REVIEW: 2011 Amica Seattle Half Marathon

Date Of Event: November 27, 2011

Price: $70

Seattle is one of my favorite cities, not only is it incredibly beautiful but it’s also where some of my very best friends live; so how could I pass up an opportunity to run a half marathon in said city, with said friends?!

I registered for the Amica Seattle Half Marathon shortly after finishing the Vancouver BMO half in May.  At that time, I was feeling great, in the best shape I’ve been in in a long time and ready to conquer the world. But as you all know, life has a way of throwing curve balls at us, yes I said balls.  Read: Eversion ankle sprain.  I managed to push through the pain during the San Francisco half in July and after that things just seemed to go downhill as far as my recovery was concerned.  A few weeks prior to the Seattle half my doctor benched me again, and like a good girl I listened….insert record scratch here.  Okay, so I guess I’m a bit stubborn (stupid), and a few nights prior to the Seattle half I made the decision to go ahead and give it a try against my doctor’s wishes.  I made the decision based on the fact that I would listen to my body, if the pain was too bad I’d pull myself out of the race, I’d take my time, walk a LOT, and enjoy a scenic walking tour of Seattle.  So that’s exactly what I did!

EXPO: You guys know by now that Expo’s are not my favorite, and this one was no exception.  We arrived at the Expo on Saturday afternoon and it was a zoo in there.  Bib/packet pick-up was pretty standard, I grabbed my packet from the volunteer and headed out to the Expo to have a quick look around and pick up my shirt.  I weaved my way through the vendors and plethora of runners to find the shirt pick up area only to discover that this years long-sleeve technical shirts were a non-desirable, washed out, pale blue color…meh.  Once we got back into the car I was looking in my packet and I realized there weren’t pins in there (boooo), and then I realized that I hadn’t verified my timing chip, was there even a place to do that?!  Back into the zoo I go.  I had to ask one of the volunteers at the packet pick up table for pins, and also if there was an area to test/verify my timing chip. Sure enough, yes there was.  Maybe I’m being a little bitchy about the issue, but at past expo’s the volunteers have been very informative and given instruction/direction as to where to go to check your chip, get your shirt, pins, etc…I found this to be a little annoying, especially because I had to haul my bootie back into the expo for a second time.  Rookie mistake or shoddy set up?

Pre-race decisons. I chose the Newtons!

Morning Of:  I felt pretty decent when I woke up, the house was full of activity as the 4 of us hurried around to choke back some food and coffee as we all mentally prepared for the day.  My food intake consisted of a cup of Destiny’s amazing coffee, a quarter of a banana and two bites of a bagel…food fail.  Off to the races we go!

Start Line: This is the first race that I’ve *almost* been late to the start! UGH! Traffic was a nightmare and that set us back a bit, we literally made it to the start line just as the race was about to begin.  This alone stressed me out, I like to get to races a little early so I have time to get my bearings, re-focus, situate myself in a good spot, stretch and find my happy place.  But I’m also up for an adventure, so a rushed start it was!

Miles 1-4.5: Right off the start I knew I HAD to go slow, in the words of my brother “Start slow and slow down”.  What did I do…the opposite! *shakes head at self* Ok listen, my plan was to walk the majority of the half, but when the gun went off and everyone started running around me, my immediate instinct was to RUN! So that’s what I did, mind you, it was a very slow run, but running nonetheless.  I will say that these first few miles were my least favorite of the entire race.  I’m not entirely sure why, it may have had a lot to do with the fact that I was at the back of the pack and constantly fighting to get around people. Weather wise, the start of the race was when it was at it’s best; misting lightly, and very mild, but by the time I reached the tunnel the rain had really started and I was sloshing around in my Newtons.

American flags in the background.

Miles 4.5-7 This was probably my favorite stretch of the half marathon route. It was gorgeous, I was happy as a clam in the rain as I ran along side of Lake Washington, taking in the fall colors and smells, pure bliss.  My ankle at this point was beginning to really scream at me, I debated stopping more than once, but opted to just slow down more and walk more.  One of my highlights of the run was within these miles, when I came across the fallen soldiers posters and their family/friends standing street side holding American flags.  This is when my first big wave of tears hit. I had been running along side another girl for a couple of miles when we approached all of the pictures of the soldiers she slowed her pace way down, stepped over to the side and kneeled in front of one of the pictures, her head sunk as she placed her hand on the poster. This broke my heart.

Sexy hardware!

Miles 7-13.1  Cue wind, sideways rain, dry heaving and numb hands. Sexy right? Okay, okay, it wasn’t ALL bad. Again, this section of the race was really pretty, lots of fall colors to appease me, but I was an unhappy camper by this point.  My ankle was begging me to stop, I was soaked to the bone and I was hit by a sudden wave of nausea. *blech* I also had a collision of sorts at one of the water stations, I was reaching for a cup of water and the guy in front of me decided to stop suddenly and turn to grab one as well, it was like the naked hug scene from the Sandra Bullock movie “The Proposal”, with more clothes and less sex appeal.  Anywho…  Tears hit me again around the 8-9 mile mark because I was a little shocked that with my lack of training and lame ankle I was really doing it, I’ve made it this far, so I knew I’d finish.  Coming into Memorial Stadium and across the finish line was really cool, there were a lot of people out supporting the runners and to be honest with you I was just happy to have finished and not puked!

AT LAST!!!

Aftermath: It didn’t take me long to connect with the rest of my group, I was too nauseated to even look at, never mind eat any of the post-race grub. Instead, with a little encouragement from Ethan, I immediately checked myself into the Medical tent and was quickly checked over by a nurse and had my ankle packed in ice.  I’m so very proud of all my friends that finished the race with me, it was a tough, wet, windy day with a hilly course to boot, yet everyone did amazing!  Post-race celebration started shortly thereafter with delicious beer and pizza, hot showers and plenty of napping.  Thank you Seattle for being such an awesome host city and such a great place to run…I definitely will be back to flirt with disaster once again.

xoxo, MLL

LIKED:

  • On course support/volunteers (A++)
  • Scenic Views: Lake, fall colors, trees
  • Location, I love Seattle, I love it’s challenging hilly course.
  • Pretty medal! (the things I do for medals) 🙂
  • Price

DISLIKED:

  • Color of the technical shirt, just too blah for me
  • Fit of the technical shirt, we were ALL swimming in them.
  • Organization/instruction at the bib/packet pick up.
  • No official photographs at the end of the race.
  • Little social media presence

RACE SUPPORT: 8/10
RACE ORGANIZATION: 7/10
PRICE: 8/10
BONUS:  6/10 (Gorgeous views, scenery, pretty medal)

TOTAL: 29/40

TIME: 2:46:09
PLACE OVERALL: 3005
DIVISION PLACE: 530/630

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