Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half Marathon Race Recap
When I landed at SEA-TAC International Airport last Friday morning at 8:00 AM I knew one thing for sure: In exactly 12 hours the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Expo would be closed. In other words, I had 11 hours to do everything I had hoped to do in Seattle, including checking into my hotel room, seeing friends and making sure I had something to eat before hitting the expo.
So for the next 11 hours I did everything I could. I explored this beautiful city, enjoyed one lovely meal and made it to the Expo just a little after 7:00 PM. I missed out on all the socializing, but I got all the sight-seeing handled.
The Expo wasn't super busy when I got there, but the Alaska Airlines booth was lit! There were tons of people in line having custom luggage tags printed and I patiently waited about 15 minutes for one of my own. I had just enough time to visit the vendors before the Expo floor closed for the night. I hopped in an Uber (so done walking at this point) and headed back to my hotel to prepare for the race.
I was excited to see my bib because I had customized it in honor of my mom's birthday which was just a couple of days after Father's Day. This race was special to me because I was dedicating it to both of my parents.
It's hard to watch your parents suffer with health issues and the struggles that accompany the physical & emotional strain that envelopes them. I am happy to have them in my life still and am very aware that running may not be in my future when I reach their age. I'm actively going to savor running and be thankful for it every single day by showing my gratitude to them and the universe.
At 11:00 PM I was faced with the fact that not only did I have to prepare for the race, I had to prepare for the airport. I stayed up for hours trying to determine where all the souvenirs I purchased (why did I get a champagne flute?!) would end up...until I finally passed out with no answers.
Race morning was easy. I was only a little over 1 mile from the start so I walked from my hotel room to the Space Needle. By now I felt liked I had walked the entire course, so my legs were tired but accustomed to the punishment. The forecast called for rain so I had a poncho tucked away in my arm band and wore my most beaten up shoes. I was ready to enjoy the race that I had waited so long to run.
It took a little bit of navigating but before long I was at the VIP area where I happily checked a bag of clean dry clothes and an umbrella then sat down to enjoy fruit.
There was seating inside and outside, I chose outside as there were plenty of heaters to keep us warm. I chatted with other runners - all big fans of this half marathon and full marathon - which was super encouraging. I love hearing what local, repeat runners have to say about a race so I really enjoyed chatting up until the very start of the race.
I made my way to my corral just around 6:50 AM and danced to the jams until it was my time to run.
When it was finally go time I went for it - very carefully. I have learned that my previous injuries aren't going away. Although I can plow through short distances, long distances piss my knees off. I decided to keep it easy with a 12mm pace the entire race.
The weather was cool and the course was so beautiful and fun. I was happy to see people cheering us on from the beginning.
Because I generally always run alone, I am pre-loaded with all kinds of music. I had a special playlist for this race which I kept on in the background, but eventually turned off because the bands and course were so much fun.
From bands to volunteers to Seattle's finest - there was no shortage of fun to be had on the course. In fact, more musicians than I've seen on a course in a while! My pace definitely slowed as I was on Facebook Live and Snapchat a lot, but I felt great.
This is probably the part where I should back up and tell you I don't eat processed foods anymore. Have you ever run a race on a completely empty stomach? It had been about 11 or 12 hours since my last meal and my blood sugar was low. My energy was low. I was sweating quite a bit and against my better judgement I had a lot of the electrolyte drinks on the course - both of which were full of things I no longer want in my body. At the half / full split I was tired...but scarfed down a mini box of raisins and kept going.
By mile 8 my right knee was in terrible pain. Maybe the stress fracture never healed, maybe the patellar tendinitis is still an issue - whatever the case it's like I can't function after mile 8 without a ton of pain.
Regardless, I pressed on. By mile 9 I was limping, but still running. I was not going to walk damn it! I had to be checked out of my hotel room on time and walking wasn't going to help...I'd have to deal with the pain.
Then I saw the medical tent at mile 10 and I came to my senses. I had my knee taped after being smeared in Biofreeze and decided to try running again...slowly.
My knee disagreed with my plan and at that moment I decided to enjoy the scenery and the rain that had finally started falling from the sky.
I walked miles 10 - 13.1, disappointed in the knee and desperate to get back to the room before check-out time. But - there's always a 'but' - I was still so in love with the weather and the course that I couldn't get mad at myself. I was really in the moment and I was loving my surroundings and really feeling blessed.
Those last 3 miles felt like an eternity. When I crossed the finish line I retrieved my medal and began looking for the VIP area so I could get my bag and figure out how to get back to my hotel.
There was a wonderful luncheon prepared in the VIP area with everything from sandwiches and chicken to dessert and fruit. I saw several people being massaged as well - which was tempting but I was in a bit of a hurry and had to be on my way.
On my way out I stopped to listen to the New Pornographers. I really like them so I was excited they were the headliner for the post-race party.
I walked a few blocks away from the stadium and got a ride back to my hotel. Thankfully, the Hilton I stayed at offered me a couple of extra hours to clean up and pack, so I was able to admire my new medal and shirt for a minute before packing them away.
Bottom Line: I really want to come back to Seattle. I want to come back to visit the area again and I want to come back and run this race again.
Pros: I felt that the course support (music, water) was plentiful and fun. I loved the scenery, the atmosphere and the weather. The expo was big and spacious and featured a variety of vendors. Additionally the post-race party was also in a spacious area and the finishers' village (separate from the finish line) seemed well organized. The shirts and medals are great, and it was really nice to be so close to the full marathon runners. I loved cheering them on as they finished. VIP is a good value for food, warmth, bag safety and peace of mind.
Cons: As a traveler, I am not a fan of races that start and end at different locations. Although this finish line was only a few miles from hotel, those few miles were too many when my knee was hurting and I had somewhere to be rather quickly. Also, the finish line area was a little tricky for me to navigate. I wasn't sure which way to go for VIP, which way to go for a Mylar blanket, etc.
Would I recommend this race? Yes! If you're a local or looking for a racecation to add to your add list I would say start with Seattle. It's an amazing city with really wonderful and unique people. The sights and the food are fantastic, the running is great. If you have any other questions feel free to ask away!
Remember: You can save $15 on Rock 'n' Roll race registrations by using code "Jindy" at check out.
See you on the road!
Disclosure: As part of the #RocknBlog team I was provided with a complimentary race entry. As always, opinions are completely honest and 100% all mine.