Monday, December 4, 2017

12/3/17 The Big C Marathon

The Big C Marathon is a little event, with a big heart.  Capped at 50 in the full and 50 in the half, both races are sold out.  Fundraiser for cancer research but so much more.  A time for those in the the running community who have been touched by cancer to connect and support each other.  $25 and close enough to home, with lots of Maniac friends, this is a great choice for me.  Although I skipped racing on Thanksgiving weekend, this does make 3 marathons in 30 days.

Puyallup to past Orting mostly on the paved river trail.  Out and back, much of this route I have not been on previously.  Cool an damp with a little drizzle but not real wet.  I will wear my jacket the whole way.

Should have brought my camera, but I was able to get some photos that others posted.

Start - 8AM at the cider farm.  Easy enough to find and parking was no problem.  So nice to see lots of friends here.  Rikki and I have no clue about the course and ask around.  I figure we will be with enough people until we hit the trail and then it should be straightforward.  Hope to remember how to get back at the end of the race.  I start with no real time goal, though a sub 4:30 would be great.  I could just run with Deb and Marie, but I think they are really taking their time today and I do want to put in a decent effort.  Instead I fall into pace with Rikki who is generally quite a bit faster than me.

Mile 4 - After a 9:49 warm up mile then an 8:58 second mile, we have settled in about 9:20/mile pace.  I feel just a little off.  Legs are somewhat stiff, overall I am not so comfortable.  Hope it works itself out.  Rikki stops at the aid station and I move ahead, solo.  She will pass me in a couple of miles.  At least I get to see folks on the out and back, other than that I will be alone the rest of the race.

Mile 8 - I like the long sections of flat straight paved trail.  A little pain between two of my left toes.  I think a nail is digging in there.  In a few miles I will not notice it and I won't think about it again until after the race when I take off my socks and find a large red blister.

Mile 10 - Planned walk break every 2 miles to make sure I drink and take a cliff shot.  This spacing of short walks and nutrition has helped fend of the wall lately.  A little boring out here.  My game is to look for a landmark (like a big tree or traffic light) that I think is a half mile ahead, then check with the GPS when I get there to see if I was right, always hoping that I underestimated the distance.

Mile 12 - Wendy Hawthorn sighting

Mile 13 - Extra walk break here.  One guy passes me.  No one will pass me after that.  Half in 2:09.  Now I get serious about my goal.  I have 96 sub 4:30 marathons so the push is on to get to number 100.  No reason why I should not go for it today.  A 2:20 second half gets me there.  About 11 minutes per mile and should be doable if I don't walk much.

Mile 16 - Quick hi to Deb, then a bit later I see Marie S, who I know but have not met officially.  Introduce myself and am on my way.

Mile 18 - Aid station, bottle is full enough, I just grab some chips and move on.  Tiring and stiffer.  Worried about the pace.

Mile 22 - Really going to be close.  Now a minor dizzy spell.  Walking and a tiny beat of weaving along.  Need to play it safe here so I walk until it passes. Afraid of pushing to pace.  But not so much farther to go.

Mile 23 - Off the trail onto a road through a farm.  Long straightaway, I look back at the end of it and no one is behind me.  On to the river trail again and pass two doing the half.

Mile 24 - Back to the road and over the river, then over the highway.  Course might be just a little long and my 4:30 goal is very tight.  No backing off now, I wish I could make my legs go faster.  So hard to run fast, at least I am not walking.  Flour arrows and a volunteer at one corner point to way to the finish, keeping me from taking a wrong turn.

Mile 26 - Now I can see the turn to the cider farm, and I really want that sub 4:30.  But it is 4:28 and not looking good, and the course will be long by a bit.

Mile 26.1 - Turn into the driveway and there is a clock with the time counting up 4:29:54, 4:29:55, 4:29:56.....I am not going to make it, it is just too far.  Finish 13 seconds past my goal.

Finish - 26.30 on the GPS - A brief moment of severe disappointment.  I tell Rikki that I want to cry.  I am really upset about it, but I think only because I was working so hard the last miles and that was my one driving force keeping me moving as best I could.  My last two races I made that goal and was able to slow and relax toward the finish.  This was stress the whole way, with no payoff at the end.  Think about how many ways I could have cut 13 seconds off my time had I known.....

In a short bit of time I am able to get over it and be happy with my effort and the accomplishment of another marathon done.

Finishers stone and pint glass.  Great food options.

Results pending
Race#431, Marathon or Ultra#162

Friday, November 10, 2017

11/10/17 Veterans Day Marathon at Bothell Landing

Mike Mahanay and Monte have decided to RD and have the First Call races continue, with Adrian Call passing on earlier this year.  It is a Friday, the official holiday, so I am off work.  But many do not get the day off so it will be a small event.  Jody has an early flight to Atlanta, so we decide to get a hotel room the night before, in Seatac.  This makes my morning drive so much easier.

Small parking lot right at the start, but I get a spot. Restrooms open!  Wet yesterday and supposed to get very rainy tomorrow, but today is dry.  Cool, not unlike last Saturday.  It was just six days ago that I had a very good run (4:15) at In Unity We Run.  With that decent race out of my system, I can run 4:45 here and be happy.  I feel good now , but know that the soreness and aches from last week's effort will slow me down at some point today and that is fine.

Start - About 45 runners in the half and full (one in the 50K) but lots of people took early starts.  Official marathon start is 8AM with the half at 9AM, but I think most are already out on the course.  Small group lines up for instruction and off we go.  Over the bridge and I am in first place.  Thankfully it does not last long as a fast guy takes off.

Mile 1 - Wow that was an 8:58 mile.  No wonder I am close to the front.  So much for easing into it.  Run with early Maniac James for a while.  But he is faster than me and will cruise ahead.

Mile 2.2 - Last week my strategy of walking just long enough to take a Cliff Shot Block and drink some water about every two miles seemed to work so well.  I decide to do the same today.  The walk breaks will have me off and on with John Anderson for the first thee quarters of the race.  Other participants took photos and shared them with me.


 Familiar course along the Sammamish River paved trail.  This is my fourth time racing out of Bothell Landing Park, in the past five years.  So I know the course but am not tired of it.

Mile 4 - Pigtails sighting!

Mile 6.55 - Turn around for this double out and back.  And here is the bench that we had installed in memory of Adrian Call.  Finishers medal will have the bench and the traditional rainbow turn around markers.  Today it is white chalk only.


 Mile 13.1 - Reach the half in 2:04.  That is a minute faster than last week.  Comfortable running, it is weird but great that I have stepped up the pace in marathons the past two outings.  Very sure that I will slow at some point.  But another flat course that is easy to run an even pace on.

Mile 17 - Now it gets harder.  Nice to be running with John.  We make ourselves keep going.  At that point in the course where there is a long straight section with a bridge in the far distance.  We resolve to run all the way to the underpass.  Then a well deserved but short walk break.

Mile 19.7 - Happy to reach the bench for the second time and start heading to the finish.  Pace has been creeping up, but still about where I was last week.

Mile 21 - Now it gets hard.  I left John behind and wonder if he will catch up.  Tired.  A few trouble spots slow me.  Left heel is acting up and I take a few walk breaks to get it under control.  Looks like I can run 13 minute miles and still beat 4:30 so I have confidence but it is not easy.

Mile 24 - Start looking back now and then to see if anyone is gaining on me.  No one in sight and not much motivation to do much other than beat 4:30.  Aches and pains, mostly in my feet, but nothing severe, I just keep plodding along.

Mile 26.2 - Bring it on home and am happy with how it went.  Stay for a little while and with Monte, help celebrate Sabrina's finish.

Tomato soup from Mike is so good.   Nice event that I would do again.  Now a recovery week for sure and probably no race until December.

7th of 18
Race#430, Marathon or Ultra#161, Race out of Bothell Landing#4

Saturday, November 4, 2017

11/4/17 In Unity We Run Marathon

Second time here and I really like this event.  Just off I-5 in Kent with plenty of parking, it is so easy to get to.  And $20 donation, a fund raiser, with one of the kindest and best RDs out there.  Nice enough, safe mostly paved trail along the Green River.  Have not run here enought yet to be tired of it.  Low key event with minimal support and a small group, but again this year I seem to know at least half of the marathoners.  Double out and back again, but both times in the upstream first direction.

Last year I ran a decent first half, then convinced Deb to do the full and I ran the rest of the way with her, finishing at a leisurely 5:15.  This year I would at least like to beat 5 hours, but really have no goals.  Probably hook up with someone and just enjoy the morning.  I have plenty of miles in, but have not gone farther than eight miles at a time since BHam at the end of September.

Cold, but dry.  So lucky it is not the rain and wet snow of yesterday.  Hat and glove weather though.  Carrying my big water bottle.

Start - See Deb but can't convince her to run more than the half.  I start near the back.  Ease into the running and get into a comfortable pace.  Mike, then Sabrina and Christie.  Next catch up to Dan Sherman and we stay together for a mile and a half.  Realize that I am running a 9:30 pace and that it feels great, but is probably way too fast.  I let Dan go, but then pass him when he takes a quick stop.

Mile 2 - Run with Stephanie and her dog.  Really nice two miles, I wish it were happening later in the race when I will need the company, but still a nice way to spend 20 minutes.  Then she walks and I continue on.

Mile 4-16 - Steady 9:30 pace.  2:05 at the half and I expect to crash soon.  Math tells me that unless I have an epic bonk I should break 4 hours.  Decide to keep doing my thing and not get into socializing too much.  Strategy of walking just a short bit to sip water and have a Cliff Blok every two miles.  Fill my water bottle at the half and at the turn around.

Mile 16 - Start to tire, but not bad at all.  Nothing hurts.  When I feel a little sluggish I practice picking up the pace for a few steps then easing back to my still somewhat comfortable stride.  Eye on my overall pace and seeing it climb but slowly.  9:36 per mile and I would be happy with a 10:00 per mile finish, so I can slow a little each mile and make my goal.  Just a matter of not taking long walk breaks.  Linda Walter sighting!

Mile 21.5 - Mike, Monte, Rick and Susan coming towards me and just like that I feel really tired.  Say something about hitting the wall now.  At least there is not much more to go.  Very happy with making it this far at this pace.  Mentally break down the landmarks to come and look forward to checking them off.

Mile 24 - Able to run long sections.  Yes the running has slowed, but no walking.  I will take that 10:04 for mile 22 any time.  Got to keep running for a great finish time.  Sharp turn off the trail and onto a rural small road, and there is a semi truck stopped and practically jack knifed across both lanes.  Tires right next to a giant puddle.  The other side of the puddle has about 6 inches of dry "path" next to a wall of blackberries.  In retrospect I guess I could have run through the puddle, but I take the time to edge around it and soon I am running again.  Red shirt woman in the long straight away distance is getting closer.

Mile 25 - Worked hard to catch up to the woman who is just not taking walk breaks.  She is slowing though.  Says that she is going for a PR of 4:24.  I know that we will make that easy but I encourage her to keep running.  After 23 miles of running alone, it is great to be with someone going at a decent pace for me.  Half mile push together.  Then I feel like I could be going faster and I have no commitment to her (plus she is going to crush her PR) so I go out faster and tell her to follow.

Mile 26.2 - Finish!  26.15 on the GPS.  Same great enthusiastic volunteers were there 2 hours and ten minutes ago when I reached the half.  5 minute positive split is amazing.  I am so surprised at how well it went.

Fastest marathon of the year by nine minutes!

I will credit my fast time today with a few things.  Better core strength due to doing yoga session twice a week now for two months, my new running routes are seriously hilly changing up the muscles, injury free for some time now, and a disciplined mental state today to handle any stress and not take walk breaks just because I was tired.

Planning to run the Veteran's Day Marathon in Bothel on Friday, so short turn around for this one.  And I will lower my expectations next week, enjoying how well this one went today.

Race#429, Marathon or ultra#160, IUWR#2
12th place of 30 finishers

Saturday, October 28, 2017

10/28/17 Tenino Pumpkin Dash

I still want to call this the Ghostmuster.  In honor I wear my 2002 T-shirt.  Mike Henderson agrees that if a race changes name and RD, but is the same course on the same weekend, it is the same race.  So I can say that it is my tenth time here.

Cool and foggy on the way in, but the sun is now out in Tenino.  Despite a not great 1.5 mile warm up (just don't feel that smooth) I am optimistic that I can beat last years time and also my time from my last 5K three weeks ago.  Generally still feeling good and improving, though no decent long runs lately.

Start - Small group again.  This should be a bigger event, like it used to be.  But some fast guys and kids here so I know that I won't be near the top.  We start well with plenty of room to spread out and hit our paces.

Mile 0.3 - I am just behind the first place woman.  6:47 pace is way too fast and I ease back a little.  But keep the woman and another guy close enough that I can think about passing them.

Mile 1 - Through the quiet streets.  Same old course but I like it.  A few guys turn off for the 10K but quite a few ahead of me.  First woman still just ahead, though I am not gaining.  7:18 mile one is too fast but not much I can do about it at this point.

Mile 2.2 - No one has passed me, but I also have not caught anyone.  Woman is slipping away as I slow just a little.  Feeling good, just out of breath.  Glad I did not run yesterday, though I wonder if it would have made any difference.  Around the field, I do pass one guy, then the long straight shot.

Mile 2.9 - Almost to the turn.  The kids in costume are doing their fun run and don't quite get in the way.  Sprint hard to the end

Mile 3.1 Finish  - 3.14 on the GPS.  Happy with a solid effort and I did make my goals of beating last year's time and the Shuck and Run time.  Congratulate the woman, who admits that it is her first race ever.  Hope she is hooked now.  I have things to do, so I do not stay for the results or awards. Results posted online later in the day.  Next up, a couple of marathons.

9th place of 36
Race#428, 5K#113, Ghostmuster/Pumpkin Dash#10

Sunday, October 8, 2017

10/8/17 Shuck and Share 5K

Back here after a few years away.  Now it is a local race, since we just moved to Hood Canal full time!  Actually in the middle of moving, it was tough to find decent clothes to wear but we made it work.  Cold for the 8AM start, but dry.  $25 entry includes a nice pair of running socks, chip timed, free entry to Oysterfest and all of the promo items that the PUD#3 could not give away recently.  Plastic cup, Seahawks schedule on a magnet, clip thing, blinking safety light, tiny paper pad shaped like a light bulb, pen and many more things that we really don't know what to do with, especially this week.  Chipped timed by the other Fritz.  Great organization, raffles, timing, course, volunteers.  This all more than makes up for the Sunday race (not my preference) and the Active dot com registration. 

Start - mile and a half warm up and I feel ready to go.  See a few friends at the start, but then we are off.  Lots of kids here, so many bunched up at the start line.  I stay back and hope to pick off many of them as the race progresses.

Mile 0.2 - First kid is walking, another is veering left to right.  Since we have a whole lane blocked off with cones, plus the shoulder, there is plenty of room to run and pass.

Mile 1.0 - 7:33 - Feeling really good and passing people gradually. The long flat straight stretch is really nice.

Mile 1.5 - Now the turn and the short ups and downs.  Pace slows but no one passes me.

Mile 2.0 - Gaining on a young man, but watching a kid farther ahead who keeps looking back.  We are gradually catching him.  I pass the man and suggest that we can both pass this kid who keeps turning around.  This gives me the incentive to keep at it, plus the course if flatter here.  Push really hard and get closer to the kid, but he turns it on at the end and it is never close.

Mile 3.1 - Finish (3.07 on the GPS).  No pains or issues of any kind and I have been a long while now without any nagging injury.  Sixteen seconds slower than two years ago, but my fastest 5K in a year and a half.  Cheer on Jody and the others.

Love the quick print out of results.  Jody wins some Tupperware in the raffle which will roll around in the trunk of my car until the move is complete.  She is happy with her time and we are back home before 9:30.  Nice way to start the day.

16th place of 136
Race#427, 5K#112

Sunday, September 24, 2017

9/24/17 Bellingham Bay Marathon

My favorite marathon! Eleventh year in a row!  Ten year anniversary of joining the Marathon Maniacs!  Perfect weather!  Tracy and Mica to run with! Its going to be a great day!

After so many years we have this down to a routine.  Don't even have to remind Connie to have a bagel and banana ready for me in the morning.  Great to stay with them as usual.  Park in the same spot and make the second shuttle bus to the start.

I have gushed about how well organized this event is and how nice the welcome center is at the Lummi reservation. Another year of awesomeness. One of the RDs thanks us for supporting youth sports by running today.  Lummi singers and dancers do their welcome again and it is so cool.  Youth volunteers everywhere and so many along the course.

Start - We meet Mica's friend Cherry and the 4 of us are all thinking of running about 4:30 with no pressure for a time goal.  Tracy does not even have a watch.  Just a little cool when we get outside, but no wind and it is going to be fabulous weather.  Across the start mat and I hold back about two seconds, on the off chance that Tracy and I finish together at which point I will beat her by chip time.  That is so lame of me!

Mile 2 - So much for the slow pace.  Mica and Cherry have struck out ahead of us and now Tracy and I pass the 4:15 pacer.  I did not care for the crowded big pack when we were just behind the pacer, now that we are in front it is easy running, but probably way too fast.

Mile 4 - Bald eagle sightings.  Beautiful morning along the calm bay.  Chatting with Tracy.  She says how much success one can have if they can dissociate from what the feet are doing.  Talking with a friend makes the miles drift by so easy.  I hope that we can keep talking later in the race, when we need the distraction.

Mile 9 - So many youth out there at the aid stations.  It dawns on my that some of them were not born yet when I started running this race and others are now adults.  Long line of kids with water cups, but one boy has a container with salty corn chips.  Tracy and I both take some and the kids all start laughing.  Apparently that was his snack his mom had packed and he offered it out there as an experiment to see if anyone would partake.  Fun times.  Thanks kid!

Mile 11 - Now it seems longer to the out and back section.  But we get there and I like seeing the other runners.  Fellow legacy athletes Celina and Eric are here, so the three of us continue to keep our streak going.  By the way, the RD has given us free entries for life, as long as we keep the streaks going.

Mile 12 - Things start getting rough.  We have caught back up with Mica and Cherry because they have slowed.  Tracy and I start to slow just a little too.  Up and down my left leg from feet to knee to hip I get little pains and stiffness.  All last week, after the GOAT marathon, the tops of both feet had been sensitive, but they are fine now.  This stiffness is not fun and I sure hope it does not get worse.

Mile 14 - My energy level feels good but I am happy to take a walk break any time some one wants one.  Leg discomfort is not so bad but is nagging.

Mile 16 - Tracy stops at a restroom and I walk on, knowing that she will catch up.  Look back and don't see her.  Keep walking.  I see the big hill up ahead and I don't want to walk all the way there only to have her catch up and then us walk some more up the hill.  So I start jogging at a slow pace. Reach the hill and I keep running slowly.

Mile 17 - Merge with the half but the last runner may have gone by.  Takes me a while to pass one, then another.  It will gradually get more crowded with slow halfers but never be a problem.  I wish there were more, like in the old days when they started 2 hours after us and I was faster.  Then it was a big energy boost.  Now it is a little lonely and I am struggling by myself.

Mile 18 - Take the ibuprofen that I meant to take two miles ago.  Into the residential neighborhood with its little hills.  And then Tracy catches up to me!  Nice to have my buddy back and someone to get me through the miles.

Mile 19 - Just as I am remembering the cookie girl, there is her table with fresh oatmeal cookies.  So nice.  I am dreading the next 5 miles, but by the time we go through the park Mica and Cherry catch up and reach mile 20, my leg is feeling much better.  I don't know if it was the pills or a change in stride but the leg will be a non issue now.  Start doing math about beating 4:30.  Should be in range, but it is a long way to go.  Seems like it is still a good goal to push toward.

Mile 21 - My least favorite part of the course and I was complaining about it to Tracy, but it goes great.  Two miles mostly on sidewalk, with driveway crossings and along train tracks.  This is where I usually melt down and Tracy suggests that having a bad experience at one spot can have you remember it and then have it again the next year.  With fewer halfers out there we don't have to dodge much and I can't believe how soon we are going up the bridge hill to the area right by the finish.

Mile 22 - That short bit where we go opposite the runners sprinting to the finish.  Wendy Hawthorn sighting!  Coming in for a sub 3:45.  "Don't stop, Wendy!"  "Go get that 3:45!"  She does.  Now the gravel path.  Feeling really good, way better than an hour ago.  Tracy and I just chugging along, Mica and Cherry back a ways.  I hear a train and start hoping that we will be stopped at the crossing.  A forced break, where they will adjust our chip time, sounds great.  But alas we just miss being stopped and have to continue down to the water.

Mile 23 - We have been without a walk break for a long time.  Tracy seems willing and able to do anything I want.  I suggest that we walk the last bit of boardwalk, to enjoy the scenery, and then make ourselves run up the steep hill away from the water.  Stupid plan but we go for it.  Just as Mica catches us, we start running up the hill as she walks like a normal person.

Mile 25 - Sub 4:30 will happen.  Feeling great but need to dissociate. If we can keep talking I think I can do the rest of this without walking.  Tracy is a little concerned that Mica is going to zoom past us, we both know what a strong runner she is.  So I launch into a story about my long lost friend who I just reconnected with and who lives in Key West but did not evacuate during the hurricane, but she is OK.  And we keep running and the pace is fast enough that Tracy does not ditch me and we do not walk and mile 26 arrives.

Mile 26.1 - There is Jody and Jared and I try to explain how we ended up with two cars in Bellingham and I should just be enjoying the finish, but friends of Mica's yell and we realize that she is making her move and the four of us all cross within a second of each other.  So my sneaky trick at the start line works to give me the chip time advantage.  But I never would have been so fast and well run without each of my pals out there today.

Mile 26.2 - So happy and feeling great.  Find RD Ben and tell him how much I love this race.  Then find Jody and Jared.  Such a positive experience it makes me want to run more marathons!

187th place of 329
Marathon or Ultra#159
Bellingham Bay Marathon#11

Monday, September 18, 2017

9/16/17 GOAT Marathon

Fourth time here with the same awesome course and same awesomely organized event.  This year I have Jody and Nickie running the half.  I sure hope they like it as much as I do.

Last dry day of the Summer.  Rain will come tomorrow, but today will be so nice and sunny and not too warm.  Trail is dusty in lots of places and I don't have my gaiters, but it does not matter.

Start - Uneventful drive and shuttle to the start area.  Pleasant cool temperature.  Nice to see Monte.  Another year where I am surprised at how small the race is, given my rave reviews.  We start off right on time.

Mile 2 - We should have thinned out sooner, but I am near the back of a lengthy bunched up group.  I count 9 right ahead of me and three behind me.  The pace is fine, but moving right along.  I know it will be a long day so I step aside and then walk a bit.  Now I am alone and will be mostly alone the rest of the way.  If I am lucky I will pass most of that pack.

Mile 5 - Passed one at the aid station, now making a move on another.  Feeling good and enjoying the day.  Fun to be here again and see the same sights.  Just when I remember the abandoned vehicle in the middle of the woods, there it is, with another year of rust.

Using the elevation on my watch rather than distance.  Walk a little up the steeper parts, but still a very runnable course.  I know that when I reach 1,900 feet I am at the top of the first big hill.  Then the gentle downgrade. 

Mile 13 - Join the half course.  Fun to think that Jody was here a while ago.  Hope to catch up to her, but it is unlikely. 

Then the clear cut and amazing view of the straight and Canada.  Back into the deep woods.

Mile 18 - Did I mention that I am under trained compared to previous years?  No injuries, but no marathon in 9 weeks.  Since July my mileage is OK, but long runs of only 18 and 15 have me concerned that I will not endure.  And now it does get tough.  And I think of the Bellingham marathon next weekend.  Lots of walk breaks and in fact it is getting very difficult to run at all.  The slightest uphill and I am walking whether I want to or not.  Try to keep drinking fluids and eating what I can. 

One more hill, then the semi clear cut and the rocky downhill road to the real dirt road.

The long slog on the road is better than expected.  I run slowly for a mile at a time, chugging along OK.  Even pass one half marathoner and a full.  Near the end I am pretty sure that I will not beat my worst time here.  With no one in front and no one behind and a long race next weekend, I have little motivation to push it. 

So happy to get on to the paved road and know that I am almost done.  Look back and no one catching up.  I walk up the steep hill, then cruise in to the finish.

Finish - Decent run today.  No falls and nothing hurts.  So great to see Jody with her feet in the water and in great spirits.  She really liked the race too and we both plan to come back next year.

31st of 41
GOAT Run#4