Last year, Ryan told me that as a Christmas gift, he wanted to run a half marathon with me. Obviously, I was super excited about this gift – I love running with my husband and was eager to share long distance running with him.
We picked the Road Runner Sports Seattle Craft Classic Half Marathon for multiple reasons. The date fell so that we could take advantage of summer weather for training but hopefully enjoy fall weather on race day. The race was at a convenient location for us, where we could train on the course for long runs. Most of all, the race ended at one of our favorite local breweries – Redhook Brewery, home of the best ESB beer ever.
The race began at 8 AM, so we arrived at the starting line shortly before 7 AM. There were about 15 porta potties right by the start line, along with a gear check and a small aid station of water and Nuun. I did a quick 2 mile warm up on the trail (in the opposite direction of the race) and then Ryan and I waited for the race to start. We lined up between the 1:50 and the 2:00 pacers.
After warming up with a 9:04 for the first mile, we settled into a comfortable effort of 8:30-8:40/mile for the next several miles. Despite weather predictions of clouds, the weather was sunny and in the low 60s. After the turn around point, Ryan quickly stopped to use the restroom, but we recovered our pace decently in that mile with an 8:57/mile.
For the last three miles, we were in the sun with only one aid station – and Ryan began to feel a bit dehydrated. I had him use Salt Stick dissolvable tablets since we had tried those in training, rather than drinking Nuun on the course. The Salt Stick tablets made him feel really thirsty, which in turn affected our pace. I have been there before with minor dehydration (at the Portland Marathon and Go! St. Louis Half, before I realized how much I need electrolytes in my fluids during a race) and I know just how hard it is to keep up the pace.
(We didn’t have Enduropacks since we were not carrying our own water; in retrospect, I should have done what I’ve done for races before and brought the bottle with me to spray into the plain water.)
Even though he wasn’t feeling 100%, Ryan kept giving his best. As we curved along the bend of the river, I glanced behind us and saw the 2:00 pace group a few hundred meters behind us. Ryan pushed hard over the final mile to finish ahead of them, and it paid off – we finished with a chip time of 1:57:39.
The finish line came up as a surprise! I thought we had another tenth of a mile to go (see below), but all of a sudden, we made a sharp turn and the finish line was right there.
Craft Classic Half Marathon Review
This was a really fun race. The course was flat, fast, and scenic, running along the Sammamish River Trail for the entire race. The race began at Redmond City Hall, directly on the trail, and went straight out to Bothell for the next 8.4 miles before turning around and running back for the next 4.7 miles. The finish line is at Redhook Brewery. They had aid stations of water and Nuun every 2 miles and ample bathrooms along the course (since it was on the trail, all bathrooms on the course are the regular trail bathrooms – meaning most of them are far nicer than a porta potty). The 5K started and finished at Redhook.
This was a small race – 350 runners in the 5K and 400 in the half marathon. Honestly, though, the smaller size felt appropriate for the course. The trail remained open to the public during the race, so cyclists, other runners, and pedestrians were on the trail at the same time (although the trail was marked as being used for the race and most non-racers gave right of way to the runners).
The post race offerings included a Redhook Beer Garden on a large grassy lawn, with a free beer for each runner (and the option to purchase the beer for subsequent drinks or non-participants). They also provided free food – chocolate milk, Honey Stinger waffles, fruit, and a food truck selling Redhook sandwiches and fries. A shuttle ran from the beer garden to the Redmond City Hall, so you could easily and safely return to your car.
The one downside was a shipping error that sent the wrong medal to the race directors. We didn’t get our medals on race day, which was a bit of a disappointment for Ryan’s first half marathon. The swag bag includes “On a Beer Run” tank tops for women/t-shirts for men and Redhook pint glasses.
The course registered as short on our watches – 13.00 exactly on my watch – (and, from what I can see on Strava, other runner’s watches as well). The course was wooded in areas, so it is hard to say whether the course was off, GPS signal was spotty in areas, or a combination of the two. This was the inaugural year, so hopefully next year they fix any course issues if it wasn’t a GPS issue.
The best part is that Ryan and I both enjoyed the race – he is proud of his finish time, as am I, and wants to run another half soon. I think that’s the best thing any of us can ask for – most of us are not running to win, so why not focus on enjoying it?
Have you ever run a race with your significant other?