Wow, where to start?! What a FUN race – the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon will definitely go in the books as one of my favorite, most beautiful races. I’d highly recommend it if you’re in Seattle, or if you’re looking to travel for running (which is the best kind of travel, clearly).
As you know, I was in Seattle with the Brooks Run Happy blogger ambassador crew, which I’m honored to be a part of. Such a great group of inspiring women! Here are some of us with the Brooks CEO, Jim Weber, before the race. From left: me, Meghann, Janae, Jesica, and Cori!
As I shared previously, Brooks had us out to tour their headquarters (more on that in this post) and enjoy Seattle (more on that in this post), and also timed our visit to coincide with the Rock ‘n’ Roll race series, of which Brooks is a big sponsor! Perfect.
Race morning was easy since we were lucky enough to be put up in a hotel near the race start. We strolled about a half mile to the start and were ready to go with plenty of time. We all lined up together with Lauren (in the dark gray tank below), who does PR for Brooks and was our fearless leader for the weekend. <3 her!
We also found our friend Emily, who lives in Seattle. Party in the corrals!
Before we knew it, we were off! I couldn’t believe I was at the starting line of my 12th half marathon. That’s so insane.
I settled in with Meghann, Janae, and Cori and the four of us chatted away, all aiming to run the race for fun vs. time.
Around mile 3 on a big hill, we heard a yell and saw Derek, who works for Brooks, running alongside us cheering! I love the Brooks team – they’re so fun and they really live the “Run Happy” attitude. We saw him and a few of the other Brooks employees out again later in the race, too! It meant so much to us that they were out there cheering (not just for us but for Brooks staff too of course)! (Derek ran a 10k the next day and won it, btw, in 33:42 – insane!!)
Shortly after that Meghann and I hung back and let Janae and Cori take off – we were both feeling a little sluggish and not trying to crush the race. We decided to stick together and make sure to have as much fun and to take as many photos as possible. Deal!
Around mile 4, more excitement happened: look, it’s Doctor Dribble!
I’ve been hearing about this guy and was so pumped we (literally) ran into him on the course. This guy is amazing – he travels around, completing half and full marathons while dribbling two basketballs, all the while raising money to help children that are underprivileged or overcoming traumatic experiences.
Meghann and I chatted with him briefly and he is such an inspiring guy – I love that he’s using his impressive basketball/running combo skills for a good cause. He raises money for Our Kids and has also started his own charity, Doctor Dribble’s Helping Hands. Incredible.
After being impressed by Doctor Dribble, Meghann and I carried on. I didn’t wear my hydration pack for this race so we stopped at all the water stops and walked through them. A huge thank you to all the volunteers who were out there for us on Saturday!
And to all the fun bands that entertained us along the way!
At one point around mile 5 or 6 in the race, we could actually see Mount Rainier in the distance! It was such a beautiful day for a race – clear, crisp, and sunny. Love that lack of humidity, too. :)
At one point in the course there was a double back and we saw that our friend Emily was just behind us! At the starting line she was saying how there was no way she could keep up with us and I told her that she needed to believe in herself more – she was stronger than she knew! Told ya, Emily. :) She caught up with us at this awesome Brooks blowup guy and ended up taking off ahead, looking strong!
Time to keep left!
The first part of the race wasn’t too beautiful scenery-wise (minus seeing a distant Mount Rainier), so I was really pumped when we reached about mile 7 and saw beautiful views of Lake Washington!
There was also a whole row of American flag holders and signs honoring Washington military who have fallen in the line of duty. It was so powerful, and many people clapped as they ran by.
Just before mile 9 we came across Emily again, who was walking. “Oh no you don’t!!” Meghann and I said, and on the three of us continued together. Emily said she had wanted to get ahead of us a little so that in case she walked, we’d see her and keep her moving. “Don’t let me walk anymore,” she said. You’ve got it!
For the first half of the race up until we hit the lake, I was feeling pretty sluggish; when we hit the lake I got a nice second wind, and by the time we reached mile 9 I was feeling great, especially as the views of the city were getting cooler and cooler.
By mile 10, I was fully “endorphin wasted,” as my friend Theodora would say. I normally hit that endorphin high in the last mile of a race – rather nice to get it early!
Emily was feeling a bit rough, so Meghann and I focused on positive mantras and being as encouraging as we could. She wanted to finish in under 2 hours and we told her we’d do everything we could to get her that goal!
The views kept getting better and better. It was such a beautiful day to be out running!
My favorite part of the whole race was around mile 11 when we rounded a corner and saw the Great Wheel and the gorgeous water with mountains in the background. SO beautiful!
Emily was definitely digging deep and stopped to walk a few times but we did our best to keep her going. She kept telling us to leave her – nope! Not happening. We’re in this together!
We knew that Emily’s husband and two little boys were around the 20k point cheering and were so excited when we spotted them. A good boost of energy for her!
Soon after, the finish line was in sight! There was a hill leading up to it, and Emily started to walk. Meghann and I looked at each other, shook our heads, grabbed her hands, and the three of us charged towards the finish together.
We ended up finishing in 2:01, which was 18 minutes faster than Emily ran this course shortly after her first son was born (her second son was born about 8 months ago). So, so proud of her!
She has another half in 3 weeks and I know she can sub-2 hours if she works on her mental game. You’re stronger than you think, Emily – remember that!
What a beautiful and fun race. I was so happy to share in the experience with my friends, and proud to have another half marathon under my belt, too!
Overall, I give the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half two big thumbs up! The course was a bit hilly but the views were worth it, and I found it well organized and with really friendly volunteers, too. Also – cool medals! Love the coffee theme. :)
After the race, all of us had fun talking all things running and sharing stories from the half. A huge congrats to Jesica and Lauren, who both set new PRs! Proud of you ladies! :)
We also were honored to get to meet Olympic gold medalist Apolo Ohno, who was out there running the half, too! He finished in 1:36:49 – a personal best for him!
One more huge thank you to Brooks for hosting me this past weekend in Seattle and making the trip such a fun celebration of running. :) Until next next time, Seattle! I’ll miss you!
What’s the most beautiful race you’ve ever done? The LA Marathon was pretty gorgeous, too, although I do love my DC monument views! :)
And if you ran Seattle, too, how’d it go?!