Well, I’ll tell you why not.
It all started in June or July when I signed up to run the full Seattle Marathon. The weather was nice (always deceptive) and since I had run a marathon before, I thought this would be a great way to buckle down and get back in shape. I looked at the elevation map, and it didn’t look horrible. But after talking with some people about the course and going on a few ill-timed trips that ate up my weekends (no regrets, I just couldn’t complete my long runs), I decided to do the half marathon instead.
The morning arrived and I really wasn’t feeling it. November 30th is the tail-end of Thanksgiving weekend this year. I had a delicious dinner with the Texpats on Thursday, but the holidays still make people crazy and I’m not above the law. No one I spent time with did anything wrong, but a few looming scum clouds started closing in, as they tend to do around times we’re supposed to be celebrating and giving thanks. I was in a foul mood, and sometimes a good, long run is the perfect remedy.
And sometimes it just makes you angrier. I’m glad I did it because I said I was going to. Although it was inherently bittersweet because I started out telling everyone I was running the full race, there are some other logistical aspects of the Seattle Half that made me stabby:
After riding the escalator half-way into the clouds at the Expo Hall, I found the registration table and changed my bib to run in the half marathon. No problem there. Want your race packet with t-shirt, coupons, and other goodies? Back of the line. Two-hour wait. No exceptions. Forget it. I move once a year and just donated a giant garbage bag of race t-shirts. Fine. But it would have been nice to have the option.
Before the Race
What a clusterfuck! As I approached the chute behind the starting line, I found that it was not only packed, but all the spectator areas around it were packed… with other runners! They must not have made the chute long enough or wide enough because people were having trouble moving to where they were supposed to be. There were also some spectators that had gathered near the chute, making it even harder to move back. It seems like everyone wanted to be in front, right at the line. With over 14,000 people running the half-marathon alone, and the city of Seattle boasting one of the most educated populations in the country, I was at a loss for how this could be. Seeing that I couldn’t move, I had to hop over a barrier and begin my run about 10 minutes in. Mind you, it is logical to begin a big race long after the starting gun is fired. It’s okay because the chip you tied to your ankle doesn’t start timing until you cross the line. A few people who didn’t seem to know that panicked about being outside of the chute when the race started. *facepalm*
After a brisk run through Downtown Seattle, I found myself on a highway. An uneven, slanted highway… for a long, long time. At one point, we entered an underpass where everyone felt the need to shout to hear their voice echo. Fan-tastic. Perhaps they would like to revisit this underpass after the race…
There were about three miles of aesthetically pleasing scenery out of the 13-mile run, and around two of them were through the Seattle Arboretum. It was pretty hilly, which destroyed my shins. Oh wait, we’re back on a highway again!
People were throwing ’em! Seriously, I’m one of the angriest motherfuckers on the planet and even I won’t do this. I’ve never run a race where so many people have shoved past me, only to outpace me by a second or two. I was running with the 2:20 pace marker and finished with a time of 2:21 (thanks for looking, John). As I noted, the confusion at the beginning of the race was ridiculous and they should have spread the pace markers further apart. Still, there’s no need to be a jerk. The beginning of any race is a little hairy, but eventually it thins out. If you wait a second or two, a space large enough to run through will usually clear.
Also a hot mess. After the finish line, I received a metal. I can’t drink that. I just ran 13 miles, so some water would be nice. Oh, that’s way over there, but first try this nasty berry blast sludge that’s supposed to have electrolytes or something. I’m glad the label covered the whole bottle so no one could see me throwing all but one sip of the drink in the trash. There wasn’t any entertainment or free food like the Pints to Pasta Run in Portland or almost every run in Austin, so I took off. I walked through Seattle Center (and conveniently said good-bye to it all) and through the rest of the city back to First Hill with my number still attached to my chest so everyone could see I was a runner and not a red-faced crazy person. Admittedly, the two are indistinguishable sometimes.
When I finally made it home, I took a long bath and enjoyed another dinner with the Texpats. All the people who called and texted to wish me a happy birthday are awesome!