Race: Lake Sammamish Half Marathon – http://www.lakesammamishhalf.com/
Runner: Matt U
Location: Starts in Redmond Town Center and finishes in Lake Sammamish State Park
Results – 2nd place, 1:12.47
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
The course is flat and fast. The race was deep with a good amount of fast runners. It was well organized and ran very smoothly.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
This was my first half marathon in 5+ years, so first, I’m happy that it went smoothly, that I worked hard, and I didn’t blow up. I am happy with the pace I was able to maintain. The biggest challenge was that one guy went out fast early and I had to make the decision whether to go after him or to stick with the pack and let the lead guy go. I didn’t do either very well and I ended up spending almost the entire race in no-man’s land. I finished almost a minute ahead of third (and the pack behind him) and five minutes behind the winner (he ran 67+ minutes!). I was really looking forward to racing and running with people and instead, the run ended up being a grind-it-out solo workout effort. This is just the luck of the draw based on who shows up to the race on race day. The field was deep with 10th place still being under 76 minutes.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
Establish your position early. This year they changed the start location which removed the silly back and forth parking lot finish. As a result, there are lots of little turns and the path narrows quickly. If your goal is to post a fast time or be competitive, I strongly suggest using a little speed burst early to get into position for your race. There are a lot of people in this race and it’s easy to see how someone could get stuck farther back and spend precious energy dodging and weaving to try and get up where they belong in the race.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
If flat is tough, then this course is a killer. Nearly completely flat. My watch maybe registered 40ft of total gain over the 13 miles.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
I was really pleased with how smoothly this went. The start area was big and open. Parking was abundant. Packet pickup went quickly. There were tons of porta-potties. The start was easy to find and on time. Very smooth and well run race.
Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.
I don’t know if the race sold out, but it never seemed like an issue. They offer better pricing for signing up early. This is an easy one to jump into.
They were there and they were offering gels, water, and probably a sports drink. I didn’t take anything, but it was nice knowing they were there!
Weather and typical race conditions
We got nice weather. 50s and dry. There was a slight headwind but nothing serious. The course is fairly protected for much of the race as it’s tucked in between houses and trees. However, it was the first week in March and weather could certainly be crappy this time of year in the Pacific NW.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
There were plenty of spots along the way for people to stop and cheer. It’s a point to point course and the bike path parallels a road the entire way. So long as your friends can find parking along the way, they will be able to cheer for you. That said, there were some quiet sections out there.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
5 stars. For what I was looking for, a flat, fast half marathon that was local to Seattle, this race was perfect. It was well run, the weather cooperated, the competition was deep, and I ran well. All positives!