Monday, April 22, 2013

Seahawks 12K Run Race Report

Sunday morning Suz came by and picked us up for the trek out to Renton for the Seahawks 12K Run. The weather was a little dodgy -- grey with bouts of drizzle -- but not too cold. We arrived a little early, but probably just in time to still get good parking -- always key! We sat in the car for a bit, but since we didn't actually know where the start was, we figured we should follow the other runners while we could. I was also pretty pleased that we had picked up our packets the day before -- something I often don't bother to do -- because it meant I had some idea where to park!
2013 Seahawks 12K race shirt
nice shirt!!!
The race starts and finishes at The Landing, a sprawling retail/restaurant/residential complex that seems to have sprung from nothing in the last few years. Okay, sure, I don't get to Renton all that often, but I really didn't know The Landing existed until recently.
We followed the other runners -- especially easy to spot because most of them were either wearing the super cool race shirt or other Seahawks gear. Then we heard music and we had clearly found the right spot.
We were pretty early, but a good-sized crowd was already there. It's been a while since we ran anything other than a half marathon, so it was nice to see the "race expo" in the parking lot. There was a long line of empty porta-potties at the edge of the lot. I laughed and said, "It's not a race if I don't pee in a plastic box," so I headed over there. Here's what's weird... there were no lines for the porta-potties. (Yeah, it was still pretty early.) I just walked right up. Here's what's weirder... they were spotless. The only smell was a rather pleasant lemony disinfectant / cleanser smell. (Yeah, I know, still pretty early.) But also a little weird.
We wandered around a little bit, looking at upcoming races (I meant to go back and pick up some brochures! Dang it!) and looking at the crowd. But eventually we just moved closer to the starting area and stood around chatting. We also remembered to take a pre-race snapshot!
Wil, Sunny, and Suz before the Seahawks 12K
Wil, Sunny, and Suz before the Seahawks 12K
I wish I had taken more pictures of the crowd -- not sure why I didn't. There were some colorful Seahawks fan outfits: lots of tutus, some painted poodles (seriously!), lots of blue hair and facepaint, a retro Steve Largent, complete with helmet, jersey, football pants, and socks, and even tiny Tony Ventrella. Okay, that wasn't a costume, it was just Tony Ventrella.

Finally, it was time to start. Suz was running the 5K, Wil and I were running the 12K. We split up and got ourselves into the starting chute.
Wil and I didn't really have a plan for this race. We've only ever done two 12Ks before (Bloomsday and Bay to Breakers), and for various reasons we didn't really run much of either of those. But we figured we would just go out and run and see how things felt.
The course started with a loop around the outside edge of the shopping complex, past the Boeing plant. The 12K and 5K courses split at the half-mile point, and I was surprised at just how many 12K runners there were -- pretty crazy. I guess that if you are a Seahawks fan you would really want to do the 12K? Even so, the crowd really thinned out at that point and then it was pretty clear running for the rest of the race.
We had to cross railroad tracks several times -- a sign of the industrial past. I think these are the tracks that the Rails to Trails organization are currently hoping to convert... which would be sweet.
We eventually ended up on Lake Washington Boulevard, and there were plenty of folks controlling intersections (though there was really no traffic). In fact, there was hardly anyone out there other than the volunteers... and the super cute barista at the Cowgirl Coffee stand, who was leaning out the window and cheering like crazy.
Somewhere between miles 2 and 3 I saw a police motorcycle heading towards us, and shouted "runners move right -- lead pack coming!" and was pretty surprised how many people listened. Of course, much later on, when a police motorcycle was moving quickly down the road with sirens blaring, and I and several other runners were shouting to move right, one particular runner with her headphones on was OBLIVIOUS. Sigh. But, as Wil always reminds me, I need to run my own race. But the leaders went screaming by. I can't imagine what it's like to run that fast.
The route was surprisingly hilly. No serious hills, mind you, but lots of rollers. Around mile 4 I started fretting that I hadn't "coached" Suz enough -- hadn't reminded her to run her own race, take it easy at the start and speed up later, leave nothing in the tank, and smile at the finish because she was going to PR today. So I started thinking those things over and over in my mind as I ran, sending her good vibes. I hope they worked! (BTW, she PR'd -- so huge congrats to Suz!!!)
We ran out to the VMAC (Virginia Mason Athletic Center), where the Seahawks train. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more Seahawky action going on. Perhaps the very beefy men at the water stops were players? No idea. Several members of the Seahawks drum line were there, as was the helmet car, but that's it. I kind-of wanted something else -- perhaps some folks scrimmaging on the outdoor practice field? Maybe some SeaGals? The highlight was probably the little kid holding up an oversized Marshawn Lynch head...
As we headed back to the start we passed the team of police officers and their police dog running in full uniform and gave them a cheer. Wil says their shoes are probably super comfortable and built for long hours on their feet. I don't care -- I bet they're still not awesome to run in! (Still, waaaaay more comfortable than the firefighters I've seen running marathons in full gear, including the boots. That has gotta hurt.)
The rest of the way back was pretty uneventful. We saw Tara (who didn't recognize me in the blue and green - ha!) but surprisingly not many other folks we knew. As we neared The Landing, I started to feel a little woozy. But I spotted "Steve Largent" and decided I needed to "go fishing" -- which was weirdly easy once I had a target in mind.
Over the last half mile or so we caught several other runners, but I felt pretty gassed. I told Wil I didn't have any speed left (so no sprinting down the finish chute!), but we grabbed hands and gave all we had. As we rounded the final corner, I heard Suz and flashed a huge grin her way. Let me just say this -- this is possibly the finest race photo I've ever had:
Team Wil-Sun approaching the finish at the Seahawks 12K
photo courtesy Suzanne Roman
(Suz, if you are ever in need of a new career, may I recommend race photographer?)
We finished in 1:14:22, which is easily a PR for us. Heck, we're pretty sure that our 5K split would have been a PR for that distance, too! We averaged 9:58 miles, which is great for us.
We found Suz, who offered water and jackets (such service!) and told us that she had PR'd. I apologized for my lack of coaching, told her I tried to send her good vibes, and she said, "I felt like I could hear your voice in my head!"
We considered hanging out, but then decided to just cut and run. We made it back to the car, took a little shortcut out of the parking lot (hooray!) and were on our way home before 11. Other engagements prevented us from having a post-run pint, but other than that it was a perfect day.
Nice things: lots of people running with Boston tributes. My favorite was the couple who had used tape to spell out "SEA <3 BOS" and "4 M. K. L." on their backs. Suz running a huge PR. Passing Steve Largent. Passing Tony Ventrella. Getting a sweet race shirt. Blue and green poodles. Policemen and a police dog running the 12K. The barista cheering like mad.
"Opportunities": still feeling queasy at the finish when I push too hard. What is causing that? Left big toe still feeling not quite right at the "knuckle" -- but not a big deal. I also dressed a little too warmly -- had a thermal tee under the race shirt. Of course, most of the time I could have taken off the warm layer, but this time it was underneath to show off the "12th man" top. I think I could have run with arm warmers and the tech tee -- would have been cold at first, but then fine once we got going.
1st Annual Running Bloggers Virtual Race
I've joined the 1st Annual Running Bloggers Virtual Race. Though this was a 12K, I'm just calling it a long 10K. :) The RBVR is raising money for Burma, and you know I'm a sucker for charity races. In addition to this "long 10K", between now and (date), I'm running a 5K and a half marathon, swimming a mile, and riding my bike for 13 miles. (The bike will be the challenging part... but that's the motivation I need!) You can learn more about the Virtual Race on the Running Bloggers site, or even donate to Carla's Run for Burma goal.
Thanks so much to Wil for being the driving force behind Team Wil-Sun, and Suz for inspiring us both!!!


  1. That photo was sheer luck. I didn't have my glasses on, so you guys were just blurry little forms, moving forms might I add. I thought it would be a picture of your butts as it seemed you had already passed me by. Imagine my surprise when I looked at it later and your were right in front of me. In focus. Looking so adorable, well, that part didn't surprise me.

  2. As I was waiting at the finish line for you two, I thought of the people at the finish of the Boston Marathon, how they were doing the exact same thing, waiting to cheer on their loved ones when that moment of accomplishment was taken away from them. I could feel anxiety rising in me, but managed to talk myself down, telling myself that I was safe. Thinking about it now, those firefighters that were raised up in the bucket were probably there for two reasons. Not just to cheer on the runners, but they also had a bird's eye view of the finish line and everyone standing around on the ground.