Kevin and I signed up for the Rock & Roll Seattle Full Marathon back in November and planned a whole trip to the west coast around it. Then we found out we were expecting a baby in January, so my plans tentatively changed to the half marathon instead of the full. However, I knew I would be 26 weeks pregnant at the time of the race and had no idea what to expect at that point in my pregnancy and if I would still be able to run a distance like that.
Fast forward to 5 months later and I am happy and proud to say that I have continued to run and was able to complete my fourth half marathon while pregnant yesterday.
Let me back up a little. On Thursday morning Kevin and I flew from DC to Seattle. We arrived around 2:00 in the afternoon, hopped on the Link train to get to downtown, and checked into our hotel. We stayed at Hotel Five, which was on 5th avenue and Blanchard. It was a great location – a close walk to Pike Place market, downtown, and the start/finish line by the space needle. Plus the rooms were awesome!
After relaxing for a little while, we went out to explore. It was beautiful day in Seattle, which I heard is rare, so we wanted to take advantage of it. Our first destination was the famous Pike Place Market.
It was exactly as I had pictured it. Tons of people, fresh flowers, food, and craft vendors everywhere. Right by the waterfront with beautiful views. It was perfect!
We started to get hungry after a while and Kevin knew exactly where he wanted to go for dinner. He has been really into local breweries lately and he couldn’t wait to get his hands on some west coast craft beer, so we headed to The Pike Brewing Company.
Kevin enjoyed some beer and a burger and I enjoyed a delicious homemade veggie burger. One of the best things about the west coast is the amazing amount of vegetarian options that are on almost every menu!
After dinner we went back to the hotel and went to bed early. We were so tired from the time change since Seattle is 3 hours behind the east coast, and just from traveling in general.
The next morning we got up and went for a short 3 mile run, then hopped back on the Link train to hit up the race expo. It was raining pretty hard on and off all day, but we made the most of the day and explored anyway.
The expo was held in the stadium complex at the Event Center. It was HUGE – way bigger than any other Rock & Roll expo we had been to before.
We picked up our race bibs and other important stuff, then we spent a long time wandering around and enjoying all the booths and free samples, and checking out the course map to see what to expect the next day.
After the expo we walked around some more and went back to Pike Place Market in the rain. We got to check out the first Starbucks and the long line of people waiting to go into it!
We also went to some stores so Kevin could look for more beer. I’m telling you, the west coast is his idea of beer heaven!
After all that excitement we went back to the hotel to relax. We checked out all our free swag from the expo. Check out all this amazing stuff!!!
Eventually we made our way to dinner at Purple Cafe and Wine Bar, which was amazing! But I didn’t take any pictures because I was too busy inhaling my roasted veggie and goat cheese pizza 🙂 After dinner we pretty much came home and passed out. The alarm went off bright and early at 5:00 a.m. Well, it wasn’t exactly bright outside. More like dark and rainy. But we got up, got dressed, and put on the oh-so-important Body Glide. I made sure to get it on my thighs, which is the newest place on my body that loves to chafe!
Since we were only about a five minute walk to the start, we took our time getting ready, eating our breakfast, and relaxing.
Eventually we left the hotel around 6:45 for the 7:00 start. It was SO NICE to be able to hang out in our warm hotel room, use our clean bathrooms, and leave late without having to worry about parking and traffic. Staying close to the race start is so worth the money in my opinion!
We walked to the start which took place in a park next to the Space Needle. The weather had cleared up and it had stopped raining. It felt great outside and was only in the mid-50s- perfect running weather and a nice change from the 90 degree temperatures in Northern Virginia.
Since we got there right at the starting time, we went to our corral (#13), and waited as they released each wave about a minute and a half apart. I love when races do this, because it makes the course so much less crowded!
Soon we were at the starting line and it was our turn to go!
The course first took us through downtown Seattle. I immediately got pretty warm and took off my light running jacket and tied it around my waist. I didn’t look at my Garmin very much, but we just tried to keep the pace nice and easy. I had a few weird cramps right at the beginning until about the third mile, then they disappeared. They felt like a side stitch cramp rather than a uterus cramp, so I wasn’t worried about it. I just tried to relax, breathe, and enjoy the race.
- Mile 1 – 10:05
- Mile 2 – 10:38
- Mile 3 – 10:37
I started to feel better and get into the groove after mile 3. Kevin and I were running side by side, talking to each other, and watching all the people around us. The miles started to go by more quickly.
- Mile 4 – 10:32
- Mile 5 – 11:08
Right after mile 5 we turned the corner and hit a HUGE hill. I mean HUGE! It looked like it went on forever. I thought I would definitely need to walk up it at some point, but I put my head down and charged up it slow and steady. Seattle in general was much hillier than I expected it to to be! I don’t know why I expected it to be pretty flat. Eventually we made it up the hill without walking. This picture is at the top looking down, but I wish you could tell how steep the hill was!
After the hill we had a very steep downhill. It was so steep that I got really nervous about running down it. I was afraid I would fall forward or someone behind me would fall and push me down. I moved off to the side and ran very slowly (basically walked) down it holding Kevin’s hand. Right after the downhill we turned and were running alongside the water. It was flat and I was happy again 🙂
We passed the halfway point around 1 hour and 10 minutes. At this point in the course, the full marathoners joined us on the course. They were at mile 12 in their race, and Rock & Roll did a great job at keeping them separated from the half marathoners. I thought this was really nice because nothing is worse than when you are running a full at a certain pace and you have to weave in and out of slower half marathon runners (in my opinion!). They continued to keep the full marathoners separate with cones, tape, or barriers for the rest of the race. Good job Rock & Roll Seattle!
We ran along the water for about two miles, and right before we turned up to head back into the city they had a mile to honor the military. On the side of the road there were pictures of soldiers who had given their lives for our country. It was really emotional to see their names and faces. After the photos they had tons of volunteers from the Run to Remember group standing with flags along the course. Kevin and I really liked this part of the course.
- Mile 6 – 11:14
- Mile 7 – 10:48
We turned left to go towards the city center and entered a tunnel. We ran underground for a good mile in the tunnel. It was really weird and at the end I started to feel a little claustrophobic, but eventually we saw the light and got out of there.
We could see the city in the distance and I knew we were in the last stretch of the race at this point. I was still feeling great since we were taking it so easy. It was nice and cool and the rain was still holding off on us.
We ran on the highway for a little while and made our way to the Stadium complex that we went to for the expo.
- Mile 8 – 11:19
- Mile 9 – 10:54
I was beginning to get uncomfortable because I had to pee really bad and the baby was putting pressure on my bladder. Right after we hit mile 10 by the stadium I stopped at an empty porta potty and immediately felt so much better! Once we got going the lead marathoner went by. He was at mile 23 of his race and he looked great!
For about a mile and a half we ran along the water. It was beautiful and I was loving it knowing that the end was already near. It felt like it was going by so quickly!
- Mile 10 – 12:02 —> potty break!
- Mile 11 – 10:55
- Mile 12 – 10:48
At mile 12 we turned away from the water and started running back towards where we started. Right before the finish line there was another hill! But at that point we were almost finished and I didn’t care. I ran up it as fast as I could, turned the corner, and the finish line was right there!
- Mile 13 – 10:29
- FINISH – 2:24:27
Kevin and I immediately got some food and started walking through the amazing finisher’s festival they had set up. I was loving the post-run refreshments they had- especially the mini Jamba Juice smoothies!
They had all kinds of booths and tents set up in the park near an awesome fountain and the Space Needle. We enjoyed the nice weather and hung out for a bit until our stomachs started to grumble at us for breakfast.
It was so nice to be able to walk only a few minutes back to our hotel. We went to the cafe in our hotel to eat since it was convenient and quick. It ended up being really delicious too! Almost as soon as we got back the skies opened up and it started raining pretty hard. I was so thankful that we finished in time but I felt bad for all the full marathoners that were still out there.
We spent the rest of the day relaxing and then boating with my aunt and uncle when the rain stopped again. The Rock & Roll Seattle half marathon was an amazing race experience and I was so happy to have been able to run it at 26 weeks pregnant. Washington, I’ll be back for you someday to run a full here! My 50 States challenge is waiting… 🙂