t even started talking about the race yet. But I’m ready now, so if you’re still with me, here goes:
At the expo, I had my corral changed to reflect a time closer to what I would run if I were registered for the half. I moved up from 17 to corral 7. Because of the shuttle-and-potty fiasco of 2016, we missed our corral start, but were able to hop into 9 right when it started, which I thought was pretty great. I’m not a big fan of being in that big herd of people shuffling along inside barriers. Moo.
Right away, we became known as “the tutus,” since we were all wearing them. The start-line MC pointed us out. Alyssa is getting married next month (uh, this just happened), so she wore a white tutu and we all wore blue ones. I wore mine upside down because I’m an inexperienced tutu wearer. This is typical me.
The first few miles flew by. We stopped often to take pictures. We spent quite a few minutes in front of the ferris wheel on the Alaskan Way Viaduct around Mile 2.
We took our time and decided to stop every other mile for photo ops.
Guess what? Things are about to get way less detailed because I didn’t realize I hadn’t written this entire report yet when I opened it up in drafts. This is a good thing because it means you will have actual time in your day to do other things than read about our boring race.
Not kidding; there wasn’t a ton that happened, guys. The new course was great. Definitely better than the past few years. It reminded me of how it used to be when it started in Tukwila and ended at Century Link.
We ended up making more stops than every other mile, of course. I was hungry earlier than I wanted to be because of the smoothie thing. But I had some really delicious gluten-free Honey Stinger waffles to look forward to. (Best things ever.) Also, we were alllll under trained, and we had some chafing issues, some potty stops, braid snafus, etc.
But whatever. We had a blast…and took lots of groups selfies until Tiff’s selfie stick broke around Mile 8 or so.
Around Mile 10, I started to feel really great. And I even thought that maybe I should’ve run the full. Of course, that changed by Mile 13.
I also discovered that my strength work and sprinting did benefit my running fitness, although I still think I would’ve felt stronger if I’d known I was anemic and had been taking iron before this race. Oh well. You live, you learn about Ferritin.
Even though this race is a giant pain in the ass to get to, it’s still buttloads of fun with all the people and music. My favorite were the Japanese drummers under some random overpasses at like Mile 5. I wanted to stay there.
Of course, the Blue Mile with all the photos of fallen soldiers and American flags along Lake Washington brought me to tears again. It’s heart-wrenching, but beautiful.
We finished the race together holding hands. I’ve yet to see those photos, although they must be done by now. Here’s the one we took post-race:
The only “con” of this whole race was getting back to our car. We had to walk around the Century Link parking lot forever even though we were parked in the Century Link garage on the other side of the stadium.
WTF guys? The only way to get back was to wander back next to the finish chute? Seems like you’d want to spread things out. Instead, we opted to walk on a needle-strewn non-sidewalk next to a busy road to get back. We’re total rebels. (See upside down tutu.)
This concludes my 2016 Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon Race Report because I don’t remember anything else and because I’m simply boring myself, which is not good for you. This has not been a shining example of a race recap, and I apologize. But I did still manage to write more than 1,500 words, so I feel like I got something done today.
Is this recap better late than never? I don’t know. It’s better done than never, and that’s good enough.