Rock n' Roll Seattle Half Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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Seattle, Washington
United States
Competitor Group, Inc.
60F / 16C
Total Time = 2h 02m 31s
Overall Rank = 3221/14089
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 312/763
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at holy crap this is early...about 3:30 am I think...showered, ate peanut butter/honey toast...that was a first at this hour. Drove in driving rain to Seattle got lost briefly around the Seattle Center, finally found the parking garage a little after 5am. Big sigh of relief and relaxed for a bit.
Event warmup:

Walked around the Seattle Center/Space Needle about 5 times, stretched, grabbed 1/2 bagel, water, restroom several times. Took in the atmosphere as the event ramped up.
  • 2h 02m 31s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 21s  min/mile

Warning..potentially long report ahead!

This was a marquee, 'A' race event for me so a bit on the wordy side!

I had been really looking forward to this event and was excited in the build up to the race. It was not my first HM but technically only my second, and my first 'mega' event in terms of size. I had pretty much hit my training plan with no issues or setbacks, and included a 10K tune up a few weeks ago. While excited, I felt relaxed, and strangely confident in the week leading up to the race. Confident in that I would have a good race and hit my goal time of 2:05 which would beat my PR by 10 minutes. I was not so secretly thinking of having a shot at going under 2:00 if everything went perfect.

My biggest concern prior to the race was actually getting there and that didn't disappoint! I bought a parking pass at a garage close by but didnt actually check out the (underground) location prior to the event. Throw in pouring rain, closed off streets, and convoluted directions and I somehow managed to drive right by the garage in the dark. After about 15 mins touring the one way streets around the Seattle Center finally found it by dumb luck, and parked the car around 5:15am. Now I was good but the race was almost 2 hours worries though. Took my time getting my gear in order, stretching, walking around, went to gear check, had my picture taken several times etc.

The race was to begin at 7:00am. That is the race for the eilte runners. We were grouped into around 40-50 sections or corrals, with each corral starting 90 seconds apart. 39 mins into the race, and I was at the start line...yay!! Next lesson learned for the day - do not put youar actual predicted time on your registration form when you sign up 6 months early!

It really didn't bother me at all though. I was enjoying the atmosphere and excitement so it seemed to go pretty quick to me - and I even made a portaporty sprint as our corral trudged towards the start line. The news anchor guy gives us the countdown and some girl fires the air horn and Seattle here we come! I had set my pacer on my watch to 9:09 min miles which would put me within reach of the 2 hour marker if all went well.

First 5K was about as perfect as I could have hoped for. Right on my scheduled pace - actually slightly ahead. As a rookie, I still tend to go off too fast, even I know to hold back...yeah yeah yeah...I'll get that one day Roland, I promise! The rain had stopped well before the start and conditions were absolutely perfect. Ran through Pioneer Square and off to the stadiums, waving at the bands and high fiving the cheer squads.

One thing I was noticing though was how many people I was passing and I am not fast by any means. It was my first indication that I had seeded myself way too far back. By 10K I was going by people that started 15+ mins ahead of me and I'm just not that fast. This would beecome a problem in some of the tighter sections of the race where those of us trying to move up were forced to hold back because there was no way of getting around.

Run continued going well through 10K. Right on (sub 2 hour) target at the split and confortably ahead of my 2:05 goal. Feeling great, made a turn and hit, what has since become known as "Oh Shit Hill"...and those were my exact words, echoed by many of my close friends around me. Luckily it was short but wow..the desent on the other side was just as steep. Then it was over to Lake Washington Blvd and the incredibly moving honor row. Wow, there were pedestals with poster size pictures of local soldiers that had fallen, along with a brief bio, and a huge row of flags. I tried to read as many as I could, and I have to admit I was choking back the tears through this section. There was a decent size hill at the end of this part and not a single person that was around me had a problem making it up.

Hydration was going great. There was no shortage of water and gatorade at each aid station which were placed every 2 miles or so. My plan was to only take brief walk breaks as I took in water and gatorade at every 2 or 3 aid stations, and it was working perfectly.

Then up to the I-90 freeway express lanes and tunnels. I hated the climb up this ridiculously narrow walking path to get the freeway. We were totally jammed in and there was no choice but run at the pace of the group until we got to the deck. Along the freeway we had fantastic views over Lake Washington and of the Seattle skyline. Out of towners were stopping to take pics. I pushed on into the tunnels. These sucked. I dont know how long the tunnel section is - a mile, mile and a half maybe but I hated it for some reason. Humid, no air, not flat. Felt like my energy was being sucked out of me. Big aid station with gels right at the end of the tunnel that I passed on - I had no idea at the time what a huge mistake I had just made...doh doh doh. I know from my long runs i need a second shot of nutrition around miles 9 or 10. This was my opportunity and I dont think I'll ever figure out why I just ran on by.

Out of the tunnels, back to daylight and off to Seahawks and Mariners stadiums. Had a good 10 mile split with 8:44 which left me needing a 29 minute final 5K to go sub 2:00. It was on and I could reach it. I knew I had a 29 min 5K in me. The the climb up to the viaduct and I felt my first sign of trouble. A twinge in my left calf. Pushed on....held up again through a tight section of the course. Broke out of the pack and pushed and leg screamed. No way...cramps in my left calf and the steep onramp to the top of the stupid viaduct wasn't going to help. Cramp was getting pretty intense by the time I hit the top of the viaduct and we started heading along the Seattle waterfront, and when I split the 12 mile at close to 10 mins, I knew sub 2 wasn't going to happen.

Time to suck it up and HTFU to the finish with my head up. The crowds were fantastic over the bridge as we hit the downtown tunnel to the final stretch. The final mile was tortuous with the leg cramps but I was determined to keep moving and no way was I stopping. Pushed up the final stretch to fist pump the air as I crossed the line at 2:02:31 crushing my PB by 13 minutes!!

I really had a great time at this race and have enjoyed reliving it through Marathonfoto and writing this marathon race report :) As always the encouragement and support from my online Rookie mentor, support, cousnelling, tri team was fantastic and a big shout out to all of y'all. Also huge hugs to my wife for all the support and who was posting a play by play thread on FB as my split times were automatically texted to her.

Now it's time to plan a strategy to go the full distance but I will definately be back for another Rock n Roll event somewhere.
What would you do differently?:

1. Nutrition around the 8 mile marker...gel/shot block.
2. Do not underestimate the need for some nutrition during a half marathon.
3. Take at least 15-20 mins off my actual predicted finishing time when registering so as not to start so far back.
Post race
Warm down:

Limped through recovery area due to leg cramps. Grabbed gatorade, water etc. Got finisher pictures taken. Checked a few of the booths that were set up before heading to get my gear and eventually back to the parking garage after watching some of the full marathoners finish.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

1. Cramp in left leg at mile 11..although I hydrated well, I paid the price for not taking nutrition around mile 8. Stoopid, stoopid, stoopid!
2. Starting way too far back..I had to weave around people the entire race and in some spots when we were crammed in I simply just had to hold back and wait for a gap.
3. Training - overall my training was good in the build up averaging 25-30 miles a week with 1 long run each weekend and a tuneup 10K race. But, the long run plan could have been extended. In hindsight, I would have run a 14/15 mile run to go above and beyond the required distance, so will include that in the plan for the next one.

Event comments:

A fantastic experience. My first time at a large scale marathon event and overall I really enjoyed everything about this race, from the packet pickup at the expo to crossing the line!

The Rock 'N Roll series is clearly a big time event and it was amazing to soak up the atmosphere. As a participant I really felt like a rockstar. Part of that, of course, involves some hassle in terms of logistics, and as much as I love Seattle, driving down there is insane at the best of times, least of all when half the roads are shut down! Next time I'm getting a hotel and making a weekend of it...even though I only live an hour away.

But, I absolutely will do this event again. There was a buzz about the whole thing from the expo, to the bands, the volunteers, to the 20,000+ of my closest running friends on the day. I will almost certainly seek out RnR events in other cities.

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Last updated: 2012-02-11 12:00 AM
02:02:31 | 13.1 miles | 09m 21s  min/mile
Age Group: 312/763
Overall: 3321/14089
Performance: Good
Course: Start/Finish at Seattle Center under the space needle. Through downtown Seattle south past the stadiums, east to Lake Washington Blvd, up to the I-90 freeway tunnels, back towards Seattle, around the stadiums again, and a lovely climb up to the top of the viaduct, along the Seattle waterfront, turned right somewhere through a downtown tunnel with a big crowd above us which was way cool, back to the finish chute up to the Space Needle.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5