Rock ‘n Roll Seattle Half Marathon Recap

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | race recap

Jun 21

Disclaimer:  I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n Roll Seattle Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Last weekend I completed my 13th half marathon and my 9th(!) race of 2017 – the Rock ‘N Roll Seattle Half Marathon.  It has been such a busy racing season for me and I’m happy to say that I was able to end the season on a high note!  But you wouldn’t believe that I almost completely missed out on this opportunity!  I’ll explain how as I share my recap with you!

I’m linking up with MarciaPatty, and Erika for Tuesdays on the RunSusie, Debbie, Lora, and Rachel for the Running Coaches Corner and Annmarie, Nicole, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday!  

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Rock ‘n Roll Seattle Half Marathon Recap

Last year I really wanted to run this race in Seattle but I just couldn’t work it out.  I promised myself that I would do whatever it takes to make it to the race the following year.  So when BibRave partnered up with the Rock ‘n Roll Race Series in 2017, I couldn’t be more excited since I’d finally have no excuse to miss out on Seattle.  I signed up for just about every RNR race that I could, including Seattle, and fortunately, I was selected to participate!  I received notification in early March that I was in, but wouldn’t you know that I FORGOT to register for the race and didn’t realize it until 7 days before the half marathon?!

This is what happens when you have too much going on in your life – I specifically remembered signing up for Montreal and Brooklyn but somehow Seattle got lost in the shuffle.  Thankfully,  as soon as I realized my mistake I was able to contact Erin, our fearless BibRave Pro leader, explain what happened, and I was able to get a comp code at the Solutions table at the race expo.  But those few days of uncertainty were absolutely miserable!

Race Expo

I had non-direct flights from Philadelphia to Seattle, first thing in the morning on Friday.  I had no complaints with my flights despite being in the middle seat for several hours from Chicago to Seattle (I didn’t buy my flights until May…awful, I know) and I got to watch the LEGO Batman movie, haha!  Because of all the chaos with my registration, I decided to go to the expo as soon as possible.  I took the LINK transit system to downtown Seattle, checked into the W Hotel, went for an awesome lunch, then finally made my way to the Expo.  Since I knew that it would probably be a while before I made it back to Seattle, I bought a lot of race swag, lol!  I spent entirely too much time and money, but hey – I finally got some OOFOS sandals and a SPIBelt – those are necessities!

The Night Before

So did I forget to mention that my trip to Seattle was solo?  I was completely on my own.  Of course, I’ve traveled to conferences by myself plenty of times, but this was the first racecation that I made where I didn’t have any friends or family around.  I did worry that I would be pretty lonely on this trip, but it really wasn’t that bad.  It was nice to be able to do whatever I wanted without anyone else’s input, haha!

On Friday night, I was able to go for a nice 3 mile run through the city – I ran down to the Pike Place Market (which was a little too hectic for my taste), then down to the Olympic Sculpture Park and Centennial Park – what an amazing sight!  I was actually feeling a bit too lazy to run that evening but I’m glad that I did because it was the perfect day with clear blue skies.  For dinner, I went to an awesome speakeasy-type place and began my carbo-loading with a Greek lasagna and a couple of amazing cocktails.

On Saturday morning, I enjoyed sleeping in and eventually made my to brunch – more carbs in the form of French toast that was definitely on point.  Then I did several miles of walking, heading to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum and the Museum of Pop Culture, which were both amazing and a lot of fun!

I ended up getting dinner pretty late since it took forever for me to make a decision once I got back to the hotel.  I went to a trendy burger place and ordered their signature burger with garlic truffle fries…very similar to the dinner I had the night before the Buffalo Half Marathon, but not nearly as good.  Bummer! I got back to the room and was in bed sometime around 10:30 pm.

Race Morning

I set my alarm for 4:45 am.  The LINK trains were running a few earlier times for the race, and I planned to be out the door and heading to University Station by 5:30 am.  The race started at 6:30.  I was glad that RNR provided a detailed schedule on how to get to/from the race start and finish – it was extremely helpful.  After a Larabar for breakfast, I packed my things and headed to the station.  There was a decent amount of people waiting for the train, which was already running late.  I saw a couple of Rock ‘N Bloggers that I easily recognized from last year’s race in Philly, but I guess I’m not that recognizable even wearing a bright orange BibRave singlet so there was no wave or acknowledgment between us.  Where’s that side-eye emoji?  LOL

As we got on the train, it was pretty full, but it got much worse as we made it closer to our destination – we left a lot of people behind.  It was already a little after 6:00 when I made it to the Husky Stadium, but I was in Corral 13 – I knew it would be a while before I took off from the starting line.  As I got off the train, I was really confused about where to go – why didn’t I study the race map like I did in DC?  I eventually found gear check and saw the longest lines for bathrooms that I’ve ever seen…I wanted to use the potty, but I decided to hold it.

 

The Starting Line

The race area was heavily congested I will admit that hearing some sprinklers going off that morning had me a little worried about my bladder, haha!  As I went to my corral I coincidentally ended up being right next to Justin, one of my fellow BibRave Pro’s.  He was running the marathon – brave soul!  He was really nice and we talked a little bit before the line started moving closer to the start.  The race didn’t start at 6:30 sharp, which was a little bit annoying…but there were probably still a ton of people trying to get to the start. For some reason, people didn’t understand that they had to be within the barriers to run the race, so there was an awkward merge as we walked closer to the start line.  The clock crept closer to 7 am and finally, it was time to start running!

Miles 1-5

Because of the chaos at the start of the race, I didn’t get to have the best pre-race warmup.  I’ve been wearing Mizuno Wave Rider 20’s for the past couple of weeks and this would be their racing debut.  Unfortunately, they are still not ready for game-time.  The first few miles were very uncomfortable.  The weather actually wasn’t bad though it was much more humid than I would have liked – at least it wasn’t 85 degrees!

We took off from the Husky Stadium and ran through some nice residential areas.  It wasn’t long before we had some pleasant downhills, but I knew that there would be several rolling hills throughout the course to keep things challenging.  There was one awkward part of the course where we had to cross the side of road and go up a pretty big hill…it definitely slowed me down.  My right knee has been having some pain lately and I’ve mentioned my pesky left calf/shin pain…so by the second(!) mile I was feeling pretty crummy and like I was hobbling along.  I remembered at Ragnar how my second run almost came to a halt because of my leg pain and I was worried that I would have a repeat experience.  But I pushed on and tried to focus on having a strong race with negative splits.  Thankfully, the first few miles went quickly and I started to find my sweet spot.  I kept my eye on the 2:15 pacer who was always so close but so far ahead of me.

You may also like:  2016 Rock 'N Roll Philly Half Marathon Recap

Splits:  10:19, 10:51, 10:55, 10:30, 10:00.

Miles 6-10

The early-middle miles were definitely my favorite portion of the race.  We ran on a winding road along Lake Washington and there were these amazing homes that were above us to the right while there was usually a park to the left with a great view of the water.  I would have loved to stop and enjoy the scenery but come on, when have I ever done that during a race?!  They actually had a “Selfie Stop” where you could pose with people wearing raincoats with a funny backdrop – I’ve never seen that before! It was very Disney-esque. The bands were pretty good and I appreciated that there were portapotties available seemingly at every mile, even though there were still long lines.  Of course, by that time, I no longer had to go.

I believe it was around mile 7 when we reached the Blue Mile that honors our fallen soldiers.  Unlike the Blue Mile during Rock ‘n Roll DC, this was literally a mile long.  I passed each photo of a fallen soldier on the route, many of them with pictures of their young children, and it was beyond touching.  Then there was a long line of people carrying American flags cheering us on and a runner near me thanked every single one.  It was definitely a highlight of the race for me, and what I love is that it reminds me of the big picture.  I have so much to be grateful for.

Around mile 8, we split from the marathoners and went up a big hill – this was the toughest hill for me in the entire race.  It took me a bit of time to catch my breath, but after that point, we headed away from the lake and more into the city.  I was still playing cat-and-mouse with the 2:15 pacer, but I knew that I had to be doing pretty well since I was consistently in the 10-minute range.  I just listened to my marathon motivation playlist and kept on pushing.  There were a few raindrops that fell during the race and I welcomed them!

Splits:  9:58, 9:57, 9:46, 10:16, 9:56.

Miles 11-13.1

We were finally getting close to the end and I couldn’t wait to be done.  The last couple of miles were pretty boring with limited support from spectators.  The pavement was really rough and my body felt beat up.  I knew that I was running around a 10-minute pace and I promised myself that I would push to run faster for the final 5K.  Well, I’m pretty sure that I succeeded in that regard, but my Nike+ watch FROZE at 11.19 miles!  I paused it and restarted it, but the mileage wouldn’t change.  You’ve got to be kidding me!

So I kept pushing as I saw us getting closer to the CenturyLink field where the Seahawks play.  It was so close but so far.  Thankfully I found a second wind and picked up the pace to finish strong – I saw the finish line and triumphantly made my way through.  Done!

Splits:  9:50, ?, ?

Race Results

My official race time was 2:11:48.  I’m happy with that!  My Nike+ watch had 2:11:50, but the mileage was still off…time to upgrade!   This was definitely a more challenging race than Buffalo and the Love Run in Philly earlier this year with all of the hills. It wasn’t too long ago where I was hoping to get 2:15, and now it looks like I have a new floor for my races.  I look forward to seeing if I can continue to improve with my times later this year!  Considering that I had a rough start the first few miles, I’m so happy I was able to run things around!

After the Race

Unfortunately, I didn’t really hang around after the race.  I felt disgusting, my hair was a mess (thanks, humidity!), and I just wanted to get back to my hotel room.  No Michelob Ultra for me! I was hoping to meet more BibRave Pro’s but the timing didn’t work out. I went to the train station and headed back to the hotel.  I almost went the wrong way though on the train – that’s what happens when you have that post-run brain fog!

After packing my things, showering, taking a short nap, and checking out of my hotel, I finally went for a celebration brunch.  I went to a Mexican place that had some pretty good food and a very strong margarita.  They treated me a little strange because I wanted a table for 1, but why sit at the bar when I need to stretch my legs after running 13.1 miles?!  Despite the odd service, the food was really good!

I still had a few hours before flying out of Seattle at 10:30 pm, so I went on a Harbor Tour and finally visited the Space Needle.  At both excursions, I chatted with some really friendly people, including a guy who ran Seattle as his first Rock ‘n Roll race who lives in Houston but was born in South Africa.  I chatted him to death as we waited in line at the Space Needle and I never got his name, but he was super nice!

By the end of the day my feet were killing me and I was sore from the race, then I had to make my way back to the airport and head back home.  I had a miserable red-eye flight where I just couldn’t get any good sleep, but thankfully I took Monday off and could finally rejuvenate at home!

Takeaways

I really enjoyed my weekend in Seattle, and if it weren’t for Rock ‘n Roll, I probably would have never taken the opportunity to visit the city, even though I am a huge Frasier fan!  Rock ‘n Roll is always a fun time, but I probably wouldn’t run the Seattle half marathon again.  The marathon looked like a much more appealing course with a better representation of the city of Seattle.  I do know that I need to plan a trip to come back to Seattle because I still have so much more that I want to see and do!

Pros:

  • Great expo.  Rock ‘n Roll always has a fantastic expo.  I spent SO much money there and picked up some great stuff!
  • Awesome swag.  I LOVE the medal and I can’t wait to wear my new hat and rep Seattle!  I couldn’t resist adding another beer glass to the collection!
  • Beautiful view of Lake Washington.  It was definitely a highlight of the course.  The “Stadium to Stadium” branding didn’t really mean much to me.
  • Plenty of porta-potties along the course.  Even though there was a shortage at the race start, I appreciated you had plenty other opportunities to “go”.
  • Great bands for entertainment.  The bands are always fun and a nice break from my music playlist!

Cons:

  • Chaotic start to the race.  I was honestly a little disappointed in the organization of the race.  There was a  lot of confusion and I couldn’t believe that the race didn’t start on time.  The announcers were really annoying too.
  • Not enough porta-potties at the start.  I should have gotten to the race earlier…rookie mistake!
  • Not enough trains running to get to the race start.  So many people had trouble with the trains.  It was the perfect way to get to the race but next time they should schedule more trains!
  • A few lonely miles along the way.  This is to be expected with any race, but the last few miles were dull and dragged on.  I wish we had some better views!

Shoutouts

Thanks to the BibRave Pro team for allowing me to be part of this race.  I was so distraught when I realized I forgot to register and I’m so thankful that everything worked out!

As always, I have to thank Coach Laura!  I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet up while I was in town, but I appreciated all of the support.  This race was my victory lap after such a successful season!

I must also thank Bret for being so understanding through all of this.  I raced a lot this year and spent several; weekends away from home.  I missed out on a lot of things and it was never easy.  He had so much patience these past few months and I’m thankful for that!

And last, thank you to everyone – family, friends, blog readers, social media followers – I’m very appreciative of all of the kind words and encouragement I’ve received this year.  I hope that I made you proud.

And now…I’m done!!  No more races for me until late September when I go to Rock ‘n Roll Montreal!  Fortunately, Bret and I will both be running and I’m hoping that he’ll be able to appproach 1:35 and maybe I’ll get a little closer to 2:05!  In the meantime, I’ll continue to work out, run a whole lot less, and get my regular life back before I think about training again!  Oh yeah, and I’ll still be blogging because you know I can’t stay away!

How was the end of your spring racing season?  What do you have planned for the summer?

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