Saturday, August 13, 2016

8/13/16 Galloping Gertie Half Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


1:56:55
48th place of 252, 37 of 112 men, 9 of 20 in the 50-59 age group
Race #396

*****


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Whale of a Run 4 Miler - Silverdale WA



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

30:56
75th of 312
Race#395
*****

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

7-23-16 WA State Senior Games 5K

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We wait and cheer in Martinho and then Tammy.






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






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





23:58
8th place of 25
Race #394, 5K#104
*****

Sunday, July 10, 2016

7-9-16 McCleary Run From the Bears 10K

4th time here and I am sure it will be the slowest.  It has been a very poor month for running.  June 12th Tunnel Marathon left me with two hurting feet.  After a few days, the left foot was all better but the right foot continued to nag off and on.  Something near the ankle, not diagnosed and mellow enough to not go to the doctor.  Ice, rest, ice rest and it would get gradually better.  Make sure it feels decent enough for the 10 mile round trip up and down Mt St Helens.  Thinking of starting a separate blog for hiking adventures.  On days when I was running, I just could not get moving.  So for the last month it has been 3-5 miles at a time, with lots of long walk breaks and all of it very slow.  Not motivated to race and I just can not get any speed going.  At Hood Canal for the 4th of July, I used that as an excuse to not race.  Could have gone to any of three races within an hour drive, but I chose to sleep in.  I am signed up for something on 7/23 and Lakefair 7/16 is looming.  On the 4th Tammy reminded me of the Bear Run.  I had forgotten about that one.  By mid week I was running without discomfort and decided to go for it.  If only because I have said that I want to keep doing this for many years.  I turn 50 this week and if this is not an age related slowing, then one is coming and I might as well get used to being in the back of the pack.

Friday night Jody says that she wants to come.  Pleasant surprise.  She knows that I like to get to races super early and is a good sport about leaving the house when I think we should.  Little does she know that I had us leave about 15 minutes later than I would have on my own.  We do know the way and there should be easy parking.  There is and we get there right at 8AM, for the 9AM start.  We happen to be the first ones to the registration table and get numbers 1 and 2!  I don't think that I have been number 1 before.  $10 day of race with the no T-shirt option is a steal.  Back to the car to read for a while and watch people walking around with bib numbers going higher, but not many.




Make our way to the start line.  Meet Andrea who looks really fit and fast.  Another guy who I recognize.  I do very little warm up, won't even log it as mileage.  Jody meanwhile puts in some distance and almost misses the start.  We don't know anyone else and it is a small event.  New race director and she intentionally did not advertise, so that she could manage a small group.  She does hope to grow it for next year and she does a great job of running things this year.  When she has the 2 milers separate from the 10Kers we are surprised to see just about everyone is in the short race.  Only 6 of us in the 10K!  Police Officer Grim talks about safety and then it is time to go.

Start - I plan to ease into it.  We run across the street and on to the right shoulder.  Jody is ahead of me but I get past her and also Andrea.  The one guy in front and starting to extend his lead.  Not going too fast, I decide that I should try to keep near him, just in case I will be able to stay with him and get the victory.

Mile 0.5 - Through downtown.  I sense Andrea is right behind me.  The first guy is gaining a little and I know that I am going too fast.  Sub 8 pace, but it feels OK.

Mile 1 - 8:03 on the watch.  Way faster than expected, now can I hold it.

Mile 2 - I looked back at the water station and Andrea was falling behind.  First place guy is so far ahead, he is a speck in the distance.  Country roads with chip seal that I do not like.  Just a little discomfort in the foot but not bad at all and not getting worse.  Try to stay on the shoulder when there is one and especially when the police officer is driving by.

Mile 3 - 8:09 average pace.  Very happy with that.  Maybe I can hold on and finish at 8:15 pace?

Mile 4 - Another water stop.  I am locked into second place but will pretend that someone is on my heels.  Reach the turn that Ron B missed a few years back.  It is marked but only halfway through the turn.  Jody will hesitate here but get help from a race official.  I am sure that I am on track and try to keep up the pace.

Mile 5.5 - Ready to be done now.  I would have been happy with 53 minutes, but it looks like I have a chance at beating 50.  I can see the finish line and my watch is at 40:19.  Run as fast as I can until I realize that I won't make it. Ease up just a little and cruise in to the end.

Finish - 6.13 on the GPS.  50:17 on the watch.  Cheer in Andrea and then Jody.  Jody is really happy with her 57:18 time, the same as 9 years ago here.  The last two are apparently walking.  No awards but Jody and I both with raffle baskets (sewing stuff and dog stuff).  We are back home by 11AM feeling great about our morning.

I will register for the half at Lakefair and plan to continue to enjoy events like this.

50:17
2nd place out of 6
Race#393, Run from the Bears 10K #4
*****

Monday, June 13, 2016

6/12/16 Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

My sixth time here.  Wow has this race grown.  Now 600 runners and it sold out in a few minutes.  I was lucky to be at a computer at the right time, back in January.  Lots of serious runners going for that BQ.  Today I am going to be on the other end of the spectrum, going for the scenery.

My slowest time here was a 4:06 and I am very sure that I can not do that today.  I have had no long runs in the last month.  Both feet/ankles are still bothering me.  Not much speed work and I feel slow lately.  Last weeks 5K was not a confidence booster.  But at least my back feels better and I am sure that I can cover the distance.

So I decide to stay with the 4:30 pacer (Christie) for a while and then move forward to hopefully have a nice negative split.  I really do not want to fall apart at the end.

Up at 4:15AM, to North Bend before 6AM, on the bus and up to the start by 6:45.  Time to check in, eat and get organized before the 8AM start.  The race is so serious now, they make us show ID before getting our number.  So I have my hand held water bottle with my phone and driver's license in the pouch.  Better not lose that! 

Start - Very crowded as we line up.  I think the pacers are too close together.  But we go off OK.  I am just behind Christie.  Slow for the U-turn at the cone and then off to the tunnel.  Into the dark.  I am on the right side and the slant is steep.  It sets both ankles off and the dull pain will be there the whole race.  I can't move over to the center with this crowd but my side levels off soon enough. 

Mile 1 - Flashing light marks one mile in the tunnel.  Then 2 miles.  Strange as always and not the funnest running.  Feels like we are going fast.

Mile 3 - Out of the tunnel.  I drop the knuckle lights into the bag and then get out the camera for a photo.  I will send some snap chat videos too, during the first half today.  I thought I was doing all this quickly, but then there is the 5 hour pacer and I am not quite ready to run again.  Have to be sure to zip up that water bottle pouch.  3.3 miles on the GPS and the watch will continue to read long every mile.  By race end it will read 27.0 miles.  I get moving and see Christie (4:30) far ahead.





Mile 4 - Catch up to 4:30 pace and settle in.  Next couple of miles are nice.  It just feels faster than when I paced Capital City at 4:30 a month ago.  And the little rocks turn my ankles just a bit, but enough to make the discomfort worse.

Mile 7 - It is earlier than I had planned, but now warmed up and feeling good I decide to pick up the pace.  Leave 4:30 behind and fairly confident that she won't catch me later.




Mile 10 - Stopping for photos now and then.  Beautiful day.  Cool temps I still have my long sleeves on.  Whoa, here is Martinho.  I thought he would be way ahead of me.  Turns out he had a bad calf cramp in the tunnel and I must have passed him there.  He has been stretching and easing back into it and now running OK.  He must be disappointed, but he seems to have a good attitude.  We run together till the half mark and he goes ahead there.





Mile 13.1 - 2:11 something on the watch.  I would like to think that I can negative split and beat 4:20.  Put the camera away.  Run some with Mike Mahany, always nice.  I pick up the pace and when Mike sees me at the finish, coming in after him, neither of us can remember him getting ahead of me.

Mile 15 - Now mostly by myself.  Passing some people.  Warming up more so the long sleeves come off.  Legs are just a little more sluggish than they should be.  I feel like I have decent energy and my stomach is fine.  But I can not move my legs fast enough.  That and my feet hurt.  Putting in 9:15 to 9:30 miles here and if I can keep that up, I will be happy enough.

Mile 20 - Now just trying to keep the pace under 10 minute miles.  Pass the RD Super Sabrina.  She is so organized with great volunteers that she can run her own race.  I guess that she has to get from the start to the finish line some how, might as well run it.  Now I will be in fear of her passing me back.

Mile 22 - The turn, the flats.  Actually more downhill than I remember.  Long stretches of running, but then some unplanned walk breaks.  I start to get passed by some.  Turn around and see Sabrina there.  That gets me moving faster.  Feet hurt.

Mile 25 - Finally!  Gave up on 4:20 and a negative split a little ways back.  Should get in under 4:25 and at least 4:30 did not catch me.  Encourage those around me.  Try to run with people but none of us can hold a steady pace.  Beautiful river crossing, I should walk back here after I finish (yeah right), then the highway underpass and I know that we are very close to the end.

Mile 26.2 - Another one done.  Uglier second half than it should have been.  Frustrated that I am no where near sub 4 hours and that I could not negative split today.  Happy for my friends though, some of whom had great days. 

I do not have any marathons planned until September so in the mean time I will work on my feet/ankles, get some new shoes, do more core strengthening and race shorter distances. 

4:24:53
399th of 590
Race#392, Marathon or Ultra#142, Tunnel Marathon#6
****

Monday, June 6, 2016

6/4/16 Runn for Rett 5K

I love this little race.  My 4th time here.  I am going to be slow, but I am happy just to be here.  Eight days ago I was a half mile into an easy run and was stopped by sudden and severe back pain.  I think it was the worst back pain I have ever had.  Frustrating to not know what made it happen.  I had to cancel my race plans for last weekend.  Ice, heat, gentle stretching and it gradually got better.  I took five days off from running and eased back into it two days ago.  Things feel fine this morning, so here I am.

Sunny and going to be warm.  $30 day of race includes a very nice T-shirt.  Chip timing by the BuDu people is new this year.  Easy warm up and I notice that arrows are pointed in a different direction than last year.  Confirm with the RD and yes we are going to run the course in reverse from last year.  Good to know, not that it makes much of a difference.  It will be well marked, staffed with volunteers and even have a bicycle club to lead the front runners.  With the course set up this way, we will get the hill done first, then have a nice downhill followed by two miles of flat.  1.5 mile easy warm up.

Start - Off we go right on time.  Lots of kids and it is a little crowded, but we make the first turn OK and there is room to pass.  Around the Historical Park and then up the hill.  Warm but at least it is shaded here.  Pass the small kids on the uphill.  Then the sharp turn and head downhill on the sidewalk and road.

Mile 1 - 7:50 mile.  I had been at 8:19 pace at the top of the hill, but made up the time on the downhill.  Now Martinho catches me.  We run together. My pace is a little inconsistent as I speed up, then slow, but overall I am feeling OK and hanging in there.

Mile 2 - Still with Martinho.  We saw Jo, the overall winner, way ahead of everyone, on the out and back.  And then there was Loren who will win the men's race.  Good for him!  At the aid station I try to drink and run and get a nose full of water. 

Mile 2.5 - Still side by side with Martinho. It does not occur to me that he is just running with me for fun.  The paved trail along the lake goes really well.  I finally feel like my legs are functioning right and somewhat fast.  Ready to be done though.

Mile 2.9 - Turn to the finish.  I tell Martinho that I want to see his sprint, but he says that we will stay together.  But then a kid passes us and it is game on, at least for Martinho.  They go off and I have no chance of keeping up.  I realize that I can not beat 24:00 so I coast in and finish strong enough.

Mile 3.1 - 3.14 on the GPS.  Results are printed out right away.  Awards ceremony is done without delay, before the kids run.  I get a tumbler for second in my age group. 

Fun morning, another nice Run for Rett.


24:20
22nd of 125
Race#391, 5K#102, Run for Rett#4
*****


Monday, May 16, 2016

5/15/16 Capital City Marathon

Thirteenth time running the full, 12th year in a row.  Sixth year pacing and second year organizing the Club Oly pace team.  I had many pacers coming back from last year and not much trouble getting the 18 pacers and two volunteer drivers into their assigned duties.  Handed out singlets at the expo where most of the pacers attended.

Race morning.  Hope everyone shows up.  Mix of fun seeing friends from near and far, small level of stress hoping that everyone gets here on time, and increased nerves as I have my own pacing duties to think about.  We all make it with fully charged watches, tie on our balloons and line up early.

Weather had called for showers but I am so thankful it is dry.  Cool and cloudy all morning, with just a little mist in the air at times.  Perfect running weather and nice enough that spectators will be out.

Start - Chat with some people around me.  Some say they plan to stick with me.  Maniac Claudia is one of them and that is great because we have not run together before.



Smooth start and fun with all the half marathoners cheering us on.  About 15 seconds to get to the mat and I will pace off of gun time so that gives a little cushion.










Mile 1 - 9:54 if I remember right. So a little fast but not bad and we can just keep on about that effort with the east bay hills soon to come.  Big group around me and I try to get some names.  Maniac CJ, Holly, Esther, Sang, Todd and some others.

Mile 10 - The first big hill.  Still have my group with me.  Nice steady pace.  Love the course as usual.  The spectators but also the quiet country roads.  Last year my right foot/ankle was having issues.  This year it is my left foot/ankle.  It has been nagging me since I finished Tacoma two weeks ago.  I only ran once in the past four days and that was short and easy.  I think that was wise.  Today it is flaring up off and on, nothing too bad.  I do take one ibuprofen, saving three more in case it gets worse.  I only need to hold this pace until 13.1 at which point Bill takes over.  I plan to stay on pace but if I have to walk for the foot I can do so after the halfway mark.




















Mile 13.1 - There is Bill ready to jump in.  Down to Woodard Bay and up the steep hill from there.  Great to have his energy as my fellow runners are getting quiet.  We lose Claudia and a few others, but Holly is here and I really want her to succeed.  Now the long mostly flat on Libby Road.  Gradually passing a few people.  I think we are going to pass one young woman, but she rallies and stays on pace for many more miles.



Mile 20 - Things get exciting as we merge with the half and pass some half walkers.  More spectators.  Two 5Ks to go.  If not for the left foot I would be having a blast.  Instead every step is a reminder that something is not quite right.  I can manage the pain and it never really flares up.




Mile 22 - About two minutes ahead of pace, but the final tough hill is here.  Heidi Perry sighting.  Holly and Sang with us as Bill and I begin the ascent.  Bill reminds us to pump our arms.  Sang and I try to come up with a mantra, all we can do is say "keep running".  Holly is quiet and determined.  We reach the top and the fun can begin.  Through a mass of bubbles in the air from kids with a bubble machine.  Lots of people with signs, including Holly's crew who take this picture......






 Mile 24 - Holly goes ahead to finish in 4:26!  Sang has fallen behind but will get in just at 4:30.  Not much left for Bill and I to do but stop for a beer at the rogue aid station and then ease on down Capital Way.  The beer is great just too little.  Bill and I watch the pace and walk the last aid station as we have walked them all.  Things look good but that finish line looks so far away.  We have paced it well and trot on in just a little ahead of schedule.




Finish - Giant medal.  Check in on Holly who starts to lose feeling in her arms and ends up in the medical tent.  With care and electrolytes she recovers soon enough.  I get my pizza and take it back to the street to sit on the curb and cheer everyone in.  All of my pacers did great and it was a big success.  I plan to organize the team again next year.  The reward is worth the time I put into it.

About to leave, but I cheer Deb down the hill.  Then Monte, then Jeff Galloway.  Now I see a small group very slowly coming along.  Young woman with a leg brace and cane going to slowly.  When she gets closer I am shocked to see that she has a five mile race bib on.  Cheer for her and then read in the paper that she had a spinal cord injury and is rehabbing.  She has run the half here three times, but today the five miler takes her four and a half hours.  Epic effort and inspiring!


4:28:34
185th of 314 finishers
Race#390, Marathon or Ultra # 141, Capital City Marathon #13
*****