Seattle Half Marathon Race Report

This was my third running of the Seattle Marathon. I ran first three years ago as my second half marathon. Last year I ran it as a full marathon. This year I ran the half again as I just ran my last full on October 1 (Portland).

The Seattle Marathon is not a marathon for wimps. It has a lot of things going for it. It's a beautiful course. It is in the Emerald City. It is on the end of a four-day holiday weekend.

But then, there's the fact that it's in Seattle. It's in Seattle in November. It's in the hilliest part of Seattle in November.

It's as if the race directors said "So you think you can run a marathon? Well how about a marathon in November where it might rain, snow, sleet, hail, and the wind might blow? How about a marathon a month after the most beautiful time in Seattle so you spend a lot of time looking at formerly beautiful trees as you tromp through the slick dead leaves? How about a marathon at the end of a holiday weekend so course support is scarce as hen's teeth where if you're lucky, one local newspaper might mention the marathon and you might see upwards of 100 people cheering on the entire course? Huh? Are you interested NOW?!"

My husband and I got up early Sunday morning to see this funny looking white stuff falling out of the sky. What? Oh sure they THREATEN snow in Seattle, but it rarely actually DOES snow! As we made our way down to the hotel lobby for breakfast we chatted about the snow...did we really see snow or was it just heavy rain?

Oh no. It was snow! Fortunately we'd picked up rain ponchos at the Expo and had had the forethought to bring hand warmers to tuck into our gloves. As breakfast was naught more than fat bombs (aka donuts) and bad coffee, we headed back up to our room to munch on dry bagels. I know bagels will run well with me. Fat bombs, not so much.

We walked about 3/4 mile to the starting line singing "Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!" at the tops of our voices. Some runners were amused. Others, not so much. We met our running group, Seattlefit (I coach the marathoner red group) at the Opera House and had the obligatory picture taken. Found the warm restrooms and made use of them more than once. At 7:15 we headed over to the starting area.

The snow was coming down in big wet flakes. I was wearing running tights, a tank, the new blue Seattle Marathon running top, and a technical fleece jacket along with a neck gator, ear muffs, my Portland Marathon hat, and reindeer antlers. Over all this (except the antlers) I had a rain poncho.

As we started everything felt really good. The streets were slick, but my shoes have only about 200 miles on them. I brought iRun, my trusty iPod and had my Marathon Music playlist queued up, but as I was running with Jill and other Seattle-fitters, I left it off. Roy was with us at the start but soon fell behind. Some people, whose name I won't mention, did not train well for this half marathon literally skipping every mid-week run. That "some people" is not allowed to complain about pain from the half marathon for a period of one week.

The snow lasted for about the first two miles. As it was a wet snow it didn't stick, so didn't actually require any careful footing beyond what I use during rain runs. I'm used to that. If you run in the Great Pacific Northwest, you run in the rain! Jill and I fell into the intervals I'd been training my team with; run 1 mile, walk 1 minute. She was skeptical when I first brought up this training method, until I outran her with my new recruits at mile four in 10 miler and came in looking fresh. After that, she was a convert.

Water stations were well stocked and plenty. Despite the constant rain there were a few spectators out and I called out thank yous to every single one of them. At about mile six I pulled an "Incredible Hulk" move and violently ripped off my rain poncho (growling just a little) and left it near a porta-potty. I hate to litter, but I knew it would picked up there. It was still pouring down rain but it was getting hot in that little personal greenhouse!

Jill and I were keeping up a relatively good pace of just about a 10.5 minute mile. I was hoping for better, but as I've had a nagging achilles injury, I was okay with what I was doing. Jill hit a tiny wall at about mile nine, which about the time I realized that not only was I feeling good, I was feeling DARN good. I didn't want to leave Jill, though, so I talked her over her tiny wall and we kept on keeping on.

Between miles 7 and 9 we run through the most beautiful area; along the shores of Lake Washington then through some pretty chi chi neighborhoods into the Arboretum. We always take our runners through this part of the route as it is the hilliest area on the last long run with Seattlefit, so we'd run it just a month previous. It was so much more beautiful in October! But oh well, even an "ugly" day in Seattle is gorgeous. It feels like you're running through the woods (on asphalt...but well, ignore that). It's just amazing. What's even more amazing is coming OUT of the arboretum and seeing the city spread out right in front of you!

The antlers proved to be a happy choice of headgear. I am a real attention whore on the route. In summer races I wear a shirt that says "Runner Girl" on the front because I love to hear people yell "Go runner girl!" Well even with just a few spectators, I got lots of "Go rudolph! Love the antlers! Great hat! Way to go reindeer girl!" It was very motivating!

It started to snow again a little about mile 11. Jill was really not feeling great, but I was ready for my kick. I hung back, though. She must have sensed that I wanted to move on because she finally said "I'll see you at the finish line" and wished me well.

I started targeting people. "Blue shirt girl, you're mine!" I'd increase slightly until I overtook her. "OKay now number 8920, you're going down." Bam, took him out. "Oh, you think you can beat me Braids? I think NOT!" Took her down! We were still in hills, but my legs actually felt fresher at miles 11-13 than I did at miles 1-2.

The last .10 of mile 13 (or 26) is evil...up Mercer Hill! It is NOT pretty, but at the top it's flat and at the end is Ivar's Clam Chowder and coffee! Yeah Baby!

My first 11 miles were about 10.5 min miles. My last two were 9:45 and 8:45. Yeah baby! I finished at a chip time of 2:20 (not sure the chip time yet, but I was well back so at least 90 seconds faster). I ran in strong, racing another girl who came in just a few inches ahead of me. I heard my name, raised my arms, and grinned for the cameras! Wahoo!

I had toyed with running the full again this year because I love running across the I-90 Floating Bridge, but decided it wouldn't be a smart move. When I finished, though, I wished I had run the full. I felt like I could have turned around and run it again.

After the race I grabbed my space blanket and headed to the sidelines to watch for Roy. About the time I was so cold I thought I might die of hypothermia and was considering going inside, I saw him running strong! He came in 11 minutes behind me looking good, which is amazing because Mr. "I don't have time for mid-week runs" was pretty sure he was going to go a lot slower. I jumped up and down yelling "Go Roy! I love you Baby! Go!" and ran around the side to meet him. He does not love running like I do, so I'm very proud that he continues to work on his fitness. My wish for him is that he would love it like I do, but he doesn't. (However, he is still not allowed to complain for at least a week.)

We made our way into the recovery area and stood in a HUGE long line! If I could change one thing about the Seattle Marathon, I would keep all non-runners completely OUT of the recovery area. My big pet peeve is people who feed their entire families at the food for the runners, leaving NOTHING for the walkers. (A number of my friends have walked this marathon many times and have never gotten any food at the end...yet I saw many parents handing out "free food" to their kids.) It's also way too crowded. There were lines of chairs filled with non-runners, so no place for Roy and I (or any other runners) to sit and loosen our shoes. I know it's pure thoughtlessness...people truly do not think. When I finished the SLC Marathon there was a small table with chocolate milk cartons on it. I saw that table as I came out of the finisher's chute and thought "Oh wow, that sounds so good..." just as I stumbled to the table I woman walked up, took the last three cartons, and handed them to her children. I nearly wanted to cry. That food is for the runners, and ONLY the runners.

Okay, enough of my rant. It took us a full 20 minutes to get any food, though. I was actually starting to feel a little wonky. The first offerings of organic baby carrots...nice, but not really what I wanted after 13 cold miles. But there in the distance...mecca in a bowl! Ivar's Clam Chowder! This is the only time in the year that I indulge, and man oh man does that taste GOOD!

Unfortunately I never did find Jill. It was much too crowded! I didn't see any of the other Seattlefitters, either. We made our way back to the hotel and each took a LONG HOT shower! Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh....

Lunch was the Perfect Post Race Meal...sushi!

All in all a great race! Had a wonderful time, once again. It made me excited for my next goal; the Chuckanut 50k in March.

Official Un-Official Times

Name Overall Place Division Place Age Chip Time Official Time Split 1 Split 2 Negative?
TORY KLEMENTSEN 1938 268/472 41 2:18:08 20:20:33 1:09 (6.2mi) 1:10:34(6.9mi) Yes!
ROY KLEMENTSEN 2205 288/323 41 2:29:33 2:31:56 1:11:28 1:20:29 No