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

Sunday, April 26, 2015

4/26/15 Capitol Peak 55K

I had such a great time here last year that I just had to sign up again.  It does mean 3 marathons or ultras in 3 consecutive weeks, but I really want to do each of them.  This is week two and I would like to save something for Tacoma next week.  There is a new, tougher course this year so I can not compare my time from last year anyway.  Last year I finished in seven and a half hours, so it will be a long day today.

Rainshadow running has taken over the event.  Cost more than doubled and it was switched to a Sunday.  But I am over that now and ready to have a good run.  6AM start for the 50 miler. They are off before I pull into the Tacoma Cruisers property to check in and start running at 8AM

Sixty something people registered in each race.  May rain later today.  For now it is cool and mostly cloudy/foggy, but not too bad.  I will wear a jacket and tie it around my waist as it warms up.  Say hi to Roger and Kurt and then we start.

Mile 1 - steep uphill and rocky so lots of walking. As in every long run in Capitol Forest there will be a huge diversity of terrain and trail.  It is almost 9 miles from the start to to Capitol Peak and it is a little discouraging to be going downhill now.  Back up again.  Lots of early walking and I started very far back so no one is passing me.  I like the easy pace just behind a couple of people, including Evan from Oly.

Mile 4.1 - Water only aid station.  Short bit on the logging road and a quick turn onto a trail.  This looks familiar and Evan mentions the Mountain Marathon.  I did not know for sure where we would overlap, but here it is.  Fun to run here where I was six weeks ago.  Should be easy going for a couple of miles and then the grunt to the top.  Pass the little bridge where that woman almost pushed me off of, when I startled her at MM.

Mile 6.5 - Out onto a dirt road. Off of the MM course.  Long uphill climb.  Jog some, walk some, pass a couple of people.  Sharp right turn onto an abandoned narrow road.  Obstacles to go over.  Then easy running to the "Grunt".  Much shorter grunt section than at MM.  Take my time and feeling good.  Reach the top of Capitol Pea and have a look around.  I can see Mount Adams, St Helens, Rainier and Baker. 

Mile 8 - Now it should be just down the hill to the aid station.  But we go down and down the road.  It is farther than I thought it would be.  Nice to finally get there, stock up (PB+J) and head to the Cresttline Trail.

Mile 10 - After a few bumps it is on to the smooth gentle downhill Crestline Trail.  I love this rock free and mud free route.  This was my favorite part last year.  But with the downhill I start to feel soreness in my quads.  This is the lingering effect of the hilly Bremerton Marathon.  Downhills will gradually get more and more difficult and uncomfortable.

12.8 - Wedekin aid station.  Stop for a minute or two here.  Great volunteers and snacks.  Then on more downhill to Falls Creek.  I ran all of this part last year and enjoy the waterfalls and runnable trail.  Into the burned out clear cut area, then back into the woods.  Quads getting worse, it should be easier going down these hills.  Hit a bit of a low point.  After the next aid station it will be a huge uphill back to the top.  I could drop out there and save my legs for next week.  I really consider it.  Finally I decide that chances are good that I would have to wait a long while and it is a long drive back to the start.  I may be near last place in my race, but there are plenty of 50 milers out there and I have lots of time to make the cut offs.   I could pretty much walk it in from here and still get the finish.  So I won't dawdle at this aid station and keep on moving.

Mile 19.2 - Quick break at Falls Creek and get back out there.  Now the Greenline Trail back up to the top.  Plodding along.  Nice trail.  Then the large steep clear cut with switchbacks.  All alone, but every 10-20 minutes a fast 50 mile runner comes past me.  Climbing up the switchbacks.  Jen Edwards sighting (pacing a friend).  I can look down and see runners five and ten minutes behind me, now that I am near the top. Cap Peak still looks a lot higher up. Really more like a hike than a race now, but it levels off and I get running again.  Into the forest and more switchbacks up the last slog to the road.

Mile 24.7 - Enter the road and see the aid station ahead.  So glad to be at the top.  Even better news is that we are directed to stay on the road and go around the grunt, rather than quite a bit more up and down.  Road is level and then slopes down.  Soon it connects with where we went up so many hours ago.  With fresh legs I could run so fast here, but my quads are sore and my feet are uncomfortable.  No real pains, but I can not move as fast as I'd like.  Run slowly a long way then walk a little.  Should not be walking on a road downhill, but that is how it is.  Now I think of the end.  Finish the road, hit the trail that is the same as the MM course, then I will be at the last aid station.  Trail is uneventful, just slow.  Think I could beat 8 hours, but maybe not.

Mile 28.7 - Last water stop.  Fill up.  Evan and his friend pass me for good.  Down slowly for two miles.  No tripping, not even close to a fall today. Watch battery dies at 7 hours 35 minutes.  50 mile woman passes me, but now is the last big uphill and I pass her.  She will get past me as soon as we start going down again.  Then a 50K runner who I thought would be slower than me, come cruising past.  Just a few more miles, and people are "sprinting" to the finish, but I just can not get the legs going.  It is fine. Must be close but I don't know the miles or time now.  Finally hear some finish line cheers and isn't that a great sound?  Still a ways to go, but finally make it to the end.

I love the opportunity to go for such a long run in Capitol Forest.  But I do not want to not be near my best for this one or Tacoma.  I will do something different next year.  Skip this and run a strong Tacoma?  Or skip Tacoma and Bremerton and run the 50 miler here?  We shall see.

8:13:04 (6th longest race of my life)
40th of 48
Capitol Peak Ultra#2

Sunday, April 19, 2015

4/18/15 Bremerton Marathon

Inaugural event.  I had been thinking of running Wenatchee or Whidbey this weekend, but opted for this new race.  Much cheaper and logistically easier than the other races.  Jody and Nikki are going away this weekend, so I have little incentive to hurry home.  I can go to packet pickup on Friday, preview the course and stay at Hood Canal, with an easy drive to the race in the morning.

Maybe I should not have driven the course.  The web site said that it was hilly and my drive sure confirmed it.  I also did not care for the busy roads, hopefully they will be quieter in the morning. With the hills and many road crossings, with roads open to traffic, I basically gave up on a fast time the day before the race. The lack of shoulder on the roads was also a concern.  Plus there are lots of turns.  Hopefully it will be well marked.  I was able to stop and take some photos.

I get to the start early enough to get a good parking spot.  Sunscreen on, it is going to be bright and warm.  I will start with a long sleeve shirt over my MM singlet.  Nice to see some MM friends here.  A little bit larger event than I expected and that is good.  There is a half relay, some running the first half of my race, then handing off to others for the second half.

Start - We start right on time.  And start going uphill.  From sea level, we climb and go over this bridge.

Mile 1 - Down off the bridge, then a steep uphill.  Now a turn and a long fairly steep uphill.  Some people are walking.  I probably should be.  I am going slow and feel like I am working way too hard for the first mile.  Downhill is nice, now up again.

The pictures do not do the hills justice!

Mile 3 - Long downhill now.  Pick up the pace and get it where I want it to be at this point.  I want to gradually get faster and reach about 9/mile around mile 5 or so.  But these hill are confounding my plans.  Nice scenery, but no shoulder to run on.

Mile 7 - More downhill and I got my pace to 9/mile overall.  Now, how long can I hold that?  Back and forth with a few guys.  Great little aid stations.  They have 11 stations on course.  I am carrying my small bottle and will use it as it gets warmer.  Now at Brownsville and a nice run along the water.  

 Mile 8.5 - A couple of runners ahead of me are crossing the road and turning right onto a major highway.  I think this is correct but I do not see any signs.  The course is marked with occasional blue arrows on the ground.  Also small signs on stakes for the turns.  If you are looking for them, they are easy to see, but as the brain gets fuzzy I could see myself missing a turn.  I am about to pull out the turn by turn instructions provided with our numbers, that I had stashed in a pocket, but the guy ahead of me beats me to it.  He is carrying the route too.  Then I see the arrow and I know that we are OK.  We leave the quiet roads and scenery and hit the highway.  Wide shoulder at least, but not the funnest place to run.  Turn off onto a pedestrian trail, up and then over the highway.  On to another busy road.  Running on the sidewalk now.

Mile 10 - Major hill here.  Steep and long.  Some people walking.  I trudge along but it zaps me.  Then a steep downhill.  Have to wait for a few seconds at a crosswalk.  Down more.  Busy road, lots of big stores.  Right turn, but a woman has missed it and the guy just in front of me is yelling to her.  She does hear and turns around.  Now a short bit on a gravel trail.  The trail winds back to that busy road and we have to wait at a cross walk.  Trail continues on the other side of the road, winding along the water.  Great Blue Heron sighting.   Pace at 9:05/mile after that hill but holding it OK.

Mile 13.1 - 1:59 on the clock.  Half marathon relay exchange so lots of activity here.  Finally feeling hot.  Long sleeve come off.  Water starts being poured on the head now and then.  Been a long time since I have done that.   Now back along the side of a busy road with fast moving cars.  Decent shoulder.  Hills.

Mile 17 - Loop around Erlands Point.  Little hill and zero shoulder.  Few cars though so that is good.  Pedro sighting.  I always like a little out and back.  Here we do a lollipop. 

Mile 18 - Catch up with Sha-run who is running the half.  I am starting to fade now.  Walk just a little, try to keep running though.  We will run together and a little back and forth till a mile to go when she will pass me for good.  In the mean time it is nice to have her and a few others close by.

Mile 19 - Off the point and back to the highway.  Super long and discouraging hill at mile 20. Have to walk a little. Give up on the 9:10 pace (4 hours).  I will just work hard to get this over with and not worry about the time.  Picture of the hill from yesterday shows a rare moment with no traffic.

Mile 21 - After every long uphill we get blessed with a nice downhill.  Great to be able to run all of this.  Now we hit the more urban part of town.  We will run on sidewalks, watching for blue arrows and cars.

Mile 22 - Every time there is a driveway to a store, the sidewalk drops dramatically.  Then up about a foot on the other side.  Not good for my stride, but too busy to run on the road.

Mile 24 - Near the shipyard and glad to be on a quiet street.  Small hills and then "are you kidding me?"  Steepest hill yet.  At least it is fairly short, maybe a quarter of a mile though.

Mile 25 - Close to the ferry terminal, more downtown sidewalk running and crosswalks.  Last little up and then we will go down to the park.  Slightly twist my ankle on a curb.  That could have been bad but I stay up and nothing hurts.  No aches or pains today and that is a wonderful thing.  Down to the park. Hoping to beat 4:10 now.

Mile 26 - People around sort of directing me where to go.  The paved trail in the park curves around the picnic area and finally there is the finish and clock.

Mile 26.2 - 26.08 on the GPS.  Cheer a few in, walk to my car, then come back and stick around for a while.  Nice to sit with Double L, LW and MM Rufus enjoying the sun and cheering for those still coming in.

Fastest marathon in two years and I wonder what I could have done on a smoother course.  Higher mileage running seems to be helping with endurance as I did not hit a major wall today....just some major hills.  I liked the event and it is a good easy option for me.  I still want to run Whidbey and Wenatchee though.

21st of 88
Race#353, Marathon or ultra#123, Marathon #99

Saturday, April 4, 2015

4/4/15 Run Like a Fool 5K

5th annual event and my 3rd time here.  So tired of the Capitol Lake loops course, but this is a Club Oly event on a Saturday and there will be lots of friends here.  Pre race sign up was $28 and included a long sleeve shirt.

Prior to the race I counted up all of the racing I have done on this course.  The five times at the 12 hour run are a mind meld.  Add the recent Miles for Music, previous Fools race, Road-end-run race, and the old Run for Rhett course and today will mark my 173rd and 174th racing lake loop.  No wonder I am a little bored of it.

Its a Fool race and I think it will be funny to wear an old bright yellow Pacer shirt from the CCM.  I also put on a Club Oly beanie.  So fun to see Bill wearing the same thing!  We did not plan it really.  Bill has lost a lot of weight, beat me by a minute here a few years ago, and should be close today.

So many helpful volunteers and so well organized.  No lines at packet pickup, despite a record number of runners.  We start right on time.  I did get in a decent two mile warm up.  Cool and windy.  Cloudy and sort of damp in the air.  I need to keep moving before the race to avoid the chills.

Start - I end up starting right behind Bill and we are near the front.  Off we go faster than we should, but not so bad.  Bill is ahead and I will let him go if he gets much faster.  Soon enough he settles in and I catch up and run next to him. 

Mile 1 - Feeling great.  I did not look at my watch at this split though.  The big thing about this course is that the paved and gravel trail, while wide, is open to the public and lots of people come here to run, walk, jog, walk their dog, or have a family outing walking with their dogs and completely blocking the route oblivious to the fact that there is a race going on.  This would be a PR course if not for the human and dog obstacles.  I have accepted that this is how it is here and take it as a challenge.  Right now I am behind four young racers who are slowing a bit, Bill at my side and coming towards us are two people walking a dog.  I make my move, passing the four and dodging the pedestrians and dog.  Pleased with my pick up I am able to go pretty fast before settling back to the pace I was at before.

Mile 1.3 - Tammy sighting.  She is volunteering and as she yells for Bill, I know that he is right behind me.

Mile 1.6 - Into the wind. Around the bend.  Over the bridge. Onto the grass bit.  Speed up on the sidewalk.  Feeling like I can pick it up at any time, but not for long.  A little surge to get past a guy.  Now lots of 5K walkers and slow runners that I am lapping.  Keep up the pace and happy to see that I am at 7:25/mile, faster than last week.

Mile 3.0 - Looks like I will beat Bill.  Final sprint to the finish and no one is close enough to catch me at that speed.

Finish - 3.1 on the GPS.  Really happy to be about 25 seconds faster than last week.  Everything felt good today.  Now it is cold.  I grab a sweatshirt, jog over to Tammy and watch the others come in.  Seems to be getting even colder.  We walk back to the finish area.  Hot coffee! And Muffins!  Lots of snacks.  And the results are ready so quickly.  Lots of raffles but I do not win.  I do get a first in age group water bottle with two gu packs inside.

This ends my third week of trying to run over 50 miles each week.  I ran 56 the first week.  53 the second week.  That week I felt tired and cut my run short on Friday.  The Saturday 5K went fine but a little slow.  This week I decided that 50 might be too much.  I took off completely on Friday, plus the usual Wednesday rest day.  After the race today I end the week with 47 miles but a faster 5K time.  I did not quite make that goal, but I did average over 50/week during that time.  Average weekly mileage since January 1st is 43 miles, way higher than any previous three month period.  No race next weekend, then three marathons in three weeks.

17th of 304
Race#352, 5K#91, RLaF#3

Saturday, March 28, 2015

3/28/15 Hop for Hunger 5K in Yelm

3rd annual event but my first time here.  $15DOR (plus canned food donation) with in bib chip timing by Budu racing.  I get to Ridgeline Middle School early enough that they have not yet blocked off the parking lot.  Soon everyone else will have to go somewhere else to park and walk in a little way.  I have given myself an hour to get registered and do a nice long warm up.

It rained just a little on the way here, but now it is dry with a little wind and the potential for a shower.

Warm up goes well enough.  I am not very confident today.  Yesterday I cut my run short, just feeling very worn down.  I have a bit of a cold, but mostly I am tired from a 20 miler on Tuesday and a fun 2 hour trail run on Thursday.  Today will get me over 50 miles for the second week in a row.  I am averaging 42 miles per week so far this year.  No pains or worries, just some tiredness.  By the 8:30 start time I have put in over two miles and I am ready to go.

But the race will start late.  Long line still at the registration table.  It moves fast enough though and we get going about 15 minutes late.  I have kept doing some sprints to stay ready to go.  Now we crowd into the narrow starting chute.  Lots of kids and families here.  Just a few speedsters.  I am very close to the front and remind myself that after the narrow start it will open up wide into the parking lot and there will be plenty of time for passing if these kids take off like I suspect they will.

Start - Smooth for me.  A few youngsters bolt past me, but I have room to run. Left turn around the school.  I see that we will turn right shortly and I make a move to get ahead of three people, before hitting the tangent.  On the sidewalk, down the road and then we cross the big road (thank you volunteers).  Left onto the Yelm/Tenino Trail (paved)

Mile 0.5 - Flat route out.  I feel like I am running an even pace and I feel good.  Cross little George Road, where I spent some time a few weeks ago.  Pass one woman, but feeling like we are getting spread out.  I am sure that someone is near behind me, but I can not sense them.  Two people walking on the trail, one of them has two dogs on long leashes.  I have to almost go off the pavement to get around them.

Mile 1.25 - Jesse Stevick sighting.  I grunt for him.  Another fast guy coming towards me, then a Jenny Stevick sighting.  Been catching up to a young guy with a grey sweatshirt, but he looks back and then picks up the pace.  Turn around is very well marked.  The trail is blocked with signs and lots of chalk on the ground.  Happy to be heading back and wondering if/when I will tire and fall apart.

Mile 2 - So many slower people coming towards me, some are four across on the trail.  A couple of kids are running towards me on my right, while most everyone is on my left.  Not too hard to negotiate though. Pass one guy, but he will stay right behind me.  Now a little tailwind and I feel a bit of strength and go faster. Nice patch of speed, I get my average pace a little faster.  I know that I will not be able to hold this, but there is not much farther to go.

Mile 2.5 - Off the trail.  The guy in front of me is careful to fully cross the little road and get on the sidewalk before crossing the main road.  I could cut 10 feet off of the distance if I cut this corner, but I decide to do what he did, and hope that the guy behind me does the same thing.  Now up the little hill with the wind in my face.  It is hard but not so bad.  I want to finish under 24 minutes and it looks like I will.  With two turns to go in the parking lot I have two minutes to make my goal and I think that is doable.  Make the final turn, see the finish clock and sprint in to the finish line.

Finish - Run strong past the chip mat and then shut off my watch.  3.13 miles on the GPS, very accurate and fast course.  Happy with my time and especially with how the legs felt.  A few seconds faster than my last two 5K races.  I am planning to run another 5K next Saturday, so today was good training for that.

I would definitely run this one again.

11th of 161

Monday, March 9, 2015

3/7/15 Mountain Marathon

Fifth annual event and my second time here.  I ran this the first year and apparently vowed to never return, but here I am.  I guess that it took me four years to recover from the first time.  Not that it was not a great, well put on event.  It was the foot of snow at elevations above the freezing, deep puddles, shoe sucking mud and the rocky technical trails that made it more of a challenge than I was prepared for.  I did finish that year in 6:19.  Fours years later I have many more trail runs and marathons experienced and I am once again ready for the adventure.  It helped that there is no snow pack in Capitol Forest this year.  It also has not rained much and the trails should be in good shape.  Weather is going to be fantastic this year! Reaching 60 degrees and bright sunshine.

I also have been training for this.  Running lots of hills lately.  I even ran the trails here twice recently.  Two weeks ago I came out and ran the course for an hour out and then back.  I was able to keep my feet dry by walking around the couple of large puddles on the trail.  Average weekly mileage at almost 42/week.  As long as I pace myself well, it should be a good day.

The Rogue Wave and Jason Ryan are sweeping the course, so it will be nice to see them....hopefully not too close behind me.  They both will take pictures that I am using here.

I have also been studying the course map.  After mile 4.5 this will all be new territory for me, since the 2011 course was changed due to deep snow.  I have a copy of the course map with written directions and my big, detailed Capitol Forest map.  I remember last January when my 5 mile race here ended with three bonus miles.  It is so easy to take a wrong turn here, I am going to be very careful today.  No turns unless I am sure.

Map from my Garmin

Start - It is cold before we run, I in a long sleeve shirt over a short sleeve and a Defiance vest.  I'll wear a hat for a few miles.  I have lots of gels and chomps and my new hand held water bottle getting its first try out.  It is larger than the little one I had been using, but it feels good.  We start pretty much on time.  Off onto the road and we do not turn up the hill like I expected.  There is a short out and back and Craig is telling us that it is to get the mileage right and we will not do this on the way back.  Everyone is going so fast.  I am running comfortably and I am near the back.  Maybe the best strategy is to run fast on the roads and when it is safe, and then slow down for the steep hills and dangerous downhills.

Mile 1 - On the uphill dirt road now.  It is in great shape and steeper than ever.  Walking the steepest parts or running very slowly.  Nice to have this wide road to sort out the various paces.  Then onto the trail and up some more.  I could pass the little group in front of me, but choose not to.  I like their pace.

Mile 3 - Out of the woods and onto the Army Line Trail, which is also a road.  Clear cut on one side with views.  Pass a few and get passed by a few.  Now a very newly logged area, logged since I was here two weeks ago.  Logs stacked up and two logs put across the trail that we are now about to go on.  Apparently the logs were put there to stop mountain bikers, but it is OK for us to run here.  Over the logs and onto the second worst bit of trail on this race.  Steeply up a "path" with baseball sized rocks strewn everywhere.  Some walking and lots of slow running.

 Then the left turn onto a better trail.  Very runnable except for the giant puddles every 50 feet or so.  Not so giant that I can't slow down and walk in a little mud on the side each time.  I suppose the fast guys go splashing through here, but I would like to keep my feet dry as long as possible so take it carefully.

Mile 4.5 - Past where I turned around two weeks ago.  Aid station, then more puddles and runnable trail.

Mile 6 - Out onto a logging road.   One woman ahead of me, really above me, this road is so steep.  Steep uphill and long.  I can see a long way up and eventually I can't help but look back.  No one behind me for at least a couple of minutes.  Half Marathon turn around.  I grab a quarter of a PBJ, two cookies and a gel.  Still on the road and still a super steep hill.  Catch up to Claire from Tacoma.  Nice to chat with her as we work our way up and up.  I pass her, but before long she will pass me back.  She is stronger than me on the downhills, but I am doing better on the ups.

Mile 7.5 - Finally at the top of the road and the last aid station before the turn around at mile 13.1.  Runnable but rocky trail to the Grunt.

Mile 9 - Connected with a bit of trail that I ran last April in the Capitol Peak 55K.  It takes me to near the top of the Grunt "trail".  To the right it goes up a short way to the top.  But we go left and down, down down.  Large loose rocks, I take my time.  In fact my pace going down this section will be about the same as when I go up on the return.  Not going to fall today! 

Mile 9.5 - A long way down the Grunt, past the abandoned car.  Two super fast runners coming back, but it will be a long time before number three gets to me.  I am at the part of the race that I was most worried about getting lost.  Crossing dirt roads, intersecting trails.  But everything is very well marked.  No trouble finding my way.  Runnable trail that finally opens into a clear cut with amazing views.

Mile 12 - Back into the woods, then onto a downhill road to the aid station and turn around.  Reach mile 13.1 in 2 hours 53 minutes.  Cup of coke and a cookie and back at it.  Mike Kuhlmann sighting, Steven Ferry Sighting.

Mile 15 - Been gradually gaining on a woman on the twisty single track forested trail.  I get close, then ease off, no rush.  Get closer and ease off again.  I want to make sure that I only pass her once and that she does not come catch me right after I pass her.  OK, it is clear that I am running faster than her now.  I get closer and look for a spot to pass.  There is a little bridge over a tiny creek and I go to say "Well, I think I will pass you here"  But only "Well" comes out, because she jumps in fright, had no idea I was there.  Within half a second I am next to her about to apologize for scaring her, but she is still reacting and pushes me with her arm.  I start to totter over the bridge and before I fall she grabs me and pulls me to safety. The whole thing happened so fast.  We are both apologizing and I think we are even, so we laugh and I continue on.

Mile 16 - Out in the sun.  Warmest part of the race.  My water is half gone.  Now I catch up to a young woman is is taking walk breaks then running just a little. More walking.  We just crossed a road and now on the trail I am not sure if she is in the race, or just out for a hike.  She looks dressed to run, but she is not carrying anything.  No water, no food.  She is in the race and as she drinks the water that I offer her, she tells me that it is her first marathon!  For the rest of the race I will worry about her crumbling with dehydration and her first marathon.  When I see the sweepers I tell them to look for her and make sure she is OK.  At the next aid station, so far away, I also tell them to make sure she is alright and give her a bottle if they have one.  I am going on to have a strong second half and it is amazing when I check the results to find out that she finished less than four minutes after me! 

Mile 17 - But for now I am still running.  I should say walking, up the Grunt.  I can see Clair above me, but too far away.  I grunt and she waves to me.  I thought that all the slower runners had come by, but now five or six people are running down toward me.  I am an hour past the turn around, so they are essentially two hours behind me.  I will learn that this little group took a wrong turn and added about six miles to their race.  That is what can happen here.  Our race is marked with blue and white ribbon.  Some how they got of course but started following blue poles, for a long way.  I feel bad for them, but proud that I studied the course, and secretly a little happy that my finish place will look a little better than it could have.

Mile 18.5 - Ah the sweepers.  Jason gets a picture of me.

Mile 19 - Out to the road and now a long and welcome downhill.  Back on to the relatively flat train with mud puddles.

Mile 21 - They cheer for me at the aid station.  One guy says "Here he comes limping along".  What?  am I limping?  I guess that I am though I had not noticed.  Nothing hurts, just maybe using one leg more than the other to keep moving forward. Grab a cookie on the run and keep going.  I have enough water to get to the finish and still have some gu chomps to eat as I progress.

Mile 21.??? - Watch distance might not be quite right.  Clock time is 5 hours and 2 minutes.  I think that I am near that spot where I turned around two weeks ago.  I had run an hour up, how long did it take me to get down from here?  Less than an hour but I can't remember.  I would love to beat six hours and this is my new goal for late in the race.  Really unsure if I can.  Happy to reach to turn onto the steep rocky downhill.  Slow going over those two logs.  Out onto the Army Line Road.  This bit will be quick.  Two sections to go.  The relatively easy downhill trail and the the downhill road to the finish.  I think that trail should take twenty minutes and the road might be a little more than that, and I start the trail with 5:20 on the clock.

Trail bit took 15 minutes.  I reach the road at 5:35.  I just can not remember how far it is to go.  Two miles?  Maybe 2.5 miles.  We do not have to do that out and back that we did at the start.  Aid station here and I blow through, thank the person but say that I am trying to finish in less than twenty five minutes. "Easy", she says, "Its only 1.5 miles to go"  Oh I hope she is right!  Down the hill, up the little hill, run to the side to let a truck past.  Big downhill.  If only I could reach that lower trail junction, then I would know that it is less than half a mile for sure.  One last uphill.  I make myself run the whole thing.  I am so tired, but it is mental.  I will regret if I walk here and don't beat six hours.  No regrets, I keep running and at a decent pace too.  Now downhill, around a bend and there is that trail head.  I will beat six hours for sure.  I run the last half mile, but easy now and so happy.

Finish - 25.6 miles on the watch, but that happens with trails.  Nice finishers stein that I will use more than a medal.  Thank Rachel for another great event.  Lots of food left and chairs to sit in.

Four years ago I vowed to not run this again.  Now I am already thinking about next year!  Fun times.

2:53/2:57 split times
51st place of 76
Race # 350
Marathon or ultra #122
Mountain Marathon #2