Monday, September 8, 2014

9/6/14 GOAT Marathon

First time event, just west of Port Angeles.  The Adventure Route of the Olympic Discovery Trail is a new trail being built on state lands.   Race website says that it is a tough course but the elevation profile does not look so bad for a trail race.  Just under 4,000 feet of gain for the whole course.  Longest climb is about 1,000 feet but spread out over some miles.  Elevation profiles can be so decieving though, I really won't know until I get out there.  There is a 7 hour cut off time.

I had so much been looking forward to this event.  Especially fun to do a trail run that I have not done before.  But after this last week I have serious concerns about what will happen.

Monday I ran the Sporty Divas Bad Azz marathon and it went horribly wrong.  My slowest marathon on a paved surface and that was not for lack of trying.  Fast first half with Tammy and then a complete meltdown.  Worst split ever.  I don't think I have ever been that dehydrated before.  I shuffled in at 5:18 and felt so bad the last two hours. 

Tuesday - Rest day, but a 2 mile hike with Jody and my legs feel OK.  Hopefully the slow time at Sporty Divas saved my legs some.  I never planned to be fast at the GOAT, this is more of a fun scenic run, but I don't want to drag the whole way.

Wednesday - At yoga I notice that my right foot is slightly swollen.  I have had minor pain on the side of my left foot for a while now and it flared up a little on Monday, but the right foot has had no problems. It does not even hurt now, just a little swollen.  Ice.

Thursday - Swelling gone but now it hurts a little.  High in the foot, low in the ankle.  Went for a three mile easy run and stopped to walk it out a couple of times.  Not serious pain but something to watch.

Friday - Drive to Port Angeles.  Walk from my hotel to the race packet pick up and I can feel the right foot with each step.  Not bad enough for me to drop out, but I am thinking about my options here.  I could drop to the half, but I don't want to.  At the race there will be aid stations every 4 or 5 miles so worse case if I am in pain or get dehydrated again I am sure that I can make it to a station and drop out there.  I don't feel nervous or bummed out, it is what it is.  Hopefully all will go well.  If it doesn't, that is the price I pay for racing so close together.

Saturday - Roll out of bed and the foot feels great.  Noticeable that there is no discomfort.  Leave PA at 6:30 to get to the Joyce Grange by 7AM.  Shuttles leave at 8 so I have plenty of time.  Going to be a hot day so I carry my small water bottle and my fuel belt.  Been hydrating and with the aid stations much more often than on Monday I am sure to not get as dehydrated.

I have been studying a map of the course.  It looks confusing in places, with intersecting logging roads.  I hope that it will be well marked.  One runner assures me that it is a new well marked trail with plenty of signage.  I hope he is right.

The shuttle consists of 3 vans and the drive is only about 10 miles.  Small group with a larger half starting later at a different location.  Fun to see a few fellow Maniacs.  Jason, Susan, Nancy, Will, Suzanne.

Start - As usual no one wants to line up in front.  The very start looks wide but we know that it will soon be single track.  My goal is only to finish and I do not want all these guys having to pass me, so I also move toward the back for the start. We start a few minutes late and with the sun up it is already feeling warm.

Mile 0.25 - Well this is going poorly to start.  I remember now that I hate that fuel belt.  I need to tighten it up, but the velcro is not long enough.  So it jostles up and down and I think it is going to rip apart and fall to the ground.  Plus I brought my phone and it is secure in my lower front pocket but is swinging wildly with each step.  If I put it in a regular pocket I am afraid that it might fall out.  I move it around and it settles in there.  Throughout the race it will flare up and I will have to make an adjustment that lasts for a while.  In the meantime I start drinking from the two bottles in the fuel belt.  When they are each about half full, the belt is much more manageable.  It moves on its own to where the bottles are in front and that really helps them stay in place.  OK now I can focus on the race.

Mile 2 - Lovely forested trail.  A few runners have stepped aside to let my larger pack through, now we are marching along just fine.  Uphill but gradual.  Soon I see that there are 4 women in front of me and I like their pace.  They are all talking and everyone seems relaxed.  One has "run happy" socks/calf sleeves.  The woman who is just in front of me has helped build this trail.  I stay far enough back to not crowd in on her, but close enough that we can talk a little.  She sees that one hole has developed and plans to come back to fix it.  Trail is in great shape.  Hard packed dirt, few rocks, no roots.  No mud, it has been so dry.

Mile 3.5 - We enter the first clear cut (this is a working forest) and have an amazing view up the Elwha valley. I want to stop and take a picture but I just passed some people and I do not want to repass them.  I like my position here, but I also want to enjoy the view.  Fortunately Jason ahead of me did stop for a photo and let me use his here:

Mile 5 -  Gentle climbing.  Switchbacking.  Big trees.  Almost trip once but I recover quickly and do not fall.  Walking the steeper uphills but keeping up with my four leading ladies.  Metal trail mile markers and we started right at zero.  My GPS is already way off though.  It will read over a mile short by the time we reach metal mile marker 24.

Mile 7 - Steeper uphill.  Wider trail and I pass one person.  Long steep way but I feel good. Check the altimeter ap on my phone.  820 feet.  Another 800 feet to the highest  point of the course.

Mile 7.5 - Second aid station.  Only water and Nuun again.  I will have plenty of fluids but I might get hungry by the time this is over.  I do have two gels (provided with my race number) and some Gu chomps, so I will not starve.

Mile 9 - After more gentle uphills, we are now on a gorgeous gentle down-slope.  No rocks.  I am way ahead of schedule but feel great and still feel like I am holding back.  Two women drop back and now it is just me and run happy sock woman.  Her name is Alecia and it is fun to talk about races and find out that we have done some of the same ones.  We see the only piece of litter on the whole trail.....a cigarette pack.  Doubt it was a runner who dropped it.

This course is so well marked.  Many red arrows on the trail.  When we cross a logging road there are ribbons on both sides of the trail, across the road making it clear where to go.  At one crossing we have to go about 50 feet on the road but there are volunteers there to direct us, even though it is also clearly marked.  This gives me the confidence to strike out on my own.  At some point I pass the run happy socks.

Mile 12 - False Ginger sighting.  I have been gradually catching up to her and seeing her on the upside of the switchbacks as we near the high point of the course.  She has earbuds in and does not hear me ask to pass her.  I have to wait for a wide section of trail to make my move.  I like having all of my senses when I race.  Later I will hear a raven call and that in itself is worth all of the effort.

Mile 16 - Still running!! Aid station has pretzels and orange slices.  Out into a clear cut and a view across the Straight of Juan de Fuca to Canada (Vancouver Island).  Have to stop for a photo here and to salute my favorite Canadians, Dixie and Tracy. Warm in the sun.

Mile 17 - Back into the dark forest.  Still terrific trails. It dawns on me that if I can keep this up I have a reasonable chance of beating my time form Monday!  I never expected to do that.  If I had to walk it on in from here I would still be happy about it, but really I feel great and am running fine.  Sometimes I find myself going faster than I should and I hold the pace back.  Wonderful to be doing that at mile 17. 

Mile 20 - Above photo and some of the others provided by the race organizers.  Aid station here with lots of food.  Stuff some pretzels in my pocket, fill up fluids and drink a lot.  Also eat a golf ball sized salty "seed and nut ball".  It tastes good but either that or the different fluids and the pounding of the trail finally gets to my stomach.  I will battle a little upset stomach the rest of the way, but really not so bad.  I have enough water that I can pour some on my head to cool down and still have enough to drink.

Mile 21.5 - Run Happy socks catches me, good for her.  First person to pass me since mile 7.  We exit the trail and negotiate the only rocky section of a poor dirt road.  I walk this bit and as it gets easier I still walk a little as she picks it up on the nice downhill.  Then on to the real, driveable dirt road that will take us to the finish.

Mile 23 - Alternating long sections of sunshine and heat, with some shade.  Taking walk breaks now but when I do run I am pleased with how far I am able to go.  Hot. More water on the head.  Great to fill up at the last aid station.  I thought this road would be mostly downhill but it has more ups and flats.  Pretty sure that I will beat Monday's time.  Generally thrilled with how this has gone. Never even came close to turning an ankle.  Right foot is fine.  No pains anywhere.  Hot and tired but this has gone way beyond my expectations.  Run walk conservatively so as to not blow up.

Mile 25.5 or so - Only 24.4 on my watch so I don't know how far it is to go for sure.  Reach a T in the road and a guy in a chair says that it is only about 800 feet to the finish.  Had I known that I might have tried to beat 5 hours.  Sprint on in to the finish line at Lake Crescent.

Finish - 5:03:45 on the watch but a 5:05:15 official time.  Runner ahead of me was recorded at 5:03:42 so they might have the times off.  The GPS miles can be off but my clock should be correct.  Either way I smashed Monday's time.  Hope to come back next year and beat 5 hours, and have a towel and sandals in my drop bag so I can cool off in the lake.

Hang around for a while at the finish and as soon as I am ready they announce a van is leaving for the parking lot.  Short drive and nice to chat with Suzanne.  Trails >>>>> roads, at least this week.

15th place of 35
Marathon or ultra#115

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

9/1/14 Sporty Diva Bad Azz Marathon

Chehalis Western (paved) trail.  A fun course would be to start in Yelm or Tenino and take the trail point to point all the way to Woodard Bay.  Today I will run a marathon here, but it will be a triple out and back from 67th street at the same start/finish as the Run for Luck and the Puddle Jump.

Sporty Diva Rose greets me enthusiastically and takes time to explain the course to me.  Small event with a 5K, 10K , 26.2miles and 50K.  Tammy is running the half and it is her birthday.  I decide to run the first 10 miles with her at about 2 hour half pace.  That is faster than I should go out for a marathon, but I can slow after and it should not be so bad.

Marathon Maniac group photo

Start - 5K and 10K go off in one direction, half full and 50K go another way.  To get enough miles we do a short out and back on 67th street.  We can see that three runners are ahead of us, but we have no idea which race they are in.  Now a left turn to head south on the trail for half a mile.  Turn around and stay on the trail going past the aid station.  We won't see the aid station again for about 7 miles.  I have a small water bottle and some gels.  I debated carrying another or bigger bottle, but foolishly went with the small one.

Mile 6 - Nice time chatting with Tammy.  Bill biking along here and there to take some pictures.  One woman (Amanda) has been ahead of us.  When we reach the T junction with the Pacific Ave trail we are to turn right, but Amanda is no where to be seen.  Looking left we see that she has gone the wrong way.  Tammy and I yell and get her back on track.  Small chalk arrows on the trail are there, but not so obvious.  Out Pac Ave Trail for a bit and then turn around.

Mile 9 - Tammy started tiring a few minutes ago.  We were at 2 hour pace but now it is slowing some.  Her friend Cheryl joins us and we finish the first loop at mile 10.

Mile 10 - Tammy takes the 5K out and back to complete her half.  I start my second 10 mile loop by heading out 67th street.  But first I refill my empty water bottle and also open a gatorade, drink some and leave that next to my car.  Now running alone.  But so many Maniacs that I can greet on the out and backs.  Lisa, Tory, Rick, Monte, Cindy, Jane, Slug, Steve, Crockpot, Peter, David.

Mile 13 - Not feeling well.  It is getting warm and I am thirsty but want to conserve what is in my bottle.  Start taking walk breaks.  I do catch up to Amanda who is also starting to struggle.  We start talking and I hope for a nice couple of miles, but when I can no longer keep up, I see that I have only gone a mile with her.

Mile 15 - Feeling very poorly.  I remember stepping on the scale this morning and being surprised to find myself three pounds lighter than expected.  I don't know how it happened, but I must have been dehydrated going into the race.  Now my legs do not want to move and a real struggle begins.  I drink more and go off course to the Chambers Trailhead to fill up my bottle.  Run a short bit with Peter but he gets away from me.  Too bad, I think that there is only one woman ahead of us, and Peter is now the first male.

Mile 18 - I can't run more than a quarter mile then it is a long walk break.  Water almost gone and I have two miles to the aid station.  Seriously struggling.  I could just quit at 20 miles.  Not my day.  But I know that I will go on.  With the 50K, I won't be the last one in and there are others going slowly.  No one is passing me, at least not yet.  Hot.  Slower Half fanatics encourage me.

Mile 20 - End of lap 2.  Rose is concerned about me.  I must not look so good.  A cold drink sounds great and I sit on a bench and down two full cups of cold Fresca.  I will probably get hit with nausea, but it just looked so appealing.  Fill my water bottle and also carry a larger bottle of gatorade.  Head out slowly for the 10K out and back.

Mile 21 - Lisa catches up.  We walk for a while and I help her get something out of her sweaty back vest pocket.  Then we run and she goes much faster.  Pavement getting to my legs and my left foot is hurting  a little.  Mostly just lacking in energy and afraid that if I run much I might pass out.  So I walk a lot.  Down to the Chambers Trailhead where I toss the empty gatorade and fill up my water.  Tory passes me here and is soon to be way far ahead.

Mile 24 - My spirits are OK but my body is just not willing.  Stomach is Ok but I just can not run. Wont beat 5 hours!  Moving along but thinking about that Fresca at the finish.  Picturing how I will open the cooler and pour myself a cup, how good it will be.  Rationing out the water I have left.

Mile 25.8 - Over the bridge and on to the last bit to the finish.  Guy on a bike says that I am really close.  Then half a minute later I hear him say the same thing.  I look back and a pack of three is finally getting close to me.  They are far enough back that I know I can come in ahead of them if I give some effort.  Not caring at all about the clock, I work hard to the finish so as to not get passed.

Mile 26.2 - 26.77 on the GPS - So happy to be done.  Stick around for a little while to recover and commiserate.  A couple of us had rough runs, but we got it done.

Results pending, but I think I was 5th of 15
Marathon or ultra#114

Saturday, August 23, 2014

8/23/14 Run Like a Dog 5K

4th time here at this 9th annual event.  Race that is the closest to my home.  I registered yesterday at packet pick up so now I can leave my house after 8AM and have plenty of warm up time before the 9AM start. $30 includes T-shirt, medal, backpack full of goodies and the proceeds go to the Humane Society.

2 mile warm up, then change into my 5K racing shoes (Brooks Launch).  Fog has lifted and it will warm up but much of the course is on the shaded Chehalis Western Trail.

I worry about all the dogs causing a ruckus at the start, but the RD is good about getting the faster runners up front and the dogs and walkers behind them.

Start - Delayed a few minutes, then a smooth start on the potentially hazardous course which turns, narrows, crosses a street, and narrows again.  Excellent work by the volunteers all along the course.  The change of shoes and quality warm up has me feeling good and I am running well.

Mile 0.4 - Been watching a little kid ahead of me.  Sometimes I misjudge a persons speed, but I am sure that he is going to crumble soon.  And yes, he takes a walk break, then zooms farther ahead.  I gradually catch him and hear him start walking again as I pass.

Mile 1 - 7:15 - Start to feel a little tired in my legs.  This is my third speed workout in the week and I knew that it might be a little rough.  Turn onto a road.  Now I hear heavy fast breathing coming up behind me.  Quite the panting and the dog and its owner get past me.

Mile 1.5 - I pass up on the aid station but the dog just ahead of me decides to check it out. (They have kiddie pools for the dogs that want to cool off)  Now she passes me again.  Later it looks like she is walking, but I still can not catch up.  I do get even to a human female.  Not saying a word I just run side by side with her for a quarter mile or so.  Then I feel like I could go a little faster so I do.

Mile 2.5 - One guy comes up real strong and makes a solid pass.  Now a road crossing and I hear a volunteer say "we can let cars go after this guy"  which I translate as there is no one now close behind me.  Same thing happens at the last road crossing.  No need to look back, but also less pressure to run as fast as I can

Finish - I have a decent sprint at the end and pick it up for the finish.  3.04 on the GPS.

Grab a water and then watch the runners come in.  Fun to see so many with dogs.  Many of the dogs have great form and are having fun.

Lots of vendors (pet related mostly) and some really good raffle prizes but alas I do not win anything.  Still a fun time and great work out on the home course.

19th place of 336
Run Like a Dog 5K #4

Monday, August 11, 2014

8/10/14 Transcendence 12 hour

5th annual event and my 5th time here, making me a legacy runner.  There are 8 of us who ran the first four races, but only 5 of us are here to carry on the legacy.  I don't feel highly motivated to run all day.  Maybe just get the 50K in to count for MM stats and then take a few more easy laps.  50 miles would be great, but it is supposed to be HOT and I just don't care that much. Definitely will not run through pain.  I have not run long since June, so this will be a good chance to hit the wall and work on endurance.  Marathons planned in 3, 4 and 7 weeks from now so it is time to step it up.  Three hours of good solid running to hit the wall and then evaluate from there is the plan.  Also then I will be running fast in the cool of the morning.

Start - Attendance is down this year but it is still a nice event with some Team Cupcakes representing and Tory running her 100th marathon or ultra.  We line up right on time and only a few of us want to be near the front.  Off we go and I settle into third place.  Loops of 1.524 miles.

Loop 1 - 15:16, right at 10min/mile
Loop 2 - 13:17, Playing the role of the rabbit, I am now in first place
Loop 3- 14:03
Loop 4 - 13:55 - Still in first place, but I get passed while taking a quick fluid and salt break. 

3 hours - 12 loops done, 18.3 miles and now I start to warm up and tire.  It was fun while it lasted.  I tell Deb that I am going to walk for the next 9 hours but she does not believe me.  The walk breaks do start and my average lap goes from the 14s to 21-22 minutes.

26.2 miles, about 4:45

50K at 6 hours

So now it is noon and getting quite warm. It will reach the mid to high 80s soon.  Craig has been posting the current standings and I keep seeing that I am in third place.  There are no age group awards, but there are awards for the top 3 male and female.  I decide that I would love a top 3 finish so I keep the breaks short at the aid station and keep moving.

7 hours - a little dehydrated.  I start drinking quite a bit more.  I also take a large dishtowel, soaked in cold water and run with it around my neck.  At the far side of the lake, the sunny oven, I put the towel over my hat and it keeps my head much cooler.  This towel trick helps a lot and I start feeling better.

8 hours - Try to eat a little something after each lap.  Mostly potatoes and gels.  Rounding a corner a little girl says "eww stinky" and I don't know if she means me or the lake.

9 hours - 43 miles - I guess that I will go for 50 miles after all.  Nothing hurts, just hot and tired.  I have 3 hours to cover 7 miles, that should be easy.

10 hours - Other than Holly, I have not seen any locals.  But now Martinho shows up to check on me.  And he is ready to run with me.  I feel bad because I can barely shuffle.  But he does not mind and he is a great distraction.  We talk Silver Strider Strategy and he keeps me motivated by subtly suggesting that the 4th place guy might be catching up.  I look at the leader board and think that I have a lock on third, but only if I keep moving.

11 hours - Martinho and I throw down a 19 minute loop, me thinking it will be my last.  But halfway through, I consider doing one more.  One more loop would ensure third place and would make this the second farthest I have ever run.  (57.9 miles here two years ago on a cooler day).  We cover one final lap, not so fast and call it a day.

51.8 miles

I do get third place and win a nice Guerilla Running visor.  Other than the balls of my feet partially melting during the last hour, things felt pretty good throughout. 

3rd place of 34
Marathon or ultra #113
Race #334
Transcendence 12 hour #5

Monday, August 4, 2014

8/2/14 Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon

4th time here, but it has been a couple of years.  A while back Jody was looking for a half and we picked this one.  Too bad her training did not go as planned and she will not try to be fast here.  But we will come race it anyway. 

To make things easier before the race, I picked up our numbers the day before.  This morning we drive to the start at the airport and will take a shuttle bus back after.  We get there at about 7AM, thirty minutes before the 7:30 start.

A few clouds and a smattering of weird giant rain drops.  It has been so hot lately, I welcome the clouds and the early start time.

Say hi to a few friends and then cram in the start area behind the 1:50 pacer (Sabrina).  My PR  (1:38) was here in 2011, but this year I doubt my speed.  Chelan was 1:52 and I should be better than that, but some runs have been so sluggish.  I will be happy with a feeling good sub 1:50.  Halfhearted half mile warm up.

Start - Crowded but smooth, a few minutes later than scheduled.  Turn off the runway and the short out and back on the road.  Going to be crowded for a while but I will be patient.  Run with Rickie for a bit, have not seen her in ages.  The 1:50 pacers are getting a little ahead and I am still crowded in, so as soon as the road opens I make a move to get ahead of them.

Mile 2 - I had planned to stay with the pacers until the halfway point, but the pack was so tight, I went ahead of them and now have been gradually gaining on them.  I don't want to look back, but I also don't want to get too far ahead.  About an 8:15 pace and it feels comfortable.

Mile 5 - Over the Narrows and up the big hill.  8:21 pace but its not so hard to get up the hill.

Mile 6 - Judy Fisher sighting.  Around the neighborhood and the overall pace is back to 8:15.

Mile 8 - 8:12 overall pace and still feeling comfortable.  A few fat rain drops.  Then warm sun.  Into Cheney stadium and around the warning track.  Just as I leave the stadium, Pacer Sabrina enters, so I know how far ahead I am.

Mile 10 - Start to get a little tired.  That long straight ugly slightly uphill section along Highway 16.  Looking forward to the downhill.  I have not been running with anyone, just doing my own thing.  But now I catch a guy and we grunt a little to each other.  He he gets ahead of me and I catch another runner.  Don't say anything, just run next to her for a bit.  Then run with another guy.  It is nice to pace with someone, we are all just trying to hold on and not slow down.  Really can not wait for the downhills.

Mile 11.5 - The steep downhill is too steep.  With a young guy who is running his first half marathon.  I encourage him, we have a great finish coming up.

Mile 12 - Now the final mile to the end.  Nice gradual downhill.  Happy that everything feels good.  No pains or worry spots.  I will make my time goals, but I still think that I should be faster.  I gave it  a good effort and will get a slight negative split.

Finish Mile 13.1 - 13.19 on the GPS.  Heavy finishers medal.  Great post race gathering area with plenty of food and drink.  I like the live music.  Cheer on the runners and watch Jody finish.  We have to wait a long time for the bus back to the start but it is nice to chat with fellow runners and we make it home before noon.

136th of 790
Race #333, Half Marathon#30, Tacoma Narrows half#4

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

7/19/14 Chelanman Half Marathon

This has to be my least favorite race that I keep coming back to.  4th time here.  Hot, unsafe road open to traffic, slanty pavement that will hurt my feet.  $50 pre registered entry fee.  But the age group awards are back.  And it will start earlier than before, beating the real heat and avoiding the crush of Olympic distance triathlete runners. And really, am I going to drive all the way out here to watch friends do triathlons and not jump into a half marathon if it is offered?

Jody is running the 10K and she forgot her watch, so I give her mine.  This helps to take the pressure off.  I picture myself running nice and easy and not caring about time.  Maybe I will finish strong and at least be under 1:50.

We got in last night and the smoke from the wildfires was scary.  Chelan is safe but surrounding towns were hit hard.  I feel a little guilty coming here to have fun when people are losing their homes not far away.

Meet up with the only other Half Fanatic in the race.  HF Pam is really cool.  She started running when she was 62 and seems so happy, showing off her HF gear.  We take a "group" photo.

Very short warm up and then it is time to line up.  The RD tells us to self seed by pace, but no one moves to the front.  I know that I should not be in the very front, but no one wants to step forward.  I suggest that if anyone is going to be faster than 8/mile, they should get in front of me.  I expect to go out about 8-8:30/mile.  One woman joins me and her son who looks about 11, gets in front saying that he plans to do about 6:50/mile. I am skeptical and I hope that I don't run over him.

Start -Smooth enough, but a bunch of people go screaming past me on the downhill, the sharp turn and along the hotel parking area.  Up the hill,  and on to the road.  I am running very fast and I wish that these guys had stepped up closer to the line.  Well, no one slow to pass and soon we are stretching out on the shoulder of the highway.

Mile 1 - Don't know my time, but I suspect it is too fast.  Working way harder than the easy effort I had pictured.  Three dead bats on the side of the road.  Feeling warm already.  Strong head wind. I draft a woman for a while and it really seems to help. Then I get in front of her and tell her that she can draft me if she wants.

Mile 2- Good news is that there are aid stations every mile.  I had planned to carry water, but left my bottle in the hotel and it really is fine without.  I will feel thirsty each mile.  Try to just drink a little, but by mile two I am pouring some water on my head.

Mile 3 - Not going to be a good race.  It is hot and my legs don't feel speedy.  Difficult going.  Wondering why I signed up anyway.

Mile 3.1 - 10K runners turn around.  That kid I was skeptical of is doing great!  He is one of the top 10K runners and will go on to a finish must faster than I could have done.  Hoping that Jody and Haley are having good races.

Mile 3.4 -  Nice downhill.  I can see a long way ahead.  No one in front of me for at least a quarter mile.  I count seven little specs of runners far in the distance, all close together.  Now I see that one of the seven, in a white shirt, has stopped and is off to the side.  Another runner has slowed too.  I think the white shirt person might be injured and dropping out.  She is walking back this way, the other runner has continued on.  It takes a while to get closer, then I see that it is a kid.  The poor girl is crying and the sweat and tears are just so sad.  I stop and ask if she is OK.  She missed the turn for the 10K and is super frustrated and upset.  I have a sudden strong feeling of empathy for her.  I just want things to be OK for her. I stop and tell her that it is OK, try to relax, just head back the way you came and it will all be fine. Best words of encouragement that I can think of.  We walk back together just a little way until she starts running.  She was going so fast and would have had a great 10K race.  She will end up in 79th place of 130, which is pretty awesome for a 12 year old who put in an extra two miles in the race. She was so unhappy, what if this turns into a horrible memory for her and she never races again, and wastes that obvious talent? Later I will learn that she is the sister of the fast boy and that her mother was in the half marathon not far behind me.  The mother saw me try to help her and thanked me later.  In the mean time I turn back around and start running again.  No idea how long that took, but whatever the hit on my finish time it was well worth it.  The first few steps though I am still feeling terrible for the girl.  Probably because of the difficulty I was having in my own race, her tears really affected me.  I start having my own crying fit and it takes a giant spider crossing the road in front of me, to think of Jiaxin, and my race starts to brighten up.

Mile 5 - Around a curve and an older teen boy is coming towards me on the other side of the road.  First place runner?  Wait that is super fast and he is not going so quickly.  I yell that he is really fast, and he says that the missed the 10K turn around!  He seems to be handling it better than the girl.  I don't know how anyone could go that far off course.

Mile 6 - Half mile up hill to the turn around.  Quite a hot slog up the hill.  I better not miss my turn or I might end up in Stehekin.

Mile 7 - Made the turn and heading back.  Downhill is great and on the flat after that I start to feel pretty good.  Catch a woman who is training for a marathon and plans to run 14 miles tomorrow.  We go back and forth a bit, with runners coming at us and lots of bikers on the road.

Mile 8 - With that woman and I ask her about the time.  With a little tricky math I figure that I should finish in 1:51.  Feeling good though and I expect and want to get in just under 1:50.

Mile 12.5 - Nice to not be distracted by a watch.  Hot and tired but no wall.  Give a good effort on the final hill, but the woman passes me.  Zip on down to the finish.

Finish - 1:52:43  Slower than I had thought I was going.  Second half was slower than the first half, but I felt better as it went along.  Nice to win 2nd (out of 5) in my age group.  Haley did great, exceeding her expectations.  Jody had a decent run

Two hours later we watch Bill head out for his half marathon after biking 58 miles and swimming some long distance.  An hour and 45 minutes later I walk back from the finish area and cheer runners on.  I keep walking and make it all the way to the last aid station, about 0.8 miles from the finish.  The aid station has been abandoned.  I pick up 15 cups on the ground, pour some coolish water from the jug and then find some bags of ice in a big container.  It is over 80 degrees at this point and these guys have been at it for more than 6 hours now.  I put chunks of ice on the table and each runner takes some.  Bill comes through and I jog with him most of the way to the finish.

Sunday - Tammy completes her first triathlon and may be hooked on the event.  She does great and has fun. 

23rd of 90
Race#332, Half Marathon#29, Chelanman Half #4

Monday, July 14, 2014

7/12/14 McCleary Run from the Bears 10K

3rd time here, but not since 2008.  Same course.  Supposed to be a hot one, but as I drive into Grays Harbor County, the fog is in and it is cloudy and cool before I warm up.  $5 day of race with the no T-shirt option is wonderful.

Plenty of time to gradually warm up.  I run out from the finish and notice paint on the street corresponding to mileage of some kind.  1.92, 1.86. 1.82, 1.76.  I get in two miles and feel pretty good.  Now where are the people?  The start is a quarter mile from the registration table and everyone is still milling about the table area.  Race begins at 9AM.  It is 8:45 and I am the only one near the start.  It is a small event, but there is also a 5K and a 2 mile walk.  One other runner comes by, then one more.  She asks where the start is.  We wonder what is going on and start back to the table.  Then we see a few people walking up and we go back to the start.  A few minutes later, still only a couple of us here so she and I set out again.  I am relaxed but she seems to be stressing that we are going to miss the race.  8:58AM and 4 more people are walking up the road, looks like more farther back, but no one in a rush.  Ok we will just start a little late.  See my niece's neighbor Mike. Other than him and Shawna, I do not know anybody here.

9:10AM  Start - We are finally gathered at the start and ready to go.  Policeman says that he will lead the way and then patrol the roads but be careful as the roads are open to traffic. I am up at the front and after a dramatic "on your mark....get set...go!" we are off.

Mile 0.2 - Out the side street and onto the main road.  There is a wider shoulder on the right and we will be turning right real soon, so I move to the right side of the road.  The runners ahead of me have stayed to the left and I don't know what is going on behind me.  I feel like I am all alone.  Soon enough we turn right and all of us hug the edge of the road through the main part of town.

Mile 0.5 - Three runners are already well ahead of me, and one other is just ahead.  I gradually catch and pass her.  Running pretty hard, but it is a 10K race.

Mile 1.0 - 7:15. Almost as fast as last week and that was a downhill start.  Worried that I will slow, but not much I can do about it now.  One of the three ahead of me has turned around as he is doing the 5K.  That puts me in third place.  One man and one woman ahead and getting smaller by the minute.

Mile 2 - Right turn with a few spectators and I can not help but look back.  Yikes!  A man and a woman about 100 feet back. 

Mile 3-4.5 - Country road.  Pushing as best I can.  Really trying to focus on my form.  Don't let my mind wander.  There is a guy putting a stool out on the street with a free sign.  It would be funny to sit in the chair real quick.  Stop thinking about this and get back to thinking about running.  Make this an exercise in concentration.  When I focus on form I go faster.  At times I can sense and maybe hear the runners behind me.  I am slowing a bit but not too bad.  I think that they will catch me.  Don't look back, that will only encourage them.  5th place is still good.  But not as good as 3rd.  I will not relent.  Aid station up ahead.

Mile 4.5 - Aid station.  I can not help it, I look back and yikes!  The two runners are a little closer.  Definitely too close for comfort. Warmer now and I pour some water on my head and drink a little.  Make it to the turn and decide to put on a surge around the bend.  I run as fast as I can for a bit, hoping that when my chasers get to the turn after they get their water, they will see that I am farther ahead and hopefully out of reach.  Bit of strategery here and I can only hope that it will work.  Now back to my comfortably hard pace.  No pains, just can't make the legs go any faster.

Mile 5.5 - Onto the road home.  Construction painting here.  1.22. 1.26, 1.32, 1.36, 1.42.....I remember that the finish line is about 1.92 so I know how far I have to go.  Curve in the road, I cross over to take the inside tangent and be on the same side as the finish line.  Bit of a downhill, now overlap where we started, quick look back to see that I am locked into third place and then sprint to the finish.

Finish - Mile 6.2 (6.17 on the GPS)  Average pace of 7:28 is faster than my pace for the 4 miler last week.  Flatter course, but I really did feel better today.  90 seconds slower than I was here 6 years ago, but I am very pleased with my time.  Cheer on the finishers.  Awards only for the top male and female, so I go home empty handed, but happy.

3rd place of 25
Race#331, Bear 10K #3