Last weekend, I flew into Seattle for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. This would be my second time running the race (2010 finisher) and this run would be part of a training plan for my 52.4 mile charity run in July. My goal was to run a consistent 9-min pace, aiming to come in sub-4. I ran RnR San Diego a couple of weeks ago and basically fell apart with no consistency and after a couple rough marathons, I needed a solid race to help rebuild my confidence.
Prior to race day, there was plenty of social fun to keep my mind busy. I was staying at the Westin Hotel in Seattle with some fellow runners and we took part in the shakeout run that the hotel hosts prior to race day. I met up with several of the #SA2LV runners, some blogger friends, and of course, the Run Westin Concierge: Chris Heuisler. The shakeout run was a 3-mile run that took us along the first mile of the course and then next to the water near the Seattle Aquarium. When we got back to the hotel, we hung out and chatted, and of course, took some photos.
After having lunch down at Pike Place Market and watching some fish thrown around, we headed over to the expo. Kristin of StuftMama.com and I were hosting a Tweet Up at the PRO Compression booth. If you are unfamiliar with a tweet up, or at least the ones that I host, they are pretty laid back. We pick a location, meet up, chat, giveaway some stuff and then take a bunch of pictures, selfies highly encouraged. Kristin has some great shots from the shakeout run and tweet up here.
After all the fun at the expo, it was quickly race day. I woke up feeling pretty good, ate my Payday bar, drank lots of water and walked over to the start line from the Westin. It was about a mile or so away, which was perfect to get the legs moving a bit. The #SA2LV crew gathered in the corral and as always, took over the area. We snapped a bunch of pictures, made lots of noise and had the runners around us looking at us like we were crazy — and it’s okay, because we kind of are.
Mile 1: 8:58
Mile 2: 8:50
Mile 3: 9:02
Mile 4: 8:47
Mile 5: 8:53
Mile 6: 8:58
Mile 7: 9:28
Mile 8: 8:48
Mile 9: 9:23
Mile 10: 8:42
That is pretty good. I found a nice rhythm and felt consistent. I didn’t start with the 4-hour pace group as originally planned, but was keeping an eye on my overall time to make sure I was close to a 9-minute average. We started near the Space Needle and the first 10 miles took us through downtown and then we made our way towards Lake Washington and around Seward Park. I decided to take a photo around 9 because it was a magnificent sight.
Mile 11: 9:00
Mile 12: 9:01
Mile 13: 9:16
Mile 14: 9:18
Mile 15: 9:25
Mile 16: 9:33
Mile 17: 9:57
Mile 18: 9:47
Mile 19: 13:23
Mile 20: 6:31
This is almost a tale of two races. The first 10 miles were on road and consistently just under 9-minute miles. After mile 10, they all jumped to above 9. Still in a solid range, but at Mile 15, we jumped onto a freeway… the splits after that tell a different story. I tried to keep my spirits high, but freeway miles are not my favorite. I had flashbacks to the 2010 race (different course) where my ITB started acting up. Portions of the road were canted and I knew that was bad news. I tried to find the flatest portion of the highway and do my best to keep it going. The 19/20 miles are not accurate, there were tunnels that we had to run through so I think I lost my GPS signal.
During the 15+ stretch, my strategy was to hold the 9-minute pace until 21 and then see if I could kick it home strong on the last 5 miles. By strong, I mean 8:30-8:45-ish pace.
Mile 20 overall time: 3 hours, 4 minutes (from timing chip)
If I didn’t have runner brain and could do the math correctly in my brain, I would have seen that with 6 miles to go, I had 56 minutes to hit the 4-hour mark. A 9 minute pace from here on out would have brought me a 3:58 finish.
Mile 21: 10:09
Mile 22: 9:41
Mile 23: 9:00
Mile 24: 8:57
Mile 25: 9:59
Mile 26: 9:22
I know that after Mile 21 we caught back up with the half-marathoners. I didn’t think that they had very many freeway miles, so my wishful brain was thinking that once I got to 21, we would enter back downtown and be on streets… sadly, that was not the truth. It was more freeway and some unexpected mini-hills. I say mini-hills because they weren’t really “hills” but they were not flat. I tried to pick up time on the downhill segments but after 24, I knew sub-4 was not going to happen and decided to keep it at a comfortable pace.
I crossed the finish line knowing that I ran the race that I needed to. A sub-4 would have been really nice, but I felt good most of the way and didn’t let the freeway miles get to me too much. The weather was great and the views were beautiful. Even though we were on a freeway, we had great views of Mount Rainer, Lake Washington, downtown Seattle and I know the half marathoners LOVED the course. The last time I ran #RnRSea I was aiming for a 4:20 finish and knowing that I have come this far reminds me that it’s all about making progress and becoming a stronger runner. I feel like I did that last weekend… and had fun taking a bunch of pictures with all the runners, too!
RnR Chicago Half Marathon, July 20
This is the next race on the calendar and a lot of the #SA2LV crew will be there, so you know it’s going to be a BLAST. If you are thinking about doing it, I know lots of runners that are going to be there and (as you can see from above) it’s going to be a party at the expo and on race day.
$10 off code: HITTHEPAVEMENT
Register here. Price jumps after 6/30
Thanks to everyone for sending out positive running vibes on social before the race and the congrats afterwards. Love this running community.
Have you ever used a race to help build confidence for an upcoming race?