We came, we ran, we rocked Seattle!
Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle. I’d registered for this race planning to run the full distance marathon (I was hoping to knock Washington off my 50 States bucket list), but time got away from me and I eventually dropped to the half marathon. It didn’t hit me how sad I was not running the full marathon until I arrived in Seattle. I was so close to crossing Washington off my list. What if I just walked it? Would that work?
But, alas, it wasn’t in the cards. I was there to run the half marathon and I was going to give that race hell.
The best part about running races on the west coast is when the early alarm goes off, it doesn’t seem quite so early. Hell, with a 7:00am race start – and staying at a hotel that was walking distance from the race start – getting up at 5:30am felt like sleeping in. Plus, the sun was already shining when I got up. Win. Win.
Our group stayed at Hotel Five in downtown Seattle. We left the lobby a little after 6:00am and had a half mile walk to the starting line at Seattle Center. I’ve been to Seattle three times in the last two years and this was the closest I’ve ever been to the space needle.
After dropping our bags off at gear check and downing two muffins as pre-race fuel, we headed straight to our corral. The majority of our group was in the 3rd corral, but the corrals went all the way back to twenty. Unlike Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego, the half marathon and marathoners started together. The starting area was packed!
The majority of us didn’t any goal besides “let’s have fun” so we decided to all run together and see what happened. It was an AMAZING day to race. A beautiful blue sky, cool temps, and low humidity – I definitely wasn’t in Florida anymore!
The first couple of corrals were released, then it was our turn.
And we’re off!
Anne, Janae, Cori, and I stuck together for the first couple of miles through downtown Seattle. I was warned this course was hilly and it did not disappoint. There were a few rolling hills with a sharp descend right before leaving downtown. We were maintaining around an 8:30ish pace, which was definitely pushing it for me.
Around the three mile mark, Janae and Cori started to gradually pull ahead of Anne and I. It was great running with them, but I knew I couldn’t keep up for long. Anne and I settled into a 9:00ish pace, which felt much more doable at that point. At this point I was very happy I was doing the half and not the full.
It wasn’t long before we ran into Doctor Dribble on the course.
What a great guy. Seriously. I remember running by him in San Diego the other week, but this time Anne and I actually had the chance to talk with him on the course. Doctor Dribble has run over thirty races while dribbling two basketballs non-stop for the entire race. When I saw him in San Diego, he was crouched down at a water stop – still dribbling – while someone was pouring water in his mouth – now that’s dedication!
When Anne asked why he started, he said he did it on a dare. A year and a half a go friend bet him he couldn’t run a whole marathon while dribbling and he wanted to prove he could. Now he uses his power for good by fundraising for each race he runs. Check out Team Doctor Dribble to learn more.
The half marathon and the marathoners split just before mile 6. Again I was happy with my decision to drop to the half a this point. One day I’ll return for the full, but that clearly wasn’t happening today.
This is also the point where the course really got good. We had a mile or two along the water and it was stunning.
We had a steep hill around mile 8 – my glutes were not happy with all these steep inclines!
The course took us down a tunnel and then out onto the interstate, on our way back to Seattle. The Rock ‘n’ Roll director had told us this was the portion of the course a lot of people complain about because they’re essentially just running on an interstate, but he had a good point when he followed up with the fact that he enjoys it because when else are you going to be on an interstate with no cars? Personally I liked the interstate, only because we were above everything and had stunning views of the surrounding area. It really was a gorgeous day to run a race.
We had started the race with our friend Emily, who is a recent mom of two and incredibly inspiring and amazing. Emily wanted to start slowly, at her own pace, so she lost us at the start. Somewhere around mile 5 Emily passed us looking strong and gunning for a sub-2 finish. We wished her luck and spent the next four miles talking about how proud we were of her.
When we saw Emily again just past mile 9, she was walking and struggling. Now, I know Emily, and I know she’s way stronger than she thinks she is. Anne knows that, too. We made a silent pact to run the remaining miles of the race as a trio and get Emily to that finish line. We warned her we were going to be those annoyingly chipper people who won’t let her give it – and we didn’t disappoint.
So we ran, we talked, and we had fun.
Plus, the views didn’t hurt either. I believe the words “this is amazing” or “best course ever” were uttered more than once. Hills be damned. It’s funny, now that the race is over, I don’t remember any of the hills – all I remember are the killer views. Clearly I’ve been brainwashed.
The last mile took us through the final hilly stretch of downtown Seattle.
And at 2:01 – we were done!
We did it! And Emily earned a killer course PR. Go Mama, GO!
Mimosas and medals for everyone. 😉
I can’t say enough wonderful things about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle race. I’m not sure if we just lucked out with great weather, but it was absolutely perfect – this Florida girl could not get enough of it! Yes, it’s a hilly course, but the views and great weather make up for it. I didn’t even mind the hills. I probably would have minded them if I was gunning for PR, but for a fun race it wasn’t terrible.
There were plenty of water stops, plenty of spectators, plenty of amazing views, plenty of signs, and plenty of post-race treats to go around. Everything from the expo to the start and finish lines were well organized and all of the staff and volunteers were very kind and welcoming.
I would highly recommend this event and I hope to return someday soon to finally knock that Washington full marathon off of my bucket list.
What’s your favorite race with the best views?