The Last Race of the Season: Brooks Trailhead 15k

Today I ran the Brooks Trailhead 15k.  It’s funny, when I paid for all these races back in January I remember thinking about how fun this was going to be.  How motivating.  How exciting.  I assure you it was all of those things, but I am glad the season is over!  Wahoo!  No more hour long drives to and from Seattle the day before the race to pick up the runners’ packet!  No more stress about how I’m going to drive to the event, park and get to the start line on time!  No more race route mystery!  No more trying to figure out if I should wear a heavier jacket because it might rain!  For now, it’s just the road, the sunshine (or rain), me and a friend from time to time!  That feels good.  Going forward, I’m excited to continue to train with Guinevere for the Beat the Blerch half marathon in September, but that’s months away…

I’m discovering what I really like and don’t like about race events:

  • First and foremost, I love races that are seriously fun.  Seriously fun races are made for runners who are interested in making a personal record, interested in authentic athleticism and who really love running, but who also like a schmear of fun frosting over the top.  For example, the Beat the Blerch is one giant potshot at ourselves.  We mock running, laugh about how ridiculous we might be perceiving ourselves, celebrate by taking pictures of ourselves with Nutella and then go out and run at least six miles if not 26.2, thereby negating the loser status that we joked about while prepping for said race.  I like silly.
  • I don’t like 5ks very much anymore.  While they are a great starting point for beginning runners and a great speed race for accomplished ones, I find that many 5ks are full of inexperienced racers who walk, which is fine, but they walk while blocking the entire path.  Aiyiyi.  MOVE!  I feel like if I’m the odd one being annoyed then it’s my job to find a more suitable race.
  • I find that color runs, bubble runs and runs like those attract the most inexperienced and slow racers but they also attract my kids.  I love these races for that reason!  If my kids want to run through clouds of colored powder, go for it.  I’ll even run/walk with them because I don’t give a fig about my time. 😋
  • I like races with longer distances.  These races are great because the runners spread out by the third mile in and you finally have space to breathe.  I like finding the pace with the people around me and supporting one another as we go.  
  • But not too long.  Longer than 11 miles gives my brain hives and worry!
  • Races that have a separation point (like, 10k go to the right, 15k racers go straight) are marvelous.  When I see that moment I realize it’s the extra challenge I offered myself and I always love proving up to myself!
  • Seattle city runs have been my absolute favorite.  I run and hike through nature all the time.  It’s a rare day that I run across the Freemont Bridge, around Lake Union, across the University Bridge, past Pike Place Market, to the top of the Space Needle, across the Aurora Bridge, through freeway tunnels, past marinas- seeing my gorgeous city on my sneakers is just marvelous.  HOLLA SEATTLE!  It’s so special and makes me connect to my roots in an entirely unexpected and special way.  I literally cry sometimes when I drive past the Space Needle anymore (or My Needle, as I call it now).😂*
  • Well attended races are nice because it alleviates ‘last place’ worry for me. 🙂
  • I don’t like races where strollers or dogs are allowed.  If it’s a pet or baby run, fine, but those things really cause a hazard when you’re focused and running.
  • Races show me possibilities.  Not only can I run all the way around Lake Union, now, which is ridiculous in and of itself, I also ran an extra 5k on top of that for badassery (to make the distance a full 15k).  I can run around Lake Union?  What witchery is this, I ask of you?!  Running that far doesn’t seem like it should be in my purview.  😋

Today’s race met a lot of the qualifiers for ‘good race’.  Well attended, at Gasworks Park, all over Seattle and fun stuff like silly signs, JP Patches statues, Ghostbusters…  But the best part was that I had a rarity: In general, I drive myself to and from my events.  I just don’t like to bother my family with excessive driving around at 6:00AM on a Sunday morning!  So usually I run across the finish line alone, to no one.  It’s not a hard thing to be alone, it is lonely, but not hard.  However, today Bradley and Jude came along because I thought parking would be a nightmare.  It wasn’t, but que sera, sera, the bonus was that I had people at the finish line!  It was so motivating to run toward that hug, that kiss, my boys…  The last mile was totally ran on daddy dust and my finish line was the sweetest one ever.  Even if the announcer did announce my age to the entire audience (and then said I looked 28-sweet man)!  My time stunk- 1:42 with 11:42 average splits.  One of my splits was actually in the 12’s and only one was in the tens, but I ran it all and only walked when I drank the Nuun, so it’s an accomplishment, no matter what (running and drinking means I get bubbles, burpy and sick so I walk if I drink on run).  Because I thought the race was next weekend, I wasn’t as trained up as I should have been, but I’m okay with that.  🙂  
*This season- not just on this race!


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  2. Paula

    I can relate to the anxiety of race day. I always worry if I can find the parking, get to the race start, find a bathroom right before the race. Some of the larger races advise that you know the route. For me this is tough because I live out a bit so I struggle getting to the races to start with, let alone know the trail/route. I rely on other runners for that! I have only run a 5k so far. Like you said it is a good distance to start at. I never thought I could run one. Now I have run two. I have begun running farther (not to be confused with faster) a few days a week. Maybe it is time to try a 10k. BTW – it is great to see you run for many other reasons like enjoying you family during a powder run. It isn’t always for PR purposes. I think I need it to be fun so I keep going.

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