Seattle Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon Recap

Joan Jett, in true rocker spirit, famously said “I love rock ‘n roll,”  and with her raw guitar chords, 80’s mullet, and black eyeliner, you knew she meant it.

If ever running and rock intersected then that was the kind of party I didn’t want to miss.  So when my Dad asked if I wanted to run the Seattle Rock’n’Roll half marathon with him I said I love rock ‘n roll so put another dime in the jukebox baby, just kidding.

It was more like, “sure!”

I thought about racing this one and probably drove my parents a little nuts as I waffled back and forth, but I ended up deciding to run this just for fun.  I had promised myself that I would take off the month of June from racing and give myself a little break from the stress and pressure that naturally accompanies race day.  Since I was enjoying an easy month, with no tempo runs and no speed work, I wasn’t primed to have a strong race.  And most importantly, I wanted to run this with my dad and cross the finish line together.

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We headed to the expo on a Thursday to pick up our packets (I love a 2 day expo).  We also did a little taste testing (I tried out every new waffle flavor at the Honeystinger booth), got in a little product testing (Jaybird headphones are now on my wish list), and even managed a little shopping (I got the cutest Seattle Rock’n’Roll tank top at the Brooks Running expo store). Considering the number of entrants, we were expecting the expo to be really chaotic, but it was very organized and easy to navigate.  My dad, a long-time King County resident has a lot of experience facing the vicious nightmare known as Seattle Traffic, so he took full advantage of what the race offered to help mitigate those problems.  He paid an additional $25 for a guaranteed spot in the CenturyLink parking garage (worked like a charm) and $10 for 2 red stickers on each of our bibs that guaranteed us a spot on the buses to Seattle Center (not worth the money).  I had planned on returning to the expo Friday for the We Run Social meet-up, but sadly the rain and traffic lived up to it’s dire reputation.

We got a really early start Saturday morning so we would have plenty of time to get downtown and it’s a good thing we did.  There was very little traffic on I-5, but once we turned onto Edgar Martinez Blvd everything came to a halt. For forty-five minutes we crept along at a snail’s pace and worried that we would miss the buses and maybe even the start.  I was googling how far Seattle Center was (2.3 miles) and wondering if we ran/walked to the start would we still make it on time.  Finally, the Seattle police arrived and saved the day, positioning themselves at the intersections to get traffic moving again.  We parked, grabbed our things, and RAN to the buses. And that extra $10 for red dot stickers, they weren’t even checking.

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The next stop was Seattle Center for the start line, being greeted by the Space Needle was pretty phenomenal.  I love that we handed our drop bags to UPS truck drivers, I’ve never been more sure that I would see my extra layers and my leftover banana again.  We were both a little turned around, but we followed the crowd to the start.  The race had an official start time of 7 am, but ended up being delayed 15 minutes.  Because there are so many runners, each corral had about a 2 minute separation, so it was almost 8 by the time we were actually running.  It was a little chilly for this St. George girl, but I was thankful the rain held off for most of our run.

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Waiting for the start and rocking the hardcore runner trash bag chic look. We were supposed to be twinners but I left mine in my drop bag.

There was great energy at the start from the crowd and the announcers and even my dad was bobbing along to DNCE’s Cake by the Ocean. I’ve always wanted to stop and take mid-race pictures so that’s what we did.  Running along the Seattle Viaduct was pretty amazing, this iconic eyesore is set to be torn down soon although the timeline for the new Seattle tunnel has been shall we say…delayed due to technical difficulties.  I have driven the Viaduct a hundred times, so to get to run on it was really, really special!

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It’s an urban course with a lot of pavement and highways.  Seattle is a really beautiful city and I’m not sure the course this year took full advantage of the best spots.  However, it was certainly rocking and quirky.  We saw a handful of bands, a few cheerleaders, one group of drummers, and Seafair pirates (a long standing Seattle tradition).

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Plus the Brooks Running (Man? Guitarist? Rocker guy?  Does he have a name?) was pretty cool too!

The best part of the entire course was the blue mile.  It’s lined with volunteers holding American flags and pictures of soldiers who gave their lives fighting for this country.  The volunteers are cheering for us the runners and that experience was incredibly moving and humbling.  I wish every race added a “run to remember mile” to honor the service and sacrifice of our most courageous men and women.

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My dad had a pretty good kick at the end and we ran our fastest mile at mile 12, we crossed the finish line in 2:06 and some change.  I would say this was a very true course, meaning that there was never a downhill spot where you would be able to really gain speed.  It would not have been a PR course for me,  so to see that Jared Ward ran it in 1:06 just blows my mind!  There is something really special about sharing finish lines with people you love, I’m not sure how many more half marathons my dad will want to run (hopefully lots and lots), so I’m incredibly grateful to have shared these miles and this race memory together.  I’m going to join in with Joan and say it loud and proud, “I love rock’n roll too!”  Happy running friends!

Have you ever run the Rock’n’Roll Races?  Which one is your favorite?

Have you ever been stuck in traffic and worried you’d miss the race?

What’s your favorite expo activity?  Shopping, product testing, or eating?

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