In all my years of running, I have always favored icy cold but dry weather over steady rain and drizzle, even if the latter meant the temperatures were a tad warmer. I am beginning to rethink that, however, after another bitter cold Seattle Half-Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 29.
All told, my race was a successful one, as I overcame nearly a month of being unable to run at all, due to a nasty cold. That four-week period of no running ended just two weeks before the Seattle Half, and I was then able to put together three good training runs (including a nine-miler) to get myself ready. That, plus lots of walking, and one solid workout on the elliptical machine in those last two weeks.
I didn’t break any speed records in this race, of course. But I ran it all, finished strong, and my time of 3:16:47 (15:02 per mile) was better than my 3:17:29 in this event a year ago. Full results are here. It was my best post-ankle surgery time for the Seattle Half, though more than an hour slower than my best pre-surgery time of 2:12:28 in 2005. (My half-marathon PR is 1:55:33.)
My lasting memories of the 2015 run, however, will be the cold. My run was followed by some much-needed chicken soup in the finishers’ area afterwards (three cups), some picture-taking, and a teeth-chattering walk back to my car. The soup really hit the spot, and almost helped me cope. But there is simply no way to park close enough to the finish line at Seattle’s Memorial Stadium to avoid a long, chilly walk through downtown in damp running clothes.
First-world problems, to be sure. But my teeth really were chattering.
Now, about the run
This was my 36th half-marathon (and 188th race overall!). I’ve done the Seattle Half seven times now, and the full Seattle Marathon six times. For some reason, I have made this event a Thanksgiving Weekend tradition since 2002, even though it has cut short family trips to the Washington coast.
I do it because I’ve always felt this is Seattle’s signature running event, even if the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon (now in its seventh year) in June is much bigger. Also, though the Seattle Half and Full Marathon courses are probably the hardest I’ve run, I know them by heart now and am always prepared for the challenging hills in the last six miles of each. And I can count on porta-potties at each mile stop.
I was able to manage my pit stops this race much better than the 2014 race, but that is all I will say about that. The gel packs handed out at Mile 6 were also a godsend.
But what really gave me a boost in the last two miles (coming out of the Seattle Arboretum and back into downtown) was hearing KZOK-FM (on my headphones) play some of the Top 102 albums of all time, with Creedence Clearwater Revival’s masterpiece Cosmo’s Factory at No. 26. A great running song, “Run Through the Jungle,” took me across the Fairview Avenue Bridge into downtown, and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” took me to the finish line at Memorial Stadium.
Running the Run in 2015 (but not for 100 miles)
Some 5,170 people did the half-marathon and 1,720 the full marathon this year, both numbers down slightly from 2014. (By comparison, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon had nearly 17,000 participants combined for the half and full in 2015.)
A year ago, I signed up for the Seattle Half-Marathon Walk, but ran it all. Two years ago (only two years removed from my 2011 ankle surgery), I also signed up for the Walk and walked about six miles of it. This year, I signed up for the Run and ran it. And my ankle came out of it in pretty good shape (knock on wood).
But I must include a mention of my runner friend Shelly Banks, a Redmond native who now lives in Redwood City, Calif. Shelly is a gritty runner who finished the Seattle Marathon in a decent 3:56 — only three weeks after finishing the Rio Del Lago 100-Mile Endurance Run in 24 hours. Shelly was a teammate on our Ragnar Relay team in 2010. Very impressed, Shelly!
I have no plans for a 100-mile run anytime soon, and neither does my bad ankle. But I am hoping to do another marathon (which would be my 22nd). In the meantime, my next race is Dec. 20 —the 12Ks of Christmas 12K in Kirkland, followed by the Resolution Run 5K on Jan. 1. Looking forward to a new 12Ks course this year that includes a good stretch on the Cross Kirkland Corridor.
Thanks for reading! Till next time.