Fitness, Race Recaps

Rock ‘N’ Roll Seattle Marathon Race Recap

I’ve seriously tried to write this post 987585 times now but couldn’t keep my thoughts straight.

So here we go…a very real, honest race recap of my first full marathon EVER! I promise I’ll keep it as short as possible with lots of pictures!

Before the race:

This race was a destination race for me. I live in San Diego and chose to do my first marathon in Seattle since I’ve always wanted to see the city and what better of an excuse to finally go up there right?

Doing a destination race takes A LOT more planning than I realized. You need a hotel, a rental car, you need to pack all your running gear, research restaurants near you and really study the course map so you know where the heck you’re going to be running and where people can meet you along the course (more on that later).

The Rock ‘N’ Roll Seattle race started at the Space Needle so my family and I made sure to book and hotel right next to the start to avoid traffic/ stress in a new city on race day. The morning actually went very smooth. I woke up had a cup of coffee, ate half a Bobo’s Oat Bar, popped an Advil (I do not recommend this but I always do it) and showed up to the start about 30 minutes early.

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6:00 am…ready or not it’s race time!

The start was really the only part of this entire marathon experience that quite frankly really pissed me off for 2 reasons:

  1. NO BATHROOMS- WHAT!?!?!?! Seriously there were no bathrooms, porta pottys, anything anywhere near the start. I’m someone who needs to use the bathroom at least 10 times before a race and starting a marathon off having to pee is not the best feeling.
  2. All 3 races started at the same time and in the same place. Uhh WHAT? There was an 8k, half marathon and full marathon for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Seattle series which is great but not when they all start at 7 am. There was no designated corrals for each race and it was overall just hectic. Usually a marathon will start way before the other races since it takes twice as long but who knows.

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Nothing could have prepared me for the race anxiety/nerves I felt standing in my corral waiting to start. I was stressed out from the reasons above and was terrified. I didn’t want to let my family down who traveled all the way to Seattle to see me run, I didn’t want to let all you amazing readers down after blogging about this journey for so long, I didn’t want to let my friends down who have heard me talk about this race for months/ ditch them 984579 times for happy hours and really didn’t want to let myself down knowing I’d put 110% of my heart and soul into training.

I was a mess. I almost started crying walking up to the start. Then the gun went off and I started running…

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You guys, seriously I don’t even know what was going on before the race. Blacked out from stress with my tongue out?

Miles 0-15:

Like I mentioned above all 3 races started at the same time so obviously someone running an 8k or half marathon is probably going to be running faster than someone running a full marathon. I really struggled to hold my pace back since I’m naturally very competitive but I was freaking out when I looked at my Garmin* and saw a 8:15/ mile pace.

I never thought one of the hardest parts of my race would be TRYING to run slow but I knew if I didn’t I’d never make it the full 26.2 miles. 

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I felt like I was walking compared to everyone but settled into a very comfortable 9:45/ mile pace. My race nerves were still going crazy and really never went away until the marathon course split off from the half marathon at about mile 9.

When I was finally with only marathoners a whole sense of calm came over me. I was finally in the zone and was running in the most gorgeous park in Seattle called Seward Park along Lake Washington. THIS is the exact reason I wanted to do a destination race to discover incredible random places like that park! It was pouring rain but I loved every second of miles 9-15 chatting with fellow runners and learning some history of Seattle.

Yes, I’m that incredibly obnoxious person who talks during races.

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We went back to Seward Park the next day…so pretty!

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The park has some incredible views of Mt. Rainier!

Come mile 15 I had to use the bathroom since UMMMMMM there weren’t any at the start. I also took advantage of this little pit stop to eat half a Bobo’s Bar to get me through the rest of the race. As you guys know from this post on “What To Eat Before A Run” I like to run full…why I’ll never know.

I felt great at this point in the race. No aches and pains, no upset stomach which was shocking since I ate 6 slices of pizza the night before and was determined and focused as ever.

Speaking of eating…my fuel for this race was Clif Shot Bloks, Bobo’s Oat Bars and then 2 water bottles filled with Nuun. In training I practiced having a Shot Blok every 3 miles, 1/2 a Bobo’s Bar at around mile 15 or 16 then having water with Nuun throughout the entire run. It worked perfectly!

Miles 16-23:

Things get interesting here. My family and I studied the course map and saw that miles 17 and 23 were close enough where they could cheer me on at both locations and make it back to the finish. I figured I’d really need their support at this stage in the race plus they had some extra water and Clif Shot Bloks that I couldn’t fit into my pockets.

Well……..turns out trying to navigate in a new city with half the roads closed is nearly impossible. My family simply couldn’t get to me. Mile 17 turned out to be at the end of a closed street and mile 23 was on a bridge…oops. They were frantic but decided it would be best to just meet me at the finish where they knew they’d be able to cheer me on.

During the race I didn’t know any of this  and was so excited to see everyone at mile 17 and started to get concerned when they weren’t there.

Maybe it was a blessing in disguise because I was pretty entertained for the rest of the race looking for them.

Miles 18-23 were out on a bridge connecting Seattle to  Mercer Island . I had been warned this part was awful and boring. I certainty wasn’t bored because the view was BEAUTIFUL but the entire bridge was slanted putting a ton of pressure on 1 side of your body.

Then at mile 22 I started to feel pain. Not in my shins but in my feet. I’d never experienced arch/foot pain in my life but it was overwhelming enough to where I stopped and had to walk through each aid station to give my feet a break from all the pounding.

Miles 24-26:

WOAH! People are not kidding when they say running a marathon is 2 races: The first 20 miles then the last 6. My feet were DYING at mile 24 and I honestly couldn’t really move my legs. I kind of panicked at this point and randomly looked down at my Garmin and saw I was on track to finish the race way faster than I had ever hoped….no wonder my legs were dead I was running a 9:45/ mile pace when in training I averaged 10:30-11:30/ mile. Note to self- practice RACE PACE in training.

Since I knew I’d finish under 4:30:00 even if I walked the rest of the race I listened to my body and really slowed things down. I walked, drank Gatorade, ate a few too many Shot Bloks but wanted to finish the race smart. 

I was feeling good again at mile 25 which for the record was ALL UPHILL and alternated walking/ running. Mile 26 was all downhill into Century Link Field where the Seattle Seahawks play football.

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This may have been the most challenging mile of the entire race. I hate running downhill because it really aggravates my shins/ knees/ ankles and now feet and the road was wet and slippery from the rain. I knew I was so close to being done and really had  no choice but to push through the pain.

I’ll be totally honest I almost stopped and walked the last .2 my legs just were dead but then I saw my dad screaming “GO DI GO” and I knew walking wasn’t an option anymore. A few seconds later my mom and sister were cheering and finally at the very end I saw Bryce cheering.

THANK GOD for my family or I would have never been able to finish so strong. 

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I ended up finishing in 4:20:28…4:20 was not planned for the record but I’m sure as hell going to never forget that time for my first marathon haha.

Post race:

I was so excited to have not only finished my first marathon but to have ran 10 minutes under my goal time of 4:30:00. We celebrated with beer, nachos and snapping 34789348329 pictures before heading back to the hotel for the most glorious shower and nap of my life.

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That look when you realize you finished your first full marathon!

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I woke up feeling alive again but I needed to eat badly. I hadn’t eaten enough after the race and was STARVING and kind of lightheaded.

My friend Alex recommended a restaurant called Von’s that is famous for their sourdough pasta…ummmmm YES PLEASE!

YOU GUYS It was one of the best meals I’d ever had! If you’re ever in Seattle Von’s is a must. 

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Spin the wheel for drink specials!

After dinner we walked around the waterfront, saw the Great Wheel, explored the Public Market, went to Pike’s Brewery, stopped by the 1st Starbucks and then went back to the hotel. 

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Seattle’s Great Wheel!

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Pike’s Place Market!

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The beautiful waterfront!

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Having too much fun by the aquarium.

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Pike’s Brewery!

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The Space Needle with some of glass flowers from the Glass Garden!

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Goodnight Seattle!

Final Thoughts:

Everyone keeps asking me if I’d do another marathon.

And the answer is HECK YES!

I had an amazing support team helping me out on this race but I think if I was to do another full marathon I’d love to do it with a group.

 

Overall running the Rock ‘N’ Roll Seattle Marathon was one of the best experiences of my entire life. When I finished I seriously felt more proud of this accomplishment then when I graduated college. It certainly wasn’t easy but has been so incredibly rewarding and I have to thank each and every one of you for all your encouragement and support along the way.

 

I’ll be doing follow up posts on the pro’s and con’s of doing a destination marathon, 26.2 things I learned from running my first marathon…etc so stay tuned!


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14 Comments

  • Reply Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie June 28, 2016 at 5:41 am

    This post made me SO happy to read! I am so happy for you! You seriously rocked that race. I was so excited when I saw your post-race photo on Instagram seeing how awesome you did, because you worked so hard for it and should definitely be so proud. <3
    Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…Strawberry & Blueberry Baked Oatmeal CupsMy Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker June 28, 2016 at 8:31 am

      Thank you so much! It wasn’t easy but was such an incredible experience!

  • Reply Amanda @ Exploring Life & Things June 28, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Oh my gosh. I can’t say congratulations enough and I’m SOOOO happy for you! I loved reading this so much and it was really cool to follow along with your training! You honestly made me want to do this race someday! You should be so so so proud and feel so incredibly accomplished. I can’t wait to read the rest of your posts about the race/your vacation:)

    • Reply Diana Becker June 28, 2016 at 10:57 am

      THANK YOU!!!! I’m so glad you enjoyed reading this post. I tried a million times to make it sound good before just saying screw it I’m going to write it exactly how I would tell it to a friend. You really should consider doing a marathon. It’s not easy but it’s one of the most amazing experiences EVER!!

  • Reply Kellen McAvoy June 28, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Yay! I am so so so proud of you! It looked like such an incredible race and what a way to finish, 4:20?!?! You killed it! I also just got super excited to visit Seattle, I’m adding Vons to my list 🙂 I say we start looking into marathons and get a group together. Maybe next spring? 😉 Congrats again!!
    Kellen McAvoy recently posted…Red White & Blue Overnight OatsMy Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker June 28, 2016 at 2:59 pm

      Thank youuu!!!! I’m working on a post on what to do in Seattle right this second so stayed tuned! I mean…I’m more than down to do another marathon. Let’s honestly look into this and go to Pizza Port soon <3

  • Reply Liv @ Healthy Liv June 28, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    No restrooms at the start of such a big race? That’s crazy! I always use the restroom at least once at the start, mostly just as a nervous routine, but it never hurts! Anyway, sounds like you rocked it and had an amazing experience. Congratulations!!

    • Reply Diana Becker June 28, 2016 at 2:59 pm

      Akjhfjhdsf RIGHT!! It’s totally part of my nervous routine and just totally threw me off. But looking back that’s nothing in the big picture of finishing the race.

  • Reply Kristy @ Southern In Law June 28, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    A race without bathrooms?! How odd! Do they expect you to run with a full bladder? Haha

    You should be so so proud of yourself for getting through the anxiety and completing an awesome race! Way to go, girl! After all your hard work that is such an incredible result!
    Kristy @ Southern In Law recently posted…Kristy’s Random Ramblings #1My Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker June 29, 2016 at 8:26 am

      Ummm right? Some people were seriously just doing their business right there on the side of the street. But thank you so much..I’m still on that runners high 🙂

  • Reply Sarah @ BucketListTummy June 28, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    I LOVE THIS! SO MANY congrats to you, girl! Way to go, you killed it! You made me super excited for my first marathon in November. I loved your recap, great to read about your thoughts the entire time. I cant believe they stared you all together and there were no bathrooms – major fail there. And that’s too bad your family couldn’t see you at mile 23, but hey, it all worked out and you ran 4:20. That is so awesome! Seattle is a great city, and I saw on Instagram that you explored Portland too! (my favorite!)))
    Sarah @ BucketListTummy recently posted…Road Trip EatsMy Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker June 29, 2016 at 8:28 am

      It always works out. If there is one piece of advice I could give to you for running your first marathon it’s totally to just go with the flow. It’s impossible to plan out every detail of how the race is going to go (I wish you could). Yes! LOVED Portland. I only ended up having a day there and am dying to go back.

  • Reply Lauren July 1, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Congrats!! There’s nothing like the high after your first marathon 🙂

    • Reply Diana Becker July 7, 2016 at 8:44 am

      Thank you so much <3 3 weeks later the high still hasn't worn off!

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