Sunday, October 9, 2016

10/8/16 Defiance 50K

Race#400!  My 6th time at this one.  I like a lot of things about this race, one being the many friends that I will see.  But for the 50K this year, attendance is way down.  Three other marathons or trail ultras this weekend.  Some Oly people doing the shorter events and lots of runners in the 15K and 30K.  Light rain turning windy later.

loop 1 - 2:00  The past two years I ran 2:02 first loops and I wanted to be there or a little slower.  It takes me  a while to get the legs warmed up and then I feel like I am in a groove.  After the crowded start I settle in behind someone running a nice pace for me.  I stay back 20-30 feet so as to not bug her.  Let people pass anytime someone gets behind me.  Try to take it easy.  But it is so hard to run an even pace.  The last 3.5 easy miles go by fairly quickly.  Now the horrendous, rope assisted decent down the cliff.  Near the finish at 1:58.  I walk it in worried that I have gone out too fast.  Take my time at the aid station then head off for loop 2.

loop 2 - 2:12  The flat promontory is fine, but as soon as I start up the steps I can feel it and slow.  Move along but slower.  Pass Dan Sherman, who will re-pass me later.  By myself the rest of the long day.  On the last miles, I pass a junction that I think is Yannicks but he is not there.  I hope I am close to the end, but the trail goes on and on.  Then a turn and there is Yannick.  That was so discouraging.

loop 3 - 2:35  Well this is just awful.  No real injury, just tired.  After the steps I just can not get running again.  Rain and wind pick up.  A couple of miles of walking and shuffling, then I can jog for longer stretches.  Look back once in a while but no one is there and that does not give me incentive to move along.  Stop at the aid station to thank the volunteers.  I tell then that this is a big deal for me and so great that I get to do this and I could not do this without them.  One asks if it is my first race.  LOL.  Down the hill to the road crossing where a volunteer woman dressed as a banana had been stationed during my first two laps.  She has been replaced by two non costumed volunteers, so I ask "where is the banana?" And I get the answer I was hoping for, "she split".  On to Achilles Hill where I not only walk, I have to stop briefly to gather my strength.  Now the "easy 4 miles" but I know it will be a super long slog and I will not misjudge the distance.  Start running better.  6:07 on the watch and I try to run for ten minutes.  I do it, then keep going.  Very short walk breaks.  Then a slight hamstring cramp and I slow for an S!Cap.  Realize that I will be running a course worst today, no need to stress about it now.  The flat trail goes on forever, right ankle and foot bugging me, but hamstring seems OK.  Finally Yannick, then the road.  No one behind me I take my time on the cliff.  Still almost slip, legs are so tired.  This is a scary thing to attempt after so many hours of running.  Make it down OK and "sprint" to the finish.

Weather is crappy and most people are gone.  I grab some drink and pizza and call it a day.  Not the funnest or most exciting or best running day, but I don't think I would have rather been anywhere else.

31st place of 39
Race#400, Marathon or ultra#145, Defiance 50K #6

Saturday, October 1, 2016

10/1/16 Apple Fest 5K, Onalaska WA

I have these 4 races in 4 weeks that I love each one for different reasons.  GOAT is a wonderful trail, Bellingham is one of the best marathons out there, at Defiance next week I get to run all day and see lots of friends.  Here, today is the quintessential small town fun run.  Well organized little event as part of Apple Fest.

I won a free entry for this year at last years race raffle and am happy to be back.  My third time here.  Twice around the lake gravel and maybe a little long, plus my second year doing marathons the past two weekends, so I am not here to run fast.  Just have fun.

Hour drive from home, but it is worth it.  Easy to park and get my number.  Love the feeling like everyone knows each other.  I only see one runner that I know, but it is a nice atmosphere.  Large mug that I will use that work.


Cloudy and cool, great for running.  I get in a 1.5 mile warm up and the legs feel good.  Marathon six days ago.  Tuesday was a rough jog/walk.  Thursday felt better but not great by any means.  Took off Friday hoping to be rested up enough for today.  In fact it all feels good and will for the length of the race.


Start - Don't want to get trapped behind folks on the long double track trail, so I line up near the front, just behind some very fast looking kids.  We start right at the tower and narrow down to the trail.  Looks good, no one rushing past me.  It opens a little, then I do get behind two runners but am able to move around and pass.  From here on we can pass or be passed with little trouble.  Around the gravel pile, then the uphill and screaming downhill.  Pace is sub 8 which seems fine on this gravel trail.

Mile 1 - Off the trail and glad to be on the pavement where I can try to get into some kind of rhythm.  Really if I can hold this pace and feel like this, I will be very happy.  Great volunteers at every turn.  I make the second sharp left and there is a car right in front of me, but I get around with no problem.  Then the parade route.  Trying to keep things smooth and steady.

Mile 2 - Back to the lake and another lap.  I had passed a couple of people in the past mile, now no one close ahead of me.  Up the hill and that slows me, first time today I feel really tired.  Scream down the hill and I know there is not far to go.  Maintain a good pace, but one guy comes flying past me.  No chance of keeping up, I just run it in as best I can.

Finish - 3.17 on the GPS (3.16 last year)  I won't realize it until I get home, but I beat my time from last year by one second!

Rain starts and wind picks up.  Thank you volunteers for continuing to work the timing boards.  I change and wait in my car until the award ceremony.  The rain stops just in time for awards.  I get first in my age group ribbon out of 5.  Great raffles again, but alas I do not win anything.  Still a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning.  Only race I know of where we do a group photo after.....

10th of 85?
Race#399, 5K#105, Apple Fest 5K#3

Sunday, September 25, 2016

9/25/16 Bellingham Bay Marathon

Tenth annual event and my tenth time here!  As a legacy runner I was invited to the pasta dinner and was awarded a very nice jacket.  There are 18 of us who have done one of the races each year, only three of us have done the full marathon every year.  I keep coming back because this is such a terrific event.

Even the waking early part is not bad this year as I wake at 4:44, one minute before the alarm was set.  On the road by 5AM and parked in my usual spot downtown by 5:15.  I get on the first bus to the start line so there is plenty of time to relax and get ready.  Again the warm, spacious waiting area at the Lummi reservation is so nice.  Chat with Rikkie and other friends, then watch the tribal welcome ceremony.  They go all out this year with dancers in costumes and their songs really are touching.

Now off to the start line.  Perfect temperature. It will stay cloudy most of the way and never get too warm.  Dry and no wind this year!  I ran the GOAT trail marathon last weekend and that was my first full since June, so I expect to lag today.  I know that I will be slow and that it is some combination of not being in the best shape and also still being worn out from last week.  Checking my previous results here I see that a 4:28 is my slowest time.  So I set a goal of beating that if I can.

Start - Line up behind the 4:15 pacer and decide to stay behind/with her.  Would be foolish to go faster than that.  Even when I see Tracy Marshall up ahead, I decide to run smart and not try to stay with her.  I never will see her again as she has a great race.

Mile 0.5 - Bald eagle in a tree close by!

Mile 4 - It has been a nice run along the water.  Staying with the 4:15 group.  There are just a couple of us (names I won't remember), and it has a great vibe.  The pacer is keeping conversation going and I try to not talk too much, stay focused on the running. Another runner has a ton of energy and great stories and is really fun to just run with. The miles go by easy and pleasantly.

Mile 9 - Aid station kids are awesome as always.  Feeling pretty good, but a little discomfort up and down my left leg.  No problem staying with the pacer, but I am losing confidence that I will stay the whole way.  Strong manure smell from the farms.  Pass three maniac friends who started early.  On to the short out and back.

Mile 13.1 - We got a new pacer and the four of us continue with her.  2:07 something at the 13 mile mark, so we are just a little slow and she picks up the pace a bit.  Miss energy is still with us, singing and dancing, but she will be the first to drop off the pace.  Now the long uphill and it is getting tougher.

Mile 17 - Merge with the half but they must have started earlier than usual, because there are very few of them. Not hard to pick around the walkers.  I will be passing halfers all the way from here to the end. But now I start to slow. Stiffening, beat up legs.  Left mostly but also the right.  No sharp pain, but harder to push on.  And not super motivated.  I see 4:15 get away, but I know that I am in OK shape for that 4:28.....if I keep running.  One of the women I have been with since the start is also fading and we run together for a while.  Eventually she is able to move on faster than I.  From here to the end I will be mostly alone, doing more passing than being passed, but not running very well.

Mile 19 - Cookie stop.  Same girl as previous years with fresh, warm chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.  So great!

Mile 21 - Through the park, then the not great slog along the sidewalk near the water and downtown.  Mostly running, but very slowly.  Short walk breaks.

Mile 22 - 3:40 on the clock as I get up that hill and have the short bit where I can see the fast runners coming at me as they are very close to the finish. I am feeling beat up but in good spirits.  Looking forward to the trail and then the turn around.  Trail is nice and I plod along.  Mostly passing people, but we are all tired and slow.  Cross the tracks and down to the water.  Thirsty, there is a water fountain and I stop for a long drink.  Been taking the offered gels and drinking at each aid station.  Stomach is doing pretty good today.  Its just the tired legs.  Now the boardwalk over the water and the steep little uphill.  I manage to "run" the entire uphill.  Spectators note that and cheer for me.

Mile 24 - After that hill I sort of perk up.  The legs are not getting any worse.  I am able to run without walk breaks so I just grind it out.  One look back and I can see the 4:30 pacer.  That motivates me to keep on running.  Going to be very close to 4:28 and that is the only goal that pushes me on.  Don't walk!  Don't walk!  Encourage the walkers I am passing to keep moving.  Tell the marathoners that we can beat 4:30 if we do not walk.  I probably pass 40 people in the last two miles, most half marathoners.  I only remember legacy athlete Eric passing me, running oh so strong.

Mile 26 - I can not go fast but I can keep running and I need to to beat 4:28.  That steep downhill and now the last bit to the end.  Lots of spectators lining the finish way.  I hear my name announced and it is over. 

Solid effort at the end, just a long bad patch from mile 17-24.  I am pleased with how the back to back marathon weekends went but will take the two weeks until the next one.

184th of 358
Race#398, Marathon or ultra#144, Bellingham Bay Marathon#10

Saturday, September 17, 2016

9/17/16 GOAT Trail Marathon

Third annual event and my third time here.  After today there will only be five legacy runners for the full marathon.  The full continues to be very small with a much larger half.  I remember loving this race and this year is no exception.  Great to go point to point (no looping) on beautiful runnable trails. 

Rain this year though.  After it has been so dry, it just started raining last night.  But not cold or very stormy.  There will be lots of small puddles during the first half, then the rain will stop and the trail is in great shape later on.  Even with the puddles, the trail is looking good.

I have not run a marathon since June, but I did get in a couple of three plus hour training runs and everything is feeling good these days.  Bellingham Bay Marathon next weekend so I do not want to over do it today.  If anything hurts I will slow way down.  I guess that my goal is to have a nice day, beat 5 hours if feeling good and plod along the last miles on the dirt road at a consistent pace to get some wall/low energy training in for next week.

Drove up yesterday and hiked a little at Hurricane Ridge.  Cheap motel was fine and I get to the shuttle in plenty of time.  Couple of vans take us to the start line.  Nice to see Monte, Sara and Will.

Start - Light rain, but once we get into the woods it is not noticeable.  Got my GR truckers hat and a jacket on.  Jacket will come off about halfway through.

Mile 1 - Only now I realize that I have a bunch of loose change in my shorts pocket.  Move it into my zippered pocket in the water bottle and it will jingle every time I take a drink.

Mile 2 - Running a pace that seems a little fast but good.  Now I am behind a string of about ten runners.  No desire to try to pass them.  I like being in the back with no one right on my tail, and I try to leave a lot of space with the person in front of me.  I know that we will all be alone soon enough, but I picture us staying together till the road, or about mile 25 and then racing it in.

Mile 4 - Small gravel road crossing and four runners pull over to make adjustments and what not.  Two others then stop to let me by and soon my pack is down to about 4 of us.  We will now run our own paces but leapfrog each other quite often the whole rest of the way.  Each of us seems to like being a little behind someone, and just letting them set the pace.  But if we get too close, the person in front will slow more, step to the side and the behind runner has to reluctantly pass.  Most likely to be passed again later.  Everybody is so friendly, it is a great vibe all the way to the end.  Really nice group here in the middle of the pack.

Mile 7 - Feel a little bunching up of my right sock and decide to take my show off and fix it at the aid station.  Don't want a blister, and thankfully I will not get one.

Mostly run the gentle uphills, with some short walk breaks on the switchbacks.  Love the long gentle downhills.

Mile 13.1 - 2:21 on the watch, and I think I remember last year I ran a 2:20 first half.  But now I slow more than last year.  No wall, and the running is not so hard, but I know that last year I was trying to keep up with Mike Mahany and he is not here today to keep me motivated.  I do pass two runners who are not part of my leapfrogging group.  Enjoy the limited views in the clouds.  I can just see Canada. Then work my way alone through the darker cedar forest, ready to break out onto the road.

Again, GPS is way off from the trail mile markers.  It is a short course, but I really can not say by how much.  Down the rocky sketchy logging "road" to the main dirt road.  4:20 on the watch.  Lets see how long I can sustain an easy running pace.  I make it to 4:40 and am really happy with that.  Just a quick slow and stop at the aid station, the run again for another ten minutes before a walk break.  Pass one of my pack and start to gain on "Run Happy" socks, but she pulls away once we reach the paved road.

Now it is a short (less than a mile?) on the paved road with cones.  No where near the 4:47 from last year.  My goal is still beat 5:00, but there is 4:53 on my watch and it will be close.  I think I ran 5:03 the first year and really anything around that is fine, but I feel like I do not want a course worst today.  Not much I can do, except don't walk up this steep but short uphill.  I tell myself that if I walk here and do not beat 5 hours I will regret it.  If I keep running and do not beat 5 then I will have no regrets. 

4:57 at the top of the hill.  I think it is a really short bit to the turn into the resort, then maybe a minute to the finish line.  Yes there is it.  4:58 and into the park.  Down the hill.  Now 4:59 and where the heck is the finish line!!  It has been moved from the past two years.  The lake is right here so it can't be much farther, just the back of the lodge building, where it used to be on the side.  Make the final turn to the back of the building and yes there it is.  Happy to beat 5 hours.

Really a great day.  Things dried out more than I expected and the temperatures stayed pleasant.  No aches or pains worth noting.  Glad to have a marathon done without exhaustion even after some time off.  Great race organization, great volunteers.  I will plan to come back and run this one again.

22nd place of 39
Race#397, marathon or ultra#143

Saturday, August 13, 2016

8/13/16 Galloping Gertie Half Marathon

The Over the Narrows ten mile race is now the Galloping Gertie Half Marathon.  Still a well organized event by the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce.  Pricier, but with a nice long sleeve shirt (good quality but ugly race logo) medal, chip timed and good course support.  Jody was going to run the 10K but is nursing a bothersome Achilles so stayed home.  Nice turn out, though I barely know just a couple of people.

For those who do not know who/what Galloping Gertie is  you should watch this: Galloping Gertie

I am wearing my Tacoma Narrows Bridge Run shirt from 2007 with my Narrows Half Marathon cap from 2011.  The shirt is cotton and will get heavy late in the race, but it is a fun one to wear today.

Weather is going to be very warm.  Seems humid too.  Add super hilly course and I fear not being able to beat 2 hours.  I have yet to go over 2 hours in a half marathon, so I will have that incentive to keep working if it gets tough.

Ran 48 miles last week and intentionally kept it in the low 30s for this week, ending with today's race.  Really happy with my mileage.  Even got in a slow 15 miler a week ago.  Working hard now so that my Fall marathons will not be so bad.

Easy parking and good staging area in the Uptown Mall parking lot.  Restrooms in the movie theater.  First race for the Super S Pacing Team.  Lots of Half Fanatics in their fancy shirts.

Start - I line up behind the 1:50 pacers.  One guy mentions my shirt, says that he just threw his away, it got too old.  Slight delay as the police work to close the roads and then we are off.  I have no trouble staying with 1:50 out into the road and down the long hill.

Mile 2 - The left turn and the giant steep uphill.  1:50 slips away from me. This would be a very tough course to pace, with all the slope changes. So steep and warming up in the sun.

Mile 3 - To the bridge.  Sun is so bright that I have to check to make sure I am wearing sunglasses.  Such a beautiful day to cross the Narrows.  Look for whales.  Now the long uphill.  Yannick is there to cheer for us.  More uphill into Veteran's Park.  So glad to make it to the top and hit the water station.  Take an S!Cap that I carried with me and get a gel from the aid station, to be taken at the next water.

Mile 6 - Twist and turn and up and down some quiet Tacoma neighborhoods.  Leapfrogging one woman since the bridge.  Now I catch her but stay even for a half mile.  No words spoken, just run together.  Super steep little hill that I was not expecting.  Then water and as I pour on my head, my cotton T-shirt gets heavy.

Mile 8 - Back over the bridge.  Went ahead of that woman.  Feeling OK, just warm.  I can not see 1:50 ahead of me.  But I am still running sub 9/mile, so I know my pace is OK.  9:09 is the pace for 2 hours.  I know that I will slow on that long last uphill.

Mile 11 - Here is the final long hill.  Not as steep as coming off the bridge and the shade is such a relief.  Slowing but no wall.  I get passed by one guy and work on catching another but he gets away.  Good effort but when I know I will make my goal I ease up a little.

Mile 12.5 - Catching a woman I have been gaining on for a long time.  I tell her to not let me get to her.  But she is slowing and I get even right near the end.  I feel a little bad about passing her for some reason and slow to cross the finish line with her.  Chip timed she will beat me by a few seconds.

Mile 13.1 - Finished.  Very happy to be under 2 hours with the heat and the hills.  I get handed a cold Red Bull and I never drink those, but it is most welcome.  Watch the finishers come in and I am surprised at how far apart everyone is.  2 hour pacer comes in all alone.  Nice to have the lap tops there to check results before heading out.

48th place of 252, 37 of 112 men, 9 of 20 in the 50-59 age group
Race #396


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Whale of a Run 4 Miler - Silverdale WA

36th annual event and our first time here.  Whale Days weekend in Silverdale.  Race is a benefit for Meals on Wheels and is reasonably priced at $20 with no T-shirt option.  Parade to follow the race.  Jody surprised me by wanting to race too, making this our third race this month.

Easy drive from our Hood Canal cabin. Park at the Kitsap Mall, and get our numbers in plenty of time to warm up, but not much time to wait around. Cool for July and cloudy with a little breeze.  Decent mile plus warm up.

Start - Race seems so huge compared to my recent ones.  Wide road is closed here, but we are still packed in.  Find a good spot back a little ways and wait for the go.  Judy Fisher sighting. Ten second count down and then we are off.  Chip timed at the finish line only.  Crowded, boxed in but running at a good clip.  Get passed, pass others, after a quarter of a mile there is room to run.  Downhill start, now flatter and gentle uphill.

Mile 1 - 7:35 - ten seconds slower than last weeks 5K and exactly where I want to be.  But now the hill.  Turn right and start up a long major hill.  Road is open here and there are some cars.  Go under Route 3 and there are cars getting on and off the ramp.  Kid volunteers not really doing much to control traffic.  Uphill is steep and twists and turns.  I am slowing but so is everyone.

Mile 2 - Think about walking but keep moving in a slow run. Wonder what Jody is thinking of this course ( I did warn her that I thought it might be hilly).  Finally the top of the hill.  Right turn and just a little more up.  Now a long flat way.  Overall pace is 8:03 and I should be able to lower that now that the awful hill is done.

Mile 2.5 - Recognize Erik Lindberg ahead.  Slowly gaining on him.  Get passed by a guy with a stroller.  Gentle downhill.  Erik takes water at the aid station, so I do too.  I think I might be able to catch him, but then he starts extending his lead. Martinho is here and should be passing me soon.

Mile 3 - More downhill.  Working hard and getting faster.  Flatter and a headwind.  I draft off a kid for a few steps then pass him.  Left turn and back on to the parade route.  Brass band is playing.  Road is lined with spectators who have staked out a parade view and now are cheering for us.  Long view to the finish line.  I had hoped to beat 32 minutes (8/mile) but now I have my sights on beating 31 minutes.  Passed by one guy but now I am working to catch him back.  Push really hard to the finish.  Catch the guy and also get in under 31.

Finish - Mile 4 (3.99 on the GPS)  Congratulate Erik who says I will beat him next time.  Martinho comes in next just a few seconds behind me.  We go back along the finish to cheer Jenny and then Jody who both had strong runs.  We are tempted to join the Silver Striders for lunch, but decide to head back to the canal sooner than that.  Walk the half mile back to the start line and our car.  Surprisingly large event that I would do again.

75th of 312

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

7-23-16 WA State Senior Games 5K

We have been talking about this one for years.  We finally qualify as we both turn 50 this year.  Tammy (10K) is here to enjoying her first time as well. Also Martinho in the 10K and Nona in the 5K.  April to cheer us on.

Enter Tumwater High School Stadium to the sounds of the Olympic theme music.  Polo shirt instead of a T-shirt is different.  Our races are small but there are lots of track and field events going on.  We will see a 99 year old get a gold medal and PR for throwing the shot put from his wheel chair.  So inspiring.  87 year old legend Keith Woods is here to race against me.

5K, 10K and the race walk on the track all start at the same time, but at different locations.  I have had a decent 2 mile warm up, followed by strides and feel good.  Feel great actually.  Remember that nagging right foot issue?  I decided two days before Lakefair that it was just not healing itself, so I opted out of that race and when to the foot doctor.  I got a shot in my inflamed deltoid ligament and felt instant relief.  That was 8 days ago.  I have eased back into running and all feels good.  Now lets see how fast I can go, and hopefully not re injure myself.

Start - Jody, Nona and I are lined up with the other 5Kers.  Lots of cones and marks on the ground, it should not be hard to stay on course.  Plus volunteers to direct.  We get the signal that the races have started and off we go.  My decent warm up is apparent as I find myself going fast.  Settle into a good hard pace and hope to hold on.  Nona catches up to me, then eases back.  I will run with the fear of her just behind me all race and in fact she will finish just a few seconds behind me.

Mile 1 - 5:27!!!, no that can not be right.  That is mile 1 for the 10K race that started a ways behind us.  We are at 0.75 or so.

Real mile 1 (Mile 1.00 on the GPS) - Here is our mile  marker and the watch reads 7:25.  Still way too fast, I know that it will not hold.  Running alone, the guy ahead of me is too far ahead.  Can't sense anyone just behind me.  This place will hold for the rest of the race.

Mile 1.3 - The first two 10K racers pass me.  They hold a big lead in their race and no others will pass me. 

Mile 2 - Breathing is more difficult than getting the legs moving.  Keep pushing and wishing it was over.

Mile 3 - Slowing but not bad. Now the turn into the stadium.  The clock is reading 3 minutes less than my watch.  Going by my watch, I have a chance of beating 24 minutes.  It is going to be close, but that gives me the incentive to run hard all the way through the finish line.

Finish - 23:58 on the watch and that will be my official time.  Nona just behind me.  Now recover and wait a few minutes for Jody.  Jody will see the 24 minutes on the clock (running without a watch) and think that she has a massive PR until I give her the disappointing news.  Still 27 something is a good time.

We wait and cheer in Martinho and then Tammy.

Awards ceremony with a real podium.  Medals for the first three places in each age group.  I am the only runner in 50-55 so I get gold.

Really fun morning.  Great to be feeling good in the feet.  Fun to run with friends and Jody.  Awesome event that I will run again.

8th place of 25
Race #394, 5K#104