Last year when I ran my first Half Marathon at Disneyland, I knew there would be more in my future. The highs and lows of the hours and hours of training to get there combined with the exhilaration of crossing the Tinker Bell Half finish line was a feeling unlike any I’d ever experienced. 13.1 instantly became my favorite race distance.
I was honored to have been selected to be a Race Ambassador for The See Jane Run Women’s Half Marathon in Seattle, Washington on July 13, 2014. I had heard great things about the race and looked forward to participating in it. I had never been a Race Ambassador before and it sounded like a fun opportunity. Seattle is about a 3 1/2 hour drive from the Portland area so it was close enough to not have to fly – or break my travel budget – to get there.
I decided to drive up the night before and stayed at the Residence Inn near Lake Union. Thank goodness for air conditioning – both Portland and Seattle were having a heat wave. The weather was in the 90′s and a heat advisory was issued for the race. As a native Pacific NorthWesterner, I have no love for running in the heat, it’s pretty unbearable to me. I’m constantly in awe of those of you who run in those hot temps, especially year round. Anything about 65 feels hot to me when I’m running. So I was really NERVOUS about the heat.
I checked into the hotel and the AC was working poorly. It was really warm in my room, the thermostat was an old school one that only read warmer and colder – I’m guessing it was in the high 80′s. I called the front desk to let them know but the hotel was at 100% capacity so I couldn’t switch rooms. I decided to crank up the AC full blast to “colder” and leave to have some dinner, hoping the room would be cooler when I came back.
Based on a recommendation from the guy at the front desk, I had an AMAZING dinner across the street at Duke’s Chowder House. If you like Clam Chowder, you will love their selection of chowders. I had a little sampler of 3 different ones. I liked their Award Winning classic one the best but all three were tasty. They even include their Award Winning Clam Chowder recipe with your meal. The top left one was Lobster Pernod, the Award Winning was top right and the bottom was Northwest Seafood Chowder, like a Cioppino. I chose that one because the server told me it was her favorite. It was good! Big pieces of seafood including a mussel on top.
I went with the Thai Ginger Halibut with sticky rice for my entree from their Fresh menu. The thick halibut filet was perfectly cooked and tender. It was crusted with macadamia nuts, light tasting and along with the rice provided a good combo of protein and carbs to fuel me up and keep me going for the next morning’s race.
And just because…I ordered dessert! I really wanted just a scoop of ice cream but when I saw the vanilla bean ice cream plus a chocolate chip cookie, well I didn’t want to resist. And notice how the cookie got the most likes on Instagram
When I got back to my room it was a little colder, thank goodness, but still hot. I went to bed early but couldn’t fall asleep until around 2 am because it was still too warm. Once I fell asleep, I must have power slept because I felt wide awake when my alarm went off at 6. I got ready and went to downstairs to grab my go to pre-race breakfast – oatmeal, coffee with milk, and a banana with peanut butter.
I forgot to take a pic of “flat Denise” before the race but I wore my Mizuno Wave Inspire 9′s (one of 3 pairs I rotate), my new Lucy Activewear Straight Up Strength Capris (LOVE them!), and the black Under Armour short sleeved shirt I wore for the Newport Half in May.
The race was held at Gas Works Park, full of scenic views and a huge grassy area where the expo was the day before and the after party would be held. The start and finish line were on a path right next to it. There were no corral assignments but there were a few signs held up for pacing. I got in the 9-15 minute pace group. It was already getting warm outside, especially with all of the runners crowded in together. It was a good mix of people both running together in pairs and multiples, as well as a bunch of solo runners like me. Lori Shannon, owner of See Jane Run, was doing the announcing and the energy of the crowd felt lively and fun!
If you’re trying to PR this race, definitely line up toward the front. I had a “just finish” goal so I was toward the middle of my starting group. When we reached the starting line, a few groups were walking right off the bat, 3 astride, and spaced out so they were taking up the full width of the path. Those of us who started off running had to slow down, wait, and find our opportunities to run around the groups. It created some bottlenecks right from the beginning. Those bottlenecks quickly cleared up once we got outside of the park and had more space to run.
The course itself was absolutely beautiful. We ran over two bridges and along Lake Union. Some of it was residential, some was along bike paths, and all of it was interesting to see.There were two sections that were out and backs and the course was mostly flat. The hills were in some of the most scenic areas that literally were breathtaking.
We shared parts of the course with families with strollers were out enjoying the weather, bicyclists, and other runners on their Sunday morning runs. Some of the bicyclists came a little close to the runners and I saw a near miss of a runner’s elbow and a speeding bicyclist right in front of me. Thank goodness no one was hurt. There were a lot of Police Officers and friendly See Jane Run volunteers on the course and at busy intersections directing traffic and showing us which way to go. The course was well marked with See Jane Run signage along the route as well. There was also excellent support at the water stations with plenty of water to keep us hydrated. At one table they even gave us 1/2 full large bottles of water. The See Jane Run team definitely prepared for the heat
The race finishes where it begins at Gas Works Park. Running back in to the park the way you left it feels awesome. You really have come full circle and you KNOW you’ve accomplished something really big! The support was great again at the finish, announcing as you run in and there were more bottles of water and bags full of food for the runners. I forgot to grab my food bag until about 20 minutes after I crossed and there was still a full table of them. They even had 2 different drink choices – a SoDelicious vanilla almond plus protein milk (my choice) or Gatorade. You also get a glass of champagne in a keepsake glass with a chocolate bar of your choice.
After I picked up my champagne glass, I saw a familiar face in the crowd. It was Cynthia, the winner of my See Jane Run race entry giveaway and her husband! It was so fun to meet her in person after “meeting” on social media before we each did the Rock n Roll Portland Half and qualified for Half Fanatics
The nice people at See Jane Run issued a 10% race discount and coupon code just for my blog readers SJRAMB258 for both the SJR races and their online store See Jane Run. They offer free shipping on most items and carry the top running brands so remember to check them out next time you’re in the market for some running or fitness gear. See Jane Run has two more races coming up this year – the Wichita, KS Half Marathon, 5K, & Kids Run on 9/13/14 and the Women’s Triathlon and Duathlon in Pleasanton, CA on 9/21/14.
The See Jane Run Women’s Half Marathon series is awesome! I would do this race again in a heartbeat – heat and all – because it was so well organized, the course was beautiful, and it’s just a really fun race to participate in.
Disclosure: My See Jane Run Seattle, WA Half Marathon race entry was free through my role as a race ambassador and they requested I post a blog entry about the race. All other costs associated with my race travel and meals were at my own personal expense. I received the Lucy capris free for product review and liked them so much, I chose to wear them during this race. As always, the opinions shared are mine and based on own true experience.