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Seattle Rock n' Roll Half Marathon

Sunday, June 23, 2013

This was a bloody HUGE race! I thought Portland was big. This was more than double the size. In Portland there were 23 pace corrals. In Seattle, there were (at least) 47. When I found the start line, about 5 minutes after the initial gun at 7:00AM, they were lining up pace corral 8 with the line going back as far as the next block and stretching around the corner. I figured it would have been an hour before they got to my pace corral, and I noticed people from other corrals starting to sneak in through a break in the barricade. The predicted high temp yesterday was supposed to be 70F, but ended up actually reaching 78. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and I, without my sunscreen, was feeling the urge to jump in early to avoid running at high noon. Not wanting to be too obvious, I waited until I saw more people getting the same idea. I jumped in around pace corral 15, and crossed the start line around 7:25AM.

I learned really quickly that everyone in this pace corral were runners, and not walkers, so I felt the pressure to keep jogging, despite the fact that everyone was passing me in droves. I was starting to feel guilty about my decision, and reminded myself that I was trying to avoid the hottest part of the day. As I passed the mile marker 1, my GPS was right on target. I ran the entire first mile without stopping and my pace calculator told me I did it in 13:03. I was feeling awesome, and told myself to "just keep swimming" until my body told me I needed to walk. The roads started to incline slightly around 1.5 and my heart started to race, so I slowed to a walk at that point. According to my GPS, I had made it to all the way to 10K with a pace of 14:42/mi (well under my goal pace of 14:57 per mile), but the 10K sign was still a tenth of a mile in the distance. Even so, I was still well under goal pace, and figured I was going to nail this race near 3:15:00.

Unfortunately, the second half of the race was filled with hills, with the final one being a 7-8% grade one half mile from the finish line spanning a tenth of a mile. I had not recovered from this by the time I saw the finish, and for the first time in my race career, walked across the finish line. My official finish time was abysmal.

Even though mile 1 signage matched my GPS, each time I heard the voice prompts tell me I was at a new mile marker, the next corresponding sign was getting further and further in the distance. I'm not sure why this phenomenon exists, but in every race I have run this season, the signage never matched the technology. Some have been more off than others. In Vancouver, the signs were consistently about 0.3 to 0.4 away from the GPS readings. In Portland and Sequim, it varied at random between 0.1 to 0.4, but in Seattle, the markers were slowly getting further and further away, until the finish line was 0.5 of a mile beyond my GPS. According to my data, I reached 13.1 miles in 3:26:54. It might seem like small change, but it's important to me, fo some unknown reason.

My official splits are as follows:
5K 45:23 (14:38 per mile)
10K 1:33:20 (15:01 per mile)
10mi 2:37:23 (15:44 per mile)
Finish 3:33:27 (16:17 per mile)

Whichever mileage is the accurate one, I gotta do something about this trend. I thought I was just running out of steam in the last few miles, but according to the official splits I was slowing down the entire time. I know I definitely need to do some hill training, and some speed work. I also need to get lighter. I need to look up some articles on split times and find out whet else I can do to keep myself from running out of steam.

Other things I want to remember from the race:
* Do not count on King County Metro Transit to update their Trip Planner to reflect road closures and route cancellations due to well-established events. Expect chaos.
* Seattle is dumb when it comes to event planning. Apparently, someone thought it would be a fine idea to have a large marathon with street closures on a Saturday, the same day that three cruise ships would dock, a Mariner's Game would be scheduled and the Solstice Parade would be happening.
* Seattle PD will be belligerent and rude when directing traffic. I hailed a cab (loudly) and the officer directed it to move to the left lane away from the curb I was standing on. When I asked the officer if I could get in the cab that I had hailed, she yelled, "I'm not going to hail a cab for you!"
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I kind of wished I had snuck forward for this race. The heat really got to me too.
    And the tunnels? Uggg. So muggy.
    This one was my worst time so far.
    Time for me to invest in some cooling products!
    1576 days ago
    Congratulations on making it, regardless of your time! The last half of the race is SO full of hills, I think most people do slow down at least some, and it was WARM by the end of the race, no two ways about it. The mile markers are placed based on the shortest route to that point, and as good as our GPS devices are, they are not 100% accurate. I have yet to run a race where my Garmin matched up exactly with the mile markers, this one included!
    1576 days ago
    1577 days ago
    The mile markers assume you run the optimal path through the course, i.e., running precisely from the inside of one turn to the inside of the next. This is very unlikely when you're running with other people preventing you from cutting the corners. So for most people, in a crowded race, their true distance will always be significantly longer than the official distance.

    PS: Why didn't you wear your sunscreen?

    1577 days ago
    I ran this one in 2011 and LOVED it!!! Congratulations on a successful half marathon!
    1577 days ago
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