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Race Recap: Not such a love letter when it comes to @SeattleMarathon

What is the opposite of a love letter?

A Dear John Letter..

A few years ago I wrote a love letter to the Seattle Marathon. Those words at the time had been true. This year…. Well I will let the letter explain it.

Dear Seattle Marathon:

This weekend did me in.

You actually got me to question my love for running.

This year you announced a new course change and the words keep hearing are brutal, awful and relentless. From the second you make the turn off fifth avenue it feels like either you are dealing with a constant uphill climb or a violent sharp up hill. There had been a few downhills but there was no way to find your pace or your stride. The old course would give you chances to recover and get into a stride.

The time on the trails in Sam Smith had been heart breaking. So many runners on a wet path, it was congested and dangerous. I was going at a pretty good clip but got a couple shoves from behind because the path was so crowded. It was heartbreaking and frustrating all at the same time

I never thought I would say this. I miss #whathill. You could pace yourself and be ready for that beast.

I am glad you had such a dedicated crew of volunteers and medical crew. They made that race. They had been encouraging when it seemed like it was time to throw the race away.

I am really proud of how hard I fought through it and finished strong even though mentally I was just shot. But I left the race not excited. I left it flat and not loving running so much.

Your bling left me feeling uninspired and the white shirt is just not something that I would wear on a normal basis. The expo seemed smaller this year as well.

I love you Seattle but this is the first time I have come out of a race wanting to rethink my love of running. I still kept within my goal time frame but it was because of the first three and the last two miles and I was on the super slower end of my window.

I don’t know if I am coming back to you next year. We will see. It will take a lot of rethinking of training and running to convince me to come back in 2018.

– Its not you.. Its me.

Post Script: I really do love the Seattle Marathon and will always consider it a major part of my journey. this year was rough. I know this race is capable of being an amazing crown jewel of the city of Seattle. I was just very disappointment this year and am rethinking my next year plan.

Seattle Marathon Half Recap: Forget time HAVE FUN

Note: As an ambassador I was able to get my entry for my 2016 event for free in trade for my work in 2015.

It has never been a secret that I love the Seattle Marathon event. It is one of my favorite courses every year. It is beautiful, challenging and a great example of how races should be ran in terms of organization.

And this year was no exception.

I knew going in and if you read my training blog about this, it was not going to be about making a fast strong time kind of thing, life was just to complicated this fall and not feeling 100 percent until the end of September had cost me a huge chunk of training time.

This weekend was going to be all about fun.

The expo this year actually seemed smaller then it had in previous years, which I don’t mind. The entire event is well organized and you go from getting your bib to getting your stacked goody bag rather quickly, which to me is always a key to a good expo.

Sunday morning started well.

I started on my intervals as I have been doing and I stuck to them. I was actually getting some great times in the first 4-5 miles and not feeling really bad at all.

The first couple miles of the course start in Downtown Seattle taking you through down to the International img_0197District. There are a couple climbs here, but you are rewarded with some nice downhills. Again I was trying to get some speed and work on my skills.

Then you hit the 1-90 stretch which is a batch of freeway on ramps which are small hills that take you past Safeco Field and gives you great views of Downtown Seattle. But and I think I said this before that if you are not careful and you don’t pace yourself through the early part you are going to regret it later.

I have said this a lot, my favorite part of the course is the stretch after I-90, the Lake Washington area The views are stunning and it is so peaceful and quiet. There are some minor rolling hills but nothing over taxing, is is a great place to settle into your pace.

Then you reach #whathill.

I have had a love hate relationship with that hill every year. You turn a corner and all of a sudden it hits you like a wall. The one real goal I had made for myself this year was to take that hill at a run and see what happens.

And I did it. I got all away up to the point before the turn before I knew I was going to be in serious trouble if I kept running up that hill. I paid for it later, taking it at a dead run spent my legs but I was happy.

img_0213I decided at this point I was going to take the rest as a true fun run, and I did. I enjoyed the views through Washington Arboretum,but I was indeed feeling the lack of full training and I was feeling that sprint up the hill.

The last of the race was about enjoying the ride. I literally just relaxed and enjoyed the run. I took my coaches advice and didnt stress about the pace.

This will always be my favorite race every year for so many reasons. But this year as it has seemed to do before, it reminded my that my first goal is to have fun when I race.

Because the rest comes naturally after that.

A look ahead to @seattlemarathon and knowing when you think too big

My must do fall race is coming. But….
I thought way too big.
Last year after Seattle Marathon I was

When I was super excited about doing the full marathon
When I was super excited about doing the full marathon
feeling really good about my running and where I was at in my goals and I was thinking way too far ahead and I signed up for the full marathon with every intention of making it my 6th full marathon.

I was OUT of my mind.

If you read my post race recap for the SF Marathon I made it no secret.

I got super sick after SF to the point I went two weeks without running, working out or for that matter wanting to do anything.

Whatever I ended up getting killed my cardio too.

By the time I got back to running late in August my legs felt crappy and heavy.

This was going to be a short training cycle anyhow, so I have made the decision quite quickly to downgrade to the half. I can already tell that it has been a good decision. The training cycle had gone a lot smoother and I have had a lot more fun then I would of if I was trying to push out a full on the cycle.

The Lake Washington Sunrise best part of the course.
The Lake Washington Sunrise best part of the course.
I love the Seattle Marathon half marathon. It really gives you some of the best of Seattle. From traveling around Lake Washington to the famous #whathill at mile 8 to being able to come through Memorial Stadium to finish. It is truly a special event, the course support is truly second to almost any race.

But the thing is the race is super challenging. Anyone who has taken on mile 8 hill AKA “#whathill” knows what I am talking about. It also goes without saying how challenging the Arboritum

I have not decided on a goal yet for this race. Mother nature tends to throw her own challenges at this race. I tend to want to go into this race to have fun and really just enjoy it and use it to see what else needs to be worked on.

I encourage you to join me on any of the events. You will truly love your #BlackFriday weekend in Seattle. Let me know if you need a discount code.

Dear @SeattleMarathon- I just can’t quit you.

**Note, if you read my ambassador application for Seattle Marathon from last year, you know where this came from. I had to do it in the same vein**

Dear Seattle Marathon-

I just can’t quite get over you.

I said I was going to only do you once.

That was 2012. (And you are still my marathon PR)

But I keep coming back for more.

I actually got a photo of #whathill
I actually got a photo of #whathill
Your course is truly spectacular, especially the views of Lake Washington. But it is also challenging (Can we say #whathill?) and makes you push yourself to go harder then you ever have before. I love the tunnels and the constant echos from the runners trying to cheer each other on. I can’t get over how amazing it is. It makes me want to keep coming back for more and keep seeing how hard I can push.

Your volunteers are amazing and they really come out to support the runners and make their experiencing better. They truly have an energy that makes you want to run harder and faster.

The expo is always one of the funnest expos to go to every year because it is so well organized, and it allows runners to learn about all the area has to offer without feeling crowded in. Not to mention the fact that I think the goodie bags are always the best every year.

I keep speaking your praises everywhere I go. You know me; and you know how willing I am to use my social media reach to keep telling people how amazing what you do is. I will help when you come down here to spread the Seattle love. I was proud to serve in 2015 and it would be a honor to come back in 2016.

No matter what you decided, I will be back. Because to be blunt, I just can’t get over you. I can’t get over how much you remind me of how strong I am and how able I am to run.

Much Love
Me

Seattle (Half) Marathon Recap: #whathill earns its name

I have made it no secret, that Seattle Marathon is one of those events that I love, and I hate all at the same time. It has always been one of those races that has challenged me, but also helped me find how strong I really am.

This year was no exception.

Let’s start with the expo. The expo was actually smaller then previous years, but I really liked it being smaller because it made it easier to move around and get through. You start in one room to pick up your number, and then you head into the expo to enjoy the fun and get your shirt and goodie bag. The shirt was a bit of a challenge this year as they had been considerably bigger then last year. The goodie bags are always awesome and chalked full of runner friendly goodies.

As an ambassador for the Seattle Marathon, I actually had the pleasure of volunteering at the Kids Race registration pick up Friday night. This was a complete thrill because I spent a lot of time talking to young runners who had been so excited, and parents both. I would love to help out with that again next year just because the kids are so worth it.

As for the race.

If you remember the recap from last year, it was seriously cold last year. This year improved a tad bit, maybe by 5 degrees.

But I was smarter this year and I was well dressed for the weather.

The race itself is beautiful. It starts at the Experience Music Project and takes you right through the center of

The trek through downtown Seattle.
The trek through downtown Seattle.
downtown Seattle.
I actually got a photo of #whathill
I actually got a photo of #whathill
I was actually running really well in this strech and nailed my run walk perfectly. Its fun to run through downtown Seattle when it is still sleepy. You notice little things a lot more, you notice the bright and pretty window displays more. You notice the skyline more.

After downtown you hit I-90. You actually get to run in the freeway. They close down the express lanes and you get to run through the tunnel. The full marathoners get to run the floating bridge, but the half marathoners turn off after the tunnel. Last year I don’t remember ice being an issue, but there was enough moisture in the air that it was. That slowed me down quite a bit.

Once you head through the tunnel you head out towards Lake Washington which by far is the best part of the run. It does have a few little rolling hills, but there is a peaceful feeling as you run by the lake and there is a layer of fog on the lake. I started to rebuild my speed and I was pretty happy.

Then #whathill

We all know what hill I am talking about. We don’t need the description. Its the hill that goes straight up. Then turns, and goes straight up again, with one more up before you head straight down to the arboretum.

Knowing it better then ever. I made sure my walking intervals had been right on the money. The hills are beautiful but they push you and challenge you. I kept the slower but steady pace I was planning for.

The Arboretum is many peoples favorite part of the race. Scenically its mine. But the up and down hills make you focus in on what your body is doing and pushing through. And honestly, not falling on your head on a crack in the road way. I got sidelined in here somewhere because of the fact I really had to go to the porta-potty.

Speaking of. I always have to laugh. Mile markers are also porta-potties. Every one of them.

The last three miles take you back into the downtown part of Seattle including a wicked downhill and around the Seattle Center before you get to come down into Memorial Stadium to finish in the 50 yard line.

I am a huge fan of the post race area. You get your medal, and get a space blanket before heading into the bowels of the stadium where they have all the food you need, a place to change into warm clothes, a chance to pick up any more Seattle Marathon Souvenirs. It is the perfect place to warm up and get your wits about you before heading back to the cold.

I love how well supported this race is. One thing that is never in short supply is fully stocked water stations with amazing volunteers. It has always been near the top of my “must-do” list. The event is ran truly with runners in mind.

And I love the fact that it continues to challenge me. The last five miles remind you how tough you are, and how beautiful of a town Seattle is. Time wise it was the best race I have done this year and I am so much closer to my “bigger goals” for 2016.

I will be back. It is my yearly reunion with my strength.

Join us #RUNSEATTLECHAT on June 25th

As a Seattle Marathon Ambassador, I will be there! You should join us because its going to be an awesome chat with great runners and hopefuly we can learn a lot from each other.

JUNE #RUNSEATTLECHAT: Eating on the Race Course

Our next topical twitter chat will be on Thursday, June 25th at 6pm. We’ll be discussing “What to eat on the indexcourse”. How do you fuel your body for going the distance? Be sure to mark your calendars for this month’s #RunSeattleChat.

Need a refresher course? Here are 4 steps to becoming a Twitter chat pro:

Sign in to Twitter.com (if you don’t have a twitter account, you can sign up for free)
Go to twitter.com/seattlemarathon and click “Follow”
On June 25th at 6pm, type #RunSeattleChat in the search bar and follow along with the real-time conversation
Be sure to include #RunSeattleChat in your tweets so they are seen in the discussion

We’ll see you June 25th!

Dear @SeattleMarathon; A love letter

Dear Seattle Marathon:

You already know me. I have taken on your full and taken on your half. You push me, you challenge me, you make me take on weather conditions I never thought I could run in (remember last year?), you make me find the best in myself every year and I keep coming back stronger.

You are my marathon PR, a PR I have not been able to touch since.

I love your tunnels, I love hearing the sounds of runners cheering each other and the insane amount of echo.

I love your volunteers, who brave the insane weather conditions to support the runners and always have a smile on my face.

I love your hills… (I think) especially the one at mile 7.5ish/19ish. (Okay so that might be a little wrong)

The Lake Washington Sunrise
The Lake Washington Sunrise
I love your views of Lake Washington.

I have had the honor of being a Seattle Humane Society Charity Athlete for two years, its thanks to you it can happen. It is your willingness to help the community.

Just as much as I know and love you, you guys know me. You are the only race ever that has wished me Happy Birthday before, so I think you get my social media reach and my ability to tell your story.

I am a well known race and event volunteer here in Portland willing to help where I can (and where being a mass transit runner allows), but I am most known for being the Vana White at the First Thursday Urban Adventure Run, which is the biggest event of its type on the west coast.

For me, running is my love. Even though my race schedule has taken a beating due to ongoing health issues with my father. Running has always kept me connected to how strong I can be. I share my story of not only finding my health and finding my strength through running in the hopes it can inspire someone else.

(Even if you don’t name me an ambassador, I will be back this year. I have to make up for last year, when I ran the race coming off of a cold, and EVERY race photographer got a photo of me blowing my nose on the course. )

Much love
Bonnie