I ran the Seattle Half Marathon this morning with several thousand other crazies. I woke up today (early early after a very bad night of sleep) to a cold and dark mix of rain and snow. How fortunate that race day fell on one of the coldest days we've had this year (it's certainly the coldest wet day). I biked the mile or two down to the race start (braked is a better description for what I did, as it's all downhill and I was worried about slick roads) and by the time I arrived my hands were numb. I met up with some friends in the Seattle Center, though, and by the time the race started I'd warmed back up.
It doesn't seem like the race is set up to handle the large crowds. After a last minute port-o-let stop, I had to wait several minutes after the race started to even get out to the course. The roads were extremely crowded for at least the first 4 miles (I decided not to dodge around people to save energy and reduce the chances of slipping) and at one point the whole field was slowed to a crawl as we entered a narrow highway onramp. I think the runners were catching up to the walkers at that point. Water stations appeared without warning and the tables were very short, meaning I had to stop and wait for water rather than being able to run along until a free cup was available.
But the volunteers were cheerful, the crowds motivating, and the runners in good spirits as we slogged through the rain and the hills. After running the first half much slower than planned, I picked up speed around the 6 mile point and felt really good up the hills I'd been fearing. This was one of my slower races, but today really felt more like I was fighting the course and the weather rather than the clock. And the coffee and Mexican food with friends afterwards warmed up any remaining chill, making it a good run.