A Day In Seattle/See Jane Event Review

It’s a long post, but trying to get all the race talk out at once so I don’t bore the non-running readers.

Our Day In Seattle:
Race weekend started with us heading up to Seattle Saturday afternoon.  Our plan was to hit the expo, get keys and parking pass from the friends we were staying with, shop a little, and get manicures.  I hardly ever get to Seattle so to have half a day to enjoy the sun in the city was really nice.  Challenging not to walk too much the day before running a 1/2, but we had fun regardless.  

Big shout out to Ben and Alicia for letting us crash at their place.  Their apartment is a few blocks from the Seattle Center so we were able to walk there and take the monorail downtown to the expo and shopping.  Plus, the nail place we got our manicures was only a block away from the apartment.  It really was perfect! 

We hit the expo for all of about 5 minutes (more on that later) got our bags and bibs and then headed to Nordstrom and Lululemon to get ourselves something as a memento/reward for making it to race day.  I’m a big fan of getting something running related that will be useful or make running fun when it’s a “big deal” race.  

We hit the pre-anniversary sale at Nordstrom to check out the Zella gear.  Very similar to Lululemon but a little less $$, not much less though.  Neither one of us found anything so headed to Lululemon and we both scored new running skirts! 

Purple pleats with ice blue color blocks around the waist.  Just like the one I wore race day but different colors.  I say if it works then get it in every color possible!
Michelle got the same skirt in black, and she ended up wearing it the next day for the race.  Since she already test ran mine we figured it was safe to go ahead and race in it. 
After shopping we headed back towards “home” for our manicures and dinner at the Rock.  I’m going to be honest it was so hard not ordering beer with that dinner.  After being alcohol free for a week I was really craving an ice cold beer on a hot day.  But we were good and stuck to our water with Nuun added to it. 
After that we went back to the apartment (Ben and Alicia funnily enough were at a wedding in Lakewood that evening) watched the Sounders game and enjoyed the view of the space needle at sunset from their living room window.  The couches were super comfortable as well, so we both slept pretty great! 
Event Review:
The Good 
 -Registration – I don’t remember what opening day registration was, but I do remember thinking I got a steal of a deal.
-The course is for the most part really pretty.
-Swag bags were pretty ok.  Better than some not as good as others.  The tech shirt is nice because it’s a tech shirt, but the color is pretty bad.  I like the bag itself along with the words of strength printed on it…
Our favorite is “Blisters heal.  Muscles recover.  Friendships last a lifetime.”  Lots of great inspiration on the bag!
-Finishers medals are cool and I love that they are strung on shoe strings!
 -Champagne and chocolate at the finish line!  I’m not a fan of drinking right after crossing the finish line, not even a few hours after, but once I got my stomach settled the champagne was pretty great!  
-There were several sponsored runners from Oiselle, Power Bar, and a few others I don’t remember, and that was fun to see.  I haven’t run a race that had so many sponsored runners before.
-The See Jane Run gear at the expo and at the event was really nice.  Sine there isn’t a store near us it was nice to shop it in person.  But, the sizes were limited and every time I found something I liked they didn’t have it in a size that worked.  It seemed like they were clearing out old stock and getting rid of less popular sizes.
-The course volunteers were great.  There were actually very few, and not very noticeable, course markers, but they did a good job of stationing a volunteer at every point a runner could go astray.
-It was also nice that they had police on hand to manage the busy intersection crossings, not once did we have to slow down or stop because of cars.
The Bad
The expo was very small, and not at all as cool as I had heard it would be.  You could stand in one spot and turn in a small circle and see all there was to see.  Hence the heading to Lululemon to get running gear!
-The porta potty lines got really long, but I don’t think it’s possible to have enough bathrooms for a ladies only (for the most part…think I saw three guys running) event. 
-There is very little parking that isn’t located on the streets up some not so fun to walk up after having run a half hills.  But it was free so that was nice.
-The mile markers were off.  Mile marker 6 was at 5.54 and my GPS has the race at 12.89, not 13.1.  I read a few other posts from bloggers that ran and all their GPS watches showed it being short and that the mile markers were off.  Not only that, some of the markers were double marked for the 1/2 and the 5K.  One said 2 or 4 miles and honestly with them being as off as they were it was sort of hard to tell where you were at.  I trust my watch, but I trust race organizers more so was thrown off by that until I heard others around us talking about it. 
-The aid stations seemed oddly placed as well.  Another reason the 2 or 4 miles on the mile marker sign was confusing.  The first aid station was super early, under 2 miles, and the 2nd one was only a mile past that I think…that is not normal for a 1/2 marathon!  The issue was the first two were on the first out and back stretch (I think they intended people to hit the first aid station on the way back) but it was also part of the 5K course, so the 2 stations were servicing two different groups of runners.  Because it was out and back you had people running at it from both directions and it just got confusing and messy.  As for the rest of the stations they always seemed to be about .5 miles past when we needed them. 
-The route was pretty when you were right next to the lake, but a lot of it was open with no shade, and running through parking lots and over busy bridges.
-The out and back sections were narrow paths, and open to the public.  There were non registered runners with dogs, bikes galore and it was really hard to get around anyone.  Every time we needed to get around someone there would be an oncoming runner headed at us.  I feel like if they are going to make narrow stretches out and back then it needs to be closed to the public period.  Especially for an event that lends itself to groups of girl friends running together.  You get a group of 3 to 5 people shoulder to shoulder and that narrow out and back path was not a lot of fun to navigate.
-Wave enforcement, I know this is a hard one, but if the race course is going to be as narrow as it was then you can’t have walkers starting in the 9-11 minute wave.  Not only that the 9-11 minute wave had enough people in it that it should have been broken up.  Way too many people onto the course at once and we had a fun time getting around the walkers that decided to start in that wave.  It’s one thing to end up having to walk, but starting out walking from the start line…no way you should be in the 9-11 minute pace wave!  
-Running past the farmers market/festival thing on the last out and back was awful.  While I know the food is amazing the smell of it at the end of a race is just not good.  I got to me, and Michelle, who was having a strong day, said it got to her as well. 
-Start time…started at 8 and honestly I think a 7 am start would be better.  Especially for a summer race, and we would maybe be off the course before the market/festival started, so no food smells to run through.   
I don’t know if I would do this one again.  While I loved our day in Seattle and Ben and Alicia made it super easy for us I don’t like “traveling” for a race.  It throws my stomach off and I just don’t get to do what I need to GI wise to be ready.  I for sure wouldn’t do it back to back years.  It may be fun to do again if we skip a year or two, especially if the course doesn’t change. 
Overall, even though it was a hard one for me, and I have a fair list of complaints, I had fun.  I enjoyed the girl power that See Jane promotes and I loved the “we are strong” atmosphere of the race.  This event will always hold a special place in my heart because it was Michelle’s first half.  It is pretty flat and I think on a cooler day it would be much more enjoyable! 
Back to regularly scheduled posting tomorrow…that means Sky pics!     


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