Race Recap and Review: Seattle Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon


#8 / 13 of the 2013 Half Marathons

I originally didn’t plan on running this race. Knowing that I had the San Francisco Marathon the week before, I wasn’t sure how I would be able to run 13.1 miles after running 26.2.

But then I thought, why the hell not? I’ll do it anyway and see what happens. Read on!

Race Expo

Being a Saturday run (weird!), I had to leave midday Friday to catch the expo. At noon, Jun took me to the airport and I flew from San Jose up to Seattle. I was pretty excited; the last time I went to Seattle was on my cross country roadtrip in August, 2012. Upon landing, I took the Link Light Rail over to Centurylink Field where the expo was.



Race Weekend

After visiting the expo, I continued on the light rail to Downtown Seattle to meet up with Patro. I’d be staying at his place for the weekend since he lived one mile away from the Seattle Center, the start and finish line.

He also lived less than a block away from Pike Place Market (a less overpriced version of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf), which made sightseeing extremely convenient.


The view when leaving Patro’s apartment.

As a pre-race carb up, we visited one of my all time favorite burger places, Lunchbox Laboratory. It’s an amazing place since they experiment with their ingredients, oftentimes delivering quirky (and delicious!) burgers. There are weekly experiments with their latest contraptions.

The special I ordered this time was the “I am Media”, which consisted of a beef patty, Colby Jack cheese, onions, and apricot-stoneground mustard spread. Patro ordered “Tim Curry: An Enduring Legacy”, which was a lamb patty, havarti, bacon, onions, and yellow curry yogurt sauce.


“I am Media”


Tim Curry: An Enduring Legacy

For dessert, we had their Snickers Shake and Local Northwest Strawberry Shake.


Having just ingested a ton of food, we walked around Downtown, along the waterfront, in Pike Place Market, and then back to Patro’s place and were in bed by 10:30pm.

Race Morning

One of the greatest things about this race? A 7:00 start time. That means I got to sleep in!

I got up at 6am, probably the latest I’ve ever gotten up for a race. Putting on all my running gear, I headed northwest about a mile to the Seattle Center to the start/finish line.

I did severely overdress though. I thought Seattle this weekend would’ve been like Seattle all other times of the year; rainy, cloudy, and chilly. Turns out it was the opposite, and I started heating up in my long sleeve and tights.


Rock n’ Roll also combined both the marathoners and half marathoners together at the same start time in the same corrals. This led to a total of 42 corrals O__O. I had my traditional pre-race banana, and set off in Corral 6 that started sometime around 7:07am.

The Course

Because of some issues with my Nike+ app, I can’t provide mile by mile splits. Here’s the time Rock n’ Roll reported when I crossed the appropriate mile/km marker.

5K (Mile 0-3.11): 24:27 (7:52 / mile)

The first three miles were very flat. By the start of the second mile I already left Downtown and the International District and was back at Centurylink field. Talk about a small city! The second mile was also a very steady downhill, and I increased my pace significantly there. It’s no wonder that I was able to cruise at what was once my 5K PR pace.

10K (Mile 3.12-6.22): 49:33 (7:58 / mile) 10K PR!

The course then makes a straightaway down Rainer Ave. until sometime after Mile 5. It was a pretty epic view: a perfectly straight road down suburbs of Seattle with Mt. Rainier in the background. I still felt great, the course was still flat or a steady downhill, and things were looking good.

On the sixth mile, we passed Genessee Park, and from there I couldn’t stop singing Macklemore’s “Wing$” in my mind. As quoted: “…Didn’t wanna get caught / From Genessee Park to Othello / You’d get clowned for those Pro Wings, with the velcro…”

…Yeah. Seems like a seedy area. Good thing it was only a part of the course. Although Genessee Park itself looked like a cool place to play basketball.

Leading up to the mile 6 marker was where the marathoners and half marathoners split off, and began the picturesque run alongside Lake Washington.

10 mile (~16K): 01:22:36 (8:16 / mile)

Midway between the 7th and 8th mile, things got very difficult. The course was at sea level alongside Lake Washington, and needed to get up onto Interstate 90.

“Interstate 90? Isn’t that a freeway?!” you ask.

Yes, yes it is.

The course makes an extremely steep uphill climb onto the I-90 tunnels from Lake Washington. It was here I realized my legs haven’t really recovered yet from running 26.2 miles in SF. I had to slow down significantly, and at some points I wanted to walk.

When I emerged from the tunnels sometime before mile 9, I realized I was on the carpool lane on the 90. If I ever wanted to run on a freeway, this was it! It was a steady uphill climb heading back to Downtown Seattle, and at this point it was very hot too. The freeway provided absolutely no shade and no aid stations as well.

The Final 3.1 miles

I ran over the I-5 intersection and exited on the western terminus of the 90, heading back to Downtown. Those downhills I had in the first 5K of the race? They were now uphills, and I was really dreading it. My legs were extremely sore now.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, I made a left and there it was: the steepest downhill I’ve ever seen. It was about a 60 foot drop in a tenth of a mile, or an 11% grade downhill (for reference, a freeway can be no steeper than 6%). This was so the course could continue on the Alaskan Way (WA-99), another freeway.

I had a bit of pressing issue around the 11-12th mile, one that clearly was persistent. When nature calls, it’s hard to avoid it.

I came down to two conclusions: that either I was going to wait 20 minutes to go after the race, or go now and lose about 30 seconds of my time. Seeing a porta-potty at the 12th mile, I decided to just go since it didn’t seem like I was going to PR.


Running on the freeway is certainly an experience of its own.

Having relieved myself, the course continued at a steady uphill to the finish at the Seattle Center!


I finished at 01:53:07, or 8:38 / mile. Not bad considering I just ran a marathon the week before. It was an unusually warm day in Seattle, and I cooled off with chocolate milk, water, and some Gatorade.

Afterwards, I walked back to Patro’s apartment, showered, and played tourist the rest of the day. I visited the first Starbucks, ate chowder at Pike Place Chowder, and toured Seattle’s Underground ruins. After, I met up with Patro and visited the Fremont Fair in Northern Seattle.


Seafood bisque in a bread bowl. Needless to say, I devoured it all alongside some Starbucks.


Seattle’s underground ruins remind me of Old New York in Futurama, except for mutants you have rats.

With my flight in the evening, I left Seattle and headed back to San Jose. A great 28 hours in Seattle!

Overall, I enjoyed the race in Seattle. It was a beautiful course that took you all around Seattle’s famous and picturesque places and gave you a chance to run on the freeway, something that was certainly an experience on its own. Had I properly prepared for this race (read: not run a marathon the week before), I might’ve even PR’d on this difficult course.

As a tourist, Seattle provides many things to do, and there were quite a few things I still wasn’t able to see cause of excessively sore legs. It’ll give me an excuse to go next time.

Thank you to Patro for letting me stay at his place while in Seattle, and to Rock n’ Roll for hosting a great race in the Pacific Northwest!



3 thoughts on “Race Recap and Review: Seattle Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon

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