Saturday, August 22, 2015

8/22/15 Run Like a Dog 5K

5th time here, the race that is closest to home.  10th annual event and it has really grown.  But the price is right and everything is well organized.  $25 pre registration includes a T-shirt, string back pack full of mostly dog related items (will give to Saki) finishers medal, and chip timing.  Lots of corporate sponsors so the race remains cheap, but raises a lot of money for the humane society.  Picked up my swag yesterday.  Left the house after 8AM today, in no hurry, with plenty of time for a long warm up before the 9AM start.

Start - Warmed up with Martinho.  Nice to see Christie, who will run with her dog.  Comfortable in short sleeves, it is cooler than it has been, great for running.  Most of the dogs are in the back, a few competitive ones near me, so as always I need to be careful with the start. Ten second count down and we are off.

Mile 0.05 - Smooth start but sudden surprise.  Instead of the left turn along the parking lot, we all go straight and take a little gravel bit to the paved trail.  For an instant I am sure that everyone is going the wrong way and I almost make the turn, but decide to follow the crowd.  Left turn on the paved trail, then across the road and continue on.  Same distance as every other year, now the course will be the same as I have previously run.  Hazard of running the same races year after year and thinking that you know it all, not checking for changes.

Mile 0.5 - Christie has gone past me and looks strong.  I am keeping up with one other dog.  Brown fir needles all over the trail.  The dog is the same color as the trail.  My legs feel good.  These days I never know which right foot is going to show up.  It will not be a problem today.

Mile 1 - 7:20

Mile 2 - On the road and looking forward to looping back to the trail.  Been back and forth with a couple of guys.  Now a kid that I passed early on has caught me.  I encourage him and note that I am slowing a little.  Stay with him and we run together.  Not as fast as I would like, but everything feels good.  I can accelerate, but when I do, my breathing gets ragged and I know that I will not be able to hold it.  So I slow down to a more sustainable pace, but continue working hard.

Mile 2.7  - Up that little hill on the trail.  Kid still with me.  Then he takes off and leaves me way behind.  I also start a final push, just not as fast as him.

Mile 3.0 - Almost to the finish, and here comes Martinho.  The man with the finishers kick catches me.  I go even faster and he stays even.  Then I realize that he does not care about beating me, he thought it would be nice to finish together.  We do so, but the chip time puts me a few hundredths of a second ahead of him

Finish - 3.07 miles on the GPS.  My slowest of five times here, but I feel good about today.  If I want to get faster 5Ks I need to race them more, plus the speed training work.  Too bad the Fall is going to be full with long races. 

Nice post race time, but no raffle wins for me.  Lap tops to check results.  I get third in my age group (40-49) but they do not have age group awards to give out.  Really good 5K option for this time of year.

31st of 357
Race#361, 5K#93

Saturday, July 18, 2015

7/18/15 Lakefair Half Marathon

First race since June 14.  The Tunnel Marathon was the culmination of 6 months of hard work, and many training miles.  This year my marathon times went down and I finally got back under 4 hours twice.  Ran some good 5Ks too.  But it all fell apart after the Tunnel.  Recovery was hard so I took extra days off.  New discomfort below my left knee meant resting a little more.  Temperatures in the 90s, then a trip to Spokane where it hit 106F one day.  Week long trip to Springfield Missouri, where humidity was added to the heat.  My easy pace of 10/mile became difficult.  Knee/shin gradually getting better but everything feeling slow and sluggish.  Back to WA 4 days ago and the running got better.  But I have done no speed work in a month, have not run longer than 8 miles at a time since the Tunnel and have not run a half marathon in almost a year.  Low expectations for today.

On the bright side, my friend and one of the few people who actually reads this blog, Allen George, is here.  I went to college with his wife Amy.  They now have 4 kids and are medical missionaries (on sabbatical) in Peru.  USA home base is Nebraska.  No trouble picking up 4 race numbers at SSR yesterday.  The Georges got in last night and we stayed at Hood Canal, so that meant a longer drive to the race this morning.  Two of the kids are racing the 8K and Allen will run the half with me.  We get there with just enough time for a little warm up, bathrooms and find the start line.  Sunny and will be warm, so now that I am here, I am glad about the 7AM start time.

Hometown race, so lots of familiar faces.  Super S and Maniac Jill sightings too.  Allen and I line up with a few minutes to spare.  We are going to shoot for sub 8:30 miles, hopefully closer to 8 and hopefully pick it up later.  Being undertrained I am relying on hope.  Allen is faster than me, but he is happy to stick with me and we are not treating this competitively.

Start - Because of the new trail overpass on Pacific, the start has been moved closer to the finish line and the 8K start.  Nice change.  Chip timed we start off well.  About a half mile in I see that I am at 8:20 pace and am happy because it does not seem that hard.

Mile 1 - On to the shaded paved trail.  Passing groups and being passed, but not too crowded.  Settle in at this pace and happy that it all feels OK.  No desire to go much faster.  First water station is not overwhelemed as in previous years.  I have my large handheld anyway, extra water can go on my head later.  Judy Fisher sighting up ahead.  I expect to catch her eventually.

Mile 4 - Nice running with Allen.  He seems very comfortable and it is I who is a little worried about maintaining the pace.  He is talking more than me as I try to focus on keeping up the pace.

Mile 6 - Real familiar territory on the Chehalis Western Trail.  Nice gentle downhill, now a long flat bit.  Feeling tired though.  No pains, which I am thankful for.  Tired legs and sluggish.  Keep pushing, but it is not the funnest time for me.

Mile 7 - Out onto the roads.  This road is not only open to the sun, but has been freshly tarred.  Glad it is only 8AM.  This patch would be miserable in true heat.  It does wear me down though.  Martiho and Jenny pass us.  Longing for the section in Priest Point and the East Bay road to the end.

Mile 10 - Out of Priest Point and now a gradual downhill to town.  Was hoping to be screaming fast here, but now I can pick it up just a little.  Going to end with a fairly even pace, a slight positive split.  Feeling better now.  Judy Fisher still a quarter mile ahead.  I will not catch her.  Allen is doing great.  I should not have worn a black shirt. 

Mile 12.4 - Rich Brown sighting, so I have to try to go faster.  Now merge with the 8K and then the finish.  Allen is my guest and he clearly had an easier time than me, so I try to get him to cross the finish line ahead of me.  He has none of that and we both slow down at the end trying to be nice. We finish together, but the clock put me ahead.

Finish - 13.15 on the GPS.  Allen's son ran an 8K/5 mile PR and his daughter won third in her age group.  Nice food options and plenty of water at the finish.

Next race will probably be on August 22.  But should I do the Redmond Watershed marathon, or the Run Like a Dog local 5K?  Leaning towards the 5K at this point as I would like to get some speed back.

1:50:24 chip time
88th place of 364
Lakefair Half#3
Half Marathon#31 including 15-20 milers

Monday, June 15, 2015

6/14/15 Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

My 5th time here, though it has been a couple of years.  This event now has grown to about 500 runners and sells out on the first day of registration.  I remember not being thrilled with the high registration fee, but that was so long ago I don't miss the money anymore.  I will get a T-shirt, nice medal and bus transportation to the start as well as a bus ride from the finish to the new parking area a couple of miles away.  Aid stations have gotten larger and staffed with volunteers.  Lots of helpful volunteers all over the place and it really is a well done event.

Up at 4AM and out of the house by 4:20.  Gets me to parking and the bus in plenty of time.  Cool at the summit, but I have a winter hat and long sleeves.  As soon as the sun rises above the mountains, it warms right up.  Hat and shirt go in drop bag to the finish.  Maniac Central, most of the cool people are here.

Tracy and I have the same plan, to follow the 3:50 pacer and hold on as long as we can.  I have run conservatively in marathons lately and I think it is time to try to be faster.  I feel like I am in shape to beat 4 hours, maybe do much better.  I won't know unless I try.  I ran 3:48 here one year and that is one of my 3:48 best times.  Tracy needs sub 4 for her BQ so she has real incentive.  We have been very close in times recently, so we will run together to start, but then do our own thing as the race unfolds.

Start- Last time I was here the race was chip timed but only at the finish.  Now I think that we have a new system, it is above us and will scan our bibs, so no mat.  But there is a scanner at the start.  I start my watch right away and it is about 15 seconds to get through the line, so that will hopefully be subtracted for my chip time.  Crowded out and back on the pavement, then dusty, rocky path.  Lisa Woods sighting

Mile 0.5 - Knuckle lights are on and into the tunnel we go.  Hoot for the echo.  Pace is so fast.  Trying to stay with 3:50.  Crowded and dark.  Really have to watch the footing.  Other than here, I have never done anything like this.  Trying to run safely.  Tracy is getting ahead, finishers reflective cape flapping into the dark.  I wait for an opening and move ahead when I can safely do so.

Mile 2 - Behind Tracy but ahead of the 3:50 pacer.  Running way faster than usual, almost out of breath. Maybe it is the altitude, or low levels of oxygen in the tunnel?  The light is getting bigger now but there is still a long way to go.  The light at the end of the tunnel gets bigger and bigger but takes so long to get through.

Mile 3 - Out at last.  Into the bright sun.  Fast transition here.  Knuckle lights off and into the bag that I carried through the tunnel.  Hand off to the the Prez, get a quick cup of water.  Tracy is still ahead but I catch up to her.  Two track dirt road.  Lots of stones in the middle and too many stones in the tracks.  It is really better to stay in a track.  Still crowded but eventually it thins out and we can run side by side.

Mile 5 - Running way too fast.  About 8:35/mile pace.  9:10 is a 4 hour finish.  8:40 is my 3:48 PR, 8:35/mile is a 3:45 finish.  But the 3:45 pacer is way ahead of us, so maybe my watch is off.  Then as the real 3:45 pacer passes us, I realize that I have been following the 3:40 pacer.  3:45 (MM Scott) goes past us quickly and we are left between 3:45 and 3:50.  We probably should slow down and get behind 3:50 since that was our aggressive plan, but we don't.  Running so fast that we can barely talk.  We pretty much just quietly push on.  Gentle downhill the legs are warming up and although it seems fast, it is not hard to go this pace.

Mile 8 - Tracy has to make a quick stop.  We are now averaging 8:31/mile, though still a ways behind the 3:45 pacer.  I slow a little bit and then go faster again.  Tracy does not catch back up and I have no idea how far she has fallen back.

Mile 9 - Sock rubbing on my right big toe.  Its feeling warm and I am probably getting a blister. It is not painful, so I just keep running.

Mile 13 - Take a little walk break and when I reach 13.1 miles I am just under 1:53.  That would mean a PR of 3:46 and I start thinking that it just could happen.  But I am probably fooling myself as there is a long way to go.  And it is getting warmer.

Mile 15 - 8:31/mile pace, catching up to the 3:45 pacer.  But my left foot is starting to hurt.  Plantar pain like I have not had in a few years.  Gradually gets worse.

Mile 16 - Left foot is a real concern now.  Right foot blister is doing fine.  Mostly running alone, friendly people though that I pass or get passed by.  Amazing scenery.

Mile 17 - Left foot has settled down.  Does not hurt nearly as much.  Just a little bother, but very runnable.

Mile 19 - Catch Scott at 3:45 pace.  I am smart enough to not pass him.  Enjoy patches of shade much more than the sun.  Start to tire and let Scott slip ahead.

Mile 21 - Tiring for real now.  Happy to make the turn off the trail.  Jill Hudson sighting, just when I am most discouraged and taking a walk break.  No PR for me today.

Mile 22 - The long flat sunny slog to the finish.  Been calculating that 10 minute miles will get me in at 3:54 and that is what I seem to be doing.  When I run I am going OK, but there are too many short walk breaks.  Leapfrogging others doing the same.  Some folks are really struggling.

Mile 23 - The 3:50 pacer passes me.  Would I be right here now if I had just stayed with him as was planned.  I can not say.  Anyway I just need to keep tromping along and I will have a decent finish time.

Mile 24 - It is warm now, but not oppressive.  Glad that I have the big water bottle and can pour water over my head with it, while drinking at the aid stations.  After a walk break it it harder to get running again.  Legs are stiffening up.

Mile 26 - Under Highway 90 and there is the finish.  Do the best I can to finish strong. Photo by Kay.

Mile 26.2 - 26.23 on the GPS.  Chip time will get me just under 3:55, my 14th fastest marathon.  Second best out of five times on this course.  The volunteer drapes the medal around my neck and then Tracy taps me on the shoulder.  She finished just a few steps behind me and got her BQ with 5 minutes to spare.

Take my time at the finish area.  Fun to recover and relax with fellow finishers.  Kay is here and she can text Jody, so I don't feel like I have to hurry back to my car.  When I do get back to my car I peel off my socks and am surprised at how large the blister is on my toe.  It is huge but has not popped.  Also my left foot/plantar is acting up again.

Monday - Wearing sandals all day and the blister is still intact.  I have been icing the other foot and am less worried about it than I was last night.  I think that I might not run the 5K scheduled for this Saturday.  It would be smart to give up on the mileage game I have been playing, at least for a while.  The warning signs are there that I need to protect my foot.  Good thing I don't have any marathons planned until September.  Next race might not be until Lakefair in mid July.  If so, this was a good way to finish off the racing season.

201st place of 495
Race#359, Marathon or Ultra#127, LatEotT #5

Monday, June 8, 2015

6/6/15 Run for Rett 5K

Third time here at this 6th annual event.  I really like this little race. It is a fundraiser, but also raises awareness about Rett Syndrome.  There are Rett families and Rett girls there and it is a fun sunny atmosphere. Tumwater Historical Park is a good place to stage a small race. $30 Day of race includes a T-shirt, a sturdy shopping bag and a wrist band for my collection.

Lots of sun today.  9AM start and it is warming up.  I get here early enough to jog the whole course.  Joe Schrum sighting.  I checked my times for previous years (22:21 in 2010) and I think 23:01 on this new tougher course in 2013.  I feel like I should be able to be in the 22 something range.

Martinho is here, saying that he has done no speedwork lately.  Should be a good race, but I expect him to beat me on the uphill after mile 2.  There is a clown here with giant clown shoes.  I tell her that I like her shoes and she says that she got them at a big shoe sale.

Start - Small group of regular racers, a couple of people who will be way ahead of me.  Lots of slower runners and walkers.  There is also a 3K run and walk.  The start is on the wide part of the parking area and we have a good tenth of a mile before we skinny down to the paved path.  I go out fast.

Mile 0.5 - With Martinho.  Around the bend then onto Deschutes Parkway sidewalk.  Surge to pass a couple of people.  Really going too fast.

Mile 1 - 7:09  Not feeling great but the speed is there.  Keep trying to go fast and this is not great fun.  Martinho a few steps ahead of me.  Two people I had passed now get past me, looking comfortable.  Slow for water at the turn around.

Mile 2 - 14:49 - Gradually catch up to two women who are just out running, not part of the race.  Wow, they are going fast for a training run.  Huff and puff past them, right on Martinho's tail.

Mile 2.3 - But now comes the hill and more open sunshine.  Martinho gets farther ahead and I will not be able to keep up.  Manage to get up the hill and make the sharp turn.  Now shaded but a little too steep down.  Start looking at the watch and wondering if I can beat 23:00.  Doubtful but I don't give up.

Mile 2.8 - Onto the gravel path in the sun.  It is just too far around this field.  I am determined to beat 23:00 and I work really hard.  It is so hot though.  And just too far.  I make the final turn to the finish and realize that I won't make my goal.

Mile 3.11 - 3.11 on the GPS (certified course too) As I cross the finish I see my watch says 23:07 but I don't get it turned off until 23:11.  I will have to wait for my official time.  I should have asked Craig who is doing a great job of timing as usual, but I guess that I will have to wait for results to be posted.  I feel disappointed with my time and I should not be, with this heat and somewhat tired legs.  Later I recheck my previous results and see that I ran 23:19 in 2013.  So today is a course record and that makes me feel better.

Kids run is fun to watch.

I win second in my age group for the 5K and get a $5 card to Twisties froyo.

14th of 96
Race#358, 5K#92, Run for Rett #3

Sunday, May 31, 2015

5/30/15 Goldsborough Creek 7 Mile Run

This race is part of the Shelton Forest Festival and I have been wanting to run it for years. Happy that I am finally able to be here.  Great low price and a fund raiser for the hospital.  Odd distance that I have never raced before.  Also odd that it is a point to point course.

Small event, but there is a seven mile walk that started at 7AM.  Also a two mile walk and two mile race that start at 8AM with my race.  We stay at the Canal so in the morning it is a fifteen minute drive to the start and I find great parking near where Railroad Ave is closed down due to the race and parade.  I think that by being part of the Forest Festival the costs of the race are kept low.  "Main Street" finish with the road closed as the parade will start after our race.  Also we have Mason County Transit to bus us out to the start.  The start is only 2 miles away and I consider just jogging out there.  But I am not exactly sure where I am going and the buses are right there to take us.  I get to the start line at 7:30.

Plenty of time for a good warm up.  Only a few people here that I know.  Nice to see Missy again.  And Richard Olafson (81 years old and will race the two miles in 18 minutes and change) and Barb.

Start - Brief word from the RD and then something a little different.  The seven mile racers walk a ways down the road, just around a bend.  The two mile racers are facing us but we can not see them.  We start just a few minutes late, when the signal goes off between us.  We rush forward on the right side of the road as the two milers come at us on the left side of the road.  I like things like this as I know they are making the courses an accurate distance.  Now we shift to the left and run away from town.

Mile 1 - (7:25) The first five miles will be on this country road.  Open to traffic, but no cars.  Cones with warnings to drivers on one side and words of inspiration (and sponsor recognition) facing us.  Small race and some are already far ahead but I am in a small group.  Passing and being passed.  Wondering if I am going too fast.

Mile 2 - Starting to feel that negativity that comes with running so hard.  Some ups and then some downs and I keep the pace fairly steady but I wonder how long it will hold.  So hard to know what to do for a seven mile distance.  Aid station and I slow to get some water.  Now a longer uphill.  Scenic country course though, I really like running here.

Mile 3 - After the hill it is gentle down and although I feel like I am pushing it too much, I keep up the effort and pass a couple of people.

Mile 3.5 - Halfway there and feeling good.  Relaxed but giving a hard effort.  Then suddenly out of nowhere a serious upper back spasm.  Wow! That hurt and it throws me off my game.  Where did that come from?  Can I keep running?  What should I do?  I keep moving but I also raise my arms and try other stretching things.  One guy I had just past gets ahead of me.  I am moving along, but it seems slower.  I am surprised that the others are not catching me.

Mile 4 - Back hurts but not like the huge spasm.  I can run with it.  Just a lot less fun.

Mile 5 - Slowed some but still running OK.  Pass my first walker.  Then on to Railroad Ave and under Highway 101.  A few cars coming at us, only one is going too fast and too close.  I had been hoping to at least be under 56 minutes.  Under 54 would be great.  Looks like I should be in the 53 range, so even with the back issue it has been a good morning.

Mile 6 - Soon the straight shot on the closed part of Railroad Ave.  Still looking at the watch.  Finally stop thinking about time and start a final kick to the end.

Mile 7 - Finish - Strong finish. 6.98 on the GPS.  Happy with my time.  Now I can rest and stretch out my back, try to make it feel better.  Twisting right or left brings on more spasms so I do not do that.

Watch the others come in.  Bib tags are posted on boards right away.  4th in my age group, so no ribbon. Watch the kids race.  Now the raffles.  Some really good prizes, but alas I do not win anything.  I would run this one again for sure.

53:00 (7:35 per mile pace) 
15th place of about 58 runners

Monday, May 18, 2015

5/17/15 Capital City Marathon

Here again.  This time I am not only pacing, but have organized the pace groups.  Most from Club Oly, but I recruited some solids from my MM friends who I know could go the whole way.  Also organized pacers for the half.

Still thrilled with my Tacoma time, I have no problem giving up a fast effort today to support the race, but still get to run it.  I did not taper at all, figuring this will get me lots of miles for the week (62) and help my endurance.

Weather looking great.  Cloudy and cool, the sun will threaten to come out later but it will never get super hot.

Leading the pacers is a bit of a distraction though.  My fault, I forget to eat the banana that I packed for 30 minutes before the start.  I did have a bagel on the drive in.  I also do not drink as much water as usual and I forget to use the bathroom just before the start.  I strive for the lowest stress on race morning and this is way more frazzled than I am used to.

Marilou has called in sick and Missy is not so comfortable pacing 5:00 by herself.  A last minute change, we recruit Mike Kuhlmann to don a balloon and pace with Missy the first half. I had planned to run the first half at 4:30 pace with the Rogue Wave and then when Jenny meets us at the half I would wait for Mike Mahany running 4:45 and join him.  Instead I will trust Mike to do the 4:45 solo and join Missy for the second half at 5:00.

After group photos, juggling assignments, balloon and singlet hand outs and making sure that the second half people have their transportation arranged, I can concentrate on the race itself.  Line up at 6:45AM and it is fun to see the different pacers all in place.

Start - With the Rogue Wave, we start our watches on gun time and it is 15 seconds before we are over the mat.  Crowded.  Some chatty folks.  People counting on us to hit the paces.  We hit mile 1,2 and 3 right were we should be.  Amy Wineka sighting.  At mile 3, someone behind cheers for us as we are on perfect pace.

Mile 5-7 - Good to have two of us as we can alternate bathroom breaks and still have someone running the even pace.  Super Marie is with us.  Into the countryside.  Donkeys and horses.  Two giant shaggy cows.  One cow is scratching her head and neck against a large tree.  Nice time with the Rogue Wave.

Mile 9 - That huge downhill and my right foot/ankle starts to hurt.  Somewhat suddenly and worse than usual.  I have had this discomfort off and on for what seems like a few years now.  Funny, I can run a 3:59 at Tacoma or do a 10 mile tempo run and have no problem.  Then some day I will be out for an easy run or even walking and it can flare up.  On the uphill it will get a little better.  Later it will gradually get worse.  I will try to not overcompensate and hurt the left foot.  My theory is that there is some swelling going on around the area where I had a "baker's cyst" a few years back.  Maybe some scar tissue that gets inflamed once in a while.  In the mean time we make it up the big hill and continue on.

Mile 13.1 - 2:14 on the clock. We are one minute early and that is great.  There is Jenny, ready to go so I bid farewell to the Rogue Wave and wait for Missy.  The 15 minutes goes by quickly.  It is fun to cheer people on and I see Mike right on time for 4:45 pace.  I join up with Missy and Mike K, and now I get to run at a minute per mile slower than I ran the first half. 

Mile 15 - Off leash dog (no owner) snarling at us as we run by.  Very distracting but thankfully there are two vehicles slowly coming past us at the same time so the dog stays on his side of the road.  Ahead of us we had seen the dog really go after a runner.  Woodard Bay.  Now the steep uphill.  Mike has had hamstring issues and it is bugging him now.  He drops from pacing, but I am thankful that he paced the first half.  He gives me the balloon and I think that I tied it on.  As soon as I start running though, it slips away and into the air.

Mile 16-20 - Nice easy running and chatting with Missy.  She is strong and on task with a pace chart for every mile.  She could easily do this herself.  Except at about mile 20 her watch battery dies.  For the rest of the race she will call out the splits we should be at and I will check with my watch and adjust as needed.  We stay about 45 seconds to 2 minutes ahead of schedule.

Mile 21 - One runner who had been with me earlier and not said a word is now with us and ready to talk.  He admits to being under trained and slowing down.  But by talking with us, the next miles are nice and he stays with us.  Now the new section of the course.  The course has been tweaked a little.  I did not like how they made it sound like a good thing that we would not have the downhill on Legion Way.  Truth is that downhill is a little steep and it gets replaced with a more gradual and longer downhill.  Really nice change.  And great spectators on Puget Street.  One handing out spoonfuls of M and Ms.

Mile 22 - Heidi Perry aid station.

Mile 23 - Just me and Missy up the Eastside Hill. I feel fine except the foot.

Mile 24.5 - Catch a long legged young woman at the water station.  I had seen her while waiting at the half point, she looks really young.  We find out that she is 18.  And she is so tired.  We tell her to stay in front of us and she gets running at a pace a little faster than us.

Mile 25 - The young woman has stopped, but starts up again.  Then twice she stops and bends over.  She is not communicating much but seems OK, just exhausted, so we encourage her to go on.

Mile 25.5 - Now she stops again and walks off course onto the sidewalk.  We have two minutes in the bank and really should slow down.  I stop and gently push on her back and get her moving back on course.  I know for sure that she can do this and she gets moving again.

Mile 26 - The woman will make it ahead of us.  Missy and I slow even more but with no one behind us we continue on to cross the finish line.

Mile 26.2 - 26.5 on the GPS but don't tell anybody that and I know that some of that was from veering off course here and there and walking a bit as I waited at the half point.  Nice medal and surprise a really nice cap that I will wear for sure.  Out of the shoot I see the girl sitting in a chair, surrounded by friends and family.  I see how she is doing and she gets up and gives me a hug.  I am so glad that she does not hate me.  Great reports from all the pacers, makes me feel like it is worthwhile. 

Marathon or ultra#126
Capital City Marathon#12

Sunday, May 3, 2015

5/3/15 Tacoma City Marathon

Missed this one last year, so it is nice to be back for my seventh time.  Second time on the new course.

Other than having to wake at 3:45, this is easy to get to.  Actually I did not have to get up so early after all.  I found good parking and ended up on one of the first buses to the start.  It will be warm, but in the early dark it is cold out here.  I go to the hangar to wait in the warmth and see that it is not open this year. I have long sleeves and a beanie hat but I am feeling really cold, with little place to sit and 90 minutes till the start.  I find a curb and watch the later buses unload.  Here is Deb and then Tim who tells us that Marie is at their car and we could probably wait inside their vehicle.  We jump at the chance.  Marie is taking the early start but kindly lets us sit in her car until our start time.  Comfortable and warm and a nice time catching up with Deb.

This makes three in three weeks and I am not hopeful of having a fast time.  My plan is to stay behind the 4:00 pacer as long as I can.  It makes no sense to go in front of him as a sub 4:00 is improbable and it would not be wise to go faster than that.  I find the Rogue Wave just before the start and she has similar plans.

Start - Nod to my next door neighbors (father and son) who are running the half, that starts in an hour and away we go.  Crowded but runnable.  Behind 4:00 and 4:15 pacers but RW says to be patient, we will catch up to them on the bridge.

Mile 2 - Bright sun, sunglasses go on.  Glad that I left the long sleeves in my drop bag.  It is great running weather now.  Over the Narrows on a beautiful morning.

Mile 3 - This is so great.  I am very relaxed.  Running with my favorite racing pal.  I know the course.  I don't have to think about pace at all, just stay behind Ian the 4:00 pacer.  A few potholes to watch for, but nothing like last week's trail.

Mile 7 - Ian has put almost a minute in the bank.  At times I feel like I am going too fast, just trying to keep up.  Then he slows, often on a downhill, and it is easy to stay with him.

Mile 16 - After the Proctor Neighborhood, it is over to Point Defiance and the Five Mile Drive.  It is just a bit of work to stay with Ian, but everything feels good.  Taking gels and S!Caps and my stomach feels fine.  Pass MM#2.  Lots of MMs.  One woman from Illinois is marveling at our giant trees.  I mention the 500 year old tree that is coming up.  RW has slipped back.  I get closer to Ian and talk a bit with him and the two women that are staying with him.  Mostly just try to stay relaxed and hold the pace.  Better to run a few steps behind him and not get too chatty.

Mile 20 - Every mile Ian does some calculations and now he says that we are 48 seconds ahead of schedule.  Out of the park there is the short out and back in Ruston and it is fun to see those ahead and behind me.

Mile 21 - Ruston Way.  Not too warm yet and sometimes a little breeze at our backs.  RW has caught up!  Happy to see her.  Then she drops back again.  Passing lots of walking halfers now.  For the rest of the race I will have to think ahead about how to get around a walker or two together.  I get in a groove that I feel I can hold for a long time and it is right behind Ian.  My head is down a bit, I am just looking at the ground and the feet of the two runners ahead of me.  Not the most fun but it is getting the job done.  I start to think that I might be able to stay with the pacer the whole way.

Mile 22.5 - The dreaded overpass on Ruston way.  Its a giant bump in the road.  People walking.  As 4:00 gets ahead of me, one marathoner who is walking starts cursing that "there goes his time goal". I can sympathize and I wonder is this it for me too?  I could be really happy with a 4:03 or even 4:05.  It would be so easy to let Ian go.  But 3:59 is still in my grasp.  I dig deep, make some grunting noises and force myself to work harder than I thought possible.  Catch Ian on the downslope.  That was close, but my hope returns.  I even go in front of 4:00 pace, so that I can walk a water station and not get left behind.

Mile 24 - Really warm now.  The sun hits the road and the wall along the road, boxing the heat in.  Patches of shade feel so much cooler.  I perk up in the shade and melt in the heat.  Glad that I have been carrying  a small water bottle.  Water on the head is so cooling.  But 4:00 slips ahead again.  I think this is it.  But just where the half course splits off, there is Bart Yasso yelling at me to stay with my pacer.  Bart Yasso the writer for Runner's World.  The man has a world famous track interval workout named after him.  He is a running legend, who coincidentally shares with me 100 marathons and 25 ultras completed.  Spectators are so helpful to keep me going, but Bart Yasso takes the cake.  How can I not do as he tells me?  I pick it up and catch Ian.

Mile 24.5 - Now I really can not keep up.  Ian and the one woman who stayed close to him the whole way get farther ahead.  I can only hope that the 40 seconds we last had in the bank plus the 18 second differential in our chips starts will be enough cushion.  But there is this last hill and I start walking.

Mile 25 - Almost to the top of the hill.  Doubt 4:00 will happen but I am at 3:48 on my watch so a ten minute mile would make it real close.  Get running again.  Encourage a woman and we leap frog a bit.  Skip the last water station as I have water in the bottle and its just a mile to go.

Mile 25.5 - This long straightaway. So many traffic cones. I can see far ahead, the turn to the finish is too far away.  Depressing.  I start walking a bit.  Look at the watch and I am still on pace....barely.  Dig deep again.  I can't not try for it.

Mile 26 - Just before the turn to the downhill finish.  I want the sub 4 and that mark has given me incentive to run my best today.  I am really going to be happy with whatever happens.  Last look at the watch, right at the 26 marker (0.2 to go) and it reads 3:58:20.  Can I run a quarter mile in 1:40?  On the track when I am fresh yes.  This is less than that and downhill, with turns.  Again I have to try.

Mile 26.2 - The final sprint is crazy.  The finish line crowd is cheering.  I am going surprisingly fast but it is so far.  Run through the chip mats.  Stop my watch.  4:00:01!!  I am not disappointed at all.  There is a good chance that my chip time will be lower.  I was not that careful at the start and I might have taken a second or two to stop the watch after crossing the line.  And it really does not was a great day and finish time regardless.  Whoa, here is RW less than 30 seconds behind me.  She must have been stalking me the whole way.  Fun to have finish times so close.  We should be hugging, but we both seriously need to recover.  I sort of feel like passing out or vomiting.  RW is kinda hunched over and I wonder if she feels the same way.  We get over it quickly and neither needs medical aid.  It is so hot that we go find some shade to sit in for a minute.  With wet shirts and a breeze in the shade of this overpass we both get chilled quickly.  Then I see the results tent.  Plug my number into the lap top and there is my official chip time.....3:59:59.

I walk back to my car but take a longer route along the course, cheering friends.  Bart Yasso is coming toward me so I get to meet him and thank him for the encouragement. 

136 place of 460
Race# 355
Marathon or ultra#125, marathon #100, TCM#7