Last year my furbaby Sparkle gave us a terrible scare, one week before we were set to run the Seattle marathon. We almost lost her and needless to say, with Sparkle in the vet equivalent of ICU, we did not run Seattle. So instead, we ran it this year… And I’m ever so grateful to say that Sparkle is still with us and happily snoozed in the hotel room while we ran 🙂
Being that both hubby and I have already had a pretty big year (2 marathons each with a hardcore personal best for hubby in his July marathon, and a 100-miler in September for me), we decided to run Seattle purely for fun. Our only goal? To cross the finish line holding hands!
So when we set out to make our way to the finish line Sunday morning we were pretty chill about the whole process. So chill, in fact, that we both managed to get the start time wrong… LOL! Here’s how it went down…
We are nearly finished making the short 1 mile trek from our hotel room to where the race is to begin, near the base of the Seattle Space Needle. As we walk up to the start line – and see the elites all lined up at the front, jumping up and down on the spot – hubby looks at me and says, “Um, I think this race is going to start in the next few minutes.”
Which is only HALF AN HOUR earlier than we’d anticipated. I immediately begin to panic and start running towards where I’m guessing bag check is. Hubby follows. As the national anthem starts playing, I stop a random guy and anxiously ask him if he knows where the bag check is. Thankfully he knows, and points us in the right direction.
We dash over to the bag check and I tear off my warm up pants, coat, sweater… And stuff everything into my bag. I throw it onto the table and begin the task of bagging it in one of the white plastic bags they are requiring all personal bags go into – then pinning the bib number to it and getting my number written in marker on the side. So many details to take care of and no time! We need to get our butts to the start line. Finally, our bags are checked and we head towards the start line hurriedly.
And then I realize… Oops. I did it again. Same oopsie I made back in 2012 when I ran my first BQ marathon ever. I forgot to take my gels out of my bag before I bag checked it!! Gah. All three delicious Huma gels. Safely tucked away in my checked bag. Lol. Oh well!
We arrive into the back of the start line and begin to make our way up through the runners a bit… And then the gun goes off. Ha! And just like that, we’re off. A few people are whooping and cheering. I join in, “Woohoo!!” and give a fist pump. I’m truly excited to have hubby with me this whole marathon. Of our 21 marathons (today will be our 21st), we’ve only ever run one other one together.
I feel great, and so we go out faster than we’d planned, but it’s easy enough to hold onto the pace so we keep it. We wind our way through the city – a few uphills, but mostly downhills and finally make our way out on the Lake Washington floating bridge. It’s an out and back – we see the leaders coming back as we make our way out. Feeling good.
As we make our way back and are just coming off the bridge, I fall into pace behind two gals who seem to be holding exactly the pace that feels good to me. So I stay behind them. Hubby needs a pit stop and tells me to keep running, he’ll catch up. And so I’m on my own, running along a beautiful stretch of road, the water to my left. It’s peaceful and I’m still feeling comfortable, as I approach the 10 mile mark (16km). I get lost in my thoughts. If I begin to become overwhelmed with how far I’ve yet to go, I remind myself that 16 more miles is nothing compared to 90 more miles – and I’m not doing a 100-miler today, ‘only’ a marathon. Oddly that helps.
Not so many minutes later, hubby catches up to me and we continue, side by side. Eventually we reach a park (Seward Park) that I remember going to a few years ago with the girls (our furkids, Sparkle and Sunshine). The course takes us around its perimeter and so we run around it – it reminds me a bit of Vancouver’s Stanley Park. The water is on my right with such beautiful views and it’s so peaceful.
I insta-story a few times – this time I mention the fact I’m wearing brand new shoes. It’s true, the shoes I brought from home really didn’t match my outfit well, so my most amazing husband agreed I needed new ones that matched (ya, best husband award right there!!). And so we visited the Nike store last night and I found the perfect pair. Granted, same model I always wear, so I was pretty sure I’d be fine 🙂
We are now approaching the half way mark, and another photographer! “Hold my hand hunny!”, I say. Because this race I’m just all about getting good photos, apparently.
We make our way back along that same road we came out on. Eventually I notice that hubby is lagging behind by more than a step or two. The two girls we were following are long gone, somewhere far ahead of us. I pull back… “Are you okay?”, I ask.
“Not great”, he says, “You should go on without me.”
His knee is hurting him. Truth be told, we didn’t train much for this race. And on his one to two runs per week, while he can manage my pace today without training, his body isn’t used to this much mileage at all, and is giving him grief by causing pain in his knee if he tried to pick it up much past a 9:30/mile pace.
There’s no way I’m going on ahead of him. My only goal was to cross the finish holding hands, and clearly we need to be together for that to happen. So I back off my pace and we make it through the next few miles quietly. It’s begun to rain. And as we come off that road and into the neighbourhoods it begins to get hilly.
As it gets hilly, I get wimpy. Hubby had shared his gel with me at the half way point, but that feels like forever ago. I’m feeling depleted (I know, shocker). Although only half an hour ago I was feeling so great I all of a sudden feel like I’ve hit a brick wall. Yup… This is what they call ‘bonking’.
Bonk bonk bonk. I barely move up a hill. Dude in cool American flag shorts flies past us.
Eventually hubby starts feeling better, and picks the pace up. I groan and try to stick with him, convincing him we need to walk up the ridiculously big long hill, but other than that we be a running. I try to insta-story but at this point in the race I just can’t figure out how to work my phone anymore.
As we enter the city again we encounter wind. It’s the only part of the race where it gets a bit uncomfortable temperature wise. Hubby pulls in front of me, trying to block the wind for me… I do so love this man. I might be cursing the marathon right now, but at the same time I’m so grateful and happy to be running it and sharing this experience with the love of my life.
Hubby pulls ahead of me on the uphills, I pull ahead of him on the downhills. We run side by side on the flats. We pass dude in the American flag shorts! With only a mile or two left to go, I dig deep – hubby is really pushing me, because whether I knew it or not, he had a goal for us to finish in under 4 hours 😉
When we finally enter the final few hundred metres I’m so relieved and so happy to have worked through it all. I see the finish line and grab hubby’s hand.
The feeling of coming upon the finish line is such a great feeling. Every single time. Every single finish line. Although I do find the longer the race distance is, the greater the gratification upon reaching the finish – and this being a marathon… It’s feeling pretty big. I fully take in the moment, grasping hubby’s hand and near pulling him across the finish line!
So yah, apparently I smile when I see cameras… And the grimace takes over when I think no ones looking. Ha! Boom – 3:56:03 official finish time.
I am totally and completely happy with how this race went down. We kept it as light and fun as possible and met our goals! Although I must say it’s a funny thing, you know, to go out clearly not trying to beat my best marathon time (which currently sits at 3:30:31 so yikes that’ll be a tough one for me to beat next July when I do attempt a PR!!). I used to feel like “everyone” expected PR attempts from me each race I ran. But then I realized it was only undue pressure I put on myself – and often there was no need for such pressures.
If I’m happy with a race, no matter what time I got, it’s likely everyone else will be happy for me and alongside me. If I’m sad or upset, they’ll likely also express sadness or dismay also. In other words, I’ve learned often others will simply mirror our own expressions… And I do believe that most people are rooting for others to find not only success but also satisfaction and happiness in their races – partly because it’s motivating and encouraging to see others enjoy themselves and be happy even if the outcome isn’t perfect or exactly as they were hoping for… Cause as you know, life doesn’t always turn out exactly as we plan it!! But anyway, it turns out I’m much more in control of my reactions to the outcome of my races than I used to believe I was.
So yes, this Seattle Marathon was truly an amazing experience. I wouldn’t change a thing! Well, that’s not entirely true – if I got another crack at it, I’d definitely double check the start time – as the one thing I do wish I’d had with me during this marathon was my gels! Because as it stands, I’m the nutritionist who failed to properly fuel herself hahaha 😉