The Connection Runners + [training]

RnR Seattle Half Marathon Race Recap

Greetings from my couch on this sunny Tuesday afternoon in Michigan. I'm still recovering from a fantastic weekend in Seattle that included racing (duh), eating, shopping, sightseeing, brewery touring, and friendsing.

Since I can't stand the multi-day recap posts, I'm going to divvy up this singular post into nice little bite-sized pieces for your snacking enjoyment.

Bite #1: "De plane! De plane!" and Blogger Expo Lunches
Despite all of the anxiety-ridden dreams I'd had about flying with Charlotte in tow, none of them were realized. In fact, our early evening/one connection departure and ass-crack-of-dawn/one connection return went off with only minor hitches, none of which involved crashing into the Rockies or having to use the oxygen masks.

More on flying with babies later this week. It's going to be riveting and informative and inappropriate all at once.

We arrived late Thursday evening, just in time to catch about four hours of sleep before grabbing lunch with some other bloggers and friends and hitting the expo.

It was awesome to finally meet these ladies in person and, luckily, none of them seemed offended when Kevin and I changed the bright yellow massacre in Charlotte's diaper on the restaurant floor.

After lunch, we walked over to the expo to pick up packets and peruse the usual goods, a.k.a, get free samples of shit.

Megan, Adrian, and I made an Oiselle sandwich, and Julie taught me that it's pronounced "waa-sell" not "oy-sell" as I'd been so Americanly saying it.
The expo was well-organized and not too busy. Bib pickup took all of 13 seconds, and even changing my corral so that I could start with Megan was quick and painless.

Charlotte has this cheesiness to live up to when she gets older.

Expo Grade: 95% (I took a few points off due to a Mizuno booth absence which I know is not necessarily the fault of the race organizers but I'm one of those teachers who doesn't like to give out A-pluses very often.)

Bite #2: Insert a Cliché About Hilly Races HERE
Despite a soggy outlook for the race on Saturday, we woke up to temps in the low 50's and zero rain, otherwise known as Perfect Race Weather.

Megan, Ryan, Erika, Erika's friend Nancy, Kevin, and I all stayed in the Sheraton downtown on Race Eve so that we'd be closer to the start (Erika and her hubs hosted us at their house on the other nights).

After a quick chat with Kathryn, Erika's nanny/babysitter who'd come to the hotel to watch C, we were off to the start.

With over 20,000 marathoners and half-marathoners gathering for the race, I thought things would be overcrowded and crazy, but it wasn't terrible. Corrals were easy to find, and the wave start - although slow - helped to keep the course clear. One con: Gear Check was too far away from the start, IMO, but I guess they couldn't park UPS trucks on the lawns that surrounded the start.

Megan and I jumped into corral 11 where we said a quick hi to Nicole/Ricole who was running the full (brave little thing she was).

Roughly 20 minutes after the first wave was sent off, our corral was released into the wild, and Megan and I meandered into a comfortable pace. We stuck together for almost 9 miles before I pulled ahead a bit.

For the sake of brevity, my splits:

Course notes: Gu at miles 5ish and 10ish, water or Gatorade about every other stop.

The high points:
-Staying with Megan through Mile 8 helped immensely. Having a race buddy made it much easier to remain more consistent in my splits, and we got to pose for cheesy race photos together!
-Aid stations were well-spaced throughout, and each was several staggered tables long, keeping the congestion down and hydrating simple.
-Decent spectator support, although some spots waned due to course restrictions (on highways and such).
-Amazing final mile - 8:35!
-This was my BIG comeback race, and despite some shitty training, I felt pretty darn good!

The low points:
-Challenging course with several "oh-my-god-is-it-over-yet" hills that are nothing like the mini rollers we have in Michigan made PRing a long shot.
-A few tunnels wreaked havoc on my Garmin, but they were fun to run through.
-The short but steep hill in the last .1 mile was such a bitch slap to my quads. Really, RnR?

Final Numbers:
2:02:58
3299/14089 Overall
278/1510 25-29 AG
1412/9470 Gender
There was a point in the race where I though I might PR, so when I saw my finish I was initially disappointed. Then my common sense took hold, and it said to me, "Megan. Don't be an asshole. That was a good race on a tough course after some crappy training. You did just fine."

As soon as I snagged my medal, Jamba Juice, and water, I ran into Kevin and Erika who'd run an awesome 1:49ish race. Megan and Ryan came in soon after (both great races that Megan will recap!), and we all lamented over the hills but soon doused those feelings in free Michelob Ultra. It's not good beer, but then again... free beer IS good beer.

Race Grade: 89% (half-marathon is about as far as I'd run those hills!)

Bite #3: When in Seattle, do as Seattelittes (Seattlens? Seattlegns?) do!
Since the race was only part of our vacation, we spent the rest of the weekend doing vacationy things.

Like touring the Red Hook Brewery and sampling yummy beers...

Visiting the infamous Seattle Gum Wall and being totally grossed out but not grossed out enough to not take this photo...

Enjoying piroshkies on the Pike Place Market streets...

And enjoying the views of a city so pretty that I kind of want to move there and do fun things with some great friends all day long...

Vacation Grade: 100% (what do you know, a rare A-plus... but you can't really put a grade on awesome friends and a great weekend now, can you?)