Rock n Roll Marathon
4:38:38 - 4 AG
After the difficult and poor race I ran in St Kitts I wanted to run a race in cool weather to see if I could break 5 hours again? That meant running a race in the mountains or on the west coast. But have you checked air fares lately? They are ridiculous! I couldn’t find a fare under $500 to any race with cool weather. Finally I decided to use air miles for a free award ticket to Seattle where I could run the Rock n Roll Marathon and visit my newest granddaughter - Princess Lauren.
The race would be six weeks after St Kitts so I had time to complete two more long training runs and start some speed work. I felt confident when I finished my training that I could break 5 hours. The heart arrhythmia seemed to be resolved and finally the UC (ulcerative colitis) was in remission. I was probably as healthy as I am ever going to be again?
I arrived in Seattle late Thu and enjoyed the evening playing with my new Princess. She is a sweetie pie and a great baby. On Fri the weather was beautiful so Chris, Ari, Lauren & I took a water taxi from West Seattle to downtown Seattle to pick up my race packet at the Century Link Stadium. Then we returned to West Seattle for pasta dinner.
I need to mention a few things about the race before it starts. It is part of the Rock n Roll series. The races are well organized but in my humble opinion are for first-time runners and runners looking for a ‘memorable’ experience and not serious runners! They are ridiculously expensive – my entry fee was $168 with taxes and service fees! After you register you are continuously offered (hounded) for more services at more ridiculous prices! I was offered VIP parking – access to VIP toilets, etc – all at premium prices. Because there was more than 20K runners in the marathon and Half they put runners into corrals based on their estimated finish time. I was fairly honest and was placed in corral # 20 of 40 corrals.
Sat was M-day. The race started at 7am at City Center (near the Space Needle) so we had to leave early so that Chris could drop me off near the start line. I had to walk about ½ mile to the start area. It was sunny and a pleasant 55 F. The start area was well organized but there were not enough portable toilets for 20K runners so I found an alley for my last-minute chores. The race started at 7am and they started the corrals (500 runners) in waves. When I realized that my corral was going to take about 30 minutes to get to the start line I cheated and walked up to corral # 10. And still I did not cross the start line until 20 minutes after the official start of the race! During the first few miles I passed many walkers and slow runners that should have been in corral # 40. Those runners really piss me off! With the large number of runners/walkers and a few long gentle hills at the start it took a few miles to settle into a 10-min pace. I passed mile 5 in 51:39 and a split of 10:02. There were lots of water stations and bands along the course. Most of the course was fairly flat and many of the streets were shaded so I was pleasantly surprised when I reached the half in 2:14:35 and a split of 10:33. I knew that the 2nd half would not be that fast but I was confident that I would break 5 hours.
There was steep hill at mile 16 to climb up on to the bridge across I 90 to Mercer Island but it was short and I was able to run it. The 5 miles out and back over the bridge were the hottest part of the course and had 2 long hills. When I passed Mile 20 in 3:27:35 and a split of 10:20 I still felt good but many locals were walking and complaining about the heat (in the low 70s at that time). The final 2 miles were the toughest part of the course for me. There were two bad hills in that stretch including a hill near mile 26 that felt like Everest. The final mile was my slowest split of the race (13:01) but I crossed the finish line in 4:38:38 – much faster than expected.
The finish area near City Center was a zoo. There was lots of water, snacks, etc but I had to walk about ¼ mile to the baggage claim area to get my sports bag and then it was too difficult to get back to the finish line to take my customary finish line photo. But I could have my finisher’s medal engraved with my finish time for a mere $20! Like I said this is not a race for serious runners!
I had to walk another ½ mile to a park to meet Chris since that was the closest he could drive to the finish area. We took our finish line photos with Maddog (aka Pappy) and Princess Lauren at that park. I was pleased with the race- the course- and the organization along the course – but I would never run another Rock n Roll Marathon or race! The race/experience is not worth the exorbitant price!
After the race I got to spend lots of time with my new Princess and Chris & Ari and Chris cooked a wonderful Copper River salmon to celebrate (belatedly) Father’s Day so it was an enjoyable trip. I was pleased with my time and performance and now have confidence that IF I wanted to train harder I believe I could get my times down close to 4 hours. I am not yet sure if I want to devote the time/effort and pain to accomplish that goal?