Monday, July 9, 2012

Seattle Rock & Roll Marathon - 6/23/12

Seattle Rock & Roll Marathon - 6/23/12

Jeff and I signed up for this event the last year at the expo for a discounted price.  We found a hotel 2 blocks from the starting line, which would be at the Seattle Center instead of Tukwila as in the last years.  The course originally started in Tukwila and finished at then Qwest Field *now Century Link Field* (I keep calling it Qwest just like I find myself calling Macy's the Bon Marche).

Some runners balked at the idea of squeezing thousands of runners into the already congested downtown area.  I was thrilled!  With a 7 a.m. start and riding a bus to Tukwila, you had to get up so early, some would argue there was no point in even going to sleep.  Last year's bus fiasco left me hating race morning.  The lines  made a circuitous route around blocks of buildings and when we finally boarded a crowded bus, my bladder was screaming during the long bus ride.  I knew I would have to wait in a huge porta-potty line once I got there.  Yes, starting and finishing the race in the same location has advantages.

We drove to Seattle later than anticipated on Friday for the expo.  Rock & Roll marathons are anal about packet pickup in that you have to show your ID and no one can pick your stuff up for you. And there is no day of race pick up.  This makes it rough for people who don't live close to the expo and, you know, work! Traffic into downtown was horrible, adding at least 30 minutes into our commute.  We found a parking spot and trekked to Link stadium and entered expo heaven.  Once we claimed our race packets, we perused and sampled lots of vendors and scored lots of freebies.  The days before the race, Jeff told me to not let him sign up for next year's race.  I signed up for next year's race at a not-as-big-a-discount-as-last-year's- price and Jeff nudged me and told me to sign him up for the half.  I rolled my eyes and reminded him about what he said.  He told me to do it and I did.

After finally escaping the expo, it was nearing 6:00 and we still hadn't checked into our hotel.  Italian restaurants would likely be packed at this time and I don't like eating too late the night before marathons.  The Pyramid Alehouse was across the street so I thought that would be better than waiting in line forever at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  We had a great dinner and we made our way to the hotel.

Race Start 
5:00 a.m. Wake up and get going.  We left the hotel room at 6:45!!  I loved that.  I will definitely stay at the start again next year.  I couldn't seem to get my body...moving...if you know what I mean.  We arrived at the start, the weather muggy but not super hot.  No need for any extra layers today.  The air was electric with anticipation in a super crowded field.  I squeezed into corral 3 after wishing Jeff a good race.  We decided to meet at the "A" (for awesome!) in case I couldn't find him at the finish.

We ran through streets in downtown and just as we hit mile one, I saw an lone porta potty calling my name. I made a quick stop - something I rarely do - and got on the course within a minute. When you gotta go...

It was fun running through the city!  Some don't like it but I enjoy the distractions of people, potholes, huge buildings. I don't get to Seattle often so I did a little window shopping along the way.  My goal was to do the best I could while having fun.  The reality is I was not in contention for an award given the size of this race, plus I was not exactly running on "fresh" legs.  I figured I could probably get a BQ out of it and be happy with it.

The humidity had me soaked within miles.  I was feeling good but not super speedy.  We hit an uphill heading towards Lake Washington and I heard these two comments.  "Is that all you got?  I that ALL YOU GOT?!?" from a guy running past me.  A girl said (edited), "_ _ c _ you hill!" as we crested the top. You can figure out the blank letters.  A steep downhill deposited us near Lake Washington. About mile 5.5, the marathoners headed toward Seward Park while the halfers continued north along Lake Washington.  Miles 6-12 were less crowded with just the marathoners.  We saw the front runners coming toward us and the first female was not that far behind the lead men.  I'm sure others tried not to think about how many miles they were in front of us.

Along Lake Washington, honoring our military
Back on Lake Washington Blvd., we were once again side by side with the half marathoners, a barrier separating the different distances.  It was a good feeling for me to be passing the slower half runners, giving me some energy.  I hope that doesn't sound terrible!  I was on mile 12.5 and they were nearing 6.  Many started a long time after I did based on their corral numbers.

Miles 15-20 were spent along the Mercer Island bridge and tunnel.  I lost satellite reception in all the tunnels but it did keep track of my total time.  The Mercer tunnel was so cantered, I could not wait to get out of it. I thought it would never end.  It was fun seeing the runners in front and behind me on the out and back sections.  Terry Sentinella, the 3:30 pace leader for the first half, had passed me somewhere along the way and he broke free to run his own race after his pacing duties were done.  I would have to run super fast to get a 3:30 at this point.  I didn't feel like that would happen and was just thrilled that I didn't have any muscle cramping like the last race.

Safeco Field as seen from the Alaskan Way Viaduct
I don't know where this was!
Miles 20-26.2:  I really enjoyed this course so much better than previous years.  Some complained it was hillier (?).  I didn't really notice.  I thought it was great to not run so close to the finish line when I still had miles and miles to go.  We stayed separated from the half-marathoners throughout the race, giving us a lot more room to run than what they had.  We ran past Safeco, Century Link, could see Puget Sound and the new "Wheel" along the Seattle waterfront.  I was passing lots of runners in the last miles.  I was leap-frogging with a female runner - not in my age group - but we were definitely feeling the same energy level.

New Wheel along the waterfront
The last mile and me and runner girl had an unspoken "race on!" agreement. She would surge, I would surge. She'd get ahead on an uphill, I would push myself to catch up.  The crowds had been thickening and that pushed me harder up the hill.  The finish line was just a couple blocks ahead and I put my head down and went for it.  She did the same!  I dug deep and was able to outrun her by a few steps just at the finish line.  The clock read 3:37 but I had 3:35:46 for a chip time.  Very happy with my time and that I had no cramping, had fun, and got another BQ.

After making my way through the finish line area, collecting food and drink in my aluminum cape which I turned into a bag, I found Jeff waiting for me.  We enjoyed the finish line food and entertainment (Gym Class Heroes), collected my Pacific Peaks Medal that all Portland 1/2 and Seattle runners earned, and got a chance to catch up with Tony Phillippi in the Michelob beer garden.

Rock & Roll gets a bad rap for being overpriced and crowded.  I can definitely understand this and appreciate those who don't wish to run this kind of race.  I do think there is some price gouging going on, as it is in many other races. As long as people are willing to pay, the prices will continue to rise.  I am looking forward to next year's race!

Gym Class Heroes at the finish line

Hanging around with MM #2 Tony Phillippi

Half Marathon medals

Full marathon medals

Steven Yee (#1 MM) spies me - probably near Mercer Island

  • Overall: 289 out of 3092
  • Division: 8 out of 180
  • Gender: 50 out of 1435
  • 5 Km
  • 10 Km
  • Half
  • 17.6 Mi
  • 20 Mi
  • 25:16
  • 50:13
  • 1:45:03
  • 2:22:23
  • 2:44:13
  • Pace
  • Chip Time
  • Clock Time
  • 8:14
  • 03:35:46
  • 03:37:37

Avg Pace