Sunday, July 09, 2006

Seafair Marathon Race Report

Bellevue, WA 7:00 am

I'll keep this reasonably short since I don't have much memorable stuff to report. I had not done much running this year until April when I moved from Boston to Seattle and changed jobs. I had decent running months in May and June so I decided to make use of the opportunity of being able to run a July marathon in "decent" conditions. Imagine the ordeal of running a summer marathon in the heat on the east coast! Given that my training was lacking, my goal marathon was Victoria and this is a brutal course I decided to do this as a "training run". Though to satisfy my ego I had hoped to run it a little faster than a training run so that it wouldn't be a PW.

I though I was in ok shape based on the long runs I had gotten in recently. However, in the race my lack of hill work was exposed. After mile 21, I closed shop - I decided that trying to run up the hills (there were hills all the way to the end) was pointless and would only delay my recovery. I walked them and most of the last two miles. So far it looks like the impact of this run was more like a 20-22 mile long run. My quads etc. are not really sore. The funny thing is that before the race I was worried about having to dodge the half-marathon walkers in the final miles but instead I ended up joining them :) This 14 min PW and my long walk has bruised my ego a bit but I think I will recover :) I don't think I will ever run a "training run" marathon again unless I decide to run another ultra and I hope to be better prepared for Victoria...

A positive from the weekend was that I had a nice FE at the expo with fellow Mongrel SeoulRunner (Cindy) & Mango (Donna). Obviously, Team 1 is ready for a 4th straight-year of RWOL mileage game domination.

My comments post for this race:

Course - 1 star
Organization - 5 stars
Fans - 1 star

Title: An exercise in Masochism


  • Great organization: packet pickup, expo, race day.
    Very friendly and nice volunteers

  • Awesome finisher T-shirt (finally a race shirt that you can wear).

  • Neat medal

  • A July marathon (the weather this year was inhospitable 66F-70+ at finish & sunny but that was warmer than normal). It's one of the few places in the US that you'll actually be able to run a summer marathon in decent conditions so it fills a much needed void.

  • Decent post-race refreshments. I have seen much worse.

  • A mens-only standing porta-potties at the start. No lines there.


My comparison is based on the 6 marathons (MCM, Philadelphia, Boston, VCM, Steamtown, Richmond) and 1 60k (Knickerbocker) that I have run.

  • Course: Brutal. Easily the most difficult I have ever run (including the Boston marathon hills or Knickerbocker - Central park hills). Analyzing the elevation data I picked up during the run explains why. There is a total ascent of 1900 odd ft & decent of 2000 odd ft. The Boston marathon has a total ascent of 900 odd ft & decent of 1400 ft. The Boston and Central park hills are relatively more comfortable to deal with. Some highlights here: You start off with a 500 odd ft ascent over the first 5 miles. In mile 7 you see a steep decent of 233 feet (impact to quads), 100ft ascent in mile 9, 150ft ascent in mile 13, 126ft decline from mile 14.5-15, 112ft incline from mile 16.5-16.8, 100ft incline in mile 19, 155ft decline in mile 21, 156ft incline from mile 21-21.4, 225ft decline from mile 21.4-22. Then there are small climbs all the way through to the end where even a bump has an impact especially considering the earlier course topography. If you run this you definitely need to do significant hill work else you will be exposed.

  • Course Scenery: Western Washington is a very beautiful part of the country. Unfortunately, this course shows off none off it. The closest you come to seeing something scenic is on the Berdie trails. Apart from that you're passing by stores, highways and other uninspiring stuff.

  • Crowd support: Non-existent. You're on your own if you are looking for support from the locals. You have to go to towns like Scranton, PA or Burlington, VT to see the kind of support the runners get there. There the locals seem to come alive for their race on marathon day.

  • You have to pay for the post race massage.

  • Water stops: Didn't appear to be evenly distributed. They seemed to be more concentrated in the sections where the half marathoners share the course with the runners. On a day like today there were parts where I pined for fluids. I wasn't too thrilled with the Gleukos sports drink either but that might have been psychological.

In summary, I do not plan to run this race again until either – the course is made more scenic or the course easier allowing me to PR. Nothing wrong with a challenging course but then it has to have a draw like Big Sur, Mount Desert Island, Pike’s Peak etc.

My race stats:

Temperature 66F-70F
Humidity: 63%-55%

mile 1 - 7:43 (161)
mile 2 - 7:52 (171)
mile 3 - 8:05 (167)
mile 4 - 8:13 (174)
mile 5 - 8:23 (173)
mile 6 - 8:00 (166)
mile 7 - 8:06 (163)
mile 8 - 7:50 (157)
mile 9 - 7:51 (164)
mile 10 - 7:51 (172)
mile 11 - 8:08 (167)
mile 12 - 8:00 (169)
mile 13 - 8:26 (173)
Half - 1:45:43
mile 14 - 8:21 (172)
mile 15 - 8:02 (168)
mile 16 - 8:12 (167)
mile 17 - 8:30 (172)
mile 18 - 8:27 (171)
mile 19 - 8:39 (172)
mile 20 - 8:23 (170)
mile 21 - 8:58 (168)
mile 22 - 8:35 (166)
mile 23 - 9:24 (166)
mile 24 - 8:50 (169)
mile 25 - 12:19 (156)
mile 26 - 12:21 (143)
mile .22 - 1:55 @ 8:23 (167)
Second half - 2:00:05

Avg HR - 166
Chip: 3:45:44 @ 8:37
Clock: 3:45:47

Overall: 110/572
AG: 10/27
Sex: 84/366
Bib Number: 146


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