I’m Running My First Marathon – Rock N Roll Seattle!

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock N Roll Seattle Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

I always get the question- “Amanda, have you ever run a marathon?” I can now say that I am training for my first ever marathon!

That’s right- I am running  Rock N Roll Seattle on June 10! Part of me is terrified and part of me is super excited. Running Rock N Roll Seattle will allow me to build off of my training from Big Sur 21 Miler in April. My biggest goal for this is to finish and try to enjoy the full 26.2 miles. I am running a half marathon the week before but it’s super flat and I can cruise it and enjoy the scenery.

Seattle from the Ferry!

The new course was announced this morning, it very different from last year . I am hoping my boyfriend and family can find me on the course during the last 10 miles since it’s an out and back on Aurora. I will say Aurora is not my favorite and the known

I am still undecided if I am going to run the 5k the day before to complete the Remix Challenge. Last year it was a lot of fun but since this is my first marathon I want to make sure everything goes well.

2017 Rock N Roll Seattle Medal

Want to run Rock N Roll Seattle? Use code “RNRBRP2018” to save $15 on your registration on either the Full or Half Marathon.

Are you running Rock N Roll Seattle? Let me know in the comments!

Race Recap: Seattle Craft Classic Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Seattle Craft Classic Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

 This past weekend I ran the Seattle Craft Classic Half Marathon. Overall, I had an enjoyable time and the race day weather held up.

Expo
I got my bib on Friday at Road Runner Sports Seattle in the Green Lake Neighborhood. There was no real expo just a few tables set up for packet pickup and an Adidas sales rep who was showing off the new Boost shoes. Road Runner Sports did give out a 25% off coupon for VIPs to use right there in the store. I didn’t end up buying anything but it was a nice they gave those out. The swag was great- there were mens and womens specific shirts, and a Red Hook pint glass. The bib was pretty cool minus for the large typo on the date, but I do like how the bib was customized for Woodinville.

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 Race Day

Getting to the race was pretty was easy. My boyfriend drove me to Redmond. There was a lot of free parking and once we found the start line there plenty of port-a-potties. I ended up getting a coffee at a café across the street in an attempt to stay warm. The weather was a bit chilly before the start. I walked over 15 minutes before and was surprised by how few people were racing. There was also a 5k that started and ended at the old Red Hook Brewery.

I found the 2:15 pacers before the start and figured I would ty to stay with them and make this race my long run. We started right on time and headed out onto the Sammamish River Trail. As we started running I realized the pacer was running fast for the first couple miles of the race. At mile 3 I looked at my watch and realized I needed to tone it back to stay with in a 2:15 to 2:20 half marathon pace.

The weather did not get too hot as the miles went on which was great! I love running in early fall in Washington. You can still wear shorts and a tank and not overheat. At mile 8 I started to feel a little off and I think it was from starting off fast the first few miles. The volunteers at the water stops were FABULOUS! They made sure everyone in the race got water and cheered as we passed. At mile 10 I was not happy and was ready for the race to be over, I was very happy to see the last water stop which mean there was less than a half mile to the finish.

The course is an open public running and cycling path. It is a super highway on Sunday mornings. I was anticipating some traffic but at times I did feel very uncomfortable, having a few close calls with cyclists. I feel like there should have been signs up warning the public that the event was happening so that everyone was aware of what was going on. The race did do a good job of putting out signs for the participants warning them to stay right before narrow parts of the course. The last 100 yards or so of course were shared with runners and spectators headed back to their cars. It was narrow and honestly frustrating for me because I was ready for my race to be done and did not want to doge people on the path.

I will say the free beer and socks at the end did help me feel a bit better after not having the best run ever.

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Race Communication

There were many small oversights when it came to this race but I am happy Craft Classic and Orca Running emailed participants when it major events occurred. The first was the bib typo- they did email late Friday afternoon to apologize for the typo which was very gracious of them. The second was the finisher medal. There were no finisher medals given out at the end of the races. They received the wrong shipment of medals the Friday before the race. They said at the race and in an email that all finishers would receive a medal within 10 business days. When I get my medal, I will update this post!

**UPDATE 9/23/17**
I did receive my medal in the mail in within the 10 business day time frame. Thank you Craft Classic!

Seattle Craft Classic Half Marathon was pretty good. If you want to run a fast and flat half marathon and don’t mind a shared course I would run this race for your next PR attempt.

Race Recap: 2017 Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

I’m going to be honest- this is a local race for me so I might be a bit more bias than most. I am very happy I trained on most of the race course this year so I had some idea of what to expect when it came to the course and the hills.

Expo:
I left work a bit early and arrived at the expo around 5:30pm. There was Warped Tour going on so the normal walk from the International District took much longer than normal. When I got to CenturyLink Event Center there was no one there. I am not joking, there was no one at bib check in or waiting in line. I got my bib in five minutes and then headed over to the Brooks merchandise. There wasn’t much so I headed into the expo. Walked around a bit got some free sunglasses from Visit Seattle and got some free body glide from Westin. Besides the Nuun booth there wasn’t much else to see. I felt pummeled by Rock N Roll merchandise. All in all I spent an hour tops at the expo.

Saturday 5K:
I opted to run the 5k for the remix challenge. Honestly, it was alright. The corrals were small and cramped and the course was an out and back. I am glad I ran it but might skip it next year.

Sunday – race day!
Let’s just say I did not get any final information from Rock N Roll until Wednesday. They also changed the start time for the race from 7 to 6:30am. I understand their reasons but it made taking a bus to the start not possible, my options were to buy a shuttle ticket, bus to downtown then take the light rail, or bum a ride/take an uber. I decided to take an Uber with a friend from my place to get to the start line. This ended up changing Sunday morning.

I woke up Sunday morning to no Ubers in my area even though I scheduled one. So my amazing boyfriend ended up driving me and my friend to the start. Yes, he wins boyfriend of the year. We finally got to the starting area around 5:40 and holy crap it was not the standard Rock N Roll start. There weren’t defined corrals and the gear check was so far we had to walk a good distance to get to it. After gear check we got in the bathroom line then headed to the corrals to find a few of our friends from Fleet Feet Seattle.

The actual start took forever. I was in a front corral and even though corrals were starting we did not move for 10 plus minutes. I also realized I was not in an actual corral, even though I was between two fences. Not a great way to start the race.

Once we finally started the course was narrow. I prefer the older courses of this race. I was dodging people much of the time I was running. The first six miles were quite scenic and hilly. I was so happy I trained on most of the course so I knew what I was expecting. At mile 8 is where I got into trouble. I did not realize there was a steep hill and I started to cramp due to the humidity. Oh well… I kept running along Rainier Avenue South toward the finish line. I will say these miles were dull. I was so happy to get to the mile 11 aid station and see my friends from Fleet Feet Seattle. It was a great pick me up for the last hill which was the on ramp that gets to the finish.

I was clearly not thinking straight

The finish line was standard, the medal this year was great! I love it! I found my boyfriend and we set off to find my Remix Challenge medal. I had a hard time finding the medal tent and the gear check. They were far apart and part of it was that I was tired. I did get a pair of flip flops from Toyota because we have a corral which was nice! Surprise finish line swag is always nice.

I found my friend and we walked to the bus on 3rd Ave. We didn’t have to wait too long which was fantastic considering all of the traffic chaos caused by the race course closures. Once I was home, I ended up spending the rest of the day resting. I think Joey was concerned I spent a long time with my legs up the wall while watching TV.

My recommendation to Rock N Roll is to start at CenturyLink and finish at Seattle Center if they are going to do a point to point course. I know there is a lot of construction in Seattle but the current finish is brutal ending at CenturyLink Field. I know a lot of people who live in Seattle had a hard time getting to the start line on time due to the start time change AND the location of the start line.

Overall if you live in the Greater Seattle Area, I would run this race. It may be hilly but it’s a great course to challenge yourself on.

Race Recap: Hot Chocolate 15K Seattle

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Hot Chocolate 15K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

After months of training, or not training that is, race day finally arrived and the results were pretty great all things considered.

Expo
I went to the expo on Saturday and packet pickup was a breeze. The expo, like last year, was a bit small. Lots of Hot Chocolate 15k merchandise, a bunch of local races and my favorite booth Tiger Tail! If you haven’t heard of them check them out. I browsed for a 45 minutes or so looking at all of the booths. On my way out I sampled the chocolate covered marshmallow (which were awesome!) and then headed back home.

 

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The goodie bag this year was great! The hoodie is so soft and true to size. I can’t wait to wear it everywhere. I also picked up some Nuun vitamins at the expo and a sweet Nuun Seattle water bottle.

Race Day

Starting with Cassidy. Photo from Hot Chocolate 15k

Getting to the race was pretty was easier than I thought. My boyfriend found a close parking spot and then we walked to the Seattle Center Armory. I found my lovely Oiselle teammates, Shannon, Cassidy, Jen, and Tiffany then stretched out. Right before the start time we walked over and squeezed our way into corral B. We had a difficult time getting into the corrals this year, there were very few entrances and we had to jump over a rope or two to get in. There were also way too many sets of pacers. It was very confusing and we thought we were in the wrong corral because of them.

Right at 7:55am the first corral started and then two-ish minutes later we started. The course is one skinny long loop that goes to Pike Place Market and then up onto Highway 99. The first half a mile is downhill which makes it hard to pace. We ran a 9:37 for the first mile and then a 10:10 for the second. The first four miles felt pretty good it was hard to maintain consistency because of the hills in course. But this was just the beginning.

Finishing strong in the finish chute

The last portion of the race is rough. Mile 5 takes you up to the Aurora Bridge then mile 6 goes up to 46th Street and the miles are pretty much rolling hills. Mile 6 is a monstrous hill. It’s over a half a mile long.  This is the hardest part of the course. I was so thankful that at the 46th Street Bus Stop a whole bunch of Oiselle Birds were there cowbelling. It was so amazing. One of them had Nuun which was a lifesaver too.

As we made our way down the hill to the last three miles of the course things were rough. I knew we didn’t have a lot of time to run the last 3.4 miles but I and my teammate could PR. We chugged a long and finally hit the last mile. This was go time. I knew there was a hill going up Mercer to Mercer and onto 5th Avenue. I ended up walking part of it but knew that I would PR if I ran the last stretch.

The best part was seeing Cassidy’s husband and then my boyfriend at the finish line knowing that it was all over and in fact I did PR by all of 30 seconds! Yes, that’s right 30 seconds. I will take as a good omen for my half in two weeks. What was great is I finally met fellow BibRave Pro Ambassador Jeannie. Check out her blog, she’s wonderful!

Overall, I did enjoy this race not sure I would run it again but it is great to finish a large mug of chocolate, free race photos, and a sweet medal.

Race Recap: My Better Half 10k 2017

Valentine’s Day race in Seattle? Count me in! I ran with my boyfriend as a tune up for NYC Half. Our goal was to break an hour and have fun while running together since this was our first race together.

Packet pickup was at the local Road Runner Sports and was super quick. The shirt was a red hoodie with race logo, so soft and comfy. I am very glad they gave us hoodies instead of shirts. The bibs were cute and said lovers since we registered together with a spot to write your ‘better half’ on them. They offered a nice discount if you were shopping too.

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Race day was so COLD! But seriously it was below freezing. They had a local coffee roaster in the finish festival that was offering samples so of course I had some before to warm up. Their warming tent which also served as their food station was so nice. I am very glad they had it!

Due to an earlier storm they had to alter the course a bit, which was actually easier for the 10k and 5k not so much for the Half Marathon. We ran the same loop twice and even though it was narrow at times I did not mind it. We ran a nice and even pace even with the few pinch spots. The one thing that did bug us was the 5k walkers. We lapped them at an inconvenient time.

The tunnel of love aid station was hilarious. It was a nice aid station that had both Nuun and water. I ran my goal which was sub 1-hour. After we finished we got a sweet light up medal and hot soup. Note for race directors- every cold race should come with a hot cup of soup.

There are a few things I wish they changed but they are unavoidable. Parking in the park was not an option due to a course change as was the narrowed course. Overall, I enjoyed this race and can’t wait to run it next year!