01 July 2011

Seattle Rock and Roll Half Marathon Recap

Our beautiful-and heavy-medal!
Wow!  Where to begin?  I guess I will start with Friday- the whole family (myself, the hubby and both kids) headed up to Qwest Field to check out the Seattle RnR race expo and meet up with the lady whose race bib I would be using.  We met Cynthia and Gene up there as well and wandered around in runner's paradise checking out all of the fabulous vendors.  It was honestly the best race expo I have ever been to- I could have stayed there all day long.  I ended up buying a sparkle headband, a tshirt and a spibelt.  We took some fun pictures, I got my race packet from the Craig's list lady and we headed to Pyramid to have some lunch.
Me in runner's paradise.  I will take one of everything please!

Cynthia and I- you know you want our autographs!
Already scoping out our next race!
After lunch Cynthia and I headed back to Tacoma so she could get her shirt from the group "wear blue-run to remember".  Traffic was a nightmare though so we had to immediately head straight back up to The Spaghetti Factory in Tukwila to attend a dinner organized by a local runner/blogger known as Tall Mom.  She invited bloggers near and far to come hang out, carb load and have a chance to get to know one another in person.  I had a really good time and it was nice to meet a lot of new people, especially local runners!  We each had a name tag and a little trading card with our name and blog title on it, and even got some little take home gifts compliments of online shoes, nuun, and Gu!  Thanks for a fun night Mel!
Our fun trading cards Zoe made!
By the time I got back home to Tacoma it was getting pretty late.  I hadn't really put too much thought into my outfit and still needed to organize all the race "stuff" so I ended up getting to bed around 11:30.  Oops!  The race started in Seattle at 7am!  Good training for the Ragnar Relay next month right- running while tired!!  Haha.  Anyways, I woke up at 4:45am and planned to be out the door at 5:45am.  I hopped in the shower, got dressed then ate a Cliff Bar with some peanut butter.  I was going to eat the banana on the way up to the race, and I decided to skip the coffee and just opt for energy chomps/gels with caffeine.  I had no clue what the port o potty situation was going to be and the less bathroom stops I required the better!
Getting my gear ready!
I decided to be colorful! 
I then had the rare yet fantastic opportunity to wake up my children.  Yes, its true- I enjoy waking them up since they so regularly do it to me!  It was extremely early for them but like true early risers it took all of about 60 seconds and they were both wide awake.  The entire household was ready to head out the door by 5:50am, some sort of miracle if you ask me!  I soon discovered that was not nearly enough time!  It takes about 25 minutes to get to Tukwila from our house, however traffic was backed up so badly that I ended up getting out of the car and walking a good mile to the starting line.  I stopped and used the bathroom inside Lucky Casino (they were sooo nice letting tons of runners use the facilities there!) and hustled to the starting line.  I knew that my corral had already been released before I arrived so I did not get a chance to run with Cynthia or even get any pre-race photos.  Bummer!

I walked right up to the starting line and joined the 25th wave of runners to be released (there were 40 corrals).  The only problem was that the pace of this group was quite a bit slower than I prefer and I had to do A LOT of dodging and fancy footwork to get myself into my racing pace!  I was carrying my own water and the only way I was stopping to take a bathroom break was if the alternative was to have an accident.  You know what I am talking about.  Anyways, I was hoping to get somewhere between 2:05 and 2:10 because I know I am more than capable of that if I pushed myself and eliminated the messing around at water stops and port o potties.  Here is the quick and dirty run down of my miles:

Mile 1- 9:42 -It is all a blur, literally, of me dodging around/between/through/on the side of the sea of people in front of me!
Mile 2- 9:07- Finally got through most of the crowds and found a good pace.  Apparently Will and the kids were near here but I had no idea so I didn't see them!  Darn!

I had no clue Will and the kids were here.  I was too focused on passing people on that hill!
Mile 3- 9:21- A bit of a hill here, otherwise I only remember crossing the 5K line!
Mile 4- 9:15- Saw a guy running barefoot.  He had a lot of band aids on his toes and Vibrams hooked onto his waist somehow.  My first official "barefoot" sighting in a race!
Mile 5- 9:34- Started to feel sluggish and like I wanted a gel- but I was trying to hold out for mile 7 where they were handing them out.
Mile 6- 9:29- Just taking in the sights.  And smells.  I have never had to move away from so many stinky people before during a race!  It's called deodorant runner friends.  Please use it!!!  I also was fascinated by the number of people wearing Vibram Five Fingers.  I saw 2 girls running together and the back of their shirts said "Call me a prude, but I am only going half way" and it made me giggle. 

My cheerleaders.  Devan made that sign for me, she is swesome.
Mile 7- 9:57- I couldn't wait any longer so I stepped off into the grass and grabbed my gel out of my spibelt right in the beginning of mile 7.  My phone was also in there so I didn't want to take a chance of it flinging out if I tried to do it while still running.  I need to get faster about taking gels while running!  I felt better after my gel and this was also the area dedicated to the group "wear blue-run to remember" that Cynthia was running with.  There were flags lining the course and a dedication to our fallen soldiers.  It was beautiful and made me tear up a bit.  Cynthia wrote a wonderful blog post with some fantastic pictures, you can read it here if you would like. 
Mile 8- 9:28- I remember thinking to myself "wow, only 5 more miles.  I am almost done!" and being very happy to only be running the half marathon. 
Mile 9- 9:56- I think this is the mile where we went through the tunnel.  I was not a fan of the tunnel, it was stinky, dark, echoey, hot and I could not get out of there fast enough!  My pace was slow because right at the very end of mile 9 I took my second gel and took a cup of accelerade from a station.
Mile 10- 9:19Just running.  I have no memory of mile 10!
Mile 11- 9:50- I think this is the mile we went up a pretty steep little hill and everyone was all bunched up.  I tagged onto some guy zigzagging his way through and tried my best to keep my pace up.  I believe it was also around this point I realized we were suddenly downtown Seattle!
Mile 12- 9:08- I realized if I pushed it the last couple of miles I would beat my goal of 2:05!  All of a sudden I was surrounded by a sea of people wearing green aprons- Starbucks was volunteering at one water station!  I got really excited and felt like I was surrounded by "my people" for a minute.  I also turned my ipod completely off at this point, I wanted to take in the sounds of the finishing area.
Mile 13- 9:03- As we were running on the overpass suddenly I see a man sitting on the ground and two women are asking people if anyone has any water.  I had maybe an ounce or 2 in my water bottle so I start to slow down (kissing my 2:05 finish good bye) so I can offer it to them, but thankfully a guy right in front of me had a bottle nearly full and he stopped to help.  I hope that he was ok.  Anyways, I just kept pushing myself as fast as I could go.
Mile .1- 7:47- That's pretty fast!  I finally had the presence of mind to do a finish pose with my arms up AND stop my garmin right away.  It was 3 seconds off of my chip time.  Which was 2:04:18 by the way!  9 1/2 minutes faster than my previous PR for a half marathon!!!  
After crossing the finish line I got my awesome medal, grabbed some water, a banana, a bagel and a cytomax and wandered over to the family area.  My hands were completely full so I couldn't grab my phone out.  I stopped really quick to say hi to some of the blogger ladies, then headed to the letter H, assuming the family would be there waiting for me.  Nope.  So I set my stuff down and dug my phone out to give them a call.  They said they would be right there.  I ate my banana and about half of the bagel.  There was not a garbage can to be found- what was that all about?  Finally after about 10 minutes I couldn't stand it any more and go wander around to find a trash so I can free up my hands.  My spibelt turned out to be pretty handy, I fit my ipod in it and hooked my water bottle onto it.  Love that thing!
Done!  Not sure what is up with my hair! 
 BRF's together again!
Finally Will and the kids arrive, about 40 minutes after I crossed the finish line!  We went and sat down and waited for Cynthia to finish the full marathon.  Also they were presenting the awards to the winners and the band Everclear was playing.  It was a pretty cool atmosphere to hang out in.  After we met up with Cynthia we decided to go grab some lunch in Southcenter and headed to The Cheesecake Factory. 
Our tradition- DESSERT! 
Overall, I had a wonderful time at this race.  I don't remember too much of the course, but I think that is because I was too focused on my pace and staying in tune with my body.  I am super happy with my time, I kind of feel a bit of redemption after my marathon time.  I needed that boost, and I also think training for a full marathon makes running a half marathon feel easy.  I am fairly confident that I will be able to run a sub 2 hour half marathon this fall!  After all, a half marathon is just a 5K race with a 10 mile warm up (I saw that on a billboard at the race expo)!  Love it. 


  1. Woohoo! Great recap and congrats on your PR! So inspirational!

  2. Great recap! Congrats on a great race! You will totally get your sub 2 PR!

    Sad we didn't get to start together. I was looking forward to running a few miles with you. Next time!

    Love the pics... not cause i'm in them or anything ;)