Overall I really enjoyed See Jane Run, however there were a few things I thought could be improved. But first I'll start with the positives.
Recently I haven't been that big a fan of large women's focused events, but See Jane Run may have changed my mind. I liked that it wasn't super girly or overrun with tutus. It also wasn't over the top with pushing female empowerment. I feel like the main nod toward it being a women's event was the slogan "I run for chocolate and champagne." Even though I don't really drink much alcohol, I liked the free chocolate at the finish, especially since it was See's Candy. And if I did want a drink at 11 in the morning, I'd much prefer champagne over beer. I feel like everyone focuses so much on free beer at the finish line and sometimes it makes me wonder just how much I'm paying in registration fees for that "free" beer that I'm not going to drink.
The overall race organization was good and it seemed like everything went pretty smoothly. I was glad that I could do packet pickup on race morning, and they had it set up well so that I could get my number before the race and my shirt and goody bag afterward. Bag check was also easy. For the post-race food, there were bagels and the usual other stuff, but I zeroed in on the nice selection of mini Luna bars and Larabars. There were also a bunch of vendors set up at the finish, almost like a race day expo, which added a nice festive touch. I picked up some coconut water and See's lollipops, and ate some PB&J sandwich bites.
The course was pretty good. I liked that it was mostly flat and the few hills that there were weren't anything major. Also, I think the course was all road and paved trail which I like. Gravel trails are good for training, but a smooth surface is better for racing. When I'm racing I don't pay that much attention to the scenery anymore, but it was nice running around the lake and I enjoyed the occasionally glimpses of the water. On the website it said that there was water every two miles, but I think there may have actually been more aid stations because of the out and backs. There was GU at two of the stations which was good. I think Rock 'n' Roll and Disney still only have fuel once during the half marathons (but don't quote me on that).
Switching over to the things that could be improved... in my opinion one of the biggest mistakes a race can make is to have an inaccurately measured course. Now I know that Garmin's and other GPS devices aren't foolproof, but if anything they should measure the course as long rather than short. My Garmin read 12.96, but I'd much rather it read 13.24. Based on the fact that the mile 4 marker was early, and then the rest of the markers seemed to be evenly spaced a mile apart after that, I'm pretty certain something was off about the course.
When I got my race bib, I was excited because it looked like there was a coupon for free Chipotle on the back.
But then I read the "fine print". Not only did it say "bring this in to any San Francisco Bay Area Chipotle" (reminder: the race was in Seattle), but it was only good through 7/8/13 (the race was on July 14). Talk about adding insult to injury! It's not like I was expecting anything from Chipotle in the first place, but this seems like such an easy mistake to avoid. Wouldn't they have actually saved on printing costs by just leaving the back of the bibs blank?
Finally, I think my biggest complaint about the race is the shirt sizing. I registered for an XS and I got a S. Now I would have understood if they ran out, since I signed up at the last minute and also picked up my shirt after the race rather than the at expo. But I asked the person handing out the shirts and she said it wasn't that they ran out but that there weren't any XS shirts to begin with. First of all, I wish race organizers wouldn't offer the option to sign up for a size that isn't available. And second, what really gets me is that the race is supposed to be for all shapes and sizes. In fact, here's what it says on their Facebook page: "As a woman-owned and operated company, See Jane Run reaches out to individuals of all shapes, ages and fitness levels."
As a company that caters to women, See Jane Run really should understand that XS is a size. Obviously it's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, and I should be used to race shirts that don't fit by now. But it's a really cute shirt that I'd love to wear proudly, and it's disappointing that I can't even get a shirt that fits from a women's race.
So there are some of my thoughts about the good and the not so good from See Jane Run. As I typically say, I'm not sure I would do it again just because I like trying out different races. The registration fees seem to be on par with what to expect these days from larger races, but are a bit steep for me to do the race again for fun. I'd definitely recommend the race though, especially as a destination race with a group of girlfriends or for a first timer.