* I received a free entry to run the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon as an Alaska Airlines Athlete IQ Ambassador*
2016 marks the third time I have run the Seattle Rock n Roll half marathon, granted it is a completely different course from the Inaugural race I ran back in 2009. After a less than stellar performance at the Snoqualmie Valley Run (you can read the race recap here) the previous weekend, I was itching to get back out there and race. While I was hoping and praying for a little redemption, and proof that all my hard training is taking me in the right direction, I tried not to put too much pressure on myself for this race.
With such a large race filed packet pick up is more of a production than at smaller local races. I choose to go on Thursday, believing I could beat the rush and perhaps even find parking in downtown Seattle. Unfortunately it was the Copa American, which means there was no parking to be found anywhere. The Seattle Rock n Roll actually had a great expo so I was sad I had to rush through and get back out to my family who was waiting for me in the car. The check in process is a little cumbersome, with on site wavers that had to be filled out and less than enthusiastic volunteers. My race number also had the wrong name printed on the timing chip which required an extra trip to problem solutions. On the plus side problem solutions was excelent and hadd me taken care of in no time!
My favorite part of the expo was “Happy Island” set up by my favorite running shoe brand Brooks. Complete with carnival games, and a mechanical shoe ride, I would have loved to stay and play with my daughter! While the set up looked great that was all I got to see at the expo before getting back out to the car.
I had the good fortune of having a ride to the start line, my husband drop me off. I overheard many people used Uber to get to and from the race. With a separate start and finish line logistics can be tricky, although Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll did offer a shuttle service for a fee.
I enjoyed the new course, as any local is aware Seattle is full of hills, even so it was obvious the race director was mindful to keep the course as flat as possible, with no steep climbs. I also loved the different views of the city, you get to take in many of the local sites. The start line in is in the shadow of the space needle, you then head out where you will pass the great wheel, you will also run along the beautiful western lake Washington shore, and finally finish next to Quest field.
The race start underneath the iconic space needle made for a great back drop to pre race photos. Rumor has it there where less honey buckets than last year, and as a result the race start time was delayed 15 minutes to account the enormous port-a-potty lines.
Evan though I spent a chunk of time standing in those long lines the energy at the start was amazing. That is something I love about big races, the excitement of tens of thousands of people is almost tangible. And while I never actually ran into any of my friends who were running the race, there are that many people, I had great conversations with the runners I happened to be standing near before the start.
The wave starts were perfectly spaced to prevent congestion, right from the get go I could settle into a good pace without having to bob and weave through a sea of runners.
I was able to settle into a comfortably challenging pace for the rest of the race. There aid stations were huge, and well stocked, no chance of missing out on some much needed hydration.
The entire course was set up to entertain, weather it was the live bands, the cheer squads, signs and displays from sponsors or the beautiful sights of Seattle there was always something to take your mind off the 13.1miles and keep you in the moment. Here are a few of my favorites:
My favorite Sights
- My favorite band was the Asian drum core who was absolutely killing it under an over pass.
- The Brooks inflatable 80’s rocker who straddled the course was a welcome sight coming in to the back half of the race.
- The run to remember mile lined with flags, posters, and volunteers was an amazing sight, coming in to the final 5K it fueled my fire to finish the race strong.
Coming in to the final 2 miles of the race I realized for the firs time in my life I actually spent much of the race passing other runners! Let me be clear, in middle school I was the girl with asthma, who couldn’t run the mile in PE. In high school I threw shot put and discus and was sure to skip the track workout the sprint coach always tried to get the throwers involved in. Running has never come easy to me, but this year, at this race, for the first time in my life I actually felt like a runner.
In those final miles I pushed it like I have never pushed myself in my life. Involuntary tears streamed down my face in the final mile as my legs burned and my body told me to stop, but my mind told me to push for that PR and finish strong! I blew up my leg, I left every thing out there on the course, and walked away with my best race time ever. A new personal best of 2:06, I am still chasing that sub 2 hours, but I am that much closer. two kids and many trials have come into my life since that first half marathon, yet I am racing faster than I ever have before.
There where many vendors and snacks to pick up after the race, but the Seattle Rock n Roll half marathon just didn’t live up to my post race expectations. Post race meals are a big deal to me just read my 20 Reasons to Tri and you will see what a big deal post race meals are too me. My favorites include the delicious sandwiches at the finish line of the BMO Vancouver Marathon and the Post race BBQ at both the Issaquah Triathlon and the Snoqualmie Valley Run. There were several vendors and a main stage at the finish line, but at this point I was ready for my husband to pick me up, change into my compression gear, (you can find some of my favorite compression gear here and here) and just relax.
When all is said and done the Seattle Rock n Roll Half Marathon is now, and will always be one of my favorite races.
Have you run the Seattle Rock n Roll half marathon? I would love to hear about your experience, comment below.