29 June 2012

Seattle Rock and Roll Half Marathon 2012 Recap

The gear
Friday night Cynthia, Alyssa and myself finally settled down in our hotel room in Bellevue (yes Bellevue, don't ask) to try and get some rest before the big race early Saturday morning- 7am to be exact.  We probably turned the lights off around 10:30 and none of us could get to sleep!  A car alarm was blaring around 12:30am and it still felt like I hadn't really slept much at that point.  Needless to say, 3:45am came rather quickly and I just kind of laid there seriously contemplating a trip to Bellevue Square to go shopping later instead of running the race! 

Of course we all soon stumbled out of our beds and into our race gear.  I looked out the window and FREAKED out because it was absolutely pouring buckets of rain.  I told Cynthia not to look- she was running the full marathon and I didn't want her to stress.  I decided to hop in the shower to warm up and soon it was 4:45am and we were packed up and heading down to the car. 

Yes, the nice front desk man took this photo for us at 5am!
I ate my cliff bar while I drove and we made it to downtown Seattle really fast.  Then we sat.  And sat.  And sat through about 5 million lights and it was starting to be clear that we were potentially not going to make it into the Mercer street garage by 6am.  I don't know Seattle very well, and with all of the road closures on top of that, I didn't dare try to find an alternate route and they sent us on a wild goose chase with the directions they gave us.  But luckily we were suddenly pulling into the garage at 6:02am and able to use my prepaid parking pass. 

While we were sitting in traffic it had also occurred to us that the rain had magically stopped!  I had also managed to get all of my stuff together and in my pockets so that once we parked we just hopped out of the car and headed to the race area.  Which was about 50 feet away, literally a fantastic parking spot for the race I highly recommend it.  Cynthia headed to her Run to Remember corrall and Alyssa and I wandered around trying to find the VIP potty area hosted by Brooks.  Cynthia and I were given passes from Brooks at our Online Shoes Girls Night Out (more on that in another post) and Alma was nice enough to give me hers so Alyssa could have one as well.  Thanks Alma! 
The race started just below the Space Needle!
There was no waiting in line at these bathrooms and there was a real toilet and running water inside!  There were attendants wearing tuxedo shirts outside with trays of Gu, mints, gum and other things you might have forgotten.  So spoiled, thank you Brooks Shoes!!! 
We pottied like rock stars!
Pre race with Alyssa
After that I left Alyssa with Cynthia and headed up to my corral where there was going to be some blogger photos at 6:30am.  I chatted with some of the other ladies and we took several group photos.  One of the official photographers took our picture too but I haven't seen it yet.  For some reason I was thinking the race started at 7:30 and I was suddenly thirsty and realized that I had left my handheld water bottle in the car.  Darn it, I am terrible at drinking at water stations and it slows me down.  How are you supposed to get better at that anyways, set up some dixie cups around the track while you are running?  Anyways, I grabbed some water and suddenly I hear the announcer and I asked this girl next to me what time the race started.  She must have thought I was an idiot.  It was 6:55am and I had 5 minutes to get back to my corral, find Mel and get my ipod/headphones in order!! 
Group shot!  Love this.
I ran into corral 7 and scanned the horizon- thank goodness Mel is tall, I found her in about 30 seconds and jumped in next to her.  I got my headphones squared away and I could hear them sending off the first couple of waves as we shuffled along.  I took a quick photo or two and soon it was our turn.  I told Mel we would stick together but that if she was feeling good she could leave me anytime- I didn't want to be holding her back!  We did not coordinate our outfits but we were pretty matchy matchy in all of our pink anyways!! 
Found Mel without a moment to spare!  Probably should have read
the race details...
We chatted for the first mile, getting into a good stride and warming up.  It always takes me about a mile for my lungs to settle down and my body to relax into a good pace.  I was really just hoping for each mile to be right around a 9 minute pace.  I figured if they could all be under 9:10 I would be golden for a sub-2, although I really haven't had much time to actually TRAIN for this race since I have been racing so often!  Mel's garmin was freaking out and beeping a lot, saying we were running a 3:40 pace or something like that.  Mine seemed to be doing just fine, our pace for mile 2 was a bit fast but I think we really were running that fast and it seemed a bit downhill.
Mel's garmin was freaking out.  Clearly she was concerned! 
Mile 3 I started getting really warm and wondering what to do with my sweaty arm sleeves.  I started pulling them down and that felt better.  But it was really humid!  I was talking less because, to be honest, an 8:50 pace isn't really a conversational pace for me!  But I was trying to at least do a little chatting when I could because it was making the miles go by fast and I was enjoying the company!

My signature race pose- the smile and wave!
Mile 1- 9:05
Mile 2- 8:25
Mile 3- 9:11
Mile 4- 8:57
I remember during mile 4 that our pace was great and I was feeling good- I did have to stop to drink some water and then catch back up to Mel, but we were still at a pretty decent pace.  And then we turned the corner and saw IT.  The hill.  As we approached it there were about 5 timing matts -I guess so nobody could cheat or something like that.  We started to run up the hill but it was clear to me that I was going to waste a ton of energy running up it so I just started power walking as fast as I could.  Once we got to the top it wasn't any better- we then had to go back down the hill which was just as steep on the other side! 
Oh ya, we are amazing!

I knew that we had wasted a lot of time getting over that hill so I tried to pick the pace back up as soon as possible.  Soon we were running along Lake Washington and I knew the Mile of Rememberance was coming- this section makes me so emotional and get tears in my eyes so I tried to keep my mind on other things so I didn't start sobbing.  I have done the running/sobbing thing once before so I know I can do it, but it isn't pretty.  Just before that section we found Chelsea waiting on the sidelines and I was so happy to see her and pass off my sweaty arm sleeves!  Thank you Chelsea!  Ahhhh- that felt so much better!   
Still feeling pretty good here
As we went through the Run to Remember section I tried to look at all of the photos and the family members holding flags and think about the families that no longer have their loved ones.  I pushed aside my thoughts of pain and tiredness and ran because I COULD , while their are so many that have lost their lives and can't.  Cynthia ran the full marathon with this group and I also thought of her, running twice as far as I was and hoping she was having a good race.
Mile 5- 8:58
Mile 6- 10:23
Mile 7- 9:31
Mile 8- 9:19
Running out of poses- lots of camera's!!
I think after this we left the pretty section of the race and went into a dark, stinky, hot tunnel that lasted for close to a mile.  A WHOLE MILE!  I could not wait to get out of that thing, and once we popped out onto the other side it felt so refreshing.  We cruised along and I could feel myself slowing down and suddenly I didn't care about a sub-2 any longer.  Maybe it was because I hadn't really put much training and effort into it, maybe it was my lack of sleep causing my body to overpower my brain- but whatever it was, suddenly my time didn't matter. 
Hello up there!!
I fought it for a little while, just wanting to keep running with Mel for longer but eventually I stopped at a water station to get a cup of water and I just didn't have the speed to catch back up to her and let her fade away.  I wanted her to have the chance at a sub-2 if she had the energy and will power, plus it was time for me to enjoy the scenery for a bit.  I turned my music on and settled into a nice pace of my own.  I believe we went through a second hot, stinky tunnel and it was not any more enjoyable than the first.  I recommend avoiding tunnels when you run. 

I remember looking at my Garmin at the 10 mile mark thinking "oh, just a 5K left, that is easy!" and then we started up this enourmous, never ending hill.  I did run up most of it, passing lots of people.  I wasn't sprinting or anything, but I definitely kept a steady run up almost to the top, but then it curved around and I could see it just kept going, going and going.  Ugh.  I made a mental note to do more hill work. 

After if flattened out I remember thinking that this 5K was taking an absolute eternity and would never, ever end.  I was really wishing for a distraction, even thought the view was fantastic.  We were below the Pike Market and the waterfront was to the left.  There was an amazing ferris wheel set up out by the water.  But still, my brain needed something.  And suddenly there it was, just ahead and on the right- MEL!!!  So I picked up my pace and caught up to her.  She was having a rough time too so we stopped and grabbed some water and I told her it was just a little over a mile left as we started running.  We stayed together for just a couple of minutes and then I ended up going on ahead of her. 
Mile 9- 10:32
Mile 10- 9:23
Mile 11- 9:57
Mile 12- 10:13
My focus face.  The end is near.  Right?? 
I felt a little bad leaving her but I had to go with the surge of energy my body suddenly had and finish this beast of a race!  I remember my Garmin showing that I had ran 13.1 miles already and still the race went on.  What the?  I knew the finish line was near, I could hear it and smell it and taste it, but where the heck was it?  Oh right, at the top of a hill.  Yes, they put the finish line at the top of a very steep hill "oh, it's just after the next hill" the people were calling.  Lucky for them I was determined to cross the finish line or I would have let them know how I really felt about running up that last hill, while a million people stared at me so I didn't dare walk even though I felt like I was going to throw up!  And then BOOM I was at the top and there was the finish line and I was done!       
Mile 13- 9:20
Mile .27- 2:32 (pace 9:27)
Sybil and I just after crossing the line
First time I actually had this picture done!
Me, Mel and Kerrie
I met up with Sybil right away and then Kerrie and Mel were suddenly there as well.  We gathered all of our goodies and posed for a photo with the chocolate milk folks -best thing ever right after a race by the way, took our official race photos and headed out to search for our meeting area.  I had not checked a bag so I just went and sat down at the B area and relaxed.  Sitting felt pretty darn good.  Soon others wandered over and we hung out in the sunshine (yay!) eating and chatting for a while.  Chelsea brought snacks like oranges, trail mix, peanut butter m&m's and mimosa's- she is amazing.  She also brought us "4 of the grossest pairs of arm sleeves ever tossed at me during a race" LOL. 

Chocolate Milk Rules!
Alyssa and I went for a coffee run and then it was time to say good bye to all of our friends and go find Cynthia.  She had been texting me to let me know her times and distance so I had a pretty good idea when she would be finishing.  She crossed the line just before we got there but we were able to meet her as soon as she came out of the chute.  She looked so relaxed- like she just went for a stroll in the park!  Crazy girl, I was really glad she had a good race though! 

Cynthia after running a marathon- doesn't she look so happy and peaceful?
We walked around for a bit, then it started to rain so we decided to head for the car.  Then it really started pouring rain and when we got to the parking garage I knew we were in the B section- I had looked when I parked.  But for the love, we walked all over the B section and could not find the car!  I was pushing the button on my remote trying to hear it beep but still no luck.  It probably took us 10 minutes to find it so definitely not a PR in that department!

So overall, this race is on my list of "not to be missed" due to all of the fun and friends involved.  For being a huge race (22,000 runners) it is extremely well organized.  I did enjoy the course, except for the tunnels and hills and the fact that it seemed longer than 13.1 miles.  But the sprinkle of friends everywhere more than makes up for all of that!

Stats- unless of course you have fallen asleep reading my novel!
Total time- 2:05:42
Pace- 9:36
5K- 28:04
10K- 57:25
10Mile- 1:34:45
Overall place: 3841/14249
Gender place: 1748/9578
Division place: 401/1793
**photo credit goes to Marathon Foto for many of these pictures**


  1. Great recap Tiffany! :) I actually enjoyed this race. And for not running together we had almost the same times! Maybe next year we should run together. :) I also hated the tunnels but the hills were fine I thought expect for mile 10-11. Ugh! But I guess that's what I get for not running 10 days before a race and running a half 20 days before that too. But seriously great job! Thanks for organizing the hotel and for driving!

  2. Wow, such a fun recap to read! You look so strong and happy in all of your photos, too. It was so fun to see you at the finish line! Great job on your race and tackling those hills!

  3. Awesome recap! You are such a great runner, loved reading your recap. Marathon Foto got some awesome action shots of you! Nicely done.

  4. It was a tough course but you still rocked it and looked great doing it! Thanks for the motivation when I text you! And thanks for being there for me at the end.

    I kinda wish that car alarm was yours so you could turn it off and I could sleep haha.

    I had a great weekend and can't wait for next year!!