After a late night and restless sleep, the 4:00AM alarm came far too soon. Mel enjoyed a little extra sleep, but I'm anal about my morning routine so I roused myself and went through the motions of getting ready (slowly). I woke up with the same headache and 'off' feeling I'd had since arriving and expected it to be one long day.
Mel wasn't feeling so hot either so we commiserated together as we hit the road at 5:10. Jill and her hubby had offered us a ride to the start, so we met up with them (and Zoe) at a local mall to ride together in style. Jill was super pumped to be running her first marathon and her energy was infectious. I started getting excited!
Thanks to Mel's not-so-secret-anymore back road directions, Jill's hubby was able to drop us off super close to the start without any hassle. We paused for a quick photo.
Zoe, Mel, Marlene, Jamie (Jill's friend), Jill
As you can see, we're wearing our 'warm-ups'. It was a cool and overcast morning, pretty much ideal conditions to run in. The temperature was about 55-65F (which still means nothing to me, other than comfortable) and thankfully the sun remained hidden by clouds all morning. And it didn't rain! (The irony is that I found out later it was raining at home, while everyone had warned me about the wet weather in Seattle.) We definitely lucked out for race day conditions.
First stop: Brooks VIP washrooms! Mel was able to score some passes for us and we were greeted by volunteers in tuxedos with mints and Gu Chomps on silver platters, then treated to flush toilets in heated trailers with all amenities, including fun printed Run Happy toilet paper. The best part was NO LINES! (The line-ups for the regular "honey buckets" were unreal over an hour before the start.)
Next stop: Corral 6 for our pre-race bloggy meet-up and more photo ops!
It was awesome to see everyone and share some hugs before getting ready to start. With about 15 minutes to go, Amanda, Mel and I made our way to our corral (#10 out of 38) and it was READY, SET, GO!
Mel has done a fantastic job of recapping our adventures from 0 to 26.2 so make sure you rock 'n' roll over to Tall Mom's Race Recap if you haven't already. Mel remembered all the details of our random sightings (thong girl, camera man) and friends we "ran" into along the way.
It took us about 12 minutes to cross the starting line and it was incredible to see the sea of people behind and in front of us. The corrals were started in waves, which seemed to help a lot with congestion because we rarely found ourselves crowded on the course.
The route was really enjoyable, starting in Tukwila and finishing in downtown Seattle. The first 9 miles took us through some residential neighborhoods and then through a park along the Lake Washington waterfront, which was beautiful. Kerrie was waiting for us before Mile 4 with her camera, sign, balloon and cowbell! Spectator Extraordinaire!
Mel is waving near the middle, I'm off the the right and Amanda is tucked behind the guy in front. THANKS KERRIE!
I felt like I needed to use the washroom for most of the early miles, and finally decided to stop when I spotted a short line up for the honey buckets at mile 7. Given that I was technically racing without a goal, it wasn't worth it for me to continue running in discomfort. I felt so much better! I told the girls I would try to catch up, but Mel surprised me by turning around to cut some of the distance. Amanda was feeling good at that time and continued on her way. We would see her a few more times during the race, but did not have it in us to catch up.
The first Gu station was shortly after my pit stop, and I grabbed a handful. I'm a Gu junkie and they rarely supply this brand at races at home, so this was exciting for me. We giggled away as I spent the better part of a mile trying to stuff my bounty into pockets and elastic gel holders.
Miles 10 and 11 took us over the Lake Washington Bridge for an out-and-back. It was windy but offered some amazing views. Mel kept saying that she had missed most of this last year since she was so focused, so I made sure to take it all in.
After the bridge, we made our way toward the downtown area. We knew we were approaching the finish line, though we still had a long way to go. This was tough, especially since Mel and I were both feeling pretty mentally tired already. We both knew we could physically run a marathon, but neither of us felt mentally prepared as we had been for our goal marathons in May. Thankfully, we were in it together and we knew we would get there, having a blast no matter how tired we were.
Half Marathon Split: 2:06:42
Spotting Mel's friends just past the half way mark was exactly what we needed. We paused for hugs and a photo. We allowed a minute or two to tick by without a care in the world... until one of Mel's friends jokingly shooed us away and suggested that maybe we should start running again. Okay, off we went!
We made our way onto the Alaskan Way Viaduct for a lengthy out-and-back from miles 16 to 21. Both Mel and I decided to make a quick stop in the honey buckets for some instant relief before starting the 1.5 mile climb. This was one loooong hill and just when I thought we should be nearing the top, we turned slightly and it kept on going. We had anticipated walking if needed, but surprised ourselves when we were able to keep on trucking and barely slowed down. We enjoyed a short downhill before finally reaching the turn-around.
Suddenly that "short downhill" seemed much longer as we climbed back up on the way back. Fortunately we knew we were approaching the glorious 1.5 mile long descent toward mile 20. At the bottom, I had to stop for the honey buckets again. This was getting ridiculous. I felt like I had to go so badly, but I finally got in there and.... nothing. I don't know what was up with my bladder that day, but the same thing had happened at Disney in January. It must have something to do with being more relaxed and less focused, because I never have to pee! Anyway, after this episode, I told myself 'That's it! You're not stopping again until the finish!' Mel was such a good sport and joked that I was the Official Honey Bucket Inspector.
We hit the second and final Gu station, so I grabbed a couple more (I couldn't help myself!) and stuffed them wherever I could find room.
We continued on our way back toward the finish line, but knew we had to run straight past for one final out-and-back. We suddenly had a burst of energy (it was mostly Mel but she rubbed off on me) and we got EXCITED, whooping and hollering at spectators and other runners, laughing and waving our arms around. It was fun to get pumped up so close to the finish. Unfortunately, it was short-lived. Miles 24 and 25 seemed to go on forever as we ran along the Viaduct and still had to face some hills.
Suddenly Steph came out of nowhere with a big smile and her handy camera. She had just PR'd and BQ'd (again!) with a 3:34 and was out on the course to give us some support and run a few extra miles. She snapped this pic before sending us on our way.
We kept on smiling even though we were hurting.
The Mile 25 sign was a welcome sight and we started to pick it up. Along the way I spotted Tall Guy Surfing + Jenny up ahead so we introduced ourselves and chatted briefly.
We finally made the last turn toward Qwest Stadium and found ourselves sprinting down the ramp, around the bend and into the finish. We grabbed hands, raised our arms in the air and cheered our way all the way through that finish line.
Final Chip Time: 4:15:49
It was amazing to run this entire race with my buddy and I am so grateful to Mel for sticking with me every step of the way. It's crazy to think we had just met for the first time two days before. We hit it off immediately and made great running partners (no surprise to either of us). It's amazing how well you can get to know someone over 26.2 miles.
After collecting our medals we found Amanda who had finished just before us (with a new PR despite being sick!) and had our official finishers photos taken.
We slowly made our way to the reunion area after collecting some food and drink.
So happy to be done!
It was time to slip on our pink compression socks and sit down.
Family reunion area "B" quickly filled up with bloggers and we snapped a few post-race pics.
Miscellaneous Race Observations
- There were bands at least every mile and they were fantastic! I really enjoyed the variety of music and most of them did a great job on engaging the runners.
- There were also several cheer squads out and we loved cheering along with them, most likely looking like idiots but totally loving it.
- Spectators were plentiful throughout most sections of the course and made sure to thank them for their cheering and signs. We were often called "Team Pretty in Pink", which we obviously enjoyed!
- I carried my handheld and refilled countless times during the race, also taking a cup of Cytomax frequently. Both Mel and I found that we were extremely thirsty no matter how much we drank. I wanted to stop several times and just chug an entire bottle of water, but I knew it would slosh around in my stomach.
- I took Salt Stick caps before the start and around half way.
- I felt surprisingly good immediately after the race. My legs were hardly bothering me at all and my stomach felt great. Usually I have a hard time eating immediately after a marathon, but this time I was stuffing my face with everything in sight (special thanks to Mel's friends who brought food for us too!). I expected to wake up sore the next day, but I could hardly tell that I had run a marathon. On Monday I headed out for an easy 5K, which felt great after taking only one day off.