Rock ‘n Roll Seattle Recap: Aka My First Half-Marathon

First, I wanted to say that I ran my first half marathon. Yay!

Since this was my first official half marathon, my only goal was to run the entire time and not worry about pace or finishing time. I mostly stuck to that goal although there were a couple of times when I walked on the mountains hills on the course. I ended up finishing in 2:19, which I’m happy with since I was expecting that I’d finish around 2:30.

So here’s a recap of the race and the events leading up to the race:

I left work in a frenzy around 1 PM and headed over to South Lake Union to check into my hotel. Even though work was crazy that day, I’m glad I left early to miss the worst of the “I-can’t-drive-in-the-rain-even-thought-it’s-always-raining” traffic. As I made my way over, I saw a fellow blogger, Tricia, tweet and ask if she could have a ride over to the expo. Turns out, we were staying at the same hotel. Great meeting you, by the way!

The awesome wall of sparkles

It was my first expo experience and I might’ve been a tad excited about all the free food samples. Mixing 20 different protein bars and coconut milk ice cream into your stomach within a 1-hour period is probably not the smartest thing to do the day before a race. I couldn’t help myself. How could I possibly resist a Snicker’s energy bar or an almond milk ice cream sandwich? Aside from food, I purchased a sparkly headband and a pink pair of Brooks PureCadence since I love my blue ones so much.

My hot shoes

I walked over to where the blogger meet-up was going to occur and then saw some work things blowing up over email and had to make a few phone calls. By the time I went back, everyone was gone. I ran into Julie, Adrian and Laura at the expo though. Laura & I wandered around for a bit more and then we headed over to dinner with Stacie, Allison & Lauren. I was tempted to order a wine flight but given that I had to wake up at 5am and I already punished my stomach enough between sample overload and my bagel dog lunch, I reluctantly passed. After dinner, I headed to the hotel and met up with a friend of mine. Staying in a hotel near the start of the race was such a brilliant idea. It meant I could sleep in until 5 AM instead of waking up at 4 AM.

Blogger dinner (L to R: Allison, Stacie, Lauren, Me & Laura)

I didn’t sleep well at all that night and kept waking up every hour to check the clock. Finally got up at 4:45 and headed to the bathroom since I’ve read in several blogs “You can’t PR if you don’t PRP (pre-race poop).” I must say that I was getting a little stressed about that it wasn’t going to happen for me but that’s a little TMI. The hotel had a runner’s breakfast for $4, consisting of a bagel and peanut butter, trail mix and chocolate milk. Yum. G and I then headed to Seattle Center and met up with some blogger peeps. Unfortunately I missed the big group photo but had fun anyway hanging out with my friend G, Stacie, Julie and Adrian. I decided to hang out in their corral and start the race with them instead of heading back to my corral in the nosebleed section. It was probably a smart move since a lot of people in this corral were running pretty slow anyway. When it was time to get moving, I was pumped. I turned my music on and had it on full blast. I was so thankful that it wasn’t raining. I really did want to get soaking wet while I was running. I’m a wimp when it comes to rain and cold.

My friend G & I. My extra large throwaway shirt makes me look extra large.

The Space Needle before the start of the race

Adrian, Julie, Stacie & me before the race. We all wore matching shirts designed by the extremely talented Julie (aka TriGirl)

Showing off our shirts

The start of the race

Miles 1-5

The first few miles went by really quickly and I kept checking my watch to make sure that I wasn’t going too fast. I was between a 9:00 and 10:00 pace the entire time which is ideal for me. I was really surprised at how many people stopped and walked during the first mile or two. I’m also really glad I didn’t have to use the bathroom since the porta potty line at mile 1 or two was super long. I was trucking along, reading the signs on the side of the road and then I turned the corner and the energy of the race seemed to drop. Up in front of me was a dreaded mountain hill. I ran up the hill but I felt like I was barely moving and going downhill, I was scared I was going to faceplant in front of everyone. A very brave girl whizzed by me as fast as she could down that hill.

Miles 6-9

The run along Lake Washington Blvd was very pretty and we ran past some military tributes which was very touching. My iPod was driving me crazy since it would only play the first twenty seconds of a song before skipping to a new song. I think my sweat/body was screwing with it; once I clipped it to my fuel belt, the iPod worked just fine. This stretch of the race also took us through the I-90 title which was dark and humid. I wasn’t a fan and wanted to get out of there asap so I picked up my pace a bit. After exiting the tunnel, we ran towards the Viaduct and the slant of the interstate was driving me crazy. The marathon winner ran by me on the right and he looked like he was flying.

Miles 10-12

After climbing up to the Viaduct, we were rewarded with amazing views. At this point, I was ready to be done but the nice views certainly helped. I was so excited that mile 12 included a downhill and I thought we were going to end on a downhill. No such luck. There was a bitch of a hill right before the end and my hopes of sprinting through the finish line were quickly dashed. It was more like jog-of-death up the hill.

Overall, my first half was a fun and amazing experience and I’m definitely hooked on racing. I avoided races for so long since I thought training for them would be stressful and take the fun away from running but I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised. My next half is the Lululemon SeaWheeze on 8/11 and I don’t have a goal time yet since I want to see how I do between now and August.

The after photo.

Here are some of the gems the race photographers caught:

No idea

The only “normal” photo from race day

I’m also starting to train for my first marathon which is Marine Corps in Washington, D.C. Does anyone have any newbie marathon tips to share?

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My Weekend in Training

I had a pretty productive weekend running-wise and am feeling much more confident about Rock ‘n Roll Seattle than I was a couple of weeks ago.

On Saturday, I met up with Dawn, Genajuade and Katie for a 7.5 mile run through Marymoor Park in Redmond and on the Sammamish River Trail until we hit Redhook Brewery in Redmond. We met up with a few more folks at Redhook and then enjoyed our much deserved beers and treats. My treats = a big, fluffy pretzel and a pulled pork sandwich. Running seems to bring on the HUNGER. Since it was hot and I didn’t want to develop the dreaded shin splints, I took it fairly slow, average a 10:30 pace with some miles at a 9:30 pace. I think the entire Eastside was out on the Sammamish River Trail; it’s great seeing so many happy, active people out on a nice sunny day. My face was one giant salt lick by the time I was done.

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On Sunday, the hubs and I were supposed to go to Bainbridge to visit our favorite ice cream place (Mora) but we realized that was the day of the Chateau Ste Michelle staycation event, full of food trucks and billion-dollar cars. If there’s one thing I can do well, it’s eat so a mini food truck rodeo is just my thing. I filled up on pulled pork sliders, a pork taco and kimchi fried rice from Marination Station. I then got a scoop of chocolate peanut butter ice cream from Parfait. Yum.

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Random cat in a stroller

I didn’t have any formal running plans on Sunday but since I was a glutton all day, I decided to check out the Redmond Watershed Preserve trails in the evening. There were lots and lots of hills and while I haven’t checked my Garmin for official elevation gains, my legs were getting pretty sore. I managed to run up every single hill, albeit very slowly. I also wore my new neon pink compression socks that I had purchased earlier in the day since I think they help with the shin splints during hill work. And they make me go faster (and look awesome). Total mileage on Sunday was 3.5.

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I didn’t run today but hubs and I went to breakfast in Ballard and then headed over to Woodland Park Zoo since it was on the way home. Hubs was wearing his Fitbit and said we walked 4.5 miles throughout the day.

I’m so not ready to go back to work.  Did any of you have a sweat-fest this Memorial Day weekend? By the way, I’m hosting a weekend 8.5-ish mile run on the Kirkland waterfront this Saturday and a Hills-of-Doom run (aka Tolt Pipeline Trail) next Tuesday evening if you want to join.

Oh, and this happened. Poor kitty:

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I Broke My Butt

Now that I seem to be over my shin splints, I guess my body decided it needed something else to complain about. Last weekend, I ran 5 miles on the Powerline and Sammamish River Trail and I think the hills are what did me in & led to a pulled muscle. Given that I haven’t been sticking to my training plan as rigorously as I should’ve been due to all my vacations, I should’ve taken it easy. My husband was amused that I needed his help to sit down and get up for two entire days.

Because of my pulled butt muscle, I skipped the Seattle’s Best 15k since I’m not very good at taking it easy when it comes to races. Instead, I ran an easy and slow-paced 6 miles on the flat Sammamish River Trail. I was really bummed that I had to skip the race and miss out on meeting up with Erika and Allison. And speaking of races, I’m also a total dolt because I didn’t realize the West Seattle 5k was *this* Sunday.

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My goal for Rock ‘n Roll Seattle is to run the entire 13.1 miles; no goal time since it’s my first half marathon. I will have a time goal for the Lululemon SeaWheeze half in August. Speaking of the SeaWheeze, it’s about 75% sold out. Still time to sign up, RunBirdieRun and RicoleRuns. No pressure but if you don’t come, you’re going to miss out on a kick ass Vancouver weekend.