Seattle Marathon Half Marathon

Seattle, WA
Harris Direct
42F / 6C

Total Time = 2h 24m 9s
Overall Rank = 2151/
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 422/588

Pre-race routine:

Got up dark and early and ate two packages of oatmeal...visited the restroom about 15 times, then walked to the start line about half an hour.

Event warmup:

Light stretching.



Seattle Marathon 2004

Today was the day! We've trained for this for 20 weeks. We've run through three pairs of shoes. We've run in heat, wind, rain, more rain, and even some rain. We've twisted ankles, worked through IT Band Syndrome, dealt with chafing, and suffered setbacks due to pancreatitis. We learned how to hydrate ourselves, about exercise nutrition, and what to wear when the cold weather sets in. We've added new words to our vocabulary such as "glycogen" and "Gu" and the names of a variety of muscles that we've suddenly discovered can, and do hurt after a long run.

We've eaten pounds of sushi, sloshed back gallons of PowerAde, and learned that peas, by far, are the best frozen vegetable for icing a bad knee after an out of town run.

We've run around town, in Seattle, in Corvalis and Medford Oregon, in Canada, in England, and in Norway. We've run in fun runs and not-so-fun runs. We have enough race t-shirts to clothe an army. We've run around horse tracks, through small towns, through the middle of large cities, on trails and on tracks.

All this to get here, to the starting line of the Seattle Half Marathon on November 28, 2004.

The morning started doggone early! We had rented a hotel room for the weekend that was about half a mile from the starting line. We figured the free parking, stress-free morning, and availability of an ice bath and hot shower right after the race was well worth the Priceline price of $45! We donned our running gear. I put on my running capris I bought in England when I had forgotten to pack shorts and ran one morning along the Tyne River in a mini-skirt that simply was NOT going to work for the ten mile run planned for the next day. I strapped on my race number (6481), my fuel belt, and donned my curiously sage-green official Seattle Marathon shirt. I searched in vain for my ear warmers, but at least I'd brought my gaiter. Packed up a bag with some sweats to throw on after in case it's too cold, threw on my "throw away" sweatshirt, and was ready to rumble. Roy was similarly attired with the addition of his high-tech Buzz Lightyear radio that he was sure would come in handy if we needed him to light the way on the course, since it has a built in flashlight.

It was a chilly walk to the McCaw Opera House where we met members of our Seattle Fit group. We signed in and stood around shivering and nervous, listening to last minute hints and tips. With about 20 minutes before start, Roy and I said our goodbyes to the group, found our clothing check seat in the Memorial Stadium, stashed our gear, and headed to the start line.

Oh my gosh I have never seen so many people! The paper said that about 15,000 people were expected to participate in either the half marathon walk, full marathon walk, half marathon run, or full marathon. Music was blasting, anticipation was high, people were stretching, leaping, arguing with spouses, hugging, sipping coffee, and giving last minute instructions and hugs to supporters. The half walk was scheduled to start at 7:00 a.m. but the course wasn't clear quite yet, so they were running 20 minutes behind schedule. Finally the Seattle Police Department signalled the all clear and they were off! Walking like the wind! Zooming at speeds of 2-2.5 miles per hour! Okay, so it takes awhile to get about 3,000 people through the starting chute.

We anticipated that they would let the walkers get half an hour ahead of us, so we stood around talking and lightly stretching. However they decided that after about 10 minutes they needed to let us go. One announcement said "12 minutes until the half marathon run begins" and less than a minute later the same person called out, "1 minute until the half marathon run begins!" We looked at each other, excited. I checked my Garmin and noticed I'd lost my satellite signal. Argh! Holding my arm above my head I hoped to pick it back up before we left. I figured it would go in and out, but what I was most interested in was my pace.

The airhorn sounded and we were off! Like lightning! Like very very slow lightning! We crossed the timing mat and I started my timer on my heart rate monitor. The Seattle Marathon is not known as a "fast" course. A fast course, from what I understand, is relatively flat and wide. Since we're running through a city built on hills it was everything BUT flat and wide. A few times we were funelled into a single traffic lane. There was not going to be a personal record on this course, that's for sure! My previous half marathon had been 2:12:08 and I was hoping to best that, but I had no idea! There were sections where we were barely jogging, and others with hills so steep that we were cursing the founding fathers.

But that's not what this is all about! Running in a race is a celebration of life and of health. It is time for Roy and I to spend time together doing something that I love to do. It is time for us to support each other as a running community.

We ran through downtown Seattle on Fifth Avenue as the city awakened. Coming up on the first hill was amazing! There were people as far as the eye could see! Runners soon overtook walkers, who moved to the side obligingly. Before we knew it we were at the first water station and mile two! Two down only 11.2 to go!

Right after mile two we entered the I-90 express lanes. Another hill, but it afforded a beautiful view of Puget Sound and Elliot Bay. The morning was crisp, clear, and sunny so the view was breathtaking. As we entered the I-90 tunnel we all whooped and hollered like children, offering an energy surge that took us through the chilly tunnel and back out into the sun.

At about mile 4.5 us half-ers turned to the left and the full-ers turned right. Lake Washington is one of my favorite places in Seattle as it is the site of the Danskin Triathlon. I felt privileged to run along Lake Washington Blvd East. The lake sparkled cold but cheery as we ran past it. Mile six, mile seven, halfway point! Wahoo! Temporary neighbors came out and cheered us on, waving, calling out encouragement, and playing music to encourage us.

As we ran up the hill in mile seven, Roy complained just a little bit. We have a little tradition while we're running where I call out, "Looking good Roybee!" and he replies, "Feeling good Tory!" I know if he can call out a silly line from the movie "Trading Places" that he's doing okay and enjoying himself. His "feeling good" was half-hearted at best as we hit about the mid-point of the hill, but it was still there! I didn't have the heart to tell him about mile five.

With only six miles to go I called out "Only six miles! This is nothing but a 10k! That's nothing! We can do this! We CAN DO THIS!" A few people cheered with me. I called out "Walk in the park!" Roy said, "Can we just take a walk in the park?" Not much later we were doing just that, although it was more a jog. Our course took us through the beautiful Arboretum. The trail wound through moss laden trees, winterberries, ferns, and Pacific Northwest beauty. Capella University had signs along the path with encouraging axioms. Yeah, I know it was an advertisement, but I didn't care. They made me feel proud to be up and running on a bright, sunny, cold Sunday morning!

The dreaded mile five was upon us before we knew it. Oy the hills! Many people slowed, some pulled over to the side to stretch and take a break. Course support cheered us on and I called out a thank you to each of them. I really appreciate course support. As we ran up the "big" hill I started calling out, "Hills rock! We're good on hills, right? Right!" No one agreed with me. Hmmm. So I tried a new tact. Hills, after all, help build the gluteals and who doesn't want nice firm glutes? "Buns of steel! Hills build buns of steel! Embrace those hills! BUNS OF STEEL!"

A few people laughed and forgot about the pain for a few minutes and I smiled. I will never be the fastest runner on the course, but I will always run with a smile and encouragement for others.

"Looking good Roybee!!"

"feelinggoodtory...." Hmmm. Roybee was struggling a little. I assured him this was the worst hill. I really didn't know if it was or not, but I figured he needed to hear some encouragement and for some reason "buns of steel" didn't do that for him.

We crested the hill and headed back towards the heart of the city. Soon we were down to mere three miles to go. Here's where I got my third wind and was feeling good. Okay, my IT band had reared it's nasty little head, and the top of my left foot was starting to whine at me, but overall I was feeling good. As we ran back into town we ran along I-5 where we would exit to go to Swedish Hospital in March-June of 2003. It gave me pause to think about how much I value my health and how blessed I am to be able to run. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the blessing of good health.

Roy's second wind was starting to peter out so I ran a bit ahead of him, but tried to keep him in site. When he slows I have a hard time not running ahead because after that many miles a slow pace hurts my hip. The closer we got to the center of the city the more crowd support we had. People held signs and yelled out for loved one. Cars blared music on their stereos. One sweet Hispanic family sitting in front of a decrepit hovel played Latin music on a cheap boombox.

Only two miles to go!

Only one mile to go!

Half a mile!

Four-tenths of a mile! You can do it!

Encouragement came at every turn! I ran on, looking back at Roy and oh no! Where was he? I slowed some and tried to find him without stumbling or running into another runner. Okay, I figured I could find him on the next turn.

Oh no! I'd forgotten about the last hill! No time to look for him now, I'll take it easy down and then up the hill then try to find him at the crest. Down down down, up up up...buns of steel! Buns of steel! Whoop! Holler! We're almost there! Just as the road turned into the Memorial Stadium I stopped, turned around, and ran back to find Roy. I wanted to cross the finish line with him. This was his first half marathon and I wanted him to know how much I loved him, how proud I was of him, how much I appreciated his support. I ran back to the hill looking for him in the tired faces of the runners coming towards me. No Roy!

Had I passed him? He wasn't that far behind me. Maybe he was already in the stadium. I turned around and ran back, looking behind me when I could. I still couldn't see him. Disappointed, I ran into the stadium without him. As I neared the finish line I heard my name called and turned to see one of the Seattle Fit coaches cheering me on. I waved and smiled and realized that wow, I was about to cross the finish line of the Seattle Marathon! I hadn't done the 26.2 as I had originally planned, but I had still accomplished something that most people will never do! I ran 13.1 miles and I was so blessed to be a part of Roy's first half marathon.

I crossed the finish line and someone put a medal around my neck. I thanked her and reached down to take off my timing chip, scanning the crowd for Roy. Since I didn't see him, I knew he must be behind me. Darn it! I wanted to be with him when he crossed the finish line. They pushed us through the chute, telling us we couldn't stand there. I grabbed a water and turned around and there he was! My man with a medal around his neck. He had been 24 seconds behind me, yet despite my best efforts, I was unable to find him! I asked him how he felt and he said he felt great. I hugged him and started to cry, apologizing for not being with him. He just laughed and told me it was okay. This was the same man who proclaimed time and again "I hate running!" I grabbed a mylar blanket for each of us and wrapped up, immediately enveloped in warmth. We walked into the stadium to retrieve our clothes with big, goofy, tired smiles on our faces. Not only did we do it. We did it together. Thank you Seattle Marathon 2004! Thank you for the good times, the ugly race shirt, the post-race Krispy Kremes, and the memories. We can't wait to hang out with you again next year!

What would you do differently?:

Practice more on hills.

Post race

Warm down:

Grabbed a mylar blanket. Kissed and hugged my honey. Walked up stairs to the top of the stadium to get my stuff. Stretched lightly and carefully.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Hills...I might have mentioned the hills. My IT band started to have issues.

Event comments:

Get rid of some of the hills and it would be a perfect race! Haha!

02:24:09 | 13.1 miles | 11m min/mile
Age Group: 422/588
Overall: 2151/
Performance: Good
Zone 3, 56 min in zone, avg 147, peak 172
Course: Hilly, hilly, and hilly. Very hilly. Narrow in parts, and hilly. Hillier than hell. Did I mention it was hilly?
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4