I just finished my first marathon yesterday and now I'm gonna give my first race report a shot. I ran Seattle because I've got some relatives up there and the grand master plan was to spend Thanksgiving with them and then run the race on Sunday but two canceled flights due to fog put a slight damper on the Thanksgiving plans. Finally got to Seattle late Thursday and religiously watched the weather forecast for the next few days. Rain was on the agenda but, thankfully, the weather man was wrong as race day ended up being mostly sunny with temps in the low 40's and only a slight breeze along some portions of the course.
The course itself was overall pretty nice. The race started near the Space Needle and went through downtown for the first couple of miles and then proceeded onto the I-90 express lanes and followed them across the floating bridge to Mercer Island and back (up to about mile 8). This portion was pretty monotonous to me and the tunnel portion just before the bridge was hot. After coming back across the bridge the course took a nice route along Lake Washington Boulevard and followed it to and around Seward Park and then we double back and followed Lake Washington back towards and past the floating bridge. This was definitely the easiest and most enjoyable portion of the run for me. Right after mile 20 the course left Lake Washington and went up a short but friggin steep hill (I powered up it but didn't feel so hot for a mile or so afterwards) followed by some longer and much more gradual hills around mile 22 or so as the course wound through Woodburn Park. From there we crossed under I-5 and then ran alongside it back towards downtown for a mile or two. From mile 24 there was a really nice view of the downtown Seattle skyline, although the Space Needle seemed like it was a lot further than 2 miles away at this point. At mile 25 the course departed from I-5 and began a series of downhills into downtown. At this point I knew that I was going to be close to 3:45 so started picking up the pace as much as I could. Things were going well until just before the mile 26 marker where the course made one more short uphill before entering Memorial Stadium where the finish line was located. I ended up at 3:46:14 and my goal was sub-4 so I can't complain. My first half split was 1:52:53 which would make the second half around 1:54 (it's early and I can't do the math right now).Since this was my first, I don't really have much to reference it to but it was a great experience overall. The expo was cool with lots of free samples, a decent number of vendors and some decent deals on running gear. Overall the race went really smoothly for me. There were some transportation problems in getting from the Westin hotel to the start line because the monorail that many people were planning on using crashed the night before the race (only two minor injuries, thankfully). Bus rides were made available to help alleviate the problem (I walked to the start line as it was only about 10-15 minutes away, but I took advantage of the bus to get back to the hotel). The recovery area had a band playing, lots of free fruit, donuts from Krispy Kreme, smoothies from Jamba Juice and clam chowder from Ivar's. There were quite a few spectators along the downtown sections at the start and finish but they were fairly sparse in between. There was a decent number along Lake Washington and the ones who were out were enthusiastic. So, now I'm back home nursing my sore ankles and calves and wondering when I can run again. It was a great experience overall and I definitely consider doing it again.