One asked if I was doing a 10k.
I responded, вЂњ50k!вЂќ
His eyes got big. вЂњWoah! What is that like 29 miles?вЂќ
вЂњMore like 31 miles.вЂќ
вЂњWay to go, man!вЂќ he yelled as I was almost out of earshot.
There werenвЂ™t very many of us doing the 50k and there were some registrants that appeared to be running late. All the other distances would be starting at a later time.
We started off with one runner going much faster than the rest of us and he would end up winning by a very healthy margin. I settled into exchanging 2nd and 3rd place with another run for the first 9 miles or so.
There were some absolutely spectacular views of the area. The morning sun with the rich vibrant colors of Cottonwood Valley had me looking at awe at my surroundings. Those are some of the best trail running moments. I wish I had a camera but taking a picture would almost ruin being in the moment and just experiencing it alone. I had to settle for mental pictures in these instances.В
As I approached the aid station near mile 11, I noticed another runner in the distance.
вЂњIs he running the 50k?вЂќ I thought to myself.
Sure enough, he caught up by the aid station. At this point, it became 3 of us running for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place.
As I approached the aid station, I didnвЂ™t notice a beautiful white mustang until he was right next to me on the trail! I knew there were wild horses in the area but did not expect to encounter any, especially like this. Fortunately, one of the aid station volunteers took a picture!
As I left the aid station, despite the exhilaration of the unique experience, I fell into a low. I was feeling worn down and things were heating up. I began feeling cramps/nausea. I quickly fell back to 4th.
I remained in 4th as I entered the main aid station. Rob reminded (warned) me, that I was currently out of medal contention. My friend Joseph had finished his 10k and enthusiastically greeted me with a high five. I used the restroom, got fuel, and mentioned my cramps. Joseph started suggesting some salty items. I opted for the pretzels. As I finished up, Joseph pointed to the distance at the other two 50k runners and said, вЂњTheyвЂ™re right there. Go get them!вЂќВ
After a couple miles of downhill, the next 6 miles after that were a mostly uphill grinder. The heat intensified. The three of us were trading places between 2nd, 3rd and 4th. We were all running low on water and fuel. At one funny moment, the three of us were clustered together and we all just started walking. I was in front and asked one of the other runners, Mark, if he wanted to pass. He chuckled and said, вЂњNope!вЂќ As we approached the end of this grind, Mark took off. At first, I let him go. Then, I didnвЂ™t want him to get too far ahead and out of sight, so I started running again too. We got on a smooth downhill that I have run plenty of times in this area before. I felt great and picked up the pace.В
My Garmin stopped keeping track of distance around mile 23 but kept tracking time. This had never happened to me before but I knew the course well so it wasnвЂ™t a huge concern.
Mark and I arrived at the aid station at approximately mile 28 at about the same time. This was my chance. I fueled as quickly as I could and bolted out of the aid station! I grabbed 2nd place and refused to give it up. I tried to keep out of sight of the other two runners but on the last mile I could see Mark running hard in the distance. Fortunately, I had enough of a lead to hold on to 2nd place. I was ecstatic!
After arriving to the finish, Rob informed me that I had won the raffle! I won a free massage from Thrive Massage that I would sorely (pun intended) need after a 50k.
But it doesnвЂ™t end there.
I had signed up for the dirty double.
Wait. What was I thinking?
I returned later that evening to run the Moonlight Madness 5k. With a relaxed pace, I completed the 5k (making a total of 55k for the day) and was rewarded with a sweet Trails of Fury pilsner glass.
The whole event from beginning to end was an exceptional experience.В
The firstВ 2-3 miles are run through downtown Seattle. Growing up in a small town and now living in a city where the tallest building is seven stories, I love this part of the run. Lots of people line the sides of the road and there’s a great atmosphere. Don’t be surprised if your GPS starts doing weird things as the height and proximity of the buildings cause your satellite reception to go in and out.
After a few more miles through some neighborhood streets you’ll hit the shores of Lake Washington at about the 10k mark. Enjoy the next 12 miles. They. Are. Awesome. At Mile 8 you’ll enter Seward Park and take a loop around the perimeter. At 10.5 miles you’re out of the park and running back up Lake Washington Blvd the way you came, This is a nice shady tree-lined bike path with the water to your right. Out in the distance is the I-90 bridge you’ll be crossing in about 5 miles. But before you get there, there’s something you need to see and experience and feel. Turn your music off, take your earphones out and appreciate this (take a minute, grab a tissue, and watch…I’ll wait):
The finish area is not set up as nicely as the starting line. You have quite a long way to walk to get food, meet up with family in the reunion area, buy overpriced gear and listen to a band who was popular, well…back in the day, let’s say (wow, did my personal opinions just get exposed there? My apologies).
Overall, the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon is an above average race to run, if you don’t mind sharing the course with 25,000 runners and can put up with a few less-than-stellar characterists that have been mentioned here.
Good luck, have a great race, and let us know how it went. We’d love to have you submit a post-race review for us!
Below is the official Course Tour video (ignore the mile markers in the video. I don’t know who put this together, but they’re not even close).
ItвЂ™s nice to add spontaneity to life.В
This race takes place in Lovell Canyon among the Spring Mountains. If you enjoy desert mountain scenery, you will appreciate the views. I thought it was actually quite lush as far as a desert setting goes.
The course runs along a winding and hilly paved road. The road wasnвЂ™t shut down but there were very few cars using it. ItвЂ™s mostly an out-and-back course with an extra turnaround near the halfway point to round out the mileage to 26.2. The road could use a repaving but that isnвЂ™t a big a deal to me. Overall, it is a tough course with over 2,000 feet of elevation gain. The high temperatures (80s/90s) didnвЂ™t help either. It probably isnвЂ™t going to be your PR course, but I donвЂ™t think the goal always has to be a new PR.
Calico Racing always puts on a solid event. Everything flowed well logistically. The volunteers and support were great. ItвЂ™s not a huge event, so if you prefer races with fewer participants, this is a good one. I really like the shirt and medal too.В