Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Ghost of Seattle Marathon race report.... Finally

I can't believe it's been OVER A MONTH since this race... and since the craziness of the Quadzilla.  But a race is a race ... and especially when it's a freakin' marathon... well, it deserves at least a brief writeup. And -- SPOILER ALERT!! -- this is a great little race that I can highly recommend. 

Dragged our poor little, aching bodies out of bed early ... again ... to make the early start at 6am. SIX.A.M. That said, I do love when a race offers an early start. 

We wore our "bear hats" from the Wattle Waddle again, smiled and nodded at our fellow maniacs, and shuffled around in the dark and the cold. Nice pluses: the organizers had heaters and a tent set up ... but we didn't actually have all that much time to kill. 

We had a little course talk, but this was my third time running the event, so I wasn't worried. Then, in the dark dark dark, our little band set out. 

First we ran toward Seward Park, making a loop of the outside edge. It was... DARK. I should be clear from the outset that we really didn't RUN this race ... it was a swift hobble, no more than that. We had a few fellow travelers with us, including our friend Clint from Mainly Marathons, but we were pretty much on our own. So it was quiet and atmospheric. As we made our way around the park, the sky started to brighten and turn pink. 

We made it back to the start (about 3 miles) as the regular marathon starters were getting ready to go. It made things a little rough through the start village, but wasn't a big deal. I grabbed some candy (because, candy) and then we continued on to the out-and-back. 

I do love this course, following the lake shore, then going up and over the rise to Leschi. I'm always a teensy bit sad when I remember just how far AFTER the BEST AID STATION IN SEATTLE the turnaround is, but clearly I manage to block that out after each race. 

It goes without saying, we were caught well before aid station by the fastest marathoners. We were good race citizens and stayed off to the side ... hopefully earning some karma for future races!

Let me just highlight the aid station that they set up in Leschi. Running this race (the half marathon version) back in 2010 was my first experience with "ultra kibble": pretzels, potato chips, gummi bears, jelly beans, soda pop. I mean, if you're running 50K or 50 miles, EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT. It's such a thrill to have a handful of Ruffles, a cup of Coke, and some Red Vines before I head back out. 

Then out to the turnaround which, as I said earlier, seemed SO FAR AWAY. 

turnaround bright eyes
Then back back back, past the Leschi aid station again (more chips! more candy! more soda!), and back to the start/finish. Of course, this was just the first lap! That does feel a little cruel, I'm not gonna lie.

So we set off, again, for the loop of Seward Park (thank heavens, no big hill!), back through the start/finish (more candy? sure!), and then out to Leschi. Then to the turnaround, where we really felt we were in the home stretch ... despite having around 4 miles left.

But the weather was really nice, and, well, we do like to hang out with each other!

Wil just after the turnaround, heading in
As we got closer and closer to the finish, our moods brightened along with the day. Pretty!!!

I'm not gonna lie, this was one of the hardest race days I've ever had. Maybe not as hard as the Run Like the Wind Half Marathon, but this day was very, very long. How long? Well, it was my longest run ever ... just under 7 hours.

Yeah, that's right. SEVEN HOURS. It took us seven hours. Painful.

We received our very handsome medal and went up to the food tent, where we feasted on, seriously, some of the best post-race food ever. Did I mention that Field Roast was a sponsor? We had Field Roast hot dogs slathered with vegetarian chili, and a pint of beer from Odin (another sponsor). We chatted, a little shyly, with some of the other runners. Being day three, we finally introduced ourselves to people who we had had nodding acquaintance with for three long days... and, in some cases, for years.

I don't think I'm really going to run the marathon distance of this race again, but as I've said before, this is a great choice for a fall race in Seattle. It's reasonably priced, is charmingly small, has a nice course, fantastic food both during and after the event, offers handsome medals, raises money for local charities, holds a blanket drive, and even offers a nice cozy sweatshirt as the event shirt.

Heading home from the race we were both a little giddy ... I mean, the worst was over ... only one half marathon left ... which is a little absurd to feel "relief", but there you go.

2015 Seattle Ghost Marathon medal

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