State #43: Washington
St. Jude’s Rock n Roll Marathon and Half: Seattle
June 9, 2019
Division (F45-49) 81/700
Gender Ranking 1113/5862
Flight: I was happy to see three non-stop flights from Boston to Seattle via Delta airlines. I debated if I should buy a ticket or go stand-by. I factored in the “spring time travel” with flying out west. I debated too long in my head because ticket prices kept going up. For a piece of mind and reduced stressed I brought a $438 roundtrip ticket from Jet Blue. They also had non-stop flights.
On my way back, I went stand-by on Delta because the flight left earlier (3:15pm) compared to the 11:50pm flight I bought on Jet Blue. If I didn’t get on stand-by I had my confirmed ticket. Luckily, I got on the Delta flight, got Comfort+, and had the whole row to myself. I loved hearing the gate agent say, “we have so many empty seats”. Yay.
I left Thursday June 6 and came back Tuesday June 11.
This was my first time venturing out to the Pacific Northwest. I had been to Washington 19 years ago for a wedding but that was the last time. As I was looking for hotels I saw $250, $186 a night. I didn’t even add rental car cost. This all goes to my late planning in point one. I didn’t save enough for this pacific northwest adventure.
I have college friend that lives in Seattle and I hadn’t seen her in 20 years but we reconnected through facebook. I told her I was coming out her way and she graciously invited me to stay with her. I had a double bonus, of staying with a friend that I haven’t seen in two decades, saving some money, and having an exploring partner in crime.
Exploring the Emerald City
It was so nice to have a friend in the city to explore it. Her husband works for Google, we visited their campus and had lunch there. I learned about the Google, Amazon, and Microsoft take over. Truth be told, I want to work for Google. They so need a sociologist. (Hey Google, let’s talk…) We explored Pioneer’s Square, the underground, Pike’s Market, Northwest African American Museum, Museum of Pop Culture, University of Washington, gum wall, the first Starbucks, and Fisherman’s Wharf while I was there.
In between all of that, we drank a lot of wine and coffee. It was awesome to catch up with my dear friend. It’s as if time didn’t stop and we picked up from where we left off. Just the better version of ourselves. I even went with her and her boys to their second grade dance on Friday night. It was such a hoot and I got all the housewives suburban drama.
Rock and Roll Series
My last Rock and Roll Series was in Texas. The Rock and Roll series is a well oiled huge race machine. This race had at over 14,000 who participated in the 5k, half, and full marathon. There are photographers, pacers, music, big blow-up animals and other things, and Elvis.
We started and ended at the Space Needle which was nice. The 6:30am start time was much appreciated for an early a.m. runner like myself. Erika (college friend) dropped me off at 5:30am so I could walk around, explore and get ready.
What I observed and appreciate about this region is a large Asian/Asian American presence. Plus a native and Latinx presence. The numbers were large enough to notice which is different from other races I have run. Demographics of a city/area has a lot to do with whom runs.
Here we go…………
With large races it normally, for me takes until the 5k point to not feel crowded, to have space and room on the running route. We started on 5th street. As we are running on city pavement on 5th street there was a slight incline and the sun was starting to come up. I was just moving along, feeling good. About a mile and a half in, we went on the highway. It was the ramp to I-5, then we ran on I-5. I can’t remember the last time I ran on the highway. When I reached the 3 mile marker, I had to take off my long sleeve shirt because sister girl was hot. I was still on I-5.
Still feeling good and strong.
We got off the highway and headed towards Google’s campus. Around mile five we had a mile and half of running along the fallen soldier memorial. On the left-hand side were pictures of soldiers that had passed away. This happened in Texas at the San Antonio Rock and Roll half. After the wall of pictures, men and women wear holding the American flag as people ran by them. These men and women were cheering us on. We should have been cheering for them.
I kept on running. I thought I saw an older man with a MAGA hat, I had to keep on running. After that we ran through Google’s office campus. I knew it because I had lunch there and got a tour. Ran through that and went on a busy street.
I saw a cannabis shop, biscuits restaurant, and a sex “love” shop. All interesting and flat. Then we went up a ramp and on the highway again. I remember the mile 9 marker was on this bridge and we were over water. Still feeling fine………………………….
MOTHER F’ing HILL
We ran off, back on the the course and I’m still feeling good, until I saw it. We passed the mile 10 marker, turn a curb and saw the steep uphill. It just went up and up. I didn’t see a plateau. Erika had told me that the Queen Anne neighborhood was hilly. But damn. This is worse than heartbreak hill in Boston. This was worse than running on the hills in West Virginia. I don’t know what this was.
I had to rely on my hill and speed drill training for this. I slowed down and kept on moving. There were so many people on this steep as hill and it messed with my rhythm. I kept going. To make matters worse, on the right hand side of the hill were pictures of children who received treatment from St. Jude’s. I guess that was suppose to motivate me, but it only angered me. I tried not to look at them. I had to stay focused and go up this mother f’er of a hill. My legs were getting tired. This was the first real challenge that they had on this course.
I couldn’t see where the water was or even the 11 mile marker. This was a 1 mile hill climb up.
At one point. I did stop and walked. I got caught up with other people walking around me. I was getting caught up in my head. I had to get out of my head and not get comfortable with walking or being unfocused. That would only prolong the pain. I breathed and forced myself up this bitch. I knew I could do it, I had to keep going. At some point in the distance I saw 11 mile sign. I just needed a sign to see. I told myself just run to it. Then I could walk for a bit. I had to reach this goal. I kept moving and I reached the sign. In the meantime, I cussed and some other things happened.
I walked a little once I passed the sign (took a breathe again) and I ran and kept going. Almost 2 miles up this hill. At a point we had to go downhill. I worked the core, legs, and arms hard. I saw the light, I saw hope, I saw flatness because we started on down.
As we are going down there was a flat plateau with a view of the space needle and the mountains. Normally I would have kept going to finish the race but I said F - it. I’m going to stop and take in the view for a second. I ran 2 miles up that hill and need to reward myself and take a moment. I need to celebrate that bullshit I just ran. I took my moment and a photo.
That was around mile 12, almost home. Oh wait, there was a steep downhill. Fuck!!!
I still needed to be cautious because it was a steep downhill and I didn’t want to fall, trip, or die. I had to fight the pull of gravity. Sometimes what seems easier, isn’t. I think that took more from me than going uphill. On my way down I did see two african-american female police officers. Hey ladies. We all smiled at each other.
I just keep going, almost home. To my extreme delight when I turned the corner at mile 13 to head to the final stretch, I saw Erika and her kids cheering me on. They saw me too. It was so exciting and sweet of them.
I crossed and had no clue what my time was. When I found out my time I was really happy.
OVERALL Take Away:
I am stronger than I thought. Training for the Paris Marathon, running the marathon, than two half marathons my body knows how to hit pavement
-This was a flat and beautiful course to see the city.
-Mile 10. I will forever remember mile 10, I-5 running, amazing city urban views
-I had an Ohio cheer squad, the best.