This could very easily be summed up in one word.
Actually freaking cold would be more like it.
I ran the full in Seattle in 2012, so I went into this kind of knowing what to expect. This year I had the honor of representing the Charity Athlete Team for the Seattle Humane Society in honor of George which made this event just that much more meaningful.
The expo for the Seattle Marathon has always been one of my favorite expos. It takes place at the Westin in downtown. You start by picking up your bib number in one room and then you go into the main expo hall. The expo itself is actually kind of small compared to some others. But the one thing I have enjoyed about this expo is the fact that it is smaller, it features some great local race companies and really focuses on all the things you need before, during and after the run. You also pick up your shirt which this year is a great blue long sleeve, and a jam packed goodie bag full of samples and coupons.
When I woke up Sunday morning I knew this was not going to be really fun. It was windy and cold. I was still recovering from a cold so my training was already questionable and the weather was not on my side.
Before I continue, I need to thank someone and I do not know her name. I mis-placed my money to get on the Monorail. It just slid into a part of my backpack that I could not see where it ended up. I know she was one of the staff members for the Seattle Marathon, as she had a notebook with her that had all the information in it. I was in line right behind me. She gave me the 2.50 which saved me the mile walk. She is an amazing lady.
The start line is at the Seattle Center right near the Experience Music Project and this is one of the most well ran start lines I have ever ran. They separate the walkers from the runner by giving them their own start time and the pacer signs are so clear that you know where you need to be. The runners also seem to be really on top of staying off to the side if they are talking walk breaks.
This course has always been one of my favorites. The first couple miles take you straight through the middle of downtown Seattle to the I-90 Bridge.
Yes. You get to run in an actual freeway. (For those who want to tell me to run in a freeway, Seattle makes your wish come true.
The full marathon runs the length of the bridge. The half gets to run in the tunnel which turns into an festival of echos. Everyone starts cheering and that is all you hear. There is also a well placed hydration stop in the tunnel.
Once you exit the tunnel, the half marathoners go on to the access road and head towards Lake Washington. This by far is one of my favorite parts of this course. Its through a quiet residential area and marina that overlooks the lake. I almost had an issue here because I was so zenned and zoned out I did not see a crack in the road and almost went rear over tea kettle.
The Lake Washington Sunrise[/caption]Because we had been running so early some of the views had been spectacular of the Lake. Several people (myself included) ended up taking their cameras out for some photos. This is the one thing I will always say about the Seattle course, is its one of the most scenic courses in the NW.
That being said, the second half of the course, I forgot how much of a challenge it really is. Once you make mile 7 you go up what is considered one of the toughest hills in the NW running scene, and then it is a constant up and down as you go through the Arboretum. But to the ice we had a quick off road section as the ice had made the first part of the uphill climb impossible. I was worn out, the cold weather was getting to me, my nose didn’t stop running.
The final part of the course is flat until you hit a nice set of downhills and flats in the last mile. This is the only really industrial area in the entire course. Then you come ac cross the finish line at the 50 yard line of the Memorial Stadium field which still had snow. You collected your medal for the military volunteers which is a special thing. (Especially because this qualified me for my Strength in Numbers medal from Jost Running, which goes to benefit military members needing mental health services.)
The recovery area is well organized and inside the core part of the arena’s expo center. They have booths of food, soups, drinks. The sponsors have booths, the charities including my loves at the Seattle Humane Society have booths. There is a place for people to change, check their times and grab any souvenirs.
For the fact this race is so challenging. It is still one of my favorite races. It is well organized, very runner friendly and its so welcoming to everyone no matter the speed or ability. Despite the cold, I still pulled off a decent 2:38 (which being I haven’t trained well, I have been sick ect).