Latest reviews by Amy Holliday

(2014)
"In which Amy runs injured because she dang well paid for it..."
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb img 4331

I was PSYCHED. The Seahawks 12k had been a popular race prior to 2014, but with the 'Hawks taking home the Lombardi, all bets were on an insanely amped up event. It was!

The morning of, I woke up and packed up all of my belongings into my car (I'd just been housesitting for a week). Somewhere between 6 and 6:15am I turned something funky in my lumbar spine and suddenly.... everything hurt. Bending. Standing. Sitting. Lying. Moving.

But whatever, right? I'd paid for the race, I was excited to run it, and I dang well was going to rock it.

I arrived at the parking area (The Landing in Renton) at around 7:25 or so in the morning, well ahead of the 9:00am start time. I knew I needed to pick up my race packet, and I'd been anxious to make sure I got there ahead of time to do so. I was a bit bummed that there was only one packet pickup day (the day before) and it was in Renton, which is pretty out of the way for many of the Eastsiders who participated. Luckily the day-of packet pickup wasn't busy when I arrived, and I quickly made off with my packet and that of my buddy.

Still walking funny with my back issue, I started checking out the expo. It was HUGE. There had to be 40+ booths set up, with several radio stations, CLIF bars, nuun (love me some nuun!), the typical ING insurance tent along with several credit unions. Nothing super fancy, but fun just the same. I kept my eyes peeled for chiropractors and was not disappointed. Unfortunately, they weren't allowed to do any adjustments to fix my back prior to running, but at least they gave me some good stretches!

At around 8:45 or so, my running buddy and I lined up pretty far behind the starting line. It was hard to tell which direction people were going, and I kept spotting 5k runners in the groups around me. We definitely should've made our way closer to the front of the line (we ended up passing people regularly throughout the entire race), but oh well. They released us in fourths, and we were in that last (and much larger) group.

The race starts by circling around The Landing before starting on a straight shot up Lake Washington Blvd and around the VMAC (Seahawks training facility). There were people scattered along the road cheering, which was super wonderful. I counted 2-3 water/nuun stations, but there were no carbs on the course for anyone who needed them. For a 7.5ish mile course, it wouldn't have hurt to have some Gu at the 5 mile mark or so.

The course has rolling hills, which provided the perfect amount of challenge. Lots of people walked the race (or started off running and promptly stopped right in front of me), and there was tons of Seahawks spirit rocking around the race. Loved the mohawks. :)

Overall, a fun but VERY PACKED race. Especially having it be an out and back course; things got super bottlenecky throughout. Getting out after crossing the finish line took 15-20 minutes of shuffling forward while everyone grabbed their half-bananas, bagels, and water. I'd do it again, and hopefully without a strained lumbar spine!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2014)
"Shamrockin'"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb kirkland shamrock run 2014 41

I'm the kind of wonderful daughter who buys (forces) her dad race registration for his birthday, Christmas, you name it. For his second 5k (and Christmas present), I figured I'd coax Pops into a race by suggesting that there might be beer at the end of the finish line. It worked!

The Kirkland Shamrock Run is only in its third year, and each year it has grown immensely. I am super impressed with how race management has handled the growth; opening up three different locations to pick up packets early on three different days was a huge step forward. Unfortunately, there was a huge number of day-of registrations and packet pick-ups, which ended up pushing us at least 15 minutes late to start. Standing on concrete isn't everyone's favorite activity, especially when amped up to run!

The course is a blast, with some serious (okay, serious for a 5k) hills and pretty views of Seattle if you can see through the cloud cover. Volunteers were stationed along the sidelines (and BOY were there a bunch of them) reminding us to stay off the sidewalks and also that we were awesome. There was a particularly exuberant pair of girls by the car wash that put a little extra pep in my step!

I wasn't running this race for any records, so it was fun to take a look around and see the other runners enjoying a fun (but timed) race. This race allows walkers, dogs, and strollers, so there were obstacles aplenty (especially when stroller mom decided she needed to be right in front of me), but the race managers staggered the starts as best they could with such a crowd.

All in all, a fun race to work off that pint of Harp or Guinness the weekend before St. Paddy's Day. I wouldn't bet on any PRs due to the elevation, but you'll at least have a good time working on your calves!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2013)
"Dad's First 5k!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb 1463916 10100708185762110 1452548416 n

To coerce my dad into running with me, I signed him up for the Mustache Dache 5k, an event that supports men's health issues. How could he say "no"?

This race was one of the most well-run, well-attended 5ks I've run so far in my short running career. We got there an hour or so early and had a chance to check out the tents ahead of time, and boy were we glad we did. They had all of the usual sponsors (ING with their cookies, a few physical therapy places, etc) in addition to different sports drinks (coconut water, natural electrolyte drinks), CLIF bars, Seattle Bagel Bakery, a hilarious photo booth... oh, it was fun, and did a lot to cut the pre-race jitters for my Pops.

This race was HUGE, so the starting areas were jam packed with people in awesome mustaches (both real and painted), where we waited for about 15 minutes in well-marked pacing areas. Once the race began, it was a quick shuffle to the starting line and we were set.

My only gripe about the route was several bottleneck areas where we moved off of roads and onto trails; with so many people and so many at the same pace, it's hard to make sure you're not jostling somebody when you're trying to maintain your pacing. The route was a skinny oval loop, and before too long, we were crossing... two finish lines? I ended up stopping after the first one only to realize that there was a second line I needed to cross (my dad, the newbie, was wondering what the heck I was doing stopping right before we finished)! Mustache medals were hung around our necks and we enjoyed a few chocolate treats before heading home.

There were food trucks (awesome idea) to tantalize us along our route back to the parking lot.

All in all, a well-attended and super well-run race. I'd do it again!

Glows:
- Finishers' medals - awesome for someone's first 5k (or someone who just likes medals shaped like mustaches!)
- Easy packet pick-up at Road Runner Sports Bellevue
- Nice flat course
- SUPER AMAZING race expo before and after the race!

Grows:
- Several serious bottleneck issues along the route
- Basic cotton t-shirts

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2013)
"Holy Hills, Batman!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb 1381760 558648017523589 673059932 n

This. Race. Has. Hills.

I was randomly selected by Gametiime to win free race registration for this race, and so I ended up going in pretty much blindly, without having looked at the course map or elevation. I think I'm glad I skipped that part, because I would've had some serious race-day jitters. FOR A 5K. Seriously?

I should've known, since this race is up in the Issaquah Highlands, a stretch of my town built into a hillside. It's hard to find a flat place to park your bike, let alone get a jog in.

This was a small little race, with about 100 participants in its inaugural year. Packet pickup was day-of for me (something necessitated by the fact that I couldn't make it to the pick-up location after work by 7pm) but it went smoothly because I got there 45 minutes or so before the race began. Parking was at an elementary school, not super well marked, but that might've been because I got there so early no one had marked it, yet?

Portapotties (2) were hanging out right by the start line, and after exchanging niceties with a fellow Gametiimer before the race, it was time to begin! We started at the top of the large hill we'd later have to climb, so the first mile was quick, under 7:30 (which for me is unheard of!). The descent was enough that you can't run all-out for fear of slipping, especially with those fallen autumn leaves on the road.

We curved around a few trails and a nice retention pond, saw bits of the newly built Highlands, and went down ANOTHER hill (you know all I was thinking about was, "I've got to climb UP this later!") before turning around and heading back up to the heavens. That last incline was so steep I honestly had to stop and walk for a few seconds to avoid shutting down my poor overused airway.

Despite the walking, I ended up placing in my age group (thanks to there being 100 runners!) and had a good time celebrating at the end of the race. This one has promise, but should really only be tackled by people who love them some elevation gain.

Glows:
- Technical tee-shirt
- Small race
- Lots of volunteers
- Well marked race route

Grows:
- Not many sponsors/cool freebies/booths
- Holy elevation climb. 483 feet!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2013)
"Champagne Celebration"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb 988652 10151585859183687 2093434515 n

This was my very first half marathon, and I'm so glad I picked it! See Jane Run is a women-centric running store that hosts half marathons around the country. The expo the day before the race was the biggest I'd seen (so far), and the post-race celebration was just fantastic.

I was nervous when I clicked "register" for the very first time, pledging my funds and my self-worth that I'd be able to run a half marathon in a few short months. With the help of my students, however, I worked my way up to the distance and totally rocked out on this course.

The course itself is mainly flat, a ring around Lake Union in Seattle with a few mini out-and-backs. My biggest course gripe was that the last out and back took us past the finish line (I could seriously see that safe haven of awesomeness and champagne) for another three miles before we got to cross that chip timing technology and celebrate.

Gu and Gatorade served as our aid station caloric intake, and I have to say that a sports bra filled with lemon Gatorade and 13.1 miles of sweat is not a nice thing. My fault; I'd never tried drinking from a cup while running before!

The course seemed a little short; many of the runners were checking their Garmins and finding that their race had barely hit 13 miles, so that was a source of frustration for some. I'll take the 13.1, though, and blame it on my iPhone's GPS.

The post race celebration was where it was at, with So Delicious ice cream bars, champagne flutes for finishers, See's Candies, lots of burritos and other snacks. It was a blast, and one I would do again in a heartbeat.

Glows:
- the most portapotties I have ever seen in my life ever before I swear to God
- sponsored by See's Candies!
- fun "girl power" experience
- beautiful lime green tech shirt

Grows:
- parking was rough for spectators (or maybe just my mom...)
- short course

Login or sign up to leave a comment.