Alaska Airlines Rock’n’Roll Seattle Marathon 2017!

Woooo hi!

Just over three weeks ago I ran the Calgary Marathon and didn’t have the best day. Personally, it wasn’t my day, but I also didn’t find the event overly exciting, so I came home feeling dissatisfied with my overall spring marathon experience. Waiting until the CIM in December for the next marathon seemed out of the question, so I started looking into the possiblility of running another three to four weeks after Calgary. In many peoples’ eyes, this is crazy, but we aren’t going to get into that.

Living where I do, it’s impossible to take a weekend trip to just anywhere you want. In a perfect world, I’d have flown my personal jet to Duluth, Minnesota and run Grandma’s Marathon, which was this past Saturday on June 17th and has been on my bucket list since I fell in love with the marathon in May of last year. Since we do not, in fact, live in a perfect world, I looked into the Alaska Airlines Rock’n’Roll Seattle Marathon. Pretty big event, awesome city, same timezone I live in, and accessible (in the grand scheme of things) from Prince Rupert! The course looked  challenging but since I was on the hunt more for a good time than “redemption” from the Calgary race, I decided to go for it.

Then, I convinced my friend Marcie to come along and run the half. We booked our flights, AirBnB, and registered for our races. WOOOOOOO!!!!

THIS RACE WAS SO AWESOME and I feel like the Rock’n’Roll’ness of it was just bonus because it was already such a cool route in a wicked city!

We arrived to the expo at the CenturyLink Field Event Centre in the early afternoon on Saturday to get our bibs, shoe tags, shirts and shuttle passes (purchased online before hand) and everything was organized and problem free. The race shirts are basic black t-shirts but I guess that’s safe…imagine trying to please twenty thousand people? The expo was pretty big, busy, and in a cool venue in an accessible spot. I’m not usually one to purchase things at the expo, but there was a huge merch area of Brooks gear, what looked like a gait anaysis treadmill station (with a big lineup) and then past that section was the exhibitor area. There were lots of free samples, and the girl manning the JellyBelly Sport Beans table LOADED us up after we obeyed the “2 per person” sign. LOL. Good karma! Love Sport Beans, thanks to my friend Sam for introducing me to them! Also worth mentioning was the diary-free cheesecake by Daiya. Legit. We also scored free sunglasses which I love.

Next we made a trip to the Oiselle flagship store and Lululemon in University Village (via Uber) and then it was time for a big, early dinner.

One of the girls at Lulu recommended Mama Melina just down the road, and YOU NEED TO GO THERE. Best pizza and pasta ever, Marcie and I agreed, and it was early-ish so it was happy hour and our bill was CHEAP. Score. Then we hit QFC for breakfast food and went back to our AirBnB to get as much rest as possible.

ended up being too muggy for the Canada socks..dang.

Both of us woke up on Sunday at 4am having slept WELL, which is so unusual for me the night before a big event! After getting ready and eating breakfast we took another Uber over to the CenturyLink/Safeco (finish) area to hop on a shuttle to the starting line at Husky Stadium. A sticker on our bibs that was given to us at the expo when checking in with the pre-paid shuttle table was all we had to show the driver to get on the bus. We had no problems or waits and arrived to the start area by 5:45 for the 6:30 start. I heard stories about shuttles getting lost one year and the race start being delayed, so it was nice that it was so organized!

There were good tunes blasting when we arrived and it was exciting from the get-go. I didn’t see any obvious signage pointing out where the gear check was specifically located, but it’s easy enough to follow the crowds or ask, and we did both and found the bag check UPS Trucks towards the very back of the start chute. Checking gear was simple and quick, but waiting for a portopotty after that was not. It was just so busy and slow because there wasn’t really an oranized lineup system, but regardless we both were able to use the bathrooms and head into our corral by 6:20, and we didn’t start running until after 6:30 since we obviously weren’t in corral number one! No rushing and no panic.

Go time! Speaking for the full marathon course, it was so scenic!!! We ran across Montlake Bridge over the shipping canal, through the beautiful Washington Park Arboretum, south along Lake Washington with lake and mountain views, and ran the full loop of Seward Park. The middle section was along Ranier Ave and Dearborn Street back towards the Centurylink/Safeco area. Then the last quarter of the race was a big out-and-back with amaaaazing views of the ocean plus all of downtown, running across the Alaskan Way Viaduct (apparently this is the last year it will be part of the course) and then all the way up towards the west side of Lake Union, getting to pass the ferries, Seattle Great Wheel, aquarium, and the Space Needle along the way, twice! SO GREY’S ANATOMY.

There were lots of live music set-ups along the way, and I loved running past and hearing covers of Foo Fighters, Passion Pit and I can’t remember what else. I knew coming to this event that Rock’n’Roll Seattle is not one of the most rock’n’rollie of the race series, meaning I didn’t come expecting the intensity of say, RnR Vegas, San Diego or Nashville, but that’s not WHY I registered. I went because Seattle is awesome and the event is big and fun, and it was easy for me to get there. If you are looking for a mind-blowing Rock’n’Roll experience, I probably wouldn’t suggest this one because I know it’s not one of the biggest or most popular, and you might be dissapointed theme-wise, but overall this event is SWEET. Also, if you really feed off of spectator support, I didn’t find it to be overly involved in that sense, so just something to keep in mind.

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As for difficulty, I barely noticed any major hills during the first half, aside from literally about a 100m steep part up to where the half-way timing mat was located. In reality, there was a gradual incline for about 5k leading up to the half-way mark and that definitely took  more out of me than I was noticing at the time. Sneaky! I ran with the 4hr pace group for the entire first half, but at exactly half way I had a stomach emergency and had to make my first ever pit stop during a marathon. One in five so far, not bad. This didn’t throw me off much time-wise, but unfortunately my stomach was fairly cramped up for almost an hour after that…it interefered with my plan, but it did not mess with how much I was enjoying myself! I had lost my crew but continued on. My elusive 3:59 goal wasn’t going to happen, that’s for sure, but I’ve let that go now until the fall. I kept going and enjoyed the experience and worked on my mental game as it continued to get more difficult.

The next section was mostly flat and the less interesting part of the course, and finally, my ass got handed to me by the final 12-ish kilometeres where you see those three giant bumps!

I’m really glad I went into this with a main goal of having a good time and scratching that marathon itch before having to wait until the CIM in December!

Finishing along the viaduct and back into the stadium area was seriously so cool. I loved this course! The finish-chute wasn’t anything to write home about but there were lots of photographers as usual and quite a lot of snacks, CHOCOLATE MILK (my favourite) and Gatorade and water. Marcie was there for my finish, and she found me at the exit of the finish area and we went to grab my gear (easy) and head to the concert area, which wasn’t very busy at all but had an awesome energy.

We stretched and relaxed on the stairs, took photos and enjoyed the post-race vibes. There was a free beer ticket on the bottom of each bib, so lucky Marcie, she got two free Michelobs hahaha. Full marathon finishers also received a finisher’s jacket, which in the pics online that I saw before hand looked super cheesy, but they actually are kind of awesome! I won’t be rocking mine around daily life or anything, but it’s a really good wind breaker and tucks up super small. Useful swag, and so great to have it to throw on as another layer while hanging around being sweaty and getting progressively colder.

The medals for both the half and full marathons are sweet. I love the colours and the glitter and the boldness of SEATTLE.

Marathon number five, in the bag! The weather was perfect for running, it was overcast, a big muggy but not too warm, but it wasn’t ideal for hanging out at the concert stage afterwards, and we wanted showers, so it was time to head back to the AirBnB.

Post-race epic meal this time around consisted of Mexican at Poquitos (YOU NEED TO EAT HERE) in the Capital Hill neighbourhood (so great) and then dessert at Kurt Farm Shop (omfG, CHEESE FLAVOURED ICE CREAM!!?!?). Such a bang-on post-marathon meal.

In summary, the Alaska Airlines Rock’n’Roll Seattle Marathon & Half Marathon was a really fun, exciting event. I love big, busy running events, and they said there were approximately 18,000 runners lined up at the start line on Sunday to run either the half or full.

pic from the event site

The course was so great with some cool on-course music and features, although challenging and maybe not for PR chasing, the medals rock, the organization was without fault, and Seattle is just a very cool place! The expo was basic, and the post-race concerts didn’t seem too exciting, but the finish venue and general area was super cool. I had a really great weekend and I would definitely run this race again and I recommend it to anyone to who has easy access to Seattle!

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Real Talk: Shit Happens (training recap Mar. 20-26)

MONDAY March 20th

Flat-to-Hill repeats! 9km total (treadmill)

4km easy, [8 x 1:30 flat-to-hill reps, 1:30 recovery jogs], cool down jog. So good!!!

TUESDAY March 21st

10.5km easy with the 6am lady crew + extra stretching. Love those chicks. We love “morning pace” haha

WEDNESDAY March 22nd

60 minutes in the pool swimming lengths!! Ummm swimming is SO HARD. Unexplored territory since the 90’s!  + foam rolling

THURSDAY March 23rd

11.4km easy with 6am lady crew + extra stretching

Learn2Run Clinic – 6km run/walk intervals. Spring weather!!!

FRIDAY March 24th

Timed intervals! 11km total (treadmill)

3km easy up, [4 x 5 min @ 7:35/mi, 3 min recovery jogs], couple cool down kms. BOOM.

*notice how the week up until now has no real kinks worth mentioning..

SATURDAY March 25th

4.5km death march with frown on face, quit 12km early and walked home…

Background info: I am a terrible sleeper. Even when I was little I had trouble falling and staying asleep. The situation has improved a lot in the last few years, especially since I quit drinking, but I still have a hard time getting enough quality rest on a regular basis. More often than not, I go to bed early, fall asleep for a few hours, and then roll around fake sleeping until 5:30 or 6 when I get up.

This morning (Saturday) I dragged myself out of bed for my “long run” of the week, which actually isn’t that long at all, and I had an off-feeling that was building since last night. All week I wasn’t getting enough rest. My training load is up there right now too. Normally I do a very good job of operating on not a lot of sleep, but it caught up to me this week hard.

The scheduled was for 10 miles, or 16km, with a fast finish in the last 5km for a Zone 4 heart-rate, and I was really looking forward to it earlier in the week! I look forward to 99% of my runs and really love getting them done before work, it’s so satisfying, but by the time I left the house just after seven this morning, I was beyond dreading it, and I wasn’t meeting anyone which didn’t help. The dread built up as I got dressed, had coffee, got my shoes on…it was just one of those days where I did NOT want to go anywhere. You know the kind. What I wanted was to be able to take the day off work, get back into bed with my husband and sleep for a really long time and do the run later or tomorrow. “Poor me” was the theme of the morning.

I hit the road anyway, planning to get it done, feeling heavy and slow on my feet but telling myself that it’s always like this for the first 10-20 minutes. It will pass. I’ll feel energized soon. I get to warm up for 10 kilometres! The wind and rain will stop pissing me off as soon as I find my groove. I’ll wake up! But after just about 5km and a couple walk breaks (I think I was walking with my eyes closed?) I started having a conscious debate in my head (you know the one):

Fuck this shit.

But doing it now is always way better than saving it for later!

But I am so tired. I feel like the walking dead. I could go to sleep on this sidewalk

You have to be able to push past this kind of shit.

I have no energy, and I never quit, so today it’s fine to just go home this one time..

You will be so happy after work if you already did it!

It’s supposed to be nicer after work though, and maybe I’ll have more energy.

But quitting sucks and you will feel shitty for giving up. That’s the worst.

It’s only 16km. It is easy to reschedule. Later or tomorrow are both options.

And then I stopped running, turned left instead of continuing out the highway where I was headed, and walked home pouting. FFFFFF!

I was in the worst mood! I hate giving up and I know I could have powered through, but it’s easy to say that after! I showered, went into my bed for the sixty minutes I had before it was time to get ready for work and actually slept, got up sadly to a second alarm, was a total asshole to my husband, and left in a miserable mood, looking as lovely as I felt. LOL.

Things I learned from this by Saturday afternoon

  1. even though I have far fewer “shitty runs” than when I first began running regularly, they can and do still happen, and will. They happen to everyone. Don’t forget.
  2. It’s okay to reschedule things around “life” which includes being exhausted.
  3. It’s really dumb and unecessary to let a bad run affect my mood for any longer than it takes to shower and change.
  4. The belief that “I’m a bad sleeper” doesn’t serve me. “I love going in my bed and resting as much as I can” is better. Also, naps are good for me. Nap more.
  5. Lack of sleep can make a sub-optimal situation seem far worse than it actually is.

Oh, and ordering a new pair of runners and registering for an inexpensive 10km race six months away is mood boosting…hehehe

Things I learned, generalized

  1. Shit happens and always will. Try again.
  2. Be flexible
  3. Let it go.
  4. Do what you can.
  5. Reality checks are helpful and necessary.

The point of this reflection actually boils down to things like being flexible, letting go of things that didn’t go as planned, and trying again when the first try wasn’t a success.

I really hate the feeling of quitting, who doesn’t? But, life is life, and in this particular situation I have more than enough time to give it another go before Monday. For those of you for whom endurance training is not a passion, you might be thinking that I’m a drama queen who has attached an extremely odd level of importance to the scheduled run I didn’t complete (yet). I won’t get into it too much, but the goals I’m working towards and the schedule I’m following from Coach Andrew are really important to me, and what I love the most when it comes to extra curriculars. The point of this reflection actually boils down to things that apply to any situation in life, like being flexible, letting go of things that didn’t go as planned, and trying again when the first try wasn’t a success. You don’t see a ton of content on social media platforms about shitty, unsuccessful anythings, so this is just my account of what actually went down in my life this morning to keep it real haha. I have officially decided to go for sushi with my sister after work, go to bed early, and start over tomorrow.

You don’t see a ton of content on social media platforms about shitty, unsuccessful anythings, so this is just my account of what actually went down in my life this morning to keep it real haha.

SUNDAY March 26th

Planned: 60 minute cross train (active recovery)

Actual: 16km – last 5km up-tempo into a Zone 4 heart-rate

Nailed it! 11km by feel, 5km up-tempo. Every day is different. Things that were very helpful this morning, however, were bright colours, a new playlist with some House of Pain, Aqua and Coolio, and actually sleeping last night! The weather was very cooperative too, but that’s just pure luck of the draw.

An interesting observation is that the first five days of my week were bang-on and awesome. Then one day of shitting the bed on a run and everything seems crappy. Lame! Focus on the positive. And this is why I am doing a weekly recap now, because the big picture of this past week was really REALLY good. Don’t let a shitty run F with you. Or a shitty day or meeting or exam or gym sesh. Have a good Sunday!!!

 

Four weeks out from the Tenacious Ten in Seattle!

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Nine weeks out from the Calgary Marathon!

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