Monday, July 2, 2012

Seattle Rock & Roll Marathon Recap

It's always so difficult for me to write the recap for this race. It's hard to put into words all the emotions I felt during this marathon.  I really felt blessed and thankful the entire weekend I was in Seattle. From the dinners I was invited to attend and all the goodies I received, to spending time with friends and family, and being able to share Saturday's race with Wear Blue Run to Remember, it was truely an amazing weekend.
  
The Wear Blue Run to Remember group photo in corral 17
My gear laid out ready to rock the streets of Seattle!

Before we set out to run we all gathered in corral 17 for the circle of rememberance.


We start with a moment of silence, followed by calling out the names of the fallen Soldier you are running for, and ending in prayer.


Then it's time to get pumped and ready to run! It so excited being around people you don't know (since I can't run with them in WA) but yet feel so connected because you are all running for the same reason.

As we approach the start, the announcer that is counting down to release the corrals tells everyone about the group and then starts calling the names of the fallen Soldiers.
This is when the emotions really yet me.
To know that all the people around you that are not part of Wear Blue Run to Remember know why you are running and what the blue shirts mean. It's not a running club. It's a way to help people heal. It's a way to help honor and remember.
My eyes teared up when the woman standing in front of me was shedding tears after they said her Soldiers name. I'm not sure who she was and what the relation was. But what I do remember is her saying "this is a happy day" That stuck with me for the entire race. This is a happy day.
A time to remember. Every footstep I take wearing the blue shirt with the Soldiers names on the back is my way of remembering them and letting their families know we have not forgotten you.

Gene's served with the Soldiers in 1-17 IN
It's my way of also of letting Gene know that I have not forgotten his Soldiers that he fought next to day in and day out in Afghanistan in one of the toughest wars he has ever deployed too.

As we started running the miles started flying by. I was holding a pace about a 9:30ish pace for the first few miles. With all the adrenaline and excitement I was trying hard not to go fast.
As I was about to approach mile 4 I saw a friend I hadn't seen since high school cheering me on from the sidelines. It was a welcome site since all my other friends were actually running the race so I knew I wouldn't see them till the end. And to my surprise I saw my friend a few times throughout the course.

Most of the miles really just blend together. I was feeling great and walking through water stops. As the half and full marathoners split I did see Alma from The Average Woman's Running Blog. I gave her a big high five and continued on to Seward Park. This was my favorite part of the race. It was so beautiful and peaceful. The crowd had thinned out since it was only marathoners now so I had people running in front and behind me but no one beside me. I really was just loving being out there and enjoying the views. I wasn't thinking about how many miles I had left or how fast or slow I was going. I was just running for the pure enjoyment.


When we finally looped around I loved seeing the other Wear Blue runners and cheering them on as they cheered me on. I did get to see some of my friends that had made the trip from Idaho to also run the full marathon together.

Soon we were joined with the half marathoners again so it got a little crowded and I was really starting to get warm with my hat on but was just thankful that it wasn't raining. I knew that the wear blue mile was coming up soon. This year I was prepared for it. Last year was my first year running this race and wasn't prepared for all the emotions that would hit me when I passed the photos and flags. But this year, I remembered that it was a happy day.




I slowly ran and tapped each photo that I could. Looking at the names of these men and calling them out in my head. As I tapped each photo I saw one of Gene's Soldier and best friend who he had served with in Iraq in 2004-2005.

SPC Clint Gertson.

That really touched me and brought tears to my eyes cause I wasn't expecting to see his photo. I never got to meet Gertson but Gene speaks of him often and his photo is up in our home.

Gertson (bottom right) and Gene (top left)

As I approached the flags the men and woman holding them were cheering for me. But I was cheering for them. Telling them thank you and giving them each high fives.


After the flags was the wear blue water stop and I said thank you to all the volunteers as I walked thru to drink my water. Just after this I text Gene and told him about the picture of Gertson.

The next few miles all blended together. As we turned onto the floating bridge I was feeling great. But soon we hit the first tunnel that seemed to last forever. I started getting dizzy and it felt hot and muggy in there so I took my first walk break (aside from the water stop walk thru's). I really felt like a lot of my energy was being drained from the tunnels and the heat without the shade of trees out on the bridge. I also realized how great walking felt so I started taking them more often. And that really was ok with me. I just wanted to enjoy this marathon. So I ran when I could and walked when I needed to from here to the end of the marathon. I did have a mantra I kept repeating in my head throughout the race that helped push me when I needed it "For the Families, For the Fighting, For the Fallen" (the saying that's in the shoe print on the back of my shirt)

The only part I did enjoy of this section of the race was the out and back because I again got to see my fellow Wear Blue runners and got to cheer them on.

Lisa Hallett holding the flag. She is the co-founder of Wear Blue Run To Remember
Photo Source
I had chatted with Lisa at the beginning and then saw her multiple times throughout. She was running with a group of people and they were passing the flag to each other throughout the marathon.
She really is one of the most inspirational woman I know. I only got to meet her husband CPT John Hallett a handful of times but his name is also spoken of often in our home.

I'm not sure which mile it was at but it was just before our last tunnel another Wear Blue runner came up next to me and we chatted for a while. She was running her first full marathon and her husband is deployed to Afghanistan right now. She gave me a little boost of energy but it didn't last long. Her pace was great and as we were in the final tunnel I had to walk and told her to go ahead. I really wish I would have stayed with her looking back at it now. It would have been nice to have the company!

I stopped at about mile 20 and text Tiffany to let her know what mile marker I was at and what my pace was (about 10 min at this point).


Finally getting closer to the Space Needle! These last few miles are the hardest cause there is so many people walking but I tried to run as much as I could even though it was at a slow pace.
Soon I could hear the crowds cheering and knew I was close.

As we were approaching the last few meters I started to get more excited and picked up the pace a little more. I see mile marker 26 but also see a hill I have to climb to get to the finish. I wanted to walk but didn't and kept on running finally reaching the top and started looking for my fellow Wear Blue runners and spotted them on the sidelines cheering us in to the finish. I cheered loud and yelled out Go Wear Blue!!! As they did and felt so happy at this moment. Not because I was about to cross the finish line but because I knew what I was running for and it felt great to run and remember. I heard the announcer call out my name and I threw my hands up and cheered as I crossed the finish line.

Official Time - 4:35:27
Pace 10:31
Garmin Time for 26.62 miles - 4:35:34
Pace 10:21

Overall 1588 out of 3091
Division 127 out of 270
Gender 582 out of 1434
Splits
5k 29:33
10k 59:54
Half 2:07:07
17.6 mi 2:54:02
20 Mi 3:23:59

As I walked thru the finishers area I grabbed my water and food and looked towards the sides for Tiffany and Alyssa. All of a sudden I turned around and they were in front of me.
Tiffany snapped a quick picture

She told me I looked really relaxed. After she said that I realized I was. I didn't feel like I had just run 26.2 miles. I did feel relaxed and peaceful but I also felt happy.

It was a happy day and I felt blessed and thankful to be a part of it. This race always grounds me and reminds me of part of the reason I started running and why I continue to run.


I can't wait to run it again next year!

For the Families, For the Fighting, For the Fallen

Wear Blue Run to Remember
If you would like to know more about Wear Blue please click the link above.

6 comments:

  1. what an awesome and touching recap Cynthia. the photo was a nice surprise for you, I probably would have teared up. Glad you felt at pace and happy during (and after) the run

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  2. You are amazing Cynthia, and I am so thankful that you are my BRF. What a wonderful way to honor the soldiers and their families. It was a happy day :)

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  3. I can't help but cry when I read this. I'm getting ready for my husband to come home from deployment and while it's happy, it is also so stressful. I'm rushing around doing this and that and snapping at people along the way. This just reminded me to slow down and be thankful that he's coming home. Yes, it's stressful, but I'm lucky to have this kind of stress.

    This is a great cause and you represented it well. Perhaps I'll have to do this one next year as a destination race. Well done, Cynthia!*

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  4. Lovely post Cynthia. I'm so glad I could see this when I ran last year. Brought tears to my eyes then and again now. You really don't look like you have just run a marathon in that last picture! I think you were in the spirit world!

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  5. This was a very special post Cynthia! I was in tears reading it, it was touching. I am so proud of you and your marathon and proud that you keep on running for such an amazing reason.

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    ReplyDelete

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