There are some races that are just so much fun, you almost want to turn around and do it all over again. The Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon was one of those races for me. In fact, experiencing a Rock ‘n’ Roll race made me super excited I’ve signed up for Vancouver’s inaugural RnR half and I am now considering running the RnR Las Vegas full marathon just for fun. Is is possible to run a full marathon for pure enjoyment? To be determined… But I digress…
I decided I really wanted to arrive in Seattle in time for the RunWESTIN shakeout run led by Chris Heuisler – remember that dream job thing I pursued last year? Turns out I’m actually in my dream job (as Eat 2 Run Founder & Nutritionist!)… RunWESTIN was really Chris’ dream job. And indeed he appears to be having the time of his life! You can just see half his head behind mine in the picture below (in which we all appear to be having the time of our lives in – pretty much this super happy me is just my reaction to running, haha wootwoot)!
Although hubby and I literally pulled into Seattle with about 5 minutes to spare, you can see I made it in time for the run. The super happy gal beside me, Norah, turned out to be part of this really neat organization everymove.org – a system where your activities become points that get you closer to earning rewards. You never know what great conversations you’ll have or what new awesome people you’ll meet!!
I stayed at the Westin Seattle hotel – and when hotels do cool things like project the name ‘runWESTIN’ on the lobby wall, of course that means getting a photo. Along with seeing Chris again, I met his brother John with whom he is running a marathon in every state with, Kristin of Stuft Mama, Michael of Point One Miles, and Brian of Pavement Runner. Man, these are some serious runners now (who very much know how to have a good time with running)! A few of them have been racing nearly every weekend this year – I am so not ‘hardcore’ after all, haha 🙂
The Westin Hotel is obviously committed to helping their guests stay fit with the Move Well and Well-Being Movement. I say obviously because they are running the RunWESTIN program (where Chris is the RunWESTIN concierge) in which VIP packages are offered at various Westin hotels where Rock n Roll races are being held – check out which ones here! Being welcomed with a beautiful Move Well platter in our hotel room, running with the shakeout run group for my activation run, being served a fabulous carb load dinner and having the option of going down for a pre-race breakfast – these things took a load off the usual destination race stresses.
I think one of the best parts of the VIP package however was the amazing Westin VIP tent set up at the finish line. Upon crossing, meeting up with hubby who was right there at the finish line and making our way past the post-run food in the runners only section, we came upon the VIP recovery tent – fully stocked with fresh and dried fruit, bagels and peanut butter, juices, water and coffee/tea and even chocolate! Plus towels, massages and a very helpful people who were kind enough to take multiple post-race photos of hubby and I (I kept nixing them and asking her to take another because the sunlight was weird and causing dark shadows!!).
But wait – I got ahead of myself… The race itself was fabulous!
Okay… So maybe it got off to not the best start. I drank coffee, matcha tea and Vega Pre-Workout Energizer all within the 2 hours pre-race. You can guess where I’m going with this. After setting out to walk to the start line and dropping my bag at the UPS sweat bag check, I needed a portapottie – silly me, WAY too much liquid too soon beforehand (seriously, I know better). There were dozens of portapotties. Unfortunately each one also had at least a hundred people lined up in front of it (I may be exaggerating numbers, but I did know there was no chance I was going to get to use one). What to do?!!!
I lined up in my corral, corral #2. It was 10 minutes to go time. But yah, I had to go, too.
Gun went off and I started running. First kilometre down through the city – as my GPS beeps to say 1km down, I pass the Westin Hotel I’m staying at. I briefly contemplate running inside to use the washroom. But keep running.
Keep running through the city. Second kilometre down and now we are going down a very steep hill. All of a sudden I see a portapottie just to my left and a girl jumping out of it. Yes… I dash in. It’s rocking back and forth like crazy, delicately balanced on this steep hill. I’m in a huge rush and carefully ensuring I’m not dumping out my license and credit card in the process (seriously, who brings their license and credit card with them to run a half marathon??!!!). Within seconds I’m outta there and feeling SO MUCH BETTER – totally worth the lost 30-40 seconds. Okay, I’ve got this now. Believe it or not, I still clocked a 4:40/km with my pitstop – you can imagine how hard I pounded down that hill, I passed everyone (not really, but it kind of seemed that way at the time).
And then I run. I run as hard and fast as I think I’ll be able to hold for the entire 21.1km. I back and forth it with a girl in a cute white running skirt. But then I finally pass her one last time and don’t see her again. We run through an industrial section and then to make up for it we run along the water – it’s beautiful and shaded. It gives me energy. I pick up my pace.
We run up a short steep hill. Any longer and it would have done me in, but I’m good. Then into a tunnel! A very long dark, stuffy tunnel. I run faster because I want out. Another racer pulls up beside me and says, “You must be going for sub-1:40”. I reply that’d be awesome… But now (with my pitstop) I’m not entirely sure that will happen. Finally the tunnel ends and we’re led along a closed section of the highway. And then back into town, and down around where there is a huge ferris wheel on the water. Cool. I keep running.
Unlike Whistler Half, I don’t hit any walls. I get tired a bit… But it doesn’t feel impossible. Hard, but okay. Could I have pushed any harder? No, I don’t think so. I gave that one all I had. Finally we are turned around and I’m positive we’re now on the home stretch. Wait – one more tunnel! What up with these tunnels??!! Not sure I like them 😛
And then it’s out of the tunnel and I’m flying down a hill. My GPS watch says I’m nearly at 21km. The finish line must be just right around that corner! I speed up, pass a few other girls and one calls out, “You go girl!”.
But my GPS lied. It was half a kilometre off. All of a sudden I am at the bottom of a hill I must power up and I just about die. I do my best with it and turn to my left – finally! The finish line. I run as hard as I can towards that darn finish line… And cross with my hands in the air. Hubby is right there, smiling at me, waiting for me.
I forgot to mention – this race fell exactly on our wedding anniversary. It’s the whole reason we decided to run this race instead of our usual Scotiabank Vancouver Half marathon (which was the next day). I really can’t think of any other way we’d have celebrated better. I love running, but even more I love running and racing with the man I love (happy 9th anniversary to the love of my life!).
It was hard but racing is hard – it’s supposed to be!! I thoroughly loved every moment of it – complete with my grande mess-up of drinking way too many caffeinated beverages just before the race 😉
- Dec 30 to Jan 5 – 50km (actual – 57km)
- Jan 6 to 12 – 60km (actual – 63km)
- Jan 13 to 19 – 60km (actual – 63km)
- Jan 20 to 26 – 75km (actual – 77km)
- Jan 27 to Feb 2 – 105km (actual – 108km)
- Feb 3 to 9 – 90km (actual – 90km)
- Feb 10 to 16 – 75km (actual – 75km)
- Feb 17 to 24 – 105km (actual – 100km)
- Feb 25 to Mar 2 – 135km (actual – 135km)
- Mar 3 to 9 – 120km (actual – 105km)
- Mar 10 to 16 – 135km (actual 110km)
- Mar 17 to 23 – 150km (actual 83km)
- Mar 24 to 30 – 120km, with specific pace runs (actual 100km – no pace runs)
- Mar 31 to Apr 6 – 120km, with specific pace runs (actual 100km, nailed my pace runs)
- Apr 7 to 13 – 105km, with specific pace runs (actual 75km, got sick in the middle, but nailed all my pace runs)
- Apr 14 to 20 – 135km, with specific pace runs (actual 100km, nailed my pace runs)
- Apr 21 to 27 – 70km, with specific pace run and The Vancouver Sun Run 10km race (actual 48km, good pace run, race = 45:43)
- Apr 28 to May 4 – 105km, with specific pace runs and The BMO Half (actual 74km, race = 1:40:40)
- May 5 to 11 – 150km, with specific pace runs (actual = 58km, with pace run)
- May 12 to 18 – 135km, with specific pace runs (actual = 89km, with pace run)
- May 19 to 25 – 120km, with specific pace runs (actual = 128, with pace run)
- May 26 to June 1 – 150km, with specific pace runs (actual = 94km, with pace run)
- June 2 to 8 – 135km, with Whistler Half (actual 64km, race = 1:45:11)
- June 9 to 15 – 105km, with specific pace runs (actual 82km, no pace runs)
- June 16 to 22 – 150km, with Seattle Half (actual 69km, race = 1:41:08)
- June 23 to 29 – 120km, with specific pace runs
- June 30 to July 6 – 105km, with specific pace runs
- July 7 to 13 – 105km, with specific pace runs
- July 14 to 20 – 90km, with specific pace runs
- July 21 to 27 – final taper week